1, 2, 3, 4

Who: Esme and Open to Indira, Posy, and Salem via PM
When: About the same time as everyone else's scenes
Where: An excellent replica of Esme's room at home. And cyberland.

Esme had woken up fully dressed, as she had taken to sleeping, and for a moment, she really thought that the nightmare had ended. It smelled like her bedroom, looked like her bedroom. Her hearing aids were on the bedside table. The canopy bed looked just like the one she had at home, and some stuffed animals she'd left at home were right there on the bed with her. She smiled for a moment, and allowed herself to change into a gown and to take her regular clothes, including her shoes and braces off.

It took her a moment to realize that, wait, this wasn't home.

The room sure looked like home at first, but it was too... big. Like it had been stretched out or something. Her posters were there, stuffed animals, even the right view out the window. But the only door seemed to lead to the bathroom. Beyond that, it was obvious that there was no way out. Of course not, it's never that easy, is it? At first she was reminded of where she'd been kept during her "therapy". But then out of the corner of her eye, she saw a light flashing. There was a computer? She'd never had... 2 computers? 3? 4? 5? She was very confused as she saw all the computers in the room. She got into her power chair, which had been parked and charging in its normal place, and headed over to the computer with the light going off. She noticed that the 4 around the room all had that light, but the one in the center did not.

She spent a little time messaging with a man named Jack, who she hadn't met. Evidently the computers were some sort of messaging service to someone else, although upon further review, the middle computer just seemed to be the same journaling system as before. Muttering under her breath, she went around to the other 3 computers that hadn't gone off yet and began typing.

Hello? Is anyone there? My name is Esme, and I was in an experiment with a bunch of other people but they seem to have isolated me again. If you are Leo, or can get a message to him, please let him know I'm okay.

 - .

Salem woke up alone.

Alone in a room that was entirely different from the room she awoke in the day before. Immediately she started to panic. She couldn't figure out what had happened. How she'd gotten there. How the room seemed to be so much like the room she'd always wanted as a child. Pink walls and flowered bedding. The room she never had.

No one had ever wanted to keep her. They'd always fostered her in homes that had barely closet sized bedrooms. She'd dreamed constantly of a room like this one. A room that looked like someone had spent a great deal of time in preparation for a needed and wanted little girl.

But there was one thing that was slightly different about the room. There were computers. Plural. Five of them. After a while, one of them went off with a message. A message from someone named Esme. Salem swallowed and read the message and for a few minutes contemplated on whether or not to answer it.

Finally she worked up the courage to respond.

Esme, my name is Salem. I don't know Leo and I'm not sure if I can get a hold of them. I'm isolated as well... woke up in a room I've never been in before. Computers... Do you remember being moved? I don't. I'm confused.

 - ..

Esme had been watching the TV that had thoughtfully been provided- the only downside was that it only seemed to show tv shows that had been on when she was in high school rather than anything recent. It was a nice nostalgia trip, she guessed, but there were only so many times you could watch Lizzie McGuire before it got really old. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the light on another computer go off. She engaged her chair and headed over, hoping it was from Leo... and it wasn't. It was someone who she hadn't met before. Still, if they had computers like she did, they might be able to make a connection somewhere.

Hello Salem. Unfortunately, being moved like this is something that they do a lot, although I guess your experiment didn't have that happen? Interesting. It's nice to meet you, even if it is under awkward circumstances. You say your room is one you've never been in before? That's odd, mine is an almost exact replica of my room at home in high school, except bigger.

 - .

The sound dinged again and back to the computer Salem went, reading the message from the woman and replying quickly.

Well it's the room I've always wanted. she explained. Since I was little I had this room in my brain that I'd always pretend to be in when I was scared or uncomfortable and well, I'm in it now. That was probably the weirdest thing of all. To be in the room she'd only ever pictured in her mind. The thing she'd wanted most of all.

It's nice to meet you though. she told the woman. Have you found Leo yet?

 - ..

Esme scooted back over from her very brief conversation with Indira and began replying. At least she was moving around instead of being a lump on the bed. Not yet. I've still got another computer that hasn't blinked at me though, so there's a hope. She sighed before continuing. This wasn't turning out well at all. Do you know Jack or Indira? That's who I've got on my other computers. Or have you talked to someone named Addison yet? I'm not sure if that's a boy or a girl.

 - .

Salem looked at the other computers and shook her head, though that was mostly to herself. I haven't checked two of them... the other one is someone named Tobias... I can check. Maybe we'll get lucky.

 - ..

Esme's eyes widened when Salem mentioned Tobias. Okay that was someone she knew at least. How is Tobias holding up? I met him yesterday, he seems like a sweetie, just with a lot of emotional baggage. And when I'm saying that, that's some serious baggage.

