5392/Theory and Practice are Two Different Things

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Theory and Practice are Two Different Things
Date of Scene: 01 March 2021
Location: E05 - Kian's Dorm - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Kían needed to be reminded that he's not broken and doesn't need to be repaired, he's fine as he is… or will be when he sobers up.
Cast of Characters: Kian, Gar Logan, Terry O'Neil

Kian has posed:
    In simple fact, Kían has been damned scarce in the wake of recent events.
    He did not have to act against Terry's doppel.  He did against Gar's, and then against Nadia's, and he simply hasn't been seen much around the Tower since.  The security system reports that he's mostly been in his room, with occasional forays into the air, none of which lasted much more than half an hour and resulted in an immediate return to his room.
    He hasn't even been seen raiding the fridge for purple Kool-Ade, which is really uncharacteristic of him.
    This may or may not be worrisome to his friends.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Fingering the copper phoenix pendant in his room, Gar was in thought while going over some social media posts, leaving a few comments, following what a few other celebrities were up to.  It could chew up a little time, and at some point he asked Terry over, or Vorpal, whoever he felt like being at the time.
    "Dude, I haven't seen Kian around a whole lot lately.  I checked some of the cams and he's gone out flying a little bit, but not for very long and he hasn't been hanging out anywhere but his room," he explains, after tucking his phone away in a pocket of a pair of baggy basketball shorts.  "Maybe we should go see what's going on."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "It sounds like there's something going on in his penthouse.  He normally doesn't do that, and he may be in a mood, potentially.  Have you done anything to upset him?" the red-headed human asks.  Because he couldn't possibly have done anything to upset Kian!  Or… could he?
    Taking point, Terry leads the dynamic duo to the very gates of the cage.  A few knocks on the door, and Terry says, "Kiiiian.  It's your favorite redhead!  And some green guy is hanging around me for some reason.  May we come in?"

Kian has posed:
    "Yis, it iss not locked."  Even taking Kían's ongoing difficulties with English into account, his voice doesn't sound normal.
    Upon opening the door, it might take a moment to spot the birdman.  He's not at his desk, and he's not at his study table.  Where he is, is flat on his back on his bed, staring at the ceiling, with an empty bottle on its side on the nightstand, and another in his hand about half full—looks like the bourbon Colette gave him for his "Earthday", and it looks about half empty.
    "c'Rhys'yw, now what?  Iss there another doppel out there?"
    He does not sound wholly sober.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan gives Terry enough of a nudge in the side at the description of himself that it might be enough to make him catch his balance.  "Dork," he says in a hushed whisper before the voice from inside bids them enter.  Before they do, he catches Terry's attention to share a moderately confused look, a brow rising in an obvious way.  "Something's off."
    They head in, Gar leading the way, and it takes a few moments to locate him over on the bed, the two bottles clear to see.  "Uh.  I think he's had a little too much," he mostly whispers to Terry before speaking at a more normal level.  "Hey, bird buddy.  Noooo, not that I've heard.  Are you all right, man?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "He doesn't have a little Captain in him, he's got the entire Spanish Armada in there," Terry quickly whispers, before following in Gar's footsteps and coming in.  "Hey pretty bird, it looks like you're staring at the ceiling.  Are you thinking of painting a fresco?" he quips, "You seem like you've had quite a day."  Pause.  "Days."
    He makes his way closer to the bed and glances at Gar, then back at Kian.  "We were kinda worried 'cause we haven't seen you around."

Kian has posed:
    "I haf been enjoying my gif's," he says, shaking the half-empty bottle he got from Colette.  "I haf already finished enjoyin' the one from Har-li."
    With perhaps surprising ease, he sits up, and then rolls over onto his front.  "Come here an' haf a drink wit' me," he offers, raising the bottle of bourbon.  "I am drinkin' to try to forget that I haf jus' hurt two people even though I haf had a good reason.  You two shoul' drink to celebrate an Eart' year together!"  He waves the bottle wobblingly.

