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  1. The drone of the plane had lulled Davian into a sleepy stupor even though he'd been sleeping for most of the flight anyways. Darrik had managed to get them bumped up to first-class seats by flirting with the flight attendants the evening before and the larger, plush seats were doing the best to pull Davian into full slumber. They'd put the armrest between the seats up last night and Davian had leaned against his boyfriend, snuggling under the blanket they were sharing and trying not to worry about the reception most likely waiting for them in New York. ,, It wasn't just Alexis, even though she was the reason they were flying halfway around the world. The US Ambassador to Algeria had been trying to get him to go back to the States for over a year - something about an R&D military think tank that wanted to meet him. ​More like dissect me, he grumbled to himself, if that's even really possible anymore. It was based just outside of DC and Davian had little doubt that there wouldn't be some "amazing coincidence" of some of the scientists being in New York while he was visiting his sister. Hell, they were about as subtle as bricks through windows, if the Ambassador was anything to go by; he wouldn't be surprised if they were camped out at the airport, just waiting for him to land so they could "accidentally" bump into him before he even had a chance to get his luggage. ,, He debated changing his appearance before they got off, but Darrik couldn't do that and they knew who he was travelling with. Besides, he grumbled more in his head, his apprehension making him unusually surly, I shouldn't have to sneak around like some criminal just to visit my sister on our birthday. His eyes flicked down to the backpack at his feet, the only contents being his identification and the velvet box with Alexis' presents in it. He wasn't a rich man, though he could probably make himself so easily enough if he wanted to, so long as he didn't mind either counter-fitting money, flooding the market with rare items like gems or precious metals, selling his soul to the US (or most other countries') military industrial complexes, even less scrupulous corporations, or charging people for his ability to heal. None of those options made him feel anything above greedy and corrupt, so for right now he and Darrik lived modestly and he only splurged on making expensive things when it was necessary. And bribing his sister with expensive jewelry to be at least somewhat nice to him on their birthday was, after some prodding from Darrik and the memory of the last time he'd spoken (fought) with Alexis, sadly probably pretty necessary. ,, The sunrise had been chasing them across the Atlantic for hours now and the ding of the seat-belt sign finally went off, signalling the first step in their descent back to earth. Davian reluctantly sat up enough to buckle himself in and put down the armrest. It wasn't worth the argument with the stewards about his ability to fly on his own and dematerialize off the plane if it started to crash. Nobody like to talk about plane crashes and it just sounded crass to say that it wouldn't really bother you. The blanket and it's stored warmth from the two men stayed put, though. He wasn't ready to give up on the comfort and perceived shield it and his lover provided against the worry of what would happen after they touched down. His eyes tracked passed Darrik and out the window, staring out at the clouds and the ocean beneath them. ,, Twenty years ago today he'd been born. Seven years ago today he'd lost almost everything in the car crash on the way to their birthday dinner. Four years ago today he'd become something else, something not quite human anymore, saved his sister's life, and abandoned her all on the same day. Two years ago today he'd finally made it to the US Embassy in Algiers after escaping from Dr. Solace and met Darrik for the first time. Everything about his family, past and future, seemed to sit on this day. He glanced down at the backpack again and sighed. Please let this work, he prayed to the universe, hoping someone or Someone was listening.
  2. The world had become a strange place. It was hard to put a finger on what exactly made it so strange because there were too many things that had long abandoned the label normal. Jill actually liked it and got downright thrilled when she found out about her neighbors secret superpowers. Dr. Julian Kell - a nice man. Smart type, nerdy. She liked him and he was never impolite. If she thought about it, it seemed he was very hard trying to lead a normal life. Very much unlike her. They couldn‘t have been more on the opposite sides of the scale. Julian was a tall, lanky guy with an odd taste of fashion and unusual hobbies. Like playing boardgames or memorizing all lines of Captain Picard from that Star Trek TV show. Such things had little relavance to her but it didn‘t threaten her way of living and it wasn‘t anything that bothered her much. He had a Doctor‘s degree and gave lessons at the UCLA which did impress her. Jill on the other hand... Jill‘s only hobby was working out. She had started lifting weights when she was around 18 acquiring a taste for the sport that turned downright into an addiction. Within a few years she started competing and won all the local championships until she decided to go pro about a year ago. Things were picking up and she was slowly making a living out of her hobby which was difficult enough given the rather small niche the sport covered. There was lots of prejudice towards her sport and chosen way of life which but she didn‘t care much about what other people thought. She wanted to be successful and fortunately she had the necessary dedication to get there. At 25 Jill had an impressive body and she was aiming for the heavy weights class next year, trying to add more bulk to her already massive size. Bodybuilder, especially female bodybuilder automatically draw attention towards them. People just stare or stop talking for a moment, as if they saw an alien. Jill enjoyed those moments the most and had gotten a habit of staring back and making funny comments to reverse the situation. Julian never ever treated her like that. Maybe he didn‘t care (she doubted that) or maybe he was gay (she wasn‘t entirely sure about that) or maybe because he had superpowers... (which he tried to keep secret). She didn‘t feel like exposing him because he was such a nice guy and always looking after her, although she really didn‘t need anyone. Not having much friends it was nice having a neighbor who was genuinely friendly and forthcoming - especially since her world turned upside down a few days ago... She had just walked up the stairs to her apartment staring for a few seconds at Julian‘s door. It was still difficult for her to grasp what had actually happened. At least she had managed to get things a little under control but it looked like after she saved her dad from being crushed under tons of steel her body was still under shock for the lack of a better word. Actually she felt fantastic - powerful and healthier than ever. Still things were not how they were supposed to be and he was the only person she knew who could provide some answers - she hoped. Walking over to his door she carefully knocked on it making more noise and probably doing some damage to the frame without intention. Maybe knocking wasn‘t the best idea... "Julian? Are you home? - I need... I need your help.“, she asked staring at the door hopefully.
  3. Evening, May 1st, 2012 ,, The sunlight filtered through the thick vines and thorns, still strong enough pierce her eyes with pain nearly as much as the thorns if she strayed from the narrow path and brushed against them. She had to keep running, though, even if it meant stumbling and pricks along her half-bare arms. She couldn't remember how long it had been since the last time since....since someone had gotten close, but she knew she was being chased and she had to keep running. Had she ever done anything other than run? Memories flickered through her mind and a rock scooted onto the path to trip her. ,, She tumbled down to the ground, throwing herself as much to the center of the clear line of dark earth winding between the tree-sized vines as she could. The rock snickered nastily and grew to the size of a boulder; she could hear the groan of the ground as it began to roll towards her. She scrambled, crab-like, away from it. She knew if she took the time to stand up, it would roll over her and crush her. It kept growing larger and gaining speed, expanding to fill the entire path and even push on the vines along the edge. Her heart pounding, she covered her face with her arms and rolled towards the vines, wondering if death by impalement was worse than death by crushing. ,, Death is death, honey. It's not cruel and it's not fair, it just is. It reminds us to live every moment as happily and fully as we can. That's what your mother would have wanted. Her father's voice had been with her for as long as she could remember, little snippets of conversations around campfires or in a warm bed just before sleep. ,, Thorns ripped into her flesh, tracing bright red lines down her arms and legs and setting her entire body on fire as the boulder rumbled past her, grumbling at her escape from it. It was rolling too fast to slow down and turn around on the path quick enough to crash through the vines onto her before she could run, though, and it lazily continued along the path, looking for another bit of prey. She curled up on herself, tears slipping through her arms and watering the ground beneath her, mixing with her blood and the soil. Small iridescent red flowers began blooming beneath her, the petals metal-sharp and keening in a mockery of her own crying. ,, I fell down, papa. I broke my knee. ,, It's just a scrape, sprout. You're barely even bleeding. ,, It hurts! ,, It's just a little blood, kiddo. Time to get back up. You're almost there. ,, Almost where, papa? ,, Can you see the stars, Zoe? Can you see the Swan? ,, Swan? ,, Something bit at her, a dull half-circle of pain digging into her arm, followed by a loud honking. She opened her arms enough to see a white swan standing over her, honking impatiently. It nipped at her arm again and then spun around, trundling off into the thick of the vines. She pulled herself up as much as she could, stumbling after it through the green foliage. The thorns ripped at her again at first, but the farther she chased after it, the smaller they became, slowly transforming from wicked instruments of torture into soft, pliant leaves. The vines became smaller but denser, taking on a brown, woody texture and eventually forcing her to crawl on her knees after the bird. The light, blinding before, faded from above, but the swan itself gave off a lustrous white glow. After a short eternity, the plants gave way entirely to a green ground of soft grass, rolling gently away towards a building. The swan gave a final honk from the middle of the grass then thrust itself into the air, wheeling up into the sky until it burst into a half-dozen glowing points of light and faded into the Cygnus constellation. ,, She laborously pulled herself upright, staring at the night sky. Shouldn't I be up there? An evening breeze wandered by and cooled her skin, goosebumps flushing over her. She blinked and pulled her eyes from the stars, looking at her earth-bound surroundings. Papa, where am I now? ,, ,, Zoe's Clothing
  4. When Cassandra was looking for a place to move in in Bay City she never dreamed of ending up in Anderson Manor. The place was... HUGE – with capital letters and it was all thanks to this coincidential encounter at the library that resulted in her meeting Kamiko Anderson... the owner of the place. Kamiko was a Millionaire. Multi-Millionaire to be precise while Cassandra lived of the stipend she got from the Circle of the Arcane. Officially she was studying Archaelogy and English Literature but that was far from the truth. Cassandra was a Witch – probably the least talented Witch to have ever graced the halls of the Arcanum. Still she was lucky – the only ‘quality’ she possessed. Cassandra would’ve stumbled into a puddle of mud just to avoid being shot at – such was her luck. Meeting Kamiko was one of those incidents which could only be explained with her uncanny luck. Cassandra still couldn’t believe her luck. Unlike those who observed her she was still amazed each time Fortuna blessed her. Her room was huge, like everything in Anderson Manor. Actually she had much more than just her room – she had her own bathroom, a seperate room for her bed and access to a balcony which granted her a beautiful view over the garden of the whole estate. The place did overwhelm her sometimes. She didn’t have nearly as many clothes to fill the huge closets and wardrobes – it made her feel small and even insignificant sometimes but she tried to enjoy it as good as she could. After all Kamiko was more than nice to her – she soon turned into a real friend and didn’t loom over her with her wealth and education. Kamiko had invited her for dinner tonight and Cassandra happily obliged. Cassandra was dressed in a simple skirt and long sleeved snuggly pullover which hid her lack of curves. She had put her hair in a pony tail and nervously played with the necklace which she never took off until Kamiko arrived. The young woman always seemed to be busy with something.
