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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

You do not need to know anything about Shadowrun to enjoy this CYOA.
This story is friendly to newcomers of Shadowrun.
Check "So What is Shadowrun" below to get everything you need to know. It's not very long.



"Who knew that two square kilometers could pack so much bullshit into one little package?" griped an older student.

Summer was over and it was time for orientation. Or in most cases, reorientation. To the older students it was the same old poo poo as last year. To the younger they'd just been ripped out of their previous schools and away from their previous friends and were more disoriented than ever given their newly minted status as awakened. Given time the freshman would learn to despise the fish. Oh how they would learn.

The students didn't know exactly how old the augmented reality cartoon salmon was, but as is tradition in education it was dumb, old and everywhere. It was some sort of failed education branding pilot program that never took off. It was as ubiquitous as it was annoying. Even surrounded by this much nature and magic one still couldn't escape the matrix, augmented reality or the enormous sprawl that was the Seattle Metoplex. In fact if you went to the eastern beach you could see the downtown area rising from the ground like some form of steel and concrete cancer. Its skyline was dotted with famous buildings the old Renraku Arcology, now a gigantic housing project, the Aztechnology pyramid and of course the Space Needle which still hadn't fallen down yet somehow. If you were a tourist you could get that stock emerald city overlay in AR that made it look like something out of Oz, but only if you didn't mind the mandatory data mining that came along with it. Sadly even that load of shovelware couldn't help with the smell. Thirty million people, all that heavy industry and the pollution it caused was foul. Thankfully they were all upwind of that. Most days at least. However that was miles away. They were stuck in the middle of the Puget Sound on a tiny island away from such modern conveniences like Stuffer Shacks with their greasy soy food, a decent matrix connection and generally anything fun to do in the sixth world.

"Welcome to Blake Island!" said a cheery augmented reality mascot as it swam about in the air. "And to those of you who were here last year, welcome back! I'm Sammy the salmon!"

"loving kill me," groaned another student.

Sammy the salmon wasn't programmed to notice the complaints of the students on the wooden benches. It was programmed to educate children by educators desperate to stop educating. One of the teachers did shush them in a fashion that never went out of style though. At least as much as teachers could be said to have style.

"You're here because you're some of the most talented magically active teens of your age. Your teachers are here to mold that talent into something truly special. Well, your teachers and me of course," teased the fish as he swam around jauntily. "Now Blake Island just isn't a school for magic, oh no. It's chock full of history too! Did you know that the Suquamish tribe used this very island as a camping ground and that the accord to legend chief Sealth was born here? Seattle is named after him you see so he was a very important chief indeed! Bet you first years didn't know that! Also in 1993 Bill Clinton visited this very island. Neat, huh?."

"Who's Bill Clinton?" whispered another student.

The student was answered by a single shoulder shrug from one student and yet another shushing from an increasingly stern face teacher. The student covertly activated her smart contact lenses and scrolled through her social media feed, though the fish looked as if it were purposefully getting in the way of everything. Stupid fish. The matrix was so slow out here. The school really skimped on matrix access. Then all of a sudden her feed was canceled by the fish.

"Sorry kiddo," said a second Sammy the salmon, only to her. "No outside social media access on the island. If you want to link up to a social media account you can ask me later about Salmon Run!"

She groaned. Salmon Run had been terrible when it was first released and it was dead now. The powers that be rather liked it that way.

It was true that this was a school for magic, though it was also a high school, not some fancy college. The test for awakened status was taken at fifteen and if one was found to be magically active they were whisked off to a different school where teachers knew how to handle magically active teens. A sort of handling that was careful, as if the teens were live grenades if grenades had both opinions and raging hormones. So beyond their studies into the awakened world they'd also learn all the trivia that's instantly useless once one becomes an adult. It was also technically true that this place was once upon a time a school for talented youngsters. However, in the sixth world reputations for excellence are made to be ruined. Twenty years ago the school was known for the high quality magicians it produced. Rich corporate types, politicians and the leisure class found that out and started parking their kids here as if to soak in prestige via osmosis. Nuyen is no substitute for mojo, but it sure does pay the bills. So while everyone here had some sort of magical talent, as was the price of entry, their actual potential was...Questionably varied. Also being rich the teens were almost all overwhelmingly human or elf. However, parked in the back were three teens who did not buy their way in with nuyen. They bought their way in with talent. Nuyen had been allocated for "talented children of troubled circumstances". Officially it was to help pump new blood into the school and introduce "cultural diversity". Unofficially it was just a tax write off. Yet there they sat.

This is their story.

So what is Shadowrun?

This is a choose your own adventure styled game based off the game Shadowrun. Shadowrun is a story about the near(ish) future where magic has come back, but technology advanced right along with it. So there's a mix of cyberpunk and urban fantasy with a sort of 80's aesthetic to it. Lots of neon, chrome and mascara in other words. A world where corporations are their own countries, America is fairly fractured, magic and spirits are back, there are other races besides humans along with animals that were only previously dreamed of, and that this is a new thing. Before 2012 magic was not a thing that 99.9% of the world experienced in a tangible way. Now magic and high technology exist in the same world, the old competing with the new and competing well. Dragons even run a few corporations. So imagine Bill Gates during the 90's. Ruthless, cunning, business oriented, but he's also eaten several people that you've heard of and is a gigantic magical flying lizard. One was even president for five minutes before being assassinated by someone.

The first arc is written from the perspective of someone who doesn't know anything about anything save for her little patch of the world which we probably won't visit again for some time. She helps explain the world. Here's the bare bones of what you need to know to understand the story.

1. This is set in the near future. So stuff is high tech. People can get cybernetic everything or new organs that do super cool stuff.
2. The internet, called the Matrix, is wireless and everywhere.
3. Magic is back in a big way and has been for over fifty years.
4. Other races of metahumans, fantasy races, have been born into the world. Orks, trolls, elves, dwarfs, etc. They're just average people.
5. The US is fractured and has become a number of different successor states. The western half is mostly controlled by Native Americans Nations (The NAN). Seattle is controlled by the UCAS, basically what remains of the old US and eastern Canada, which means Seattle is all out by its lonesome surrounded by nations that want to take it over.
6. Corporations are people times ten. The biggest ones, the "Megas" or "Triple A's/AAA's" have become tiny nations unto themselves that control enormous sections of the world economy.
7. Poverty is rampant and your social identification number (SIN) is how you get around in the world. However a fair portion of people don't have it, sometimes as high as 1/3 of a nation, making a permanent underclass.
8. Shadowrun is named that because of Shadowrunners. They're essentially mercenaries whose loyalty depends mostly on the pay that they're promised and that they get paid on time. They're also completely deniable, hired through Mr. Johnsons. These anonymous men and women promise money for theft, kidnappings, smuggling, assassination, infiltration, really whatever you can imagine that's illegal and needs a deniable asset.
9. This story isn't about Shadowrunners. It's about teens going to magic school so they learn how to use their magic and not incinerate themselves or others by accident.

That's it. The rest I'll explain the rest in the story as I go.

So why are you setting this at a school?

I liked the idea for one. The school is for the children of the rich and influential, and the three teens the story will be focusing on are definitely not. Culture and social class clash interests me. It's not going to just be magical slice of life. The teens are competent to one extent or another and I'm going to push them towards danger. Just how much will be up to the thread.

Also when I read the novels the focus was almost always one people who were already shadowrunners for their own reasons, never on their initial struggles or how they got there. Struggle is interesting to me, as is failure and consequences. I'm going to be rolling dice, so if there's a bad roll they can get hurt or even die if they're really unlucky. They're not invulnerable Mary and Gary Stu characters. I've intentionally made them heavily flawed, because mercenaries who work in deniable operations probably don't have the best home life. At the same time as the teens get more and more into the life as runners (and it will be gradual) coming back to school after that firefight will probably feel more and more strange as time goes on.

Finally, this is a writing exercise for me. I was once a professional author and I never really lost the itch to write. I'm experimenting and honing my craft. I'm trying to write heroes that aren't reactive and trying to reestablish the status quo, villains that aren't proactive and trying to tear down the world. Just people with varied interests that clash when those interests conflict. No one gets tied to the train tracks by mustached men. Everyone should have a reason for what they do.

How often will you update?

I update between one and four times a day excluding Wednesdays and Sundays. I write a lot.

Characters

Unlike other CYOA's the characters we don't pick will still exist. In fact the other two we don't pick will be important as they'll be more or less part of a crew of misfits. There will be three to choose from and we'll make a final choice about who we play at the end of those three short stories. The character we pick we will have direct influence over without skill rolls. How we treat the others and our charisma skills will inform me of how we act with them and how much they either like or don't like us. As this is the Blake Island School of Magic we will have or pick of three misfit students. Each will get a short story and at the end of the three we'll pick who we're actually going to play.

It looks like we'll be picking Fuzzy, the half feral teen girl who's good with weapons and animals. She has radically different ideas about life as someone who had to scrape for everything she ever had in a totally lawless and abandoned area of Seattle that was essentially a crumbling urban wilderness. She's a sort of all rounder, which is good because we'll be developing her skills over time and she can go really in almost any direction. Her thought processes are going to be more simple and direct and so that will inform how I write.

This is long

This isn't your normal CYOA on rails where decisions make no difference and there are no consequences. I'm highly responsive to peoples' requests and thoughts. It's also a bit of a slow burn. Not to say that there's not plenty of good stuff in there, but I do a lot of character introduction and development before we get to torching corporate security while wearing cybermascara. We'll get there. This is Shadowrun after all, but it may be a little while.

Be aware that this CYOA is already the size of a novel. It will take time for you to get through it. This CYOA is more in the vein of a long form web series.

Building a character

After the four short stories are complete I'll put the character in some sort of situation that you will choose. It'll inform me of his or her skills. I'll try and make it entertaining. After that the character will earn karma. The amount of karma earned has gone up since the last edition. However if we spend karma I would rather have a justification for why we have earned that skill or skills or are going to earn that skill or skills. Doing shadowruns against megacorporations doesn't suddenly teach you how to speak Spanish after all.

CYOA

Normally I offer choices labeled A, B, C or 1, 2, 3, but those are suggestions. If I hear an awesome suggestion, nuanced or not and it's got traction I'll run with it if I can. It really is choose your own adventure. Not choose from a discreet list.

If you feel like your vote won't matter, I do pay attention to the "Yes, and" style of improvisation. If the thread is all going one way and you want to put your own influence on it, add your own suggestion to what the character should do or why they should feel the way they feel. If I like it, even if it doesn't have enough votes, I'll mix the "Yes, and" suggestion into the mix. I won't guarantee it, but good ideas are more likely to get traction with me. Please don't feel offended if I don't mix it in. It might still be a good idea, but I can't work all of them in.

Editing

Small side note. Let me know in the comments if I screwed up something in editing. I'm not exactly the best editor of my own work.

Character Sheet

Name: Fuzzy (Smith is her technical last name)
Runner Name: None
Metatype: Human
Body: 4/6
Agility: 5/6
Reaction: 4/6
Strength: 4/6
Charisma: 4/6
Intuition:4/6
Logic: 2/6
Willpower: 5/6
Edge: 4/7
Magic: 4/6
Adept Points: 3

Street cred: 2
Notoriety: 1
Public awareness: 1

Qualities:

Mystic Adept - Can cast spells, summon spirits, use adept powers, but cannot see the astral (without the adept power) or astrally project.
Lightning Reflexes - +1 Initiative, +1d6 initiative die, +1 on all defense tests.

Illiterate - Bought off (Currently learning her ABC's)
SINner - She has a system identification number. This is new and she got it when she entered school. She is now a person in the UCAS database.
Uneducated - Buys technical skills at twice the level. Cannot use technical skills untrained. Reads at about a fourth grade level.

Contacts:

Rat Man - Connection 2/6 Loyalty 5/6 - Shaman
Sasha Oliver - Connection 2/6 loyalty 5/6 - Blake Island student / Ares corporate princess / Assensing specialist
Kenji Okamura - Connection 3/6 loyalty favors and nuyen only please - Blake Island student / Fixer / ACHE specialty Shadowrunner
Marco - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Christian Theurgist Healer
Julie - Connection 1/6 loyalty 3/6 - Blake Island student
Devin Faris - Connection 3/6 loyalty 3/6 - Doctor / Ork and Troll activist preacher / Runs Our Abbey Underground in Touristville (located nearby the entrance to The Big Rhino)
Dave - Connection 1/5 loyalty 5/6 - Tacoma and Ork Underground street ear / Delivers flowers

Enemies:

Christina (Last name unknown) Connection 2/6 occurrence 3/6 (Can appear at any time)
Human Nation (Human supremacist gang) Connection 2/1 occurrence 1/6 (Appears only in certain parts of Seattle: all of Tacoma, southwestern Renton and southern downtown)

Skills:

Archery 6 (+2 bows) + agility 5 = 11(13)
Animal Handling 1 + charisma 4 + animal empathy (adept) 2 = 7
Blades 4 + agility 5 = 9
Counterspelling 1 + magic 4 = 5
Etiquette 1 + charisma 4 = 5
First Aid 1 + logic 2 = 3
Gymnastics 3 + agility 5 = 8
Intimidation 4 + charisma 4 = 8 (9 for street cred)
Navigation 5 + intuition 4 = 9
Negotiation 3 + charisma 4 = 7
Perception 5 + intuition 4 = 9
Ritual Casting 1 + magic 4 = 5
Running 6 + strength 4 = 10
Sneaking 5 + agility 5 = 10
Spellcasting 2 + magic 4 = 6
Survival 5 + willpower 5 = 10
Tracking 5 + intuition 4 = 9
Unarmed Combat 1 + agility 5 = 6

Spells:

Heal - Heal one hit per round of damage. One try only per set of wounds. Touch based. Duration is permanent. Drain value -4.

