Securing the parameter

After the group of first responders dispersed, leaving the pretty gnome and masked bombshell alone, Lorem experienced a raised level of uncomfortableness. She knew it was coming and braced herself with the thought of ~She that has a big enough WHY can endure any HOW~. Her why, was to try and make a connection with the mysterious and intimidating Sasha.

Lorem renewed her grip on her hand cannon, looked about the dark exterior landscape of the Manor, and then up at the towering Sasha. “Ready?” Lorem thought to herself, of course she is … Sasha was probably born ready.

Sasha looked down at Lorem and nodded. Seeing the apprehension in the gnomes voice and the trembling in her hands Sasha wanted to help easy her fear a bit. Pointing her own gun, then to Lorem's cannon. "Quick lesson." She began. "Gun, here." she gestured to her side and down. "Keep it pointed down, you are new to using something like this and having it down and away from your own feet is safest. Even if most of those shots only slow down or knock a person out you HAVE to treat it like its one like mine. You should only ever aim that at something you'd be okay with hurting or killing." she said, in friendly, stern but not lecturing voice. "And if you haven't you should put a safety on that, just to be safe."

"Stay as close as you need, I'll keep you safe if anything out here is going bump in the night." Sasha said, though ever so often Sasha would stop and adjust her weight letting out a small groan, rubbing her side before the pair would continue on.

Lorem did as instructed, instead of having her gun aimed upwards or out she pointed it down. Next she turned on the safety, something she had forgotten to utilize. It was comforting to have an expert at the side, it made the dark a little less scary.

“How did you learn about such things?” Lorem realized that a safety and gun placement wasn’t necessarily difficult to learn; however, she hope Sasha inferred that she was speaking about her specialized skillsets.

"My mother and father were both Monster Hunters." Sasha said in a slight whisper. "My mother started teaching me at first, but was busy a lot. My father took over. He couldn't hunt as well anymore with his injuries." she paused a moment thinking. "So I've made efforts to integrate both their hunting styles so both remain around best I can." Sasha paused again, unsure weather to tell the next part since Lorem was scared. "Especially my mother's Hunting Style. I don't have her weapon with me right now. I'd have to travel home to get it." she added.

"As for the exact 'How' I am not at liberty to tell or teach. I know I can not stop someone like you with an Eidetic Memory from picking up aspects of it. I just ask you do not try and repeat what you see, you might hurt yourself badly. We train our bodies for a long time to move how we do in combat." Sasha glanced over. "I can teach you how to properly shoot. I might even be able to design a gun for you." she added.

Lorem had so many questions all of a sudden, but she didn’t want to come across as annoying. She decided to start with one and see how things proceeded. “What were the difference in your parents hunting styles?”

As for memorizing what she saw Sasha do and say, that was true. However, knowing something and actually being able to physically do it was not the same thing. Lorem knew this. If it was purely cognitive then it would have been fairly easy to replicate in short order, but the brain to body motor programming no doubt would take the same if not more time than Sasha had invested in her life. It just wouldn’t be a reasonable use of time, as it would have to consume all other goals. In addition, Lorem had no desire to voluntarily deal with things, monsters as Sasha called them, that wanted to harm her.

Learning something a bit simpler, like how to shoot a firearm, would be practical though.

“I would like to take you up on the offer to learn how to shoot.” It was in their best interest. Lorem was just as apt to hit her friends as foe right now.

"My mother favored the blade, where as my father favored the ballistic." she explained. "My mother was also better with the other hunter tools, and my father was better at traps. I learned what I could from both." she gave a small laugh. "Though given the current situation." she said rubbing her bruised ribs again. "At present I prefer the Ballistic as well."

"As for lessons in shooting, we'll need to get you a more pratical weapon. I realize you designed that." she pointed to Lorem's launcher. "But we need to starts smaller." Sasha shrugged. "It's all the same principle at the end of the day but having something you can aim and steady is best for beginning. Crawl before you walk."

“Starting smaller sounds like a good idea to me.” Lorem replied as she looked down briefly at her bare feet upon the terrain briefly to avoid a small hole. Her eyes quickly went back up to the perimeter once clear.

“I am still wrapping my head around the fact that monsters are actually real. I thought them myths and bedtime stories.” She said honestly showing how naive she was about such matters.

“Do you enjoy hunting monsters?” Lorem loved what she did, she wondered if Sasha felt the same about her line of work; despite the brutality and nightmarish subject matter.