  5. It has been nearly 6 weeks now that Nathaniel Thorne, former Tai-i of the DCMS and bondsman of Clan Nova Cat was a free man again. He retained most of his personal belongings, at least the little things he still possessed which he called his own. There was a number of old graph paper notepads which contained his observations and drawings from his time as Bondsman – it was his way of easing his mind and put things in order and it helped him visualize what he learned from their culture which was in some ways similar to the DCMS way of the warrior and Bushido but also very different, almost to an alien degree. When the quartermaster of Aldrigde’s Avengers handed out a new graphpaper-notepad Nathen earned the same look he received from most of the unit since his arrival. His education and code of conduct, indoctrined into his very being by the DCMS, reflected in his every day dealings. He bowed instead of shaking hands, he kept a certain distance when he talked to the staff, like a zone of respect he didn’t want to breach or be breached. Nathan was generally polite and friendly and should any conflict or missunderstanding arise his force of personality, some would call it charisma, managed to ease the tension and get things done without involving violence – but he was always ready to fight, should he be forced to. He was sitting just outside the Dropship observing how the technicians checked the mechbays and went through their maintanance checklist. He appreciated Aldridge’s command and detail for these things. It was paramount for unit like this to keep their equipment in pristine condition. The wind blew his long hair in chaotic strands over his face but that didn’t bother him. Nathan took his pencil and opened the notepad starting on the first page. 20th June, 3057 – Lt. Nathaniel Thorne – Notes III Captain Aldridge’s Company of Mercenaries seems to be my new home for the next couple of months, maybe even years. At least I’m back in command and back in my Mech – a very welcomed change to the last months I spent in disgrace and captivity by Clan Nova Cat. I must confess these Clanners treated me better than my own people which made me re-assess the general state of affair concerning the Clans. I had a brief glimpse at how and most importantly why they were on this invasion and much of it was politics – at least as far as my understanding could fathom. Yet they destroyed much and they were here to stay. Even after the truce they cannot be fully trusted. Something I have to keep in mind the next time we meet on the battlefield. Aldridge gave me command of his Battle Lance. An unexpected move I must confess but not unwelcomed. His men are disciplined and capable but I have yet to learn the strength and weaknesses of my lance mates. He looked over the landscape and then back to the Dropship and started to sketch a rough portrait of Julia WhiteElk. With a few quick lines he managed to capture her exotic features, a talent he could trace back to his mother, who had been a teacher of arts back on Quentin. Nathan smiled before he continued to write. Jules Warpath WhiteElk – There are not many female Mechwarriors in the DCMS, something that is part of the patriarchial tradition of House Kurita. She pilots a Black Knight – a rare sight on the battlefield and thus little intel is available about its capabilities. Something I intent to take full advantage of. It takes a special breed of Mechwarrior to pilot a Mech with a huge swordlike hatchet for close combat manouvres. Taking out a Mech sometimes resulted in a meltdown of the fusion reactor – standing too close to it could be the last mistake you made. I doubt Captain Aldridge is keeping records of his Mercs, at least not the way I’m used to so I will have to take my personal notes here and see how to evaluate what I observe. Our encounters have been brief and formal. Then there is Mel Hyena Grimson – Another quick sketch capturing his goofy features followed before Nathan continued with his notes. Pilots a Penetrator, another jump capable heavy mech fitted with a barrage of Lasers exclusively. If he knows how to manage the heat he could deal some serious damage. Something I have to assess soon in order to put him to maximum effect. He’s a nice contrast to the beautiful exotic Lyran, and seems to have a loose tongue but maybe I got him wrong, who knows? Assuming Captain Aldridge’s choice of Mechwarriors was as thoroughly as the strutcturing of his unit I can look forward to fighting alongside these soldiers. Nathan looked up and let his eyes stare into the horizon. He was not quiet finished with his notes but sometimes his mind drifted off when some memory resurfaced from the battle which had changed everything and cost him his honor. One day he would reclaim his place and wash his name clean, one day...
  6. For an orphan, patterns and established relationships were very important. Each child without the stability of a family went about these in different ways, but they all tried to find somewhere to belong and something stable in the way of relationships. For Sean, there was the added difficulty of what his parents had been. He couldn’t know that they were Teragen. It wasn’t common knowledge where Sean had been found as a baby, but he knew, and that knowledge was always there. He’d wondered which of his instructors had known and every time he’d failed or just misbehaved, he waited for them to blame his heritage. They never had, but the blame he’d given himself was just as damning. Still, he tried to forget and have some fun. That’s why he’d established the Sunday Night Poker and Food Party among the other DV second gens. A quiet request down the line from Anna had opened it up to their Utopian peers as well. Sean’s condo was in Otjomuise, a high-end suburb of Windhoek where many Elites lived. His place wasn’t a million-dollar mansion, but it was the entire floor of a modern high-rise. Frankly, it was more room than he needed day to day, but it had been open and the price had been right when he’d been looking. Taking this place had meant he could stop looking, too. The main area was a combination living room, kitchen, and dining room. The living area was closest to the windows with their panoramic view of Windhoek; the floor was two steps lower than the rest, clearly defining the space. The kitchen and dining room were located behind the living room. Right now, the place smelled good. Sean always catered these events; he couldn’t really cook and with his income didn’t need to cook. Tonight he’d gotten finger foods from the American restaurant down the street, which he’d set up in his kitchen. His big table in the dining room had the cards and poker chips on them, ready to be passed out when guests arrived. He’d set up his entertainment system in the living room so that if anyone’s date wasn’t interested in poker, they had something else to do. The green-eyed man looked around the room one more time, satisfied that he was ready. Now he just needed his guests to arrive.
  7. Prisoner transfers were never handled lightly. Everyone was carefully planned and implemented to ensure that nothing went wrong. The officers in question attempted to anticipate every possible outcome, whether they could control it or not. Tonight, the weather was interfering; a winter squall had come in over the Atlantic, washing over the floating city of Gideon. The stakes were even higher when the prisoner was a vampire. Peter Bendiot was nervous for that reason; in all of his years of dealing with the undead, he’d learned that they were most dangerous when cornered. Miu Shen was facing deportation to America. She’d be burned alive, probably within five minutes of hitting U.S. sovereign soil. If she was going to try something to escape, it would be now. The door of the holding facility opened and Peter straightened, feeling his muscles tense. Two guards walked out backwards, looking more like robots than men in their anti-vampire suits. Their masks guarded their vision and supplied air if oxygen was cut off. They had padding around their necks to blunt a strike to the neck; their arms, upper legs and torsos were covered with puncture-resistant plating over a Kevlar under layer. They seemed to hulk over their prisoner; Shen was a deceptively small form, shadowed on either side by the officers escorting her. The small Asian woman in an orange jumpsuit shuffled forward, her steps restricted by the titanium alloy leg restraints. Not only were her ankles secured, but her knees and thighs were restrained by the strong metal as well, forcing her steps to measure in the mere inches. Her arms were wrapped around her, held by a metal harness as if in a strait-jacket. Her path was forced by the metal rods held by the officers; similar to those used to control vicious animals, these were attached to her harness. A handful of green laser guides swarmed from the night to waver over her heart. With her head down and the bite-guard covering the lower half of her face, she looked subdued and meek. Peter doubted that. Vampires were stubborn when it came to giving up their own lives. They sold others much more cheaply, he mused darkly. Her victim, Jeremy Matthews, was lucky to be alive. Peter’s rifle, one of those dots glowing brightly on the orange cloth, was steady and unwavering. He took even steps back, keeping his bead on her. Behind Shen, two guards using more restraining poles widened their positions as well, forming a rough X with Shen at the center. Another seven officers were watching her tensely, their sidearms out. Like Peter, they’d be loaded with incendiary rounds. If you could get a vampire to burn, you could kill them quickly. The waiting aerocar idled behind Peter, the downdraft of its idling Harrier engines shoving against his armored body. Above them, another aero hovered; it had three more officers waiting to support them from the air, if needed. He carefully backed up the ramp as the officers guiding her stopped their progress. The others watched, their guns pointed at the floor. The space was getting tight; the arcs of fire without friendlies were closing. Still, there wasn’t a moment when she wasn’t covered by at least two men. It wasn’t until Peter and another officer, Devon Carson, had secured themselves behind the bars of the guard cage that the officers moved forward. Peter and Devon aimed their guns at her, unwavering as the two forward guards entered and secured her restraining rods to the wall. They eased around her and helped the two men in the rear secure her as well. The four of them left together, leaving her with the two guards. On the other side of the metal plate that separated the passengers from the transport section, Peter could hear the other officers talking as they boarded, strapping themselves into the restraints. He should have felt better knowing that comrades were just on the other side of the thick plate, but he felt irrationally abandoned, left alone with a killer. As if she’d heard the mental critique, Shen lifted her head. Her dark eyes met Peter’s blue ones, hard, cold and dead. “You think the worst of me,” she said, English melodic and accented. Her voice was flat and monotone, empty and lifeless. “You’re a prisoner, that’s all,” Peter said coolly, his voice sounding hollow in his helmet. His words were broadcast over the helmet’s speakers, making him sound like a robot. His words weren’t true, though; Peter hated vampires. He hated their strength and ability; the ease with which they moved through their death. He