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  1. Today
  2. "I could use a bite," Sean agreed. There was an extra bounce in Sean's step as he walked briskly to keep up with the hungry, amazonian Sara on their way to the cafeteria. It was immeasurably satisfying and liberating being able to drive himself to school and about town in his own vehicle, and only a day after the purchase, the wonder hadn't come close to wearing off yet. Nor could the comments that he was overcompensating for his lack of masculinity or over abundance of feminine attributes ruin his mood when classmates had seen him drive up in his new vehicle - they weren't even completely wrong, he had to admit to himself, pragmatic reasons he had for choosing as he did aside. He'd been slightly hesitant at first to offer Little Bigfoot (as he'd begun to name his lifted Grand Cherokee Trailhawk) to the shop class to work on, but Mr. Bishop's clear confidence in Sara's capabilities, as well as his own experience with them at the auction had gone a long way in easing his worries. As did his home-made drone he'd left in the back that he'd kept a link to. He might might not be able to catch much on video, but it had audio too. If it would help Sara with her grade, bonus. Sean couldn't thank Sara enough for her help in getting his vehicle in the first place. He was wearing a pair of black cargo pants with actually useful pockets - though the hip pockets were still too shallow for his phone - and an open flannel shirt over a faded red Nuka-Cola t-shirt that was snug across his chest. Perhaps it was having a vehicle of his own, as well as growing proficiency with having fucking psionic powers, but Sean was far less self-conscious about his appearance and the snide, contemptuous, or mocking comments or glances it garnered. Indeed, with his lack of concern, it seemed he actually drew less overt attention or derision, fewer people seemed to feel the need to pick on him about. There might be more about one being victimized for acting like a victim than Sean had been willing to admit. Or maybe it was the flat expression on the hulking girl at his side. It was an effort not just to peek into anyone's phone that his curiosity turned his interest on. With his senses attuned to the right frequencies, every phone and tablet and the transmissions flying about seemed to him to be jumping up and waving their arms, yelling 'Look at me! Look at me!'. He couldn't help but look at some of the transmissions that appeared to be practically zipping right across in front of him. Most were banal stuff, the rare bit salacious. He didn't catch anything about him or the Fellowship off-hand, and was kind of surprised he felt surprised about that. Sean and Sara walked into the cafeteria and got in line to get breakfast. Sean just got a blueberry muffin and an orange and an orange juice. "Get your tits back in line with the rest of you, Cassidy," one boy snarked, sharing a chuckle with his friends. Sean snorted and rolled his eyes, setting his bottle of orange back and picking up a carton of milk instead and giving it a shake at the boy. "Thanks for keeping an eye on them, Randall. They're growing girls and always wondering off like that if I don't leash them down."
  3. Yesterday
  4. Echo scowled deeply behind her helmet as she tracked what Jenny was saying. It scanned. She wasn't detecting heat signatures or ultrasound contacts that were consistent with all those eyes...and that implied either an illusion of some kind, or something beyond the touch of mortal tech. Either way, it was trouble. She said, "No heat or solid contacts yet." Then Echo put her lighter gun back in the armslide mechanism and retracted it, and produced the larger Savalette pistol; a real piece of work. It was loaded with ammo designed to punch through body armor, but she hoped it would work as well on magical beasties. From hard experience she knew better than to pull her punches on something like that. It was a lesson you didn't get to learn twice. Moving to one side a bit to let Jadzia come up alongside her, Echo then followed Jenny into the black.
  5. "We're fine." Charlie said, knowing how Cade had been in the dumps over Cora leaving. "Come on. We've got class." Kyle nodded. "I heard about Cora. It sucks dude, I know. But nothing you can do. Maybe you should ask-" "No." Charlie interrupted. Somewhere along the line he'd let slip that Lona had been crushing on Cade, something which was not necessarily true any more, but Kyle had become convinced they would be a great couple. Not that Kyle had anything against Cora, but it had been an aberration in his worldview of the great high school tapestry of couples. Charlie didn't want to be presumptuous, especially in matters of the heart. "But!" "Just drop it." Charlie groaned. Cade looked confused. Charlie shot him a 'don't ask' look. "Let's go."
