Acceptable Losses


robyn7_icon.gif ff_silas2_icon.gif

Scene Title Acceptable Losses
Synopsis Our pain feels the same, we're just carrying different crosses.
Date June 12, 2021

Outside The Salty B.

The Pelago


It had been with a sudden burst of energy that Robyn Roux had leapt up from her seat in the Salty B and scrambled for the door, leaving Richard alone in her wake. Something had struck a nerve with her, that much was clear from the way she had bolted out without even a second thought given to the alcohol she had ordered.

There would be time for whiskey later.

"Hey, Silas!"

She thinks that's the name she heard. It had been a little lost in the shuffle of everything that was happening, in all the words that were said. Still, she doesn't seem deterred as her gaze whips around in an attempt to spot the man who had left before her. Her voice is just short of yelling; loud enough to be heard over the morning din but hopefully not loud enough to bother anyone.

Again, a familiar voice, but this time it's not the person Silas had been expecting. He doesn't seem particularly enthused about the pursuit, but he's stopped walking, at least. For the moment. "Yeah?" he calls back.

That helps Robyn pick Silas out of others around, turning her attention to him just as quickly. There's no hesitation as she starts up after him, swallowing hard as she comes up behind them. "I was worried you'd already made off," she offers in a low voice as she steps up beside him. She doesn't look over at him, not yet.

"Have a moment for a chat?" It's a question that would be rather casual in any other circumstance. "I'd like to set some records straight here, since a bit of a nerve's been struck." There's a tenseness in her voice that says that it's not just Silas' nerves that may have been plucked this time.

"Was workin' on it," Silas replies. "Mind if we walk and talk?" he asks, eyes already moving ahead.

"Not at all." There's a slightly brighter tone to Robyn's voice at that, maybe glad Silas is willing to talk with her. "You just… you seemed upset that we're here, and-" She chews her lip for a moment as she waits for him to take the lead. "I can't blame you. I heard what you said, about Lis."

Silas turns and starts to walk when Robyn says she doesn't mind; he doesn't answer her comment right away though.

"The Ark — the Commonwealth Arcology — was a mess," Silas says abruptly. "It was supposed to be a land of milk and honey, but Don — that's Director Kenner — had turned the place into his own personal police state. It was a bloody mess, and from what I heard when the reactor blew a lot of people didn't make it out."

Again, there's a moment of silence. "Upset is a good word for it. I'm not upset that you lot are here; I don't know your circumstances, but I'm assumin' you've got reasons. I'm upset that he's here. He's got a family that walked through Hell searchin' for a miracle to get back to him; they deserve a happily ever after, dammit," he says bitterly. "People died for it. My crewmates died for it, and a lot more people jumped into that portal than made it out at Sunspot."

"Which isn't fair," he continues, now sounding less upset and more tired. "I know it's not, you don't have to tell me. Richard knows what she went through, and it wasn't like he was sitting around with his thumb up his ass, either. He's got to have a reason, too."

"But he says he's here for business!" Silas exclaims, shaking his head. "Just passin' through, like he's shoppin' for a weekend yacht!"

Robyn takes a deep breath as she takes in everything Silas has to say. "So you did cross over," she remarks, eyes flicking off to the side. "I had a feeling, you mentioned… Richard's sister. Probably Kaylee." Robyn lets out a heavy sigh. There's a lot to take in. "The Arcology is a shitbrick no matter where you are, for what it's worth. I lost friends there too. I mean, back where I come from."

At least she doesn't have to dance around some matters with Silas. "I can't believe that about Kenner, though. Donald Kenner… he's a colleague of mine back home." Home. A hand reaches up, running back through her hair. "I don't know that Richard wants to be here. I know I don't want to be here." But she is, and that's a matter for later.

"But you should cut him some slack," she offers in a low voice. "He's used to… secrecy, conspiracies, spy work. Business, sure. That sounds inconspicuous." Her gaze moves up to Silas, and she tilts her head. "Unless you know. And you know." Exhaling sharply, she looks ahead again. "I won't bullshit you, though." If it sounds like an invitation to ask questions, it is.

