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Thread: Astronomika - Shooting Down Falling Stars (IC)

  1. #4301
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "You know him?"

    Raising an eyebrow, I looked back at Leena with a hint of curiosity in my eye.

    For that to be the case, they either must have met sometime during the night, when she usually sneaks out. In which case, it could be something that happened just recently, but...The longer he has been here, the more interesting this meeting could potentially be.

    Though, judging by the things he has been subtly hinting at, it was likely that he would know an interesting thing or two regardless of that.

    "At any rate, we aren't after your...food," I said as my eyes shifted back onto the man, "Though, I don't exactly know what you mean by trackers in the food or by IRS blokes. Former sounds like a conspiracy theory if something, while latter something that refers to a wholly different thing than tax collectors."

    After all, human eyesight was hardly based on movement only...

    Just like how it was unlikely that simple tax collectors would bother chasing a homeless guy around.

    "We simply heard that this place had some skeletons in the closet, and that the answer to some norse mythological riddle might be found here. Things that the young mind's curiosity would not be able to resist."

    As I explained, I extended my own hand to shake his. Normally, I was very much against such gestures, and disregarding a habit that was there to keep me safe only made a small part of my mind scream interally. Yet, it would have seemed rude if I refused, and there was no way I was going to start explaining my reasons.

    "A little adventurous roadtrip, so to speak. Though, we only took the young McLampet along with us. Not her shadow, I'm afraid."

    Being so close, I took a few moments to have a better look at the man, from his now rather worn out clothes that once could have been considered classy, along with his large, healthy stature that kept up surprisingly well despite his apparent way of life...all the way to the intense feel in his eyes that I could not quite put anywhere yet.

    "My name is Ougi, by the way," I continued after the moment of silence, "I assume you are then...Ashton? Ashley? Latter would certainly be quite the coincidence, considering that I've also heard about a man named Ashley in the context of this town. Perhaps with a fate not even as fortunate as yours."

  2. #4302
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka?
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Second Floor
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Alright, then move in with me after we get back."

    Alpa's not safe here, so that's that. I wipe my hands of dust and shrug.

    "It's not safe there either, by the way. Far from it; there might be some Left Hand guy after me and you might get dragged into that. But it'll be less unsafe if there's two of us. Plus Hwan's keeping an eye on it too. And really, the school shouldn't be making a girl sleep in a dusty room like this in the first place! If Ms. Leuzinger were here she'd be on a warpath talking about how the air will ruin your lungs! Did they really not assign you anything? Buncha no-good adults..."

    Now now, enough grumbling, Prushka.

    ...

    Wait, no, always time to grumble.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "Umm... w-what do you mean?"
    "What he means is: 'I think this kid likes being here by herself, why are we dragging her outside'?!"

    I stand behind Ahti and plant my hands on his shoulders, leaning over his head and staring him in the eyes, my frown turned upside down.

    "Well, Scrooge, how people act and how they feel ain't always one to one. We know that well enough, right?" Both he and I have pushed others away despite being lonely. Hypocrisy is part of humans and Turnside creatures both. The only ones who lack it are animals. "You do have a point though..."

    I skip back, and bow my head.

    "Sorry, Alpa. I've imposed a lot! If you want, I'll leave you alone and stop being pushy. Just say the word."
    Last edited by Bloble; November 24th, 2021 at 12:58 PM.

  3. #4303
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    The hand that shook Hisa's was surprisingly warm. Tough, yet gentle in its touch. The hand of a person who had most likely experienced a lot of things, and not all of them good... yet who also greeted even a stranger with no suspicion unless warranted. It was almost like this old man's whole appearance. His outdated, dusty clothes might have made him look soft... but the intense look of those eyes was powerful - but not threatening in the least.

    That, and his hands... they had a faint fragrance of wormwood and tree bark.

    "--- Well. Perhaps it is. Truth to be told, youn'un, I've all but forgotten. Most of 'em townsfolk just call me Ash, anyways," the old man responded as he let go of Hisa's hands. "But if you say he's someone with a lousy fate, that could certainly be me! Fate's a lot stronger here and it is out there, see. Not so many people to look and decide how things should be. It's like pulling your hat over your eyes, mufufu~"

    He chuckled to himself and took a step back, gazing at the group that had gathered at the station. Then, after staring for a bit, he went and got the can of dog food he had left in the storage room, along with his spoon. Leena took this moment to lean a bit closer to Hisa.

    "Mhm, I've met him a few times while I was out at night," the girl explained in whisper. "Gosh, he scared the daylights out of me the first time, but while he's weird, he's mostly harmless! Mo-- J-Josie seems to like him a lot, too."

    Well, that was a bit surprising.

    "Still, an adventure, eh? A nasty place you've come for an adventure. Nothing but them bones and secrets out here, and big loud helicopters swirling about," Ash continued as he stepped back into the room and started making his way to the main portion of the station. "It's them IRS that's sweeping the town, making sure everyone keeps paying taxes! But no, no, ol' Ash is too clever for them! Hid myself here, right under their noses! That's the only place they aren't looking properly, no! See..."