  6. "Well then." Mycroft set up his cyberdeck for optimized data searching. Fisher had a SIN, and if she was like the average wageslave, would be blasting out personal information on the Matrix like it was popcorn on Free Theaters Weekend. "Let's start with her then."
  7. "Something is here." Jenny said, her voice a low throaty contralto that could almost be called a growl as she sensed the paranormal threat. "Something not natural." She quickly checked the positions of the others, her gaze finding Jadzia. If this was a spirit, then the mage would be invaluable. She glanced at Echo, nodding towards the malevolent constellation of red eyes ahead of them, and moved to one side of the narrow corridor, raising both her gun and the flashlight to probe the darkness ahead as she moved forwards in a slow stalk. "Elf. Keep an eye on the flooded room. Watch our backs." she said to Piper, terse as always, aware that moving towards the entity meant putting whatever might be lurking in that water behind them.
  8. "Well," Chunin relaxed his seat back and reclined. "Apartment is too obvious. He knows he's screwed, let's call it like we see it. Great place to pick up clues as to where he could have gone. Bookie, well he'd have to work him over, he probably has hired help, so that's a recipe for a drek souffle, or a kinky night out. Your call. However, the bestie and the ex... you want dirt on someone? Wanna know their secrets?" "The Ex." Mycroft finished the human's line of thought for him. Chunin smiled. "The Ex."
  9. Cora had been a big part of his life since she came into it, and to be honest he was already missing her presence. Still Life would go on for both of them. he'd been fixed on watching Chet's almost demonic hateful stare, and then it was gone as if it had never happened. When Charlie banged on his jeep, he turned and was about to lay into him, but stopped himself. Cade recognized Kyle, and smiled at the two of them. "nah I'm good, just getting used to having quieter mornings than before." He got out of the Jeep and locked it after grabbing his backpack and coming round to meet with the two of them. "So how are the two of you this morning?"
  10. Mycroft knew this was going to be a headache. Chunin was one of those inveterate snarkers, who would not stop making remarks about everything. From the confined space of Mycroft's Honda subcompact - which fit him fine and was affordable and quite serviceable thank you - to the music Mycroft tried to put on, to the brief burst of gunfire that occurred as Mycroft was making a turn to bring them to the shady spot. It was just a brief flare-up between gangers, and for once blessedly, Chunin had shut up and demonstrated a quite strong sense of alertness. Until it was clear it wasn't going to affect the two runners, and Chunin went back to making stupid comments. "All right, cram it." Mycroft finally told him, in no more mood for this. "Business time." He slotted the datachip into his comlink, entered the password, and projected the contents on AR display for Chunin's benefit. Crowne's picture showed a reasonably handsome human, but nothing to write home about. "We have Crowne's address and apartment number: in not too bad a part of town, but cops are going to take their sweet time if some noise happens." Then three more pictures. "Associates: Trevor Evans, friend from work. DJ Dewinter, Crowne's bookie. And Laura Fisher, an ex. No further info, but I'm sure I can track down where to find any of them. Your thoughts?"
  11. They made their down the musty, dank concrete hallway. The scent, whatever it was, seemingly moist feces and decaying garbage, only got stronger as they made their way through the tight passageway (which only two people abreast could fit into at a time). This was the life... dank basements, abandoned sewer tunnels, haunted crypts... there wasn't much Shadowrunners weren't asked to do and most days, besides a payday, the best thing you could hope for was a shower and some booze to wash the day away. [Magic, Astral Senses] The air down here was heavy, moist, but damp... but it was also... something else. It was saturated with something unnatural and while it had no scent or taste or appearance... it was still there. That feeling down along the spine that one felt as a ghost passed through the living. A chill. A hunch. Something was down here. The laundry room wasn't too far from the stairway. Off to the left there was a thick, brick trabeation that lead into the laundry room. It was a room that you entered after going down two small concrete steps designed to keep the rest of the basement from flooding if the washroom flooded. Unfortunately... it was flooded. Lumpy, black stagnant water rippled in the laundry room as the washers and dryers were all stacked across the walls and a two by two placing down the middle of the room. [Perception] By looks of it it was about knee deep, but nothing within the room seemed out of place aside from the water which had long one stagnant and nasty, possibly polluted if any of the laundry chemicals had been left behind and soaked into it and the reasons for the lumps became obvious... it was filled with hundreds, if no thousands of dead rats! [Perception] Down, into the shadows where the light failed to reach they could all see it... where the corridor become onyx and unknown... there they were... like a demonic night's sky... the perfect square of the coridor's darkness was lit up with hundreds, if not thousands of of tiny little red eyes blinking in in random patters from floor to ceiling...
