Whitney - To What Extent Are We Human?

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Description: Within Southtown, trouble is brewing in the form of a man named Whitney Saulder. He has a few philosophical curiosities to discuss over the fate of a darkstalker. Who better than the faithful knight Pukai to question on the matters of religion and the behavior of humanity?

Another evening of work. Pukai has patrolled the streets while also attempting to make the populace feel better abour the darkstalkers that do their best to fit in with society. She is, after all, one of them. She doesn't plead that she needs to be coddled. She pleads that they need to be accepted. Though she claims not to be a monster herself.

Funny how it may be.

On a particular section of the Urban atmosphere, Pukai patrols. Had she not the clear outfit of the Sacred Order - clad in the fittings of the members - she would potentially have the Sacred Order, or NOL, be called upon her. Though it is a bit harder for her to be obviously pinned as a monster. Traveling across crosswalks, across streets and down sidewalks, Pukai carries a simple unadorned spear, of metal, with three points at the top. The only real modification clear. Using it as she does a walking stick almost, her short gait causing her mostly translucent outer dress to wobble as she strides.

After all, as much as she could hide her hair, some of the tassels of the 'dress' and her nature, it is hard to hide something that surrounds you. Much like the 'cap' about her head.

Still, it is her patrol. She would make rotations, loops, of the Urban neighborhoods, hourly traversings on the mark as she moves.

Southtown. Shining jewel of commerce and culture for Japan. What a place. Where not so long ago the world watched with bated breath over whether or not it would be reduced to cinders and sweet memories. But they survived. They avoided annihilation by a combined force of organizations large and small and hooray the good guys saved the day. Congratulations and ticker-tape parades for the conquering heroes.

But what, wondered Whitney Saulder, did any of that matter? The world would not have stopped spinning. The lives of the majority of humanity would've continued on. So a Japanese City avoided being flattened by a nuclear device. Crapsack, Wyoming avoided that same fate every single day of its wretched existence and no one was cheering or enraptured for it. "Lord, what fools these mortals be," the man quotes in a resonant baritone, mirthless and bitter laughter on his tongue.

He was surrounded by a world of meaningless lights and colors and each passing moment was a new scripture in the Book of Man's Hypocrisy. The lights of the downtown area. The patrols of these newest and most game of pathetic powerbrokers that have crawled from the crab bucket to meet the modern gods of society. All of it trying to gaze upon the world as they were a panopticon.

Whitney Saulder tugs on the belt of his loose pants and looks down at the figure slumping against the wall of a business' loading park. "Wait here," he tells the figure, "I think it should be about time that someone should be by."

He walks with a shuffle-bump stride. Slow and languid as though his feet weren't worth picking up. Up the small drive to the surface streets. A unique figure making hourly rounds at precise time. Punctuality as a pretense for order. A farce that could be amusing if Whitney ever truly felt amused. Order was just another word for predictability.

And the time was soon. The cap headed spear toting creature wobbles along while Whitney Saulder leans against the corner of a building and its delivery port.

He waits for her to get close by, to pass on her appointed round. "Evening," he says in an almost cheery rumble. "If you have a moment, miss, I'd like to just say congratulations. Not many of your kind brave or strong enough to defend and watch over a place like South Town. Glory, isn't it?"

THe Sacred Predictability would not have quite the ring to it.

Not that a book with set goals, set rules, and set claims that is to be followed has any interest in being the slightest bit unpredictable. Order is set on the pretense that things cannot be changed. That the world, no matter how chaotic, would not begin to spin off into oblivion. A simple patrol does much to, if nothing else, ease the the spinning. If it does not, it reduces nausea to a group that simply has had too much spinning to want any more.

It is, if nothing else, but a placebo. One that Pukai exists because of, yet also why she is cursed.

On the precise time, the lantern sways back and forth on the end of the spear, hooked over one of the three prongs. It was not a real fire - yet it was nice all the same. An LED bulb with batteries powering it. What else was necessary? Swinging back and forth with her gate, it pronounced someone, somewhere, was there. Which is what the man easily finds.

