Its cold. Dark and cold. Even during the day, the sky never lightens to more than a faintly sooty grey. The very air seems to grate against your skin, catch in your lungs, smear your eyes. The broken ground is covered here and there in patches of snow or hoarfrost, but again, it is only another shade of grey. Even the clear patches seem frozen, often shattering in a spray of sharp-edged gravel at an incautious step or stumble. This is a land drowned in the tainted overflow of Winterheart's foundries and factories, what few plants the have managed to fight their way free of the ground the same smog-yellow as the clouds above. And there, crouched in the center of this wasteland like some rotting, fetid corpse, lies the city itself. From within its walls, a column of ash and smoke rises upwards, meeting and staining the clouds overhead, the sounds of the life within muted under the cloying aura of decay that permeates the area.
Winterheart Gates <WH>
Time is a murky, malleable thing here in the Dream. Mwu la Fllaga is beginning to appreciate that. He's not sure whether this is good or bad--he only knows that he's been here in this strange wilderness for several days now, but he can't quite figure out how many. The matter of the tremors and the godbits falling from the sky and the land around him abruptly becoming an *island*--that only makes things more confusing.
At the moment, he's been out of rations for almost a day now--assuming he's correct in his measurement of time, which he isn't sure about anymore--and he's starting to wonder whether the weird gods here would be angry if he grabbed a bird out of a tree and cooked it.
Speaking of which, Hawk has been awfully quiet lately--almost as if he doesn't want to attract attention...and that makes Mwu rather uneasy. Not that he necessarily *likes* getting updates from a bird in his head, but this is a time when he could use the help.
It's the suspicion that he's landed in a bad neighborhood of the Dream that makes Mwu delay for so long in sending out some kind of signal for help. But he's not really in the greatest shape. The hunger pangs are starting to get to him, and he got tossed around pretty badly during the tremors the other day. He's pretty sure he's not too badly hurt--he's bandaged up his wounds (with bits of cloth that were once part of the top of the now rather tattered white outfit he pilfered from the Temple of Phoenix) and he can stand okay despite one ankle protesting, but it's not exactly *fun*. So eventually, he gives in.
He makes the fire to generate more smoke than heat, and then he backs away from it and sits leaning against the downed plane (which isn't actually particularly damaged--just rather lacking in fuel). He may have complained about wilderness survival lessons when the military gave them to him--they were going to be fighting in space, why did they need to know how to survive on the ground?--but he can certainly appreciate them now.
Winterheart has not had the chance to investigate the unusual appearance of Hawk in their territory, struggling to deal with the massive damage to their government and homeland. The Priest of Roc is missing. The temple, the Hall of Justice, was smashed to rubble and many were killed in the destruction. Roc himself was wounded gravely in the battle with Thunderbird and remains hidden away, tending wounds that reflect the damage of his homeland. The frozen city of Evil is no longer so frozen and the massive concrete walls that lined the outskirts have been smashed. Fear and confusion reign now, the citizens overwhelmed with their constant terror and the military struggling to maintain order. But eventually......eventually the matter of Hawk's interest in their territory had to be addressed.
.......the scary thing came. The nightmare of what happened melds together with other, even more frightening memories that she would rather not remember. Smoke and fire, screaming and explosions. The winter-frozen city burned around her and the people she cherished were taken from her by the Scary Things. She.......was afraid. So very afraid and even her powerful weapon couldn't protect them from the Scary Things. Where is Auel to protect her, as he had promised he would? She misses him and she misses Anakin, who vanished when the Scary Thing appeared from the skies. Even Sting hasn't been there.....part of the massive governmental effort to resume control over the chaotic aftermath. The search party was abandoned some time ago and she would rather not have them around, to be honest. Stellar does not enjoy being alone as she once did.....not since the Scary Things from her first memories of this world......but those people bother her too. They bother her, with their strange expressions and unkind, taunting words. She's sure that they're laughing at her when she isn't paying attention.