hated that they preyed on humans and lived off of them. But most of all, he hated that Gideon gave them sanctuary instead of hunting them like every other country in the world did. “No, it’s not,” she said softly, shifting as the aero lifted off the tarmac. The vehicle came around, forcing Peter to put a hand on the wall as a brace. Devon shifted and stumbled as well. Shen, even restrained, barely moved, her prodigious strength allowing her to retain her balance. “Were that all, you would not be staring at me like that.” “You wanna know my issue with you? Fine. You almost killed that kid,” Devon snapped. Peter’s partner was darkly colored, with brown hair and deep brown eyes. Those eyes burned with outrage, the fury of the protector of the predator facing the prey. “I love Jeremy,” Shen said, her voice filling with something other than apathy. “He is beautiful. He made me feel alive.” Devon snorted. “That’s what you leeches always say when you’re guzzling down our blood,” he sneered. “Enough,” Peter said. “Don’t talk to it.” “The laws of your city allow me the right to be ‘her’, not ‘it’,” Shen growled. Her eyes glittered with anger now, which was not something Peter liked. Dark, almond eyes dredged up bad memories, ones best forgotten. “Sorry,” he said, not really meaning it but knowing that she’d be a hundred times more dangerous riled. They were always most dangerous when upset. “Carson, leave her alone. Don’t talk to her.” Carson’s face through the visor was unhappy. His stance was stiff and angry, even as winter winds forced the aero to shift again. Both of the humans compensated; the vampire merely shifted her weight. When the aero leveled out, Carson remained silent, which made Peter happy. They rode in silence to the docks, where the loading procedure was repeated in reverse, moving with exacting care. Peter and Devon were the last to disembark, keeping their guns trained on Shen. The wind blew harder here, on the edge of open water. Peter couldn’t hear, but he knew that the whistle of the wind would be harmonized by the roar of the ocean waves, crashing against Gideon’s sides. The aero’s pilot had done a good job despite the heavy winds; they were less than fifty feet from the ship. “Let’s go,” Peter said, casting a nervous glance around the area. The group began its careful way to the open cargo container that would be the prisoner’s holding cell. Peter tensed more and more as they approached. Criminals always got more nervous the closer they got to confinement. This would be her last incarceration, her last chance to escape eternal death. Shen’s head was higher; her steps testing the limits of the restraints. She’s going to run, Peter thought, settling his rifle harder against his shoulder, making sure his green dot was dead on her heart. She’s going to try to- Three pops rang out as bright comets burst through the night; where they landed, Shen’s back erupted in flames. Shen screamed, a terrible keening wail as her metal harness failed to stop the bullets and her jumpsuit caught fire. “Fire, fire! We’re under fire!” Peter screamed to the listening officers and heard others shouting the same thing. He and the others dashed for the aero, using it for cover. Shen was abandoned, forgotten; she was dead anyway. Those ‘comets’ had been the tails of ‘leech-killers’; large incendiary rounds designed to melt through a vampire’s skin and set their bones on fire. Shen would burn until she died. She was still screaming, thrashing on the ground but Peter could see her skin and bones were aflame.
  8. Naomi woke up on her airbed, rubbing the sleepers from her eyes. Her ears were down and her tail sluggishly came to life. It was 10 in the morning and the sun was shining over Ukedo. She could hear the seagulls and the ocean. It made her sad, because when her home was there, she couldn't hear the shore. The shelter tent was erected right where Naomi's home would have been. Now all that is there is bare ground, and a 5 meter square geodesic tent on that plot of land. Held up by inflated support arms and on the seams between panels. The outside skin was a easily identified yellow with orange inflated supports with "Nippontai - Department 0 Rescue Department" marked on some of the panels. A couple of clear panels let the light of the new day in, while some solar panels charged her computer equipment. Her suit was in the repair shop from the tangle back in Germany with the evil squids from hell, and she was happy this job was far more sedate. She wasn't sure if Ryu was up yet. His sleeping quarters were separate from her's. She yawned, then let off a cute, plaintive meow as she got up from her bed on the floor. "Hideyoshi-san! Are you awake?"
  9. This (very) short story is one of my oldest (complete) ones, from 1996-ish. It is not related to any game. My life was changed that night. Such simple words, but meanings and changes caused by them are staggering, even now, so many days after. So many days... He came from the storm. And was drawn away again. When will he be back? Will he come back? He said he would. I scan the sky eagerly. The clouds are dark. There might be a storm tonight. Tat, my orange tabby, stretches against my leg. I sit down to pet her, and remind myself that I must put her in her carrier tonight. If he comes, I don't want to leave her behind. And my bag. I must put the cat carrier and my suitcase by the door. There's not much in the suitcase, just a few knickknacks and heirlooms from my parents. They are precious to me but I can live without them. The waves pound and my heart pounds with them. I want to cry and dance, all at once, but I settle for picking Tat up and heading to the house. I have to do a few things before tonight. I stop suddenly. Silly girl, he may not come tonight. Don't act like he is on his way, I think. The thought that he might not come makes my heart sink. To have to wait for the next storm, when the season for storms is almost over! I can hardly breathe with that thought, it pains me so. Perhaps I can pretend that he hasn't come yet. Then the winds hit my tiny cottage and the waves roar. And any thought of pretending becomes ludicrous. So I fix some macaroni and cheese, forgetting for a moment, until I remember, and it makes me want to cry. But I hold back the tears until I'm finished with dinner, until I realize that the only way to pass this night in any sort of peace is to think of that first stormy night. The night when he came to me. I curl into my recliner, close my eyes and enter that sweet memory..... Tat rubs my leg, demanding that constant attention as all cats do. I reach down and absently pick her up, placing her in her favorite position against my stomach. I am reclining in my favorite chair, the old recliner of my dad's. The poor old thing has been repeatedly restuffed, and is battered beyond repair. But it was Dad's and I wouldn't trade it for any piece of furniture. The sudden peal of thunder startles me, and I jerk my head up from the romance novel I'm reading. I look at the time, wondering where it went. Oh, well, I think. I haven't much now to do with my lime, why should I cure where it goes? Tat suddenly launches herself off my lap, painfully digging in her claws, dashing to the window. I laugh at the silly beast as I go to fix my supper. I can't decide what I what I want. so I finally just make some boxed macaroni and cheese. I have to make a double portion, though; I don't have any smaller boxes. I sigh, and decide to just refrigerate the rest. I have the macaroni cooked and am getting ready to drain it when Tat jumps on my foot. My heart stops as I nearly drop it on her. "You stupid cat!" I cry, more from fear than anger. Tat is the only friend I have in this strange new' country. She looks at me and I notice that something is wrong. Her ears are constantly swiveling and she keeps darting worried looks around. When I try to pick her up she jumps away and runs into the next room. I shake my head in the manner of all cat owners around the world and write off the odd actions as typical, but never really understood, cat behavior. I mix the cheese powder and milk, then start into the living room to eat. Tat burst around the comer, slides three feet on the linoleum, then dashes back into the living room. I shake my head again and resume position in the recliner, pick up my novel and read again. Well, I try to, but Tat makes the most hideous meow. I look at her and realize that she is staring at the door. "Is there another cat out there, honey?" I ask. I go and pick her up, but she never takes her eyes from the door. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end and I hold her tighter. She doesn't protest. By now I know it isn't a cat that is upsetting Tat. Then I hear a soft singing. The tune sounds Celtic, and the words are indistinguishable over the wind. I step toward the door, only to have Tat wiggle free of my arms and position herself between me and the door. I keep walking toward the door. Tat's cries become a faint sound as the song weaves a web around my will, pulling me toward the door. So sad..., why was it so sad? I open the door, but Tat jumps against it and it slams shut. I wrench it open, and, ignoring the rain, step out. Tat, despite her fear of water, follows; to protect me, I think. In the dark night, I follow the sound. Down to the shore, where even the raging sea couldn't block the sound of the song. And there, on the small hill that the locals called the fairy mound, danced a small group of people. I watch in wonder, awed at their grace and beauty. My eyes literally hurt from watching their beauty. And then they start to fade. "NO! "I cry. "Don't go!" And one of them hears me. I see him turn, and our eyes meet. "Please," I whispered. And he leaves the dance, tossing down his instrument, running toward me. His mouth moves, but I can not hear him. Even the song fades. And yet he runs still. And just before the light fades, he leaps forward. I was running without realizing it, straining toward him, my hand reaching for him. For one horrible moment I think I have lost him. And then I catch his hand. We both fall to the sand together, panting. After a long moment, we look up. He is incredible. Hair of blackest obsidian, a face that a model would kill for. And his eyes--his eyes!