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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #3701
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “I saw that painting,” I spoke up suddenly with a blank expression, “Just briefly, and I certainly couldn’t make too much out of it.”

    It likely would have been unwise to mention that I just accidentally spotted it while gazing through the walls and the floor of the hotel. Yes, certainly a dangerous detail, especially with Barney present.

    “I just automatically assumed that it was Mr. Halloway’s wife, but now that I think about it...she looked almost like this other girl I’ve seen on a photo in some old article back from 1940’s. She was spotted in Majuro together with Howard McLampet, soon before they ended up coming here to start the mill business up…”

    What else was there exactly?

    Rubbing my chin, I peeked into every nook and cranny of my memory to dig up anything else that I could connect to the case, with debatable success.

    “I think she was mentioned later as well. There was a man, some Ezekiel Lowgate, who talked about a ‘strange woman’ that Howard McLampet brought here, someone he was obsessed with, and someone who was apparently poisoning his mind. This was before the native americans were murdered, so it wouldn’t be beyond my imagination that this woman urged him into such deeds.”

    “Of course, we know that soon after the McLampets died as well. But if it’s the same woman, and if it is her who appears on the painting with Halloway, then it could very well be that she moved on to driving him mad as well. Or maybe she already was even back then the McLampets were still alive, which would give a good base for the theory suggesting that Halloway killed, at the very least, Howard McLampet.”

    The words were rolling off my tongue rapidly, as the gears inside my brain turned faster and faster as well. It certainly made sense. The dates and some other details could align as well. But it could very well just be that once again I am just conveniently putting clues that have nothing to do with each other together, only to make up a story that is to my liking.

    “Perhaps this owes to the woman being a bad omen. Most people would likely consider her evil, a witch, someone who toys with men and makes them do her bidding. After all, if I’m making sense, then she is likely responsible for quite a few horrible events that happened around town. Though, this also makes me assume that her being the McLampet heir is just a false lead. It just doesn’t connect, since I can say for sure that I know who Josie’s daughter is, and she cannot have anything to do with this woman, so…”

    Yes, Aleen certainly cannot be the girl in blue.

    A vampire, maybe. An elusive person who has been kept safe from the prying eyes of the townspeople, maybe. But that is as far as the story goes.

    “Of course, none of this explains why she is ‘Patient Zero’. Or why exactly the townspeople react to her name so strongly. Not wanting to talk about her is one thing but...I know at least one person who ended up getting stalked by the townsfolk just because they were inquiring about her. Who killed her, to be more specific. Which also raises the question - could it be that she is dead?”

    As the line of thought came to an end, so did the rapid theorizing, and I couldn’t help but be glad that I could finally take a deep breath and fill my lungs with air again.

    Still, I had at least one more question, as my attention turned towards Colt.

    “What exactly is this chevron lounge you mentioned, if you don’t mind me asking?”


  2. #3702
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “It’s about Remington Hartley. You knew her, right?”
    The sudden question made the janitor jolt a little bit, and he looked between Barney and Hisa, the latter who was in the middle of putting some pieces in her mind together and coming up with surprising conclusions. Then he looked at Colt... and awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. After hesitating for a moment more, he nodded, though at the same time, he gestured at the situation and the rain around them.

    "S-sure, dude, though... right now? I don't mind if you pop in later at my office or something, but I dunno if now's the best time. It might be a long story. But yeah..." He said, and nodded again - with a certain sense of sorrow behind his aloof facade. "... I knew Remmie alright. Seven years ago, I was friends with her and a whole bunch of others kids. We were the last class of Pinefall before it was closed down, at least most of us, and we used to do all sorts of stuff before... before... well... everything went to hell in a handbasket."

    To Colt's momentary surrpise, Gradient let out an agreeing hum to that - as if she had known what Jake was talking about, and agreed with it.

    "But... why are you asking? It's just a tale of how friends go their separate ways after something tragic... how some of them end up getting hospitalized, how some go crazy and how some just disappear... so, uh, it's not exactly a happy story, dude," Jake continued. "That's why... I think we should talk about that at a proper time."

    And again, surprisingly, Gradient squeezed Colt's hand stronger - as if to try to give him courage.

    But at that same time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hisa
    “Of course, none of this explains why she is ‘Patient Zero’. Or why exactly the townspeople react to her name so strongly. Not wanting to talk about her is one thing but...I know at least one person who ended up getting stalked by the townsfolk just because they were inquiring about her. Who killed her, to be more specific. Which also raises the question - could it be that she is dead?”
    Barney stood there, silent, almost as if transfixed.

    "Majuro... 1940's..."

    He muttered, before suddenly jolting back to life.

    "A-are you talking about the Ourang Medan incident!?" Barney asked, sounding now properly spooked. "That's... I remember writing about that some time ago... how there was a German survivor of the incident, who had been later spotted there, in Majuro... A-are you saying that this Hughard Lampe could have been Howard McLampet...? That... that could make sense... Hughard is derived from Howard, and Lampe is connected to Lampet as well, only in German... so that's... God, could it have been under my nose this entire time...?"

    With her mind's eye, Hisa was able to see memories - memories of an old and dusty room littered with half-finished manuscripts and articles and stinking of cigarette smoke and ink. Barney, some seventy pounds lighter, sat at a typewriter, clicking away furiously while sucking on what must have been his fifth cigarette of the day. A woman, whose voice the man associated with something warm, asked something from him in a worried voice, but he didn't even remember what it was... he just remembered a burning need to expose the truth about Ourang Medan and what might have truly been going on at such a hideous, hidden tragedy - to make people know that the government was pulling wool over their eyes and they were being misled, like always. A yearning desire to help others see and to stop other such incidents from occurring.

    And the article he was writing was certainly the same that Hisa had seen before - a newspaper clipping that had been left for her by Angelica.

    "I... I think you might be onto something, young lady. Howard McLampet had strange amount of dealings with Far-East even after settling down here, to Road's End. He had multiple ships going in and out of there. Hell, it's those connections that got his fool of a youngest son married - from what I understand, Josie McLampet comes from some branch family over there, possibly... but still... hell..." Barney spoke, scratching his wet hair. "The timeline would match... if, after the incident, Howard McLampet brought some unknown woman here and she started poisoning his mind, first driving away the ancestral protectors of this land, using the patriarch for what he wanted... and once he either got wise of it, or was useless, or something else happened she moved onto James Halloway, his business partner, and started bringing misfortune to the McLampet family instead... a veritable walking curse, like a drop of poison in the well that is Road's End. Someone who caused misery wherever she went, a mysterious person brought from somewhere unknown..."

    A dead serious expression had fixed itself onto Barney's face as he nodded grimly.

    "Young lady... I could see that already being the seed of such a taboo. A woman like that could become an omen of misfortune to the town. And if they knew it, and if they blamed her for such things, killing her might have been a mob decision - a lynching to at least find a scapegoat. Something like that, whether it fixed the situation or not, would become a sin for all the town to bear..." He said quietly, absent-mindedly opening and closing his fist. "... And asking about that sin would be an easy way to get the town rise up once more, in paranoia and fear, to silence those who were trying to bring up that old, hidden sin."

    It was a chilling theory to be sure, and the more it was thought about, the more plausible it seemed. As Hisa had said, the dates and the timeline seemed to match up - at least of what they knew. And it would give some explanation to the question as to why it was such a taboo, and why the older people of the town especially didn't want to talk about it - while someone like Jake, who was younger, didn't know about it too well.