  12. Jenny's first instinct when the basement door had slammed shut had not been a healthy one: she'd almost Shifted at being trapped without warning. Glowering in the darkness at the elf, she'd fought hard to repress a growl as Piper explained the situation. She wasn't completely debilitated in pitch darkness, of course - the Astral overlaid everything with it's faint ethereal glow, highlighted by the vibrant life of her companions, the rats and the dim phosphorescence of micro-organisms that enjoyed basement living. Not unlike some Deckers she'd met. But this was another lesson. More thought needed to go into her gear if she was to become successful. A low-light flashlight such as the one Echo had provided her unasked would be useful for those times when one couldn't rely on regular senses. The stench down here was... Well, Jenny resolved to breath shallowly and through her mouth, grateful that she wasn't in her four-legged shape right now. Not that breathing through her mouth was much better - she could taste just as well as she could smell. Perhaps a breathing mask would also be in order - it rankled her to be cut off from such an essential sense as scent but, right now, she'd happily be a nose-blind monkey. How the drek did they allow themselves to live like this? She'd be sick too, living above and drawing water up from a place that smelled like this. "Thank you for the light." she said tersely, moving to take point as Echo had suggested. Holding the flashlight up and sweeping it over the floor and walls, she headed with her usual silence in the direction Piper had indicated, her Ruger held low and her Astral eyes likewise scanning for anything larger than a rat.
  13. Zac was holding the cold pack against his left ear, but the right one totally heard the creepy scream screeching through the speakers. Putain, impossible to be quiet today. He rose up from the bed, stood on his feet. Wow, they gave me some good stuff. He was feeeling a little numb from the painkillers, but he had known worse, so he would deal with it. Voices on the right caught his attention. That was Jael talking to the doctor. Hurrying out of the room, he leaned on a wall, close by Jael and Dr. Foster. "Care to tell us what is going on ?"
  14. Jadzia's budget had been sparse, and with her repayments, she had the cheapest of the cheap. Which at this time did not include a proper flashlight, to her current detriment. Making use of the light produced by Echo's flashlight by proxy of Jenny, and Piper's, she hoped she could find a way to remedy her situation before it would become critical. She could always perceive Astrally, but that lacked detail and would make her stick out on that plane. Using a summoned spirit's elemental aura to produce the barest minimum ligth was possible, but that would cost precious reagents...stalking behind the others she pondered her options.
  15. Last week
  16. Shelly High - Track Lilly blinked, clearly surprised and even slightly confused by the question. She had only seen him sparingly over the summer, and since school hard started, they had barely even been around each other with him missing most of Friday. He had even left Bunnee's on Friday night right after she had arrived. If anything, Marissa had been far more chummy and close to him at school, and when her and her bother often hanging out at the farm over the summer.. "Huh? Jason Bannon me and me? Why the hell would you ask that?" she asked, still confused as she tried to get a read on her friends and why they were even asking such a question.