The newfound beaches would almost soothe away her fears, had the situation not been so inherently frightening. Stellar has been more afraid than she can express, tension leaving her hypersensitive and even more violent than normal. When she finds the scary things that must be lurking around.......when the source of the smoke is found......she will....she will...! "....let go....of all the things....I'm scared of...." Those words echo in her memories, shattered pieces of the present and the past cutting into her damaged mind. He said she would have to let go of the things she was afraid of and be strong. The scary things.....she can defeat them if she isn't afraid. It doesn't matter if they look human or like the monsters they are underneath....she won't allow them to kill them. She will....
Oh, look! Company seems to have arrived, Mwu. It seems to be a scout of some sort, considering that it is alone and....rather small to be alone. But the figure is dressed in form-fitting combat gear, lugging a rifle over one shoulder and fingering the flat of a nasty looking blade with one hand. And it seems.....to be female, as the figure becomes more clear in the distance. Petite, maybe a teenager from her size and a curvy little thing, with a blonde mane framing her pretty face to just above her shoulders. Young. Cute. And /definately/ well-armed.
Well, it was only to be expected that they'd come armed. This *is* a world at war, after all; that's one thing Mwu's picked up from his short time here so far. But...they sent a teenage girl? He squints dubiously through the smoke. Sure, he's learned not to underestimate teenagers bearing weapons, but he still can't kick his instinctive reaction of "but they're just kids."
Especially since there's something about this girl--
No. He's never seen her before. He's sure of that. He's just getting funny feelings because he's injured and hungry, that's all.
Mwu tenses as the girl comes closer. He pats the small pile of rocks he's assembled on one side of him and the sticks ready to be set alight and brandished on his other side. Neither will do a damn bit of good against a high-powered rifle, but they're a better alternative than feeling *completely* helpless.
Still, best to start peacefully, even if it's not usually his first option. Slowly, he stands (wincing slightly); he pushes off from the side of the plane and, doing his best to hide the slight limp he's acquired, he walks out from behind the veil of smoke, both hands held up, palms out.
"Hi," he says cautiously.
Beneath those golden locks is a strangely predatory gaze, so out of place in her innocent and angelic face. There is something wrong about it, the harsh and feral look that speaks of someone who knows about war. It is not merely the look of a seasoned veteran, though she /does/ move with the precision and focus of a top-notch soldier. Quick sweeps, strong motions from one foot to the other as she surveys the immediate area in sections. Young though she is, she's obviously not an inexperienced recruit fresh from Basic. The heavy rifle is swung down from its resting place at her shoulder, lifted more easily than her small frame would suggest possible. Either that thing is made from lighter materials than it looks.....or she's stronger than her slight build suggests.
Movement draws her attention, snapping around to face the source with a murderous gleam in her magenta eyes. The rifle comes around with her, aimed towards the movement behind the smoke even without a second hand to brace it. Her finger twitches against the trigger, a brief war of programmed instincts and orders making her seriously consider mowing down the figure without a second thought. Take anyone found prisoner doesn't match with the programming that demands she show no mercy. It seems for a moment that she just might kill him here and now......but then she speaks, voice not matching her vicious exterior. "....no! Stay there!" Such a sweet and innocent voice, touched with an edge of panic. It makes for a strange contrast, the fear in her voice and the violence in her body language and eyes. It doesn't match up......and it makes even less sense when the girl blinks, breathe catching in her throat.
"....n-...Neo?" She doesn't remember his face, but that voice! That voice and the quirk of his mouth and....and....the rifle clatters to the ground, abandoned as she rushes towards him. Cover his eyes up, just like the mask always covered them! Cover them and she can be certain that this is him. Because it sounds like him and moves like him and his mouth is the same and his jaw and his hair, short as it is....is the same! He even smells like Neo......if a stinky one that needs a bath! "...Neo? NEO!" Is she....crying? Oh god. She /is/ crying. And trying to latch onto him!
