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Chapter 10 - The Heart of the Matter

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Bingo Hall

2010-02-16 12:56:42: calliaphone wakes up, groggy, on the floor beside her cart. She aches like she's never ached before. Ugh.

2010-02-16 12:58:09: Spandex 's mind paces in cramped circles. A soft whirr. She lifts her hand to the camera (top left above the corner cupboard) and extends her first two fingers at it. engh.

2010-02-16 13:02:06: calliaphone shivers. god, she needs to get her coat back. she looks round vaguely, as if hoping to see it materialise. instead, she sees G, still spark-out on the sled.

2010-02-16 13:06:38: calliaphone freezes, hand on her throat. But G does not move, nor open his eyes. And Bruce glances in, with a nod. Gradually, Callia lets out her breath. Still out. She half hopes the damage isn't permanent.

2010-02-16 13:14:31: calliaphone gets up reluctantly, and goes to check on G. She hesitates before touching, then feels for a pulse at his throat. Still that arhythmic tick-tickity-tickytick. But not noticeably worse.

2010-02-16 13:15:58: Spandex speaks to the freezer door, Is that the first time he came at you, callia?"

2010-02-16 13:18:34: calliaphone looks up with a start. "Dex! I didn't see you." she glances back at G. "I - uhh. In a manner of speaking. He killed a toaster, a few days back. But . . . "

2010-02-16 13:19:44: calliaphone continues, ". . .that was different. It was attacking, both of us. He wasn't wrong, he just . . . the way he did it, wasn't right either. But this. . . last night. Something else."

2010-02-16 13:21:11: Spandex jabs her fingers once more at the camera before dropping her hand. "remember my cracked ribs?"

2010-02-16 13:32:51: calliaphone nods. "i remember," she says, dully. "he hurt you."

2010-02-16 13:35:01: Spandex nods into the peas, "and he totally threatened Mer and me. She was so pissed." She smirks a moment. " She said she'd toss him out of GERM if he doesn't stop."

2010-02-16 13:37:01: Spandex continues, "he'd have killed you last night, callia. I've also seen him almost kill someone else. A pilot. So, if he can't be fixed, he's fucked one way or 'nother."

2010-02-16 13:39:47: calliaphone says, very low, "i know." and looks away, blinking.

2010-02-16 13:44:27: Spandex pushes her head into the bag so it hurts. "I don't hate him."

2010-02-16 13:46:32: calliaphone studies G's mechanical heart, through the window in his ribcage. The ugly inflammation where skin and glass meet. The slipping gears and tight-wound springs, and the subcutaneous cogs all turning.

2010-02-16 13:48:22: calliaphone notes the . . . absence, the space within the workings. She says, "I don't hate him either. He's sick. And we're gonna fix him."

2010-02-16 13:49:00: Spandex finally lets herself free, and kneels next to callia, "I don't understand machines like you do, callia."

2010-02-16 13:50:35: calliaphone bites her lip. "i don't think i understand 'em all that well, anymore. but one way or another, G's getting fixed."

2010-02-16 13:54:36: Spandex looks intently at callia, "I've seen you. you understand them just fine."

2010-02-16 13:55:47: calliaphone shakes her head. she shows Dex her arms. The cuts from the hummingbird, and burns from the toaster - almost healed now. She glances at her cart, its front nearside wheel almost off again.

2010-02-16 13:57:46: Spandex tchks grimly. "what is it? Self-doubt, or something external? Cuz you can fix machines. I've seen you."

2010-02-16 13:58:29: calliaphone says, "i dunno. it's like, i try to talk to them, i just get choked, and they get angry. . ."

2010-02-16 13:59:07: Spandex interrupts, "choked?"

2010-02-16 14:02:36: calliaphone gives the ghost of a bitter smile, touching the purple line across her throat. "not like. . ." she glances at G and away again, "upset, i mean. because they're hurting, see?"

2010-02-16 14:11:34: calliaphone scowls a bit, at no-one. And gets up. "Navel-gazing." she says. "S'not gonna fix G. I gotta build him a regulator. Gotta find me a compass and a barometer somewhere."

2010-02-16 14:20:33: calliaphone stoops to tuck a cushion under G's head, and throw a blanket over him. Straightening, she watches him for a moment longer. And then she grabs her weapons and her pack.

2010-02-16 14:26:49: calliaphone stoops again to kiss Dex's cheek, and to whisper, "don't think i didn't notice that you saved my life last night." then she straightens again, turns, and walks out of the hall.

Improbable Central

2010-02-16 18:00:08: Merlin steps from the Clan hall, ready to face a new day. She pulls a small brass object from her satchel and peers at it intently. "Right, then. where is the ring?"

2010-02-16 18:00:56: calliaphone is de-failboated via Chronosphere, struggling with something large and brass and heavy, in her arms.

2010-02-16 18:02:49: calliaphone manages a few steps, but then has to stop, and rest the object on the ground for a minute, while she rubs her non-existent muscles, and grimaces.

2010-02-16 18:03:12: Merlin waits a moment, as the needle begins to spin. Finally it settles down and points toward the north. "but, I looked there yesterday. . ."

2010-02-16 18:04:11: Merlin sighs, looking up from the compass. She notices Callia. "Ah hallo Callia! What are you up to today?"

2010-02-16 18:05:42: calliaphone eyes the pub, longingly. But she's got urgent matters to attend to. matters of life and death. hearing Merlin, she looks up, displaying an attractive purple bruise across her throat. "hiya, Mer."

2010-02-16 18:08:22: Merlin is over to her in an instant. "What happened? Were you badly hurt? Is everyone else ok?" She blurts out. A pause, before saying quietly. "It was G, wasn't it?"

