1964-10-14 - A Cat meets an Alien
Summary: Aaaand the Alien is all YOU ARE A CAT
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
keith warlock 

Nothing is better than a good hotdog. Let everyone say what they will, you just can't beat Nathan's. Ever since setting foot back on American soil, Keith has been craving the good taste of Nathan's weiners, and he is finally realizing that craving, eagerly stuffing the sausage and buns into his willing mouth.

"Man, have I missed this…" he says, human-clad, sitting on a bench and enjoying the early Autumn weather that has not yet turned to horrible chill. He sighs softly, contentedly, and leans back against the bench. For the moment, everything is alright.

And he still hasn't made his way to Westchester because… because he needed that hot dog. Yes.

A man wanders. He is tall, dark, ethnically uncertain, and handsome. He's more or less bald, and that's not in any way unfortunate, because his head is shapely. He wears a shirt, jeans, and a simple jacket, nothing particularly distinct about him at all. But there's a look that his smile wants to turn into a grin as he wanders the boardwalk— and then his eyes fall upon Keith. He walks straight for the other, looking openly fascinated, his head tilted to the side as he nears, "Astonishment. You are not like anyone else." he declares in a voice that is clear and serious and has a hint of joy in it at finding something new. Not to mention, blunt. Its as if he has no idea at all that Keith is actually hiding. "Query. Are you from another world?" Okay the speech patterns are a little odd.

Keith has just disposed of the last of the hot dog when he is accosted by Captain Dictionary. He is surprised, at first, and blinks a couple of times, just staring at the man.

What an *odd* thing to say, really.

"Indagation- are you on shrooms? I'm not from another world, dude, I'm from Ohio!"

He thinks about that statement.

"I'm technically not from another world." He corrects the statement. "What's your deal, and why are you talking like you're trying to teach me how to diagram a sentence?"

There is a pause, and Manlock considers the words seriously, "Apologies. Self is unaware of meaning of word 'shrooms' or what it would be to be 'on shrooms', but if self was on shrooms, self assumes that he would know so. Since self does not: Conclusion. Self is not on shrooms." He shrugs, but then flashes a grin that is in every way friendly. He gestures toward Keith, "Explanation. Self is not an expert on this world, and self is aware that there is a variety among 'mutant population' that defy a standard configuration— and certainly self understands how configuration has no importance or meaning, as self's configuration is a function of need— but self has not yet encountered a bipedal sentient with orange and red fur, and though there are certain physiological similarities to feline breeding, self has seen many tabby cats— they appear to like self— but never with quite so excitable a coloring! It is beautifully unique!" Warlock and the filters? Not so much.

Keith is… flabbergasted. For the first time in a long time, he has virtually run out of replies, mostly because he can't quite comprehend some of the things that are being spoken *at* him. He makes an effort to follow the thread, and frowns.

"Wa-wait a minute. You can see me?" He stands up quickly, taking a few steps away from the man. He looks down to his arm and sees fair skin, confirming that the illusion was in place, and he looks up quickly again, on his guard.

Warlock looks genuinely, almost innocently, confused, "Cautiously. Of course self can see you." Pause, he looks around, and gestures to someone who slightly steps around Keith in walking on the boardwalk, "As can he? Self does not understand. Are you… expecting yourself to be invisible?" He hesitates, and lifts his hands, thinking. Very tiny squares throughout his skin seem to flip over, and as each does they become invisible, showing through to the other side. But its imperfect, a clear shimmer even when the first few fingers thus shift and the light-bending mini-machines he manifests on his form activate. "Self has never tried to be invisible before." The squares fold back into place and his hands are just hands. "Apologies. If you intended to be invisble, you were not successful." A bright grin, "If you would like to practice, self will try to help!"

Another step back, and Keith's eyes widen, "What on earth…" Keith hasn't met any aliens. Well, that is not true- he knows Teddy is an alien, now, thanks to Billy's big mouth, but he's never actually seen anything *alien* that was outwardly so. Warlock's way of becoming invisible? Definitelly not what Keith does. It felt… well. Un-magical. And in his book, that was positively un-natural. "What are you… and why did you come to me?"

