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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
We'll Always Have Paris, Part V



Character(s): the only remaining Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Epilogue
Title of Post: Scab Jack

Jack watched, detatched, as the people who were his teammates mourned him. The best part of him.
He could see things now about the people around him that he hadn't before. Bonds between friends, subtle glances of support... even the glow of great souls. Gifts, he thought. From the late Jack Paris.
Jack wasn't even sure if he should even keep the name. Though for three years he had believed himself to be Jack Paris--even now, in the face of a much stronger self-image than he could imagine, he still did--it seemed fitting that Jack Paris should have died today. A sacrifice so great (and only Jack knew how great it really had been) deserved recognition, not a pale shadow of a great man dragging on.
He saw Ebreth and the Rat moving about, person to person, and he kept thinking of books. He wanted to offer his support to the man he now knew too late was his friend, but he could see the way people avoided resting their gazes too long upon him, and knew that right now he was a grim reminder of what they had lost.
It's not me, he told himself. I'm not to blame... but I'm also not what people need right now. Give it time.
He wasn't going to let what had happened to his Other take him down the same path. He would be here, he would find his place in this group, and he would go on.
But not this instant.
Now was the time for grief, and Jack Paris mourned his own death with the best of them.

Character(s): The Rat and Jack
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: WAHP: Aftermath
Title of Post: Back Where it All Began

Jack sat at the perimeter of the group. Feeling isolated and alien.
"Thank you!" said a squeak at his feet.
Jack looked down. It was the Rat with a scroll.
"What have you got there?"
The Rat nosed the scroll forward. Jack took it and rolled it open.
"By Avogadro’s Constant. The Johhn calculation. You solved the Johhn calculation."

Character(s): Lady Margolis
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Morale Problems Of Various Sorts

"Thank you, allies," said Lady Margo, her light eyes skimming the group. "I see that two of your number have not returned with you. Is there anything we can do?"
"I'm afraid not," whispered Khyrisse, her eyes brimming.
"We're still hoping Marty's okay," sighed Ebreth. "He went through the Passage before--it shut."
Lady Margo nodded. "Then accept our condolences," she said, "and our thanks. I can provide transport for you. I've been to your homeland by ship a few times; I know the way." She smiled a little nostalgically. "I'll never forget the look on Lord Silverhammer's face when I took that asteroid field... ah, but I digress. Let me fetch my starship."
"Yourself?"
"Yes, myself," she snapped back at Asinus. "Once a Paris, always a Paris--and I need to see things in order before I have any intention of washing my hands of it, ass."
"What about the flarkin' space army?"
"We're making headway," she said. "Apparently Lord Hunter's fleet suffered a substantial amount of damage recently."
"Yeah, bastard," muttered Rani.
"They're also suffering from morale problems, it seems. Also, the recapture of the third Pyramid of Light will make a difference in the balance of power. But thank you for your concern, Asinus, it's sweet." She rumpled his ears with some affection.
"Hey!" he protested.

***


"I'm not working here anymore. I hear that Lord Hunter drinks from the toilet."
"Ew."

Character(s): Asinus Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Epilogue
Title of Post: Even A Donkey Can Weep

"That was the flarkin' best you could do? A crappy useless bolt of energy?"
What did you want, o mortal ass? I'm only the angel of a lesser god. I don't understand math, I'm the Fist of Morvon!
"Fist of Moron, more... ah, hell. Forget it. Thanks for the help."
Asinus reached his head around and yanked on the gunstrap with his teeth. The Arbiter pulse cannon slid off his back and clattered to the floor of Margo's docking bay.
He wandered over to where Khyrisse was busy gathering her people for the journey.
"How're you holding up, kiddo?" he asked.
"How do you think, Asinus," she sighed.
"Yeah. I know." Asinus paused to blink away his tears. "Me too. You go to Tor. I'll get the rest of the trip home organized."
Khyrisse nodded.
Asinus headed over to where Vickie and Amatsu were watching over a sobbing Mina.. Asinus found that he didn't even have the words. He just stood before her and hung his head in her lap. After a minute, her arms wrapped around him and he felt his fur wet where her head rested.
"There's always tomorrow," he whispered. "Believe it or not."

