Dans le Doute

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ff_roux_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Dans le Doute
Synopsis Silas has a run in with another one of the Ark's denizens.
Date December 24, 2018

The Ark, A-Ring


The halls of the Ark are sometimes quiet at night. A little too quiet for some, not quite enough for others - one of many things that never seems to satisfy anyone in their bubble under the waves. It can be unnerving, but at least tonight… at least tonight, the shadows aren't moving.

For better or worse.

It's a phenomenon Silas Mackenzie hasn't yet experience yet, as he makes his way down the somewhat empty halls of the A-Ring of the Ark. There's a few people out - there's bound to be, with as many still live in the Ark, but you'd never know nearly 600 people inhabit it's walls if you were to gauge by just who could be seen with your eyes at any one part of the day.

Sometimes, the danger isn't what can be seen though.

A small scrape sounds out, just subtle enough to go unheard by all but the most careful of listeners, a quiet rustle.

Silas doesn't notice it until it's too late, until he's passing by an open vent several feet off the ground.

Until a voice rings out as he passes by.

"Boo!"

"Nyah—!" Silas jumps, letting out a choked noise; a slightly greasy bag drops from his hand, hitting the floor. He looks about irritably for a moment, zeroing in on the direction that it had come from…

…a vent?

He glances both ways, suspicious that someone might be trying to pull something on him — pulling stunts on the new guys isn't unheard of, in Silas's experience — but it doesn't look like that's the case. Hesitating for a moment longer, he moves towards the vent. "Hello?"

Silas's shout of surprise is met with one in return, the sound of some scuffling, tumbling, and a thud on the floor in front of him as he moves towards the vent. A groan, a woman's voice, drifts through the air…

And then the shadows at the floor begin to twist and rise into the shape of a person, before receding again to reveal a woman laying on the floor rubbing at the back of her head. "Merde!" she shouts as she sits up just a slight bit. "Ugh, that's going to hurt tomorrow…"

It's Roux, the woman that had been with them at the dinner the night before - one of Don's esteemed "guests", as he had framed it.

Silas doesn't quite gawk — he has a good poker face — but he does stare blankly for a moment.

Then he smiles. "Well, well. Miss Roux, was it?" he asks. He reaches down to pick up the bag he'd dropped, then chuckles. "Fancy meeting you here; I was hoping I'd cross paths with you at some point."

He hesitates a fraction of a moment, then extends his free hand to her. "Need a hand?"

"Oooow…" Roux doesn't take Silas' hand, instead huffing out a sigh as she sits up the rest of the way. "What? No…" She offers him a sour look before slowly pulling herself bacak up to her feet. "Why did you yell back?" The question comes with a bit of agitation, looking at him with a flat, annoyed expression. "No one ever yells! You're not supposed to-" Her cheeks puff out a bit, flustered as she falls silent.

"Wait." Head tilting slightly to the side, she squints at Silas. "Looking for me?" She points at herself, her confusion seeming to grow as she catches up. "But… why?"

"Sorry. I'm not used to voices yelling 'boo' at me out of nowhere, not quite sure what the standard reaction's supposed to be," Silas replies with a smile, his tone one of sardonic amusement. "As to why I was looking for you…"

Here, his expression grows a bit more serious. "Well. You were one of Director Kenner's guests of honor at our 'welcoming banquet', as I recall…" He trails off, his poker face faltering for just a moment at the mention of the banquet; the gleam of sardonic good humor in his eyes fades, his gaze slipping off into the middle distance. Thankfully, the lapse is brief. He takes a deep breath.

"I… suppose I wanted to apologize. I don't know what Magnes was thinking," he says, as civilly as he can manage, "But I think he was rude as hell to you, and I don't think you deserved that." There was a lot that went on at that banquet that wasn't deserved, whispers through his mind; he pushes the thought away. One thing at a time.

