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[+lightcoral “I can guarantee you that it hurts just as bad, so he made the wrong decision. No matter how logical you find it, my opinion is the only thing that matters in this situation...”] Pain was subjective, and since it was her pain they were focusing on, she got to call the shots with it. What Dante thought, now or then, was irrelevant. [+lightcoral “Our relationship is over; the desired pain has been inflicted. Now it is time to put things right and move on.”] Her intention with this conversation had never been to rejoin them, only to restore Dante to how he had been so that he could continue with life and its responsibilities.
She could have laughed at his warning if she wasn’t so irritated. [+lightcoral “He told me things were better the way they were before, that we should just go back. I am going to hold him to that. Any consequences are for him to deal with, they were his actions in the first place that he is avoiding.”] It may have been a little cruel of her, but her patience with the hypocrisy was growing thin. Though, she did find it a little humorous that this prediction was looking just about as bleak as D12’s from earlier. With any luck they would both be wrong, but she doubted it.
[+lightcoral “My life is already going poorly, there is no reason to make the others suffer without their leader because I want to avoid a little bit of cloudy weather. Reinstate it.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Her anger was expected, though not at this intensity. Dante watched her in curiosity as her temper flared to levels only really seen during their argument at the holiday villa, and when their relationship was severed just about a week ago.[+royalblue “On the contrary it is quite logical when looking at the long term effects.”] There he went again, working in his logical mannerisms, incapable of feeling and therefore only able to approach from his one dimensional point of view.
[+royalblue “To halt the relationship now would save it developing any further. Whatever feelings you had for him would be able to dissipate much quicker, or at least not progress further. Think of it like a power cell. It is better to stop charging it half way than to wait until it fractures from overcharging.”] This Dante did not make for a good analogy maker and watched her closely. However she stated that she wanted the chip back inside of him. She was the recipient of the gift and therefore could dictate what happened to it. Though he hesitated to agree with her decision.
[+royalblue “I will warn you that if the chip is reinstated it cannot be removed again. You will be forced to deal with the actions from such a decision. And from my probability matrix I theorise it will be a ninety-four percent certainty to go poorly. Are you sure you wish to do this?”] It was very much a 'are you sure you want to do that' style message from early computer systems. A way of giving her a last chance to accept or refuse and not have to speak of it again.
She listened as he gave his little disclaimer about all this being based off memory alone. It was unnecessary, as she already understood that very well, but if nothing else it went to show that Dante was thorough, even in this state. The next line though, that seemed to knock the wind out of her. Kashia was talking to him about what?! Embers of anger welled inside of her. That girl had no business talking about any of that. Sure, she had mentioned all that to the Captain some time before this, but she would rather not have it all thrown back in his face the way she was sure her niece did, not in light of their relationship… or previous relationship.
But it did not stop there. Dante took something else from the conversation. A fear that she would be so wrapped up in the feelings of loss and grief if she lost him that she wouldn’t be able to bear it. There was less room for argument there. That was not something she could avoid. It was a part of being Pyrenian. And while the old culture had died, that tradition was still rather prevalent in her people. But that did not give him a right to do what he did. It was hypocritical. By pulling out that chip, he was essentially doing what he was trying to avoid with Rhea: killing his current self so that he doesn’t have to deal with reality or his feelings. She was livid, but at the same time heartbroken. Once again, she just wished he had talked to her and considered how she felt about this. But no, there was no thought or consideration for her. It was selfish in a way that she saw no love.
[+lightcoral “Even you must see how contradictory that is? He left me so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of not having him any more.”] She for one didn’t think he deserved to get to run away from it. And while that was in part her own spite, she truly did think that he needed to go back to how he was before. [+lightcoral “That,”] she nodded her head toward the box, [+lightcoral “Needs to go back to where it belongs. I will not take it. It will only hurt me more and make all of this harder to move passed… and as you remember, that is the exact opposite of what he wanted.”] It was like setting a bottle of water next to a thirsty man all the while he knew he could never drink it. It was torture. [+lightcoral “And if it truly was a gift to me, then I get to decide what happens with it. And I want it back inside of Dante.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat She made an honest if empathic plea for the return of Dante’s persona. To disrupt the crew and the running of this ship by remaining in this mode would do more harm than good, even if he believed it to be the logical choice. In this state of being he was more efficient, did not require sleep, could in effect run the ship at a greater capacity and complete tasks with minimal negatives. Yet was it that the persona made the man. Without it, he was just an automaton.
