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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #81
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    With a polite clap, I show my appreciation for the headmaster's performance. "Magnificent. Truly, magnificent."

    It's already something I haven't seen before, something new and different in all the ways that really matter. Even in this sleepy town in the mountains, there's always something new to see. And although it's really quite difficult to describe this man's presence, at the same time --

    It's obvious.

    Charisma.

    The only force in this world that's absolutely unbending in it's sheer force of will. Charisma. I've only seen this sort of presence once before, and...

    It didn't really change who I was. So it won't now.

    "I suppose it feels like... hm," I say, tapping the side of my nose. "Like the ides of winter have just left, and spring has started to arrive, and I was there to witness the first flower blooming? Something like that, maybe?"

    Tilting my head, I look once more at the principal of the Academy, and without meaning, the question exits my lips:

    "How do you feel, principal?"
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it
    [01:05.15] <@Spinach> I can flash gang signs faster than Sasuke can perform ninjutsu and I rap like Medea's High Speed Divine Words.


  2. #82
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    I'm in the depths of the bus' innards, digging through boxes and trunks for my own. I can't let anyone see what's inside or there'll be too much to explain, so it's imperative that I get my hands on it fast. But this is difficult. Whoever decided to pack the luggage did a poor job.

    Is that it? I can recognize that black band tied around the handle. Gotta be it... huh? What's that sound from outside?

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "~~~~~~~~~~"
    That melody, soaring through the air. No, rather, wobbling. Like something out of a nature documentary or cheerful black and white film.

    Is this real life? No way. What's going on out there? Come on, you stupid trunk-! Who decided to wedge you all the way into the back?

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "A song rises over the lilies, sweeps high to clear over the reeds~!"
    As the cacaphony grows and brings back recent memories of white noise, I give the trunk a tug and feel something give. It catches just near the bright exit. Come on already!

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "And over the bulrushes' swaying, to pluck at a pair of heartstrings~!"
    Oh fine, I'll get you later! This is more important!

    Sunlight momentarily blinds me as I poke my head out of the luggage compartment, and when I rub it out of my eyes, I'm greeted by...

    "...whoa."

    What is this? A marching band? A real life marching band like on television!?



    I wanna see it! Who's under those costumes? Is it the teachers? Professional musicians? Or are they hobbyists?

    What is that song? Where's it from? What does it mean? Do they have more!?

    What about the big guy? Is he the conductor? The principal!?

    And, and-!

    What's with this absurd guy!?

    Quote Originally Posted by ???
    "I asked how you were feeling!" "Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    How am I feeling? I'm... let me check...

    T-this guy's no joke. All the nervousness is gone! The frustration, the trepidation, the anxiety, vanished. I'm not even cranky anymore. In fact...

    I just wanna know what he's gonna say next!

    Is he a wizard or something? There's no way a normal human could calm down thirty kids with some music and a nice smile.

    But he did it, somehow.

    "..."

    I have to close my mouth. When did it open? Was my body responding on its own? Was I actually going to answer?

    No, no way, no how. I'm not taking the center of attention. Let the others steal the spotlight. I'm not here for that.

    And stop gawking, Prushka. You're not a kid, even if you look like one.

    Pyry... where's Pyry... I bet he and Mr. Conductor are the exact same type.

  3. #83
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    Who put a statue right here? Yeah, sure, this is a parking lot crossed with a courtyard, and I might understand a statue here and there of the principal, or some old Civil War general, or some big frontiersman, but why right in the middle of where people are gonna be walking? And how did a statue sneak up on me like that? I was sure there was.

    Wait.

    "And where do you think you're going, lad?"

    "You're... not a statue."

    That's not a statue. Such a thought escapes my lips just seconds before a pair of hands far too large to belong to anything other than Bigfoot slam into my shoulders. Surely that smile of his is playful, and he doesn't mean any ill will, but I think my feet are going to leave a permanent imprint on the asphalt after a hit like that. No, no, I'm positive there's a mark. I think I just sank two inches, what in the wo-

    "It's good to be enthusiastic, but don't go off gallivanting just yet! We've been setting this up for the whole day, so just grin and bear it! Your principal's been so looking forward to impressing you lot, gwahahahaa!"

    Somehow, this gorilla's laugh is heavier than that pat he gave me.

    Trying not to look like I'm seriously hurt here or anything, I give him the best, most carefree and lackadaisical smile I can muster, given that I think some of my bones just met other bones they were never meant to meet.

    "I was just going to get a look around the grounds, find my way to the dorms, enjoy the fresh air, stretch my legs. Uh, sir. But if the principal's going to greet us I guess I can't just go off after all."

    Giving my head that intentionally-nervous-rub, like admitting I messed up and got caught, I look back to the 'marching band.' Is the school mascot an owl or something? I guess owls perch in pine trees, maybe? I can't take how worn and torn those poor costumes are. I don't remember the last time I touched a needle but I want to set those things down on a sewing table right here and now. But holding it in, I wait as the principal makes his appearance. A strong man displaying both his robust health and cultured eccentricity as he greets us with a Latin phrase, something about stars.

