01.15.3014: Atrophy Any Sense of Compassion
Summary: Rozlyn visits Sarah, but perhaps she does not get the comfort she seeks.
Date: 10 November 2013
Related: The Ship Who Fell
Sarah Rozlyn 

A Cell, a Watch House in Landing
Throughout the RP
January 15, 3014

It is a moonless night over the planetary capital of Landing. The stars are bright despite the vibrant lights of the city, as light pollution is a thing of the distant past. There is a certain peace over the city despite the usual partying chaos of the Westend, perhaps because the chaos is mild at best.

In the Watch House, the guards on the graveyard shift are rotating through their posts when the Lady Rozlyn Orelle arrives. She is greeted with some hesitation, but she is an authorized visitor for the Cantosan Soldier, and therefore given access — even if it requires waking Sarah. The lights of the bright hallways are brought to about seventy-five percent illumination, and soft chimes start to sound in the captive’s cell to rouse her. Though she had been originally quite stubborn against her capturers forcing her awake, she has grown accustomed to the demand.

By the time Rozlyn arrives at her cell, she is pulling the drawstring tight on a pair of loose sweatpants which drape down over her cybernetic feet. Her lean torso is covered in a simple ribbed, racerback tank-top that only emphasizes her strong, athletic frame. She turns toward the Orelle, her expression as stony as ever and luminous blue eyes unreadable. She grabs the metal chair at the foot of her bed, swinging it out in an arc as she moves to the center of the room before setting it down with a sharp clang. She sits down, draping her forearms across her thighs as she leans forward slightly. Metallic fingers lace together, and she waits for the Inner Worlder to speak first.

Hours are a strange thing to one of The Ring, without the usual cycle of night and day to guide them. They moreso become strange when you have been through late hours and long nights of work and study. While most may be slumbering or winding down their parties, Lady Doctor Rozlyn Orelle is in full force. The woman wears a basic black dress, with a long grey coat over. Simplistic attire, as always.

Through the halls she moves with a purpose and the guards receive only a curt nod. She again has with her a tablet and recording device. The latter is clipped to her coat as soon as she enters the room the Cantosan is being held in and enabled. It’s with her usual smooth and fluid movements that she settles in the chair left opposite the one the Soldier occupies.

"Hello, Sarah One-Six-Four."

The updated genetic coterie is the first greeting provided, left without any additional details. Perhaps to see how the Cantosan responds.

"Hello," Sarah replies, though she hesitates a moment. "One-One-Three of One-Five-Six," she corrects the woman deliberately. She straightens up from her relaxed lean, settling her spine against the back of the metal chair. Her luminous eyes do not waiver from those of Rozlyn, or at least not for a long moment. They flicker, briefly, as if taking stock of the woman in the most casual way possible. Then she inquires, "What can I answer today?"

"Your genetic coterie is out of date, Sarah One-Six-Four. I thought you would like to know." Rozlyn seems to hold a bit less purpose today. While her emotions are still solidly in check, she does have an air less of business and more of… casual conversation. Almost as if she is conversing with a friend.

"I have met Penelope Three of Six and she provided the new data. I apologize for the late hour, but I wanted to be the one to bring the news." An odd desire, perhaps. The Orelle’s tone, when speaking the Pilot’s designation, holds a decided hint of sadness.

It takes Sarah a few moments to fully understand what information Rozlyn is attempting to share, and then she nods slightly. "I am still the one-hundred and thirteenth of the Sarahs, Doctor," the Soldier says in her flat alto. "The information conveyed to you is stating that six more of my genetic map have been born since I have been in confinement." She crosses her arms loosely at her chest. "The last series of numbers in our designations represent the total number who share or shared our genetic heritage. There are some genetic heritages that are more desired, and thus more numerous, than others."

There is a heavy pause from the Cantosan as she bears the weight of the news, and then she nods ever so slightly. "I am familiar with the Penelope coterie… if you have spoken with one… will she be brought here to be held and interrogated as well?"

"What makes a genetic line more desirable than others?" Rozlyn does seem genuinely curious as she crosses one leg over another. "You are heavily modified with cybernetics. Would that not off-set any genetic issues that may arise? How similar are you to your ancestor?"

The woman does look rather uncomfortable at the question. In fact, as she looks down to the tablet resting in her lap, there is something of sorrow in her mien. Instead of responding, she taps a few things on the display and brings up a video. The device is lifted and turned so that Sarah might see.

The feed is of Rozlyn’s own helmet cam, with the extra details from her AI stripped. It simply displays the base video feed, with the outside — non-comm — sound included. From the point they first saw the Pilot on. Her hands shake slightly as she holds it up and her chin remains tucked in towards her chest.