—they are an unearthly shade of gold. I can only stare. "You are beautiful," he suddenly whispers, and I blush. "No," I said. "I am not. But you, you are indescribable." I am surprised at myself. I'm not usually like this. He smiles. "You underestimate yourself. To me, you are incredible." In one, impossibly smooth movement he rolls to his feet. then offers me his hand. I take it gladly. And he does not release it when I am up. And we began to walk down the beach. Suddenly he stops and looks down. Tat is sitting on his foot, looking very wet and very angry. "Oh, Tat!" I cry. "You poor thing!" "Tat?" he asks. "This is Tat, my cat," I pick her up and try to hold her so the rain won't hit her anymore. He takes her from me gently and slips her under the odd cloak he was wearing. I am surprised. "You know, you're very lucky," I said, "She doesn't like strangers." He chuckles. Even his chuckle is wonderful. "Oh, I'm no stranger." He looks at me, slightly shyly, and said, "You are my soulmate. are you not?" I am too shocked to respond. He looks deep into my eyes and said, "I recognized it even as we faded from from this world. Did you not feel it too? Is that not why your soul calls to mine?" I stare at him, slightly scared. I had just met this man, and already he was talking forever. But I am even more scared by myself. I would go anywhere with him, leave everything, and I didn't even know his name. But he had just called me his soulmate, and he didn't know my name either. And he could be my soulmate anytime. "What is your name, and what are you?" I ask. He frowns. "Please don't ask me that. Not yet. Let's just enjoy each other." I suppose I should have been suspicious. But I trust him completely, a deep trust I had never had for anyone in my life. I lay my head on his shoulder. And we walk down the beach. Before long I am shivering. He gives me Tat again and picks me up, carrying me to my house. "I don't have much to offer," I said, "just macaroni and cheese." He smiles. "You dry off and get warm. I'll fix something to eat." When I get back, he was hesitantly trying the macaroni. "How is it?" He said, "It pales to the food I have in the...back home that is." I nod. "I never was that great of a cook." He looks suddenly sad, and a thought came out of nowhere. He has to leave. He suddenly pushes aside his bowl and says, "I don't have much time. Soon, they will be back for me, and I must return with them. But I want you to wait for me." His eyes are pleading with me. "I have a few things I must do, but will you wait for my return?" I don't answer immediately, and he continues. "I know that a beautiful woman like you must have several men desiring you. But I need you." He takes my hand and presses it to his heart. His eyes close as if in pain. "Without your touch, I feel empty. Please, say you'll wait." "Yes," I whisper, "I'll wait." His smile is filled with relief. Then he looks at the floor and says, "1 can't tell you my name, but I don't have to." his eyes searched mine. hopeful, expecting. And a name came to my lips. "Brionon." He nodded. "And you are Joy, my song and my soul." The song came again. My chest tightens with pain. I look at him hopelessly, just as hopelessly as he looks at me. The song grew louder, and together, as one, we take each other's hand, and walk toward the music. At the base of the hill, I stop. He stops, too. And I knew that if I asked him, he would stay. He would leave that bright place that promised to be beautiful and wonderful, all for me. But this world was not his, and would destroy his beauty, inner and outer, and I could not do that to him. He takes me in his arms, and it is all I could do to release him. He starts up the hill. There was music again, but most of the people are watching us. He steps into the light, and they surround him. I can't breathe, the void he was leaving was choking me, killing me. He turns to me, peering over their heads. I can't look at him anymore. This is destroying me. I turn away. I see my shadow begin to fade, I knew that they are leaving. And then he cries, "Joy! Look for me in a storm like this!" I turn back. I can barely see him. "I'll wait! I'll be here when you get back!" And he is gone. I walk back to my house, and put the leftover macaroni and cheese up. Then I cry for the rest of the night. The next day I begin to put my life in order. I want to be sure I had everything taken care of before I left. I sold all my property but this cottage, and set my will in order. I add a clause that after a year, I wished to be declared dead if I disappeared. I left the cottage to my sister, and packed what I wanted in a little bag. I wrote a note on my computer for my sister, telling her not to worry, that I had found what I wanted. And then I settled down to wait. The locals considered me to be slightly crazy after that, I think. I once heard one of them call me the storm lady, because I always got excited when a storm came. They considered it very odd that I was young, attractive, and apparently single, yet uninterested in their young men. And they were attractive, but I was waiting. And so I lived, lonely and living from storm to storm... The lightening flashed again. Tat's ears suddenly came up. She gave the oddest meow, then dashed into the kitchen... With a gasp, I heard the first faint strains of music. I snatched at Tat as she dashed by, and incredibly, I caught her. She was then stuffed hastily into her carrier, and I was out the door in two seconds. I raced through the wind and rain to the fairy hill. My feet flew by themselves, so familiar with the path was I, and even the bag and the carrier could not slow me down. The light was just appearing on the hill. Everyone was dancing and singing. All but one. He was standing away from the others, peering into the night, waiting.
  10. Anne stood face to face with challenges before. But nothing like how she felt regarding this. The boy she called Raptor. A Senior and the club president of the Aviation club. Someone she soon regarded as a bad influence on the club and a worse sportsman. Many of the underclassmen were behind Anne. The only underclassman behind Raptor was a brown-noser named Rattler. Anne refused to even acknowledge him by his actual name. He was a snake and the technical genius that probably arranged the sabotage of the simulators during the last free-for-all. She already got dressed for the occasion. She ran home and got her flight gear on. She loved getting into character, and she noticed that Raptor took it serious too. But unlike her, she loved the game, loved the duel. He was nothing more than a dominator. They chose neutral ground, but Raptor changed one aspect of the battlefield that Anne wanted. He didn't want anyone from the school outside of the club watching this. Anne wanted this more than anything and acquiesced. She was sure Mayumi and Aoi would record every part of the battle. They wanted to see Anne win fair and square. "So... the Nugget has returned?" "Yeah, Raptor. And the Name is..." "Nugget. You'll always be a Nugget. I don't care what sort of rep you picked up in the UK or anywhere else. You're in Tokyo now. This is my skies." "Well don't talk... prove it!" They stepped into their simulators. Miho and Aoi stood next to her as she got strapped into the simulator and got her helmet on. "Go get him, Anne!" "Yeah! You got his number now!" Anne smiled. "Well... hopefully that is the case, guys." She lowers the hood on the simulator and it comes online. Raptor went through the same process, only watched by his few of the people who lived in his shadow forming his cult of personality. "You understand the stakes, Nugget? It's all or nothing here. I win, you quit the club. You win, You become president." "And you stop calling me Nugget." "That wasn't part of the deal." They both were in F-35s chosen by the shop owner. He also made sure the fuel levels, ammunition, and even systems were properly loaded and set up. Okay, I want a good, clean fight. Ace, you are flying the north aircraft carrier. Raptor, you are flying south aircraft carrier. Stay in the engagement area. The fight begins when you cross the threshold. Understood?[/code] "Copy that, Airboss. Ace is on the Tarmac now. Systems are hot and all reading green." "Copy that command, Raptor is ready for action." [code]Very well, happy hunting you two. They took off at full speed, screaming into the fight in a matter of moments. Then the two pilots crossed each other... something that has become a tradition between Raptor and Ace. Then the battle began. The two birds of prey danced and dodged, swooped and parried, but the first blood was Raptor's as Anne heard the plinks of Raptor's cannon on her aircraft's armor. "Dammit! Get off me!" Anne fired her missiles, unfortunately Raptor's countermeasures took care of the shot. She peeled right but then felt a rattle as a missile exploded near her. Her countermeasures distracted a quickly fired retort from Raptor and she immediately saw her fuel levels begin to drop. Actual damage... She turned quickly, facing down right into him and opened up with her cannon in a fly-by but it was a distraction as she had fired another salvo of missiles. again, she missed, and his cannon once again plinked into her. Her turning became sluggish and she was hemorrhaging fuel. Anne gritted as her plane rocked. Her instinct to eject now was starting to come to the fore, but she had to win. She spun to the side and faced him head on for one more pass, but at the last second she flipped to her back and fired every missile she had at near point-blank. It worked. Brilliantly. He couldn't even eject. Confirmed Splash and Kill, Ace! You won! "You'll never get back to base, Nugget." Raptor said. "Yeah, you know the bylaws, you gotta get back to base to make the kills count!" Rattler said. "This was a duel, You two, you never mentioned..." "Rules are rules." Rattler said. Anne leveled out and pushed her plane back to her friendly carrier. But her fuel runs out 5 kilometers from the ship. She had no choice but to eject or lose her profile. She opens her cockpit after the ejection logs her out, and she sees her avatar slowly drifting down to the ocean. "Looks like it's a Draw, Nugget." Raptor said, grinning. "I got you Raptor. I own your profile and I own you." "Nope... and you know what... as Class President... I'm kicking you out." "WHAT?" All the underclassmen were in shock. They knew what was about to happen. They had planned it. "Really?" Anne said with a smirk. "Man... that's lame she got him..." Aoi walks up next to Anne. "I believe I speak for all the underclassmen when I say to hell with your technicalities. Ace is our president, not you." "This isn't a democracy." Rattler said, getting into Aoi's face. "Well it will be." Miho says. "I took the liberty of getting the paperwork set to form a new aviation club. Your club now, since it only has 3 members is under the quota for a viable club. Since the deadline is tomorrow for reviewing club sizes before the next festival, you're done. We'll refile for our club when registrations open up in a few weeks. You use technicalities, so will we!" "You can't do this!" Raptor shouted. "We just did." Anne smiled. "Let's go gang. dinner is on me! At the noodle shop!" The underclassmen cheer as they march out of the shop, leaving a fuming Raptor behind them. "I'll get you for this, Anne Aceworth!" "Oh, you'll need a new profile first, Nugget!" [FIN]