Sasha thought of how to go about explaining with out scaring her more. "Some are, quite a few, but more often than not 'monsters' are just people that let whatever dark twisted thing that lives in us all win." she said. "You might not think it you might not know it but everyone is capable of something or somethings truly awful." Sasha went on to explain. "For most of us its just bad little thoughts that pop up and then we feel bad for even thinking them. Like someone getting a grant or a head position on a project you wanted, and you think. 'If they just disappeared I could have that job.' and you know you mean 'gone for good' but then feel bad even thinking that. The most kind of monsters I hunt are men to make them disappear, or hurt women and children or a long list of other things. Those story book monsters, a lot of them are real but to me are far less insidious. They are evil sure but they are also acting upon their nature."

"Enjoy...hmmm...I don't know that I would call it enjoy. I do what I was trained to do, keep people safe. Some aspects I might enjoy, such as the tracking, the planning, but the killing, you have to turn yourself off for that, take that you that is you, put it in a box and lock it up till the job is done."

What Sasha said actually made it worse. There was the potential for anyone to be a “monster.” She always intuitively knew it to be true she supposed; however, she never took the time to really consider it. She had lived a very pleasant life so far, graciously apart from the malicious hell brought on by those that make matters worse on purpose.

Lorem also considered what Sasha said about turning yourself off; and that must mean there is an on switch too. Like a circuit and semiconductor material, she wondered. “How difficult is it to switch between the binary states of on and off?” Could this explain why sometimes Sasha seemed to exhibit anti-social behavior?

Sasha looked at Lorem leaning against a wall for a moment to rest. "It can be." she said, "It really all depends on who and what my 'prey' happens to be." She gestured to her ribs she's been holding "The reason this happened. No it was easy to turn off that human part and let my 'monster' take over. The difference is I still control it, I have it on a leash it can only go as far as I want it to." Sasha told her, "Other times, its harder, something I'd rather not do but still need to do, or sometimes I can't turn off, and have to be me, keeping my wits about me." she had a distant look in her eyes for a moment. "It can be tiring to do it though it takes a lot of stress to your emotions. Most people are not made to shift from kind hearted to cold blooded in the blink of an eye."

Lorem was only able to keep her eyes attentive on Sasha because of her superb hearing. The vulnerable gnome, though she held a hand cannon and was accompanied by a master fighter, still felt displaced being out in the open in the middle of the night knowing they had security issues. It was enough to hold a conversation, but not enough to let down her guard. Sasha was no doubt very vigilant as well, but her body language seemed comfortable while Lorem was noticeably on edge.

“It sounds difficult and I can imagine it is as you say. Does wearing the mask somehow help with the process?” She asked. The gnomes curiosity would put a cat to shame.

Sasha shook her head. "No. The mask is a personal aspect. When I am fully geared up its is hard to tell that I am a woman, especially if I do not speak." Sasha began. "I am taken more seriously. This is not braggadocious when I say this. I am simply repeating what has been said to me. I am quite beautiful under the mask, and with my hair properly combed and made up." she said. "And in that sense men especially men like the Baron Greenwood do not take my skills as gospel. And proving my skill is not something I should have to work double to do."

Lorem nodded as she actively listened and simultaneously patiently waited for them to be underway again. Her bare feet were getting cold.

“I know what you speak, even though my field isn’t dealing with life and death. Do you think, even though there may be sacrifices, that it might be better to do what you do displayed as a woman so that it teaches the rest of the world what women are capable of doing?” Lorem felt like she needed to elaborate.

“You see according to the Law of Diffusion of Innovation, all populations can be tracked onto a bell curve. Two percent would be the innovators, that’s you. About thirteen percent are early adopters. These are the people that believe in you and what you are doing already. Then you have the early majority. Then late majority. The early majority need to see more proof. The late majority will catch on once the early majority validate their risk aversion. And finally you have the laggards, which will never get with the program until they have no other choice.”

Lorem took a breath and continued to her point. “It only takes about 15 to 18 percent market penetration for something innovative to reach a tipping point and start a snow ball effect. I am optimistic that you probably only need to convince five percent or less of the population to reach that tipping point. But it may be harder to even reach that if you hide who you really are?” Lorem wasn’t referring to the time dressing in disguise would be useful; like a costume. But the other times. In truth, Lorem could strategize how being a woman might have advantages that men did not. She hoped Sasha understood what she was trying to say.

“My parents taught my siblings and I not to cater to the least common denominators.” She added and shrugged apologetically, her tone getting meek again because she didn’t want or mean to offend. She wondered if she overstepped.

Sasha motioned for Lorem to continue following. "No, I do not plan to take off my mask in a long capacity. I realize working with the Order I might be required to at a point in the future, but not only does it help with being taken as a serious threat, I it also gives me a certain anonymity." Sasha added.

