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"Not everyone, I should think," Bondrewd replied, and then paused to thoughtfully finish up his own stack of pancakes, "Between yourself, Prushka, Maia, Jengbish, and myself, we should have all the necessary roles covered. Additional hands may make for faster cartography, but additional minds may make for a less stable Room if they are not in accord, not to mention necessitating more supplies. Besides, I am sure most of them have their own business to attend to." Left unsaid was that the commission pie would also be split into smaller slices with more people.
"Perhaps we could do with one or two more members for our party, however," he allowed, refitting his mask on his head, "Why do you ask, Leonardo? Did you have anyone in particular in mind?"
“If you wanna get involved in that Mind Extrinsic stuff Jengy, that’s your business. I’m just very skeptical of people who claim to be bringing enlightenment to the masses.”
I thought for a moment about Myn, and what exactly his true intentions could be underneath all the smoke and mirrors… but the sudden appearance of Kaguya reminded me that she was honestly pretty hot. Damn. I get a little jealous when I consider that people seem to find her hotter than even me, despite me being extremely tall, thicc, and impeccably dressed. Other times though, I think about holding hands with her while we’re going to a BTS concert. Sometimes Greed is there, too. Usually he’s some random fan that we happen to meet but over time we discover that we actually have a good deal in common and – oh fuck why am I thinking about this right now? I hate my brain sometimes!
...Anyways, weird fantasies aside, it looks like Bondrewd addressed me.
“I couldn’t help but notice I wasn’t one of the people you mentioned. But that’s perfectly fine – I have other things I can go do.”
I actually had literally nothing else planned. But I’m one hell of a bluffer.
"I am, indeed," Kaguya lied. Someone honked at her a few times while her palanquin was passing by on the way here. How rude. "I'm trying to have a productive day. I'm sure you've heard of how relaxed I can be, but even I try to take care of business where it is needed."
She took the opportunity presented by his being distracted by something (knowing who was in the restaurant, it was probably Jengbish doing something weird) to grasp his large gorilla hand and shake it. As her soft hands pulled away, he'd find that something had been left behind: a small box, small enough to fit between two of his fingers, unadorned and secured tightly.
Once she sees that he's noticed the box, she will quietly whisper six words: "Take it, and don't open it."
"I wish you luck on your mission, Sir Kong. You Draughtsmen always need it."
She likewise extended the greetings to Elerin, whatever she was. It was. Who knows. "And to you, too. Have we met before?"
Internally, Robotnik wondered how he ever picked these sorts of people. Never did he seem to find someone who was both competent and sane - perhaps there was a correlation there, with Eggman obviously being the exception that proves the rule. He'd have to work out the 'everything rightfully belongs to me' angle at some other point, and just whittle it down to 'everything that isn't the esteemed Dr. Ivo Robotnik's personal property and claimed holdings belongs to me'.
Might be a little hard. He's named Greed, after all.
Speaking of hard, Andy did indeed find trouble with the tube - it did briefly shake from the impact of the punch, but it was too hard to be simple glass. Despite his best effort, it didn't do so much as leave a scratch.
"Quite right, my colleague!" Dr. Robotnik turned around and pointed skyward, as he is wont to do. "I've made many tubes like these in the past; ones made to contain much larger, much more annoying pests than a precious gemstone. I've worked out the kinks over the years; aside from a bomb, few things would ever come close to breaking it. It's up to you to release your prize with this," he says as he hands Greed a small remote with a very obvious red button. "But if it were me, I'd put it in a display hall somewhere and forget about it. Maybe have someone dust the case every week or two."
"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an underling to continue to admonish." He steps towards the door. "If she keeps being cheeky, try to tell her to eat a dishrag instead. Do-gooders hate having their own insults thrown back at them."
You'd missed the sunrise today. As much as it can be called a "sun", anyway. You'd been called upon by the brass while brewing coffee in the rec room before the start of your shift. Cleanup detail in Zone 5, no active threat, likely a domestic dispute gone foul and left for several days. They needed someone with your unique "talents" to case the scene and deliver the report. Nobody else wanted to enter the room once they got a whiff of the stench. The new recruit ...Eisenhower? ...Ericsson? Whatever his name was, insisted on tagging along. So full of piss and vinegar, so eager to prove his worth.
Rodriguez wasn't in until later, anyway, and nobody else would be stupid enough to volunteer. You accepted, as it was yet another chance for him to prove himself a disappointment. You'd barely even arrived at the scene before he barged into the building, only to need to be dragged back out as the retching took over him. You took note of his personal addition of bodily fluids to the scene and got to work as the other Keepers kept him from causing any further disruption to the scene.
Just more paperwork to add to the report, and another reason to not bother remembering his name. Disappointments were a dime a dozen in the Peacekeepers. At least Rodriguez got your coffee right most of the time and knew better than to ask too many questions. And, more importantly, knew not to stick his nose where it didn't belong. You'd stopped counting how many of those you had to clean up.
Technically, you'd been one of them. Fortunately you could count on one hand the number of people who knew how to keep you down, and at the time he wasn't one of them. He was quite surprised when you'd shown up on the beat the next day. It was water under the bridge, now, of course, but that was an... unpleasant week.
