5925/Liberty Bell

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Liberty Bell
Date of Scene: 24 June 2018
Location: The System - Locus
Synopsis: Theurgus questions the mysterious child Bell directly.
Cast of Characters: Lexicon, 1103

Lexicon has posed:
    The Locus Cathoderal upper level balcony garden. The same place that guests had questioned Bell upon last week is once more occupied by the small, blonde program. The picnic table used previously for snacks is currently home to a few crude drawings weighed down by a box of well-used crayons, to keep the wind from blowing the papers about.

    Bell, however, has hauled herself up onto the railing just enough to hang her arms out into empty space, with her legs dangling on the safe side, while she stares out over Locus' fantastical scenery. It looks like the magical city of floating islands was what she was tring to draw, amidst a handful of simple robots and a big round lizard, Poochooze, and other things a ten year old would doodle.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Click, click, click. A familiar sound to the blonde program. The sound of the local DCC's boots on the floor, approaching. The blue-haired magician opens the door, peeks through, then steps through fully, balancing a tray with juice and some snacks which she carefully settles on the table. She looks at the pictures, smiles a little bit, then moves over to lean on the railing beside the girl. "You are quite good at drawing." she offers glancing out the side of her eye at her guest. "How are you finding it here, though. Truthfully?"

Lexicon has posed:
    For unknown reasons, while comfortable with last week's guests and with Charta, Bell's been skittish about her actual hostess. The clicks of those heels causes her to visibly tense up, though she doesn't say anything or run away. She just draws her arms in, hiding most of her face behind her sleeves.

    "Well," she mumbles, "It's pretty, so I wanna remember it. But it's not where Bell belongs. I'm just waiting until Mommy picks me up, and I'll go away." Probably the most she's said to the local DCC during her entire stay. Glancing away, she adds, "An' I won't bother you anymore."

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus has noticed the skittishness. It's the reason she stayed away and sent Charta when the offworlders came. "You're no bother, Bell. In fact, I was kind of hoping you'd stay. Everyone likes you here." she remarks, then turns, leaning on an elbow and just peering curiously. "One thing I did want to ask you... how did you get into those condemned sections anyway? The entire zone has been partitioned off for at least three cycles." she leans in a bit closer, but not uncomfortably so. "And you keep talking about your mother... we've searched the entire Drive and not found anyone who knows you..."

Lexicon has posed:
    When asked to stay, Bell tightens her arms, burying her chin against her sleeves and just staring out over the city. There's no response to that statement, and it almost seems like she's not going to answer any of the questions presented, until--

    "I went there with Mommy," she admits, muffled by her sleeves, "She wanted to find something and I stayed put to play. After you got me, she didn't come back." Hoisting herself up, the little girl insists, "She's real! She doesn't live in Locus. Bell doesn't either." She pauses, then looks down, getting quieter, "She's not my real mommy, but..." After a moment, she turns back to the city, resting her chin on her arms again, "...Nobody else is gonna care for a virus, but a virus. I'm being good because you'd beat me up if I was bad."

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus's has read the reports from the medical teams, and so, she turns around, leaning back against the railing with her elbows propped onto it. "Why do you keep referring to yourself as a Virus? No tests we've run have come back with anything even hinting at that being the case." she asks next, looking over with a critical eye. "You're a Program, just like anyone else in this Drive. And besides, we have some reformatted Viruses living with us too." The Diamond DCC reaches over, lightly resting a hand on the little girl's shoulder. "Even if you were a Virus, you'd be welcome to stay here. I have no reason to hurt you, and neither does anyone else here."

Lexicon has posed:
    "Because I am one!" Bell insists, though she doesn't seem so certain about it anymore, "I always was one, even when the light came, an' the other viruses wanted to be my friend more." Lowering her head, she tilts it to one side, "I got a big cool clubhouse they could play in without making a mess everywhere. It's lots of fun, even if Bell plays too rough sometimes-- they're real strong too. So they're Mommy and my brothers, now."

    When touched on the shoulder, the little program lets out a long sigh, "I miss them. Even if it's nicer here, it's not there."

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus gives a little squeeze, then lets go. "I do understand, after a fashion." she leans back again, looking up at the towering pillar of light vanishing upward into the skybox. "I was just an analysis program in one of the third level research centers before MAGUS. came and brought me here." she says, closing her eyes as she pulls the memory file up.