    With a smirk, the old man pointed his finger towards the ceiling, and the sky beyond it.

    "They've got eyes in the skies, see... falling stars that never drop!" He proclaimed. "It's all like a big glass bottle with them IRS blokes peering in, trying to find what's going on, I tell you. But work like that, it drives a man mad. That's why they're mad - everyone here is! You'd have to mad not to be!"

    With a grunt, he sat down on one of the barely-held-together benches of the main area and started shoveling the dog food into his mouth with his spoon.

    "Still, too many riddles isn't good for the mind - rots the brain from all that thinking. See, even you're no longer all skin and bones, you've started to get some meat on them too!" Ash suddenly exclaimed, pointing his spoon first at Hisa, then towards Pyry. "And you, Garfield! Is that any way to treat an elder!? If you've got some of that nicotine-stained goodness, you should share!"

    Pyry's eyes flew open in surprise, and he almost instinctively took out his pack of cigarettes... before he stopped and shot a confused look at Hisa, as if asking the girl what to do here. But Ash had already calmed down, continuing with his "meal" of sorts.

    "... So? What's them riddles that got you bamboozled, young'uns?"

    He just kept hopping from one topic to another...




    Prushka?
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Second Floor
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "I-I..."

    Alpa, hesitant again, looked terribly shocked at Prushka's sudden apology. She waved her hands, looked around the room for some sort of answer - but found none. Even Ahti's face, although slightly annoyed by Prushka getting into his personal space again, remained like a stone mask. Thus, the fluffy girl stared at her feet for a moment, searching for the right words...

    ... And eventually, she found them.

    "... I-I'm fine with it. If I'll dress in the suit. A-and if we take a route with, um, no people around," she said, quietly. "I-I-If you can promise me that, then... I'll go."

    What had changed her mind? Had it been Ahti's questioning of her motives? Had it been the slowly building bond of trust? Had it been her evaluating her own reasons? Did the idea staying here after all become too lonely for her? It was hard to say. Whatever the reason, the girl had finally come to a decision, more or less, and wanted to see it through... even if she was of two minds of it still. Or rather, even if she was still afraid.

    Alpa seemed like a girl who was always afraid, one way or another.

    "Well, that's fine, isn't it?"

    Ahti's words cut the silence.

    "We all pile a bunch of shields around us anyways, so one suit or another isn't gonna be that strange," the boy said with a grunt. "Besides, where we're headed, I doubt there's gonna be anyone around."

    He paused for a moment, and then...

    "... By the way, you made the right call. She says that, but Imp's definitely not gonna stop being pushy," Ahti continued with a smirk. "Once she gets it in her head, she'll keep pestering you until you give it a try. So it's more painless to just go with the flow once the river starts running."

    Having said that, Ahti leaned backwards, letting the back of his head hit Prushka's chest softly.

    "She's a nuisance like that!"

    And to Prushka's suprise, Alpa... giggled slightly at that.

    "I-I see...!"

  4. #4304
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club - Kitchen
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast


    The compliment went a long way with Cathie, who readily, happily accepted it. From her confident display it was obvious that she enjoyed showing off what she's good at. Judging by the result of her cooking, without even tasting it her, Colt could tell this was more than just being good at something.

    Not only that, but he'd tasted her baking before already. Not that Cathie would remember. But Colt knew that the food she'd prepared didn't just look good. It was good.

    "Also, in case you're more of a hot chocolate dude than a coffee guy, there's still some left. Help yourself. Marshmallows, too."

    "Ah, y-yeah." Had she seen? The embarrassing sight of Colt yearning for the hot chocolate of a morose little girl? He scratched the back of his head sheepishly, trying to play it off. "I'm not much of a coffee guy…"

    "Yeah." Kajal the stoic tease chimed in, in a voice that was not much like a chime at all. "Marshmallows too. Fits him, right?"

    "Wait, wassat supposed to mean?"

    Colt quickly retorted, but before either girl could answer, Jayesh, who had been silently contemplating something, spoke up. Lifting his head, Kajal's brother spoke directly to Sierra, who gave him her attention and nodded in turn.

    "Um. Young Miss? If I understood, you all were just referring to your father, right? In that case... he's not missing. He's in the panic bunker. We knew that today might be a bit problematic for him as usual, so I took him there after, eh... calming him down."

    Colt saw Jayesh grimace, likely recalling the wounds he'd been brought in with last night.

    "But since it's morning, he should be alright. In other words, we can go get him."

    "Panic bunker?" Stupefied, Colt repeated the words. "The panic bunker? As in, something people who work for the guy should know about? Then…"

    The shock on Colt's face turned into a scowl.

    "Does Hawthorn know about this panic bunker?"