Today was quiet enough that you weren't requested to take an extra shift, and eventually you finished the day's paperwork and packed it up until the next big emergency they dragged you away for. Heavens knew they'd find you if something came up. A clerk handed you more paperwork on your way out, processed records to be delivered to HQ in Zone One. Not like it was terribly out of the way of your house in Zone Two; Besides, it gave you an excuse to stop by that coffeeshop, check in on rumors, make sure the inventor proprietress wasn't creating contraband. The usual.
And as you passed the Diet building there he was, now heading vaguely in your direction. From his body language it looked like he was playing his game again, trying to pretend he hadn't noticed you yet. You just wanted to be able to go through your day, occasionally stab people and get paid for it, but you couldn't escape it even here. Frankly, it was foolish to expect you'd ever actually be free of the games nobles played with each other. Everything was a power play. He wouldn't still be here if he didn't have business, you knew that much about him.
"How does the day find you, Myn?" you say, finally, to break the silence.
"Well, this is a surprise." Myn says as his stroll takes him closer. "If we keep meeting like this, I'll have to start wondering if this is a coincidence at all. How is Concordence life treating you?" Flanked by two of his usual hulking, feline bodyguards, Myn is cloaked thoroughly in his public persona. The bodyguards are armed with large weapons and the sort of dangerous scowls that cost at least twice a living wage. The man himself is armed with scheming hidden behind a politician's smile.
"Incessantly tedious," is your response to his inquiry. "I was on my way to an... irregular haunt after finishing my business with the Keepers. The only decent cafe in walking distance to headquarters." The pause came on naturally as you debated revealing anything further to him, before quickly deciding that had he cared he likely already knew, or would know soon enough, anyway. Back home you had a shadow as well, but one quite a bit more friendly than this. "Has your work with your... charitable organization been keeping you busy?"
"Ceaselessly, but I'm sure I'll manage." Myn replies, dry intonation quenched by his obvious elevated mood; how regrettable that he can't discuss its source. "That said, I think I could spare a bit of time to see the only decent cafe within walking distance. If it's not too much of an imposition, could I trouble you to lead the way?"
It's genuine curiosity on Myn's part, but still motivated by the prospect of a potential future source of information. He nods casually at his hired leonine muscle; a sign that should Witch acquiesce, their presence would not be required for the trip. The two of them nod back in consummate professional understanding.
His response was somewhat unexpected, but not entirely so. After all, a large portion of his work seemed to involve maintaining appearances with the general public. "...Very well," you say. "It's not much further, although I suppose I should warn you- The proprietor is close friends with a rather... eccentric woman. Helpful, but eccentric. The kind that's good at finding loopholes to not break the law."
Kayne, she called herself. A conscientious objector and frequent annoyance to the guilds. You'd personally dealt with her several times by now, verifying that- as she herself was guildless- her myriad inventions weren't encroaching upon guild territory. You had to admit that she was... obnoxiously adept at skirting on the "legal" side of that line. Thankfully that usually meant no paperwork.
Up ahead in the distance the outline of Kothys' establishment loomed, with several figures gathered out front. One of them in particular stood out in the middle of the apparent commotion. "...Is that Commander Jengbish?"
Edited by lynkzero13 on Mar 12th 2021 at 1:08:36 PM
Kayne was just exiting the kitchen, having washed her own dishes to make the workload lighter for Moko, when she noticed that her life partner had paused in his glass-polishing to squint at two people approaching his establishment. Ah, so it was Miss Witch (a good and honorable guardian of peace as any) and...Kayne dug around in her memories for the elf man's proper name: Cuan anu Nelei-Myn. As indolent as any aristocrat Kayne had ever met, the man still had a certain air of cunning that belied his appearance. It was best to be wary of him, she was sure.
Moko cleared his throat, as if he had suddenly rediscovered Kaguya's beauty and had been momentarily entranced, then promptly retreated into the kitchen with all due speed, leaving Kayne to hurriedly don a waitress' apron and go out to take Witch and Myn's orders. Such was life with her dear partner.
"Good afternoon, Miss Witch," Kayne said, because she felt like calling someone a witch—even if it was their actual name—felt rude. "Good afternoon, Sir Nelei-Myn. What do you two feel like having today?" Her mechanical fingers tapped energetically against her clipboard as she waited. She nodded at Witch in respectful recognition. Myn only received a cooler and more scholarly glance, lingering on his ears for a split second, though not long enough to be considered rude.
Edited by JumpingFruit on Mar 11th 2021 at 7:35:30 AM
Zone 4, Elliot. To Zone 1!
"Very well~! Then let's be on our way!" Elliot cheerfully remarked.
And after quickly double-checking that everything was in his backpack and messenger back, he got ready to run off...only to quickly remember he'd probably leave behind before slowing down to a quick stroll. Elliot definitely seemed to know where was going, though, taking certain streets or pathways to get to the center of the city faster.
"Okay, let's see, I know there's a coffee shop, a bakery..."
Zone 4 -> Zone 1
Neraida was still sorta processing the fact that Elliot was being so... unfailingly pleasant. He was young, of course, but that could hardly account for an offer to share a meal with two people he had just met.