  17. Echo fished into a slit in the hip of her armor to where a pouch was hidden under the ruthenium polymer. From within she pulled a flashlight remarkably similar to Piper's. They must shop at the same Stuffer Shack. She held it up by her head, directing the dim beam along her eyeline as she looked around. "Piper, which way's the laundry room? We'll start that way, clear to the end, then come back and clear the other way." The elf pointed and waved her light. "That way?" That's about when Echo noticed that Jenny seemed bereft of visual aid, and didn't get a flashlight of her own out. She stifled a groan. Typical 'shadowrunner.' Spend all your nuyen on a big fucking gun, completely forget you have to see to hit anything with it. "Hey. Jenny." When the dangerously beautiful woman turned to face her, Echo held the flashlight out, the base first. "Here. I'll want it back when we're done with the sweep." She then reached up to touch the contacts on the side of her goggles with her trodes and selected the ultrasonic sensor built into them, nestled between the two lenses. It charged with a barely-audible, high-pitched 'fweeeeee' and then began pulsing in frequencies only dogs or bats could comfortably hear. Her vision overlay switched over, painting the room in shades of grey. Solid shapes stood out clearly, showing the walls, ceiling, floor, shelves, and obstacles. Surface details were less distinct, and of course anything like text or print was lost completely. It would be enough to fight with, if it came to that. An adjustment laid the thermographic data over it...handy to tell a mannequin from a living body, which might otherwise be tricky if someone held still. "You take point, Jenny. I don't want to be anywhere in front of you when that hand cannon goes off."
  18. The stairs, at one point in the last century, had been concrete poured into sturdy metallic framework. At some point those collapsed, were gutted and wooden were built. Those probably collapsed a few times too at some point, because these new steps were certainly not the most finely crafted. With the exception of Jenny, every step made a low, long creek that seemed right out of a horror trid. This wasn't grandma's basement... this was the basement of a large apartment building. It was brick and cement and several passages that led off to laundry facilities, a boiler room, electrical and plumbing... the basement was, to say the least, huge. Then... the door closed and they were all left in the pitch black of the eerie basement. In the pitch black everyone spun about to face the door (to the best of their memory). "Relax, relax..." Piper offered in a low whisper, clicking a flashlight on. Those with low light vision winced slightly. "...They're locking it up in case something is dangerous down here. We're fine. Jerry is by the door waiting to let us out if we need to make a quick exit, but they're worried for their safety, so we had to compromise." She shined her light down the steps, of which she was already half way down. "Well, c'mon, lets get this over with... I have no idea where this thing is, I've never been down here..." From where they were nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Piper's red light scanned the area. It was cold and filthy and something down here stank. Stank bad. A small plague of rats scurried away at the shuffle and noise of the four ladies arriving. The floor was damp and scattered puddles seemed to dot the hallway that stretched out before them... ...this was going to be a long night.
  19. Now available via our RedBubble store: Trinity Continuum: Æon Hardcover journals! These journals come with your choice of lined, grid, or blank pages for character notes or doodles, or whatever else you like. Æon: Æon Trinity (journal) Æon: Psi Order Æsculapian Order (journal) Æon: Psi Order Chitra Bhanu (journal) Æon: Psi Order ISRA (journal) Æon: Psi Order Legions (journal) Æon: Psi Order Ministry of Noetic Affairs (journal) Æon: Psi Order Norça (journal) Æon: Psi Order Orgotek (journal) Æon: Psi Order Upeo wa Macho (journal) Sales It’s time for DriveThruRPG’s Halloween Sale! Almost 200 Onyx Path digital products from across the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness are now on sale for 25% off! Scarred Lands products for Pathfinder (the Scarred Lands Players Guide and The Wise & The Wicked 2nd Edition) are upwards of 90% off from Indie Press Revolution! Both products are an incredible $5 each! Kickstarter Update The Kickstarter for the Scarred Lands 5e Creature Collection wrapped up last week with $63,130 of our $15,000, or 421%! We’ve got some stunning art and layout from our partners at Handiwork Games. Thanks to our 1284 backers, we funded in two days and hit several of our planned stretch goals. We’ve achieved: More Monsters! x5 (28 extra pages) Encounter Pack x4 (16 extra pages) Virtual Tabletop Tokens Mini More Monsters x5 (20 extra pages) CR Index Extra sidebar detail Monster pngs 2 extra maps Digital monster art cards That’s a total of 60 extra pages of material, plus more, thanks to you! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/200664283/deviant-the-renegades-a-tabletop-roleplaying-game/ The Kickstarter for Deviant: The Renegades, the next game in the Chronicles of Darkness, is down to its final hours! We’re at $78,917 of our $35,000 goal, or 225%. Thanks to our 1601 backers, we funded in just over 24 hours, and are marching our way through stretch goals, including: Deviant Storyteller Screen The Clades Companion: Chimerics, Coactives, Invasives, Mutants Celebration of Darkness Add-On Upgrade: Beast: The Primordial, Deviant Dark Era, Demon: The Descent Deviant Kickstarter Backer Shirt Deviant Digital Wallpaper Deviant Novella Did you miss one of our previous Kickstarters? The following Kickstarted products are still open for preorders via BackerKit: They Came from Beneath the Sea!: They Came from Beneath the Sea! rulebook Trinity Continuum: Trinity Continuum: Aberrant Dystopia Rising: Evolution: Dystopia Rising: Evolution rulebook Realms of Pugmire: Pirates of Pugmire Vampire: The Masquerade: V5 Chicago by Night Exalted: Lunars: Fangs at the Gate Chronicles of Darkness: Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras 2 Chronicles of Darkness: The Contagion Chronicle Geist: The Sin-Eaters: Geist: The Sin-Eaters 2nd Edition Community Spotlight The following community-created content for Scarred Lands has been added to the Slarecian Vault in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The following community-created content for Realms of Pugmire has been added to Canis Minor in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? The Storypath Nexus is now open! So far Scion content has been unlocked. The following community-created content for Scion has been added to the Storypath Nexus in the last week: Your product could be here! Have you considered creating your own to sell? View the full article
  20. He froze, a sudden wild surge of mostly-dormant feelings causing his consciousness to go into a flat spin. For the students milling in the halls the lanky teen who was the subject of so much gossip stayed motionless for only a few moments, whereas he was elsewhere... "...look at me like that, Jason! I can't do this." She set the suitcase on the bed and started packing clothes into it from his closet, muttering. "Bad enough when I thought you might be autistic. Then your damn father goes and gets himself locked up for his ethical concerns..." She looked up to see him standing in the bedroom doorway, pale eyes large in his young features as they watched her. His wasn't crying, and that somehow made this harder. No tears, no snot, just clear comprehension that he was being abandoned by the one person who never should do such a thing, and a faint evidence of pain in his gaze. "I said don't look at me like that!" she snapped, trying to push aside the nagging doubts and turning away before her own tears could flow. "Come and pack your things." ..and the Now snapped back, Jason's mind reasserting it's control as he began walking towards the school office, towards where his mother- Towards where Kaitlin had disappeared, his thoughts racing with their usual quicksilver clarity. She had smiled, and it hadn't been a mean or malicious or smug smile. It had been pleased, appreciative. Like she'd been happy to lay eyes on him. He did not hate her, not as normal people would define the term. Hate required chemical activity in the same portion of the brain that governed other social bonding reactions. Nor was he, at the moment, angry with her. His default state of mind when considering his mother was quiet contempt for her weakness and vestigial pain/resentment, a phantom ache. Stronger than those now was curiosity. What was she doing here? Because it sure as hell was no coincidence. He suspected Cook - but to what purpose? To emotionally unsettle him was a fools task - though Cook might not realized that yet. Do not assume. Work on the presumption that Cook might know his star pupil was a psychopath. What then? It would have to be societal or material pressure. She had abdicated her rights to maternal custody years ago, so it was unlikely to say the least that she could be trying to take custody of him now. Besides, he could choose which parent to live with at his current age - unless Cook took steps to discredit his father and further ruin his life... At which point Jason would consider himself to be at war with Cook's project. Surely Cook would have considered that, if he knew Jason's true nature, which meant that the question looped back around again - cui bono. Who benefited from reintroducing his mother into his life? "Shit." he muttered under his breath, a rare expression of frustration as he fixed a bland look on his face and entered the school admin office. "Hiya Mrs Jauntsen." he said to Misti, glancing at the other blonde woman currently at the counter who seemed to be writing something down. "Jason. How many times to I have to tell you to call me Misti?" the Twin's mom smiled at him. "At least once more." he deadpanned, then smiled faintly back. "I need to reschedule with the school counselor about the Medical Prep class? Friday was kind of a bear." The gorgeous blond, who glanced at Jason with that same appreciative smile but no indication of recognition, let her eyes rove down and then back up drinking in his matured beyond his years physique. She was checking him out. Any other teen would have freaked out at A: not being recognised by their own mother and B: then being checked out by her. Fortunately, Jason had already come as close as he could to freaking out back in the hallway and so met the blonde woman's eyes with nothing more than a faint polite smile and an unwavering gaze, as if she were a stranger who had been caught checking out a youth more than half her age. "There, you're all set for study hall." Misti said, printing off a slip and passing it to Jason, who smiled back at her as he tucked it away. "Thanks, Mrs Jauntsen." His smile turned slightly teasing, causing her to smile back. "Why, you're welcome, Mr Bannon." she said with mock-formality as Jase turned to go, letting his eyes once more pass over the blonde woman who was the spitting image of his mom.
