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In Improbable Central
[07/02 11:15pm] A GRUNT Mobile Weapons Platform comes trotting cutely out of the Mercenary Camp on its little legs. It swivels around, covering the area, assessing any threats.
[07/02 11:15pm] It bounces up and down a little, then settles itself facing outward.
[07/02 11:16pm] Behind it, two men walk out of the camp, looking around. They are wearing suits. No, not invisisuits, more ominous than that. These are.. Gray Flannel Suits.
[07/02 11:18pm] Suit One says, "Twenty-four hours, then report back to the Board." He surveys IC and sniffs. "This dump. Not going to take that long."
[07/02 11:18pm] <DICE> Zolotisty turns.
[07/02 11:19pm] Suit Two looks doubtful. "We should make an effort. It was good for a long time. Great ratings. It could make a comeback."
[07/02 11:19pm] Suit One snorts in disgust. "All's they do anymore is hold bigger and fancier parties. Let me tell you, nobody tunes for parties."
[07/02 11:20pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV stands, staring at the suited men. She instinctively reaches for Seiryu, keeping it at her side.
[07/02 11:20pm] Suit Two is consulting some sort of handheld display. "The Victoria assault grabbed a lot of eyeballs, that was recent. Shows they can still come through."
[07/02 11:21pm] Suit One rounds on Suit Two. "Sss. Don't mention that debacle. The Board doesn't want to hear, doesn't even want to think about it. It wasn't scripted!"
[07/02 11:22pm] Suit Two looks nervous. "Oh. Right." He subsides for a moment. "Still, gotta be something. Hey, it's our jobs, too. Let's check the place out. Maybe all it'll take is some tweaking."
[07/02 11:23pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV 's hand tightens on the hilt of her sword, watching, listening.
[07/02 11:23pm] Suit One snorts. "Not a chance." He points at the vending machines. "That's first on our list. Let's go." Preceded by the GRUNT, the two enter the Emporium.
[07/02 11:24pm] <DICE> Zolotisty takes stock of the square - there's Stan, here's Jade and.. mn. She shifts her weight as they head into the Emporium. After a moment of silence, she glances at Jade and shrugs.
[07/02 11:26pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV 's eyes follow the two suited men, clearly disliking them instantly as evidenced by the creak of her gloved hand still tightening on the sword hilt. "Strange business, that."
[07/02 11:29pm] Several cameras turn with a soft mechanical whirring toward the entrance of the Vending Emporium. Those mounted inside have already readjusted their views.
[07/02 11:30pm] <DICE> Zolotisty flicks her ears back. "Mn."
[07/02 11:35pm] <DICE> Zolotisty says after a moment, "Well."
[07/02 11:37pm] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl says quietly, "I'm game if the two of you are."
[07/02 11:37pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV still has her hand on her sword, weighing how easily it would be to make the first suit disappear.
[07/02 11:39pm] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl comments mildly, "If nothing else, we could boost the ratings. . . wait, could this be part of the Change we're expecting?"
[07/02 11:41pm] <DICE> Zolotisty shifts her weight. "Maybe. I don't know. I didn't like them overmuch but.." She narrows her eyes. "If I went looking for trouble every time someone on this Island struck me as smarmy.."
[07/02 11:42pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV slides her sword partway out of its sheath, using her thumb to push the leather casing. The blade emerges quietly, gleaming. "I can boost something alright."
[07/02 11:42pm] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl grimaces. "I didn't expect suits to be part of the Change."
[07/02 11:43pm] <DICE> Zolotisty says, sharp, "Bide. We'll see what's what."
[07/02 11:45pm] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl smiles at Z and wonders what the population of the island would be if Z did take a hand in on-Island discipline.
[07/02 11:46pm] <DICE> Jade XXIV shoves the sword home again with a noisy rasp. Her lips curl in a snarl, voice heavy with venom. "Well, I have a party to attend to, so if you'll excuse me.." and then she's away.
[07/02 11:46pm] <DICE> Zolotisty hisses through her teeth.