Lorem followed. It felt like the topic had been brought to a close and sealed from pursuing further. She flipped through other inquiries in her mind to try and keep the conversation from turning into awkward silence. Just before it reached that point, Lorem asked “Why did you join the Order?”

Sasha slowed her pace a bit. "For my father." she said, "He was injured and could not preform the duties needed, so I came to Paris in his steed." Sasha explained, "And my mother can't, so that only leaves me." she explained. "I was already out and about France so it only seemed fitting. The legal loophole it provides is a welcome benefit." she said half jokingly.

Lorem was thinking deeper on what Sasha said and realized she had fallen several feet behind the taller woman’s strides. She quickly caught up.

“What would you have done if your parents were able to respond to the Order’s summons themselves?”

Sasha thought a moment. "I would have likely stayed in my home town tending the cemetery." she said. "A boring job but someone must do it and my family has done it for almost as long as the town has had one."

Lorem perked up, that was interesting AND unexpected. Her attention was a big subscriber to novelty and happy accident connections. Plus, she had never met someone before that worked at cemeteries.

She couldn’t picture this femme fatale, the only way she’d ever known Sasha, living a humble lifestyle as a cemetery caretaker. “Why is that boring? Was it just a front to mask the monster hunting profession?”

"No." Sasha said "It wasn't a front." she said. "Just lonely. The residents aren't the best company." she added. "It's quite a lot of sitting around during the day, and watching the fresh graves at night, and far less of the hunting business," she said. "It would be like you owing a store that sells parts for inventions, but you aren't allowed to invent yourself. You'd be pretty bored. Sure you might get so joy out of helping others invent things, but you'd miss being about to be the one doing the inventing."

Lorem’s initial tracking of the analogy was flawed. She thought that Sasha meant it was boring helping other people put other people into the ground, that it would be more fun for her if she could actively be the one inventing their demise that led them there. She shook her head at the thought, it obviously was a wrong conclusion. Lorem thought about it again and the second time around it made sense in the way Sasha intended it to.

“Well now you have a team that I hope makes better company than before.” Lorem stated. She inquired, “Do you still feel lonely now that you are here, or has that been remedied?”

Sasha gave a tentative shrug. "It is too soon to tell. It is nice having others around, but it will take some time getting to know everyone. And though this might be presumptive for them to know I can be trusted. Not seeing my full face could cause so to not be able to tell if I am truthful or lying." she said, before letting out a sigh. "Once I get to know everyone, I'll probably wear that mask less." she said. "I'd prefer to just be able to eat." Sasha laughed but cut short feeling her ribs sting. Sasha looked at Lorem, her own feet were tingling with the cold Lorem must be freezing. "Are you cold?" she asked, "We can head in if you want. If you are still afraid I can put on my boots and finish the walk."

Lorem’s feet were indeed freezing. She was looking forward to a warm steam shower and pajamas once she got back to her workshop. She really didn’t want to be out patrolling the perimeter in the first place. She only did it so she could spend time with Sasha to try and get to know her better.

“Yes I am, and my feet thank you for the suggestion on heading inside. I think I am confident no one is going to mess with the manor tonight after seeing us on patrol.” She added that last part in jest, trying to pretend for the joke that the gnomes presence would have something to do with keeping evil at bay.

“Would you be so kind as to please walk me back to the workshop?” She asked humbly. Lorem was still afraid to head back on her own.

Sasha nodded. "Of course." she answered, walking her back to her shop. "If you want to talk again I'll be around more for a few days letting my ribs recover so. Just find me if you wish to talk. I might need use of your workshop if I have the time to fix 'Le Dieu Marteau'." Sasha added as they arrived at her workshop. "Lock your door, and please if you hear something go bump. Use something less explosive." she made sure Lorem knew it was a joking tone.

Lorem giggled very softly at Sasha’s joke. It was nice to see that Sasha did indeed have a kind, softer and joking side; the toils of her profession hadn’t corrupted her.

“I will. Thank you for walking and talking with me. I enjoyed our time together. Know you are always welcome at the workshop.” Lorem curtseyed. Well as best she could with a hand cannon and side satchel. The petite gnome than went inside and was looking forward to getting ready for bed.

Sasha would hear the several locks being utilized on the opposite side of the door. Lorem had installed a few extra of her own design since moving in. One might have been able to tell by the more advanced looking handles.

Hearing all the latches Sasha chuckled softly to herself before heading to bed herself. Though the others were still enjoying tea she didn't want anything that would keep her awake any longer then she has been.

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