    "It was hard at first... I didn't know anyone, everything was strange, the training was intense and I nearly deresolved a few times due to overstressing my source code." she chuckles at that. "But then, one day... MAGUS. had to go. She gave me her Driver code, and when I assimilated it, I finally felt like I was home." A hand lifts, clasping over her chest. "I could feel everyone, their hopes, their dreams, their fears... I could almost see them, their joys, their sadness, their fear, their hope." Eyes open, and she looks at Bell. "I'm guessing that's what it felt like for you too..." she pauses for a moment. "Right... Topaz?"

Lexicon has posed:
    Bell buries her chin amidst her sleeves, only listening as the DCC relates such old memories. At some point, she closes her eyes as well, blinking back tears from her own memory coming to the surface somewhere inside that simple head of hers. And then, that name is said. Her eyes snap back open, with a start. What meets Theugus' glance is an expression somewhere in the middle between confusion and fear.

    She drops off the railing, bunching her hands up under her chin as she takes a step back, "...When did you figure that out?"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus remains neutral. A slight smile perking the corners of her eyes up, honest and genuine. "About the time you mentioned a light." she admits, shifting subtly and reaching a hand out, palm open and facing upward. "Because that's what it felt like to me... as if I'd been brought from darkness into light."

    A breeze picks up, whipping Theurgus' hair into a wafting wave of blue behind her, threatening to dislodge her hair in the process, though it never does. "I meant what I said earlier. I have no reason to hurt you." she keeps that hand outstretched, a peace offering. "And you're welcome to stay here. Besides, I think Charta's taken a liking to you. I've not seen her this fired up about something since MAGUS. left."

Lexicon has posed:
    Down at ground level, a woman exits a hovercab. Bright pink hair done up in a braided bun, golden eyes behind underframe glasses, and a gray suit that's just a shade off from her actual skin tone. Seeker shoots a scowl over her shoulder that could curdle milk, and the cab driver wastes little time in making himself and his vehicle scarce. Her attention returns to the Cathoderal doors, her expression shifting to a far more diplomatic one, and she approaches the doorman.

    "Excuse me. I've been notified that my child is under the Cathoderal's care. Her name is Bellum."


    On the balcony, Bell stares at that outstretched hand, then up to the face of the woman who'd so soundly defeated her before. Her hands drop to her sides, after some indication that she might have wanted to reach out, then gave up instead. Wobbling for a moment, she drops down on the tilework in a seated position, staring down at the space between her outstretched feet, "...I don't know. It wouldn't feel right. All my friends probably miss me. Even if there are programs here who like Bell too." Looking up, there's still tears in her eyes, but her expression is a lot more firm. Like she's made up her mind about something, "We're not the same..!"

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    The doorman frowns behind his helmet visor, then reaches up to press the stud on the side. "I have someone claiming to be the child's mother down here... yeah? Right. Okay." eyes flick from the side, back up to the woman before him. "Someone will be down with her soon. I can provide a chair if you would like to sit."

    Theurgus, meanwhile, crouches down once the girl flops out. "We're more alike than you may think." she replies. "And even if we aren't the same... that's what makes the System, even the entire Multiverse, so special... because we're not the same. Everyone is different, whether they're a Program, a Virus, a Human or a Reploid, a Shinki, or anything else." She reaches over, and places a hand on Bell's shoulder. "That's what makes this world so special... and worth fighting to protect."

    Just then, an LDF trooper opens the door. "Excuse me, Lady Diamond Soul... but someone is at the main gate claiming to know the child."

Lexicon has posed:
    "I will stand," Seeker states evenly. She does, at least, give the door guard his space by standing somewhere over there, staring out over the city with her arms folded behind her back.

    Theurgus imparts her wisdom, and Bell listens without making eye contact. She keeps her gaze fixed on that point between her shoes. She must feel every bit like the guilty child caught in a lie, by the look on her face. Though was she really lying in the first place? She looks down further, thoughtfully. When her face rises to meet the Mad Magician's once more, that smile is back.