  5. #4305
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka?
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Second Floor
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    "Wahaha!" I laugh along with Alpa's giggle. "Then it's a plan! We're headed to the most depressing place in town. Pack up and suit up 'cus it'll get rainy on the way back. And I'll be pushy every step of the way!"

    It might be too self-centered to think this, but maybe a push or twelve is all a person needs sometimes. Like a roller coaster teetering atop a hill, just a nudge can send it down the path before it. I can only hope that wherever Alpa is headed, it'll be nice and not awful. At the very least, if it's dangerous, I'll make sure she doesn't crash.

    Alpa Bagha seems like a person who is always scared. That must mean she's also the bravest person in this room.

    "Now, Scrooge..." My fingers tighten around Ahti's shoulders and I hug his head to my chest. I drop my voice low. Lower than I've gone before. Dripping down from above.

    "Should I... be a nuisance to you again...?"

    ...

    ...

    ...

    "Hehe... just kidding. That'd be mean, right? Your ears probably can't take anymore anyhow anyway!"

    Time to go. For real now. To face the dead.

  6. #4306
    Time to burn some dread Daneel Rush's Avatar
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    Location: Pinefall High Main Building – Cafeteria
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast



    “What kind of being…well, she is a human. Of that there is no uncertainty, but I guess you expect something more out of me.”

    John closes his eyes, filling his mind with the visage of the one Anna and Ramalsaqr regard as Crowley’s Moonchild. When he opens them, he settles them not on Ramalsaqr, the one who asked for the details, but on Miss Iburi and Zhou Coastrise.

    “To clarify, ever since…an event around ten years ago, my vision only shows shades of grey. I remember colors, of course, so most of the time I can infer the colors of things like a person’s hair or their clothes through association with the colors of familiar things.”

    This is probably not the result of damage to his retinal cones, but it remains to see whether this is cortical damage, a psychosomatic effect, or something else.

    “However, to all appearances, she trapped me in an isolated space outside the normal flow of time. A room of ever-moving colors that shone even through my eyelids.”

    Again, he closes his eyes, to let his mind recall as much as possible, for any detail could be of critical importance, even if it does not appear so to him.

    “Apparently, she is wreathed in the Seven Rays, which she wears like a cloak to conceal herself. When she took it off…she was energy rather than matter. Looking at her was how I imagine the birth of a star may look like. In short, she was too radiant, so much I almost broke then and there. But then she diminished herself, revealing herself as a human. I guess I should call it her Sthūla-Śarīra.”

    Opening his eyes again, this time he looks straight at Vandemeel.

    “She did identify herself as ‘Ultravania’. She may have also declared herself to be the Colour Out of Space, if I understood her correctly. She claims that pursuing space-time anomalies is her fundamental nature, and that as a consequence of arriving here, she ended up in a different loop than our own. She actually had a pair of useful metaphors to explain it, describing her situation as ‘a looping corridor without doors’ against our ‘straight corridor with a locked door at the end’.”

    Leaning against the back of his chair, adopting a somewhat more related posture.

    “She has lost her grasp on reality, no longer able to trust that the events around her are real or the delusions of her shattered mind. Even to the very end of our conversation, she could not accept that I was real. That is why she asked me to prove it by finding seven pages of her diary. Already got my hands on one of those last night, by the way, and I have been told Vivienne Bianchi holds another one.”

    After that, John’s expression becomes, strangely, more serene.

    “As for her abilities, well, your guess is as good as mine. We already knew she wields light and the nuclear force. Her speech was riddled with references; a hodgepodge of hints pointing towards the Thelemic Babalon, the Gnostic Barbelo, the Trinity nuclear test, the Cthulhu Mythos and I-already-forgot-what-else, all of it with a dash of Blavatsky. To be honest, rather than a member, she seems a mockery of the Turnside instead. I guess that’s theosophy for you.”

    Madame Blavatsky’s real triumph as an occultist was in developing a mysticism so bloatedly syncretic and convoluted that it simply cannot fail. Pile up enough crap together and you can make any structure look solid. In the Turnside, where perception is everything, having the appearance of solidity is enough; those who give themselves to it will turn the illusion into reality. That is why all Modern occultism, from Chaos magic to goddamn wicca, derives from Theosophy in some way.

    “I could not figure out whether she is supposed to be Parsons’ moonchild, the homunculus inside the Jumbo canister, or a secret moonchild of Crowley’s making. To be honest, I don’t think I even care anymore; her current situation is more relevant than her magical nature. She did refer to herself as the last of her kind, though.”

    You are not as good a liar as you claim to be, John Dove. There is no way a man like you would be satisfied with a question unanswered.

    “If I am allowed to be wholly honest, it all feels like a smokescreen. All those references feel like they were thrown together for fools like me to come up with all sorts of disparate explanations to make them work. It is like looking for constellations. Where I might see an elephant, another person might see…something else.”

    John Dove just stopped himself from making a rather crude joke.

    “However, there is the one thing; the one sentence she used to describe herself right before disappearing, that might just be the key.”