"Of course, good sir." She answers - with all the grace and welcoming a 'nun', or battle nun, may provide. Still, there is a smile and a welcoming attitude to it. "Congratulations? Oh I ... I am a Undine, and it is a pleasure - and an honor - to be allowed to do so. I desire, nor need, congratulations." She declares, hands clasping along the middle of the spear as she bows forwards once. "It is a glory, a testament that even the rising tide can be diverted." Her head bobs left and right, dress 'fluttering' by itself as she speaks, despite her not moving to make it do so.

The world is nothing if not based on marketability.

A world of rules and rituals and each one with as much meaning as the last. To think of such equality that exists in worthlessness. Then again, some would call such things priceless. Both are correct in that both things hold the same technical meaning, yet not the same connotation.

It was this sort of distinct indistinctness of language that brought the barest bit of thoughtfulness and interest to Whitney Saulder's existence.

"I can see what you are," Whitney tells the undine girl, "But I will thank you for the clarification. After all, I'm only human and you can't expect us to have the smarts to figure out all the different types of creature that God created and kept hidden away from our eyes."

He chuckles, a short sound, almost a hiccup, and he slowly looks toward the carport beside him. "Well, then, I do apologize for presuming you were a creature of shallow wants and needs of praise from some," he pauses, "human." The smile doesn't leave his face, soft and kind, his eyes bright blue in the light of the lantern. "But if I can take a moment of your time. I do feel the need to ask a few questions. After all, I don't know much about you and I'm a fearful man with this upswing in the strange and well armed walking around every corner of God's Green Earth." Whitney's choice of language is clear and pointed. He knows the ties of the Sacred Order and religion. He wants it to be front and center and to never quite have that feeling of theology to leave the conversation.

He declares he knows. "A-ah yes, I did not mean to correct you." Pukai exclaims, nodding her cap and her head together. They are, after all, one. How foolish. Of course he knew, and perhaps she made a bad first impression. From his words it is clear that she may have had the opposite effect she was hoping for. Exactly what she was trying to avoid. Exactly what she has experienced previously. Her head wibbles, shaking as she tries to 'apologize' in a way. "No no that's -" Now is she trying to correct the man on how to think as well? Frozen with some sort of indecision, the woman does not answer.

She doesn't need to, as he begins to speak again. Shallow wants of needs, requirements of praise. If she is to argue, she is to disagree and to put herself moreso in the ground, "I am... no I am just like that as well..." She tries to interject, "I suffer from all the same mistakes, as do the other Knights... but we try to make up for it... it is not easy, yet it isn't..." How does one not talk down those? Yet he still smiles.

"Yes, of course! Anything I may be of service to do, please ask!"

Fearful man, imperfect, suffering, "I ... do not mean, or did not mean, to insinuate that we are above - we are all flawed, all of us, and under the God or Goddess that protects us, we strive to be as benevolent as they have been with us." She too is quite religious, after all, her belt reads 'Faith' across it - much like others of the Order read seperate.

Head bowing. A moment to reflect in quiet on the apology coming forth from the undine. A murky gesture. Head lowering could be in shame. Maybe, and more accurately, it's simply to allow Whitney the moment he needs to hide the smile on his face. The stammer. The hesitation. The sincere uncertainty. The Sacred Order did not disappoint in supplying things of quasi-interest.

Words dance to an easily played tune. It's almost boring. But the dancer on Whitney's personal stage is one that'll do well enough for tonight. There is a great deal of more important work to be done by the trained killer, but in this night, and for a long term assessment of ideals and ideology from a religious militant organization; he can't fault himself for taking some time to study philosophy.

"The humility of the righteous," he says, looking back toward Pukai. "If only I could muster the same attitudes. If only the world could. It'd be a much kinder place now, wouldn't it?" he asks, offering verbal rope as he turns and moves to the delivery car port.

Toward darkness illuminated by poor utility lighting. Whitney Saulder walks in his suffle-bump manner. "I'm having a little problem. You see, I have something of a philosophical question a friend of mine is asking and I think we need an outsider to answer it."