Gar Logan has posed:
    "I can see this," Gar answers Kian's talk of the gifts, and with a quick shake of the head to Terry he nods his way afterward toward the Akiar, approaching to accept the bottle as if he's going to take a swig from it.  Instead, he moves it off to another part of the room.
    He explains, "We've got some plans, but they can wait for later.  Right now, we want to make sure you're doing all right.  We all had to do some things we don't like doing, but that's the thing.  We had to do them to keep it from getting worse.  They're supposed to be getting help to, I guess, cure them of this stuff, and they're gonna be sent back home where maybe they can help make things right.  Isn't that a good thing?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "A very good thing.  But let's talk, yes?"
    Terry sits himself down by Kian, cross-legged, and leans his elbows on his knees, chin in his hands.  "You said you hurt someone… maybe telling us what happened can get a load off your chest?"  The redhead tilts his head.  "And maybe we should get you some water.  Gar, maybe some water for our friend who has been drinking a lot of not water?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían does not put up a fight over the bottle… but then, he's clearly had more than enough.  "It does not feel like it iss a good thing," he says, laying his head down on the mattress.  "More than the double of Gar tavárik'h.  I haf also help stop Nadia's.  An' I haf had to hurt both."
    He looks up at Terry, eyes wide.  "I said I coul' an' I did, Terry tavarik'h, but I had no idea what it woul' take out of me.  I am… I feel poison inside.  Like somethin' is burnin' at my core."
    His head hits the mattress with a muffled thud.  "Iss this what it iss like to be human?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan takes up a spot at the foot of the bed, leaving enough room for both Kian and Terry after heading over to a sink in the room for a cup to fill.  Any signs of his joking manner are non-existent right now.  This is not the time for it.  "So this is kind of the hard part about this stuff.  Sometimes you don't have much of a choice how you deal with a problem, and you have to do something you don't want to do just to keep someone from doing worse things.  My other, uh, self, taunted Terry into almost killing him and he would have done to the rest of you what he tried to do to me if he could have.  Yeah, it sucked having to do that to that version of me, but we were able to keep from killing him, or Terry's, or Nadia's.  That's the best outcome."
    Now he hands the water over, helping steady it if necessary.  "I know where you're from it's really peaceful and stuff, and you should feel fortunate you didn't have to deal with a bunch of the stuff we do here.  But we're not perfect.  I mess up in some way every day, but there's also a lot I get right.  But… take it from me, because I've been there.  It's okay to feel like you don't know what to do next, and it's okay to feel down.  Sooner or later you get through it, and it helps to have others around who know what it's like.  So, yeah, I guess that's a human thing."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "It is very peaceful, from what you say, Kian.  But you have to understand that in the grand scheme of the universe, your world is a little bubble that is very rare and… well.  Very sheltered.  You look at Starfire's history, and what happened in her world… and many other aliens have similar stories.  The Guardians talked about whole planets of crime…."
    He sighs.  "What I'm trying to get at is that the world is neither good nor bad, it simply is, it is people that make the choices that result in good or bad outcomes.  And sometimes you have to cause hurt to prevent something bad from coming out on top, and you've got no other choice.
    "Hoping for a life in which nothing unpleasant or hurtful might happen is… nice, I guess?  But it's not really aligned with reality.  Sometimes, things are going to hurt.  The important part is that the hurt heals over, and that you don't let it fester."

Kian has posed:
    Kían accepts the water, peers at it a moment, then drinks half of it.  He looks at neither tavárik.  "I thin'… I thin' I under-stan' that.  I wan' to under-stan' that.  An' I haf tol' you, Terry tavárik'h, that I coul' use my rhy'thar agains' the doppels."
    He drains off the rest of the water and stares into the cup.  "I did not know how dif-ren' knowin´ that I coul', an' actually doin´ it, woul' be.  I haf use my rhy'thar to hurt others, an' even though it was for a good reason, I still feel all twist up."
    He upends the cup again, as if trying to get more water out of it.  "An' if we fin' my people, they will wan' to redac' me."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan gives time for Terry to get some points across by going off for some more water, since Kian looks as if he's in need of a refill.  "He's right, you know," he says of Terry's information.  "And most places I've ever heard of… violence is always a danger.  You're lucky your world doesn't have that, but that makes it harder to deal with places that do."
    Sitting back down, he exhales.  "If you're gonna be here for a long time, there's just gonna have to be some getting used to it.  You might decide that being part of all this here," he says, gesturing toward the Tower and them, "isn't for you, and… that'd be okay, but if you found another place to live we'd definitely visit you.  I've seen what you can do and I know you wouldn't use those powers if you didn't have to.  That's pretty much me, too.  That's why that other me was so dangerous.  He didn't have anything holding him back."
    Sharing a glance toward Terry again, he says with more conviction, "If I ever meet any of your people, I'd stick up for you.  I'd tell them what kind of help you've been, and if they still didn't listen to reason, we'd…."  He waves a hand, stalling out on what to say.  "We'd figure something out."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    And then, insert sound of a record scratch, because Terry stops his train of thought in his tracks and focuses intensely on Kian.
    "…can you go into a little more detail on what you mean by them… redacting you, Kian?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían answers Terry without looking him in the eyes: "They woul' go into my min', and remove what-ever there was that let me hur' the other Gar an' the other Nadia.  Unless they agree I had a good reason to do it.  An' I do not know if they woul' agree.  They might."
    He sighs heavily.  "An' they might not."
    His head hits the mattress again and he's quiet a while.
    No, not quiet.  Just very quietly crying.  Muffledly, the statement floats upward: "I do not wan' to go home.  What iss wron' wit' me?  I wan' to see my family an' my tenár an' I still do not wan' to go home because they will redac' me or make me rhyták or both an' I do not wan' either to happen!"