"Beyond that… I'm still a bit at sea here, Miss Roux. I know next to nothing of the Ark, which is… a bit of a problem if I'm to try to… find my place here," he says, remembering his conversation with Des. It occurs to him, suddenly, to wonder if Roux had been the one Des had been worried about eavesdropping on them; that is certainly an interesting idea. An interesting idea, though one that doesn't matter at this particular moment, one way or the other.

He tilts his head slightly, his expression shifting to one of minor puzzlement. "Also… I feel like I've gotta ask. Do you, ah… do you do this sort of thing often?" he asks, gesturing to the air vent. "The spooky thing, I mean."

"I meeeean…" There's a bit of a pout on Roux's face, eyes shifting off to the side. "I used to! But, I mean, everyone here's pretty used to it by now, and with no new people coming for a while until you guys showed up…" She offers a cheshire grin to Silas, before turning back to the vent and trying to reach up and close it. Except, now she can't reach it.

"So you find new ways to spook people, new shadows to cast on walls, new places to hide, but it's great to get to do this one again! It's my favourite." She shrugs rather nonchalantly, before that look falls to a frown.

"Magnes," she grumbles to herself, looking off to the side. "Yeah, well. He's an asshole. Seems like the kinda assholes Don's been trying to keep us safe from." Which is to say, regardless of her thoughts on dinner with a side of execution, she seems to believe it necessary. "Just kinda wish I'd been warned. I'm not- I don't like guns."

And then, she remembers she's talking to a stranger, offering him a look of puzzlement, followed by sticking out her tongue at him. "Ark's pretty straightforward, you know? Just… stay in A-Ring, help out, don't piss off whoever is in- Don't piss off Don. Obviously." Obviously..

Silas snickers with something like real amusement at Roux's enthusiasm. "I'll bet," he chuckles; it seems Roux enjoys goosing people. Not that he can fault her for that; he's been known to derive the occasional kick from spooking others, as well.

He's not sure he entirely agrees with her assessment of Magnes, though. As much as Silas is rooting for Remi to give that man some free dental work at some point in the immediate future — preferably when he's got a good view of the spectacle — he doesn't think Magnes is the sort of threat that justifies gunning down unarmed dinner guests.

At Roux's comment about wishing she'd been warned, though, his expression grows glum and weary. "Me too," he says quietly. And I'll bet Geneva and Meredith and Jasper would probably say the same. Well. Maybe Jasper wouldn't say that, har har… but I'll sure bet Sunshine would…

Then she sticks her tongue out at him, and he can't not smile at that. "Yeah, Security said something like that when they gave me the wakeup call this morning," he says wryly. "And I've been trying. In fact, if you had breakfast or lunch, there's a chance I had a hand in making it; they put me on kitchen crew, first shift. Good people."

"But… I don't actually know where anything's at here, or who anyone is. Like, where do I go if I accidentally stab myself peeling potatoes? Is there an infirmary or anything? Are there any… activities? Tuesday night checkers, anything?" Silas asks, shrugging. "Everyone says it's simple, but there's more to life than just working and sleeping. I was kinda hoping I could get you to… maybe give me a tour. Tell me about what it's like, living down here. Who's who, all that. Maybe we could swap stories, come to that."

He remembers, then, that he has another potential bargaining chip. He raises the bag. "Oh. And… they let me have some kitchen time, too. I made these for a friend, but… she's not really up to talking," he says, his expression becoming glum as he recalls Remi's condition. "Be a shame for 'em to go to waste, though. I could share?"

Robyn's eyes light up in an almost childlike fashion as the bag of fried and frosted little cakes is presented to her. "Could and should!" Because obviously. "Uh, okay, so. I mean… no one gave you a tou- oh right." She frowns a bit at that, but it passes quickly. "Okay, so, uh… I mean, we have a medical area. You met Dr. Ingram and Dr. Morrison, right? They gotta work somewhere after all." Never mind what this building was in it's prime.

"There's the gardens, the kitchen, the living area, uh…. That's kinda it." She rolls her shoulders, looking down at the floor. "There used to be more, but nothings quite worked right since the Flood, apparently. I mean… you can see you how fucked the power is, right?" Looking back up at Silas, she quirks an eyebrow. "But it's safe, which I think matters a bit more than whatever we don't have down here. We get by, you know?"

