04.16.3014: The Brothers Arboren
Summary: Keanen and Declan start the slow march of restoring their relationship.
Date: 23rd December 2013
Related: http://theywillreturn.wikidot.com/putting-out-fires
Keanen Declan 

Arborenin War Room
Deep below the Grand Rotunda and within the very bowels of the gargantuan Wise Wood lays the War Room of House Arboren. From this place, the entire Spine is surveyed for signs of enemy activity and from here the entirety of the continent's military actions are coordinated. The ceiling is low enough to create a comfortable, enclosed feeling without being cramped. The room contains several dozen military officers and soldiers sitting at computer consoles and illuminated holo-terminals arranged in circular patterns facing the center of the room. The decorative nature of the polished wooden floor, natural walls, and computers placed into frames of mahogany or hornwood give the impression that the designers were as interested in aesthetics as in utility.

At the center of the chamber is a one-step dais, the primary command center where the Knight-Captain on duty operates. At the center of the hub is a circular apparatus which emits, upon its briefing-table-like surface, a glowing holographic map of the entire continent, showing known forces and contact reports. Around the rim of the central command tier are large computer terminals equipped with multiple monitors supported by hardwood appendage arms. These computers are constantly staffed, with officers often peering over the operator's shoulder. The entire war room seems to glow with light from faux-natural illumination emitted by lanterns hanging around the cozy chamber.

April 16th, 3014

Declan stands at the center of the war room, activity is abuzz in every corner Nearly each computer terminal is manned by a military specialist. The Young Lord of Arboren stands alongside the burly and bearish Knight-Captain Seamus Erskine, commander of House Arboren's forces, stands beside him and a few other officers. They point to positions here and there on the holographic projection of the continent. Declan makes sweeping gestures that draws red holographic arrows over the maps….apparently planning troop movements. One of the officers standing nearby nods or shakes their head at whatever is being proposed. The Young Lord appears unphased with any of the criticism—-in fact, he appears more than ready to jump in with a counterproposal.

Klaxons sound an alarm and greenish-gold lights flicker warnings. Those standing at the central hub turn to a nearby monitor. A technician calls out, "Fortification Epsilon Seven-Two reports they are under attack. Hostile assault force has tripped security perimeters."

Knight-Captain Erskine calls out from beneath his full salt and pepper beard, "Visual." The holo-image of the continent fades and displays a terrain visual of the land around a square-shaped fortification made of bound logs laid out to form four walls. The images of scurrying defenders on the fortification would indicate that the walls were several meters high each. The land around it seems to have had its trees felled.

Declan looks at holo-map the moment a few red blips appear on the fringe. He quickly calls out, "Hostile elites inbound!”

At that moment, Keanen steps into the war room. He's been here a few times previously, usually with his Mother. Which, incidentally, is why he's here. He looks around, clearly looking for someone. He purses his lips apparently not spotting her, so he turns to go. As he does so, the computer monitor nearest him warbles, the screen tossing static for a moment, and then blinking out. The soldier there scowls a moment, and then smacks the side of it. It flickers back to life, and the rebooting screen appears. The soldier turns to say to Declan, "Sir, the sensor system's resetting AGAIN." Keanen pauses, and leans over to look at the hardware. "That's a TCM 400. Your grav adapter's loose." The soldier just stares at him, one part 'who the hell are you' and one part 'what's a TCM gravawhat?' Keanen, however, turns once more to sneak out before his brother spots him.

Declan seems to let the Knight-Captain handle the attack. He watches as the skilled commander distributes orders left and right, calling in troops from the Arboren garrison at Cahir Arbor to reinforce the beleaguered encampment.

In the corner of his eye, the Young Lord noticed the flicker of an image monitor and looks at the soldier as he calls out. Declan takes a step towards him the soldier, his brown synthetic leather boots clap against the floor as he moves.