Down he disappears into the darker carport. Slipping down the slope and away from the noise and the lighters of the downtown area. A place that should be lit by fluorescent lights, they seem to be out and only the yellowed utility and safety lights give any hope to see. "Sorry about this, the light's just don't seem to be doing much," Whitney's voice speaks up, his silhouette visible in the sickly yellow light. "My friend here has a light, just, somewhere around here. Hope you aren't afraid. I know how this must look and, well, I wouldn't blame you if you took your better judgment."

"Ah? No, not all of us must sacrifice themselves... though we of the Order do so in the name of the Goddess," Or god, "That guides us all." She may declare. Even if she is a bit of a spritely nun, as it were. "It would certainly be - yet to ask of that is impossible. Even those of the Order are weak at times. All imperfect, but made in the image of those above." Some a little more imperfect than others, in more obvious ways. The woman almost recites some of the passenges and the scriptures that are meant of course to claim that while it would be wonderful, it is fine that not everyone is perfect.

Otherwise, they would simply be pointing at how terrible everyone is, wouldn't they?

The man walks towards darkness. "Ah? A little question? ... Well, I will be able to assist that as well!" She'll just pick up her pace for her next go around. A few minutes here or there certainly wouldn't be terrible! It would be as expected, she would waddle or bloop forwards and back as necessary. It is only when those delays reach a noticable time that it would be truly a problem.

The lantern follows the man as he strides into the darkness, though the lantern itself is held a bit before her. The further the darkness, however, the more something is apparent. Pukai is somewhat glowing herself. "That is fine!" The dress flaps once as she hops forwards, fluttering - be it from air or her own movement - as she moves downwards the slope as well. The bioluminescant lighting she is giving off makes the lantern a bit unnecessary. Of course, it is mostly there to mask her from glowing.

"Just up ahead? - No, no, I understand! I'm not at all. They say the Sacred Order knights are to be lights in the darkness at the worst, but I feel I may be doing it a bit too literally!" She declares, hopping cheerfully after.

In a way. Somewhere deep and down inside of the void that Whitney would call a soul in the way a Dadaist would describe a masterpiece, Whitney Saulder respects the apparent insistence that Pukai has in a Goddess. All despite the associations that she bears. As pointless as it may be to argue deific pronouns, Whitney knows how deeply it's taken seriously and just what it can mean to those that the undine serves.

That sliver of respect isn't much to sway Whitney Saulder from his philosophical questioning, however as he waits for the blooping glowstick to meander her way down close enough. He waits and watches the edge of the woman's personal bioluminescent field getting closer and closer.

"If you're worried, remember John 1:5. 'And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not'." A new light joins the dark. A spark of fire. A lighter striking up and glowing in front of Whitney. He raises it and his hands to his lips to light up a cigarette. "I'm sorry, terrible habit," he excuses through his lips.

With Pukai getting close, her light casts over a pair of feet. And connected to those feet is a body laying slumped against the loading dock. An human-ish figure. One with short horns and pointed ears. Darkstalker. A shallow rise and fall to his chest at least removes the worst of the situation.

"I'm afraid he may have had too much to drink, miss," Whitney says, knocking over a bottle next to the seated man. A faint stench of alcohol does seem to linger in the air.

"Yes. Just as you say." She declares, bowing her head. "But you need not worry for me. As I have said... I am a servant to the people here. I have willingly put myself within the service of the Sacred Order as a knight... a decision I had previously made years ago. I do not intend to let darkness frighten me." There are many other things - and perhaps the man wishes to reiterate how much he was a good person?

Esca would be proud. For how long she sits in darkness, a sole light in an empty abyss, Pukai can be swallowed by darkness for at least this long without a worry. There is nothing to such an equivalent. Not that she could think of.

