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Scene Title Santoku
Synopsis Japanese: "three virtues" or "three uses", typically referring to a kind of kitchen knife designed for three uses: slicing, dicing, and mincing.
Date December 26, 2018

Steel glints under fluorescent lighting, dripping red.

The knife’s edge is pointed downward, tip straight, and slices cleanly.

You earned this,” is said as the knife slices cleanly, sending deep crimson liquid drooling out onto the stained wood below. “Level heads always prevail.” Looking up to Remi, West Rosen wipes the knife clean on a red-stained cloth, then points down to what he’d done.

“And, that’s how you cut beets.”

The Ark

Mess Hall A-2, Kitchen

December 26th

6:14 am

It had been just one day since Elisabeth, Mateo, and Lynette were killed in the flooding on C-Ring. Later that night, Don ordered Remi Davignon released from her cell for work assignment. Everyone, even some of the incarcerated, pulls their own weight. Right now, the kitchen is empty save for West and Remi, though she knows it will be temporary.

“Don doesn’t like them chopped too find in the borscht.” West sets the knife down on the cutting board beside a stack of beets in a metal colander. “You’ve got two hours, when you’re done with the borscht,” he motions to the handwritten recipe tacked up to a corkboard, “start the potato and leek soup.”

Licking a drop of beet juice off of his thumb, West begins to move toward the kitchen door, his replacement is set arrive soon to keep an eye on Remi while she learns her way around the Ark’s kitchen before the rest of the staff comes in for their shift.

Being in such close proximity to West Rosen, the man who just a few days ago killed her lover in cold blood, has been a test of Soleil Davignon’s acting skills as it stands. Her first instinct has been to attempt to drive her thumbs into his eyes, among other brutal mental images involving West’s blood being the red fluid on the knife, rather than beet juice.

But she’s held herself back, instead opting to hide behind the very real terror that this place seems to inspire, as well as the fear that comes from standing in the presence of someone who has killed the last person she ever loved in the world. It’s one of the most valuable lessons she learned when attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London — use the real emotions to amplify your mask.

She keeps a respectable distance from the man, though she watches the way he chops the root carefully, committing the special way Don likes his borscht made to memory.

“It was nothing personal,” West says as an off-handed remark, “what happened to your friend.” Her friend. “We were told to choose at random, save for a few specific excluded targets.” There’s a detached matter-of-factness to West’s remark, as though he were talking about grocery shopping and not an execution. As he reaches the door, he raps twice with his knuckles, thn a third time, and the latch on the door opens from the outside.

Standing there in the doorway is a tall, thin, blonde man draped in a heavy blue wool coat and vibrant red scarf. Norton Trask offers a wordless look down to West, then steps past him into the kitchen. West glances up at Trask, then over to Remi. “You two try not to chat up a storm,” West says, laughing at his own inside joke. Trask looks back, steely, and then shakes his head before he makes his way over to a stool by the countertop.

She really wants to point out that Jasper was her lover, that he was all she had left in this world, and how could he sleep at night? Instead, West’s rather sociopathic attempt at an explanation is met with silence and the same mildly terrified look that Remi’s been giving him all along.

As the man sweeps to the door, Remi moves over to the cutting board, hand taking up the sharp kitchen knife. For just a moment, she lets herself stare at the red-stained blade, fantasizing about more than a few scenarios that she’d love to see played out; instead, she picks up the next beet, beginning to peel and slice it as instructed.

As Trask makes his way in, blue eyes find his face, recognition showing. That’s the negator. That’s the one she needs to somehow get into the good graces of.

She already knows how.

As the door closes behind West, something in Remi’s posture changes; she seems to relax ever so slightly, and takes an audible breath of relief. She doesn’t look at Trask yet; no, she instead busies herself doing what has been asked of her. But her breathing betrays the tears that are suddenly in her eyes, stifling tiny little sobs down to airy gasps for breath. She’s obviously crying, but trying very hard (and failing) to hide it.

Crying on cue was one of those talents she always had — though just like a lot of her situation, these tears have their roots in reality.

“Yeah,” West says in the doorway to Trask as he eyes Remi, “good luck with that.” On that cold remark, West shuts and locks the door, leaving Trask to turn a blue-eyed stare over at the crying telepath. There’s a moment where Trask’s jaw tenses, searching Remi for a moment, and then he merely lingers by the door in silence. After a few moments, Trask awkwardly tugs at his wool gloves, adjusts his scarf, and looks down to the floor as if trying to give her some measure of privacy. He seems, at best, embarrassed by the situation. Both for himself, and her.

After a few minutes, the soft crying slowly dies down, and the telepath pauses in cutting, taking a deep breath. “Je suis désolé.” This is let out in a barely audible tone, and then there’s only the sound of the knife’s blade hitting the cutting board as it slices through the beets. Perhaps contrary to her background, she’s making rather quick work of the vegetables; she’s had to peel and cut her fair share or potatoes over the years, and these aren’t all that different.

She pauses for a moment, turning to peer at the negator, a rather excruciatingly sad expression on her face. It seems she wouldn’t mind talking, but she also seems…perhaps a bit scared of Trask.

Who could blame her?

Certainly not Trask.

But the negator remains distant and silent, shoulders hunched forward and eyes halfway lidded as he stares at the floor. There’s a distance in his pale blue eyes, a sunken quality to them, dark circles showing his lack of sleep. Remi notices his fingers, playing at the frayed end of his scarf, tugging a thread out and winding it around one wool-clad finger, then unwinding it and snapping the thread off. It’s hard to tell if he even notices Remi in the room any longer.