Sting has arrived.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Mwu doesn't know why he feels the need to say this. She's obviously a soldier (and it kind of makes him hurt to see it; little girls shouldn't be soldiers, that's a job for men and women). She should know that sometimes people *are* going to hurt her, and he might be one of those people--
--but for the life of him he can't *bring* himself to consider harming her. He knows full well, can see it easily, that she's not as innocent as that sweet voice suggests, but his first instinct is to protect her. Maybe she's got some kind of empathic aura designed to make people want to protect her? That'd be an insidious power, to be sure. But...he doesn't think that's it.
Not that he gets much time to think about the matter, because suddenly she's staring at him like that and calling him by that name. "No," he starts, "I'm not--"
And then she's rushing at him and clinging to him and blinding him with her hands and *crying*. He's so bewildered that he forgets to keep his balance as she attaches herself to him. His twisted ankle gives out, and if Stellar isn't careful, both of them will go tumbling.
Adjusting to Winterheart has been a difficult process for Sting, especially in the midst of all the chaos that's visited the city of late. After the wondrous technological utopia that the Earth Alliance provided for its Extended brood, operating within military parameters better abandoned to textbooks Sting memorized as an infant and just as quickly categorized to extraneous before pushing the information to the back of his head, nearly forgotten -- yeah, it's been interesting. Or not so much, because aside from playing Stellar's shadow as often as he can, the Extended has spurned the company of Winterheart's regular troops, spending his time trying to puzzle out the archaic technology which begot the wintry nation's idea of automobiles. The boy had been hovering one such example while the mechanics fussed and cursed at a faulty steering column when he realized that his surrogate and oft-times wayward sister was no longer within arms-reach.
One of the grunts (as Sting is inclined to think of them) pointed a trembling finger thissaway, babbling something about the girl and her crazy-eyed look, and spouting excuses which Sting too quickly ignored once he realized they amounted to no one going with her. Like his compatriot, the elder Extended left well-armed, though he chooses firepower over edged weaponry: a light machine gun in one hand, a sidearm holstered at his waist, and plenty of magazines on the ammo belt he secured about his waist before heading out into the cold. Only one machine gun today; although gaining mobility with time, his injured arm is still in a sling, bound to his chest for safe-keeping.
With all that in mind, picture the young man as such, coming upon the scene just in time to witness the classic Stellar-glomp of a man unknown to him at first glance, but at the second -- far too familiar. The firelight dancing across the pair, reflected by the snow dusting the ground, the image reflected in the teenage boy's amber eyes: it lends itself to a scene which is, ultimately, just confusing. Stellar wanders away all the time, and somehow her finding strangers to which she applies seemingly random but sincere emotional attachments to is all within line of the Stellar that Sting knows... but this would be the first time that Sting has actually recognized one of her newfound friends, making them not, in fact, new at all.
"Neo," the Extended mutters to himself, unconsciously echoing the younger Extended's gleeful shouts.
Sting doesn't point the machine gun at anyone, only because he doesn't want to startle Stellar, but his finger hovers just shy of touching the trigger as he moves closer, watching the ungainly sprawl post-glomp without intervention. He does, however, adopt a deliberately light tone of voice. "Oi, Stellar. What did you find now?"
That makes three people who are confused about the certain situation. No, scratch that. Make it /two/. Stellar knows the only important thing and that is enough to chase away her fear. For the first time in several days, the programmed weapon gives way to the innocent girlchild beneath. She has been so afraid.....so frightened and confused and alone since the temple crashed down and the Scary Things came. Gloved hands cover the man's upper face, mirroring the cover his mask had always provided and this is enough to satisfy any lingering doubts about him. Her magenta eyes fill with moisture, days of unshed tears released as she smiles.....such a sweet expression, adoration flooding from her without having to say a single thing. This is the one person she has missed the most, has wanted to see for so long. "...Neo."
Tumbling down into a pile of confused-Mwu and glomping teenaged lunatic, the pair must seem pretty strange to onlookers. But the image /does/ reflect a common event of the past, the echo of every time she would rush to their commander with a squeal of delight. "NEO! St-stellar.....was scared! The....the scary things....I was scared!" The jumble of words might not make sense, whether because of what she's saying or merely because she speaks with such a childish manner. But the tears are clear enough, already starting to moisten Mwu's shoulder as the girl clings to him. The awkwardness continues for a moment before another voice speaks up, causing the blonde Extended to release her 'captive' and spin around to face the newcomer with another wild shift of her mood. "Sting! Sting, look! Neo came back to see us!" She says it with such certainty, voice light with innocent joy. Now Auel just needs to come home and they're family will be complete again! Just like old times. ^_^ Isn't it wonderful?