[07/02 11:47pm] <DICE> Zolotisty takes a deep breath and manages a smile for Stan. "Mn," is all she says.
[07/02 11:58pm] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl taps her Driftwood Staff lightly against the temple of her statue and it is dust. "This is turning out to be a very nice weapon and walking stick."
[07/03 12:02am] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl says, "Darn, I forgot to process enough scrap to buy armor. I'll be back soon."
[07/03 12:03am] <DICE> Zolotisty relaxes a little, quietly grateful for Stan's graces. "Ah, I'm glad it's proving useful."
[07/03 12:03am] <DICE> Zolotisty nods, leaning to catch up her jacket from the ground.
[07/03 12:04am] The GRUNT comes out of the Emporium, followed by the two Suits. Multiple cameras whir and swivel to track their progress.
[07/03 12:05am] Suit One is saying, "See what I mean? They pass reqs back and forth in there like crazy. They give each other stuff, nobody loses, nobody's scared, nobody even has to try hard."
[07/03 12:05am] <DICE> Zolotisty turns again, ears flat.
[07/03 12:05am] Suit Two is subdued. He does say, "But they were doing that from the beginning.."
[07/03 12:06am] Suit One shrugs. "Slow poison. It built up. They're too powerful now. A 498th drive kill is just boring to watch. Come on, Koga's next." They and the GRUNT disappear in a flash.
[07/03 12:08am] <DICE> Zolotisty shifts her weight restlessly and moves to scale the stocks. She crouches there. Mn.
[07/03 12:09am] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl is glad Jade is not here to listen to this guy. Stan just cleaned all that oil from the cobblestones, she doesn't want to clean up blood, too.
In New Home
[07/03 07:17pm] Koga is not known for his even temper. A short growling outburst reverberates inside the Workshop but breaks off, very abruptly. It's followed by a long, long silence.
[07/03 07:17pm] The trio eventually emerges from the Workshop, GRUNT first, then the two Suits. Koga comes to stand in his doorway, watching them. He's pale and strangely subdued.
[07/03 07:18pm] Suit One is saying, "..see what I mean? Grinding away obsessively at the same thing every day. One sad case got all the way to 118, can you imagine it? And why? To spite us."
[07/03 07:18pm] Suit Two says, "Spite us?"
[07/03 07:18pm] Suit One laughs shortly. "He thinks he's a big shot, that one. All he does is interfere with drama, make things predictable. Bor-ing. Scavenging is a sure thing, of course he does it."
[07/03 07:19pm] Suit Two is dubious. "He did do that weird thing with the wind, didn't he? That got pretty good ratings."
[07/03 07:19pm] Suit One snorts. "But he's gone and ruined the romantic tension. The fan base has gone through the floor since he married her. How's he going to hold viewers now?"
[07/03 07:19pm] Suit Two says, "Well, she's doing her bit to keep up the interest. What, that's two-three times she's flared up on him?"
[07/03 07:20pm] Suit One nods reluctantly. "At least she's trying. Viewers like her, they never know what she'll do next. But he," he scowls. "He keeps interfering. Nothing lasts more than a few hours."
[07/03 07:20pm] Suit Two frowns. "Yeah, what's with that? I thought we'd be getting a good three weeks out of that bullet thing. Instead.. overnight, pfft. Fizzle. Well. Where now?"
[07/03 07:21pm] Suit One checks his list. "We're supposed to talk to the council pols in Kittania. Let's do that next." A one-shot flash, and they're gone.
[07/03 09:09pm] <NBLUE> The Galumphing ploamphed scowls. He doesn't like those suits.
[07/04 12:10am] <SWEET> Contestant EvilSupahFly hasn't decided yet if he wants to fight the Drive now, or continue to acrue XP and purchase a GEBOB from Mike's shop.
[07/04 12:14am] <SWEET> Contestant EvilSupahFly doesn't like those damned suits either.
[07/04 12:50am] The doors of the council offices in Kittania are standing open. Voices can be heard inside. A clerk is protesting weakly, "But sir. Sir. You can't barge in here and demand the records.."