Adept powers:

Animal Empathy 2 - Cost .5 Adept points

One bow
Ares Pilum (Transforming Spear/Staff/Knife)
One quiver (Full of nice arrows)
One skinning knife (Well used and maintained)
Armor clothing (Devil rat leather jacket and pants)
Two steel traps
One metalink commlink
One puppy (Named Puppy)
One book of stun bolt (unlearned)

300 nuyen per month income (200 of which is used for the Ares pilum)

280 nuyen left

Lifestyle:

Student Cabin

Karma Earned: 22
Karma Spent: 12
Karma Left : 10

Spent on:

Etiquette 1 (2 Points)
Buying off illiteracy (10 points)

Karma was earned when we (Don't read below if you don't want spoilers):


Kenji introduced us to Seattle and helped us become an educated person- 4
Treated Sasha with respect, softened our heart and healed the deer - 8
Ambushed gangers and disrupted a gang murder initiation - 8

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2017 around 17:57

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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy

Fuzzy was never sure when she awakened. She just got better at talking to animals. She was born in the empty, nearly feral sprawl that was the Puyallup barrens. Its sister slum, Redmond was like a bone picked clean, but there was at least enough marrow for the dogs to fight over. In Puyallup there wasn’t even that. There were just the dogs that ate one another.

Fuzzy had parents once. Probably. She’s not great with the details. Time is fairly foreign to her as even the sun is hard to see sometimes in the barrens due to the smog and Seattle doesn’t really do seasons all that well. She was nothing special. She had her bow she’d cobbled together out of scrap and would hunt and sell rats for their meat. Even devil rats sometimes if she could find a lone one. There was a man who’d pay well for their hide to make leather and so she ended up going to him when she needed something. She got a better bow too. Joyous. With better leather and a better bow she could hunt bigger game. She bought traps. Not just glass and trash, but real traps that would snap into a leg or rope that would break a neck. More meat, more hides, more nuyen.

“Nuyen is like magic. It can buy you anything,” said the rat man.

“Like meat?” asked Fuzzy.

“Yeah, sure. Good meat too. Not just rat meat,” he said.

“You mean like dog meat?”

“Like soy meat. Maybe some bacon if you bring me back two of those devil rats. Do you like pork?” he asked.

“What’s a pork?”

The rat man smiled a greasy smile. It wasn’t creepy or scary. After all she’d worked with him for years. He’d taught her how to shoot a bow when she was little. She knew men with creepy smiles and she knew to shoot them or run away or hide. He was just greasy because he was the rat man.

“You bring me two devil rats and I’ll bring you eggs and bacon. The real stuff, not the soy stuff. Think you can do that for me, Fuzzy?”

“I know what eggs are,” she scoffed.

“drat straight you do. Like a little runner you are,” he said.

“I’m good at running.”

So she set up a few traps. Lone devil rats were trouble, but you rarely saw two. You either saw one or lots, and lots were bad. She’d have to be smart and try to find one and then one more. She had a special place for skinning. Too much blood and death attracted ghouls and they were lots worse than devil rats and she wasn’t a good enough shot to kill one, but she was small enough to slip away in the sprawl or lead them into a trap because ghouls are blind and stupid like animals, and Fuzzy was smart. Traps were no good if they got ghoul blood on them rat man told her, but she’d be no good if a ghoul got her. Too sneaky for them though. They’d hunt by smell, but she smelled like rats.

After a week of hunting she killed two devil rats. She had to bring them one after another, but not both at the same time because they were so big. Making good on his promise the rat man cooked her eggs and bacon. She tasted bacon for the first time and IT WAS GLORIOUS. She came to the conclusion that porks are the best and that she wanted more. She wondered what they looked like. Rat man told her he’d seen one once. They were pink and had squashed noses which she thought was funny, especially when he made the “porks face” at her with an upturned nose and snorted at her.

“They snort you see. They like mud,” he said.

“Well I like bacon. Can I get more? When I ran out of bacon to eat I run out of fingers to suck too,” said Fuzzy.

“Get me two more devil rats and we’ll talk.”

“That took me a loooong time,” whined Fuzzy.

“Less time if you're tooled up. What’re you working with?” asked the rat man.

She blinked at him.

“Let me see your gear.”

She narrowed her eyes.

“It’s mine.”

“Do you want better gear or not?” he asked, impatiently.

“I’ll keep my gear. You can have new ends.”

“Nuyen,” he corrected.

“That’s what I said,” she lied.

You didn’t admit weakness in the barrens. However a few days later she had a new bow, a spear and not-rusty steel traps. And they weren’t made out of trash or anything. Real arrows with bright feathers. She’d only seen raven feathers before, but these were bright instead of black. Weird. She had to be careful with those though. They were expensive. Pretty and expensive.

One night she found a puppy while on the hunt. It was wandering around aimlessly, barely even able to walk without stumbling. Weird for the barrens. The puppy was weak and weakness wasn’t permitted. She hefted a stone to kill it because meat was meat, but it started wagging its tail at her. She sighed as she picked it up.

“You’re too skinny for meat,” she said.

It licked her face, and despite her misgivings, she giggled. Maybe the rat man would have ideas.

“Yep. Just a mutt,” he said. “Thought it might be a barghest at first. Their spines don’t come out until they’re older, but its eyes don’t glow. Had to check the astral to make sure. Shame. Would've been a serious payday for you. It’s going to get big though. Going to keep it?”

She pulled the animal away from him and frowned.

“It’s mine.”

“Got a name for it?”

“Puppy.”

“Right.”

The rat man furrowed his brow as if remembering something. He let his eyes relax again like he’d first done when he looked at puppy, and then his eyes darted to hers and opened wide. His greasy smile broadened, though he quickly hid it. Fuzzy didn’t like that. The next time she came to see the rat man, which was some weeks later, she met an elf. He wore clean clothes and seemed to know the rat man. She’d seen elves before, but never one so clean. In fact she’d never seen someone so clean before.

“Hello there. My name is Julian. What’s yours?” asked the elf.

She just stared. It’d been so long since someone had actually asked that that she’d forgotten.

“Fuzzy,” she decided.

“Okay Fuzzy,” said Julian, his tone uncertain. “I’m a teacher. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Okay.”

Awkward silence.

“I teach at a Blake Island School of Magic,” he explained further.

More silence.

“I want to take you to school so you can learn,” he said.

“Learn what?”

“How to use your magic.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“So you’ll come?”

“No.”

“Why not?” he asked.

She shrugged. “Fine here.”

He closed his eyes rubbed his temples which was a little funny to Fuzzy. No one should ever close their eyes this close to Fuzzy. You never took your eyes off people. But here he was, doing it. Weird.

“You’re weird.”

“I know,” he said.

“Okay. At least you know it.”

“Are you happy here?” he asked.

She shrugged and he cocked his head at her. That she understood. He was trying to read her.

“Where I live there are no ghouls,” he said, smiling slightly. “The rat man tells me you hate ghouls.”

“Good read,” she said.

“I’m sorry?”

“What you just did. Good read. Yeah. Don’t like ghouls. No ghouls at school?”

“No. They’re not allowed. There’s um…” he started, and checked her back where her bow was strung. “Good hunting too.”

“I’m good at killing devil rats now,” she said.

“I bet you are. No devil rats there. Deer mostly. Some birds. Small game.”

“What’s a deer?”

With a smile and a flourish, he pulled out a disposable commlink.

“Wear this.”

She squinted, but wore it. It was just a simple disposable metaclip commlink. Nothing fancy. However after it booted up he showed her deer. Specifically those on Blake Island. It was an introductory video with a cool man’s voice doing the narration. She’d never owned a commlink before, so this was all new. Pictures that moved. Trees. Dirt that didn’t look sick. Deer. Oh sweet meat those deer looked so slow and lazy and their heads were all the wrong size for big teeth. Colorful birds! Why are those people smiling? Weird. She had so many questions and the man answered many. Deer didn’t have big teeth. Those brown and green plants were trees and bushes. That water was called the ocean. No, she couldn’t drink it. That was okay because most water was bad anyway.

“How many devil rats do you want?” she asked.

He blinked. “I’m sorry?”

“How. Many. Rats?” she asked, as if to a stupid child.

“None. I want you to come, not rats.”

“Oh, so I am for sale?” she asked, and frowned. Her eyes narrowed. “I am not for sale.”

“You are not for sale. I want to train you,” said Julian, quickly. “That’s what schools are for.”

“Oh,” she said, and turned her head. “Rat man! Do schools cost new ends?!”

The rat man sighed and looked at her, no longer able to stay out of the conversation.

“He wants to pay you to attend. He’ll pay you in knowledge. loving jealous. Opportunities I’ll never have. drat kid,” he grumbled.

That grumble made her happy. It was the good deal grumble. She could trust that grumble.

“Okay. I have three conditions,” she said, raising her fingers.

“They are?”

“I want porks, new ends and puppy comes with me.”

Story focus: Half feral teen in a strange land. A girl and her dog. Voted #1 most likely to escape ghouls. Half trained mystic adept.

Likes: Meat, hunting, porks, new ends, puppy, lone devil rats, leather clothing, hoarding.

Dislikes: Ghouls, packs of devil rats, go gangers, bad water, people who correct her.

First Choice of the CYOA

Does Fuzzy think she was sold out by Rat Man?

In actuality, did Rat Man call Julian because he wanted to improve her life or score some nuyen? Maybe a mix of both?

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!


1. No - I don't think Fuzzy would necessarily consider this being sold out. It's scary and a culture shock, but also pretty drat exciting. Plus, the good deal grumble

2. Yes. Kinda. There's definitely something in it for Rat Man, but I like to think even a barrens freejack has some heart left. After all, he could probably have arranged for something horrible to happen to her for a quicker payday before he heard of Julian.


E: Welcome back, dude. I've been waiting for this for a long time <3

Tias fucked around with this message at Sep 22, 2017 around 08:39

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




jagadaishio posted:

Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Yeah, this sounds about right.

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

I'm in agreement with everybody else so far.

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


Yo, this is phenomenal so far. Also, thirding this:

jagadaishio posted:

Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy doesn't think that Rat Man sold her out.

Fuzzy has people she can rely on besides herself. She gets a small bonus to charisma and intuition and a small penalty to strength and agility.

The rat man told Julian about her so he could get her out of there, but not just for altruistic reasons. He got a small payday out of it. Everyone's got to make a living, right?

Rat man has become a permanent contact. I'll flesh him out more if we end up playing as Fuzzy.

Fuzzy's gear:

One bow
One quiver (Full of nice arrows)
One skinning knife (Well used and maintained)
One spear (Bad quality)
Armor clothing (Devil rat leather jacket and pants)
Two steel traps
One metalink commlink
One Credstick (50 Nuyen. Rolled a 5 on street lifestyle.)
One puppy (Named Puppy)

Fuzzy's weapons are currently unavailable to her upon reaching the island.

Fuzzy's Mood

Suspicious, but excited. Feeling naked without her weapons. Somewhat paranoid at the large group of people, but not full on paranoid as she is able to put at least some trust in people.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Julie Freeman

Sometimes to understand the girl one must understand the parent. In this case, her father, Charles Freeman. To understand her father one must understand two things. One, he loves his family. Two, he hates meta-humans. In life when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. First they clash, but in the end either the force is resisted or the object is moved.

February 7, 2039 - The Night of Rage

"gently caress you, knife ear!" jeered a man.

People don't know when they're living through history. No one in the crowd knew this would be what would be called "The Night of Rage" by scholars in their ivory towers or by bitter, suspicious meta-humans for years to come. First came the elves, then the dwarves.

"Get the rope!" cried another.

Men laughed while the elf cried. Just for being different. The old hatreds came out to play and with it came old costumes. White cloaks, white hoods, pointed hats, burning crosses, rope, firearms and strength in numbers. These are the tools of the trade of Humanis Policlub, but they weren't the first to use these tools and methods. People who didn't want a part in this stayed indoors tonight. They looked the other way. Atrocities aren't just committed after all. They're permitted. Tolerated. The Night of Rage never would've happened if people stood up in enough numbers and with enough ferocity to beat back people like sixteen year old Charles Freeman and those who fed his fear and anger.

Blood was pouring out of the mouth of the crying man. Someone had kicked out his teeth a few minutes ago. They hadn't exactly been precise and so his face was a ruin. Beer was poured over his head and the crowd laughed. A noose was thrown over his neck.