Character(s): Flicker; Rani; Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: The Long Road Home
Title of Post: Reason To Believe

Rauvin had administered a mild sedative to Mina, who was having trouble calming down after hearing the news about her mother. She was resting more easily now, as the starship cruised effortlessly through the darkness. Jack held her hand. Mina had, of course, known Jack before his math had diverged, and so the presence of this Jack comforted her as much as the last. Rauvin was tending to Ebreth's broken ribs now; Ebreth looked out the window at the stars.
"Are you all right?" Flicker said quietly to Khyrisse.
She just sighed.
"Continuity helps," he said. "You were Janther's friend; now you're mine. Get to know the next Jack. He won't be the same, but a new link helps you appreciate the chain." He smiled a still little smile. "Spoken as a link."
"You're our underrated Sunfighter, Flicker," sighed Khyrisse, squeezing his arm thankfully.
"Thanks," he smiled back at her.

***


Rani was sitting in one of the floating chairs on the observatory, one leg hiked up beneath her. "Hi," she said, without turning around, as Orlen entered. "Wow, you're not radiating angst like cheap perfume. Hey, have a seat."
He did. "I think death is a pretty good reason for angst," he pointed out.
"Yeah, I know," she said, turning her head to look at the blond musician, and tapped two of her fingers on her temple, just above her delicately pointed ear. "But you know and I know he wasn't really there, Orlen."
"Do we?" said Orlen thoughtfully, looking out at the stars. "I'm not so sure. What are we but the sum of other people's feelings for us? Would I really be there, if no one saw me, if no one believed in me?"
Rani cocked her head at him, a pursed little smile sitting on her face. "You a poet?"
"I am--a thinker."
"Well," she said, "maybe you're right, and maybe you're not. I'm just a detective." She shrugged. "But it's been a long day for me too, and I'm happy to just hang in the forest for a while with no one hearing me fall, if you know what I mean."
"That sounds lovely," agreed Orlen, and looked out at the stars.

***


"Hey, Jack," said Ebreth.
"You--don't have to call me that," he said, "if you don't want."
"I call myself Ebreth," he shrugged. "Listen, Jack--the first Jack I mean--Khyrisse said you got some things from him, some emotions and things, when he--died."
"Yes," said Jack, uncertainly.
"Maybe you could--" Ebreth rubbed the back of his neck, tired lines around his startling blue eyes. "It's going to sound so fucked, but at the end there I could have sworn there was something--peaceful, in his eyes. Almost like, he finally believed he was real, or something. Almost like he knew who he was."
"I think," whispered Jack, "he did."
Ebreth made a long sigh, like a man who'd been holding his breath. "Thank you," he said, very softly, and put his hand on the viewscreen window.

Character(s): The RP
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: The Long Journey Home
Title of Post: Just Like the Cover of This Month's Scientific A,merican

"Hey, everyone! Come take a look at this!"
The viewscreen flickered to life as Lady Margolis adjusted several buttons and dials on the control panel. "Our long range probes have picked up some images from a rather distant sphere. Check it out."
A starfield appeared on the screen. In the foreground, or what seemed like 'foreground,' two large, sparkling spirals rotated lazily, shifting slowly in their course -- moving closer. Their centers were pulsing golden glows, bright against the black of space. Towards the outer edges, the glow became more diffuse, and twisting line of silver glitter.
"Neat!" Vickie said. "What are those things?"
"Very large formations. My people call them galaxies."
"How large are we talking?" Vastarin asked.
Margolis punched a button and a small red dot appeared at the edge of one of the galaxies. "That's about how big Ataniel would be in comparison."
"Whoah!"
"Yup," Asinus said, chomping down on his cigar. "Certainly puts things in perspective. Makes you think about your place in the world and all that deep hoohah."

There was a moment of reflective silence.
"I.. think... I'm gonna spew," Vickie groaned.

***


Jack Paris quietly opened the door and was met by Amatsu Mikaboshi. "How is she?" the ninja asked, quietly.
"Still asleep," Jack answered, glancing towards Mina.
"I brought her some food, for when she wakes up." He handed Jack a tray. "Please let her know that everyone is very concerned about her. We regret her losses, which have certainly been great."
"I'll let her know."
"And you also, Mr. Paris. My condolences on the loss of your..."
"Other."
"Yes. I confess, I do not fully understand the relationship between you and the other Jack Paris. I realize that there are obviously some differences, but, standing here, looking at you now, you seem like any other man."
"Thanks."