2010-02-16 18:09:38: calliaphone swallows, painfully. For a moment, no words. Then, "yeh." Pause. Breathe. "I'm ok. Everyone's ok. Well, he's not ok, but everyone else is."

2010-02-16 18:13:43: Merlin 's eyes flash, "Where is he now?" Her hands grip the compass tightly.

2010-02-16 18:16:58: calliaphone says, "clan halls. comatose. Dex knocked him into next week, with her cricket bat." Luckily for me. "He's been out cold since last night." Callia's voice shakes a bit.

2010-02-16 18:19:29: Merlin notices the shaking voice, and takes a deep breath. Stay calm, stay calm. She pulls Callia into a hug. "Thank goodness you are ok." She smiles softly. "Now, what about G? what's wrong?"

2010-02-16 18:23:32: calliaphone hugs back, holding tight, then releases. She says, "it's ticker trouble, Mer. his heart . . . well, it's mechanical. and it seems to be . . . out of control. spreading like an infection, taking over."

2010-02-16 18:27:20: Merlin stares. "His heart? But how did. . ." she shakes her head. " Never mind. Is.. is there something that can be done? Can you fix it?"

2010-02-16 18:30:14: calliaphone bites her lip. "i hope so. i'm gonna try, at any rate. Dave an' me checked him over last night, after. . ." pause, "anyway, we think we know what's wrong, what's putting it out of balance, like."

2010-02-16 18:32:04: calliaphone continues, "We found these blueprints, see? And it looks like there's something missing from G's workings. A kind of regulatory . . . thingy, a sort of compass-and-barometer device."

2010-02-16 18:33:51: calliaphone indicates the large brass object at her feet. "I found a compass. On the failboat." she looks doubtfully at it.

2010-02-16 18:34:39: calliaphone says, "i just need to build the rest. and fit it. somehow." and fingers crossed, it'll do the job.

2010-02-16 18:35:25: Merlin looks down at the compass. "That might be a trifle large. . ." She pauses, conflicted, holding tight to the object in her hands. "Do you need a specific type of compass?or will any small one do?

2010-02-16 18:37:02: calliaphone also looks down again. The ship's compass is massive. G's a big guy with a big chest, but even so. . ."I think just any one would do the job."

2010-02-16 18:37:10: Merlin 's heart flips. She still hasn't found the ring. . . But G!. Bishop won't be happy when he finds out if he finds out. . .

2010-02-16 18:38:20: Merlin takes a deep breath, and holds out her hand to Callia. "Will. . . will this do?" a small brass compass lays in her palm. "It's a bit different. . . it helps you find things, points the right way..

2010-02-16 18:38:42: Merlin bite her lip. "but, if you think it will help?"

2010-02-16 18:41:27: calliaphone blinks. She looks at the compass. She looks at Merlin. "But this - this'd be perfect. can i really use it? you don't need it?" why's Merlin carrying a compass round, anyway?

2010-02-16 18:43:50: Merlin nods. " Of course you can. I. . . can find what I need without it." She hopes. . . "Besides, G's wellbeing is a lot more important right now."

2010-02-16 18:44:55: calliaphone nods, taking the instrument from Merlin, and squeezing her hand by way of thank-you. "f'you need help with anything, y'know Merlin. any time."

2010-02-16 18:46:40: Merlin lets out a breath. "Well. . . while you are wandering around if you happen to see. . ." Her eyes begin to fill with tears. " I lost Bishop's ring. . . I'm not sure how it happened."

2010-02-16 18:47:41: Merlin wipes the tears away, and takes another deep breath. "so keep your eyes open." She smiles. "And good luck with G.

2010-02-16 18:48:30: calliaphone stares. "the ring? Oh Merlin! Oh godno! That's why you had the compass? Trying to find it?"

2010-02-16 18:50:01: Merlin nods. 'It's not important though. Not really. Bishop will understand, I think." She gives a small smile. "It's yours now, so do a good job, ok?"

2010-02-16 18:51:31: calliaphone nods. "i'll keep my eyes to the ground for it, though. it's gotta be somewhere. But you're right, anway. You're more important to Bishop than some old ring."

2010-02-16 18:53:33: calliaphone gives Merlin a sudden hug. "don't cry. Bishop won't be mad, and we'll fix G, an' everything'll be alright, you'll see."

2010-02-16 18:56:24: Merlin hugs back. " You are very right. I'll keep remembering that." She looks at Callia. "Thank you dear. You've been a great help already."

2010-02-16 18:58:09: Spandex cricketbat-airguitars her way out the Halls. "Keep the walls from falling on me, tumbling in. . . Hi callia, Hi Mer."

2010-02-16 18:59:14: Spandex interrupts whatever her two clannies were up to, "callia, I had an Idea. You need some mechanical parts, right?"

2010-02-16 18:59:18: calliaphone looks up, smiling a little. "Hi Dex."

2010-02-16 18:59:48: Merlin smiles, though it's tinged with concern. "Hallo Dex. . . . Are you alright?"

2010-02-16 18:59:52: calliaphone nods. "I gotta compass, look. Merlin gave it me." she shows Dex the little instrument in her hand.

2010-02-16 19:01:38: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard arrives from Pleasantville, dragged here by an aspiring actress.

2010-02-16 19:01:39: Spandex smiles, having no clue if it is awesome says "awesome. That goes in G?" She cocks her head a little at Mer. Something's wrong.

2010-02-16 19:02:25: calliaphone nods again. "with a bit of work." she eyes Bernard suspiciously. "what's he doing here again?"

2010-02-16 19:03:26: Spandex brought backup, in the form of a TV presenter. "B, this is callia and Mer. Annnnnd, we're going to a new set. A plane crash scene, see."

2010-02-16 19:03:27: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard looks a little put out, "You lot" he points at Callia and Merlin, "are bloody downright offensive, what have I ever done to you two, eh?"