[07/04 12:50am] Suit One says, "Yes I can. Network audit. Here's our authorization."
[07/04 12:50am] The clerk says, "She won't like it.."
[07/04 12:51am] Suit One says, "She'll like it even less if you get in our way when her job is on the line. Now, let's see those records - QQQ, SWEET, SPOON - back around then."
[07/04 12:51am] There's a long pause broken only by the riffle of papers. Suit Two says, at last, "Man. It should have worked. It should have started the clan war, easy. Where'd it go wrong?"
[07/04 12:52am] Suit One grunts. "Don't know. Lost their nerve, maybe. See, here's where the big sponsor left. That scared 'em, I guess." More papers riffle. "Hmph. Bribes tailing off.."
[07/04 12:53am] Suit Two says, "Even SWEET kinda lost interest after a while. If the contestants are bored, how's anyone expect the viewers to stay awake? So much for that big plan, huh?"
[07/04 12:54am] Suit One closes a folder with a slap. "I've seen enough here. Residential districts next. Let's do AceHigh." There's the electric crackle of a one-shot.
[07/04 05:57am] Later, in the streets behind the main square of AceHigh, two Suits and a GRUNT walk, taking notes and commenting. "Get a load of that Castle," says Suit Two.
[07/04 05:58am] Suit One shrugs. "Some viewers love that sort of thing. You've got to admit it's scary. And crimson. And haunted." He looks around. "A lot of For Sale signs."
[07/04 05:58am] There are some cosy little places, a couple of ruins.. the two stare up at one impossibly big complex and just turn away. Not even going to think about that one - total overkill.
[07/04 06:00am] At the end of a street there's an official-looking building: Joker Congress is crossed out, replaced by a cheerfully informal sign: hajen's TOP SECRET hideaway and eatery.
[07/04 06:00am] Suit One and Suit Two go inside. "Remember that?" Suit Two is saying as they come out. "New New Home? That had such potential. Pity." He sighs. Then..
[07/04 06:01am] Suit Two has an inspiration. "Hey, what if we did a Charm School style mashup! Like, take Sherpa from here and what's her name, begins with R .. and we could throw in Thinker.."
[07/04 06:02am] Suit Two is on a roll. "We could pick up that Leeroy idiot for a song, and I hear Lucrezia Mongfish is between jobs. Production costs'd be just about nothing."
[07/04 06:03am] Suit One is giving his colleague a Look.. but all he says is, "Don't give up your day job yet. Come on, back to Improbable Central. I've seen enough." A teleporter flash - they're gone.
[07/04 06:38am] <NBLUE> Petty Officer Stanlygirl is really beginning to hate those suits. To sic Lucrezia Mongfish on us!
[07/04 07:05am] Corporal DaniDaniDanica looks up, startled and a little nervous. The name of the Other is not a good one to mention.
[07/04 08:18am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan looks alarmed as well. She's not too worried, though; the likelihood of the Other working for suits seems small.
[07/04 09:14am] ..she hopes.
Back in Improbable Central
[07/04 09:32am] The GRUNT and the two Suits are back in Improbable Central. They're looking at the Hall of Fame with a jaundiced eye.
[07/04 09:32am] Suit One says, "Those numbers! It's ridiculous, I tell you. Five of them have killed more than a hundred thousand each. They don't even see the monsters any more."
[07/04 09:32am] <SPOON> Calynx sniffs and smiles faintly at the girl in front of her. "Hello. Thank you for your concern. I'm afraid I'm just a bit emotional today. I've had to say goodbye to a very dear friend of mine."
[07/04 09:32am] Suit Two nods slowly. "It's just too easy. And, my God, some of their constructs - that yacht, for instance. You're right, it's not fixable. The show has jumped the shark."
[07/04 09:33am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan shifts subtly between the suits and the others, though her help is obviously far from needed - it's more instinct than anything.
