[Setting] Starchild Coffee (Part 2)


| >(Continuation of thread https://dangeru.us/cyb/thread/751319)
>Falschen gives Impulse a meaningful look.
"Everyone has ideas, none are relevant right now."

| >>753811
>Impulse nods back and sighs.

"It is what it is, this will... complicate things. Best I can do currently is to send some words for my men to keep a look out for Roy."

| "Don't!"

> Cynthia rises, interjecting from way far behind.She wears a stern expression — a leftover from receiving the mounting stress — as she walks over to the group.

"I was in contact with Roy just now. He's doing okay. He'll call soon. Don't search for him; nobody likes being headhunted."

| >>753838

>Impulse raises an eyebrow, turning to Cynthia.

"Then would you be so kind as to contact him back, or even better, tell him to call his mother. I'm sure they have a lot of catching up to do, don't you think?"

| >Max sidesteps his seat and plants himself behind Valerie. He wheels her over to the other table, not wanting her to be left out of the gradually deepening conversation taking place.


>Does he have more to say about that night-- more that he's actually at liberty to disclose? Even years later, management has an iron grip on the information surrounding the events leading up to Roy's disappearance... and subsequent termination.

| >>753902
"... Chaos. It was utter chaos. Think I was locked up in there for almost 48 hours before we had enough relief in my department for me to leave."

>He hesitates, before continuing:

"... A patient went missing that night, along with your son, and... his wife."

>And, depending on who you ask... there's two different ways that went down. Only one of them is PR approved, however.

| >>753904
>Margaret brings her hands to her mouth in shock and horror.

"What... what happened? Do you... d-do you mean they... left against medical advice? M-maybe... Roy went after them-- my son, he's a >>>wonderful doctor-- he..."

>Margaret lifts her cup of tea with trembling hands.

"... H-he would >>>never let one of his patients put themselves in harm's way."

>Max exhales sharply. What to tell her?

| >>753908
"... It's as you say"
>Falschen eyes Max, anyone could tell she too was interested in the 'events' that did take place that night.
>The mention of a wife did take her by surprise however, last she knew: the girl whose life she saved at the drifter hadn't been hitched yet... No ring on her left hand back when she last saw her.
>She smiles a little at the thought however, she was glad.

| >>753908
>The number of Max's known theories surrounding the group's disappearance now totals three, after having spoken with Margaret-- well, actually /four/ if you want to get technical about it:

| >>753908 >>753918
"Any idea where they could have taken them?"

>Impulse turns back to ask.

"Another question, who was the patient that disappeared with the couple?"

| >The first-- the story management tells-- is that the patient eloped at the behest of an unknown entity, assisted by Roy, who may or may not be affiliated with the currently unknown party.

| >>753920 >>753922
>The second-- Margaret's own suggestion of an AMA leave that her son desperately tried to stop. Perhaps this had been previously considered, but unfortunately management is more likely to demonize and discharge staff in a situation such as this than they are to paint them a hero.

| >>753923
>The third-- the one floor staff know: that Roy and his wife were taken hostage along with the patient, and were coerced into kidnapping them. Though this has been acknowledged by management, desire not to draw the ire of the kidnappers and provoke further abductions has stalled any investigation taking place.

| >>753924
>And, the fourth: the story only Roy and Aikawa know. The one yet to reveal itself. Max chews the inside of his cheek for a moment while he turns the night's events over in his head.

"... That's protected information I'm not allowed to disclose."

>And even then, is there enough he knows about her to share?

| >>753921
"As far as where they went was concerned... we have no idea. Don't know why they wanted that particular patient, either."

>Max can guess, but musing aloud about it within earshot of others is also forbidden. He saw her scans, after all. He did her A&P. She was, as that tiny catboomer clinician had said, most interesting.

| >>753929
(*is concerned)

| >The two individuals wearing cloaks are still discussing something stupid nearby, but they now speak in an unknown tongue
>The horned one is also secretely keeping tabs on the discussion happening nearby
"Helio, lilhlo kilil lo."
>The horned girl's pronunctiation is stiff
"Yhulio, Yhulolip, piloli liko."
>The other one's is clear and flows like water, probably her native language

| >>753926
>Falschen nods at Max's remark, she also had her own ideas: none of which she wanted to disclose to the woman, in the fear that they might bring forth more stress than reassurance to Roy's mother... but also not to say anything that could attract the ire of exactly that same person, sometimes, not knowing anything is better for everyone involved.
>Change the angle Fal, you got this.
>She takes a breath, deep.
"But... Roy did keep contacting you all this time did he not?"

| "Do you know who was the attacker?"

