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The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Please... Don't read this post where other people can see...

Go to the docks. The forest has too much potential for being ambushed in the dark, in a place we're not familiar with, and the cabins means throwing ourselves into social interactions, which is possibly even more terrifying. Going too far out on the docks means we're sort of cornered, but it's escapable.

Definitely go talk to Kenji tomorrow. We definitely don't trust him, not yet, but he clearly knows what's going on here way, way better than we do, and understands us well enough to be able to get us up to speed without assuming that we know things. Sasha is nice--she respected our boundaries and Puppy likes her, so we should keep hanging out with her--in particular interacting with her is a relatively safe place to practice anything that Kenji passes on to us, and not be wholly dependent on Kenji for interaction.

Also, this is more a suggestion for Kenji, but its probably going to be easier to try and pass off devil rat leather anarcho-primitivism as a punk fashion statement than to try and retrain Fuzzy from the ground up.

The Lord of Hats fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 19:45

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Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Agreed on all points.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Let's go towards the docks. Fuzzy isn't really familiar with large bodies of safe water. They must be fascinating to her.

She's going to go meet Kenji, and probably go along with his plans too. He's the survival expert here, that much is clear. Plus, being so nakedly untrustworthy is its own form of trustworthiness. That's the thing with allies; you don't have to like them, just be mutually useful to each other. The same reason why Fuzzy approached Julie.

She needs to learn how to understand this place enough to be confident like Kenji is.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

And, caught up!

This CYOA is amazing so far, the writing is wonderful; its great to see character motivation drive plot, as opposed to just bouncing from one set of decisions to another while on rails.

1) Go down to the docks and taste the water, because that's exactly what a half feral child would do.

2) Talk with Kenji tomorrow, and get more information out of him; what is this favor he mentioned? What does he want in return? If he says nothing, call BS and lay out that Barrens 'nothing is for nothing' wisdom.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Fuzzy

Fuzzy strode purposefully towards the docks. Not that she had a destination in mind, just away from Kenji and people and complications. She ran out of dock and so she stopped at the end of it. No one approached her. The bonfire was student lead so no teachers immediately jumped on her and her commlink was still not set up so no one could call her. Instead she sat at the end of the dock and watched the waves. The moon was out tonight in full. There was so much water. Not as far as she could see because she could still see the metroplex miles away. There was so much of it. So much she couldn't see the bottom when she was on the boat that brought her here. None of it was drinkable, but that wasn't new, and she'd actually tried just to make sure. She drank none of it and simply spat it out. Strangely salty. Instead she sat and watched the waves lap at the beach. She heard the music from behind her change to something else. Something more frenetic that made her want to dance despite herself. Minutes came and went before she heard steps on the dock. She listened to them get closer before she turned to find Julian, tall and lit ever so slightly by the bonfire. In his hands he had two of the cups from the initia...Party. She allowed him to sit next to him at the end of the dock by making room. He obliged himself and sat down next to her.

"So there's probably some school rules about hitting students," said Julian.

"Are there?" asked Fuzzy, curiously.

"Pretty sure, yeah," said Julian. "I'm here to talk to you about it."

"I get sent away then?" she asked.

"No."

She nodded and looked back to the Sound.

"You disarmed me," she said. "I don't like that."

"I disagree. You made a deal with me. You wanted new ends, porks and Puppy. Two of those things don't exist since you said them wrong, but I'm going to fulfill that part of the bargain anyway. By not checking with me if you could bring your weapons along I think you disarmed yourself, Fuzzy, and a good thing too as you hit Kenji," he said.

She couldn't argue with that, though she'd been asked to hit him. She watched as Julian set the two cups down next to hers which she'd carried from the party. Her own was now nearly empty of apple juice.

"I can negotiate new deals though. I'd rather you stay here," he said.

She narrowed her eyes at him. He smiled at her.

"You're a trickster," she said.

"Sometimes," he said, and that grin turned into a smile.

"A trickster like Kenji," she continued.

"Fuzzy, I am in a whole different class than Kenji," he said. "After all, I trick people into doing good things."

Suddenly he jerked his head right around and glared intensely at a spot behind them and above the dock.

'No snooping, Nita. Not until you get better at it," he said, authoritatively.

He snorted. Fuzzy wondered if he was crazy.

"Bacon is on the menu tomorrow and the school deposited 500 nuyen into your account for the month. It's not a fortune, but if you stay all four years and save I think you'll have a modest sum for yourself by the end."

Fuzzy was mollified somewhat. 500 was currently ten times more than she had on her beat up credstick. Also the bacon. Can't forget bacon.

"Mother Bear talked to me and we're planning to talk to the board about your weapons. Most of the students leave the island on the weekends so we think we can get you some hunting rights. We can't let you kill all the deer on the island after all, but if you follow our rules I'm pretty sure we can do that so long as you turn them back in when the students return."

"I want them back if I leave the island too," she said.

"You want to leave?" he asked.

"Can I leave?"

"Yes."

"When?"

"You could leave on a boat in the morning if you wanted to," said Julian. "Do you want to go back to the barrens?"

The barrens made sense, but she didn't really want to go back.

"On the weekends or for good," she, not committing to anything. "Either one."

"Fuzzy, I'm sensing that you're upset because you don't fit in here. You don't understand and that makes you nervous. I'm sorry that I didn't explain it first, but some things can't be taught before they're experienced. You've had a big day and I think you're ready for one more lesson. Fuzzy, what's in your cup?"

She looked down at her cup.

"Apple water," she said.

"Apple juice," he amended.

"That's what I said," she countered.

He smirked.

"Great. I brought the right kind. Right. So you don't have much of it left. Would you like more?" he asked.

"What do you want for it?" she asked suspiciously.

"Think of it as part of the lesson. You will pay for it by learning," he said.

She nodded. That she could understand. She watched him pour her cup into one of his.

"Drink."

She eyed it dubiously. He sighed and took a drink before she took it and sipped some herself.

"You poured the apple juice in water," she said.

"Right."

"Why?"

"So this school...We want it to be like the juice. It's potent. Not watered down. It used to be like this a long time ago, but slowly, little by little, we have introduced water to the juice. It's still drinkable, but not as good."

"It's okay," she said.

It really was. Even watered down it was far tastier than anything she'd ever had in the barrens.

"Okay isn't good enough. We want to be the best. We can't do that all at once. Would you like some juice?" he asked.

"Yes."

He poured a little in before speaking.

"Kenji."

A little more.

"Julie."

And finally a third pour.

"You. Now drink. What do you notice?"

She drank. It was still watered down, but stronger now. Tastier.

"It's still apple water," she said.

"Apple juice," he corrected.

"No, there's water in it. You put it there."

Julian's lips made a line of frustration, but he smoothed out his features.

"Right. So if I poured apple juice into the apple water, and you three are juice, what does that make the apple water?"

"Tastier?"

"Okay, what else?"

She looked down at the cup.

"Browner."

"How about more potent?" he asked.

Fuzzy said nothing.

"Powerful. More powerful," he amended.

Sudden comprehension dawned upon Fuzzy. Julian's face lit up with hers into a big smile.

"They're weak!" she exclaimed.

Julian's face fell.

"No. That is not quite right. If you think any of them are weak you are in for a nasty surprise," he said. "They are strong in a way you don't comprehend and won't until later."

"I don't get it," she said, and her shoulders slumped.

"They're not weak, but people like you, Kenji and Julie make them better. You all have the potential for power. You make them more powerful by being among them. Or at least that's the hope."

In a fit of arrogance, Fuzzy smiled at him and waggled her head ever so slightly side to side.

"But I am already juice," she said.

"Yes, but you were in the wrong cup," he said. "You may have learned magic in that cup. May. You might even be better, but the life expectancy of an awakened without guidance it's usually a short one, and if it's not short, it's usually awful. I don't recommend it."

Julian's knowing smile faded from his face. He looked towards the water.

"Do you understand your place here now?" he asked.

"I'm here to better myself," she said.

"And?"

"And others by being strong."

"Good enough for today," he said. "Not perfect, but good."

"If I knew this was what you wanted I would have bargained for more," griped Fuzzy.

"Well if it makes you feel any better when you're done with the magical safety course we teach you your first spell," he said. "I was going to skip a few stones later on, but I think I can demonstrate some magic."

"Not on me."

"Stones, not you. Is a stone okay?"

"Yes."

Julian placed a few round stones on the ground, polished by the Sound. Fuzzy watched him warily. Julian placed his hands over the stones and twitched his fingers. They rose into the air, five of them, as if on strings attached to his fingers, but there was no string. When he twitched a finger the corresponding stone would rise. We he relaxed his finger it would fall. He turned twitched all of his fingers and snatched them out of the air with a small flourish.

"Doesn't seem very useful," she said, unimpressed.

"Well I could pick you up, or myself with that spell and rise high into the air. Gently, it's not flying mind you."

Julian mimicked Fuzzy's arrogant, haughty expression and wagged his head back and forth at her.

"When you learn this, that's when you start to become juice," he teased.

She went to bed later on that night. She hadn't been punished, but she had been warned. Again she became the center of attention having punched another student and gotten away with it. When people asked she told them what Kenji told her to tell them.

"He grabbed my rear end," she'd say.

It wasn't a hard sell despite the fact that she didn't look particularly upset, but she was the weird kid. What're you going to do? People would look at her and whisper during class and after.