There's a pause, again, considering. It seems Keith's questions are considered deeply, partly because he does not entirely understand them on first pass, "Self did not come to you. Self went for a walk; self likes watching people. Humans are interesting; self likes it when they laugh. On self-world, there is no laughter." He shrugs slightly, "Self." He gestures to his chest, "… is designated Warlock. Self-friend Doug says self am a space alien from space, which while true, self feels is slightly redundant. But self would never correct self-friend: there are no friends on Kvch, self-world." He pauses, and winces with visible embarassment: his words may be somewhat robotic, but his *emotive* expression is perfectly natural. "Self is not supposed to expose self's nature outside of … safe places. But thought you, too, were from other world. Apologies. Self did not intend distress."

Slightly more at ease, Keith realizes that he's dealing with a fish out of water. He closes the distance between the two and lowers his voice.

"Right, right, no need to let people know you're a little green man." Because if people try to capture mutants to study them, just imagine what they'd do to a little green man.

"It's complicated. I am from this world, and I'm also not from this world. Walk with me, talk with me," he says, choosing to walk down the boardwalk "It's easier to keep people from overhearing if we're not in one place. Warlock. I'm Keith. And you are… new to this place." As an understatement. "You mentioned a 'Doug'?"

Warlock walks with Keith, nodding "New and not-new; self travelled the stars fleeing self-sire for a period of time hard to quantify without knowing precise difference in periods of Earth-Sol cycle and Kvch-Kol cycle. Many…years." He hesitates, trying to decide what to say, and decides on, "Self landed on this planet some few months ago, and was…disoriented. Confused. Self-friend Doug found self, and because he is a mutant he learned self's language— he learned to speak Technarch— and taught self this language, though self is not good at it." He's embarassed, its obvious in everything but his words. "Self understands complication." He nods emphatically, "Self-friend Doug said there was a sanctuary for mutants, and since self is himself a mutant— though a mutant of the Technarchy— that they may offer friendship. So self is here." He shrugs, considers, "This world is nothing like what self's genetic-memory encompasses. You are… hybrid? Part human, part alien? Self … does not understand hybridization. What controls? The human, the alien?"

And here he was about to make a situation much, much more complicated than that. Keith tries very, very hard to put it into terms the alien may comprehend.

"I am neither. I was born human, but the other part of me was born as a creature of chaos magic in a dimension dimly connected to this world. Through a rather complicated story, I ended up dying and my soul merged with that of the creature when he was trapped by a magical receptacle that just happened to skewer me right through the heart. We were reborn as one entity. With… a modified personality. Of sorts."

The fact that Keith is being completely open and not attempting to be his aloof, cool facade is solely due to the fact that Warlock emanates total and absolute naivete… and that he is not someone from this world, this society. There's something strangely liberating in that, in not having to play the game. He's not judging him like a human. Warlock, Keith decides, is safe.

Warlock pauses, he has to he has to pause, and reach out to very gently touch Keith on the arm and tug him to the edge of the boardwalk, and look at him. He is silent a moment, then lifts his other hand, and from the tip of it emerges a… butterfly. The legs of said butterfly remain in contact, but in every way it looks like a monarch butterfly. "This is life." he murmurs, "Organic." He lets go of Keith's arm, and he tries to keep sight from anyone seeing the butterfly on his finger. The other hand reaches towards it, and it… transforms. Its something of a blur, but something that looks almost, vaguely, mechanical, but not, also organic. BUt at the end a finger has a vial of green liquid and a needle. It is touched to the butterfly, and it changes. The finger whirrs back into being just a finger, and the butterfly becomes a tiny, beautiful, mechabutterfly. A little clockwork, more hightech, thin and slender and in no way less beautifukl. "This life — which was not a life, just an shape, assume it was a true butterfly. The transmode virus— the essence of self— is introduced to it. It becomes a merger of beings, of self-not-self, and then." The butterfly folds up its wings, bends down and folds into the finger it was perched on, and is gone. "Self-not-self is self." His tone is grave, "Query. Was this done to you? Self does not know 'magic', the Technarchy has no concept that maps to this word. But merger of beings is how the Technarchy exists. But.. in Technarchy, dominance and power is the whole of identity. Yet, you refer to.. the creature. You merged… but retain yourself?" He seems to find this concept baffling. Not offensive, just…strange.

