Send out the black bird. Send out the dove.

Who: Ronnie (open to Dale, Janie, Jesse, and Tobias via PMs)
Where: her room
When: morning

Ronnie wished she wasn't so comfortable. It wasn't something most people ever wished for, but she had her reasoning. She'd only had two nights in the farm house, but those two nights had given her a feel for the old bed she'd been staying in. It sagged in some spots, it squeaked and groaned, but it was as familiar as everything else in town. So when she slowly returned to consciousness and rolled onto her side, the lack of that squeak didn't sit well.

She was warm, clutching at a bedsheet as she sat up and... froze. Ronnie felt like she'd been transported back in time to a place she hadn't seen since she was a child. her room was wide and airy, lit up with warm tones, and ROnnie nearly swore she could smell the ocean in the air. She looked down with a little gasp, realizing that her bed was exactly the same as the one she'd left behind in Hawaii seventeen years ago. "Oh my god," she murmured in awe, slipping from bed and draping her sheet around herself.

There were cabana doors set around each wall, seeming to lead to smaller rooms set off the main one, and as Ronnie moved around the computer mounted in the center of the room (the only anomaly in her otherwise replica) she felt the light grind of loose sand underfoot. It was just like her childhood home; sunlit, lightly furnished, a surfboard sitting in one corner with her tai chi garb draped over it and the walls lined in faded photos of her parents as children, and her paternal grandparents. Was this a test? Something like both Will and Tobias had mentioned, experimenting in solitude? If it was, she didn't like it. She'd just reconnected with so many people she'd trusted, people who had helped her and she'd helped in kind, and being torn away from them again hurt.

She moved west first, towards where the beach had been from her home in her childhood, blinking at the next computer. Apparently? These were her only companions. Settling into the chair, Ronnie sighed in anxiety as she began to type. Hello? Is anyone out there? It's Veronica. If there's someone there, whether we've met or not, say something. PLEASE. What's happening?

She watched the message disappear as she sent it, taking an anxious minute to sit and watch the screen before Ronnie got up and moved south, sending the same words to each computer in turn. When she'd finally sent one from each terminal, she moved back to the central terminal and sat patiently, waiting for something. She didn't know what, but what else could she do?

 - private to ronnie

When Jesse woke, it was because there was an irritating little beep. Or a couple. Something. He groaned, and rolled over, automatically sort of reaching for whoever might be sharing the...bed.... Sitting up, he looked around. He could hear cars. The sound of the annoying train that rattled the windows sometimes. That high pitched whine that would wake he and Ronnie up--but Jessie would sleep through. Hell, Jessie slept through all of the bullshit noise around the loft. Which was where he was. The first, shitty little loft apartment that he and Ronnie had shared when they'd moved in together after graduation. Before he'd had to leave, because she'd broken off the engagement.

He knew, because there were still posters of his on the wall, which had come down after he'd left. Like his original Night of the Living Dead movie poster. He could see baby toys here and there. The playpen in the far corner that had far too much pink on it, but Jessie loved. The bed was a box spring and a mattress on the floor, and he reached up, dragging his hand through his hair. He stayed right the fuck where he was for the moment, trying to get over his internal flail.

Eventually, even if it took him a while, he evened out his breathing, and felt slightly less on the brink. Standing, he slowly walked to the windows, and looked down on the view he remembered so well. What was it about the first apartment? It was like the first car. Even if it was a total piece of shit, you loved it anyways. He leaned his forehead against the glass, and another beeping sound filtered through to him and he looked around slightly better. That was when he noticed the computers set against the walls. One was beneath the painting he'd first gotten her attention with. Being it was hers, and he'd lifted it from the school. Walking over, he also noticed there was a blink on the screen, and he sat down, absently removing a blue teddybear that rattled faintly from the seat of the chair. Pulling up the message, he read it, and relief swept through him. Exhaling sharply, he grabbed the keyboard, and started to reply back to her.