    "I asked how you were feeling! Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"

    I get the butterflies in my gut telling me I should reasonably try to not draw attention to myself, shouting over here, away from the group back to the principal. In the sense that I don't want him looking over here and seeing my shoes embedded in the ground, giving him reason to wonder how this happened or what I was doing.

    But on the other hand, I do appreciate the spirit.

    "I'm feeling a bit peckish, sir!" I shout back.

    I mean, it's true. I skipped breakfast.


  4. #84
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Adelaide Alvena Cheshire
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    It felt like she was at some kind of starting line, that was for sure. The beginning of a marathon that she couldn't escape. Adelaide cast a critical eye at her luggage, the two suitcases that she had dragged out of the bottom of the bus.

    Had they really needed to pack so many dresses...?

    At least looking at her luggage kept her from looking at the owl costumes - but somehow she couldn't keep her eyes away. They were just so... so... they...

    She found herself at a loss.

    The patchwork, the tape, and the music that set each owl to wobbling was like watching a train crash. But by some miracle, she couldn't say she disliked it. It wasn't her kind of music, but it was nice, in its own way. The principal - he had to be the principal - had a voice that had seen good use and good practice.

    "I asked how you were feeling! Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"

    Adelaide looked around in some disbelief. People's expressions varied; amusement to disdain to apathy, with one of the shortest girls she had ever seen open-mouthed in sheer confusion. At least she wasn't the only one here who was taken aback.

    Still...

    Something about Mr. Oceandrop made it hard to refuse, and she managed to spit out a vague greeting.

    She heard Colt quip about breakfast - which didn't sound like a bad idea - but she wasn't going to be the one to break the ice here. No way! Not until she'd pushed her luggage out of the way and could pretend she'd packed them herself.

    I hope there are normal clothes in there.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
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  5. #85
    Lost in the dance Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Pinehill Hill
    Morning Phase
    06.09.1994.
    Still Sunny



    Ah, it’s happening again. It’s my heart that hurts, but it is my head that I clutch, stumbling until my back hits the side of the bus rather thunderously.

    Nothing.

    Mister Oceandrop—for who else could it be?—exudes…many would call it “charisma”, I guess. This is a man that could never fade into a crowd. A man of caliber, far from the mediocre human median. A man whose very presence stirs others, pushing them to action. A will that could direct history. It is obvious at a glance—that is how powerful an impression he makes.

    This is a man others would unhesitatingly call “extraordinary”.

    Yet, even this person remains colorless.

    It’s not fair. I think it is not fair, but I do not know the rules.

    I can only pretend the merciless truth doesn’t break my heart.

    I force myself to focus on anything except the magnate, pulling myself back to my original plan or examining my fellow students. It takes but a few moments to split them between “those who tried to separate themselves from the crowd”, “those whose response to the unexpected event is inaction”, and “those who acted in response to the unexpected event”. It is an important distinction, worth keeping in mind. I avoid staring at faces for too long, though, uncomfortably aware of the loud noise I made just moments ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Oceandrop
    "I asked how you were feeling! Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    I am feeling a little bit miserable, if I am to be honest, and perhaps with the beginning of a headache. But, I do not think that is what he wants to hear. So, instead—

    “I feel like you should apologize to owls everywhere, sir.”

    Wait, did I actually say that out loud?

  6. #86
    …That’s problematic. Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    Though she had heard Miss Leuzinger’s tired, defeated words, Lucille Faraday still hadn’t managed to prepare herself for the ensuing entrance of the misshapen owl menagerie. She politely put a hand to cover her mouth, which she was sure was open from a feeling distinctly between shock and confusion. Though, the longer she looked, the more she had to admit they had a sort of… clownish charm? Well, charm might have been too much to ascribe to them, but she felt it was appropriate to be at a loss for words.


    Unique moments like these sometimes didn’t need any explaining.

    Mister Oceandrop was a unique man—and all at once it made sense why he had gathered them all here. The way his uplifting words carried in the wind… even if she was trying to ignore it, she’d still hear them clear as day. It was a level of personality she found quite admirable. Someone who had that kind of presence couldn’t be a bad person at all.

    However, Lucille glanced at Miss Leuzinger, whose sanity looked as if it was fraying with every second. Sometimes, even those with good intensions harmed others obliviously, she quickly concluded. And following that train of thought, bringing Miss Leuzinger’s state to the principal’s attention would likely have even more catastrophic consequences, so Lucille would refrain.

    She gave her teacher a pitying smile, because the quickest way to free her was to make sure the current situation ended, like getting your shots done at the doctor. Lucille had to play along, for that poor woman’s sake.

    "I asked how you were feeling!" He repeated, this time louder. "Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    “I’m feeling quite splendid, Principal!”
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  7. #87
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Some 20 miles from Road's End.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Oceandrop
    "I asked how you were feeling!" He repeated, this time louder. "Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    Elise frantically began to search for an answer to the question.

    How am I feeling? I guess I'm still feeling a little stiff from the bus ride.

