A Little Less Dark, Please

Bell meets Lacrima to talk about how to control her dark energy -- both in the sense of reeling in her aggressive tendencies, and learning how to dusk step.

Date: 2018-08-02
Pose Count: 22
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-02 21:25:37 93399
Nightbell has been wanting to follow up with Lacrima regarding some of the things they talked about in the Dusk Zone. After the incident with Kazeko, at least one of these topics has become slightly more urgent. This was slowed down considerably, however, by some of the paperwork Bell and Dr. Murano had to deal with while the Doctor was in the hospital, and as a result, it's only now that they can get a meeting organized.

It's Akari who walks into the Sunset Tower, looking like just another school-aged shopper, but after flashing her ID to a security guard and surreptitiously slipping into one of the higher-security elevators, it's Nightbell who enters the "casual meeting room" Lacrima told her about. She's dressed in a gray men's business suit and otherwise keeping her glowing eyes and face-markings on display, with Rubindorn hanging around her neck in pendant form. Oddly enough, Bell actually looks slightly tense and worried.
Lacrima 2018-08-02 21:41:38 93400
Lacrima is not a doctor. or a scientist. She is nominally considered a 'Field Researcher' as an official title which means she observes things and write them down. She does experiment with some things. She is however, wearing a labcoat with an ID badge, letting folks know 'she works here' and she also works for UMBRA division.

The room Nightbell enters is a fairly boring drab conference room, with a round table and a round dome at the center of the table. She's idly tapping away at a tablet. She must be working on something important, smart and hard to understand with that concentrative look.

Her Flappy Bird hits the pipe as Nightbell enters and she sighs a bit and puts the tablet down.

"Hello Nightbell." she says softly. "You wanted to talk about things, right?" she asks.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-02 21:57:34 93401
Bell nods, and pulls up a chair and sits down. "Yeah, hi," she says. "Since ... you're the only expert on being made of dark energy I know how to get into regular contact with, buuuuut ... yeah."

She takes a moment to compose her thoughts, then just comes out and says it. "... So, the first thing is ... In my last test-mission, I lost control of the dark energy." She shakes her head. "A certain wind-witch you might have worked with ... captured the Doctor, my handler, and my immediate impulse was to think 'I need more power!' Thought I was letting a trickle, and out came a flood." She shrugs. "I just ... started babbling pure nonsense, and then went one hundred percent pure cackling-mad. Didn't even know what had happened until I suddenly found myself in the middle of the sky with Rubindorn in pendant-form and the Doctor was on a different building, looking like she'd been hit by a truck."

She grins nervously. "And that made us realize that I've always had a trickle going, which is where my confusion came from. And it's why I've always gone for the most aggressive option, instead of, y'know, trying to negotiate with someone who's worked with Eclipse before." She shrugs. "Sooooo ... yeah. Got any advice that'd help, beyond what you told me in the Dusk Zone?"
Lacrima 2018-08-02 22:28:33 93402
"Ah. Kazeko. She used to work for Eclipse when she was also using dark energy under a different name. She is no longer actively working of Eclipse and she shouldn't be anywhere near any facilities." she says curtly. "....is this the fight you threw a red haired mage through a building?..." she asks softly.

"You need to learn to channel your emotions better. Dark Energy, by itself, while dangerous is relatively inert. It's your emotional state that guides it." she offers. "You no doubt became angry when this happened and lost control. It's okay. I loose control when such things happen to me." she says. "Though Riventon-sama taught me to save those emotions for times they're actually useful." she says.

"See... you can't control dark energy. Dark energy controls you. This is a fact of the nature of dark energy." she says.

"BUT... while you can't stop it from doing that, you can choose where it goes. Building dams and making new water ways... in a weird understanding of it." she says.