Calm down, baby. I don't know what's happening, but I'm here. Where are you? -Jesse

 - .

normally, the faint sounds of the sea would've been relaxing to Veronica. She'd loved them intensely, and had missed them so much when she'd moved, up until Jesse had come into her life. But this? This wasn't a normal situation at all. She'd been pacing her room restlessly, yanking open dresser drawers and rummaging around to spot anything odd about the setup. Her paints were there in a drawer, which was a small relief, but the chiming of the southern computer was infinitely bigger, as comforts went.

Ronnie didn't even bother shutting the drawers, dashing over in her PJs to check the computer that had signaled. She choked on a cry of relief to see that it was Jesse, wanting to reach out and hug the monitor, but that'd be pointless. It wasn't him, it couldn't hug her back. So she took a deep breath, writing back quickly.

Jesse? Oh thank god. Why are they doing this? I'm... I'm in this room? It looks exactly like where I grew up in Hawaii, it's creepy. How do they know what my room from twenty years ago looked like? Are you okay? What did they put you in? Jesus, Jesse, I wish you were here.

 - private to ronnie

Okay, so he wasn't the only one on a forced, psycofuck trip down memory lane. Though he was less creeped out by his surroundings, and more...it was bittersweet. It was familiar and comforting, and even if Jessie was grown now and everything, seeing toys she used to play with and the old apartment, Ronnie's paints off behind a screen in the corner...everything, it echoed somewhere in him. But it was empty, too, and that was where the pain came from. It was pain he could deal with, though.

I'm in the old loft. Remember, on Lincoln Avenue? I can even hear that stupid fucking train. They definitely got the details right for here, too. I almost sat on Mr. Boogums. Which, after mentioning Jessie's bear, he picked it up and set it down next to the monitor.

 - .

Mr. Boogums? The words flew from Ronnie's fingertips as her eyes went wide and an anguished smile stretched her cheeks. She wanted to laugh at that detail, but it hurt at the same time. It was a past of painful memories they shared, and they were painful because of her decision, and her hopes that Jesse would mature enough to want to work things out. God, I wish I was there with you. That loft was a nightmare, but just thinking about it makes me smile. Just remember that the sink needs to run for a minute before the water's drinkable, and we only get maybe two reliable flushes out of that toilet a day. Are you okay there, baby?

She almost deleted that last, single word, but hit the send button before she could talk herself into it. Ronnie knew all too well how Jesse felt, and she'd be lying if she said it was one-sided. So while she wouldn't force her way between him and Camber? She'd give herself the small comfort of the little terms of endearment Jesse used that made her feel so good.

 - private to ronnie

Jesse actually laughed at that, leaning back in the chair as he stared at the screen. Fuck, he'd forgotten about the toilet issues. The sink he remembered but mostly because for anything Jessie was going to be ingesting, he went out and bought bottled water for. He'd been just slightly overprotective when she was first born. He'd gotten the same saying from tons of people. They'd just look at him and say 'first time daddy?' like they knew. So, clearly he fit the stereotype somewhere. He never did figure out where.

Thanks for the heads up, I would have forgotten about the water. That odd waterspot is still on the ceiling. I maintain that it looks like John Lennon. he told her, really wishing...was there a phone anywhere? He was willing to bet that was a big negatory. Or if it was there, that it didn't work. He got up and looked around, until he found the ridiculous Felix the Cat phone they'd found at a garage sale and bought because it meowed when it rang. And the meow was broken so it kind of always sounded like it was dying. Picking up the receiver, he didn't even get a dial tone, though. Fuck.

 - private to jesse

It was Ronnie's turn to laugh, feeling her eyes sting and water as she was hit by a wave of memory. She wasn't in the loft with him, but she could remember when she had been. And his comment? Well, that took her back to their first month there. Jesse would climb back into bed after soothing Jessie back to sleep, and they would lay there waiting for her to wake up again when the train came by. She would just... curl up on him, her second bed that she was small enough to really use, and listen to his bad attempt at a British accent as he had the watermark talk down to her.

I always wondered why it never spread to make room for Yoko. She sighed wistfully, reaching out to brush the screen with her fingers, wishing she could reach through and touch him. Ronnie needed that in this moment, but she'd have to make do without. Wish you were here, though. Or that we had a door. I always wanted to show you where I grew up, I think you'd look pretty natural on a beach, y'know. And I could even teach you to surf, if I remembered how.

