Sep 18, 2019 5:09 AM
A Luehmani and a Luehmani go into Milliways
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The bowels of the Reforged Knights stronghold are somewhere between labyrinth and rabbit warren. Even with space to sprawl, the corridors and chambers twist and loop on themselves, to make as much use of the space as possible. Combined with the rooms that changed their shape and layout, depending on the number of people in it, it turned the building into a cartographer's nightmare.

Luehmani has been a Sequitor in her chamber for some time. It would be absurd to become lost in her own home base.

...but it really is a labyrinth.

She walks from the library to her quarters, or at least attempts to. She has been up too long, and as much as Stormcasts do not need to sleep, the routine does her good. She'd gotten distracted, running her fingers under the text as she read devotional songs (the simple ones, the ones that faithful children learn, imagining herself a better childhood than the one she barely remembers, one where she knew the love of Sigmar from the beginning, and never had to turn away from Chaos--)

She opens a door, confident that she's going in the right direction--

--and finds herself in an alehouse.

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It has been several long months. The bus that took her from the port city back to her own drops her off at her apartment building.

The reds are gone (or at the very least are far away). Cene will get FTL. It should be a comfort. It isn't.

She stumbles into the elevator. It has been several long months, and she's exhausted--physically, mentally, emotionally. The reds still exist, and it's going to doom them all, and even though pollution can not spread through air, having been around them for so long, so close, she feels like she is, like her skin is covered in rotten grease--

She steps out onto her floor. She wants a long shower (three hours, at least.) She wants to get stumbingly drunk and use getting FTL as an excuse. She isn't sure which order she will do it in (she feels wrong and disgusting, but she knows she isn't, and she's gotten drunk feeling worse.) She's not shre she'll manage to drag herself to either shower or drinking establishment.

She opens her apartment door--

--and finds herself in a bar.

And she should have some questions about that, big ones, but on the other she isn't exactly cursing fate that the alcohol came to her, and she has more pressing questions, because there's a stranger in this bar, but she has--

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--her face.

She's shorter, and she's cropped her hair short (dark grey, but that's close enough to black it isn't as surprising as it should be.) But it's her. It's not quite like looking in a mirror, because there's so much different--she's wearing strange clothes, a thick black vest of a material she hasn't seen, and she has strange devices on her belt-- but there's so much the same. Not just in face, but in bearing. She knows she is confident, and a warrior, and maybe somewhat grim-- and she knows this stranger is too.

She looks tired. Rung out. If she were Stormcast, she'd say it looked like she'd just come through the Reforging, or at the very least a battle where that was a close call-- but she isn't Stormcast. She's something else.

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Her suspiciously similar stranger is 7 feet tall. Long haired-- and either she's an black haired alien who's dyed a streak of it blue, or she's a blue that's dyed most of it alien black, and neither fully makes sense. And she's wearing full armour, full plate. Ornate. She'd say it was ceremonial, except for the air of-- functionality, it carried. And she's also carrying a warhammer and shield over her back, which makes it seem even more battle ready. (The livery is silver and blue, with a hammer motif. She doesn't know of any associations with those symbols and colours-- but she guesses she maybe about to find out.)

She steps forward.

(Her stranger smells of ozone and crackles with static.)

"Hello." And she wishes she were better with words, because this is something that seems like it would require diplomacy and tact. "I think you're me."

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"I think I might be." She holds her hand out to clasp. "Luehmani, Sequitor of the Reforged Hammers."

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Yep, that's just a string of nouns. But it's the same name. (That seems like it should count for something.)

She clasps, and shakes the hand. The metal of the gauntlet is unlike any that she's felt. She's not a metal expert, but it feels alien. Which makes it more likely that her copy in front of her is an alien. (With her face. Somehow.) (She'd always thought the Amentan-like aliens in sci fi strained credulity. And yet, standing before her--) "Luehmani Ketak. Police officer from Cene."

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She has very little idea what either of those things are, other than, presumably, an occupation and a place. She has very little idea why her hand just got bounced up and down, other than presumably as some sort of greeting gesture.  She has a lot of questions, and if her stranger is actually herself, then she'll also have questions (and a desire to avoid answering hers), but this is a lot, and her stranger seems stressed enough already-- "We should get drinks, first."

