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 Mercy on Us (Maria)

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Brittie

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:03 am


So...it was time. Brittany sighed, as if gathering enough strength from inside to start the topic. Staring at Maria would make it all much more hard to start speaking, so she turned her focus onto her cup of tea instead.

I told you I've been an orphan for my entire life... It was half true. After the Divide, I was adopted. By a couple. They were quite friendly, and not too old. Like the regular middle-age couple wanting kids. I thought they wanted to form a family and they accepted me as I am at first... You know how you have to, like, meet the children for some time to form a bond of agreement or something like that before the adoption is set in stone. So... that's what happened. We've met a few times, we could get along well and they didn't mind my... differences...

Her fingers fidgeting over her lap while her lips nervously twitched finding the right words to tell her tale.

It was alright for a while. We acted like a family, while I was getting used to the fact that it was my turn now. I wasn't the observant older sibling, I wasn't the one always left behind. This time, I was the one chosen to be the daughter, to be loved like one, to complete a family... I always believed that it doesn't matter if you're bonded by blood or not, as long as the feeling is there. But... Turns out they didn't really want a child to form a family...

They wanted kids to use them as guinea pigs...

At this point, Brittany's face was as gloomy as any signs of radiance and good humor had vanished.

I wasn't the only one. There was another kid... She was around my age, she was my friend. Or sister, since we were both adopted, but she didn't survive. The... experiments, I mean”, her voice trembled as the memories occupied her mind and the effort Brittany made into turning them into words. “With demons. Sometimes we were allowed to rest before continuing with the experiments. Sometimes we had to stay until they told us we were done. Or until... we died... But I'm here, so... yeah”, she smiled faintly, lifting her head to Maria for the first time in the course of her monologue. The smile didn't last long enough, though. “Father Jorge told me about it earlier. I don't think he knows that the same happened to me. It was weird because... I know it all. The moment I saw you having that fit in the infirmary, I knew it wasn't normal. I knew it was because of that. I've seen it before... I myself could have been like you, but I made it out alive. I escaped, I left it all behind one day when the experiments turned out wrong...

And that day I vowed I'd do everything I could to take this second chance to live as I want, do as I please and be who I want to be. I was on my own for real this time, I had just turned 14... But I survived the worst in my life. And If I could survive that nightmare, I could, you know, handle whatever would come next. I would never, ever in my life feel stuck again, tied in to whatever because of others!

Brittany's voice was noticeably cracking and the tears were making its path downwards Brittany's face, against her will. No matter how hard she tried to stay still to tell her story, or how many years have passed since her trauma, it was always strong, too strong for her to not give in. She rubbed the back of her hand against the cheek, ruining her makeup partially in the process with the typical lack of elegance of someone who doesn't care nor mind anymore. She tried to smile, she tried her best to smile behind the flow of emotions, but all she could do was seem fake as sadness and despair filled her voice. Adults were cruel. The government was cruel to allow it, and while the past can't be changed, Brittany knew they could at least try to mold their future from this point on.

These people, they didn't do this to save you or whatever, just like I wasn't adopted because they wanted me to be part of a family. I don't want you to be, like, stuck in what they made of you. I really don't... You're not what others decide you to be, you're yourself. You're Maria before anything else...

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:00 am



"..."

She listened carefully to what Brittany had to say. Though it was so much more than she truly bargained for. It was blank shock at first with her hand covering her mouth. Did someone like Brittany truly go through something like that? After a split second thought, it really wasn't out of the question. The Divide was truly a nightmare that continued even after it took place. People were desperate. People had that means of committing the most depraved crimes in the name of progress and defense of Mankind. Then her face was one of sympathetic understanding. Truly, they were really the same... Would Maria been like Brittany if she wasn't ruled by hatred?

She moved from her seat and approached closer towards Brittany. The Cadet's arms circled around Brittany to hug her as Maria brought her cheek to rest against Brittany's. The tears would begin to bead on her eyes again. They both truly knew pain and they were both survivors of the strife and severity of their circumstances. Not a word would come from her, but she would give themselves a moment. A moment to just let it out in catharsis, to cry and to appreciate the fact that they were here for each other. Finally, she whispered. "We really went through hard times, didn't we? It was so... painful. So difficult..."

Maria leaned back to break off from the hug for a moment. It was to at least start wiping away Brittany's tears with her hands and to prevent the make-up from being completely ruined. It took her a while to come up with the words. She appreciated Brittany's concern, but...