    Again, he closes his eyes, recollecting the colorful visage of that beautiful, twisted person.



    “Kosmos Noetos - Eidos On Hypothesis.”

    When he opens his eyes once more, John is not aware that he is smiling.

    “I know the term noeto kosmo from Clement of Alexandria: it is the term he used to describe the world beyond the eighth sphere, above all sensible things. Theology is not my thing, though; I only know this much because Clement was influenced by Gnosticism even as he criticized it, and, to a much greater degree, by Plato and his ‘Realm of Ideas’—that is, eidei.”

    Feeling himself a bit parched, John takes a sip of his juice before continuing.

    “Then there is ‘eidos on hypothesis’. This isn’t ‘there is a Hypothesis that there are Ideas’. Rather, ‘each Idea is itself a Hypothesis’.”

    John is thinking about it through the lens of “magic” as it has been explained to him.

    “The hypothesized Idea is itself the instrument of its own transformation into something not merely ‘supposed’, but truly beheld. I guess that goes back to the ‘moonchild’, and to whatever ‘concept’ is meant to be incarnated as one such being. The ‘moonchild-eidos’, let’s say. Plato would encourage us to see not Ultravania the moonchild, but to look for ‘that which allows us to see Ultravania as a moonchild’. The mishmash of powers and references is irrelevant: once the condition of ‘being a moonchild’ is fulfilled, she has an entire spectrum of ‘modern occultism’ to tap into at her will.”

    His frown manifests as he goes into introspection, talking more to himself than to his classmates.

    “Is that within the limits of sympathetic magic? Could an individual redefine themselves as something beyond themselves through sheer will and obstinate imitation? Or does it require the acknowledged perception of vast numbers of people? Basically, could a person make themselves into a ‘moonchild’, or did somebody else ‘infect’ enough people with the ‘possibility of a moonchild’ until it could be realized?”

    However, his expression quickly relaxes into a half-smile that is about as much resignation as it is amusement.

    “Furthermore, while I could discuss this topic forever, we might want to refocus on other, more immediate matters, dangerous as Ultra may be.”
    Last edited by Daneel Rush; November 26th, 2021 at 09:46 PM.

  7. #4307
    Konkon Kitsune~ Kuroyuki's Avatar
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    Vier
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast


    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Oh no you don't!"
    I went to slip my shoulder out of Aleen’s surprisingly strong grip. It would be easy to break out of her grip however… The second I saw her confident smirk, I knew she had something devious planned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "Like, seriously Vier. Just shut up and have breakfast with us. You have all the time in the world to mope later if you're still into that. Because if you don't, and try to run away now… I'm gonna barf on you. Try to keep yourself hidden from enemies then!"
    “...”

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleen
    "... I'm not even kidding, it's taking a lot of willpower to keep myself steady, so right now I can pretty much barf on command. And I won't hesitate to do so."
    I stare at Aleen long and hard before sighing. I lightly take her hand off my shoulder and keep a hold of it to discourage her from barfing on me.

    “You know I could use the sense of barf to mislead people who are reliant on their sense of smell. Placed in the same area as me, the bile smell would mask mine fairly well. But if you insist, I’ll grab something quick to eat. I wasn’t lying about setting up that defensive point. Because tonight is going to be rough if we don’t do any preparations...”

    Tonight for sure, there will be fatalities. If anything, I should try to assume that our time table for doom has been pushed up with Gabi Bahkauv’s midweek demise. If I’m wrong, then it’s just my pessimism speaking. If I’m right, then we’ll be wiped out even before last week’s events. But seeing as I’m going to be here for a little longer, I should answer Liana.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "Well he still hasn't taken me out for pie, so I don't actually know what our relationship is..."
    “Unofficial boyfriend then.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    "But a safe? That's what he was doing? Was it an electronic lock? I hope it wasn't an electronic lock. Those sorts of things are sort of my whole deal, and dirty my hands...? Sure I don't break and enter or steal if it's not necessary, but considering how suspicious Jack is and all the nonsense that happened last night, it wouldn't have taken much to convince me to help."
    “Dual system. Physical and electrical alarms interconnected to provide redundancy and security. So unless you can defeat both, it would’ve triggered a remote alarm. He provided the keycard for me to break into it successfully.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Liana
    “What else was in the safe besides the folder? Anything important?”
    “Plenty. Granted the items seem to be circumstantially important. I took a map that seems to detail the local sewer lines, an intricate key, and a pistol with silver bullets. At the same, there was a metal shard, a small enclosed box, a lock of blonde hair, and a satellite phone.”

    I took out the cassette tape with no markings.

    “And this. I’m not sure if this was something he wished to hide or if it’s just his favorite songs. I guess I can play this at breakfast.”

