04 November 2037
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Nicholas Romolo Joel Marsetti Daniel McMurran John Crowley

Nick: Just stares at Joel like he's apt to do when he's not sleeping.
Joel: You creepy guy. Sips his tea, and finishes up his letter, and turns to Nick! What's the story, morning glory?
Nick: …not so awesome.
Joel: I'd imagine. Would you like some more tea?
Nick: …no thank you.
Joel: Why not? You love tea. Sip.
Nick: …um.
Joel: …? Oh, you can say it. I know my tea is awful. Sips, and doesn't bother hiding the fact that it's not as good as Nick or Traj's tea.
Nick: I told you not to steep it so long. Four to six minutes.
Joel: Eh. I tried that. You two are just naturals.
Nick: Sigh. …alright then.
Joel: I suspect if nothing awful has happened, that I'll be checking up on her soon, if not tomorrow.
Nick: …who?
Joel: Trajedie.
Nick: What happened to her?
Joel: She wasn't feeling well, so I told her she can miss work today. Dumps his tea in a nearby flowerpot. I sent Fay to check on her. I hope that it's nothing to do with her pregnancy, so I should say that I'm looking forward to a house call.
Nick: …what?
Joel: Trajedie said that she isn't feeling well, so I asked Fay to check up on her to construe if it had to do with her pregnancy. I.E, complications, not the normal symptoms of being with child.
Nick: Uh-huh.
Joel: If that's not it, I'll make a house call.
Nick: I get it.
Joel: Thought the chemo may have been getting to you. Tries to take a sip of his tea, but it's empty. Frowns, and sets the cup back down.
Nick: I wouldn't say it isn't.
Joel: Of course, since sleeping twenty hours in a normal, right?
Nick: …huh?
Joel: You used to sleep twenty hours in a row. At least you did on Halloween. You missed out on poor Traj's birthday.
Nick: Mm… I'm sorry.
Joel: Why?
Nick: If I'm a bit off.
Joel: It's no trouble at all. I don't think anyone would be atop of their game on chemo.
Nick: I've never felt so bad in my entire life.
Joel: I'd imagine. If it's any help, you're the first person in this infirmary to ever use the machine. Think of it as its maiden voyage.
Nick: Or a gerbil.
Joel: No, no. Not a gerbil. You don't have the nice little wheel, or the drink bottle. At least you have a nice young nurse to help you through this, so I'd say it's a good trade-off since you don't have the wheel.
Nick: …I hope you mean Anita.
Joel: …No, I meant Fay. Yes, I meant Anita.
Nick: Thank you.
Joel: You're welcome. What're you thanking me for?
Nick: I don't know… I haven't eaten anything in two days or something.
Joel: Well, you're getting something to eat then.
Nick: I don't have the stomach for it.
Joel: Would you prefer a drip then?
Nick: Mmhm.
Joel: Very well.
Nick: …were you born with hair that straight?
Joel: Yes, but I was born with a mustache. Time to get that drip set up.
Nick: …
Joel: Gets that drip set up. Yum. You know you can't imagine me without it.
Nick: I could.
Joel: Really now?
Nick: Yes.
Joel: Do I look weird?
Nick: You just look generic.
Joel: That's worse than weird. Guess I'll keep it then.
Nick: You've got… a smooth jaw.
Joel: Thanks, I like to keep it that way.
Nick: I mean… s'not angular.
Joel: Oh. Yes, I have my father to thank for that. More like my grandfather, though.
Nick: …your grandfather or our grandfather?
Joel: My grandfather. I don't think I can recall what our grandfather looks like. My dad's father, that is.
Nick: …then our grandfather.
Joel: He was mine first.
Nick: …What?
Joel: You really are out of it. Just take it easy, Nick.
Nick: My mother and your father are siblings… oh never mind.
Joel: Yes, well, you were born after me.
Nick: 24 years later, yes.
Joel: You were such an adorable baby, too.
Nick: …really?
Joel: Really.
Nick: …and you were born with a mustache. I bet it tickled your mom when you came out.
Joel: Of course.
Nick: Laughs. You… You're marvelous.
Joel: Grins. Why, thank you.
Nick: I'm just waiting for your head to snap off your neck.
