At least the other two men didn’t seem too interested in Felix’s innuendo of sorts, although that didn’t stop Dinah from fiddling with the small ring on her finger, her face otherwise impassive. Astrea. It was a normal-enough seeming name, considering the times they lived in, and although Sage fit right in, she had a hard time believing that ‘Peacemaker’ was not an assumed name. What kind of a parent would name their child ‘Peacemaker?’ What kind of child would keep that name, especially when in a situation where false names were entirely within the realm of possibility? It had to have had some sort of deeper meaning.
Or the guy was just really peaceful. He seemed pretty amiable, at least. The both of them seemed remarkably calm about their investigation; was nobody on this plane rattled by being kidnapped and placed with people they didn’t know?
(little girl, cold little girl, angel in the window, find her find me and where am I?)
She shrugs off her thoughts as Felix shows his own bracelet number, revealing it to be an 8. Astrea uncrosses her left arm to show her own bracelet, a red 6 burning on its black face.
“Mine’s a six,” she adds, giving Felix a sideways yeah-okay-you’re-funny glance of sorts, as if to say, that’s what you get for trying to speak for me. again.
8 and 6, eh? No repeated numbers so far, but then again he’d only spoken to three people. Though it didn’t reveal much, all the numbers so far had been under 10 - it could just be a matter of coincidence; the possibility of four bracelet-wearers with numbers under 10 in a group wasn’t completely unreasonable, but it also wasn’t the most likely occurrence.
His thoughts would have to be returned to later, as Sage was keen to ask the twosome what they’d been up to in the cabin behind them. He hoped it was something he’d actually care to know about.
He nodded his head towards the door, “Investigating? Who’s room was this?”
Man, was he bad at asking questions. He really was more suited to explaining things he already knew as opposed to gathering information out of people. Unfortunately, the situation certainly called for a lot of that.
Felix lead the way out of the room, followed shortly by Astrea. There were certainly a lot more people than he remembered there being only, what, fifteen minutes ago? The hallway and was packed with people. Felix didn’t bother to count but he wondered if that meant everyone had made it out of their respective rooms.
Before he or Astrea could toddle off to speak to someone else, they were approached by two men. Not the kind of company Felix usually liked to keep, but he’s been known to make exceptions. The first man spoke, a simple greeting and no introduction, only for the second to take the lead. The second man introduced himself as Peacemaker, and the first man as Sage.
Felix was somewhat taken aback. “Fake names if I ever heard them,” he muttered under his breath. It was then that he turned somewhat toward Astrea, his body language betraying him. So is her’s a fake name too? Way to be an idiot, Felix. Felix turned his gaze back to the two men. Deciding it would be pointless to use a fake name after giving his to four other people already, he smiled and responded.
“Name’s Felix, and this is Astrea,” he spoke, as he extended his right hand in greeting, his left hand buried in the pocket of his coat. ”What exactly do you think we were in the middle of?” Of course, Felix was aware how to could look, two people coming out of a room full of disheveled bed sheets together.
Having been deep in thought about the mysterious Door L, Dinah hadn’t been paying much attention when another pair joined herself and Felix, and it was only when the taller one with darker hair introduced himself as ‘Peacemaker’ that she remembered where she was. The other was ‘Sage,’ which was admittedly a much better candidate for ‘might actually be a real name’ than Peacemaker, but that didn’t seem to stop Felix from doubting the both of them.
Astrea tilted her head out of curiosity as Felix turned towards her; what was his deal? …Ah. He was realizing(?) that the name she had introduced herself under might not have been her real name. How many people in this day and age had names like ‘Astrea?’ Did he not know what it was referencing? She shrugged her shoulders at him, as if to say, ‘I don’t know, is it a fake name?’
And then he turned away from her, and back to the other two men. He seemed willing enough to introduce her as ‘Astrea,’ as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Maybe he wasn’t convinced as to whether or not her name was real or fake? Nonetheless, she nodded her head in acknowledgement as he did the talking for her. But when he raised his next question, this time she was the one to turn towards him, her face belying her confusion-mixed-with-indignation, ending up in a ‘just what are you trying to say’ kind of look.
Sage stared at Felix momentarily, thinking it not exactly the time nor place for implicit innuendos. The other, Astrea, didn’t look entirely pleased with his comment, so he thought it would be for the better to ignore it. Nevertheless, he reached up and shook the man’s outstretched hand - Not a fantastic first impression, but he was never one to judge.
‘Felix’ and ‘Astrea’ were interesting names but neither were obviously fake, though he didn’t care too much; it didn’t seem likely he’d need to know one way or the other.
