Closed RP Cold Storage

This RP is currently closed.
Felix didn’t seem to hear Cait as she spoke, rather, he was fascinated with the bottle of rubbing alcohol. Or, rather, the bottle of his blood now. Looking at it as if it were an alien object, formed instantaneously out of moon dust, he laughed. Then, realizing he really should respond to her question of clarification, Felix spoke again.

“The little she! The one we both know! I think she’ll understand my using of her name right now. I mean Ira. The littlest she.”

Then, naturally, he walked over to where the other ice block body’s files were. Pulling one out of the drawer after some searching-because it wasn’t where it was supposed to be- Felix began looking it over. He did not look up from his reading as his mouth opened once more, nor did he seem to notice as it formed words and allowed sound to escape.

“I was not allowed eyes within, missed the ‘waaahg,’ I think. Felix’s awakening heralded my arrival. I anticipate your arrival with joy. What I think betrays too much, I am sufficient in saying I appreciate what you do.”

At that moment, Felix stopped moving. Setting down the file abruptly with a confused look, he asked, “Have I been talking out loud? Oh no I have haven’t I? Goodness, sorry! No need to hear my ramblings haha.”

Stopping his research for a moment, Felix looked over the pile of bones. They were his bones. He knew that logically, but there was certainly a disconnect as he looked at the skull. It was something no human was ever supposed to see outside their body, an ‘out of body’ experience if there ever was one.
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"Juuuuust checking," Cait said cheerfully. The creation went to go read files, which was boring, so Cait kept up with tidying up, tangling the strings up into a little ball and then sticking it in her pocket. She listened to the words coming out of Felix's mouth, unable to stop a little smile.

She was getting better at talking, wasn't she? There were whole sentences in there with clauses and grammar and everything. Maybe she was growing up. Hopefully not too soon, because Cait kinda liked her - but then again, she'd never really been interested in kids, so maybe it was for the best. Or maybe it was for the worst, and that was totally okay with Cait as well. Or maybe this was something else going on - Cait was going to have to keep an eye on that, because it was really pretty interesting.

"Oh, don't worry about it, I love hearing you talk." She did, too, regardless of whichever one of them happened to be talking at the time. She didn't rush things, but it didn't take her that long to fix things up, either. Cait had to be pretty good at getting rid of all the evidence of her spells on very short notice, after all. She kept an eye on the creation while she was doing it, but it mostly seemed to be looking at files. Just for reference, she noted which ones it was looking at, which might or might not come up later.

"Okie dokie, I think we're ready. I'm ready. Are you ready?" It was time to go for a little trip, wasn't it? Cait loved going for little trips. That was why she was on a surface team, after all.

"Think I should bring anyone else?"
Felix smiled at Cait while she spoke, he wasn’t sure why he smiled but it certainly felt like something he should be doing. She had finished cleaning and, with only a small pile of bones as evidence of what they had done, left the room fairly spotless. Once Cait said she was ready, Felix nodded and stepped away. Walking over to one of the empty morgue storage units, he pulled it open and gestured for Cait to lay down.

He was silent, his body moved of its own accord and his mind practically turned itself off. He didn’t know what he was doing or why, but he knew it was the right thing. It was natural, like breathing when you needed air or sleeping when you were tired. It was just the right thing to do.

He pulled over the table where his operation had occurred. He didn’t know what Cait did to him, but he knew it had been important and good and everything was going to be ok. Laying down himself, he looked over at the digital clock hanging at the end of the room.

10:34 PM

Was it that late already? How strange. Looking up to the ceiling, Felix closed his eyes. It was time to rest.


It would be dark when the pair woke up, but that was to be expected. Perhaps not expected would be where they awoke. Far from the cold and clean steel of Cold Storage, Felix and Cait would find themselves on a beach of finely ground, soft bone shards. The darkness was unlike anything that could ever exist on Earth, it was a darkness of a world with no sun, no stars, no extra-terrestrial light of any kind. The only evidence of it even being a beach was the gentle sound of rolling waves nearby.