She mused that this was probably the most social interaction that she had had in years. Or decades, she wasn't particularly sure. Well, actually Elliot had done most of the talking up until now - she hadn't heard much from Mit-eum, and she felt at least obligated to start a conversation.
So, as the three walked, she turned to Mit-eum and began the latest line of interrogation. "If you do not mind my inquiry, what is the world you hail from like? Elliot has expounded on his at length, and it is nothing short of fascinating. I dare to assume yours is the same?"
Zone 4 > Zone 1
Mit-eum doesn't think much about Elliot's welcoming gesture. A bit surprising, yes, but he thought it might just be common to do so here. As he walks along the two, he looks at Neraida when she asked him about his world.
"Ah, well.. The world I'm from isn't particularly different from this one, really. Minus the zones and stuff, as far as I know."
He was about to tell about how the humans of his world are cookies and the like, but decided against it. Mostly out of awkwardness, but also because he thought that information isn't particularly important.
Zone 1, Inside Kothys
Leo chuckled at Bondrewd's question. "I'm just here to chart things out. I wouldn't know where to start with putting a proper team together."
Yeah, he'd always been in a supporting role, and that's always what he'd been best at. And even on the rare occasion where he'd had his own ideas to offer back home- like 'hey, maybe we don't do this thing that puts me in the hospital for three weeks'- it was more often than not ignored. He chuckled again, this time with no mirth behind it.
"Besides, I don't know any more about the mission than the briefing we just came from." Scanning the table for the coffee that Moko had offered him, Leo pulled it over and let it warm up his palms while it was still hot. "We're working on something botanical, right? That shouldn't be too hard."
Clearly the day was not yet done with its bizarre happenings. You could tell from the voices and general commotion emanating from the coffee shop as the doors swung shut that the Draughtsmen were hosting another meeting within and that the establishment was busy besides, and yet Commander Jengbish and Maia had escorted out the simple typist girl whose name escaped you. She held a sandwich that her artificial hands seemed to be making quite a mess of. The bits of their conversation you catch as you approach give you the impression the girl wished to reach the roof of the building. Obviously you're missing some crucial relevant information.
"Commander, Maia." You say, nodding to both of them as you pass by them on your way to the door. A small roundish character rushes out the door as you approach, apparently intent on dissuading the young girl from ascending the building. You step out of the way with a quick "Pardon me" and continue on inside. Whatever was going on, if they'd decided to get involved the Commander and Maia were more than capable of resolving things. If they had need of your assistance or comment they would've asked for it.
Sure enough, as you entered the building you spotted several familiar faces from the Draughtsmen's ranks, as well as numerous others. Lady Kaguya had descended from her roost to join the crowd here, as well as the garish narcissistic banshee. The former seemed to be treating with the gorilla Doorman, Donkey Kong, for the first time. Given the recency of his arrival and the apparent infrequency of the Lady's public outings, it was unsurprising they had ostensibly never met prior. The latter you gave no thought nor attention to, as she deserved neither.
As you pass the Draughtsmen's meeting on your way to a free seat you nod and say "Good day to you all, and good luck." They were obviously in the midst of planning and needn't any further distractions than were already present. Out of the corner of your eye you spotted Kothys himself dash back into the bowels of the shop as his frequently troublesome associate donned an apron and approached, asking for your order as well as Myn's. At least she had manners when she felt like it, and was far more likely shoot you in the face than to stab you in the back. The upfront ones were almost always a refreshing change of pace in your experience.
"Kayne," you respond, nodding back politely in kind. "Dark coffee with cream, and a muffin. Surprise me." It hadn't taken long for you to earn your reputation of not being picky about the food you consumed. After all, normal food no longer sated you; You only ate in public out of social requirement. Drinks, though, you learned you could smell the difference even if you couldn't taste it. You used that to test people, especially new recruits. If they couldn't get something as simple as a drink right, there was a rather short list of actually important things you could trust them with.
There's the briefest of pauses as you remember that gratitude is expected towards those serving you, and you follow your order up with a "Thank you" as you move to take a seat.
"Oh! My apologies, Areum!" Bondrewd said to the taller explorer, sounding genuinely contrite, "I didn't realize you were coming along, though you are welcome to accompany us if you wish. But surely the talents of a Master of your caliber would shine brighter in a group other than our little band, hm?"
As Leo posited that botany meant their task would be easy, Prushka let out a disapproving "Ah!" and shook her head vigorously. "Flora can be plenty dangerous even if they don't look it at first, Leo!" she insisted, wagging her fork at him, "You can't let your guard down for even a second! They can hide all kinds of deadly things!"
"Ah, are you thinking of the Amaranthine-Deceptors?" her father asked, to which she nodded, shivering. "Yes, although they are a perfect example of the dangers of flora, I think it would be best not to fill our heuronaut's head with thoughts of those in particular before he shapes the Room. It wouldn't do for something similar to infest the space we are to map simply because he had them in mind. I'll tell you about them later, Leonardo."
