Looking Around and Messages

Who: Brett and various PMs (to Owen, Hannah, Camber and Eris)
Where: His room/elsewhere
When: Morning

It was the sunlight and the fucking birdsong that woke him. Which, considering it was the middle of fucking winter and he'd been living for several days in a drab and dank house, a dawn chorus was not what he'd expected.

Neither did he expect to open his eyes and find himself lying in some kind of bower, as though he was in the middle of some kind of fucking Disney film. All it needed for completion was a rambling rose or some shit. Damn, the thing even had ivy. He pushed back the blankets and sat up, looking around. The day was nice - warm, even, though not too hot. And he appeared to be in the middle of a wood. His first thought, looking around, was 'what the fuck happened to winter' - since there was a notable lack of snow and cold. What there was was plenty of trees, and grass, flowers even - little wild flowers scattered all over the place.

And he appeared to be in the middle of a glade, in a small campsite. Except there was a bower for a bed, instead of a tent. But it seemed warm enough to sleep outside anyhow. The only thing that looked out of place was a laptop sitting at the end of the bower - though it wasn't exactly portable, fixed in place as it was. He lifted the lid, exposing the screen, but there was no explanation there.

The were several paths going off in different directions from the clearing. Five of them, back into the trees. He pulled himself up and into his chair, before picking one at random. The first one led him a very short distance to a pool area, with what appeared to be a highly convenient waterfall-as-shower-and-bath set up. Oh look, a cunningly wrought scenario with a forest, yet with all of the mod cons you'd expect... Yeah, this was clearly a set up. Brett just had to wonder what the fuck was going on. And where everyone else was.

It was that which had him exploring the other paths, looking for a way out. And the other four paths were the same - longer, winding, wide enough for the chair without a problem. And each ended in a computer set up on a wooden platform, at just the right height for him. He'd investigated each one a little - not a huge amount, but enough to know that they could send messages. So, on each one, he did just that, sending What the fuck is going on? he didn't sign them - he never signed things. He just wanted to know.

 - .

Hannah would've thought that she'd have gotten used to waking up in strange places by now, but no. It was always confusing to know that the bed one woke up in differed from the one where she'd fallen asleep, all the sounds were different, even the air felt different. She didn't know what the place looked like, but could tell nearly from the first second of awareness that it was a damn sight better than the creepy cemetery house.

She got up to explore, surprised to find everything... well, so damn convenient. Things were labeled, there was plenty of room to move around with Anubis without walking into things or knocking things over, and there seemed to be... five computers? What the hell? After determining that there was no one else in the room with her, she had to deduce that they were all for her. "Fucking waste of time," she muttered, searching for a door out. Which was, of course, the one thing she couldn't find. "Oh, God damn it," she muttered to herself - the last time she'd been locked away solo hadn't exactly been a positive experience.

About that time, she was distracted by a chime from one of the computers. She found it and, after a bit of poking at buttons, got the message to play in the synthesized robot voice that no one seemed to be able to improve on.

How the fuck should I know? she typed in response. And who the hell is this?

 - .

It took Brett a while to answer, but when he finally got back to that station and read the message, he rolled his eyes. What was it with fucking people and their unhelpful fucking responses. Well, maybe you did. Who knows. And my name's Brett. he sent, before heading back off again, wondering if he'd even get a response to that - he wasn't everyone's favourite person, after all.

 - .

It took Hannah a moment to get back to the chiming computer, as she'd received a message notice from one of the other terminals - she didn't know what it said, as her text-to-speech was only set up for English and whatever had been typed was apparently a mess of gibberish, but she dashed off a reply anyway and got back to terminal number one. She snorted when she heard the message. Brett, figured he'd be the only person this computer connected to.

It's Hannah. And sorry, they didn't leave me a handy audio message explaining what was going on and its underlying purpose, the way they have every other time they've done something fucked up and weird. Honestly, I can't say it's that bad right now. This place is a hell of a lot more convenient than that fucking creepy cemetery house, at any rate. Do you have a similar set up - huge room, five computers arranged in a sort of cross pattern, no exit? And if so, can you connect to anyone else? I got some kind of wacky gibberish message a minute ago, my reader couldn't process it. She could (mostly) put aside the sarcasm in favor of getting answers, at least for now.