Mother Bear helped her set up her commlink after class. She wasn't released before lunchtime this time, and there Kenji was, tied to the pole again. She'd seen him in class with a nasty purple bruise across his cheek, but hadn't made eye contact. She was unsure what that meant. Eventually she approached him as he stood tied there by ropes on the shame pole. Just a normal looking log thrust into the ground stained to resist the elements. Surprisingly, Sasha was there giving Kenji the business.

"Pervert," she snapped.

"Guilty," he agreed.

"I'm glad they didn't heal you," she said.

"Yes, I've learned a very valuable lesson," he said in mock seriousness.

"Yeah, you're wearing it. Maybe you should live here instead of your cabin."

"You wound me," said Kenji.

"Not yet."

He brightened as he spied Fuzzy. Sasha turned to find her standing there. She nodded at Sasha.

"Hello Fuzzy. I grabbed your rear. That is my shame," he said, with ritual significance. "No bad feelings?"

She looked him up and down and frowned, but with a significant glance from Kenji while Sasha's face was turned she nodded.

"No bad feelings," repeated Fuzzy.

Sasha turned around and made a disgusted noise at Kenji.

"She is way more forgiving than I'd be. Keep your hands to yourself. I'll give you nightmares. Literally. I'll give you nightmares. You'll never look at clowns the same way again," she growled.

"I'll be a good boy. I'd pinky swear but my hands are tied," he said, tone dripping with irreverence.

She made another disgusted sound and turned to Fuzzy.

"See you at the lunch table?" she asked, a nervous smile on her face.

"Sure," said Fuzzy.

Her smile warmed from anxious to bright before she nodded and left.

"You know you hit me pretty hard," said Kenji. "You didn't have to hit me that hard."

"I think the girls would be a lot more mad at you if I didn't," Fuzzy said, thoughtfully.

"Oh, huh. Didn't think of that. Maybe you should've hit me harder...Hmm...Glad to know I have something to work with. You think about my offer?" he asked.

"To help me with people?"

"Yeah. Also, I know you're listening, Mother Bear. I didn't molest Fuzzy, honest. I'm keeping her out of trouble in my own special way," he said to the air. "Cut me some slack?"

"She's not here."

"You'd think that."

The rope that bound him slackened as if by magic, though it wasn't.

"Thank you very much. Now, let's walk and talk," said Kenji.

"I promised to go back and sit though."

"Right. Walk and talk to the lunch line then," he said.

So they went. Kenji laid his tray heavily with the highest calorie, greasiest, most terrible of foods that he could find. High in sugar, high in fat, high in preservatives, and high he piled them.

"Anyway, you seem useful. I know I'm useful. I want to demonstrate my usefulness to you so we can strike up a friendly relationship. We hit the town for a day, I teach you how to get along and if you like how it works out for you, you come back to me later and we can discuss terms."

Fuzzy smirked at this. She wasn't good with people, but she knew business.

"You seem to think I don't value my own time," said Fuzzy.

"What? Free isn't good enough for you?" asked Kenji, amused.

"This isn't free. You're investing in me," she said.

They continued to move down the line. It put a time crunch on negotiations.

"You're absolutely right," he said. "Okay, I'll pay for lunch while we're out."

"Not enough. The way you said it you could just get me cup noodles."

"I've got an old survival knife in my stash at home," he mused. "It's pretty..."

Fuzzy interrupted. "Okay. And something much better than cup noodles."

"Deal."

Fuzzy smiled triumphantly. If he wanted to invest in her it would cost him. That was the way of things. Her time was not free after all. She was getting paid to go to school too. As she sat back with Sasha and her friend, with Julie sitting close but by herself, she looked rather pleased with herself.

"I don't get it," said Sasha. "Her molests you, you punch him and now you're talking? Doesn't that bother you?"

"He knows I can punch him again," said Fuzzy.

"Truth."

CYOA Choices

Fuzzy negotiated with Kenji semi-successfully. She wasn't able to get a bunch from him, but she was able to get something. Her time is valuable to her after all, and his actions aren't charitable. She knows that he's trying to develop her as an asset and that costs.

I'm going to fast forward to Saturday unless anyone else wants something to happen. Is it just Kenji and Fuzzy or do they try to bring someone else along?

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 23:33

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

And, caught up!

This CYOA is amazing so far, the writing is wonderful; its great to see character motivation drive plot, as opposed to just bouncing from one set of decisions to another while on rails.

Glad you like it. Even worked in her tasting the ocean. When I wrote the story I did some writing beforehand to establish the motivations of more of the characters. Not a huge fan of the on rails writing. Choices matter and consequences are interesting after all. Plus I like the idea that other characters do stuff while we're not around, and so they're not just bonelessly waiting for the protagonist to do stuff with them. When they're out of sight I'm going to have them do stuff to keep them interesting and therefor draw in our attention so they don't get forgotten. So if Julie gets left behind for instance things are going to happen to her. I'm also a big fan of strong secondary characters, so that goes double for people like Julian, Mother Bear and Sasha.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Fast-forwarding is fine. I think our first trip into the big wide world should be with just Kenji, we can try and have a group outing with some of the others in a week or two when we're not guaranteed to make an absolute fool of ourselves.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA Choices
Is it just Kenji and Fuzzy or do they try to bring someone else along?

Bring Julian. Also, puppy, and her commlink.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Glad you like it. Even worked in her tasting the ocean.

Saw that, thanks!

Ice Phisherman posted:

When I wrote the story I did some writing beforehand to establish the motivations of more of the characters. Not a huge fan of the on rails writing. Choices matter and consequences are interesting after all.

And it definitely shows; practically leaps off the screen that the characters actually live in this world, as opposed to 'this is what's happening at the school this year, and the students get taken along for the ride, i.e., Hogarts'

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

Bring Julian. Also, puppy, and her commlink.

As this is the grimdark future of Shadowrun teachers still don't get Saturdays off as those are still work days for them, only from home. Only other teachers understand this and can empathize. No on else cares.

Puppy is a maybe though depending on what the thread thinks.


quote:

Saw that, thanks!

Like I wrote in the first two posts, I'm a big fan of "Yes, and" writing. I do have ideas for the story, but I'm not going to force characters down avenues I think are interesting. Rails are boring. What I'm doing is having ideas for long term writing and so I can plant small seeds that may or may not sprout. However what I'm doing is basically long form improv to get between point A and point B. Also we might miss point B entirely, or hit it from an unexpected angle. Depends on what feels correct in the narrative.


quote:

And it definitely shows; practically leaps off the screen that the characters actually live in this world, as opposed to 'this is what's happening at the school this year, and the students get taken along for the ride, i.e., Hogarts'

I have to admit that I laughed pretty hard at "Hograts".

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 25, 2017 around 23:53

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Oh my god we're some random poor kid who had no idea they were magical, whisked off to the posh magic school with little to no warning, where we're forming a loveable band of misfits to get in adventures with. Is this secretly supposed to be Harry Potter Except Not poo poo?

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Crazycryodude posted:

Oh my god we're some random poor kid who had no idea they were magical, whisked off to the posh magic school with little to no warning, where we're forming a loveable band of misfits to get in adventures with. Is this secretly supposed to be Harry Potter Except Not poo poo?

This is where I subvert your expectations. Sammy the Salmon was a rogue AI all along and becomes the mascot. We begin to play cyberpunk persona. They become a Scooby gang but with orcs.

Jinkies.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Bring Julie along. Let's see if there's something to this apple juice theory.

Ice Phisherman posted:

This is where I subvert your expectations. Sammy the Salmon was a rogue AI all along and becomes the mascot. We begin to play cyberpunk persona. They become a Scooby gang but with orcs.

Jinkies.

Fairly standard CYOA then.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I have to admit that I laughed pretty hard at "Hograts".

Hah, apologies.

Hopefully you laughed because I drew the comparison, and not because I spelled it wrong.

Crazycryodude posted:

Is this secretly supposed to be Harry Potter Except Not poo poo?

I can't be the only one who saw those parallels?

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

Hah, apologies.

Hopefully you laughed because I drew the comparison, and not because I spelled it wrong.

No apologies needed. I genuinely thought it was funny given how much I've mentioned rats in the story.

quote:

I can't be the only one who saw those parallels?

I actually didn't read the Harry Potter series until my freshman year of college so it didn't have the same formative influence on me as on others of my generation. I have however played several hundred hours of the Persona games and at a younger age and it was fairly formative. Shadowrun got to me earlier in my early teens and I'm familiar with the lore that I think I can do a story justice. I might even be able to deconstruct it if I really put my mind to it, but I'm not sure if I would want to. I mainlined cyberpunk in middle school as a kid with Shadowrun and the manga of Ghost in the Shell. I adore cyberpunk as a genre.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I adore cyberpunk as a genre.

Likewise; although, at times I'm split between cyberpunk and steampunk.

Sure, technology run amok is quite alluring as a setting.

At the same time, I really, really enjoy that turn of the century, Mary Shelly Frankenstein, if steam can move a train, then why can't we ride it to the moon, feel as well.

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

"A grudge over food is deeper than the ocean."

Just caught up, this is awesome!!

Jules, puppy if we can fashion a collar and leash.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Looks like Puppy is going with. I saw Jules, but I'm not sure if that was Julie or Julian. In retrospect I probably should've made the names more distinct. Sorry about that. For right now it's just Fuzzy and Kenji and we'll get back to Julie when we get back to the island. poo poo will happen with Julie while the two are away.