Felix sat up quietly, silent for only a moment until all around them became illuminated by a crimson light in the distance. A massive plume of red dust exploded miles away, bathing the sands and waters in red. “I remember this place.” He muttered, a mix of reverence and shock.

All around them, thousands of little scuttling things shifted and burrowed away from the light. They chirped and squeaked as they hid themselves in the soft, sand-like bones. They looked almost like crabs, but legs extended from their bodies in every direction instead of just at the sides. Eyes protruding from the tops of their heads faced away from the light, as its presence was blinding and frightening. But even against the red miasma, many still tried to look at the newcomers who had arrived on their sands.

Sitting behind the pair, dressed in white cotton pants and a white cotton sweater, was a little girl with black eyes and long black hair. In her hands she held one of the little crab creatures, massaging its top exoskeleton as if it were a cat. She did not speak, she did not even look at the pair. Felix, in his confusion, wouldn’t notice it, but it’d nearly impossible to hide it from Cait.

She looked shy.
This was, without a doubt, a terrible idea.

Cait loved terrible ideas.

She had a pretty good idea where this one was going, and it was a very interesting Where indeed. She'd been talking about going for - well, a while now - but the opportunity hadn't been right. Going in solo wasn't the best idea, mostly because the rest of the Locusts were going to be mad that they didn't get to come too - but invitations were important in this sort of thing, if you didn't want to piss off a god or a demi-god or a... what was a third of a god, anyway? There should have been a good word for it. Joshua would have had a good word for it. He would have made it up on the spot, cobbled together out of medical Latin, but it would have been a good word for it.

She supposed godbait still worked as well as anything. Cait picked up the bones and tucked them away, because you just never knew when you were going to need some bones that were linked to a guy who was linked to a little goddess. Actually, Cait could think of several places that might be useful - she'd probably run out in a couple months. On the other hand, there were a whole lot of corpsicles down there, so she guessed she had options, depending on what choices she decided to make.

For now, she was choosing to do the worst idea ever and go take a nap. Maybe she'd end up a corpse herself, but that would probably also be a learning experience. Strings had been a corpse once, hadn't he? And look where he was now! And Cait had already signed over the controlling share of her soul to the Locusts Trust just in case, for situations exactly like this one.

It wasn't that it would be fine - it was obviously all going to go horribly wrong - but that was going to be the fun part. The hard part was being too excited about it to fall asleep. Lying down didn't work, so she sat up again, still on the slab, and slid herself into a meditative trance instead. From there, sleep wasn't too far off. She'd have liked to have kept an Eye on things at 14 while she was doing it, but she didn't have a spare yet. Something to add to the to-do list, Cait supposed. She'd just have to...


She woke up in darkness. There was nothing to see, only the fine slip of bone powder beneath her fingertips. Of course she knew what it was - Cait had crushed enough bones that the sensation was familiar. Waves rushed by in the distance, or something like them, and she wondered if there were tides here and what made them.

Light dawned sanguine, slowly tinting the world around them, the beach, the bones, the tiny little guys crawling around, just little guys. They were absolutely adorable and Cait was going to poke one.

But also, there was the godbait. She was missing her bean bag throne, but Cait could imagine it anyway. She was holding a little creature in her lap in exactly the sort of way Cait had been contemplating just a moment ago, and she was... nervous.

Because of course she was. They hadn't really met like this before.

"Hey! Thanks for inviting me." Because it was a really good idea to establish a guest/host relationship as soon as possible in these sorts of situations. "I love what you've done with the place."
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Little Ira smiled at Cait's words, it was an awkward grin and she shifted her bare toes in the sand while she smiled, but she smiled all the same. Setting the little thing down, Ira watched it burrow into the ground. A gentle, warm breeze smelling of salt and iron brushed past Cait from the direction of the little Goddess.

Upon that breeze were emotions, intentions, and desires emanating from Ira. They were her words, unspoken, but heard as clearly as if her mouth was moving. It was not the sort of thing where 'you always knew what she was trying to say,' Rather, it was a sort of alien feeling that had never properly been replicated on Earth. It was as if you could hear her inside your mind, but it was so much more than just a voice in your head. It was true understanding reverberating in the heart itself.