Joel: Then at least I could say in all honesty that I can stand on my head.
Nick: Heh. So. I'm curious…
Joel: Excellent. What about?
Nick: Why did you decide to bother with me? You couldn't have possibly liked my mother much.
Joel: I love Aunt Nina dearly, Nick. She can just be a bit much to handle is all.
Nick: Do you just like children?
Joel: Never thought about it. Children can be a joy, but they can also be loud and irritating.
Nick: …so, no real reason, then? Just felt like it?
Joel: Well… Hm… I of course spent time with you out of uncle obligations, but your charm was just too much to resist.
Nick: …charm?
Joel: Charm, so to speak. Every child has it in their own ways, but you just had it especially, I would say… Not to mention that I didn't have any children of my own. My visits with you were an excellent reprieve from my work as well.
Nick: Well… I do appreciate you spending time with me… even if it was under obligation. There are worse role models I could think of.
Joel: It was obligation at first, I'll admit. I grew fond of you over the years. You always seemed to enjoy my visits at least.
Nick: Most anything's a nice change from my nagging mother.
Joel: Yes, well, if you look at it that way, that's true. Most may prefer a swift kick in the ass over an hour with Nina, though.
Nick: Heh… Well, you were a friendly guy… Always a bit of a holiday, so to speak, when you visited.
Joel: I'm glad you thought of them that way. I liked spending time with you as well, you know. Even put one of my favorite pictures in my book, you know.
Nick: Heh…
Joel: You had a big enough smile for both of us then. At least all the ladies thought you were such a handsome child. Chuckles.
Nick: Ah… what happened?
Joel: Hm? What happened then? You don't remember that day?
Nick: …which one?
Joel: At the menagerie, you know. From the picture in the book.
Nick: Oh… no, not really. What happened?
Joel: I got a lot of remarks about what a handsome child you were. A kindly old couple took our picture when I asked, and I think you may have had too much sweets considering how many trips and bumps into walls your sugar rushed self made.
Nick: Oh God… It's amazing I never walked into a pit or something.
Joel: It is. I always told Nina you needed glasses, but she wouldn't hear of it. Not like I'd know, being a doctor.
Nick: Rolls his eyes. My mother. It wasn't until my second year of school.
Joel: She couldn't ignore it at that point. Better second year than third, fourth, or fifth.
Nick: Don't think I'd have moved up in grades if that'd been the case.
Joel: Well, someone would have figured it out eventually.
Nick: Nods.
Joel: Sighs. Speaking of family, Edward plans on moving out already.
Nick: What? He's like, sixteen. Is he even finished with school?
Joel: No, he's not finished with school.
Nick: Obviously, neither you or your wife will let him.
Joel: I wouldn't be so sure.
Nick: What do you mean?
Joel: Well, if he really wants to move out and deal with getting a job and attending school then I would allow it.
Nick: Really, Joel.
Joel: Don't be too quick to judge. I believe that if he feels he's ready, he should be allowed to.. .And when he fails, he'll have learned a nice lesson the hard way. Looks a little mournfully at his teacup.
Nick: Sighs and sits all the way up in bed.
Joel: Blinks.
Nick: Do I have to get up and make you tea?
Joel: You most certainly will not be. Lay back down and rest.
Nick: Then stop looking like your dog just died.
Joel: You didn't even drink yours, I believe. That's how bad it is.
Nick: Swings his legs out of bed.
Joel: Don't make me restrain you.
Nick: Get the water out from the cooler. Pulls his legs back in.
Joel: Gets up, and does so!
Nick: Pour it in the kettle.
Joel: I don't need tea, Nick.
Nick: Just do it. I would like some tea.
Joel: Fine, let's make you some awful tea. Pours the water in the kettle.
Nick: Now put it on the heat. Now stand there and watch it until it boils.
Joel: A watched kettle never boils.
Nick: Yes it does.
Joel: Really? Never tried it myself. I hope you didn't find this out when I was trying to teach you. Puts it on the heat.
Nick: Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat.
Joel: Gee, slow down. I've just performed brain surgery, this sort of thing is really difficult you know.
Nick: Yes… And waits until Joel reaches the turning the heat off point.
