2014-07-29 - It's Just A Verbal Tic

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Title: It's Just A Verbal Tic

Labyrinth has a new recruit, and the time has come for her to be introduced to the rest of Mobius's operatives. Who will prove to be the most clever Denizen of Labyrinth? (Spoilers: It's not Westar.)


Eas, Soular, Westar, Dark Mercury


Desolate Mansion

OOC - IC Date:

19 February 2014 - 7/29/2014

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

What a satisfying first mission! A pass with flying colours -- with a single punch and a few (well, more than a few) nasty words, Ami has probably done more to the group cohesion and happiness of the Senshi than any number of Nakewameke might possibly do. Somehow, though, she doesn't really want to go to her normal Earth human home after that one.

Instead, she has found herself back at the mansion... which is good, because apparently /someone/ says that it's the designated time to go meet everyone else and say hello.

The possibility of doing so catches her a little off-guard, and as a result, a perfectly normal Earth human Ami is a little wide-eyed when she's shuffled toward... whichever room Soular and Westar have chosen to hang out in for this designated coworker meeting period.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

Eas has not precisely wanted to take some big social occasion here at the mansion; it's off-putting to do. At least Soular and Westar mostly understand how to function as citizens of Labyrinth; there's something different about this Dark Mercury. But she has directives to do so, so of course she will be doing so.

She still hasn't put Ami's number in her cellphone, though.

In civilian guise, rather than exerting the energy of the data diamond, she is wearing her fortune tellers robe with the hood back as she leads Ami through towards the meeting room. She doesn't actually offer any reassurances; instead, she just stops at the entrance, and gestures Ami through.

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

In one corner of the usual meeting room is, of course, Westar. The garbage can that had decorated it for several days is, at last, gone. The weight-training equipment remains; currently, the heavy machinery remains still and unused.

There is, however, the rhythmic clank of heavy metal. Westar sits across a bench, a heavy dumbbell in each hand. With his cape set aside, his shirt effectively ends at his elbows, and he alternates lifts with each arm. Left arm up, left arm down. Right arm up, right arm down. Repeat as often as desired; how long Westar has been doing so, only Soular might know.

When the door opens, he looks up but doesn't pause. The clank of weights shifting continues that eternal rhythm, incessant and regular. It's not exerting Westar enough that he can't speak to the new arrivals - though he pauses upon seeing Eas's garb, and the new arrival. Is she using the name of Setsuna today, or the name of Eas?

Best not risk getting it wrong. "Welcome back! Who is your companion?" Brief and blunt and no fault to be found, maybe Westar can escape insult today!

Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

There's no getting rid of the training equipment, ever. Garbage cans are one thing, but that's a battle Soular will never try to engage in. One may as well try to drain a lake with a sieve.

The rhythmic clanking of said exercise machine at least provides decent white noise, and Soular has long since tuned it out while reading his latest book. This one is a novel, apparently a popular one in Japan; whether Soular is enjoying it or not is impossible to tell by his expression.

The sound of the door doesn't get him to look up. No, what gets the silver-haired young man to look up is the realization that he hears two sets of footsteps. There's a flash of surprise in his green eyes even before he sees Ami Mizuno, and he shoots a glance, and a frown, at Setsuna.

Westar might take this at face value, but Soular as always thinks several layers deeper. While he and Eas have a somewhat antagonistic relationship, he's well aware that she is a) not an idiot b) unfailingly loyal to Mobius-sama. She wouldn't bring a normal Earth girl into this room without good reason.

It's just a matter of finding out what said reason is. Still frowning, Soular silently waits to hear what that is.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's hard to break old habits. Even among people she /knows/ are friends, Ami is a little shy; she /wants/ to be part of that world, but she doesn't even know where to begin. Fortunately, Westar asks a question that's easy enough to serve as a starting point, and Soular... is at least paying attention?

"My name is Dark Mercury," Ami says; she thinks if she leads with /that/ instead of the much less impressive, much less immediately-useful-to-Mobius Ami Mizuno she'll make a better impression, though she does hastily add, "or Ami Mizuno, if you would prefer that." Where does she even begin?

A moment of relatively deep thought seems to help her sort things out. "Eas-chan brought me here and helped me find a new purpose," she explains, a smile on her face. "I'm eager to aid Mobius-sama in whatever way I can!" She studies Westar for a while in particular as she explains herself; Soular seems familiar, somehow, and gets a little less attention as a result.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

The day the exercise equipment disappears is a day Eas will find the room very strange. It's simply a fact of the mansion's existence that it is there. There is much that is like that here in the mansion.