    Eat, listen, and probably load the loose silver bullets into some of the magazines that came with the Colt Delta Elite. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a working breakfast like this. It wasn’t uncommon to do the more informal briefs while eating and loading equipment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrtio
    "... Oh. I think I know what the reason is. Partially at least. My codename. It's... It's not supposed to be 'Fyrtio'. As in, 40 in Swedish. I-it was supposed to be 'Fer-Théo... A-as in, 'Iron-Théo'..."
    Hearing Fyrtio’s original name, I noticed why she decided to change her name. 40 sounds more normal than… “Iron God” if we’re using the Greek word for Theo or “Iron People” if we’re using ‘theud’ from German. Regardless of the meaning, I think I need to be careful around her. The French and German commands don’t exactly like each other, but they know when to set aside things when required. Like a hypothetical scenario where there are deserting ESPers armed with experimental military equipment. However, for now, it looks like I can trust her and if she is our hunter then I can always assist her until the last minute. I quit musing over Fyrtio when Liana started deprecating herself. I’m going to sound hypocritical… I can tell.

    “Ideally, I should’ve been able to notice that Aleen got replaced. We should have been able to capture the impostor after catching up. The clash with the Omkaras could’ve been avoided if both sides noticed the perception altering. But… Nothing survives contact and hindsight is 20/20. We couldn't predict the events from last night. Yet you managed to identify the impostor even when I failed to notice after pressing people. You saved Aleen from likely dying of hypothermia. Everyone who was wounded was patched up sufficiently. So even if it's not ideal, it's still good enough.”

    So I pointed my head towards the owner’s garage and started making my way towards the smell of food.

    “So go get your unofficial boyfriend, so we can eat and I can get away from this puking time bomb.”

  8. #4308
    Glorious Grammar Master Race Frantic Author's Avatar
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    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Science Classroom
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    A chill, running up my spine like death itself, reaching around my neck and gripping it firmly as I looked with wide eyes at Souma Nubutama. I listened to his words, and could feel mana start to burn through my veins, a warmth running up my arms as I started to raise it slightly, smiling bright and wide as I stared at Souma, and he at myself - him with dead eyes, I with shining ones--

    And then the moment faded, and I blinked curiously as he began to speak again, as if no words prior were said. As if the feeling he created wasn't real. Just how involved, exactly, was Souma with the supernatural? Was he simply another monster to be devoured by this unreality, like so many others before? Or was he a monster entirely of his own making?

    My curiosity only grew as I pondered on it, listening with a half-frown to Souma's words.

    "Is not love entirely illogical? I highly doubt that anyone would feel that sort of affection for myself, as illogical as love is," I said, crossing my arms with a strangled mutter of frustration. "And no man nor woman would ever stoop so low as to 'fawn over me', as you so delicately put it. I'm simply the incorrect character choice for such things!"

    I smiled, bright and wide, giving Souma a V with my left hand.

    "After all, I am in the end, an inhuman predator! There is no such thing as love between a monster and a human, right? Even were I to become fully human - to, as they say, 'reintegrate' into this half-finished society - the core of what I am still stands at the top of my soul! Were I to play the hero, it'd probably be poor form, right? Were I to play the villain, everyone would go 'how expected', right?"

    I tilted my head to the side, tapping my chin with a frown as I thought it over.

    "...Although, maybe doing a little of both could be pretty interesting in and of itself? After all, as something that is not even a quarter of a human being, can't I just sort of do whatever I want...?"

    Hm. Something to ponder, is it not Potemkin? Or would it be better to strive towards keeping the things we love alive, and killing the things we want dead?

    I slapped my cheeks, shaking my head quickly as I started to peer around the room.

    "Enough of these talks of love and other embarrassing subjects! This room... I can already sense it! It's... It's...!"

    I picked up a stray 'science' beaker, looking through the top of it like a telescope at a blurry portrayal of Souma, sticking out my tongue as I tried to see if I could make him form an interesting shape.

    "It's definitely filled with objects of science!"
    in the end we will make thoughtcrime impossible, for there shall be no words to express it

    #THELEGENDNEVERDIES

    [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.


  9. #4309
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Cheetose's Avatar
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    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "Now, hold on for a moment," I spoke up, a clear glint of frustration and annoyance visible in my eyes, "You're just expecting us to take all this, the things you say and the way you say them in a stride, and chat about our trip while disregarding how suspicious you are?"

    In a sense, he reminded me of a certain "shoe salesman"...Except that he was even worse. Here, it wasn't just cryptic riddles regarding things with questionable relevance, but rather, highly suggestive assumptions - that resembled conspiracy theories more than anything - about things that affected us quite a bit.

    Not to mention, of course, his identity...

    "It's only been a short while but you've already taken vague jabs at about half a dozen shady topics surrounding this town. Trackers in the food? Tax collectors that only detect movement? Tall things being chopped down angering spirits? All this thrown onto the table sounds worse than the ramblings of some conspiracy theorist, and has even less explanation at that."

    Even Barney could provide some evidence, even if sometimes misleading, and tried his best to actually convince people of his far fetched theories.