    "... I wonder," Barney suddenly muttered. "The tech from Mount Rainier was supposedly moved during 1947... both by trucks and then by ships. If it was the government behind it, someone who worked at the Spokane Air Technical Service Command, like Howard McLampet, could have caught wind of it..."

    One could practically see the gears in his head turning.

    "Maybe... maybe I should check any records from that time. If a ship named, or matching the description of SS Ourang Medan, left the Road's End harbor, or any nearby harbors, during that time and headed towards the South-East Asia..." He muttered quietly. "And if so, were there any navy personnel missing, or sudden replacements in the crew..."

    It seemed that, thanks to Hisa's words, Barney had started finding some sort of trail of breadcrumbs that his brain had started to follow.

    However, before he could follow it any further, he suddenly jostled himself out of the trance he was falling into, and looked straight at Hisa.

    "Young lady... if you saw that painting, can you say..."

    He started rummaging through his sleeve, but instead of going for the pockets, he put his hand inside a brown envelope he had hidden against his chest. From there, he pulled out what looked to be an old polaroid picture. The picture seemed slightly blurry and monochrome, and one look at it could tell it had been taken from a newspaper. Or rather, the one who had taken the shot had taken a shot of a picture in a newspaper or something similar.

    With slightly trembling hands, Barney gave the picture for Hisa to look.

    "... Was this the woman you saw in that painting?"
    And in that picture...


    Was someone she, nor Colt, had ever seen before.

    But even so, Hisa knew...

    Just from the ominous feeling, like a the freezing hand of someone creeping up her spine...

    She knew...

    ... That this was the woman of that painting.

  3. #3703
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Mellon's Avatar
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    Anna Vandemeel
    Location: Road’s End – Streets (Inside Elaine Winter’s Car)

    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Hah.“ Anna let out a tired chuckle at Ramia’s advice. „No offense taken, Indy. Though I must say… you’re probably half a decade or so too late with that advice.“

    To be honest, that was probably not a truly honest statement from her. There was probably no point in time where the Estonian witch would have been truly willing to accept such advice. Even that cliched reinterpretation of „he who fights monsters“ wasn’t enough to get a strong response out of her. She’d learned long ago that one’s personal sense of justice was irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. If others wanted to call her unjust, it was fine. And a „never act on your personal justice because someone might dislike you for it“ wasn’t quite a compelling argument for her. Never had been.

    Far too many tragedies got buried because of some vacuous pandering to the ego of someone powerful.

    And besides, in the end, one’s personal justice can only fix a personal injustice carried out by another. It was utterly impotent in the grand systemic injustices levied on people by Mankind and the World at large.

    „Those with power, knowledge, and experience have a responsibility to those without to use that to change and improve the world. Why does one even reach for magic, if not for that? So that some random idiot can boast about his three-thousand-year lineage and play pretend politics with others of his kind while the rest of the world circles the drain? All I need to do is look outside and see the world that all that „grand experience“ has crafted.“

    „There is no need to respect those whose only vision for the future is impotently hoarding more magical knowledge even as it all turns to crap around them.„

    „Slow stagnation and pointless debate-filled navel-gazing might have cut it in the past, but in case you haven’t noticed, the old ways are dying. There is no future for those who run away into their insular bubbles and absolve themselves from taking responsibility for the world.“

    „In the end, the future is for those with the desire to grasp it. The world won’t fix itself, even if you sit on your arse and wait for it to do so for a thousand years.“

    A small sigh escaped Anna’s lips as her eyes glanced at the gray curtain outside. While the air let inside by the white-haired mercenary may have felt fresh to some, it was far too familiar for Anna. The dampness reminded her too much of home and the topics even more so. Her hand slipped to her pocket to pull out her snuffbox, even as her eyes remained fixed on the sight outside. Not the white-haired merc, but instead the gray treeline in the distance.

    There had always only ever been two answers for her, for that flame that Ramia had mentioned. She would either burn the world or she would burn herself to ash. That was it.

    The smell of ozone flickered in the air for a second as the tip of the toothpick in her mouth lit up with a sharp crack and a dim glow, even as she wound down one of the back windows.

    „But in any case, we have more immediate concerns to deal with, no?“ A dry snort echoed out of the raven-haired witch even as the thin strands of smoke spiraled around her in slow hypnotic patterns, before unnaturally snaking towards her nostrils. „Talking about those eternal lethargic fence-sitters is hardly our main concern at the moment.“

    Giving a small motion for both Elaine and John to speak, the jacketed witch listened to the pair recount their experiences from last week. All in all, it was a dizzying amount of information on a massive quantity of varying topics. Numerous different trails leading off to a dozen varying directions. As her two classmates finished their recollections, Anna spoke up herself.

    „It's probably better for me to tell you guys what I know and think of these „points of interest“, rather than give a play-by-play of everything I did last and this week.“ A thin line of smoke left her mouth, before curving mid-air towards the window and away from everyone else present. „Firstly. On this „impostor“ of ours… and the Coastrises, I suppose. They’re kind of interlinked in my mind, honestly, since that is where I learned of this on my end.“

    „Last week, when I was snooping around the campus during the night, I was attacked by some shadow familiars that were using Chinese shadow puppetry, zhĭyĭngxì, as a base. They’re the familiars of the older sister, Zhou, though I learned of this later.”

    “Later in the week, both she and Minato, her brother, tried to kill me because they thought I had killed Yeong-Hui, their youngest sister. More specifically, they thought I was “the demon who had killed and played with the entrails of their little sister”.”

    “While their senses had been fooled, resulting in them chasing after me...” To put it precisely, they had been fooled by the “mother” locked inside Gabi’s mind.”...this event did probably did happen. Which means there probably is a “demon” here… most likely a literal one rather than a figurative one, at that.”

    Well, that wasn’t the whole story behind that particular conclusion of hers… but those details were mostly supplemental to the story at hand and wouldn’t serve to illuminate anything additional anyway.

    “Yesterday evening, the two of us. “Anna gave a brief gesture to both herself and Ramia. “Met up with the Coastrises at the Hotel. They are living there. What that says about the faculty’s capabilities… or drive, is another matter, but all three of them were still there and alive. Apparently, Yeong-Hui had a premonition about their father being in this town… and the three of them are looking for him. A “handsome-looking man in the 30s to 50s who is not directly involved with the turnside and who has a fetish for Asian women”.

    Anna’s brief snort made it clear exactly what she thought of that particular description.

    “However, Zhou carried out a soothsaying ritual of her own, and… well what she saw was that there is, as you said, an impostor in the school. To be precise, there is someone who “though they weren't invited, not part of who were supposed to be there, is in the guise of someone who was”

    “Normally, I wouldn’t care too much…” The smoldering wood in her mouth deepened for a moment, as Anna took a deep breath. “But, they’re apparently really antsy on killing or harming us in some way.”

    Seemingly finished with that particular topic, the nonchalant girl raised up a second finger at everyone here.

    Secondly. The Hospital. That place is fishy as fuck. Even leaving aside everything that Winters has already mentioned, the entire basement floor of that place is filled with automated doors, keycard locks, and alarm systems. Gave the feel of a place run by those Psionic Science Institute kooks or one of those AMADEUS tin-can factories. I ran into some mighty suspicious government folks at the Country Club. Dealing with satellite surveillance and astronomy from the looks of it. Perhaps they have something to do with it?”