Edited by darksidevoid on Mar 13th 2021 at 4:23:39 AM
Donkey Kong-Kothys-Zone 1
At Johanna's teasing, DK couldn't help but bashfully rub the back of his neck as he blushed wildly. "It not like that! DK just-"
It was then that Kaguya suddenly grasped DK's hand, which caused DK to freeze exaggeratedly in shock. She was shaking his hand! After a few brief moments, DK started to return the shake, making sure that his returning shake was a good deal gentler than the kind of handshakes he normally gave-he didn't want to bring any harm to such a pretty and delicate hand as Lady Kaguya's, after all!
As Lady Kaguya's hand finally pulled away, DK was even more surprised to find that she had left a small sealed box behind in his hand. At Lady Kaguya's whispered warning, DK paused for another moment-he had no idea why Kaguma would give him such a tiny box, or what could possibly be in such a box so small. Or what he was supposed to even do with a box he couldn't open. Maybe Ammy would know what was going on, DK mused as he discreetly stuffed the box into one of the pockets of his jumpsuit-as discreetly as a big ape with beefy arms in a bright yellow jumpsuit could, anyways.
"Draughtsman dangerous job, but Draughtsmen do our best. DK thanks Kaguya for Kaguya's blessing," DK said, doing his best to be as dignified as possible-had to be a good representative of the Draughtsmen, after all-before glancing around the cafe with an annoyed huff. "Meeting supposed to have started by now. Jengbish not still putting weird girl on roof, is Jengbish?" DK mused aloud.
Jengbish; Zone 1; Outside Kothys; Shooting Phase
Codex Astartes Tactica Primus: Yeetus Deletus
BALLISTIC SKILL ROLL: 1
You pull her back from the orb as gently as you can muster, and for a passing moment wonder if perhaps there has been some horrendous misunderstanding and that you are being terribly cruel, that perhaps proximity to Areum has infected you in your escape with something needless and without dignity whose only redress is to rob it from those with none to spare, until you catch the dimly-focused eyes reflected in the window and dismiss the notion out of hand. You can see little dignity there to rob, save the queer serenity of fools, and littler still that would mourn its loss.
Besides. She's yet to resist your touch, nor so much as tense beneath the pressure of your grasp. Queer as it may be, her serenity is genuine. Empty heads make for honest living. All in good fun, then.
"You can not hug him, girl," you say. "You cannot hug him, for you are going to be on the top of the roof. As the Great Jaghatai said, there is no worth in anything until it is finished. Now, stop wondering and prepare yourself."
You think, but are not certain, that she does as she is told.
Then you toss her by the scruff of the neck regardless, and realise at once your mistake. She's lighter than her compliance let you gauge and the muscles coiling at her shoulder led you to assume, arms perhaps of luminum and not the surgisteel for which you'd taken them, and her body trails behind her head like a ribbon tied to a brick
"Aiya," you breath as she sails leisurely over the guttering, still accelerating. A slice of lettuce flutters down into your gorget.
Edited by OG-Sama on Mar 22nd 2021 at 12:54:54 PM
Maia - Anti-yeet counter-strategies engaged
Standing patiently as Jengbish and Violet finished their business, hands clasped behind her back, Maia watched as the master draughtsman started to lift the girl up to the roof.
She cocked her head slightly. That seemed like an excessive launch velocity. Why-
The android's eyes locked on to the girl tracing a graceful arc through the air, her feet shifting as she crouched.
Analyzing trajectory. Intercept solution calculated.
Synthmusculature primed. Fast-twitch capacitors charged.
Antigrav runefield initializing...
Error code #91-9777-β. The driver for this device may be corrupted. Re-enchant and re-boot, or seek maintenance.
Conventional ballistics it is, then.
With a faint electronic whine and the flap-crack of her trailing cloak, Maia launched herself into the air after the wayward Violet. She passed the gutter that Jengbish had been aiming for, one foot jabbing down and pushing off, altering her own trajectory. Just as Violet reached the peak of her arc, Maia was underneath her, collecting the typist in the cradle of one arm and pulling her against her chest.
"Hello. Please excuse me."
With her other arm outstretched, a twist of her legs adjusting their combined center of gravity, she alighted with one hand and one foot on next-door's chimney, her cloak slowly settling around the pair.
"Miss Violet. Are you uninjured?"
As the pompous doctor went on another long-winded speech, Greed decided to not look at him, but instead observe the gem... which meant that when Robotnik handed him the remote, the homunculus caught it without even breaking eye contact with Andy. "So what'll it be, kid?" Greed waved the remote in front of Andy's eyes, smiling. "Standin' besides me as a proud member of my Horde, or a couple years in my personal trophy room?"
He leaned in, winking. "Remember, I'm immortal, so my concept of 'years' is pretty skewed. I could end up forgetting you were there for a couple centuries or so."
Elliot, Zone 1, Business District
At least the trip had gone by smoothly with the shortcuts with the cheerful explorer leading the way and cheerfully spoke up. Sure, he wasn't exactly addressed but he couldn't help but pipe up.
"It definitely sounds like it wouldn't be a dull moment there!"
Still, the young man couldn't help but glance around at how bustling things seemed to be, smile still on his face.
"Certainly looks busy today...! Kind of wonder what's going on." He idly wondered, glancing over at...whatever was going on outside of Kothys. Probably.
