4208/Winging It

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Winging It
Date of Scene: 23 November 2020
Location: Roof - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Gar and Kían spend some time together. And might spend more time together.
Cast of Characters: Kian, Gar Logan

Kian has posed:
    The night is clear and cool, but not really cold.  Kían doesn't seem to notice climate changes anyway, if anyone's been paying attention.
    He just stands there in on the roof for a moment, wings spread wide, slowly turning in a circle as he takes in the still-unfamiliar (and city-lights-washed-out) starscape… silly humans!  How many of them ever see the sky the way he's used to seeing it, with the stretch of the spiral arms a milky haze and thousands, maybe tens of thousands of hard points of light in reds and whites and yellows and blues.
    Silly humans.  Sky-friendly lights aren't that difficult!
    He checks behind; he'd invited Gar to go flying with him.  In the dim rooftop light, there's a faint reddish glow in his eyes, like an owl would have, although he'd be the first to admit he hasn't the nocturnal acuity of those nighttime hunters.  "What do you think?" he asks.  "Over the city for the win's between the buildin's?  Or out over the ocean for the quiet an' dark-ness?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    Flying is good, yes.  It's something Gar has done on his own numerous times.  Countless times, really, but almost all of them have been as a plain bird of one type or another.  Rarely has he actually gone up as an Akiar, one of Kian's people, but there have been a few instances.
    The first time, it was a moving moment for the bird-like alien, something that helped him in ways Gar has yet to fully, truly fathom.
    It remained that he liked the strange humanoid with the wings, though.  Kian was generally kind, curious about a number of things, lonely in his own ways, but getting to know him better has not always been something he had the kind of time for that he'd like.  Tonight he was going to try to change that, since Kian sent an invitation to come up around a certain time.
    Stepping out of the elevator, he looks around until he picks out the wings.  "Hey there," he offers, and as he steps closer his appearance changes from green human to green Akiar, the wings sprouting from his back, enough that he pauses for a moment just to deal with the extra appendages and the shift in balance they require.  "Ahh…" he exhales, fanning them out a few times as a few fingers curl at a hip.  "…what were you thinking?"

Kian has posed:
    Without thinking—no pun intended—Kían automatically switches to mental contact as soon as Gar is Garkiár.  {I was thinking out over the ocean.  I want to see the stars,} he replies, his mental 'voice' unimpeded by his still incomplete mastery of spoken English.  Better, yes.  Fluent, not yet.  {And who knows?  Maybe I'll see something I recognize up there.  Wouldn't that be something?  I mean, yes, not very likely… but I like looking at the stars anyway.  I took a couple astronomy classes at the Imperial University, you know—well, no, I suppose you probably don't.}
    He brings his wings down and flits effortlessly into the air, hovering there.  {And even if I don't recognize anything, it's a beautiful night and I love the sound of waves and the darkness.}  There's a fleeting image of the night near Kían's home, with two small moons high over a lake, and virtually no artificial lighting unless you know where to look.  {Your planet has lost the night,} he adds, glancing towards the city.  {We're not so careless on my world.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Interestingly, Gar's attire changes to match Kian's own.  It may be because it's a subconscious thing, perhaps being the only example of Akiar attire he's seen.  Could also be because, at least with the wings, that setup works better than Gar's own uniform or normal clothing.  All the same, the kilt and sandals are a different thing for him, and he takes a moment to look down at himself as Kian's telepathy kicks in.  Gar's mind is still essentially his own, but at this time he is everything an Akiar is, down to the similar heights, the broader shoulders, the differences in hands and toes.  He just doesn't have that pendant, as there has been no ritual performed yet.
    {I still have to get used to the way you can talk, sometimes.} he explains, though it is a far more pure, clearer way of communicating between the two.  {But the ocean is fine with me.  I don't know how it was back on your world, but people need the lights here at night so when you're around a big city like this… yeah.}  He shrugs, and the wings shift in place briefly.