Fuzzy and Kenji

At Kenji's insistence they didn't sit together on the boat. On Fuzzy's insistence they took Puppy. Neither had a leash, but she was not the first nor would be the last awakened on Blake Island to work with animals. A collar and leash with an radio frequency ID tag (RFID) was produced to keep track of him in case he got lost, which when this was explained to Fuzzy and how to track him pleased her to no end. She asked for her weapons, but her spear wasn't exactly legal to walk around with in Seattle and Kenji told her that her bow would attract too much attention. Against her better judgement she listened to Kenji. She took her knife, but it was primarily a skinning knife. It had a keen edge, but was fragile, barely a backup weapon. What wasn't fragile was her coat, freshly laundered. She didn't recognize it at first when it was returned to her as it was not a black coat at all, but a dark brown. Years of dirt, grime and ash rendered it black, but it was tough enough to stand up to a wash without disintegrating. Still, her skinning knife was better than nothing. She sat next to Sasha instead for the twenty minute boat ride and though it was too loud to talk due to the roar of the engine she was not discomforted by her closeness. She even let Puppy sit in her lap, though she kept tight hold of the leash.

Fuzzy had seen the tops of the metroplex before, but she was a barrens child through and through. She'd been born there, lived there, never expected to leave and fully expected to one day die there. Yet here she was, and there those big buildings were. Looming. Even at the docks the skyline was huge, the old Renraku arcology, now called the ACHE, loomed largest. It was 200 stories of once shining, once glorious architecture, once shiny and once more angular and vaguely shaped like a flat topped pyramid. However more was pressing in on her. People. So many people. People everywhere. Machines that moved large crates. Boats a hundred, no a thousand, no ten thousand times as big as the boat they came in on. Streets filled with drones and cars and buildings. Food stands. Humanity and commerce, all physical. What wasn't physical were the AR displays that leaped out at her. Buy this, buy that, advertisements for restaurants, fake food, real food, new hair, new look, new you, everything. Advertisements everywhere. She focused in on one person in particular. A hulking troll who walked by her on the dock without noticing. She tracked him with her eyes and a display popped up. Mother Bear enabled text to speech, so the headphones that came with her goggles started to read to her.

"Danny-O
Troll - African American
23 Years old
9.2 meters tall
372 Kg
Currently listening to: Fraggin' Unicorns (Rock) Sample Music? Download current track for 5 Nuyen
Bio: Hey gurls lookin for love or just a tussle. I'm a fuckin troll god and I'd do me if I was you. Fraggin Unicorn's biggest fan and if you can't deal with that get out of my face. Hung like a fire hydrant you want pics you just DM me."

She must've stared for too long, because he stopped, looked back at Fuzzy who was openly staring and sent her a voice message.

"Hey girl, you like Fraggin' Unicorns or just Danny-O?" came a bass rumble through her earbuds.

"What's up, Fuzzy?" asked Kenji.

He was in his street clothes. Fuzzy didn't know what he was wearing was called, but he did make it look good at least. Long black pants that hugged his thin frame and a black shirt with long sleeves and some sort of criss-cross mesh that looked oddly honeycombed. Looking closely, she saw a single stylized bee hiding among one of them who had a cartoonish smile, barely yellow among all the black.

"Found me," it said in her earbuds in a childlike buzzing voice.

"Thought I turned that off," said Kenji.

"Okay. How do I turn off Danny-O?" she asked.

"You're already turning me off. Plus your comm channel is open, newbie," groused Danny-O.

Kenji sniggered.

"Wait, you're hearing this?" panicked Fuzzy.

"Whoa, holy shiiiiit. Fifteen. Fuuuuck that from orbit," he said, drawing out the epithets. "Hit me up when you're legal. Danny-O does not do minors. Check out the Fraggin Unicorns though. Later smoothie. Unicorns for life!"

He cut out while Kenji's sniggers turned to guffaws. Her cheeks blazing, Fuzzy pulled off her AR goggles, took out her earbuds and glared at Kenji.

"Yeah, you have an open PAN in a tourist area. Be lucky that's the worst you get. Pike's Place Market is just down the road and your little link won't survive the spyware, malware and virus-fest that is that shitshow. They got a good hot dog stand down there though. Frankfurter's is going on a century old tradition now. Anyway, stare at someone too long and they think you're interested. Don't stare. Plus I saw you looking up earlier. Don't do that. Marks you as a tourist. Seattle is not nice to tourists. Especially after you leave Pike's Place. Unless it's your credstick, in which case it's not nice to that."

The foot traffic here was too heavy so she picked up Puppy lest he get kicked or stepped on. Puppy barked and wiggled at the sudden attention, and she felt good at holding something that made sense to her.

"You're basically trying to drink from a fire hose with having it open like that with no filters. Don't do it. Here," he said.

He handed her yet another metalink commlink.

"Turn yours off and this one on. It's already set up. If it gets burned it gets burned. It's set to private so you won't get spammed."

"I still have no idea what you're talking about," she said. "What's a PAN?

"It's for boiling water, silly," he teased.

She glared at him.

"This just goes to show how much you need my guidance," he said, magnanimously. "Personal area network. Everything you saw with that guy they see with you. Everything is public. Age, your name or your nickname, height, weight, dating status, sexual orientation, what bands you like, political affiliations, favorite foods, really anything you want to share with the public."

"But I don't want to share," she said.

"Yeah, me neither. I got a fake profile on that. Hope you enjoy being Courtney, because as far as that burner is concerned your name is Courtney."

Fuzzy sighed.

"Anyway, wherever you want to go," he said.

"I want my knife," she said.

"I love your priorities. All right. Time to hit my stash. Knife and then lunch."

The ACHE was only half a mile away, or at least the beginning of it as it was a massive structure that extended both into the sky and was dug deep into the ground. So they walked. Fuzzy was quickly introduced to crosswalks, what they meant, how to read them and how not to get hit by cars. Apparently there was an art to not getting hit by cars unlike the barrens where not getting hit by cars meant finding a structure tough enough to make the driver not want to bounce you off his or her bumper. The drivers didn't want to hit her here, but seemed ambivalent about not hitting her as well. They passed here and there, thither and yon.

"Where are they all going?" she asked.

"To work, to home, to the bar, to a restaurant, to a Seadogs game or to watch Urban Brawl or Combat Biking, to find a green space, to get laid or take the edge off. Might as well kick over and ant hill and ask the ants as ask this mass of humanity what they're up to," he said.

Puppy was still in her hands. There wasn't enough space to set him down. Too many people and he was too little. She wished she could tuck him somewhere but there was nowhere to put him that was safe. He'd occasionally bark at someone or something, not understanding the world, but at least barking at it. She felt a sort of kinship with Puppy, knowing exactly how he felt. Eventually they reached the ACHE's entrance. Probably to some corporate head's chagrin, the Renraku presence wasn't really gone, or that is to say scrubbed off. The signs were taken down, but in their haste the imprint the letters once made were still there. Apparently nobody wanted to go dozens or even hundreds of stories up to wash off the name. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

"Okay, while I'm calling a friend to escort us you tell me if you can perceive the astral," he said, suddenly serious, though distracted.

"I don't know."

"I hear it's kind of glows. You see colors, feelings, life, spirits, that sort of stuff. Any of that sound familiar to you?" he asked.

"No."

"Good. You don't want to do that here. Best case scenario you pass out screaming. Even if you can't, don't. Awakened that can perceive should never go in this place. Back ten years ago almost everyone in here got experimented on and died. It's why this once shiny city in a building is an enormous ghetto now. Like your barrens, but filled with people. Polluted the hell out of the astral. All that bad poo poo that happened here pressed in as soon as you're aware of it. You know, stuff."

She nodded and felt suddenly anxious.

"Is it that dangerous?" she asked.

"What?" he asked, suddenly confused. "Oh no. Not for me. No. I've been running these corridors since I was a kid. You on the other hand are a schoolgirl in a coat clutching a puppy. If I was dressed differently I could pass as your pimp."

"That's not funny, Kenji," growled Fuzzy.

"I'm not being funny, Fuzzy. You want that knife, I want to hit my stash, I meet my friend who's a Billy bad rear end on his block and we don't have to fight everyone who wants a piece of you."

"Oh."

"Not too big a deal. No one fucks with Clever. Speaking of which, Clever, you loving toaster, c'mere!"

Kenji and another boy, no, man, older than he was was chromed out with cyberware, arms especially, army surplus coat ripped at the shoulders to show them off, and said coat was lain over a lined armor jacket. His black synthleather jeans were frayed artfully at the front and he wore heavy boots. His eyes were chrome as well, and had tiny cross hairs in the middle of them as an affectation. He was otherwise bald save for a part of his head which was not a single uniform color. It was chrome on the right, and nanowire tattoos were on his left glowing an electric blue. He was of Asian descent, though was pale where Kenji was brown. He was hugged by Kenji and Clever's arms whirred as Clever hugged him back. They were both tall, though Kenji was slightly taller.

"Hey Ken," he said, voice surprisingly cordial. "Who's the tourist? And who hosed you up? drat dude."

"That would be Fuzzy and Fuzzy," he said. "Prospect. Fresh out of the barrens."

"Oh yeah? Redmond?" he asked.

"Puyallup," she corrected.

Clever winced a bit.

"Deep Puyallup from what I heard, though not Glow City deep, so she's not all hosed up."

Clever looked at her again closely, slowly, up and down. His eyes whirred as he took her in before he finally nodded slowly.

"Sorry for calling you a tourist," he said. "Got to say you look like one though. It's the dog I think. Might want to dress different if you come here again."

Having been noticed, Puppy barked. Clever sighed. Fuzzy nodded seriously.

"Yeah, let's get in and out quick," said Kenji.

