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Behind the Veil
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[Current Time]

OOC Time: Sat Jun 30 20:23:14 2007
Earth Time: May 20 17:50:18 2376
Star Time: 53382.9 14:51:57

Holodeck One <Deck 30> [Gibraltar Station]

A giant cave with several stalagmites and stalactites throughout the environment a large platform sits in the center of the structure with a dark black car sitting on a revolving floor. A path leads from the car to a giant view screen and an ancient touch panel for data entry. On closer inspection it's clear that the panel is actually of LCARS design. Various trophies are present including a giant version of an ancient earth penny and a stuffed Tyrannosaurus Rex. A display case is also visible with a red-yellow costume and domino mask about the size of a teenage boy.

Bunni Aventino
Ed Danley

Danley steps into the holodeck, "Computer, load Danley program 'The Cave.' Code Excalibur Delta One." As the familiar yellow and black grid disappears and is replaced by the cave, Danley runs his hand through his hair. "Ok, so... I just need to warn you I may ramble a bit. But hopefully I'll eventually get to the points."

Aventino heads on over and sits on T-Rex's foot, one leg stretched out over the floor, the other knee up toward her chest, her arms wrapped around it loosely as she slouches in a casual posture. "Ramble on, Lucy," she nods.

Danley shakes his head as he begins to pace a bit, "Where do I start? I suppose I should start at the ending. That's about the only thing that would make sense. There's only a couple of people I've ever really told this too to start with but anyway... So, there we were at Wolf 359. When it became clear we were loosing the ship all semblance of command structure broke down. Once the Borg got into engineering it was just a matter of time and there was no way we would be able to take it back with the number of losses we were suffering. The order to abandon ship was given. Instead of heading directly to a lifepod I went to make sure St.." Taking a breath he stops for a moment and then goes on, "Steph got out. But when I found her it was too l-late. No she wasn't dead but it would have been better if she was. She... she came at me and tried to inf-to infect me. I had no choice. I keep telling myself I had no choice..."

Aventino's face falls from its characteristic smile to a slightly open-mouthed stare, head slightly tilted and breath slowing almost to nil as Ed begins to have problems speaking. She lets him get through as much as she can, then, when he stops, she lets out a slow, "Shhh... breathe... Do you want to tell me what happened next, or would you rather skip that part?" she asks, soft and calm, unsure if it would help him more to say it out loud or to not.

Danley turns away from the woman and stares off into space for another moment and finally starts again, "I shot her Bunni. Part of me knows she was dead already. But... they were able to reverse the effects with Picard. Maybe if I had been able to subdue her somehow. But instincts took over and I s-shot her. She fell to the ground twitching. I kneeled down next to her and had every intention to stay there with her. But one of the other security guys grabbed me and drug me out. I was in such a daze I didn't even realize what was happening until we were already away from the ship. I should have died with her. I guess I've been trying to die ever since. First by drinking, fights in bars, and just dangerous stuff. I couldn't bring myself to do the dead myself. I don't know... Maybe it felt like cheating."

Aventino keeps her breathing slow and moderated, but even so, by the time Ed's discussing his suicidal tendencies, her lips purse around a long draught of air like a slow, sad sigh. Things tie together in her head, and she wants to make the connections out loud, to show how this all fits in with things he's said before. But this isn't her story to tell, and she just slowly inhales again, not even goading him to continue, simply listening, a calm, warm presence, however much he's aware of her being there for him as he recounts everything, her dark eyes focused on his form, unflinching.

Danley wipes at his eyes with his hands before he turns back around to face her, "So... I quit Starfleet. It was just a constant reminder ya know?"

"Yah, I know," Bunni rejoins softly as Ed looks for a reply from her, "I know, Ed," she repeats assuringly, "I wouldn't have wanted to stay, either," she whispers. "Oh, god, Ed," is all she really has left to say, but she puts it out there as a token of her sympathy, arms rolling tighter around that knee, shaking her head a little.

Danley says, "But then you came along and... I started feeling like my old self when you were around. And I started having these thoughts and feelings. But... I suppose I may have just been me feeling like someone needed to protect you from Mar'G. And everything else going on around us right now."

Aventino almost literally hears a noise like someone ripping a needle off of a playing record at those next few statements, her eyes suddenly widening and her mouth opening before she shuts it again to try to process and to listen further. She takes a deep breath and finally stands up again, evidently taking this shift in the story as her cue to start talking, "First of all... Ed, you still your old self. You're just your old self who's been through something incredibly traumatic. You shouldn't feel guilty for still being who you are. Steph wouldn't have wanted you to die in that engine room, and she certainly wouldn't want you to just crawl into a box and wait to die now because you're feeling too guilty to live."

