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Reality is subjective

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Amos Burton, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    September 9th, Year 7
    @Reaper
    "Leave my mom alone!"

    The words rang in his ears in a way that was all too familiar to Amos; the echo always came first, a sharp repetition the first time, growing more muffled and distant the more times it bounced around his skull. The people around him slowed, though with his attention locked on the boy he hardly even noticed. The look on his face...he'd made that face before, he remembered the hot, burning sensation in his chest that had come with it, though it had been a long, long time. He'd been wrong. Again. And now it felt like he was looking through a window into the past and the ground was opening up underneath him.

    Without thinking Amos staggered to his feet, his eyes searching out Noami, happy and smiling next to Holden. She didn't see him and it was better that way, safer for her; he knew that sometimes he still scared her, like he scared the woman still clutching her child to her, and he didn't want to scare Naomi. He turned, barely feeling the impact of his feet on the floor as he made his way through the crowded space, not sure where he was going but knowing he couldn't stay there.

    It took him several long moments to realize that his surroundings had changed - not until he reached the point in the corridor where he should have turned did he realize there was no turn to make. His steps came to a halt as he struggled to fight through the fog in his head, to figure out where he was and what he was doing there, but the whole picture eluded him. It came instead in bits and pieces - a mountain, the start of a path under his feet, the ground sloping away behind him - nothing that could exist on Tycho, and some small voice in his head whispered that it wasn't real. It wouldn't be the first time he'd seen things that weren't there, or that his mind conjured up an entirely new setting...but where was the gameshow?

     
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  2. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    Though Reaper was loathe to leave Pandora Town these days — there was still no sign of Lift; had she vanished, after all? — he still had a reputation to uphold, which meant taking jobs that would advertise his versatility in the criminal underworld. He wasn’t just about killing people, though that was probably one of the things he was best at. No, he was also pretty good at information gathering, which always seemed to surprise his prospective employers so much. What, just because he was half-dead, half-alive meant that he couldn’t blend in? Well, that part was true. There wasn’t any getting around that he stood out in a crowd. But he had a trick up his sleeve that helped him blend in easily.

    Stepping off of the bus that just arrived at the base of Mount Pompeii, he feigned interest in his phone — wearing the face of a bespectacled, pale-skinned man as he was — while other passengers stepped off and started up the path, ignoring him as they went about their business. The bus eventually rolled away, heading towards Horizon. Several minutes passed before he looked up from his phone, smiling faintly when he spotted no one in the vicinity.

    He shoved the phone back into his bag and started for the path, reaching for the necklace at his throat and pulling it off over his head. His form shimmered, returning to that of his actual self: the masked and armored mercenary known as Reaper, smoke unfurling around his legs. He shoved the bag behind a tree, hiding it with fallen leaves, then resumed walking, mulling over his purpose for him coming here.

    His current employer wanted him to investigate Morhall and the surrounding area, because the man wanted to start branching out beyond Pandora Town. It was something plenty of men and women who hovered somewhere around the middle of the criminal underworld’s sphere of influence — they weren’t lowlifes leeching off of everyone else, but neither were they the crème de la crème — eventually attempted at some point during their careers. So investigate Reaper would, in particular for any bandits, ruffians and the like who could be easily influenced.

    It wasn’t a bad job, as far as most of his jobs went. He’d done worse, and he’d done better. He sincerely doubted that he’d find much of worth, which just meant that he’d have to keep digging until he found enough information that would be of worth to take back, before...

    He paused, hearing something along the path up ahead. Like someone stumbling, and a form soon lurched into view. Reaper willed himself to become smoke, snaking behind a jutting piece of rock to stay out of sight. It wouldn’t do for someone to accidentally spot him.

     
  3. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    It was always hard to do things at moments like this. Hard to want to do things. In a strange way it was like being in zero g but with his feet on the ground - untethered, floating aimlessly, following the push or pull that other people exerted on him but generating none of his own. He'd walked to get away from the kid, away from the sting of realizing he was still just as bad as he'd ever been, but now that he'd stopped the idea of starting to walk again seemed somehow pointless.

    He knew that he should. More than that he knew that he should want to move, want to figure out what was going on around him, but Tycho was safe; wherever he actually was on the station people were liable to leave him alone, except maybe his crewmates. Hm. What if they came looking for him? He had no idea how long it had been since he'd left, how long he'd been walking, not even how long he'd been standing here in this spot staring out at nothing with his eyes so unfocused the unfamiliar landscape had become nothing but a blur.