 - private to ronnie

He smiled again, and sighed, reaching out to grab the stupid bear, and he brought it up towards his face, drawing in a breath. It smelled right. Which kind of bothered him, but didn't at the same time. And he half realized that's why he'd woken up searching for Ronnie, because the bed had smelled right. It was familiar.

Yoko feared our apartment. It was a scary place full of awful horror movies, colorful art and baby stuff. She couldn't handle it. It was just John. Jesse sent to her, wanting to keep up the connection with her, even if he really wanted her there with him. and he would have liked to see where she was, but...if they could be where he was together he'd count it near perfect. Near. They'd need Jessie.

I wish I was there, or you were here. A door would be good. I wanted to check the phone, but Felix, sadly, is dead.

 - private to jesse

Felix finally died? That got another short laugh from Ronnie, sighing quietly as she sat back from the keyboard. She drew up into her chair, arms folding across her knees as Ronnie visualized Jesse in that moment. Was he just on the other side of the wall? Was he smiling? If she could see him, would she just curl up on him and hide? At least there was an answer to one of her questions.

That poor cat suffered for YEARS, if we'd had money for the vet I would've put him out of his misery a lot sooner. We could've just bolted him to the ceiling to give John some company. This, whatever it was? Veronica felt like she could endure it like this, she could get by if she knew Jesse was okay, and if she could take some strength from him. Which meant she was scared now, scared it would get taken away. Are the movies still there? I think I'd feel terrible for you if you lost your copy of Pumpkinhead.

 - private to ronnie

Jesse heard other messages coming in from different computers, and went to check them and reply to people before he got back to Ronnie again, sitting at that terminal once more. I think John and Felix would have gotten along well. They were both hip cats.

His mind was going along the same line as hers was. The idea that this could be tolerable, so long as she was there with him. So long as he knew she was okay. And, he was going to have to try and send messages around to check on other people. See how Cam was. Everyone else in his experiment. Sophie hadn't wanted to be alone, so hopefully she was making avid use of the computers.

 - .

You and your puns. Careful there, Jesse, that joke's an antique. As freaky and unknown as the situation still was, she could do it. She just needed to hear back from whoever else could get her message. Have you heard from anyone else? I'm hoping I can get in touch with the others from my experiment; Glitch, Cheyenne, Brett, and Leah if you hear from any of them. Anyone I should watch for on your behalf?

 - .

That's why I'm so careful with it! Jesse sent back to her when he got back to her computer--which admittedly, he had done as fast as he could. He set his beer down and at Mr. Boogums back on the desk. I've heard from Owen, and I just sent out messages on the other computers. If you could keep an eye out for anyone in my experiment, that'd be good. Which would be Cam(obviously), Brianna, Scott, Sophie, Saj...who knows if anyone else got put in town. I'll ask around for you though for the others.

 - .

Really, Ronnie was pretty content focusing on this one terminal. Sure, she'd had a few messages pop up here and there, but she always seemed pretty able to resettle here and just... hide in the comfort. Which she knew was what she was doing, she just didn't care. As concerned as she was for the others, Jesse ruled the roost on that front, but at least she wasn't ignoring others' messages to talk with him. I'll keep that list handy too, and make sure to get in touch with whoever I can. Tiny of a comfort as it is? I have my paints here too, maybe I'll get to keep them whenever we get out of here. If not, they'll pass the time when you're sleeping or everyone's dealing with whatever we get hit with next.

 - .

He smiled a touch at that, and was still looking around the room. He spotted their old turntable that they'd also gotten from a garage sale, and the milkcrate of albums they'd both collected over the years. He answered her back. Paint something for me. And sign it. Also--pick an album, I just spotted the turntable. he told her, wanting to sort of be sharing in on things, even if it was in such a round about way.

 - .

She'd been planning on painting herself? But somehow Ronnie figured she might have the time to do a full piece for Jesse too. It was a less scandalous idea than signing her name somewhere on herself, though that made her smile to herself. How about 'Nevermind'? Or even 'Pablo Honey', if it's not too depressing. And what do you want? Should I just surprise you? Or find a canvas? Paint a vase? I do commissions, you know. Lucky for you. It was a good suggestion, though. They could only do this for so long before it got frustrating for one or both of them, after all. And while she wouldn't need it, Ronnie never minded having something like that to look forward to.