>Impulse continues.

| >>753934
>Falschen gives a side-long glance to Impulse.
"What >>>Attackers, The ones in downtown?"
>She seems to want to leave that subject buried, no need to stress the woman even more. Nor mention the multiple code greys and the code black which she heard about from her feline friend.

| >>753935
>"The ones that attacked the hospital. We need group of interests to start searching for him."

>Impulse replies, trying to move in closer so the mother doesn't have to hear.

| >>753939
>Falschen gives Impulse a glance
"If Roy has still been calling Margaret here of all people, chances are he doesn't need >>>Help, no kidnappers just let you do courtesy calls... unless they're bad at the whole, crime thing."
>She simply replies

| >>753940
"I thought Roy wasn't giving her a call, otherwise why would she decided that her two options were to call the police or ask us for help?"

>Impulse ignores the glance, replying quite neutrally, as always, before taking another sip from his cup.

| >The horned woman groans a bit, and tilts her head
"Stupid Yokir, this is rest time, not work time, no working."
>Helio simply sighs, exhasperated
"Helio, info collection is an important job, and it never ends, also talk in Uriyo, someone might be listening to us."
"Nobody cares about us enough, dumb muscle lizard. Coffee good, work terrible, simply awful."
"...Shut up."

| >>753942
"The state of the appartement, as she mentioned..."
>Falschen states, deadpan
"Rather this was years ago, If I were a mot-"
>Falschen suddenly stops talking, choking on her last word, she closes her eyes rapidly, her face growing even paler than it was before.
"She would of tried and contact anyone years ago if Roy had completely cut contact... anyone would"
>She squeaks out

| >>753945
>Impulse raises another eyebrow at Falschen's behavior.

"Fair enough. Have anyone tried to contact him? Besides that girl, I mean."

>He continues, gesturing towards Cynthia.

"If we can, then it's over, we can go our separate ways. If we can't, I'll presume the worst and get my people to keep a look out for him."

| >>753947
>Falschen simply stays quiet for a second, taking another sip of her coffee... or should of, she realizes as she brings it close to her face that the cup was already empty.
>She hesitates a moment and places it down again.
"Roy did keep in contact with you, isn't that right, Margaret?"

| >Margaret watches the exchange between Impulse and Falschen as if it were a a violent ping pong patch, her gaze occasionally deviating to Max. The looks she gives him are pleading-- you seem normal, you worked with him-- please, help me make some sense of this--

"Y-yes, yes, Roy and I speak regularly. Very regularly. He calls me about every other week... those days are the highlights of each month."

| >>753950
"But, he... never told me he moved, or left his job. He had made it sound as though nothing had changed..."

| >>753951 >>753950
"Have these calls ever stop?"

>Impulse simply asks.

| >>753953
"reg·u·lar·ly, Adverb
1. with a constant or definite pattern, especially with the same space between individual items.
2.at uniform intervals of time."
>Falschen says, her eyes closed

| >As Falschen begins to rattle off dictionary entries in an attempt to prove her point, Margaret's phone begins to ring. She jumps at the sudden sound.

| >>753956
"I meant, when was the last time that he called."

>Impulse replies, a hint of annoyance in his voice.

"If he never stops, then we can wait til the next time he calls, then ask him where the bloke is."

| >>753957
"There, that better be Roy."

>Impulse stands up.

"My patience's running thin, ask him where he is and let's go."

| >Falschen opens up a single eye
>The eye, only half opened, and thus shielded from most light, is a dull grey.
>She shows a shit-eating grin, one worth of the times of old when she went around in a huge power-armor

| >>753959
(*ask the bloke where he is.)

| >>753957
>Frantically, Margaret digs her phone out of her purse. It nearly slips from her hands as she blindly smashes her thumb into the screen to accept the call.


>There's the remote possibility that the caller on the other end of the line is not her son. She desperately hopes the odds are in her favor.


| >>753972
>Impulse sits back down and continue sipping his tea, draining the last of it while he waits for Magaret to finish her call.

| >>753972
>Margaret's eyes well with tears, some spilling down her cheeks as she's overcome with relief at the sound of her son's voice.

