1964-09-16 - Box Shaped Vendetta
Summary: Triton and Chloe finally catch up when Max crashes the evening to demonstrate how revenge is the highest form of flattery. It also apparently means 'Thank you'.
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Theme Song: None
maximus chloe triton 

Triton took the steps one by one with no real hurry. The stairs went down down down and branched off on occasion to other lower levels but still down he walked, though the tempreature was growing notably cooler and the air much, much more humid. Water. Lots and lots of water until it could start to be heard as footsteps echoed more off the hard surface of the water. There was light, though dialed down a bit as the stairs hit some sort of mezzanine? There was a landing and what was a balcony, but anything beyond what it overlooked was flooded with water. It may have been a foyer, or a ballroom once. now? Now it was a small underground lake that had a faint ultraviolet glow to it.

The landing had furniture. There was a pair of high backed chairs, a low table, a desk, and several bookshelves and a closet for his personal belongings for the surface. It was actually quite neatly laid out. Well it was if one didn't mind the first step down being the surface of the water. It was a small living room at water level. Triton walked over and set the bowl of eggs on the low table and looked around and then looked back to Chloe, brow ridge furrowed a bit. "I don't generally get many visitors. It's a bit of a walk." Understatement of the decade.

Slogging through hell inures one to long walks, fortunately. Chloe seems unpestered at all by it. Setting the fruit on the table, she offers a piece to Triton and says, "It's beautiful down here. Is this all yours?" She steps over to the water's brim and crouches there, running her fingertips over the smooth surface. "What a lovely home." She looks up at him and smiles. "It's worth the walk just to see it."

Triton took the pear from her and turners it over in the webbed bowl of his fingers. There was a dip of his head in a thank you for hte gesture though it was carried with him to the desk and set down there. Words came back, tired, but grateful for the gesture, "Thank you. It works I think. It's… well it's home" he pulled the laces on his boots and pulled them off stretching equally webby toes. The boots and the jacket were set aside and hung on a hanger. Slowly he went about disarming himself and replacing his weapons to their own home, butpaused. His head spun a moment. Yup, he really needed to get back into his habitat. "Tell me, Chloe," Fingers reached up and undid the buckles that fastened the mas to his face that had the painstaking effort of keeping him breathing and hydrated. "What did you learn from Kamala's event?"

Chloe keeps her eyes averted as the Prince disrobes. She seems to remember that much, at least. That its polite. She doesn't seem otherwise troubled. Nakedness is a natural state, and she's all about nature. She pauses in her stirring of the water, and she leans back to sit on her heels. "That terragenises is dangerous, and it can have unprotected results. That our people don't necessarily get along, but ultimately we look out for our young, at the very least. That Maximus is no longer King, and there is no love lost between him and your sister."

Triton set the mask, with care back into his desk. He hadn't quite made the shift from breathing water to air in his feeble amphibious manner. He looked back over his shoulder to Chloe giving her a small nod and a hint of a grin followed. "You are astute. Sometimes eventually, but astute." Was that a jibe for going on about Max still being King earlier? Well at least there was humor to him. Still he offered a gentle assurance, "Still, that is a sharp observation, and yeeeees. A year ago Maximus was relieved of the burden of office after a ten year run, and a short while ago his brother, my cousin, Blackagar turned his rule back over to the Genetic Council who have continues to be…enthusiastic about seeing we are all busy for the greater good." No resting on royal laurels.

There was a hiss as the neck apparatus around his gills came off and he pulled the long, flexible needles out from under his skin that remained attached to the device. He flinched faintly before rolling his stripe scaled shoulders to get the feeling back into them while his gills laid flat to his neck and back again. That too was set aside with the mask and the tank. Living on land? No minor thing, but at least Maximus evolved the design of the apparatus to remain discrete and portable enough. After a pause he nodded his head to the side, "Um, a moment?" That was the warning to stay turned around unless she was very not shy of these things when he changed to his dive suit and his surface attire was left folded and put away. His colour shifted room as he gathered the bowl of hard cooked eggs, but he was till far from vibrant in usual fashion. "He's concerned. We all are, with what happened to her. To you. And yes those crystals are very dangerous. We go through Terrigenesys. Those without our specific DNA? Will suffer and perish. It's quite terrible really.

In her defense, her memories were not helping! She finally gets one and it's out of date. She smiles, though. Wryly, but she sees the humor in it. Her smiles broadens and she keeps her gaze averted. Not shy, but polite. It relieves her of awkwardness and leaves her amiable and comfortable. "That's terrible," she says. "So these crystals must be kept away from them for their own good. They're of no benefit to them, right?" She shakes her head slowly. "The poor things."