The cat watches, fascinated, the transformation of the butterfly, and is left silent for a few moments after, trying to parse Warlock's question.

When he finally thinks he has a handle of it, he says, slowly, as if trying to sound out his thoughts as he goes:

"Magic… is not logical. It bends the laws of physics to obey will, in favor of those who know how to tap into it. I wasn't… dominated. The being- the Cheshire Cat- and I… we both 'died' and were reborn as one, in this body. Our separate lives ended at that moment, with our own timelines, our own memories. From that point on, only one life. I remain… very much myself, but there's more to me. There's part of me that's the cat, that's not separate. But I don't let it show too much, because the dimension from which I… he… came is very different from this one. So I decided to let the part of me that was born here, in this dimension, be more dominant. It's… confusing, at times. Sometimes there are moments where I feel my other instincts wanting to take control because they feel they know better but…" he shrugs.

"I assume I have confused you as much as you have confused me."

Warlock tries; he really tries. It shows on his face, the intensity in which he listens, he studies every word. "Self does not understand 'magic'." he admits first, shaking his head slowly, "Self has never seen anything that fits the definition of this word as given to self by self-friend." Then again, the fact that Keith has his magic on and Warlock isn't seeing it… there may be a very good reason he hasn't seen anything like that. "You speak of symbiosis." is what he finally decides, "Self understands this concept, academically. It is anathema to Technarchy; on Kvch and the feed-worlds, there is dominance and subserviance. There is power and ambition, or servitude. The concepts of 'partnership' are alien, unknowable. You human, and You cat, are become one not through dominance of one over other but through symbiotic merger into greater whole. You are, thus, You. Whole." He nods slightly, and then smiles, "Admiration. This is wonderful. Is self's understanding incomplete?"

"Well, it was more of a life-or-death situation than anything else… but yes, I guess you could call it wonderful." Keith grins and he does not let on just how much of a Wonderland joke Warlock just made. There will be time to introduce him to the book. Later.

"Well.. maybe if I demonstrate…"

He looks for a part of the boardwalk that is out of the way enough, and he extends a hand. "Let's say that you want to open a portal, right? From the side of science, you'd have to know… I don't know. Dimensional physics, complicated stuff, and then build complicated machinery that follows the laws of physics and can be the cause of the desired effect, right?"

"Portal." Warlock pauses, shaking his head, "Self is not capable of being a portal, however, self can manifest a spacefold drive which allows for faster than light travel. According to human science this is vaguely similar to what is called 'einstein-rosen' bridge, but done in small scale but repeated rapidly. Every inch thus becomes a lightyear. This is how self escaped self-sire." But he shakes his head, and focuses, "It would be highly advanced technology, based on knowledge— though all of self's knowledge is genetic— to create such a bridge. And self is not capable of doing it locally."

The cat waves his hand and the Rabbit Hole appears. On the other side of the hole, there is a beach that is being bathed by moonlight, clearly in a different time zone.

"I didn't use any technology to create this," the cat says, quickly closing the Rabbit Hole lest someone come near them and see. "Nothing more than my own will, and I knew where to tap to make the universe obey. Magic…" he says, shrugging, "I guess the best way I can describe it is as some elusive, primordia force. Some people know how to tap into it, others don't. Properly applied, you can do… well. A lot of things that you would otherwise have to spend an enormous amount of resources, materials, etcetera to do. But the thing about is that nobody really understands it. Not even magicians and wizards- the people who allegedly use it all the time. They know some of it, but a lot of it is still fairly mysterious. I use it at the most basic instinctive level because of what the Cheshire Cat could do, so I don't have any of the book-learning… but I hear that doing great things with it can cost you a lot, and the cost can be very personal."