Kian has posed:
    Kían does a neat twirl about ten meters over Gar's head, and then veers off casually in the direction of the Atlantic.  {We don't need as much light to see at night—you should notice that, yes?  And what we do need, we focus where we need it.  We value the natural sky as it is.}  He 'sends a clearer view of his native sky at night: again, two moons, neither as large as Earth's, though both large enough to show a disk.  The sky is absolutely littered with stars; when the view swings around towards Kían's home, there are lights, but they are few and not bright, and do not impose themselves.
    {Of course, we don't have cities like Earth does,} he explains further.  {You can't put that many telepaths in close proximity without mindlock.  Even the capitol on Akiár itself is really spread out.}
    He disappears down over the edge of the roof, and quickly reappears, soaring upwards.  The next mental contact is happy, even excited.  {Come on!}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan watches this, from a perspective of being at equal eye level to Kian until the twirl of showing off, resulting in his hands at his hips.  He remains quiet as the imagery is given to him, leading to his head tilting toward one side as the wings tuck back into place.  {Two moons.  There was a fantasy story that had a world with two moons.  These elves rode wolves and stuff.  And there were bird-like ones too, that rode big hawks or whatever.}
    He tests the wings, getting used to the feel again, the way they work with his back and shoulder muscles, lifting him a few feet above the roof as well.  {I guess if you can't deal with a lot of telepaths in the same area, you'd have to space things out.  Maybe someday I'll be able to see your world.}
    Gar's mental 'voice' is still a little on the reserved side, hinting that he's not over the things Kian noticed last time, but there's more of a purity to him this way.  There's less of the usual Gar to hide behind, and when Kian takes off higher up after the initial drop, he lets out a faint sigh and resolves to try to forget about everything else for a little while.  {I'll catch up, don't worry.}  His own spirits might even improve a little through Kian's.  Then, he flies.

Kian has posed:
    {If we ever find it, I think you would like it there.}  It's clear Kían means the all-inclusive 'you'—all his friends among the Titans.  {You might like the peace and quiet.  You don't get enough of that here on this world.  No one on Kyshán would want to hurt you.}  He laughs softly.  {I suppose some of you would find that too quiet, I don't know.  If we find my world, and can get back and forth, maybe it would be a place to get away from the craziness of this world?}
    Kían does not probe past Gar's surface thoughts; somehow, he can tell that.
    He does ask, however, {What's the point of riding a hawk when you can already fly?  And we have three moons, but the third is small and not much more than a bright point in the sky.  Much less interesting.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan allows, {Maybe we would, but for now… I just want everyone back here and safe, no more thinking about going off to other worlds for a while.  Sorry.  I know you still want to see your home again.}  There is some sympathy in the words, moreso the thoughts themselves, but it's true—there's been so much riding on the disappearance of the four Titans, and it's been eating at him all along.
    {I wouldn't mind some peace and quiet, though.  I don't know what it's like to not always be wondering when someone might try to attack.}  He leaves that thought out there as he begins to put some distance between himself and the Tower, keeping pace well enough with Kian whether or not the true Akiar has to adjust his pace.
    The matter of the story in question is touched on further.  {They were, you know, big and used for hunting.  That's part of how they had the power they did.  Their leader was the villain of the story, at least the early story.}

Kian has posed:
    {I understand,} Kían replies.  {Your priority is getting Téri and our friends back, get your normal back.  I know if I returned home, it would be a long while before I traveled any further than the adjoining estates.  And getting them back is right now more likely than getting me home, so we may as well try to do the likelier thing, yes?}
    The birdman is not setting any sort of a pace.  It's sort of an airborne amble, not any effort to do, although the shore and city lights are being left well behind.  {Birds as villains.  That's ridiculous,} he comments absently.  Below, the lights of a ship or two.  Above, so many stars.
    Kían rolls over onto his back, gliding along facing upwards.  {They're in the wrong places, but it's not really different from home.  The same spread of a spiral arm, about the same density of stars… very pretty,} he muses.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan explains, {It's not that we're not gonna try to help you find your way back home if we can, but… yeah.  I think you understand.  And, I like that you're with us.  It's interesting to learn some things from you and get a different perspective.}
    He does react with amusement as Kian's opinion of the elf tales is given further.  {Well, the ones that rode the wolves were meant to be the main heroes.  The bird elves had some good ones, and they ended up being important later.}  Gar's attention drifts toward the ships well beneath them, then he squints at the way Kian flies, facing upward instead.  It's something he matches after a little extra focus.  {The stars?} he asks, for what else could Kian be talking about right now?

Kian has posed:
    Kían glances over and gives Gar a smile in the darkness.  {The stars, yes.  Out here, it almost feels like home.  I suppose one spiral arm looks the same as any other from the inside.}
    He rolls lazily to his left, then to his right, then back to a normal flight position, suspended from his wings.  {I can never do that for very long.  I always think the surface is closer than it really is.}  As it happens, no, the water isn't particularly closer—two kilometers below, thereabouts.
    Well, probably better safe than sorry, as far as that goes.
    {You're not the only ones getting a different perspective.  I've settled into just telling myself 'this is Earth, things are different here' because I'm not going to get this planet to do things sensibly… uh, differently.}
    He pauses a moment, reflecting.  {I suppose some of the things I do seem just as nonsensical to you, don't they?}

