Or, a musical interlude in Kittania
Returning Contestant calliaphone clatters in from the jungle, her arms full of broken toasters. settling down under a tree, she pulls a little screwdriver out from behind her ear, and picks up one of the toasters, tutting.
Returning Contestant calliaphone examines the toaster, shaking her head. then she shakes the toaster. a shower of crumbs fall out, along with a biro, several ball-bearings and a length of lime-green ribbon.
Returning Contestant calliaphone is rather taken with the ribbon. she gnaws at it until it separates into two shorter pieces, then fastens them to her plaits.
Returning Contestant calliaphone pockets the biro and ball-bearings, and then settles down in earnest to fix up the toasters.
Daedalus quitely watches the industrious kittymorph with some amusement.
Daedalus smacks himself upside the head. That's no kittymorph!
Daedalus smiles and approaches Calliaphone. "Toasters . . . quite the fascinating machine, aren't they?".
Returning Contestant calliaphone looks up at Daedalus, and smiles. "Hello there! I see you're organic again. Welcome back." She'd offer him coffee, but alas, she has none. "Umm. Would you like a toaster?"
Daedalus laughs."Yes, quite organic now, thank you. I think I've figured out a way to influence what I come back from a drive kill as. I just go into the fight thinking 'Not a human . . . not a human. . .'
Daedalus may have learnt this technique from childhood stories of Brer Rabbit, but decides not to elaborate on this.
Returning Contestant calliaphone grins a crooked grin at Daedalus' remark, and then "ahhs" with satisfaction as the toaster she is working on emits a healthy (and distinctly tuneful) "PING"
Returning Contestant calliaphone nods at the PINGING toaster. "there now, isn't that much better than attacking helpless rookies in the jungle? I told you so, didn't I?"
Daedalus says "now, if you can just find some bread . . ."
Daedalus smiles, albeit a little uncertainly, as calliaphone remonstrates with the inanimate object.
Returning Contestant calliaphone murmurs "mmmm, bread, toasties. . .." as she gets to work on the next toaster. the first one is stilling PINGING away ecstatically.
Daedalus says "you . . . umm . . . clearly have a way with them."
Returning Contestant calliaphone tuts at the passing typo-gremlin, but doesn't try to hit it. s'nature, isn't it. you can't argue with nature.
Returning Contestant calliaphone looks up from the toasters. "a way with them? i dunno, i think they just needed attention really, and some sort of outlet for their aggression." The next toaster responds with a tentative PLING!
Daedalus doesn't think he's ever seen an ecstatic toaster before, but this one clearly is.
Daedalus agrees. "It's a bit like the reverse with gremlins . . . give them the right sort of attention and they aren't too much of a problem.
Returning Contestant calliaphone is on a roll now! the group of broken toasters has diminished, and Kittania echoes with the sound of PINGING and PLINGING.
Returning Contestant calliaphone finishes the last toaster and sits back, watching indulgently as the little appliances mill about, organising themselves, ahhhm-ing, and tuning up.
Daedalus steps back in feigned alarm from the toaster cacophony. Perhaps you should talk to Ebenezer . . . toasters might be demand item in his store". He then muses "But would they thrive in captivity?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's toasters fall quiet, and then, very softly, they begin to PING-PING-PLING in unison. The first pizzicato notes of the Coro a bocca chiusa drift out over Kittania.
Zolotisty bounds into the Outpost and lands in a crouch, head tilted. The music lured her! She watches.
Daedalus smiles in delight as he recognises the strains from Madame Butterfly. "Puccini . . . in Kittania . . .who'd have thought!"
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's toasters seem to have split into two groups. half of them are still PING-PING-PLINGING away dedicatedly, while the other half have begun to hum! they really are quite good.
Daedalus waves to Zolotisty, but remains silent, captivated.
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's eyes fill with tears. there is no way she could trade these little free spirits into Ebenezer. not even if meant redeeming Cordy.
Zolotisty rocks back on her haunches, forearms on her knees and hands loose. ..this is good. Her gaze wanders to Daedalus-and-a-stranger. Probably the toasties are not Daedalus'.
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's toasters parade around a little, keeping in close formation, humming and PLINGING, as the chorus reaches its melancholy heights, and begins to drift down once more.