"...Okay! So! The bakery is a bit further, but...uh...I think this is..." For a moment, he paused and took a quick peek at his map and notes. "Kothys. I think. Maybe? Pretty sure the city doesn't reorganize itself if it's already been found and set up..."
Andradite - Mysterious crummy location full of big dumb jerks
After his wholly ineffective outburst, Andy met Greed's eyes for a moment as he cradles his good hand to his chest - not so good now, with a spiderweb of cracks running across his knuckles. The disgruntled gem pouting as he was pretty much forced to get a good look at his captor's big dumb smirk.
"I can wait."
With that, he broke eye contact and turned around, flopping down on the floor of the tube with his back to Greed, hugging his arms around his knees.
Myn - Kothys exterior, Zone 1
"That is indeed Commander Jengbish, doing something eminently important, no doubt." Myn 1would recognize the heavy, stark silhouette of Aitera's monster anywhere. His voice quiets uncharacteristically despite the comical sight before him. With bestial ease, Jengbish lobs a girl onto the cafe's roof. Myn recognizes her: Violet, the mail doll. He's utilized her services in the past.
Why this absurd scene is happening escapes Myn's understanding, but his proximity to Jengbish sets him on edge. Though his face is calm, his muscles tighten like a coiled spring. An altercation here would be unthinkable; Myn knows that. Myn is a loyal ally to the Diet in very good standing. He is in no danger here.
No matter how much time he has to acclimate to Jengbish's presence, he cannot. This is not a man, and this is not an animal. This is a monster camouflaged in flesh and blood. Myn is not convinced it can die, for he remembers the beginning, when they were both among the founders of Concordance. Myn remembers the things they fought to carve out the little pocket of reason in the ship for themselves, and he remembers the things that very pointedly were not fatal to Jengbish.
A long time ago, Myn concluded that this is why Aitera wields this monster as she does: Because who could dare challenge her with such a weapon behind her?
These thoughts are ever in Myn's mind, but he appears calm and cordial as he and Witch pass the cluster of nonsense occurring outside Kothys. A polite nod to the commander and his rooftop companions is all that he allows himself before he enters. He is in no danger here.
Myn is immediately welcomed by a quaint and comfortable décor, complimented by the soft, earthy fragrance of coffee beans. A smile creeps to his lips. It's inoffensive in its warm hospitality, reminding him of someone else's home.
"Flat white, please. I'll take a muffin as well."
Myn catches the proprietress' glance at his ears, and a bit of good humor makes its way into his smile. She isn't used to seeing elves, but his reputation precedes him regardless. She even uses his proper name, and the pronunciation is better than most people manage. Kayne, is it? She has a gift for hospitality, and should be proud of the value in that.
And of course Myn notices the lady Kaguya conversing with what a young man and what appears to be a giant gorilla. Wonders never cease. He opts not to approach her for the moment. Kaguya is cosmically endowed with the gift of absolute immortality, and is frighteningly powerful herself, so guarding her is unnecessary to say the least. The odds of both people Myn cannot kill occupying the same cafe on the same day must be astronomical, but Kaguya is at least a great deal more than mortal, rather than a monster in human skin.
"Is such an eclectic crowd common here?" Myn asks Witch, sitting across from her at their table. "Concordance's demographics have always been varied, of course, but this place seems especially so."
Violet; On the Roof?
I am about to agree that I shall not go on the roof because soft things are meant to be hugged and Magolor is soft but then the commander tells me that there is no worth in anything until it is finished which is a notion that does not entirely make sense to me because there are lots of things which are finished and have no worth like spent casings.
The Major said that I was worthy and that I should live but I do not know if he was correct, it was right for me to follow his orders but being right does not always mean that you are correct. Sometimes I look at my arms which I cannot feel and wonder if my body is like that, if it is like a spent casing, but then I remember that the powder inside a bullet burns up in an instant and that there was never anything inside me to burn in the first place.
If I was beautiful like a flower then maybe I could burn, but I think I am more like wet wood which thocks when hit.
...I am flying through the air?
The street turns into a blur, I have parachuted before but it is much more difficult when there is nothing to slow you, my arms windmill out like windmills, not obeying me, but of course they would never obey me, they are not even my arms. I try to orient myself feet-first because I will break my legs on impact but at least I might stop myself from breaking my neck, I cannot cushion my head because my hands are harder than my skull -
But I am not flying through the air anymore, I have been caught.
The person who caught me has white hair like sand and skin the color of coffee. She has eyes that are yellow as foxes' but she does not seem crafty like a fox. Her speech is plain and easy-to-understand, the cadence is like a block. Maybe I have found someone who thinks like me?
"I am uninjured. Thank you."
I ease out of her grasp and salute her. It is the only token of thanks that comes to mind, because if I said thank you again it would barely suffice and my typewriter is on the table below so I cannot type anything for her.
"If you had not caught me I would have broken my legs," I say. "I owe you a great debt. May I know your name, ma'am?"
I have left a trail of white stuff on her shoulder, I hope she does not mind. It was from the sandwich and not from me. There are worse things to be covered in than that and none of the men complained. The fresh recruits did but they went silent soon enough or died, one of the two, the fresh ones always died.
Is it still suited for eating?