 - .

Jesse walked over to the turntable and dropped Nirvana on there, before he headed back over to her. He smiled as the first guitar strains of Smells Like Teen Spirit. He dropped back down into his chair and just sat there for a moment, closing his eyes as the nostalgia hit. Excellent choices, Ronnie. I opted for Nirvana. I missed this album. he typed to her, because it was better than going into the fact that he fucking missed her right now, and wanted her there. Listening to the music just kind of made that hard pang harder, and yeah. So, he kept with the conversation, and didn't think about the fact that they had other albums in their collection that had certain mental connotations that he was sure she recalled just as vividly as he did.

 - .

And here I was about to suggest some Faith No More instead. Good choice, though. Tell me when 'Polly' comes on, I'll be singing along over here. She watched the message disappear as it was sent, sighing to herself with a wistful smile. As much as Veronica felt like she could sit here and talk with Jesse? There was Dale to check up with, and from Tobias' reaction she felt like she needed to make sure he was okay too. Not to mention all the others; Cheyenne and Brett and Lilith and the countless people she hadn't even met yet but was still worried for. Ronnie worried because others worried, and that fact alone meant they all had something to be scared of. But not right now. Right now she had to stay calm, and Jesse was good for that.

Think I might dig out my paints here too, but I'm gonna have to come up with something good for you, mister. I'll be here though, so don't be shy about letting me know what's up. Love you. It was easier to type than to say, but hey! She'd already said it to him. He knew. For all their problems, he knew, and she did too. So it was a start. Hearing Dale's computer chime in the background, Ronnie sighed and hopped up to go check the new message.

 - .

This is Dale. Sorry about the wait, I was suffering from a severe wave of homesickness. I think we're in a test. Are you alright?

Dale nodded to herself. Two down. Two to go, apparently. Maybe after a shower, though. Dale scratched her nose and got up. Yeah, a shower would be nice. And by the time she got back, she was sure that she'd have an answer.

 - .

Hopping up from the Jesse-computer, Ronnie padded over to the one that hadn't made a peep until this moment. She blinked in surprise as she mentally added Dale to the list of people she'd known in the experiment who were here, taking heart from the discovery. Sure, the two women hadn't forged any kind of deep friendship, but Dale had been reliable back there, and she'd never had a problem speaking up with her doubts about group plans. Dale? Oh thank god! It's Ronnie! Yeah, I'm okay, I was just panicking at first? Are you alright? Are you safe? Who else do you have contact with?

 - .

Dale padded back from the shower while toweling off her hair with her good arm (she couldn't raise the other above shoulder level, and therefore it didn't help at all), she made her rounds the computer, and seriously considered trying to find out if there was a chair with wheels somewhere in the room that she hadn't seen yet. Going around in circles was just going to give her a headache.

I'm fine, and I've got Cheyenne, too. And a Leo (who's got Lilith, by the way), and some person that's requesting a doctor but I don't have her name. You have any on your pipelines? Anyone I might know?

And Dale got up to explore the rest of her computers to find out if she got any replies.

 - .

No one from our experiment, no. I have Jesse, Tobias, you, and someone who hasn't responded as of yet. i just met Tobias a few days ago, but he seems like a sweetheart. So if you have anyone looking to reach him and I can help, let me know. Ronnie glanced back to Jesse's computer, hopeful to hear it chime again soon as she sent her message Dale's way. Waiting for it would just frustrate her, though. She needed to find her paints. If this was an accurate replica of her home back in Hawaii? They'd be here.

 - .

Dale grinned to herself. Ronnie was a sweetie, honestly. While they had the general bond of camaraderie just from being in the same experiment, though, she didn't know the other woman well. Even if they'd spent multiple months together in the same strange place. Oh well.

Will do! Thanks, Ronnie! If anyone's looking for my links, let me know!

 - .

Chey told me to pass on kisses, but she didn't tell me how many! How many do you want? I'll put in an order for you. ;D