"I know... I know, Brittany. I know. But... I can't. I came so far. I couldn't do anything for my family. I have... this anger. This hatred, still boiling inside of me. Like a parasite, it continues to feed on me. But it also keeps me moving enough to spite demons enough to want to hurt them... I'm scared. I don't want to go so deep down a path where I can't return. But... I also don't want anybody to go through what I went through. And besides, the Cadets need me. They aren't like the Church, but they need all they can to protect this City... Now, though? I want to stay. So I can protect what I have left... Even you."

She gently grabbed both of Brittany's hands as she smiled back at her. Yes. It didn't have to be hatred just fueling her, as Maria realized. It could be something else more important and to cherish. As long as she had that left to protect, the Cadet didn't care what the city threw at her. Now, she had something to become strong for. A true purpose.

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:22 pm

Ironically, as hard as it felt to share her past, it also felt good. Maria would understand her better than anyone because they shared the same fate. Brittany didn't like to cry in front of others. Unless it was due to overjoy and happiness, crying was a sign of vulnerability and weakness, and once people see their sign, they can exploit it because they know how to. She decided long ago to be perpetually happy; after all, she got her chance to live again, there wasn't really one single reason to drown in sorrow in sadness. Being a survivor changes your outlooks on life. Still... there was a part of her that couldn't ever overcome entirely what happened, no matter how hard Brittany tried to enjoy her second chance and appreciate being alive. The part that was crying over what happened, the part what was letting herself be comforted by someone who had it worst than her, the part that felt good knowing someone in this big city would know exactly what she means, what she feels and how it feels.

Sometimes I wonder if we can even return the world to how it used to be. Without demons... Without people using them to hurt each other. The more I think about it, the more I think it's irreversible, like... People won't change and learn to stand by each other during a disaster, you know, they will learn how to use what's new to hurt others even more...

Brittany's grip on Maria's hand tightened a bit with anxiety. It wasn't in her nature to be pessimistic and while normally she wouldn't, Brittany couldn't exactly voice up positiveness when talking about the government. They did this to her, after all. To them. While she managed to leave mostly unscathed, Maria didn't have the same look. And yet, she's still willing to work for the very same government that ruined her life and put her in this position.

Why are you working for the people who did this to you? Can't you just... you know, stop and leave them? Is this really want you want to do, Maria? Be honest...

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:24 pm



"I want to wish that it was possible that it would all stop. That we can go back to the old times before they came. But we'll always end up having people who want to hurt others without any remorse... This job as a Cadet showed me that when I was investigating Psyche-Terrorists... It was... awful."

She grimaced in the memory of the suicides in the forest. That time when a civilian was being tortured by the Demon Painter. But worst of all, that flashback to the past by T of what Endymion truly was. Strangely though, Maria felt there was still something she was forgetting. But, it wasn't important right now. Since Brittany wanted to know why she was working with the Church. She was hesitant to answer while closing her eyes, but ended up giving what Brittany wanted.



"It's really not a matter if I don't want to or not anymore. I have to do it. I... I can't give it up. There's so much inside me that's... incomplete if I gave up right now. I think... I'll break if I walked away from it all. I don't think I'll ever be the same again or get any better. What would it be all for when I came this far anyway? And besides, I'll die if I left it all. Only the Church and the Government makes the drugs I need to live, there's no way I can get it anywhere else. You saw what happened..."

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:29 am

The mere mention of Psyche-Terrorists made Brittany’s semblance turn sour in a grimace. Naturally, knowing Maria works as a cadet, she knew that eventually the topic would arise in one way or another. She just didn’t expect it to be so soon and in such an inconvenient situation. Yet, she couldn’t say a thing about it, for it meant coming out. There were a lot of situations where pure honesty is not always the best option and can get you killed, just like she couldn’t say Maria was entirely wrong. As much as she didn’t want to admit, the existence of vile Psyche-Terrorists was a fact Brittany knew well enough, though she wasn’t one of them. She was a guardian, a heroine.

Hearing the entire story was something else, however. Brittany felt like crying copiously. Maria was tied to her obligations in more ways than a metaphor: her life literally depended on her keeping up with the ungrateful job of being a cadet. Brittany wanted to object. She wanted it so hard her mouth even opened a bit at the intention of protesting, of arguing with Maria that she should have a better outcome in life other than being a pawn ordered by the very same people who forced her into this self-destructive role. Yet… she knew she couldn’t. They ruined her body to the point of she can’t live, in the literal sense, without the medications. And to earn the medications, she has to work for the government and the church, the very same people who originally caused her to depend on them so they could use her. It all was connected, it all made sense.  And when it did, Brittany could feel nothing but grievance, despair and hate.