The knife ears and the stunties were uppity, but they weren't too bad. Then came the trogs just a few years later. All those "people" goblinizing at once. loving animals, that's what they were. Animals wearing the skin of humans to be shed in a few scant days. Some called them monsters. Others son's of Ham. Charles only wanted to call them dead. No one knew what was next. It was too much for Charles Freeman, but at least these freaks didn't have the vote. That is until they did. In sweeping proclamations around the world these monsters were declared people. The fourteenth amendment of the UCAS. Only a few right thinking countries wouldn't give these freaks the vote. Japan was a holdout. There were a few others, but so very few. A stand had to be taken. A message had to be sent. The Night of Rage wasn't planned. It was a spontaneous explosion of violent anger. A bloody catharsis. There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. That was this week.

No one came to save the elf. The man was hoisted up by the rope. His neck wasn't allowed to break. He was strangled to death and died hard. People in white hoods took selfies. "Had a lot of fun, wish you were here." No one stopped them. They came and went as they pleased. The corpse was eventually cut down, but not before Charles lifted his mask just high enough to spit on the man. It was somewhat ineffectual. He was too high up and Charles wasn't particularly tall so it just hit the elf's ragged jeans. Charles smiled though. He'd done his duty to humanity today. If one were to peek under the mask one wouldn't find a crowd of lily white faces. Not entirely anyway. The old hatreds simmered down as entirely new ones stirred up. Humans were becoming an endangered species after all. Humanity needed to stick together or get exterminated. So when Charles dropped his mask it covered not only a pleased, evil smile, but a brown, Hispanic face. He wasn't the only one. In an ironic twist, Humanis was a sort of rainbow coalition of humans, any human, willing to hate. They were accepting like that.

March 1st, 2059

Charles was doing well for himself. The Lord said to be fruitful and multiply, and so he did. He was thirty-seven years old and had seven, count them, seven beautiful human children. His wife, Patty, swore that little Julia would be their last. He could deal with that. If he were lucky he'd be fifty-seven by the time she was twenty. Time to stop making children and focus on raising them. He'd done well. He worked with his hands like a man should. Brought home his pay like a man shoulder. Worked hard for his family like a man should. Life was good. Not great, but good. Humanis went "legit". They'd lost their momentum three days after the Night of Rage when a terrorist group took down the Sears Tower in Chicago. The media claimed it was some splinter group of Humanis, but they never made it stick. False flag terrorism, that's what it was. All that momentum gone. Now they had to live with the freaks and Humanis went legit. Now they weren't anti-freak, they were pro-human. Can't even say Trog anymore. He feared for the world his daughter was growing up in. When he was younger one of those trogs made eyes at his oldest. A burning cross in their yard put that to rest. He decided to get out when he heard his fellow Humais members speaking out against that. Trying to get into "soft power". Trying to "change things" at the political level. gently caress that. You can change things the old fashioned way. Boot knives, rope and shotguns. Seemed those were out of style.

"Love you, little Julie," he cooed.

All of that hate vanished as he tickled his daughter's feet. Replaced by fear. He wasn't sure what he'd do, but he knew he'd do his best. For his family. That's all he could do.

July 30th, 2072

Julie Freeman could read minds and that terrified her. Not exactly read minds, but sort of. It happened in school one day. People fall asleep at their desks all the time after all. Her friend, Paul, who worked late at the Stuffer Shack was asleep at his desk.

"Hey Paul," said Julie, "Class is over. Time to get up."

She was a gawky teen, but her mom had been too when she'd been younger. Even in the 2070's acne was still a thing and while she'd been able to avoid the worst of it, Paul hadn't. Must've been all that greasy soy food. She couldn't blame him though. School and the Shack were the only two solid meals he got a day.

"C'mon. We'll be late for lunch," she continued.

That usually got him up. Paul wasn't the best. He had terrible skin and didn't do well in school. Honestly not that attractive. But he worked hard and he was human. That put him in her good books. Dad complained about public schools and mixing with...Well...She wouldn't say those words. I mean they were people, just not human people. People people. Not like her or Paul. She didn't talk to them much if she could avoid it.

Julie groaned, rolled her eyes and shook Paul. However something unexpected happened. She found herself transported elsewhere. Paul was working behind the counter at the Shack and he was getting yelled at by someone. It was one of those gangers. This one was human. Black and orange colored clothing. Filthy clothing. He wore a jacket with a jack-o-lantern on the back. His hair was spiked orange. She saw Paul's hands were in the air. The ganger had something in his hand. A gun? Holy poo poo he had a gun. Had he seen her? Paul looked terrified.

"Gimmie your fuckin' creds, pimples," jeered the man.

He waved the gun in Paul's face and laughed. Then he turned the gun upwards. A gunshot barked and stucco fell to the floor.

"All your nuyen and a soy'kaf too. Pumpkin spice. My favorite. Now give me you nuyen or I'll just kill you and take it. Makes no difference to me, chummer," said the man, now laughing.

Paul was in trouble. Her dad told her never to look away. Do the right thing now. NOW. Not later, now. She could've left, but that wasn't in her. She wasn't small, but she wasn't big either, and he had a gun. She cast about and found a glass carafe for coffee. The classics never go out of style, and the Stuffer Shack wasn't big on safety. They were big on piping hot soy'kaf. She picked it up. It was so full and it steamed heavily. It sloshed as she crept forward, and when the ganger began to level the gun at Paul he dumped it over his head. If this were some trid flick she would've quipped something heroic like, "Get away from my friend!" or "Here's your pumpkin spice!" Instead he screamed as his skin boiled. He turned around, gun dropped, and his black and white grease paint ran off his face in rivers as his skin blistered. He screamed. She screamed. Paul screamed.

She woke up, still screaming. Paul woke up screaming. What was that? What was with this headache?

"What did you..." started Paul.

"Lunch! We're late for lunch," she cried.

Her voice was reedy. Her temples felt like dad's power drill was burrowing into it. Paul held his heart and caught his breath. He looked pale. He looked horrible in fact. Those dark circles under his eyes hadn't been there before, had they? Why hadn't she noticed? She was supposed to be his friend. When he finally calmed down he began to speak.

"Sorry about the screaming," said Paul. "Bad day at work last week."

Julie couldn't stop herself.

"How bad?" she asked, quietly.

"Real bad," said Paul. "I almost got shot."

Eventually Julie figured it out. Not by trial and error, but sometimes you forget and sometimes you touch people and sometimes they're sleeping. Without fail she would jump into whatever that person was experiencing and emerge with a massive headache. She told no one. Dad didn't talk about it much, but his hate wasn't just reserved for those people, but freaks in general.

Freaks like her.

June 2nd, 2073

She'd been careful not to touch anyone in quite some time and when the day to get tested for her freak status she simply declined. Dad was proud. She'd been terrified that they'd know anyway. The bored looking mage hadn't even looked twice at her. She was in the clear. She could finish up school and go on to be a nurse like she'd always wanted to. They wore gloves when they worked on patients after all. Easy. Simple.

It happened on the softball field. Baseball is Seattle's home sport after all. You show civic pride by going to a Seadogs game or swinging a bat. She was in the dugout talking to a friend when something began to happen. Her skin started to itch. Not a regular itch, but everywhere. Not bad, but weird. That's not how itching worked. So she scratched. She got some weird looks because her chosen spots were everywhere, but that darn itching wouldn't stop. In fact it got worse. The itching became pain. She doubled over. The pain became a fire. She screamed. Her friends looked at her in horror as she hit the ground. They didn't know what this was. The catcher, Philly, she knew though. Julie didn't talk to her much. She wasn't people people. She was all right, but just not her type. An ork. So while the game stopped and people called 9-11, Philly crouched over her, her eyes lit with understanding.

"Don't worry. I know what you're going through," she said. "Here. Bite down on this."

It was her glove. Julie shook her head.

"Bite down. It'll get bad if you don't," she growled past her tusks. "You're goblinizing. I did. My brothers did. I know it when I see it. Bite down on this or you'll break your teeth when you clench."

Julie cried. Julie hurt.

June 2nd, 2073

Goblinizing is the constant fear of teens and parents. Elves and dwarves are born and they don't have to go through this. Humans goblinize. Orcs and trolls have human kids, but they almost always goblinize and about twenty percent of all humans including their kids become orks trolls. Mostly orks. The process is awful. Magic rips through the body. Changing it. Rearranging it. Bones crack and reform. Skin twists. Tusks or horns sprout where there were none. Skin toughens. It's like being on fire for days. Like your is body flaying itself with a searing, jagged knife. Not everyone survives it which is why Julie was in the hospital. This was day two of three. Julie yelled herself hoarse on day two. Drugs normally help cut the pain, even if just a little, but she hadn't been given any. This was the University of Washington Medical Center. The biggest hospital in the 'plex and she couldn't get something to kill the pain. It was her father of course who had managed it somehow, though she didn't know that. No one had come to see her. Just nurses and doctors. Then out of nowhere, the person she'd both hoped and dreaded to see walked through the door.

"Daddy..." she croaked.

Her voice was so deep now. She hated that voice. She'd hoped that he'd put aside that hate. Love her like a daughter. She was his after all she he was hers. She hoped he'd see that. Dared to hope.

"I'm not your daddy," he spat.

Her hope died. A new pain hurt her. It didn't cut her heart. That would've been too neat. This slashed at her heart. The wound it left was ragged.

"Filthy little trog pretending to be mine. Spoke to your mother. She says you're mine, but there's no way that's true. I'll have the truth out of her one day or another," he spat.

Those slashes came fast. She thought she'd cried herself out but more came. Fat tears welled up in her eyes. She shut them and turned away from that mask of hatred that her father wore. She knew she was a freak ever since she'd touched Paul that day in school. She thought she could hide that from her family. In fact she probably could've gotten away with it. Not this though.

"Don't you turn away from me," he roared.

She opened her eyes only to see a blur. He slapped her and she saw static for a few seconds until the world stop spinning. Her dad had never hit her. Spankings when she was little, but he'd stopped. Never to the face. Not ever. Reeling emotionally, physically and mentally, she was struck again and again and again. Slaps became punches to the body became hands curled around her throat. She choked. Began to gag.

Her father smiled. He wasn't some old man in his fifties. He was sixteen again and hauling up that knife ear by his neck. He was taking charge again, something those new wave pussies at Humanis didn't know to do. This was real. Strike out against the freaks. A new Night of Rage. It could start right here as he put the lie that called itself his daughter to death. He smiled and Julie saw that smile. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she began to black out, but as she grasped at his hands she felt that power again. Dreams weren't going to help her, but this wasn't a dream. Her father shrieked as her own pain fled her. The fire stopped. She stared at him in horror as the man she'd loved all her life tried to kill her and went down screaming. Eyes open, mouth agape, his shriek tore at his throat until it didn't. She watched him die on the floor. The pain came back. Doctors and nurses flew in. She fainted. She had a single thought detached from all of this before losing consciousness.

"Why couldn't I have just passed out before he got here?"

There was no unstoppable force. No immovable object. Just an old man and his hate. Her daughter and her guilt.

August 1st, 2074

"Prisoner 417539-D, you have a visitor," said the guard.

Tried as an adult for second degree manslaughter. No visible wounds to speak of. After all, bruises are the least of what one goes through when goblinizing. She'd killed her father. Guilty on all charges. She didn't fight a one of them though her public defender told her that she had a serious case for getting off the hook. But what was out there? More pain? To see her family and their hateful eyes stabbing her with accusations? No, she didn't want that. She just wanted to stay here and be forgotten. Too scared to live, too cowardly to die.

"Yes ma'am," she called back.

She stood out of her bunk in her orange jumpsuit. A full six feet now, she was used to the pat down and invasive searches via magic, tech and probing fingers. She'd become acquainted with the humiliation of squatting and coughing on day one. This was gentle by comparison.

"Right. Hands in front where I can see them."

All routine. Cuffs go on, go where you're told, eat terrible food, watch the same shows in the lounge, keep your head down, stick with your kind. Her kind. poo poo, she didn't have a kind. Or is there some club for magical trogs who kill their parents?

So she was lead past checkpoints and cells, more checkpoints, more cells. This was the part of the prison for the awakened after all. No one here got slack. She'd heard that some woman light her mattress on fire and get ripped apart by an air spirit. People talked about it for a solid month. Not that she knew how to use her magic, not that she was trying.

She was lead into a room those who are familiar with visitation in prison are familiar with. Not the circular tables where people can touch. That's for lower security. No, this was a simple pane of bulletproof glass reinforced with a man barrier and an honest to goodness phone. Some things never go out of style. She wasn't familiar with who was on the other side of the glass. He was kind of cute in a way. Wait, no, pointed ears. drat it. This guy can pass. He'd tucked a lock of blond hair behind his ear as he put the phone up next to it. On reflex she did the same.

"Hello miss Freeman. My name is Julian," he began.

"What do you want?" she said.

She didn't have a snarl in her. That's what she wanted to do. Instead she looked at him with dead, uncaring eyes. She was so tired.

"I'm a teacher. I have an opportunity for you," he replied.

She squinted at him, but couldn't help but smirk.

"You're kidding me," she said, and turned around to look at the guard. "Is he kidding me?"

"Eyes front, prisoner," said the guard.

Eyes front it was. Toeing the line was risky. She stayed way the gently caress back from the line lest she find out exactly where it was.