Whether Felix’s left hand was pocketed to hide his bracelet number, or if it was an unconscious decision was unclear. He saw no reason for him to conceal it, but since they hadn’t told them their numbers Sage supposed he would have to ask.
Looking passed the pair and into the room - cabin L - he noted it’d been messed up somewhat, in a way that suggested someone had been searching the place. If his own cabin had been anything to go by, it could have been done searching for key cards, but everything about his new company said that this wasn’t their first entrance into the hallway. They must have gone in after its original occupant had opened the door.
Someone was getting a bit touchy-feely there. Astrea raised one eyebrow; was this how he normally shook hands? And why were they shaking hands, anyways? They’d already met. Apparently that didn’t stop Felix from doing whatever he wanted to do. What had she been expecting when he offered her his hand? Not a handshake.
He hesitates on her name, which is enough to put her on guard again. She can’t quite blame him for doubting the origins of her name, or maybe just having a hard time remembering it. Regardless, she nods her head in acknowledgement, recrossing her arms after he dropped her hand.
Nothing else to do in here? She supposed he had a point. They weren’t going to be finding out the number of whoever was in this room, unless they found a paint scraper or something — although, would that rip off the number as well? There were already enough mysteries from this room, and Astrea wasn’t sure that she wanted to add even more to the pile (could there be more?).
Yeah maybe leaving the room now would be the better choice. Astrea nodded her head a second time, her face returning to a more neutral expression as Felix pulled the door open and she followed him out.
Oh my. There were quite a few more people than she had remembered.
Sage nodded appreciatively, and peered down the hallway. As far as he could tell, most others had moved into small clusters of three or four - imposing on their conversations might prove a little more difficult than if the groups were smaller. Motioning to Peacemaker with a general ‘let’s go’ gesture, they walked closer to the other groups.
Having not seen anyone other than Peacemaker to this point, he was taken aback slightly by the variation of people he found himself with: In one group, there was a short, young looking female; a man of seemingly middle eastern origins, and a strong looking woman with a bandage on one hand. As a sort of cut off from this group, standing very nearby were 3 more people - a dark skinned female with bright strawberry blonde hair, a…was that someone with albinism? She stood out from the rest of the groups easily; striking white hair, pale skin, short in comparison with many (though easily a foot or so taller than himself), and a thin, delicate appearance. Though he was momentarily captivated, or rather intrigued, their group appeared busy in conversation and butting in probably wasn’t the best idea.
Just as he turned to ask Peacemaker if he had any preferences towards the groups, a little further off down the hallway two people emerged from one of the doors. Two people in one door? True enough, he only knew what he’d discovered and what Peacemaker had told him, but he’d been fully under the impression that it was one person per cabin. The pair that had appeared included a tall man in a long, white - presumably medical - coat, and a smaller woman with black hair and blue eyes. His interest peaked, Sage pointed out the twosome to Peacemaker and headed over.
“Uh, hello.” Now what was he supposed to say? He hoped his investigative partner was better at interrogations than he was.
The silence that occasionally permeates their conversation isn’t the same as the awkward silence he encountered with the male and female before; it’s the silence of thought, and good grief, do they ever need some time to think. About their location, about the nature of their capture… about all of this, really. And he’s grateful for it, for the most part.
However, answers — even implausible ones — were better than thought, and although Alastair visibly tenses for a moment at Sage’s notion they might be in a submarine, the movement of his fingers pausing, it’s at least a solid possibility, which is more than he’s had up until this point.
“…Come to think of it, you’re right. It’s more likely to be a submarine than a plane, that’s for sure… it’s not like any plane I’ve ever been on.”
He manages to force a smile for that snippet of conversation, but ‘force’ is the operative word; the notion that they might be underwater seems to have put him very decisively on edge, no matter how hard he’s trying to hide it. As if to change his train of thought, he immediately jumps on the next part of the conversation; the part about what happened.
And, as a matter of fact…
“…Give me a moment.”
There are a few seconds of quiet while he thinks, and slowly things begin to resurface; glass shattering, footsteps, that smell that he so insistently remembers, a hissing noise, a burning pain and a headache that just won’t cease—
“I think it might have, yes. I came home, shut the window,” he begins, mostly talking out his own thoughts rather than actually addressing Julian, “…heard a noise… I must have fell over at some point, breathed something in — something unpleasant — and then…”
He waves a hand absently, in a ‘you know the rest’ kind of gesture. “…And then I woke up here, in Cabin— N, I think. You can piece together the rest. I can’t remember more than that right at this moment — I didn’t wake up too long ago, myself. As far as now goes, most of what I know is that there’s probably one of us for each one of these doors, and that everyone has one of these.”
