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Covalent: Three Sweeps In

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-- gutsyGumshoe [GG] started trolling gallowsCalibrator [GC] --

GG: Neophyte Pyrope.
GC: M3D1CULL3R KROK3R
GC: WH4T DO 1 OW3 TH1S SUDD3N M3SS4G3 TO >:?
GG: Oh, come off it! You will not pretend I never contact you, be it first or at all. That is an entirely too obvious derailing tactic and shall not be tolerated.
GC: P3RH4PS >:/
GC: TH3 QU3ST1ON R3M41NS
GG: And you will not pretend you have no idea, either.
GG: Gamzee did not call me.
GC: HUH
GC: H3R3 1 H4D H1M UNF41RLY P3GG3D 4S TH3 K1ND TO GO RUNN1NG TO T4TTL3 WH1L3 L4UGH1NG L1K3 4N 1D1OT W1THOUT 4 CLU3 SO 1T WOULDNT LOOK L1K3 T4TTL1NG
GC: H3S R34LLY GOOD 4T TH4T >:[
GG: Gamzee did not contact me. Karkat did, when he brought Gamzee over to the clinic for hypothermia.
GG: Those bonds had better have been tougher than you planned for them to be, Pyrope.
GC: OH
GC: 1T SHOULDNT H4V3 T4K3N H1M MOR3 TH4N TWO HOURS TO B3 W4LKED 1N ON
GC: OR F41L1NG TH4T SOM3ON3 WOULD H4V3 1NV3ST1G4T3D TH3 F41NT1NG LOWBLOODS
GG: Yes, except that losing control of his powers is something the great gump's paler half would have been very disappointed in him for doing, so he forced himself to only let out the kind of background hum that you don't really notice but that still gives you the willies badly enough to avoid the heck out of a place.
GG: Seven hours later, here we are in the emergency clinic. Do you know how bad it is when someone Gamzee's caste actually manages to reach the point of hypothermia?
GG: I'm only contacting you now and not earlier because it took exactly that long to bring him out of it.
GC: OH H3LL
GG: No friggin' kidding.
GC: TH4TS R34LLY NOT WH4T 1 1NT3ND3D TO DO
GC: D4MN, NOW 1 F33L B4D FOR TH3 4SSHOL3
GG: You set him up to stress-test his commitment to his moirail's request with his health and safety in the balance. You know how unlikely Karkat is to cut him any slack because excuses, after what happened in the game.
GG: I just hope it wasn't also a more or less subconscious way to get back at Karkat for the Dave thing, or at Dave for the Karkat thing. That would be really crappy.
GC: OK4Y, YOU TOLD M3 TO T3LL YOU WH3N 1TS TOO F4R
GC: TH4TS TOO F4R
GC: YOU G3T TO SL4P M3 DOWN WH3N 1 GO OV3RBO4RD W1TH G4MZ33
GC: TH4T 1S YOUR R1GHT 4ND YOUR PR3ROG4T1V3 4S OUR 4USP1ST1C3
GC: BUT YOU DO NOT 1MPLY 1D M3SS W1TH K4RK4TS QU4DR4NTS TO G3T 4T H1M OR H1S OTH3R QU4DR4NTS
GC: 1 WOULD N3V3R, 4ND 1TS 1NSULT1NG TH4T YOU TH1NK 1 WOULD
GC: 4ND NOT 1N TH3 GOOD W4Y
GG: You're right. My apologies. It's been a really tiring day and I'm feeling less than charitable.
GG: I'm sorry for that, Terezi.
GC: RWO4R B4BY >;]
GC: OK4Y
GG: Heh.
GG: You did seem overly snappish and frustrated with the two of them, last I heard. There was mention of a table breaking...?
GC: NOT 1N TH3 GOOD W4Y 31TH3R, 4L4S > :[
GC: 4ND J4N3, YOU KNOW YOU 4R3 TH3 DR34RY W34TH3R OF MY H34RT
GC: TH3 FR33Z1NG SHOW3R OF MY ROM4NT1C 4PPL14NC3S
GC: BUT PL34S3 DONT ST4RT G3TT1NG 4SH3N FOR M3 4ND K4RKL3S 4ND/OR D4V3, TH4T WOULD B3 V3RY HUM4N W31RD > :[
GG: Groan.
GG: It was human concern for group dynamics, not any ashen twinge.
GG: Also I think Jade might shank me if I ever tried to meddle for dear Mr. Vantas, had I any such inclinations. ;B
GC: 1 KNOW 4 GOOD M1DDL3 L34F FOR YOU 4ND J4D3 JUST 1N C4S3 c3<
GG: Don't even.
GC: H3H3H
GC: SO
GC: 1S H3 GO1NG TO B3 OK4Y
GG: Sigh. Yes, he should be good as new in a couple days at worst, though he is feeling rather crummy at the moment.
GG: Still, it could have gone a lot worse.
GC: 1 GU3SS TH4TS GOOD
GG: You guess? >:B
GC: OK4Y F1N3
GC: TH4TS GOOD
GC: 1 DONT H4V3 TH3 F1RST CLU3 WHY 4ND SOM3TH1NG 1S OBV1OUSLY WRONG W1TH MY TH1NKP4N BUT 1D M1SS TH3 SP4SMS OF D1SGUST3D R4G3 H3 1NSP1R3S
GC: 4ND 1D R34LLY M1SS 4 R34SON TO H4V3 YOU 4LL UP 1N MY BUS1N3SS >;]
GG: Imagine me swooning.
GC: CONS1D3R YOURS3LF 1M4G1N3D
GC: 4NYW4Y HOW 1S 3V3RYTH1NG GO1NG W1TH TH3 OLD CR3W
GC: F3F3R1 T4K3 OV3R FOR TH3 C4PT41N Y3T
GG: Do you mean, did the captain give it out of terror and ingrained deference without Feferi having made the slightest move to usurp his authority?
GG: The slightest open move, at least.
GC: TH3 G1RL 1S SN34KY >:]
GG: Well, then she has managed to be sneaky enough that I have noticed nothing, but as I am quite out of the way in the infirmary and not part of the plotting plotters' council, that is not necessarily proof that nothing happened. But I alas cannot tell you either way.
GG: She's healthy, at any rate. So is everyone else.
GC: TH4TS GOOD TO H34R
GC: NOT TH4T 1V3 B33N GON3 FOR V3RY LONG BUT
GC: 1M GONN4 N33D R3GUL4R UPD4T3S >:[
GG: Heh. How's the trip, by the way?
GC: BOR1NG, BL4ND, 4ND D1D 1 S4Y BOR1NG
GC: L1QUOR1C3 3V3RYWH3R3 4ND BOR1NG BOR3S FOR TR4V3L1NG COMP4N1ONS
GC: 4ND NOT 3V3N 4 CR1M3 TO PL4Y W1TH >:[
GC: YOUD TH1NK TH4T LOCK1NG UP SO M4NY L3G1SL4C3R4TOR HOP3FULS 1N TH3 S4M3 SH1P 1NTR1GU3S WOULD H4PP3N! BUT NO!!
GC: TH1S 1S SHOCK1NG
GG: I am shocked.
GC: NO YOUR3 NOT
GG: However did you detect that?
GC: MY K33N S3NS3 OF OBS3RV4T1ON 4ND 4LSO TH3 4W4R3N3SS TH4T YOU 4R3 ON3 SN4RKY BRO4D >;]
GC: DO YOU R3GR3T NOT COM1NG W1TH M3 Y3T?
GC: B3C4US3 1TS TOO L4T3 TH3Y JUST TOLD US W3 W3R3 TH1RTY M1NUT3S 4W4Y FROM DOCK1NG >:D
GC: F1N4LLY!!
GC: 1LL MSG YOU B4CK 1N 4 HOUR OR SO
GG: Alright. See you in a bit, Terezi.
GC: 1 WONT S33 YOU ...
GG: Groan.
GC: B3C4US3 1M S3V3R4L L1GHT SW33PS 4W4Y H4H4H4
GC: L4T3R MY L1TTL3 THORN BUSH c3<
GG: Oh, very well.
GG: c3< and now go get ready already. Godspeed, and shoo!