Joel: When the watched kettle does indeed boil, turns off the heat.
Nick: Now let it sit… Put some hot water in the teapot… not from the kettle…. and swish it around. Then pour it out.
Joel: Follows the instruction. Purging the foul tea, are we? I would have suggested fire, but we can do it your way.
Nick: It's to keep it warm and prevent it from cracking. Now put in one teaspoon of loose tea leaves into the teapot for every one of the cups of water you used.
Joel: Follows these directions!
Nick: Now pour the hot water from the kettle over the leaves.
Joel: Does so. How long have you been a professional tea maker?
Nick: Since I've been working here, it seems. Now cover the pot and wait for five minutes.
Joel: Does so, and chuckles.
Nick: Now since our teapot has a built in strainer, all you have to do is pour the tea into your cup after that.
Joel: Turns from the pot. So, how did you like your Halloween costume? I was a little busy to ask before…
Nick: …what Halloween costume?
Joel: Yours.
Nick: I didn't wear one
Joel: You sure did.
Nick: …whatever.
Joel: A vampire. Laughs. You were still enough to let me apply it, at least.
Nick: Frowns. What did you do to my face?
Joel: Well… Chuckles more.
Nick: Frown. Joel, I don't appreciate that.
Joel: I know you would have wanted to enjoy the holiday if you were conscious.
Nick: Sighs rather grumpily.
Joel: You looked fine, I should say.
Nick: Mmhmm.

Daniel: Well, if it isn't John.
John: If it wasn't me, who else would it be?
Daniel: Good point. Nineteenth most popular name in the U.S.
John: Did you know that photons have mass?
Daniel: Um?
John: It surprised me quite a bit. I didn't even know photons were Christian.
Daniel: I hate you.
John: Laughs.
Daniel: If it makes you feel any better, my name is the fifth most popular in the U.S. You're going outta style.
John: My name will make it big in Atlantis when I become famous.
Daniel: And in England, your name is only 74th most popular.
John: That's a shame. I'm surprised I could get to sleep this early.
Daniel: You probably fell asleep at the dinner table.
John: That's not likely. Considering that I've not been practicing to any extent these past few days.
Daniel: Why not?
John: Shrugs. Didn't want to.
Daniel: Because you're never gonna be good enough.
John: That could be a reason. Gave me more time to spend with my family, though.
Daniel: That's good.
John: It is, considering the girls are departing ASAP for academy.
Daniel: Which one?
John: Sibia. Assuming it hasn't shut it's doors.
Daniel: Yeaaah. I would totally send my daughters into Demon infested territory.
John: Then I'll have to look into a different academy to send them to.
Daniel: You mean Daland.
John: Fine then. Daland.
Daniel: Well, I dunno. Send them to Gaulsabis if you want, heh.
John: That's just what I'd like to do. That way, when they're all nice and angry, they can come back and kick my ass with all they've learned there.
Daniel: Jooohn. Man, I'm getting tired of your… self defeating sort of mind set.
John: You are?
Daniel: Very.
John: Sorry to hear.
Daniel: I mean… why?
John: Why what? You see it as self defeating, when it's just rationalization.
Daniel: Please explain to me your rationalization then.
John: I don't have to train constantly to be a good dad, at least in the sense that I have to in my current career. I don't have to take time away from those I love to be a good dad, rather the opposite. It's the opposite with sword practice, and magic practice, and reading those war texts. The more time I spend on them, the less I have for my family.
Daniel: There's got to be some sort of balance…
John: I've been walking that balance. Whatever time I have to spare, I spent with my family.
Daniel: I mean… Okay, I get it… When you put too much time into your sword practice, Jessica or whoever yells at you for not spending enough time with the kids. Okay. But if you do nothing but spend time with the kids and don't practice, then you'll never be good enough to best Price.
John: Even if I put all my time into practice, I'll never be good enough to best Price.
Daniel: Your practice including your studies and what not. I don't mean it in a way that would indicate that it was just you beating Price.
John: I know what you meant. One man isn't going to make a difference, Daniel. Hell, after nine months and Jessica is cured, I could retire and we could do as Jessica mentioned. Move out of the castle, get a nice place in town or elsewhere, and she could work as a chef. Considering how long ago she said that, she may not want that anymore, though.