"Kaylee, yeah," Silas says, sighing. "Eve talked me into sailing her out to the middle of the ocean; Kaylee was with us. Eve wanted to have a chat with the Old Man," he says, then grimaces, realizing that Robyn might not know that nickname. "Adam Monroe. It went sideways into Outer Limits territory. I ended up here, but I didn't know what happened to the rest; never found any trace of them. I… feared the worst," he admits heavily.

When she offers her commentary on Kenner, though, Silas nods. "I heard the Kenner on your side busted his ass lining the government up for Sunspot, and paid for it. Kinda sad I didn't get to meet him; I'da bought him a drink."

Robyn's comment about cutting Richard some slack sees Silas grimace faintly, but when she says she won't bullshit him, he looks over, looking directly at her for the first time since their walk started. He considers for a moment, then decides to go for it. "Alright," he says. "Why are you lot here?"

"Monroe," Robyn grumbles, like Silas has found a way to put her into her own grumpy mood for a moment. "I lost more friends because of his antics," she offers with a hint of bitterness. "Seeing them again… it's like seeing ghosts." Which just brings her mind back to his mention of Else, something that spikes her anxiety as she tries to push it back out of mind.

Looking upwards, she stops for a moment and takes a breath. "It's going to sound trite," she remarks in a weary tone, "but we're here to save the world. Our world. We need something from people who aren't…" She swallows again. "That aren't alive where we come from anymore."

Her answer is met with a momentary silence… then Silas nods. "Tracks," he says at last.

Silas falls silent again for a moment longer as he navigates a turn to the left. "Monroe's dead now," Silas says abruptly. "On your side and on this one. He sailed with Ryans here, aboard the Cerberus. Kind of an ass; lousy tipper, but supposedly damn good with a katana. The Sentinel killed him over here. And over there on your side…" Silas trails off, trying to think of how to summarize how exactly Monroe had died… and then gives up. "He's dead," he finishes flatly.

Then he frowns, glancing over to Robyn. "Those people you're lookin' for. They aren't the Nakamuras by any chance, are they?"

Well, that gives Robyn a timeline on when Silas was banished back to this world, based on what she's learned over the last year. "Monroe's not as dead as you think. It's… complicated." Teeth scrape at her lip, rubbing at the back of her neck. "Kind of. The… thing that Adam was fighting, it… took over Eve. And then Monroe."

Sorry, Silas.

"The Nakamuras?" That catches Robyn genuinely by surprise, blinking as she looks back down at him. "No… gosh, I haven't seen Hiro in over a decade. Wish I had. And they aren't-" all dead, except… they are. Robyn doesn't often think of Kimiko, but that moment brings it back to her. "No. It's not the Nakamuras. It's, uh, actually.." She looks up at him with a sad smile and sadder eyes. "The Rouxs." Not that Drucker uses that name, but this is easier to explain.

Again, Silas has nothing immediately to say in response to Robyn's revelation; when he finally does speak, a few seconds later, it's to bite out a low-voiced but intense curse. "Motherfucker," he snarls under his breath.

"I saw Monroe get… disassembled. Evaporate like cotton candy. But why would that stop a Dragon?" he mutters. "Shit. Fuck. Shitfuck." He strides on for a few paces, moving at a faster pace now… right up until Robyn drops that name.

For the first time he stops, looking over at Robyn in shock… then his expression shifts into one of sympathy. "Roux, huh," he says… then he looks forward and starts to walk again, this time at a slower pace. "That's her name. Your, uh… counterpart, I guess. Relatives of yours, then?" he asks. "She asked me about 'em too. Haven't met 'em. Or heard of 'em, in the time I've been here." He glances back to Robyn, his expression regretful. "Sorry."

Silas' reaction is about exactly what Robyn had expected. Hell, it would be hers in his shoes too. "You saw a Monroe get disassembled," she related. "From what I understand… there was a network of them." Shaking her head, she angles her gaze downwards. "Still, one less Monroe is always a good thing." The more she leans about this "dragon", the more it finally starts to scare her, rather than sounding like some fairy tale spun out of control.