    "Then, you just go and casually predict the future, even if only just a few moments ahead? Surely, it's not just the smell, because while I'm willing to take the hit about not noticing scents that should not be there in the first place, the smell of tobacco I would notice as well if it was so obviously in the air. I stopped believing in coincidences as well, and considering that I was already unfortunate enough to run into at least two individuals with similar talents in foresight, I'm not going to note it down to nonsense either. Though, whatever you meant by the part concerning me, I can't even tell, and not even sure if I want to know."

    It felt like I was only getting more worked up, even though I was trying to wind down. Yet, there was something about this man that wouldn't let me rest, some details that I was going to make him face, whether or not he would remember them, just so that I could get them out of my system.

    "Of course, there is also the question of your memory. People don't just forget about their past so easily, not willingly at least, and not someone like you especially. Did the townspeople do this to you? Because you were trying to bust into the closet of this town that is filled to the brim with skeletons? Unravel their darkest secrets about the Girl in Blue? Having to remind people of their past is starting to get old, considering that I do not seem to be truly aware of mine either. Yet, I'm not going to pretend that you're just some crazed hobo. You're Ashley Xavier - once the head of Gottlieb who who went a bit too far with dabbling in the supernatural. I stumbled upon your name way too many times already."

    Turning my glare away from the man for a moment, I shift my bag to my side so that I can reach into it, and after just a bit of rummaging, I pull out a set of papers. The old, discoloured letter that's been opened and folded at least hundreds of times now that I brought with myself when coming to this town. The newspaper article about the disappearance of a man. A copy I made of the notes we've found yesterday, the one part specifically containing the musings about a certain Xavier.

    I held them out in front of myself, unwilling to let go of them, but enough for the man to take a brief look as well. They held too much significance to me for me to just risk losing them.

    "I don't doubt that you might not remember, however, closing your eyes to the past does not erase it. You've had your hand in far too many things, and by the sound of it, you still know plenty."

  10. #4310
    Click the moon for extra scenes Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Colt Davin
    Location: Spade Queen Country Club - Kitchen
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994
    Weather: Overcast

    Jayesh gave Colt a slightly confused look.

    "I... think he should? He has worked with Mr. Pinkerton longer than we have. From what I understand, they met while both were working at Spokane about a decade ago," the older Omkara replied. "Of course, I never confirmed it. However, considering that Mr. Pinkerton did come clean to me regarding this thing after we had established some trust as an employee and employer, I would imagine it's the same for him. Especially if they've known each other for that long."

    Sierra's eye was wide open and the girl didn't seem to even know how to respond to all this. The cup of hot cocoa in her hands was shaking, almost like she had to remind herself to keep a tight grip on it for it to not fall on the ground out of sheer shock.

    Kajal, on the other hand, shot a frown towards her brother.

    "What do you mean?" She asked bluntly. "What's wrong with Boss?"

    Jayesh was about to answer, but then his eyes took in the sight of both Sierra and Cathie, and the young man hesitated. After a moment of troubled thinking, he appeared to come up with a way to explain things in a way that would be passable, as he opened his mouth once more.

    "Mr. Pinkerton is... sick. It's a condition that strikes about monthly. He's not quite... himself during those times. However, he can mitigate it by triggering this episode... early. If I understood him correctly, that was his plan for last night, because I don't know why else he would have been in such a state. After managing to calm him down and restrain him for his own good, I moved him to the panic bunker underneath the statue outside," Jayesh explained. "Of course, when I returned from there was when I met Liana, but that's neither here or there. Mr. Pinkerton should still be there where I left him, and since it's been a whole night, his episode should be over."

    Kajal seemed to understand what her brother was insinuating as her eyes widened a little bit, and she shot a glance towards both Colt and Cathie. And while Sierra definitely looked surprise, Cathie did not. If anything, a frown of realization had dawned upon her face too, and as she raised her gaze to meet that of Jayesh...

    "... Hey. By any chance... Is Pinkerton his real name?" Cathie asked, her tone of voice worried. "Or did he change it at some point in life? Do you know?"

    Jayesh, surprisingly enough, nodded.

    "From what I understand, he chose 'Pinkerton' after moving to Spokane. Before that, he used his old last name," the dusky-skinned youth explained. "That being... Kincaid."

    "---!"

    Suddenly, Sierra shoved her cup of hot cocoa into Colt's hands and took off, sprinting out of the kitchen and into the corridor beyond the doorway. The suddenness of her escape took everyone by surprise, but out of all of them, it was Cathie who managed to get her bearings back first.

    "Sierra!"

    Yelling that, the auburn-haired girl chased after her.



    Prushka?
    Location: St. Diane Cemetery
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    The only cemetery of Road's End was, ironically enough, as quiet as a grave.

    The chilly wind blowing from the west signaled that the storm clouds that Prushka knew were on their way would not take long now. They were like an armada of gunships in the horizon, slowly but surely advancing towards this small town, their cannons of pure lightning and thunder already rumbling. In many ways, this truly was the calm before the storm. A calm that would not last forever. Most likely, in less than five hours or so, it would come time for the storm to hit and then... and then... another storm entirely would finally come a, perhaps, violent conclusion.