With a new light on Whitney's face, lighting up, Pukai shakes her head. A habit that is unmentioned, unanswered by Pukai. It's a terrible habit, that is true, but it is just another example of imperfections. As she grows close, Pukai peers over that pair of feet. A bit of a hurried shuffling as she comes to a halt nearby - and slumped as he is, the darkstalker - was he hurt?! Did someone ambush him!? "Ah-.." No, there are pointed ears and short horns. The scent of alcohol, after Whitney mentions it, does cause her to recoil a bit. "Unfortunate, that it may be, that he succumbed to such temptation. He will just have regrets in the morning." She peers over, then glances back to Whitney, "Will you watch over your friend until then, or will you need assistance getting him back to where he lives?"

Perhaps, now, she will have to help a different way!

"Are you a servant to the people here?" Whitney asks. He takes a long drag from the cigarette, held pinched in his thumb and forefinger with the burning end pointed toward his palm. A slow exhale, a plume of smoke downward toward the downed darkstalker.

"Or are you part of an invasive force? The Vatican slipping in through the cracks in the social structure?" he asks, eyes focused on Pukai's shining form.

He waves his hand, smoke trailing after it. "I'm sure my friend here will be just fine. At least, I should hope so. Though our little disagreement did make me wonder. And since he isn't one for much talking, perhaps you could fill in for him."

Whitney's demeanor shifts. He leans back against the loading dock. He fiddles with his cigarette, sending ash down onto the Darkstalker's shoulder. He doesn't give Pukai much time to think before he continues his talking. "Here in Japan. South Town. Where not too long ago people like him. Like you. Took to threatening and taking how many lives? Now, I understand not one of you had anything to do with it. You're all innocent. But that's where those terrible human imperfections come in."

A pointed moment to take a drag from his cigarette. "Humans. They like to talk about justice. But you see it's mostly vengeance and petty hatred wrapped up in a shining, righteous bow. Take my friend here. Looking like the devil, don't he? At least, according to what people think he looks likes. Good Book was never much at really describing the morning star like that."

Whitney flicks the ash from the cigarette out again. "In this world, my new found friend, servant of Japan as you say, do you think the people here would cry for his justice? Or would you think they'd look the other way should tragedy befall a poor drunkard who fell asleep with a lit cigarette?"

The woman remains silent as he asks such a question after so long. Oh! Oh. Blank eyes stare at Whitney now, the dress fluttering in silence as she stands motionless. Invasive force. Slipping into the social structure. It's possible. It's all so very possible.

Yet her faith has not failed her before. It would not crumble to being considered a prophet of some kind.

Still blank, she stares, as the man tells her that he will be fine. Probably.

More talking. Ash falling. Comparisons to those who have killed, murdered, maimed. Her body is far more expressive than her face as it wafts, glows in and out faintly, and flutters. In truth, this is because there is something more going on. A flickering of something that is there, than isn't - perhaps lightning bugs - flicker here and there now and again. All as she stares blankly still at the man as he continues.

Finally, he asks a question. Pukai's eyes flutter, blinking a few times. "Ah... I'm sorry..." Did she not hear the question? "I believe... that it is important we do as much as we can, even if it isn't likely that others may." The question, sidestepped but the answer is clear. No. No, of course not. She has seen it.

She has lived it, not long ago, with Juri beating her up and leaving her in great pain elsewhere.

"There are so many who need help, but not everyone is able to give such help. As many as possible are to be saved. Those that cannot... " Ah. "We shall never forget them. They shall be the driving force for us to remember our purpose, and why we strive to do as much as we can." In truth, Pukai has began to sense something. The Knight stands at attention, thought he weapon is held normally as she stands in place, mostly motionless.

Steady, staring eyes. Blank eyes. Doll's eyes. People, Whitney Saulder has found, are terrified of those eyes. As if they can't be read or understood or discerned. Some mystic inscrutability. A distant and undefinable terror of the deep. As if something unfathomable was in the eyes of something that just looked and stared.

Whitney found such puffery infuriating. Things that wanted food. That wanted power. That wanted sex and safety were all very, very easy to understand. Stupidly so. And any human being that couldn't grasp such basic motivations seemed to indulge in painting the simple as incomprehensible.

"People are terrible things, aren't they?" he asks. Another drag of the cigarette. Watching Pukai. Let the air remain stale and still. Let her talk about her ideals. The meat of the matter is what he wants.