The inside of ACHE reminded her of the barrens in a way. Yes, it was cleaner. Kind of. Yes, there were tons of people, some splayed out in corners, some standing around to no good purpose, yes there were even people working here and there, but the place stank of neglect, hopelessness and fear, and so it reminded her of home. She rode an elevator, a first time for her and jumped into a fighting crouch as it rumbled. Puppy barked some more.

"You weren't kidding about the deep barrens, poo poo," said Clever.

"Work in progress," said Kenji. "Diamond in the rough."

"Hey Fuzzy," said Clever. "Everything is fine right now. If I light my eyes up red? Everything is not fine. No worries right now, okay?"

"Okay. Red eyes mean a fight," she repeated, mostly to herself.

"Got it in one," said Kenji.

The elevator dinged and dinged and dinged until it dinged a final time. It stopped and the doors opened to a corridor open to the arcology in the middle with doors lining the walls, most closed. Once upon a time this place would've been pristine. Artwork would have been hung or jutted up from the floor or even floated, but now it was trash that was dumped into the center, and everything smelled bad. Bad in a way that was hard to describe for Fuzzy. Even Puppy whined.

"Thirtieth floor. Home sweet corridor," sighed Kenji.

"My turf," said Clever to Fuzzy.

Fuzzy got that. The tagging was far heavier here than Puyallup, and there were loads more people. The sounds of people laughing, yelling, fighting, even the occasionally gunshot from a lower or upper floor rang out, though not particularly often. The smells of everyone's cooking mingled with everyone's trash. However this level looked somewhat clean. The tagging, while heavier than Puyallup, was light compared to what she saw on the first floor and in the elevator. There weren't as many addicts and the addicts looked fairly ambulatory. It wasn't clean, but it was barrens clean. She noticed all of this as Clever lead them to what was presumably Kenji's stash.

"Nice place," said Fuzzy.

Clever turned to her, face a scowl, but that scowl turned thoughtful when he found she wasn't messing with him. He nodded and smiled just a little.

"Thanks. I try and keep it clean," he said with a hint of pride in his voice before he turned around to walk again.

"I can tell."

"Can you?" he asked.

"Yeah."

Clever smiled broadly at that.

"She's not just loving with me, right Ken?" he asked.

"She has this weird sort of charm. I'm still trying to get a handle on it so I can help her develop it," he said, offhandedly.

People would occasionally nod to clever and Kenji both, but would leer at Fuzzy. Some in a way that made her want to fight, others in a way that made her feel dirty, but never openly, and they never touched her. Puppy barked, and people, shocked that such a creature was here, would laugh or scowl or speak in a language she didn't understand. Neither of the men with her seemed to care or notice. At once they came to a stop. Two men stood before a door, one shirtless and covered in tattoos, one in a tank top far too small for how fat he was. They nodded respectfully to Clever and in more a familiar way to Kenji, then leered again at Fuzzy.

"Hell yeah, party favor," said the fat man, who clapped his pudgy hands together.

Clever shot a look at the man.

"Or not. gently caress, sorry," he said, as if he'd been kicked.

Clever looked away. Fuzzy shivered. They strode into what was undoubtedly a trap house. Drugs were everywhere and no one made any attempt to conceal them. She didn't know her drugs, but she did know the better than life chips, those recorded experiences junkies would slap into their brain through headwear, cybernetic stuff for your brain. She knew them because they were everywhere as they were single use and would litter the pavement wherever junkies would congregate. Not a lot of them in Puyallup anymore, but she would rarely find skeletal remains of them in old houses where a junkie used to live before Puyallup was abandoned after that whole nuclear meltdown thing happened. It didn't reach too far into the barrens, but no one wanted to live near it.

Clever flopped onto an old couch and not knowing what to do, she stayed standing. A few people who looked as if they were doing inventory looked up at Fuzzy, then to Clever, then went back to their work. Kenji disappeared into a room and then came out again, looking sheepish.

"Looks like it's not here," he said.

"Kenji, if you wanted to go see your mom you could've just told me. She knows me," he said, and sighed.

Kenji shifted awkwardly.

"Hey, you seen Mario?" he asked, almost too casually.

Clever rubbed his temples.

"For the last time, we are not tossing Mario onto the trash pile. His mom likes me. Plus I don't want to start a floor war," he groaned.

They then began to argue in another language, quick and frenetic. Fuzzy had no idea what they said, only that the argument consisted of Kenji's anger and Clever's boredom. In fact as it escalated Kenji only grew more animated while Clever seemed to convey his boredom in the same way, only loudly, and without even looking at him. Eventually Kenji stalked back to the stash room and then stormed off.

"You thirsty?" asked Clever.

"Maybe if you have some water for Puppy," said Fuzzy. "Not me though."

"I like how you're thinking of others first. It's what I'm all about," he said. "Water isn't any good here though. I wouldn't suggest it."

He yelled something at one of the people doing inventory in that same language. They shook their heads and said something back.

"No bottled either. We've got beer and I think we've got some Pepsi. Sorry kid," he said.

"It's okay," she said.

"Sure thing. It's a big bowl, but not everyone likes what's inside. Doesn't mean we don't offer anyway."

Puppy was snuffling closer to him, leaning over in that way that dogs do when they're held, but curious.

"I like dogs. Used to have this massive one. Real beast. Won three dozen fights and change..." he said, wistfully. "Loved that dog. So you go to school with Kenji, right?"

Fuzzy, unsure what to say, nodded at him.

"gently caress I'm jealous. Saw all those trids when I was a kid. Blowing up buildings and poo poo. I know that's not how it works in real life, but I always wanted to throw fire with one hand and gently caress poo poo up with my frosty blade in the other. None of that for me though. I've just got these clever hands," he said.

"That's why you're called Clever?" asked Fuzzy, who took the bait.

With a small flourish both of his hands transformed into shiny submachine guns. Then with another flourish they were back to shiny hands again. Fuzzy nodded, impressed.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool. Tell you what, when you learn some real mojo at that school of yours maybe you moonlight for me. The pay is decent and this floor is pretty quiet. I'd pay good money for a spirit to protect the place. You think about it, yeah?"

"I'll think about it," she said back.

He laughed and shook his head.

"Just loving with you," he teased. "Don't get sucked into this poo poo. Besides, spirits go nuts here."

"Then why do you stay?" she asked, unable to help herself.

"I got friends and family on this floor. It was beyond bad before I took over. The drugs flow off this floor, not onto it...At least mostly," he said, and sighed. "People can actually go to work if they live on this floor. Or they can work for me. I take a small tax to pay my guys and we keep other people from messing this poo poo up. Best of a bad situation."

Kenji strode back in just then. He held out a survival knife in a synthleather sheath. Fuzzy reached out, took it, inspected the blade and pursed her lips.

"Needs sharpening," she said.

She noticed something on his cheek. Lips? Painted on? Clever looked at him. His eyes whirred, clicked and he snickered.

"Saved for posterity." Clever teased. "Got you again, huh, Ken?"

Kenji swore furiously and wiped at his cheek.

"I think it's cute that you're a momma's boy, Ken," he said, then grew serious. "Now I'm not going to find Mario knifed or tossed on the trash pile, am I?"

"No," said Kenji, his voice sullen.

"I know you don't like it, but Mario sells clean poo poo," he said. "You know she'd just get it elsewhere and I don't sell to family. She'll find it on her own and I can't protect her off this floor."

Kenji said nothing. Neither did Fuzzy.

Kenji was quiet on the way out, though he did hug Clever at the entrance to the Ache.

"I'll watch out for your moms, Ken," he said.

Kenji nodded and sighed.

Not in the mood for a hot dog, they decided to stop at an Ivar's. Pets weren't allowed inside, but since it was on the docks and Kenji could order wirelessly there was an outside area surrounded entirely in chain link fence. Not to keep strange people out, because it was Seattle, strange people were everywhere. It wasn't even to keep the seagulls out, though they were part of the problem. No, it was to keep stupid tourists from feeding seagulls and thusly being mobbed by them. The french fry, soy or potato, is after all the natural prey of the seagull. Kenji bought fish and chips for both of them, though it was really just different types of soy battered soy reconstituted and flavored to look like fish and chips. Fuzzy didn't mind. In fact she'd never had battered fish, soy or otherwise before. She thought it was grand, and especially liked tartar sauce (also soy) and vinegar (soy based). They drank their colas (soy again) and she fed Puppy a bit of her fish and even had a little water for him which he drank greedily. They hadn't talked to one another for half an hour when Kenji sighed and pushed away his food for the moment.

"Might want to check that knife in or hide it when you get back. It's mostly a tool, but its still a weapon. Neat tool though. It's got a compass, fire starter, micro-lighter, multitool, GPS, blade stays dark at night, even makes comm calls, though they're a ripoff. I used up the light though. If you want that replaced you'd have to buy a refill. It's chemical."

Fuzzy knew about those sorts of things, but they'd almost always been too expensive for her to own. Only in the last year of her life was she really able to afford one, and even then it would've cost almost all she had.

"Was this your knife?" she asked.

"Yeah. Had it since I was a kid. Sort of wish I'd gotten some of Mario's blood on it as a parting farewell, but..." he trailed off, and shrugged.

Fuzzy, suddenly overwhelmed by emotion turned her head and jammed her drink against her lips. She sucked at her straw for a few seconds and willed herself to keep from crying before he continued.

"Anyway, training day," he said, and sighed expansively, before he stretched. "I'm still not sure what to make of you, Fuzzy. I need to spend more time around you before I can help you develop a style of speaking. You're speaking more though which is good. I think you just need to learn more things first. You don't risk looking dumb if you know things and can say them with confidence."