    No, no. This has to be Mr. Oceandrop. This is the billionaire philanthropist who organized this entire program. What's he going to say?

    "Oh, well then! We'll just limber you up and send you on your way! Do some stretches and you'll be ready to be a functional member of society in no time!"

    Ugh!


    Elise looked around at her fellow students nervously, waiting for someone, anyone, to say something first.

    There's a few scattered responses, and Elise stammered out a reply.

    "R-reasonably okay."

    She blinked.

    Did I hear John just criticize the owls? I mean, they are all looking a little rough, but they look like they're hard working owls. They must be leftover from when this was a normal, functional high school. I mean, where do you get owl costumes on short notice?

  8. #88
    Momoi Hisa
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    Owls.
    This...isn't exactly what I expected. Owls...Does this have anything to do with --- no, that is just silly. Though... - I absent-mindedly observe the goofy, shabby owls slowly moving towards us - The school had a football team called The Bigfoots, so they probably wouldn't have owls as their mascots...I guess it is something that Oceandrop brought with himself? But could he really not afford new costumes, or...is there just some more mysterious explanation behind things? Well, I probably won't be able to find out for now anyways...

    Looking around, I could clearly tell that not everyone was as impressed with this weird parade as I was. Well, I guess people have different expectations and priorities...Oh, is that guy already being escorted by a teacher? Wait, isn't that the same boy who was assaulting that doll-like girl on the bus? - I just couldn't resist watching his struggle with a smug look on my face -Is he some sort of a deliquent? Must be, already causing so much trouble.

    As the weird group got closer and closer to us, I started realizing something; Oceandrop had an extremely strong presence. He kind of reminded me of --- yeah, it must be his charisma. Some people were just born like this I guess, though people like this usually have...much bigger ambitions. Well, what does it even matter, I'm actually somewhat happy that the organizer of the program turned out to be someone like him.

    It appears that I wasn't the only one who noticed this...Everyone was just so focused on him, almost as if they couldn't even take their eyes off him; and then he was there standing right in front of us, and while he wasn't exactly a big man, his presence was absolutely overwhelming.

    "Welcome, First Class of Pinefall High! Hinc Itur Ad Astra!" Mr. Oceandrop boomed while the song behind him continued. "I am glad to see that each of the twenty-nine students we selected has found their way to our doorstep, safe and sound. Now tell me, youngsters... How do you feel, having finally arrived here, to the starting line?"
    I just ended up standing there for long moments, trying to collect my thoughts. I know this feeling well enough, so why am I unable to respond?

    "I asked how you were feeling!" He repeated, this time louder. "Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    "Wondrously" - I end up saying in a slightly excited tone, after finally regaining my presence - "Really looking forward to spending the year here."

  9. #89
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    ---

    Vivienne Bianchi

    Date: 06.09.1994.

    Location:
    Pinefall High, Entrance
    Phase:
    Morning Phase
    Weather: Sunny
    ---


    The music had garnered her momentary attention, but it did not seem captivating enough to have Vivienne drop what she had been doing prior, which was gathering up all of her luggage. Once she was done however, Vivienne quietly followed the flow, making her way to where everyone was gathering. As she walked pass those that were either shy or simply preferred to hang back, her eyes seemed to furtively dart left and right amidst the crowd, as if she was looking for something or... someone?

    But ultimately, the revelation of the band led by Mr. Oceandrop was enough to garner Vivienne's proper attention. The 'mascots' caught her eye particularly, being the apparent focus of the silent girl's attention... but if she found them ridiculous, cute or unpleasant was a question no one could answer but herself. As Oceandrop's undeniable presence came to the centre of the stage, Vivienne's attention switched to Oceandrop himself, his voice booming as he spoke to the newcomers -- clearly a man that could not be ignored, a center of gravity which pulled even the farthest of planets, the farthest of stars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Oceandrop
    "I asked how you were feeling! Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    Not long after he repeated himself, Vivienne was already opening her drawing book and working on something to show him. In a matter of a few seconds, she had managed to produce...

    The Drawing

    She lifted it up as high as she could above her head, as if to show Mr. Oceandrop. While her face was blank, the drawing she had done, was... as usual, quite expressive. of course, the true meaning behind these illustrations was another mystery, though many were welcome to guess. If they didn't end up laughing at it of course...
    Last edited by Ayakashi; January 11th, 2019 at 02:29 PM.

  10. #90
    Progressive Shattering Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location
    : Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Uh... I don't think we have a choice?"
    Now that I’ve asked the question, I could see a bunch of students try to sneak away before they were inevitably stopped by suddenly appearing facility members. How exactly did they appear so suddenly…

    Maybe if I was by myself, I would have considered just sneaking off but my odds of doing that with Aleen would be absolutely impossible. Well, I was curious about the music anyways. As weird as it is for a greeting.

    Anyways, I didn’t have to wait long as the source of the music finally revealed itself. To the surprise of no one at all, the one playing the music was the reason why the students were called here. But that wasn’t the surprising bit. No. The really surprising bit was who was also playing with him.