 - .

After tapping out the two messages to the computers she'd yet to get messages from, Salem returned to the beeping one signaling a message from Esme.

He said he's 'freaking out'. Said they put him back in the same experiment as before but different. He's alive though because he messaged so I'm going to hope for the best for him. Are you okay?

 - ..

This probably would be different. In his everyone was isolated with no communcation at all. So it is different. I'm fine, just lounging in around in PJs and my chair today. Tell him I hope he still has the book. He'll know what I mean.

 - .

He says that he still has your book and that he says hello. I asked him to ask around about Leo. Maybe someone will know where he is or be able to contact him. It's an odd little game of telephone... but maybe at least you'll be able to know. Who is Leo anyway?

 - .

He's this really sweet guy that I was in the house with. One of the few who didn't immediately treat me like a retard or a fragile little doll or something. Just hoping he's okay.

So where were you exactly before they brought you here?

 - .

Fragile little doll? she asked before it hit her that maybe the girl meant chair... like wheelchair or something. She still wasn't sure and it felt rude to ask, so she went on and answered the question instead.

I was in a house. Nothing was all that bad really and then the food stopped coming and it was like they just forgot about us. Then after a while I just couldn't stay there anymore so I left and they found me a bit after that and then they put me in a house with a girl named Kaori and another girl I didn't really talk to and then now I'm here. I just got to the other house yesterday.

 - ..

Esme sighed. Another one of those. She was sure they were all nice people, but it made her crazy to think how easy these people had it when she was going through hell. She wasn't the type to ever say that to people, but the girl did deserve a warning about what the scientists were really capable of.

Okay, I think I know which one you were in then. Mine had people disappearing left and right, being tortured, sometimes killed, until finally the house got burned down and we had to live outside for a while. The fire alarms permanently damaged my hearing. This is easy compared to what they've done in the past, both to us and to the other experiments.

 - .

Salem's lips parted when she read that and she shook her head at the simple thought of how awful that must have been.

That's awful... she began. Tobias said they tied Scott up naked outside. I thought I was frightened to begin with but if they'd do something like that to him for trying to figure them out, then they're probably capable of anything..

 - .

That's about par for the course for them, really. They took one little gay boy and tied him to a side of beef, naked, so it looked like he was having sex with it, then hung him from the ceiling. That's why it's terribly important to stay in touch with people around here. So that when you vanish or if something happens, people at least care.

Esme was kind of enjoying this. Talking over the computer, even with her fingers occasionally not wanting to cooperate, was ten times easier than talking to people in person and having to fight through her speech problems and hearing problems. She had a thought at that, and decided that it couldn't hurt to ask. She pushed send on Salem's computer and wheeled to the center computer, shaking as she prepared to type her request.

 - .

That's awful. I don't know how prepared I am for this and the more I talk to people, the more terrified I get. Things were bad at the end of my experiment, but I don't think I've had to deal with as much as the other people have. As you have. Even Tobias. He seems so traumatized, he doesn't even want to speak of his experiment.

 - ..

Well, no shit. Esme was really trying not to be pissed off at this woman- it wasn't her fault after all that she'd had it easier. It might have been totally random. In a different universe, she might have been in this woman's place.

No one is ever prepared. You just have to do your best to try. My advice is to sleep fully clothed, in case you have to go quickly in the middle of the night. That's one thing they don't seem to have fucked with too much, what you're wearing when you fall asleep.

 - .

I'll remember that. Fully clothed when sleeping. Check. Any other tips you might have for me? I think you guys all understand this way more than I do. You know what they're capable of and I don't...

 - ..

Just to expect the unexpected. And stay on guard especially when it seems like nothing has happened in a while. They like to lull you into a false sense of security.

I wish I could give you more. I've met some wonderful people here, but that's what makes it so much harder, when bad things happen to people you like and you're helpless.

 - .

I'll keep that in mind. I don't know whether I'd rather be able to talk to people and be able to have that connection and lose it or be alone... It's all really confusing.

 - .

Indira was tired of the games. She welcomed the solitude, assuming Addison was unhurt, and tried to ignore the chiming on the computer until the noise was in danger of driving her insane. She typed a quick reply before silencing the machine. She'd check back later.

I am not Leo and you're not the only one who's been isolated. In fact, one might assume that we are all in a similar situation. My name is Indira, and I prefer my solitude. The only thing I ask is that you advise me if you hear from a woman named Addison or find a way out.

 - ..

Esme sighed when she saw the message from the woman. In addition to it not being Leo, or at least someone she knew, this person didn't seem to want to be bothered. So she just posted a simple message back.

I'll let you know.

At least there was one computer still that gave her hope.