Danley nods a bit, "People keep telling me that. But after all this time, I've gotten more used to feeling this way than how I used to be. Feeling... normal... I guess that's the word for it. Feels unnatural at this point for most part."

Aventino smiles again, if just a little, and sort of sadly, "Well, I think it's good. Healing is good. Thoughts and feelings are also good, not--" she adds hastily, "that I think you ought to have done anything about it. But, you know, you have them. People do have them, sometimes. Like you said, it's normal."

Danley sits down by the giant penny and nods, "Well, that's kind of what I wanted to get out in the open. I figured most of the way you were acting was because of the alien program. And confirming that makes my life a bit easier."

Aventino wanders closer and folds her arms over her chest, "Well, it's like I said last time we were in here. It's not like I'd slap your face or anything. You're really very sweet, sometimes. Under normal circumstances..." she shrugs, "who knows? But-- I just really think it'd probably be a bad idea, at this point. You're still trying to figure out who you are, now. Sex has a really nasty habit of getting in the way of that process. I know who I am, and I'll always be that person, no matter what happens to me or who I happen to be sleeping with at the time. You're just..." she frowns a little, "still trying to figure out what's left of you without her, aren't you?" she asks, actually tearing up a bit, after managing to this point dry eyed.

Danley sighs a bit and shakes his head, "I know what I am and I don't like it. Which is part of why I took this job. This actually makes things a bit easier on me. Winnie made it sound like I was so great for not taking advantage of the situation. But in truth I just didn't want to form any long term attachments. Life can be dangerous especially when you. . . live on a base that has something like the 'strom outside the windows."

Aventino shrugs, herself, hands working up her arms a short way, "Life is dangerous wherever you go. That never changes. So what about you, then? Who are you when you're alone?"

Danley shakes his head a bit with a slight grin, "I'm Batman."

Aventino shakes her own head and drops her hands to her sides, "Well, you can't ask for much more than that. There's one more thing I want to ask you, if you don't mind a question..."

Danley nods, "Go ahead."

Aventino furrows her brow a bit, "What do you have against G'Mar? Sure, he sketched me out at first glance, but that was Tommy's fault, not his. He's a good guy, from all I can tell. And I slept with him seventeen times while I was a psion, so unless he's a master of mental deception, I probably ought to know."

Danley stares at the floor for a moment and kicks at a small pebble. "Because... I guess part of it was I'm jealous. But that's only part of it. When you've got two Starfleet officers die while being questioned about the explosion. Only to discover that it was some Borg-like implant that caused them to expire right as they're getting ready to tell Hawk who's behind it. And then have Church blow up the ship with the evidence in it. Not to mention the ultranium factor. There's something going on with the Antarean Freedom Faction. And someone like G'Mar wouldn't just walk into it unknowing. He's either involved in it, knows who is or worse." He lets out a small sigh, "Now, you can't tell anyone I told you that cause a bartender wouldn't know that information. And if you tell anyone then they're going to wonder how you found out."

Aventino frowns, "But G'Mar didn't even want to give the evidence over to Starfleet Command," she points out, "And you should have seen how upset he got when I told him about the Queen Mary. It was his own embassy that got attacked, and Command's trying to cover up who did it, for some reason."

Danley shakes his head, "First off it was attacked by Antareans working with... I don't know who other than the two that died. A couple of questions you've got to ask yourself is why don't they want to hand the evidence over? Afraid someone might find the Borg implant? And then it gets destroyed before it can be turned over? How odd. When was the last time you heard of a ship just being destroy like that? Not since the war I would wager. And Command isn't trying to cover it up. At least not the legitimate command. If I had to take a guess I'd lay odds that Section 31 is involved. We had suspicions they were doing something out here. But I had no idea it would go this high."

"Working with Starfleet officers," Bunni completes the sentence. "And maybe they didn't want to hand over the evidence because there was no reason for them to hand over the evidence. Starfleet even has this big fucking rule somewhere about not being nosy bastards in other people's business. Antarean embassy makes it Antarean soil... so to speak. An attack by Antareans on Antareans on Antarean soil needs to be turned over to Starfleet Command... why? And then, yeah, the ship was destroyed. By Starfleet. Or at least with Starfleet's knowledge. What is this Section 31 you keep going on about, anyway?"

