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  #1  
Unread 23rd of May, 2008, 01:46
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Hillary Crandell

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Unread 31st of May, 2008, 04:12
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Hillary wakes up a moment before the the alarm buzzes. It's something in the clock, she feels, that she senses before it quite turns to 0425. She rolls out of bed and slips into her PT gear. The day usually starts with physical training, but she's not sure about today. Presumably they'll tell them what's going on at first formation.

A few quick ablutions, and she opens the door into the corridor. In the doorway, she sees Ash waiting. The man's bland smile is familiar, but disconcerting nonethless. It seems to foreshadow the things to come, things that might appropriately be feared.

"Follow me, please." He turns to lead Hillary down the hall.

They walk out of the barracks and over to the lodge, finding their way to the basement and a door he's never seen before. Behind the door is a hallway with ten more doors. Each door is thick, and sealed with rubber around the edges, somewhat like she imagines a submarine hatch or a pressure door to be. Ash opens the frist door.

"This is where you will be tested. Like carbon under pressure, you may become a diamond here, at least in the rough."

Inside, the room is deeply padded with some kind of exotically textured high-tech foam. The lighting comes from a strip all the way around the top, and the other parts of the ceiling are padded also. There is a shiny steel chair and a matching table in the middle of the room, and nothing else.

"This is where you will undergo your most difficult trials. You will be exposed to your greatest fears, whatever they may be. You will face demons both literal and figurative, spiritual and psychological. It is here," he says, pointing into the room, "that you will take the next step in your evolution."

He stands aside, holding the door. "Go inside. I will let the door shut, but there is no trial at this moment. Just go inside. Look, smell, hear, taste, touch. Become familiar with it. Quell your fear."
  #3  
Unread 31st of May, 2008, 05:48
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Hillary nods wordlessly to the older Neph and after a brief hesitation, steps inside the room to wait on whatever it is she's supposed to wait on. With nothing else to do, she explores the room, letting her fingers run over the surfaces and listening to their responses against her skin, finding the thrum of the light and out into other parts of the building as she makes her way to the chair to sit.
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Unread 31st of May, 2008, 05:57
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She makes herself familiar with the construction, finding the flaws in its resonances. It is well made to damp out audible sound, but it sings with the music of the spheres, echoes of strangenesses, emotions she has never felt, old terrors...the leftovers are actually more worrysome than the obvious things - isolation, pain, fear.

As she sits in the chair, she feels that this place was a torture chamber, of a sort...but it lacks the despair that it seems such a room should have. She knows intuitively that someone else has been through whatever is coming, here, in this place, and he - or she - conquered. She is reminded of the cheesy, but nevertheless effective, scene in Star Wars, where Luke must enter the cave to face his fear.

Something like that. Nothing but what I bring? No, there will be more than that. But will what I bring be enough?
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Unread 3rd of June, 2008, 02:17
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'If they could do it so can I,' Hillary thinks to herself as she traces patterns on the table surface. As she waits for whatever it is she's supposed to wait for, she sings softly to herself, testing the resonances and acoustics of the room.
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Unread 3rd of June, 2008, 03:50
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Nothing happens for a time, until the door opens again. Ash steps inside, carrying a small case like the one which held the crystal sphere that contained the Darkon.

He glides over to the table, placing the case in front of her. He unlocks it and removes the cover.

Inside sits a similar crystal sphere. Inside that sphere is a presence. It's much weaker, or perhaps less malevolent, than what she felt in the conference room.

Ash sets the cover down, and walks out the door, to shut it behind him.
  #7  
Unread 5th of June, 2008, 07:06
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Hillary opens her mouth to say hello to Ash, but something stops her; he doesn't seem to be there to chat anyway.

She looks at the sphere and listens to the resonance of whatever's inside, testing the tune inside the crystal.
  #8  
Unread 5th of June, 2008, 07:34
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The glass rings exceedingly fine, forming a near-perfect barrier to some resonances, carrying others clearly. She perceives the thing inside as a bundle of noise, differentiated weakly, dischordant crashing and clanging, like an angry cat thrown into a room full of badly-tuned musical instruments.