"Why?" he asks. "You fail and falter. And you say you won't forget, but is that true? For all your striving, what can you accomplish that simply turning away and walking and doing just what any other human would do, can not?" He looks sharply at Pukai. "You try and you fail to save a life. You ignore their cries and move on to the next day. What is the difference between these two things?"

The words from Whitney comes to dissuade - or perhaps all they do is talk down to Pukai. Yet the Sacred Order Knight simply shakes her head in disagreement. "It is not humans, but humanity, that has always been at war with how good they are as a people. Those simply astray will find the light in time..." And that is the jist of it. The woman smiles to Whitney as much as she can, yet his words continue.

"We do not forget, even if we fail or falter. We strive for something that may not be obtainable, but to not make an attempt would be worse than anything we could else do." He claims that if they fail, they ignore and move on. Pukai's head shakes more-so, bits wiggling in the darkness as they lght up.

"Moving on to the next day is not forgetting. Taking another step, no matter how hard, to move past suffering to prevent future isn't a failure. I apologize for this disagreement - but it is true. We are not perfect. We will not be perfect. We of the knights cannot stop to console the wounded or bury the fallen.. no matter how much we wish we could." It is odd, how sharp that mouth of his is. "Until there is a time, we cannot simply pause our operations... because we may never catch up again if we do."

Looking down at the Darkstalker, she lets out a soft breath. "There is enough negativity to focus on already. We must strive to change it. To focus on what we have failed ..."

Noble words and promises. Sounds. Just sounds to Whitney. He drags off his cigarette and lets the smoke curl from his nostrils like some perched, predatory dragon. His hoard a downed man drenched in liquor and perilously close to the source of fire held by the captor.

"But why?" he asks again. "And what is the difference? Your words are bold. You talk of what you're doing. What you've been told and the liturgies you follow are all well and good but to what ends and for what reasons?"

Whitney taps the leg of the unconscious man. A light touch with his shoe. "That cannot be the only thing you have. The invaders of Japan, soldiers and knights, upholding the holy order based on no understanding at all?" He scoffs, shaking his head in disbelief. "I would think you more insightful than that. You can tell me that you will never pause your operations but you don't seem to have a reason or a purpose other than to do. Is it because you can't see the negative? Fear that there truly isn't one?"

It doesn't seem to end, does it.

Whitney speaks. He drags off the cigarette. He holds a possible end to a man's life.

It doesn't seem as if he wanted to help, rather. It seems there was something more. Pukai begins to slowly catch on. The tendrils that are creeping around both of them are a slow crawl. The woman needing not to move her limbs or body to do so. The fiant light of her and the lantern perhaps masking the even fainter around her. "I do not need a reason. There doesn't need to be a difference." She answers, nodding her head. "My entire existance has been because of the Goddess. That I still stand before you and argue this is proof." She so declares. The woman shakes her head once more, "No, to argue with you on this is pointless. My faith is what drives me - and I have been spared, allowed to see countless days that may not have been possible. Saved, that I would not end up as others have."

"It is only right that I do what is asked. It is only just that I give myself to assist others. What understanding do I need?" She asks with a slight lack of emotion, a blank statement that resembles a question. "If I am to help, what understanding is necessary? For me to make judgement? It is of the Order that judgement is to be made by those above. Just because we are in her likeness does not mean that we can claim to such power."

"If there is a negative, I see no purpose to focus upon it."

A flick of the ash to the side. "There are three of us here," he says, looking at the cigarette. He pinches the end off and tucks the dog-end behind his ear. "None of us look alike, of course, you also keep talking about a goddess. Am I incorrect in assuming there's only one of us that fits her image."

His hands go into his pockets, his slouching posture remains. He is making no movement to help, though he doesn't seem to hinder either. Just standing. Just there. "A world of humanity and you have the arrogance to claim you're made in the image of a god," he says with a rippling of a laugh. "Do your masters in the Vatican agree with you? Have you tried to tell them that? No. You don't care to consider anything." He turns and walks from the man on the ground. "Go on. Take him. It's what you want to do. Did you think I was going to cause you any trouble at this? Is that where your mind went? Expecting pain and death and suffering. But I'm just a human. We're just incorrigible brutes with limited minds and limited means. I don't blame you for your distrust and distaste. It's only human to hold those prejudices."