Gar Logan has posed:
    If Kian doesn't fly too long in that position, Gar is coming out of it earlier than that.  {It feels weird flying upside down, kind of.  And… yes, the stars look nice, but I haven't looked too closely at them before.  Not the way you probably do.}
    He tries to listen for a time, just focusing on whatever different sources of information reach him through the Akiar physiology.  Sharpened sight, a better ability to see in the darkness, of course… the telepathy.  {There's still a lot about you I don't think we understand.  I don't know a lot about what you'd find weird here and what I'd think is weird where you're from.}

Kian has posed:
    Kían smiles mentally—which is to say, he smiles, and the accompanying pleasure and amusement can be felt through the mindlink.  {Heh, I almost said that rhy'thar aside I'm a fairly normal Akiár, but none of you would know what that is, would you?}  He laughs aloud, and that echoes through the mind link as well.
    {Well, ask me anything,} he offers.  {I promise to answer anything I can.  Or let you know if I think it's off limits, but I can't think of anything you might ask that I couldn't answer.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan's altitude dips a few feet, distracted by the senses that cross over through what the Akiar share mentally.  {No, I guess we wouldn't.  I think everyone is curious, though.  Well, almost everyone.  I'm sure Vorpal is too, and not just because he's a cat and you're a bird.}  In that moment, amusement of his own transfers through, along with the sort of longing Kian might recognize as love.
    Out here, there are no city lights to interfere with seeing the skies above for what they are.  He glances up that way again before his eyes settle back on Kian.  {Oh, jeez.  Uh… do you have TV there?  Movies?  Shows?  Sports?  Do you read books?  I guess you don't really need cars.}

Kian has posed:
    {I suppose we have something like those.  Something like your television, but in three dimensions.  And with a rudimentary sort of mental layer, too.  Not as clear as what we're doing right now.  Games on the local kirát}  It translates somewhere between 'house control system' and 'main computer system'.  {—those have a mental component too.  Immersive.  Even more than your VR systems.  Like the Danger Room, but not actually dangerous.}
    He catches a gust of wind, uses it to climb a few meters, then drop and level out again.  {I don't know if Téri told you about what I showed him.  I had mentioned qihár and showed him how it's played, in his mind.  He seemed to enjoy it.}  He laughs again.  {That was the time he accidentally drugged me with coffee.  Well, we didn't know it would affect me like that.}  He shrugs it off mentally.
    {When we've landed again, I can show you too.  Unfortunately, two is not enough to play, but you could learn some of my flying techniques from it.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan focuses on hovering in place, the wings shifting to maintain his position after he's caught up to Kian after making use of the same gust.  {We've got stuff like that too, you know. 3D movies and holograms and all.  So don't think you're so special just because of 3D TV.}  There's a joking sense through the telepathic link.  He's been working on utilizing that over speaking aloud ever since it was established after the shift.  {But the… computer thing sounds interesting.  With the immersion.}
    Shaking his head, which is still shaped more like his own, he adds, {I don't think we talked about that, or about you and coffee.  I know some things make you react a little differently.  So how is it played?}

Kian has posed:
    Kían rapidly warms to the subject—he was a keen qihár player back home, and appropriate imagery accompanies his thoughts: the aerial cube of playing space marked off by eight automated drones, the ribbons hanging from each player's kilt, the vast safety net that looks entirely inadequate from above.  {The rules are simple enough: capture the ribbons from the opposing team without losing yours.  I was a hunter for my line's team in the intra-clan league; I was hoping to get promoted to inter-clan play before… well, before my life got even weirder than it already was.}
    There is an image of around twenty birdfolk, men and women both, flying dangerously close to each other in a sharply delineated space, some with no ribbons leaving the playing space, some with one ribbon desperately trying to avoid losing the other one.  The view shifts to what must be Kían's own perspective while playing, and it's an insanely fast whirl of wings and bodies and looks as dangerous as… well, as it probably really is.
    Kían can't help but fly a little faster, replaying the memory, flitting from side to side as if dodging other players.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan maintains his own altitude as he listens and watches—in both ways, mental and physical—the way the game is described and shared, then sort of demonstrated in front of him.  {So it's like flag football, just without the football, and a lot more chaotic.  Got it.}  He flashes a thumbs-up, then looks back down at his hands, in the style of the Akiar of course.  And, all green, just like the wings and the rest.
    {It looks like you could knock each other out or mess up your wings if you're not careful.  Does that happen a lot?} he wonders, moving closer to keep the pace, though he isn't flitting the way Kian is.  No need to dodge.  {So you have different levels of play, too?}