[SEED] Mwu says, "...D:"
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar ^.^ o/~
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar is a few feathers short of a chocobo.
[SEED] Green Is For Sting says, "Hee hee."
[SEED] Mwu breeds Stellars to get the golden one.
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar says, "Remember where that came from, Stin-....ack!"
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar says, "Don't you breed a Green and Blue chocobo to get something? o.o"
[SEED] Green Is For Sting says, "A Black Chocobo!"
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar says, "Sting + Auel = Shinn"
[SEED] Green Is For Sting says, "I think. It's been forever."
[SEED] Green Is For Sting XD
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar says, "Shinn + Stellar = Mwu (Akatsuki, baby)."
[SEED] Mwu XD
[SEED] The Cute One = Stellar says, "Akatsuki is one sexy, sexy Bling Gundam."
It's kind of hard for Mwu to say what exactly has been the most bewildering thing to happen to him since arriving in the Dream. After all, the very fact that he's *here* is weird enough. He's still getting over the fact that he *died*--it's not an easy thing to shake off. And then, while he was still fresh and new, a giant bird had to come screaming out of the sky to knock down the temple he was hanging out in--and *he* had to take off and try to fight it. That was pretty embarrassing, and he's sure that he's going to get smacked for it when (if) he gets back to Golden Hall.
But somehow, this just takes the cake. Cute, sweet, heavily armed, clearly insane teenage girl clinging to him like this? It's really damn surreal. Even more surreal is the fact that it doesn't seem entirely *wrong* on some level.
Once again, Mwu doesn't get much time to think about this before someone else is talking, and Stellar finally releases him. "Oof," is all he says for a moment. Then, mud now added to the various layers of grime on his tattered, once-white robes, he staggers back to his feet. He takes a moment to appraise Sting, an act which leads him to decide that the green-haired one is probably the saner of the two kids. As far as he knows. Then he says, with a slightly sheepish smile, "Um, I'm not this Neo person."
But he's reaching out to pat Stellar on the head as he says it.
Stellar thinks this reunion is wonderful, but alas, obviously Sting doesn't share her elation. Oh, he's smiling, but the expression is small, restrained, the face he puts on for strangers. Those yellow eyes, so delicately edged in mascara, are cold. They're a wolf's eyes, a predator balefully studying the creature at its den: are you an enemy to fight and be destroyed, or a forgotten packmate returned like the prodigal son, or are you merely food?
Unlike Stellar, the memories that rush to the fore of Sting's thoughts are not cheerful ones. Worse still is the association that comes from seeing the blonde-tressed girl embracing their might-be commander. Sting can believe this man, who bears only a resemblance to their superior officer, belongs to the name Stellar has attached to him despite the fact that he so easily denies it. Beyond the Dream, Stellar is dead, and Auel is dead, and Sting is alone without knowing he is alone, because this man here broke his promise to /not/ erase those memories when asked.
So fitting that now Neo, who knew everything, now knows nothing, and Sting, the last to die of the three who knew nothing, would remember -- well, not everything, but enough.
Everything is written there in the shadow of a hand moving through the air, nesting amidst Stellar's golden locks, so easily, so familiar. The complicated thought process transpires in a matter of seconds, shifting from confusion to suspicion to angst, and finally to decision, in a fraction of the time it would have taken a normal human to figure out that they were confused in the first place, analytical clicks and whirrs at the speed of drug-enhanced synaptical firing. The green-haired boy cants his head to the side, that tight-lipped smile quirking a little cock-eyed, an olive-coloured eyebrow arching towards his hairline. "You look injured, sir," he observes, completely disregarding Mwu's assertion of his identity - or nonidentity, as the case may be presently. "Why don't we get you back to camp and have a doctor look at you?" And then, brightening noticeably, he reiterates to his compatriot: "Come on, Stellar, let's get Neo back to camp."