[07/04 09:33am] Suit Two heaves a sigh. Then he brightens. "But hey, it means we get to use that nuke. And after, I really think that the mashup is the way to go.."
[07/04 09:34am] The two Suits frizz in a shimmer of static, then their holographic presence no longer exists.
[07/04 09:34am] <CDAG> Newbie Olivia XII presses herself against the outer wall of Saucy's, hoping to escape the men's notice. She freezes, clutching the bag of apple to her chest, wincing at the crinkling sound it makes.
[07/04 09:35am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan turns back to Calyx. "I know, my lady. And I know you've had a recent loss. Would you like some company? Or is alone preferable?"
[07/04 09:36am] <CDAG> Newbie Olivia XII scurries off towards Merlin's, as fast as she can go without losing an apple or a hedgehog for that matter.
[07/04 09:37am] <DICE> Winged Rosin takes a single step into the square, then another. Another still, and she begins to walk at a much more normal pace. She manages to get to the water of the fountain and drink.
[07/04 09:37am] <SPOON> Calynx tries to smooth some of the wrinkles in her skirts. "I see you heard about that. You are quite kind to offer to keep me company. I would like that." She tries to smile again, watery still.
[07/04 09:39am] <DICE> Winged Rosin slowly stands straighter, her cuts and bruises healing. There are a few snaps as the bones of her spine realign themselves, then she drops heavily onto the fountain's rim.
[07/04 09:39am] The illusion surrounding the GRUNT flickers spastically and then dies.
[07/04 09:40am] What remains is an armored projection device. With a swift whir of miniature servos, panels unlock and twist. Wheels are drawn into the belly of the machine.
[07/04 09:40am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan steps closer, only very slightly, trying not to push. "Indeed, I was there, to my sorrow. I have no tasks tonight, my lady. May I join you, until you are ready to be sleep for the evening?"
[07/04 09:40am] Kch-chunk.
[07/04 09:41am] <SPOON> Calynx 's attention is pulled from the splash Rosin makes to the device rumbling and making noise.
[07/04 09:41am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan again moves quietly between the lady Calynx and the device. She isn't..
[07/04 09:41am] hmmm.. isn't concerned?
[07/04 09:41am] Then there is a very low whine, the sort that rings persistently in your ears after the clap of a noise too loud, too close. It is just beyond hearing.
[07/04 09:41am] <DICE> Winged Rosin raises her eyes from her hands and sees Calynx. She manages a small small smile, and then a tiny wave.
[07/04 09:41am] The projection lens swivels to the front of the device. The whine becomes a soft hum.
[07/04 09:42am] It seems to be warming up.
[07/04 09:42am] <SPOON> Calynx sidles closer to the other girlm a but alarmed now at the device. "That would be quite welcomed. Thank you, dear, you are very kind."
[07/04 09:43am] <SPOON> Calynx's waves becomes more of an urgent beckon at Rosin with that device whirring and humming and whatnot.
[07/04 09:43am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan says, "My lady, truly, it is an honor." She's also looking alarmed, and moves closer to Calynx as well, but she tries to maintain an air of chivalrous unconcern.
[07/04 09:44am] <SPOON> Calynx gets up and drags the other girl farther from the device - just in case.
[07/04 09:44am] <DICE> Winged Rosin tucks her wings around her, the feathers each giving off a slightly different shade of indigo light. She moves slowly across from her seat until she's standing in front of Calynx.
[07/04 09:45am] The device chimes a cheerful three-tone melody of doom.
[07/04 09:45am] <DICE> Winged Rosin coughs, a small trickle of blood leaking from the corner of her mouth. "Hello Calliope, how have you been?" She manages a smile.
[07/04 09:45am] Snickt!
[07/04 09:46am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard flickers back into existence, if it could be described as such, himself.. His projection materialises close to the humming device; stooped, robed and admonishing, it brings you in mind of a scene..
[07/04 09:46am] <SPOON> Calynx produces a clean handkerchief automatically and hands it to Rosin, her eyes still flicking over to the device. "I have been better, Rosin. And so have you from the looks of it."