  11. Word spread through certain groups in LA like fire. People that knew the right people got to hear the whispers of a get-together up on Copa de Oro Road. It was mostly people somehow associated with the UCLA campus, but a few others caught wind of it as well. People who made it their business to know where the good times were going to be happening were very aware of this party. They also knew that Lucian and Oneca, the host and hostess for this epic End of Summer bash, didn't mind what zip code you lived in, so long as you didn't drag down the party with anything that would rouse the interest of the cops. The winding road of Copa de Oro was one of the wealthiest in LA and the houses there were home to people with more money than things to spend it on – usually. In this case, the house housed the offspring of people with more money than things to spend it on and their broke friend. Tonight, the house was already thick with cars, with several parked on the U-drive and more in the yard. A line was building in the street as more and more people showed up, ready to have some fun. Most people were following the path around the outside of the building to get to the fun. The outdoor fireplace faced the patio; despite the summer heat, a fire burned merrily in the hearth. Massive speakers played music loudly enough that everyone at the party could hear it, even if they weren't close to the house. Entrances to the living room and dining room off the patio gave ready access to both air-conditioning and the kegs purchased for the party. The pool, just down the steps from the patio, was open as well, with a wet bar near the water to create more pool-worthy drinks on demand. An electric bull was not far from the pool, surrounded by hay bales and set in a sand box to mitigate the impact of a fall. Carefully maintained lawns were now host to a variety of games and groups mingling and chatting. Trees, set back from the lawn and house, gave convenient shadows for couples looking for a bit of privacy, if not comfort. Those inside found the luxurious house a delight to chill out and drink in. The floors were hardwood and tile in the public areas. The kitchen's granite counters were full of finger food and drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Spacious rooms had plenty of furnishings and places to sit; the numerous rooms allowed people to form groups and chat or play party games. There were a few locked doors but the party-goers had plenty of places to play. Cowboy hats and boots were the unifying apparel tonight. While the cowboy theme was there, it wasn't overstressed; country music wasn't the only music blaring out of the speakers on the patio. A mix of songs kept playing, though most people weren't here for the tunes. Most were here for the host and the fun. Even the 'charity case' as Saja had so eloquently put it, was here for the host. August had a final project to worry about, but she was going to party tonight. She'd had way too much stress this summer; this was her turning point. She was going to have fun tonight, damn it! August peered at herself in the mirror, inspecting herself from all angles. Her green bikini top was daring, as was her Daisy Dukes; she'd cut them earlier today and like most self-tailors, she got them a little shorter than she'd meant to. Buck up, she ordered herself, fighting a blush as she took a look at her backside in the mirror. You want Lucian or not? The answer was yes, so she put up with feeling nearly naked. Her boots were black with silver stitching, while her cowboy hat was a simple black one. She hesitated, her fingers on the cording, but she finally left her wolf's head pendant alone. It hung between her breasts, the silver glinting in the light. Satisfied wither appearance, August shut and locked her door; hard experience told her that if she didn't, she'd find her bed occupied when she wanted to use it. And if she finally snagged Lucian, she damn well wanted her bed free and clear. At the very least, if she wanted to sleep, she didn't want to have to kick people out of it, strip the sheets, deal with any wet spots and have that icky 'strangers had sex in my bed' feeling. If people wanted a bed, there was the guest room, or the guesthouse. Shoving the key into her back pocket, she wandered downstairs, fiddling with the camcorder as she came. Oneca would probably roll her eyes at August, but the pretty grad student didn't care. If something interested happened tonight, she'd catch it on film. People were already thick in the house; August scanned the crowd before plunging into it with a grin. This was the last hoorah before she had to start facing school again. August wanted to make it count. Click to reveal.. All and sundry are invited; feel free to assume that your character has heard of an epic party where Lucian Hunt will be attending. The main OOC rule is: if you join the party, you must leave the party - remember to write yourself out if you're done.
  12. August 24th, evening The last arc of the sun lay simmering on the horizon, burning a deep blood red, and staining the city like some kind of profane prophecy. Long shadows stretched out into the crimson light like ghastly claws stretching through pools of blood. Sam sat in her car and fought against the raw nerves that were making her regret getting out of bed that morning. She was clad in black from head to toe, a conceit to stealth that did nothing to help cope with the late day heat. Black boots, leggings, tee-shirt under a black sweatshirt, and a black ball-cap with her hair pulled through the loop in the back. Her car was parked down the street from Brad's bloodsucking leech of a master's home, and she was waiting and watching. Once the sun fell below the horizon, which would be very soon by the way the ember was dripping down toward the sea, the creature would wake and then it and it's blood addled slaves would apparently leave apparently to rob the UCLA business school. Sam intended to shadow them, follow them to hopefully win an opportunity to free Brad from the monster's clutches, if that was even possible. The woman, Bonita, probably deserved it too, or maybe she had at one point; now she was as cruel and evil as her master, but she was at least human. The whole process wasn't an exact science. Hell, it's barely even a plan, Sam grumbled to herself. Night fell. Officially. That just meant that the last burning trace of the sun finally fell below the horizon. In actuality the dark merely took a stronger hold as the last long streamers of direct light evaporated into nothingness. Twilight now clad the city in in dim light that would wane for the next hour or two before full dark finally banished the last of the reflected natural light. In her car, Sam lurked like a living shadow until the barely glowing hands of her watch indicated half past ten. The garage door rolled up and a van backed out. Sam started her own car and followed the van, sparing to thought to the possibility that all three may not be within. Whichever of them drove they drove carefully, never going above the speed limit, never running a light or rolling through a stop sign. It was so conspicuously safe and legal that only somebody unaccustomed to crime would think to drive that way. The drive took nearly forty minutes but finally they breached the campus perimeter. The van stopped, the lights going out immediately. Sam quickly pulled into a spot further down the street and got out of her car. In all black she was a shadow walking in darkness, and she hoped that that would be enough. The three figures got out of the van and started walking, Sam wondered why they didn't drive directly to the business building, but then figured that it would be more conspicuous for a van than for three figures with fully laden backpacks. Whatever they were planning to steal would be small and valuable. That or there was more to the plan that Sam would learn in time. It didn't matter, she'd find out soon enough. She trailed along behind the three, her rubber sole boots making little noise, and her slim, black clad form darting from tree to shrub, to car. Up ahead the two ghouls plodded on with singular purpose, oblivious to their tail. Henrik was a hunter, and man with experience. He had made Sam long ago, almost as soon as they left the haven. He smiled; tonight's meal had come to him. Shadowing Sam [jameson] 9:20 pm: Dex 2 + Stealth (shadowing) 2(3) = 5 dice, just for giggles and drama jameson *rolls* 5d10: 6+4+2+1+3: 16 [jameson] 9:22 pm: Brad 5 dice jameson *rolls* 5d10: 6+5+1+7+3: 22 [jameson] 9:22 pm: Bonita 6 dice jameson *rolls* 6d10: 5+3+4+7+2+7: 28 [jameson] 9:23 pm: lulz [Jeremy] 9:23 pm: lol [jameson] 9:23 pm: Henrik 5 dice jameson *rolls* 5d10: 10+8+8+9+8: 43 jameson *rolls* 1d10: 2: 2 [Jeremy] 9:23 pm: ....your luck run out [jameson] 9:23 pm: ruh-roh [jameson] 9:24 pm: Sam's gonna need some help [Jeremy] 9:24 pm: hmm... [Owns-The-Night] 9:25 pm: The Yard Snake to the rescue!
  13. "Mr. Kraig, do you know why you are here?" Thomas rolled his eyes at the woman, "Yeah, I'm here because the suits think my head isn't in the game. I'm here because it was that or not be given more field work." The dark haired woman sighed, "That's not what I meant. Do you know why you've been sent to me? If the director had wanted to punish you, to keep you in line, they could have done that without me. So. Do you know what you are here?" Those emerald eyes bored into Thomas like green lasers. "They think I'm unstable. They want you to evaluate me, to tell them that I'm not going to snap and go all melt down on them and level a city or something." Thomas stared at the ceiling, it was better than looking at the woman doctor, she was hot, undeniably hot, and she had shut him down so fast during their first session that he wasn't even going to look at her. No matter how nice her legs looked in that skirt. "Something like that yes. More specifically they are hoping that you will open up to me and let me help you. We already know you are not entirely stable. The previous psyche evals said as much, but there are never enough Class Fives, especially those willing to work for an organization like this. You got through on the merits of your prior experience and capabilities, despite what the evaluations suggested." "Which was?" Thomas was pretty sure he knew. The Company wasn't exactly known for the breadth of its methodology. "Termination." He could hear her shifting, uncrossing and recrossing her legs; those long legs that had made him very appreciative of her presence in the office prior to this. "Mr. Kraig, the Directors don't know what to do with you. Your body count on the last mission is twice that of the combined kills of all the other agents in the field for the past year. They need a scalpel, not a weapon of mass destruction, and whatever is wrong with you is impairing your ability to function as they need you to. If I cannot-" "If you can't get me to play by the rules by finding out what's wrong with my head they'll bench me, or tank me, or maybe just bury me, if they can. I get it." He sat up and looked at her. He could suppress his libido for a while, when he wanted, no matter how gorgeous she was. "OK, Raven-" "It's Dr. LaCroix-" He smirked at her, "OK, Raven, how do we begin?"
  14. August 27, 2011 Enough was enough. August was lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. She had been assessing her life for the last few weeks, and she’d come to one inescapable conclusion: she couldn’t take care of herself. She’d always thought of herself as a survivor. She had survived things that would make others crumble. But honestly, instead of surviving stuff, why didn’t she try to stop it? It was a new concept for her. But it had a certain allure to it. Of course, the question was how. August was pretty sure that she didn’t want to learn this the hard way, by picking fights until she was proficient enough to win them. And learning cost lessons. She’d had free self-defense classes provided by the UCLA cops, but having done that once didn’t infer the ability to kick ass. No, she needed something more, especially since the weirdness that was her life wasn’t slowing down. So where could she get some tips on self defense that wouldn’t actually cost any money? August thought about it for a moment, then rolled over onto her stomach. Her fingers dug into her purse, fishing out her phone. Once she had recovered it from the purse-ian depths, she selected a number and hit talk. “Hey, Dec,” she said in greeting at the hello. “Whatcha doin’ tonight?” Her voice was hopeful, but also a bit shy. She didn’t know if he’d be interested in this; the only way to know was to ask, and she didn’t really what his reaction would be. The uncertainty left her feeling a bit vulnerable and it was clear in her tone.