"It's my name too," she notes in an effort to breeze past that topic before she gives it too much more though. "I thought she was dead. Everyone in my world did. Imagine my surprise to learn otherwise." Rolling her shoulders, Robyn looks off to the side. "We know where they are. It's a long trip to get there, and I'd like to take her if I can find her."

Silas grunts. Multi-Monroes. Fantastic. Jeez, imagine a whole restaurant full of them. Complaints from every table, all the time, and no tips, Silas thinks. He quickly banishes that glimpse into his own personal hell. "Magnes called you Quinn," Silas says, frowning. //They are from the Safe Zone, right? …gotta be. She knew about Lis. Unless there's more than one dimension hopping — //

Silas cuts that thought off right there, because it's way more headache than he wants to deal with. "But Magnes said a lot of things, and a lot of them were really fucking dumb, I guess. Anyway, if you're lookin' for her… Nadira or Else will be your best bet. Nadira tends bar around here sometimes. Else… wanders." He pauses, then looks over to Roux. "Then again… she's also got a knack for popping up where she needs to be. She might find you."

"That sounds like Magnes," Robyn confirms, unable to stifle a rueful chuckle and a small smile. Some things never change after all. "I… he knew me as Quinn. That's my birth name, Robyn Quinn. Actually, you make me think of going by that just for the sake of identification and not getting confused with other me."

Clearing her throat, she looks at him with a smile, and then speaks in a markedly different accent. "Changed m'name t'match mum's after she passed, though. My way a' rememberin' her an' all that. From what I understand… the Roux here never had that experience." Which is all well enough, knowing what Robyn knows now. "But then, maybe she knew her birth father. I didn't." Well, that's an oddly personal tidbit to share.

But there's that name again, and immediately Robyn's expression becomes stormy, lowering her head again as she makes a point of not looking at Silas. "Else. Else, um. Else Kjelstrom?" A part of her is hopeful, but just as much of her is utterly terrified.

Silas nods at Quinn's explanation. He can respect that. "Remembering's important," he says quietly.

Robyn's question is met with a nod. "Yeah, that's her. She kinda roams around," he says… then he chuckles. "You know… I'd be dead if it wasn't for her. I landed in the middle of the ocean; if she hadn't been waiting, I'da drowned. It'd have been a shitty way to go," he muses.

Then, suddenly, he looks over to Robyn. "Hey. You got two quarters on you?" he asks, sounding oddly serious. "If you do… do me a favor and pass 'em to her. I still owe her fifty cents for payin' my toll, but pocket change is kinda hard to find around here."

Arguably he owes her a lot more than that, but the fifty cents is something. Where the hell did she get those quarters, anyway? he wonders briefly.

Robyn would be clearly lost in her thoughts, but one of Silas' comments snaps her attention to him. "Don't joke 'bout that. No shit drownin's a shitty way t'go." There's an odd venomousness to the way she snaps at him, uncharacteristic of the rest of their conversation.

Immediately, she falls silent. "Sorry," she whispers. "It's just… a touchy subject. I'm hydrophobic. I think I get that from her drowning." She doesn't elaborate on her, but context clues and all that. And again, she falls silent. A hand rises and rubs at her mouth, fingers curling around her chin.

"No quarters," she offers in that low voice. "We lost everything when we came over." Her expression is vacant for a moment, before she looks over at him. "Good. I'm.. uh. I'm glad she's doing well here." There's emotion hidden in those words, but it's clear Robyn is trying not to show it.

Silas looks over to Robyn when she snaps, giving a single slow blink. Is she really gonna lecture me about drowning? Here? She has the grace to walk that one back, at least, and after a long moment Silas's gaze moves on, swinging forward once again. The silence stretches on for a bit as they round yet another corner. Silas is comfortable with silence, these days, and right now it gives him time to try to straighten out his thoughts.

When she speaks again — no quarters — he nods. "When you fell out of the sky," Silas says. "Ah well, was worth a shot."