2010-02-16 19:04:31: Spandex looks at callia, "you really should come check out this SET. it's got instruments and mechanical shite galore. Just your sort of work."

2010-02-16 19:04:37: calliaphone mutters something about people who promise motorboats and don't deliver. But then she stops, and looks at Dex. "plane crash?"

2010-02-16 19:04:48: Merlin is taken aback. "Offensive? Me? I'm pretty sure I get a G rating on the show, thank you very much."

2010-02-16 19:05:15: Spandex gives callia and Mer a wide-eyed PLEASE PLAY ALONG WITH THE CRAZY PERSON look.

2010-02-16 19:05:22: calliaphone blinks. processes. registers. "Plane crash? Instruments! Oh my god an altimeter. WHERE? WHERE IS IT?"

2010-02-16 19:07:09: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard harrumphs, "A G rating? What, like that pillock in clan halls? Bet his G rating isn't as offensive as yours."

2010-02-16 19:07:23: Spandex exhales, "you mean you'll do the take with the handsome and talented.. and well-tanned, I must say, ex-TV host?"

2010-02-16 19:08:34: Spandex is so excited about this show's potential, she's all italiced. "oh seven oh eight, people. Snappy. time's money. The TV host is costing us a fortune"

2010-02-16 19:08:40: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard turns to Spandex, the only one of these fruits to even remotely speak sense, "Look, what's going on, what? Where do you want me to go now?"

2010-02-16 19:09:25: calliaphone hears co-ordinates and is on the move, leaving the others standing round the failboat compass on the ground.

2010-02-16 19:10:10: Merlin rolls her eyes. "I'm afraid I must go. Looking for something. . ." She smiles at Dex and Callia. "Have a good time though!"

2010-02-16 19:11:03: Spandex approaches the Host, and fixes his hair a bit, and powders his nose. "beautiful. just act. . . natural."

2010-02-16 19:11:05: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard takes what the production assistant has said, and runs with it, he hisses at her, "Will there be autocue? I haven't had chance to read any lines. . ."

2010-02-16 19:12:21: Spandex squints her eye at Mer. Must be a pre-marriage ritual of sorts, she thinks, Bish's been searching all over for something too. Crazy couples.

2010-02-16 19:13:35: Spandex gives a wide-eyed, oh my god you'll never guess look, and shoots off. "I hope you find it! bye!"

At Map Square 0708

2010-02-16 19:11:36: calliaphone stumbles out of the jungle, looking round for the crash site. There, it's there. She stares. And shivers a little.

2010-02-16 19:13:04: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard arrives, trying to get that little white napkin-thing off his chest so he can get infront of the camera.

2010-02-16 19:13:23: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard has a flashback, he's been here before. . .

2010-02-16 19:13:24: calliaphone approaches the plane, cautiously, as if expecting . . . what? Trouble? He's in clan-halls, comatose.

2010-02-16 19:13:59: calliaphone jumps and glances round. "oh, it's you again. you going to help me find the altimeter or what?"

2010-02-16 19:15:28: calliaphone scrambles into the cockpit, and starts staring at what instruments remain. "please no-one have taken it, please please. . ."

2010-02-16 19:15:34: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard looks around trying to spot the cameras, seeing one, he gives it a billion dollar smile, then turns to Callia, "Eh?" fuck me, it's going to win a DAFTA, for sure.

2010-02-16 19:16:48: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard hems, "What's an altimeter?" he starts to head towards where she's scrabbling through what appears to be wreckage, "Is it in here?" is this like the Krypton Factor?

2010-02-16 19:17:45: Spandex arrives, pretty scratched up from a series of . . . production meetings. "all right you two! Perfect. Callia, you've not seen Bernard in YEARS. he's your long lost. . . whatsit."

2010-02-16 19:18:17: calliaphone is hoping hoping . . ."YESSSS." she turns to Bernard. "This. This is an altimeter." and screwdriver in hand, she's prying it loose.

2010-02-16 19:18:53: Spandex makes a square with her hands and looks over at The Host, "Bernard, we need haggard. You've just crashed."

2010-02-16 19:19:45: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard thinks it looks like a barometer, "It looks like a barometer. Um, what's all this for?"

2010-02-16 19:20:24: Spandex cries "CUUUUTT!! CUT!!" she throws down her cricket bat and storms up to Callia, "callia. This man is your UNCLE."

2010-02-16 19:21:07: calliaphone nods, feverishly levering the instrument from the panel. "It is, sort of. Well, it contains one, anyway. Ah, gottit." and she turns it over in her hands. "oh hellyeah baby."

2010-02-16 19:21:13: Spandex apparently just got promoted to Director.

2010-02-16 19:21:14: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard can do haggard, and - thanks to the clear stage directions, can actually react well - he throws an arm to his brow and staggers away from the crash site, "OoOohh.. I think I've just crashed."

2010-02-16 19:21:45: calliaphone looks up at Spandex. "eh? Don't be daft. I got one uncle on this island, an' that's Bernard."

2010-02-16 19:22:42: calliaphone returns her attention to the altimeter, fitting the screwdriver into the rear casing. TwiddlePryLever. . .click.

2010-02-16 19:23:26: Spandex grimaces at The Host, "sorry Bernard, we shouldn't have hired off-guild. can you do your best with her though please?"

2010-02-16 19:23:38: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard perks at this, "Hey, that's my name, too!" he flashes Callia a very, very expensive piece of orthodontist's wet dream, "Oooh, my head. . . The crash, remember." he tries to cry a bit, no joy. . .

2010-02-16 19:24:01: calliaphone blinks. "Bernard? He's called Bernard too?" well, chances of that. . .