  15. March 28, 2027 The Rainbow Room was already hopping, even though it was early. Infinity hated being here this early but her ride here had his own schedule to keep, and that hadn’t meshed well with the time difference between the Nursery and Ibiza. So Infinity was here dreadfully early. Thankfully, she looked good tonight. Sadly, she looked like shit compared to all the other women here. That wasn’t unusual, but it still made her sad and angry. Infi was all too used to both emotions and her movements were jerky as she lit up a cigar. Usually, she preferred cloves, but cigars were a little classier. Still, a bouncer showed up within a few minutes. Infi growled under her breath as she turned to face him with a smile, as if she didn’t know that she couldn’t smoke on the main floor. The skinny girl didn’t need to deal with rules or a bouncer. She was waiting for Norman, and if she went to a side room, she might miss him. “Sorry, ma’am, but no smoking on the main floor,” the guy as wide as a mountain said. She would have known he was a bouncer even without the wide shoulders. He was very polite as he firmly insisted, “You’ll need to go to a private room or put it out.” “Really?” Infi sighed, letting the last stream of smoke roll from between her lips. “What kind of club doesn’t let you smoke? That sucks.” “Dem’s the rules, ma’am,” he told her, still smiling. Infinity nodded, even as she wondered what she was going to do for her nerves until Norman showed. Well, fuck until – when he showed. Just the thought of him brought a hot flush to her pale skin and a nervous, involuntary smile. Bending over, she stubbed her cigar out on the sole of her boot and held up the dead cherry for examination. He nodded and wandered away, as Infi sighed and began to pick at the wrapper of the cigar. It seemed a shame to waste it, but if she couldn’t smoke it, she needed to be doing something with her hands besides drinking. If she was wasted when Norman came over, things would be that much worse. Her hands tugged at her outfit, fretting. Jesus, this was ridiculous. She didn’t even know if he was going to be here. He just hadn’t been around the Nursery and she missed him – desperately. Come on, she moaned to herself as her fingers danced over the lacey skirt of her dress. Please, Norman. Her dress:
  16. Continued from In the Light of Day… Jason reached out and took Morri's hand. This time, they appeared on a picturesque tropical island in the Pacific. This far east of the Congo, night had fallen, moonlight making the white-sand beach glow almost silver. It was silent save for the soft sound of the waves, and the salty smell of the ocean washed over them. Jason nodded towards the sleek, modern house sitting above the tide-line, designed to complement the lush surroundings. “You want to sit down, or just continue walking while I tell you my own story of… my own story?” Morri blinked at Jason suspiciously. Jason’s implication was clear, but Morri had heard no rumors that Jason had suffered as Morri had. Still, Jason was offering to help, even if that help was only talking. Personally, Morri just wished that someone could tell her exactly what to do or even to remove from herself, to take away this dread in the pit of her stomach. “Let us walk.” The physical activity would help her anxiety and leave her with something else to focus on besides pleasant thoughts of killing her way out of this situation. Killing had worked for almost everything else in her life; hadn’t been enough that all of her attackers had died messily? Hatchins in particular had gone gruesomely, screaming into the face of the fear she could inspire. They turned and walked along the beach. The waves and the serenity of the place was calming to her, and for a moment, she entertained asking Jason if she could hide here. Surely if she got far enough away from the palace and the people plaguing her, she could find peace. But the moment she thought that, Morri realized that meant not seeing Ein as often. And that hurt more – the thought of never grinning up at him again or seeing him look down at her with that smile he wore only for her, hurt worse than anything else. She felt tears sting and angrily pinched her eyes shut to stop them. What is wrong with me? Why is everything so… hard? Silently, she walked, lost in her own thoughts, only half-aware of the other nova that walked with her.
  17. June 15, 2027 Tokyo, Japan Sunny, 16Cº, 0830hrs Kamiko walked about the still empty house of Doryoku and Long. They were on an extended vacation and Kamiko preferred the confines of the Hideyoshi estate over the more restrictive ones of the Kinshasha stateroom she was in. As a warper, she could be anywhere on a moment's notice and didn't mind being on call. But today this was different. Her communicator was off. She was still dressed in what she considered her pajamas, barefooted with a surplus japanese maritime self defense force seaman's uniform on. Sailor collar and all. She organized a couple of books and hurriedly got the breakfast she was cooking, a mixture of diced scrambled eggs, sausage, diced canadian bacon, tofu, rice, shrimp, and soy sauce. She stopped next to her Captain's uniform from the trip on the Hikari Maru... her first real achievement. She set it on a mannequin near the Kitchen, lit by the morning light of the rising sun, it's blue trim on the collar and body of the blazer and skirt was a sight to see. She playfully saluted the mannequin before getting back to work. Today was an important day, since today she was going to start focussing on her... She's seen some... inadequacies. Luckily Dan was there too. Kamiko has felt... at unease. After that murder of her best friend, a bookstore owner a couple months ago, she felt she needed more... She heard Dan upstairs in the guest bedroom stirring. At least through the security speakers in the kitchen. Then the feel of a portal opening was the signal she was waiting for. She hits a button on a intercom speaker. "Dan... Starseed's arrived and Breakfast is almost done. Time to greet the morning!" She smiles as she moves the 4 woks full of breakfast. If there is one think Kamiko has that Long or Doryoku have, it's appetite. She made sure she had some orange sauce on the aide for Sonja when she comes down. She sees Starseed some around from a doorstop, and she bows. "Welcome back, Star-san... Wait... after all the stuff on the ship I sorta forgot your Japanese name we gave you." She says, scratching her head.
  18. "What is it in Man, that would drive them to madness? How is it that those who become marked, whose flesh becomes tainted, are always the ones to go first?" Benedict often wondered about such things, and tonight was no exception. The chilly nightwind shared with him its caress, sending shivers down his spine. He readjusted himself, evoking a creaking noise from the lawnchair on which he sat, its chipped paint and rusted nails a fitting entourage to the beat-up minivan behind him that housed his kitchen and his home. He knew a thing or two about madness, that's for sure. And flesh - he knew about that too. Some strange gift that had been sneaking its way into people's minds and bodies, making them more than Human and less than Gods. And driving them to insanity. And for each gifted with such wonders, a thousand more turned to nothing more than a gibberous, fleshy effigy. Nothing more than a shambling tombstone reading "here was once a Human being". He worried about himself too, sometimes. All cheer and smiles he seemed, laid-back like one of he beach boys. But he knew of flesh and minds, and he knew his wasn't infallible. That's why he camped outside sometimes, taking moonlit strolls and keeping an eye out for incursions of Zombie hordes or worse. Because sometimes, just every now and then, he'd worry about what might happen if he'd gone off the deep end. He'd been staring down that hole a long time before he decided to turn its back, and you never know what might be sneaking up on him. Benedict got off the chair, another strangled response followed. He set himself in motion, every once in a while breathing in the thick night air, tasting it on his tongue. Sometimes a scent was familiar, made him think back. Sometimes he'd smell food and he greedily ran his mind along its ingredient. Sometimes the smell'd be somewhat more...raunchy, and he'd smile that Glasgow smile of his that hid teeth that would make Jaws cringe. But not this time. This time, he smelled death. His brow furrowed, and he tucked his chef's hat under the waistband that fastened his apron - this might get dodgy. With a speed and silence hard to achieve for one so big as he, Benedict set off towards a nearby set of sandy dunes, a while off the quickly deteriorating road that led to the compound.