Regardless she asked to hear about why Dante had given her the chip and so the conversation on whether to replace it took a backseat for the moment.[+royalblue “I base this on my memory units, though I do not claim to understand the emotional undercurrents that led to the decision.”] He pre-empted any arguments from the pink-hued woman that he would not be able to speak from a feelings or empathetic viewpoint. Yet with that over he moved on.
[+royalblue “Several days before entering the wormhole he spoke with your niece, Kashia. The conversation revolved around her duties but then branched into your past relations with a woman named Sephora.”] There was one good thing about this less tactful Dante; he got to the point. There was no squirming or moving around the issue, it was right to it and details rather than inane fluff to the story. It was one small upside to him at least as the original Dante loved to skirt the truth and speak in riddles.
[+royalblue “Upon seeing a picture of you and this woman, he enquired of your niece about your relationship with her. Hearing that you two were ‘soulmates’ and that you refused the natural Pyrenian custom of suicide to overcome great loss, he decided he wished to refrain from a relationship with yourself to stave off that happening should he die in this upcoming mission to Pyreen against the Termani. After he severed his personal relationship with you, he was incapable of refocusing himself back to how he had once been. Having experienced what he called ‘love’ he did not know how to stop it – therefore he removed the ability to love and with it his entire personality. I believe the sentiment behind giving you his personality, is similar to the belief that in a relationship one gives their metaphorical heart to the person they care for. In this case he gave his [i 'heart'] to you.”]
That first coupling of questions made Rhea grimace. Her body went stiff, especially at the second of the two. Yes, she did, but what she wanted was not something she could ask for. There were few things she was actually prideful about, but even she would not go crawling back to someone who left her, begging for them to change their mind. She stayed silent, choosing to ignore the questions and move on to some of the others he threw out at her.
[+lightcoral “I don’t see there is much of a choice otherwise, if he doesn’t return to how he was, this crew is going to fall apart. Even if I do not say anything, Tera and Jax will notice a difference. If you cannot connect with them the way he did, they will drift away… and I will not allow the girls to be raised by someone who cannot care for them.”] Sure, he would be able to give them what they needed to survive, but it would be emotionally void. Pyrenians mirrored what they saw happening around them. Unless Tera stepped up to play the role of primary caretaker, and Rhea certainly did not see her doing so, they would cling to Dante again, but this time there would be even less to learn when it came to empathy. It may have been relatively deep down before, but it was there. They could all see it in him, regardless of how he tried to cover it up.
He still seemed to fight her on it, having recollection to Dante’s motives. [+lightcoral “That is something I would have rather heard from him.”] Rhea wanted so badly for him to just sit down and talk to her. Tell her what he was feeling so that they could work through it together, but he chose to go an alternative route, doing things all on his own. Still, her curiosity would not let her pass up on knowing the definite answer, even if it pained her to hear it. [+lightcoral “But I suppose I have no choice but to hear it from you like this…”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Dante did not exactly comprehend why she would turn down the gift and for a moment he did stare up at her in silence. Laying down was making the conversation a touch more difficult to have but regardless he did not see a need to stand up right now.[+royalblue “Was the gift not acceptable? Did you wish for more?”] He was not exactly being helpful in this situation as he questioned her logic of refusing to take the gift.
[+royalblue “Do you think it wise to return his personality, emotions and feelings, given what has occurred?”] He asked this in his usual calm manner and looked up at her with interest. It was not so much a ‘take it or leave it’ situation. But Dante, Synth Dante that is, was trying to understand whether she was talking out of desire, necessity or logic. Did she want Dante back the way he was for her own reasons or was it for the good of the crew and all of them?[+royalblue “It is inadvisable to do so. He gave that chip to you specifically. Would you like to know why?”]