  21. WEIRDER STUFF SESSION IV - A CHASING RAINBOWS Monday, Monday, so good to me Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me Monday, Monday, can't trust that day Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way Oh Monday mornin' you gave me no warnin' of what was to be Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me Every other day, every other day Every other day of the week is fine, yeah But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes A-you can find me cryin' all of the time Monday, Monday, so good to me Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be But Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me Every other day, every other day Every other day of the week is fine, yeah But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes A-you can find me cryin' all of the time Monday, Monday, can't trust that day Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way Oh Monday, Monday, won't go away Monday, Monday, it's here to stay Oh Monday, Monday Oh Monday, Monday The Mamas & The Papas - Monday Monday Songwriters: John Edmund Andrew Phillips The halls were mostly empty when Jason made his way to the same bathroom where Courtney and he had shared their moment only three days ago. He slipped inside and stopped taking a good long look at the sink, which was not broken, and his senses told him that the pipes also were not damaged. More importantly there was no evidence that any of it had even happened. He strode to the sink in question and examined it with all his senses both tactile, visual, and psi. as far as he could tell it was the same sink, he had broken Friday, shattered it actually. The door swung open with a bang and three boys, freshmen, came into the bathroom laughing and cutting up they stopped when they saw who was in there with them and quietly went to the urinals to do their business. Jason left the bathroom and stopped in the middle of the hall, it was filling fast with students, he glanced at his watch it was still early not quite 7:30… The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as a series of goose bumps traveled up and down his arms. He never got goose bumps. Jason looked up from his watch and glanced up and down the hall seeing nothing unusual, nothing alarming, then he saw her. All the way at the far end of the hall just inside the entrance a blond woman, she had just entered the building the door behind her still swinging shut. She was looking at him across all that space. The hall seemed to narrow and compress all the other kids an the few teachers seemed to be pushed out of Jason's frame of vision and the distance between them seemed to shrink until he could see her as clearly as if they stood face to face her looking down at him from above a serious look on her face almost a scowl but that was just a memory. Jason’s mother smiled, turned away and walked into the school office. Sean looked at his jeep as Sara and he walked toward the shop office, he had never felt so proud of a thing before especially not a thing he hadn’t made, but the jeep just made him beam. He had picked up Sara to give her a ride to school, this morning, she was going to do some maintenance and go over the vehicle with more care to see what needed to be done sooner than later. Sara had suggested the school shop, which would give her access to some more modern equipment and wouldn’t cost any more than her dads shop since the school got a deep discount on parts and there was a flat service fee instead of labor. It was also, Sara had said good for her grades and, if she found something she was unsure of, she could go and get help from Mr. Bishop. Sara stood by while Sean filled out the forms authorizing the school to work on his vehicle and use it for teaching purposes. “Don’t worry Mr. Cassidy, we will take very good care of your vehicle. Trust me, Sara here is the best student I’ve had in these bays since her dad went school here.” Mr Bishop smiled at Sara who looked at her feet not liking the praise. Sean went to hand the keys to the teacher who just nodded for him to give them to Sara. As they made their way out of the shop office, he passed the keys to Sara. “I’ll pull it inside after breakfast. I want to change the oil and lube it up. Then put it on the computer and see if there’s anything wrong there. But right now, I’m hungry, let’s go eat,” said the muscle girl. Clara tugged her blouse down smoothing the imagined wrinkles, she still wasn’t used to wearing a uniform and while she didn’t have to wear it all day, she did have to wear it while performing her duties, “Atten…. shun!” her voice surprised her it was a sharp and crisp and the four other ROTC students snapped to attention just as they had been taught. Today was the first day