 - .

Brett read the message and audibly groaned. "Fucking hell - why? I..." he grumbled. Fucking Hannah. Blind girl with an acid tongue. great. Well, he knew which computer he'd be avoiding if he had any choice. He almost didn't reply at all, but then figured that what the hell and typed in a short message. yes for the computers. Connects to Eris, Camber and Owen. There, questions answered.

 - .

I've got Will, you, and some crazy person with no name, don't know who's on the last one. Probably don't care, either. Peace out, going to enjoy the solitude.

 - .

Camber woke up slowly, in that kind of slow, luxurious Sunday-afternoon way, and immediately knew something was wrong. First, because she was comfortable enough to wake up that way, and then, when she was bothered by that thought, the fact that she was in a different room.

It looked eerily like her room at home, but about six times bigger, more like the whole apartment: kind of warehouse-y, with art on the walls, a big loft style window looking out onto winter light with frosted glass that didn't really allow her to tell if it was village or city outside, and a matching skylight over her bed. One wall was covered in graffiti, the rest sporting various album covers, pencil drawings, photographs. None of it was actually her art from home but it wasn't anything she would have turned away.

Her bed even had a fucking crocheted blanket on it over the top of the cheap sheet-and-comforter set. One that, like at home, totally defied the style of the apartment. Which creeped her out. How much do you know about my life? If she'd woken up at home....well, she probably would have doubted that, too. But this wasn't that.

This was kind of messed up. Although not as messed up as, upon getting up and looking, the fact that there were no doors. The windows were just decorative -- set-in factory style -- and didn't open. Oh, jesus. This was not good.

She quickly started re-assessing in terms of survival. She had all her stuff: her knife, her clothes. Even a little pointless toolbox under her bed. Her amplifier and bass were here. Her ipod, which was nice of them, not that it was necessary. A little kitchenette tucked into one corner. So, if anything happened she had a few weapons, but for the most part, just some nice scenery.

An overstuffed sofa sat in the middle of the room, but instead of the tv, there was a little computer. In fact, there were four little computers, all set into the walls. One of them exploded with a little ringtone-like blast of "I Wanna Be Sedated." Nicely played. Ironic, but nice work. She went over to investigate.

What the fuck is going on? read a PM window, and after a minute of clicking around and realizing that PMing was all she could really do here, she wrote back,

I don't know. Who is this? It's Camber over here.

Frustrated, she went to each of the other computers in the meantime to investigate. Finding them exactly the same - except for the middle, which had journal access only to her own journal -- she sent messages on each of the other three, and waited for a PM back.

 - .

Brett heard the bing of another message arriving and headed down the path towards that computer. Camber. Did he know anyone called Camber. He didn't think so. Okay, so, right. Random person. His normal tactic would be to scare them the fuck away as quickly as possible - or itch at them until they fucked off of their own accord. But, the more he knew about what was going on right now, the better. So, he replied. I'm Brett. Don't know what's going on either. YOu alone? Load of computers with who knows who on the other end? he typed back.

 - .

The Ramones alerted her back to the computer and she ran to it again. Damn. This was going to be a fucking workout. Were there settings that could change the alert to a different tone on each computer?

She checked around. A-ha. Settings. It looked like they'd uploaded a selection of her most-played songs as sort of alert tones, and you could turn off the alerts altogether. Okay, so. Number two, as she had designated the one on the wall to her immediate left facing this way, was going to be AFI. Number three, behind her, was going to be Hole, and number four -- the one to her right -- was going to be Iggy Pop. That way she could at least figure out who was talking to her. She fixed everything and came back.

Yes. Alone with five computers and a bigass apartment. She paused as "Iggy Pop" alerted her to a reply. ...Well, I've got...Everett talking to me on one of them. She wondered with a stab of panic if there she'd been taken out of the town -- was this where people went when they disappeared? She didn't know any of these people. Although she recognized Everett's name. Maybe this was just the scientists' version of "let's all be friends". Brilliant, either way. Do you know the names of anyone else besides me on the other end of yours?

