MD #186: Conflicting Compulsions
Log Title
Summary: Emily tries to talk to Atticus, the results are quite demonstrative, for her at least.
Date: 11/10/2017
Related Logs: After Making Friends Before Mind Games
Emily Atticus 
Recovery Ward - Deck 3 - Battlestar Orion
About half the size of the Medical Centre, the Recovery Ward has fewer beds to allow space for those who are going through recovery. Rather than the drab gray of most of the centre, the walls in here have been done in a neutral creme colour. The beds are a little thicker and the blankets are actually present. There are a few clocks and the only other decoration are a couple of flatscreens that show muted movies from the ship's library, though tablets are common. Behind each bed is a small touchscreen for tracking vitals and is linked to Medical personnel tablets. A couple stacks of recent magazines are available near the door for nurses to pass around, too.

The fussing earlier did rouse Emily but she took some time before coming over. She had been speaking with someone for a little while and there was, what Atticus knows by sound, some frightened whispering and tears from the Lady. Afterwards she took some time to compose herself and came over with a mug of tea and a glass of water with a straw. She's changed into scrubs and comes around the curtain to see him all secured, her female MP standing nearby and keeping an eye on the two, along with Atticus' personal guard. "Sir Atticus," she greets quietly.

Atticus is reading, has been since the Master at Arms left, bar a quick break when an edible meal was provided. The addition of the tablet seems to have allowed him to settle again, the morning not having been comfortable given Emily's close proximity, but he seems entirely able to lose himself in a book. When he hears her address him he's half tempted just to ignore her, to keep his eyes on the tablet and keep reading, but her very presence makes his tense and there's no hiding that physical reaction. So instead he kills the screen and turns his head slowly to look at her. The blood from earlier has been cleaned from his face, but the blackeye is developing nicely. He takes a few moments to just look at her, do what he can to settle himself, then says almost calmly, "you know you have killed me, yes?"

She comes over closer and settles on the stool. The water is placed by his bed so he can reach it and she sips her tea with both hands. "I have done no such thing. I have not killed either of us. These people brought us here without any time to consider what it would do to our ability to go home. And as I've spoken to one of their leaders, getting us home would be incredibly hard at the moment. For better or worse, Sir Atticus, we are stuck here together. I offer no apology for it as I am without fault in how we arrived."

It's an instinctive move, rather than a conscious once, but Atticus pulls himself away from Emily as she sits. "I am to be interrogated, then sent back," he states, given that's the last thing he was told, "since you have decided to turn traitor and I was tasked with your charge…" he trails off, shaking his head slowly at her. "I am a dead man, and you have killed me." It's only a subtle emphasis, but he wants her to know that he knows why the King will no doubt take his life for the magnitude of the failure. "I have nothing else to say to you," he closes with, and turns as if to start reading again, but he's clearly agitated again, however much he tries to smother it.

"Interrogated and sent back." Emily sighs and looks down. There's a low shake of her head while she listens to the rest. "The King may see it that way, but Queen Madilyn will not." Her gaze lifts to look back. "You were to safely escort me to my wedding. We did not arrive. You were a dead man before we even left Picon. Do you think that the Queen would let this dishonour on the House stand? Our word to my future husband and they planned the wedding, and we did not appear. The damage is already done, Sir Atticus. You can call me whatever names you believe are appropriate, but you agreed with everything I said before you found out I planned to stay. I have not lied to you. I knew that you were going to be killed on return to Benning when we were brought aboard."

"My wounds, and those of my men, show clearly what happened," Atticus replies, flicking his eyes back up to her. "A delayed wedding is a problem but not such an insurmountable one was the bride defecting to the tyrants. Turning her back on her family, those who took her in, cared for her, made her a Princess. Were you just there to grab what you could? Were you ever loyal to those who showed you such kindness? They didn't care about your birth, and they didn't care my father was a tyrant, they took us both in, and how do you repay them?"

"The wounds of your men show that you were attacked, yes. They also show the failure to protect your charge, Sir Atticus." Her tea is sipped as she crosses her legs. "A delayed wedding is a problem and a slight. You are not nobility so I will spare you the complexities of intermarriage of the royal class, but your death is not anyone's fault." The rest does hit her right in the heart, though. Ow. The edge of a smile she had now flickers through the pain and cracks into a sad frown as she looks down. "It is not what you think." Yeah, his words wounded her. "None of what we have there is what we think we have. Do you know what they were going to do to me when I arrived for the wedding?" Those sad eyes look at him. "Do you know what happens to a woman when they cleanse her for her wedding? Do you really know?"

"They are prepared for serving their husband," Atticus replies, in a manner that's almost like he's reciting from a textbook, were textbooks still a thing, "do you think that wrong? That she should not wish to show her gratitude to the man who will take care of her? Feed her, clothe her, house her? It is how things are!" His agitation grows as he speaks, but he can't help it, her very presence is making his skin crawl. "I don't pretend to understand the pressure that royal duties puts on you, our family, but I know that I owe them everything, I am I not selfish enough to forget that."