Stellar remains close even when she releases the confused man, lingering close in the manner of a puppy that has just been reunited with its beloved master. Some details are different, from the hair to the lack of scars which she vaguely remembers having glimpsed once. But her enhanced brain processes these inconsistencies against further information, the scent and presence of him, the movement of his mouth when he frowns or speaks, the twitch of his shoulder and the absent way he reaches to touch her hair. That gesture alone confirms everything beyond any doubt, cements every memory of him with the reality sprawled on the muddy ground beside her. She would never forget him, would never mistake him when he is one of the most cherished memories she will ever have. He was the first one.....to show her human kindness. Neo is special. She knows that it's him, even when he protests that he isn't him.
Beaming in response to the thoughtless attention, the blonde nuzzles against his hand and relaxes further after so much tension and fear. She can relax now, because Neo and Sting will take care of everything. They always have, for as long as she can remember. Neo and Sting, always there to take care of her and Auel, always taunting and teasing her. She misses him too, wonders where he went off to after that last fight. Well, not a /fight/. She was complaining and he shouted mean things at her, then stormed off. Did he get so mad that he won't come back this time? Neo....will make it right! Because Auel always listens to Neo, even if he /does/ bitch in the process. "Hm?" The comment makes her blink and cock her head to the side, broken out of her trance to give Sting a blank stare.
Oh! The condition of her would-be commander makes the girl frown with concern, worry softening her gaze. How quickly she changes from one mood to another, from ruthless soldier to whimpering child, to squealing fangirl and now, a fretting companion. "...Hmm. Go home now. The doctors will make everything better, right?" The doctors always make things better, always have. And then Neo can have a bath, because he needs one!
Great. Now the (gay) green-haired kid is calling him by that strange name, too. "My name is *Mwu*," the man protests. "Mwu la Fllaga. I don't know who this Neo person is." He's starting to form ideas, though. Another clone? He can't rule the thought out, and it makes him distinctly uneasy.
And yet...these two may be calling him by a funny name, and he may not know them at all (but that's not true because he knows he knows them both, somehow), but they're offering something he knows he needs: medical help. Among other things. You know, like food. "I could use some patching up," he admits. "And some food. And decent clothes. And a shower." But there's still something wrong...
And then he realizes what it is. Very carefully, he says, "Are you two from--" He hesitates, trying to remember the names. "--Bluefinger Port, Middleton, or Winterheart?" The plane. He can't let Winterheart get the plane. Betraying Phoenix's side so soon after they took him in would be taking everything that Hawk gave him--a chance to fight for the right, a new life--and throwing it back in the gods' beaky faces.
Sting nods, affirming to Stellar: "Yeah, the doctors will make everything better." Because that's what they do. It's a bald-faced lie, but it comes so easily. The trio have lived under that lie's banner their entire life. The doctors made everything better - except they just scratched the bad stuff out rather than fixing it. It's a real smile on Sting's lips now, but it's dry and mirthless, a weak cover for the bitterness it's housing inside.
"If you want us to call you Mwu, we'll call you Mwu, sir. Well... I can't make any promises for Stellar, but whatever." The underlying message is that if Stellar ends up insisting on calling Neo by his true name, then Neo-Mwu might be better off not pressing the issue just yet. Sting is willing to acquiesce for right now, if only to get their commander out of the cold and into a place both warm and secure, where the medical personel can take a good look at him. Despite the offhand way Sting approaches Mwu's identity crisis with, the boy still manages to afford man a noticeable amount of respect: "sir" comes too easily, distinctly military deference rather than casual nicetudes.
Securing the machine gun to his back by way of its shoulder strap, Sting frees up his one good arm to offer help to Mwu-Neo - "It's a bit of a hike back," he explains, and then pauses, considering the question. 'From' is so relative, but he knows what the man's getting at. "Winterheart."