…Do you think the government is right? Knowing what you know about what they did to us, me and you … Do you seriously think these people are good and deserve your loyalty?”, she asked somberly after some pause letting every grim revelation sink in. “That’s… That’s all I wanna know…

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:54 am

Maria could feel the sadness Brittany had. It wasn't hard to tell. It was a difficult topic to broach on and an uncomfortable one, but it was one they were able to bond closer together on because of the similarities they shared. When she listened to the question the cheerleader had, the Cadet closed her eyes and pondered on it. Memories of the experiment and memories of her training, they were still fresh on her mind and the latter still haunted her to this day. Then there were memories of her time in the Cadets. The first time where she felt like there was another purpose to be had aside from revenge, but even then that felt paltry. On top of that, Maria felt so out-of-place compared to other Cadets.

She finally opened her eyes and sighed. A difficult question for a difficult answer.



"...I hate the Church. Ever since they brought me in, all I was to them was a dispensable tool to use, to forward their own agenda. For a long time, I thought they were right and didn't care because all I wanted was the power to get back at the demons. But Father Jorge was there for me. He tried to teach me there was more to life than that... But, even then, I let the hatred in me burn and keep me going... I have to..."

Her thoughts wandered back towards Albrecht. Did he also go through that procedure too? Did he also have any 'breakdowns' like she did? Even if she never saw it with her own eyes or ever heard any incidents, there was still a chance he was hiding it just like she did. It was a scary thought to ponder on. All of her work and suffering gone to waste...



"The Government as a whole... There's little that I understand about it. But I hate how the experiments were handled. I can't believe all of this was allowed. Even if they were desperate, none of this... can be forgiven. I don't plan on forgetting it either. But the Cadets? I think they have good people there. They want to protect the citizens. All of them do. But they know nothing about what's really going on about the experiments... And I'm not allowed to talk about it either. If anything, I'm the only one with the selfish motives in there.
I'm the one who just wants to kill demons..."

She remembered the missions and the interactions she had with every member under Juilus' wing. There was guilt about how she was the only Cadet, save for Albrecht, who didn't become one truly out of altruism. It made her question herself so many times no matter how many successes she brought in. Maria wondered a lot about how much Julius knew. Surely, he did. He was the Prince that led the armed forces. And surely Serenity knew to some degree due to her scientific background, right?



"As an answer to your question... No, the Government is wrong about their whole approach. And I'll hate them for it. Hate them what they've done to you. What they've done to us both... But even if I hate them, there are some who are innocent from all of this... and that they actually want the best for me. Those are the only people I put my trust into... for now."

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:29 am

Brittany’s thoughts paused for a moment, leaving her brain in a blank state amidst discomfort about the current topic and relief about Maria’s answer. For a long while, Brittany had taken the positive outer persona, the upbeat outlook in life, only to help herself to go on and move further. Should she surrender to hatred, she’d have gone mad long ago. Suppressing all negative inside her heart – for she was human, she had negative emotions inside as everyone else – was her way of coming in terms with the disaster that has befallen upon her and handle it alone. Something about Maria’s harsh statements of hatred evoked in her the feeling they were on the same page about this. Not only because, among her internal struggles, the nun wasn’t a blind, subservient pawn, but also because no matter how benevolent and good-natured they both could be, they weren’t entirely naïve. There was hatred and grudge to feel, and they both had the right and the reasons to feel it.

…I… see…”, she finally said, an empty stare aimed at the table, words coming back and forth from thoughts to her mouth partially open at the intention of saying. It was kinda sad the way Maria really thought there was some nobility in a fraction of the government, as opposite to Terrorists who were the ultimate devil no matter what. She was a Terrorist herself and the last thing she wanted is to bring terror to people. Her main goal was to bring freedom, not fear – and this means to bring for Maria as well. “You’re not a disposable tool to me, you know. You’re my friend, my best friend. Whatever happens in your cadet stuff work… Whatever you decide to do or feel in the future… It doesn’t matter to me, you’ll still be my friend. Can you promise me that? That, no matter what, you won’t let this… job or whatever and its people change this?

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:35 pm

She felt hollow when giving her answer. There was a kind of hopelessness about her, despite voicing her support for the Cadets. Maria believed in them and their code to protect Endymion's citizens. But how could that co-exist with what the Endymion Government was truly like? Perhaps there was some level of optimism she had with Julius to do right by her, especially Serenity and Lisa. But these were difficult times with the Playhouse hijacking a government broadcast and the Infinite Jest possibly out at large still despite the fact they were able to nab a leading member. Yet, none of this was truly that uplifting with all the necessities of the secrecy they held. Knowing it, though, it was difficult to truly condemn them for all of this. There was... desperation in all what the Government and the Cadets endeavored to do. The secret the Cadets held had that power to destroy this City and its trust in the Government. And even if Brittany was by her side... she couldn't share it with her. Perhaps it was for the best, not knowing what the City truly was like.