Character(s): Ebreth and Khyrisse
Author: Laura Redish and Kristin L'Kar Andersen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Homeward Bound
Title of Post: Things Unsaid

"I wish we'd told Jack," whispered Ebreth, shuddering. "About the baby. He would have been, so happy for us."
Khyrisse winced her red eyes shut. "Ebreth," she said, in a very small voice. "If--if it's a boy I want to name him Jack."
He nodded in exhaustion, pulling her against him with his left arm. "Don't ever leave me," he whispered into her hair.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, trying
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: The Long Road Home
Title of Post: I Send You Lies Like Diamonds From My Hands

"Khyrisse," whispered Ebreth, fumbling for her fingers with his cold fingers. "I need you to do me a favor."
"Of course, Ebreth," she said, "of course."
"Valende," he said. "We had--strong words. I need you to go to her, tell her I don't blame her or think badly of her now. If I say it she won't believe it."
"Of course she will, Eb--"
"She won't believe it because it's not true." He turned his head away, anguished. "But I want it to be true. The last thing he said to me, he wanted her to be happy. I don't want to think less of her. It's too late now, and all it could do is hurt her. Won't you tell her I don't?"
"You're asking me to lie to Valende?" she sighed.
"I'm afraid I am," he whispered. "I'd rather be kind than honest, Khyrisse, this time. Please. Just tell her I asked you to go tell her this. That's not really a lie. She's suffered enough."

Character(s): Khyrisse and Ebreth
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Homeward Bound
Title of Post: Wishes

Khyrisse pushed open the bedroom door, rubbing one temple and trying to get rid of her headache. She blinked a little at the sight of Ebreth pacing. Isn't that my trick? she wondered. "Sorry. That... took longer than I expected," she said. Her eyes were red from crying, but she gave him a wan little smile. He came over to her and massaged the back of her neck and shoulders, finding them in knots, predictably enough. She rested her forehead on his chest with a sigh.
"How did it go?" She could hear the tension in his voice, feel it in his hands... as if he didn't want to ask, but had to know anyway.
Khyrisse hesitated for a moment before replying, biting her lip and struggling with more tears. She was glad Ebreth couldn't see her face. Val's emotional state was not something she'd want shared. She'd hardly wanted Vas in there. "She'll be all right, eventually. I think she just wants to be left alone for a while-- but she asked me to thank you for thinking of her. I'm fairly sure it helped."
"Good," Ebreth sighed.

***


Khyrisse lay in the strange bed, staring at the shadowed ceiling, listening to the distant, alien hum of the spaceship. Ebreth lay with his head resting on her chest, her heartbeat murmuring in his ear. Her arms were wrapped very gently around him, holding him as she might have held Skitch. He wasn't sleeping well.
Well, he never sleeps well, she thought, with the faintest of sighs. She tightened her arm slightly around his shoulders, stroked the back of his neck with soothing fingers. But this is particularly bad.
She herself was not going to sleep. If Ebreth woke up and needed her, she was going to be awake and alert enough to help him, if only this once. Vas, she was certain, was performing a similar vigil in his sister's room.
You probably have no idea how rare it is to think of others while you're in pain yourself, she thought at Ebreth, looking sadly up at the ceiling. She would find the abstract pattern of it floating behind her eyelids for weeks, whenever she thought about Jack's death. Jack was the same way. ...I never was able to do that. Most people can't. I don't know if that says more about you and Jack, or more about the rest of us.
She sighed again and rested her cheek against the top of his head, closing her eyes. You know, I sort of wished that there'd be an opportunity for me to be the strong, emotionally supportive one, instead of my always leaning on you... but this is not at all the way I wanted it.

Character(s): Dexy LaRue, Araiji Vaseriae
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: The Cheated
Title of Post: Turn of a Not So Friendly Card