Stepping into the room behind Ami, however, Setsuna doesn't so much as glance at the weights, or Westar himself, until he speaks to her. Soular gets somewhat more attention; she sees his surprise.

If she were the type to smile, she would smile about that. Instead, she simply looks at him just as flatly in response to his frown as she does to most things.

Ami introduces herself. "This is the result of my plan to eliminate some of our distractions. Mobius-sama has since assigned her to this location and mission. She has been made familiar with the layout of our base and informed of our mission parameters and secrecy requirements. She will be maintainin her cover identity as an ordinary human; it would be too conspicuous for someone of her social stature to disappear."

Eas crosses her arms, but gestures by nodding in the direction of Westar, then Soular. "Westar, and Soular. I've already told you what you need to know about them."

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

Clank. Clank. Clank. Pause.

The girl - Dark Mercury's response to Westar's question brings a grin to his face. Not a savage grin of bloodthirstiness, but something verging on actually being cheerful. A new teammate! A chance to actually match their numbers against those of the enemy!

More to the point, her attitude towards their mission is heartening. Eager to help however she can? This is worth celebrating, enough that Westar actually sets down his weights. Hands free, he slams one fist against his chest. "Good to meet you - I am Westar! Or, I suppose, Hayato Nishi when out in Tokyo." He needs to get more used to that name, given certain plans.

With the weights set down and his motion stilled, Westar's appearance can be taken in more easily. Tall - even when seated - broad, and heavily muscled. Hair and eyes share in a mint-like colour, and his face shows his emotion. Cheerfully, he turns to Eas. "Great job, Eas! It sounds like your work is really paying off!"

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

/Dark Mercury?/ Soular mentally echoes. That's not a name or title that Mobius-sama would assign. Not to mention, Soular is by his nature a researcher and a collector of information, and his original job was specifically learning more about other worlds. While that was for inhabited worlds, he's aware that this planet is not alone in its solar system, and when he encountered the Sailor Senshi, planetary warriors, he made a point of at least memorizing the names of the planets. He's never met Sailor Mercury before, but with that information, he rapidly puts facts together and forms a conclusion.

He smiles. It's an icy, humorless, unfriendly smile. Taking one of those magical girls and bringing her under Mobius-sama's control... That goes far beyond merely eliminating some of their distractions. It's impressive by any measure--and Soular does not like that Eas has handily shown him up, or that he's only learning about this development now. He opts not to divulge his thoughts, though, since what's ultimately important is Mobius-sama, who clearly approves (Soular couldn't so much as dream that Eas would lie about this). The young man with the long silver hair gives Ami a single curt nod of greeting while Westar gushes in his customary manner.

And then he slides that icy smile over to Setsuna. "'Eas-chan'?" he repeats.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

The idea that she's too popular to simply disappear -- though that's not /quite/ what was said -- makes Ami swell with pride; she takes a second or two to just bask in that thought. Curiously, she doesn't take that thought to its logical conclusion -- if she was really that special, why would she only be able to find meaning /here/?

"I look forward to working in conjunction with you, Westar," Ami says, careful to construct the sentence such that there is no overt 'togetherness' to it; she has very rapidly learned that Eas doesn't appreciate that sort of thing... though apparently she wasn't kidding about Westar being into that.

Soular mirroring her, however... well, she can at least tell that he's a little baffled by that. "Eas-chan," Ami says, confirming that every syllable injected was, indeed, intended to be the one heard. "I'm really, truly grateful to her... if it weren't for her I don't think I would've ever found my real purpose." She scoots a little closer to Eas as she explains that, adding, "I'm sorry, again, for trying to fight you before all of this. It's nice to know /someone/ has my best interests in mind."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

Eas, of course, usually has little comment on Westar's considerable strength, though it is certainly obvious when he sets down the weights and stands. ...And compliments her work.

"It's only the beginning," she answers, completely seriously... but she goes yet another few moments without actually insulting Westar. Perhaps she does appreciate it. Or maybe he's just lucky. ...Ami's response to him gets the slightest of nods in what might be something like approval.

While Eas freely mentioned it to Dark Mercury, she doesn't bother telling /Soular/ that this goes well beyond her actual plan. ...But even if it didn't, she still wouldn't have told him.

Ami talks about being grateful, responds--but the purple-haired girl is quite aware of the meaning of that smile at her. She frowns. "Dark Mercury's verbal tics will have no adverse impact upon her effectiveness," she says about 'Eas-chan'. She is quiet a moment after, perhaps considering what best to say about being grateful.