2010-02-16 19:25:39: Spandex slaps her forehead. ow my eye. "Bernard, despite all odds and injuries, you help callia drag the parts out. "

2010-02-16 19:27:26: Spandex drops her head, she's SO fired. "callia. look. Bernard's really hurt."

2010-02-16 19:27:33: calliaphone holds out her palm, showing the open case of the altimeter. And the barometer within. "What's to drag? I gottit right here. checkitout."

2010-02-16 19:28:10: calliaphone looks up anxiously. "He is? How'd that happpen. Oy, you with the teeth, what's the trouble?"

2010-02-16 19:28:22: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard works at this with a will, he even builds up a bit of a sweat. There's white rivulets through the once uniform orange.

2010-02-16 19:28:50: Spandex continues, "he's been looking for you his entire life. He loves you like one of his own. He. . . umm. . . hijacked this plane just to see you, and get you the parts."

2010-02-16 19:29:01: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard points at his forehead which is bleeding in negative, in sepia.

2010-02-16 19:29:14: calliaphone offers Toothy Bernard her string of brightly-coloured silk handkerchiefs. For brow-mopping etc.

2010-02-16 19:30:00: Spandex looks at Bernard and winces "MAKEUP!" she rushes over and mops his brow with one of her pushupbras.

2010-02-16 19:30:18: calliaphone looks impressed. "You hi-jacked this plane? Wow! To help me, an' G? That's amazing. I don't even know you! You're like, some kinda good samaritan or something?"

2010-02-16 19:31:45: Spandex snaps her fingers at callia, "yes. a good guy! good. now help him, he's DYING." she turns to B. "here's your Big Scene, B. You won't make it. But you did see her one last time."

2010-02-16 19:32:15: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard robotically responds, "No. Miss Callia. I. Am. Your. Uncle. I. Have. Been" there's the grin to camera, "Searchin'. For. You. For. Many." grin, "Years. See." Final grin and dab of eye.

2010-02-16 19:32:52: Spandex bursts into tears, for so many reasons.

2010-02-16 19:33:44: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard lies down, a bit carefully, and tries to hold his breath, and stop his eyelids flickering.

2010-02-16 19:35:58: calliaphone stares. "wait. what? you're dying? JEEZUS!" she turns to Spandex and yells. "OY! DEX! We gotta problem!"

2010-02-16 19:38:42: Spandex shakes her head and says quietly, "too late, callia." She yells "THATS A CUTTTT and WRAP!!" and runs over to the stars.

2010-02-16 19:38:49: calliaphone looks a bit panicky. First G, now this guy, what the hell. "Is it heart trouble?" she wields the screwdriver. "Need me to take a look?"

2010-02-16 19:39:18: calliaphone stares at Dex. "He's DEAD? He just DIED? Like THAT?" she bursts into tears.

2010-02-16 19:43:55: Spandex figures, her best friend was born on fucking Mars. She ahems and yells again "AAANNNN THATS A WRAP."

2010-02-16 19:44:46: calliaphone buries her face in her accordion, and sobs miserably.

2010-02-16 19:45:09: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard manages to hear that one. He sits up. Puffing. He's been holding his breath 10 minutes and 42 seconds.

2010-02-16 19:46:06: calliaphone hears something, and looks up. Sobs turn to horror. "SHIT, a FUCKING GHOST!" and she falls out of the fuselage with fright.

2010-02-16 19:46:42: Spandex starts to worry all the excitement did get to the old guy's heart. "shit. you know mouth-to-mouth? or . . . umm. . . that hindlick maneuver, or umm - Bernard! You're alive!"

2010-02-16 19:46:45: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard almost leaps out of his skin, "FUCK?! Where?!"

2010-02-16 19:48:03: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard looks like a tiger, he's so stripy.

2010-02-16 19:49:01: calliaphone scrambles up from the ground, and stares at Bernard. She's shaking, and sniiifing, but she stands her ground. "What the hell are you? A tigermorph ghost or what?"

2010-02-16 19:49:20: Spandex thinks maybe a George Romero / Samuel Jackson flick called Ghosts on A Plane?

2010-02-16 19:50:28: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard clambers down from the cockpit, "No, it's me, the host of TV's Mr & Mrs, and renowned author, Bernard. How are you today?"

2010-02-16 19:51:23: calliaphone sniifs, and backs away a bit. "Ghost of Mr and Mrs who? I'm fine thankyouverymuch you don't have to get any closer."

2010-02-16 19:54:11: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard is again a little put out, he starts muttering under his breath, "Time was I'd be mobbed, now? Now I've got groups of crusties trying to get away from me. THAT FUCKING GERBIL!" he spoke aloud!!

2010-02-16 19:54:26: Spandex is so going to develop a nasty coke habit after this gig. "callia, this is your costar, Bernard, He's. . . well. . . dead, sure if you mean relevance, but he's alive, physically." we think.

2010-02-16 19:55:53: calliaphone shakes her head to clear it. She looks at Dex. Pleading. Trusting. "you- you're sure?"

2010-02-16 19:55:59: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard is having a special moment, "So what happens now?"

2010-02-16 19:59:05: Spandex gulps, "well, now?" she points to the cameras "this is been broadcast, obviously. As a pilot. A pilot pilot, if you will."

2010-02-16 20:00:45: Spandex shrugs, "of course if it was up to me, this'd be a Feature Length whatist. Spike Lee's shown interest, already. But you know how Finance is. And the Audience figures."

2010-02-16 20:01:25: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard likes that, a bit like the Player by Altman or something out of Pulp Fiction - Fox Force Five. . . "I like that, a bit like that fillum by that dead fella. Or the one who swears a lot"

2010-02-16 20:01:30: calliaphone takes a deep shaky breath, and sits down suddenly on the ground. It's been a bit of week really. Attacked by a hummingbird, then by a toaster, then by G, and now a ghost.