She pulls her sleeve up and shows the braclet with Mid-childian markings on it. "Riventon-sama built that for me. It's kind of like a 'dam' that slows the flow, gives me time to think so I'm not immediately acting on things and center on what's important or going on."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-02 22:48:13 93403
Nightbell blinks. "A redhead ...? Oh! The girl with the Midchildan device who did barriers and sunny stuff. No, that was in my first fight, which was ... a couple months ago." She grimaces. "... Basically, the Doctor and I were testing my combat capabilities in what was probably the most inefficient way imaginable, by ... putting up draining-machines and picking fights, basically, because of the aggressive tendencies I mentioned and because she's more interested in examining Belkan artifacts and didn't really know any better." She sounds rather embarrassed about this in retrospect. "It didn't help that she's kind of ... eh, never mind, I'm not here to complain about her problems."

She drums her fingers on the table. "Yeah," she says. "This whole incident ..." She shakes her head. "Well, it's really shown that I need to pay closer attention to what my emotions actually are. My infiltration-mode ... seems to have better control over that stuff, because that's part of its own separate programming, but ... that's mostly just pretending." (She realizes as she says this that it's a lie, but she doesn't let it show on her face.)

She peers at Lacrima's bracelet with interest. "Huh. That's handy." She looks back up at Lacrima. "You know, the Doctor's been considering getting us transferred to UMBRA. Mostly because she wants better resources than she has right now, and wants in on the whole 'skunkworks' business, but also because I'd get to be around people who actually know how to fight. And in your case, who have experience dealing with this stuff." She taps her chin thoughtfully. "Dunno how her hospital-stay is gonna affect things, but ... yeah."
Lacrima 2018-08-02 23:16:20 93404
Lacrima listens softly and nods. "That's Rashmi Terios. She's a friend of mine. I heard about it secondhand." she says. "...She is not involved with Eclipse in fact it's the opposite, she doesn't like it much I think." she says.

"That is correct, you need to become self aware of your emotional state. It's hard. It doesn't happen overnight. But for me. I had a baseline of how I used to act. As a human. That I could snap back to if I tried hard enough." she says.

"I'm not sure if you have the same benefit, but Riventon-sama learned it. And...." a pause. "That isn't something I should talk about." she says. "Just. If he can learn to do it, I think you could to." she says.

A pause. "Oh?" she asks. "You'll need to talk to Riven-sama about that. And yes. I understand the independent department scientists are in a very dog eat dog kind of situation." she says. "When it comes to resources." she says. "I hear it weeds out the weaker ones."
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-02 23:27:18 93405
Nightbell nods. "Gonna be honest, if I stepped out of here and ran into Terios-san, the big male knight with the chains, or the Yellow princess who smashed me with the purification attack you found me recovering from ... I'd probably apologize," she says frankly. "I ..." She grins. "... I kind of ... well, there isn't really a way of justifying what I did very much, y'know? I was basically just beating up on them to see if I could."

She shrugs. "I don't have a 'previous state'," she says. "I wasn't activated until after I'd already sat in the Dusk Zone for a thousand years, collecting dust and also dark energy." She considers this, then says, "The first thing that comes to mind for how to solve that is to do couple missions with someone else calling the shots, maybe giving me a tighter leash than I've had, but ... hmm, that might just be the aggression." She shrugs. "The second thing was, what if I spent more time in this form instead of infiltration mode, just being 'myself' outside of missions?" She looks around. "Only question is where I could do that, but ... yeah."

She nods at the talk about Riventon. "Good to know," she says. "If it'd be possible for you to arrange a meeting ..." She grimaces. "... well, the Doctor's in an Eclipse-controlled hospital right now, so she could probably teleconference with us without any problems ..."
Lacrima 2018-08-02 23:48:22 93406
Lacrima nods. "I can do that. Arrange a meeting I mean." she says softly. She head tilts. "Yellow princess..." she scowls. "Color girl. All her attacks are 'purification'. Assume anything coming from her is going to burn." she says. "Knight with... chains...." she purses her lips and takes a soft breath. "Stahlritter." she says. She doesn't translate 'Steel Knight' for Nightbell. She is Belkan. She should be able to translate just fine. "He is my... adopted brother. I won't be upset if you two fight. That is... literarily what he lives for a think, punching things a lot." she says. "Just... yeah." she shifts uncomfortably.