Instead, "I wouldn't call what you did before 'fighting'. You'll need to do much better in service to Mobius-sama."

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

Soular thinks deep thoughts. Eas pays attention to people. Westar has...his muscles, really. So the mismatch of 'Dark Mercury' with standard Labyrinth names goes unnoticed by the executive of the WT sector. Besides, the point is - they have a new ally, who actually wants to work in conjunction with the rest of them.

Could today be better? Westar shakes off the apology without a second thought. "Serving Mobius-sama is the finest purpose - whatever has happened in the past, we're working together now! And I'm glad Eas has found someone to get along with-" Westar cuts himself off there, glancing to Eas. That might have been a bit much.

A change of topic - he pounds his chest with one fist, and clears his throat. "Has Mobius-sama given you Nakewameke to use as well, or are you going to be helping in other ways? Our goal is to fill the Sorrow Gauge, which we do by, uh...."

Why did he think trying to explain was a good idea? Desperately, he looks to Soular for help.

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

The more Soular listens to Ami speak, the more the ice leaves Soular's smile. The smile itself doesn't waver, and it doesn't ever quite get friendly, but by the time Setsuna speaks of Dark Mercury's verbal tics, it's much closer to the kind of smile someone would have while eating popcorn... so to speak.

"Oh, is that so?" he says to Ami, eyes squinting shut in a blatantly false facsimile of benevolence. "Hardly surprising. Ultimately, we all want what is best for the people of this world, don't we?" That is, to be ruled by Mobius-sama and be stripped of their emotional extravagances, misery and joy alike. Soular gets the impression that Ami has the wrong idea entirely, and while that's troubling in its own way, this very moment, he can only look forward to seeing how Eas struggles to handle this here on out.

Regardless, his tone is much more mild when he folds his hands in his lap and continues, still smiling, "It is good that you finally found a worthy purpose, Ami Mizuno-san."

'Someone to get along with'--what a quaint idea. His smile degrades into a smirk, which fades away entirely when Westar verbally flails and then looks to him for help. Soular returns that look with one that eloquently says something along the lines of, '/Seriously/?'

"Utilizing the Data Diamond," he concludes, "which both allows us to Switch Over and to summon Nakewameke." He levels a new, just-as-mild smile on Setsuna. "But I'm sure Eas has already told you all of this, hasn't she?"

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"I've already started doing better," Ami points out, with the pride of having aced a test. "The Sailor Senshi are miserable. If how things went the last time they were is any indication, Sailor Moon may not even be able to transform." She's practically /bursting/ with pride at that one. She barely had to waste any energy, even!

When Westar starts talking about friendliness and then takes a hard swerve into practicality, Dark Mercury mirrors him; she's perfectly content not to comment on her relationship with Eas. "I've been given dispensation to use Nakewameke, but I haven't used them yet," Ami says, with a small nod. "Eas-chan explained a lot of it to me, but I'm still taking it all in..." She reflects on this for a moment, adding, "My old equipment has been enhanced with a Data Diamond. I shouldn't have any trouble finding ways to keep those meddlers from interfering..."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

Mostly, the way Eas handles Ami's enthusiasm for her is by ignoring large parts of it apparently; so far, it's functioned reasonably... but hasn't exactly stopped things, either. Which is itself curious.

Soular's mention of what they 'all want' is met by a dismissive shrug of the cloaked girl's shoulders. "Hmph," she says again. She told Ami her opinions. But she should hold back some.

Besides, Ami has proud results to report. Turning to analyze Dark Mecury's face, as if to check for truth, Setsuna considers for a moment. "Acceptable. That's one distraction reduced in effectiveness. And unlike working with them, you didn't have to rely on someone else to make it happen. That's why we're strong."

Eas is watching Westar be sensible talking about Mobius-sama when he makes That Comment, a comment that immediately sets her red eyes to narrow in his direction. "What's that supposed to mean?"

This time, someone to get along with will not escape.

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

This is...problematic. On one hand - Ami Mizuno is already a hard-working member of Labyrinth, prepared to send out Nakewameke and create misery! On the other...it sounds like on her first day, she's already better at gathering Misery Energy than him.

Seriously, is there some instruction sheet no one gave him?!

At least Soular's actually helping instead of mocking for a change - sure, the gaze was deriding, but that's normal for Soular. Dark Mercury isn't jumping on top of any missteps he makes in speech, so even if she's yet another ally smarter than he is, they should be able to get along.