    A bunch of human-sized owl mascots playing instruments proficiently. Not weird enough? How about the fact that they were the equivalent of zombie mascot characters? You can see duct tape holding them together, the patchwork stitching to keep them alive, and I swear I could smell something rank from the costumes as well. However, the song was nice so I decided to ignore the mascots… horrible shape.

    That’s when our benefactor stepped forward and addressed us with what passed as charisma. The last time I was charismatically approached, I spent the next couple of years listening to their orders without much choice. But then again, maybe that wasn’t so bad as it also let me meet my best friend. So you could say I was ambivalent towards Mr. Oceandrop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Oceandrop
    "Welcome, First Class of Pinefall High! Hinc Itur Ad Astra! I am glad to see that each of the twenty-nine students we selected has found their way to our doorstep, safe and sound. Now tell me, youngsters... How do you feel, having finally arrived here, to the starting line?"
    Asta? As in Astral? So he said something about the stars, I’m guessing. From the sound of the language and how I don’t recognize the word… Latin? I normally make it a habit to be conversational in the major languages like Russian, French, Arabic, Spanish, and a little Swedish. The only things I’m entirely fluent in is, of course, German and English. I tried picking up Chinese and Japanese once… That didn’t go well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Oceandrop
    "I asked how you were feeling! Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    Actually… Yes. Yes, I am. The most you’ll get out of me is a shrug Mr. Oceandrop.

  11. #91
    The Man Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Pinefall High
    Morning Phase
    06.09.94
    Sunny


    Shrugging at Gabi’s lack of response, maybe the guy wanted to take it himself? I made my way through the gaggle gingerly, not wanting to jostle anyone’s stuff around.

    I turned around after slinging my bags over my shoulder, beginning to make my way back to Gabi, but then blinking at the singer’s arrival, entourage and all, he looked kind of familiar, and had a conspiratorial little half-smile on.

    I chuffed a little, amused, and waved my hand back and forth in an excited fashion, Mister Oceandrop, I presume.

    What other shenanigans did you have for us today?

  12. #92
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    An act fitting for a circus, no doubt.

    The only thing that was missing was Mishka rolling in on a ball in the background. Folks in owl… no, in reality, they couldn't really be called owl suits anymore. Feather suits, perhaps? In any case, a number of figures entered the parking lot, each dressed in a feathery costume and holding an instrument of some description.

    Led all by a man who could only be the mysterious philanthropist who was responsible for bringing them all here.

    Even Anna, as jaded as she was, had to admit to herself that Oceandrop definitely had an overwhelming “presence”. The principal seemed to be wreathed in a what could only be called an overwhelming aura of charisma and intensity. A man who could, most assuredly, inspire people. Who knows? He might actually be uniquely suited to solving the problems of the people here. He definitely seemed to have a positive effect on most of her classmates, at least.

    "I asked how you were feeling!"

    "Are you going to leave me without an answer, hanging like a leaf in the wind?"
    In all honesty, the way that the question was posed felt slightly patronizing to Anna. It reminded her of how Anette used to deal with the kids back home. The same type of “Speak up, will you?” approach that one would use to get shyer kids more accustomed to speaking their mind and the blabbering ones to be more clear about what they are saying. If this was anyone else, she probably would have had a biting comment or two, but…

    I said I would give them a chance, didn’t I?

    “Fine, just fine.”

    At the very least, she could give the eccentric headmaster the barest amount of lip-service in order to keep things moving along.
    Last edited by Mellon; January 11th, 2019 at 01:58 PM.

  13. #93
    Lost in the dance Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Pinehill Hill
    Morning Phase
    06.09.1994.
    Still Sunny



    Mister Oceandrop waits for responses; perhaps he will only feel satisfied past a certain threshold of student engagement. And of course, some do respond: a few honestly drawn to the man’s presence and willing to return his eagerness, some simply offering lip-service, likely hoping it will be enough to move things along. I take mental note of who does what; it is important to know these things.

    Perhaps inevitably—for such is the way of man—, I briefly keep track of Elise and Sakura’s presence before moving to claim my luggage, all the while fighting the urge to just lie down somewhere, as well as the one thing that is now nagging in the back of my mind. I am now too accustomed to looking for incongruous things, it seems.

    Has someone else noticed? Somebody must have, so I quickly scan the surrounding faces, hoping to find something, anything that suggests somebody else shares my thoughts. But finding something like that from reading people’s faces is completely beyond me.

    So, while everyone else (apparently?) is focused on the bombastic Mr. Oceandrop, I can’t now take my eyes off the building.

    It’s too large. It’s unnecessarily large. Far larger than it needs to be for any estimate of the size of student body plus faculty.

    Of course, the obvious answer would be that Mister Philanthropist here is merely working with an already existing structure, his charity effort not going as far as to take down the original building to make a modern, smaller school.

    The alternative answer, then, would be that the excessive additional space will (is being?) used for a purpose (or purposes) separate from the rehabilitation efforts at Pinefall High School, or at least what was presented in the documentation given to me.

