Rude Awakenings
Players: Janie, Johnny, Croc
Synopsis: Croc wakes up.
Date: 04/05/2010

The Bastille - Front Room, Unit EW6

This room is barren. Barren, but large at nearly 150 square meters of usable space. A long box, 10 meters to one side and 15 meters to the other, the space contains the utilitarian amenities one needs for survival in the warrens. The rear of the room has a set of spiral stairs, heading up to the bedroom, a loft that makes up the low ceiling of the kitchen and living room areas. The front of the room is set up to allow for a workshop area, with roughly 80 square meters of space unfinished and ready for adapting, with a 30 foot ceiling. Just off the workspace area, is a small storage room.

Croc's room in the bastille is… far, far more organized than initial estimates of the troll would suggest. The unit is spotless, as are the weapons lined up against the walls, each categorized: each bit of ammo stacked and measured, the opium in 100g weight bags…

The image of an ordered mind.

Croc has been placed on his bed, and on the small table next to it, is the container holding the chipjack that has been removed from his head. The unknown man in the black combat suit with the mirrored faceplate is crouched, birdlike, on the seat-back of a chair across the way. Janie, will have been told to dress similarly or somehow disguise herself in a suitably convincing mien.

The lights are low, with the one lamp/light on, illuminating Johnny's crouched, armor clad form. No light reflects, it's pure matte black.

Unknown watches Croc, situated as such that when Croc wakes up, he will be the first thing Croc sees, illuminated by the light, something like a neo-Snake Eyes with less charisma.

Across the room from the matte black figure is a patch of… Not-quite-shadow. A sense that something might be there but even the dark man who /knows/ what's there has trouble remembering to look at the vague contours of a humanoid figure.

It's been… days since the incident. Days since the troll was last awake. Days since his last piece of cheese. But still…when it wakes, even through it's grog, it's first reaction is…

To question. It doesn't move, much, just alters position slightly. "Dis is familiar. You drag me outta dat place, Tremanis? We back in joor lair?"

The helmet, mirrorclad, of the form on the chair twists slightly, cocking to the right. "Tremanis." Says the form, its voice digicoded to sound something inhuman. Something more robotic. "He is not here. Who is Tremanis?"

Croc's eyes snap open at that and he sits up. "Who are you?" He asks, bluntly, and then falls back a little. "One of his agents? Or…"

Almost against his will, the tips of hand blades become visible. "Are you wid 'dem? Finding me at last?"

"Put your blades away, Crocodile." Says the voice then, the head straightening back.

"If I wanted you dead, or harmed, it would have been when I removed that." Twin beams of light from the forms eyes lance out, illuminating the bloody chipjack, still in its containment vessel, the chip removed for… analysis. "I would not have cared for you the last three days. Regrettably, I had to sedate you for both the procedure and the recovery, as you have not earned my trust… just my interest."

Croc says "But who are joo?" He asks, turning to look at the chip, studying it, just briefly (he ain't got no cybertech skills, might not even recognize what the implant is) and then looks back. "And why are joo interested?" The blades don't go back in, but they're not full-out, eithier… just the tips. "Joo understand. I can barely 'dink. I don't want no trouble wit a man in black, but I am not a play'ting.""

"No. You are not." agrees said man in black. "Not any longer."

One hand gestures to the item. "I have given you a gift, Crocodile." The man slides down out of the chair, his feet taking the ground almost noiselessly. "The gift that all men are born with, but governments, corporations and society seek to take at every turn. That gift, Crocodile, is free will. Someone took yours. I gave it back. Do you understand, Crocodile?"

Croc watches the mirrored lenses. "Si, I understand. So what do joo want? Why you do dis 'ting for me? An' who took me from dat damn party?"
He pauses, then continues. "Not dat I'm not grateful. Just…" he shrugs, biding time, waiting for his head to clear. "People don't do tings for free."

"I want you to use your free will." Says the figure, stepping closer. While pistols are holstered at the thighs, his hands stay away from them. He crouches near the end of the bed. "Ten years ago… someone gave a monster a -choice-. Be a monster, or be a man. A man who thinks, who feels, who makes judgments as a man. Or a monster, a consumer, a killer, a murderer. I want you to use your free will, to be what you will be. You see…" he stands again, a slight creak of leather…

"Who we are, you and I, are the sum of our choices yesterday. Yesterday, you decided to go to a party. Yesterday you bought a kilo of opium. Yesterday, you stockpiled nearly 200 rounds of high explosive ammunition. Yesterday, you bought a gun large enough to kill hundreds and enough ammunition to do it." A pause.

"Yesterday, I made the decision to help a man who had been abandoned. To take him in to my care and to heal his wounds. I made the decision to make his karma my own, in a way, to take responsibility in a way for what he does, what he is. I made the decision to help a man." A pause.

"This is who we are today. Who we are tomorrow is the sum of the choices we make today. I cannot say who I will be tomorrow yet… but I know who I want to be. Who do you want to be, Crocodile?"

Croc studies the man, full awareness finally coming back to him. "One time, I wanted to be a fighter. I was. Den dey took me. Den I wanted to be free, an' I left, killling who I had to. Den, I wanted to go live wid mia padre's people, but dey turned me away. Den I come here, to make money, to be me… an' get taken in by d' demons, mia amigos. An' the priest, god be blessing his heart."

He sits up, and then stands up, slowly, stretching for the first time in days. "I want to be free. An' i want d' monsters dat make slaves to be brought low. God is gonna cut dem down."

Unknown gestures to the Rosary, laid by the side of the bed… "Then via con dios, hermano." Says the black clad figure, turning to look away. "But remember this." he says, faceplate turned away. "Once, as a boy, I wanted to ask god why he allows injustice, perversion, rape and pain in to our world. Now, as a man, I no longer want ask him this." The faceplate turns back to Croc.

"Because I fear he would ask of me the same. Kill only when you must. Remember that all men have stories, history and choices. Men doing their jobs, providing for their families, do not deserve death. Do not deserve fatherless children. Do you understand?"

Croc says "Yo comprendo. But many tings happen dat are not deserved, senor mask. If some must die for freedom, den so be it."

He studies the man for a few moments. "And stranger? Gracias. I will think on what you have said, and am… grateful… for not being left to die. Have debt."

"If some must die, it should be in the service of a cause greater than men, I will agree." He turns for the door, moving with a steady pace. "And the nature of giving free will is antiethical to holding a debt for it. Your life, your thoughts, are your own, Crocodile. Cherish them."

Croc says "And the nature of free will is being able to make a choice, mano, about who and what you owe. Joo cannot give me free will and then tell me how to spend it." He flexes. "What happened, at la fiesta- I hope it did not make bad water for Silk or the Imperialist. Seemd good people.""

Unknown chuckles quietly for a moment. "Your point is valid." He says. "As for Silk and the Royalist… I do not know. Good night, Crocodile." Then to the room at large… "Everyone out. Leave the man to his rest."

Just before the dark figure reaches the door, it opens on its own accord; a small fragment of Croc's senses suggest that there should be something there, but he cannot focus on it - and when his eyes flick back to the figure it, too, becomes hard to focus on.

Croc watches the unknown figure leave, and then turns to his dwelling… going to rest and idly check to make sure nothing was stolen before he does -anything-.

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