    --- But there were things to do before that.

    Namely, the question of Nevada's grave. According to Jake's instructions, it was somewhere here... and it would be up to the three of them to find it. As Prushka had expected, she had found a couple of shovels nearby in a small shed, which was most likely used by the place's caretaker... whoever that person was. Well, whoever it was, they had also stored two red hoodies in the shed, which was a bit surprising. But speaking of surprising things... yes. Unlike the girl had expected, there were three of them here now.

    Even if one of them was in an owl suit.

    "Oh my... it really is quite quiet here," Alpa muttered, her voice coming muffled through the massive owl head. "So there are places like this at Road's End, too..."

    In all honesty, it was perhaps for the best that they had chosen routes that would minimize any danger of running into other people. After all, the owl costume that Alpa was wearing was a rather terrifying thing to behold. It was so old and stitched-together thing that it did not come across as a fluffy owl in a jersey, no... it came across as some sort of monstrous zombie-owl hybrid who would eat you the moment its massive eyes caught the sight of you. And the way its head dangled back and forth as Alpa, far too small to properly use the suit, walked in it... it truly was the stuff of nightmares - something you didn't want to run into late at night.

    Even Ahti had hard time looking at it.

    Then again, Ahti had been somewhat silent during the way here. While it was usual for the grumpy youth to not be the most talkative one, perhaps there was something else going on too. After all, before the group had left the second floor of the main building, Ahti had listened to Prushka's teasing, low voice with a strangely expressionless face, almost like he wasn't quite sure what she meant. And maybe he hadn't. The boy was teetering the line of knowing and not knowing certain things, so perhaps he couldn't read some finer points, but then again...

    --- He had eventually responded by pushing his face close, very close, to Prushka's and whispering:

    "You're the only one who gets to be that to me."

    And then separating from her like nothing had happened.

    ... It really had been a weird day already, huh?




    Alexstrasza Lockhart
    Location: Pinefall High Main Building - Science Classroom
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    "......... Heh. That they are."

    Souma let out his trademark stunted chuckle. He gazed back at Alexstrasza through the beaker's glass... and then simply turned around, starting towards the back of the room where the bigger cabinets were, holding all sorts of items. Next to them as the teacher's desk. The one-eyed youth took a moment to look through the drawers, as if searching for something. What he eventually turned up with was a set of small keys - keys that he then proceeded to lob over to the blonde girl.

    "A telescope is large instrument. Even broken, it needs a sizeable space to hold it," he spoke up. "Try to look for spaces where one could hide it. And anything else that seems... out of the ordinary."

    There was certainly lot to look through. The walls were lined with cabinets, and while some of them had windows on the doors so you could see what laid on the shelves, most didn't. Then there were also the drawers on the desks, the massive metal shelves at the back wall absolutely filled to the brim with stuff, and a smaller door leading to... hmm, probably the storage space of the classroom itself? Science classes often had one, did they not? Looking at the keys, the blonde girl could make an educated guess that the biggest key would probably open that door, but aside from that...

    ... It certainly looked like they had their work cut out for them.

    But, as Alexstrasza started looking around, she couldn't help but to hear Potemkin cackle over their mental connection. The being had gone quiet as Souma's threatening aura had expanded, but the girl's previous thoughts and words seemed to have shaken it out of its stupor. Indeed, for some reason, it was really having fun now... and the more it laughed, the more suspicious it got. Just what had Alexstrasza said that got it going so much?

    Suddenly, she saw two visions before her eyes - or rather, two memories.

    Two memories sent by Potemkin, no doubt.

    --- First one being of Devon, calling her something quite unlike her true nature thanks to his delirious state.

    --- The second one being of Travis, who was gushing about how 'cool' her showcase of magic had been.

    But just what was the point of reminding her of those times!?




    Hisa Momoi
    Location: Old Train Yard
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast

    The old man stared at the papers Hisa had shoved in front of his face, his face in a frown and his eyes squinting as if he could not have seen it all too well, and evetuanlly..

    "Hmph!"

    He turned his head aside with a loud harrumph.

    "Heaven's sake girl, we've barely met and already you're drilling me with more fervor than Texans drill for oil! Are all the young'uns this rude today or are you just a particularly ornery lass? Were I not so used to jeering and insults from kids, I'd be offended, I tell you! Offended-!" Ash replied with what sounded like indignation in his voice. "Now, first of all, don't you be doubting the nose of an unemployed vagabond! I've been like a ronin of the woods, my beak can't be fooled by mere human sensibilities! I'll sniff out anything good, no matter how hard you try to hide it... and especially if it's my favorite brand!"

    His squinted eyes turned towards Pyry, who was still frozen mid-gesture of handing over a cigarette.

    "Now, what are you standing there for, lad! Gimme!"