Unfortunately, he has provoked Eas. Immediately, Westar starts waving his hands in a panic. "Nothing! I didn't mean anything, just that you found a new comrade for us, who you're not always getting angry at!"

Maybe he should just stop talking?

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

"Hmmm... Good work," Soular tells Ami, seemingly sincere save for a certain glint in his eyes. Whether she notices it or not, or recognizes it for what it is, depends on her. The answer the Sailor Senshi gives is along the lines of his expectations--if Eas has told her about himself and Westar, that was almost certainly at the bottom of her list of important things to tell Ami, and Mobius-sama wouldn't assign her to this mission without giving her a Data Diamond to funnel Misery Energy to the Sorrow Gauge. A certain thought occurs to him, though, and he wonders, "Incidentally, how did you and Eas meet?"

He hears Eas 'hmph' at his description of their intentions for this world, and he only continues to smile. Looking at everything logically... it *does* rub him the wrong way that Eas netted such a great success, but if he outstripped her all the time, it wouldn't be interesting, would it? And there's nothing that could demoralize those who oppose them by showing one of their own number the truth of Mobius-sama. (In this way, Soular restores equilibrium to his mental balance.)

As for Eas's sharp words at Westar and Westar backpedaling desperately... Soular just watches the three without comment and with a slight smile.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

It's hard for Ami not to smile, and indeed almost laugh, as Eas goes in on poor Westar for his comments. Everything seems strangely normal -- even friendly, /even from Eas/, albeit a weird sort of friendly where no one wants to acknowledge that there is any kind of friendliness going on.

It's a weird bit of mental gymnastics, which incentivizes her to focus on Soular, who at least seems pretty easy to talk with, and on her wavelength. "We met outside of my cram school," Dark Mercury answers helpfully, before saying, "It turned into a fight, but... that's all over now." She waves it off a little, before adding, "I don't really want to think about that."

She's a little oblivious to anything that may indicate Soular is being insincere with her; she's 50/50 on how well she can read people, especially new, weird, alien people.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

So, Eas's red eyes are, of course, fixed upon Westar. This has been true for moments already. As he speaks, they can't narrow further--they are about as narrow as they can go. Instead, her eyebrows lift just slightly enough to manage to register /further/ displeasure at his response, just as soon as he mentions her anger. She simply stares at him this way, as if her gaze can itself be corrective if she only looks at him hard enough.

"Hmph," she finishes finally, apparently giving no thought at all to her greater success this time as compared to Soular--though that really is plausible. Eas has demonstrated to her fellow executives in the past that she never seems to be satisfied with success.

Ami can answer the question at hand, while luckily she does not tell Eas that Eas is secretly friendly in some way. "It doesn't matter," she adds, backing up her new comrade in this respect. "Klein performed the necessary adjustments to her data to let her use the tools for our mission, and she's aware of the basics. She also possesses intelligence on the area."

Since the other two might need it, of course.

"I told you before," she says to Ami, "This location is one you can often find any of us in the mansion. It's centralized, allows us to receive new orders, and has useful resources within," she gestures to bookshelves and the exercise equipment, "And nearby."

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

Well, at least he's just being dismissed. That's better than the last time Westar misspoke to Eas - Cure Peach being a sticking point he knows better than to bring up lightly. Or, well, ever. Eas's attention has turned back to Dark Mercury, now, and he breathes a sigh of relief once that dread gaze is no longer on him.

Maybe it will work. Eventually.

"Cram school, huh? Maybe I should check that out - Soular, that might help with our plan, right?" Things are settling down enough that, almost on reflex, Westar picks up the dumbbells again, and starts alternating arm curls. "Along with trying to find Infinity, there's the whole business with Infinity Institute to worry about - I'm looking forward to whatever help you can give us, Dark Mercury!" He grins, and continues his exercises, and pointedly does not risk looking in Eas's direction.

Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

Whatever it is that Ami seeks, Soular imagines, looking at that smile, that she hasn't actually found it here. (That there's more to what she sees than he assumes doesn't cross his mind. Of course he knows best what the three of them are like--certainly better than her.) That's not especially important, though. Now that she is under Mobius-sama's control, it's not like there will ever be any life for her outside of Labyrinth. She'll learn.

Nonetheless, he'll keep on eye on her, just as he does on Eas and Westar.

