08.18.3013: Picking Scabs Again
Summary: Nitrim Khournas pays a supervised visit to Sarah the Hostile. It probably doesn't go the way the Havenite had hoped.
Date: 18 August 2013
Related: My Shadow's Shedding Skin
Sarah Nitrim 

Holding Cell, The Netherkeep
A cell.
August 18, 3013

The Hostile unit has been held in the holding cells of the Netherkeep garrison for just over two days now. It has been stripped of armor and weapons, put in a simple cloth jumpsuit, and isolated in a cell furthest from possible accidental interactions. It sits in the center of the cell in a simple chair, its cybernetic forearms and lower legs deactivated by inhibitors. The cell is kept in multi-spectrum communicator jammers to make sure that it does not transmit on any frequences. Its eyes are closed, its body otherwise relaxed. A tube is tucked in its right cheek, and it is attached to a sack of water that hangs off its chair.

Leaving his sword and his other armaments aside with the guards at the checkpoint, there is a sweep of fabric as Lord Nitrim Khournas' long, black coat kisses the ground upon entry. His heavy boots make dull footfalls across the floor as he approaches the static force-shield that keeps the Hostile female trapped safely within. With a dull gleam in his dark, green eyes, he comes to a stop at the edge of the shield and takes a moment to breathe in the sight of the girl. With a soft clatter, his claw-ringed fingers scrape against each other before clasping behind his back. "Good afternoon, Miss…"

"Sarah One-One-Three," the Hostile says without opening her eyes. It remains relaxed in its seat, but otherwise unmoved. There is a small, neon patch of synthskin on her upper arm where a recent blood sample has been taken, but she looks otherwise unscathed.

A vacant, understanding nod signals from Nitrim's features at her words. His eyes scan her face and the trace the tube in her cheek to the bag resting on the back of her chair. "Please, call me N." He replies quietly, turning on his heel to pace to the edge of her cell where he turns and leans, folding his arms across his chest. With a sigh, his claw-ring scratches at his temple. "We do not understand, being simpler creatures. Have they been testing you, trying to understand, Sarah One-One-Three?"

Still, the Hostile does not open her eyes. "Do not patronize me," Sarah says in a flat alto. "Your simplification is nonexistent." Then she opens her eyes, those bright luminous cybernetic oculars looking directly ahead of her.

"I'm not here to patronize you, Sarah One-One-Three" Nitrim replies, his chin lifting to the opening of her eyes. His shoulder turns so that he may face her more fully in his lean, eyes searching the bright lights that are her own. "There's a certain obselescence to our condition, myself looking at millenia into the future, yourself looking millenia into the past." His lips flatten into a long frown. "I'm no official, no decision maker, no spy, though you've no reason to believe it. Have you been treated with dignity?"

The Hostile listens to him, though the corner of her lips gives a twitch. "I have given you the full form of my designation," Sarah says, her tone almost impatient. "We are aware of your naming syntax. The Anglic letter 'N' is not a name." Now she turns her chin slightly, fixing those luminous orbs on the Havenite. She stares at him for a long moment, and then she looks forward once more.

"Nitrim." The words roll off of his lips easily enough, playing fair. Despite his noble status, he is not the only Nitrim in Haven, though if she's smart — "I do have a last name, Sarah One-One-Three, though you'll have to forgive, since our peoples are at war I will have to hesitate to tell you the rest. We have our attachments." His head cants to one side, watching the way she turns her eyes away from him, all the while trying to not watch her as if she's an animal in a zoo. "But I didn't ask what I did out of patronization. Have they treated you with dignity?"

Sarah does not look at him, her luminous gaze remaining firmly ahead of her. Even if he stood directly in her line of sight, it would be almost as if she is looking beyond him. "Samples and scans have been taken for assessment, Nitrim of the Inner Worlds."

There's a shuffle of fabric as Nitrim repositions himself, thumbs tuckling into the buckle of his swordbelt as his shoulder digs softly against the wall. With a drumming clack, his fingertips tap against the buckle. "You know, since this war started I've wondered what would happen if I were captured in the field. I can't begin to assume the reasoning of your leaders, your people, but … I knew I'd find myself just wanting one conversation. One real conversation." He pauses again, another soft shake of his head. "If the roles were reversed, Sarah One-One-Three, would you speak with me? Not to help me or make me understand, but as people?"

The Hostile remains perfectly statuesque. "I am not curious about you, Nitrim of the Inner Worlds," she states simply after a moment of silence. "We spend four hundred and sixty years studying the Inner Worlds and preparing ourselves for the next forty years we are within synchronized orbit." Finally she turns her eyes toward him, staring at him with those inhuman cybernetic orbs. "If the roles were reversed… your fate would be the same as mine. Understanding is neither of our goals."

"I think that's where you're wrong, though, Sarah One-One-Three," Nitrim says, one of his hands rising from his belt to extend his palm to her, as if to tell her to slow down. "Understanding might not be possible. For whatever reason your people have done this, and for whatever reason my people are fighting on the defensive, I doubt I could fully understand unless I were one of yours." His hand lowers back to his belt. "I don't know what your fate will be, I have no control nor say in that, but I know that if I were in your position I would be replaying the years, serving and wondering if my life had purpose, just in case." His eyes turn away from hers with a shake of his head. "Our attachments can either make us weak, and in other ways strong."

Sarah arches up a single brow ever so slightly. "You know my fate, Inner Worlder. You know my fate." Then she falls into silence once more. She does not appear to have any words for his musings. Perhaps she doesn't suffer those worries, doesn't have those thoughts, or just doesn't care about them. She adjusts her shoulders a bit, but it is obvious that her forearms and hands are heavy and limp, entirely unmovable.