Roux's enthusiasm is the sort of thing that makes it difficult to stay in a funk; he finds himself rather liking her, all things considered. "Help yourself," he says, tipping the bag towards her with a grin.

Silas recalls Dr. Ingram; she'd arrived shortly after the meal had begun, and had been looking quite hard at Des. Dr. Morrison had been the one who'd tried to escape before the murders. Not that Silas holds that against him; he'd have done the exact same thing, probably. "Briefly, yes," he says smoothly. "So they're both medical doctors, huh?" he asks, slightly surprised; he'd known that Morrison was, but he'd thought Ingram might have been a doctor of a different stripe. Not that having two medical doctors onhand is a bad thing… but Silas had figured that the Commonwealth would have had some of the other kind - chemists or physics guys or whatever.

What Robyn has to say next gives him pause. Silas is silent for a moment, raising his free hand and rubbing at his cheeks thoughtfully. "Safe," he repeats slowly. He sees the horrors at the bloody banquet play again through his mind yet again; he doesn't think that vision of Geneva and Meredith and Woods all having their brains splattered all over the table is ever gonna leave him. Three headshots, he thinks to himself, but he doesn't let himself dwell on it. Not now.

"Safe, huh…" he repeats, quiet and troubled. Haven't felt that way for awhile. Not since I left the Pelago, really. And sure as hell not since I got here, he thinks. I wonder how Aces is doing, follows that thought, hitting him like a hard left out of nowhere. Can't worry about that right now, I've got too much on my own plate. He pushes that thought aside; it takes a bit of work. It doesn't want to go.

He snags a ricething from the bag with his free hand and takes a bite; eating will spare him from having to say anything more about the supposed safety of this place, at least for a moment or two. And today I learned that there's a limit to how big of a whopper even I can tell before I choke on it.

"S-A-F-E," Roux spells out as if it might help. "Safe. You know what that means right?" She scoffs as she rolls her eyes at him. As she bites into the snack that Silas has offered to her, her nose wrinkles a bit. "This is weird," she states plainly. Still, she continues eating it - it's likely that sweet things are in short supply down here.

Slowly, she lowers herself back down to the floor, sitting cross legged as she finishes it without another word. "They're both doctors," she adds after a moment, circling back around. "Dunno anything beyond that. Place was full of them at one point, waaaaaaaay before I got here," said as she holds her hands far apart as if to illustrate a point.

"Look, you'll get it figured out. I mean, I hope so. Probably better not to find out what happens if you don't." This is the first time people have been here since Don had done away with Michelle and closed the place off. Who knows what could happen if they step out of line. "Just… I dunno. Go with it. Follow other people and all that."

Silas arches an eyebrow at her assessment, a small grin touching his lips. Weird isn't exactly a compliment… but she finished it, too, so maybe that's not a bad thing.

His smile fades a bit when she talks about getting it figured out; his gaze seems to drift off into the distance. "I think we've already found out," he says quietly, then shrugs, his gaze coming back to the present. "But yeah, I getcha," he says, his smile coming back; if there's still a hint of something haunted in his voice, well, so be it. "Don't rock the boat, play nice with others. Good advice, and I thank you for it; I'll do my very best," he says with a grin.

"Hm. Maybe I'll see if anyone down here wants to play checkers or something." He pauses, glancing to Roux. "Don't suppose you play?" he asks, tipping the bag of ricethings towards her once more for good measure.

"No," Roux states flatly in response, almost quick enough to seem like a kneejerk snap. "I mean…" She wrinkles her nose, looking away from Silas. "I could! There's not really much for games down here. And it gets boring sometimes…" Rolling her shoulders a bit, she looks off to the side. "I mostly like to climb around places I shouldn't or sing to pass the time. It's really not so bad."

Slowly she looks back towards him, about half way before she offers him a smirk. "Do you have a checkers set with you? I mean I'm sure we have chess or something like it…" They do, she's just not particularly interested in the more… intellectual games that one might find in a place like the Ark.

