The Mind of Ellie

<Kioku> <Trying to learn. Roadblock. Would appreciate help if you have time. Please?> Aiko's text to Ellie is, as ever, short and fairly direct when it's sent around lunch time on a fairly average day. In fact, a follow-up text comes through a few moments later. <If you pick up lunch for both of us, I'll pay for it.>
<Nemi> < Sure thing. > Ellie's response is, as ever, quick and pleasantly affirmative. Her reply a moment later? < Anything special in mind? There's some amaze mexican takeout over here. >
<Kioku> <Anything healthy that won't alter body odor. Prefer spicy.> Food is food, but Aiko has a surprisingly strict diet that she keeps to!
<Nemi> < You got it. > The wink isn't placed, but it's probably felt. And indeed, about twenty minutes later, there's a gentle knocking at Aiko's door.
<Kioku> "Come in - I unlocked it earlier," comes the reply from the Aiko within. Her mental presence is just like always, something like an invisible void at first glance, and a compact database of unbelievable storage, all inaccessible and feeling more machine than man at a closer look. The girl herself is lying on her futon, and her nose will twitch as the door opens to verify Ellie's identity.
<Nemi> The door opens just a crack, a smiling Ellie- not that Aiko can see that- letting herself inside. There's a pleasant spicy scent from a paper bag under her arm. "I ended up getting Indian. It's great, though, spicy and- probably good for you!" Ellie laughs a melodic laugh, as perfectly composed as the rest of her, before she enters properly and heads over to sit beside Aiko. The door
<Nemi> shuts on its own.
<Kioku> Aiko grins and nods. "I /do/ like what Indian food I've tried! What do I owe you?"
<Nemi> "Oh, don't worry about it. I'll just hold it over you as a 'you owe me' thing until I forget about it." Ellie's grin is audible. She sets the bag down on Aiko's stomach. "There's a .. Whole assortment of stuff in there, so take your pick. I got naan all wrapped in the foil, everything else's in the plastic things."
<Kioku> Aiko shakes her head. "Well lucky you, I /won't/ forget." She seems a lot more at-ease around Ellie than with most people, and it's really noticable here. "I should probably get something to put this on rather than 'me'… let's see… empty box, you'll do." Sliiiide.
<Nemi> Ellie grins cheekily and settles in the seat. She too seems well-at-ease here, perhapsp icking up on Aiko's own feeling. Friends with friends and all. "Well, then I'll just not tell you how much it was. Anyway, take what you'd like, it's- I mean, it's like six things of /stuff/, portions are whatever you make."
<Kioku> "You know I'll just trace it back to where you got it and find out. Or I'll get you a meal in return and call it even that way…" Aiko shrugs and opens the bag to start taking things out. "I /do/ appreciate a good variety! Thanks for knowing."
<Nemi> "You getting /me/ lunch sometime? Okay, yeah, I think that works." Ellie puts her hands behind her head, grinning a wry grin as she does. "And hey, I try to know my friends. And everyone else. There's some lamb vindaloo, there's some vegetable curry and a few things I don't even remember.. It's all good, though, it's from Sitar on Main."
<Kioku> "Same here. Know everyone. Different things about them though, I guess." The nomming commenses.
<Nemi> Ellie steals a few pieces of naan without using her hands, because that's what she does. Floating naan and bits of tandoori chicken, vindaloo lamb and curry hovers around her like a halo of spicy deliciousness, occasionally tearing parts of itself off for her to nom.
<Nemi> "I know that I have nothing to fear for what you know since my internet history is just cooking recipes and cute animals, so."
<Kioku> "Who knows how long that'll stay the case…" Aiko murmurs to herself. "I… did want to ask you a few things once we finish eating, and I'm worried you might not like one of them at all. Both may put me further in your debt."
<Nemi> "Yeah?" Ellie lazily opens her eyes and peers at Aiko. "And nope, all cute animals, all the time. I'm probably not gonna change much by the time I'm eighteen.. Anyway, what's up?"