Fuzzy, now underwhelmed, eyed him suspiciously.

"I'm not dumb."

"Didn't say you were. Not knowing things is ignorance, and knowledge is the cure. Dumb people know things, but they're wrong things. Don't think I'm not going to help you. I am. Going to help you get presentable and arm you with knowledge. I'm thinking a hair cut, maybe buy you a little makeup and I get your teeth looked at. I notice you don't smile with your teeth much and I think you should. I think you could be pretty if you put your mind to it, and pretty people get a pass in life. Like me," he said, and winked.

Fuzzy blushed furiously, all the more so because her embarrassment was mixed with frustration and simmering anger.

"You tricked me."

"No, I spent time with you to hear you talk. You talk just fine when it's stuff that you know about. Otherwise you just clam up."

Fuzzy said nothing.

"Stay...Quiet. Sorry."

"Right. Clam. I knew that."

CYOA time

Fuzzy and Kenji are on Alaskan Way in Seattle's tourist/dock district.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/P...!4d-122.3420567

Pick something neat and they'll do it while Kenji gets her looks in order. Normally Kenji or any self-respecting Seattlite would be caught dead near Pike's Place, but it's how we haze newcomers.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 06:06

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




The aquarium still in business?

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Everything on the map is good to go. If it doesn't make sense within the narrative I'll find something similar for it that works in the story. Remember that Puppy is along for the ride though, but Kenji can probably talk his way past the attendant.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Whoa, holy shiiiiit. Fifteen. Fuuuuck that from orbit," he said, drawing out the epithets.

HaHaHa, priceless.

Ice Phisherman posted:

. . . you on the other hand are a schoolgirl in a coat clutching a puppy. If I was dressed differently I could pass as your pimp."

You weren't kidding when you said you liked 'punk' huh? I can feel the grit from this side of the screen; also, great deconstruction of Fuzzy's current status. I genuinely didn't catch that, and, I was in the 'bring the puppy' group!


Seattle Art Museum; what is Art to a half feral child? If happiness and security is food in your stomach and a bow in your hands, then what feeds Fuzzy's soul?

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

CourValant posted:

Seattle Art Museum; what is Art to a half feral child? If happiness and security is food in your stomach and a bow in your hands, then what feeds Fuzzy's soul?

Art Museum sounds good. More things for Fuzzy to not understand.

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!


Public Library. There's bound to be a lot of new agent-driven learning aids for people rescued from cutthroat slums, there are a lot of them in 2069, after all!

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


I kinda want to her teeth looked at ASAP. Being a street kid from the Barrens, you just know half her mouth is going to be hosed up. Shadowrun being what it is, they should be able to fit her with whatever fillings and various she needs at the speed of a 3d printer. A better smile and less terrible breath will go a long way towards fitting in with the rich kids.

And then maybe do some activity while the street dentist is printing everything up?

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

You weren't kidding when you said you liked 'punk' huh? I can feel the grit from this side of the screen; also, great deconstruction of Fuzzy's current status. I genuinely didn't catch that, and, I was in the 'bring the puppy' group!

I thought it worked well. Fuzzy currently has no clothing Kenji would allow her to wear for a day out on the town. Otherwise she'd look like a homeless urchin and get targeted by the cops. Plus her being dressed like she was helped me introduce a new and interesting character.

quote:

Seattle Art Museum; what is Art to a half feral child? If happiness and security is food in your stomach and a bow in your hands, then what feeds Fuzzy's soul?

Sounds like a plan.

jagadaishio posted:

I kinda want to her teeth looked at ASAP. Being a street kid from the Barrens, you just know half her mouth is going to be hosed up. Shadowrun being what it is, they should be able to fit her with whatever fillings and various she needs at the speed of a 3d printer. A better smile and less terrible breath will go a long way towards fitting in with the rich kids.

And then maybe do some activity while the street dentist is printing everything up?

I think we can work both in. If we come back we can do the aquarium.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Fuzzy, Kenji and Puppy

"So you like art, Fuzzy?" asked Kenji.

"You mean like graffiti? Yeah, it's all right. There are some old murals I'd look at sometimes. Plus they'd let me know where I am. There was one I liked with a man playing a flute that wasn't too tagged over," she said.

"Okay, cool. We've got about six hours before we got to be back at the docks unless you feel like staying the night. We've got your knife, we got lunch and we might get some takeout for dinner. So we're going to do four things," he said, holding fingers up and counting them down. "First I'm going to get you in to see a dentist. That's the most important thing we have to do. I'm making an appointment for you now and checking prices. It's going to hurt, but it needs to get done."

Fuzzy felt defensive all of a sudden. She was pain averse.

"I don't want to."

"Then we call it a day and you're on your own," he said. "I'll walk you back to the docks so you don't get lost."

Fuzzy blinked and frowned.

"I already paid you like you asked. Lunch and a knife. My old knife by the by. You said your time is valuable to you, but mine is valuable to me too. This needs to get done and you dragging your feet isn't going to make it better or go away. You get insurance through the school, that makes it cost less, and I'm going to shame Julian into shaming the school to pick up the bill. After that, we get you a haircut and maybe some makeup. Then I get you a set of clothes or two so you don't look lame after school, because that's when people stop wearing their uniforms and show off. After that, we do the art museum as a treat. I think you'll like it. Then we had back to the island."

"That's five things," she said.

"I'm going to count makeup and a hair cut as one."

"Why?"

"Reasons."

Fuzzy snorted.

A few minutes passed and they walked over to a park to let Puppy gambol about cutely on the leash. Kenji had a terse discussion with a local dentist's assistant, set up an appointment and then had another terse discussion with Julian. Fuzzy tried to listen in, but couldn't catch the conversation. She didn't know the right distance to eavesdrop in a busy city and Puppy was too interested in this new world and all of its smells. He was small after all. She didn't want to drag him. Minutes later they hopped a bus. Kenji slotted his credstick twice. There was no driver. Someone was rigging the bus and probably ten more, while not being in a single one of them and letting the dog brained software do the lion's share of the work. It was relatively clean though and so they both sat in front. Fuzzy had never been in a vehicle before and so she watched just how fast she was going, which would be very fast sometimes, slow at others, and occasionally stopped sometimes for no apparent reason. There was so much to look at. So many people who seemed to know how not to get hit by cars. Cars that didn't crash into one another despite many people not paying attention or even being in their cars. People on motorcycles too, which interested her. She even saw one go by without anyone on it, which seemed strangest of all.

They got off the bus, walked two blocks, went into a building, up the elevator, which she was familiar with so she didn't act foolish, but felt uncomfortable being crowded in with other people. A matronly woman smiled at her and Puppy.

"He's so cute," she cooed.

She tried to touch him without being asked and Fuzzy pushed her away. Not hard, but in the elevator that sent her into other people who looked at her. She glowered at Fuzzy while others glowered at the woman for having been pushed into them.

"How very rude," she said, indignantly.

"Don't touch," said Fuzzy.

Others were beginning to look at her when Kenji stepped out and motioned her to follow. Kenji nodded approvingly.

"People should respect other peoples' space. That was the right thing to do since you couldn't step away," he said.

"I know. I wasn't rude. She was."

"Right."

They stepped into the waiting room. They hadn't changed much. The magazines were digital and the receptionist was a pretty looking African American ork who looked dubiously at Puppy.

"He'll have to wait outside. Sorry, policy."

"I'll take him if you want, Fuzzy. I'll keep you company over the commlink so you're not alone. You just go when you're called," he said.

Reluctantly, and for the first time, she handed over Puppy to someone else. Not doing so would end the day and this seemed very important. She didn't like it though.

"Gonna swipe a few free magazines though. Love me some Goofus and Gallant. I've got a soft spot in my heart for Goofus."

He walked out with Puppy and she felt a building anxiety at being alone. However he chirped in on her commlink, which was really his in actuality since they'd switched.

"Make sure not to stab the doctor, okay? He's going to do stuff to your teeth that you're not going to like until a few days later, but in the moment it's going to suck. The moment of suck will pass. I promise. They might or might not numb your mouth so you don't feel it. I don't suggest thinking about it much. I'll keep your mind off it, but don't talk back."

Minutes later lying down in a chair. There was a machine and a woman in blue with a white mask and plastic looking guards for her eyes. She lowered the machine.

"So your last checkup was...Never..." she said, sighed, and looked in her mouth. "Well it could certainly be worse. Do you want a teeth whitening on top of this? Only 75 nuyen."

"No."

"Say yes," piped in Kenji.

"Yes."

"Dentists are professional hustlers. Besides, it's being billed to the school. Don't short yourself."

She was numbed as it turned out. Kenji kept her distracted by sending her nonsensical pictures of two boys named Goofus and Gallant, and explained who they were, what that meant, and why he liked Goofus better. He explained a full thirty of what he called "comic strips" while Fuzzy's mouth was worked on. She found them fascinating, what to do and not do, and not all of them made sense. Why wouldn't Goofus take Wendy's choco-pop? She was too weak to defend it. Gallant shared his but that meant he'd be hungry later and had none for himself. Some she understood though, but most were bizarre and her immediate reactions to the situation were rarely fully correct. She felt like she learned...Something? Maybe. Kenji really seemed to like Goofus though and defended him often. Near the end some strips were put on her teeth to whiten them. It tingled and fizzed.

"All done," said the woman. "Want a look?"