    "Then Bell will protect the people special to her!" Leaning forward, she gets back to her feet, dusting off her shorts in the process. The soldier gets her attention, and she glances his way. After a moment, she glances back to Theurgus.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus nods to the soldier. "Thank you, we'll be right down." she says, dismissing the guard before looking back at Bell and standing up. "If we meet again on the battlefield, I won't hold back, and I expect you to do the same." she says, holding her hand out. "But I hope you take something else to heart... sometimes those who say they're there for you, aren't always telling the truth. Everyone can lie, especially if doing so gives them something they want." she continues. "To put it simply, Don't blindly trust what others say and take it at face value. Think, and form your own opinions and make your own decisions. That's what it really means to be a Drive Core Controller."

    She then, whether Bell takes her hand or not, moves over to the tray she brought with her, picking up a pudding cup and offering it over. "If you ever change your mind, my door will always be open. You can come and visit whenever you like... there will always be a pudding cup and a friendly face waiting for you."

    Theurgus sighs softly, "Lets go down, then. It would be rude to keep them waiting, after all."

Lexicon has posed:
    Bell does not take Theurgus' hand, but rather simply trots alongside the taller woman. Her expression is now puzzled, from the Mad Magician's warning, as she accepts the pudding cup with both hands. Blinking upward, she says, "But they were Bell's friends even before this happened. Would they lie now?" Looking down at the snack, she shifts the cup to one hand, and peels the lid off with the other, giving the foil a lick before she crumples it up. A plastic spoon is taken, before she trots after the Magician to be led down to the door, "If they liked Bell before, than it should be the same now, right? They're still nice and still play with me, and take me out on trips that they didn't before."

    Because now she can actually fight.

    Without actually making that connection, Bell digs into her snack, closing her eyes, "Oh but these are yummy..! Bell is gonna miss this one."

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Theurgus doesn't say anything further, apart from, "Just remember what I've said, Bell." She pushes the main doors open, letting light from the afternoon skybox flood into the main hall, and showing the woman and the doorguard, the latter turning his head to see who's coming out, before snapping to attention when he sees the DCC.

    "So!" calls Theurgus, taking on her more flamboyant tone, "You must be the mysterious 'Mommy' I've heard so much about!" The DCC strides over, looking Seeker up and down. "We've taken good care of your daughter, I'm sure she can attest." Blue eyes glance over at Bell, before turning back to the grey-skinned woman. "Would you like some refreshments before you go? I can have something brought out."

Lexicon has posed:
    The gray-skinned woman turns at the waist, glancing over her shoulder when the doors open. Seeing the DCC herself emerging, Seeker turns fully and squares herself up as if expecting a fight, though not actually making a move to provoke one. At least. Not a physical altercation.

    Rather, it seems as if a fellow magician is trying to impose her ego. This... may become a clash of confidence between two powerful sorcerors.

    "The Mad Magician, Theurgus. Thank you. She must have been a handful." Of course she would know who this is, "And is that-- Bellum?"

    Said tiny girl is disposing of her trash in the proper recepticle when her name is called. As she had been doing when the door was initially opened. She perks up, glances, and then runs right past Theurgus, "Mommy!" Seeker crouches slightly, holding out her arms. This lasts right up until Bell leaps into a tackle. A look of panic crosses the woman's face right before impact.

    It was in that moment, Seeker realized she'd made a grave mistake.

    Bellum slams into the woman's midsection head-first, laughing. Seeker's code ripples violently for a split second, briefly and dramatically altering her appearance as if she were 'drawn' in a more severe and serious style. As she collapses on her back, her appearance returns to normal, and Bell comes to rest on her midsection, still laughing.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    "No more than normal." replies Theurgus with a chuckle as she watches Seeker get her Bell rung. "I have to say, you don't look anything alike. I assume there was an adoption in there somewhere." she surmises, looking at Seeker a bit more closely, but holding her peace on what she's thinking. "She does seem quite pleased to see you. If you need a ride back to the terminal station I can have one brought around, or I could summon a taxi for you."

Lexicon has posed:
    One can almost see the spirit escaping from Seeker's mouth.

    It's Bell that responds to Theurgus' musing, "Kinda, yeah!"

    Seeker slowly recollects herself, reaching up to palm her face with a groan. Bell hops off her, and the woman picks herself up, "...No. I need...to walk that off." Whatever attempt she was going to make about measuring up to the Mad Magician, defused by an excited child.

    Bell turns, though, waving to Theurgus, "I meant what I said, too! Bye-bye!" She then wheels back around, dashing after the much less stable Seeker trying very hard not to stagger her way down the walkway.