<Kioku> "I'm just stuck on trying to… understand some things. Not something you'll hear often from me, I know, but it's true. I hoped you might be willing to help - it involves thoughts, thought processes, full on minds, and so on."
<Nemi> Ellie perks a touch more. "Is that so? I mean, sure! I always help friends. Whatcha need?"
<Kioku> Aiko giggles. "Let it wait until we finish eating! I don't know if I'll end up burning a lot of calories on this or something besides. But the general thing of it is, I want to… figure out exactly how my mind works. No, that's the wrong way to say it - I've used my insight on myself, I /know/ how it works, and how it's different from most people. Maybe it's better to say, I want to… optimize. I want to be better, faster, and honestly…
<Kioku> you're probably the most 'advanced' person I know. I'd… like to 'see' how you do it. Maybe it'll help me apply some of the same principles, or come up with something I hadn't thought of before."
<Nemi> Ellie raises her brows, and she nods. "Ooookay. Sure. I think I get you, and I'll do what I can.. Also, I love that you call me 'advanced'. I have no idea if our minds work similarly enough for my techniques to work, buttttt… We can try! Also, you've got vindaloo on your chin."
<Kioku> Aiko eeps and attacks her chin to catch the food. "It's the best word for it, right? And… honestly they probably don't, but it's still the best place to pick up from. There's actually another thing too, but that was the maybe-objectionable part since Looking at you means Seeing basically everything from biology to natural ability to powers to general proficiency to abnormal drawbacks."
<Kioku> "… On that note, if you ever want some help with self discovery, I'm here."
<Nemi> "I get it. And honestly- I wouldn't mind the maybe-objectionable part, either." Ellie chomps down a bit of tandoori chicken as it floats past. "Because I know you're a friend and we're all kind of fucked up in special amazing ways and, maybe it wouldn't hurt to let someone in on what it's all about."
<Kioku> Aiko smiles and sighs. "That's… that's good. And true. You're one of my top two friends left that I can talk to, besides Rin. You know I'd never spill any personal information you didn't want known."
<Nemi> "I know. You're- pretty much one of my top best friends here, too, so.. It'd be kind of /wrong/ to not trust you with things. Especially since we've shared so much about ourselves already." Ellie also sighs, but with a soft smile.
<Kioku> Aiko blushes very lightly and keeps eating without a response. What can she possibly say to /that/?! Ellie wins too much.
<Nemi> As they say, Ellie LaCroix- always triumphs. She tries to be a good friend, too.
<Kioku> Nibble nibble nom and wow - her friends would be used it probably, but one can't help but wonder where she puts all that food in her small frame! With Ellie, she's perfectly fine to make small talk - or rather respond to small talk, since she doesn't really know how to initiate it - while they eat, until the eating is done.
<Nemi> One might wonder where Ellie put away the products of her food, too, but this is Sunnybrook, and amazing metabolisms are the most common superpower. Ellie finishes first and settles back, and is indeed the initiator- ".. We should do more game nights."
<Kioku> "Mm? Should we? I… I'd like that, I just kind of thought you were too busy with everything else…"
<Nemi> "Me? Too busy? Tutoring group fell apart and with Leah working it means I've got a pretty solid few hours each night with /nothing/ and .. Well, what better way to spend it than with friends? Anyway- I've had enough for lunch. HOw're you doing?"
<Kioku> "Nearly done." Aiko eats a little faster to finish off. "Zita's been asking for more snuggle time anyway too, so… I'd feel better with you there too." \Safer being with both than just one.<Nemi> "Yeah? Zita's.. I know things have been pretty odd with her. I'm not entirely clear on.. What, since you know, I don't try to pry, but.. I'm worried for her. And she keeps building that- harem, I guess." Ellie sighs and shakes her head before smiling. "Well, anyway, I'd be happy to."
<Kioku> Aiko hugs Ellie lightly and finishes her last couple bites of food, then moves the box off to the side. "Well, this will give you more time with her too, to… help her, if you're worried." Nod nod. "Should we… erm… start on the 'main event'?"