Sarah shrugs her shoulders ever so slightly. "Specific genetic dispositions, brain size, bone mass, natural musculature recovery, personality inclinations — though that only recorded once enough of a map is selected." Then she stretches out her hand a bit, as if looking at her cybernetic fingers. "Not all Sarahs possess the same level of cybernetic alternations. Mine are due to personal choice and required limb replacement." Then she shrugs again. "I do not know. I never met my ancestor."

Then when the tablet is offered out, the Cantosan goes quiet. Then she looks up toward Rozlyn. "She did what was required of her. Mourn if you must, but mourn for the loss of her potential."

There is a silence and once the display shows Penelope confirmed dead by Nikomachos, Rozlyn cuts the feed and lowers it back to her lap. "I thought I was making progress, Sarah One-One-Three. No one was harmed. And yet, none of your people will know."

"Did she know she would not survive being removed? Is there a way to do so that she would have? What if I meet another like her. What sort of life is it to be hooked up like that at all times?"

Sarah arches up her brows together ever so slightly. "It is the life that she was chosen for," the Cantosan says. "Embedded are invaluable to the Cause." There is a long and steely silence from the Cantosan before she shakes her head. "You Inner Worlders… you enjoy nothing more than looking at us and think that we are pitiful, trapped, isolated from our own humanity. The Penelopes are proud and dutiful."

"That… is not what I think," Rozlyn says, frowning as she lifts her chin to look towards Sarah. There’s a hint of resolve in her dark eyes. "I resent the implication that we enjoy such thoughts, if we have them at all. To see Penelope like that, I felt for her. None should be trapped, for any reasons."

There’s a glance around the room and she draws a sigh. "Before you speak of my hypocrisy, it is not my choice that you are here. I had no part in the decisions made and no way to change them."

On the tablet, she does mark down one thing in her notes on Penelope: Embedded.

"You said not all Sarahs have the same level of enhancement and that yours were both personal choice and necessity… Can you tell me more of that? I would be interested to know, if you are willing to expand upon the concept."

"They are not trapped," Sarah replies in that flat alto, and her stony expression resumes once more as she leans back in her chair slightly. She is silent for a long moment in the wake of the next series of questions, her luminous gaze locked in an unblinking stare. "Before I joined my unit, I had suffered a training exercise that broke my left forearm and right lower leg. Both limbs were weakened by the injury, and I elected to have them replaced. My right forearm and left lower leg were replaced soon after at my request." She rolls her shoulders slightly. "I like symmetry."

"I see." Taking things a more clinical route seems to be helping Rozlyn manage her own feelings regarding the ‘Embedded,’ as Sarah called her. "We Havenites only replace limbs if absolutely necessary. It is… almost impossible to find a doctor who will do so at just a request. So, are there Soldiers who have no cybernetic enhancements?"

A few notes are added to the tablet and Rozlyn looks briefly thoughtful. "Sarah, how old are you? Do… children ever travel on the ships you bring here? At what age does training begin?"

"All Cantosans have cybernetic enhancements," Sarah replies simply. "We receive ocular upgrades and other cranial advances after our first year of life, before our cranial bones fuse."

She tilts her head a bit. "I am twenty-five standard years of age." There is another long, weighted pause by the woman before she answers, "Children are not permitted onboard military vessels." This time she starts to smirk ever so slightly. "As I told Victor Khournas, I was five Imperius years of age when I began training."

"Beyond the ocular and cranial enhancements, are any others standard? How is… a Cantosan chosen for their role? Is it based on your genetic assignments?" Slowly, Rozlyn is beginning to learn the cant of Sarah’s ways. How the Soldier may refer to this or that. It’s not easy, but she’s starting to grasp certain aspects of the vernacular.

"I am relieved to hear that children are not permitted onboard military vessels. It was a concern that had arisen. I doubted such, but I am glad to have confirmation." A pause, a few more notes on the tablet. "What does training entail? Is it schooling of culture, history, and sciences? Or do you focus on the militaristic? Are there… others we Havenites have not met? Do you have… artists? Scientists? Do any just remain at home and tend to the children?"

The implication is there, but not spoken yet: what do the Cantosans do when the Inner Worlds are out of range?

These questions are replied with silence. The Cantosan stares, unblinkingly, at the woman across from her without a single twitch or tic to betray her stoic features. "I will not answer those questions," she says finally, invoking a long ago promise that Sarah would be the one who decided what she answered and what she didn’t. She tilts her head ever so slightly to one side, luminous eyes locked on Rozlyn.