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan frowns, sharing a glance with Terry as he keeps hold of the water until the point Kian is ready for it.  "Then… like I said, we'd stand up for you.  They could go into my mind and read it if they need more proof, and if none of that was good enough… well, I wouldn't let them take that part away from you, because that's wrong.  That is part of who you are now."
    This, he sounds very certain of, whether he understands Akiar society or not.  This is him speaking from his sense of right and wrong, his set of morals from his perspective as a human and a hero.
    The crying leads to him setting the water down near the empty bottle, and he moves over to… to do… what?  Hands pause, then begin to gently stroke over Kian's wings and feathers.  "Shhh.  Just… let it out.  It's okay.  We're here."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    And Terry leans in to wrap his arm around Kian's waist, to allow the bird-man to lean into him, as they both comfort him in complementary fashion.  "I will not allow them to redact you.  That's simply out of the question, and they'll have to go over my dead body to do it.  Which they won't, because they find violence unacceptable," the redhead smiles a little.
    "Think about this.  This is a valid point that can be made.  This practice of redacting may work in the hot-house environment of your world.  You are lucky that you have not been found by hostile civilizations, like the Warzoon who are intent on conquest.  How, exactly, do you think this practice has prepared your world for what lies beyond?  Kian, they have been rendered defenseless.  You might well be the first Akiar to have come into contact with the dangerous side of the galaxy… and are uniquely poised to warn your people that total pacifism means that they are in danger of being snuffed out."
    He tilts his head.  "And what good is a virtue that works against you and benefits the bad guy?  Some logic is flawed there… but you might be a little too drunk for that part of the conversation."

Kian has posed:
    "I do not know."  Kían's voice is still muffled by the mattress.  "I do not think I am broken, not like the doubles were.  An' I haf been tol' that what I did iss somethin' I shoul' haf been prepare to do."
    He finally looks up, propping himself up on his elbows.  "So I know in my head that what I did was the right thin'.  Why does it still feel not right?"
    His fist comes down on the bed.  "No.  I know why it feels not right.  Because I haf never use my power agains' anyone before."
    He closes his eyes, arching his back into Gar's hand, leaning into Terry.  "I… do not feel clean."

Gar Logan has posed:
    "Because…" Gar starts to say, looking toward Terry after nodding to his own words to defend Kian and what he did to help.  "Yeah.  If they'd do nothing to defend themselves if they were ever attacked… I mean, that'd just be giving up.  They'd get crushed.  Or they'd realize what you did, and fight back."
    He feels the reactions from the offered comfort and continues his end of it.  "What helps you feel clean?" is all he can ask.  Already, he's probably got an idea of what that might involve, but if it's something they determine Kian's too drunk to safely do… well.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Kian… answer me this question."  Terry tries to meet the bird-man's eyes, leaning close to him.  "You know that I like men.  Now the question I have to ask you is this—is that wrong?
    "I know, the question might seem stupid but… go with it.  I have a point."

Kian has posed:
    {You are already doing it.  You're here with me, not rejecting me for what I did, not thinking I'm broken and need to be fixed.  Even though there's a little corner of me that does think that.}
    Terry's question, however, shatters Kían's slowly relaxing state of mind: that's not a stupid question, that's a nonsensical one.  The surprise the birdman feels achoes through the mindlink, however faint he's trying to keep it.  "I can not imagine what poin' there might be.  Who cares who someone loves?  An' you may haf notice I rather like men my self."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan nods slowly to what Kian tells him through the mental link, but he grows quiet while the redhead's query is fielded.  It leads to him looking Terry's way with his brows knitting closer together, waiting to see what sorts of logic are being used here.  "Yeah, what're you getting at?" he wonders, while staying focused on the wings.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Well, what I'm getting at… is that believe it or not, many religions in this world have condemned it as immoral, dirty, unclean.  There's a whole lot of people who grow up accepting that, even when they themselves are attracted to their own gender.  But even then their natures can't be overcome, and many of them will go out and have encounters.  Or fall in love.  And when they do… they feel dirty, unclean.  Like they're broken."
    Terry glances at Kian.  "I'm not saying that violence is good and wonderful, but I am saying that sometimes it is the only right thing to do.  But you might want to consider that your very strong reaction might not be natural in and of itself, but learned.  It's perfectly fine to find violence distasteful—but maybe you should think about where your own distaste ends and the learned response from your culture begins?"