    “Not a single shred of surveillance down there either. Almost as if they are trying to avoid leaving any type of paper trail or potential proof that would link someone to that place.

    “Last week, the hospital was completely dead on Sunday. No power, surrounded by mist. Not a single living soul in there. Everyone including the staff had just up and vanished. No signs of direct conflict though. Either they picked up their operation and moved it wholesale or someone killed them all without leaving behind bodies or a drop of blood.”

    “Last entry in the computer systems was at Saturday evening 21:32, by one “Dr. Satel”. Reason of visit? Confidential. And after that… no logs whatsoever, even common staff ones.” Having said that, Anna gave a brief nod towards Elaine. “And before we picked up the brat from the forest, she was linked to the machinery on the fourth floor. Tranquilized. No idea how she escaped though and I only managed to get a glimpse of her from afar.”

    In the end, the hospital was a mystery box they had to penetrate one way or another. Whether that included smashing that thing to bits and just brute-forcing the matter or trying more subtle means was a question Anna was still trying to find a satisfactory answer to.

    “As for the McLampets. Most of what I have heard is linked to the general form of the tale that all of you are already familiar with. Leena McLampet is apparently the name of the missing blue-haired girl in question. Apparently, Zane has also caught glimpses of a blue-haired girl or tourist at that dumb statue in the forest, but….”

    “My initial guess was that King might have had something to do with it, since… well she’s also blue-haired and her name is basically the first name anagram of the missing heiress, but…”

    “If the corpses are missing that means that either there was nothing left to put in the graves, which is unlikely if they happened to die under surgery, or there was a particular reason why the McLampets didn’t want to put them there.” A brief pause. “Well, there is also the potential reasoning that these people either didn’t exist in the first place or they simply didn’t die. ”

    Or stopped being dead. We’re talking about people linked to the nosferat, after all.”

    The McLampets probably played a more fundamental role in their current predicament than just being a mere random string of mystery, though. If her hunch was correct and this place had been seeded for its current purpose for decades already, then there was little chance that the local “founding family” didn’t have their fingers in the pie at least in some way or shape.

    “Though speaking of ladies of the night, your shadowy benefactor does raise some interesting questions, Dove.” Despite addressing the blue-haired boy, the witch turned away from the boy in question and towards the open window of the right. “Let me pose a question to you, Indy. Let's hypothesize that half of our class….probably most of them, actually, are in some way mired in the Turnside.”

    “How likely do you think it is that if you pull a random crop of various maladjusted kids from across the globe that the majority of them are directly, and perhaps more importantly, independently linked to all the various facets of the supernatural world?”

    “And how likely would it be that an organization that managed something like this would have no Turnside leanings whatsoever?”

    From her side, it looked ridiculous, honestly. The Turnside was everpresent of course, but it wasn’t that easy to find. That was kind of the point. One couldn’t just walk into a random orphanage of maladjusted kids and pull out some inheritor of a legendary bloodline. The vast, vast majority of those kids were just that - maladjusted kids with not a lick of supernatural about them. If this was just random chance and not active design that had brought them to Road’s End, then it must have been the work of someone who could have pulled out the equivalent of thirty jackpots in a row. And at that point, you might as well consider someone like that an anomaly of their side anyway.

    “As for the rest… “a spellcaster wielding the nuclear force”, huh?” A wry grin flashed over Anna’s face for a moment, even as her gaze was still fixed outside. “Sounds pretty similar to what you told me about yesterday, wouldn’t you say so, Indy? Could still be wrong, I guess… though I imagine we won’t find another mage in a thousand kilometers with that particular aspect of the Modern Array.”

    “I suppose this kills any hope I might have had of Primacelsus and those old hags being full of hot air… not that there was much chance of that to begin with.”

    “Well, either way, on this particular topic and about this particular figure, I do know one or two things, I suppose. And I suspect a couple more. And it probably plays into why this town is such a tangled mess of discordant mysteries to begin with.”

    Turning away from the open window, Anna faced the pair still inside the car. The end of her trademark toothpick still glowed with a dim orange glow, even as thin wisps of white smoke danced around her. A brief grin played on her lips for a moment.

    “But before that... Tell me, how much do the two of you know about the Seven Unbreakable Rules?”

    “And, consequently, how one would go about breaking something that cannot be broken?”
    Last edited by Mellon; February 25th, 2021 at 11:14 AM.

  4. #3704
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday, Elise Pelltier & Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "........... Fine."

    There was terrible coldness in those words as Mercedes let go of Ubon, and at the same time, cyanhead released the starlet as well. The two girls were breathing heavier than normal, both still having adrenaline running high on their bodies. However, while Ubon still glared at Mercedes, like she had been ready to throw down not just because of the situation they were in, but because of her own reasons, Mercedes... paid no attention to her whatsoever. Instead, her eyes were locked at Lucille.

    Slowly, very slowly, she walked over to the blonde and stopped.

    There was something... worrying in the gaze that she gave to her.

    --- Something that didn't feel like Mercedes at all.

    "Then we'll do it, like, today. At noon," Mercedes curtly ordered. "End's Beach, near the lighthouse. I'll be waiting, so you better so up. If you don't..."

    For the first time, Mercedes voice held a threat like she had never directed at Lucille - one much more fitting for the role she was so assured she had to play; the role of the alpha bitch that was so ingrained into her.

    "... I'll tear you, and your life, down. Even if you don't want to."

    And with that, the actress was gone. She grabbed her bag, swung it over her shoulder and marched off the cafeteria. The only thing that announced her leave was how the door of the cafeteria was slammed shut after her. What followed was an oppressive, awkward silence that seemed to permeate every part of the room. Even those who on the different tables were giving them worried glances, while those at the table... well, they were both worried, but also glad that it was over. Ru, who didn't really know anyone of the current group. Tris, who looked like she had wanted to help but Mercedes had been far too scary for her. And Hwan who... continued to eat his breakfast in peace, paying no attention to the drama going on around him.

    Like it had nothing to do with him.

    And then there was...

    "...... Lucie....."

    Ubon, of course. The always-cheerful airhead who still had her hands clenched into fists. Her voice sounded a little choked, a little warbly, like she had been full of anxiety and feelings even she didn't recognize. But once she got hang of herself once more, she turned over her shoulder to look at Lucille, and... to the blonde's surprise, there was no face of relief or worry to greet her.

    No, instead, Lucille saw something sharper, something harder. Almost like the girl had been seriously angry, and now blamed her. All of that, smoldering under a mask that she tried to keep emotionless.

    "... I didn't wanna think so, but Lucie..." Ubon started, faltered in her words, and then forced the rest out. "... You really are a jerk. For realsies."

    And with that, Ubon also left the cafeteria - wiping her eyes as she did and hurrying so that nobody could see her face anymore.

    Which made the silence that of a grave as the situation, finally, ended...




    Anna Vandemeel, John Dove & Elaine Winters
    Location: Road's End - Streets
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Hmm..."

    With so much information, it was no wonder that Ramia was taking her time to process it.