The bracelet is, again, motioned to. “The other people I’ve spoken to had numbers three and four. There are more than nine of us here, so they might go up higher than my nine, though I could be wrong… in any case, I’m guessing nothing’s going to happen until we’ve all escaped and congregated, so a waiting game it is.”
Peacemaker’s memories seemed, for all intents and purposes, the same as his own. Both taken from their homes; both completely oblivious as to their captor, and both, it seemed, had inhaled knock out gas of some sort. It looked like the only way to find out anything else was to wait for their memories to fully return, or to ask the rest of their company. Looking around, he noted that there was a larger group at the far end of the hallway - perhaps there’d be a good place to start, once the two could make no further progress.
The conversation seemed to be making his new friend rather uneasy - Sage had noticed him tense up at his suggestion that they may be in a submarine. But changing the subject looked as though it’d calmed any nerves, and he thought it best not to ask about it. “A waiting game indeed…the doors go from A to Z, right? 26 isn’t a multiple of 9; it’s one short, so either the numbers continue or there’re three people for every number other than 9 - assuming the numbers rise upwards rather than decrease - which would have two. Maybe we should look around for any repeated bracelet numbers.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, Sage. I’m just glad to have met someone that can carry on a conversation… the other people I’ve spoken to haven’t been quite as talkative, unfortunately.”
In response to the question, Alastair glances around briefly; people are exploring, talking, trying to get to grips with their situation… a few doors remain closed, for now, and he can only guess that there are individuals behind them that still haven’t found whatever was necessary to escape their confines.
He found himself hoping they didn’t take too long.
“I don’t know whether there’s such a thing as being late in a situation like this,” he responds, turning back to Sage, “but from what I can tell? Not much… from what I’ve heard, it’s pitch black upstairs, and everybody knows about as much about this as we do… that is to say, not a lot.”
One hand fusses at one of the straps on his eyepatch as he continues to talk; a nervous habit that he’s aware of but unable to consciously stop. “It’s probably fair to guess we’re on a ship of some kind, at least… and that we didn’t mean to come here. I didn’t, anyway— not that I can really remember how I got here in the first place. Hazards of getting old, hm?”
Humour of someone his age saying that aside, the only thing he can remember is a distinct smell; one he can’t quite place and can’t quite recall fully, but… something to do with that. He’s certain.
“Do you remember anything?”
Pitch black upstairs? Most likely to prevent them from straying too far from the hallway, while there were people yet to escape their cabins. Sage - as he was now called - furrowed his brow. Nobody knew anything? Somehow he found that unlikely. The method the kidnapper used had apparently left most with slight memory loss, but there must be a wormhole in someone’s mind; whether a gas or a blunt object was used to knock them out, on this many people, the idea that no one could remember anything was statistically illogical.
And then, of course, the kidnapper could be among them. Sage’s initial impression of Peacemaker would have been probably the same as if they’d met under normal circumstances, which worried him. It was far too early to let his guard down.
He focused on his new supposed ally again, realising he’d been getting lost in his thoughts far too easily, and far more frequently than usual. But then he supposed, there was a lot to think about. Peacemaker had begun fiddling with the straps on his eye patch - he hoped it was the situation that was stimulating the habit, and not the conversation. Though it was likely that Peacemaker was just as wary about Sage, he didn’t like the idea that he was making anyone uncomfortable.
‘Hazards of getting old’, indeed. He thought Peacemaker to be roughly his own age, but he could admit that even he felt like he was getting on a bit these days.
“Ah, yeah. A ship is possible, but I feel like the air pressure is a bit bizarre. It’s likely that wherever we’re confined is under water or high in the air…my current bet is on a submarine, this place looks more like a ship than a plane, to be honest.”
Whether he remembered anything was a a simple question, but it likely required a more complex answer. “I can’t really be sure. I remember yesterday - or what was supposedly yesterday, I don’t know how long I was out of it - and I remember coming home from a lecture.”
“I remember walking into my room, and then I guess…the material of the carpet against my face, and a searing sensation in my throat, as if I’d just inhaled something foul.” Talking about it seemed to help his jumbled memory realign itself, but no matter what there was something he longed to but couldn’t remember: the kidnapper themselves.
It was almost as if someone had been listening to his thoughts; not a moment after he considers the idea of teaming up, a voice calls upon him from behind. Upon turning to look, he’s met with the sight of an individual about the same age as himself, but significantly shorter. It doesn’t bar Alastair, however, from greeting the newcomer with a slight smile, despite the effort it takes, and pausing in his pacing to turn around and step forward to greet him appropriately.