The words between Felix and Cait would not be the same, but they would mean exactly the same. To Cait, it would feel like, "Thank you, I pour all that I am into my children and my world. How shall I welcome you? I do not do this. I have never done this. The others, Dea and Beastia, they two have done this many times. Not me. I do not know where to begin. Do I serve meals? Throw parties? Begin elaborate conversations mired in weird symbolism? Dea loves those."

Ira stood up then, walking over toward the pair on the beach. Stepping over to Felix first, she looked him in the eyes and it seemed as though she spoke to him alone for a moment. He spoke, "Ah, yes please." And bent down to Ira's level. Her fingers reached out and toward his eyes. In one swift motion, her fingers dug out his eyes, molded them, and replaced them before it could even really be processed as to what she did.

As she stepped back and Felix blinked a few deliberate times, the great sphere beneath their feet heaved and the crimson miasma in the distance began to fade. In the swiftly encroaching darkness, Ira looked at Cait. Her mouth did not open, but the breeze would touch her again and it felt like, "I can change your eyes, if you want."
The little goddess was uncertain, which was refreshing, for a deity. Cait listened to the words and the words-within-the-words and the words-without-the-words, tilting her head slightly as if presented with an interesting song for the first time and wanting to hear it better so that she could remember how it went, later on, when she was trying to sing it to herself.

She didn't mind that the godbait approached the creation first - that seemed right, actually. It was a gift, in a way. Not a tribute, because Cait didn't do tribute, but a present, for a lonely little girl. Cait wasn't going to get in the way of her trying it out. The eye-gouging wasn't necessarily expected, so Cait watched the process with fascination, wishing that it had all gone a little slower.

Things were becoming dark again, and the words whispered again, for Cait this time. She laughed, not with mocking, but with a mixture of delight and chagrin. "You're not the first deity to offer to change me," she responded with a shrug. If she said yes to all of them, there wouldn't be much left of Cait, when it was all done. And Cait liked being Cait, so she rather wanted to stay that way, while she could. Oh, she'd change over time - everyone did - but she wanted to be able to pick when she did. "And it might change things, between us. And then we might not be friends any more. So maybe not, for now. But I'd like it if you can teach me how it's done."

She tilted her head once more, indicative rather than inquisitive, since the Godbait didn't know what to do with her, and she was still just a kid on the outside. The beach beckoned, fine-ground shores meeting the tide. "Want to build a bone castle?"
Ira walked over to Cait, heard but unseen in the eternal night. The wind brushed by like a whisper, gentle and warm to contrast the coldness of the ocean breeze, "I am Dea only to my children, and Beastia only to those who would oppose me. For you, I am Ira, because anything else would change things. I do not like change."

Reaching out, Ira attempted to gently take Cait's hands in her own. The feeling of touching Ira was electric, it caught the heart and held it with a vice. It was touching the heart of the planet, feeling the expanse of billions of lives, and experiencing the softness of pure, innocent love. With delicate precision, she placed Cait's fingers upon her eyes. They would feel to Cait as if no skull held them, like twin floating orbs of fleshy squishiness.

And in the moment Cait felt them, the knowledge of how they worked would be imparted to her. Eyes unlike anything that existed anywhere else, eyes that took in the absence of light to create the shape and color of objects. To see with these eyes was to see in a spectrum unknown to humanity, the reflection of darkness. If Cait wanted to cast a spell, to see as Ira did, then it would feel within reach.

Then, releasing Cait, a feeling etched itself across the gentle sounds of the scuttlers unburying themselves once more. It felt curious, a little confused even, "A bone castle? I have no large pieces here for the frame. Shall I bring a creature to fetch them for us?"
Ira indicated her feelings on the matter of change, and Cait smiled in the blossoming darkness. "But I adore change." Magic was change, on a fundamental level. It was something that never would have come to be on its own, brought about in ways that were different than they should have been. It was everything that Cait had ever wanted; everything she always wanted.