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She visibly relaxes. "Drinks will help."

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The bar informs them that the first drink is free, which is very nice of the bar.

Sequitor Luehmani gets a tankard of mead, that tries to marry the punch-you-in-the-face quality of duardin mead with the palatability of literally any other kind of mead. The tankard is absurdly proportioned, at least three pints-- though it seems a shockingly reasonably size in the hands of a very large armoured person.

Luehmani Ketak gets a cheap beer. It's not that great, and the brand's attempts to market to greys are frankly silly-- but you can buy it in large cardboard boxes, enough for an apartment with 5 greys, and it's terrible but she knows it, and right now she wants the comforting familiarity of cheap beer with pandering marketing.

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There's a booth that looks like it'll fit a Stormcast in full armour, and she walks over to it, looking over her shoulder to make sure her stranger (or should she be 'the other Luehmani' now?) is following.

She is.

They sit facing each other, and stare at each other, trying to size the other up, but the only thing they get out it was the fact that the other was evaluating them.

She took a sip of her mead. (They'd got it halfway to not tasting like explosives. Halfway was a good effort.) "We could take turns. I ask something, you answer, we swap, see if we can't get the shape of things that way."

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She shrugs. She's been taught how to interrogate, how to pry the story out of someone without giving away a single scrap-- but it seems unfair to do that to her... alien alternate self? Whatever she is. "Sounds reasonable."

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"What is 'Cene'?" ( Probably a nation, or maybe a city.)

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"It's a country."

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She nods her head, a gesture to continue. "We have those."

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She takes a deep breath, brings the bottle halfway to her mouth. How to explain, how to explain-- how to explain fairly, understandably, to someone so different. "It's large, auction system. Doesn't generally rush into damn fool things, recent events not withstanding." She brings the bottle all the way, takes a swig. "Conquered my old country."

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If she asks every little question that comes up, they're never getting anywhere, even if 'auction system' sounds alarmingly like auctioning people with no context, so she doesn't ask.

She wants to save her questions for the important ones. Or at the very least, the ones that would matter to her, if she were the grey haired stranger in front of her. "Was it a--" She makes an inarticulate gesture with her hands. (This question weighs on her too. She's fought wars in the name of Sigmar, fought wars of conquest in all but name, and knows the fine line between saving and destroying a people) "--worthy conquest?"

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She glances around-- not that there'd be any other Biyani greys in the bar, but it's force of habit, to not say anything that would start a fight about how they should have fought harder, Biyan could have still saved itself, and we're greys, we defend our country, it's what we're for--

"It was worth it."

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"I am-- sorry to hear that."

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 "I survived." She shrugged. "What's a sequitor?"

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"It is a role, a rank-- we are the foot soldiers of Sigmar, those with enough magical gift to empower our blows, but not enough to be full mages. We have hammers." She cocked her head at the warhammer strapped to her back.

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They agreed to taking it in turns, but this really has to be asked now-- "You have magic? Your world does?"

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She makes an expression like she'd just been asked about whether her world has gravity or light. "Why would we not?"

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"We don't. At least not anything we'd call that." She leans back, and supresses a giggle. (She's not drunk, but she's reached a level of exhaustion that her inhibitions are less than what they were. "Next you'll be saying you have infinite room for babies, and no reds."

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She speaks slowly, carefully. "I can not imagine how we'd run out of space-- though we do have red things." (Why would lack of an entire colour be a good thing? Unless it is euphemism for Khorne, but--?)

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The whole idea of controlled exchange, one question at a time, has gone out the window. (Even if it was to avoid the messiness this conversation is rapidly falling into.) "Not things that are red, reds."

There's a moment of revelation about her other self's hair. She'd always thought black-haired casteless aliens strained credulity as much as the amentanoid ones (why wouldn't black be a caste colour? Why wouldn't they mark lack of caste some other way, why wouldn't they all have purple hair or something). But her other self's hair was black, with a blue streak, which suddenly seemed less like some sort of professional marking and more an attempt to match her armour's heraldry. "Do-- do you not have castes?"

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"Some places do, but not all. I doubt I ever had one." She took a sip from the tankard. "I imagine your country does?"

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