"I'm not kidding you," he said. "You were brought to my attention and the attention of my school. We looked over your files and saw that you plead guilty without even defending yourself. I'm here to interview you."

"Wow. Not pulling your punches, are you?" she asked, and quirked an eyebrow.

If Julian hadn't been pulling his punches he'd have wondered how she'd cast a manabolt on her father and killed him without any training and without shredding her body from the drain while under extreme physical pain. Safe to say he was pulling his punches.

"I thought I was being rather restrained, actually," he admitted.

"Seriously?"

"I don't make it a habit to lie to my students," he said.

"I'm not your student," she snapped.

He quirked a smile.

"Not yet."

Julie ground her teeth. Large, sharp teeth with tusks on either end that pushed past her lips jutting upwards.

"Julie, what are you getting out of being here?" asked Julian.

She furrowed her brow.

"What?"

"What are you getting out of being here?"

"I don't understand."

"Therein lies the problem. You don't understand. You're just..." he made an expansive motion. "Here. You're out in five years. Three with good behavior, which I have on good authority that you are well behaved. Then what? You're an untrained magician with a criminal SIN. What's next?"

Julie shrugged. Julian leaned forward.

"Speaking as the person who was once sitting almost exactly where you were once upon a time, I've got to say that you should take the deal," he whispered, and then grinned. "The food sucks."

She couldn't help it. She giggled. It was low and guttural, but that's what it was. She smiled, and then realized why she shouldn't. She sighed.

"I deserve to be here," she whispered.

"Again, me out here, you in there, I've got to say that if this were a contest about who deserved it more, I'd be in there, not you."

"You don't know anything," she snarled.

"I'm a teacher. I know a lot."

She glared at him. He took it as assent.

"This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Teens die during goblinization and sometimes that's just convenient", he said, making air quotes. "I know that a girl going through goblinization with a father linked to the Night of Rage probably wouldn't have survived if it'd happened at home. Instead it happened at..."

"What?" she interrupted.

"Night of Rage. It's in your history books," he said.

"I know what the Night of Rage is. What does my dad have to do with that?" she said.

Fear welled up in her. Pain. She didn't want to think about her father. That wound was too fresh.

"I did the legwork. He was..."

"Don't want to hear it," she interrupted.

"Okay."

They didn't talk for a time. She was the first to break the silence. A morbid fascination was overtaking her. Who was this man who visited her? What did he want with her?

"Fine. Show me," she said.

"Show you what?" asked Julian, blithely.

"You said you did the legwork. That means you have something."

"Perceptive. I like that in a student."

"I'm not your student," she growled.

She found that she was no longer detached, but growing angry. Angry wasn't good here. It could get you tuned up, thrown in the hole or killed. She struggled to get her anger under control. Julian realized what she was feeling. After all, he felt that once upon a time too. She was internalizing all of her anger and guilt. Best to channel that in the correct direction to the real source. It wasn't fair and it wasn't right, but life rarely is.

"Are you sure? This was what I was going to pull out at the end to convince you, not the beginning. You can't unsee some things, Julie."

"I thought you didn't lie to your students," she said.

"I don't need to lie to you," he said.

He was improvising. Off script. However he was good at that. If he couldn't win her trust he'd use more brutish methods. Not just not lying to her, but telling her the truth. After all, Julian was always going to walk out with Julie in tow. This was what he was good at. However he had reservations about showing this to her if he didn't have to.

"Yeah. I want to know."

Julian touched his commlink, made a few gestures. Not magical ones, but working with his eyes and hands. He made flicking motions and the bulletproof glass became a screen. Men in white hoods. A hanged elf. Scrawled underneath, edited to look like a postcard were the words, "Wish you were here." It was a selfie.

"You know they're still prosecuting people from that night? I had a friend poke through their archives. Metadata never goes out of style. February 7, 2039. The Night of Rage. The one holding that cell phone is your dad. You know, back when they had cell phones. We don't know if he killed that man, but he's reveling in it. Not just that. Social media accounts. Political affiliation with Humanis. Not the "family friendly" Humanis, but the stringing people up kind. Burning crosses in peoples' yard kind. White hood kind."

She looked away. Now for the truth.

"It's not your fault," he said.

"gently caress you, knife ear," she spat.

"Going to have to work on that," he said, blithely.

The guard cleared her throat. The conditioning of violence and humiliation that is prison beat down her temper.

"You are who you are. You're not a freak. You're special."

Unable to express her rage, Julie Freeman began to cry. Minutes later when she was done she came back to the conversation. After all, the guard would wait as long as she would wait. This conversation wasn't done until Julie decided to come with him. That was his mission.

"What do you want?" asked Julie, feeling defeated.

"To teach you. I work at a place called the Blake Island School of Magic," he said.

"What, like a principal?" she asked.

"Ah, no. No, I'm just a teacher. A pretty skilled one if I'm pressed, but just a teacher. I'm a talent scout for people like you."

"Like me?" she asked.

"Troubled students with talent," he said.

"I'm more than just some troubled student," she said.

He grinned ruefully.

"I might have some history with the hard cases, seeing as I was one myself. I was hired for my unique perspective. Here's my promise to you," he said, trying to cut past her retorts, "I become your guardian. We wipe your criminal SIN and clear it completely when you graduate. You learn to control your powers, earn back your freedom and improve the quality of your food."

He waited for a beat before grinning a winning smile.

"Only slightly though. It's not a lie if it's only slightly."

Story Focus: Overcoming her hatred and guilt, learning to manage her power, finding a place where she belongs, voted #1 most likely to stand up for her friends.

Likes: Living in the past, good food, friendship, baseball.

Dislikes: Magic, metahumans, being a metahuman, feeling guilty, dreams, prison.

Second choice of the CYOA

Deep down, does she wish she'd died in that hospital?

Does she feel bad for calling Julian knife ear?

One last short story to go before we make a choice about who we'll be playing. Then we jump to the camp.

And not including this I wrote 4488 words. A real short story. They'll get a bit shorter as I move past introductions (for my own sanity if nothing else), though I'll try to keep the quality the same.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 23, 2017 around 00:05

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




God, Dad really pissed me off. Like, in real life. But that's good, stories don't usually get to me in real life, I can tell this is gonna be amazing.

Yes, and no. We really are a self-loathing racist little rear end in a top hat to start off. Thanks, Dad.

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


No and no. We're somehow less lovely than our upbringing would imply, but we're still not handling all this well. Also again, holy poo poo this is some good stuff!

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

Yes and absolutely no.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Yes,
No

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Kenji Okamura

"So yeah, I did some running. Guidework mostly through the ACHE, but it's nothing to thumb your nose at."

The ACHE was the name for the old Renraku arcology, now a gigantic housing project. Too big to fail, or at least tear down. Instead they stacked people deep in what was still a nightmare factory, and Kenji was one of its "tour guides".

“At the risk of sounding petulant,” whispered Julian, “What is this? Shadowrun babies?”

“Yeah, you sound petulant,” retorted Kenji.

“Then I’m in good company,” Julian replied.

Kenji drank his soykaf with one hand and made a fencer’s salute with the index finger of his free hand. They were at Elliot’s, a French restaurant that specialized in soy cuisine with a bias against normal humans. Not because they were humans, but because they just weren’t exotic enough. Kenji was dressed for the occasion, but was put off because Julian was older than him and looked like he could be his dad as they were both elves, both of a similar height, both blond and had just a similar enough facial structure that the mistake could be made. Again, not a problem by itself. However Julian was bucking the system by dressing in his dumpy teacher’s attire. He was apparently a big enough deal or represented an organization that was a big enough deal, but Kenji frequented places like this to be seen. Being seen with a man in his teacher’s garb got them put at the back of the restaurant, which was good and bad.

“So you’re trying to recruit me for this school of yours. That’s cool. Not the first time I’ve been scouted, but it is the first time I’ve been scouted for educational purposes.”

Julian smiled.

“Though I have to say the pay sucks,” remarked Kenji.

“The food sucks too. At least compared to what you’re used to eating,” said Julian. “I will say that while the pay isn’t the greatest though that education of this caliber is rarely free. Education like this makes you worth more. As I understand it while you are good at what you do, but it’s pretty niche.”

“Tour guide to the old Renraku arcology? Yeah. Super niche, but lucrative if you know your way around, and I do know my way around. It’s been my stomping grounds since I was a kid,” said Kenji.

Julian shuddered visibly. The old Renraku arcology was bought out years ago by the UCAS government after less than one percent of one hundred thousand people were killed there. The astral was thoroughly polluted there. Julian once assensed a meat packing plant for all of two seconds before fleeing back to his body on instinct and vomiting. All of those people dying, being experimented on, trapped, honestly it was the perfect camouflage for Kenji. He was an adept and most adepts don’t work the astral. Julian hadn’t found Kenji through a comm call or by scanning prison records. Kenji had been recommended. Kenji knew people. Knew people who knew people who knew Julian.

“I know that shudder,” said Kenji. “All you magic types wonder how an awakened can be there. Well like I tell everyone, I’m blind to the astral. In fact I so rarely ventured out of the arcology that it wasn’t until a few months ago that I even knew I was awakened. Took the test and passed with flying colors, but honestly it didn’t change much. I am what I am, and adepts don’t need years of college like magicians. So I’ve been offered prospects that to another person would look enticing, but to me is slumming it. The fact that I’m here and talking to you is mostly because you’re paying for my meal, but I’ll hear your pitch. I like Elliot’s. They do soy right.”

The waiter sauntered up to the table, dressed to the nines (at least as far as waiters went).

“Gentlemen,” he said, and eyed Julian. “Have you decided what to order?”

“I’ll have the Basque-Style Fish with Green Peppers and Manilla Clams,” said Kenji. “Also a slice of that Mocha Dacquoise Cake. Oh, and do you have those long sticks with chocolate that go in soykaf? What are those called?”

The waiter shrugged.

“They’re called Pirouettes or Piroulines,” said Julian. “I’ll just have your seafood stew.”

“Very good. My apologies, sir, we do not have Pirouettes. However we do have a number of pastries you could select.”

Kenji shook his head.

“I just wanted something for my soykaf. It’s fine,” he said, dismissively.

The presence of the waiter was part of the charm. He didn’t actually take any orders. The two men used their commlinks, highlighted their choices and that was that. They both ordered what they wished out of habit. Julian started from the top left of the menu and worked his way down, and rarely too far. Kenji went to the bottom right and worked his way up. The waiter strode away having fulfilled his purpose as a callback and a novelty to a time when waiters were necessary thus enhancing the prestige of Elliot’s. Even the menus were real. In the sixth world things changed fast, and menus were a luxury when what was hot today was not tomorrow. AR menus were the norm, so real menus with real laminate that needed to be printed in a shop were like finding that telephone in prison: Anachronistic, charming and slightly bizarre.
Julian waited for Kenji to talk. Kenji wanted to talk. Wanted to brag, to be noticed and appreciated. Occasionally he’d explore with a light social jab here and there to keep him on his toes. Too much and push him away. Too little and he’d get bored. He fired off a text and waited for Kenji to make the next move.

“The seafood isn’t real you know,” sighed Kenji. “The stew? Soy and maybe some reconstituted krill. Maybe the green peppers are real, but the fish, clams, even the cake are all soy. I’ve had coffee a few times, but I keep coming back to the kaf. It’s everywhere.”

“Sure the seafood and kaf is soy, but this is Seattle. We’ve at least gotten a whiff and maybe even a taste of the real thing at some point,” retorted Julian. “If there’s anything that the bright boys and girls in the corps know how to do it’s to properly replicate the food Seattle is known for. Cost efficient too. The school food isn’t fantastic, but it is real. Cooking the real stuff is a dying art, but it still is an art.”

“Hence the ability to gently caress up enough for old timers to complain,” teased Kenji.

Julian mirrored Kenji’s fencing salute with the same index finger. Kenji smirked. Julian for his part was mirroring. The small shifts in posture, the way he folded his hands, even down to what he focused on with his eyes. Kenji was a charisma adept and so he’d read that attempt as a blatant way to understand his emotions and manipulate him. So Julian pretended he was doing so and in doing accomplished his goal without giving away the game. Otherwise he risked Kenji sending false tells to lead him away. So he pretended to be negligently twirling the glass of water in his hand, ice clinking against the side. He pretended to look bored while paying rapt attention. He pretended to lay back with terrible posture while attempting not to look interested in the other patrons and wonder if he was interested in him. Instead Julian sat up straight with his elbows on the table. Terrible manners, but he was expected to have them. Uncultured, but just cultured enough to be interesting. After all, he’d dressed the part.

“I suppose you’re right,” said Julian.

Just then a man in a suit stepped into view, nodded to Julian, then to Kenji, and deposited a small cylinder in the middle of the two men. That was quick. He nodded back to the man and rolled the box of Pirouettes on its edge with a finger.

“Oh, that’s cheating,” griped Kenji, but he was smiling.

“There’s another word for cheating. It’s called craft,” said Julian. “I’m crafty.”

He kept it rolling in small circles as it tipped this way and that.

“All right, what do you want for it?” asked Kenji, his voice resigned.