It senses her there, she knows. It wants to get out, to take a bite of her, to claw and scratch and draw blood. It's feral, but cunning, like a wild monkey or feline.

She could let it out. All she would have to do is change the crystal resonance at any point, enough to let it go. In fact, she could reach inside as well, or perhaps anything in between - touching the sphere, making the barrier more permeable.

She'd rather stick her hands in a fire ant nest.

Still, why else would she be here, with it, than to interact in some way?
  #9  
Unread 5th of June, 2008, 23:13
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'I already know it's unfriendly and nasty, and it's pretty well stuck in there. No instructions given...Not always going to be, fair enough...Am I supposed to destroy it? Fight and retrap it, which seems redundant. Leave it? Or just seeing what I'll do with it in any way? Let's experiment with my experimenters a little, see if Ash comes in and tells me I failed or not.'

She tunes into the sphere's resonance to see if she can strengthen it and drown the creature's presence out entirely, testing at first and then moving on if/as she grows more sure of what she's doing.

Then, if that goes as she intends, she waits. Sitting in the chair, arms crossed but fingers tapping a rhythm matching the thrum of the lights and composing new songs in her head.
  #10  
Unread 6th of June, 2008, 03:52
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There comes an audible >click< - audible to her, at least, the snapping of a trap or a finely-made machine. Now, the sphere seems just a sphere. She has made the sphere impervious to communication or sensing across the barrier. She can't sense anything inside, at all. But there's no reason to believe it's not still there, cut off from the rest of the universe.


After a time, perhaps twenty minutes of waiting, the door opens. Ash walks in, to stand on the other side of the little table from her.

"What was your reason for doing what you did?"
  #11  
Unread 6th of June, 2008, 04:28
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Hillary listens to more than just Ash's words, but the rest of the sounds his being makes, what emotions--if any get through that rigid control--he seems to be feeling as he comes in and addresses her.

"Didn't see a reason for it to come out, or to go pokin' at it," she drawls. "It didn't seem like it'd be the type to play nice. Just common sense to not go messin'. As for making the sphere...tougher..." She shrugs. "See if I could, fer one. It made some unpleasant sounds for another. And to see what kinda scoldin' I got, or not."

'May as well be totally honest. It's Ash, too, he'd likely somehow figure it out anyway.'
  #12  
Unread 6th of June, 2008, 05:56
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She senses no rigid control in Ash. It's a relaxed sense of serenity, a balance so perfect that it seems like the most natural thing in the world. She's experienced these questions before - always why, for what. He looks for motivations, reasons, and always judging on the basis of intent.

"You took the easy, safe, wise path. Commendable, in most circumstances. But this is training, where there is greater wisdom in confronting now that you may conquer later. We have pushed you outside your comfort zone physically for the last four weeks. Now, you must leave your mental, emotional and spiritual comfort zones, if you are to grow. You must do it voluntarily."

He gives a slight bow, and leaves once more.
  #13  
Unread 6th of June, 2008, 23:33
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"Can't say I expected different," she mutters as she watches Ash walk out.

'OK, so gotta poke the nest and see how bad I get bit. This strikes me as an odd way of training someone, but I guess--I hope--they know what they're doing...'

She extends her senses back to the sphere and begins a reversal of what she did earlier, opening the small object up to outside senses, pausing a moment to study the reaction of what's inside, and then going further.

"Anyone home?" She murmurs as she opens the figurative gate.
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Unread 7th of June, 2008, 00:02
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The hard resonance of the sphere softens. The thing inside lunges for the opening she provides, clawing its way out. It latches on to her nearby hand, and she experiences a freezing, aching cold, like shoving her hand in ice water. Along with that comes pain, and a feeling of weakness at the site.