Suddenly noticing his brother Keanen, Declan seems unsure about walking forwarding…but remembering what his mother had said earlier that day, he walks forward, the noise from his stride announcing his approach, "Brother!" He calls out, partly for the sake of the unknowing soldier, "Where is this grav adapter?" He turns to the terminal and shoos the soldier away…then looks up at Keanen as though inviting him to take a look.

Keanen takes two steps to the door, and then freezes when spoken too. He sighs, his shoulders visibly drooping. Slowly, he turns around. Staring at his brother a long moment, he rolls all of his options in his head before finally pursing his lips and stepping back over to the monitor. "The TCM 400 is assembled on the Ring," he explains, moving in front of the monitor. He takes the screen in his hands, and lifts it to unlock it from the rack, and then slides it out, revealing the electronics behind it.

"The artificial gravity there measures slightly different than on the planets and moons or on a starship," he notes as he reaches inside and grasps a small black chip with several tongs and wires emerging from it. "They use this adaptor to sense the difference, which tells the electromagnetic ground which planet or whatever the monitor is on, which determines how much compensation to use when shielding it from EM disruptions like hover tech or energy shields."

There's a snap, and the black box locks into place. "The TCM 400 model is notorious for those things coming loose in shipping." He hefts the monitor back into its rack, sliding it back into place and then locking it back down. "My first video editing monitor was a 300, it had the same issue…" He looks at Declan, lifting his brow. "I was looking for Mother. She's not here, so…" And he begins to turn to go once more.

Declan stands alongside Keanen, peering closely at what he is doing. Declan adds to the list of EM disruptions, "And a planet's magnetosphere…I suppose if you were able to gauge the magnetic forces generated by a planet's tectonic activity then you could determine what planet you were on, peruse a database of gravimetric data and then wah-la." He flips his eyes back to his brother's work at the snapping sound. He continues to watch as Keanen finishes up. In response to his question he looks at Keanen says, "I spoke with her earlier today. She said she would be late for dinner tonight…but if she still hasn't shown up then I guess she probably is still in her study."

Declan looks down at the computer terminal again and quietly says, "She sought to talk with me about you. I was not sure what to tell her." He tucks his thumbs into his belt…the equivalent sticking hands in one's pockets when they do not have any pockets.

Keanen exhales through his nose, perhaps his teeth are grit. He tilts his head a bit at his brother, making rather direct eye contact. "I'd guess you told her nothing, since, you know, you have nothing to tell. BROTHER." There's a bit of distaste, but he does seem to be trying to hide his vitriol in front of Declan's men.

Declan quietly and rather bluntly asks his brother, "Do you want Lady Evey to be your wife?"

Keanen furrows his brow, and he takes a step closer to his brother. His teeth clench, and he speaks with great disdain but in whispered tones for his brother's sake, "What I want is for you to stop meddling in my life. I TOLD you, stay out of Evey and me."

Declan looks at Keanen for a moment and then beckons him to join him through the doorway. If Keanen follows they would enter a vacant corridor that leads to the lift returns to the Grand Rotunda. He whips around to look at his brother and says, "I do not relish messing around in my siblings’ affairs, but as the future High Lord of this House, I am privy to certain information that I will be required to know of and make use of in the future. I know you do not like me messing around in your affairs most of all…but…" he falls silent as someone gets off the lift and walks into the War Room.

He looks at his feet until that person has slipped by then continues, "Listen, I sing your praises to Mom, Kean. I champion you to her. It tooks some convincing…but she sees the wisdom in a match with Evey—-if that is what you want of course." He looks at his brother intently.

Keanen straightens, and inhales, catching his breath and taking a moment to collect his anger as the soldier walks from the lift to the War Room. He grinds his teeth a moment, looks at the lift, then back at Declan, speaking in a calm but firm tone. "I am in love with LADY Evey Dalton." He lifts his chin just slightly, "When the time comes that I am ready for betrothal, I will talk to the head of our house about that matter. Until that time, I suggest the Young Lord focus his attention on his own betrothal and stop disrespecting my clearly stated wishes for him to keep out of my affairs."