Fuzzy feared, but nodded. The strips were removed. She ached a little behind the dull numbness, but when she opened her mouth and looked in the mirror she found her teeth to be white, straight and clean. They were straight before and she had all of them, but it was bizarre to imagine that this was her mouth. She got a complimentary bottle of toothpaste, a toothbrush, floss, and "Brushy's brushing tips" with a cartoon toothbrush with sunglasses.

"Brushing is cool!" Brushy said in AR.

She also got a sucker as is tradition before being ushered to the desk to pay.

"Sign here," said the machine.

"Total bill, 775 nuyen," it read.

She gaped at the number.

"Just write your name on the dotted line," said Kenji.

She had some sort of electronic pen for the machine, but hesitated.

"Or just make an X. You know X, right?"

She did. It was what gangs used on other gang signs to show who wasn't welcome and if the wrong people were on their turf they were in a fight. She knew X very well, so she made an X.

Haircut and makeup was much easier. She didn't have much to work with seeing as her hair had seen a knife not a week before, but she ended up with a pixie cut and some light makeup applied by a machine they bought. Applying it to oneself was a lost art.

"In retrospect you don't look like a schoolgirl anymore," mused Kenji. "You look like a lesbian trying to attract women with a schoolgirl fetish. The coat helps kill that a bit, but maybe it just attracts a different type. Oh well. Maybe I ask someone a favor about what would look good on you next time. Also I'm totally taking pictures for posterity."

"What's a lesbian?" asked Fuzzy.

"Women who are attracted to other women. You didn't spend much time with people in the barrens, huh?"

"Not really. Rat Man sometimes," answered Fuzzy, hotly, who both scowled and blushed. "Why did you make me look like that?"

"Because I'm not an expert in women's fashion, just my own. We can shave your head if you want."

"Okay."

"We're not going to shave your head," said Kenji, deadpan, then more lightly, "Hard to be Fuzzy if you have no fuzz," he teased. "We'll see about clothes another day. Haircut too."

They bought some shampoo for Fuzzy. She'd been forced to use some before the first day of school, but she really didn't understand it.

Last stop was the art museum. After some negotiation Puppy was recognized as a "service dog in training" for an extra ten nuyen.

"Slot your credstick, kiddo," said Kenji.

She looked dubiously at Kenji, but did so. 25 nuyen total. She sighed heavily. Her balance was currently 525 nuyen. She didn't like that number to go down. It made her feel anxious.

"It's worth it," he said as they walked in. "Look up."



Fuzzy's mouth gaped open.

"What is that?" she asked.

Kenji checked the augmented reality notes on it.

"Plaster cast of a tree. It's called Middle Fork by John Grade."

"Why is it there?" she asked.

"Why is art anywhere?" he said back.

They strode with Puppy, who was napping in her arms. It'd been a big day for him after all. Again, Fuzzy felt a kinship with him. It'd been a big day for her too.



"You like that?" asked Kenji.

Fuzzy had stared at it for no less than five minutes.

"I don't know," she said. "I like the colors though. They were never so bright out in the barrens. Nothing was."

"I'll just be over here. Gonna wander."

Fuzzy spent some time looking at that picture. As the day grew later they wandered through a last exhibit. Literally wandered through it as it was meant to be walked through, and so they did.



They both came to the edge of where to stand and found the art and mirrors of themselves stretching out into infinity. Fuzzy, awed, looked about in wonder. Kenji seemed pleased.

"You know, normally they can really only do this stuff in the matrix," he said. "Always nice to see this in meat space though."

"Meat space?" asked Fuzzy.

Her stomach growled. Kenji chuckled and she blushed.

"One of many, many names for the real world. C'mon. Let's get dinner."

Dinner was had near the dock. It was just shy of six and there was a street vendor who made fresh hum bao. It was a sort of Chinese meat bun with the meat inside somewhat spiced. It was all soy of course, but Fuzzy thought it was amazing. Kenji bought her one and a cola (soy, you get the idea) and against her better judgement she bought a baker's dozen of them for twenty nuyen. This woke up puppy who she fed pieces of meat and crumbs. He wiggled excitedly.

"Big spender," said Kenji.

Fuzzy shrugged.

"I like what I like. It says a dozen, but there are thirteen. Why is that?" asked Fuzzy.

"Huh. Not sure," said Kenji, who responded seconds later with, "Apparently way back in the day people got...Pilloried? Not sure what that means. Okay, now I do. Sort of like the shame pole, but with more public abuse. It's to keep people from cheating people with food."

"I like that," said Fuzzy. "Makes sense. I saw someone kill another person over a cup of noodles once because he shorted him one out of the box."

"I once saw two grown men kill each over a credstick with two nuyen on it," said Kenji, deadpan.

"Your name is Courtney?" asked Sasha.

Fuzzy nearly dropped her box of meat dumplings, but held fast to Puppy as she fumbled. She didn't look at Sasha immediately, but relaxed as Sasha didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. Kenji looked tense for a second before relaxing. Their cover wasn't blown.

"Nah. Just gave her my burner comm. She was getting swamped. Not used to the big city," said Kenji.

Sasha nodded and then her eyes lit up.

"Ooh, bao. I love bao," she said, then stopped. "Kenji, did you just wear that bruise around the plex all day?"

"Flaunted it," said Kenji.

"And you're just hanging out with Fuzzy too? I mean he's a perv, right?" she asked, and laughed incredulously.

Fuzzy looked up to him, then turned around to face her. Sasha didn't fumble, but she did freeze. The blush that slowly crept across her face as she stared at Fuzzy tinged her cheeks pink. Her mouth made a small O before she schooled her features and cleared her throat one too many times to be seen as anything but awkward. Kenji elbowed Fuzzy, looked down to the box, then to Sasha, who was not paying attention to Kenji whatsoever, and then back to the box. Fuzzy narrowed her eyes at Kenji, but looked thoughtful and gave his nonverbal cues some thought.

Sasha, Kenji and Fuzzy all ate bao on the twenty minute boat ride back to school. Her box was much diminished, but the food at the school was free after all. In fact they were in a way paying her to eat it she gathered. Plus she was getting full, an experience which she loved all the more because it was so rare, and it put her in a good mood which pushed her over the edge to finally break down and share. Sasha pointedly did not look at Fuzzy save for quick glances now and again. Fuzzy was confused.

It was nearly dark by the time they reached the island. Fuzzy gave Kenji back his commlink. She would think about what happened, gain perspective and discover if Kenji was a valuable ally or not. She could make snap decisions, and did trust her instincts, but the instincts she had weren't well developed and she knew that. They would've headed straight back to the cabins save for two figures on the shame pole, both familiar and tied together in a way that bound the two together while not leaving either out of sight.

"Oh poo poo, what now?" asked Kenji.

Julie and Christina were tied to the shame pole together. The three approached them. Christina looked bored, but Julie looked as if she'd been crying. Her eyes were puffy and swollen and her nose, once runny, had simply stopped without being wiped. She looked absolutely miserable.

"I called Christina a racist name and that is my shame," said Julie, weakly.

"I called Julie a racist name and that is my shame," said Christina in a sing, song voice. "I really wish you'd stop sniveling."

"You started it," said Julie.

"Whatever," said Christina. "I really hope someone gets a picture of you. Not that I would, it's against the rules, but you deserve it."

Julie tried to turn her face away from the three, but could only do so much to conceal her pain. Christina looked reminiscent of an offended cat.

"You ate my day pass. I hope you suffer," said Christina, and then a little louder said, "That's what we're supposed to do on this stupid thing, right? Suffer? I hate this place..."

"I hate this place..." Julie echoed.

CYOA time

Julie has been tied to the shame pole and outed for having said something racist to Christina. Christina is on the shame pole for the same reason, and they have been tied together. How do we feel about this? Do we do anything?

We can make a decision about how we feel about Kenji right now or later. I'll leave that up to the thread.

So I rolled four dice on an edge test (basically a luck test) to see how hosed up Fuzzy's teeth were. Luckily they weren't too hosed up which would make sense given as she wasn't made fun of for it. She also succeeded on a composure test to not freak out while blades and drills and tubes were in her mouth.

Also, we've earned four karma for becoming a more well rounded person by meeting people and experiencing new things with Kenji. I'm dumping two of those points into etiquette to give her one point. Karma is basically an experience point and skills are bought cheaply at first, but they cost nuyen too and you have to spend more the higher they go, so etiquette two would cost four karma and either a favor and the right person to train her or 500 nuyen. Education is rarely free after all. We'll have ample ability to make money at other times though. Magical skills are free, but they come at predetermined times, as the school is free. It means that instead of rolling three dice and hoping for a success (she gets a -1 penalty to charisma for not having the skill which is crazy risky to roll due to the high chance of glitching and critical glitching) she's more likely to succeed with five dice. Not the greatest, but she's got a new look and doesn't look half bad when basic attention is paid to her looks. She's also better, but not great at speaking and will speak more in the future as she learns rather than staying quiet.

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

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Small aside. When I said I was a professional author, I wasn't kidding. I worked in romance (so much money there even now), but got out because I wasn't too thrilled with the formula. However it did make me good (at least I think so) at evoking strong emotions. Drama, tragedy and slice of life were my specialties with an extreme specialty in tense emotional moments when I put my mind to it. Sasha seems interested in Fuzzy. Keep in mind if Fuzzy ever pursues anyone or is pursued, I'm going to keep it rated strictly PG with deference even towards G rated territory so I don't creep myself or others out. That part at least I'm going to keep light and innocent. Take that as you will. I'm going to leave it up to the thread what happens in the moment moment by moment, and won't comment again on the topic unless specifically asked. Or unless I forget, which is entirely possible.