Silas considers for a moment, glancing at Robyn when she speaks again of Else; he's definitely getting the impression that there's something there. "You know… there were two questions Roux — our Roux, I mean — asked me aboard the Ark. Charlotte Roux was the second person she asked me about. Else was the first," he says, taking another turn. He sighs. "Maybe I oughtn't to be gossiping so much. But you told me the truth… and besides. It's not like I'm tellin' you anything you couldn't find out pretty easy anyway."

"Fell outta the sky," Robyn repeats with sardonic amusement, still not letting up with that Irish accent. "Yeah, 'cept for us it was on purpose. They made another one, y'know. A Looking Glass, t'get us here." her tongue runs across her clenched teeth, anger fuming just beneath the surface in a way that seems to cause her skin to glow just the slightest bit.

"An' then some asshole blew it up on our way out, so. Dunno how we're gettin' home." Still, a small smile tugs at the corner of her lips. "Someone gave me some advice recently, though, so… I might have an idea."

Considering what it was like the last time a traveller had an idea, maybe that's not what Silas wants to hear. "So, wait, Else wasn't on the Ark? Wonder how Roux knew her, then." That smile turns a bit more sad, with just enough fondness to be palpable. "Glad she wasn't, though."

"Did they," Silas says flatly — though whether that's in response to they built a Looking Glass or some assholes blew it up remains ambiguous. That momentary flicker of luminescence draws his eye for a moment; Roux hadn't been able to do that, that he knows of. Her suggestion of an idea draws a bit more of a side-eye, but… well, it's not like it's his journey. Not this time.

Her question, though, draws a puzzled frown to his face. "Else might've been aboard the Ark, at one point; now that I think about it, Don mentioned her once." Right before he turned dinner into a fucking shooting gallery, Silas thinks bitterly.

He doesn't let himself dwell on that, though. "She wasn't there by the time I got there — not that I saw, anyway — but I think she might've welcomed Roux when she first got there." He frowns. "I take it you knew her on your side?"

The question is met with silence, Robyn staring once more into the middle distance vacantly. "Yeah. Yeah, I did. But it's a sad story. Not sure you wanna hear it," she admits in a quiet tone. "The both of us were musicians back in our world, back before the war - I'm assuming you know about that. The war, that is." Since he's been there and all.

"I looked up to her a lot, both as a scene kid and as someone who was lookin' to break in. So, y'know, imagine my surprise when I join the Evolved underground railroad that was the Ferrymen, an' she's one a' them." That slight glow beneath her skin seems a bit more pronounced, yet at the same time a bit more diffused in the air around her. "We were fast friends. Helped we knew a lot of the same people. But then riots broke out that fall and-" She reaches up with one hand and mimics a gunshot.

"She was dead." A beat. "Or so I thought." Lots of that thought they were dead going around, it seems. "I didn't know her long, but I was devastated all the same. She was like a mentor to me, and then she was just… gone. I think that was a big part of what really pushed me headlong into the Ferry."

She pauses, looking again up at Silas with sad eyes, then back down. "So, yeah. Thought she was dead. Year later, Eve and I are part of a group breaking into the Arcology. My world's Arcology, which was about as sinister a place as you could get. Get ahold of a list of people being held within and- there's Else." Robyn spreads her hands, looking down at them. "So naturally, I grabbed Eve and we booked it there. To my surprise, she was there. Alive."

Her fingers curl back in, knuckles cracking as she clenches them into a tight fist. "We got separated for a bit. Found some other friends. I blinded myself, that was a time. Else pulled me outta that, on to escape." Taking a deep breath, Robyn's arms fall to her side, her voice choking a bit at that.

"They were waitin' for us. The Institute and the government. Shot up the place with drones. Killed a buncha my friends there." There's tears forming in the corner of her eyes, one bearing a slight luminosity to them as her voice breaks. "Else died in my arms there." Eyes clenched shut and she reaches up, rubbing at them vigorously. "And- I just- I-"

She stops, raising a hand and shaking her head. She needs a moment, hopefully to prevent her from outright bursting into tears.

Silas says nothing as Robyn speaks; he'd asked, after all. And, more to the point, it seems like something she needs to tell.