Danley shakes his head, "It wasn't with any official Starfleet knowle... What is Section 31? Umm... It's a rogue and officially nonexistent intelligence and defense organization resembling secret police or maybe a black-ops organization. It operates outside of Starfleet Command with no accountability. We've been trying to put an end to it for years. Every time we think we've wiped out the head another cell appears."

Aventino listens, and then shakes her head a bit, her mouth open, "Okay, Ed, seriously, you've got to put up the cape for a while, I think it's addling your brains."

Danley stares at Aventino for a moment, "You think I'm crazy?" Shaking his head a bit, "Funny, I tell the truth and people don't believe me. How in the world did Hawkins do this for so long?"

Aventino stares on back, "You do realize what you just said, right? I mean, it does sound like a neat little piece of insanity wrapped up in a bow, doesn't it?"

Danley sighs a bit, "Computer, play back authorization message Crawford Authorization Danley security clearance voice authorization Lieutenant Danley security code Omega Alpha 2 16 6 7 sequence Excalibur."

Aventino raises a brow and turns and squints up at the screen above Batman's consoles. 'Cause, well, it just makes sense.

Admiral Crawford's face appears on said screens. "Lieutenant Danley is currently working undercover on a classified project authorized by my office. This project has also been authorized by Starfleet Intelligence. You are to give Lieutenant Danley all aid and assistance required, and you are not to reveal that Lieutenant Danley is still attached to Starfleet. Lieutenant Danley's clearance level is Zeta. This message is authorized, Crawford, Theta-1779."

Danley stares at the screen for a moment and shrugs a bit, "Now the real question is do you believe the message? Or is it part of the holonovel?"

Aventino narrows her eyes at the screen, "Say I believe you... what, then... that whole thing about how you just couldn't stay in Starfleet... too many reminders... was all a lie? And the rest of it, what, part of your cover story, too?" she asks, not accusing, just feeling him out for an answer.

Danley shakes his head, "I did leave Starfleet for awhile there were too many reminders. But then McCain showed up with this mission. She said no one would accept it because they it sounded like a suicide mission. It sounded just up my alley. Stop the bad guys, get killed in the process. Give my death some sort of meaning. But the more I look around at who all is here, the more I she lied to me about the mission. Told me what I wanted to hear so I'd agree to do it. I imagine she thought that once I got back out here and got to know people I'd snap out of it. When I see Jen again I'm going to punch her right in the nose."

Aventino brings a set of fingers up to the bridge of her nose, rubbing there. "Alright. Fine... I believe you. I don't know why I believe you, but I do," she shakes her head, "It usually takes more than one drink for me to start believing everything the boys tell me," she even chuckles lightly. "I think... I think I need to sleep on this. Maybe forget a little bit of it during the night, wake up wondering whether that really happened or whether I was just having a strange dream about karaoke and spies. 'Cause you might be more than just a bartender, but I'm really just a barfly, so..." she shakes her head, "Weird."

Danley shrugs, "I'm just a bartender... with connections. And I get the feeling you're going to be more than a barfly when all this is said and done. But get some sleep."

Aventino nods, "You too, Ed. If you can," she adds, perhaps enigmatically, or maybe just... for lack of anything better to say. She seems, as she heads out, rather put off by the whole revelation. But maybe it's nothing a night's sleep won't aid.

3902 - Junior Officer's Quarters <Deck 39> [Gibraltar Station]

Though relatively small in comparison to other suites aboard the base, these quarters are still spacious and comfortable. The main room is a square that makes up half the rectangle of these quarters. A white sofa, just large enough for two people, is placed against the wall to the right of the main door. A small fern sits upon a smoked glass coffee table in front of the sofa. Twin chairs of the same plush style as the sofa complete the seating arrangement. There is a replicator, small table, and two chairs to the left of the room, a walkway dividing the two areas. At the end of this walkway is the door leading to the bedroom, directly across from the main door. The bed is twin size, with maroon comforter and gray pillow. There is a closet and cupboards for the occupant's belongings, and a bathroom complete with shower. The carpeting throughout the quarters is gray, the walls paneled in the same color. Soft lighting comes from panels in the ceiling, and there are twin vertical alert tracers on either side of the door.

Bunni Aventino
Winifred Brooks

o/~ Ba-ra-row!
Aventino is settled back into the corner of her couch, the sideamp plugged into her amphicaster as she just jams idly with it, relaxing.

