Surviving the Plan - 1

Plans are for the weak

–Beginning Basic Expressive Narration of Recording 27–

The troupe reenters the room where Mark is currently lounging. Anna has still not returned from acquiring the food that has, in theory, been delivered. I am in possession of the reason for this delay, but it is of no consequence. What is is that Mark and Lapadj are staring each other, one standing with bottles of water, one sitting with nothing. This changes when Lapadj places the bottles down, drags a chair out and sits down, maintaining eye contact.

“I’ve never met a tourist as stupid as you,” Mark says brazenly. “Did you prepare at all or did you just think a cloak would do everything for you? Which it can, but we are Empirian. I know I am, anyway.” He smirks cruelly.

Lapadj seems as if he is about to growl or hiss or lose his control completely, but he does not. He straightens his form and cracks his neck.

“Do true Empirians need to prepare?” Lapadj asks. “Preparation is an admission of being weak.”

Mark’s orbs grow in size only marginally. He laughs. “Perhaps. But true Empirians should never be perceived as weak, and you definitely are.”

“From what perspective?” Lapadj’s hands start to grip the table. Sarela is clearly shaking her incorporeal form.

That question is interrupted by the sound of the door being open. All tension is released.

“Hi, guys, I got the food,” Anna calls out she brings the two bags of food into the room.

Lapadj is the first to respond to her presence and the only one of the Empirians to help her with the items. Mark watches with a calculated gaze.

“Sorry it took so long,” she says. “There were a few weird issues but it’s all good now.”

“Great,” both Lapadj and Mark comment.

She cracks open a bag and a waft of aroma delectable to Humans comes out. “Smells great too, eh?”

Lapadj blinks. “Most definitely.”

The Kharatzara reaches into the bag and takes out a green substance in a container along with a bag of food items labeled chips. Anna takes out the tacos and Mark stares at the spread of food. He tosses napkins to each of them as they sit down. The bags also contain plates that each take. Water bottles are divided up and opened by all three of them.

“So did you figure anything out?” Anna asks and then takes a taco and some chips.

“Yes,” Mark says, whereas Lapadj says, “No.”

She blinks as she takes a bite out of her food. She speaks after she finishes swallowing: “Well, that’s something.”

Lapadj shifts in place. “We did not so much as figure something out as more realize how much we don’t know.” He looks at Mark specifically.

“Ahhh, that makes sense,” Anna replies with a nod. “So it is still kind of a mystery to you?”

“Not a mystery, no. I think I understand more how things are but that doesn’t mean I understand it,” Lapadj answers.

“That is an interesting state of mind to be in,” Mark says. He brings the Human food over to himself and begins to indulge in it. “Assuming you even have one. You know, being new to this and learning the ropes of it.”

A hiss is elicited from Sarela at Mark’s phrasing. “That was good. Lapadj. You can do better.”

“Every moment I am exceeding my last because of Anna’s teaching,” Lapadj replies and takes a meager amount of chips and guacamole. It looks as if he does not know what to do with it, which he probably does not.

Anna’s head whips to him. “Really? How sweet. Thank you. I’ve been learning from you, too.”

In an action that conveys fake humility, Lapadj bows his head. Mark shakes his.

“Pairing is an experience that can reward both partners,” Mark say, “in different ways.”

“Definitely,” Anna says with an excited series of nods. “Maybe you two should pair sometime, if you are able to, Mark.”

“Maybe,” Mark stiffly says.

“You know, that could be a hilarious idea,” Sarela says. “He does not want to and you could push for it and then he would be flustered.”

Lapadj’s Human countenance lights up at Sarela’s words. He huffs smugly and glances around the table. He notices Anna’s messy plate and Mark’s more sensible one. Specifically, the availability of napkins. He rises out from his seat.

“I’m going to get some more napkins,” Lapadj informs them.

“You have a plan, do you not?” Sarela asks.

“He has a plan,” Grapefruit affirms as Lapadj strolls out with a smirk on his face. Sarela kills the recording as he does so.

–Ending Basic Expressive Narration of Recording 27–

What is Lapadj up to? Find out next time AKA when I get to writing the next one.