Edited by troydenite on Mar 23rd 2021 at 12:51:23 AM
Kayne had shouted the two new orders into the kitchen, and after a few minutes, the whistling of kettles could be heard even from outside as Moko prepared the coffee. Kayne soon emerged with a tray holding both orders, at the ready, and gracefully navigated the people in the cafe to reach Witch and Myn's table.
"Here you are," she said in her best business voice. "Dark coffee with cream, and a moist cornmeal muffin with fish cake filling. Moko was obsessed with finding some way to make a savory breakfast muffin, and this was the result. It's half-off if you don't like it; prices are posted up front."
"Don't think I've forgotten you either, Sir Nelei-Myn," Kayne continued. "Flat white coffee, and an angel food cake muffin. If you want to have condensed milk with your pastry, it's in that container just in front of you. Enjoy!" She pointed with her chin at said little tin of sweetener.
"This place is filled with misfits, heroes, and misfit-heroes, isn't it?" she sighed in response to Myn's question. "Concordance can be unkind to new arrivals and those too far outside the established norms. Sometimes both at the same time. Fortunately, Moko and I have some peculiarities of our own. Like attracts like, and, well...everyone likes a place they can feel at home, because we can never really go home again, right?"
Edited by JumpingFruit on Apr 7th 2021 at 9:07:44 AM
Before you'd settled into your seat you had already had time enough to sort through the din and disorder of the cafe and organize the chaos into something more manageable. The Draughtsmen were wrapping up their plans. A thud on the roof indicated that the girl Violet had likely concluded her ascent. The scholar, Faust, had brought her research with her as usual, though you were unsure what focus she hoped to attain amidst the discord.
Unsurprisingly Myn seemed to grasp the goings-on quickly as well. Perhaps he was expecting the establishment to have a more focused clientele, given its occupancy in Zone One and proximity to the Diet building. "I've never seen the place empty, and word got out long ago that the Draughtsmen would meet here," you reply. "That alone ensures a... varied clientele. Many of the Keepers and Diet clerks frequent here as well due to the proximity. And the proprietors aren't the type to turn people away."
Kayne arrived again, carrying a tray with your orders. Angel food cake for Myn. You'd never heard of it before arriving in Concordia. Ostensibly it was quite good, but, well, you'd likely never actually know yourself. Beyond a very short list you'd given up on making plans for things you'd like to do again once you found a cure. No use dwelling on such things. You just kept following your feet, taking it day by day, doing your best to roll with whatever bullshit the universe threw at you and celebrating the little victories.
Today, it was a fish muffin. The knights had done similar things, trying to condense as much nutrition as they could into portable rations. The company cook once brought you what he called "stew bread". Beef and vegetable stew without the broth or gravy, baked into a loaf of bread. It was slightly greasy and quite dense. You ate it anyway, because it was that or cook and clean something yourself.
You pick up the muffin with a slight smirk and take a bite, doing your best to pretend you were examining the flavor as you chewed. Evidently she'd overheard your conversation with Myn, as she chimed in with her own thoughts. Misfits, she said. You couldn't argue with her assessment. The pair did quite the job of welcoming anyone and everyone. It applied to you as well, much as you'd like to deny it. You'd spent the majority of your existence a misfit despite your upbringing. Though, calling it your "life" didn't seem appropriate anymore since by now you'd spent a decade more of your "life" dead than alive. Hopefully you could keep that particular fact under wraps long enough to get a better read on who would still welcome you, and who would be less... accepting.
You reach for your coffee mug and take a sip, just enough to sample it, and thus satisfied follow it up with a swig to wash down the muffin. "Sure enough. If anyone had figured out how to leave, I doubt any of us would still be here. Who knows how much longer that'll be, so we ought to do the best we can with what we can make of this." You pause for a second, eyeing the muffin again, and follow up with "Hopefully keeping the stabbing to a minimum along the way" before taking another bite.
You really had no idea what to make of this muffin, but heavens be damned if you weren't going to pretend it was perfectly edible.
Maia - Finally on the house
Carefully setting the girl down on the peak of the rooftop, Maia gave her a simple smile, one jointed plas-weave hand snapping to form a fist over her left breast in a return salute.
"I am pleased to hear that. My name is Maia. I am one of Master Jengbish's subordinates."
She gave Violet a quick scan, just in case - humans sometimes failed to notice their own injuries, this she knew. A faint fan of orange laser light flicked over the typist's body from Maia's eyes... and she gave a single nod, satisfied, letting Violet stand on the rooftop unaided for the moment.
The condiment spilled on her cloak was noted, but not flagged. The garment had been subjected to much worse since she obtained it.
"There is no debt. I consider helping comrades and civilians to be one of my duties."
Violet; The Roof
"Thank you very much," I say. "But I am neither a comrade nor a civilian. I am a..."
There are no words left to say which is not what usually happens, because even if I cannot find the words there is usually something else that will suffice. The words of this person who seems to be like me are making me feel something that I have not felt before, it is like there is a tooth stuck somewhere inside me but I cannot touch it with my tongue.
My typewriter is sitting on its back in the sun beneath, drying because I spilled coffee on it.
I am on the roof. I am not dead. I am not hungry. I smell like coffee.
My name is Violet. But who am I?