Brooks walks in and blinks at the noise, reflexively covering her ears. Seeing that it's just Aventino playng, she relaxes. "Hey, Bunni..."

Aventino backs off of the harder jams and just starts plucking out a low, drawling, almost jazzy melody. "Hey Fred. How're you, hon?"

Brooks shrugs in reply, yawning. "Didn't sleep too well last night. I'll be alright. You wanted to go over something... particle theory-ish?"

Aventino smiles, setting her fingers flat over the strings and stilling them, then moving her strap from over her head, "Sure. Actually, since I first asked you to come look things over I've been doing up simulations and some tests in the lab. The results are very exciting, and I'll be ready to move onto the next phase of the project once I'm done with work on project Origen. Whenever that might be," she grins. "I'm supposing your Maelstrom discovery kept you and Solvek up most of the night? Or your celebrations thereof?" she winks.

Brooks shakes her head, walking over to sit on the couch. "I set some simulations to run last night and went to bed. In my own quarters. Wasn't feeling too well. So... haven't really worked on all that yet."

Aventino cuddles up in that corner of the couch, bringing her bare feet up to the cushions and lifitn her knees up against her chest as she watches Fred sit. "So what kept you up?" she wonders, "Just couldn't sleep?"

Brooks shrugs and nods. "Didn't sleep too well. Anyhow... what're these results?" Yeah, Fred's avoiding the subject. Seems to have reverted a bit, maybe.

Aventino looks quietly at Fred for a while longer, as if trying to work up her psionic abilities again, brows furrowing a little. "If you ever want to talk about it... well, you know I'm here," she offers with a smile, and then doesn't press any further, insead slipping her feet down to the carpet and standing, heading over to her desk/workstation and pulling up a few files, "So, do you know why the Romulans still have a better teleportation system than anything in the Fleet?" she asks.

Brooks shrugs to this in reply. "Not really. Because they're willing to take risks we're not?"

Aventino grins, "Exactly," she murmurs, "The Romulans are one hundred percent not squeamish. You look at our own teleportation systems in comparison, and what do you see? A bunch of fossils left over in the methodology from the days when people just couldn't get over the concept of getting disassembled and chucked through space and put back together. The earliest teleportation systems were almost obsessed with keeping everything 'in order.' Keep your head molecules around where your head was, keep your arm molecules about where your arm was... so it would seem as little 'invasive' as possible. All our modern teleportation systems are descended from that model, and while it's come a hell of a long way, there are still these outdated, unfounded assumptions that people glom onto -- it's engrained in the system! So. I'm starting over," she beckons Fred over to the workpanel, where she's still standing. "Not completely," she admits, "But close."

Brooks raises her eyebrows. "You ever seen what happens when someone reconstructs wrong? I've seen vids. It ain't pretty." She shudders a bit. "If you're wanting to come up with a new way of transporting you're gonna have a time finding volunteers." She stands and walks over to the workpanel.

Aventino rolls her eyes, "See, that's exactly the sort of narrowmindedness that's been keeping our transporters in the stone ages. Transporter accidents are exceedingly rare, and in any case aren't caused because your atoms aren't in the right place to begin with. Of course they're not! That's the entire point! Now, look, here's a sim of a typical transporter beam," she points to one panel, where a round object in 'space' is dissolved and its atoms, color-coded and mingled with each other, are charged and sent hopping about an inch across the screen in a slow stream about as thick as the original object. "Blah blah, pretty boring. I'm sure you've seen that one before. Now. Look at this one," she calls up on the next screen a similar simulation. Brushing a fingertip over the panel, the object dissolves, but its particles are arranged in a much more narrow space, the darkest 'particles' at the far end and the lightest nearest where the object was. The particles are then charged and sent across the screen, taking about the same amount of time as the first simulation, but covering a much more vast distance. "The color code indicates mass. We organize the atoms according to mass, and use the particles' own outer level atomic grav pull and the inertia of the heavier and more hypercharged particles to actually help drag the beam through space. And that's not the only benefit. The narrower beam will almost completely negate the need to compensate through nebulae and atmospheric phenomena. Hell, with enough refinement, we could be beaming through shielding one day," she grins, sounding excited.

Brooks listens, noting everything with an air of idly calculating various things. "You've got quite a margin of error here," she comments. "Up to about five point oh six meters, it looks like. Isn't that going to be a problem?"