  19. Puck shook is head and laid his OpBook down on his desk. Good luck on that last part. Things aren't likely to go well for you if you come up with too much, unfortunately. He sighed and leaned back in the chair, stretching luxuriously, hands laced over his heads and popping his knuckles. Amelia did a great job, though. We should throw her a little thank-you party or something. Infinity will know what to do. Amelia was one of the few members of Exalt! that wasn't trying to get into Puck's pants, which sometimes made personal thank-you's a little more difficult for him. Not that she didn't want Puck, she did. It was just that the last time she'd had a lover, he'd addicted her to smack and had her turning tricks in alphabet city until she got pregnant. Her pimp beat her so hard that one of the other girls managed to pull out of the haze and screw up the courage to call for an ambulance before Amelia died. The hospital kept her for over a week, then moved her to a battered women's shelter across the city the specialized in rehabilitating former drug addicts and prostitutes; the city even payed for a therapist because she'd miscarried from the attack. She'd found Exalt!'s OpNet site on one of her bad nights, when she thought about all the psych pills she'd be given and the fact that no one considered her a suicide risk anymore so she'd been given back her shoelaces and moved to a private room. Therapy was helping, being away from that prick Frank was helping a lot, but it wasn't enough. She still felt empty inside, like a black hole that was slowly pulling her farther and farther in no matter how much she smiled or repeated all the right things people wanted to hear. Amelia had been shattered, but she was smart and sometimes, when you were trying to get better, your own mind was your worst enemy. So she left. The shelter couldn't keep her, or keep her safe, forever and the state would only pay for a few more therapy visits a month or two more of the pills anyways. Why stick around just waiting to be kicked out on the street? Puck interviewed her personally; Exalt! had been running for less than a week and everyone that had already been screened and accepted before Exalt! went public had a million other duties they were doing. Puck - he wanted to be the first and last face prospective members saw until he was sure his people were well enough trained to deal with situations like Amelia. And that was the only reason she didn't run out cursing and weeping when she was told that it would take weeks before she could stay there, if she even made it that far. He gave her a bus and subway pass that was good for two months and told her to come back whenever she wanted to and could until a decision was made. And like she told that reporter, four weeks later she moved in, and two weeks after that she was made a full member. She still had bad days, but they were coming less and less often. Having a job, duties, something to make her feel useful, had started to fill that hole in her. She still had nightmares and startled if a man snuck up on her, accidentally or not, and sex was out of the question. It was too tied to humiliation and pain and that little twinge of need for smack that was doing its best to linger on in her mind. In time, she'll be ready to move on. To choose to love or not, instead of just being afraid. Dr. Sellas said she's making great strides and she's shown an interest learning and teaching martial arts as self-defense. We should start integrating that into her daily rou- "Sorry to bother you, Puck," Rollin's pleasantly deep pulled Puck out of his musings as a the tall, dark, and dread-locked man stepped into the office, "but you said you wanted to know when we were getting close to the maintenance costs in the accounts." Puck nodded and pushed his chair back up, motioning his chief financial adviser and accountant to sit in one of the chairs across the desk. He pulled up the accounts listings and short brief that Rollin had just mailed him before coming in. So quick? Well, I did buy a real damn big building in the heart of Manhatten. From a reluctant seller. "Okay, well, it's time to start earning our keep, then." He smiled at Rollin and rolled his shoulders, settling in to "work" mode. "Any suggestions?" "The stock market, first. It's volatile, but if you can play it right, we'll have a mostly steady stream of income from that." The large man mused, "I know we'll be getting into selling creations and services beyond the hotel stuff once we have enough people doing their thing, but that's at least a month or two down the line before we can begin. Still, I'll get with the lawyers and make sure we've got all the dots and dashes on the contracts for members that want to sell through Exalt!. Long term investments after that: bonds, steady stocks, real estate...." Puck nodded and pulled up the stock market program they'd bought as part of the initial purchases for Exalt!. Orziaz had given him enough to buy a small island nation, but real estate in New York was just as expensive, and he had enough people on payroll and living expenses now that it was time to get to making money on his own. And paying the Count back. Nice fellow, but I'd rather not have debts like that hanging over my head. You never know when they're going to drop. He and Rollin conferred for the next several hours, going over stock trends and picking out their favorites, allocating money from Puck's personal accounts so that none of it could be taken as a "profit percentage" by Count Orziaz. Puck doubted he'd be such a dick about it, but better to be careful. And better to keep the Exalt! accounts out of the depredations of the stock market until they were far more padded for the shivers and shocks of Wall Street. The list was slowly compiled and meticulously checked over before they both leaned back in their chairs again and Puck nodded. "Alright, let's do it." He hit the 'send' button his OpBook and hoped for the best. High Finance Roll [Malachite] 3:53 pm: time stamp Malachite *rolls* 14d10: 6+8+3+7+3+8+5+9+6+8+1+8+1+6: 79 3 on Mega-Wits are last as always. 7 suxx +1 Permanent Resources, Resources 5 through April That is, if this is enough to qualify for one high finance roll for the month of April, Krul. I do intend to do similar posts for May and June as Puck spends a good deal of time building up his resources to make Exalt! solvent. Let me know if I need to do more for this or the subsequent posts in this thread in order to make the finance rolls. Thanks!
  20. Sarah lifted up a beer can, a budwieser by it's label, and stared at it as if it was doing something to personally wrong her. She could hear the chaotic bustle of the Refuge being stripped of valuables outside in the middle of the day, knew she could be helping with that work, but... It didn't seem nearly as important as the performance, or rather lack of performance, of the fluid formerly contained in the can she was examining. "'You have failed me for the last time'," she quoted gravely, soberly, "'Perhaps your replacement will not be so incompetant.'" The container was set down next to a half dozen equally empty others before the blonde megamorph even as an eighth was removed from a twelve pack box. She sighed and opened the new container, noting the flatness of the warm beer even as she began consuming it. Eighth time the charm, right? Of course, the fifth, sixth, and seventh times were supposed to be the charm, too. She had traded a whole box of shotgun shells for these drinks from that merchant, 'the best he had' she said, and... "God damn it," she intoned after a gulp of beer, only half the can left now, and still nothing.
  21. Morning Kamiko sleeps in her room, surrounded by her three favorite things. Her books, her cloak, and a little kitten stuffed animal she got from a UFO Catcher. Light begins to clear over her books from a crack in her window shades. Stirring her from her slumber on a air mattress on the floor. She never wanted a bed. Or anything else. She sometimes wondered why her adoptive parents don't insist on a normal room. Just means more room for her collections. She gets up, rubbing the sleepers and book dust from her eyes before putting her glasses and slippers on. It's a modern hardwood floor, very western in design, if you look past the halls that look more like the insides of some science fiction starship. White paneled with data screens, storage... The design of someone who was looking for utility, not architectural asthetics. She smells a massive breakfast being cooked from the kitchen of the estate. "Good morning dear!" A woman says from her position behind a stainless steel stove. "I've been setting up to make your spam and egg sandwiches like you like them." Her pink hair looks very discombobulated. Like she had been working at it. Particularly with her husband already sitting at the table. A 8-foot, half ton humanoid tiger, his bluish white fir bristling with hunger pangs. "Hurry it up... I got a meeting with the JGSDF in an hour. We're discussing that contingency plan today." "Oh that one? Surely China wouldn't be stupid enough as to attack now." "I wouldn't put it past them, Doryoku." "So, Kami... How was your sleep today?" The tiger looks over at his adopted daughter. Being sterile as the sahara bothered him so, and was happy to have adopted Kamiko from his best friends after their untimely deaths 8 years ago. "Well... it was restful." She sits down, her pajamas not fitting right, as if bought for a full grown woman than a girl of her age and stature. "Had nightmares later on though." "Regarding?" Doryoku asked. "Regarding Tokyo... burning..." The tiger-man grunts. "As if... no one could even touch Tokyo with my protection, Kami." "It's Kamiko, father. Or should I start calling you Long?" "Touche..." Long says. "Alright, you start doing your chores without complaining and I'll start calling you by your name, alright?" She scratches her head. "...WITH no paper familiars." Kamiko pouts. "Alright... Kami it is." Long grins. "See... the power of negotiation." Kamiko watches as Doryoku places Long's dinner at the table. "Your sandwiches are coming up. I got to get to Osaka and talk with Kou regarding an adjustment of disaster response. I left your at-will allowance on the front table. You also have access to the supply debit card today. I would have made some omlettes, but I got to go in like... 10 minutes and we need to get new Spam for the disaster supplies. Restock what you see we need." "Expecting something?" Kamiko asks, observing Doryoku's movements carefully for any tells of impending doom. "No... the expiration date is in 5 days." Kamiko grunts... as if salmonella would fell a mighty nova like Long or even her. "Mother, don't ever do that to me again." She says as her breakfast is placed on the table. "Sorry, dear." Kamiko eats slowly as Sakurako and Long eat at a speed that would be called gluttonous by baseline standards and clean their table placements with professional eater timings. Also she is thinking of what she'll get with her at-will allowance. She pulls out a old map from a dresser drawer in a hallway cabinet and brings it back to the kitchen. She starts looking at some marked locations on it. "Sweet... no survival lessons, no naginata sparing... no homeschooling today... today... Jimbocho is my objective." She calls up a couple of numbers on the map. "Hello, Mr. Nakamura, I'm Kamiko Hideyoshi... Yes... I still have my customer reward card." She smiles, looking at the map. "So... what is new in your store today?" She looks at her at-will allowance and frowns. "For sale... and still purchasable with the reward points." ...To be continued.
  22. September 5, 2011, 1:55 p.m. Holmby Park August walked nervously next to Dec, her anxiousness evident in her stance. She was really glad that Declan had agreed to come and even happier that he’d been able to get the time off. “You sure this won’t get you in trouble?” she asked, more because she needed to talk than needing more assurance. “Nah,” Dec said, looking around more casually then August, but still attentive. “My boss owed me time off.” Something about his smile after that statement made August raise an eyebrow. She was suddenly glad Dec didn’t work for her, for reasons she couldn’t name. “Okay, then.” His grin widened some more at her tone, and he lifted a hand. For a second, August thought that he’d hug her but instead she got another manly pat on the back. However, those thoughts quickly faded when she saw Shane. That wasn’t technically true – she saw the ghost first. Lilly was hard to miss; she floated half a head higher than Shane like some spectral weather balloon. “There,” August said, her voice hoarse. She caught Dec’s arm and subtly pointed. “That dark-haired man on the bench.” She swallowed and glanced up at Declan. “Maybe I should approach alone. Let him know you’re coming. I don’t want to get this started off wrong.”
  23. A run for fast food didn't seem like such a bad idea, Curtis had considered, since he was in a hurry. A lunch break before getting his additional files and materials packed up for interstellar transit was thin perforce. He'd learned this from preparing for a tour of duty at Dakara, that there was so much to get done and so little time. Goa'uld technology was so finicky at times. He had heading back to Stargate Command at Cheyenne for that matter, having made his road trip to Nebraska to say goodbye to Jesse and Jeff, and let them know that he would be out of contact for a while. His parents had wished him well, and Jeff had insisted on making one of his classic egg salad sandwiches that Curtis had enjoyed back in the days of childhood- but that had been wolfed down during the first stop for gas. When he entered a local Burger King, the cashier who was taking his order looked familiar, and he seemed to recognize Curtis alright, though Curtis could not place his face oddly enough. Then he caught a muttered whisper of "Nerd-hole." when the cashier thought he wasn't listening and Curtis grinned, despite the comment. "Is that really a good idea, Barry? If the manager heard you insulting a customer...." Barry Brenton, former high-school bully of Curtis Shane blanched, but his annoyed face still retained a slight arrogance of the jock bully. "Knock it off Shane." Barry snapped, albeit in a low voice. "It's hard getting a job around here as is, please just leave me alone." The irony that Curtis had used similar words- of that last phrase- in locker rooms did not escape either of them. The fries and Whopper were handed over in paper bags, but Curtis- feeling turnabout to be fair for once, quipped just before he stepped away with his haul: "I understand. I mean the Air Force wants to promote me, the Navy and Army trying to poach me..." His Whopper would taste extra good today. ************** Curtis took a moment from the list he was inspecting to make sure the equipment he was bringing alone had all been cleared. Everything, including The Laptop. Or as some snickered, Shane's Little Boy based on the attention he'd bestowed on it. The personal laptop he'd been forced by the SGC to leave with the military at Cheyenne before he'd leave for Atlantis. Given that the machine had been used in the labs to the point of being heavily upgraded and patched full of Goa'uld technology, the concerns were understood, certainly. Thank goodness it was coming with him now. "Look at me now," he mentioned to himself. "Curtis' going to another galaxy, gonna study lost alien technology and do it the fun way. Viva La Vida." From a tormented kid in high school, to a respected scientist and techie in the military working with secret knowledge the likes of which geeks would sell their souls for... "I've made it. Just can't do things by halves down there."