"....Moo....?" The echo comes with a standard Dumb Blonde expression, innocent and baffled as she rocks back onto her feet. He wants them to call him.....the sound a cow makes? o.o What a strange thing to ask! Maybe Neo is up to something important and secret, so he wants to use a different name. Being part of a Black Ops unit means she /does/ understand the concept of secrecy. Sometimes. On occasion. When she's actually /thinking/ about things and not caught in her usual daze. "....okay." The blonde offers a solemn nod in acceptance of his apparent order, loyal to his every whim as always. Sting was the brains of the operation. Auel was the temper and Stellar? She's the adorable, dumb puppy with a vicious streak a mile long. And she would do /anything/ for their commander. Nothing is outrageous when it comes to him, because.....because Neo is Neo. And she worships him, has adored him since the moment they first met and he spoke to her with such kindness.
Bitterness is another thing that Stellar doesn't comprehend, something her innocent mind is incapable of processing. The world is too simple for such things, when there is only the good and the bad things. Things she likes and things that scare her. Neo and Sting, she likes. The doctors, she likes, as long as they don't take things from her. And what else is there to consider? The doctors keep them alive, so the doctors are good. Because the alternative is....is bad. She can vaguely remember a time when everything was painful, when she could barely breathe and even the drugs the nurses gave her could not erase the terror clutching at her damaged soul. "Stellar will too!" She responds to Sting's comment about her, obviously considering this as some sort of challenge. She can follow Neo's orders better than him, because.....because she always listens to Neo. There is no reason in the world /not/ to listen to him. Because Neo is never wrong. Even when he's being strange, like he is now. ".....the Scary Thing smashed our home, N-....Mwu. Winterheart got broke.....but Stellar and Sting are fine. We didn't get hurt....and we ever got our own tents at camp." The privacy made the others soldiers less uneasy, dealing with those two weirdos. It also makes providing them with treatment in the field less of a challenge. So private tents for the Extended and maybe that means privacy for Mwu if he goes with them. "....are we leaving? Should we find Auel, so we can go?" Transfering with Neo was a normal enough thing.
The calm deference with which Sting speaks to the older man does not go unnoticed. Mwu regards the green-haired youth levelly for a moment. Then he nods and reaches out to accept the offer of help. "I can make it," he says.
He gives Stellar another quick pat on the head. "Everybody's homes got smashed," he tells her. "I got stuck here when I tried to go fight the--the Scary Thing. But it's all right now." At least, so he assumes. But he *wants* to tell her that it'll be okay.
Then he hesitates. There's something dark in those blue eyes, eyes that Sting and Stellar barely ever got to see before. Are they truly loyal to him, or whatever version of him had them in his thrall? (Mwu has already started wondering just how pure "his" motives for commanding these children were. If there was a clone involved, after all, it'd stand to reason that the clone wouldn't be completely stable.) After a moment, he says carefully, "If anyone at this camp of yours asks, I was stranded here when I wandered too far from Middleton just before the attack. There was no plane. Can you stick to that?"
There's just a hint of pleading in his eyes. He doesn't want to have to pull out harsher terms, not when talking to these two. He doesn't know *why*, but he wants to be kind.
Sting lets Stellar ramble on, leaving poor Mwu to sort out what the girl's talking about without offering any of his own clarification or intervention. Not until that last - then he shakes his head, pointing out gently, "We don't know where Auel is, Stellar." In fact, last time Sting checked, the blue-haired Extended was kaputz, but rules are obviously bent around here, so he was willing to believe Stellar when she said he was alive in the first place, just elsewhere. Hope isn't something that comes naturally to Sting anymore, but there are exceptions to anything, and his two compatriots are the exception to pretty much everything in his world. Worry for their fellow druggie is eating at him though, and as he glances at Mwu again, a bit of frustration seeps in despite his best efforts.
If Neo were really here, then transferring wouldn't be a problem. Hell, Neo would probably know where Auel was and have a mission plan already written out and everything. Instead they get a Neo back who doesn't know anything more than they do, maybe even less. Looking away, Sting summarizes briskly: "You're Mwu La Fllaga from Middleton, and there was no plane." How easily the world changes with a few words. When it comes down to it, he doesn't care what Winterheart's army grunts know or don't know. The only people that really matter are all here now, except for one, and now that Stellar's brought this issue to light, Sting is preoccupied by thought.