"Right. Using the Dusk Zone to... 'teleport'. Did you figure that out?" she asks softly. "On your own?"
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-02 23:57:11 93407
Bell nods and smiles. "Yeah, I caught on to the purifying thing pretty quick!" she says. "Oh. Brother, huh?" She frowns and shrugs, looking uncomfortable as well. "Eh. Well, I can't promise I won't fight any of your friends again, if they're on the other side of one of my actual missions, but ... you already seem to understand that," she says.

She nods. "I have not, in fact, figured out Dusk Zone teleportation!" she says. "That's actually the other thing I wanted to come here to talk to you about. Might've even helped with Kazeko ..." She shrugs. "Oh! Speaking of which, I forgot to mention, I'd like to pass on to Riventon-san that Kazeko-san is still interested in freelancing with UMBRA. Our own failures notwithstanding, she showed she was totally ruthless in getting what she wanted." She smiles. "The Doctor and I were even thinking of trying to recruit her for actually joining Eclipse."
Lacrima 2018-08-03 00:39:55 93408
Lacrima frowns. "She's a purifier. She'll hurt assets while doing work." she says. "Kazeko is better of trying to better herself... not working with people like us." she says quietly. This sounds like concern for Kazeko rather than concern for Eclipse assets.

She nods. "How fast can you hop into the Dusk Zone? Standard speed? Do you need to think about it?" she asks softly.

"And how fast can you hop out?" she asks. "....You can do it yourself, right?" she asks softly.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-09 22:45:07 94042
Nightbell blinks. "Oh, well then!" she says. "Speaking as one of those assets, never mind!" She frowns. "Wonder why she didn't use any purification on me, though ... I mean I'm not complaining, but."

She clears her throat. "I, uh, haven't really tried duskstepping," she says. "Like, at all. I figured it was better to try that kind of thing with someone who could supervise me, and the Doctor ... isn't." She grins. "Preferably not under fire, either, and not while I'm recovering in the Dusk Zone and need to stay there."
Lacrima 2018-08-09 23:04:45 94044
Lacrima mmphhs. "I didn't know she was one until an encounter the other day." she says softly. "But she's able to do so." she says. She shifts a bit. She listens to Bell say that she can't, as she purses her lips.

"For starters. I'm not sure on the distance of Dusk Zone travel." she says softly. "I haven't tried further than the city limits. I'm honestly afraid I'd get stuck. Or end up somewhere unexpected." she says.

"Secondly, you can't safely bring anyone with you that isn't either immune to the effects of the Dusk Zone, something like me or you, or is in safety gear or sporting a powerful force field of some sort." she says.

"One time. I took me and five other people through it to escape a death trap. I came out and basically started 'bleeding' for lack of a better turn. I don't think Dusk Stepping is made for mass travel at least." she says.

"Anyways." she says as she stands up. She walks to a more open area of the conference room. "We're going to try to reach your 'ruin' in there." she says. "Or get close enough too." she says.

"I want you to imagine that place. Think very hard about it. Get it in your minds eye. Like you're building it in your head. This should be quick for you to do. You know that place well." she says.

"Let me know when you've got it." she says.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-09 23:13:43 94045
Bell nods, taking it all in and listening to everything. "Within Tokyo limits only, don't bring anyone who wouldn't be comfortable in the Dusk Zone, and don't try to bring too many people," she says. "Got it."