The Cadet blinked in surprise at her request, but found herself grimly smiling all the same. She tightened her grip on Brittany's hands with a resolute look and with a vow..



"I would never. Nothing will change between us, Brit. We'll always be friends. I promise.
And as a Cadet, I'll protect you and everyone. This, I swear."

There was nothing truly scarier than being alone. Even if you were surrounded by the respect of your co-workers and peers, it didn't grant the same kind of comfort and safety from a friend that truly understood you and shared a similar origin as you. Maria could handle taking down demons and every enemy of the Endymion Government. But sometimes, that zeal for duty and the ravenous rage for vengeance just couldn't cut it for her because they could never be her salvation, ever. Brittany though, on the other hand, gave something she needed: to be human.

Even as she smiled resolutely, Maria paused for a moment before adding in, "...So, don't worry about me. I'll be alright with the Cadets. They're treating me fine. Even Father Jorge and Albrecht from the Church are willing to help me when I need it. I'll be fine... okay?"

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:09 pm

…okay. I believe in you… I know you’ll be fine, you’re tough. The toughest nun on the block!

Finally, Brittany could let all the air she anxiously kept inside, comprising her lungs, and smile. She felt like a liar requesting such promise of Maria when the nun didn’t know her reasons for it, and Brit’s secret identity and involvement with the terrorists. However, the other part of her smiled. She wanted to believe. Believe that, no matter what would come of their future, they wouldn’t let politics affect their relationship – after all, now Brittany had one more reason to fight the government: to free Maria from them. The smile broadened until the point it was safe to release a joyous giggle.

Now… you haven’t mentioned this Albretch guy before! First Greg, now this, you thought I wouldn’t notice it, huh? But I totally did! You better not be hiding stuff from me, missy! We are homegirls, if I suspect there’s a boy between us you have not told me about, we’ll totally be through! Totally!”, she pointed one finger to Maria’s face, waving it threateningly, only to release a mischievous, well-humored chuckle. Enough with the serious talk for once, they’ve spent quite a while mourning over the past and forgetting to enjoy and live the present, their teenager years as simple american girls, without any serious business or issues they got entangled in.

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:30 am



"Ha ha! Yeah, it'd take more than just a couple of demons to get me down."

She was confident, it only to help assure her friend. Brittany didn't need to know of the horrors the Cadets faced night by night. There was simply no need for it. Maria was finally beginning to relax as Brittany smiled as well. Even more so as Brittany caused her to groan at the new accusations. Oh brother...

"Yes, yes Brittany... I wished to hoard all of the somewhat good-looking men of the Church for myself. I'm sorry." Off came the dull and flat tone Maria gave with a sigh. She was beginning to get used to these antics, but the Cadet didn't hate it. It was much better than having to deal with the doom and gloom of their lives really. "I don't suppose you'll ask me to meet him too? Brother Frost might be a little busy today. He is in the middle of training and a patrol later..."

Now that she thought about it, would Albrecht even want to meet any other civilian? He seemed so solitary, rather staying put in the Church or in Class Zero to just training or for work. Previously she was the same, which she still is, but she had work from the Cadets and an actual friend. Maybe it was time to broaden his horizons...



"Hmm... Hey, Brit? I was wondering for a while. Could I come see you work?
I've always wondered what it's like to work as one, if you're okay with it."

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:39 pm

What? How dare you, you vixen!”, Brittany stared at Maria with a crystal clear surprise printed all over her face. Naturally, she knew Maria was merely going with her jesting. “Well, it depends if he wants to meet me? I wouldn’t mind! Not that I was ever the type of girl to hang with christian teens but I think I’m alright with it. I mean, I’ve sorta been in each and every school little group there is. But if he’s already taken by you, that leaves me with… Father Jorge? I mean, he’s nice and all, and I’m 100% sure that with his physique he was very handsome when he was about our age or even a bit older, but now… Do you think he has a picture of him in our age to show us? Oh my gosh, don’t tell him I said that! I was joking! Joking!” Alright, she knew she went a bit overboard with her attempts at humor. Hopefully, Maria wouldn’t be mad at her. Now, as to what she asked, Brittany was a bit taken for the sudden interest.