the ROTC would be assuming one of its new daily duties, that of raising the flag in front of the school. “Forward…. march!” The Honor guard led by Clara, under the watchful eye of Staff Sargent Maureen Doyle, march around the corner of the school there was a small crowd. How they had heard about this Clara didn’t know there had been no announcement, but still there they were. Clara saw Lona out of the corner of her eye so at least there was one encouraging face. The rest were mostly curious but there was Courtney and her hag squad, and they were making faces, all smirks and whispering, all except Courtney herself whose face was a mask. For just an instant Courtney and Clara made eye contact and Clara almost made a misstep but she cut her eyes down to get back instep and when she looked back up Courtney was halfway up the steps to the school entrance the hags squad racing to keep up. Cade parked his Jeep in his usual spot and just sat there with the motor idling. Haruka had sensed his mood and been quiet during the drive and had hopped out with a quick “See you later,” then she was gone. Cade had gotten very used to driving to school with Cora, even before they had started dating, now he was going to have to get used to driving with just his sister. He looked up when Chet, Will Beckett, and a couple of other football players walked by the jeep. They were laughing and joking and still riding high on Friday nights win. As they passed Chet looked through his windshield and straight at Cade his smile vanished, and Cade could almost feel the hate pouring off the boy. Cade shook his head to clear it and looked again. The boys were just past the front of the Jeep and Chet wasn’t even looking his way none of them were. Bang! Cade jumped again and looked at the passenger side of his jeep where Charlie had just hit the door with the flat of his hand, a huge grin on his face and his friend Kyle standing behind him shaking his head. “You going to sit in there all day, “ Charlie asked? Cass parked her bike just as the ROTC honor Guard was starting to raise the flag and she whipped out her phone to at least try to get some pics. She zoomed in on Clara and mutter “Wow looks good in a uniform.” “Who does?” Cass spun around at the voice wondering how anyone had snuck up on her and stared into the smiling face of one of her oldest friends and someone she hadn’t talked to in ages it seemed. “Beth! Wow, how are you?” “I’m good, You?” “Good,” Cass was aware of an awkwardness then Beth stepped closer. “Do you want to get some breakfast?” She asked Cass with hope in her voice. Lilly slowed to a trot as she finished the lap, she had arrived early today to run laps and think. She had a lot to think about but in the end had just gone through her routine morning exercise regimen and hadn’t really thought about anything. She notices Lori and Lacy Heath coming onto the track neither were in running gear. Lilly stopped and waited for the girls to get close before greeting them. “Hey Lilly, great game Friday.” The three girls made small talk for a minute or two, but Lilly could tell that some thing was on their minds. “So what’s up guys,” she asked “Oh nothing really,” began Lacy only to be cut off by Lori. “Is there something going on between you and Jason Bannon?”
  22. Closing up the rear, Jadzia felt a small twang of jealousy at the - obviously nicer - gear that the other two ladies had brought with them. Drawing her Streetline Special from its concealed holster she knew that it was more for the comfort of holding on to something than actually being useful. She promised herself to do some imagination-shopping in the catalog next time it arrived in her account. Her lowlight vision gave her just enough to go by, as she stepped down the stairs carefully. Even without perceiving Astrally, she was very sensitive to the roiling of forces on the Astral plane, and she'd know if something magical were to come their way.
  23. There was a click-whirr from Echo's right arm, and a mechanism hidden up her sleeve inserted a small pistol into her hand. As her fingers closed around its grip, she saw the HUD on her field of vision update to include ammo count and type, and a reticule appeared to show her where it was pointing. She fitted her helmet over her head, then snapped her goggles down over the eyepieces. A moment later the options for optical overlays added onto her HUD. She had a heavier gun than this, but the Ares had cheaper ammo. At 900 nuyen, she could come out at a loss if she fired off a mag or two of the expensive stuff. You save your good china for the high quality guests after all. Moving quietly then, Echo followed Jenny down the stairs, switching her goggles to thermographic mode to scan for heat signatures down below.