Outside of the sphere, it takes the form of a blob of darkness, barely seen. The harsh, yellowish lights of the room provide good contrast; in shadows, the thing would be almost invisible.

It seems to be feeding on her.

Last edited by Wired*Nun; 7th of June, 2008 at 00:29.
  #15  
Unread 7th of June, 2008, 00:22
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Hillary yanks her hand back reflexively. "Don't touch me!" She tries ordering the thing, putting force behind her words. If she got her hand away, she cradles the limb, humming a comforting tune to herself to ease the icky feelings and to build some sort of protection around herself.
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Unread 7th of June, 2008, 00:33
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It skitters and flexes, but doesn't let go.

Her hand goes numb, and the ache begins to climb up her arm. The comforting tune helps, and seems to slow it down a bit - but if it goes on, the numbness will reach her shoulder in a minute or two, and she doesn't want to think about what will happen when it gets to her vital organs.
  #17  
Unread 7th of June, 2008, 00:44
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Hillary tries to sing, a harsh, discordant, attacking melody reiterating the "don't touch" theme to drive it off. If that works, she'll switch back to the comforting tune to defend herself, keeping an eye on the unpleasant critter to drive it back again if she must.
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Unread 7th of June, 2008, 00:50
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It retreats from her hand, thankfully letting go. It darts off to huddle in an upper corner of the cubical room, pulsing slightly. It seems to be waiting, or looking, or hoping for something. Maybe another target.

Now that it's off of her, she realizes that she felt something else when it was feeding - a sensual, animal satisfaction, a kind of feedback from the thing, as if there was some sort of connection beyond the physical between them.
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Unread 7th of June, 2008, 01:16
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Hillary watches it, singing softly to help herself heal and bolster her physical and mental defenses. She considers the feedback for a bit, not sure how she likes that idea.

She tries a more soothing, coaxing, calming melody, wheedling the dark thing to do as she asks and get back in the sphere where it's nice and safe.
  #20  
Unread 7th of June, 2008, 01:50
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It shivers and shakes, remaining in the corner. She feels that it doesn't like the idea of going back to its cage, but it can't leave the room either. It is either limited in its ability to pass through physical objects, or the room is proof against its kind. Perhaps both.

Although the thing won't come voluntarily, she thinks that she might be able to force it to do what she wants. Her empathy for animals gives her pause in deciding the ethics of compelling this critter...but dangerous animals sometimes have to be trapped and even killed for the greater good...
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Unread 7th of June, 2008, 02:03
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Hillary chews on her lip a little, waiting to see if it does anything else. If not, then she tries again to compel it, more forcefully this time, using a song that commands attention and obedience to make it get back in the sphere.
  #22  
Unread 7th of June, 2008, 02:13
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Reluctantly, she drags it back to its cage, stuffing it back in by judicious application of sound and force of will. It's a relief when it's back in the sphere, and the glass walls hold it in once more.
  #23  
Unread 7th of June, 2008, 03:01
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Hillary makes a face. "There has to be a better way to do that. I may have been too impatient..." She closes off the sphere again for now, and considers the thing's own melody, its feelings and reactions, and her own applications of sound and how to do it differently if given another chance to.

'And I'm sure I will...'
  #24  
Unread 10th of June, 2008, 04:28
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Hillary is sure she can improve her technique, especially if she develops certain musicks, sounds or rhythms specific tothis application. It might be time to apply some of those music theory classys she took at the community college.


Ash opens the door, gliding over to pick up the box. "I believe that was instructive. Overcoming fear and distaste allow us to do more than we thought possible."

"Unfortunately, the next phase of training has been delayed. There will be a briefing at 1300. You are free until then."

He departs with the box, leaving the door open.

Outside, she sees John going by on his way out.
  #25  
Unread 11th of June, 2008, 02:33
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Hillary nods to Ash as she continues her thinking. As John passes by she waves after taking a moment to recognize him.

"Yeah, with a nasty little thing that seemed like the little brother of the big nasty from before. You get that too? What's this about a delay?"
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