Declan nods at his brother, "I will ask mother to stop asking me about it and I will cease bringing it up. But she is already aware of your relationship with Lady Evey Dalton…and frankly we need as much support from the Orelle's vassals' as we can. The Orelles are not big fans of us…and yet we are big fans of the Daltons. But I assume you are aware of that."

Declan crosses his arms over his chest and narrows his eyes at Keanen, "I have something for you. A multi-spectral anionic imaging camera. A gift for your birthday…I hear you can capture images of radiation, atomic decay, microscopic this or that…if course it is still your regular camera…just with a number of new filters I guess. Got it custom made by a man on Inculta."

Keanen just stares at Declan. He blinks. Stares a bit more in silence. Blink. Then he shakes his head, and asks, a bit tiredly, "What are you trying to fix between us?"

Declan peers at his brother searchingly, "You have been angry with me for months. Livid. Filled with rage that I simply could not understand; at least until now. I took a while, but I have managed to piece it together." He leans against the nearby wall, looking at his brother with calculating eyes. "I wish you had told me earlier…you seemed to think I was trying to torture you intentionally….I am just trying to be a good brother. So…that being said. I will respect your wishes about not speaking to mother about you and Evey. However, I will tell you that she will be writing you soon to ask if you would be interested in such an arrangement."

Keanen tilts his head just a bit, "Why am I angry at you, Declan?"

"Judging by when your rage began…I have come to conclude that you were…well, in love with Ariana. Only a broken heart could produce such rage." Declan gestures to himself, "I know that rage well…"

Keanen closes his eyes, and slowly sighs. He chews his bottom lip a moment, shaking his head a bit, and then looks at Declan, the anger drained away. "I was mad because I was in love with her. But that's not why I hate you." He looks off again at the lift, as if deciding if he should even bother or not. He decides to, and looks back at Declan. "I hate you because when I got mad, you didn't care. You shrugged. You walked away. You were completely indifferent. I meant nothing. And now that it bothers you, you're pushing buttons. You're trying to win me back. You're getting involved in things you have no business being in. You've NEVER stopped to just ask me why." He shrugs, sniffs, close to tears but holding them, "Even now, it's still not about me. It's about you. YOU know my rage well. You saving me. You swooping in to marry me, or giving me a new toy. Like… it never even occurs to you that maybe /I/ wanted the honor of asking Mother for Evey's hand. Fuck, Declan. I just want to matter." He sighs, "Forget it. Just…" He shakes his head, "You should get back to work." He turns to go once more, heading to the lift.

Declan looks at Keanen closely and nods, "Kean…it will not win me any points to say this…but you are my baby brother and sometimes I still think of you that way." He unfolds his arms and paces a few steps back and forth, "I…I still think that. And I'm sorry…I thought you were mad because of something…some sort of…passing thing. Something childish."

He sighs, "But…you're not a child, Keanen. I still think of Eilara as my baby sister….but you guys are adults. And, I did not want you to be….because then…it means no more innocence. No more fun of seeing the world through your eyes, no more being able to win your affection with 'toys'…no more being able to protect you….not more being able to make myself feel important by doing things for you." He runs his hands through his copper hair over and over. "Something happened to me, Kean. During those months I was out on that expedition…when I thought I was about to die. These mistakes came to mind and I resolved to correct them—-that is why I am trying to win you back now…that is why I want to make you happy…why I thought I should make sure you can marry the person you love. But….now, I see that I am still…falling back on old patterns. It’s harder than I thought to "

Keanen pauses, listening. When Declan is finished, he nods, quietly. "I don't envy you. Being heir. That's hard." He shrugs a bit, scratching his cybernetic forearm with his real hand absently, as if there were flesh there needing itched. "But it's even harder being nothing in your shadow." He lowers his hands to his side. "I'm gonna go now. Don't say anything else." He smirks a little, "You're stupid enough to say something to undo any steps forward you've made here, so shut it up." He nods, and then boards the lift.

Declan watches his brother leave, smiling at his final remark. Then he heads back into the War Room.

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