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Jun 05, 2020 8:11 AM
a d/s au Alessa and cousin in Daémon
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He pauses before answering.  Much of daemon behavior, such as how some daemons choose to only speak to other daemons and their person, might be cultural.  Informing them of it when they don't have the relevant cultural expectations already might interfere with their future behaviors.  

"Don't reach through the bars and touch each other's daemons.  They don't need to eat, and we won't be providing you with extra food for them.  Other than that, nothing you can get up to in here.  A more thorough book will be sent home with you, once we've finished our observations."  

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"Thank you, sir.

What would happen if we touched, sir?" He isn't sure if the part about eating means that daemons don't get anything important out of food at all, or just that they won't starve and the kidnappers don't mind lesser effects than that. But he isn't going to ask that.

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Huh. The bit about the book isn't the sort of thing he'd expect a lot of people to think of, if they were trying to pretend they'd leave someone alive when they wouldn't. But maybe these ones did think of it. He'll - consider the possibility that they're maybe actually going to be returned, but continue to put most of his bet on not that.

...Or, the kidnappers don't want to give them daemon details to make it harder for them to run off, and the part with the book is an excuse so they don't keep asking.

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"It causes pain.  Humans can touch each other, and daemons can touch each other, but not a human and daemon who aren't attached."

Again, an implied half-truth.  The daemon and attached human experience pain.  The human touching the daemon... well, they do typically get punched or otherwise attacked afterwards. 

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"Thank you, sir."

 

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He doesn't even need to really look at Alessa to know they're thinking the same thing - that they can do that then, probably, if they have to. 

(He doesn't trust the kidnappers to be telling them the truth any more than Alessa does, but he figures the kidnapper would have said if it would actually kill or seriously injure them. Presumably they didn't bring them all this way to have them killed or seriously inured by accident before the kidnappers want.)

Not great to be causing pain to the - daemons. Who are apparently also people. Or something. But. If they have to.

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He'll stop disturbing the scientist again for a little. 

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Breakfast is brought as promised, by the same guard woman as before.  Baked root vegetables, a small bowl of unfamiliar spicy sauce, and a glass of fruit juice with a few frozen grapes inside.  The plates and cups are squares, with the bottom of the glass perfectly fitted into a separated square on the upper right of each plate.  They also each get a set of chopsticks.  Her daemon, the drowzee, stands back and levitates the food in as she briefly opens the door to each cell and watches to make sure they don't try anything.  The plates land on the flat, solid top of each cage.

The scientist gets an identical-looking plate of his own, which he eats off of the cart the guard brought rather than having to move his keyboard.  While turned, he seems to be paying less attention to the research subjects, though the liepard still watches them.  

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They don't have very much to do while they wait, but he isn't going to disturb the kidnapper over that.

They don't try anything.

...the daemons can have gifts too? That's - also very important information. Though maybe he should have expected it, if they're people. 

He still isn't sure what to do with this, given that they're under such supervision. Hopes he can think of something.

 

It's good that the kidnapper also got food, because they can look at him to know how to eat it, so they don't drink sauce by mistake or anything like that.

He's never used chopsticks before. He tries from example, but isn't very good at it.

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There's obviously a chance the food is drugged, but they're probably supposed to eat it, and if the kidnappers want to drug them they can sure achieve that anyway if they want. (Also he's hungry). He watches out for effects, though.

He doesn't bother with the chopsticks, eats the vegetables with his hands. If these doms care about etiquette in the subs they kidnap, they can tell him so.

Is the guard going to come get the dishes back? (Also, how is she opening the cell?)

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There are no effects from the food other than not being hungry afterwards, and Kente's hands getting messy from eating something not designed as finger-food.  The dishes are picked up about 30 minutes later, when the guard opens the door again.  The cells are locked with a mechanical key-based lock, the guard having the only set of keys they've seen.  They don't look quite like keys from their home world, but are close enough that they clearly work under the same principles.  

At some point after the meal, the scientist leaves, his liepard opening the door from the inside by pressing a paw to the scanner.  She stays in, watching them and frequently glancing at the wall in the direction he's gone.  Considering that he can't have gone far, he's probably in the restroom.  She hovers as close to the wall as possible, looking annoyed, but the two meters of space between the door and cell walls is enough that they're not beyond the comfortable range at any point.

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That makes him worry more again, about the - daemons in cages. ('Their daemons(?)' hangs mentally unsaid behind the thought). But he - hasn't thought of anything yet. 

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Meanwhile - he had the same idea as Alessa about not bothering the kidnapper for something to do. But there's one thing that is important enough to try.