Rhea nodded. She understood why he did not want this to get out. There would be serious ramifications if his origin came to be common knowledge. He would lose most of his rights as a person. Created beings, be they organic or otherwise, were not allotted the same privileges as those who naturally evolved. It was a litigation nightmare when it first hit the law circuit and left a bad taste in the mouths of many. Both she and most others in anthropology were appalled by the results. Though those official court hearings would have come a long time after Dante. That just went to show how long the issue was pushed off in order to benefit those who were abusing the system. Not that it mattered, since they got their way in the end. [+lightcoral “I do not plan on telling anyone, so do not worry.”]
He went on to explain a little more about the chip and its significance. He did so in a detached way, as though it did not concern him in the least. And as far as Rhea could tell, it didn’t so long as he was like this. But she did not like it, not one bit. Bringing her hand up, she pushed her glasses up and pinched at the bridge of her nose. She was irritated. This was such an incredibly selfish thing to push on her, especially after breaking up with her, but she didn’t think he would be able to fully grasp that without the chip. [+lightcoral “I do not want it… That chip needs to go right back where it came from.”] She was grateful enough that he saved their lives, even if she still found it reckless, but it wasn’t fair to anyone that he was casting away his entire personality just because. Frankly, Rhea still didn’t have a reason for that either, even now with so much out in the open it still felt like he was keeping secrets.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Again Dante was relegated to the role of listening to her and hearing how they knew he was not what he had seemed to be for as long as they'd known him.[+royalblue “I would prefer if you kept my true nature from the others. If you understand what I am, then you understand I cannot have endless people knowing my origin. Three is more than enough.”] They could theorize he was mechanical in part, that he had augments much more complicated than Jax's. But to subject them to the knowledge that he was a Synth and the danger it entailed should they accidentally inform someone else was not a danger he wished to put on them.
For Rhea, it was too late to stop that, but she was more logical and thoughtful than the others and therefore more trustworthy with the information.[+royalblue “The chip contains all the personable traits built up over my four centuries of life. My creators deemed it a 'humanity chip'. Without it I think only in logical patterns, free of emotions and personality. That us why I was able to draw the power surge into myself in self sacrifice as all your lives were judged to have greater significance than my own.”] He was essentially an upgraded robot with fancy parts and a skin in essence.[+royalblue “The chip was left behind by Dante for you to keep Miss Rhea.”] Mentioning his own name in the third person was quite peculiar but he looked up at her as if it were something he was detached from.
Before this point, she hadn’t taken note of the box. It seemed the two hadn’t bothered replacing it like she asked. That was just as well, since they left without payment. Still, they had explained a lot, so Rhea nodded. [+lightcoral “To some extent, yes.”] She was not going to pretend like she knew every detail, but it seemed it would not let her leave it at that. [+lightcoral “Jax was the one who noticed that you were inorganic, but there was little he could do… So we came to Fensome and found someone to help. She told me that you were a Synth and a little about what that meant. The others don’t know yet; they weren’t in the room while she and her assistant were explaining.”] The Pyrenian did not think Jax was able to hear from outside, but she was sure there was no way of Tera knowing.
While Rhea was relieved in all this, it didn't disperse all her twisted emotions. There was still the girls and what happened right before all of this came about. She found herself looking down and away from the man before going on. [+lightcoral “And as for the chip, Tera found it when she was looking for something to revive you.”] For the time being Rhea glanced over the fact that the pilot gave it to her because she was meant to leave. That was a whole can of worms she didn’t want to open at the moment.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Listening patiently to her it was better that she was talking more succinctly and less emotionally. She seemed to have gathered herself and any threat of tears had been subdued for now. Turning his head on the pillow, he caught sight of the chip he had left for her on the table beside him and piecing that together with her comment he was beginning to understand things.[+royalblue “I take by your comment.. and that chip.. that you understand things now..”] He diverted his attention back to her.
It was not necessarily bad that she knew but given he had spent so long hiding what he was, he wanted to know what was going on and what was happening in the world around him whilst he had been 'unconscious'. Licking his lips, a nervous habit that had been uploaded with his blinking and breathing sub-routines, he fixed his gaze back on her.[+royalblue “How much do you know?”] He asked in a quiet voice, motioning for her to sit back down in her seat, a little closer to him.
Slowly, it was like things started to fall into place within Dante and Rhea felt another wave of relief come over her. It was just taking a while; he was going to be okay. Well... there were some things she was not looking forward to telling him about, but he would live. She felt like she was going to start crying harder, but she tried to hold it in a while longer.