    "A lighthouse that collects dead spirits and won't let them pass on, a child held in the local hospital who produces a nerve-agent within her, DDS, T41 and Gottlieb Pharmaceutics, along with Suzume Bianchi..." the dusky-skinned mercenary murmured. "People who disappear from the world as if the timeline had been replaced, beings in dreams both malevolent and benevolent, the problems of the McLampets and someone connected to them trying to make contact, the legend of the Disembodied Man and how he ties to the tragedies of the town, a vision of the future where you were still alive and apparently an adult, a vampiric murder in this town last year..."

    She rubbed her chin, eyes practically closed as she committed it all to memory.

    "Finally, the Coastrises and their visions of a murderous impostor among us, the suspicious activities and facilities of End's Mercy, this Dr. Satel and what he did to the hospital during that night, the possibility of Aleen King being the missing heiress of the McLampets, the disproportionate amount of Turnside people at Pinefall, the possibility of that mage being here - the Moonchild of Crowley..."

    Finally opening her eyes, Ramia clicked her tongue.

    "--- And certainly not least, the fact that you've experienced this week once already. And last time, possibly this time, it ends up in tragedy."

    When laid out as specific, overall topics like that, it certainly started to feel like a daunting task - especially with how many of these things felt like they were disconnected with each other. Or rather, it felt like that initially. But when Ramia had begun to talk, some sort of light of understanding had appeared in her eyes, and she made a vague gesture towards the people still sitting in the car.

    "Honestly, I can only imagine how much you've been through... but thanks to your information, I'm starting to get the feeling you've all seen bits and pieces of a larger narrative. Or, perhaps, several larger narratives. Put it like this... if you think about all these things you've talked about, some of them seem to share a certain theme, certain details, don't they?" The husky-voiced girl asked, before raising her hand. "For example..."

    She raised one finger.

    "Dr. Satel, Gottlieb Pharmaceutical, Suzume Bianchi, DDS, Stephanie and End's Mercy at large and what they are up to."

    She raised another finger.

    "The lighthouse of this town, Disembodied Man who is a local boogeyman, McLampets and their downfall, Aleen King and her possible connection, the vampiric murder in this town, and the fact that someone tried to direct you to McLampet Mansion... these are all about the town and its history."

    Then, she raised a third finger.

    "And lastly, the looping week, the disappearance and appearance of some people, a vision of the future, dream beings that have contacted you lot, the amount of Turnside people in our class... and the possible impostor-slash-murderer in our midst. These are about the problem with time and our class in particular."

    Finally, the girl clenched her hand into a fist once more.

    "It might be smart to group these topics together, since they do seem to have more to do with each other than the rest. That gives some clarity to the overview of the whole thing and how things might fit together. It might also allow us a better understanding where to start opening up each particular mess," Ramia continued, pointing towards each person in the car one-by-one. "Winters, when it comes to the hospital, I see a couple of routes there. Either by snooping around the hospital directly, getting more info on who the Gottlieb Pharma really are, or, well... asking Vivienne. Her last name is Bianchi, after all, and I doubt that's coincidence. Dove, you said you had been given a map, right? Sounds almost like someone at the McLampet mansion wants to talk to you... it might not be a bad idea to take them up on that offer. And lastly, Red... I think finding that impostor is our top priority right now at the school. If everyone is supposed to die by the end of the week, I can imagine them being a major catalyst for that."

    With that, Ramia relaxed her stance a little, and let out a little sigh.

    "That, of course, leaves one topic... that of the Moonchild. Astrarium, as you put it, Red," she said, looking at the Estonian girl. "... Honestly, I'm not quite sure how that fits into this all, but it can't be a coincidence that they are here too. After all, if what Dove saw back there is true, then... it must have been the same spell that killed one of my previous incarnations."

    The face of the mercenary hardened once more.

    "Still... you asked about the Seven Unbreakable Rules, and about breaking them. Well... I know as much as anybody, really. They're the rules that stay constant, no matter what. No matter how human cognition and the Laws of the World change, they never change. If we go by the oft-used Allegory of the Cave, then... these are the rules of that philosophical experiment in the first place. Or the page its been printed on, the ink its been printed with, the book it can be found in," Ramia continued. "But more importantly, breaking them is a fool's errand. No, worse than that, since it's an errand that will not only harm the one attempting it, but everyone around them. After all, nothing elicits a more violent reaction from the World than that."

    She grounded her teeth a little.

    "... It's about understanding the flaws in our thinking, the invisible rules we hold as common sense, and finding some way to break them. Almost akin to lifting yourself up from the ground through sheer physical force. That's the scale of impossible stupidity we're talking about."

  5. #3705
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    “Well there’s a time and a place for everything, but it doesn’t hurt to agree on those beforehand, does it?” Colt asked back, shooting a glance at Barney who was going on an absolute tirade about things Colt knew nothing about. Certainly not the backdrop to the conversation he wanted to have. “And also, I didn’t realize you had an office I could catch you in.”

    Colt shrugged.

    “Sure. We’ll talk later.”

    The boy turned back to Barney and Hisa, the former of the two still going on and on. The events and names he listed off were all unfamiliar to Colt, but he wondered if perhaps there was some value in all of it for Hisa. It was as if she had been nudging Barney to keep going

    He paid enough attention to commit some of the names of interest to memory. Ourang Medan, Hughard Lampe, Howard McLampent, Mount Rainier, Spokane Air Technical Service Command. Those names he noted, but without knowing more they were just names. But what did take hold of Colt’s attention was the mention of a mob lynching in Road’s End.

    The theory that this Girl In Blue was murdered by the people of the town. That all of them were guilty of such a thing…

    The faces of all the people Road’s End which he had met passed through his mind.

    Nah… no way.

    He frowned and shook his head.

    At the same time, Barney produced a picture for Hisa. Instinctual curiosity took over and Colt leaned closer to look at it as well.

    A girl.

    … To him, that was all he saw.

    That was all the meaning that he could infer from such a photo.

    “Hisa,” he leaned back and took his eyes off the picture of the girl. “That lounge is… I went there at the end of last week. After I went for my uh...”

    The boy shot a glance from Barney to Jake.

    "Late-night swim."

    He thought of how to explain it.

    “It’s a place past the hangman’s noose.”

    The words of the Man-In-Between, even if Colt did not know him by that name, were the best he knew to describe it. Yet they felt incomplete and vague. An answer that answered nothing. But at the very least, it got the point across without getting into the details that shouldn’t be divulged in the presence of Jake and Barney.

    “How about I fill you in on it after this?”
    Last edited by Spinach; February 25th, 2021 at 05:34 PM.


  6. #3706
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "...damnit."

    It's useless.

    "Lucille, you idiot..."

    I stare up at the girl. At the cold expression that doesn't fit well on her face.

    "Don't," I whisper before I let go. "What you're thinking of might be correct, but it's not right. You can't ignore them. Those feelings matter. Both hers - and yours."

    Everyone's efforts were pointless. Mine, Elise's, Ubon's... it's like we weren't even here. That's what the look in Lucille's eyes said. That this is between her and Mercedes, and we shouldn't be butting into it.

    How like a human. They never listen. Never, ever.

    I sink into the nearest seat and sigh.

    "If we can't even work together, how are we supposed to... ugh!"

    So much for a hearty breakfast. I don't feel hungry at all anymore.

    "..."

    I look at Elise, then Hwan.

    "...see you in class. And after school."

    Only option is to move forward. Even if it looks like things will fall apart before then.