Daniel: Well, that might kind of suck, but okay.
John: Why might it kind of suck?
Daniel: I mean… you shouldn't… agh… You shouldn't… you shouldn't… sacrifice your own happiness or Jessica's. Certainly. But Adam just promoted you to captain of the guards. It would kind of suck if you just quit a year later, y'know?
John: The correct term would be resign, and there are always replacements that could be appointed regardless.
Daniel: But the guards sucked before you came along. I mean… after Teoan died… but even kind of then.
John: I've done my best. I should hope that at least that much made a difference.
Daniel: At least groom some guy to take your place or something.
John: That was the plan if I retire.
Daniel: I mean, how old are you anyway? Your mid thirties or something? Who retires that early?
John: Just retiring from royal guard duty. I'm sure outside the castle there's no shortage or lack of need for idiots who can swing a sword.
Daniel: Like being a mercenary is a lot safer.
John: A valid point. Always room for a magical janitor, then.
Daniel: But why quit royal guard duty?
John: No need to continue training if I did. As long as it's my career, I'm going to put my best efforts into it. Sounds admirable, but it's really not.
Daniel: So are you like, a guy who doesn't enjoy a challenge or something? Let me say something…
John: You have the floor, Senator McMurran.
Daniel: Laughs. You are smart. You are hard working. The only thing preventing you from one day being a general is that you are not ambitious.
John: That isn't true. When I first became a guard, my career goal was to be captain of the guard. I enjoyed the challenge. I liked being pushed, and pushing in return, to be the best that I could possibly be.
Daniel: So do you not like it anymore? Is that it?
John: Like being a royal guard?
Daniel: Yes.
John: In ways, I do. I told you that I like pushing, in the metaphoric sense, that is. When I became a captain, I pushed the men under me to be their best, whether they liked it or not. When I got another promotion, the very same. There's a sense of pride in seeing them improve and knowing that I had a hand in it. In knowing that when I improved I could improve them as well. I suppose in short, I could say that I like being a leader in ways.
Daniel: Okay… then what are the cons?
John: Of being a royal guard? Except that it takes time, none, really.
Daniel: Okay… I don't mean this… negatively. You'd rather be a stay-at-home dad than be a guard?
John: So long as I'm a royal guard, I'm going to push to do my best. That means practice. Practice that I'm feeling is little use considering that things are in more capable hands. I don't want to stop working period. I just don't want to work for nothing, so to speak.
Daniel: I said you had the potential to be a general. Is that 'nothing'?
John: There are enough competent generals as is. The compliment is appreciated, actually, and I'm glad you feel I have that potential.
Daniel: You do realize, in saying that, that I was once a King of Atlantis and I'm not just saying it as some dumb guy?
John: Astonishing, isn't it? Yes, I know that you were once King of Atlantis and you're not just a linguist.
Daniel: I'm not trying to brag or whatever…
John: I know.
Daniel: I just meant I'm not saying it because I'm your friend, but because I was once one of those people who would decide that kind of thing.
John: Yes, I'm aware of that. Thank you for clarifying, regardless.
Daniel: And anyway, Janis isn't even all that competent, he's just old.
John: Be that as it may, he's a general for a reason, not I.
Daniel: Give yourself a couple of years. If Adam sees the same things in you I do.
John: A little strange considering you said that I could have been a general from day one.
Daniel: Well you're not going to be a general from day one realistically. I mean, even if you're good enough to be then, you kind of have to prove yourself over the years.
John: I know, I was just throwing your words back at you.
Daniel: So I exaggerate sometimes.
John: Heh.
Daniel: But I was being serious… earlier.
John: Clarify. About me being a general, or what?
Daniel: About you being a general.
John: I see.
Daniel: Realistically, I dunno why I'm wasting my breath with you.
John: Realistically, you don't have breath to begin with.
Daniel: Rolls his eyes. I'm sure you'd be happy just getting a job at the local butcher shop. Choppin' up those animals. Good use of your potential… Slaps himself.
John: What the hell did you do that for?
Daniel: Sorry, was channeling Julius there.
John: If anything, I don't see why Elijah isn't a general.
Daniel: Elijah?