Returning Contestant calliaphone suppresses a sob.
Daedalus wanders back from his transport of delight. " Yes, you do have a way with them. Thank you!"
Zolotisty 's head has tilted the other way now. Hn. She straightens as she gets to her feet.
Daedalus 's eyes did not mist up, and his voice is quite level, thank you!
Returning Contestant calliaphone gives Daedalus a watery smile, as the toasters pause and then begin again. This time, the mood is more upbeat, as they embark on an ambitious rendition of the Duetto buffo di due gatti.
Daedalus claps quietly, in obvious delight.
Returning Contestant calliaphone 's toasters begin wandering, still in formation, towards the outpost gates, PLINK-PLONKING cattily to each other, while the two leaders miaouw in perfect, sliding harmony.
Zolotisty weaves nearer to the others amidst all of the hmmmPLINGING and synchronized choreography. Then she turns about to continue watching.
Zolotisty squints and gestures gateward. "..what.." Z sounds lost, for once!
Daedalus says "Zolotisty . . . meet calliaphone"
Returning Contestant calliaphone watches the toasters go, with a look of unfathomable sadness in her eyes. Spying a mysterious stranger nearby, she nods respectfully.
Daedalus is likewise lost . . .
Returning Contestant calliaphone says "how'd'ydo, ma'am?"
Daedalus says " . . . calliaphone . . . fixes toasters . . . as you may have noticed.
Zolotisty says, "Oh, ahmn." How does she do. She considers. "I try to be in time but sometimes the measures get away? I can manage being in tune, though. Anyroad, good to meet you, calliaphone is it?"
Zolotisty 's gaze wanders back toward the gate. "..aye I mave have noticed." She peers from Daedalus to calli. "..Just toasters? Or..?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone tips her cap to Zolotisty. "toasters, steam-engines, wurlitzers, the works. Calliaphone, at your service." she does not say accordions. some things are still too painful to speak of.
Daedalus mutters to himself "If they'd done the Flower Duet I might have lost it"
Zolotisty has to keep herself from leaning forward. "..Steam engines like for locomotives?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone says "steam engines like for . . . locomotives, mine-workings, or just plain mechanical music. i was raised by roving traction engineers, on the vintage steam-fair circuit."
Daedalus wheels his attention back to the moment. Trains have been mooted for the island previously.
Zolotisty has no idea what a mine-working is, given that calli doesn't look like a robot. But that doesn't mean much then, does it! She perks and seizes her hand, shaking energetically.
Zolotisty says, "Then it is very good to meet you."
Contender Skyywise pads into town, his ears perking up at the classical music.
Returning Contestant calliaphone oufs at the energy of the handshake, but returns it cordially. "it's good to meet you too, ma'am. have you got a locomotive needs fixing?"
Daedalus 'ahems' to regain some composure. He turns to calliaphone. "I am deeply indebted, thank you for this moment."
Contender Skyywise gently paws one of the musical toasters that wandered out of formation back towards the rest, grinning his Big Kat Grin.
Zolotisty shakes her head. "No. Not right now. I'm not sure where mine went. Well, ours." She itches her cheek with one claw, frowning. "Which is peculiar because there aren't many places.." for it to hide.
Zolotisty nods absently toward Skyywise. Maybe it is at the bottom of the lake? That would make some sense. Hnh!
Contender Skyywise grins over at the group, giving Zolo an inverse nod, still tickled by the light symphonic sounds of the toasters.
Returning Contestant calliaphone just witnessed a chorus of operatically humming toasters without batting an eyelid. the term "peculiar" seems oddly . . . adrift . . . in this context.
Returning Contestant calliaphone nods to Daedalus. "really, t'wasn't me. i just helped 'em do what they always had in 'em to do."
Zolotisty read just this morning about hibernation. Maybe it is hibernationing. The train, that is. She thinks about this, and hopes the train ate enough before it went into its den. Her head tips backward.
Contestant Jay Chaos walks out from the jungle, first appearing as a thin air trembling, but then he deactivate the cloaking device on the Invisisuit, becoming visible, of course.
Daedalus nods, acknowledging calliaphone's point. "But they wouldn't . . . couldn't have done it without you."