  24. Without a word Jenny drew a pistol that wouldn't have looked out of place in an Ork's hand from the folds of her lined duster. A six-shooter, but there was little quaint or Olde Worlde about the Troll-killing handcannon. Not the most technically-inclined, the hunter liked revolvers simply because they didn't jam, and if you got a misfire due to a dud round you just pulled the trigger again. Additionally, it was suitably intimidating that most street life scurried away from the bore as though they were cockroaches from a flashlight's beam. That was good - it saved her having to show them why they really shouldn't bother her. She moved past the mask-wearing mage and peered down into the darkness, her eyes penetrating the gloom. "Stairs is old. We go one at a time, moving careful, da?" She started down the steps, somehow managing to set her feet so lightly that she made no noise, even the creaking stairs seemingly not registering her passage. Pausing at the bottom, she glanced back at Echo and Jadzia, the dim lighting in the hallways causing her eyes to shine once more with that eerie flash, before turning and peering into the darkness of the basement.
  25. Sebastian wasn't too far off from the nurse, offering a leap of surprise that brought him to his feet "What on God's green..." he said with a start. "Sir, the heck is going on in this place? Why you mumbling?"
  26. "Eccellente," Mr. Johnson said calmly. "Do try to be discreet, but I know the nature of the job all to well. I trust your discretion. Do this, and I may have more work for you." As he was finishing his sentence two dancers apprached the table with devilish smirks on their faces. "Now, if you'll excuse me. Ragazzi, vedete fuori il signore." The two bodyguards turned to the table and gave the message, very clearly, that business was concluded. The runners left without incident, the guards weren't handsy and remained professional. They moved through the crowd of people and dancers and servers, and within a few moments were out in the streets of Downtown. It was dark and wet and the rain poured down from the sky like heaven's bath tub had the drain pulled. They stood under the cloth over hang leading to the club's entrance. People weren't exactly lining up to get in this place tonight, so they had a few moments. "Name's Mycroft." The dwarf offered. He extended his hand, and the men shared a classical gentleman's handshake. "Chunin." Replied the man. "The hell is a Chunin?" He asked in typical dwarven gruff. "The hell is a Myrcoft?" Retorted the strange human. "Fair point." The dwarf shrugged. "What say we go find a shady spot and talk business. We'll take my car, since your genius self decided to ride a motorcycle in the rain." "How did you know that?" Chunin asked. "That I rode a motorcycle. It wasn't raining when I get here a bit ago." Mycroft throaty 'harumph'. "I'm a dwarf, boy. We drink and we know things. Car's this way." He nodded off to the side and began walking. "I'm impressed," Chunin said, fiddling with his commlink as he followed the dwarf. "But, I have ground rules. I don't go all the way on the first date. Non-negotiable. Heavy petting, that's all you're getting." The dwarf grumbled under the sound of the rain. This was going to be a long night.
  27. Half turned away from the others, Jadzia rummaged around in her messenger bag and took out an old, beat up mask that looked like it had been cut, shot at and burned. A deep breath, then she removed the rebreather from her nose and quickly slid the mask onto her face. The core of it must be modern, as evidenced by the hissing noise as the thing fit on her face, but the outside had that rough look of carved bone. It had clearly seen better days. As she put it on and its systems connected, there was a faint Augmented Reality Overlay running across the mask that was visible for just a second before a mental command suppressed it. Curved lines in blue, maybe something nautical. Might remind someone of one of those ancient nautical maps when they still found their way using the flayed flesh of trees. Then they were gone. With its lowlight engaged, at least she could see before setting her feet in something nasty. "May I suggest we be adaptin' our posturin' to the more cramped area beyond? Punchy people up front, bullet hozes next, precision shooters final, and all dat jazz?"
  28. "Ditto," replied the shaggy human. "After all, I put on my good shirt. Might as well enjoy the evening." He smiled. The server came by the table again and his face lit up with joy. "Hey there. Hi. Let's touch commlinks and be fiends." She laughed and shook her head. "Sorry, hun. I'm working. What can I get you?" "Nothing for me, thanks, unless you're rethinking that 'be friends' angle." "I'm off at three," she laughed and stepped away from the table. "Two fifty-nine, got it." Chunin looked back to his employer. "So, you want this man gone, fine. Quietly, or made an example of?"
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