“Well you’re one of just a few go to guides to the old arcology, and probably the only magically active one since it makes anyone who can sense the astral go insane given enough time. Got any stories?” asked Julian.
“Didn’t think you wanted to hear about shadowrunner babies,” said Kenji.

“Humor me.”

“That’s not how this works. I’ll take fifteen percent up front.”

Julian let out a real belly laugh. That brought him back. He pulled out two of the long, thin, chocolate filled candies and handed him three. He stuck one in his soy kaf, ate one and left the other to the side. He stirred and thought.
“I specialize in sections K through Q. Mid to lower parts. Not the lowest. Down there’s it a death trap. You know the place went down in Christmas? Some rooms haven’t been visited since all those people got trapped down there. So you find this mummified troll in a Santa suit. People down there don’t celebrate Christmas, or at least it’s bad manners. New chums do it. The ones who didn’t have to do the cleanups anyway, but the workers that stuck around because there was a steady paycheck at the beginning kept finding bows and wrapping paper and toys. There was all that garbage and no food or way out, poor bastards. Anyway, I went to an abandoned section with this team lead by this guy named Razorboi.”

Kenji rolled his eyes. Mentally Julian did the same.

“They were a totally green team. Walked away from a few milk runs gone sour and they think they can tackle the Renraku projects. Way over their heads. I was barely past section M. Not even really testing myself, you know? Smooze with some gangs so we don’t get shot, keep them from getting lost, avoid the traps, you know ghouls are down near the lowest levels? Well we didn’t even have to deal with them. So I’m playing pathfinder and making sure these idiots don’t get killed because I get a bonus for a completed run. They think since they’re all chromed out and kickass that they can tackle this place. That’s how it gets you. Long periods of boredom before wham, you get caught in a trap. So we get the place, clear out the trash in front of the room, bust out the mini welder and in we go. So what sets me off immediately is that there are Christmas lights and that they’re on. Fourteen years later and every single one of them is working. They toss the place for pay data and I’m on edge. I feel it in my teeth. I’m telling them that they should scrub the mission and I’m telling them that from outside the room, because I’m two seconds from noping the gently caress out. Then this idiot razorboi, this dumbass chromejob unwraps a present. Why? I dunno. Because he can. Toasters aren't paid to think so I'm not sure why he felt like he deserved a present. Anyway, inside it he finds this concrete brick and everyone starts looking at it. Room gets bad fast. I see that brick and I start thinking about how when I was a kid. Like a little kid.”

Julian couldn’t help himself. His mirroring tactic was being unraveled by the story. He leaned in closer as Kenji got quieter and quieter, but at the same time more animated.

“So I look at this brick. It reminds me of something. You know what it reminds me of? My sister. She used to have this cute little red dress. Bowties in her hair. She had this smile that could warm your heart. And I knew this was weird because it’s a brick, you know? Just this concrete building brick in a Christmas present. Everything is screaming weird, but I want to go in the room because I want that brick. You know why all of this is weird? You glomming onto it yet?”

Julian didn’t speak. He only shrugged, but stayed focused, interested, because he was.

“See, my sister didn’t smile like that. She didn’t have a little red dress. No bow ties in her hair. See, I don’t even have a sister. Not dead, not alive, don’t even remember my parents, but this brick is telling me these things and I think I’m not getting it full blast because these runners are drawing down on Razorboi. This mage starts conjuring, freaks out, gunfire, Razorboi screams and I’m fighting not to go in there and steal the thing. I run as far away as I can to the top level. So down there is probably a nice payday in nuyen and scrap cyberware. I know exactly where it is, but that brick is there and it’s a loving deathtrap. Now and again I wonder how my sister is doing before I remember that I don’t have one and that it’s the echo of some deathtrap set up by this psycho AI named Deus, and that it’s not the Renraku Arcology anymore. It’s the ACHE, arcology and commercial housing enclave, because someone in government has a sick sense of humor. I didn’t even go that deep. You just get fooled sometimes. poo poo creeps up on you. It's Christmas everyday.”

“drat,” said Julian, meaning it.

Kenji took the cylinder of candy from Julian’s unresisting hand, gave it a toss and smiled.

“Nice,” he said, and smiled. “Now you get to decide if that’s true or not.”

Forced out of his reverie, Julian smirked. It was hard to remember that Kenji was only fifteen, but easier to remember when he smiled like a kid just like he was now, big and broad. Life is hard on arcology kids. He’d found his niche and he’d survived. Even if that story wasn’t true, it probably had enough truth to it hidden somewhere among the bullshit, if there was bullshit that is.

Their meal came and they ate in silence. Kenji managed to get not one, but two deserts, and shamelessly tasted Julian’s stew despite knowing it was a faux pax. He ate his own food with gusto and they didn’t resume talking until they were done.

“So about this school?” prodded Kenji.

“You’re going to attend.”

“Yes.”

“And you already knew you were going to.”

“Yes.”

“You were just hungry.”

Kenji grinned.

“Expense accounts are great, aren’t they? Besides, I’m doing you a solid by pretending to be wined and dined. That stew wasn’t bad,” said Kenji. “If I’m not going to be as active I can break some unwritten rules about table manners.

“No. Not bad at all,” said Julian. “Tastes like the real thing.”

Kenji not only had his cake and ate it too, but was also filthy rich in Pirouettes.

Story focus: Scheming, schmoozing, lying, kinda sorta experienced with the shadows, learning how to put his skills to use for good or for ill. Voted #1 best smile.

Third choice for the CYOA. After this we’ll pick characters

On a scale of 0% to 100%, how much of his story was true? Or at least what's true and what's not? Go nuts. Whatever you feel like.

Did Kenji always know he was going to join the school and just wanted a free meal? Or did he decide during the conversation, and if so, when?

An easier 2500ish words this time. After all the questions are answered (feel free to keep answering the previous questions, I just wasn't done writing today) we'll wrap up and choose a character who we'll be playing.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 23, 2017 around 04:44

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




Almost entirely true. The one lie is that he does have a sister. Or rather, did. Oh and we have no idea what the gently caress set up the trap.

Totally knew he was going to school beforehand. He'll take anything that gets him out of the arcology. Even if he plays it off like he's fine, he's very emphatically not fine after that incident

Crazycryodude fucked around with this message at Sep 23, 2017 around 04:47

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Mostly false, there are a ton of true horror stories about the ACHE but Kenji's figured out the kind of details that impress even the most savvy rubes and he also understands the value of making it personal. However, the biggest lie was claiming to be blind to the astral, he knew he was awakened way before he got tested as an adept and any other explanation would've been far less reassuring.

Yes, he specifically took the test expecting to be noticed by somewhere like the school. The other offers he received were better than he'd let on, but the school had more potential for the kind of long term payoff he'd been looking for.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Julie wishes she'd dyed before she ever even goblinized. While she was human. When she was still loved. She doesn't have a death wish. She'll keep moving forward. But it would have been... easier that way. Kinder. For everyone.

She does feel bad about the slur. She's a racist - there's no denying that. But unlike her father, she has the basic human decency to feel guilty about it.

Kenji's story is completely true - every word of it. He gets a kick out of telling the truth, but only once nobody can be certain of whether he's lying. It's cathartic, but in a way that doesn't make him feel emotionally vulnerable.

And he still doesn't know if he's actually necessarily going to attend. He's said yes to move this forward, to get a better look at his options. He's ready to cut and run at any time, though, if it doesn't play out like he wants. Until the day he graduates, he's only going to have one foot in the door.

Side note, did most orks/trolls goblinize in the older fluff? Because in the current stuff, goblinization mostly tapered away after the initial wave, and most orks are born as orks to ork parents. Some people still goblinize out of nowhere, but it's uncommon, not ork-puberty. I'm not as familiar with the classic editions, though.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

Side note, did most orks/trolls goblinize in the older fluff? Because in the current stuff, goblinization mostly tapered away after the initial wave, and most orks are born as orks to ork parents. Some people still goblinize out of nowhere, but it's uncommon, not ork-puberty. I'm not as familiar with the classic editions, though.

I'm going to have to change this a little bit. It seems that orcs and trolls can have orc and troll babies. I swear that wasn't the case in one of the novels I read because there was a human girl with a bunch of ork brothers and she hadn't goblinized.

However it being more rare makes it all the more shocking. I'll think about it.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm going to have to change this a little bit. It seems that orcs and trolls can have orc and troll babies. I swear that wasn't the case in one of the novels I read because there was a human girl with a bunch of ork brothers and she hadn't goblinized.

However it being more rare makes it all the more shocking. I'll think about it.


There are definitely throwbacks in both directions. Humans born to orks, orks born to humans, people born humans to orks and then goblinizing, and other combinations. You can even have troll parents with an unexpected dwarf child. It's not a cut and dry kind of thing, just greater trends.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

There are definitely throwbacks in both directions. Humans born to orks, orks born to humans, people born humans to orks and then goblinizing, and other combinations. You can even have troll parents with an unexpected dwarf child. It's not a cut and dry kind of thing, just greater trends.

In this case I'm going to let it ride. Teens goblinizing isn't going to be a huge focus. It might happen once more in the entire story. I'd rather write going forward than fix stuff going back. Nice spot though. Thanks.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

All right. I waited for a bit and got some answers.

Julie definitely wishes she died it seems. Not enough to take her own life, but enough to feel a ton of negative emotions. Small penalty to charisma, but a bonus to body for being tough enough to survive.

And it seems that she didn't feel remorse for tossing a racial slur at her soon to be teacher, Julian. Overwhelming no. Looks like she's going to be an angry, sullen, self-hating, racist teen. Poor girl. Penalty to etiquette (the diplomacy skill) and a bonus to intimidate.

For Kenji, one that he was lying and two that he was at least mostly telling the truth. So I'm going to give him some bonus dice to acting as everyone had a different answer as to not only his truthfulness, but his motivations. At the same time it looks like he always knew he was going to attend, but for different reasons. I may test if he's telling the truth at a different date.

Bonus to conning people for getting a great dinner and some extra to charisma for the plethora of answers. I feel like he might be untrustworthy though and relationships are formed with trust. He might have fewer contacts or become untrustworthy in general which keeps him from forming new ones.

Time to pick

Make your choice. Fuzzy, Julie or Kenji. What I will say is that if I feel like the character has been explored enough or things are getting dull we can switch again. We're not going to be locked in for the whole CYOA with one character. Or at least we don't have to be.

(Belatedly I've realized that all their names end in an E sound. Oh well.)

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 24, 2017 around 00:13

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


Julie, I think. Should make for an interesting viewpoint, if a very sad one.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




Fuzzy. She seems like the kind of kid to pull together a band of misfits and stick it to all the rich assholes.

Plus we'll have the maximum amount of time with Puppy this way. It's mostly about Puppy, tbh.

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

Fuzzy. She's coming into this as the ultimate outsider, I think that would be the most interesting way to see things at first.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Definitely Fuzzy for a bit. The perspective of a fish out of water type is the best opener for the school.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy - First Day of School

Ever


Fuzzy was interested in the talking fish for all of a few seconds, but grew bored. She had to wear these goggles, they were on too tight and she didn't know how to adjust the strap at the back. She'd worn goggles before, but normally they were attached to a gas mask that more or less fit her as the Puyallup barrens is often too toxic to live in without protection. The fact that she was wearing these to see a floating figure which didn't really look like a fish at all annoyed her. There was also a definitely thread of fear and paranoia at being disarmed. She'd asked for three things, but she felt like some things were just so implied that going without them was insanity. She had no bow, no spear, no arrows, no knife, no traps. None of them. She wasn't big, so how was she supposed to defend herself? Not from predators, because there weren't any on the island as she'd checked. No, from people, who were worse than predators. People who surrounded her. People with power. She'd never seen so many people in one place who weren't actively hunting or being hunted. Normally the former. Men on motorcycles with guns with harsh words in their mouths and violence in their minds. She'd feel safer with a blade, and if she couldn't get her knife back, she'd have to steal one.

"Hi! I'm Sonya!" said a smiling, young human Latina girl.

Sonya was tall. Taller than any woman she'd seen before, though thinking about it many people here were tall. Her hair was dark and long, her face finely featured, her eyes dark. She didn't seem to be visibly armed. No scars. Pretty. She wondered if she belonged to someone.

She was waving with both hands to everyone and smiling big and broad with her teeth, which set Fuzzy's own teeth to grinding. Predators showed their teeth. She wore the same thing everyone else wore. Something teacher-Julian called a uniform. Dark blue shorts and a light green shirt with the insignia of the island on it. All the same colors. The gangs did that. Normal people wore whatever they could, but these were definitely gang colors.

"I'm Ross!" called another man as he stepped onto the stage, a pretty looking blond haired white man.

Ross' blond hair was short cut. That was just good sense. Long hair like that Sonya girl was begging to be pulled. It was how one was dragged down. No hair means no leverage. Less to cling to. He was muscular, but bulky. He'd looked powerful, but slow. Bright eyes, strong features. No scars. At least not obvious ones. Not visibly armed. Wow, his teeth were white. His teeth were white and he had all of them. She could almost count them they were so big.

Pretty was dangerous and the two were definitely that. It called attention to you and attention made you a target. They hugged in a strange, side armed hug without looking at one another. Did they not trust one another? Obviously they did because they weren't looking at one another. They just smiled and showed their teeth to the crowd. People...Smashed their hands together? To make noise. They're making noise. Fuzzy shivered. This was a bad place.