    Is this something I should ask Mr. Oceandrop, now that he is here?

    Probably not. At least not today. Everything will be focused on settling us here.

    But, still, can’t help but wonder if anybody else has the same thoughts…

    Before I even catch myself, I stand a step behind Sakura. Human beings naturally gravitate towards the familiar. Yet my eyes remain on the conspicuously large building.

    Are you hiding something, Pinefall? Or am I just reading too much into things as usual, hoping for what is not really there at all?

  14. #94
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    As the music continued in the background, the words of the man before them, who could really be none other than Mr. Oceandrop, resonated like a challenge in the crisp, clear air. The scent of pines and firs was stronger than ever and sun peeked out from behind the clouds to light up the parking lot where everybody had gathered. Twenty-nine students in total, a handful of staff members and one man who seemed to take it all in with something akin to pride brewing within him. Even that intense stare of his seemed to magnify as his anticipation grew, awaiting for the first one to take and answer his words that he had spoken.

    And indeed, there was an answer.

    First one. Then another. Then a third.

    Because like it or not, this appearance and the words that he had said provoked a reaction from each and every student present, one way or another.

    ... Which might have been exactly what Mr. Oceandrop was hoping for.

    To see how each individual student would react to such a bizarre situation.



    "I suppose it feels like... hm. Like the ides of winter have just left, and spring has started to arrive, and I was there to witness the first flower blooming? Something like that, maybe? How do you feel, principal?"



    "...whoa."




    "I'm feeling a bit peckish, sir!"




    "..."



    “I feel like you should apologize to owls everywhere, sir.”




    “I’m feeling quite splendid, Principal!”



    "R-reasonably okay."




    "Wondrously. Really looking forward to spending the year here."



    [Lifts a Picture.]




    [Shrugs.]



    [Waves.]




    “Fine, just fine.”




    "Damn hungry is how I'm feeling!"




    "... A bit chilly, if you must know."



    "Like I just spent a week getting into Losersville!"




    "...... Hahaha."



    "Wondering if I made a mistake, coming here."




    "Ready to learn of new points of view, sir!"



    "Like the only sane person in this sorry little place."




    [Hides behind Elaine.]



    "Very well. Thank you for asking!"




    "Eh, could be worse. At least the place is nice to look at."



    "Ugh, whatever. Can we hurry this along?"




    "Like a million bucks now that I'm outta that car!"



    "Almost like there's a new adventure to be had."




    "FREAKIN' EXCITED!"


    "A-ah, yes, um, I'm doing very well, sir!"




    "... Tch. Who cares?"



    "My butt's sore!"



    And as that cascading wave of various emotions, answers and words poured out... the principal began to laugh, an aura of cheerfulness and clear pride rising out of him.


    "Individuality! Good! That's exactly what I wanted to see!" He finally roared, once he had calmed himself. "To have so many students who can express their own selves with just how they answer a simple question... that is great to see! After all, that is part of why you all have been invited here, and why I so wished to see that each one of you would make that journey that, no doubt, made many of you hesitate."

    With a wave of his hand, Mr. Oceandrop made the marching band stop. The melody that had been surrounding them died down, but its echo still lingered in the air. Taking a good, long look at the group of students, Mr. Oceandrop rubbed his beard like he was deep in thought. Or, perhaps, he was searching for the right words to continue with. As he did this, other faculty members began to appear. There was a rather beautiful woman who gave Ms. Leuzinger the stink eye, a rather witty-looking rotund man who was grinning and a quiet woman whose eyes were as cold as ice. They, together with the other three who already were present, took their places on both sides of Mr. Oceandrop.

    "Individuality is also something that is sorely needed in this day and age. As society grows and the amount of people increases, it becomes harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. To fall and disappear into the mass, to become just another nobody... that is something so easy to do it is frightening. And that's exactly why it should not be done!" He slammed his fist into his open hand. "But, alas, society tends to look down upon individuality. And as our attempts are rebuked, we rebuke the society in kind. No matter the reason, when our desire or need to be who we are is seen as 'wrong' or 'different' by the society at large, we distance ourselves from it and retreat into our own shells."

    Those intense eyes scanned the group of students, and a shiver ran through them all.

    "... You know what I talk of, don't you?" He asked, this time with a more quiet voice. "It is the reason why you are all here."

    That was exactly it, wasn't it? To be different, whether through choice or due to circumstances out of one's control, meant that you weren't the same as others. Society as a concept only came about because 'people were the same as other people'. We find common ground in those that are similar to us and flock together with them, because we feel safe with them. We know what and who they are, and that's why we think we can trust them. So, when someone like you, who is different from those others, comes along... a rift appears. Someone who is different has no common ground, and thus, cannot be trusted. We separate ourselves from those who are not like us.

    That is why we become rejected by society, or reject society ourselves.