2010-02-16 20:02:27: calliaphone shivers, drawing her knees in close, and resting her cheek on her accordion. She watches the other two as they continue to speak in tongues. They blur.

2010-02-16 20:03:24: Spandex ponders seriously on that, "Exactly. I really want Herzog in this. You can understand. What with the jungle, and your obvious machismo. " and insanity.

2010-02-16 20:05:03: Spandex leans against the fuselage, "I mean, Lee's not been relevant for awhile. Herzog's a bit . . . I donno. . . since Kinski died." She looks at Bernard. " Can you Rage?"

2010-02-16 20:05:17: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard agrees, ". . .If we have a sweeping opening shot, and some confusing, contrived silences, Wim Wenders may be interested too. I did have his number. But he changed it."

2010-02-16 20:05:42: calliaphone whistles softly, The 12th Street Rag to keep herself anchored to . . . something.

2010-02-16 20:07:44: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard could potentially rustle up David Fincher, "We share the same enema-technician, she's done us both with coffee and with goat urine. I preferred the goat uring

2010-02-16 20:08:25: Spandex raises her eyebrows, Wenders, eh? Well, we at least agree on German" fuck she loved Wings of Desire.

2010-02-16 20:08:26: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard watches the gremlin bugger off with an 'e', ah well, the little sod will soon be so loved up that all of this won't matter.

2010-02-16 20:08:54: Spandex pauses, "u-ring? That help with the. . .?"

2010-02-16 20:15:20: Spandex shrugs, actors, "we need to get you a leading lady. Who you thinking?"

2010-02-16 20:18:55: Host of TVs Mr & Mrs - Bernard blinks and stalks off to his trailer. Directors!

2010-02-16 20:20:36: Spandex needs something to throw down, so she picks up her cricket bat and THROWS it down again. "I'll see you in HELL MISTER! . . . next Thurs, L'Orangerie, right?"

2010-02-16 20:39:33: Spandex airkisses Bernard and rushes off.

2010-02-16 22:58:23: calliaphone wakes up from a baaaad dream, something about plane crashes and tv ghosts and Dex being attacked by zombie tigermorph with a mechanical jaws that're gonna crunch her up into little bits and . . .

2010-02-16 23:02:17: calliaphone opens her eyes and sees the wreck of the plane. She doesn't wait for the rest to appear. She's on her feet already and crashing away through the jungle, towards . . . anywhere but here.

Improbable Central

2010-02-16 23:13:27: calliaphone stumbles in from the jungle, looking like she's seen a ghost. Wild-eyed, she makes straight for the Bingo Hall, pausing only to trip over a large brass ship's compass some idiot left lying around.

Cyber City

2010-02-16 22:37:17: Caprinae Ovis Marly frowns as Elvina sparks at her. "I just replaced those parts, don't give me that!"

2010-02-16 22:39:35: Caprinae Ovis Marly climbs up to take a look at the turret. "What are you talking about, Elvina? Oh." She looks at the turret, then jumps back as another spark flies. "Hey!"

2010-02-16 22:42:16: Caprinae Ovis Marly waits for Elvina to stop sparking to look again. "Jeez. I know, I'm not a GERMan or anything, but what you and I have is special, honey. I spent enough time as a bot to know quality when I see it."

2010-02-16 22:44:35: Caprinae Ovis Marly strokes Elvina's casing soothingly. "You're a very special lady-turret, badass and complex. It could take me a thousand years to figure out everything that's wrong with about you."

2010-02-16 22:46:02: Caprinae Ovis Marly smiles as Elvina stops sparking at her and slowly pans the jungles and the snow fields. She starts working on repairs.

2010-02-16 23:35:57: calliaphone trudges out of the Bingo Hall, looking for a place to work. It's not the ideal environment, out here. But there's a ghost in there, and she'd rather take her chances with the cold, thank you.

2010-02-16 23:42:24: calliaphone finds a sheltered spot, wishing her old hut was still standing. She wrestles her protesting cart into a corner, and squats down to take stock.

2010-02-16 23:42:45: Caprinae Ovis Marly is getting very bored. Elvina is not very good conversation, bless her empty chassis. She looks down and spots. . . "Callia!"

2010-02-16 23:43:21: Apparent Magician Kestrel steps halfway out of the Grounds, and smiles when she sees Callia. "Can I get you a hot drink or anything?" She shivers slightly, having forgotten how cold it is here.

2010-02-16 23:43:46: Apparent Magician Kestrel also smiles at Marly, and extends the drink offer to her, too.

2010-02-16 23:45:45: calliaphone looks up and sees . . . two trusted friends. She grins a teeth-chattery grin, rubbing her bare arms. "H-Hllo. Hot drink? Pu-please."

2010-02-16 23:46:25: Caprinae Ovis Marly smiles at Kes. "Tea would be lovely." She slides down the wall, landing by Callia. "What are you working on?"

2010-02-16 23:46:58: Apparent Magician Kestrel slips quickly into the Grounds, to make the requested drinks.

2010-02-16 23:50:19: Apparent Magician Kestrel quietly returns, and sets the three mugs on the Ground, handing Callia a spare woollen jumper. She fishes a few sugar sachets from her pockets, and drops them beside the drinks.

2010-02-16 23:51:11: calliaphone digs some instruments out of her pocket, and shows them to Marly. A little brass compass, and a chromed altimeter.

2010-02-16 23:52:08: calliaphone gives Kestrel a look of utmost gratitude, and tugs on the jumper. Then she loads up one of the drinks with enough sugar to stand up the spoon, and takes a scalding siiiiip. "Ohhhthassbetter."

