Episode Fourteen: Crime. Part One.
Maximilien was woken suddenly by the lights flickering on, painfully bright. He tried to turn his head towards the wall but the white tile simply reflected the light and he groaned.
His eye sight had always been questionable, but in bright light it degraded to the point when he wasn’t even able to make out simply shapes or judge distance. Here, the world was nothing more than a white blur.
Max’s arms were still secured around his back and he wasn’t confident he could right himself without doing serious harm to his shoulders. So he simply rocked back on his heels and sat back. His stomach growled. It seemed like it had been a very long time since he’d eaten the bread that Richard had taken from Rain’s house.
He put aside the ache in his legs and stomach and closed his eyes, blocking out the worst of the painful light.
Under his breath he began to recite, “Men, be kind to your fellow-men; this is your first duty, kind to every age and station, kind to all that is not foreign to humanity.”
Rain was awake with the hypothetical sun, newly showered and dressed in one of the Bastille’s uniforms. She sipped her coffee and watched Robespierre, who had hardly moved from his corner. She frowned and zoomed the feed in on his face.
The computer beeped in compliance and she listened carefully. Hardly louder than a whisper, Robespierre was speaking, “What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?”
“What’s he doing?” The young female guard, Jerkins, asked.
“Experimental android protocol. He’s reciting his last orders,” Rain mumbled distractedly.
She glanced over and saw Jerkins frowning ever so slightly.
“Aren’t you supposed to be doing something? Like rounds?” Rain flicked her hand at the young woman.
Jerkins frowned but stiffly turned around and the gentle hiss of the doors marked her exit. Rain sighed and looked back at the screen. Robespierre was still mumbling under his breath.
Rain tilted her head and brought up his biographical information. “Born in Arras, lawyer, revolutionary, blah, blah, blah, off with his head. Hmm. Who is this?” She tapped under the relations tab and scrolled through a list of family and friends. “I didn’t know you had siblings. Let’s see what else you’re hiding shall we, Maximilien?”
A half an hour later, Rain was still glued to the screen eyes flick over the text rolling by. She didn’t notice the hiss of the doors again. However she nearly hit Chikara with her cane when the short woman bent over her and asked, “What are you doing?”
“Spirits!! Don’t do that! Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to sneak up on people?”
Chikara leveled a flat look at her. Rain sneered back.
“Doctor, the only reason I’m allowing this freedom right now is so you will figure what to do about the problem you caused, now tell me, what are you doing?”
“Keep your skirt on. I’m looking through his biography, seeing who he was close to, what he liked to do, what he hated.”
“What’s the point of doing this? Are you deliberately trying to-” Chikara started, a ferocious snarl on her face.
“Well I can’t very well break him if I don’t know him!” Rain snapped. “If I don’t know how to manipulate his emotions than all we’ll do is hurt him physically. We need to get inside his head, figure out his regrets, his internal dissent. And then we can start, and not before I say!” Rain stood up, fairly towering over the much shorter Chikara.
However the Major didn’t flinch and steeped closer to the scientist. “You do not give the orders here Doctor Miller. You will listen to me, and now you will follow this order, I want your plan for him by the end of the cycle.”
The two women stared at each other, each with mounting dislike. Finally Rain slowly sat down.
“Yes, Major Haruka.”
Richard woke suddenly, from what felt like a dreamless sleep. He blinked, and for one moment felt incredibly disoriented by the familiar surroundings. However the sounds the sounds were all wrong. There was no gentle clattering of the black smith or the chatter of servants. It was nearly silent in the keep.
Richard dressed in the same clothes he’d been wearing since they’d left Rain and went downstairs. There was no one around and Richard walked through the grand hall, running his hand along the table. It was polished to a high shine and the grain was so smooth Richard could hardly feel it.
He crossed over to the strange hole in the wall that dispensed food and clothing and stared at it.
“Alright, you enchanted wreckage. It’s just you and I now,” he told it. The glowing stone panel didn’t make any noise, but Richard scowled regardless. He raised his hand and braced himself for battle.
Ten minutes later, after an extended spar, he finally had a plate of small cakes, something called ‘syrup’ and a dozen pieces of salted and fried pork belly.
“I’m glad we could come to an understanding,” he smirked at the machine. It beeped submissively.
He sat down at the table and began to eat.
He was through his stack of cakes, his fingers stick with the syrup when Leonardo arrived. His brown hair was damp and even curlier as a result. He was also wearing new clothes as well.
“Where did you get those?” Richard asked in lieu of greeting. Leonardo blinked at him.
“From the replicator, in my rooms. Don’t you have one?”
“What?” Richard scowled. “No I didn’t.”
“Oh. Perhaps you can ask Magpie for a change. I don’t know how many rooms with replicators there might be.”
Leonardo shrugged and wandered around the room, examining the wall tapestries and the panels embedded in the stonework.
“Aren’t you going to eat?” Richard asked, swallowing a bite of the pork. He dragged it through the syrup. It was fairly palatable, he thought.
Leonardo shrugged again, fingers working over the panel. “If I get hungry I suppose…”
They both turned when the far door, the one that was made of metal, not wood, opened and Aspen Strong walked in, brushing her real hand through the myriad of tiny and dyed braids she had. She was mid yawn when she caught sight of them and her eyes opened wide.
She coughed. “Oh my god I almost forgot you guys were here! Good morning.”
“You forgot you had the risen dead in your protection?” Leonardo said dryly and Richard snorted. Aspen grinned and put her metal hand on her hip.
“It was easier to write it off as a dream, believe me. Anyway, is anyone else here yet?”
Richard shook his head. “I haven’t seen anyone.”
Aspen nodded and walked over to the machine. “Magpie will be here soon. They’ll want to talk to you both, one on one. Then Kami and Harm will want to show you the program we used to find you.”
She laughed, and tapped a button on the machine, which chirped happily. She took out a mug.
“Do either of you drink coffee? I take it like a weakling with a lot of cream and sugar but I think it’s gross otherwise.”
“Sugar?” Leonardo asked, interest piqued. Aspen grinned and handed over another mug. Which just meant that Richard also had to have it.
By the time Magpie, with Harm and Kami arrived, Aspen, Leonardo and Richard were had lined up a dozen coffee mug and aspen was explain what was in each and having them try it.
“Spirits! You’re going to give them a heart attack, Aspen!” Magpie fretted.
Aspen waved them off. “They’re fine, there’s not that much espresso in it.”
Richard was beginning to feel rather odd, and shook his head. Leonardo’s eyes were rather wide.
Magpie glared at Aspen and swept up all the cups. “We’re not here for this, and we’ll get them introduced to modern food gradually. Today I want to show them Harm’s program.”
Richard nodded and they followed Magpie up the stairs, to where Harm was already setting up. The dark skinned man grinned at them.
“Welcome to the historical figure finder!”
Aspen snorted. “You’re gonna want to work on that name.”