    "Indeed. You've come here because it is our hope that we can heal that rift that has appeared between you young people and the society!" Mr. Oceandrop continued. "Not by making you just like everyone else, but by giving you a society that is as different as a society can be. You are all your own islands here, and it is up to you to make bridges between those islands. Of course, we are here to help, but the attempt must come from yourselves. We simply... give you a place where to spread those wings you might be afraid to spread. A society that does not judge you, in a school where you are among those like you, in a town away from the rest of the world! It is my firm belief that if given the right environment, and if you have the will for it, no wound or rift is too large to be mended!"

    Yes, now it was easier to feel than ever. This booming charisma that was natural gift given to only few certainly resided within Mr. Oceandrop. No matter how his words resonated within you, it was undeniable that they did resonate. It was hard to look away, and even harder not to listen. Because what he said came with such a confidence that it nearly demanded to be listened to.

    "It is my wish that once this year is over, you can return to that society that you rejected or the one that rejected you, look it straight in the eye... and give it the old sucker-punch below the belt!" Mr. Oceandrop exclaimed with a grin. "Healing is not the same as becoming uniform with the masses! It is being able to look at that difference between you and society and say 'So what?'. You can function as the other members of that society do, but you can also remain as yourself. As long as you have the courage needed to not care what others say and wisdom to know when to bend or ask others to bend. Those compromises, from ourselves or others, are what allows us to be ourselves even in the mass known as society."

    Far above you all, clouds had all but disappeared. It might have been the beginning of autumn, but there was still light out. Almost like the sun itself was trying to encourage you.

    "Because society is not evil and it is not the enemy. It is just another person, one made out of many, that we have to learn to live with," Mr. Oceandrop explained. "We live under its roof, we obey its rules. But we also demand it to do the same when it comes to our own behavior. That two-way street is what, I believe, leads to a healthy life. Loving ourselves, our individuality, but also knowing when to respect others and what they think."

    Suddenly, Mr. Oceandrop spread his hands. Either he was trying to engulf the sky, or then he was about to make some grand announcement for the students.

    As it turned out.

    It was the latter.

    "So! First Class of Pinefall High School for Troubled Youth, welcome!" he roared over the parking lot. "Welcome to a place where you can heal the wounds of your self, where you can learn to live within a society, and where you'll understand the importance of listening to others!"

    Ah.

    Now it hit you.

    ... It really was starting.

    Your year away from home.

    In a town, far from home, and with 28 other students standing around you.




    "Welcome, to Pinefall High School for Troubled Youth!"




    Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars

    Intro













    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny
    [BGM]

    The day so far had been... a long one. A very, very long one. After the principal's speech, there had been just a moment to take your stuff to the dormitory building (rooms had been assigned for each of you, so there was choosing one of your own. A pity.) before the lot of you had been whisked away to a tour of the campus grounds and the buildings there. You had been shown many of the classrooms (and most of them were empty), the grand hallways, the faculty offices, the sports grounds (both the football field and the pool were rather grand sights), nurse's office, cafeteria (which only served to increase your hunger) and so, so many other places that would become even more familiar to you during the course of the following year.

    Then, and only then, were the students allowed to move to the cafeteria to eat. The food there was surprisingly good, coming from the own chefs of the Oceandrop Program. Though then again, after a bus trip like that, just about anything would have tasted good. Nevertheless, you were able to fill your stomachs and then a mere ten minutes of peace and quiet before the whole circus started up again.

    This time it was the personal introductions of the various teachers and staff present at the campus grounds. It seemed that most of them slept at one of the side-buildings, while few commuted from the town proper. Mister Oceandrop apparently had his own room somewhere, but nobody exactly knew where. As it had turned out, your philanthropist of a benefactor was quite the mysterious fella.

    ---------- But even that chaos had come to an end, eventually.

    Many, many hours after you had arrived, you finally had a chance to relax and take moment to yourself. The whole afternoon and evening were for you to use, though the curfew was at 22:00 sharp, and running afoul the rules was perhaps not the wisest thing to do on the first day. Even more than that, your day had been a long one. It was unlikely that you'd be able to do anything else than sleep tonight. So, you'd have to take the most out of this chance that you had now.

    ... Judging from the sounds, there were some students horsing around at the common room, but just as many had went on their own ways.

    The question was...

    ... How were you gonna spend this afternoon?

    [The Free Event Period begins!]
    [Acquired map of Road's End!]
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; January 13th, 2019 at 01:47 AM.

  15. #95
    The Man Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    I yawned and leaned back, rolling my shoulders as I did so.

    What a day, a bunch of lectures and tours and showing us around, least the grub was decent, honestly probably a good sight better than anything I've had in a hot minute.

    Nothing like bunking with a bunch of dudes to make you appreciate some good cooking.

    Still though, I figure I've spent enough time arranging my room 'just' right, I'll probably mess around with it every once and a while, a room looking the same all the time's a bit boring.

    Hm, I could go into town, grab somebody interesting and hit up the shops, but, eh, not really up for it today, less I get talked into it, bit worn out, probably going to crash hard tonight.

    Anything on the agenda...? Oh. Right.

    Scar-girl. Hit me up with that note thing, yeah.