"Oh-- oh!! Oh, >>>Roy--"

>"M-Mom-- oh, my god-- mom, I'm so sorry--"

>He's at a loss for words. All he can think to do is apologize. There is a silence as Margaret weeps, and Roy attempts to gather his thoughts.

| >>753977
>Falschen heaves a sigh of relief, and turns to impulse
"See, nothing to worry about on that end."

| >>753977 >>753961
>Impulse shrugs in Falschen's direction with a face expression that read "If only you let me finish explaining, huh?"

| >>753977
>"... I'm sorry."

>I never wanted to lie to you. I never meant to. But, when this all started, I never could've predicted it'd last almost three years--

>"I'm sorry. I--..."

"I know. I >>>know you're sorry, dear--"

>I wouldn't do this if I didn't have a reason to. I need you to be safe. Nobody else needs to get pulled into this.

"Please... what's wrong? What's >>>wrong, Roy? Why have you--"

>Margaret chokes up, unable to finish her sentence.

| >>753981
>Impulse glances towards Falschen once more.

"That doesn't sound good."

| >>753981
>Falschen can't stand to watch Margaret in such a state.
>Slowly, she puts a hand into her pocket and pulls out a handkerchief, it's color is simple, and a small embroidery occupies one of it's corner
>It reads E.D
>She hands it over to Roy's mother
"If you need it..."
>She whispers

| >>753982
>Falschen simply shakes her head
>Let Roy handle it, were her unspoken thoughts

| >>753985
"Should I..."

>Impulse gestures towards his headset.

"...prepare some men... just in case?"

| >>753987
"No, rather... I would avoid kicking hornet's nests"
>She whispers

| >>753988

>Impulse quietly curses under his breath, looking down on his empty cup.

| >>753983 >>753981
>Margaret gratefully accepts the handkerchief, and dabs at her eyes.

>"... Mom, I-- I can't really tell you, that's why I--"

"Roy, please; you know you can tell me >>>anything, honey-- please--"

>"I /can't/. I can't, Mom. Not this. Not here."

"... Why? Why not...?"

>"... It's not safe. Look-- I'm okay-- I promise, I'm okay. I just... I need /you/ to be okay, too."


| >>753996
"... They told me you were kidnapped."

>"'They'? Who's 'they'-- Mom, where are you? Where are you, right now--"

"I'm at the..."

>Margaret looks around, having forgotten the cafe's name in the midst of her panic.

"The Starchild Cafe-- I mean, Coffee-- Starchild Coffee--"

>"Who's there with you? /Who/ are you talking to?"

"Well, some... people who know you, dear-- t-they wanted to help--"

>"What are their names?"

"Ah... Falschen... Impulse... and-- ah, Max."

| >>753997
>"... /Max/?!"

"Yes, dear. He says he's a former colleague of yours--"

>Roy's voice suddenly spikes in volume, enough for those around the table to hear.

>"Max should /know/ better than to talk to /anyone/ who wasn't there that night about this!! I'm assuming the hospital has a gag order in place-- is he out of his mind?!"

>Max rolls his eyes, but remains silent.

>"Look, unless it comes from me, I don't want you taking /anything/ anyone says about this as fact."

| >>754002
"But... how can I do that, if you won't >>>tell me, Roy...?"



>"... I... I will. I will, I just... that conversation needs to be in private."

| >Falschen simply listens, although not too closely, Eavesdropping wasn't a habit she was fond of

| >>754004
>"There's... there's a bar called "The Lock and Barrel"-- they have these... booths that block all ongoing and outgoing communication--"

"Dear, you're... you're scaring me-- I-- I know you're >>>worried Roy, but is something like this really necessary just to talk--"

>"YES. /Yes/. Just... trust me on this, Mom. Please? I need you to trust me."

>You pull the wool over her eyes for /years/, then ask her to /trust you/?

| >>754014
"... You know that... after hearing this, that's... not as easy to do."

>"I know... I know. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

>I promise, I won't keep you in the dark much longer.



"... 'The Lock and Barrel'?"

>"... Yes. I'll... I can pick you up-- we'll go together."


>"... I'm so sorry that this is how we've ended up seeing each other again... I love you, Mom. The last thing I ever want to do is worry you."