There is a faint disappointment in Rozlyn’s mien. She makes note on her tablet. "Should you ever wish to or be willing, I would be happy to hear, Sarah."

The Orelle looks down to the tablet again, brow furrowing. She’s contemplating her next move, taking her time of it. Perhaps finding the right way to state her next question… or what that question should even be.

"Sarah, are there aspects of your history and beliefs that you would be willing to share?"

There is another lapse of silence from the Cantosan before she stretches the fingers of her right hand in an idle gesture. "Doctor… you, like Doctor Figueroa, mean only to sate your curiosity and form a deeper understanding of an unknown. However, I am not a consenting volunteer to provide you with those requirements. I will not answer questions that could be used against my people in acts of war, and despite the relative benign state of your curiosity… the rest of your people intend to systematically destroy mine."

There is a slow sigh from Rozlyn. For what Sarah states is not untrue. "Perhaps not topics of war, then." She decides not to again rehash the point that her people only fight the Cantosans because the Cantosans have come to their worlds to do the same. "Culture. Are you willing to speak of culture? I do not see how that could be used against your people. Perhaps it would further humanize you to the average Havenite, to help them understand."

"I do not want you to understand," Sarah says, this time her words heavy with a touch of distaste. "Nor should you want to understand." The Soldier shakes her head, peeling lips slightly back over her white teeth. "Understanding creates sympathy, sympathy creates hesitation, and hesitation leads to death. Your survival requires you to not understand, sympathize, nor hesitate." Then she leans forward once more, forearms resting on the flats of her thighs. Her fingers cross together. "You are not a soldier, Rozlyn Orelle… ask your… military command… how valuable they think knowing the culture of their enemy is… they will praise you for bringing them the most priceless intelligence on Hostiles… for once you can see inside the head of those who seek to destroy you, you are given the key to destroy them."

"You are correct," Rozlyn says, back straightening. "I am not a soldier, nor do I ever intend to be. I am a scientist. I seek to understand and to find solutions."

She folds her hands over the surface of the tablet. "I wish survival for all, if it can be found. I feel you are our key to that end. If I can do anything to minimize the deaths, of my people and yours, I will strive for that solution. I will not force you to share anything, but I will ask."

There is a pause then and she drops her chin, looking towards her lap. There is a sense of quiet about her. "And for my own curiosity as well. Sarah, my realm of research is black holes. You could say my entire work revolves around knowing the unknown. I lie awake some nights, frustrated at how much I simply do not know. After generation upon generation, we finally have the opportunity to know those lost and what happened. Of course I am going to ask. Of course I am going to try to be your pupil in this understanding."

"You cannot know the truth of the universe until you become one with it," Sarah says — perhaps the most philosophical thing she has said since her time in captivity. The Soldier lapses back into silence once more, studying the scientist across from her. Her voice drops into a whisper that is so low that Rozlyn might need to lean in to actually hear her.

"We are coming, Rozlyn Orelle… you will get the answers you seek soon enough…"

Frowning, Rozlyn stands. If anything, the woman looks… morose? Perhaps it is a give and take. Their last meeting, it was Sarah who lose handle of her emotions. This time, it is Rozlyn. The tablet’s display is turned off. "I want it to be homecoming rather than genocide, Sarah. Some of us hold no animosity towards yours. We seek only to protect our own families, nothing more. I do not know if you have any children of your own back on Cantos, but perhaps think how you might feel if there were waves of Havenites constantly putting them at threat."

As she starts to step back towards the doors and the halls beyond, Rozlyn adds: "Remember, we have only made attempt to visit your world once. The past three cycles, it has been you who threatened us." And then, with a soft hand upon the recording device to switch it off, she heads away.

"I do not have children of my own," Sarah replies as she leans back once more as Rozlyn stands. She does not rise from her own seat, merely watching the Inner Worlder with those luminous blue eyes. "Release me… tell your people to lay down their arms… surrender to us… these are things that will spare the lives of your people… you know that your people will not stop killing mine just as we will not stop killing yours… we know nothing else."

Then she nods slightly as she starts to head away, and only once the woman leaves the cell will she finally rise to return to her lonely, single-wide cot.

As the guards hold the door for Rozlyn to step through, she will add one thing over her shoulder: "Even I will not surrender to the slaughter."

"Then I cannot help you," is all Sarah says as she drops onto her bed and turns her gaze out toward the windowless walls of her cell. She breathes out a slow exhale, lids falling over her eyes even while she remains seated, fingers lightly twined with one another.

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