"Let's get Mwu back to camp, Stellar, and then we can worry about finding Auel." The green-haired youth shrugs his one good shoulder, still mindful of his healing injury. "I'm all for ditching those idiots as soon as possible though." By idiots he means the joes back at camp.
That sounds like something that he would do. Neo wasn't the sort of commander to just sit back neatly and leave them to do everything on their own. Whenever he could, he was out there with them and holding his own, amazingly enough, among a trio who were considered Lodonia Labratories' best creations. He was an amazing commander and an even more impressive comrade on the battlefield.....so she isn't surprised when he claims to have fought Thunderbird. And when he declares that things will be alright, she believes him. She hangs on every word, nodding with a girlish sound of delight. Yes, everything is fine now and she won't be afraid anymore! Homes come and go, but comrades are another matter. She has most of her family back now.
At least she has most of them. Sting's comment, gentle as it might be, makes the girl shrink and glance away as though a kicked puppy being scolded. "....but Auel promised. He'll come back." She believes it, because Auel has been with her and protected her when they were alone. And....she doesn't want him to not come back. Sparing a hopeful glance up at their earnestwhile companion, the blonde gives faint nod to herself. With Neo back, it won't be long before they find wherever it was that Auel has been hiding and everything will be perfect. One happy, dysfunctional family. "..." Adoring magenta eyes grow more clear after a moment of processing this request, sharp gaze darting away in acknowledgment of Sting's summary. ".....top secret? Should we.....?" Should they assume they have orders to eliminate anyone that threatens the secrecy of his mission? There's a faint nod to this, moving away from the pair long enough to retrieve her own rifle from the ground.
The comment about "leaving" is mostly filed away--but Mwu is a little surprised at how pleased the idea makes him on some level. Getting the two (three) of these children away from the bad guys, bringing them home (or close enough) to Golden Hall and waiting for Murrue there--that would be nice. That would be really nice.
But he's a soldier. He knows and accepts that things won't ever be that simple, that there's something fundamentally *wrong* here. It's easy enough to tell, with Stellar. Still, he gives Sting a quick, pleased grin. "That's right."
And then Stellar is speaking, and Mwu stops, his mouth dropping open slightly as he *stares* at her. It's only for a couple seconds, but it's clear enough that if he's not honestly *surprised* by her schizoid mixture of sweetness and deadliness, he's doing an *amazing* job of acting. "No-oo-oo...I think," he says carefully, "that you can leave them alive, Stellar. We don't want to cause a mess if we don't have to."
He straightens up once more. "Now let's get back to this camp of yours." And that would be about the extent of his grand plans. Mwu is no commander in the here and now. He's a soldier. The problem is that he's a soldier who's run into some utterly unexpected fractures in his armor.
Leave them... alive? The idea is so ridiculous that it actually stuns Sting to stillness for a moment, and then that cold facade crumples beneath the weight of bleak, black amusement. It's not like Sting to laugh, but he does suddenly, though the sound is nothing short of terrible. Healthy seventeen year old boys don't laugh like that. Of course, healthy anybodies don't laugh like that either. It should be reserved for bad places, like the insides of mental institutions, or a horror film - and yet, on top of all of that, it's just a small chuckle. Yet it conveys just how preposterous the idea of leaving people alive in order to avoid making a mess is.
"Live bodies make bigger messes than not, sir," Sting notes darkly, careful to avoid certain words. Mwu's charitable effort to preserve worthless lives is just proof to Sting that their commander is brain-damaged and not undercover as Stellar seems to think. He shakes his head and sighs, and with a jerk of his head, indicates the direction before hurrying them along, back over the brief distance between them and the camp where the troops await their return, along with medics for Mwu, and the private tents Stellar so blithely described earlier.
(OOC) Mwu says, "Murrue's makeup drawers will warm your black heart, Sting."
(OOC) Sting <3!