But change was not often in the nature of gods. A god was generally a representation of something, and that implied a certain stagnation. They didn't change, or they wouldn't be themselves.

That was why they generally had people for that. Ira's hands were on hers, and Cait squeezed them lightly in a manner that said It doesn't matter if we're different, we can still be friends. Our differences make us stronger. Ira's touch was not so simple, yet the depth of it was fathomless, something boundless. It was life and love and selfishness, because love was knowing yourself and your needs, just like love was also sacrifice, as Hades knew it. There was no contradiction, because that was the way of gods.

This was understood, and the understanding came as well of the darkness and the shapes-within-the-darkness, and how to separate them out and what might be unSeen. It seemed simple, a matter of intention. Cait had plenty of intention. She questioned, for a moment, if she could - but of course she could, that knowledge was part of the understanding. Ira's hands left hers, and the boundless depths went with them, love lost and torn asunder.

There were tears on her cheeks at the loss of it, and of course there were. Cait reached up to brush them away with her fingertips, letting them linger a moment on her cheekbones, mixed in tears and understanding and love and loss and darkness.

Of course she could. Change blossomed, beneath the trail of her fingers, the second pair of eyes opening beneath the first, resolving the shapes out of the darkness and beholding the unconditional love of a child.

There was an understanding that was not, and Cait could change that, too.

No structure, only sand - or bone. It isn't meant to last. She reached out for the child's hand again - not the goddess's hand, because you shouldn't drag gods about - but there was still a child, and Cait would pull her towards the shore, the idea of a tiny castle fixed in her mind, for the waves to wash over like tears on the shore.
The dark world, now visible without light, was awash in vibrancy, colors, and life. There was so much alive all around them. Thousands of the little crab beasties unburrowed themselves in the bone sand and began hopping up into the air. They were reached for little floating specs, tiny worms of a half dozen colors unknown to the human eye twisted and curled in the air around them, desperately trying to escape the little hopping beasties.

The water that lapped against the shore was clearer than any pool on earth, animals of a multitude of shapes swam and lived within it as well. Plants and bony corals for the 'fish' to hide and live in, though not a single thing in the water looked remotely like a fish. The origin of the waves, rhythmic and constant, could be seen in utterly massive veins that pumped hot luminescent blood beneath the surface. The heartbeat of the Sphere drove the tides here.

Felix seemed utterly enthralled by it all, as only a researcher would, so it would be that he found himself left behind as Cait took the hand of the most powerful being in the entire plane of existence. Touching Ira was electric, painful, and wonderful at the same time, like the softest feather down hiding sharp teeth. To drag her along, anywhere, for any reason, was utterly and completely impossible. If she did not wish to be dragged, that is.

But she did wish it. The child desperately wished it- because she did not do this. Specifically, she did not entertain guests, nor did she let anyone, even HerSELVES tell her or make her do anything. This was simply not something she did, and she did not change. But Cait adored change, so, maybe Ira could learn to adore it as well. Maybe, just maybe, she could even change herself, just a little.

So it was that Ira knew the words Cait wanted to say, unspoken, experienced and understood. It was the way she talked, and like Cait had said to Felix earlier, she knew entire unspeakable languages. Unspeakable was a word humans used sometimes to describe things that could be spoken, but shouldn't be. But Cait was different, Ira knew that even before being shown. Cait could do almost anything she wanted and, even in her dark world, Ira would let her.

Falling to her knees beside the waves, Ira followed Cait's direction and tried to build- whatever it was her friend was showing her. To be perfectly honest, Ira was happy simply enough to be doing anything with Cait. Brushing the sand, Ira found herself surprised that her smile had not yet faded, and her emotions carried themselves upon the wind. It felt like, "Do you enjoy my world? I have favorites, of course, because I am selfish, but I love all these things. I made them all."
There was life everywhere. Why shouldn't there be? This was Ira's place, after all, and she had created it. Just like she'd reached into a horrible anomalous death zone and pulled out little molded things, just like she'd filled a tiny room with craft supplies: she was a creator, and that was what she did. Cait poked at them, because that was very Cait, and because she had a feeling that Ira wouldn't hurt her any more than was necessary. She was fully aware that as necessary could get pretty horrifying, on the existential scale - she was from L-9, after all - but Cait wasn't going to stop what she was doing just because of that.