"This is weird. I don't like it. They're loud," whispered Fuzzy, urgently.

"Way too loud," griped Kenji.

"Whatever," said Julie.

It seemed Julie didn't take the threat seriously, but Fuzzy looked to Kenji and nodded ever so slightly. He didn't look like much, but neither did she. Looks were deceiving and those that deceived lived another day. Kenji nodded back. Good.

"We just want to say welcome to everyone!" continued Ross. "We were in charge of the junior cabins last year and we're honored and flattered to be chosen again this year. Not just for the seniors, but for everyone. If you need someone, look to us. We can help you."

Aha, it all made sense now.

"Which gang are the Kab-Eenz?" asked Fuzzy.

"I'll tell you later," answered Kenji, immediately.

Julie looked at her incredulously, then burst into a fit of resonant giggles. She was immediately shushed by a teacher. Some older, severe looking woman. She must be tough to be so old. Fuzzy kept quiet while Julie held one hand to her mouth. Julie was strange.

"We hope you have a wonderful year at Blake Island and hope you learn a lot," said Sonya. "We're sad that this is our last year, but we hope you'll make it count like we have!"

They said a few more things that didn't make sense, but Ross mentioned something that piqued her interest.

"...And there's going to be a bonfire tonight! Make sure to come by. It's tradition after all."

They waved and stepped off the podium. Now finished. More people talked, but Fuzzy thought. This must be the Kab-Eenz ritual initiation. She'd never been in a gang but she knew of them. She'd seen beat downs new members got. The ones she normally saw were five minutes of kicking and punching. They'd get a drink or some drugs and hugged and patted on the back when they got up. If they got up. They didn't always get up. Perhaps there would be some sort of branding? Apparently she'd missed something. She didn't pay attention, because everyone was up and milling about. She'd lost Kenji and Julie. Suddenly panicked now that she had no weapons and not even the possibility of a close ally she cast about for Kenji or even Julie. No one. Not even Julian. She drew someone else though. Another pretty girl. Pointed ears. Tall. No scars. Red hair and purple streaks. She knew about hair dye, after all the gangers used them. Large breasts. Somewhat chubby. No, she would not survive long.

"I have to ask," drawled the girl. "Who does your hair?"

"Does?" asked Fuzzy.

The girl was stalking around her. Fuzzy tracked her with her eyes, and when she was about to disappear out of sight Fuzzy turned to face her. She squared her shoulders.

"Dear, it looks like someone cuts your hair with a knife," she said in a stage whisper.

A few people behind her giggled. Fuzzy turned her head, not taking her attention fully away from this stranger. Apparently the look she shot them stifled those giggles. One even stepped back. Good. Fuzzy flicked her eyes back to the girl.

"It is cut with a knife. I cut it. They took my knife," she said, curtly.

"I think they should've taken a little more," she teased.

"I only had one knife. They took it from me."

"I meant your hair, sweetheart. Maybe...Even it out a little? Maybe I could help you. I'm Christina. And you are?"

"Fuzzy."

"I'm somehow not surprised," she said, and rolled her eyes.

In a fit of teenage cheek she reached out to try and ruffle Fuzzy's hair, like one might touch a stupid child or a pet. Fuzzy struck her wrist before she got too close, but close enough that she judged that she would follow through if she hadn't. After all, she hadn't cut her hair in some days.

"Owww..." whined Christina. "Why'd you do that?"

"Weren't you trying to touch me?" asked Fuzzy, confused.

Perhaps she wanted to do that strange sideways embrace? Is that what people did here? If she was, Christina wasn't telling. Those girls snickered not at Fuzzy, but Christina this time. Fuzzy looked back at them again. They were close, but stepped back again. Three of them. They feared her though. Good. She turned back to Christina.

"Christina. You are pretty. Your hair is long. Your arms are thin. Your hands look soft. You display your body for others. You are fat. I do not think you will survive long," said Fuzzy. "I will not protect those who look unable to protect themselves. You will only get yourself and others killed. Stay away from me."

Not giggles nor snickers. Stunned silence, then suddenly a roar of laughter. Great guffaws of laughter. Rippling peels. Christina's face turned scarlet with rage. Impotent rage. She was weak after all, and Fuzzy turned away from her. Even took her eyes off her in a blatant sign of disrespect. She turned to the girls behind her.

"Tell me you were recording that," said one girl. "Please, if there is a God you were recording that, Sasha."

"Bitch, I record everything. Nice one new girl. What's your name?" said presumably, Sasha.

"Fuzzy," said Fuzzy.

Christina stalked away, humiliated. Normally if she were to challenge her to regain her pride she would have struck Fuzzy, or at least shoulder checked her. Nothing. Weakness. She slipped entirely from Fuzzy's mind.

"I've never seen someone gently caress Christina up like that. Nice!"

"I barely touched her," said Fuzzy.

"Could've fooled me. Want to get lunch together sometime?" asked Sasha.

The other girl turned to look at Sasha.

"Okay, fun is fun, but you want to catch lunch with the weird girl?"

"That moment made this lame intro the best. Way better than last year."

Sasha wasn't pretty. At least not enough to be noticed. Thin, short black hair, brown skin, big smile, no scars though. Fuzzy relaxed. Not totally, but more than she had before.

"Yes. I was told there'd be porks," said Fuzzy.

"Porks?"

"Bacon."

"I see you got your priorities straight," said Sasha.

Fuzzy nodded sagely as the other girl left. Perhaps life wasn't too different from the barrens after all. She would find Julie and Kenji later. She could have a meal with Sasha so long she brought enough food for herself.

Question time.

Did Fuzzy defeat Christina so soundly that she will be left alone, or did she make an enemy?

How much of her life will she share with Sasha at the lunch table if prompted?

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 20:09

Strobe
Jun 30, 2014

I've never liked lasers. Not enough kick. I've never liked missiles. Too impersonal. Give me the rumble and the thunder. Give me the guns, guns, guns.

She made an enemy. By humiliation if not by injury. Whether said enemy is potent enough to be more than mild inconvenience is still up in the air.

Superficial details. Nothing about her own capabilities or weaknesses. She doesn't trust Sasha yet.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




Definite enemy

Some basics, but nothing too personal. Maybe little tidbits to keep her interested, but we don't trust Sasha. Yet.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Halfway between. Christina will be hostile to Fuzzy from now on but won't try anything overt because she thinks Fuzzy is practically a feral animal.

Don't really share much.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


She made an enemy.

And she'll share a lot, but her priorities are all screwed up on what is and isn't relevant information. She'll never reveal where she stashes or sleeps, never reveal how or where she does anything. That's valuable information that could be used to hurt or hunt her.

But details about how hard, mean, and dirty her life has been come easily. Freely, even. They've long since faded from traumatic to mere fact.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!


She probably made an enemy. Christina probably thinks she's hot poo poo herself.

Share some personal things. Fuzzy doesn't quite realize what information is personal and what isn't, it seems.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy made an enemy. I'll roll later for how often she'll show up and how well connected she is.

Fuzzy will share what she thinks isn't important. I'm going to post a character sheet in a bit. I'm going to default on charisma (Roll three dice and hope there are any fives or sixes and not more than two ones) to see how much she reveals. She's going to keep mum, but she doesn't really know what to keep mum about. If she fucks up she'll reveal wrong things while concealing things that would be important to her.

Fuzzy

That which was called "class" was bizarre. Everyone sat in a desk chair facing forwards towards a teacher. She sat at the back in a corner so as not to have anyone behind her in case of ambush, which was good. The class size was small and she counted only twenty people. Everything was so clean and new. She'd never been surrounded by so many clean, new things before. In fact the shorts, t-shirt and underclothes she wore were clean and new as well. A first for her. That feeling was also bizarre, but a good bizarre. She liked clean clothes and she knew she had more. She'd have to be gentle with these if she could. Also upon further examination she found that while the shorts and shirts everyone wore was mandatory, people accented what they wore. There were necklaces, facial piercings, earrings, hair of many different styles and colors along with ornaments. Some people wore goggles for AR like she did, but most people either wore glasses or contacts. Everyone had a commlink, though not all of them were out.

The teacher at the head of the class was not Julian. Instead she was that severe, older teacher from before. A woman with grey, plaited hair down to her lower back, a leathery, brown face, probably Amerind of some sort, and her face was creased in a permanent scowl, brown eyes hard. She was also much shorter than everyone else, stooped with age, though she did not use a cane.

"I'm Mother Bear," said the teacher. "You may call me teacher, teacher Bear or Mother Bear. I'm here to teach your introduction to magical safety course," she started. "I have been teaching this class for nearly thirty years. I plan to teach you not to do things, and what not to do. I'm here to teach you how not to use your powers and how not to hurt others or yourself," she said, stressing the word not. "This is a safety course, and as of right now most of you are unsafe. You are a danger to yourselves, a danger to others and unlikely as the case might be, a danger to me. Now most of you were assessed when you found out you were awakened at school. Some were assessed by less orthodox methods," said Mother Bear.

Her eyes flicked to the back row where Julie sat.

"Julie Freeman. Stand up," said Mother Bear.

Julie looked around at the room. A room that did not contain a single other ork or troll. She stood up nervously, her eyes forward.

"Julie here is the most powerful magician in terms of raw power not only of the freshman class, but including the sophomore, junior and most of the senior class."

Julie allowed herself a rare smile. Fuzzy saw her back straighten with pride, but then she slumped seconds later for some reason. Strange.

"She has absolutely no control over her power and seems to have some instinctive idea of how to cast a manabolt," continued Mother Bear. "Combat class is not until junior year, and then we only teach non-lethal spells. Lethal spells are taught as an optional course for those on the security or military tracks. You are a child with a gun and children are careless. There's always one of you...Sit down, Julie."

Julie, now scowling and miserable, sat down.

"As of right now until this course is finished you will not bully one another. You will not be snide or cruel towards one another. You will not get into any physical altercations with each other. Until all of you learn to get your powers under control you will not use them. The course is two weeks long and mandatory, and if you do not complete it to my satisfaction you will stay with me even longer during your free time, which will become my time. Anyone violating these rules will be tied to the shame pole in the middle of campus for the weekend. You will tell anyone who passes you what you did. You will tell them why you did it. You will tell them you are sorry and you will mean that you are sorry and unlike when I was a girl, you will be allowed food, water and bathroom privileges. Feel blessed," growled the tiny old woman. "Today you have one and only one test. You will describe to me what I just said back to me. This will be a written test so the inattentive ones can't cheat. You will use the application relevant to this class. As I have administrator privileges for all of your commlinks and so I had it installed while we were talking. Anyone who fails this test will be tied to the shame pole for an hour. The rest will have free time. You have five minutes. Begin."

Sudden fear spread through the teens. People began to work furiously with their commlinks to describe what Mother Bear just said back to her. In another age the scribbling of pens and paper would've been heard. Now people mumbled tapped on keyboards that weren't there. Unless you were a decker or at least some wiz hacker there wasn't really a way to cheat off peoples' tests anymore. Fuzzy did not know what to do. Her commlink wasn't even on. The shame pole sounded bad. It would draw attention to her and leave her vulnerable. She pulled out her commlink, tapped it on, but the setup for the metalink commlink started to activate.

There were also words. Fuzzy didn't know what they meant. Not a few of the words, not some of the words, but all of the words. Fuzzy didn't know how to read. Julian made it seem so easy he helped her before. Now she didn't know what to do. She sighed and put her commlink back in her shiny, new backpack. She resigned herself to the shame pole, and as she looked around, she could tell that she wouldn't be the only one. She took off her goggles. They hurt her head and were too tight. She saw the world as it was and allowed herself to make a single, miserable sound.

Out of the twenty students of the freshman year four were consigned to the shame pole. One girl, one boy, Fuzzy and surprisingly enough, Kenji.

"Class dismissed. Find something else to do for an hour then go to lunch. Except for you four," she said. "You four stay here."

The girl and the boy looked disheartened, but Kenji only looked bored. She went to each of them one by one, but cast an angry look at Kenji.

"Elizabeth, why were you not paying attention?" she asked.

Withering under the mighty gaze of the diminutive woman, she whispered something.

"Speak up. I'm old."

"I was texting someone," she said, miserably.

"Follow the AR tags for the shame pole file that's being installed on your commlink. I don't want to waste my twighlight years punishing you myself. I'll get the highlight reels later. Remember that you're not just wasting my time, but wasting your own, which makes me waste even more of what little time I have. Shame pole. Go."

She scampered off. Mother Bear glared at Kenji, but turned to the other teen.

"I was..." started the young man.

"Texting as well. Her it seems. Peer to peer. Thought you were being sneaky, and yes, I read the chat logs. Neither of you are clever. Next time I'll send out a mass text with the file. Hrm, tell her too. Forgot about that. Anyway, I trust you have listened to my lecture by proxy and know what to do?"

"Yes ma'am," he said, humiliated.

"I am teacher, teacher Bear or Mother Bear, not ma'am. However, your heart is in the right place. Remember next time," she said.

"Yes, Mother Bear," he amended.

"Good boy. Go to the shame pole."