    With all the awareness of a sleepwalker Amos turned slowly in a circle, looking for...something, anything to latch onto, really, some jarring person or thing or sound that he could grab and begin unravelling whatever imaginary hell his mind had conjured. What he got was smoke. Or sort of smoke. Something strange and flowing in the air in a way that it probably shouldn't, and on the blank sheet his face had become there was the faintest hint of confusion. It was the only thing that stood out, the only clue he had, and though moving his own two feet seemed to be a colossal effort (and yet also no effort at all because they weren't really his feet), Amos moved towards the rock the smoke had disappeared behind. Maybe he was supposed to follow it. That made about as much sense as anything else that had ever happened in his head.

     
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  4. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    The man stood there, turning around slowly in a circle. Reaper didn’t have eyes when he was in his amorphous state, but he could still see his surroundings. It wasn’t sight, not really. He didn’t really know how to explain how it was that he saw, only that he could. But he could still see the rock he was hiding behind, the dirt-packed path that spiraled upwards, and the watchtower that loomed overhead like a colossus. Just as he could still see the man, whose expression was as blank as a sheet of paper. It was an expression he’d seen often enough over the years of his long career, though more often since he began to associate with the criminal underworld.

    It was the expression of a killer, blank and unfeeling. Even the way the man carried himself, despite his current and very obvious confusion, oozed danger. Some men and women simply shut themselves down emotionally, their bodies working on autorun. They didn’t feel, they didn’t spend time worrying and wondering over details. They rationalized, and they acted. Hell, it was Lacroix’s default expression when she wasn’t pretending she could feel to better manipulate her conversation partners. Completely devoid of any depth, of any real emotion.

    Reaper considered for a moment, deciding that despite his unwillingness to be seen, the man was part of the reason he was in the middle of nowhere in the first place. To find people who would be of use to his current employer. What better person than a killer, and one who couldn’t feel?

    When the man dragged himself towards his position, Reaper shadow-stepped behind him. He waited while the man had gotten a good look at where he’d been last before reforming, standing a few feet behind the man with his arms crossed over his chest.

    “You’re not the sharpest tool in the box, are you?” His voice was deep, rough and oddly metallic-sounding because of his mask’s voice modulator.

     
  5. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    Amos didn't know what it was like to move underwater - the water around Baltimore wasn't the sort of liquid you'd willingly submerge yourself in and Amos hadn't had access to the sort of social circles that would have allowed him to encounter clean bodies of water. What he knew was the forced deliberateness of movements in space, where it wasn't just you moving but also a cumbersome suit that was all that stood between you and death, and where one too-hard shove could send you flying off from safety to drift in the dark until you died. That was the level of purpose in his movements now, slower than they would have been if he'd been more aware but faster than those of the moments before, his body reacting to potential danger in the way it had been trained to.

    Danger was good. Danger was something he knew how to deal with.

    The person standing before him didn't much look like a person. Oh sure he had the same basic shape as the rest of humanity but he was dressed up like some kid at Halloween, complete with the dumbest mask Amos had ever seen, a strange take on a skull if he had to guess. The sight of it didn't prompt any change in his facial expression, though, even when he was being insulted by a guy in a skull mask. Insults didn't usually give him much pause anyway and at the moment the words felt particularly distant. He offered no rebuttal either, just absorbed the comment while trying to determine which string of words he wished to put effort into expelling into the world.

    Being witty, being intentionally witty, wasn't one of his fortes, and when words required as much effort as they did at this particular moment it was easier just to stick with the obvious, to deal in what was immediately present in front of him. He'd already completely disregarded the disappearing smoke. "What are you supposed to be?"

     
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  6. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    All the big, burly man did was stare at him, the look in his eyes — or, rather, the lack of one — not changing in the slightest. It might have even unnerved Reaper, if he hadn’t spent the last six years fighting side-by-side with Amelie. He could never decide if killers who couldn’t feel were better off or not. Probably not, considering everything else Amelie missed out on. Then again, her situation was unique. If she started feeling again, she’d be crushed under the weight of her own guilt. As for this bull of a man... who the hell even knew? Not like Reaper cared, though he couldn’t help but arch a brow behind his mask at just how nonchalant the man’s reaction to him was. Like the sight of him materializing out of thin air wasn’t anything out-of-the-ordinary and he was just another part of the scenery, another brick in the wall.