Huh, sure? Actually… I think next photoshoot will be open for the public. We’re probably gonna use a garden park, some square, even a parking lot. I don’t have the details but, like, this is what I can tell you about. I think everyone is invited to come and watch as long as it doesn’t disturb the staff and get in the middle of the work for models.

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:10 am


In spite of herself, Maria began laughing. She was clearly amused by their little exchange. But it was relatively short-lived as she began to talk about both of them. Albrecht... with her? A red flush grew on her face, perish the thought. The Cadet began to dismissively wave her hand away at the idea. "W-well, no. Albrecht's s-single as far as I know. But Father Jorge though... Ha ha, who knows? I would have to dig through his room for any albums. I think he would be flattered though, Brit. He's always been talking about the "good old days" when he was a "young lad"."

She actually rolled her eyes at those words. The memories of a drunken Jorge listing off his achievements of both physical and of "attracting the womenfolk" were the constant things that droned from his booze-stained lips. It was always a bother trying to put him into bed to sleep off the alcohol in the system.



"I'm looking forward to it, then! When I was a lot younger, I thought being a model was pretty cool.
You get to try on the dresses and strut around. So by extension, I think you're pretty cool."

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:09 am

So not only George wasn’t a priest since forever, he was assumedly quite good-looking and got around, huh? That was… amusingly unexpected; then again, she should had seen it, after teasing with the notion for a while. At this point, Brittany couldn’t point out what amused her more: Jorge’s “dirty” past or the very noticeable crush Maria had on this Albretch fellow – and how she didn’t even notice that, by taken, Brittany meant “taken by you”. Still, she found it better to poke on the topic another day when they weren’t so worn out of a grievous past. Now, as much as she appreciated Maria’s enthusiasm for her work schedule, Brittany couldn’t say she was comfortable with it. At least, not entirely. Acknowledging her rose to fame was totally credited to her ascending career as a model, Brit wouldn’t be ungrateful; however an attentive look would detect hints of hesitation and lack of usual enthusiasm with the prospect of bringing Maria to her work.

Haha, yeah, it’s kinda cool when you put things like that. I’ve only starred some magazine covers and outdoors, nothing that big. Oh, and that perfume campaign, but that was a shot in the dark, you know. Some friends have joined musical videos for rock bands, fashion shows with the runways and stuff… I haven’t yet, maybe one day it’ll be my lucky day? Who knows?

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:13 pm


"I'm sure you'll eventually hit it big. Hard work always pays off in one way or another. I'd know after smacking some demons around and getting some promotions on the side." Maria cheerily replied with a slight hint of jesting about the demons. She was a little concerned about how Brittany was out of cheerleading. Though Maria was glad her friend still had something to work towards and look forward to. However, it didn't seem that easy. Something... felt off. The Cadet couldn't quite put her finger on it. "Are you sure you want me to come by? I would hate to be in the way. Especially with my coffin taking up so much space..."

She really hadn't considered of it earlier. That damned coffin. Some day she will throttle every egghead involved for even suggesting handing her such a ridiculous weapon. It wouldn't be so bad if she were given a sword or some more of a handheld weapon for the modern age. Though it really wasn't her primary concern right now. It was a little hard to broach on what appeared to be a sensitive topic. But after what they've been through and sharing their deepest secrets to each other, it couldn't hurt to try. "...Say, Brit? Is there something up at work?"

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PostSubject: Re: Mercy on Us (Maria)   Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:59 am

Huh? Why wouldn’t I? I just said it’ll be open to the public, girl! As for your coffin… You can always keep it he—oh wait, you can’t… You have to carry with around, right? Uhhh…”, she pondered a bit, glancing shortly to said coffin before coming up with an idea to Maria. “Well, remember I used to think it’s a guitar case, so let’s go with that! They don’t have to know the truth about it and trust me, most of the models are actually a little bit dumb, they’ll believe it’s a guitar case if you tell them. I mean… I believed?

Brittany chuckled at the notion of calling her friends – and naturally herself too – stupid. It was simply the reality, a funny one when she thought about the futile environment that’s more like a web of futility she found herself entangled on and couldn’t get freed of. Still, it was the job that helped her pay the bills and Brittany felt rather ungrateful for thrashing her only opportunity for social ascension, the opportunity to get up after an unsuccessful attempt of forming a family. “Hm? No, nothing? I mean, there is always stuff going in the job, because it’s a job, not a playground, but I think I can handle it! It’s tough but a job is never meant to be easy, right? Though mine isn’t reaaaaally a tough job… Like, in the physical sense of the word. I gotta work out to keep in shape, but that’s more like a favor than an obligation? I get to look good and get paid for it? Does that make sense?

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