Off he went. She rounded on Kenji and glared at him. Kenji smiled placidly.

"Well?" she seethed.

"Porn," he said, placidly.

"Pornography!" she bellowed, face inches away from his. "You were watching pornography during a magical safety class! A class in which I teach you how not to injure or kill one another or yourselves!

Her hard little eyes attempted to burrow into him, but failed to make even an impression. He continued to smile placidly while she sentenced him.

"Shame pole, and if you ever do something like this again I will eat your entire weekend, young man," she seethed. "It won't just be the shame pole. I've smoked out young men who thought they were funny back in the army. You'll mop the dirt in the rain," she seethed.

"So I just follow the..."

"Get out. Now."

He turned to Fuzzy, winked at her in a way that made her feel decidedly uncomfortable and left. Fuzzy didn't know what pornography was, but it must have been very bad for her to yell at him like that.

"And what is your excuse young lady?" she seethed.

She didn't turn that anger on Fuzzy. Instead she tracked Kenji as he left. Her face was back to her normal scowl when she was met with Fuzzy's commlink in her upturned hand. She'd taken it back out of her backpack.

"What? Is it broken?" she asked.

She reached out for it, but Fuzzy clenched it in her hand and pulled it away.

"It's mine," she said.

"Young lady, I'm not interested in if it's yours. I'm interested why you weren't paying attention," she said.

"I was paying attention," said Fuzzy. "I always pay attention."

'Your inability to send me your results tells me otherwise," said Mother Bear.

Fuzzy ground her teeth. Admitting weakness was bad, but she was stuck between admitting she didn't know how to use the commlink and being accused of not having paid attention.

"Do not harass other students and do not be violent towards other students or I will go to the shame pole. If I am tied to the shame pole I will tell everyone what I did when they pass. I will be given food, water and bathroom privileges. It will take the entire weekend," recited Fuzzy.

"Okay, so you learned the lesson. Honestly I don't understand why it's so hard to listen," she said to herself, her tension easing.

Her eyes slipped out of focus for a moment.

"Not even set up. So you are unprepared?" she asked.

Again a choice to admit weakness or not. Everyone else was gone though. She resolved to be prepared next time.

"I don't know how," she admitted.

"You mean to tell me that you are a fifteen year old girl and you don't know how to use a commlink? I find that unlikely," she said.

Her eyes were still unfocused, then came back into focus a full minute later. Fuzzy waited patiently and was rewarded for her patience.

"Oh. So that's what I missed at the staff meeting. You're from the barrens. Redmond?" she asked.

"Puyallup," amended Fuzzy.

"And deep enough that you didn't use one of these?" she asked. "Surprised you're not toxic. Julian wouldn't bring that back here, no...Girl, erm, Fuzzy. You don't know how to set that up, and I see that you didn't even bother to try. Can you read?"

Fuzzy said nothing.

"No, I suppose not," she said, wistfully. "Feel naked without your weapons too, huh, child?"

"Julian took them. He made promises about what I would get but not about what would be taken away," said Fuzzy.

"Don't worry, child. You get used to it. I was in the army for eight years. We awakened are never truly disarmed. At least once you get older," said Mother Bear, who smiled wickedly.

Fuzzy shivered.

"I'll see if we can get you some of your things back. Within reason. You must be powerful if Julian thinks getting you caught up is worth his time."

Knowing nothing, Fuzzy said nor betrayed nothing.

"No shame pole for you. Go enjoy yourself. It's a nice day outside. I'll tell Julian to help you set up your commlink," she said. "Among other things..."

Fuzzy was free for a time and so she got Puppy. He was in her room. He had a cage, but she didn't allow him to be put in it. It was a big cage, so it seemed he was expected to be very big indeed which pleased her. She spent some time with him outside so he wouldn't poop in her room. She played with him and he licked her face. Fuzzy giggled and smiled a rare smile, and when it was lunchtime she brought Puppy with her. After all, he needed to eat too.

Puppy was the star of the show at the lunch table, though lunch wasn't here just yet. He gamboled about on the wooden lunch table outside wagging his tail and occasionally barking and growling. Girls and even a few boys cooed over him, but didn't stay too long. She kept Puppy close so no one would take him, but did allow others to pet him if she was holding him, though she kept a close watch. She sat with Sasha, Julie and a few other girls she didn't recognize.

"He's sooooo cuuuuute," cooed Sasha. "What's his name?"

"Puppy," said Fuzzy.

"I love dogs. I didn't know we could have a dog here," said one of the girls.

"Can't," said Sasha. "Not unless you specifically work with animals."

The girls looked to Fuzzy and then to Puppy, suddenly understanding something Fuzzy did not.

"I bargained to bring him along," said Fuzzy.

She was feeling a little full of herself. After all, no one else had dogs on the island. At least not that she'd seen. She also noticed that Julie was being quiet, but seemed as if she wanted to come closer. At the same time not twenty feet away from her Kenji was tied to the pole with rope around his stomach. It seemed that he was speaking to someone. That someone laughed uproariously and pelted towards a crowd of people. The crowd of people began to laugh as well as the boy excitedly told the crowd. She was brought back to the conversation by Sasha.

"Where'd you get him?" asked Sasha.

"I found him while hunting," said Fuzzy.

Fuzzy omitted that she'd nearly killed Puppy when she first met him. She knew not to say that much at least. Sasha seemed to like dogs.

"Oh cool. What do you hunt with?" asked Sasha.

"A bow. Sometimes a spear," said Fuzzy.

"My brother does some bow hunting sometimes on the weekends," said one girl. "Has to pay out the rear end for it. Private grounds."

Fuzzy didn't understand why he kept new ends in his butt, but these people were strange. Perhaps he had a lot and had to hide it.

"Explains the look you got going on. Cut your hair with a knife, hairy legs, all that whipcord muscle on that small frame of yours. Real woman empowerment. I like it," said Sasha.

Sasha scratched Puppy between the ears absently as she began to make assumptions.

"I like hunting. Anything I can find, really. I can't be picky. Most of my clothes are leather though," said Fuzzy.

She took pride in that after all. She could share a little bit. It wouldn't hurt her to let them know she was dangerous, and if she was dangerous people were less likely to start problems with her. If people were less likely to start problems with her she wouldn't be tied to the shame pole and if she wasn't on the shame pole she wouldn't be isolated. Yes, being known as dangerous would make people less likely to hurt her.

"Neat. All my stuff is synthleather. Real leather is kind of expensive," said the girl. "What kind is it? Cow? Deer?"

"Something exotic?" probed Sasha, eagerly.

They were corp princesses after all. Fuzzy wasn't some poor half feral barrens child. No. She was wearing the same thing everyone else was. Her commlink was cheap, but everyone knows that metalink commlinks are just burners. No one uses that as a main link. Everyone knows that. Rich people aren't weird, they're eccentric.

"Devil rat," said Fuzzy, thoughtlessly.

"Ew," said the girl.

"Shut up, no way," said Sasha.

"That's gross. They're dog sized gutter rats," said the girl. "You really wear that stuff?"

Fuzzy felt uncomfortable all of a sudden. She picked up Puppy and clutched him to her.

"It's mine," she said, quietly.

She was talking about Puppy, but the girls took it another way.

"I think it's bad rear end as hell," said Sasha. "Going out on an urban safari to go and kill devil rats with a bow and a spear? Then getting a leather coat as a trophy? My dad would never let me do that. Hey, do you have the coat?" she asked.

"It's mine," repeated Fuzzy, though the subject of "mine" was now her coat, not Puppy.

"Yeah, can I see it though? I'll know if you killed it. I'm really good at assensing. If you killed it it should be linked to you. So you killed it, right? You're not just bullshitting me?" she asked.

Fuzzy felt stuck again. Either she'd be called a liar or had to produce her coat. Her coat in her room and she could put it off, but somehow she thought Sasha wasn't going to let it go. She was way too interested. Her eyes were alight with thoughts of the hunt. Fuzzy respected that, but still was unsure of how to feel.

What happened

Now that we picked Fuzzy I'm in the process of creating a sheet for her. She's smart enough to learn how to use a commlink, but she has no skill in it. However she's functionally illiterate. Not terrible in a world where everything can be in audio through your commlink, but definitely a problem. So she had a good roll and a bad roll.

Despite having no etiquette skill Fuzzy rolled a critical and so was able to not only not get put on the shame pole, but is getting her commlink set up and will be taught how to read with no public shaming (so far).

Fuzzy didn't do that well in the social etiquette test even with a bonus from shutting down Christina earlier and the bigger bonus from Puppy (they are teenage girls after all). She failed, getting only one success while they got four (a critical) and gave away way more than she planned to. The girls seem to have accepted for the moment that Fuzzy isn't some half feral teen who hunted rats the size of dogs to live. No, she's big into women's empowerment and goes on ultra cool urban safaris to hunt dangerous creatures with primitive weapons.

What's next

She can go and get her coat. It's only a few hundred feet away after all.

After that she can try and do damage control/build relationships with Sasha, talk to Julie (currently alone), talk to Kenji (currently on the shame pole) or something else.

edit: Did some editing.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 24, 2017 around 18:08

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




Get the coat. If Sasha senses that we really did kill it, she'll know we're not the kind of person to gently caress with. Then see if we can't introduce ourselves to Julie. Mother Bear said she's the most powerful magician in the whole place. That's the kinda person you want to be friends with.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Crazycryodude posted:

Get the coat. If Sasha senses that we really did kill it, she'll know we're not the kind of person to gently caress with. Then see if we can't introduce ourselves to Julie. Mother Bear said she's the most powerful magician in the whole place. That's the kinda person you want to be friends with.

Exactly this. If there's still time, talk to Kenji relative safety, plentiful resources... He seemed friendly earlier, and we can afford to build that rapport. Plus, he's wasn't afraid of the teacher at all - he knows how to show strength like these weak, soft people don't.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy

Fuzzy wasn't used to this. She was used to being challenged, but not by people. Rat Man was who she trusted with people and he'd been good to her. Everyone else was suspicious to one degree or another. People here were nice, but niceness could be a trick. This was territory that she was not used to dealing with. They seemed to have different values than her. Values she didn't understand. The coat was easy to show, even positive as it would demonstrate her prowess and truthfulness, but maybe she needed to learn what was important to these people if she was going to talk to them. Or at least talk less. She stood up abruptly without excusing herself, taking Puppy with her to the sound of a few disappointed, "Awww's." she went back to her room. Her clean, spartan room. Most of her effects were practical and lethal after all and therefor missing. However she'd been allowed to keep a few things, her coat was one of the few items she had. Though she had a sneaking suspicion that some of her less clean clothes were gone forever as well. That galled her. She could throw things away. She wasn't a hoarder after all, but when she threw something away she made sure it had no more value to her before she did it.

Her coat came with pants, but those got hot. There was no zipper nor buttons to fasten it at the front. Just a number of ties that could be drawn and tied. There was light reinforcement at the vital points: Neck, stomach, heart, sides, forearms and elbows. It even came with a hood and that gave her a little extra protection too, though it was sort of lumpy. She wasn't actually sure if she killed what she wore. She never saw Rat Man make it. That was his business. Still, the odds were good. After all it came from many pieces. It smelled a little though. She'd never noticed it before, but in this clean place the unclean stood out. She came back wearing it. A few heads turned as she stalked back towards the lunch table wearing what was essentially leather armor clothing. That made her nervous. She didn't like the attention.

"Here," she said, sitting down.

The other girl moved away a bit.

"That reeks," she said.

Fuzzy shrugged at her and looked at a more dubious looking Sasha.

"Yeah, you might want to wash that," she said.

"Okay," said Fuzzy, simply. "You asked for it. So it's here. You can tell if I killed them?"

"Yeah. Might take me a minute," said Sasha.

"Make it a quick minute," said the girl, obviously put off.

Sasha's eyes went out of focus and she frowned in concentration.

"It's in so many pieces, not just one piece. I'm having a hard time with it," said Sasha.

"Hurry up," complained the other girl.

Another minute passed before Sasha reached out. Fuzzy was curious, but backed away just enough not to be touched. Frowning, Sasha stopped and looked not at Fuzzy, but almost through her.

"You don't like to be touched," declared Sasha, who blushed slightly.

"No."

"Is pointing okay?"

"Pointing is okay."

Sasha pointed to pieces of the coat one by one, eyes unfocused, not even following her finger. The other girl, mildly grossed out, still looked on with a sort of morbid curiosity.

"It's made from six different animals, but all the same kind. It's gone through some really heavy processing. Lots of chemicals. That threw me off at first. Anyway, the left sleeve and right part of the coat you killed, both different. The rest are from other people," she said.

Her eyes came back into focus again and she rubbed her temples.

"You know, this is really fascinating and all, but could you put it away? I really don't want to have that around while we eat lunch," said the girl.

"I'll put it back," said Fuzzy.

"Can I hold Puppy until you get back?" asked Sasha. "I know he's yours, but he's so cute."

Fuzzy puffed out her cheeks, looked down at the wiggling Puppy who'd been gambling about on the lunch table and nodded.

"Be nice to him," she said.