He smirks, "I use it to make these portals, and to disguise my appearance when I don't want to call attention. But you apparently can see right through it. And yet… you've never heard of magic."

Warlock tries to understand; he looks at where the portal is, his expression showing no understanding, and he listens to the words. He nods slowly, "You are tapping into a force you do not understand; self could try to understand its context with self's own genetic memory, but …" He nods then, as Keith says the important point, "Self sees.. you. Self does not see anything of this that is called magic, and self has never heard of this." There's a pause, and then.. he shrugs helplessly, "Self does not see this portal you speak of. Self does not see 'disguise'. This…" He gestures to his chest, "This is a disguise." He gestures to Keith, "This is you." He pauses a moment, "It is not that self does not believe you. Self does believe. You use this ability on instictive level. Self…" And then there's a blurring of shape and form, some parts seeming an organic transformation, some parts sharp-edged like technology, and he looks exactly like he sees Keith to look. Only he has no illusion hiding the oddity. "… has no form. Self is Technarch. Form is need: need is expressed in form."

"INTERESTING!" Keith says, staring at Warlock. "Interesting… you are… you are blind to magic. How is that even…" the cat grows curious. "I'm going to test something. Tell me what you see…"

He opens a Rabbit Hole whose opening leads to a foot away from the cat. He steps through it-

And stops halfway, so that one half of him is poking out of one portal, and the other one, through another. He stays there for two seconds, and then steps through, closing the portals.

And then he looks at Warlock, expectantly. He used his power of illusion to disguise what was going on from onlookers, but of course Warlock wouldn't see anything at all of that. The questionw was- how did he experience Keith stepping through the Rabbit Hole?

Warlock jerks up, and… changes again. Not a man, not a Keith-clone, but… another whirling shape and what comes to be man-shaped being of chrome and brass and lines of flesh, a being of bright yellow eyes and a wide mouth with tendrils of black that are almost like dreadlocks. In alarm, this being rises up a few inches, but despite some clear but few signs of organic, he looks more machine then anthing in those moments. Yet.. that robotic face is expressive. It looks with alarm from where Keith was to where Keith is, and the confusion is obvious, "Self does not understand, you existed simultaneously in two places."

"Ahh!" Someone runs away.

Warlock doesn't notice. "You split yourself and yourself was not whole. Are you in pain and in need of medical emergency? Alarm! Medical emergency!" Even if he's now whole, surely being cut in half is bad? Even as he says it there's a shifting on his back as jet engines form themselves on the alien to rush the cat-man to aide.

Congratulations, Keith O'Neil. You have officially freaked the alien out, and now the people in the boardwalk are frekaing out. What a mess.

"No, no, am fine! I am fine!" the cat steps out of the portal, whole and hale. That he doesn't seem alarmed by Warlock's appearance isn't terribly surprising. Big walking cat. And he is weird, but he is not the Jabberwock.

"I told you… magic. It doesn't make sense from a conventional point of view…"

He shoots nervous glances at the people who are not running away and/or pointing. He gets the impression the authorities are going to be called. Or worse.

He notices the jet engines, though, and says "But we probably should go somewhere else. I'm afraid your cover is blown and it's not a good idea for us to stay here. Can you take us somewhere else, pronto?"

He would use his Rabbit Hole but now he is afraid of shoving Warlock through it. For all he knows, he might just explode or melt if he goes through it, and that would just be sad.

"All things make sense, according to the rules of the universe; this 'magic' must be a science unknown to the Technarchy." Warlock hesitates, looks around, and recognizes he has indeed been seen. So steps in towards Keith, and as he does so his whole body becomes a geometric shifting series of shapes of metal and wires and super-technological gears and functions. Its all very hard to understand. But Warlock sort of flows around Keith, becoming a kind of suit, and the engines on the back blast off and they SHOOT up into the air. The suit folds out a helmet of glass that encases Keith's head, providing oxygen and a voice, even as wings fold out from the back to better fly and aim. "Self is very good at transportation. Where do you wish to go?"