She scooped up damp bits of the beach from the shoreline, carrying it over and letting it trickle through her fingers into spires and pathways, walls and shapes, strange symbols, strange runes. She could have made them do something, somewhere, but she didn't try to do it here. It was a bit like Gail and Strings, she thought - Gail didn't try to bind him because then they'd have to figure out for real if he could get out of it. It was better to let some questions be unanswered - so Cait didn't try to do magic beyond what she'd asked about, and the symbols were only practice, with no intent to bring them to life, and that way they didn't have to find out if Ira could stop her or not.

Cait didn't know if bone fragments would really make drip spires the way that sand did, but it didn't matter here, because that was what she expected to happen and so that was what happened. Ira didn't know any better to tell her wait, it doesn't work like that, so it worked just the way Cait thought it should.

Ira brushed off bits of bone, and a question lingered between them. Cait echoed the smile, unconcerned. I've never been here before. It was an answer, even if it wouldn't have seemed like one if it were only words - but the words were only a backdrop here, and Ira would understand. Cait loved change, after all. She loved things that were new and strange and different. She'd told Pepper once that the best ice cream flavor was the one you hadn't tried yet, so how could she not love a world she hadn't been to yet?

Which is your favorite?
Ira watched the way Cait held the bone sand, the way she let it drip through her fingers and the way it formed shapes and symbols for her. They were alike in this aspect it seemed, they both liked to make things. Ira reached down to the sand and formed it into a little square mound, then, she poked hole after hole after hole into it until it seemed more like a hive. It reminded her of her children's homes. A comforting place.

Ira felt the question she had hoped for, and, like a child too eager to show a friend something new, giggled. It was the first noise she had made since appearing before Cait and the sound shook the world down to its mantle. It was not the sound of a little girl, but a sound that led to the natural conclusion that if Ira sneezed, the whole solar system might split in two.

Reaching out, she took Cait's hands once more. This time perhaps a little too eagerly, but Ira still attempted to not hurt Cait as she moved. Cait was not one of her children, but Cait was still delicate like they were. Well, no, Cait was probably a lot more robust than Ira thought, but still, it wouldn't be good to abuse her just because she might be able to endure it. So, gently, Ira pushed Cait's hands under the bone sand alongside her own.

"Can you feel it?"

Hundreds of feet below them, something was moving. By vibration alone, Ira painted a picture in the mind's eye of the creature that spiraled and dug in the ground. It was enormous. A worm with spiraling rings of hands dug and thumped its way through the Sphere below. It carved massive caverns and thump thump thumped its way along in a soft, rolling rhythm. Ira swayed back and forth with its beat, like hearing the drumming of a beloved song.

If Cait knew the rhythm, it might remind her of the beat of 'Heart Shaped Box' by Nirvana.

"They are my favorites."
There was laughter - a tiny little giggle - and the world trembled with it. Cait wondered if that was how L-14 felt around her, and thought maybe it was possible, but that was just funny. She hadn't even turned any of the common areas into tiny cubes or anything - she'd left them just the way they belonged. Ira's hand was on hers again, almost unbearable, but Cait didn't mind that. She was trying, wasn't she?

Their hands burrowed, beneath the dust of bone, feeling the depths of the world below and the tremors that whispered up through them. There was a rhythm to it, caught instantly. The song took a little longer to hear, but it wasn't hard to figure it out after a while either. Forever in debt to your process of lies~

Sure, those weren't the real words, but they'd always been the ones she heard. They were real to Cait, anyway, and that was usually real enough. That was how magic worked, after all. The creatures were fascinating, though, and she was still for a bit, just feeling the way they moved through the world. It wouldn't be too long, though, before she wanted to know more, so she brought a question into things, just to see what would happen:

Ira was naive, of course, but it could be nearly impossible to tell if someone only knew her from this place. She could not be taken advantage of, deceived, or tricked, unless she allowed it. At least, that's what Ira believed, and to an extent that belief made it true. Cait's question- slipped in not-so-innocently- was an offer of a sliver to let something new into this place.