"I see. Eas, how unfriendly of you," Soular remarks with a delicate and creamy layer of irony smoothly spread over his tone, green eyes starting on Ami and ending on Setsuna. "Attacking a poor girl just out from cram school like that."

Intelligence on the area. It's almost a joke, really. Of course she would, wouldn't she? Soular reflects for a moment on the honor it must be for Ami to be the first non-Labyrinth human to be inducted into Labyrinth; certainly she realizes it well, based on how she speaks. "You should be useful to the mission," he finally decrees, which is as close as one can get to praise from Soular.

Then Westar talks, and without missing a beat, Soular tells him bluntly, "Cram school wouldn't do you any good." His returning to his exercises is a decent cue--but Soular waits just a moment longer for responses before returning to his novel.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"I'll keep it in mind," Dark Mercury says, looking around the room. It might be fun to curl up in here with a good book now and again... they have a certain amount of freedom to do such things that most of Labyrinth's citizens do not -- and what better way to use it than to better herself?

Talk of having people to go to cram school with, though, gets her excited, and when Soular casts aspersions on it almost immediately, Ami feels compelled to make a counterpoint. "... I think it'd be good to have someone else at cram school," she says, giving Westar a small nod. "Even if he doesn't learn anything, if we were to summon a Nakewameke and something went wrong..." Well. Muscles.

"Regardless... I have to consider my next move. I hope none of you mind if I do that in here." Summoning Nakewameke is totally new to her -- she has so many /options/! What kinds of dark schemes should she /do/? There are so many possibilities that it's almost dizzying.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [None] has posed.

Eas doesn't look back at Westar in those few moments for sure; it certainly is better than the last time. Luckily, Eas does not have it in mind just for the moment.

Cram school. Well, however unfriendly it might be--Setsuna turns slowly Soular's way, her expression flat. "Hmph," she remarks, dismissing the matter of being friendly in short order, even in jokes.

"We don't have time for frivolous things like sampling this world's educational programs," is her own response to cram school. It's not that Westar's dumb, it's that whether Westar is dumb is irrelevant! "As for that--that sounds a lot like your old habits." She levels her gaze at Ami, this time. "Do you think you need a team in order to be effective?"

She turns away once more, stepping towards her usual spot. "And there's no reason for us to mind your presence. Mobius-sama has assigned you here."

<Pose Tracker> Westar [None] has posed.

Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.

It's not like he was expecting to get anything from cram school, just... "I thought it would be interesting to check out, is all." He grumbles a bit at Eas's and Soular's mockery, and Dark Mercury is kind of dismissing him a bit too...but at least she's positive about the idea.

Maybe he can have someone in his corner sometimes, now?

The point, however, isn't cram school. It's the new ally. Westar looks up from his grumbling, and gives a grin. "You're one of us, now. We all serve Mobius-sama, so we all have a place here!" Eas can't take offense to that wording, right?

Regardless - Soular's taking out a book, Dark Mercury is scheming, Eas is...doing something that hopefully won't be threatening violence at him, it's time for Westar to do what he does best too.

So he sets down the dumbbells just long enough to increase the weight, then returns to his routine.

Clank. Clank. Clank. Clank.

<Pose Tracker> Soular [None] has posed.

When Eas slowly swivels her head his way, Soular just smiles pleasantly(?) back at her. Neither of them denied that that was what happened. How interesting. Perhaps Soular will have a private talk with Eas about that sometime later.

Cram school, however, is beyond his interest. Infiltrating Infinity Institute is one thing--that has a purpose--but cram school does nothing to further their mission. Where Eas sneers down on the very concept, though, Soular picks up his novel and drops his gaze back to it.

"Suit yourself," he says, to pretty much everything Ami has said, seemingly having lost interest in her. If it makes her feel any better, he ignores Westar's grumbling, too--outwardly, anyway. Inwardly, he's actually impressed (in an actually positive way) that Westar has any interest in bettering himself intellectually.

With Eas here and denouncing cram schools, though, he's not about to /say/ that.

<Pose Tracker> Ami Mizuno [Juuban Public School (8)] has posed.

"No, but many magical girls are very interested in their academic prowess," Ami says to Eas, trying to keep things as businesslike as possible. "It would be prudent for more than one of us to support any effort involving a cram school... which might be a good place to harvest Misery Energy." ... That and she'd really like to get her new friends to be a lot smarter, but that is better left unsaid.

With that little bit of explanation out of the way, Ami says, "I think I'm going to start reading. I feel like I might have a few ideas, but I need to think them over..." She heads for the books. Always with the books.