Sasha seemed okay to leave Puppy with for a few minutes. Her anxiety was higher than normal. She walked back quickly, again drawing stairs from the patchwork armored leather clothing. She put it away and wondered how she would go about getting it cleaned. She sniffed her clothing, didn't notice any stains from the armor, nodded and went back to sit. Sasha was holding Puppy and Puppy seemed to like her. She even let Puppy lick her face. Fuzzy smiled. Dogs were supposed to be good judges of character, right? Maybe she could like Sasha too. The girls went to get lunch with Puppy cradled in the crook of Fuzzy's arm.

Lunch was an absolute feast and there was so much to choose from. There were sandwiches with real bread. REAL BREAD. Soft too. Her choice of condiments. Was the meat real? It wasn't porks. She may have gotten excited and used too much mustard. Soy fries. Apple slices. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Some sort of green things. Also chocolate milk by the pint in those small cartons that had never gone out of style even over a century later. The lunch lady didn't know what to make of her. In her excitement she asked what everything was. What was obvious to others wasn't to her. She'd seen the fries before and knew what bread was, but that was it. Apparently the meat was real chicken. A few people giggled, but Fuzzy glared and those giggles were stifled, but not gone. She got a little extra for Puppy, who was intensely curious about what was on her tray and snuffling merrily. No needed to pay for anything and so everyone went back to the table.

"Don't get excited. The food isn't as good as last year. The soy fries are definitely a new addition," she said, wrinkling her nose, the word soy almost a curse.

"Food is food," said Fuzzy.

The food was amazing and there was so much of it, and it was real, not soy. She'd only had real food a few times in her entire life, but here there was so much of it. She huddled over it a bit to make sure no one would take any and fed Puppy some scraps. She knew enough not to eat everything with her hands, but was somewhat perplexed by the chocolate milk carton. She managed to open it without looking foolish. Fuzzy decided she liked chocolate milk and so while she tore through her food with a will, she would delicately sip the chocolate milk, savoring its rich texture and flavor. Puppy would have to do without that. That was hers. She drank half and would save some for later. The girls talked about other people at camp. Who was here, who was missing, boys they liked, who was dating whom, favorite teachers, how much they both loathed Mother Bear and how much they missed social media and having a stable matrix connection. Apparently they were both a year ahead of her. Half of it was nonsense. Fuzzy's attention turned to Julie. She sat close, but far enough away to be alone. She stared at the ork girl who noticed and glared back. Done with her food, Fuzzy took her milk over with her so no one took it and sat down next to Julie.

"What?" asked Julie.

"You're powerful. I thought I'd talk to you," said Fuzzy, simply.

"I thought you'd want to stay away from me. You know, no control? I could go off like a bomb at any moment?" she seethed.

"You'll get control," said Fuzzy. "You wouldn't be allowed here if you were that dangerous. I think she's just making sure everyone else knew."

That made her pause to think. She took another avenue of discussion, and seemed just as bitter despite the change of subject.

"Well you seem to be doing well for yourself. Mother Bear didn't put you on the shame pole like Kenji over there. What, talk you way out of it?" she asked.

She nodded. Julie snorted deeply in disgust, covered her mouth, looked angry and then away. Fuzzy idly stroked Puppy as she looked at her.

"Maybe you shouldn't be seen with me," whispered Julie. "Don't think I don't know, but you, Kenji and I are different than everyone here. I'm not stupid. You're weird, but you could fit in. Carve yourself a little niche like you're doing. I don't know what Kenji's deal is, but maybe you could fake it till you make it. Me, I can't. I'm different than everyone here."

In a fit of sudden empathy for the girl, Fuzzy offered her some of her half drank chocolate milk. She pushed it towards her. Julie didn't understand at first, but frowned more deeply in disgust.

"I can get my own, thanks," she said, scathingly.

Fuzzy took it back and nodded, unaware of what she'd done wrong. That was serious generosity she just showed her. Charity like that was rare in the barrens and she'd refused her outright. Confused, she stood back up to sit back with Sasha and the other girl whose name she hadn't bothered to learn yet. She thought she might talk to Kenji, but she felt like she didn't want to screw things up even worse. Navigating social interactions was complicated. Instead she kept an ear open during the conversation while Julie ate alone.

"I don't see why you want to talk to her," said the girl.

"Mother Bear said she was the most powerful person in the school except for maybe a few others," said Fuzzy.

"Like in your year?" asked Sasha.

"No. In the school," said Fuzzy.

"Holy poo poo," said the girl.

"I'm soooo jealous," groaned Sasha. "I have to scrape by for power. I'm really only good at assensing. I'm wiz with the astral, but..."

The two girls cast a second look at Julie who was pointedly not looking back. One wary of her power, one envious of it.

The rest of the classes for that day went by without incident. Class that is. There was just one class and it was Mother Bear's. She lectured extensively on what not to do. How to control ones' emotions. That a spell was best stopped before it was cast. That if one was feeling unsure about their power to contact a teacher immediately. It sort of felt like how Rat Man taught her about her bow, spear and traps. It was weapons safety of a sort, but with emphasis on controlling one's emotions as well. This she understood, and by the time the class was over it was getting dark. It was fall after all. She could go to the bonfire if she wanted. She didn't want to bring puppy in case she lost him. Or maybe she could explore a bit. Find someone? She wasn't sure.

Choice time

So in Shadowrun you can succeed and fail at the same time, called glitching. Fuzzy did that while speaking to Julie in an etiquette test. I'll let you all decide what that means. How did Fuzzy succeed and how did she fail while talking to Julie?

How do we feel about Sasha and how do we think Sasha feels about Fuzzy?

How is Fuzzy going to spend the rest of her night?

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

No opinion on the character interactions.

Go to the bonfire for our gang initiation.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!


The glitch is probably to do with Julies opinion of us. I'd wager that if Fuzzy becomes more ostracized, Julie will like her more, or perhaps attempt to encourage Fuzzy to become an outsider so they can be miserable together.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


The success is that Julie likes Fuzzy more. The glitch is that she felt pitied. Even if she thinks the weird girl is pretty alright, that kind of pity is a real blow to her fragile self esteem. Being nice to her will get pushback until it stops feeling like pity.

We think Sasha isn't dangerous or trying to backstab Fuzzy. In Barrens terms that's practically a BFF. Sasha, though, is mostly just curious about the audi weirdo. They could end up friends maybe, or they could never talk again. Depends on whether Fuzzy stays interesting/builds a rapport or not.

Let's make sure not to eat too much. Wouldn't want to barf during the gang-joining beatdown. Just enough nourishment to keep her energy up, then save something that'll hold for later after the bonfire.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?




Yeah I like that. We think Sasha is a relatively harmless rich girl, maybe even a potential friend. She seems nice enough. Sasha thinks we're totally weird, but in like, a kinda cool way. Also, everyone loves Puppy. We're going to the beat-in tonight, better to be initiated into the... Kab-eenz, was it? now than to get caught on the outside if they stop taking new members. They must run the whole drat place if even the teachers are advertising it.

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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Going to the bonfire for our gang initiation it seems. Also, Julie is more predisposed to like us, but also pities us. We're like her after all and the pity she feels for herself gets projected onto us as well.

Fuzzy

Fuzzy gave Puppy some food and water for a few days just in case she would get too injured to come back immediately. She didn't think that this crowd looked particularly vicious, but looks could be deceiving. Not to mention that one didn't have to be vicious if they were getting beat in by twenty people. Fuzzy groaned, resigned to her fate, but she wanted to get it over with rather than live with the fear of it.

It was just past dark, but this close to the metroplex it was never truly dark. It lit up the night like a beacon. Planes and drones dotted the night sky with their own, moving lights while buildings provided larger, stationary ones. Ships in the Puget Sound moved to the north and south as the Bremerton ferry and Southworth-Fauntelroy ferry made their last stops for the night, conveying travelers back home to places far nicer and more importantly, upwind of Seattle. The path to the bonfire was lit by lights and small arrows in augmented reality conveyed her to the right spot. Plus it was hard to miss the music. She didn't know what it was. Something cheerful and upbeat with female vocals. It was near the beach so people were dancing, milling about and even a few were playing in the surf. Steeling herself for whatever was to come she stepped into the crowd.

The bonfire was bright and there were people all around her. She didn't fear for her immediate safety. Initiations would be constrained by ritual, but when she looked at people they looked as if they were just having a good time. There were drinks on a table as well as snacks. A full spread in fact full of finger food both fancy and not. Seeing that everyone else was freely eating and drinking from the table she grabbed a red cup, filled it with some sort of liquid, tasted it and found it to be delightful. It tasted like the apple she had before but in liquid form. She slapped together a hot dog (because even a half feral barrens girl knows about hot dogs) and snacked and waited.

An arm was thrown around her shoulder and she froze, her instincts kicking in, hot dog half chewed. Was this it?

"Hey fellow weirdo," said a familiar voice.

She looked and saw Kenji's brown face and distinctive Asian features. Taller than her by a foot, thin of frame and of body with tousled black hair, cunning eyes and a strong chin. The sort of man young man who's all bones and Adam's apple.

"Hi," said Fuzzy around a mouthful of food.

She swallowed and relaxed by a degree.

"So I promised a favor for someone to keep an eye on you today. I have to say that you're doing better than I expected. You're not a wallflower, but not trying to reach above your station either. I respect that."

Fuzzy said nothing.

"See, I'm trying to carve out a place as a lovable bad kid with a heart of gold. An outsider basically," he said, and lowered his tone, "Because that's what we are, because pretending like we belong won't work forever."

Again, Fuzzy said nothing. Kenji looked at her more closely.

"I'm trying to weave a reputation that I can comfortably fall back on before that day comes. Maybe accessorize to speed up the process. Semiotics is a hell of a thing for getting people to make their own assumptions," he continued.

Nothing. Kenji eyed her suspiciously.

"I can tell that that you and I, we're embiggened by this place, but I have a perfectly cromulent way to help us both."

Kenji sighed as Fuzzy continued to say nothing. He drew her in closer and spoke quickly and quietly just barely audible over the sound of the music and laughing people.

"You have no idea what you're doing. You're quiet so you don't betray that. It'll work for maybe a few weeks before you fail, at which point one of us is going to get outed, which will probably out the others. Say nothing if that means yes," he said, and grinned.

Fuzzy glared at him, but looked away.

"Fuzzy, when I first saw you here you looked like you were prepared for a fight. I came here to you because if you were going to hit someone, I'd rather it be me so I can play that off instead of you getting into serious trouble. So instead of thanking me, maybe you just tell me what exactly you think was going to happen when you came here," he whispered.

To an outside observer it might look like Kenji was flirting heavily with Fuzzy. His body language, his posture, the way he whispered all betrayed an oily charm he was working on her, and that Fuzzy was uncomfortable being near him. For her part, Fuzzy wondered if he was telling the truth. She sighed and decided to put a small measure of trust in her fellow outcast. After all, she'd considered him a possible ally hours before. It would be best to test that.

"This is a ritual gang initiation for the Kab-Eenz. Possibly beating, possibly branding," whispered Fuzzy, hoping against hope it wouldn't be worse than that. "I'm being lulled into a false sense of security before it happens."

He nodded and thought about it for a few seconds before nodding again. Fuzzy sighed internally. She was right. He was confirming it.

"Yeah, I can see why you're being quiet now. Fuzzy, you're wrong. This is a party. This is not a gang and you are not being initiated. People are here to socialize and not beat each other up. You're in no immediate danger unless you place yourself there. I'm willing to teach you how to talk to people and what's expected so you can survive here. Don't give me an answer right now. Talk to me tomorrow at the shame pole," he whispered.

"I don't understand," she whispered.

Fuzzy felt wildly uncomfortable as Kenji slipped an around her waist.

"C'mon girl, it's fine, don't be like that," he said, and projected his voice.

People turned to look at them. His lips pressed against her ear he whispered one last time.

"So we're going to end this abruptly. When I'm done whispering you'll step away from me, hit me, then walk away scowling. When everyone asks tell them I grabbed your rear end," he whispered.

The hand that rested on her lower back dropped, but he didn't grab her. Feeling wildly confused, but not knowing what else to do in this sort of situation she channeled her fear and confusion into a strike, and with a strength that surprised her, reached back and did not slap, but punched Kenji. Her punch was perfect and hit him directly in the cheek. His head was rocked back and he was flung to the ground. He wasn't out, but he was definitely hurt. People stopped and looked at them. There was a chorus of "Ooohs" and "Ouches" and "What happened's" and even a few laughs. Not knowing what else to do she stuck to the script, picked a direction and walked away.

Choice time

Fuzzy hit Kenji hard enough to knock him out, which would have been bad, but rolled enough of his body to barely stay conscious, taking eight out of ten hit points of stun damage.

Fuzzy walked away, but was never given a direction. Does she go towards the docks, the cabins or the woods?

Kenji seems to be sure he's going to the shame pole tomorrow. Are we going to meet him? And if so, will we take his offer? Kenji didn't ask for anything, but Fuzzy is actually decent at negotiation in case he asks for something in return.

Author's note. Fuzzy is living in her head quite a bit and that's not particularly fun to write or read so I'd like to get her talking. How I get her talking is up to you folks, but if not Kenji it'll be someone else with different results depending on who we pick to trust.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 18:06

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