That said we can totally ignore that. For my own personal reasons I like to include the option without railroading anyone, but make sure that everyone knows said option is available. In my personal opinion it sets the emotional stakes higher because I'm going to be introducing these characters to violent situations after all. This is Shadowrun. At the moment I'm establishing characters and settings the best I can before I stuff them into a bag of rusty forks and shake them vigorously.

Also, while I was a professional author, I wasn't a professional editor. In fact I'm at best an amateur one. So let me know if I'm screwing up something obvious please.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 17:40

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Please... Don't read this post where other people can see...

I think Fuzzy's understanding of racism is "thing some gangs will use as a reason to kill you and take your stuff" (the other gangs have different reasons to kill you and take your stuff, so the difference is pretty academic), but she's also just spent the day with Kenji, so she's starting to really wrap her head around how different a context things are in now. Clearly they both Did A Bad and Got Caught, and it wasn't on purpose like Kenji, but we don't really get the specifics, not that we're going to make that obvious. We want to get in good with Julie The Powerful, so I think we offer her some kind of quiet encouragement, like... a pat on the back is a thing people do here, right? As a friendly thing? Try that.

As for Kenji, I think that having been to the Arcology, we kind of understand that he's basically us from a different environment. That means he's able to help us more than pretty much anyone else at the school, but it also means he's got the same drive to survive that we do, and that means that when the chips are down, he's a potential threat. Plus, he's clearly much better in this environment than we are. Keep hanging out with him and learning, but letting our guard down could easily, easily be fatal in a way that isn't the same with anyone else at this school, including Julie, who's powerful but obviously doesn't have that same instinct.

Also, the Sasha stuff is cute, although Fuzzy is 100% oblivious right now.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

Just did a word count. In just a few short days I'm up to 26,444 words. We'll probably reach novelette status in the next day or two, if not today. I'm fully committed to this, so be aware that you're in for a long story. I'm thoroughly enjoying writing the story and feeling no effects from pumping out 5000+ words a day, so I'm not risking any burnout at my present clip.

I figure that once I come to the end of some sort of arc I'll offer the decision to switch characters again. It won't be for some time though. When I wrote the story I did so thinking that I'd have three potential protagonists, and to be able to switch between them I need to keep them interesting. It feels ambitious and I love that, and while switching between them may feel jarring I think that by developing the characters fully it'll make it feel far less jarring.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


I think Fuzzy would be genuinely confused about why Julie's crying despite not being injured.

Also, I think Sasha might be 'another type.'

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"I know. I wasn't rude. She was."

"Right."

That痴 right, affirm the maladjusted Barbarian.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Kenji kept her distracted by sending her nonsensical pictures of two boys named Goofus and Gallant, and explained who they were, what that meant, and why he liked Goofus better.

Great, now you池e making me wish I had my own personal Kenji for my next dental appointment.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"What's a lesbian?" asked Fuzzy.

Make Fuzzy give a speech about hearing the lamentations of their women.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Because I'm not an expert in women's fashion, just my own. We can shave your head if you want."

I feel Kenji knows more about women痴 fashion than he lets on, especially if his stance is 撤retty people get a pass at life.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy looked up to him, then turned around to face her. Sasha didn't fumble, but she did freeze. The blush that slowly crept across her face as she stared at Fuzzy tinged her cheeks pink. Her mouth made a small O before she schooled her features and cleared her throat one too many times to be seen as anything but awkward.

*Ahem; so, how about them bao痴?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Julie and Christina were tied to the shame pole together. The three approached them. Christine looked bored . . .

Is it Christina or Christine? Hah, I値l be your editor, if you don稚 find my notes too annoying already; making these annotations are quickly becoming the best parts of my day.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"You ate my day pass. I hope you suffer," said Christina, and then a little louder said, "That's what we're supposed to do on this stupid thing, right? Suffer? I hate this place..."

"I hate this place..." Julie echoed.

And I said, "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"
She said, "I think I remember the film
And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it"
And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got"


CYOA time

Ice Phisherman posted:

Julie has been tied to the shame pole and outed for having said something racist to Christine. Christine is on the shame pole for the same reason, and they have been tied together. How do we feel about this? Do we do anything?

By Barrens standards, this wasn稚 even a fight, and Fuzzy hasn稚 粗volved enough yet to measure things by 壮chool rules; they池e both alive, what else is there to say?

To Julie: Take her hand, put a bao in it, and say, 添ou can稚 get everything on your own.
To Christine/Christina: Offer her a bao, 展e池e all part of Ka-Beenz now.

Ice Phisherman posted:

We can make a decision about how we feel about Kenji right now or later. I'll leave that up to the thread.

I vote later; okay, so his help is useful. Now comes the price; if it痴 a good deal, then sure. If not, then we walk.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Small aside. When I said I was a professional author, I wasn't kidding.

Didn稚 think you were dude; your writing is notches above the usual CYOA prose. You池e writing a novel with our input in real time, and that is some cool beans.

Ice Phisherman posted:

However it did make me good (at least I think so) at evoking strong emotions. Drama, tragedy and slice of life were my specialties with an extreme specialty in tense emotional moments when I put my mind to it.

Can稚 wait!

Ice Phisherman posted:

Keep in mind if Fuzzy ever pursues anyone or is pursued, I'm going to keep it rated strictly PG with deference even towards G rated territory so I don't creep myself or others out. That part at least I'm going to keep light and innocent. Take that as you will. I'm going to leave it up to the thread what happens in the moment moment by moment, and won't comment again on the topic unless specifically asked. Or unless I forget, which is entirely possible.

Agreed; let痴 not turn this into something weird or gross, I知 enjoying it too much. That said, it痴 a possibility we can explore; however, what would Fuzzy know or care about romance? She痴 not stupid, so she knows about 僧ating in the wild. Literally fuzzy wuzzy feelings? Maybe, after she痴 gotten use to the idea of having a full belly and not walking around armed all the time?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm fully committed to this, so be aware that you're in for a long story. I'm thoroughly enjoying writing the story and feeling no effects from pumping out 5000+ words a day, so I'm not risking any burnout at my present clip.

You better be dude, else the rest of the thread and I will have to track you down and force you to write more!

You致e seen 閃isery, right?

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

This seems like a good time to switch to Julie's perspective.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Nah, we're finally getting into the swing of things with Fuzzy, I want to stick with her a while longer.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

*Ahem; so, how about them bao痴?

I've tried to make them and I am terrible at them. I love meat dumplings though. My city doesn't do them right, or I haven't found a place that does yet.

quote:

Is it Christina or Christine? Hah, I値l be your editor, if you don稚 find my notes too annoying already; making these annotations are quickly becoming the best parts of my day.


And I said, "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's?"
She said, "I think I remember the film
And as I recall, I think we both kinda liked it"
And I said, "Well, that's the one thing we've got"

Christina. Thanks for the help.

quote:

Agreed; let痴 not turn this into something weird or gross, I知 enjoying it too much. That said, it痴 a possibility we can explore; however, what would Fuzzy know or care about romance? She痴 not stupid, so she knows about 僧ating in the wild. Literally fuzzy wuzzy feelings? Maybe, after she痴 gotten use to the idea of having a full belly and not walking around armed all the time?

In my experience most people learn what that means from their parents. Fuzzy has none. After that it's friends of which Fuzzy really didn't have many save for Rat Man. After that it's media of which she watched little to none. Then it's her environment, so it'd probably be disjointed. I imagine imagine Fuzzy as a lonely person, but starkly unaware of her loneliness. That said I think it'll be difficult to make anything like that believable without stepping over that PG rating. I think it's an interesting challenge. There's very little I won't write about and since I'm not writing for a paycheck I can afford to experiment and take risks which feels liberating.

quote:

You better be dude, else the rest of the thread and I will have to track you down and force you to write more!

You致e seen 閃isery, right?

I think the irony of this statement is that Misery was a euphemism for King being held hostage by his addictions. Thankfully my addictions are legal and manageable.

super sweet best pal posted:

This seems like a good time to switch to Julie's perspective.

I didn't plan to for a while, but if enough of thread wants to switch we can.

CourValant posted:

Didn稚 think you were dude; your writing is notches above the usual CYOA prose. You池e writing a novel with our input in real time, and that is some cool beans.

Thanks. I think I actually do better as an author when I'm writing for an audience. I grew up writing not for myself, but for other people, and so my writing tends to improve when it's performative.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 20:23

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I've tried to make them and I am terrible at them. I love meat dumplings though. My city doesn't do them right, or I haven't found a place that does yet.

Yeah, same here. There's one place I'm close to, except its stupid expensive and there is ALWAYS a line; and its still not as good as the original.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Christina. Thanks for the help.



Ice Phisherman posted:

That said I think it'll be difficult to make anything like that believable without stepping over that PG rating. I think it's an interesting challenge. There's very little I won't write about and since I'm not writing for a paycheck I can afford to experiment and take risks which feels liberating.

Agreed, take that risk, we're with you. And, with your background I know you'll make it believable.

Now I really am thinking about those Harlequin Novels; Book 1: The Untamed Heart, A Fuzzy Wuzzy Romance

Ice Phisherman posted:

I think the irony of this statement is that Misery was a euphemism for King being held hostage by his addictions.

In the vernacular of Fuzzy; That's what I said . . .

Ice Phisherman posted:

I didn't plan to for a while, but if enough of thread wants to switch we can.

Stay with Fuzzy. We haven't gotten her to a place yet were we can let her 'soak' in the background while we move on to Julie or Kenji. And boy, are we going to have fun with Julie.

*****

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the new 'Blade Runner'?