    I toss the notebook into my bag and scoop a helping of bacon and eggs onto a spare plate. Then, balancing it on one hand, I grab onto the Pink Dragon with the other and set one foot on it.

    "Hey Ubon, wait up-!"

    The Dragon lets loose a sad growl as it carries me towards where the girl went.

    If I can't keep her from crying, the least that can be done is helping her wipe away those tears.
    Last edited by Bloble; February 26th, 2021 at 01:29 PM.

  7. #3707
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    “...Yeah. I think so.”

    After giving one last look to the photo, I gave it back to Barney. In reality, I wasn’t entirely sure. I didn’t give the painting that good of a look. And yet, somehow, it was almost as if there was a voice whispering at the back of my mind, telling me that it was certainly her.

    “Why? Is there something important about this photo?”

    It’s not like it exactly helped much. Granted, the photo had to be taken by someone at some point...which was certainly hinting at an encounter with her.

    Based on the things Barney said, it would also seem that it was him who wrote that article about the ship. Which, if just for a moment, made me question its credibility...but then, if Angelica found it important, it for a fact was likely quite important.

    Then, there’s also this whole stolen tech from Mount Rainier deal...but that’s definitely not the trumpet. So what could it be then?

    In the meanwhile, Colt has also answered my question, but his reluctance to go into details suggested that there was likely more to this chevron lounge than what he could explain with Barney and Jake present.

    Probably could have guessed as much.

    “Sure,” I nodded, “that works.”


  8. #3708
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Hmm... in that case... it is highly likely that the woman in that painting is the Girl In Blue."

    Barney, with great care, pocketed the picture once more and hid it from view. He was hiding the thing like it was the greatest treasure of "truth" he had come across at Road's End... or perhaps a piece of evidence so dangerous that he didn't want it to be known he had it. And not only was the pudgy man's paranoia affecting the atmosphere and making it feel almost... eerie, but the reactions from the other two with them added to it. Pyry had gazed at the picture with a worried face, the face of a man who didn't recognize the person but immediately sensed some sort of danger from it. Jake, on the other hand, had fallen rather silent, and his face an expression of someone who was trying to remember if he had seen it somewhere before.

    "This picture... I snapped it from a certain newspaper I was able to find. Or rather, the remains of one. It concerned a missing persons report from what I think is the 60's. I'm... unsure, because only a piece of that newspaper remained, and it was hidden in the archives of the local sheriff's department. In fact, that's one of the only pieces of Road's End Gazette from that time I've been able to find. While the paper was established around 1947, all the back issues from before the 70's... it feels as if someone has gone through great lengths of getting rid of them," Barney explained, pushing his sunglasses up his nose. "So far I've only been able to find intact numbers from the 70's and beyond, after the newspaper gained a new sponsor, and in all honesty, a new owner - one Mr. Cooper. But those papers are almost too clean, referring to almost nothing from the time before that..."

    While Pyry didn't react to this too much - only clearly finding it odd (and neither did Gradient), something about what Mr. Keyhoe said made Jake look a bit surprised and then cock an eyebrow. He muttered "Mr. Cooper, huh?" or something along those lines, and seemed to find it somewhat funny... but what he meant by that, he didn't exactly say. Perhaps he didn't deem it important, or perhaps he was waiting for the other man to finish.

    "In any event, this picture... considering the time and the fact that it was regarding a missing persons case, I just got this eerie feeling. That's why I've been trying to trace the person in this picture, but with no avail - more than few of those leads went sour. So, right now, I have only one left. Namely... a person who I think might be able to tell if this is the Girl In Blue, for sure," Barney continued. "I'm talking about the old maid of the McLampet family who still lives on their premises in her own little house. A sweet old lady from what I'm told, but it took quite a while to arrange an interview with him."

    A sort of dry smirk appeared on the man's face.

    "I'm told her name is 'Beatrice', and that she's the oldest living resident of this town. If someone knows the true identity of the girl in this picture, it's her."

  9. #3709
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    Much like Pyry and Gradient, Cold had little reaction to Barney’s mentions of a Mr. Cooper. A man who apparently had taken over ownership of the local newspaper.

    Colt did however notice Jake react to the name. Almost as if the mention of the man was humorous.

    Whatever it was that the janitor knew about it, he had obviously decided to keep it to himself. For one reason or another he simply let the moment pass, allowing Barney to carry on.

    But if he had truly wanted to keep it to himself…

    “Got an interesting story about this Cooper guy, Jake?”

    … He should have actually kept it to himself.


  10. #3710
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    "Really, you need to arrange an interview with an old lady just to talk to her?" I said as I scratched my cheek in bewilderment, "She is not that important of a person, is she?"

    Perhaps reporters think differently about such things?

    "I heard she hangs out a lot at the lighthouse with her dog. So if she is to be found somewhere, that might be the place. Could just walk up to her, and talk her up, without the pretense of an official interview."

    Though, as he said, he already managed to arrange said interview. Meaning, he'll get to talk to her regardless. Not that he could get as much out of her as I could, no...

    I already wanted to talk to her regarding the McLampets and Aleen anyways, and with this, a visit was certainly sounding more and more enticing.

  11. #3711
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    The lighthouse.

    She feels so dead inside. Did she sabotage herself, or was it all preordained? Lucille doesn’t know, and quite frankly, she doesn’t care. She won’t go back on her word, so if worst comes to worst…

    Well, she can’t say she doesn’t deserve it. She’s always deserved it.

    But first, fresh air.

  12. #3712
    Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    There was no solace in breakfast.

    Elise had hoped she could drown her dread under a mountain of bacon, but those hopes and dreams were immediately dashed. Now, whatever was left on her plate tasted unmistakably like ash now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercedes West
    "Then we'll do it, like, today. At noon. End's Beach, near the lighthouse. I'll be waiting, so you better so up. If you don't... I'll tear you, and your life, down. Even if you don't want to."
    The lighthouse.

    She's an actress, she might want to meet there just because it'd be a dramatic backdrop for the scene she wants, or… is it because it's a cursed beacon for the dead? thought Elise as she watched Mercedes march towards the exit, Everything about what just happens feels like it was Michael Lowgate taking advantage of an opportunity to torment Lucille, but… Uhg. This reeks of a trap, but I can't tell if I'm right, or if I'm being paranoid.

    Elise winced as the door slammed behind Mercedes when she left the cafeteria.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubon Sĕeklêun
    ""...... Lucie... I didn't wanna think so, but Lucie... You really are a jerk. For realsies."
    Ubon was gone too, barely holding back her tears.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prushka
    "If we can't even work together, how are we supposed to... ugh!"

    "...see you in class. And after school."
    "See you, Prushka," said Elise as Prushka bid her farewell and prepared to depart on her pink scooter, "And, thanks. Also, tell Ubon that I said thanks too, I really appreciated her sticking up for Lucille like that."

    Prushka set off after the tearful Ubon.

    The devastation was complete. The once crowded table was now only occupied by a few, scattered, shell-shocked survivors. Only Hwan seemed to have avoided the brunt of the damage, as ignored the proceedings with ease and was still contently enjoying his breakfast.. Elise couldn't help but feel a brief pang of envy at his apparent serenity.

    Elise crossed her arms and quietly studied Lucille for a moment.

    "So, what are you going to do, Lucille? Mercedes is a good person, but she's hurt, and angry, and-"

    -possibly being manipulated by an angry ghost who hates you.