[07/04 09:47am] Two panels swivel open. The humming stops. A bright red beam focuses on the upper story of the Prancing SpiderKitty.
[07/04 09:47am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan isn't stupid, and moves behind Rosin before the last fact registers. "My lady Rosin? Are you well?" Her eyes move back and forth among them.
[07/04 09:48am] <DICE> Winged Rosin furrows her brow, then dabs at her mouth. She's surprised when the fabric comes away red. "I'm alright. Just a few broken ribs."
[07/04 09:48am] The beam is replaced by The Network's logo for a split-second.
[07/04 09:48am] <SPOON> Calynx tries to grab the other girl's hand, peering at her. "Dear, you must tell me your name. Please, call me Callie."
[07/04 09:49am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard turns to Rosin and Cadye, "Um.. I don't remember this do you know what it is?" what does he mean 'doesn't remember..' "I don't think this is supposed to be here.."
[07/04 09:49am] Then: 17:59:59.
[07/04 09:49am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan blinks, looking alarmed. "Um, Cadye, my lady, but truly, no need to remember it.. um.. maybe, we should duck?"
[07/04 09:50am] <DICE> Winged Rosin squints at the logo on the spiderkitty, then blinks as it changes over to a series of numbers. A count down. "So, it was right again. No package for Snickerer, though."
[07/04 09:51am] <SPOON> Calynx nods and gets down on her hands and knees. She turns to Cadye. "A good idea, under the circumstances. Is that a clock?"
[07/04 09:51am] A little over a minute goes by and then there is an animated commercial featuring singing penguins. They would like you to buy their mops. The countdown resumes.
[07/04 09:52am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan gets down over the Lady Calynx, somewhat apologetically, and huddles over her, shielding. "I think so, yes?"
[07/04 09:52am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard wonders aloud, "What's this about a package?" nothing seems to be going how he saw it all go before, Cal staying. This infernal machine. Rosin with wings.. This didn't happen..
[07/04 09:53am] <DICE> Winged Rosin laughs, then subsides into a cough. More small snaps are heard, and the coughing stops. She wipes more blood from her mouth. "We'll be fine for another eighteen hours almost."
[07/04 09:53am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard makes a breathing noise, he remembers the penguins. The only Welsh word in common usage today. He also remembers the mops. But that doesn't excuse the rest..
[07/04 09:54am] 00:07:23.
[07/04 09:55am] <DICE> Winged Rosin blinks. Oh dear.
[07/04 09:55am] <SPOON> Calynx blinks at the new numbers, sounding quite worried now. "What does that mean then?" She points at the new display.
[07/04 09:56am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard hmns
[07/04 09:56am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan looks at Rosin. "Mm. Thoughts?"
[07/04 09:57am] <DICE> Winged Rosin pulls Calliope and Cadye in her wings protectively. "Well, either they're messing with us for jokes, or we're quite dead."
[07/04 09:58am] <SPOON> Calynx 's voice is muffled under the wings. "Oh dear."
[07/04 09:58am] The device continues counting down quite normally from its new time. There is another commercial break. A burly gentleman is certain you will be delighted for hours by his potato peelers.
[07/04 09:59am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan tucks in unabashedly. "I must say, both are quite, quite awful."
[07/04 09:59am] <DICE> Winged Rosin concentrates, her wings glowing. Slowly, a small rift begins to open. Nearly large enough for a person standing upright.
[07/04 10:02am] <DICE> Winged Rosin barely has the energy to keep the rift open as it is, let alone make it any larger. "Anyone staying?"
[07/04 10:03am] <CDAG> Future Sound of Bernard looks around at Rosin. He's chuckling.. "Watch how you go"
[07/04 10:03am] <SPOON> Calynx tries to keep her voice steady. "I am staying, Rosin. I wish you well on your journey."
[07/04 10:03am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan says, "No, my lady! Unles Calynx must."
[07/04 10:03am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan says, "Damnit."