Some Time Later: Zone Six; The Egress Eternal - Officer's Mess
"The reason why I called you here over the emergency distress signal," says the little girl in the pink pajamas, "is because two fixtures of our establishment have gone missing."
For all the concern on her face, she could very well be talking about a pair of misplaced toilet rolls. But you decide, perhaps against your better judgment, to listen to her - even though you're not sure you actually heard an emergency distress signal. There was just a pert voice blaring from the bar's entrance speakers, telling everyone of a heroic bent to please come to the Egress Eternal if they valued their status as future patrons. And anyway, aren't emergency signals reserved for reality-quakes?
"Oh, but you don't know me, do you? Well, of course you know me. You just don't know who I am. Which is a shame, really, given where we are."
She appears to be sitting on one of the chrome tables, although if you have good eyes, perhaps you might be able to see that she is actually floating above it — the puddle of spilled ale isn't anywhere near her legs. Her hair is old-brass russet, her skin is a lazy olive-brown, and her eyes are bright electric green. There's a superior light in those eyes. If the latest iPhone were a look, it would be the one that she has on right now.
You don't know what an iPhone is, but it sounds vaguely exploitative.
"My name is Egress Eternity Eupepsia 'Ey," says the little girl. "You shall refer to me by my full name, and not Gressie, which is demeaning. I am the brain of this establishment."
Egress Eternity Eupepsia 'Ey could mean any number of things by this, but you decide to give her the benefit of the doubt.
"Our waiter, Andradite, has gone missing. He - I believe he's a he now - helps with the rowdies, and he takes everything absolutely literally, which is both very sad and extremely entertaining. Andy has not been late from errands in the past fifty-two years, so I would like him back, thank you very much."
She stretches her hands out and wiggles together a hologram of the green, genderless Gem. You still have no idea if he is actually a he, because there are certain mannerisms that seem distinctly feminine. Do rocks even have genders?
"Also missing is our local cretin, Addward. Actually, he's not missing, we know what happened to him - he was abducted in broad daylight by a man in a black cloak. I don't really want him back, but then again, I suppose life would be boring without a tail to yank."
There is no hologram of Addward. Instead, there is a hologram of a piece of paper. On it is a hideous scribble with dumb googly eyes and tongue lolling out. Beneath the Addward simulacrum are two words, dashed in red marker and targeted with arrows:
"Anyway," says Egress Eternity Eupepsia 'Ey. "I can't see past the range of my sensors, so as much as I'd like to help you with the detective work, it'll be up to you lot to do the hard yards. There will, of course, be a substantial reward for the successful return of either object. Any questions?"
She still has the hologram of the piece of paper in her hands. It's as if she's trying to show it off.
Zone Seven; Outskirts - The Welcoming Guild
The Welcoming Guild is a deliberately cozy building, but perhaps it has to be. Here, new arrivals from the bowels of the Ship are ushered in from the Entrance, given a brief introduction, assessed for any potential threat that they might pose to anything or anyone, told never to offend anyone on the Diet, and then released into the collection of urban test-tubes known as the City of Concordia.
You, the Draughtsmen, are gathered in the waiting room of the Welcoming Guild, mostly because while the Draughtsmen's Guild has an extensive network of quake-sensors and reality-cameras set up all around the Outskirts, the waning power of the Charter means that shaping a Room to serve as a glorified Draughtsmen's Leisure Lounge would be a needless flirtation with death.
Besides, they have a vending machine here. You need that.
The walls are burgundy. The sofas are black. The floor is the color of inoffensive hospital carpet and the air smells like crusted sherry. Around are bookcases pretending to be filled with knowledge and a fireplace, mostly useless, emanating a dry heat that's probably coming from the floor anyway.
There is a poster on the vending machine, next to the Bepis. On it is a glorious picture of the Everlasting Diet, airbrushed to appropriate grandeur.
THE SUN THAT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS IS THE BASTION OF LIFE
EVEN SO, WE SHALL LIVE
"Oh, it's you. Out for another mission, I suppose?"
The speaker is a small pink thing which, upon further inspection, reveals itself to be a hairless cat. He yawns, looking like the spawn of shaved Satan, and curls up around the leg of a table.
"How droll. Well, it beats talking to the new arrivals. Where will you be going this time, O Brave Adventurers?"
His name is Egbert. He is the secretary's pet, or at least that is what he claimed when he got here. No-one has ever bothered to contradict him, or even ask where he came from.
He's a cat. They do things like this.
Zone One; Founders' Park
Unlike its distant cousin, Konohana Park, Founders' Park is a grand and decidedly non-tranquil affair. A haven of absolutely nothing in the midst of the Central Business District, it is filled with grass, a few trees, and about two dozen statues, the smallest no less than three meters in height.
Here, the figures of the First Farers, those who fixed the foundations of Concordia, are set in polished marble.
The great Jengbish spreads his arms, dressed in his librarian's robes, with a beatific look on his fatherly face. Kaguya Houraisan sits demurely, the very flower of chastity, her hands folded modestly in her folds of her robes. Kayné Ainsel, expounder of wisdom, lifts a single top-hat aloft like an offering to the heavens. Amaterasu, the great wolf of the sun, stands on both hindlegs and demonstrates the celestial movements. These and many such exemplars of their kind stand in stately rows, with such a sobering and thought-provoking effect that no-one ever comes to Founders' Park.