-- gallowsCalibrator [GC] is idle!! --

GC: OK4Y WH4T TH3 H3LL
GC: 1NTR1GU3S M4Y B3 4FOOT 4FT3R 4LL
GG: Beg your pardon?
GG: Terezi?
GG: Terezi Pyrope, you infuriating *mess*, you had better have *meant* to sound alarming!
GG: Terezi!

-- gallowsCalibrator [GC] is offline!! --

GG: Fuck.

--

Terezi would be very sad if she knew she was worrying her middle leaf! (Alright, she wouldn't be. Aggravating your ashenmates is how you show you care, after all.)

She'd be very sad, if she wasn't too busy being worried, herself.

They took all her luggage from her hands and she doesn't know if she's going to get it back in one piece, because it's certainly going to be searched. She doesn't know what made the ID reader at the door howl and no one will tell her, and she can't help but fear that she has some forgettable bit of alien hardware in her possession, some piece of game-made impossibility.

She doesn't show it, of course.

They took her cane, too.

She can take the blueblood leaning over her with mean narrow eyes and taser claws, she's pretty sure. It's the rest of the station she's more wary of. She's been through worse -- but she can't pilot. Escape would necessitate her procuring a ship. She misses Sollux and Tavros rather badly right now.

"Where did you get this card?" he says, and throws it in the middle of the table with casual disdain.