There was a sloshing of waterwhen Triton finally offered a "Thank you" for the moment and with that, just walked down the stiars until he was neck deep in clean water again, no harbour, no smog, and no bitchy lobsters. His gills flared and one supposed that there was a faint look of relief in his features. "Well there's a lot they can do with them or not allow us to do. Part of our struggle is to protect future genrations that the Genetic Council affords them the same opportunities we have." Which also didn't much explain if they were on short supply how anyone had and 'accident' with one involving a child, bu he didn't address that. "Poor things indeed. I'd hate to see them get hurt and us be shorted and blamed at the same time. Very unfortunate. Very…messy overall."

Chloe turns her attention to Triton, and she says, "You're looking more relaxed already." She trails her fingertips in the water. Then she gets up and says, "Here…" She brings the bowls of food to the water's edge. "That's why it's important to go collect our own," she says, "and to seek out our technology that's adrift in the world. The humans aren't bad, but they're weak and scared, and scared animals are likely to attack. We can't blame them for being what they are, but we can protect them and ourselves."

Triton reached up and parked on the stair biting into the fruit. He thought about that statement for a moment swimming back from the stair and around to where the floor met the water by the chairs. He kicked up and rest his arms, half folded on the floor by a seat she could at least occupy other than hover. Both pair of eyelids blinked and finally he found words for thought, "People can get hurt; physically, emotionally, socially. No one wants that. It's… complicated, but everything is." He looked at the pear withthe bite in it and back up to herasking curiously, "Are… you okay?" It'd been four days and there was a political faux pas and a transformation among whatever happened with the garden. He hadn't overlooked this apparently.

Chloe comes over to the chair and relaxes, taking a piece of fruit for herself. She bites into it neatly. She lounges with alert comfort, an old habit left over from days where she couldn't afford to let her senses get too distracted. She considers the question over another bite, chewing slowly. Then she swallows, licks the juice from her lips, and says, "Yes, I think I am. I've got shelter, meaningful work. I get to stay at the palace." Among servants, sure, but servants get beds. She smiles at Triton, her eyes alight. "I get to spend time with you. I couldn't ask for more."

Triton hovered in the water and warmed a smile, aching in his muscles and bones that his cousin was more vociferiously lamenting. She was doing well though, and that was something. It was a wonderful reminder of all the things they fought and suffered for. He admitted, "I wish there was more that we could do to give you your time back, Chloe, but I am glad you have that. I wish that I was better company right now though." He chuckled , and while there was a smile there was a faint flinch. "I do apreciate it though. I," How to phrase this. Ohhhhh, Triton, "I look forwardto it relaly. I saw, while we were out some most amazing schools off Vietnam. Sadly, we found more than we bargained for. and it's making the flora and fauna quite sick. It was…unfortunate. I wanted to return with something for you too but I don't think radiation poisoning makes for a nice souviner."

Chloe shakes her head and says, "You don't have to be good company," she says. "Just be yourself." She adds with a small, mirthless laugh, "You couldn't be worse company that what I used to keep. You're just tired. You've had a long task behind you and more ahead. This is your time to relax." At the mention of the flora and fauna getting quite sick, her brow furrows, and she bows her head. "That's terrible," she says. "Does anyone know what to do about this 'radiation poisoning?' What's the source of it? Can it be killed?"

Triton cracked an easy, amused grin defending, "Chloe, usually I am good company, thanks." He floated on his back and munched the pear thoughtfully, the water lit an odd violet colour from something down there. Attilan was full of strange technologies. He looked to her and the expression was a regretful one. "I don't know how much you remember, so I shall be through as to not insult you in any regard. I apologize if this seems so ahead of time. The humans have build bsubmarine vessalsthat they are powering with a nuclear energy. They are on the verge of war already and now? One that has such an engine has come too close to what I'm believing to be an antennae that is going down to a … well a sink hole? Possible portal of some nature in the bed of the sea floor there. But the vessel was shot down aaaaand the damage caused a radiation lead that has killed and repelled all life there. Maximus, Crystal, Vesper and myself were in it for about an hour. I think Vesper should be alright though. Light particles should be able to filter through her safely. The rest… I don't know."

Chloe grimaces. "That's terrible." she says. "Is anyone doing anything? Is there anything to be done?" She watches Triton, perhaps looking for some evidence of the poisoning in him save for seeming under the weather. "You are good company, by the way," she says. She finishes the pear and sets the core aside. "All I meant to say is you don't have to worry about being 'on' for me. You're allowed to be tired."

