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December 3rd, 2010

For the past few weeks, every time he's gone into the lounge, Sheppard has found his gaze drawn irresistibly to the guitar up on the amp tower, sitting there like some sort of monument. It's a curious thing, and he wonders what its purpose is; it's been there longer than he has. Ever since he noticed it, he's been thinking that one day, he should check out the shops in the city, see if he can get his hands on a guitar of his own.

Today is that day. It's not like he has anything better to do with the money on his card, right? The one thing that would really make his time here more enjoyable is a long way out of his reach and a guitar, while a long way from the freedom that a ship would offer, is a gesture towards normality. So when he stopped by the music shop out in the city and saw the sweet little six-string with the spruce top sitting there in the window, he had to go in and ask to have a go, to see what it sounded like. And when he discovered that he liked what it sounded like, it wasn't a hard decision to make to hand over his money card to the guy behind the counter and say he'd take it.

He's on his way back to the hotel, case heavy in one hand and a bag of supplies in the other, his plan to head back to his room, take out the guitar and play. But the sunshine, if that's what it is, is so inviting that he pauses by the park, considering for a moment, before he decides that he may as well sit outside and play to the empty park.

The guitar feels good in his hands, and he leans forward, head bowed close to the strings to check the tuning. The notes are bright and clear in the stillness, and he smiles to himself as his fingers stretch into the familiar starting position for the first song that comes to mind, an old favorite about coming home after too long away. He's rusty, but the movements are an old, familiar habit, and they're still there.

It's not long before, head still bent low, he begins to sing, in a quiet tenor he's always thought wasn't quite rough enough to do his favorite songs justice:

Hey porter, hey porter
Would you tell me the time?
How much longer will it be 'til we cross
that Mason Dixon line?

November 21st, 2010

July 27, 2074

Standing side-on
When she wakes up, spreadeagled across a lounge, she blinks, then blinks again, trying to make sense of where she is and how she got there. As she sits up, staring around herself, she realises that it's the lobby of the hotel. Her mind's fuzzy, but she vaguely remembers ... lights? Yes, that's right, lights, glowing and forming trails across her vision. Spinning, swirling stars and hearing colours and the sort of things she'd never expect to see anywhere but in the strangest of dreams.

She brushes a hand across her forehead; her hair's come loose from its ponytail, and she feels cold. She's got no idea what the time is or how long she's been here. Something clinical in the back of her mind finally pipes up and says that the things she's noticing sound like symptoms she'd expect to hear from a patient who's been experiencing hallucinations.

Surely it was all just a dream, but if that's the case, what's she doing asleep in her clothes in the lobby?

Martha shakes her head as she gets, slowly, to her feet and makes for the lift.

(no subject)

Very droll
( On the 20th floor )

November 20th, 2010

(no subject)

whatever you think is wrong
(A phone call to room 777.)

July 27, 2074

remembering on mars
Hands that have seen untold battles, wielded untold guns and rifles and knives, caressed that long golden hair of hers untold times now, and smoked untold numbers of cigarettes let the room's curtains fall back silently. Brooding out at a city that's only done him and his woman relative deadly harm isn't going to solve anything, and while he's good at keeping shit to himself, it all sits in the back of his thoughts like an uncomfortable guest that eats all your food and drinks all your alcohol without asking and won't fucking leave when it's time to go. When he turns to Julia, it's like... some switch in his mind has been flipped and it's all okay. He knows what to do, or at least what he wants to do and this time, maybe she'll do it with him.

"You know, I've been thinking." Those are dangerous words and he knows it, but what the hell: might as well go on. "What's the first rule they teach you at Red Dragon U?" There are a lot of possibilities: shoot them before they shoot you or never let them see you coming or carry more weapons than they do or never rat out a fellow Dragon, but he's not thinking about any of those. "Never stay in one place too long, right?"

Hell, they both know it. Reaching forward, those well-used hands of his go to her hair once more like homing pigeons to their roost. He's never minded living on the edge, but seeing Julia hurt once was enough. He'll die before he sees that happen again, either here or in 2071. The more space he can put between them and the shit he read about in their past, the better.

November 18th, 2010


why would you do that?
What was it, she wonders when she hiccups against the hair blown over her face as she rides into the city.

What was it, she wonders when her stomach grumbles unhappily a little while later.

What is this, she wonders half an hour later, spread eagle in a field across the city, feet away from the fence blocking passage to the dome's edge, stars dancing up above her and the taste of green on her tongue. She feels like she's hearing every petal of every stray flower, every blade of grass. She feels like the scent of saltwater is coming from somewhere besides her memory. Mars looks like it's wobbling, and when she holds her hands in front of her face they look like they're outlined in neon.

What was that, she wonders twenty minutes later, spooked and running to her bike. She's never seen black smoke that billows like a cloud and sounds like a rattlesnake anywhere but the island, but she swears she heard it. She swears she did, and she's getting away the fastest way she knows how. Maybe she's crazy, maybe this place is just driving her nuts slower than the island did, maybe in a second the smoke will appear in front of her as she rides and ask why did you kill me, maybe she's died.

Maybe she's dead.

(But she went back to the island! Maybe she died when she started feeling like this.

If there's a hell she's likely to go to it, and that thought has probably never scared her once church-going good-girl heart as much as it probably should.