"That's a very clean way of putting it, Sir Atticus. It implies there is no bloodshed." The tea is settled on a table nearby, out of his reach, and she looks back at him and stiffens her upper lip. "I think it wrong, yes." Her right hand starts trembling and she uses her left to hold it in place. "The person they were? They die. I would be killed. I would be changed into my husband's perfect slave. I would have no will to resist if he deemed it so. There would be nothing of me left. Just a mouthpiece and used for making children and pleasing my husband." She holds her gaze on him. "And even now I am beginning to realize that this has started to happen to me. That I have been made to be someone else, unable to speak about things I want to speak about. Would you still be so loyal to House Benning if you were to find out that the King or Queen had ordered you cleansed without reason. Just one morning perhaps they did not like the way you greeted them. A Cleric comes to see you and makes you more loyal and obedient. You no longer have the choice to remain with House Benning. They simply make sure you could never consider leaving, no matter how badly they might treat you. Would you enjoy that? Perhaps if you had a family, they take your children and then make you forget you ever had children? Would that be appropriate for you?"

Atticus listens, or tries to at least, there’s' a couple of bits in Emily's speech that he's clearly deeply unhappy about. In the end though he looks at her not with anger, but almost with pity. "What did they do to you?" he asks, "to have twisted your mind so. Have their Clerics warped you so badly that you can not see what is happening to you? They're putting ideas in your head, ideas that lead to chaos, war, all the things the Machines have removed for us." His tone almost gets to a point where he's genuinely concerned for her, but then she tries to imply that he might even consider leaving his position and then his demeanour changes again. It's a quick change, too, not the gradual, growing concern of before. "I am a knight of House Benning," he says, pulling himself up as if he's trying to stand to something approximating attention, but clearly can't, "I am proud to serve the King and Queen." Then, a second or two later he relaxes again, blinks once to Emily and says, "maybe one day, when you've finally seen the horrors these people commit, maybe then you'll understand why we need the Machines, what they do for us."

"If they had done something to me, would it have been worse than being dead? I'm not about to call House Benning vile or creatures of derision. They are my family, Atticus. They were my family before they were yours so come off your tall saddle and know your place." There's a touch of venom in her words. "When and if I choose to join these people, then I will abandon my station. Until then you will respect me and my family. Or are you now deciding which orders you can follow? You do not get that choice so you will speak to me with respect, not treat me as a damaged child." She huffs a breath and looks away for a moment, then back. "Answer me this, Knight: If the machines protect us from war then why do we require knights and militia? Why does House Longmire probe our borders where we have mysterious raids, and the machines do nothing? Where are the Clerics to protect us from this anarchy?" Where is your God, now?

As Emily flips into full on Angry Princess mode there's only one way Atticus can respond and that's to abase himself for overstepping his station. He starts to, there's clear contrition and capitulation on his features for a couple of seconds, before that behavioural pattern runs slap bang into another one. She's a traitor to the house, he is loyal to the house, he must destroy her. Needless to say the two do not sit well together, and he gets restive again, enough to have hi guard look over and satisfy herself that the restraints are holding. "The machines bring peace," he says, closing his eyes in case not being able to see her will break the conflicting compulsions inside him. Then, when it doesn't, he's forced to resort to "get away from me!" Followed by several muttered "I am a knight of House Benning, I am proud to serve the King and Queen"

Emily watches the conflicting emotions and how it all crashes together on his face. There's more sadness, even as he yells. She slowly rises from her stool and takes a step closer. She might be in scrubs, but she holds her frown and lifts her chin as she looks down at him. "As am I. I take great satisfaction out of what I have helped do for House Benning, Knight. Our people are stronger and safer for it. Including you. I am safer and stronger, in kind because of our people and you. But should I choose to leave, then it will be of my own decision. You should consider why you cannot resolve your thoughts on the matter of following my orders, Knight. You will listen and obey." All in full view of the MP's. "I would guess that if you were in full control of yourself and not steered and controlled by the Clerics, then you would have no problem just avoiding my orders. Are you proud to serve? Or are you being forced to feel that pride?" Her tea is taken and she prepares to depart.

It's a good thing that the restraints used in medical are gentler than an MP's cuffs, or Atticus would probably have done a reasonable degree of damage to his wrists by now. They're not coming loose though, and probably also preventing him from doing any damage to either Emily or himself. He listens, he tries to obey, he must obey, but he can't obey, he mustn't obey. It's a struggle against himself that is briefly so violent that it shuts down all other conscious processes in his head while it tries to resolve itself. He simply can't resolve the conflict, so he starts instinctively muttering the litanies again, "the Machines bring peace," followed by, "my father was a tyrant," followed by "I am a knight of House Benning, I am proud to serve the King and Queen," over and over and over.

Emily holds her gaze on Atticus until he fades into his muttering and she looks down. Her right hand won't stop shaking and it aches a little. Cradling it in her left, she turns to look to her MP, "I trust you will report this to Gunree Lleufer. I'm sorry it came to that. I think I could use a little time to myself." As she moves away, she looks over her shoulder to him and her neutral expression cracks and her heart breaks for him. She knows there's more tears coming and she knows she can't have him see that right now.

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