    ...Okay, even he rolled his eyes at that analogy.

    But the man was surprisingly sober enough to ask what he was, not who he was. Reaper would give him points for that, even if he didn’t know what the hell else to make of him. His eyes raked over the man consideringly. The jumpsuit he was wearing looked like something a mechanic would wear, though the logo stitched over the lefthand side suggested he was from some gas company or other. The weird pin on his jumpsuit stood out to him, though. It looked like one of those Japanese noh masks. Interesting, that.

    “That doesn’t matter,” he said, letting his hands fall as he began to walk slowly, circling the man. “What matters is that I know what you are. A killer, isn’t that right?” Not that his usual scare tactics would work against someone who barely even had the capacity to feel fear, but it would relay a message all the same. “Such skills could be put to good use in a world like this.”

     
  7. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    He was being sized up. That predatory circle wasn't a tactic Amos himself used - it was too showy, too much of a power play for someone who just wanted to get the job done - but he'd seen it enough to understand nonetheless. Amos remained still, sizing this...person? thing?...up in his own way. Men who circled were also men who killed, or who had others kill for them, and the tease of a potential fight settled his mind some, gave his wandering consciousness something solid to grasp hold of.

    Assuming he wasn't just imagining the guy, of course.

    He didn't have any weapons, having never needed to use them on Tycho - and he really doubted Fred would have allowed it. So fists against whatever this guy was packing, odds that probably weren't even but weren't as bad as they could be. The circling, though, that usually meant they wanted something, and there might have been a flicker of a smirk - the barest tug at one corner of his mouth - when the offer came. There were always people who wanted to make use of a man like him.

    The old Amos probably would have shrugged and gone along with it, not even bothering to ask any questions. Before the Roci, before Naomi, he'd have had no reason not to. Now was different, and wherever he was now - real or imagined - he had his crewmates to think of. He didn't like the idea of disappointing Naomi. "Can't. Already got a job." Although...it was going to be awfully hard to get back to that job if he didn't work out what was going on. 'Snapping out of it' didn't usually work all that well for him, and while the fog in his head was starting to clear, nothing about this situation was going out of focus in response, no sign of the real world poking through.

    In a manner rather reminiscent of a dog Amos cocked his head as this realization washed over him. "This world, huh? Haven't been down the well in a while, not even in my head."

     
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  8. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    So the man already had a job? He certainly didn’t look like he did. In fact, if Reaper had to guess, he’d say the man was fresh meat, so to speak. A recent arrival in this world. Perhaps so recent, he was the man’s first encounter with someone other than himself. Probably not, but it was the only explanation that Reaper could come up with that made any sense. Unless the lost look in the man’s eyes really was just because he’d gotten so hopelessly turned around, he couldn’t find the main path again. Now that’d make a good laugh.

    “What?” he deadpanned, eyes narrowing behind his mask. What the hell was this man going on about, talking about going down the well in his head? Reaper was pretty sure the man wasn’t using the expression the way he knew, but... Reaper tilted his head in turn, the movement almost bird-like. “What the hell are you talking about?” he demanded.

     
  9. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    Amos suddenly found himself wishing he could see the guy's face. If he had to guess he'd say the guy wasn't a looker - mask like that was almost definitely hiding something ugly - but the incredulity in the man's retort made him feel like he was missing something. It was an itchy feeling at the base of his skull, the sort of thing that was better not to ignore. Ignoring feelings like that got people killed, although he couldn't see anything he'd said as particularly provocative. Was he that offended at having his job offer turned down?

    In lieu of a face to read for clues he was left with body language, and there was some reassurance to be had there. Mask man didn't look like he was about to pounce, or draw, and it was only that that kept Amos from settling into a more brawl-worthy position. Didn't explain his weird reaction, though, and the big man shrugged a little, repeating himself in a deliberate fashion. "I have a job. I know I'm not as famous as Holden but I'm a little offended." Especially if this was just in his head, though Amos was getting the uneasy feeling that wasn't the case. For the first time he looked around, not moving his body but letting his eyes rove, surveying the rocky, dusty base of the mountain in front of him. It sure as hell wasn't familiar, but it felt like Earth in the steady downward pull. "Wouldn't mind knowing where I am, though. Hard to call for a pickup otherwise, you know?" He smiled vaguely, amiable but not actually friendly.