I'm debating whether or not to go see it.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

I read the comments. Fuzzy is confused as to why Julie is feeling bad despite not being injured. She understands feelings of course, but the ones that make this up along with social shame are complicated. I think the component that she's missing is the social part of social shame. She understands feeling bad and understands feelings, but doesn't understand the social dynamics of the situation or how public shame really works yet.

For the moment we're not sure about Kenji. The thread seems to have mixed feelings about him.

Fuzzy, Kenji, Julie, Sasha and Christina

Fuzzy was definitely confused. She inspected her for injuries but found none and that was strange. She looked to Kenji whose face was impassive. She looked to Sasha who looked disgusted. Julie's face was still a mess of tears and snot, her eyes red. Christina looked a mix of bored and frustrated in a way that only a teenager can perfect. Kenji walked away without saying a word.

"I don't understand," said Fuzzy.

"Why? Are you stupid or something?" mocked Christina.

"I'm not stupid," growled Fuzzy.

"Yeah. When we want your opinion we'll knock on your dumpster, Christina," mocked Sasha's acid tongue.

Christina audibly ground her teeth. Restrained as she was there was little she could do. The larger girl could've menaced Sasha with her size and fury, but this was the shame pole. While this went on other people came to hear the two speak and the group came almost all at once with the boat.

"I called Christina a racist name and that is my shame," whispered Julie.

"I called Julie a trog," she snapped, "And apparently that is my shame."

"Oh, I get it now," said Fuzzy, who sighed.

"One of my friends back home is an ork, Christina," said an older teen.

"Goody for both of you."

However, some people heard what she said, shrugged and said nothing. They seemed mad at Julie despite Christina's renewed escalation back racism. It seemed like Sasha was waiting around for Fuzzy and stayed a distance away having said her piece. It was then that a shadow loomed. Huge and horned, nearly three meters tall, she turned and saw a troll. An older teen with horns that looked slicked back, his only affectation were symbols that were scratched into one of his horns inked in red and blue. Seriously ugly in a way that was distinctive with a crooked nose, heavy tusks, and acne scars like the craters on the moon. He was dark haired, had beady eyes and was heavily muscled.

"I called Christina a racist word, and that is my shame," said Julie.

"I called Julie a racist word, and that is my shame," repeated Christina.

It was then that Kenji returned. He produced a small, wet, white cloth and after some gentle coaxing began to clean Julie's face of tears and snot. She began to shudder. Meanwhile the troll bent down to one knee in front of her, now at head height and leaned in.

"I don't think that's what you said before, Christina," he rumbled. "Try again."

It was Christina's turn to shudder. She looked away and licked her lips nervously.

"Hey, tall guy. What's your name?" asked Kenji.

Marco peered around Christina who turned her head in the opposite direction in a quick, sudden jerk as he invaded her space.

"Marco," said Marco.

"Hey Marco. I cleaned up my friend's face here. I think this corner isn't all covered in tears and snotty. Maybe Christina's face is dirty," said Kenji.

"Oh gross. Gross gross gross..." repeated Christina.

"That's kind of you," said Marco. "We're not allowed to touch people on the pole though. I think you can get off for being all nice this one time though. Probably. We can say whatever we feel like, but have to remember that when we're back on the pole people can say whatever it is they like to us. Otherwise I might just. Seems the kind thing to do."

"Groooooss..." whined Christina.

He flashed Kenji a smile and a thumbs up which Kenji flashed right back to him.

"They had to build a bigger pole for me when I got here you know," said Marco. "Not everyone likes it until they see what it does for people, but it tends to even you out. Mostly anyway. Some people really turn the hate up thinking it's all fun and games to torture someone who's helpless. Those people don't stay long off the pole and then it's their turn. It's all about empathy and forgiveness. It's not exactly traditional, but whatever. The staff is really proactive about this. Sees a lot of people in the first few weeks though. Bring a lot of bad habits from home. Sure mellowed me out."

He looked back to Christina, who'd stopped shuddering and looked at him with eyes hard with defiance.

"Life is a lot better without hate, Christina. It even mellowed a person like me out. Aren't you glad I'm such a nice, respectable man who doesn't get mad easily?" asked Marco.

Christina said nothing but her eyes remained defiant, now mixed open hatred for the troll.

"These two will be here tomorrow too. Mother Bear takes magical safety seriously. Christina picks a fight with one of the most powerful students in the school and breaks the rules we learned in freshman year. This is generous," he said.

He got to his feet and dusted off his knee. After all he was in the same school uniform, though sized for someone over eight feet tall. He stepped around Christina and looked at Julie.

"Got to let go of that hate. Unless you want to be up here like I was every day. If it gets too bad you come talk to me," he said.

Julie didn't say anything, but nodded ever so slightly without looking up.

"I'm going to have some dinner. Nice meeting you, Kenji," he said.

"Likewise, Marco."

Marco walked away. Christina let out a breath she'd been holding.

The weekend came and went. Fuzzy didn't get any new clothes, but decided to stay on the island. She didn't hunt the first day, but she was allowed her bow, quiver and spear. Instead she walked the paths of the island, about thirteen kilometers in all. Julian came through on his promise to get her weapons back, though she wasn't allowed to fire her bow anywhere near where a student might be for safety reasons. Marks were displayed on her commlink showing where students currently were on the island, small radio frequency ID tags woven into their clothes showing where everyone was. On the weekend and unlike in Seattle the commlinks weren't constantly buzzing with activity here and so she learned about this place and the outdoors. Mother Bear loaded a program onto her commlink and if she asked it the right question in the right phrase it would identify this animal, that tree, this plant or that sound. It was handy, and she liked learning about her new environment. Sadly, "Was is it tasty" was not regarded as pertinent information. Also sadly the voice author was the same as "Sammy the Salmon," and his voice, while educational, grated. It was for children, because it was assumed that adults could read and children could not despite the fact that adults might not want to read everything. A conceit of the educators who wrote the software all those years ago. Still, she got used to him. Mostly. After all that time around people she enjoyed a day to herself. Sammy the Salmon wasn't real and therefor not people. People were messy and complicated and it drained her to be around them for so long, even though she liked some of them and viewed others as allies, or at least potential allies. She did take Puppy on her walk, though he got tired early on and she spent the majority of her journey in her arms. That was okay though. She was going to be outside a lot and if Puppy was going to be her dog he'd have to learn to be outside a lot too.

It was Monday after class when Sasha sat across from her at dinner. Tonight was some sort of fish dinner. Fuzzy didn't particularly like fish and so stuffed her hot dog to the brim with the little hot dog and heavy on condiments, especially chili. Kenji was sitting with Julie now. He talked while Julie pretended not to listen and so he ended up performing a sort of monologue which he was surprisingly good at. Julie was still separate, but closer than they were before.

"Hey, I was looking for you on Sunday," ventured Sasha.

"Went on a walk with Puppy," Fuzzy said.

"Oh, that makes sense. I didn't see you on the boat," she said, somewhat awkwardly.

"Yeah, I took my bow and my spear and went on a walk. I didn't hunt anything. I don't know what would really taste good here or how to prepare it," said Fuzzy.

"Wait, you only do urban hunting?" asked Sasha.

Fuzzy hesitated, thinking about what to say before she decided to tell the truth. Lying seemed like it would be more trouble.

"Yeah."

"Huh. You know..." began Sasha, "Ares has this huge private hunting ground near here. It's where a lot of Knight Errant guys go to blow off steam, though not as much since they won the police contract for the metroplex. That means it's not as busy as it used to be. Maybe you could teach me to shoot a bow? I could probably get you an instructor to teach us how to cook and clean an animal. It might be fun."

CYOA time

Sasha is interested in taking us to a private hunting ground next week. Apparently her dad works for Ares which is one of the biggest multinational corporations in the world. Keep in mind that Fuzzy doesn't know what Ares really is, save that it makes guns as the Ares Predator V heavy pistol is pretty ubiquitous. If not she can find something else to do for the weekend. I'd take advice from the thread in that case.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 22:12

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the new 'Blade Runner'?

I'm debating whether or not to go see it.

Haven't seen it at all so I can't say.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I was then that Kenji returned. He produced a small, wet, white cloth and after some gentle coaxing began to clean Julie's face of tears and snot. She began to shudder. Meanwhile the troll bent down to one knee in front of her, now at head height and leaned in.

. . . the feels, the feels . . .

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA time
Sasha is interested in taking us to a private hunting ground next week.

Yeah I'll bet she is.

Why not? Its been awhile since Fuzzy has hunted, I'm sure she'd like to go do something that's actually familiar for her. Although, wouldn't she already know how to dress and cook a kill?

Just, leave Puppy at home, please.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

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

CourValant posted:

Why not? Its been awhile since Fuzzy has hunted, I'm sure she'd like to go do something that's actually familiar for her. Although, wouldn't she already know how to dress and cook a kill?

She could probably do an okay job of it, but butchering an animal varies from animal to animal. Also what is safe to eat, what isn't, what meat is good, what isn't, all that depends. The brisket on a cow for example which is on the lower chest is tough as hell, but if you roast it for hours and hours (and hours and hours) it becomes super tasty. Some knowledge would transfer, in fact a lot of it would, but not all of it.

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, let's go hunting with Sasha. Although, also agreed that Puppy should stay home, huge strange wildernesses are no place for a puppy. If we make this a regular thing and judge the place safe enough Puppy can start tagging along, but not for our first trip.

Nice to see that Kenji is making friends with all sorts, too.

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jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Definitely go hunting with Sasha. We might teach them a thing or two instead of the other way around, though.

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