“I do.” he replied, raising up his own wrist and tapping the  on the face. “And so does everyone else here, from the looks of it. I think it’s fair to say nobody has any idea what’s going on yet, though… sorry.”
This time around, the idea of actually introducing himself comes to mind; from the scrambled bits of conversation buzzing around him, he’s noticing that the general trend seems to be that real names are the taboo here, and that number-based codenames take their place as the norm.
Well, if that’s the way it’s going to go, that’s the way there’s going to go.
“…Well, if you feel like sticking around, I think people are nicknaming themselves. So, if you want to, go ahead and call me Peacemaker.”
The 9th type in the Enneagram of Personality — fitting enough.
“…And what should I call you?”
Julian cast a brisk gaze at the 9 on his new acquaintance’s wrist. 9, eh? So the numbers went up further than his 7. Just how far exactly he would have to find out later. The fact that no one knew anything didn’t come as much of a surprise - undoubtedly they were all here for the same purpose; all, what…kidnapped? He guessed so.
His memories were still foggy about the precise moment of his supposed capture, but there was one thing he could be certain of: he definitely did not consent to being brought to this place, which, at this point, was seeming more and more like a ship of some kind. But then, there was a certain pressure and stiffness to the air that made him think they were at some extreme altitude - perhaps in a submarine? Or maybe an aeroplane?
Realising he had been distracted from the conversation by his musings, Julian returned his thoughts to the person in front of him. ‘Peacemaker’ - a pseudonym, apparently, which was understandable. For all everyone knew, their kidnapper could be among those of them in the cabins, having hid themselves in their midst for whatever reason. Then again, the kidnapper probably knew all their names. He’d known Julian’s address, he remembered that much.
“A nickname, huh?” He thought for a moment then smiled somewhat. “Well then you can call me Sage. A pleasure to meet you, Peacemaker.”
Sage - a title ‘universally’ connected with the number 7, and to knowledge and mental capabilities. And if the previous puzzle was anything to go by, he figured things were going to have to get tougher. He would need all the wisdom he could get his hands on.
‘Bedside manner’, as it’s called, is very important in any and all medical or diagnostic fields — after all, if you don’t give the appearance of being calm, comfortable, and in control, then how is the patient going to feel any better?
Granted… nobody really prepares you for the appropriate manner to take when you wake up on a boat or a boatlike place, with no idea how far you are from home, with ten other strangers and numbered bracelets on your wrist you can’t remove.
Nine, nine,nine… he repeats the number on his bracelet to himself over and over, in perfect rhythm with the pounding in his head — whatever could it mean? From what he can glean, they’ve been assigned different numbers — are they random? Meaningful? And what purpose do the bracelets serve at all?
Not to tell the time, that’s for sure — he was certain he had been wearing a watch before (when was before? How did he get here?) but his left wrist is notably absent of watch and definitely not absent of clunky metal bracelet.
“…Strange.” he muses aloud, under his breath. There are too many questions, and no matter how much he paces the length of the hallway before him, dodging opening doors and cliques of individuals, no real answer comes to light besides the fact that perhaps shared knowledge would be more valuable than his own individual experience.
Maybe someone else’s memory could jog his own.
However, everybody seems to be secluding themselves into their own groups, making acquaintences, pairing or teaming up…
Perhaps, Alastair considers, he should think about doing the same?
Almost immediately after Julian stepped into the hallway, he jumped back slightly, as a person dodged - with seemingly little surprise - the open door. A person. Taking a brief second to look around, he quickly realised that there were many people in the hallway he found himself in. What’s more, he didn’t recognise any of them. Curiouser and curiouser, he thought.He’d figured that the whole set-up; the iron door, the card-readers, the wristwatches, were all far too elaborate for himself alone, especially since he was nobody of particular importance. But this really was on a much larger scale that he’d imagined. Just how many of them were there?
The door-dodger was already continuing to pace down the hallway, and being as how Julian really had nothing to lose, he called out to him. “Hey!”
He couldn’t imagine the stranger knew much more than he did about their situation, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. As the stranger turned slightly in response, Julian looked up at his face, and saw he had an eye patch over his left eye.
Thinking it definitely not the time, nor the place, nor even meagrely appropriate to make any of the terrible pirate jokes that were spilling into his mind at that moment, Julian approached and asked instead, “Have you got a bracelet as well, then?” And tapped his wrist instinctively.