Triton was looking colour desaturated which in aquatic thing and amphibous things was generally enough. Max had the right of it, bones hurt, but Triton wasn't one to complain, he looked after everyone else. Scouts observe, they don't grouse. The offer though, did seem to get a warmer response from the casual and even keel diplomat. "It was terrible. It reminded me of our talk in teh garden; the cost of war and the suffering of many for the sake of hte new. And then I remembered your tree. It will take time, but the earth will take back what is damaged and heal itself over time. It was just… frightening to be honest. But things will grow again." He pause and furrowed his brow and looked up at her shaking his head, "I have to believe this."

Chloe sits on a low chair on the landing of Triton's chambers, close to the water level. He's within, his land suit removed and hanging in its place. She's still in her pretty yellow sun dress. The food has been moved down here, sitting near the lip of the landing so Triton can reach it. Chloe thinks for a long moment. Then she holds out her hand in the water and says, "Life finds a way to thrive in the worst places. What's been made sick will be well again."

Its been 48 hours. 48 hours and Maximus fell asleep at his box about 8 hours ago. Now he's awake…unshowered, unshaven, looks like hell, bags under the eyes, his chest still bare, his robe wrinkly. He's removed his boots though, and approaches Triton's quarters with something small in his hand. "Triton!" he calls out, totally interrupting their quiet time.

It was not dissimilar to a Japanese woodblock painting of Samurai culture where one returns at a painfully polite distance to discuss art beyond war, only there was no tree full of cherry blossoms and everyone was relatively in focus and Triton might be the koi in the pond anyways. it was, in the end, fitting but an imperfect analogy. He was in the water, with his arm folded up over the ledge as people do at the edge of a pool, only they generally don't live in theirs.

He had to agree with her, and there was in what limited expression he had to work with, a fondness for her outlook. "I think you've proven that well-" Aaaand there was bellowing. "…enough." The expression was instantly one of regret and he drew his patience to him that seemed to be as bottomless as the room he was swimming in. "Yes, I'm here." He might as well fess up. He could go hide in the bottom of his room in the plants for want to just have five minutes off watch to enjoy his company, but it was not to be and personal time was a luxury few of them could afford.

Chloe leans closer, her smiles broadening, but whatever she's about to say, it's cut off by the bellow of Triton's name. She sits up, smoothes her skirt (not that it has achieved any indecent position), and says, "Highness, how fare you? We've got fruit and eggs here if you like." She shoots Triton an apologetic look. She wants to help him enjoy his free time. She really does. He just needs to be free for longer than a few minutes, poor thing.

Maximus starts wading into the water like he's familiar with doing that, and trails the wet coat towards the dry other side. Swimming, swimming with something in his hand, until he has reached Chloe's space dry space. He immediately comes out of the water and looks around for ANYTHING important of Triton's that is /small/.

Triton could have been waiting for a while for Chloe to finish her thought with pure patience and no complaint but, there was a Max sloshing around in his living areadown one set of stairs, through his things and back around with… what did he have. His patience was vast but it did have a bottom. Round orbed eyes squint the expernal eyelids to a squint. "Cousin. Something I can help you with By ALL means jsut… make yourself at home."

Chloe's eyes widen as Maximus just comes sloshing in. "My Lord was just about to take a rest," she explains in a small voice, because she knew this could be construed as arguing with a Prince and former King, and she would never, ever, ever do such a thing. She rises to her feet as well, because to remain seated in the presence of royalty is not polite. She bobs in a bow. "Prince Maximus."

"Ahhhhh, so he finally got around to telling you then? What a pity. When you called me King, it felt like everything was right with the world." Maximus smiled then as he reached out and snapped up Triton's necklace with a guitar pick attached. "I found your gift to be delightful. I have managed to reproduce it, though, I will admit, I do not recall /every/ step that I made into this box." He drops the necklace into a circular hole in the top and then hits a disc. There is a LOT of small, metcal clicking sounds. "Oh dear…this DOES sound difficult. Tra. la. la…" Asshole.

Triton was tired, and his bones still felt like he was in a vice, and now, his peace of mind too. He'd known Maximus since they were children and he know when his cousin shifted moods and this was always leaving that open possibility that irritating could turn dangerous on a dime. Not that Triton was looking to be critical but there were man eating leopards thing. Triton was smart enough to know that trust and familial bonds had a limit. "Well it's a matter of public knowledge that the Genetic Council is in charge. And it's not supposed to feel right with the world. The world's not alri- Please put that …" And what it was to him went into the hole in the box "…down." Triton's demeanor shifted. There was frustration, certainly, but he felt punching him in the heart proverbially speaking to get his attention was wholly unnecessary. Looking back from the box to Maximus his scales shifted from pale olive and hunter green to a coral and crimson. Calmly, perhaps too calmly he reminded, "My sister gave me that before she left for the temple."