He'll wait till the kidnapper is back, so it doesn't look like they're trying to take advantage of while he's out. Then exchange looks with Alessa to confirm they're on the same page. And move to the bars between his cell and Alessa's.

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They're on the same page. He'll do the same, from the other side.

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He does notice, glancing up as he does occasionally between bouts of reading or typing, but doesn't consider it worrying.  His assumption is that they're going to whisper to each other.  It would be preferable if they'd speak loud enough for him to hear, in case they were saying something relevant to the experiment, but he's aware that trying to insist they do would probably mean they wouldn't say anything at all.  

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They try holding hands through the bars.

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The liepard continues to watch, but doesn't find that worth remarking on.  It doesn't seem related to the daemon bonding experiment.

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That'll make this easier.

They don't know if there are cameras, or microphones. Are on full visiting-government-buildings caution. (Which might not be enough, depending on what gifts who has. But they can't do better, and they aren't going to not do anything.)

Kente's illusions appear in words, directly in his line of sight - shaped so that in any other line of sight they can't be seen; at any other angle they'll look like nothing is there. And if something watches from behind him hopefully he'll block its view.

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Don't think they're really going to let us go.

With another illusion he shields his own arm - Alessa can't do that part. Has some tricks if they're needed, but they make it harder. And this is already harder for Alessa. 

Words appear back, directly on his skin, Alessa's gift changing it before returning it back to how it was.

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Kente is... likely enough right. (It isn't that he'd believed the kidnappers himself, exactly. But he hadn't - thought of it quite as strongly, quite as his central orienting. Which - makes sense, he supposes. He's been put, plenty of times, into a place where something - unwelcome - was to be done with him. Had been about to be sent to another such, was readying himself for it. But no one had really tended to lie to him about it.)

He writes their communication version of a nod. Then,

I - don't know what to do with the daemons. About the daemons.

(It might surprise some people, that he doesn't try to write as shortly as possible, when he does this. But it's easier, actually, if he keeps it to what would be natural to him to say.)

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I left illusions in the other rooms.

Which isn't an answer to what Alessa had said, but he doesn't have one of those around either.

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I can't Touch the daemons. Could Touch the guards.

 

They talk a little more, exchange information and thoughts. Don't - really have a plan right now, either of them. Not even the sort of idea that'll shape to a plan if they run it around more. Some pieces, maybe. (Kente's illusions. His Touch. The guard has the keys. The bars on the walls. The kidnappers' daemons. The restroom locks from inside.)

But - better than nothing. And if they can talk, that matters a lot.

 

They separate out again, after a bit - don't want to push too long, not now or yet. Return to their own beds.

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Conditions don't change much over the day.  The scientist packs up and goes after another hour, leaving a camera in his place.  Lunch is brought by a pair of men who also bring in a small fist-sized device and hand it to Alessa, picking him of the two at random.  It can't access the internet or send any sort of signal, of course, but it can play a wide selection of alien music out of its internal storage.  The men occasionally return to offer restroom breaks and eventually dinner, but don't bother watching them in person now that their condition seems to be stable and healthy.

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Meanwhile, and surprisingly close-by considering the massive size of each ship, Azure, Alizara, and Verity are in one of the finer apartments available on the fleet.  Wooden panelling, a high ceiling rising into a dome lined in gilded patterns, and a floor whose tiles include a few thin slices of stone varieties that no rock-type Move can generate.  Their daemons are there as well, gallade, metang, and suicune.  The matching set of furniture includes large reinforced couches designed for even large and heavy daemons, back-to-back with the normal couch the humans are sitting on, separated with a narrow planter of tall grass.

Azure is skimming through the history of his family from over a century ago.  Real paper, printed up in the generation following the loss of much of the data from the dead world due to a flaw in the old computer databases. Of the three people in the room, he's the only one actually looking at the printed words, sprawled out with a sheaf randomly taken from one of the boxes no one has gotten to yet.  

His twin sister Alizara is instead taking each piece of paper, carefully setting them under where her camera is arranged on a tripod, and snapping a picture of each one.  Verity, not related but talked into the work anyway, is re-stacking the papers and putting them back in the same order they started in.  So far, they've gotten through two of the boxes and are halfway through a third.  

"Hey," Azure says.  "Did you know this ship used to have panic rooms?  Back when the Kanto noble families still meant anything, and the nobility wanted somewhere to hide if there was a mutiny."

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"That's nice, Azure."  

Alizara is busy fantasizing about ways to automate this process, if there wasn't such a risk of tearing the paper and if there were enough documents that doing so would be faster.  As it was, they could probably manage this by the time they went to bed.  The standard font had changed, but it was thankfully printed.  It wouldn't be hard to get a text-detection program to transfer the information into proper text files, once the photos were taken.

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