    Not knowing what else to do, Pyry handed the old man a cigarette, and he lit it up with what looked to be an extremely cheap lighter, the type that you could buy from gas stations. And indeed, the words "Big Boy's" were written on its side with cheap-looking letter. Ash then proceeded to take a long drag, letting the younger people around him wait in an uncomfortable silence as he partook in his vice... which finally ended when he blew out a cloud of smoke straight up, making him look like an old steam engine for just a moment.

    "Now then, lass..."

    His eyes levelled a deep stare towards Hisa, and his expression shifted a little.

    "Have you never heard that you'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Well if you have, forget about all that! Some flies find vinegar all too attractive, while honey seems suspicious to them. That's just the way the sneaky bastards are! However... if you're looking to talk to people, of all things, you'd do well to keep your temper in check. Nobody's going to be cooperative if the first thing outta your mouth are suspicions, accusations and blame, lass. Not that giving as good as one gets ain't right - if someone's being a right nitwit, fire away. But don't spray on those who ain't done nothing," Ash spoke, his old, grumbling voice surprisingly clear. "Even if what you meet is a rambling old fool, if he's offering to help, don't just start getting angry outta nowhere! You're gonna scare that jittery idiot into clamping up, and then what are you gonna do? We're civilized creatures, so let's act like ones! Even if yours truly ain't completely right in the head, that doesn't mean I'm your enemy either!"

    He took another drag and clicked his tongue.

    "I swear, young'un... you're as bad as Jack when he was but a lad! So quick to jump the gun..."

    Smoke slowly trailed towards the ceiling, and as it did, the grumpy tirade of the old man seemed to wither down as well. Instead, his shoulders sagged a little and he heaved a sigh, levelling another stare towards Hisa... but this time a more searching one. As if he was trying to gauge the girl's true intentions and her true emotions, the ones that bubbled underneath the surface.

    "... Or is the stress getting to you, lass? Walls closing in around you, every shadow seems like a threat, every person feels like they're hiding something or lying... like there's nothing and nobody you can trust? Trust me, young'un, that'd drive anyone up the walls with paranoia eventually - whether it's about the IRS or little green men," Ash spoke with a calmer, much gentler voice. "Time feels like it's slipping between your fingers and down the drain, that sort of water that you can't hold on to no matter how hard you try. Or maybe, running out of sand, huh? Well..."

    The old man's eyes turned down, looking at the floor - and for a moment, he seemed as tired and exhausted as his advanced age would have indicated.

    "--- You've no enemies in this room, lass. It might not be much, but you've got my word you've no need to rush - I ain't running away. And I'll help how I can. That's what we golden oldies are want to do when we meet troubled young'uns. Or at the very least, that's what yours truly wants to do... now that I met you again. Mufufu, not that you probably even remember me. You were still bedridden and unconscious back then," Ash said with an oddly nostalgic smile to his lips. "Not sure if this is a dream or not, but no matter, it's good to see you in such good health, lass. You've come a long way from when you were recovering."

    Finally, he raised that gentle smile and met Hisa's stare with it, not backing away an inch.

    "So, what say you we start from the beginning, lass? Of what troubles you and yours, and how I might be able to help? What I might explain?" He asked. "I'm all ears, so take your time."

  11. #4311
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Prushka?
    Location: St. Diane Cemetery
    Phase: Morning Phase
    Date: 10.09.1994 (SAT)
    Weather: Overcast


    Quote Originally Posted by Ahti
    "You're the only one who gets to be that to me."
    Minutes later, even as we travel through the streets, zooming along on the Dragon with Ahti keeping up through natural speed alone, I still can't get the words out of my head. Because, like, what does that even meeeeeeeean?!?

    I shouldn't have teased him! I went too far! He's gotta be mad now! Prushka, you idiot!

    "Awawawa... I'm sorry..."

    With the haze of confusion clouding my mind, it's not until we're standing at the gates of the cemetery that I realize how far we've gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alpa
    "Oh my... it really is quite quiet here. So there are places like this at Road's End, too..."
    "Mmhm..." The lonely graveyard stretches out before us. As if autumn has come early, there are yellow-orange leaves fallen among the stones marking the fallen of Road's End. "It's not the kinda place you'd wanna visit often. The feelings here must be... regret, loss, nostalgia, that kinda stuff." Only those enamored with such emotions would want to come here. Normal humans would naturally stay away. The visitors must be infrequent at best.

    Stepping forward, leaves crunch beneath my boots.

    "Was it empty like this where you lived, Alpa?" Perhaps that was easier for her. Less people around. I can imagine her on a mountain somewhere, making a cozy home in a cave... "You can take off the head if it's too heavy. No one's around besides us, anyhow. Actually, how are you even moving that thing properly...?"

    Rows upon rows of gravestones. Each one must've been someone's relative or loved one.

    Perhaps one of them is my loved one.

    "...um, Scrooge. Jake said my brother's near the forest. Could we start there? They called him 'Nevada'. That might be what's written."
    Last edited by Bloble; Yesterday at 05:39 PM.

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