>I did enough of that growing up.

| "If you need help with directions, I can tell you where that bar is"
>Falschen whispers to Margaret
"It's the least I can do after worrying you so much"
>She says, smiling in an apologetic manner

| >>754018
>As both parties on the call pause to collect themselves for a moment, Max gestures to Margaret, holding out his open palm. He asks softly:

"May I?"

>Peggy nods mutely, and places the phone in his hand. Max turns away from the group, and before bringing the phone to his ear, clarifies:

"Sorry. Patient info to be discussed. Confidentiality's important."

>He drops a hand into his pocket, then greets his ex-coworker.

"Afternoon, Roy."

| >>754023
>"... Max, give my mother her phone back."

"I would, if it wasn't so hard to reach you. Figured I may as well seize the opportunity to chat while I still could."

>"... Did you agree to meet up with her to help... find me, or... whatever this is?"

"Nope. Just in the area. I'm on lunch."

>"You're early."

"Got a meeting later. You wanna get this call over with, or not?"

>"... Fine. What is it?"

"The patient you referred to me-- how's she doing?"

| >>754027
>"... I... I think she's fine? She's... not any worse than she was when you saw her--"

"I got her in."

>"... /What/?"

"Got her in. Dean approved our little... 'field trip' to that clinic."

>"... She /did/?"

"Yep. I gotta say it again, now? 'Third time's the charm', right--"

>"O-okay, I get it-- that's... that's great. That's fantastic news, actually. I'll... I can reach out to the family for you, and let them know."

| >>754033
"Wiz. Unfortunately... I can't go forward 'til I talk to you about the treatment plan-- can't let my team walk in blind."

>"... Alright, so..?"

"... 'So' I... overheard you have plans to go back to that cozy little bar we visited, once."

>"... /Max/."

"Now, no need to take that tone, Roy-- not asking to sit in on your confessional visit with mom. Just thought I'd throw the suggestion out there; save you a trip."

>"... Fine-- but, my meeting with her comes first."

| >>754039
"Great. I'll see you there."

>Max pauses. He gains a thoughtful look.

"... Why don't you bring your new wife while you're at it-- have a drink to celebrate the happy couple."

>Roy scoffs loudly, and growls something Max can't make out.

"What? I got business reasons for that, too-- turns out we're short a tech. You said she could do the job."

>"... Alright-- now go... have your meeting, for christ's sake--"

"I'll be there at 7:00. Mazel tov~."

>Max ends the call.

| >>754041
>Falschen perks up at the mention of Roy's "Wife", She hadn't seen Aikawa in a while, rather the last news she heard about her were from a tall man in Colorado and the Lilim called Nym, who had apparently known her friend.
"So I guess that's that then?"
>She says out-loud... to no one in particular

| >>754041
"So? How's Roy?"

>Impulse speaks up as well, his voice back to its neutral state.




| >>754041
>Margaret looks a little lost when Max returns her phone. She stares down at it, momentarily despondent. Even if her son is coming to pick her up shortly, it would've been nice to say goodbye. She slips her cell back into her purse.

"... I-I don't know. He's... he >>>says he's safe, but... it sounds like he isn't."

>Did he tell her that just to reassure her...?

| >>754893
"Alright, look. Your son seems to be in a bit of a pickle, but I won't intervene if you don't want me to, violence could... complicate things."

>Impulse starts, standing up. He fumbles around in his pocket and produces a little card.

"So here's what I'm going to do. Here's my contact info, give this to your son. I'll let him decide if my presence could be good or not. Tell him to give me a call once he's figured it out."

| >>754913
>"Seems to be in a bit of a pickle"? Margaret's mouth falls open-- she's utterly dumbfounded. "A bit"? It's true that her son has a tendency to catastrophize, but is it /really/ wise to bank on the chance that he's overstating the danger he may be in...?


>Perhaps, that's just how things are, here. Maybe this is just an everyday occurrence, and her son's filling today's quota. She takes the card, and murmurs weakly:

"... A-alright."

| >>755186
>Does Magaret realize that using "a bit" can means "a decent amount" or "a lot". Does that ring a bell? No? Alright.
>Anyways, Impulse finishes his cup while he waits for Magaret's response. He sighs and stands up, tapping on his headset once again before he reply.

"Very well, I'm afraid that I'm done here."

>He walks over to the counter and hand over a card to the robot to pay for his second cup of tea.

| >While Impulse waits for the bots to complete his transaction, Valentine, returns inside and walks over to his side.