  24. {Saturday, 13th August, 2011} Adanedhel finished his preparations and sat back on the throw-pillow, looking at the tools spread out before him. Tonight was the night! A full moon, when the gateway between the worlds was at it's narrowest. After tonight, he wouldn't be Evan Nelson anymore. Poor sad Evan, with his greasy hair and coke-bottle-lens glasses, would fall away from the shining truth of his soul like a husk, and only Adanedhel would remain. It had taken so much work. The labour of months, years even, ever since Adanedhel had realised his true identity whilst attending a Lord of the Rings LARP in San Diego. The way his peers had marvelled at his grasp of Qenya, at how melodically and fluidly he had spoken it. He had read them poems he'd crafted in the ancient tongue, and they'd applauded, and the lady playing Galadriel (who'd looked much more lovely and ethereal than the woman who'd played the role in the movies, but Adanedhel still considered Cate Blanchett as very fitting for the role) had kissed him on the cheek and told him he had a truly Elvish soul. An Elvish soul! Of course he did - it made perfect sense now! His whole life had been one of loneliness at best, torment at worst among the brutish, unrefined herd of humanity that had been his lot. His father had called him a faggot for wanting to study poetry and literature, and his mother had just fretted and sighed that her son was a dreamer. Of course he was a dreamer! Who wouldn't want to dream of something better than this inelegant, mundane pigsty. Well, tonight that would be over. No more dreaming. It had taken him a while to find the right rituals, pieced together from fragments of so-called 'Satanic' texts, truths hidden in 'fiction' and even some passages of the Bible! The truth was indeed there to be found, if one but wanted badly enough to perceive it. He picked up the knife and examined it carefully. It was perfect, a shining steel blade with silver Qenya runes etched into the blade near the hilt. It was a reproduction Elven dagger, but the runes were Adanedhel's own addition, signifying transformation and new life from death. He was proud of the work. He set it back onto the cloth roll with the rope and ceremonial robes. Outside in the van was the final component for the ritual - a tormented but pure soul who needed to be released into the grace of the Valar, who would receive her and in the process grant Evan his release from this ugly, frail mortal shell. He'd watched her for weeks. She was a film student, and she was beautiful and good at heart, but tormented. He'd followed her on her visits to her doctor, seen her leave with troubled expressions on her face. He'd watched closely as she seemed to recoil at things that were not there. Poor fragile soul. He knew that he was doing her a kindness, and that she would be better off in the afterlife. Earlier this evening he'd caught her as she'd come out of the doctor's again, taking her by surprise and pressing the chloroformed pad to her face. She'd gone limp almost immediately, and he'd dragged her to the van. Before she woke, he would have to change her into the simple-yet-lovely Elven gown he'd bought for the occasion of her escape from this horrible life. He looked at his clock: a half hour till midnight - time to go. He gathered up his robes, the gown, the rope and the knife, and left his shoddy, shitty little apartment for the last time. It was a full moon, a bright night despite the permanent haze that hung over L.A in late summer. Owns-The-Night was enjoying the night air in one of his favorite lazing-spots, a dense thicket of trees and bushes near the girl's dorm. There were other reasons besides the cover that he liked that spot. He was looking at two of them now. The vargr may not have been a gentleman, but he knew what he liked. Besides, the night was quiet, all the pimps and dealers seemed to be indoors or doing business well away from the campus, so really what better use was there for his time than to watch young women flitting around their dorm rooms naked but for a pair of panties. The freshman drew her curtains, ending the peepshow, and the huge wolf whuffed softly under his breath and flowed to his feet with a grace eerie in an animal so unnaturally large, shaking himself lightly before heading off on another round of his territory. He moved with uncanny silence and stealth, barely seeming to disturb the gloom between the trees as he ghosted past two young lovers walking along a path, holding hands and talking about the movie they'd seen. The humans never had a clue he was there, and beyond the ring of light thrown by the lamps lining the path, silver eyes watched them with a sense of proprietary satisfaction. They could walk aboard safely because of him, and that was worth all the work of the last eighteen months. This campus, and the blocks surrounding it, were his, and he guaranteed safety to the inoffensive and death to the intruder with equal fervor. Vampires, drug dealers - it was all the same to him. No-one fucked with this place unless they wanted a faceful of vargr. That was something to be proud of. He was moving with a steady, ground-eating trot along the western rim of the UCLA campus near the graveyard when the wind shifted, blowing from the west now rather than the north, and carrying a familiar scent to his nostrils. August, and she wasn't far away either. The vargr's head tilted as he considered that. She must be across the street, and that meant she was in the cemetary. What the hell was she doing there at night? Junkies and bums sometimes crashed there, and whilst it wasn't a terrible place to wander and think, it wasn't exactly safe after midnight on a Saturday. With a low puzzled growl in his chest, Owns-The-Night waited for the road to be clear before bounding across, clearing the wall in one leap.
  25. August 23rd The morning was already warm, indicating that the way would be another hot one. Sam knew she would be driving around for a while so she dressed light, shorts, a tank top, and sandals, with her hair pulled into a ponytail to keep it up off her neck. A light shirt would complete the outfit and hide her weapon while she was out and about, but was slung over a chair at the moment. She stood before the mirror and wished that the shorts weren't so tight, mostly because that would mean that she'd have lost some more weight since she last wore them. She turned, and looked at her rear, "It could be worse." She sighed, "Could be better too." The gardener liked what he saw. Sam, alone in her room, blushed. "Damnit, maybe I do need to get laid." She frowned and then kicked off the sandals and pulls some ankle socks on and laced up her Chuck Taylors. They were better by far for walking, or running, than the slip on sandals were. She padded out of her room, and found the TV on in the living room, colorful cartoons spraying out a prismatic gout of colors that would have given any mortal man a seizure. They were fine for kids though. Timmy sat cross legged on the floor, plastic superhero figures clutched in his hands, his pajamas still twisted around his body from sleep. "Hi mom!" he said without looking from the TV. Sam smiled and walked over to him, "Morning sweetie, what do you want for breakfast?" She kissed him on the top of his bed-head tousled hair. "Chocolate frosted sugar bombs!" "Timmy," Sam said moving to the kitchen, ignoring the request for the sugar laden cereal his father let him eat. "Do you want Cheerios or Frosted Flakes?" She rephrased her inquery, to avoid argument. "They're GRRREAT!!" Timmy piped from the living room floor. "Frosted flakes it is," Sam pulled out the Cheerios too, she didn't care for the flakes. A couple of bowls came out of the dishwasher, followed by spoons and shortly she called, "OK, come on, you don't want them to get soggy." "EEWW!" Tim came barreling in from the other room and leaped into his chair. A horrifying array of sounds soon followed that had Sam shaking her head, "Tim, slow down, chew with your mouth closed. Sheesh." "OK!" he replied around a mouthful of cereal. Sam hung her head, defeated. At seven years old manners were no match for the power of a hungry young boy. "Close enough." A little while later the sound of a key in the lock was followed by the nanny. "Morning Sally, care for some cereal?" "Morning Sam, no thanks I grabbed a bagel." Sally was twenty five, and while she could be called cute, few would call her beautiful, but that made little difference because she was a fantastic nanny. "Hi Sally!" Timmy said, a little milk dribbling down his chin as he did. "Good morning Timmy. Don't talk with your mouth full please." Tim swallowed, "OK, sorry." Sam suppressed a slight scowl, sometimes she was worried Sally was more a mother to Tim than she was. She finished her breakfast over idle chatter with Sally and then prepared to go. "I don't expect to be late today, but if that changes I'll call," she told the other woman. "OK, Timmy come and give me a hug before I go." Sam crouched down and Timmy came running at her nearly bowling her over as he threw his arms around her. "Love you, honey, be good for Sally." "Love you mommy ... Can we get pizza tonight?" Timmy was shameless when it came to pizza. "Sure, but only if you're good. I'll see you tonight." She kissed him again, in the cheek, which he tolerated with only a little squirming before racing off to play. Sam went down to her car and readied for her morning. Lots of driving, probably covering ground more than once, and with a little luck she would find the subject of her search by lunchtime. She propped Brad's photo on the dashboard in front of the steering wheel, removed the locket from her neck, and started off into traffic. Delving for Brad Spending a WP 4/6 [jameson] 7:39 pm: Wits 3 + Occult 2 + 1 psychic powers specialty = 6 dice jameson *rolls* 6d10: 1+3+9+6+6+6: 31 jameson *rolls* 6d10: 4+4+1+1+7+1: 18 jameson *rolls* 6d10: 10+9+10+1+10+9: 49 jameson *rolls* 3d10: 6+4+3: 13 jameson *rolls* 6d10: 7+5+5+1+2+3: 23 jameson *rolls* 6d10: 4+10+5+8+2+5: 34 jameson *rolls* 1d10: 10: 10 jameson *rolls* 1d10: 9: 9 [jameson] 7:40 pm: that's 10 [jameson] 7:40 pm: 2.5 hours
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