When Lacrima gets up, she follows her to the open space. She closes her eyes, concentrating. It's easy for her to visualize the ruins from the spot Ritterglocke had been lying in, facing the nearest wall. "... Okay," she says.
Lacrima 2018-08-09 23:33:44 94046
Lacrima nods a moment. "Now imagine.... a portal there. A passage. Whatever comes to you. Maybe it's a swirling portal, maybe it's a simple doorway, maybe it's a complicated twisty non-euclidean tube. For me it's a rectangular dark doorway." she says.

"When you figure out what's easiest to come to you, then you should imagine going through it. Walk. Float. Throw yourself. Whatever you feel works best." she says..

"....this is not an exact science." she says. "For everyone, how this works is different." she says.

"So we need to find what works for you." she says.

"Anyways." she says softly. "Go and ahead and try that. If you 'poof' I'll follow after and see if we hit where you intended. Be prepared to arrive potentially in the air." she says. "Takes practice, sometimes. But you might get it perfect too." she says.

Then she steps back and places a hand against her chin, watching.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-09 23:48:15 94047
Bell nods, and maintains her concentration. At the warning that she might arrive in the air, she rises a few inches off the ground, and floats just a little bit further away from Lacrima.

Let's see ... she tries visualizing a portal, she tries visualizing a sort of dark energy version of a Star Trek transporter beam, she tries to imagine various sizes and shapes ...

Several moments after she began, her body seems to emit a burst of dark energy, and a pure black oblong disk appears behind her accompanied by an eerie ringing sound. Nightbell vanishes as she passes backwards through it almost instantaneously.

Bell opens her eyes, and finds herself floating a few inches off the ground exactly where she'd visualized herself. She breaks into a grin. "Excellent!"

Ping! <<GUTE ARBEIT, HERRIN!>> says Rubindorn.
Lacrima 2018-08-10 00:04:47 94050
Lacrima notes the sound and effects, as Bell dissapears. She follows-- she appears near where she walked in the first time she stumbled into this place. She walk forward in as she nods. "Good." she says softly. "There was a sound involved with that. A bell ringing. You might want to take that into account. It means it isn't stealthy." she says.

"So we got here, somewhere you're intensely familiar with." she says.

"Now do the same, but we're going back to that conference room we we're in, in Sunset Tower." she says.

"Imagine. Passage. Step." she says. "When we get back to the conference room, I will tell you more." she says. She'll assume Bell can get back, and when they're back she adjusts her coat. "You're able to reach places you've never visited, but that accuracy of that won't be as good with some place you're familiar with." she says.

"Like, if I wanted to go exactly to my manor's basement-- I can hit it perfectly." she says.

"But if I wanted to appear on one of those backstreets in Pikarigaoka, a place I don't go often, it'll most likely deposit me in the general area-- maybe up the road. Maybe on top of a house. Maybe in a tree." she says.

She'll take her seat again. "Practice that." she says.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-10 00:14:53 94051
Bell blinks, and then chortles. "Of course it has the sound of a bell ringing," she says. "I mean, literally what else was going to happen. I'm literally named Nightbell -- 'Nachtglocke'. Bells are kind of my entire thing." She shrugs. "Oh well. Not like I've ever done anything stealthy in the entire ... four months of my life."

She follows Lacrima back to the conference room; the sound when she materializes is of the eerie ringing played in reverse, the sound ending the instant the portal closes behind her.

She nods along with Lacrima explanation. "Okay," she says, and gets out her sleek black Eclipse phone. "... Just gonna text the Doctor to let her know I'm going to be practicing teleportation, so the security systems in our apartment don't complain," she says, typing in a message. "Lessee ..."

She waits until she gets a confirmation, then dusksteps away. Less than half a minute later, she returns. "Okay, got to my living room just fine," she says. "Tripped over the coffee table, but ... well, that's a better result it could've been."
Lacrima 2018-08-10 00:30:57 94053
Lacrima nods. "Good." she says. "There's more advanced things to learn but you might want to learn these basics super well first." she says. "Also... don't try to step anywhere you know you can't go-- 'warded' places-- places with a lot of purifying energy existent in it. There is magical material that can interfere here and there and used in walls to prevent say... someone from Dusk Stepping into Tomoe-sama's office and stealing his computer." she says. "--It isn't dangerous, but it feels a lot like running in a hard door and being flung back a bit." she says. "I learned it the hard way when I tried to teleport into a friend's apartment when I lived with her for a bit when I..." nrg. "It isn't important." she says.