She's right, though. It is a sad one, and as she goes on it gets progressively worse. It's probably a good thing she's not looking at him by the time she gets to the end, because Silas's expression is one of muted horror… because he knows exactly how it feels to helplessly watch someone you care about die.

When she comes to a stop, he halts beside her, watching her with sympathy for a moment… then he turns his gaze away. It's easier to look at the sea than to watch that kind of pain. He drops a shroud over them both, making sure that no one thinks to check on the obviously shaken woman; that, at least, is a kindness he can give.

For a long moment, he stands and watches the sea, listening until her breathing sounds like it's coming back under control. Only then does he speak.

"You're right. Your Arcology was pretty shitty, too," he says. Then, after a moment, he looks over to her. "I'm sorry," he says, with sincerity.

Then he looks back ahead and starts to walk again. "So. You're headin' to Alaska after this? I think that captain said something about that bein' her next stop?" he asks, trying to steer the conversation back to less volatile waters, before whatever storm Robyn's trying to sail through can swamp her.

The turn in the conversation is a welcome one at least, Robyn nodding her head vigorously as she sniffles. "Yeah, Alaska." It's enough to let her regain some semblance of composure, a deep breath taken before she continues. "That's where they are, mum and dad. Where the captain's from. Ward of theirs, sounds like." Which is still a very strange idea for her to consider, and still a conversation worth having with Nova.

"I doubt we're lucky enough that that's the next stop, but it's the end goal." Robyn angles her gaze up at Silas, briefly wondering if she's telling him too much. "I'd appreciate if you could keep that to yourself, for now. Not the Alaska part, but everythin' else. Figure there'll be a time and a place to discuss it more openly."

A frown returns to her lips though as she glances down. "And if you see her- me- whatever you want to call us, don't tell her, please. If you're comfortable with that. I know Magnes talked to her, and I don't want to spook her. I want to find her on more agreeable terms than hearing about me second or third hand."

"Yeah, Magnes opened his mouth and pissed her right off pretty much the second she was introduced," Silas says, grimacing. He looks back to Robyn. "And as to Roux… I don't cross paths with her all that much, so I doubt you've got anything to worry about on that front," he says.

Silas considers for a moment. "I visited Alaska once; stopped at a place called Goodnews Island on the way to Japan. It seemed a decent place, for what that's worth… which is maybe not a lot. Alaska's a big place," he admits, grimacing.

He sighs. "Well. I hope I've got to get going; Aces is around here somewhere, and she was mad enough to skip breakfast. Thank you for giving me a straight answer, though. And… sorry if I'm a little out of sorts." With that Silas gives Robyn a firm look. "Corporate-speak evasions aren't going to go over well here; if you want to get somewhere in the Pelago, you're best off being frank. Might want to make sure Richard's on the same page with that, if he's gonna be trying to do business here."

"For what it's worth," Robyn offers as she musters the hint of a smile, "I may work for the government where I come from, but I've never been corporate a day in my life." Not entirely truthful - there was Studio K, after all. But still, the point is made. "I'll try and hammer that point in with Richard too."

For a moment, she seems content to let him leave, before something else occurs to her. "Hey, Silas. Don't tell Else either, if you see her." There's a sad look in her eyes, turning down to the ground once more. "I mean, let's not kid ourselves. She probably knows. She's special like that, but…" Her shoulders rise and fall as she takes a deep sigh.

"Whatever happens to us? That's all… acceptable losses, I guess. But I don't want to hurt or lose her again."

Silas holds Robyn's gaze for a moment, then nods, once. "I doubt I'll see her, but if I do… I'll not tell her you're lookin' for her," he says quietly, then nods.

"And now… I gotta get goin'. Aces was pissed enough to leave her breakfast; be best if I catch up with her sooner rather than later. I hope your meetings turn out to be… whatever it is you're hoping for," he says, giving a tired smile as he starts to walk again. It only takes a few moments for him to fade into the crowd, and… he's gone, leaving Robyn only a few yards away from the entrance to the Salty B.

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