Aventino gives a little pout as Brooks fails to get as excited as she's getting. "I never said it was perfect, yet. But it's workable. And there's a way to adjust down that error, I just--" she purses her lips and pulls them to one side, "Haven't found it, yet. Besides!" she gets excited again, "Five point oh six meters isn't going to mean a rat's ass where I'm going," she grins and starts pulling up some other programs with an excited flourish.

Brooks nods slowly to this. "So... where're you going? I'm guessing not a planet." She grins a bit. "Practical's not my thing so much as theory, really. I used to tinker. Not so much anymore."

Aventino's hand hovers over a touchpanel, and she turns to look toward Brooks, "I'm gonna show you my baby, Fred. But you're not allowed to tell anyone about her. Not even Solvek, okay? You'll jinx her."

Brooks chuckles. "I can keep a few secrets from Solvek... well... most of the time." She clears her throat. "He stays out of those bits of my mind anyhow. So! G'head and show me."

Aventino touches the panel, and the screens of her workstation begin to scroll with logistics and stats as there, in the air between her face and Fred's, there appears a holographic representation of a tiny little craft, a narrow, black ship with two 'arms' curving down and forward out of the sides, not entirely unlike a Bird of Prey. "Fred, meet Nightcrawler," she murmurs, then, pressing a few more panels, without even looking, obviously having run this sim hundreds of times already. There's a flash of blue which Fred might recognize as the craft's shielding disbursing, the blue shell rather dense and opaque, peeling from fore to aft until it dissappears entirely, and the small craft appears without so much as a shimmer on the other end of the room, only to be covered with that blue globe of shielding again, the blue globe fading invisble as the shields are established. Bunni looks down to the panel, ".04 meters off mark. Not bad if you're in the middle of outer space," she winks.

Brooks tilts her head a bit, watching this. "Hmm. That's interesting... transporters as a means of propulsion. You think it'll work on the larger scale?" She's not upset right now, and not bouncy... very focused, in a very analytical mode. Easy to see what a Vulcan would see in her right now.

Aventino nods, "Well, that was just a little visual representation I whipped up to accompany the sim program. I was getting bored of looking at the numbers, I actually wanted to see the thing go. Here are the dimensions and blueprints for the Nightcrawler herself, these are the data the computer's working off of." It's a tiny little ship, even when it's at full scale. Probably enough room for two passengers, maximum. "I'm honestly not sure if I could apply the systen to a larger vessel. But I've got enough good data here and in the lab to begin construction-- assuming I can get T'Lyt's permission. And after the Origen expedition. 'Cause that'll be eating up most of my time for the next few weeks."

Brooks nods, folding her arms across her chest as she looks at the data, seeming a bit distracted. "How's that coming along, anyhow? Is the team Lieutenant Alexandria assigned working out okay?"

Aventino sets the computer to do a full analysis of ships' systems after transport and turns away from the console, herself. "I dunno, I haven't pestered any of them for those test results I asked for, yet. I will tonight."

Brooks nods and sighs. "Umm... she didn't exactly pick experts on the Maelstrom... so if you need any help... let me know, okay?" She slumps a little. "Actually, she totally passed up my team and picked her senior folk who have no clue what the hell they're talking about and seem to think their projects are far more important. I mean, not that I don't like them, I like M'train a lot, just... they resent the amount of time the Maelstrom gets, when that's the reason this base was built in the first place, not to... catalogue spores or fritter with gardens."

Aventino shrugs, "Well, she told me that you were on the team, so no worries, I'll pester you as I like. So get me those test results, won't you?" she pesters with a playful grin, "Christ, what is with your department head?"

Brooks blinks a few times. "She... what? She didn't tell me that." Fred sighs. "She says she's jealous of me. Of me! Ha. I don't know what's up with her. I really don't. But it hardly matters. I bet we'll get this thing authorized in no time. It looks interesting."

Aventino shrugs, "Don't know why she shouldn't be jealous. You have friends who care about you, a nice boy who's going to marry you, you're good-looking, brilliant, and even fun to be around when you're not all clammed up."

"Well if I can get that she can... she's more accomplished, older, higher ranked... better looking... she's the damn Vice Chairman of the damn Omicron Institute, and that's, like, a huge thing and a huge honor, and I'll probably never get that far, I specialize too much." Fred shakes her head. "It just doesn't make no sense. I ain't keeping her from anything. Unless she wants Solvek?" She says that like she highly doubts it.