John: Yes, Elijah. He's an excellent martial artist, he has experience in battle and, above all, he is probably the most knowledgeable person in the castle on the subject of Demons.
Daniel: And he's completely emotionally unstable. Act first, think later.
John: True enough. I'd like to think that given the sensitivity of this war he could overcome that.
Daniel: What is he? Like thirty?
John: Yes.
Daniel: The kid's a powerhouse, undoubtedly. He's intelligent. He's also immature and flighty and unstable when left to his own devices. But he follows orders good. Of calm rational people.
John: That could be true. I haven't observed him enough in a hostile environment to come to my own conclusion.
Daniel: Well, you said yourself he's powerful… Now do you want him giving orders or do you want him killing Demons?
John: I don't see why he can't do both. I know that were I promoted to general, I wouldn't want to sit around and just issue orders.
Daniel: Certainly. The thing is, you think well of war, or battles, as a whole. This is who we need to get through to get to Price and the defenses should be there and ecetera. Elijah thinks of strategy individually, one Demon at a time, not exactly the bigger picture.
John: You do know that you're referring to someone as general material who was not only stupid enough to attack Price directly, but also stupid enough to think he could win, right?
Daniel: Yes. But would you do it again?
John: No, I'm quite aware of the fact that I'll never surpass Price.
Daniel: Then you learned something. No one's perfect.
John: Yes, it's learning something that should have been chiefly clear to begin with. That's not exactly an accomplishment.
Daniel: I guess. But I'd be more inclined to have Demi as a general than Elijah. Which I guess isn't very nice to say about my own flesh and blood.
John: I'd have to agree. So someone should make him a general instead.
Daniel: Laughs.
John: Now what's so funny?
Daniel: You and like 'anyone would make a better general than I!' Anyway, the guy seems to have a busy schedule. Plus he doesn't really have that… charisma… to command people.
John: And you feel I do.
Daniel: You can definitely command respect. Demi's really too meek for that sort of thing.
John: Perhaps.
Daniel: Kid slayed Lucifer, hee
John: I know. And the other kid killed Lonan. I've managed to get my ass kicked by Price, and said a few words to him while giving up my grandson. This makes me excellent general material, so I hear.
Daniel: Laughs.
John: Also laughs.
Daniel: I think Jessica would make an excellent general.
John: I could see it.
Daniel: I think a goldfish could make a better general than you. Man, if you were a general, you'd be the worst ever.
John: I can concede that I'd be a better general than a goldfish. And is that what you think? Well, I'll just have to prove you wrong, then.
Daniel: Can you at least concede you'd be a better general than Jessica? At full health, even?
John: I can concede that I'm a better general than absolutely everybody, ever. Saying that, will you shut up about goldfish? Or was I not convincing enough?
Daniel: You are a man of extremes.
John: I don't think I'm a better general than everybody, ever. My opinion hasn't changed. I have a notoriously dry sense of humor. You might have noticed that.
Daniel: What was your opinion again? I was too caught up in my own, haw.
John: Training being a waste of time due to the war being in fine enough hands as is.
Daniel: What? Janis and Metaron? Oh, and Adam. Eighteen-years-old, bed-ridden-most-of-his-life kid. Ha!
John: Adam is an extremely intelligent kid, Metaron has been alive since God knows when, so if there is any reason to pray, it would be that she knows what the hell she is doing, and Janis is a General for a reason. If he wasn't competent, he wouldn't be one.
Daniel: All excellent points. Now watch as a I refute them!
John: You enjoy this far too much for me to be comfortable with.
Daniel: Laughs. Okay. Adam is an extremely intelligent kid. Yes he is. But book knowledge is not the same as actual experience which he is lacking in quite heavily. Besides that he is also eighteen years old and unsure of himself and maybe more than a little overwhelmed. Yes, Metaron is old and she's extremely capable. But we've already been over that her goals are conflicting with yours in that she wants to eradicate all Demons. And Janis is certainly competent enough, but he's also old and jaded and should probably retire soon instead of you.
John: At this point, Metaron's goal can be twisted to our uses as is.
Daniel: How so?