Keith is completely flabbergaster for a few seconds. He was… he was wearing him. This was crazy, even for him.

"Um… somewhere… without people around? Er, somewhere deserted where we can talk, yeah, let's do that!"

It was the first thing that came to mind. He couldn't quite think of a place… until it came to him.

"Westchester… there's a lake…" it was near the mansion, of course. But it was autumn, and chilly, and not likely to have people near. He hoped.

"Self knows a lake in Westchester!" Around Keith, the Planelock reconfigures, becoming sleaker and more high tech, and suddenly it just *blurs* in motion as it engages engines so far beyond what it is capable for man in the 60's to make that its not even a whole blink of an eye before they are flying over the mansion. The plane reconfigures again, becoming a suit with a helicopter blade spinning out of its back, as it slowly descends down to the ground. Seals hiss as he suit opens and gently Keith is deposited on the ground before the suit pulls away, shrinks down, twists and bends and shifts and… he looks like a man again, like he first did. This is totally the Institute's lake. "Self lives here." he explains, pausing, "Wait. Self is not supposed to bring people here."

Keith takes a moment to himself, taking a deep breath and taking stock of the surroundings. Has it really been a year since he was last here? The leaves had finished turning, then, and it seemed like he could still see Piotr at the edge of the shore, gesturing to him.

Warlock's interjection snaps the Cheshire out of it, and he raises an eyebrow.

"You're telling me you live at the mansion?" Well, of course he would. Where else would an alien consciousness end up?

Warlock nods his head slowly, looking…careful. Hesitant. "Query: Do you… know the mansion? What it is?" He hesitates, "Self hit the moon, bouncd, and landed. Self was… confused. Self-friend Doug found self, he learned self-language, and taught self about how it is to be on earth." But there's more to the story, but he seems unwilling to tell it, at least, until Keith answers whatever questions he has on the subject of the mansion itself.

"Know it? I lived in it for a couple of weeks. Piotr, Kitty, Jean, Sam, the Professor. I helped them out when Jean was…" he drits a little, and settles for "Taken. Actually, PIotr wanted to convince the Professor to let me live at the mansion. But I sort of…" he trails off, yet again, and slides his hands in his jacket pockets. "Left without telling anyone, really."

Warlock relaxes: clearly he has clearance. The man shaped alien inclines his head, "Self is a mutant." he explains, "Self-friend Doug said there as a sanctuary of mutants, a place of safety, a place where self could be accepted, and a place where, if self-sire finds self, others may choose to help keep self safe from self-sire's fury." He shivers slightly, "Self-teacher Charles Xavier decided self could stay, since self is a mutant in addition to being Technarch."

"Yeah… Piotr wanted to convince the professor to let me stay, even though I wasn't a mutant." He shrugs. "I guess I didn't feel comfortable with being the exception, if you catch my drift…" He goes quiet. "Piotr and Kitty still around? I mean, have you seen them?" He lets his gaze linger on the path, and he swears he can feel his toes itching to walk. But he turns around to face Warlock, instead.

Warlock is silent a moment, considering, "Self remembersa 'Kitty', but not a Piotr, but self does not know even many of the students and other inhabitants of the sanctuary." He then laughs softly, "Self is an exception in almost every way! Self's mutation is compassion. That and other emotions. It is unnatural, in the Technarchy, to feel anything but ambition and revulsion. Ambition for power, revulsion of all that is not Technarch."

"They sound absolutely lovely," the Cheshire cat smirks an leans on the nearests tree, because of course he does. "So about that moment where you freaked out… you didn't see the portal at all? All you saw was me getting… bisected?"