She blew Wayne up, sent him up in flames. Burned his cheap-booze-and-cigarettes breath. Burned his bruising hands. Burned his creaking house. Burned every memory in it. If hell is where she's going and it's fire, she's okay with it. But this isn't hell and she wouldn't call it heaven.)

She rides back across the city, rides all the way back to hotel, and by the time she parks it below the hotel again she doesn't hear anything suspicious. There's just the usual too-still silence of the underground garage, and instead of waiting for the elevator she takes the stairs, wanting the movement, needing the thunder of her feet against the steps, and she takes the stairs right up to Sawyer's floor -- it would've been her floor -- and finds herself pointed at his -- her -- door and knockknockknocks, probably louder than she needs to.

November 17th, 2010

July 27, 2074

thinking of mars

Yeah. He... kind of never intended to look himself up online, but he's been sitting here checking out shit about other asteroids, other planets, and if every fucking thing doesn't come back to the damn Dragons one way or another he'll eat his cigarettes.

He might do that anyway, but only if there's good reason, and one search leads to another, and to another, and to news archives and the Tharsis Times and what he finds there chills him in a way that nothing has since... well, since... since that day Julia was supposed to meet him and didn't, he guesses.

It's a hell of a thing to see your name in the obituaries. It's even more of a hell of a thing to see your woman's name there, even in passing, and he wonders: if that happened then, how is he here? How is Julia here? Is he really even alive? Is this all some dream? He feels real. He gets hungry and thirsty, smokes and drinks and pisses and sleeps and brushes his teeth and makes love and runs and exercises and kicks the occasional ass. The pain in his leg from all that medical shit he had done was and still is real. Killing Vicious was real, even though his name's in the December 2071 obits too.

Small saving graces: he doesn't see Faye's name there, or Jet's, or Ed's.

Good. Closing the page, deleting all his search history, he sits back in his chair and lights a smoke. What the hell does he do about it? What the hell should he do about it?

By the time his cigarette pack's empty and the ashtray's just about overflowing, he knows two things. First, he's not saying a damn word about any of this to Julia. And second, it's time to start living like there's no tomorrow because for all he knows, there isn't and it's all just a dream and he'll wake up dead back in 2071. The last bit of smoke rises from his last cigarette, not fully extinguished, as he pushes back and leaves the business center behind. He's got a lot of thinking to do.

July 26, 2074

I will crush you
She'd liberated a number of melons from the kitchens earlier this morning, and now they form the heads of a small army of rock men that dot her arena, surrounding her in concentric circles: a few leer down from the makeshift stands.  She stands in the middle, Aang's glider in her hand, and taps out a slow beat on the rock beneath her feet before springing into action.

The men on the flat steps leading out of the arena lift as though surfing a massive wave: one after the other they rise and fall as the ground curves beneath their stone legs: the stairs shudder, flatten together, break apart, sending them crumbling.  In the arena itself, pillars of rock shoot from the ground in sequence, knocking more men upwards and backwards; thick slices of stone with wickedly sharp edges finish them off.

With a wild yell, she beats about herself with the staff, whirling in a cloud of dust and pebbles: finally, only one stone man is left, melon head awkward atop his rock shoulders.

"So," she says, facing it, eyes narrowed, a tiny warlord surrounded by the detritus of battle.  "We meet again, Melon Lord.  For the last time."  The staff drops, bounces on the ground, unnecessary and forgotten.

Those melons really do make such a satisfying sound when crushed.

November 16th, 2010

(no subject)

Call it what you like: she's a growing girl, she's active every day, she needs vitamins and proteins and vegetable matter in order to build muscle and stay healthy -- however you want to say it, Toph is hungry all the time.

It's down to Vincent (how is Vincent? She reminds herself to look him up, now that she's back) that she can now pick and choose what she wants from the menu instead of stubbornly shoving everything she's randomly ordered into her mouth regardless of taste and texture, but even the restaurant has lost a little of its shine for her now. It's too quiet, the tables have too glossy a feel, the touchscreens still work inefficiently and they take forever to read through the various options. Most days, she still picks something at random, just to shut the pleasant robot voice up.

It's providential, then, how (after being rudely awoken from a mid-afternoon pre late-afternoon nap by a rumbling, crunching sound that resolves itself into a groundshaking shudder of which even she would be proud) she steps outside to find the ground covered in squishy little articles which have apparently fallen from the sky, and a dispatch of robots humming around, picking them up.

Reaching down, she picks one up, sniffs it: it's earthy and spongy and she's pretty sure it's a mushroom, but unless this universe is a million times weirder than she's noticed so far, mushrooms come from the ground, not from the sky.

But it certainly smells like a mushroom, and, popping it into her mouth and chewing experimentally, she has to admit that it also tastes like one. In fact, it tastes pretty amazing, and she leaps forward, spreading her ten fingers out in front of her to shake the robots off the ground. As they attempt, servos and gears whining, to get up, she busies herself with her own little harvest.

Later on, after her stomach growls alarmingly and she wakes up to find herself spread-eagled in the grass at a time that feels like three in the morning, giggling like an idiot and with what she suspects is chalk streaked over her face like warpaint, she wishes she'd left the stupid robots well enough alone.
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