<Nemi> Ellie leans over into the hug, returning it with a gentle sidehug of her own. ".. Yeah, it should. So- fingers crossed. Anyway.. Ready when you are."
<Kioku> "This'll be easier if you could stand by that wall…" Aiko gestures to a wall of her room that has a cloth covering it from floor to almost ceiling. "Fewer things to filter out."
<Nemi> "Got it." Ellie nimbly stands and strolls over, pausing a moment after turning just to sweep her fingers through her snow-white hair and tousle it /just right/. Always composed.
<Kioku> Aiko blows out a long breath as she gets up and turns to face Ellie and the wall. She walks right up close, only actually leaving a few inches between their faces. "I don't need the details on how the rest of your body works, though I'll probably get them anyway," she explains. "But this way it should focus in more on the goal." She carefully unties her blindfold, then pulls it off to reveal those heavily scarred, dull green eyes of hers.
<Nemi> "You'll probably get everything." Ellie holds still, and to Aiko's Sight.. The girl's a baffling maelstrom of raw consciousness, being gnawed at from the inside by some kind of foreign parasite. There's enough discrete aspects to the swirl of willpower and thought that Aiko can discern that Ellie is actually a gestalt- some combination of congealed minds wrapped around a central 'core'
<Nemi> consciousness. Ellie's body too is mostly a husk crammed full of a primordial psy-reactive ooze, a sort of raw proto-biomatter that has the potential to be nearly anything, but for now simply keeps her sustained and houses her overflowing mind.
<Kioku> Aiko takes a long, deep breath and holds it a few moments as the inital onslaught of information hits her. She was expecting a lot, but this is far, far more than she prepared for - fortunately, with as much practice as she's had, she could take it. This time last year though? Not a chance. There's only one way to describe how she sees this part of Ellie. "Chousugoi…" \So many parts working as one…<Nemi> "I'm that impressive?" Ellie wonders aloud. As she speaks, Aiko can even feel/see the pulses of thought flowing from the 'core' consciousness through the gestalt cloud around it, where it's amplified, each part of the gestalt considers it.. Many of the little parts are discrete. There's one part that seems thoughtful, compassionate, and impresses itself on Ellie. There's another that's
<Nemi> particularly prideful, but whom at least is staying out of things. And another part that just wants to be alone, and is left there.
<Kioku> Aiko doesn't nod, but she gives the impression that she wants to. Gotta keep the gaze steady, and gotta save all her concentration for sorting this out as it comes in. How her mind works, how her powers work, how /she/ works, there's just so much! "I should show you," she manages to murmur, "once I get it analyzed and in a format I could communicate."
<Nemi> Impression and intent is enough with a psychic of Ellie's potential. She shifts her stance ever-so-slightly, putting on a wry grin. Ellie's powers are simply an active hardnessing of those inherent to her 'core', modulated through the gestalt and thus empowered in a sort of lensing effect. Her superhuman strength and durability? Merely a factor of biology; no vital organs and a psy-reactive
<Nemi> gel that effectively serves as hydraulic systems account for that.
<Kioku> Aiko finally flicks her head very slightly away and brings up the blindfold again, after a good fifteen seconds or so, letting out the breath she was holding. "W-wow. That's… there's a lot to go through. Dizzy. Help me lay down?"
<Nemi> "Sure." Aiko'd feel a gentle arm under hers, helping hold her up before she's eased back onto the futon. "That was- rough, wasn't it? I get that a lot. There's a- well, lot of me."
<Kioku> Aiko chuckles and folds herself around Ellie, basically cuddling her without offering a say in the matter. "Mmh, yeah. Most people take around five seconds or less for a /total/ analysis, and you took three times that - I'm pretty certain I got everything though."
<Nemi> Ellie's tugged down in the cuddle, white hair all a flutter. She laughs softly. "I know, I know.. Now you just need to sort. I know."