    "-not quite acting like herself as a result. If you're going to meet her, please be careful."

  13. #3713
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Road’s End – Streets (Inside Elaine Winter’s Car)
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain



    “I guess I have a few things to add,” John disclaims during Vandemeel’s speech. “The people you said you met at the Country Club…I’m fairly sure they are the same couple Ubon and I saw last night. They were at the bar, keeping an eye on Agent Ferguson while waiting for somebody else. Ubon managed to overhear a few things through a hole in the wall, and she told me they were expecting some sort of ‘progress report’ from this third person, and that the acronym ‘DDS’ did come up at some point, although the context eluded her.”

    He pauses for a moment, perhaps wary of the ideas his next words might place in these girls’ heads.

    “The third person they were waiting for turned out to be Hiroto Hatou. With a teacher there, we could not stick around any longer, but Ubon managed to catch them asking Mr. Hatou about my…mental health. From their wording, however, I presume it is not an interest in me specifically. My name likely came up because I happened to be there and they could see me. These Air Force people seem to have an interest in Pinefall’s student body.”

    When the word “demon” comes out of Vandemeel’s mouth, John’s gaze shifts to the world outside the car. Demons are not really “things that exist”, but rather “things that are defined” by human cognition and acknowledgement. Something like a mental disease that receives the “gift” of self-awareness, becoming something like an alternate personality that feeds on the taint it inflicts on its human source. A manmade “deviation” that slips out of man’s control if granted the slightest of leeway.

    The face of one of his classmates flashes to the forefront of his mind. Now that Vandemeel has confirmed that demons are indeed a thing…well, considering that his savior is perhaps the offspring of Lilith and Samael, then demons have been a thing in his worldview for a while already. In which case…

    John pushes those dangerous thoughts away. He must reject them for the sake of whatever it is that is now pushing him forward.

    John Dove refuses to fear any of his classmates.

    Focus on the matter at hand.

    On the other hand, there are “true” Named Demons, those who have received names, titles, shapes, and purpose by folklore and tradition, thus becoming all the more powerful and dangerous.

    ...did he not make an idle comment on this last week? With the current position of the Sun in the ecliptic, the geographical position, and current weather patterns, the conditions are ripe to summon Gaap, according to the grimoires. Furthermore, didn’t Alexstrasza…?

    “Miss Lockhart had reason to believe a Named Demon is around. The Prince and Great President who rules over Water, who is sometimes King of the Southern Direction and sometimes of the West. She spoke of him as one would a personal enemy.”

    John Dove, being a powerless human, knows better than to speak the name of a demon thoughtlessly.

    Later, when the term “Moonchild” of all things pops up, John blinks harder than usual.

    “Crowley’s Moonchild…? I have to assume even that is a thing…? But, Crowley said his attempt to complete the Babalon Working was a failure, and Parsons…”

    He quickly shakes his head. People lie all the time after all, himself included. Furthermore, Crowley and Parsons are only the two people who openly claimed to have tried the Babalon Working; who knows how many others have done it without telling anybody. However, the idea of a real Moonchild feels a greater absurdity that anything else he has heard about the Turnside. The Moonchild is the daughter of Babalon, after all.

    Babalon’s daughter is the thelemic Moon that is Yin. Three Natures and Four Phases equals Seven. The Moonchild is “she that hath bedecked her hair with seven stars, the seven breaths of God that move and thrill its excellence. And she hath tired her hair with seven combs, whereupon are written the seven secret names of God that are not known even of the Angels, or of the Archangels, or of the Leader of the armies of the Lord.”

    Seven stars emitting seven rays—Blavatsky’s spectrum, leading to seven disciplines and seven veils.

    Babalon astride the seven-headed Beast of Revelation. There is this whole line of thought that suggests the Book of Revelation is a prophetic vision of a world-ending thermonuclear war.

    Bundling all these concepts together to build a foundation for spellcasting…he would applaud the creativity involved if it did not result in the annihilation of his classmates.

    Eventually, Vandemeel ends her explanations with a question, and Ramalsaqr intervenes before he can offer any answer.

    The “Seven Unbreakable Rules.” Ramalsaqr’s words are clear enough: seven impossible feats, even to those of the Turnside, with all their powers and abilities. Hard constraints on what may be defined as “possible”, no matter the circumstances. How do you make the impossible possible, then?

    He can provide an answer precisely because he has been thinking about the Babalon Working.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleister Crowley, “The Moonchild”, p. 108-109
    […]“Furthermore, and this is the crucial point, they thought that by performing this experiment in a specially prepared place, a place protected magically against all incompatible forces, and by invoking into that place some one force which they desired, some tremendously powerful being, angel or archangel — and they had conjurations which they thought capable of doing this — that they would be able to cause the incarnation of beings of infinite knowledge and power, who would be able to bring the whole world into Light and Truth.”
    “Reduction and isolation,” he proposes. “It’s like the Laws of Thermodynamics. You can play around them within a small, isolated system—I mean, that’s how a refrigerator works. It is natural for warmth to travel from hot things to cold things. The other way around is unnatural, but a refrigerator can do it because it is isolated from its surroundings, and the unnatural process is fueled and sustained by energy from a source external to it.”

    “The same may apply to these ‘Unbreakable Rules’. You may not just break them anywhere, anytime, but one might be able to set up a smaller, isolated system in which you can twist the rules just enough to transform it into ‘a small space in which an unbreakable rule can appear to be broken under specific conditions’.”

  14. #3714
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Liana Skye
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Dining Area
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    With the agent having left the scene, the conversational atmosphere of the room seemed to have left as well. Liana only saw few more remaining people in the area, one of them being Vivienne Bianchi and Alex Terrot - and though the two girls were clearly engrossed in some sort of conversation between each other, it didn't look to be a situation where one could just intrude. Therefore the best option here was to return the dishes she had used and get ready to another day at work.

    One that, surprisingly enough, promised to be quite busy. After all, it looked like the kitchen ladies of Owl's Nest had been appreciative of Liana's appetite and thus, had requested for her to help with cleaning up the breakfast rush and afterwards in the kitchen as well. Which meant being up to one's elbows in soapy water and being constantly offered some tasty treat or another to snack on by the overly familiar old ladies with big wide smiles.

    ... In fact, it was a bit strange. From all the observations she had made, and of all the rumours that Liana had heard, it would have made more sense for these old residents of the town to keep a distance to her.

    Though, eventually, the penny dropped.

    After all, eventually, during the lunch, they would start asking her questions about "that silver fox of a man" that she had spent so much time talking with.

    ... Perhaps Special Agent Ferguson was in more danger than he realized - a different kind of danger caused by lonely elderly women.



    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Liana Skye: Friendship Rank Raised!






    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Barney chuckled a bit at what Hisa said.

    "The thing is with old ladies, especially ones who know so much... they know their worth to journalists like me. That's why they make us jump through the hoops to secure interviews, because they like the attention they get," he explained, sounding a bit amused... but then, suddenly, rather serious. "Though this granny, this Beatrice... she seems to be on the league of her own. I did manage to catch her outside the mansion, but no matter how hard I tried, she just brushed me off. Finally, after lot of bribing, she agreed to an official interview... but only at the place and time of her choosing."

    A wry grin passed by the pudgy man's face once more as he looked at the scarred girl.