Silas raises an eyebrow at the speed of her reaction. As she backpedals, he looks faintly amused. He finds the bit about her singing to be… particularly interesting, though he doesn't press on that - not after her exchange with Magnes at the banquet. Climbing around places she shouldn't is also an interesting topic, but, again, not one he wants to press at the moment.

"Not yet," Silas answers, grinning. "On the other hand, a checkers set isn't really hard to improvise." At her comments on chess, he hesitates, lips twisting a bit. "Eh. Not really much for chess, honestly," he admits, looking down. "I was always more for the simpler games - checkers, poker, craps. Maybe backgammon if I was feeling adventurous." Then he glances back to Roux with a rueful grin. "I think I'll be feelin' more like checkers for the foreseeable future, honestly."

"Backgammon?" Blinking, Roux tilts her head slightly, before her eyes drift back down to the bag. "I want another one!" Pointing at the bag, she looks back up at Silas expectantly. "I mean if you've got 'em." Seems she's quick to change her mind about almost anything at this point. Anything except not pissing off Don to stay safe. "You're not like the other guy. Magnes. You're nice. We could find a deck and play Belote if you want! It's mathy but I can handle it!"

She rocks back and forth on her heels for a moment, raising an eyebrow at Silas. "You'll do fine here. Dunno 'bout the rest of your friends though. Where'd you come from, anyway? To get here?" She seems genuinely curious, leaning forward to Silas as a point at the end of the sentence. "What's it like up there now?"

Silas chuckles, tipping the bag her way. When she says he's not like Magnes, though, his grin broadens a bit. "Thanks," he says. "Never played Belote… but I'd be willing to learn, if you wanna teach."

Her other question, though… that's a harder one. He doesn't want to lie about what lies outside, but he doesn't want to paint this as a clearly superior choice, either. A distant look comes over his face as he thinks. As he remembers the world he may never see again.

"I came from the Pelago — the Archipelago of Manhattan," he begins slowly, intoning the words as he would read a story. "New York drowned when the water rose, but some of us managed to find a home nesting in the crowns of the tallest buildings, above the waterline. We renovated and modified, built bridges and sealed windows, reinforced and drained… and so an archipelago of skyscrapers became a home for us. Something's always breaking down, but together, we're able to keep it held together. Beyond the Pelago, the waters aren't always safe — but then, that's true anywhere, isn't it? Above the waves or far below, that much is the same — trust your ship to keep you alive, trust your crew to have your back, but never, ever trust the sea…"

He's silent for a moment. "I used to sail on a ship called the Forthright. Lots of work, keepin' that boat running; our captain, Mad Eve, never did anything by half measures." He laughs. "Not every day was an adventure, but some of 'em were! Some days there were pirates; other days, parties. Eve liked her parties wild, like everything else; she'd always sneak in to spike the punch, and everyone pretended not to see her. Dancing and food and music… she always liked the classics. Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin…

Again, he falls silent for a moment. "You ever seen the stars at sea? On a night with no moon, far from port, salt breeze blowing off the water… the night's darker out there, without the lights from port to drive it back… but the stars! More stars than you could ever count. Like diamonds on black velvet…"

He sighs and grabs another ricething from the bag.

Roux is silent as she listens to Silas, moving to sit on the floor cross legged in front of him. Never mind that the pair are standing in the middle of a hallway, a vent opening creaking as it still swings gently overhead. Her stare is almost vacant as he recounts where he comes from up above, who he's been with, what he used to do. His descriptions are just vivid enough to cause a twinkle in her eyes as the light around them begins to dim considerably. It casts the pair in a spotlight of sorts, unintentional as it may be.

When he presents a second one of the fried rice cakes, she reaches up with both hands, teetering forward as she tries to grab it without having to get up or fall over to do so. It's only on her second attempt that she's successful, immediately chomping into the sweet treat like she's never had something so good in her entire life. "I used to live up there, au dessus." Her voice is quieter than she was moments before, much more contemplative. Much more deliberate in her words.