Subtlety won’t work. Okay. Another beet is chopped, and the telepath breathes a soft sigh, as if bolstering herself. “Do…do you like it here?” Her voice quivers a bit as she asks the question, a combination of mild fear and the last remains of her not-so-silent tears. She pauses mid-chop, turning to look Trask over, to judge his reaction to her question.

Just like improv theater, Remi.

That question jostles Trask from his thoughts. He looks up, first to the wall, then over to Remi. The question has him thoughtful, eyes searching the floor when they can’t stay fixed on her. Then, with a soft noise, he just shrugs and offers her a weak smile and looks down to the frayed end of his scarf.

“So, no?” She tilts her head toward the man, red-rimmed eyes looking him over as if this is the first time she’s ever really seen him. It’s certainly the first time she’s really let herself get a good look at him, at least.

Then, she turns back to the beets, frowning quietly, as if that wasn’t the kind of answer she was hoping for. The telepath lets out a soft sigh, letting the sound of the knife clicking against the chopping board dominate the room. Pointedly, she doesn’t look at Trask for a long moment, staring at her hands as she finishes cutting the pile of beets, setting a bowl of the cut root off to one side.

Then, she turns to look the negator over again, looking every part the terrified damsel — desperately seeking some kindness in a place that has shown her nothing but cruelty so far. “That is a very nice scarf.” She sets down the knife, wiping beet juice on her apron, and starts gathering the rest of the food she is to prep before she starts on the stews. “It looks a little frayed, though. I…” She hesitates, looking to the floor. “I know how to mend edges, if you would like me to try some time. It would be a shame to let it fall to pieces.” She glances to her guard, before busying herself with her prep work once more, quickly peeling potatoes.

She may be a glorified prisoner, but that doesn’t mean she can’t at least try to find a friendly face here. And whether it’s Elisabeth’s impression of him based on an alternate version of him, or his actual demeanor…Trask really doesn’t seem like he’s really bad.

It takes a moment for Trask to look up to Remi, and when he does there’s a tension in his brows and a downward cast to his lips. He shakes his head, slowly, and looks visibly concerned. His eyes wander the floor, and as he leans away from the counter he’d been propped up against, he takes a few steps over toward Remi and exhales a deep sigh. Perhaps what she’d said about the scarf has struck a chord, because he’s unwinding it from around his neck…

…revealing a gruesome series of deep, jagged scars that look like they were left by an animal’s maw. Sharp, long scars tear dark pink lines across Trask’s neck, disappear under the collar of his sweater. He doesn’t offer the scarf out to Remi. Instead, he just shakes his head no and begins winding it back up. He isn’t quiet because he isn’t talkative, he’s quiet because he can’t talk at all.

It takes a good amount of self-control for Remi to keep herself from her initial reaction to recoil from Trask and his wounds — instead, that urge manifests in a look of horror on her face as her eyes trace their way along the scars. “Vous pauvre homme. Ils vous ont fait tellement mal… ” She whispers this, watching quietly as Trask winds the scar back around his neck, hiding the marks.

And suddenly, she’s not acting any more. That look of sadness on her face is very real. “I’m so sorry.” She almost wants to reach out and touch the poor man — but she doesn’t. After a moment of recovery, Remi’s hands suddenly spring to life, signing out, Can you sign? She speaks, since he clearly isn’t deaf. “My lover was deaf, and I am fluent in ASL.” The hand movements come natural, the result of communicating with Jasper either through telepathy or signs for the better part of a decade.

She turns back toward her work, picking up the peeler and setting to work on the potatoes, deftly peeling them with the skill of someone who once had to learn how to quickly peel a potato for a scene in a movie that she starred in once. “If not, I can teach you.” A pause. “Alternately, I’m a telepath, if you ever just want to talk to someone. I know it can be difficult, not having a voice.” This part is said a bit quieter as she works.

Swallowing awkwardly, Trask shakes his head, “No.” To everything. Making a breathy noise in the back of his throat, he tucks the scarf back into place and looks up to the ceiling for a moment, then back to Remi. He’s quiet, for a time, but then walks over to where she’d cut up the beets and looks down at her work inspectingly. Then, brows furrowed, he looks back up to Remi and watches her for a moment.

It takes her a second to realize he’s dipped a finger into the beet juice, tracing something on the counter.


“Can’t trust me?” Remi signs the words, slowly, for him to see. She’ll at least try to teach him, either way. “I understand.” She looks down at the beet juice for a moment, then back to him as she peels another potato. “I am a prisoner, after all,” she adds with a sadder note to her voice, pausing in her work for just a moment to close her eyes and take a deep breath.

“I mean it when I say that it is difficult to not have a voice,” she adds, finishing her peeling and going about getting the soup pots filled with water, setting them on the stove to boil while she finishes her preparation. “Jasper was very lonely, not many people understood him after the flood.”

Then, she’s chopping the potatoes and leeks, saving the carrots and onions for last. “If you ever do feel like talking, if you ever come to trust me… I’m here. You…you didn’t shoot.” She pauses, glancing over to him quietly, then turns her face back down to her work. “And you seem like you are a decent man, even if…” She trails off, focusing on the chopping once more, even as tears glisten in the corners of her eyes.

Trask looks away, nodding slowly as he does. There’s a crease to his brows, and he once again goes to plucking at the hem of his scarf, blue eyes fixed on a spot of rust on the wall. Remi’s words have distracted and disquieted him, and he retreats into his own thoughts, gaining a distant look in his eyes while she continues working on the food.

Perhaps Elisabeth was right about the person Trask was, deep down inside.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

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