"Just she had it strongly warded and I had to start aiming for the fire escape if I wanted to step there." she says.

"....do you need to drain energy to exist?" she asks. "You may want to watch energy levels if you do, see if it costs you any- take it into account." she says. "It costs me energy. But I'm efficient enough that it just folds into my usual feeding anyways." she says.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-10 00:42:31 94054
Nightbell nods, listening to her description. "I'll keep the 'warding' thing." She considers this. "I don't need to drain energy, but we figured out pretty quickly that my linker core seems to produce dark energy along with regular mana. And shoving drained energy into myself does seem to replenish it faster." She grimaces. "... and we figured out after my first fight that purification attacks deplete it. How'm I doing, Rubindorn?"


Bell whistles. "Twelve percent of my max," she says. "From just three round trips, too. So ... not something I should just throw around in a fight willy-nilly, good to know."
Lacrima 2018-08-10 01:15:32 94056
Lacrima ohs! "I think you should definitely meet Riventon-sama soon then. I think he'll take interest in you at least." she says. "I'll let him know as soon as I can, alright?" she asks.

She frowns. "Ah. Yes. That means taking it into account when you retreat from an altercation." she says. "You'll want to leave some amount to step off." she says.

She seems to search her thoughts a moment, and takes a soft breath. "Right." she says quietly. "....I have. Two brothers. One is... Stahlritter-niisan." she says quietly. "The other is Ryo-san..." she says. "The blood brother." she says. the honorifics may be lost Nightbell, she isn't sure.

"It is.. complicated. I won't get into the issues with you. They're personal. And I haven't known you very long. Maybe another day...." she trails off.

"Regardless..." she says. "Ryo-san has turned out to be the reincarnation of a 'warrior saint' that existed in Earth's past, 'Saint George'." she says. "There is a myth called... 'St. George and the Dragon' on Earth." she says. "The myth talks of a brave, selfless knight who rescued a princess from a dragon by killing it and got a kingdom to switch to a religious doctrine." she says.

"That story is indeed a myth, from the perspective of the victor. In reality. Saint George was a brutal, hateful man who broke promises and deals. The 'Princess' didn't need rescuing at all, and the Dragon was not a monster. The princess died, saving the dragon." she says. "I know this because said dragon is one of my roommates." she adds.

"Anyways. If you see a boy in white armor with a red cross and a spear, that's St. George. He'll probably try to kill you." she says.

"He tries to kill me in broad daylight. He tried to kill my friends too." she says quietly.
Akari Hayabusa 2018-08-10 01:25:07 94057
Bell nods. "That'll be fine," she says. "And thanks for the lesson! My next thought was that I'll chill in the dusk zone for a bit, maybe put half a dozen percent back on with a duskfruit."

And then comes the news about Ryo. The way her eyebrows raise at the fact that Lacrima's brother by blood gets a '-san' when her surrogate brother got a '-niisan' seems to indicate that she understands the significance of the honorifics just fine.

"Hmm." She frowns. "Do you need someone to take him o-- wait, no, that's the most aggressive option again, sorry." She shakes her head. "Well, either way, that's definitely good to know." She smiles. "And now I have another option for a getaway if he does attack me! So, thanks for that part of it, too."
Lacrima 2018-08-10 01:27:48 94058
Lacrima nods and stands up and dusts her lab coat off. "I need to get back to UMBRA. I have a date planned, and I need to feed before the night is done." she says.

"If that is all. I'll be going, then." she says softly. She'll begin to leave by foot after.