She nodded as he mentioned what felt off. Nothing out of place as to what he should be feeling. His arm was practically ripped open and if she knew anything about coming back from the dead, and she did, it was tiring. [+lightcoral “We are in Fensome, we stopped to get you some assistance. None of us knew how to fix you. Jax did some digging, but it was beyond him.”] There was no attempt to hide what had been discovered. She very much doubted Jax would get very far with it if she did, so it was best to just be upfront.
[+lightcoral “It makes sense that you don’t remember. You have been out since the wormhole… Jax told us what happened with the power cell.”] She sighed, wanting to reprimand him, but knew she couldn’t since it saved them all. [+lightcoral “I… I am just glad you survived.”]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Observing Rhea as she mentioned she was sad, there was a moment that Dante was close to asking why. If he had been only asleep for a few days then it was not him who had caused her grief and yet she was quick to move on from it. He did not want to press the point further as she looked at him with shimmering eyes, managing to hold herself together.
[+royalblue “I.. feel tired. And my arm.. hurts..”] The pauses were different this time, more intentional than a symptom of him starting up once more. It was like he were trying to play into the role of a living being. To state he was working to sub-standard parameters or that there was damage to his right extremity would not exactly do well for him playing the role of biological being. Thankfully his voice was sounding more normal this time as his voice-box began to recall its earlier settings.
[+royalblue “Miss Rhea, where have we landed? I cannot.. remember.”] Again, a slight change of wording and he was slipping back into his role of living being, unaware that Rhea knew exactly what he was now.
[+lightcoral “No, no, I am not hurt… just… relieved and a little sad.”] In a way, that was its own type of hurt, but she was sure saying that would only give him the wrong idea while he was like this. Rhea wondered if he was going to have to completely start from scratch. It looked that way, so she tried to liken it to what was happening with the girls. The woman found it more bearable than the alternative, but it was still not an easy pill to swallow. What was worse would be having to tell the others that Dante was somehow fine, but he wasn’t who they’d known him to be. Surely, they would get used to it, but it would be a difficult transition for those who had lived under his guidance for so long. But for now, she was unsure if that would be necessary at all, so she tried not to think about it.
[+lightcoral “How about you? Does everything feel like it is in place and working properly?”] No one would know better than him, at least she thought so. It would make sense for something as complicated as a Synth to have its own built in diagnostic systems.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Looking up at her and seeing her eyes fill with water was a disconcerting one for the freshly awoken Dante. He could not comprehend why she was crying nor what could bring her to such an emotional state.[+royalblue “Why.. are you crying.. are you.. injured?”] Such a blanket statement came with no care or concern behind it. Rather it was like a medical assistance device, trying to scan her outer appearance and find reason behind her emotion. Again it was robotic in nature, though there were little inflections in pitch and tone that showed slight improvement.
Some sub-system must have kicked in then as his eyes blinked once, taking a long time to blink again though it soon began to happen at a regular interval. His chest too began to rise and fall, mimicking breathing as he began to look more and more real, less artificial in his movements and how he looked up at her. His body remained stationary however, watching her quizzically as things began to slowly run within him.
Grip tightening on his shoulder when nothing came, Rhea’s brow knit into a sad expression. It felt so close, but still nothing was coming… until it did: Dante spoke. The disconnect between the voice that came from the man before her and what she was used to, was disconcerting, but the red-eyed woman pressed passed it. She answered the question in hopes that it might spark something within him.
[+lightcoral “Y-you are in your bed… on your ship, the Enduring Odyssey.”] Despite there still being so many things that could be wrong, her four eyes began to well with water once again. Apparently her tears of sadness were all dried up, but throw a little relief her way and she was at it again. [+lightcoral “You absorbed the energy from a power surge and it…”] Previously she would have said it killed him, but given he was awake that was not the case. She didn’t really know how else to say it, but she tried. [+lightcoral “…it put you out of commission for a few days.”] Rhea desperately wanted to ask him how he felt and if he needed anything, but she did not think it wise to throw too many questions at him, especially before she knew how disoriented he really was. Hopefully he would continue to ask questions that would give her inkling to that without her overwhelming him.
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