<Kioku> "That, and consider whether I can apply any of this." Aiko smiles. "Mm, it's already mostly sorted. A few more connections to draw, but I've got myself down to a few seconds for finding powers and weak points in enemies, for the sake of giving mission support. That training went pretty wide-reaching." She snuggles in more. "And now I know for sure why you're so soft!"
<Nemi> "I'm basically a goo girl with better self-image!" Ellie laughs. "And here's hoping my methodology helps with yours, huh?"
<Kioku> "Mm, here's hoping." \Soooo sooooft <3\ "Going to rest just a bit before doing the other thing… umm…" \How would a social person handle this?\ "Tell me how things have been going lately?"
<Nemi> Ellie leans into Aiko and shuts her own eyes. ".. mmh.. Thingsr're good with me and Leah, and just.. Me in general. Only problem I've got is.. Well, uhm. The GWU did some stuff to me when they picked me up and .. Like, made a bunch of- artificial people like me. Out of parts of me. It's kind of been weighing on me, you know?"
<Kioku> "… Need help tracking them down?" \That would probably be heavy for me too…<Nemi> ".. I.. No, no, it's fine. One of my 'daughters' has been helping me. And I've been.." Ellie trails off a moment. ".. It's not somewhere you can get to just by, like, traveling normally. And I've been having to- reclaim them."
<Kioku> "Ellie." Aiko pokes her lightly. "Professional private investigator. Have license and everything. Good at finding information. …Friend. Please let me help?"
<Nemi> "I know, I know.." Ellie squirms slightly at the poke, and she sighs. ".. No, it's a- personal thing, I guess."
<Kioku> "… Okay." Squeeze. "Here if you need me."
<Nemi> Ellie nods and settles where she is. ".. and they weren't even the- gestalt. They were what made me /me/. Compassion. Pride. … Violation, fear."
<Kioku> \She already knows that then. Good. Makes things easier.\ "Choices," Aiko supplies quietly.
<Nemi> ".. Elizabeth was afraid. She didn't want to be me again. She cries and screams even now, and she's just an.. Echo, of the person they made." Ellie's voice is quiet. ".. Yohan was.. He was proud. He had his little empire and that's all he cared about. But Petra, she was.. She /wanted/ to be me again. She's- kept me warm inside in that horrible cold place."
<Kioku> Aiko isn't great with emotions, but she feels them just like everyone else, and knows this is one of those times to squeeze tighter and show compassionate support. So that's just what she does, make it very apparent that she's here to listen and… \comfort?\ Sure, comfort. Strangeness. "They had no right…" \They had no right to do any of the things they did to us.<Nemi> ".. that's what they did. The GWU. They declawed me, made me 'safe', by .. Cutting me into seven people and scattering them to the wind, leaving me to just.. try to figure out everything from nothing." Ellie settles some and lets out a soft, strange, liquid sound from her lips.
<Kioku> Aiko shivers. "I'm sorry…" she offers in a bare whisper, but to her, it's not enough. It'll never be enough for something like that.
<Nemi> ".. but, no need for vengeance. I'm upset, angry, but.. it's a different world. One where I shouldn't need to worry, and.. I wouldn't have met any of you, I wouldn't have met you, or Leah, or.."
<Kioku> \I'd still be home with Rin. But… she'd also still be my only live friend. It's what I wanted, what I still want, until each time I end up making a new one.\ Aiko keeps giving the snuggles, not knowing what else to do or say. Faaar from her area of expertise. \I wonder if the students they still have know?<Nemi> ".. I.. Sorry for bringing this up. It's- it's hard to talk about it. Thank you, though. For um- for everything. And being my friend."
<Kioku> Aiko's lip turns up again. "It's okay. I don't mind. Happy to… be your friend." It's more than that, and Ellie would feel it - she's thankful to have such a friend too, even if she isn't good at saying it.
<Nemi> Ellie of course knows. She just hugs Aiko close, and settles there. She goes quiet, for now.