     
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  10. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    The man stared at him with those empty eyes of his, but it almost seemed as if there was a spark of confusion in them too. Reaper was good at reading people, usually. No, scratch that. He was good at reading emotions. Even if he’d spent the last six years in Amelie’s company, a woman as emotionless as the man standing before him now, reading such people was always difficult. They didn’t leave much open for interpretation, even when they played at emotions. A twitch of the lips here, a flick of the wrist there. All carefully calculated gestures, gestures meant to convey emotion without there actually being any emotion in them when you looked closer.

    “Holden,” he repeated, voice flat as he crossed his arms over his chest. Who the hell was Holden? Maybe it was the name of the man’s employer, or a friend, or... honestly, it wasn’t like it even mattered. Reaper was starting to realize he wasn’t going to be getting anywhere with this man and was just wasting his time. Morhall wasn’t the sort of place he wanted to stick around for long. It was too small, too restricting... too easy to get singled out when you didn’t really belong.

    And yet...

    “You aren’t getting any pickups here.” He tapped a couple of claw-tipped fingers against a bicep, the exposed skin a dark ashen gray and oddly scarred in some places. “What’s the last thing you remember?” he asked slowly, warily.

     
  11. Amos Burton

    Amos Burton Guest


    "Yeah, Holden. Guy who broadcast about the Cant, pretty much single-handedly started a war? Looks like a puppy and has a white knight complex? You been living under a rock or something?" He hadn't thought there was a person left alive who didn't know who Holden was, whether they loved him or hated him or fell somewhere in between. That this guy didn't left him unsettled despite the casual way he questioned him. His gut felt heavy with something he couldn't define, and he prodded at it a little as Mask spoke again.

    The question distracted him from attempting to figure out what the feeling was, turned his casual view of the whole encounter into something decidedly more suspicious. Amos didn't think of himself as the type of person people could kidnap, and he certainly didn't remember anyone attacking him in the last few minutes, but hell, it made more sense than any other explanation he could come up with. It was actually kind of the only explanation he could come up with now that his head was more or less clear, and if this guy was trying to play some kind of game he didn't really have time for it.

    The cracking of his knuckles sounded louder than he'd expected in the open air, and while his eyes had gone flat with the anticipation of violence the smile remained. "I don't see how that's any of your business. And if you're gonna try and keep me from getting back to the ship…" Amos shrugged, almost apologetically. "Things'll get ugly."

     
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  12. Gabriel Reyes

    Gabriel Reyes Overwatch
    The grave cannot hold me.

    Posts:
    527
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Mercenary
    Race:
    Human
    Age:
    50s
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Neutral
    Directory:
    link

    Reaper didn’t have the faintest idea what the guy was even talking about, but it was all more than enough to confirm that he was horribly, painstakingly new to Pandora. Probably so new that Reaper was his first encounter with someone beyond his own world. Shit, Reaper didn’t have the time nor inclination to talk a newcomer through being trapped in Pandora. That wasn’t why he was here, or why he’d stuck up a conversation in the first place. No, he was here to recruit people to his current employer’s cause, which meant...

    Which meant that recruiting someone so clueless was fucking pointless.

    Reaper didn’t even bother hiding his sigh, frustrated as it was. He’d just wasted time for nothing. But then something in the man shifted, and Reaper’s gaze focused on him again. It wasn’t anything about his expression, or his tone. But something did, and Reaper had learned to trust his gut instincts over the years, even when he didn’t know the hows or whys.

    Well, if he couldn’t recruit the man, he supposed there were other ways he could make use of him. More personal ways.

    “Idiot,” he scoffed, the sound dark and dangerous. “There is no ship to go back to.” He returned to circling the man, slowly and predatory-like. “You’re trapped here, just like the rest of us.” Dropping his hands to his sides, smoke started to coalesce around them. “But don’t worry,” he reassured him, the laughter evident in his words. “You won’t be here long enough to miss home.”

    He raised his hands, smoke fading to reveal a pair of shotguns, and fired.