    "She seems rather devious for her age. Gotta be on my toes when dealing with her," the reporter continued. "Sometimes when your body starts to fail you, your mind gets ever more sharper, and she feels like the type to run circles around everyone else mentally. Should be an interesting interview nevertheless!"

    It was rather surprising to hear Barney evaluate someone so highly - especially an old lady like Beatrice. The more natural reaction from him, at least based on how he usually acted, would have been to brush her off as an old cook and think nothing of her. But no, the pudgy journalist seemed to have great respect for women like her. Perhaps, just perhaps, Barney was the type of man who actually respected his elders...

    ... Maybe.

    However, at that same time...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colt
    “Got an interesting story about this Cooper guy, Jake?”
    Jake smiled dryly and shrugged a little.

    "Well, I doubt it's the same guy, but when you mentioned the name Cooper around here... especially when related to the 70's... Well. There's a certain guy that comes to mind," the janitor replied, folding his arms and looking at Colt. "Ever hear of the hijacking of the Flight #305, bound for Seattle? This was in... 1971, I think? A guy boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines flight, a Boeing 727, and once they were in the air, threatened the crew with a bomb he had in his suitcase. Once they realized what was the case, he allowed the passengers and some of the crew to leave the plane once they had landed again, keeping only few as hostages. Meanwhile he demanded a bunch of parachutes, refuel for the aircraft, and $200,000. That's over a million today. So, anyways, the aircraft then took off towards Mexico City, and was followed, but during the flight over Washington State, the crew suddenly heard an alarm that the aft door was open, with the aft staircase now deployed. The guy had jumped out of the aircraft into the dead of night, disappearing into the forests of Washington State with all that money, never to be heard from again..."

    The janitor mimicked a diving jump with his hands, as if he was about to make a leap from a springboard next to a pool. Then he chuckled a little bit, gazing into the forests beyond the campus grounds, as if he could expect that person he was talking about to just stumble from within them for all to view.

    "The thing is though... from what they say, this guy was different from your usual air pirates. He was calm, collected, polite and never cruel or nasty - not even really that threatening. He knew the workings of a Boeing 727 like the back of his hand, same with airplanes and how they functioned in general. He seemed rather familiar with the area too, knowing landmarks and even how far the McChord Air Force Base was. And his motives are quite the mystery too," the janitor continued his explanation. "After all, when one of the flight attendants asked if he had a grudge towards the Northwest Orient Airlines, he calmly replied..."

    For a moment, Jake adopted an expression and a voice that was probably supposed to match this mysterious hijacker.

    "I don't have a grudge against your airline, Miss. I just have a grudge."

    He then chuckled a bit and shrugged.

    "Anyways, it's one of the big local mysteries, since neither the guy nor most of the money ever turned up later. And the police could never even figure out who he really was," Jake concluded. "At first he was mistakenly called D. B. Cooper, but later on, the name he had actually used was..."

    The janitor held a little dramatic pause.

    "--- Dan Cooper."
    Last edited by Verg Avesta; February 26th, 2021 at 02:31 PM.

  15. #3715
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Vier Wolff
    Location: Owl's Nest Hotel - Room #211
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Quote Originally Posted by Vier
    “...Actually, a different friend of mine cryptically recommended me to find the Omkaras to find my friend. Aleen coincidentally wanted me to deliver a letter to you and well here I am. But… I do need your help in finding my friend. So how exactly do you go about the process? Should I start by describing her?”
    The bespectacled girl pointed a finger-gun at Vier from her strange pose.

    "... Mm. Describe this friend. As much detail as possible."

    Having said that, Kajal spun around and raised her right hand, only to snap her fingers. This seemed to put some movement to her brother as he swung himself out of the bed. The young man took some determined steps towards one of the suitcases that lay in the corner of the room and started rummaging through it. Vier could see how many strange items were thrown about, scattered to the floor without a care. Items that included an Ouija Board (with a 'Hasbro' sticker still stuck to it), an EMF Meter (made from an old walkie-talkie), multiple salt shakers (which still bore the logos of the roadside diners they had been stolen from), a Super Soaker MDS (with a cross scribbled on the tank with a permanent marker), a bunch of random coasters from divebars around USA (with what looked the faces of Tarot Cards written on the empty sides), more cheap plastic holy symbols that one could shake a stick at, and a rather beaten up garlic braid that smelled just awful.

    It was an absolute chaos, if one were honest.

    "... My handsome bro will draw a profile picture. So sit down and get to talking," Kajal announced, gazing at Vier through her glasses with excitement practically radiating from her deadpan eyes. "I will brew some tea in the meanwhile. Is jasmine okay? Hopefully it is. It's the only one we got."

    For a moment, a frown of some sort passed by the girl's face.

    "... Someone stole the chamomile..."

    Jayesh, who had emerged from the suitcase with a bunch of pencils, a sketchbook and (for some reason) watercolors, looked guilty just for the moment... but then adopted that same impassive face that he had shown for most of this meeting - and indeed, even before it. With that, the young man sit on the only chair in the room, crossed his legs and gestured Vier to take a seat on one of the beds.

    Kajal, on the other hand, was fiddling with a trail stove and a kettle of water in the other corner of the room.

    ... For some reason, this whole thing was starting to feel like a mistake.

    "--- Tell everything. All physical details you can remember. And all mental ones as well. Leave nothing out," Jayesh adviced Vier with his deep voice. "I will create a depiction of this friend based on that. That is the first step."

    Then, as if in an after-thought, he peered at Vier some more, let his eyes wander from her face to her torso and then to her legs... stopping at her thighs for some reason. Then those eyes snapped back at her face.

    "... You carry yourself well," he commented, completely deadpan.

    ... Huh?




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Dormitory - Kitchen
    Phase: Evening Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Overcast

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexstrasza
    "Do I... do I not have many friends?"
    Potemkin smiled at the blonde girl sweetly.

    Too sweetly.

    "Nope~! You don't~!"

    She spoke such a depressing truth with all the gleeful joy of a person who couldn't help themselves. From the looks of it, this newfound determination and flame with Alexstrasza had certainly perked up the spirits of her shadow as well... and she was slowly morphing back to her teasing, mocking self from before. Then again, perhaps that was just the front, as much as the blonde girl wore one.

    But, still... it was all for a good cause, right? All for the betterment of Alexstrasza herself.

    ... Right?

    "But now you know it. Now you understand it. Thus, we can begin to fix that... and at the same time, we can take care of that absurd mission Mr. Pecs gave you, right?" Potemkin continued, licking her lips for a moment while she thought back to Devon. "It all starts with trying. So let's talk with them more. Not just ignore what they say or talk over them, but talk to them, and most importantly, listen to them. Let's share a few secrets, let's show that we care, and who knows what sort of delicious indecencie--- heartwarming moments that will lead!"

    The monochrome creature cackled with a wide, wide grin and moved close enough to slap Alexstrasza encouragingly on the back.

    "We won't know where that'll lead us... but that's exciting, right? We might be a bit, no, make that quite horrible, but that's just a bit of seasoning for whatever delicious will follow. Mmm, a proper guy like that getting a whiff of something irresistable and not knowing what to do with himself... oooh, I like the sound of that," the phantom of Alexstrasza said with a hungry grin. "After all, sure, as you said we're still learning and we're all kinds of horrible, but underneath all that... and even underneath that flab that you seem to have..."