"You okay?"

>Impulse asks, turning the face her. Valentine frowns back and replies.

"You know how mad I would be if you got yourself kill without me there."


>Valentine sighs, then throws her arms around Impulse, burying her face in his shoulder.

>"No, I would never forgive myself either if you get hurt because I overreact."

| >As Valentine replies, tears start dropping from her closed eyes into Impulse's shoulder as she pushes harder against the man so nobody else could see.

"Val, are you... crying?"

>Impulse asks, there were no verbal answer, only a quiet sob.

>"Val, hey, it's alright. I'm still here, aren't I? Everything's fine, yeah?"

>He gently pat her on the back to comfort her, continuing to repeatedly whisper "Everything's fine" into her ears until she's finish sobbing.

| >Valentine finishes sobbing and looks up. Impulse smiles and wipes away the rest of her tears.

"There, we'll finish up and go home, sounds good?"

>Valentine, after a little while, smiles back.


>There's a moemnt of silence as they wait before Valentine speaks up again.



"I'll never let you go without a fight."

"I know."

"I love you."

"I know... I love you too."

>Impulse finishes and plants a kiss on Valentine's forehead.

| >>755186 >>755193
>Falschen nods to Impulse as he leaves, her face a mixture of many expressions. There's some resignation in there, along with some tiredness, but she still gives a wry smile as she watches him leave.
>She turns to Margaret, her someehat dull grey eyes showing empathy.
"... Don't take anything he said baddly... People here are, well they're forced to be tough: its rough out there... He cares, I'm sure of that"
>She says quietly

| >>755203 >>755213 >>755218
>Margaret is silent as she watches the couple reunite for all of a few seconds. "Never let you go without a fight"... is that what she's doing right now? Fighting? She would throw herself headlong into the fray without thought of consequences if she had any idea of where to start. Her only son...


>Her train of thought is mercifully halted by Falschen, as the young woman offers words of comfort.

| >>755480
"... Yes..."

>He must, in his own way.

| >>755256 >>755480
>Impulse notices the others looking at them, he nods back at Falschen. He then let go of Valentine's embrace.

"Feeling better now?"

>Valentine nods, her face turning slightly pink from the kiss, which seems to lit up her smile even more.

"Yeah... thanks."

>There's a moment of awkward silence before Impulse clears his throat as he takes the card back from the bots.

"Oh, um, let's not keep your brother waiting, yeah?"

"Oh, right, let's go."

>The group leaves.

| >>755484
>Falschen says, once more taking note of her empty cup, as she was just about to raise it.
>She couldn't help but be taken the smallest bit aback, was she really that forgetful... no it was something else, stress?
>A sharp inhale.
>Slowly, as if dispersing the thoughts she shook her head
"Do you need help getting to that bar your son mentionned, m- uhm, Margaret?"
>She asks
>She almost called her "Miss" there, hold yourself together fal.


| >>755540
"O-oh, ah... n-no, no-- that's alright. He said he would pick me up, and I don't want to worry him further, so..."

>She trails off. He drink has cooled thoroughly, and it's foam top has fallen, much like her mood.


>Max and Valerie look on as the group in military gear pays for their drinks, and heads out. Were there that many of them to start with? His mouth pulls sideways in a frown.

| >>753931
>The pair clad in clokes have been listening so intently to Margaret's conversation with her son and his... apparent acquaintances that they may not have noticed the busbot sitting beside their table, eagerly awaiting their attention so it can present them with their drinks.

>Two black coffees.

| >>756131
*cloaks, jfc

| >>756131
>The one without horns smiles wide and turns to the robot
"Yokir, coffee is here."
>The horned one turns around and sighs
"Yes, yes..."




| >>756230
>The bot wiggles in place a bit as it waits for the two mysterious patrons to partake in their cups of pleasantly bitter brew.

| >>758111
>The two take the cups, Yokir offering a sigh, while Helio keeps giggling to herself
>Helio gulps down the coffee without a second thought while Yokir takes a good swig
"...Doesn't your throat hurt?"
"It's the best part! Feels so spicy on my tongue! The burning is like hot fire, reminds me of life!"
>Helio cheerfully replies with a huge grin
"...That's huh... great for you, Helio, really good."

Total number of posts: 89, last modified on: Fri Jan 1 00:00:00 1620703441

This thread is closed.