Kian has posed:
    Kían rolls over onto his back again, floating along below Gar, grinning up at him.  {I don't know what 'flag football' is, but from the feel of your thoughts, sort of, I guess?  Injuries happen, I suppose, but rarely really bad ones.  You can always sense those around you.  I've never had worse than a bad bruise.  And of course there are the field guards and the safety net.}  Yes, the bird is talking about a game where there is a strong risk of two hollow-boned birdfolk slamming into each other at high speed and falling… as if there was nothing wrong with that.
    {I was at the highest level short of inter-clan play,} he answers proudly.  {Unfortunately all the studying they were doing of my powers kept interfering with that.  I had to miss not just practices but actual games because they wanted to plug one qokh thing or another into me and see what it saw.}  He does not offer a translation of qokh.  There is a sense that any translation would be impolite at best.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan looks down from this position, eyeing Kian with a mixture of speculation and suspicion.  {It's like a non-tackle version of football, without all the equipment.  I'll… wait.}  He concentrates on sending an image of what actual football is, as played, then the flag football version.  {Did that work?}
    He accepts the talk of risks without question.  After all, what the Titans do is risky as well.
    {You make that sound like they were sticking unpleasant things into you.  They do that here with turkeys and temperature probes.}  This, apparently, greatly amuses him, for if the grin wasn't enough, the laughter in his thoughts adds to it.  At least he is laughing.

Kian has posed:
    {They were sticking probes into me… well, sometimes, anyway.  More often than I liked,} Kían complains, although with only the conviction of annoyance, not actual loathing.  {I suppose you were tested too, when you turned green, yes?  Even things done with a good reason can be annoying.}
    He angles his wings very slightly and is all of a sudden maybe only ten or twenty centimeters away, grins… then peels off to a safe distance and flips himself right side up again.
    {Yes, I think that's a good comparison, although of course in qihár there's no ball, no goal, and everything's done in three dimensions rather than two… but otherwise right!}
    Did Kían just smirk?

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan rubs the back of his neck, still a very Gar-like gesture even as a Garkiar.  {Either I was too young to remember it very well, or maybe I blocked most of that out.  I just know what I was told.}  That's his answer to the matter of testing.  Could be the trauma was such that he had a coping mechanism in place to deal with it at the time.
    There comes a look of surprise at the closeness, followed by the darting back, and aside from the changes in the two sports as described, he acknowledges, {They do seem pretty close in the overall idea.}  The smirk, for it seems to be noticed, gets one in return.  {Did you have anyone who came to watch you play and cheer you on?}

Kian has posed:
    Kían is perfectly happy to let the question of invasive medical exams go.  He never got anything out of his other than an otherwise normal bill of health and shrugs.  So he's glad to return to talking—thinking out loud?—about qihár.  {Oh, yes.  Friends and family, and it's the sport so even play at our level had a following.  It's a little weird having that many people together and everyone's trying to avoid mental contact to keep from giving away positions to the other team.  It's one of the few things we do that's really noisy… I guess like the sports I've seen on the TV here, although humans are generally more noisy anyway.  I guess because you don't usually have the mindtouch.}
    There's a flicker of memory—before a match, Kían pivoting in the air to wave to a small group come to see him play: his brother, his sister, and his closest friend—and the sound of the crowd cheering, and chirping, and keening.
    It is, in a literal sense, an unearthly noise.

Gar Logan has posed:
    The wannabe Akiar of the two, though in all ways that matter, he is one right now, 'watches' more of what Kian describes once the imagery is shared.  For Gar, it's almost as good as being there himself, seeing things through Kian's own eyes, hearing through his own ears.  It can be… immersive.
    {I can tell you enjoyed it a lot.  I guess I never thought you seemed like you'd be into sports, but everyone needs ways to have some fun and be active instead of just gaming all day and night.}  Now what would Gar know about something like that?
    Another question is forthcoming.  {Was there someone you, you know, felt closer to?  Like someone you'd want to spend the rest of your life with?}  He looks toward the direction they came from, leading to him wondering, {How far out are we now?}