2010-02-16 23:55:01: Caprinae Ovis Marly takes her mug with a grateful smile and looks at the instruments. "What's it for, a flying boat?"

2010-02-16 23:55:08: calliaphone sets down her tea, and starts digging things out of her cart, talking while she works. "They're for G. He's gone all wrong, we gotta fix him, else I think Dex'll probably kill him."

2010-02-16 23:56:31: calliaphone unloads her pillowcase-of-tools, jeweller's clamps, a giant clockwork plant and a mantel clock, plus a box of unspecified electronic components, and a book. She sets all these on the ground.

2010-02-16 23:56:31: Apparent Magician Kestrel takes her own mug without paying much attention, and watches Callia worriedly. "Something to do with his heart, right?"

2010-02-16 23:57:57: calliaphone nods, laying out tools - uncharacteristically neatly. But this project demands precision. "Yuh. His ticker . . . it's mechanical. An' it's gone all out of control, taking over."

2010-02-16 23:59:43: calliaphone flicks through the book. It's full of blueprints, interspersed with pages of closely-written technical text and numbers. Callia skips those pages, and flickflicks until she finds one blueprint.

2010-02-17 00:00:36: Caprinae Ovis Marly frowns. "So, these are parts he's missing? What do they do?"

2010-02-17 00:01:17: Apparent Magician Kestrel glances over at the various tools, blueprints, and finally instruments. "A compass?" Her voice is incredulous.

2010-02-17 00:02:45: calliaphone props the book against her cart. She looks up at her companions. "Yeh. It's like, the heart he's got, it's missing some sort of regulatory device." she points to the blueprint, "Like there."

2010-02-17 00:04:07: calliaphone isn't sure exactly how the device works - the blueprints seem a little, improbable, to her. But. . ."the main parts are a compass and barometer. So. . ." she gestures to the instruments on the ground

2010-02-17 00:04:33: Apparent Magician Kestrel examines the blueprints without really understaning them, then leans back again, and murmurs, "Just what he needs - a compass to stop him from getting lost."

2010-02-17 00:05:50: Caprinae Ovis Marly sips, looking at the blueprints and the devices. "Ok, so using metaphors," another thing she told teachers she would never need, "the compass is morality, right? But this other doodad?"

2010-02-17 00:08:48: calliaphone blinks. "morality, huh? oh-kay. . ." she looks at the other doodad. "it's an altimeter. it's got an aneroid barometer inside. a pressure gauge."

2010-02-17 00:10:37: Caprinae Ovis Marly scrunches her face up, thinking back to days of Angry Parents. "Anger management?"

2010-02-17 00:12:07: Apparent Magician Kestrel suggests, "Control, perhaps?" She's mostly lost with the metaphors, and frowning slightly.

2010-02-17 00:13:49: calliaphone also wonders. she's not much of a one for metaphors either, but she saw those gears slipping, and that mainspring so overwound. "I think it's some kind of feedback device."

2010-02-17 00:13:57: Caprinae Ovis Marly is completely clueless about control. At some point her mind stuck a label on the concept saying 'BAD' and she's avoided it since.

2010-02-17 00:14:49: Caprinae Ovis Marly ohs! "So, it might be able to tell what things need to work, and such

2010-02-17 00:15:01: calliaphone says, "if i can get it to work, that is." she's taking the clockwork plant apart as she speaks, raiding it for cogs and sprockets.

2010-02-17 00:16:58: Caprinae Ovis Marly sips her tea and looks over the rim of her mug at Callia. "So what's the problem?"

2010-02-17 00:17:16: calliaphone says, "yeah, or like, a pacemaker, mebbe? one that responds to internal pressure . . . of a sort."

2010-02-17 00:18:28: calliaphone 's hands are shaking now, as she starts rigging up a simplified model, based on the blueprint, of the core section of G's heart. "whaddyamean, problem?" she slips, and cusses, dropping a cog.

2010-02-17 00:19:42: Caprinae Ovis Marly winces, tilting her head around her mug to look at the cog. "I've been around long enough to realize that something always goes wrong."

2010-02-17 00:19:54: Apparent Magician Kestrel 's frown increases, and she looks almost alarmed. "Are you hurt, Callia? Did he. . .?"

2010-02-17 00:20:11: calliaphone retrives the cog and screws it into place, trying not to fumble again. Pretty soon, she has a crude rig set up.

2010-02-17 00:21:57: calliaphone shakes her head at Kestrel. "Nothing serious. Dex got there just in time, and I'm ok." she opens up the compass, and starts drilling tiny holes into the case.

2010-02-17 00:22:50: Apparent Magician Kestrel rubs her forehead briefly. "I know this isn't really your area of expertise, but d'you think he was responsible for what he did, to you and Spandex?"

2010-02-17 00:25:29: calliaphone looks up, and meets Kestrel's eyes. "I . . . you're right, it's not my area. But. . ." she remembers something, an appeal for help, almost lost in a torrent of abuse. "I think . . . it wasn't G."

2010-02-17 00:25:36: Caprinae Ovis Marly frowns, listening and drinking her tea.

2010-02-17 00:27:42: calliaphone fixes the opened compass into her jeweller's clamps, and gets to work, rigging up a complex array of rods and gears, to transfer movement from within, to without.

2010-02-17 00:27:57: Apparent Magician Kestrel nods, clearly relieved. "He'll be devestated, when he realises what he did." She casts a look to the time, and groans, standing. "I'm really sorry, but I can't stay. Good luck, Callia, Marly."

2010-02-17 00:28:15: Caprinae Ovis Marly gestures to the instruments. "He's. . . not right, not in his nature? And. . . these things will fix that?"

2010-02-17 00:28:52: calliaphone swallows, and nods. "He will." she pauses, to lift a hand in salute. "Thanks, Kestrel. See you again."