But Ira was not ready for that, not yet, so the question was answered plainly by the feelings of the child, "It was the first child to the beat of a sound beyond. It means so much to me. I created it with purpose, of course, but still with love. There was a time I nearly left your world, but, this song kept me there. It reminds me that pain can pass, I can still enjoy new things."

Then, with great effort, Ira breathed. It was a motion so natural and normal that it could almost be forgotten that she did not do it here. Her breath, bitterly cold, settled into the bone-shard ground and latched onto the tiny round bits as if it were alive. By themselves, the bones cracked and grew into each other until they formed the shape of a little box. The box was a very, very strange shape. A thousand spirals and swirls wrapped around each other over and over again. Some merged into the box and some into each other until, finally, they seemed to converge at a few points and point away from the box.

Even if Cait didn't catch on to what it was, but she probably did, Ira still imparted the knowledge. It was a box in the shape of the deep worm's central blood control and flow system. A heart-shaped box. Ira offered it to Cait with a gentle smile-

and she was aware of the eyes that watched.

Ira knew those eyes would come eventually, even if not called. Ira had locked the outside door, but she, out of obligation to Herself, did not lock the doors inside this place. It could come whenever it wanted, She had deigned to give it free rein, after all. The little thing of golden hair and green and blue eyes, the Enki. It was there, somewhere, watching.
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There were eyes watching them, and they were very familiar. Cait would have known his eyes anywhere. Oh, these weren't directly his, but they were close enough, and in the way of gods and fractions of gods, sometimes that was all that mattered. She was here, looking, and she was one of the reasons that Cait was here, looking for her.

"Skull session." In L-9, this could be a lot more literal than some other locations, but in this particular case it was just a call to order. It wouldn't have been any fun if people didn't have to guess about it. The team had become privy to some information, as the saying went, and now it was time to figure out what to do with it.

There was a second half of their little curiosity running about, though not doing quite as much running, given that she was a bit stuck where she was at the time. They had a confirmation, though, and that was enough to start with. The trick was going to be getting somewhere with it.

The room was quiet for a moment, the sort of quiet that involved five people planning things out in their own minds, and then seeing where they were going to go with them and how they all fit together.

"So. We have a little godling out there. We have our godbait, all tied up in it, and we have at least one deity we're going to piss off if we do it wrong and at least one deity we're going to piss off if we do it right. Sound right?"

"With you so far."

"And Pepper's all tied up in it too."

"Pepper's ACF. She'll deal with it."

"Sure." Pepper was also still Cait's friend, and that meant something as well - which was also all tied up in this, just like everything else. And Cait would deal with it, because Cait was also ACF. The Locusts might have been batshit crazy when they needed to be, but they had their priorities straight. They had to, otherwise they went from being an asset to being an assignment. No one wanted that, especially not whatever poor [expletive] got assigned to sorting them out.

"All right." A pause, and this time it was the sort of pause that they all knew was the moment before everything went wrong, but they were going to do it that way on purpose, because sometimes you had to do things wrong to get to the right endpoint. Gail let the moment be, because it had to be, and when it was over she didn't hesitate. "Cait. I'd like you to take point on this."

Another silence, this one filled with horror.


"Are you... sure about that?"

"Wow. Thank you for the vote of confidence, guys." She knew they didn't mean it, and there was another slight pause. "Are you sure about that?"

"Yes. You've been working a little bit on the situation with the godbait already, you've got an established relationship with Pepper, which means a line on Hades. It's your decision, Cait. But it's there if you want it."