Kian has posed:
    Kían glances behind.  {I don't know, maybe two or three téthod'yw?} he guesses, and from the feel of it, that might be seven and a half, eight kilometers.  {I don't really have a good feel for your measurements yet.  Not too far, though.}
    Kían hesitates before answering the second question, but only because there's a lot of emotional baggage there—love, and separation, and even a little need, and… well, probably much of what Gar himself is going through in Terry's absence.  {Raká.  That was him with my brother and sister, the one with the red wings and golden hair.  I mentioned him to you when we spoke on the roof, after my prayers.  We… had decided to put off joining our houses until after I had either finished my studies at the Imperial University and came home, or he got accepted there.  Gods, if we only knew… well, of course, we didn't, and if we had known, I would never have gotten on that ship.}
    He shakes his head and smiles weakly.  {Nothing personal, but all in all, I would rather still be on my world than here.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    {Strange.  It doesn't feel like it's been that far.}  Then again, Gar is not a smaller bird right now.  He is a humanoid alien with wings, and larger than most types of avians out there.  He squints, making use of the enhanced sight, then turns back toward Kian when there is that pause before more is said.
    And more is said, in a personal way.  "Oh…."  It's the first time since changing that Gar speaks aloud, simply because he's forgotten to do it mentally.  "I guess I…" {…should feel stupid for being so selfish.  I know Terry and my friends are going to be coming back, but I'm impatient.  You might never see… man.}
    He nods a little absently at the last part.  No, of course he couldn't blame Kian for preferring to be home.  {Of course.}  His expression saddens.

Kian has posed:
    {It's a big universe,} Kían remarks.  {If… when they find their way back home, that will tell me that it's possible, at least.}
    He slows to a hover, gazing up into the night sky, as if trying to will them into familiarity.  {I will have to ask them if they saw anyone like me.  Maybe they did, wouldn't that be something?}
    He turns slowly to face Gar.  {At least while I'm here, I have good friends to be with, yes?}

Gar Logan has posed:
    {I've usually found almost anything is possible sooner or later.}  Gar has a unique set of experiences to go from here, though most anyone in his line of 'work' could say the same.  {If you know, uh, the galaxy and stuff you're from, I bet we can figure out how to at least get a message there somehow.  We have some people who can do some pretty amazing things.}
    But, lacking that, he moves into Kian's space to extend a hand toward his shoulder.  {In the meantime, yeah.  At least you aren't alone, even if nothing here is familiar.  I hope… this… helps a little.}  He gestures toward the form he's taken.

Kian has posed:
    Kían reaches out for Gar's hand… and then without warning Gar finds himself the subject of a close embrace.  {More than you can imagine.}  His hover style alters so that his wings have no chance of interfering with Gar's.
    The feel of Kían's mind is... muddled.  Too much going on.  But clinging to another birdman in midair is the most normal thing he's done in however many months it's been since he fell onto this crazy planet, and it doesn't seem like he's planning on letting go any time soon.
    {Just… hold me, please.  We won't fall.  If the hover doesn't make sense, isn't instinctive, you can feel how to do it from my mind.  I know you're not really Akiár and you're at least as much missing your friends and lover as I am mine and it's not fair to impose on you, but Goddess forgive me, please, I really just need to not feel so alone for a little while.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan accepts this, along with the embrace.  His wings naturally react the same, to keep the from coming into contact.  There's a lot going on inside Kian's head?  When is it ever that different with Gar?  Oh, he may act like he's flighty and flaky and superficial a lot of the time, and he's absolutely one of the first to resort to a joke, but with everything that's beneath the surface… yeah.
    {It's fine.  I can figure it out.  And… as long as you need.}  What he doesn't say, what he may not need to say, is that the last thing Kian indicated is very much going on inside his own head, and has been for a while now.

Kian has posed:
    {Thank you.}  Kían just holds there quietly a moment.  His mind settles a little, calming down… but not letting go yet.
    {I don't know if this is appropriate to your world or not.  On my world, I would have invited you back to my home by now.  For whatever companionship you feel comfortable with.}  Well, there's a vague statement, and from the feel of Kían's mind, it could mean anything from sitting around watching tri-vids over popcorn, to climbing into bed and spending the night there doing anything but sleeping.
    {I hope that's not out of line on this world.  I don't know your social rules and what is and isn't appropriate.  Please correct me if I've said something wrong.}

Gar Logan has posed:
    There is a bit of silence from Gar as some of what Kian tells him registers.
    'Whatever companionship you feel comfortable with.'
    No way that couldn't be taken a variety of different ways.  It could mean having a meal together.  Watching a show on TV.  Playing video games.  Just chatting.  Reading.  Websurfing.  Sleeping together.
    Probably no coincidence these things are running through Gar's mind right as that 'feel' from Kian's thoughts surface.
    In the end, Gar determines, {Let's go back and see, okay?}  If something happens… maybe both of them need it in some form.  Gar has certainly attempted to be patient and wait for Vorpal, for Terry, but weakness is only human.
    Maybe not just a human thing, either.