2010-02-17 00:29:31: Caprinae Ovis Marly thanks Kestrel for the tea and the wish.

2010-02-17 00:29:34: calliaphone responds to Marly now. "I don't know. I mean, yes, he's not. Not in his nature. And these things. . . I hope so."

2010-02-17 00:30:12: Apparent Magician Kestrel smiles to them both, casts one more worried look to the instruments, then quietly leaves.

2010-02-17 00:30:44: calliaphone 's hands shake again, but she manages to control it, following the blueprint carefully, fitting each part into place.

2010-02-17 00:31:02: Caprinae Ovis Marly frowns, looking at them. She's not mechanical, for all she works on Elvina. "But. . . how. I mean, it's. . . just metal and stuff."

2010-02-17 00:31:31: calliaphone closes the compass, and turns to the altimeter, giving it a similar treatment.

2010-02-17 00:34:13: calliaphone says, "Marly. I gotta level with you. I do not know. But G - his heart is metal. And has been for some time. But he didn't stop being G until his last Drive Kill."

2010-02-17 00:37:11: calliaphone adds, "so it's my guess, that the Drive made some . . . adjustments . . . to the design. And that's what we gotta put right."

2010-02-17 00:37:39: Caprinae Ovis Marly mmms, and sips her tea. "Alright." She settles back to watch Callia at work.

2010-02-17 00:41:31: calliaphone sighs, as she fails to hook up a cog for the twentieth time in a row. "These things - they're meant to be in the heart, and they're not. Buggerit." she tries again, and this time succeeds.

2010-02-17 00:42:11: calliaphone says, ". . .they're meant to respond to signals, if you like. from inside and outside of him. but how that translates to his emotional state, or the choices he makes. . .i do not know."

2010-02-17 00:43:09: calliaphone takes up the two instruments, and examines them carefully. Then, she starts fitting them into the model heart.

2010-02-17 00:44:37: Caprinae Ovis Marly sips her tea again, blinking. "You okay there?" She looks at the cogs and model heart, waiting to see how it all works, trying to put a nagging thought in its place.

2010-02-17 00:46:37: calliaphone nods, grim-faced. "It's time to run a test." She fastens the two devices into place, and begins to wind up the model, with the key from the clockwork plant, ratcheting the spring to tension.

2010-02-17 00:50:21: calliaphone sits back on her haunches, as the balance-wheel begins to rotate back-and-forth. A gentle, rhythmic ticking sound issues from the model.

2010-02-17 00:53:00: calliaphone starts to grin, and then freezes. Tick Tick Tickity Tick Tick "shit." Tickitytick-ticky-tick. There is a grinding of gears, and the model jams for a moment, then resumes.

2010-02-17 00:54:48: calliaphone swears some more, under her breath, staring at the compass needle. It is whizzing round in circles. And the barometer bellows have collapsed, flattened by some unseen pressure.

2010-02-17 00:55:10: Caprinae Ovis Marly winces at the sound. "Not right," she says helpfully.

2010-02-17 00:56:43: calliaphone can't speak. She puts her face in her hands.

2010-02-17 00:58:48: Caprinae Ovis Marly puts down her mug to put an arm around Callia's shoulders. "None of that sissy stuff, deary. It's just not finished yet."

2010-02-17 01:00:55: calliaphone looks up. "But it is, Marly. I did it exactly like the blueprint said. I know I did. What else am I meant to do?"

2010-02-17 01:02:32: Caprinae Ovis Marly bites her lip and looks from master to creation. "Well. . . It's just a machine. And a heart is more than that. Perhaps it just. . . needs something to make it human?"

2010-02-17 01:03:17: calliaphone frowns. "H-human? How'd'you mean?"

2010-02-17 01:06:19: Caprinae Ovis Marly looks at the compass and its spinning needle. She's always been bad at putting this sort of thing into words. "Hearts. . . do more than pump blood. They feel. And a compass only points north."

2010-02-17 01:07:58: Caprinae Ovis Marly fluffles her hair with one hand, struggling with a concept. "Sometimes, things need to become more than what they are. Maybe these pieces are right, but they need to be more."

2010-02-17 01:08:13: calliaphone thinks. "This one . . . Merlin gave it me. She says it points . . . to what you're looking for. That's it's north."

2010-02-17 01:09:48: Caprinae Ovis Marly hmms. "That's a bit more." She looks at Callia. "We were talking about metaphors. How about making it literal?"

2010-02-17 01:11:31: calliaphone looks back, blankly. "I'm an engineer, Marly. A mechanic." sure, she talks to engines, who doesn't? And sure, she cries when they break, but like i say . . . who doesn't, right?

2010-02-17 01:12:35: calliaphone spreads out her hands, "I'm not even a competent engineer, not any more. Everything I touch goes awry. How'm I meant to engineer a metaphor?"

2010-02-17 01:13:47: Caprinae Ovis Marly looks sad at that and gives Callia a peck on the cheek. "Well, I'm a Joker. May I try?"

2010-02-17 01:14:49: calliaphone hesitates. And then nods, and sits back a little from the model.

2010-02-17 01:17:50: Caprinae Ovis Marly nods a thank you, and scootches forward to it. She looks at it, studying it, then touches a finger to the compass. Her eyes close. A compass that knows seeking. Now it needs something to seek.

2010-02-17 01:19:06: Caprinae Ovis Marly intends to give it something. You know about looking, my little spinning friend, yet you're so confused. You'll make yourself dizzy with all that spinning. . ..

2010-02-17 01:21:52: Caprinae Ovis Marly tells it about right and wrong, about justice. She tells it about north stars and freedom. The needle slows beneath her finger, then stops its spin, drifting back and forth instead.