"She also has no interpersonal skills to speak of," Bunni points out, "God, the way she just 'happened' to strike up a conversation about the boys at the conference when you walked in. God, I wanted to barf, but I had a meeting to run. Anyway, yeah, I hope Nightcrawler gets okayed, soon. I can't wait to take her out on a spin. Maybe I'll hop back to Earth and pick up some more stogies," she winks. "Just don't tell Doctor Omtala."

Brooks tilts her head and blinks. "Boys at the conference?" Pause. "Stogies?"

Aventino chuckles, "You didn't hear that as you were coming in?" she imitates a little, "Oh, wow, all the boys at the conference really wanted me! Please think I'm not just saying so for my personal edification and to prove I'm better than you!" She shakes her head, "Yeah. You know. Cigars. There's a shop near home I like to buy mine from."

Brooks blinks slowly. "I'm... getting married. What do I care if she has 20 boyfriends? Good on her. She could use a good lay." She shakes her head. "Right... cigars. Never have tried one, although they smell divine..."

Aventino grins, "That they do. Just try telling the Doctor that, though," she shakes her head, "It's all the same with doctors, everything's bad for you, I have to make sure to set aside an extra fifteen minutes every time I go to sickbay just to hear the lecture again. 'Stop drinking so much. Quit smoking.' It's not even like I smoke that often. I've had one cigar this past month, and I shared it with G'Mar."

Brooks shrugs to this. "Well, they have a point. Anyway... umm... did you have any questions for me about this or anything?"

Aventino sighs, "Well, if you have any bright ideas on how to adjust that error margin down to nil or so... I'd love to hear them. I'm... I think I just need some time away from it, I've been staring at it for too long. The Origen project will do me good, I'll get back to it and I'll think of something. Earlier I was having some problems finding the optimum trail range for particles in the 40-60 AW bracket... The unbalanced spin was giving me a weird bunch on my beam and affecting the range. But once I figured out what was causing it it wasn't hard to adjust for," she smiles. "Thanks for coming by, anyhow, a month or so after the fact," she chuckles as she teases, "I know, I know, you've been busy. We've all been busy."

Brooks grins in reply. "I'll try to come over more often and work on this... I could use some time away from my work, too."

Aventino chuckles. "We'll trade projects sometime. Hey... can I ask you a question?" she wonders, "I mean, unrelated to particle physics or small craft design?"

Brooks tilts her head a bit. "Umm... sure."

Aventino furrows her brows and looks at Fred intensely. "How well do you know Ed Danley?"

Brooks shrugs again. "Not terribly well... why?"

Aventino shakes her head, "I dunno. We just had... the most surreal talk last night in the Batcave," she bites at her lower lip and heads back to retreat to the couch and perch on its arm, one bare foot up on the cushions.

Brooks blinks repeatedly. "Batcave? What... was this talk about?"

Aventino lets out a deep breath and shakes her head, looking away, "I don't know," she lies, obviously. She has to know what they talked about. "He told me he had some feelings for me, and explained some of the issues he had concerning those feelings. I told him that in light of those issues something more than friendship would probably be a bad plan. He seemed to agree."

Brooks nods slowly. "Right... well, sometimes things go slow. Or not at all. Why d'you ask, though?"

Aventino shakes her head again, more fervently, "Just wondering how many other people know about the stuff he was telling me about last night. The... issues, and... stuff," she comments elliptically, obviously not wanting to betray anything to anyone she shouldn't.

Brooks nods slowly. "I think I see what you mean. He... needs some time, I think. He'll be okay, in the end." Pause. "What d'you think of him?"

Aventino's eyes widen, "He needs more than time, he needs--" she shakes her head, "I don't know what he needs. I mean, he's nice, sure. Funny, yeah. An idiot? Definitely. Either that or he's just pretending to be an idiot," she takes a deep breath, "I just... I feel like everything I know about him up to this point was sort of cancelled out last night. Like I have to start over. And this time he's not just some sweet guy in a bar. He's--" she chokes back whatever words might be coming next, "Different."

Brooks sighs. "That's... hard. Real hard. But, y'know, it can be good to get to know someone on a deeper level. Sometimes we put up... masks, y'know? To be... what we think people want us to be."

Aventino lets out a little breath between her teeth, "Yeah, tell me about it," she shakes her head. "Anyhow, I'd better get some sleep, I guess. Thanks for letting me show you the baby. That's been burning a hole in my head recently."

Brooks nods in reply to this. "I'll come along later and we can do some more in-depth stuff, okay?" She smiles and stands. "Gotta do some work stuff... see you."

Aventino nods, "Sure, later," she slips down to the couch proper and seems lost in thought.

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