    Shit did I ever get a fuckin' name, uuuuh-

    Whatever I'll figure it out, it's fine. Probably. Weird way of making introductions, though.

    Eh. Beggars can't be choosers with this lot, can't expect Windsor Palace up in here.

    So I leaned back against the wall, eyes lidded a bit and surveyed the room for my chosen target for the evening.

    Is that aggressive-sounding? I think it is.

    Workshopping in order.

    Uh, new friend maybe. No, presumptuous, person who wanted to hit me up?

    I guess that fit.

    'Scar Girl' is okay for now, probably shouldn't call her that, though she called herself that, is it insensitive if they point it out first? Should I talk about it? Bitch at her about Gabi?

    Eh, just go with the flow. Try not to expose how much of a whack-job you are.

    Hope this isn't something like that...

    I picked her out of the crowd of people and waved her down, "You wanted to chat?"

    ...

    "I'm Elaine, by the way."

  16. #96
    Progressive Shattering Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Pinefall High.
    Phase: Morning Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny


    Despite that fact that I wasn’t exactly thrilled with Mr. Oceandrop’s charisma, I was more interested in the responses of my fellow students. They varied from responses of indifference like mine to enthusiastic and looking forward to this year. With some of these responses being noted on who to avoid.

    After hearing their responses, I used one of my more useful skills for forced socialization.
    [Listening for Important Details]. Very useful for long important conversations that go longer than I would like. Now let’s see what I got out of all of that.

    Individuality is good. Blending into the crowd is bad. We lack that and eventually seclude ourselves. Here we can fix that issue. Return to society in a year and deal with it as we see fit. Society isn’t evil and isn’t our enemy…

    I’ll disagree on that one point. Society as a whole won’t be our enemy. But there will always be one section that is your enemy. Something aiming to stop your happiness. And in the worst case scenario, you’ll have to earn your happiness by destroying theirs. Yours or theirs… And I’m not kind enough to give up mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Oceandrop
    "Welcome, to Pinefall High School for Troubled Youth!"
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny



    That was a long day on top of the already long trips. After processing in, I sorted out my quarters, toured around the facility, and then we had lunch. If there’s one thing, I don’t mind about this school being special is the fact that the food is… absolutely delicious. My previous cafeterias were nothing like this. If anything my previous foods were just pig slop in comparison.

    Of course, the food was just a bribe for more obligatory meetings. Reactivate
    [Listening for Important Details] and note any details. Facility lodging noted. Our principal and benefactor’s lodging are unknown. Interesting. Maybe as a game, I can look for the location of his lodging. Might be a good time filler if I there is time.

    After that, we finally were given our promised free time. Everyone was all over the place with the biggest concentration of everyone being in the student dorms. I disregarded them until I found Aleen so that way she can fulfill her promise and show me around town… And these apparently world famous cherry pies.

    “Hey Aleen! Ready to eat some cherry pies?”

    Guitar gig bag on me in case I ever feel the need to do a street performance and maybe even a discount for some pie.

  17. #97
    Lost in the dance Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Pinefall High Dormitory, John’s Room
    Evening Phase
    06.09.1994
    Still Sunny in the Evening



    Unpacking was almost effortless—there really wasn’t much to unpack. The luggage was heavy from the books, which of course I had to bring myself, if only to avoid troublesome possibilities. They will remain concealed amidst the clothes, to be brought out only if necessary.

    I rest shortly on the bed, wrist resting on my forehead while thinking back on what we were shown thus far.

    The sheer is of this “campus”, the amount of effort and investment used on this school, solely for a group of twenty-nine students? Preposterous. And then there’s his words…

    Mr. Oceandrop, you are wrong.

    Even if you truly act with the best of intentions—which is doubtful at best—, your actions ultimately will amount to nothing.

    However, I might be able to gain something from your Pinefall High School, and from the people you have collected. I’ll go along with your self-indulgent philanthropy for as long as it is useful to me, just like always.

    There is only one thing that matters.

    Those words, as ever, push me out of bed. Tiredness? Exhaustion? What are those? Are those things?

    I recheck the contents of my wallet, keeping only a few bills and carefully hiding the remainder—I have no real attachment to money, but it is necessary to sustain the lie. If I am to stay a whole year here, I must consider a source of income. I do not think such a small town will have need for a typist, so...car mechanic, just like that time? Or maybe look for something different? No need to speculate: we’ll see what Road’s End needs, and fill in one of those gaps. It’s what I always do.

    As for right now…I have no guarantee everybody will stay in this building, and even then, visiting each and every room one by one probably does not belong to what others deem acceptable standards of behavior. If I am to maximize productivity in this first day, when everybody is just settling in…

    Grabbing my sketchpad and pencil, I make for the dormitory’s common area. Maybe a different environment will produce a different result on paper? Let’s settle down on a chair and draw.

    And observe.

  18. #98
    Momoi Hisa
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    Ah...I'm beat.