"Used to sail with mum and a few friends of hers. Used to go all around the Pelago. Used to climb up high places and just sing. What, uh… oh no. What was it they called me? The Siren of the Empire Sea? It's dumb but I kinda liked it." Looking down at the rice thing, she stares at it like it might have just offended her. "I got thrown from our boat. Lost track of mum after that. Got scared of the water, of the everything up there. And then I met Else. She's the best, Else. She helped me be a little less scared. I dunno if it's it's 'cause she's crazy or caring or crazy caring but I dunno. It made it easier."

For a moment, it looks like she's going to just… toss away the rice cake. Instead, she stops halfway through the motion and veers into taking another big bite out of it. "Found our way here. Not at the same time, but… Never had it better. She left though. It's been a little too quiet since then." There's a sadness to those words, before she looks back up at Silas. "You ever met her? Or a Charlotte Roux?" This time, hope rings out in her words.

Now it's Silas's turn to listen in silence. His smile fades as she tells of how she fell overboard — he's had recent experience with that one. It returns a bit as she talks about how Else had made her feel a little less afraid — he knows that number, too. Mad Eve had been persistent in her interference with Silas's own downward spiral, and most definitely crazy. And then you part ways, and here you are, at the bottom of Tartarus…

When she asks her question, he frowns, thinking. "No," he says at last. He doesn't look at her with pity; he won't spit in her eye like that. "But then, the Pelago's a big place. Lots of people there I don't know; unless I sailed with 'em, did business with 'em, or drank with 'em, I didn't go outta my way askin' too many questions, you know?"

"Though I have heard of the Siren," he confesses, grinning. "That's a story that still comes up now and again, when the maintenance guys get in their cups. How she'd pop up in some godforsaken location, and no one could figure out how in the hell she'd manage to get up there." Now his smile takes on a sly edge. "I made it a point to try and figure out the ones I could. Learned a few new routes from it! Always a good thing to know — roads less traveled. How to get from Point A to Point B."

"Whoa." The fact that someone has heard of "the Siren" brings a clear wonderment to Roux's face, eyes twinkling for a moment as she regards Silas. "I didn't know I was famous!" appears to be how she parses this discovery, smiling widely as she takes a bite out of the rice cake, finishing it odd. Still, it takes about that long for his no to register with her.

And once it does, all of that bring positivity seems to quickly slip away. Her head lowers, shoulders tighten as her smile flips into an ever growing frown.

"Yeah, I guess, "is an absent-minded reply, the woman fidgeting as she stares at the cold floor. She sniffles just once, clearly fighting off a thought sadder than she otherwise may let on. "You should, you know. As questions. Get to know people. How else can you know what you need to know"

Silas is silent for a moment. "Maybe so," he allows. "I'm trying to do a little better about it, at least," he says with a wry smile. After all… maybe he hadn't exactly planned to cross paths with Roux, but he's definitely asked a question or two.

"Anyway. If you know where there's a deck laying around, and want to try Belote… I'm a quick study. We could play for a few more of these?" he asks, hefting the (now significantly lighter) bag of experimental sweets. He is also pretty sharp when it comes to numbers, though this isn't something he's going to advertise at the moment.

"Maybe later," comes in a hushed tone, all enthusiasm drained from Roux's voice. "Yeah. Later." The responses are suddenly distant, more so before. Flat, almost. She sits quietly for a scant few seconds longer before suddenly rising up to her feet. The lights around them dim and flicker for a moment as she sighs, never looking back quite at Silas.

As she stands there, the shadows at her feet begin to swirl. The spotlight around them intensifies before beginning to shrink. Shadows rise, crawl and swirl over her form as they seem to wrap around her like cloth, rapidly cloaking her in wreath of creeping shadow. Just as they come to entirely envelop her, the spotlight centers on just Silas, leaving only darkness around him.

And then, when the stage lights finally lift again, Robyn Roux is nowhere to be seen, fled once more into the shadows as the open vent above Silas creaks once more.


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