John: She wants demons dead. They happen to be our enemies. All it takes is the right words to get her to eliminate demons instead of gathering up for one huge assault, which I believe she may be doing. This is, of course, assuming that she does have something up her sleeve. She could have been lying when she assured Jessica and I that Vladimer was only going to be imprisoned for, at the least, a year. If that wasn't a bluff or any sort of verbal legerdemain, then I suspect she has a plan that she isn't sharing with the rest of the class, and the division just hurts the war effort all around.
Daniel: Nods. You need… A Katen… Bad.
John: Plum out, I'm afraid.
Daniel: I don't think Price even realized what he did there.
John: I wouldn't be so sure. He mentioned specifically that he killed Adam's adviser. We don't have the luxury of Katen being alive, so we're just going to have to make do with who we have.
Daniel: Yeah, and you don't have Gabe-Gabe either and that's crippling you
John: Aware of that. That is exactly my point.
Daniel: What?
John: Don't worry about it.
Daniel: Come on.
John: You should be aware that you just affirmed my opinion. What we don't need is a Human that's working himself to death, we need Gabriel, we need Elijah, Demitrius, and zombie Katen.
Daniel: Laughs. But Gabe and Katen are indisposed and you've got Elijah and Demi. You just need to put them where they're most effective. Now riddle me this… Who's coming up with these getting-Vlad-outta-jail-free plans and setting traps up for Demons and guerrilla war fair and stuff? Janis? Metaron? A goldfish?
John: Riddle me this. Who isn't a General?
Daniel: You.
John: You're good at these. You should have been on Jeopardy.
Daniel: What's your point?
John: My job is to protect the people in the castle, not come up with plans for the war as is.
Daniel: Then d'you think if you have to come up with the plans then maybe Elijah, Demi, Janis, Adam, and Metaron kinda aren't pulling the load here?
John: Be fair. Elijah has been cooking. Besides. All I can give are suggestions. Whether or not they follow them is completely out of my hands.
Daniel: I give up. Just smooch me or something.
John: No. I'm actually working with you here. I've been making plans, but you have to concede that I do not the ability to put them into action.
Daniel: Are you serious? Adam's your son.
John: He has to be impartial.
Daniel: I don't really mean it that way… I mean, he is impartial. But he also knows you very well. Trusts you. Respects your opinion. Not just because you're his father, but because he knows you're an intelligent and rational person.
John: I've already mentioned all the plans that I have to him. Save for the Angel bit, you talked me out of that one. He has to decide whether or not to give the order.
Daniel: Yup.
John: Speaking of plans, I hope Renasi is not wishing to throttle me.
Daniel: Why would he?
John: Being the one who gave birth to the idea of burning Elf Haven and retreating.
Daniel: I'd think he'd be more upset at losing his people and mother than losing some buildings and material possessions.
John: Yeah, well, they're all incinerated, too, I'd bet. On the plus side, diplomatically speaking I have a bit of an ace up the sleeve.
Daniel: Do tell.
John: He's quite enamored with my son, Feemy.
Daniel: So?
John: Let's just say that I think of almost everything. I've even thought of ways for Price to counteract my maneuvers.
Daniel: Cause you're a general. Blah blah blah blah blah. I'mma just filibuster you.
John: I'm not a general.
Daniel: 'Cause you should be a general… blah blahblah… Kiss me.
John: Why the hell do you want me to kiss you?
Daniel: Please?
John: Answer my question first.
Daniel: I like it.
John: You do not.
Daniel: I like being kissed by generals.
John: I'm not a general…
Daniel: I mean not-generals.
John: …
Daniel: C'mon.
John: You just like trying to make me awkward.
Daniel: I bet you get kisses everyday.
John: I do.
Daniel: Share the love
John: You're not worried what Jessica would think?
Daniel: She kisses you, why can't I?
John: I'm married, and you're not my husband.
Daniel: Ugh. Fine. You tired me out with arguing. I can't argue anymore.
John: If you come here, I'll give you a hug. Or do I have to go to you, now?
Daniel: You have to come over here.
John: Over he goes, and hugs Daniel. Out of morbid curiosity, I wonder what point you were going to bring up to refute mine.
Daniel: Something about something.
John: Come on. I have to hear it. I won't even try to refute it in return.
Daniel: … Asleep.
John: Laughs.