"It was in my officially issued paperwork," Terezi replies without cracking wise even a little bit. She sways with the blow to her cheek; a signet ring catches her lip. Salty. Sea-green.

"It is a very good fake," the man says, and now he sounds almost admiring, in a still-disdainful way somehow. Terezi makes note of that trick. Okay not really, she came up with it when she was six.

It just seems oddly ridiculous that after everything she lived through this might be what kills her. Paperwork irregularities?

"If it's a fake, it's without my knowledge or consent." She can feel the tickle of a telepath more discreet than Vriska nudging at the edges of her mind. Probably a lower-blood, though; she's pretty sure they're only getting the surface, just enough to confirm whether she's going to lie openly. "I received it in the mail inside my official assignment envelope, by drone delivery, after I completed my filial duties."

The man frowns. Probably over receiving the report that she doesn't feel like she's lying.

They're also probably telling him that she's feeling much too calm and steady, that she's maybe not as surprised as she should be.

She's not.

She wonders if this is yet another way the Game fucked them over on the way out. Her card worked just fine on her home ship, but who knows if they have the same security as the Legislacerator Academy...

Another slap. Almost friendly, really, they haven't even tied her down yet, this is basically asking with pretty please.

It's not going to stay that way long.

"May I know what exactly is the matter with my card?"

"So you can lie around it better? Hah."

She scours her brain for precedents. She's smiling, all thin, all teeth, and she didn't mean to and it's making things much to antagonistic already but the adrenaline has an effect on her too ingrained to break. A drop of blood bisects her chin with a teal line. "So that I know what the exact charges leveled against me are. It's quite different to be in possession of a damaged card or a deliberately hacked one, for example."

The room is cold and metal, unsettling -- supposed to be unsettling, no comforting grubs or round shapes, no biowires, but she spent much too long in a floating lab in paradox space and it's borderline homey at this point. Okay, maybe not, but. Brings back memories, at any rate.

She looks at the man's assistants-guardsmen idly, trying to pin down the telepath. Not that it'll change her situation much to know, but. It's intel. Intel is always good.

She gets hit in the face again. She catches herself frowning, and bows her head to hide her not-very-cowed expression. Attitude is good for survival against equals, but face to face with a superior who thinks her a criminal? She's going to get herself killed at this rate.

"I did not knowingly tamper with the ID card issued to me, which to the best of my knowledge is the same card I'm using now."

She repeats the same sentence, or variations on it, another six times.

"Who made it for you?"

"This is a government-issued card. No one altered it for me."

"Tell me who."

"I don't have that knowledge."

"This is not your ID card," the man says patiently, and slaps her across an ear. Dizzy. She catches herself on the bottom of her chair. "You know how we know?"

"No, sir," she says, and thinks, but I'm eager to be schooled. Things aren't desperate enough for her to say it out loud yet. "I don't know how you know a thing that to my knowledge is factually not a thing."

"We know," he says -- gently like a mildly disappointed but still-caring moirail, "Because that genetic code is already in use." And he gestures to the door, which one of his assistants obligingly keys open for their little bout of pre-trial drama.

It's like thunder down her spine.

"Here I am, boss-ma-- oh."

Oh.

Oh. Oh, oh, gog, jegus, Mother Grub and every single tentacley lord of the Abyss, it's her, it's--

"Sick," Latula whispers, eyes glued to Terezi's face.

They stare at each other for a handful of seconds, the rest of the room forgotten in that single, perfect moment. Terezi wants to laugh and never stop. That magnificent, infuriating -- perfect-- She wasn't on Terezi's Trollian contact list! Even the cherubs were on her Trollian contact list!

They can do anything.

"Huh," one of the hangers-on mutters, and Terezi glances that way, and the interrogator looks all wrong-footed, eyebrows furrowed as he looks from one to the next, and...

Latula steps around the table, still staring at Terezi with open fascination. Terezi stays seated, but she stares back. Nothing should be as important, nothing should seem to be as important. (Nothing is.)

"Is -- this -- oh man, ain't I hellz of too young for a descendent, oh, look at you, babygirl--"

She wipes awkwardly at Terezi's bloody chin with her sleeve. Terezi chokes on a laugh, grins up at her, wide and wild and sincere.

"This is so rad," they chorus, and carefully don't look at their audience.

"I think it's even worth getting slapped around for!" Terezi adds with painful earnestness, and Latula winces, uncalculated.

"Umm, yeah, let's... Say it's that. Wow, you're hardcore, mini-me." She shakes off the worried look, grins, ruffles Terezi's hair. Terezi leans into it without thinking, because it feels good and safe and crew. "And your hair's mad cute! How old even are you, I wasn't filling any buckets yet when you were hatched, was I? How'd that even happen?"