"Query: What sounds lovely?" asks Warlock, settling on the ground, cross-legged. He then shakes his head, "Self did not see a 'portal': You were whole, and then your body coexisted in two places, but partly in each, shrinking form one place to the other. Self's suppostition is slow-rate space-folding effect not dissimilar to self's own ability to manifest star drive engines. But… slower." He considers, "Self has the genetic knowledge of self-sire, and he has devoured many worlds, but not encountered a phenomenon quite as this."

"Magic, short and simple. It's a force that allows you to temporarily … modify the laws of the universe. Such as they are. Or at least that is my definition of it." The cat shrugs and says, "Your planet sounds lovely, and by that context I meant they don't. Maybe sarcasm will come with the next evolution?" the cat grins at Warlock.

"So you are sort of a cosmic refugee here. These Technarchs… how likely are they to come after you?"

Warlock doesn't look disbelieving on this magic thing, but seems to have difficulty fitting into the framework of the world as he understands it. He grins, he gets sarcasm at least, "If by lovely you are meaning the worst place in the universe, yes! That is kvch." Then he sobers and winces, "On kvch, when a sire produces an offspring, they fight. Either the offspring kills or subjugates his sire, or the sire kills or subjugates his offspring. But that is for *normal* Technarchs. For self-sire, Magus, who is Lord of the Technarchy? Self is a rival, even if self wishes no rulership. The offspring of lord either kills the lord, or is killed. That is all that is possible. As rival, self can not be allowed to live: self-sire will never stop looking, for his rule is undermined by my existance. Further, that self is an abomination taints his existance— surely Magus has fought off other rivals who seek to take advantage of the perceived weakness that self's tainted nature implies of self-sire."

"The question is not 'how likely', the question is if self was successful in hiding trail when self fled. That self-sire Magus searches and will never stop searching is certain."

"Well, it looks like you've come to the right planet," Keith says quietly. "There's more than a few individuals around that would probably show your 'Sire' a thing or two if he decides to come this way. Plus…" he grins, "We have magic, and apparently the Technarchs can't even see it. Oh, I wish I could cast spells! I don't know how … maybe I could learn. But in any case, a whole squad of our magicians could take any of your guys by surprise nd they wouldn't even know it."

He kicks a bit at the shore with one bare foot, rippling across the water. "It would seem as if you've found a place where you belong. That's very rare."

"Are you not… casting spells, to disguise yourself? Yet, that does not work?" Warlock asks, his head tilting, but his voice is grave, "Do not underestimate the Technarchy, would-be-friend: they devour whole worlds. It can not be assumed that every one they have had was powerless, weak, but to them they are nothing but feed-worlds. Organic life serves no purpose but sustenance." But then he is silent for a moment, then grins big, broad, "Self belongs with self-friends. Doug is the first friend self has had, concept of 'friend' proves humans are superior species to Technarchy. Self now has *two* friends. "

"I'm afraid I don't make a good friend, 'Lock," the cat says, smiling rogueishly. "I have a tendency to disappear and lose touch for random periods of time…" he jerks his head towardss the mansion's direction. "Just ask them. If they even remember me."

He looks somewhat embarrassed at the question about magic. "Yyyes. Technicaly. But what I do i sort of… instinctual. These were things my other half already knew how to do, but he never bothered to actually study spellcasting. So while I know how to do *two* things…" he trails off.

Intrigued, Warlock nods his head slightly, "This is a subject that must be studied. Do you know other 'spell-people'?" He tilts his head, cocking ti to the side, "You are doing magic, yet it is not affecting self's perception. Is this because self can not see that which is magical, or is it that self's incomprehension of this subject is more meaningful, that it can not affect self's kind?" He pauses a moment, "A Technarch is a techno-organic being; a perfect melding of organic tissue and technology. A Technarch exists in a state that is *set* in the universe, we are each ourselvesa a *fact* that is, though the shape of that fact is irrelevent, we have no true form, no baseline, we are in form what our function calls for, and evry form as equally truly *us*. A Technarch exists as proof of the underlying order that is seen in the chaos of the universe. We … are." Then he tilts his head, and smiles slightly shyly to Keith, "Perhaps you have not found someone to be a good friend to you? And so you disappear for random periods of time."