2010-02-17 01:23:08: Caprinae Ovis Marly opens her eyes and frowns. "Still not finished. . . missing something. . ." She looks at Callia, extends her hand to her, palm-first, fingers spread. "Need help."

2010-02-17 01:24:30: calliaphone is captivated by the compass-needle. She looks at Marly. "Me? Me help?" and involuntarily reaches out her hand.

2010-02-17 01:26:10: Caprinae Ovis Marly nods, gripping her hand. "Needs balance. Needs mercy. You know that better than I do. Justice without mercy is just as bad as mercy without justice. Tell me about mercy."Her eyes close again.

2010-02-17 01:30:21: calliaphone 's eyes also close. Her mind empties, and fills again. Images of machines she's worked on, machines that didn't want to change, but did. machines that hurt, and said so, violently.

2010-02-17 01:33:53: Caprinae Ovis Marly grabs at the nature of Callia's thoughts. Her grip tightens. The needle stops its movement. Marly opens her eyes again, letting go of Callia's hand and looking at the needle. It points north.

2010-02-17 01:35:17: Caprinae Ovis Marly smiles softly at it. "Thank you, Callia. Now all that's left is the barroom thingy."

2010-02-17 01:36:11: calliaphone says, "barometer" almost to herself.

2010-02-17 01:37:52: Caprinae Ovis Marly nods. "Yes, that." She looks at it, tilting her head. "So. . . what does it usually do?"

2010-02-17 01:43:05: calliaphone says, "uhhh. it measures air-pressure. it's like metal bellows, held open by a spring. The higher the pressure, the more it collapses."

2010-02-17 01:44:11: Caprinae Ovis Marly hmms. "So it measures changes." She touches one of the bellows, pushing down on it experimentally.

2010-02-17 01:48:35: calliaphone nods. "yeah, in a manner of speaking."

2010-02-17 01:50:00: Caprinae Ovis Marly removes the pressure from her finger, and considers it. Changes, moderation, the need to adapt, the need to flow. She knows about some of these things.

2010-02-17 01:54:02: Caprinae Ovis Marly tells it a story about a little girl getting in trouble. A game, what fun! Friends, bully, brother, push. Broken nose. His, not hers. What sort of example is that for your brother.

2010-02-17 01:55:51: Caprinae Ovis Marly tells it about people hurt, people changed, situations altered. She tells it about right words at the right time, like the right changes in the right circumstances. Levers, behaviors, words.

2010-02-17 01:56:43: Caprinae Ovis Marly lifts her hand up quickly as the bellows inflate. "Try it now?"

2010-02-17 02:00:49: calliaphone leans forward, and releases the balance-wheel. It starts to rotate. Back-and-forth, back-and-forth. And with each rotation, a Tick. Over and over, steady, strong. Tick Tick Tick Tick. . ..

2010-02-17 02:01:11: calliaphone stares.

2010-02-17 02:02:22: Caprinae Ovis Marly smiles.

2010-02-17 02:05:51: calliaphone turns to Marly. The model heart goes on ticking. Tick Tick Tick Tick. . .. "It . . . oh my god, Marly." she almost tears up. And then stops. "It works. It's good. Thank you."

2010-02-17 02:09:51: Caprinae Ovis Marly nods. " 's that human thing." She pauses. "Just. . . well, he'll probably figure it out on his own, but don't tell him I did that, yes?" She looks uncomfortable.

2010-02-17 02:13:09: calliaphone looks at Marly curiously. "ok, i won't say a word." Then she adds, soberly, "he's not out of the woods yet, anyway. We still gotta fit this thing. And fix whatever damage the heart did him."

2010-02-17 02:14:25: calliaphone adds, rubbing her eyes. "but not today. i think . . . i need to rest." but she sounds steadier than she has in a while.

2010-02-17 02:16:50: Caprinae Ovis Marly nods. She looks at the model heart with uneasy eyes. Well, it's done, and for the best. "He'll be fine, I'm sure. You can do it, Callia, you and everyone else."She looks up. "Sleep first."

2010-02-17 02:20:32: calliaphone glances from her friend, to model heart, to friend again. She looks thoughtful, but simply nods. "you did a good thing, Marly. he'd be grateful, if he knew. as it is . . . i'm grateful."

2010-02-17 02:23:06: Caprinae Ovis Marly gives her a smile. Not quite up to usual Marly standards, but sincere. "And that's pretty much the only reason I did it." Well, there are a few others, but. . . Details, details.

2010-02-17 02:27:00: calliaphone starts gathering up her tools and spare components and various other bits and pieces. And packing them into her cart. It clanks, and wobbles, under the weight. She frowns, and glances down.

2010-02-17 02:28:55: calliaphone lifts her head up again, and leans on the cart. Softly, she says,"Y'know what? Sleep first. You won't fall apart tonight, I think."

2010-02-17 02:31:39: Caprinae Ovis Marly watches Callia and smiles. The cart is one thing she won't offer help on without an invitation. It's hers.

2010-02-17 02:33:48: calliaphone turns to Marly, and pulls her into a hug. "Good night. And thank you, again." A kiss on the cheek, and she steps back, stooping to pick up the model heart - still ticking.

2010-02-17 02:38:47: Caprinae Ovis Marly smiles and returns the hug before she is released. "Take care of yourself, alright? You're every bit as important to someone as G is."

2010-02-17 02:43:53: calliaphone blinks quite hard. And tucks the model heart under her arm. Then, with a final wave to Marly, she sets off for the Bingo Hall, tugging her suddenly docile cart behind her.

2010-02-17 02:44:57: Caprinae Ovis Marly waves and turns back to Elvina, who sparks with indignant neglect at her. "What, you want a piece of me, too? Make me sound like a cheap floozy, Elvina. . ."

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