Latula turns to the interrogator like he might have a clue. He's still staring, stunned, Terezi's ID card forgotten in the middle of the table.

"I... uh." A pause. "Huh."

"Yeah, pretty much exactly that! Dang, this is hardcore malicious, I'm so stoked. Any way I can get to show her around ? -- Um, when you're done here, at least."

"I, uh. A genetic test first," he manages, but Latula just shrugs.

"Well, of course. But after that, I can have her?"

He stares at the two of them, and rubs his head, and glances at the telepath (aha! Olive lady in the corner) and she nods minutely. Confirming... Terezi isn't sure. That they're surprised to see each other? That they sincerely believe they're ancestor and descendent? ... That after so long in the muted, nonphysical limbo of dreambubbles, at the first sniff of real blood and sweat they have clicked as crew instantly?

"... I suppose she's missed the first orientation course by now. Yes. Fine. You may."

He gets them escorted to medical. He doesn't come with, stays behind shaking his head. Terezi stalks her way through the corridors, and spends all her time not scoping out exits watching Latula Goddamn Pyrope beam down at her with all her teeth, and grinning back.

--

-- gallowsCalibrator [GC] started trolling gutsyGumshoe [GG] --

GC: >:DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
GG: Finally! What took you so long? I was starting to think you'd run afoul of some old flame with a score to settle.
GC: H4H4 4LMOST >:]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
GG: ...
GC: BY TH3 W4Y YOUR3 MY ONLY R3G1ST3R3D QU4D 4T TH3 MOM3NT 4ND 1 JUST L34RN3D 1D H4V3 TO 4PPLY FOR 3XC3PT1ONS SO CONT4CT1NG 4NYON3 3LS3 FROM H3R3 1S GO1NG TO H4V3 TO W41T UNT1L TH3 P4P3RWORK GO3S THROUGH
GC: OR 4T L34ST UNT1L F3F3R1 H4S L34N3D ON P3OPL3 H4RD 3NOUGH
GG: Well that's darned inconvenient. I'll get the incomparable Ms Peixes on it soon as my shift is over.
GC: C4N 1 TRUST YOU TO H4NDL3 TH3 D1STR1BUT1ON FOR M3 1N TH3 M34NT1M3
GC: WHO 4M 1 K1DD1NG OF COURS3 1 C4N c3<

> gallowsCalibrator [GC] has sent you their contact list!
> Do you wish to add GC's contact list to your own? Y/N

GG: Huh!
GG: I had better not regret clicking yes.
GG: Y

> Contact lists merged

apocalypseArisen
avidlyAndere
turntechGodhead
adiosToreador
astraddleTinkerboy
timaeusTestified
tawdryAdversity
twinArmageddons
carcinoGeneticist
cogentGospel
undyingUmbrage
uranianUmbra
apostoliClamor
arsenicCatnip
gardenGnostic
golgothasTerror
giaourAmorous
grimAuxiliatrix
gallowsCalibrator
guivreChillaxing
gutsyGumshoe
anecdotalGloatation
arachnidsGrip
ectoBiologist
centaursTesticle
cheerfullyTrottant
terminallyCapricious
thespianCharon
tentacleTherapist
caligulasAquarium
croonerAssailing
tipsyGnostalgic
codComplex
cuttlefishCuller

GC: >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:]]]]]]]]]
GG: ... Are these...?
GG: I do believe the traditional saw here is "I regret nothing."
GG: Holy smokes. Forwarding immediately.
GC: Y3333333333333333
GC: h4h4 th4nks 4n 4ctu4l sh1t ton, j4yz33 gurl.
GC: 4nd t3ll kr4bc4k3s 4nd m1n1-pornst4r to holl4 my w4y, y34h? 1ll b3 m4d stok3d to h34r from th3m.
GG: Will do. :B
GG: I don't rightly suppose I can trust you to keep that loon in line?
GC: k1111nky. >;]
GC: NO SH3 C4NT >;]]]]
GC: BUT 1M SUR3 YOU C4N TRUST H3R TO H3LP M3 SHOW TH3 L1N3 WH4T-FOR
GG: That's alas precisely what I'm afraid of. :B
GG: Have fun!
GG: Don't leave the training center in shambles.
GC: 1M GONN4 H4V3 TO D1SR3G4RD ON3 OF TH3 TWO H3R3
GC: PROB4BLY TH3 LONG3R ON3 >:[
GC: c3<
GG: I'm aghast and stupefied, and will be naming every one of my white hairs after you.
GG: And on that note, it's time to go remind Gamzee that I tie him to beds because I care.
GC: G1V3 H1M 4 WH4CK FROM M3
GG: Only if you give yourself a whack from him.
GG: Photographic evidence, please. :B c3<

-- gutsyGumshoe [GG] stopped trolling gallowsCalibrator [GC] --