He leans, a little ways away from the man. His eyes kept on Pukai, still there, still watching with a dark gleam. "Help. And never question just who and what you're helping. Let your faith guide you."

"I make no such claim..." She declares, yet it was true she may have made a mistaken statement or two in her slight unnervement. Still, as he stands there, chiding her, it is true. Infact, offered first to be eradicated due to her nature, offered up on the chopping block as she plead for her life - to the goddess of all things. Her faith was rewarded that day. The masters would have her killed, most likely. Yet, it was true she had done nothing less than serve. It is likely that she would not suffer quite the same fate as she may have at that night.

The claim that he was not going to do anything in the end does leave her in a perilous position. Especially as the tendrils are forced to cling to surfaces and stop all movement. She cannot disagree. She honestly cannot speak up about it. With Whitney walking away from the man, a little ways away, Pukai nods her head. "That is my entire plan... the one that I can hold above all others." She adds, tendrils grasping the man as she picks up the darkstalker, carrying him in her hands. It is a bit hard - she isn't /that/ strong, but it is enough to move him. "I will be sure to take care of him - and I thank you for everything, as well." She remarks, smiling.

Whitney doesn't say anything. He simply stands and waits and watches. Zealotry. Desperate faith as he sees it. Simple survival wrapped up in the lies and puffery of faith and duty and servitude. He felt it a pathetic display of mewling sycophancy and a tired deception. But he was not so detached from humanity, and he lumped Pukai in with humanity, that he would lie to himself in believing they could understand or be so cunning to manipulate.

He does nothing when the man is dragged away. The devilish looking one, soaked in liquor. "I'm sure he will thank you," Whitney says, smiling. "To help your fellow, even to the detriment of yourself. Noble is it not?"

He leans his head back and looks upward. "But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came to where the man; and when he saw him, he took pity on him," he recites. "And yet we must remember what happens when we nourish a viper." He hums and looks back toward Pukai.

"You're welcome. You're welcome," he repeats, smiling in the darkness, watching and waiting.

The knight of the Sacred Order would happily carry away the Dark stalker to be taken care of well. "His thanks is not necessary - for I do this for myself as well as him." She adds, lifting him up and barely managing to carry him off. As he makes a declaration, she nods her head, bobbing it a bit, "If you agree it is - I shall not argue. Yet it is mostly for his sake... I do not want any harm befalling him." His declaration of a viper she pays no heed to.

"Let them bare their fangs then... I will let all blame befall on me, yet I will not let past sins prevent the positive things we can still do. Thank you again for bringing me to him!" She would waddle off with some difficulty.

To help when not asked of it. Nobility was something of an amusing toy. And her want of no harm befalling him. Good intentions and the road to hell are well establish truths in the mind of Whitney Saulder.

He watches her leave. He lets her take to carrying the man away. It appears to slow her down and that gives him time. He's already pulled her off of her kept schedule, opened up the potential for so much more in disrupting her order, as sacred as it is. But moreover, once he has her gone, he looks down to the bottle and the several more left around. Out comes the lighter. The pack of cigarettes drops to into a small puddle. A flick and a flame is dropped down onto the alcohol.

Whitney Saulder walks away from the fire, letting it go of its own accord. Should it burn higher or not is of no regard to him. Let things fall as they may and be willing to be flexible in what counts as a goal and you never really face defeat.

Walking along the street, away from the carport, he pulls out a cell phone, a cheap burner to toss away soon. He makes a phone call like any other dutiful, orderly citizen. A fire downtown. A pair of darkstalkers making their escape. Create the story you want and allow society to engineer their problems from it. If they make mistakes and the wrong people are prosecuted to serve the meaningless justice that is vengeance and blame? Then so be it.

After all, everyone is only human.

Log created on 22:45:11 02/24/2018 by Whitney, and last modified on 15:15:29 02/25/2018.