Dexy sat across the table from the Diarian gypsy. The interior of the wagon smelled of dusty knowledge, incense and wax. Great drapes of Diarian silk, Dalencian cotton and Riklandic wool covered the walls in a mish mash manner. The table was the deepest mahogany, no doubt from the long extinct Darkwood Forest, and inlaid with golden occult symbols. An inverted triangle. A pentacle. An open eye. Each of them lay at the edge of the table. In the center was the image of a coin on edge. Dexy appreciated the irony of the symbology.
"Now gambler," said the gypsy. "To the business."
Dexy remained silent as the gypsy put a bundle of cloth on the table. She carefully removed the layers of fabric like peeling an onion to reveal a very old and musty smelling deck of cards. The hair on Dexy's neck stood up at the sight of the deck.
"You know the routine gambler," said the gypsy as she shuffled. "Pick six cards and they will tell you the future that could be."
The gypsy fanned the deck out across the table. Dexy immediately counted the cards. Seventy two. Six by twelve. A full deck. Still he didn't expect any less from a Diari fortune teller. He could never understand their race's obsession with six and factors thereof. Still, such thoughts were for another time. Destiny awaited. He reached forward, his palms sweating slightly, and turned over the first card.

Character(s): Dexy LaRue, Araiji Vaseriae
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: The Cheated
Title of Post: Six Pieces

"The Traveler," said Araiji announcing the first card Dexy turned over.
The card depicted a merchant or a prince traveling along a forest road. Dexy could see a picture of a highwayman lurking in the woods off the path. He also felt that there was more than a highwayman in those woods and the traveler would never reach his destination.
"I guess we both know what this means. It is a reflection of how you got here. You life until this point."

Dexy flipped the second card. Dexy was not at all surprised when he saw himself pictured on that card. He was in a smoke filled back room. Sitting around the table from him were three other dark shapes. They were playing cards. In the background, Dexy thought he could see another figure. It was like someone was observing the game. Maybe even moving in to sit at the table. He wasn't sure, but he knew it was significant.
"The Gambler. Again, you are shown what is known."
Dexy flipped the third card. This time the gypsy looked surprised, for it was she who was pictured on the card. The gypsy woman, hair stylishly unkempt, was sitting on a tree stump eating a fruit. At her feet were bones, lots of bones.
"The Seer," said Araiji. "Looks like our fates are more intertwined that I thought. Ehh gambler? Pick again."
Dexy did so.
"The Condemned," said Araiji.
One the card was a androgynous figure being led up to a platform. Over the platform was a gallows. All around there was a crowd cheering for the figure's death.
Dexy looked at the gypsy as if to ask her the meaning of the card.
"Don't look at me," said Araiji. "You are the one picking. You will have to make the interpretations."
Dexy picked the next to last card. It was of a little girl standing on top of a small hill. Standing behind the girl was a great black panther and around her were throngs of people. They were ignoring the cat and giving all their attention to what the girl was saying. Dexy could almost hear the child's voice, it was like liquid fire. It soothed as it burned.
"The Innocent," said the gypsy. "Pick your final card gambler."
Dexy did so. It was blank.
"What is this?" said Araiji visibly disturbed. "This has never happened before. A blank card." Araiji stared for a moment at the ivory white card face then shrugged. "I guess there are some things that cannot be foreseen."
Dexy looked at the cards he drew. The Traveler. the Gambler. The Seer. The Condemned. The Innocent. And the final blank card without a name. He could give a good guess to the meaning of the first three. As for the final three, he wasn't sure. Still signs where signs. Someone in his line of work needed to accept them when they were given.
"So gambler," asked the gypsy, "What is your next move?"

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, unwitting spokesman
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We’ll Always Have Paris: The Long Road Home
Title of Post: Computers Listen, But They Never Hear

"Coffee black," Ebreth said to the replicator, his eyes very tired.
A metal can materialized in the cubby. It was cool when he picked it up, which didn't bode well, but he took a sip from the hole at the top of the can anyway.
"Unh!" said Ebreth. "This isn't coffee. I said I wanted coffee."
A second can materialized.
It was cool too. Ebreth poured a little from it into the first can, just to check. "You're not getting this, are you, machine? Cof-fee."
A third can materialized.
"So what are you trying to tell me here," he said, "I need a drink?"
A fourth can materialized.
"What is all this?" said Khyrisse.
"I think it's malt liquor. I don't even like malt liquor."
"It doesn't always do so well with Dalen instructions," said Lady Margo, coming over and punching a string of digits into the keypad. A cup of appropriately steaming coffee materialized in the cubby. "Cream?"
"No. No thanks. Hang on," he said, raising his other hand as he took a quick sip from it, "could you order me up a couple more of these?"
"You're going to drink three cups of coffee for breakfast?" said the Arbiter, a bit surprised.
"It's got to be better than four ales, which is what your machine apparently thinks I should have."

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