"You are of… order." Keith muses, and then smirks. "Hey, it makes sense. You are order, and what I do is rooted in chaos. Or, at least that's a theory. I only know one other spell-person so far, he goes by Wiccan… but I don't know if he'd be able to help me learn."

The cat laughs a little at Warlock's statement, "I wouldn't say that. Piotr was… a very good friend to me. I felt close to him. Actually, maybe a…" he trails off, thinking. "Huh. I hadn't really put words around it. But… I guess it makes sense."

It was so typical of what he did. He looks up to Warlock and notices the shy smile, and sighs inwardly. "I'm kinda messed up, Warlock. Sure, we're friends. But if I ever happen to… go away for some time, I don't want you to think it was a problem with you, okay?" He takes his hands out of his pockets and grabs a rock, in order to skip it across the waters. "The problem's usually with me."

"No, we are the order that is hidden in the deepest currents of chaos. Ever-changing, formless, but representing the deeper order." Warlock shakes his head slowly, and lifts a hand, the hand… changes. Each finger becomes a hand, and each finger on each little hand beomes a hand, and on and on, the hand branching up and out as it changes. "True chaos is impossible: as true randomness is impossible. You see chaos and random because you are blind to most of the universe, you lack information. The subtle relation of every atom to every other, the shifting vibration of each molecule. There's so many moving parts that the outcome is chaos, but if you knew every detail of every molecule, you would see the order." Warlock's hand returns to normal, and he gestures to himself, "That is the nature of the techno-organic being; every cell is known, every process known. And so, what self is, becomes seeming-chaos of formlessness, when in truth, self is order, as will defines form of self-reality."

This said, Warlocks flashes a warm smile to Keith, "Query: Who is not messed up?" he asks, simply, "Self is the only one in the whole of the universe who is like self. Self understands 'messed up'."

"Let me rrephrase that, then," Keith says, admitting that there is truth to what Warlock says, "I am messed up in a particular way. I have a… people and I… it's…." he finally shrugs, "It's complicated."

The feline then looks towards the path that leads to the mansion, and asks "Don't you think they might be wondering where you are?"

"Self comes, self goes." Warlock shakes his head slowly, "Self-friend Doug knows self will return, but knows also self must explore this world, for this is new to him, his new home. Self must find a way to be here. Self is not alone if self has friends, but self must find who he is, too. It is a question self has never had an answer to: he was, he fought, he fled. Who is Warlock?" That makes him pause, and he looks more seriously at Keith, "Who are you?"

And Keith laughs, because through all of this, he hasn't even introduced himself. He holds out a hand, a sheepish smile on his face. "I'm Keith. Keith O'Neil. And the Cheshire Cat. I don't really have one of those fancy names the kids at the mansion have… a nom de guerre or whatever. Nowadays it seems to be the thing to have. But yeah. You can call me Keith."

Oh! The ritual of hands, Warlock knows. He rises, and goes to give a light, careful shake to the offered hand. "Self is Warlock son of Magus of the Technarchy." He maybe takes shaking longer then he should, "Keith. Well met. You should meet self-friend Doug." he pauses, "If you meet him, should self reveal that he sees through your disguise?"

"If he is one of the peolpe at the Mansion, sure. The ones that were around there have seen me without my disguise." After the handshake, Keith looks thoughtful and says carefully, "I really should get going, through. Sun's going to set soon and I need to find somewhere to sleep that doesn't get too cold." He looks back at Warlock. "There's a club called The Black Cat. I go there for a drink on Saturday nights. If you want to find me, that's the best way to do it."

Warlock inclines his head gravely, "Self understands you have reasons to not wish to stay here; but self does not understand them. But self has come to understand, self does not need to understand." He nods, and smiles, "Until then, Keith."

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