It wasn't phrased as an order, and that was done for a reason. This wasn't an assignment so much as an offer. It wasn't the sort of situation that class-C agents got thrown into, which meant that completing it was essentially offering Cait her class-D promotion. They'd held back for a while, of course, due to the team structure and a few other factors. The team had known for a while that Cait wanted L-9, but they'd been keeping it quiet and letting her get her bearings without the rest of ACF thinking about it. Cait had admitted it to Jupiter a little while ago, though, and he was smart enough to know that she'd meant it. That meant at least the security council was aware of the ambition, and in the way of things in an organization of intelligent people who were very good at ferreting out secrets and putting pieces together, others would start to figure it out eventually as well. A class-D was going to alert quite a few more people that there were pieces to put together, but if Cait wanted L-9, she was going to need to be able to handle that as well.

And, of course, there was no mention of what would happen if she failed. This was L-9, after all. They didn't do soft try-again attempts at promotions like some other locations. If it didn't work out, there wouldn't be enough left of Cait to consider another attempt.

Just like any other Tuesday, really. Cait's smile was quick and easy, but none of them doubted that she knew what she was getting into. "I'm in."

And in a roundabout way, that had all led here, to Ira's waking world, being watched by something that was undoubtedly as curious about Cait as Cait was about her.

She wasn't the only thing here, though, or the only thing that mattered. Getting too fixated on one thing could mean missing something else, and Cait had already pissed off one Goddess today, so she wasn't really going to aim for a second right now. That was why she did nothing more about the eyes on her than Note them, reaching out her hands for the offering from a different sort of godbait entirely. A little box for keeping things outside, shaped like a heart and holding its own beat beneath her fingertips.

Opening it would undoubtedly release horrors, but this was Cait. She delighted in those sorts of things. Her thumb traced lightly along the underside of the lid, her own eyes - all of them, those that could see in the darkness and those that could not - shifting towards the little girl before her.

"May I?"

It was polite to ask, after all.
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Ira let go of the knowledge of the little thing watching. If she allowed herself to drop everything and chase it, take her rage out upon it, then Ira would be doing nothing more than ruining her own joy in this moment. So release the feelings she did. After all, Ira's feelings of rage were not because of the little Enki thing. No, Ira was mad at Herself. That was a fight for later.

Of course, some of these thoughts would leak out as feelings to those around her. Perhaps Cait would feel it as well. Rage and hatred were easy things to spread in this wonderful waking world. Then, pulling her attention back to her friend, Ira heard the question and shook her head. Reaching out, she pushed the top of the lid down and instructed, "Not here, not yet. That is not its purpose."

Then, standing, Ira began to move toward the waters. With every step, the little things about their feet moved and shifted so that they might not accidentally disrespect the holiness of Ira's walk. As she moved, the feeling of "Come, bring your steps with me." would echo toward Cait, beckoning her alongside. Ira was making her way toward the water, an ocean of shallow saltwater sweat cooling the surface of this side of the Sphere.

The Sphere breathed again in the distance. The massive plume of red miasma manifested as formless obfuscation to eyes that could see in nothing. Ira watched it breathe, because it was breathing, and smiled. She did not breathe, she did not talk. Excepting the earlier giggle that shook the flesh beneath their feet, Ira had been completely silent.

But once the pair were out in the water, Ira attempted to do one more thing she simply did not do. Ira tried to speak.


Her voice was soft, quiet, and completely, utterly terrifying. The Sphere did not intake its breath, holding the exhale in terror as the one who formed their cosmos spoke.

"If ever trouble. Here, or- anywhere."

It was an effort to speak, an effort Ira had not anticipated. Chests would catch with pain, hearts would struggle to beat, and orifices would bleed as she continued. This was not done.

"Then, open. Something special, I give."

The water rippled, then forced itself away from the feet of Ira. Flowing with immense speed as pressure and pain built up around them. Everything, from animals to life at the cellular level, would feel the struggle to run. Run away. Run away or die.

"Just for you. Only you. Because, you- you are- my friend."


Cait would find herself back at L-14, alone. Felix was gone, Mr. Johnson had not returned, and the clock read 2:22 AM.