    The monochrome monster wiggled her eyebrows in a suggestive way.

    "... We're pretty damn hot, aren't we?"



    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Alexstrasza Lockhart: Friendship Rank Raised!



  16. #3716
    men are men; the best sometimes forget Katie's Avatar
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    Lucille Faraday
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    “I’ll… be careful.”

    Are those words true? She certainly expects something to happen, yet she doesn’t want to do something like bring a knife. Maybe she should bless herself in advance, prepare for the worst?

    It’s strange, that all she hopes is that Mercedes is just mad at her and nothing will go wrong, but perhaps more caution is due. It feels so ingenuine, but that is what she is, a liar, so maybe one step further wouldn’t change much.

    “I’ll make sure nothing happens to her.”

    No guarantees about myself, though.

  17. #3717
    吸血鬼 Vampire Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Late afternoon at the vampire manor, huh...more so than an interview, it almost sounded like the old hag wanted to get rid of a rather annoying and nosy reporter before he could uncover something unpleasant. If only I knew how this interview went down last time and if Barney came out alive, it would certainly make things easier…

    “It would be kinda dumb to use that name here, wouldn’t it?”

    My attention instead turned to Jake, who just finished his story about some weird unsolved crime in the past.

    “If it is the same man, that is. Based on how you described him, he would likely be smarter than that.”


  18. #3718
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain


    “I know a bit about it. That’s a pretty major incident. I mean, if you ever turn on a late-night TV program about unsolved crimes it comes up fast.” Mentioning them brought forth memories of questionable 2am television series about the many ‘odd’ crimes in the United States, sometimes concerning international ones as well. “But I guess it gives me some context to how hard he was to find if he dropped out somewhere like this.”

    Colt had taken a trip into the woods. It would be simple to get lost, simpler to disappear. And If someone was trying to, and if they knew their way around the area, they would disappear.

    One more weird bit of Road’s End trivia to add to the list.

    “So, D. B. Cooper takes a flight hostage, parachutes down into the woods of Washington and uses the ransom money to buy the local newspaper.”

    Colt couldn’t keep in a chuckle.

    “Very ambitious guy. I remember seeing that a lot of the suspects in the case got grilled and screened by the FBI. I’d think a guy named Cooper, living out in the sticks of Washington, mighta gotten the same treatment then.”


  19. #3719
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Prushka
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    In the end, even the dragon wasn't enough to catch up to the cyanhead when she didn't want to be found.

    The trail ended to the end of the corridor, to the far end of the main building, where the slightly ajar window told that it had been opened recently. Rain was pouring in slightly and the greenery outside had been veiled in colors of grey and depressing, somber dark, but amidst it, Prushka could see it... a faint hint of a colorful trail, almost like it had been left behind by the insectoid wings of a dragonfly. Not only that, but the tell-tale fragrance of ozone in the air told that a spell had been activated and mana was still hanging in the air.

    In other words... Ubon, having had enough of the situation, had promptly escaped.

    Perhaps because she didn't want anyone to see her right now. Perhaps because she was afraid that she would lash out again like back during the worst night of this week. Perhaps because she just didn't know what to speak of anymore. Whatever the reason, whatever the motive, she had left so that she could be alone for a moment, with her own thoughts... or so it felt, at least.

    For Ubon to want to be alone was rare.

    Which made it truly feel like that if she didn't want to be found, she wouldn't be.

    Thus, Prushka could only stare after the disappeared girl, unsure of what this would mean for the rest of the week...



    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Prushka: Friendship Rank Raised!






    Lucille Faraday & Elise Pelltier
    Location: Pinefall High Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    There was nothing more to say.

    Instead of exploding, the situation simply fizzled out... like a wet firecracker, there was no explosion of dramatic consequences. Instead everything simply ended... and no one was left feeling any better thanks to it. One-by-one, the people around the table just left, looking like they wanted to get out of the situation as fast as possible. The last ones left were Lucille and Elise, and even they had to get a move on eventually. After all, the school day was about to start... a new day at Road's End was about to start. But this time, this week, there seemed to be a heavy shadow over everything.

    Or rather, it was almost like the trauma of last week had caught a stranglehold of everyone present, and was now slowly squeezing the life out of everyone.

    The somber words of Ubon as she left...

    The cold eyes of Mercedes as she left...

    The unnerving feeling of dread as everyone left...

    --- The two girls, the blonde and the brunette, could almost feel like something was laughing in the distance as the cafeteria ended up empty and abandoned.

    A cruel female voice that enjoyed this turn of events, enjoyed the crumbling friendships, enjoyed the destruction of trust.

    In other words...

    ... It laughed at their own decisions.

    And somehow, it sounded like their own voices.



    [SCENE END /// Move to NEXT Phase!]

    Elise Marie Pelltier: Friendship Rank Raised!




    Lucille Faraday: Friendship Rank Raised!




  20. #3720
    Lost in the Elizabeths Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi & Colt Davin
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Campus Grounds
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 09.09.1994 (FRI)
    Weather: Rain

    Jake chuckled.

    "Yeah, honestly. If they were the same guy using that name, they would have to be either the cockiest SOB around or a complete idiot. I mean, the police were combing the states of Washington and Oregon with a fine comb for years afterwards. No way would someone like that avoid suspicions," the janitor said, his tone making it clear he thought the idea ridiculous as well. "He wasn't exactly the most average John Doe, what with his cool as a cucumber attitude during the whole hijacking, impeccable manners, dark hair and striking face. Plus, you know, the whole deal with him knowing the area, local military facilities and the workings of airplanes. Can't have been just any average joe."

    Looking a bit happy that for once there was a topic that he knew something of, and that there were two students who were actually listening to him (almost like he saw students listening to him as something of a rare occurance), Jake grinned slightly and adopted a teacher-like stance. Hand raised slightly, finger up, and something of a sagely expression on his face.

    ... Gradient seemed to find it rather funny though, as she hid her snickering behind Hisa's back.

    "From what I understand, they got quite a few suspects over the years, and were looking for guys with specific backgrounds, too. Almost like they knew what sort of guy they should have been hunting for," Jake continued. "They looked for those with aviation and military background, especially fresh veterans of earlier conflicts and such... Vietnam War vets were especially popular. Well, makes sense, I guess. The guys who served there would have just the type of skills needed for such a ridiculous heist - especially if they were locals, or knew the local terrain."

    Barney, who had been listening in on this all, flashed a little smile and nodded.

    "Mhm, unless the culprit was someone... not-human, then it most likely was some former soldier who bore a grudge for the government after seeing the truth," he said. "I can sympathize with another disillusioned warrior seeking to take Them down in their own way... t-though I, of course, can't put that into print. If I were to openly support known criminals, They would crack down on our publishing company faster than I could yell the secret codes of Pentagon..."

    With a sigh, Barney rubbed the back of his neck.

    "... In any case, I should start heading out. There's still lot to do, including that interview I need to get ready for," he spoke, before suddenly looking at Hisa and Colt with a big grin. "That being said, I'm quite glad I came over here after all. Who would have thought I'd meet fellow truth seekers among our youth, even at this far end of the world!"

    ... Wait, did Barney actually look happy that he had met up with them?

    Genuinely?

    "Mhm, yes... it was truly a fateful meeting!"

    Oh boy.

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