"No. I don't." Nitrim presses off of the wall and turns his side to her. He begins a slow pace in front of her cell that takes him to the far end, where he turns, and then returns to the other side. "I wouldn't give you any false hopes, either. I assure you, these decisions aren't mine to make, nor am I their consultant. Logic dictates you're useful for information. You have a purpose, but you won't see me when any of those questions are asked, Sarah One-One-Three." He comes to a stop, looking to her once more.

Sarah finally turns those luminous eyes toward Nitrim. She stares at him with an certain amount of weight, her expression remaining an unreadable mask. "Then why are you here, Nitrim of the Inner Worlds?" She tilts her head just slightly, an almost minute version of a curious look. Her eyebrow even arches a hint. "You inquire on the state of my dignity, you wonder if I question my purpose, you inform me you don't intend to ask me questions."

"Because in all probability neither of us are going to survive this war," Nitrim replies, the heel of his boot grinding into the floor as his body shifts, turning to face her. "And if the war kills me tomorrow I would rather have known one of you, understood on my own terms." His fingers twitch, and to keep them from fidgeting, he hooks his thumbs into the buckle of his swordbelt, his favorite self-prech. His green eyes wash over in shadows from the overhead lighting as his brows lower, and his jaw sets into place. "I asked about your dignity because like your people I have opinions on the manner and actions of men. Whether that is of importance to you is your own business. If your people hate ours, we should do well to not deserve that hatred." He wets his lips, curious.

"To their disdain, orders have come down from your highest of high that I am not to be… damaged," the word is definitely spoken with a hint of disdain. Her luminous eyes remain locked on him, unblinking and unflinching. "As long as those orders remain, my dignity is intact. Once those bans are lifted, we will speak again." She then smirks, though it is a light expression. "It will take more than sparring a Sarah's dignity to right the wrong that the Inner Worlds have suffered us."

Nitrim nods softly, his lips relaxing into a look of compassion that he directs towards the woman across from him. "You're going to hear arrogance. You're going to hear grand declarations, some in which I made myself within the first days of the war. You're going to see pain, and if those bans are lifted," Nitrim shakes his head, stepping closer to the force-shield. "Even if you ask for me specifically they may not grant you." His fingers lift from his belt to brush softly through his hair, a wistful look on his expression. "There's an expression here in the Inner Worlds that history is written by the victors."

"And why would I ask for you, Nitrim of the Inner Worlds?" Sarah says, her tone gaining an edge. Her eyes narrow ever so slightly, her chin dropping to turn that gaze more predatory. "You are just a child of the Abandoner, like the rest of those who come to stare. I don't need to know what your histories say about us. I know the truth. I know what you really are."

"But I don't, Sarah One-One-Three." The retort is quick, following right on the trail of hers in a near-interrupt. "Even among them, I don't. It's something I've dedicated myself too, the black mathematics of understanding, of asking questions others don't because they're too bloody inconvenient to ask. I didn't come here to stare, to observe. I came because, in the end, all we have is our ability to put mind to voice and hope to whatever God or equation we put our comfort in that someone pays attention."

Sarah lurches slightly in her seat as if she might have gotten out of her chair… if her arms and legs were not entirely useless. She just manages to slump back into the hard and uncomfortable back of the chair. She narrows her eyes at him, her already slim lips becoming even more narrow.

Nitrim doesn't flinch, instead his eyes look to hers and legs with a soft frown. To be unable to move, unable to go where you want to, the idea of it sends his stomach churning. His head lowers for just a moment to sigh before looking back to the cybernetic eyes across from him. "What I just said, I didn't say to upset you, Sarah One-One-Three." His voice lowers, speaking calmly and softly with her. "All of the knowledge I have, the broad spectrum that it is, knows nothing. I seek to not be a fool, Sarah One-One-Three. What have I done to anger you?"

"You exist," Sarah says in reply, her tone finally scathing. She keeps her eyes locked on his, her breathing coming in hard now. It is obvious to see how the muscles of her upper arms, thighs, and stomach all try to be moving her. Her cybernetics are heavy, and the inhibitors keep her from being able to lift them. She peels her lips over her teeth in strain. "Release me," she says in a rough voice, her alto almost growling. "RELEASE ME!" And those luminous eyes seem to brighten, reflecting an emotion deep within.

Nitrim takes a step back from the field at the words Release Me. Something different, something like recognition shines through his features towards her. Unafraid of her and not forced by her words, he rubs a hand over the side of his face and tightly over the back of his neck, wishing away the tension that is forming there. "I cannot, Sarah One-One-Three. I don't have that authority. I cannot make decisions for you. I cannot release you." His fingers curl into a fist, white-knuckling at the edge of some understanding the Khourni feels he is inches from. He starts to turn his side to her, in preparation to leave. "I am never far away, Sarah One-One-Three. They all know who I am. Few of them know who you are, and I fear we've met before today…"

The Hostile lowers her chin a bit more, staring at him with those luminous blue eyes. She is breathing heavily as she slumps back into her chair, unable to free herself from this terrible chair. Her eyes narrow into glowing slits, her nostrils flaring as she tries to catch her breath. She says nothing to him, merely staring at his profile.

"I am not your enemy," Nitrim says flatly to the wall, his eyes staring forward, giving her a view of the sides of his dark greens. "Not intentionally." He looks over to her. "I was abandoned too once. Not to the same degree, not to the same sin. It's something that will never not be hollow in my stomach." He turns towards her, letting her see him fully once more before he takes another step backwards toward the door. "I, too, am a thing misunderstood. That is why I came. Ask for me and I will come, Sarah One-One-Three."

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