[07/04 10:04am] <DICE> Winged Rosin struggles for a moment, then lets the rift collapse into nothingness again. Her wings pull Cadye and Calliope tighter to her. "Then we all stay."
[07/04 10:04am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan disengages. Thank you, Rosin. She will stay with the Lady.
[07/04 10:05am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan reaches out to Calynx and pulls her in, hoping she's not intruding. So be it.
[07/04 10:06am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan presses into Rosin. She's young enough to be guiltily glad.
[07/04 10:06am] 38:49:38.
[07/04 10:07am] 38:49:39.
[07/04 10:07am] 38:49:41.
[07/04 10:07am] <SPOON> Calynx looks dismayed. "Please, do not stay on my account. This is my choice. Please."
[07/04 10:08am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan nods her head. "Yes, my lady, I understand. Do as you must; it is your choice indeed."
[07/04 10:08am] <DICE> Winged Rosin curses. She glares at the GRUNT projector. "Can't you make up your mind?"
[07/04 10:09am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan doesn't go anywhere, though. She, too, has choices.
[07/04 10:11am] <DICE> Winged Rosin wraps Calliope in a feathery hug. "Even so, I stay with you. Someone has to, and two would be so much better."
[07/04 10:12am] <SPOON> Calynx stares at the device, rubbing her temples. "Perhaps I shouldn't have even gone outside today."
[07/04 10:15am] The timer continues blithely climbing. The next commercial involves a woman in a ten-gallon hat and plaid jacket who desperately wants you to visit her flooring superstore. Free installation!
[07/04 10:17am] <DICE> Colonel Cadye Willfan backs away quietly, smiling. She is not needed here, among old friends, and Horatio is waiting.
[07/04 10:17am] <DICE> Winged Rosin giggles helplessly. "Well I assume by that set of numbers we have at least seven hours, maybe more, before whatever happens happens."
[07/04 10:19am] ET:AO:IN.
[07/04 10:19am] <SPOON> Calynx waves at Cadye, thanking her for her company. She turns to Rosin. "Well, I have seven hours to enjoy my cottage while I can. I believe I'll try to get to bed and see if there is a tomorrow."
[07/04 10:20am] <SPOON> Calynx gives Rosin a hug. "My best to you for when you Go Over."
[07/04 10:20am] SH:RD:LU.
[07/04 10:21am] <DICE> Winged Rosin returns Cal's hug tenfold. "And best of luck to you when you stay, Calliope."
[07/04 10:24am] <SPOON> Calynx smiles at Rosin. "Goodnight then. I won't say goodbye. I have said too many of those today." With a wave, she heads for her cottage.
[07/04 10:27am] <DICE> Winged Rosin watches Calynx walk away and sighs, looking at the bloodied kerchief in her hand. She folds it, then tucks it underneath the scorched vest from Sessine.
[07/04 10:28am] <DICE> Winged Rosin takes a last glance at the nonsense of the timer, then procedes onward to the Residential district.
[07/04 10:47am] The countdown continues with intermittent special words from sponsors.
[07/04 10:39am] The Watcher is audible from her office.
[07/04 10:41am] Contestants around you pretend to be very busy peeling off bits of overgrown fingernail. You watch a Midget fumble nervously with an overgrown hair in his left nostril.
[07/04 10:41am] Ignoring him, you listen carefully.
[07/04 10:41am] The Watcher snaps, "Well, of course I- no. No."
[07/04 10:41am] Of course what she means is.. shut up. Everyone has. You hold your breath.
[07/04 10:42am] The Watcher says, "We've a contract. You can't very well -" Silence. Then she laughs, a clipped bark. "And so you take two bloody toothless eunuchs and you send them along to sneer and jot notes?"
[07/04 10:42am] The Watcher says, "Notes on me? On my show? On my Island?"
[07/04 10:43am] A contestant near you makes a soft mewling sound. Not a Kittymorph. They've wet themselves, you realize.
[07/04 10:43am] The Watcher's voice lowers, venomous. "There are penalty clauses.."
[07/04 10:44am] You can't make out any more.