<Kioku> Aiko's pretty satisfied with this, just relaxing with Ellie. Not just because so soft and warm, but because she's one of the very, very rare people that she feels truly comfortable around. No need to change their circumstance.
<Nemi> And that is something Ellie is quite fine with. After a while, though.. ".. whenever you want, I think I'd like to hear your analysis."
<Kioku> "Mm, right. I… it looks good. I mean, I think there are some things here that could help. Inspire. Already had a few ideas. But to describe it all… it could take days. Let me 'show' you instead."
<Nemi> ".. please do." Ellie tries to open her mind, invite Aiko in.
<Kioku> Aiko's hands are already in the right place, and it's /way/ easier to connect with a telepath than other people, so she sets up the link and lets Ellie solidify it. \I can only really share senses and bridge people into tech, after all.\ Once it's really established, she starts going through translated data. The connections she made, the things she Saw, her personal understanding of how and why it all works. And she remembers how she reacted when
<Kioku> she used her insight on her insight, so she's pretty curious what response this will prompt from Ellie, seeing her own everything in this way.
<Nemi> Ellie's less surprised than one might have expected, instead seeming more bemused than anything. "It's- strange," she says, finally. "I'm- this feels like- it's exactly what I expected, and it's- almost comforting for it. Like- I actually do have an idea of what I am and how I work, or something." She lets out of a soft laugh. ".. thanks for that."
<Kioku> Aiko giggles. "It helped both of us then. I'm glad. … And besides self improvement, I think I also have an idea now about… mmm… well, I'll let you know if that pans out."
<Nemi> "Mm.. an idea for what?" Ellie rolls over slightly, as to peer at Aiko closer.
<Kioku> "Secret." Grin. "Made me do a lot of thinking though. … I'm going to need a metallurgist."
<Nemi> ".. why a metallurgist?"
<Kioku> Aiko touches her collar, and a thin chain necklace is visible just under her shirt. "More someone with powers relating to metal than metallurgist. See if possible to make niobium indestructible. Have a sample of anomalously indestructible bronze to base modification or enchantment from."
<Nemi> ".. what for?"
<Kioku> "…" Aiko rests her head against Ellie again. "If… if the chain can't break, I can't lose the one piece of Sara that I still have, attached to it."
<Nemi> Ellie clamps her eyes shut. ".. I understand. Uhm- there's.. what's her name, there's a few people who might be able to help. I don't think I can, I'm sorry."
<Kioku> Aiko squeezes Ellie and buries her face against her, shaking a little. "I'll find them. I always do."
<Nemi> "I know." Ellie squeezes Aiko close. "I know. And- like you just offered me? If I can help, just let me."
<Kioku> "You have helped. More than enough." Aiko didn't sniffle, and anyone who says otherwise is an evil liar. "I j-just wish they would tell me what happened to her. It's just like Wendy… both of them disappeared without a trace, there's no records at all, and nobody will say anything." She shivers again and presses her head too hard into Ellie. "… Don't disappear on me too."
<Nemi> Ellie holds her close. "I won't. I won't let them take me, or anyone else, ever again.."
<Kioku> \Don't make promises that none of us can keep.\ Despite her pessimism (realism?), Aiko gives a tiny nod.
<Nemi> ".. mmh.. I'm kinda- sleepy."
<Kioku> \We just had lunch! Though… a nap would be good for getting kinda reset… and my sleep schedule isn't exactly normal, so maybe hers isn't either.\ "… Want to stay here? I could nap."
<Nemi> ".. could I? Leah's at work so I don't really wanna go to an empty apartment so.."
<Kioku> Aiko lifts her head a little to give Ellie a deadpan look, then raises her hand and starts ticking off fingers. "Friend. Warm. Best pillow. And we both… need cuddles right now." She reaches an arm across Ellie to grab a blanket, and pulls it over them before snuggling in again. "Stay."
<Nemi> ".. point taken. I'm staying." She giggles and curls up into the arm and blanket, and soon enough, Ellie naps.
<Kioku> -Scene!-

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License