Session 04: Nightmares

Notes: These events took place at the end of Session 4.  Eli was kind enough to provide the dialogue for Hunter.

Kami tossed and turned, trying to get to sleep.  His anima banner had faded, but he still felt exhausted.  His mind raced, reviewing his choices and their outcomes.

Joining the project seemed like such an obvious choice.  Their motives—at least, the motives they claimed to have—were so in line with his.  In retrospect, perhaps they were a little too much like his ideals, which should have made him suspicious.  However, Kami simply wasn’t a suspicious person.  This trust had served him well in many cases, though it had been disastrous this time.

After several hours of restlessness, Kami finally fell into a fitful sleep.  Even then, however, his mind was not quiet.  He dreamed of armies of soldiers, all equipped with his improvements.  Kami tried to explain that this was never his intention, and that he only wanted to help people recover, but even his closest friends turned their backs on him in disgust.  He woke in a panic, screaming, and fell out of bed.

At Kami’s cry, Jacob woke and looked at him fearfully.  “Uncle Kami, what’s wrong?  Are bad people coming?  Do I hafta hide?”

Kami calmed himself and then turned to Jacob.  “No, Jacob, I just had a bad dream.  You remember when you had bad dreams?  I’m okay now.  I just had a long day, and a lot happened.  Go back to sleep.”

Jacob quieted, and Kami heard Jacob’s steady breathing return as the boy quickly fell back asleep.  Kami lay wide-eyed and stared at the ceiling in the dim light.  He got no sleep that night.

During the day, Kami studied what he could and scavenged the parts he could.  As much as he would like to restore MIRI, that would have to wait until they had more time.  They currently needed to do what they could around here, rest up, and prepare to catch those who planned to do evil with their new knowledge and stolen technology.

That night, Kami fell asleep quickly, but he woke with more nightmares during the night.  Each time, Kami had to calm himself down and then care for Jacob, who would understandably become agitated and anxious.

In the morning, Kami tried to focus on gathering materials and preparing for the journey, but his heart wasn’t in it.  He just couldn’t stop thinking about the consequences of his actions.  As the day came to an end, Kami was a wreck.  He hadn’t really slept in several days, and his guilty conscience weighed heavily on him.

As Kami sat and pondered what he could have done differently, Hunter came and sat down near him.

“We all create monsters at some point. Why suffer, especially when you did so unwittingly?”

“Yes, but I’m still the cause of all of this.  Without my research, these people may never have discovered how to use the technology here.  They’re twisting the good I tried to create into evil, and I can’t help but feel that if I had been more cautious and questioned their motives more carefully, I should have seen this coming.”

“Was your contribution truly irreplaceable? Or would they have found a way, given time? At least this way, you have seen inside their schemes and can unmake what you have made. Caution would have kept you on the outside. A clean conscience has its own price.”

“I suppose that’s true.  Perhaps there are some benefits that we can use,” Kami said, considering.  “That makes sense academically, but it may be some time until I am able to truly feel that my actions were beneficial.  Perhaps I will feel better when we are able to right this wrong.”

A moment passed as they contemplated events both recent and upcoming.  Kami considered carefully and finally gathered his thoughts.  As much as it pained him to ask a favor of this sort, he had to, for Jacob’s sake.

“Hunter, there’s one more thing,” Kami began, hesitating.

“Yes?”

“I… When I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m not exactly quiet.  I keep waking Jacob with my reactions to my nightmares.”  Kami tried to keep things vague.  He had no problem being open about his difficulties, but he wasn’t sure how much more Hunter wanted to hear.

“The child should sleep,” Hunter replied, unsure where this was going.

“He has Veria, but he doesn’t want to sleep the whole night without someone there to protect him.  I’m just making things worse.  Could you… would you be willing to let him sleep in the room with you?”  Kami knew this was asking a lot.  Hunter put up with Jacob for Kami’s sake, but he felt very uncomfortable with the boy’s affection.

“I’d tell him to be quiet and not bother you,” Kami added quickly.  “He could sleep in the corner with Veria, and you wouldn’t need to do anything.  He just feels safer with someone there.  I’ll understand if you don’t want to, but I thought that maybe…” his voice trailed off.

“I will do this for a time. But do what it takes to purge yourself of this guilt…if the boy gets too comfortable around me, it could be the undoing of our plans. To me he is a weapon against the Silver Prince, albeit a delicate one.”

“I understand.  Thank you, Hunter.  I will use this time to reflect.  What you have said is helpful, but it may take time to work through these issues.”

The next night, Kami still suffered from nightmares, but he was able to deal with them more rationally when he woke.  Perhaps the next night would be peaceful at last.

 

(In-Game: After spending one willpower on Iron Kettle Body, which he never even used, Kami botched three conviction rolls in a row to regain willpower.  He is now down four willpower.  In retrospect, this would have been an excellent application of his Luck merit… but the botches actually make quite a bit of sense after his recent experiences.)

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