Kian has posed:
    "I… no, I do not under-stan'.  I do not really choose who I love.  It iss somethin' that happen."  A little flutter of affection flickers through the mental contact.  "I did choose to do what I did.  I coul' haf choose not to at any time.  You did not need my rhy'thar to deal wit' your doppel, Terry.  An' maybe you did not need me for yours, Gar.  An' maybe Nadia did not need me either.  But there iss no way to know that now."
    He bites his lower lip.  "But the poin' iss, I did choose to do what I did an' I coul' haf not done it.  I do not feel like I choose to love Raká, or you two.  I feel like I haf to."
    He shakes his head.  "I am… it iss… nnh.  It iss like my mind is fighting wit' itse'f.  Like tryin' to believe two thin's at the same time that can not bot' be true."

Gar Logan has posed:
    "I think what he's saying is no matter what you were taught, there's stuff out there that goes beyond what others told you," Gar says, maintaining enough closeness so as to remind both Kian and Terry that he isn't going anywhere just yet.  "You grew up used to hearing certain things, and whether it's something else in your world or, now, on a planet you weren't even used to, you have to adapt to what you feel and what you deal with.  So, kind of, you're evolving in a way."
    Shaking his head, he adds, "It's not about whether we could have stopped all of them with or without you.  It's that you were there, and you helped, and we did it as a team.  That's because you're part of the Titans.  You could have gone back here and hid every time there was trouble because you were taught that violence is bad, but you didn't.  And sometimes these kinds of things can be true at the same time."

Kian has posed:
    "That iss part of the prob-lem," Kían says, slumping a little.  "I was tol' it was not impossible to haf to use my rhy'thar the way I did.  I never had to on my worl', even though we practice it.  It was all jus' theory."
    He looks for the cup of water.  "An' no one thought I woul' ever haf to actually do it," he says hoarsely.  "That iss what I am not prepare for.  I know what I did was the right thin' to do.  I think I know that."
    Very, very quietly, he adds, "An' I feel awful about it anyway.  I do n-not under… under-st… nnh."  He trails off, planting his face into the mattress again.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Sometimes we feel awful in the short term for doing something that needed to be done.  But in the long term, we come to see that it was the right thing…."  He reaches over and strokes Kian's hair in what he hopes is a soothing manner.  "You're perturbed and you've been sloshing.  Maybe we should get you settled down and have you take a nap… and watch out for alcohol poisoning.  You can snuggle with us, maybe?  That should help you feel a little better—what do you think?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan clears his throat.  "Yeah, uh, it's probably not the best time to be thinking too hard about things when I can not only see how much you had to drink, but smell it too," Gar puts out there as a thought.  "But if they did warn you there might be times you needed to do this, and now you did… well, you also saw it can be for good reasons.  It helped keep things from getting worse."
    Touch of wing, of feathers, again.  "So I think Terry's right.  You should try to sleep it off and you can always talk about it more later if you want.  And not everything is gonna be understood right away.  That's okay."

Kian has posed:
    "I haf not had that much to drink," Kían protests—and truth to tell, his mental contact is fuzzy, but it's not sloppy.  Alien metabolism.  Terry may recall that his mindtouch after coffee was much more disorganized.
    But yeah, he should not go flying.  Fortunately, he seems to have no intention on doing do.
    He even almost smiles a little.  "It help a lot that you do not thin' I am broken.  It help me believe a little more that I am not.  It iss… it iss maybe the shock of knowin' I can do what I did.  Theory an' practice are two diff'ren' things."
    He sits up a little, and spreads his wings, inviting his friends to curl up underneath.  "Yis, please… I feel a little better, but I do not want to be alone, not jus' yet."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "You're not broken, Kian.  If you haven't broken from diving into my mind, nothing can," Terry jokes, and curls up under one of Kian's wings, snuggling up as much as he can.  "And don't worry, we'll be here for as long as you need us.  Longer still, probably."  And then the redhead gives Kian a light peck on the lips before settling down.  "Gar will stick around if you feed him, too."