Chloe's brow knitted. She'd gotten between two cousins on the verge of fighting once before, only back then she fought her way out with knives. Sharp, wicked demon knives that fileted them both. Now she's got words to fight with. Words! Words aren't serrated! "I'm sure there's a way to open it up," she says delicately. "What a, ah, fun diversion, Prince Maximus." She looks back at Triton, and oh, the apology on her face. Like it's her fault somehow that this is happening. Isn't it the job, though, of the lower class to bear the burdens of one's betters? In this case, the Mad Prince with a box-shaped vendetta?

Maximus caresses the intricate box that his mad genius has built, modeled on the design of the one that Triton brought back for him. "It is perfectly safe inside. What harm could come to it? I built it out of metal from the mountain. Something treasured…now perfectly locked up." Then he tosses the box at the water where it promptly starts sinking like…any metal object would. It has holes, then, enough to suck water in so that it can sink. Then he arches his brows and looks to Chloe, "Yes, it is openable. YOu just have to figure out the puzzle."

Triton slowly extended one webbed hand towards Maximus. It would take so very little to grab him and wrestle him under water and hold him there long enough for it to be solved. He was vastly stronger of the two and had the distinct advantage of being able to breathe under water. He just… had to grab him and pull. That's it. His hand balled onto a fist and extended one finger to him. Patience was all that was laying hands. "Yes but not it's unusable until then, Maximus. Stop touching my things." Weather that was in metaphor or literal or both. It wa fair to say he may have a slight grudge presently for harshing his zen talking fruit, art, and war.

Chloe nods to Maximus uncertainly, and to see Triton at the end of his rope, her stomach lurches. Wicked demon knives wouldn't get her out of this. She stands still, poised, far from any plants or animals to control or to have come to her aid. "My Lords," she says, "I will work on the box if you like. I'll keep working on it until the puzzle's solved. That way Prince Triton can have his rest and Prince Maximus can have his fun."

Maximus turns to the Reasonable Chloe, so nice, so full of solution and then just blatantly admits, "But then he would not have received proper attention, proper gratitude for his own gift to me. The puzzle box, his present. My love is complicated." Just dripping water pretty much everywhere, he puts a wet hand on Chloe's shoulder. "You should try to distract him while he tries to solve it. You would see how frustrated a man can truly become." He chuckles and then wades back into the water.

Triton dove under the water a- to find the box which was the easy part, though it seemed the room was deeper than one'might imagine, and also to just cool off a bit. The bad part about being aquatic was near no one could follow you. The downside was that no one could. Like everything else it was one of many split blessings in his life. The box surfaced first and Triton's head to follow. There was a deep breath taken and his gills flared and went back to their idle gaping. "The problem is, knowing Maximus if I guess wrong it will be destroyed… forcing us to appreciate every teeny tiny detail he painstaking put into it to prepare this positively pompous pain in the posterior." Deep breaths. He looked to Chloe though who was, trying and uncertain as to what to do but trying. To that he abated his anger with her instead offering, "I appreciate the offer. This is now going to take forever if I want to play my guitar anytime soon. Thank you…Maximus…" It started by looking at the many sides and looked up to Chloe, "This could take a while." She'd offered to help. He slid in there matter-of-factly, "It might even be a few days." Very smooth.

Chloe lowers herself to her knees, her sun dress wet from Maximus' hand and now from her kneeling where he's sloshed water. "I have a few days," she says slyly. "And when I have to go out and water the garden, I'll come back with refreshments." She glances at the box, already trying to figure out where she would start. "Unless you wanted the time to yourself, my Lord, in which case the Genetic Council itself wouldn't get through that door."

Well Maximus gave him something to do. Unfortunately he had something to do already, and now he could not do that think because the tool for 'doing' was in the box now occupying all his attention. How DID Maximus manage to become the focal point of a room he wasn't in was masterful…and annoying. Still he was taking it on trust that the gratitude was genuine as the box didn't have an ominous red button on it. Webbed hands rolled it over and over like a very large Rubik's Cube. Her offer to either join him or bar his door with hell itself got a pause and the arch of an eyebrow. "That' is… an enormously generous offer" The coral red faded form his skin over time back to a green grey like an octopus calming down. "There are bigger things to worry about in the world right now, but I wouldn't mind the company resolving this one.

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