House Aspnes Security Procedures


Descriptiones Dramatis Personae:

Solitude
An old woman, yet one who has aged gracefully. Her pale oval face is remarkably unlined, and her eyes are a clear, dark, blue. Her white hair is wound into a scraggly bun, held in place by a pair of pencils thrust through it. She is wearing what appear to be several tattered black dresses, of velvet, silk, and other fabrics, which leave her feet and arms bare. On her brow rests a headband, from which a complicated lens assembly hangs in front of one eye.

[ Diony is distantly related to Solitude, and at the time was living in House Aspnes. ]

Diony
A tall, slender woman, moving with a simple economy too precise to be grace. Her eyes are golden, hints of liquid honey set deep in a strong-boned face that seems entirely made of planes and angles. They contrast sharply with her smooth, dark skin, hinting at warmth in an otherwise reserved expression. Her hair is several shades darker than her skin, cut to stay out of her eyes and her way. She's wearing her usual grey and gold; a blouse of golden silk, with long sleeves and tiny buttons, and a knee-length grey skirt. A pair of grey pumps with golden buckles completes the outfit. Incongruously, a white flower has been tucked into her hair.


[ This log has been edited and formatted. Some lines have been moved, and some instances of 'you' have been replaced with proper names. ]

Solitude's Lab
The room is dark. The only illumination is a row of screens along the back wall, most showing eerily fractal patterns, slowly revolving. A dimly lit holographic tank displays a slim black shape with wings, flying in place in slow motion, occasionally pausing to label various parts in red with long strings of numbers. Along the walls are dimly seen benches, cluttered with equipment.

Diony walks in through the least cluttered wall.
Diony is carrying a plate with warm, fresh bread on it.

Solitude drops something from an eyedropper into a tank.

Diony pauses a moment, then grins. "Hello, Saraquel. Brought you apple bread. Just out of the oven, and more downstairs. Oh, Iera said she'd be by sometime soon, too."

Solitude raises an eyebrow at Iera's name.
Solitude looks at the apple bread. She reaches out and breaks off a chunk.

Solitude sniffs it, nods, and tastes it.

Diony says "Is there someplace I can put it?"

Solitude holds out her hands for the plate.

Diony says "Don't know how much you care for Iera, but she's sweet. Could use the company."
Diony hands you the plate.
Diony says "You know she's married, now?"

Solitude takes the plate and walks towards the door. She looks back over her shoulder as Diony says that.

[ Solitude walks out through a door in the corner, into the attic. Diony follows. ]

Diony says "Sorry, can't tell if that's a yes or a no."

Solitude shakes her head.

Diony says "She married Thomas. Odd, I know."
Diony says "But they seem happy."

Solitude looks at Diony funny, then snorts.

Diony grins.
Diony says "Yeah, I know."
Diony says "But someone had to program him."

Solitude snorts again, shaking her head.

Diony says "No?"

[ They arrive in the kitchen. ]

Diony frowns.

Solitude turns to look at Diony. Smiles briefly.

Diony says "Well. Let me see. Lerone's out of surgery."

Solitude nods thoughtfully.

[ They go into the armory, which is right off the kitchen, keeping important House functions in one place. ]

Solitude eats some more bread.

Diony says "He'll be taking the bandages off in a few days."
Diony grins, momentarily radiant. "So, we'll see what happens, neh? I'll let you know."

Solitude types a long prime number into a console, presses her thumb to a sensor, and a hidden door slides open.
Solitude nods again.
Solitude walks through the opened door and down a narrow stairway.

Diony follows Solitude, somewhat bemused.

They walk into a wide, low dark room. Several benches run across the room, each holding large tank-like devices with several tubes and cables running to it. The whirr of pumps and hum of elecronics permeates the air.

Diony stares. "Interesting. This yours?"

Solitude shakes her head, points to a security camera.
Solitude starts checking the tanks, popping the opaque front of the first one and peering inside.

Diony glances at the camera, nods.
Diony follows a careful distance away, eyeing the tanks.

Solitude adjusts a control slightly, then moves on to the next one, idly eating another bit of bread.

Diony says "Tanks. Growing things?"

Inside the tank, crt radiation lights up the interior bluely. Floating in the middle is a convoluted greyish object... a brain. The eyestalks are there, too, and facing the crt screen.

Solitude shakes her head, pointing to the life-support symbol on one panel.

Diony says, after several moments, "Who?"

Solitude removes the cover of the next tank. Another brain is revealed.
Solitude shrugs at Diony's question.

Diony says "Family?"

Solitude does maintainence stuff on the next tank, too. There appear to be nine functioning tanks in the room.

Diony ticks names off on her fingers, studying the tanks for a hint as to identity.

Solitude shakes her head, and points to the Aspnes wave insignia in the corner of the panel.

Diony says "Sorry, Saraquel, but I'm lost again. Not family, but belongs to the House. More things like Thomas?"

Solitude nods, then flutters a hand in a sort-of gesture.

Diony says "Beginnings of them?"

Solitude shakes her head.

Solitude puts the bowl on top of a tank, wipes her hands on her dress, then slips a trump out of her pocket and holds it up significantly.

Diony inspects the trump.

Solitude points to the tank with the other hand. The trump is of Lerone.

Diony's face goes through an amusing variety of expressions as the light dawns.
Diony says "Oh."

Solitude smiles.

Diony grins, shaking her head.

Solitude nods, holding the trump in one hand and indicating her head with the other.
Solitude turns, fiddles with the controls on the side of the first tank. The crt light changes color. Diony feels the beginning of a trump contact...

Diony says "The tank. Lerone. You. And -- oh."

[ Diony feels the beginnings of a trump contact. It feels 'much as would a disembodied Brain trumping...' ]

Diony blinks.
Diony says "Security."
Diony says "Yes, no? Am I warm here?"

Solitude grins.
Solitude nods, pushing another button, and the trump contact vanishes.
Solitude rapidly finishes maintainence on the other tanks, and starts closing everything up again.

Diony grins, looking somewhat pleased.

Solitude picks up the bowl of bread and shoos Diony upstairs.

Diony goes up the stairs, back into the armory.

Solitude follows, locking up behind.


chrisber@idiom.com, Last Modified November 13, 1996