Contender Skyywise arches his back, extends-and-retracts his claws, and stretches his legs; time to go back to the hunt. He waves, silently, at the group and bounds off.
Returning Contestant calliaphone accepts this, although she's not all that sure what it was she did. just, twiddled with a few bits, tweaked a couple of parts, and for the most part. . .listened.
Daedalus decides not to press calliaphone's modesty. "No matter . . . if there's anything I can offer help with . . . ?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone has never heard of a hibernating train before. but she wouldn't be entirely surprised, round here.
Zolotisty returns her head to an upright and locked position, nodding inquisitively at the recently visible rookie. Whosat.
Contestant Jay Chaos is pretty sure that he has already seem some of the faces here, but there's always a lot of people around so. . . He decides to take his break in a corner, quietly.
Daedalus has heard of trains being mothballed before, which made him wonder how big the mothballs would have been. His only conclusion was that it would depend on the size of the moths.
Zolotisty siiidles Jayward. "Hullo!"
Returning Contestant calliaphone thanks Daedalus. "you're very kind. perhaps. . .if you find any broken machines, and want someone to fix 'em - send them my way? i like to be busy." work - it helps to ease a broken heart.
Contestant Jay Chaos yells "Holly friggin' neutrons!" already going for his chainsaw before noticing that it was not (perhaps) an enemy.
Daedalus smiles. "Of course. But do let me know if there's anything I can do for you. For now, I might head out for some jungle fun. Till next . . . " He makes a polite bow, and waves to Zolotisity as well.
Zolotisty hopdances out of the way of the revving chainsaw, beaming fangishly. "Oh you shouldn't do that in Outposts. Sometime you will do it and someone will do it back and then where will you be."
Zolotisty gestures gravely at the ground even as she waves to Daedalus. "In pieces, there, probably! And then in there." She points very seriously to the Cool Springs Cafe. "And then here."
Zolotisty indicates her belly. Delicious!
Daedalus ' brow furrows slightly as he turns away, a vague sense of empathatic sorrow touching him.
Contestant Jay Chaos mumbles, "I-i'm-i-i'm so-sorry. . . You frightened me. . .", Z was not something that looked a lot friendly to him.
Daedalus waves 'farewell' to the unmet Jay as he heads out into the jungle.
Daedalus chuckles as he exits. "Z gets that a bit".
Zolotisty doesn't mind -- lots of rookies react that way to her especially, and to Jokers generally, especially if they've been through the museum. "I apologize. Wasn't my intention. Who're you?"
Contestant Jay Chaos sighs and says, "Again, i'm sorry. . . And my name is Jay. . . I think we already meet. . . You're. . . Z-someting, right?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone waves goodbye to the disappearing (disappeared) Daedalus, and then waves hello to the no-longer-revving Jay Chaos.
Zolotisty says, cheerful, "Zolotisty but Z's fine. Jay.. Jay.. Jay Kay. ..Jay Chaos! You've been to Eben's teas, then? Aye, so we've met a bit. Sorry about that. How're you."
Contestant Jay Chaos waves at calliaphone while talks to Z, "Yep. . . Ebenezer. . . Err. . . I'm fine, i guess. . . But. . . Frustrated. . . And you?"
Zolotisty says, "I'm well. There were toasters that she made dance, I think," and here Z points to calliaphone, "and also sing," playing music is not singing Zolotisty, "but they've gone off now."
Zolotisty squints. "Why are you frustrated?"
Returning Contestant calliaphone hopes that Z and Jay Chaos will excuse her if she follows Daedalus' example. time is getting on. she waves again, this time in farewell. hopefully they can catch up again at some future time.
Contestant Jay Chaos sighs again, a little sad for missing the show, and says, "Well. . . Long history. . . I'm a researcher, a cientist. . . But. . . This is not a good work enviroment. . ."
Zolotisty waves after calli as she listens. "Mn, that's so, if you're out in the open," she nods. "But there are places to work. Like in clans. Or I bet you could manage in the mseum with Mr. Stern."
Returning Contestant calliaphone retreats into Cool Springs for a comforting Hot Chocolate, and then makes her way out into the jungle.