Keaton & Natalie
Natalie looked up. The girl she didn’t know the name of was asking her if she was okay, and introducing itself. Natalie sat up straight, and cleared her throat. ”Yeah, I’m fine. Just made a fool out of myself on the way back. Didn’t the younger of the two staff have....kind of a thousand yard stare? His eyes looked like mine. I asked about it and he told me to mind my own business. Anyway. I’m Natalie. Ellis.” she replied, reaching over to offer her hand.
“Keaton Plasse,” Keaton said, taking the offered hand after a split second of hesitation. This was the girl with super strength, after all. “And yeah, he looked like he’d seen some things, but he’s a member of The Promise’s disciplinary force, so that’s probably natural. You tried talking to him though? I didn’t bother. We were here to get interviewed, so he probably just wanted to maintain some professional distance,” she said, shrugging. “I’m sure you’re fine though. You meant well, even if your question was a little nosy.”
Nosy? Was Natalie being nosy? Maybe she was. She wanted to share her thoughts with others and find out about them. After two years of no normal conversations, she was in a sense, craving them. But at the same time, she was very bad at them. Natalie didn’t reply, just looked a little sheepish and stared at her hands which were folded on her lap.
The intercom came on overhead, announcing that the four in the waiting room were free to go. However much Keaton was relieved to hear that she’d been cleared, she still felt a stab of alarm. Amelia—why hadn’t she been cleared? Should they wait for her, or was this something more?
The nearest guard betrayed nothing, and the hallway remained empty, as far as Keaton could tell. But, if Amelia really got detained, she doubted that the police would let them all leave. They were witnesses, in one way or another, so maybe her interview was just dragging out. That could happen; Amelia hadn’t exactly been in a talking mood the last time Keaton had seen her.
Natalie saw that Keaton was still looking down the hall. She sussed that Keaton was wondering why Amelia wasn’t with them. Natalie leaned forward again and spoke in a hushed voice. “Remember. Amelia said she saw something weird in a classroom on the first day. I think we’re all clear, but what she knows might be helpful information in catching the killer.”
“True. I didn’t say anything about her telling us about that,” Keaton said, her voice dropping as well as she looked to Natalie. “Did you?”
“I left out the actual details but I told them she said something. It’s ultimately her decision how much she tells them. But we’re innocent. It’s not like we need to lie in order to protect each other. The truth is on our side. I’m just going to keep telling it if we’re asked any more questions by staff.”
Keaton stared at her for a second. Natalie was being practical, but was there a shade of willingness to hang others out to dry in there? At the moment, Keaton felt a certain loyalty to this group, having spent the last eventful day or so together, but that was in comparison to the loyalty she felt to the system aboard The Promise. Whatever system was running this ship, it was neither one Keaton had lived with on Earth nor one she’d wanted to be subjected to. That didn’t mean she owed loyalty to her fellow parahumans, but she certainly felt an air of a us-and-them situation, so Natalie’s words were a blunt reminder of reality.
“That makes sense,” Keaton said. “I deflected instead of lying. I doubt they’d let me out as fast if I had lied.”
Natalie wondered why Keaton would need to deflect. Between everyone leaving the crime scene, to Lynn’s paranoia, to even Keaton’s apparent skepticism of the staff, Natalie was starting to wonder if there was something they knew that she didn’t. Their paranoia was almost giving her a little herself. Natalie was no expert on anything. Person A beats a dog for two years and then person B gives it a bath and a treat, the dog is inevitably going to trust person B. But was it right to do so?
Before she could communicate any of this to Keaton, Archie asked the group as a collective if they wanted to get something to eat. Natalie was admittedly scared of being so close to Lynn for that long but she did want to ease the bad blood between them, however it got this bad. Natalie nodded at Archie, and walked behind him and Lynn as they left the waiting room.
“Food sounds good,” Keaton said, glancing at what was left of the donuts Archie was eating. Whether or not she was actually hungry didn’t even matter—she just wanted to get out of here. Maybe try and take her mind off this all while she was at it, if that was even possible.
At Lynn’s question, Keaton looked at the girl, her eyes widening slightly when she saw the smoke curling off her hair, which was now a mix of bright red and blue. Her powers included changing her hair color, apparently, but why? Was it a completely separate power? Was she one of those people who’d won the power lottery and drawn a pack of abilities instead of just one?
Keaton made a mental note to ask about that later, preferably in a way that didn’t set Lynn off. “Breakfast or brunch, so pancakes?” she said, standing from her seat. “There’s a waffle house around here right?”