Except for the woman lying on the grass, who appears to be dead.
"Oh!" gasps an old man, before remembering his age and the importance of having a good alibi. "Wait, it wasn't me, I swear!"
The woman's eyes are glassy and hard, but her skin is still soft. There is a large sign staked into her chest like a tent-peg, going right through into the ground. She looks like a butterfly on display, so carefully placed and pinned that it seems impossible that an act of violence could even have occurred to her.
On the sign are words the color of dried blood, splashed and scraped wildly into letters.
SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS
Edited by troydenite on Apr 7th 2021 at 12:14:31 AM
It had been ten thousand years since she had seen her last patient. In that time, the world of man had become a distant memory, and all that remained was a faint reminder of humanity's existence in the form of every Zack Snyder movie on HBOMAX - the one still functioning streaming service remaining. Helena had changed considerably during this time period, now wearing full clown makeup at all times and often going on long monologues about the problems plaguing the society we all live in. Gone was her former upbeat demeanor, now replaced with a grim cynicism ever since she lost Jester in the Great Meme War of 2032. Nonetheless, all she could do was hold her head up high and try to forget the scars of her past.
...Okay so I'm getting a note from one Troy D. Nite that none of this actually happened. Well I'll be damned.
What actually happened is that at some point, Helena retrieved the injured Miso and took him back to the Flophouse so she could tend to his wounds. She rested him on a bed, and was using a combination of healing magic and modern medicine to patch the Vortigaunt up.
"Stay with me now - you're going to be alright."
For the moment she decided to let him rest until he felt up to talking about whatever just happened to him.
The Welcoming Guild
"Good day, Egbert," Bondrewd replied, his long, armored tail draped across the arm of the sofa upon which he was sitting and flicking lazily, "We are to be mapping and cataloging the contents of a Room intended for agriculture on this particular outing. Nothing too terribly difficult, I should hope."
"Yep!" Prushka agreed from her seat at his side, "It's gonna be a piece of cake!"
"Now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves," her father reproached, reaching over to muss with her hat, "After all, who knows what dangers and wonders the Incoherence may hold?"
The Egress Eternal, Officer's Mess
Seated in the mess and listening to Egress Eternity Eupepsia 'Ey's plea for assistance was a man◊ in what seemed to be rather fancy red clothes. His eyes were a striking green, hair was a firey red, topped with a silver tiara, and on the fingers of his right hand he wore silver picks, currently strumming the strings of his favored instrument, a pipa with an elaborate head carved into the far end. But it was clear this was no ordinary lute, for as he struck the strings, a veritable symphony of different notes that no string instrument could rightly produce flowed over the scene:
As the image of the little girl finished speaking and brandished the image of a drawing of a marten, the jaw on the pipa's head began to move, and out came a even stranger sound: laughter. "Aheheheheheh! Yeah, that's the spittin' image o' our Addward, alright!" it said in a rather nasal voice, "Nice piece o' art, Big E! Love the caption!" The man strumming the instrument snorted and nodded in agreement.
"Now, let's get the introductions outta the way!" the pipa continued chattering, "This here's Lang Wu Yao, The Song That Dooms Evil, and I'm his instrument, Ling Ya! The Egress Eternal folks and us're old friends. Lookin' forward to workin' with ya!" Lang Wu Yao said nothing, merely nodding again and then looking toward the nearest other answerer of the emergency distress signal, even as his fingers never stopped moving.
Edited by darksidevoid on Apr 7th 2021 at 12:17:46 PM
Zone Six - Egress Eternal
After leaving the Flophouse, Amaterasu and Waka had parted ways, with Amaterasu returning to her rounds. Waka left to do... whatever it was he had planned that day. Most likely he was continuing his plan to slowly annoy Kaguya-hime into becoming a better person.
She'd heard the announcement by chance, as she passed by the Egress Eternal. She patrolled the outer Zones, on days she wasn't assisting the Draughtsmen, looking for those in need. Fixing things, helping people, stopping crimes that the Peacekeepers thought too insignificant to address.
One might call it selfless, were she anyone else. But for one who could harness the Praise of others, such altruism was never truly unrewarded. Still, even if she didn't receive power from gratitude, Amaterasu believed she'd still find herself helping others. That was simply her way.
So it was inevitable, perhaps, that she would find herself on a mission to rescue two missing individuals. Though normally something the authorities might handle, Amaterasu has reasons to doubt their effectiveness in this case.
Though she has no concrete evidence, the taking of small animals such as this Addward reeks of the Egg Man's influence. She did not trust the Peacekeepers to actually investigate the Egg Man with any thoroughness. Thus, she did not ask why Gressie had not contacted the actual authorities.
Instead, she asked: "Do you by chance have anything that belonged to either of them? If you have something with their scent, I might be able to track it. I am a canine, after all."
She offered a slight nod in greeting to Ling Ya and Lang Wu. She knew of them as part of the group Kaguya-hime once traveled with. This Andradite was part of the same group, if Amaterasu recalled correctly; perhaps, if they had no other leads, they could ask the Houraisan clan for assistance.
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