    All this running around exhausted me a lot more than I expected. Having finished unpacking an "decorating" my room, I realized just how little stuff I had...Well, I never had the need for any extra fluff. The room served all it's functions, and that is all that mattered.

    After spending some more time just lying on my bed, contemplating the events and my future plans, I decided it was time to get moving. I can't waste my time lamenting over the past. I must be strong and work hard since this was my desire. Hopping out of the bed, I make my way towards the door. A quick peek at my pocket mirror; yes, that is the correct expression.

    Entering the common room, I notice the baseball cap girl wawing at me. I guess this might not be so bad after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "You wanted to chat?"
    "Hello" I say as I approach her "Yes, I'm glad that we can finally talk. Been looking forward to this ever since the bus trip."

    Quote Originally Posted by Elaine
    "I'm Elaine, by the way."
    "Oh, I'm Hisa, Momoi Hisa. Right, I should've mentioned my name in the message but...Finding me based on my name would've been harder than just knowing that I'm the 'girl with the scars'. Plus, I wanted to introduce myself properly."

    For a few moments, I just stood there twirling my hair while taking a better look at the girl. So cool yet beautiful. I wish...

    "So...I saw you on the bus and I could immediately tell that hanging out with you would probably be a blast. You look like a pretty cool girl and all."

    I hope I don't sound too awkward...

    "Hence why I was wondering if you would be up for some exploring around town. Quite a few places around that worth a look I would say."

    ...

    "Though thinking about it we would probably have to go on foot. I'm pretty beat after such a day...So if we end up going maybe we could just visit somewhere close by so that we can get back by evening?"

  19. #99
    The Man Mormarth's Avatar
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    Elaine Winters
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    "Ah, hi Hisa!" I smiled cheerily while trying not to pay attention to how she was paying attention.

    Instead I just puffed myself up, "Yeah, I'm a pretty cool girl, I got all the hookups, girl, ain't nothin' I can't do."

    "Hence why I was wondering if you would be up for some exploring around town. Quite a few places around that worth a look I would say."

    Well, speak of the devil. Shoot, y'know, I did find the keys on the bedside table, may as well see if the old boy's still rearing to go.

    I hummed in thought, tapping the wall with crossed arms, eyes roofward.

    "Though thinking about it we would probably have to go on foot. I'm pretty beat after such a day...So if we end up going maybe we could just visit somewhere close by so that we can get back by evening?"

    Is this bait? Are you messing with me right now? Stop feeding into my urges to show off, you, you, instigator!

    But fine then! I can only contain my wanderlust for so long!

    "Don't worry about that," I replied, smugly twirling my keys around my fingers, "I've got a ride that'll get us to where we need to go."

    Wonder if anyone else wants a lift, too. Wonder if I could make a few bucks as a taxi service.

    Couldn't hurt, I suppose.

    "Need to put the old boy through his paces, he pines if I'm away."
    Last edited by Mormarth; January 13th, 2019 at 04:28 PM.

  20. #100
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    John Dove
    Location:
    Pinefall High Dormitory - Common Room.
    Phase: Evening Phase.
    Date: 06.09.1994.
    Weather: Sunny

    "Yeah! And then, and then...! The guy has this expression of a frog meeting the windshield on his face and BAM! Knee to the kisser!"

    A roar of laughter echoed out like wave from the sofas of the common room. There, a quartet of absolute blabbermouths had gathered up. First one, and the one currently telling some story or another that seemed to involve beating up another person, was a ridiculously tall and lanky blonde boy, apparently named Pyry if the introductions at the classroom were to be believed. The second person was someone John recognized: Sakura Tsukioka, clutching her stomach and laughing a bit too loudly, was sitting on the only lazy boy (a dingy old thing) at the room.

    However, the two others were a bit of a mystery.

    The third person was a very colorful girl, both in attire and in words. Her name had been Ubon something or other, a very hard-to-pronounce name that fit with her East-Asian features and wildly tanned skin. This girl was slapping her knee at the story, snorting like she was having hard time breathing as she continued to laugh.

    And the fourth person? A very, very handsome young man with green hair and hispanic features, currently working on tuning an acoustic guitar and laughing melodiously but just as goofily as the rest of them. He might have seemed normal on the outside, but it was clear that he fit this rag-tag group of... similar people... very well. Or, well, similar people meaning 'idiots' in this case. Truly, a terrible clique of morons was already forming and there was nothing anybody could do about it!

    But worst of all...!

    "Ufufufu~! ---- Ah! John! Over here!" Sakura perked up, seeing a familiar face approaching. "Come on, join in! Pyry here was telling this ri-di-cu-lous story about some guy he used to train with!"

    The guy in question grinned widely.

    "Oh, and it gets better! See, his girlfriend was supposed to visit later that day..." he started with a conspiratorial voice. "... Meaning there was only an hour till the old ball-and-chain would show up. And t-this... this guy looks like he just sucked a lemon so hard it made his whole face concave on i-itself...!"

    Oh boy. The waiting eyes of the others were demanding.

    ... There was no running now that he'd been caught in this trap, was there?

    New Person(s) Met!


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