 - .

When Brett got back to this station, he read the message and considered how to reply. Because, yes, he knew someone else here - but there was the whole name issue. He rolled his eyes and went with the one everyone else knew, since not even he used the alternative and he had no intentions of starting that. I'm talking to Eris. And there's someone else, but I don't know names yet. I know Everett. Didn't like the guy, but he knew him.

 - .

It sounded like Brett knew Eris, which was at least a little relieving. Maybe someone she knew would wake up soon, suddenly appear on the other end. Where was everyone from Experiment E? Or Veronica, or even the housemates? She had to start writing this shit down.

Yeah, he told me to tell you he was okay, and that he was trying to get in touch with everyone else. I guess we're just going to have to talk through each other - so if there's anyone you need me to find I'll see if I can. I don't know who else I have yet, though.

 - .

Brett smiled wryly at that. There's nobody else I want to contact, so don't worry. You can concentrate on people who might want to play mr popular, or who know people. Take it you want me to pass on names when I get them? Though he thougth that might be a while - he wasn't good at asking for names. Then again, if he could pass it off as 'some bitch is on my back to do this', then it'd absolve him of all responsibility, wouldn't it...

 - .

Camber paused at the bitter tone, but then, acidity had never bothered her too much. Suits me. And if it's not too much trouble, that'd be nice. If he sent them, so much the better. If not, well, she wasn't any worse than she had been.

Besides, it wasn't like there was a lot to do in here. They'd set her up with a cool apartment, but all she had were the computers, really. She picked up her bass and turned some music on - not loud enough to keep her from hearing the PMs against it, but loud enough to play along with in the meantime.

 - .

It was a while before Brett got back to her again. Between 'talking' to Eris at length to ensure that she wasn't going to OD on either drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. And then crashing and burning that whole thing as per fucking usual, and messaging with Hannah - would he never get away from that fucking girl? - and Owen, yeah, things were taking time. But, apparently, he had four for four. Okay, so my other two people are Hannah - bitchy blind girl - and Owen, who I don't know. Brett. he sent her, succinctly.

 - .

With her ipod on shuffle, Camber had managed to get through Jack off Jill's version of "Love Song", "Nervous Breakdown" by Black Flag and a couple of Nirvana songs in a row before the computer chimed and she hit pause and set her bass down.

Hannah, huh? Charming. I don't know Owen either but one of my four, Bri, has him too and says he's "cute" online, for whatever that's worth. She puzzled over that and oriented herself between "AFI" - Bri - and "the Ramones" - Brett. That must be Owen. Which meant there were probably some others in common too.

Makes me think we've all got a couple in common. Thanks, you're a big help -- Cam.

 - Sent later that day

It took a while for Brett to get back to Camber, having checked his other messages. It was kinda ironic that he'd had more contact with people today than he had in a long time. And somehow this was easier for him - less personal. For most interactions less personal, that was. With people he didn't know there was that element of distance, no obligation to get to know them, to put himself on the line. Then there was Hannah. And Eris. But he'd known them already. He typed in and sent a quick message to Camber. Update if you're still collecting names, Owen can reach Brianna, Jesse and Svetlana, apparently.

 - .

Camber had spent much of the afternoon playing music at full volume, once she got adjusted to the "ringtones" and how they interacted with the beat of her music -- after all there was no one to bother, the acoustics were kind of stellar, and, she thought, maybe, if she played loud enough, someone would hear her -- but had periodically set it down to knock along the walls, testing for some kind of weakness. She hadn't found anything; she was either going to have to get used to being locked in or try a hell of a lot harder.

She'd made herself a sandwich, careful not to waste anything or eat too much, saving half of it for later in the refrigerator, and come back to the computer terminals. This was a hell of a way to get addicted to the internet.

The Ramones burst at her and she clicked on before she got too tired of the song. Sweet! Thanks. She had already known about Jesse and Brianna, but Svetlana was new. ...out of curiosity, you couldn't hear me playing bass way the fuck too loud, could you? I don't have a lot of hope for us not all being secretly in separate compounds, but I just wanted to check.