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super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Yes

Since Fuzzy loves to hunt and doesn't know about Ares' reputation, there's no reason she'd say no.

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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.

After the next post Fuzzy will have learned the basics of magical safety in regard to casting spells. She has gained one rank in spell casting, one rank in ritual casting and one rank in counterspelling. Fuzzy now knows how to handle how power safely enough that she won't instantly gently caress up. She doesn't know any spells, but will begin to be taught her first one after the weekend. Casting for her is still dangerous, but nowhere near as dangerous as casting 100% untrained.

Let's pick her first spell. There are tons of spells so I'll keep it simple for choices and instead work with themes.

Combat - Off limits until the third year. At least officially through the school.

Detection - Finding things, clairvoyance, clairaudience, detecting life, detecting the truth.

Health - Healing, antidotes, decreasing or increasing attributes (temporarily), breathe underwater.

Illusions - Create illusions, create silence, physical or true invisibility (note, people can still perceive you in the astral so it's not as handy on Blake Island), inflict pain, change your appearance.

Manipulation - Mess with peoples' thoughts (off limits(officially)), control animal or animals, shapechange, fry electronics, levitate, create physical or magical barriers.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Crazycryodude posted:

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

He's not making friends. He's building his 'portfolio'.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Detection - Finding things, clairvoyance, clairaudience, detecting life, detecting the truth.

What's more useful than scrying and detecting the truth in High School!!?

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Lets get some points in detection, that seems like the kinda thing Fuzzy would focus on. Being able to sense dangers would be a huge benefit where we come from. Also, yeah, what's better than being able to read minds and see the future in high school?

Crazycryodude fucked around with this message at Sep 26, 2017 around 23:43

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Crazycryodude posted:

Also, yeah, what's better than being able to read minds and see the future in high school?

Like, ewwww!

I just, like, totally only want to know what the mean girls are saying about me, if that cute boy/girl likes me, and if that purse really cost 8 million new ends.

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

Illusion. It's useful for both offense and defense and would be something that Fuzzy would have maybe wished for from time to time in the barrens.

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 and Sasha

Magical safety made sense to Fuzzy in a way that didn't to other people. Spells, like weapons, needed to be handled carefully and safely. It wasn't perfect, but she'd been handling dangerous items like her bow, spear, arrows and knife all her life. She knew how to be safe and when she got over the hump of not being able to read and would instead recite what Mother Bear said to her orally after class. Fuzzy found her own excitement building as Sasha would often talk about the hunting trip. The person who would normally warn her that this was a capital B bad idea was gone. Julie sat with Marco and Kenji sat with Julie, at least enough to be noticed. Marco had his own special table that he sat at. He wasn't some gentle giant. He'd laugh loud and often when Kenji told a joke and slap his knee, and showed Kenji and Julie a rough sort of physical affection that terrified Fuzzy, but seemed not to ruffle Kenji. Julie looked happier having found someone who accepted her and a small but growing circle of friends. Kenji still talked to Fuzzy, but he didn't crowd her, which she appreciated. Neither Marco and Julie were popular, but neither was Fuzzy or Sasha. Kenji however would slide in and out of different groups making connections and acquaintances. He didn't target the powerful or the weak, the outcasts or the popular. In fact it didn't make sense until she flat out asked Kenji what he was doing.

"Why do I talk to the people I talk to?" he asked.

"Yeah. I can't figure you out," said Fuzzy. "Julie and Marco seem powerful, but then I see you talking to people who don't know anything. Freshman like us. I don't understand. Not groups. Not the weak or the powerful. Anyone, but not everyone."

"Oh, that's easy," said Kenji. "Not everyone, not anyone, specific people. I talk to people who appreciate me. Bonus points if they show any shred of loyalty which isn't exactly prevalent in the corporate world, kudos on befriending Sasha by the way. I talk to people who appreciate the attention rather than just tolerate me. At some point our secret is going to get out and I'm going to lean on these people for support. They're much more likely to support me if they know my name and like me," he said, simply. "I can put in a good word for you too if you want."

"It seems...Wrong..." said Fuzzy. "People should like who they like."

"People need to be exposed to what they like before they know what they like. Sure it's manipulative, but so is wearing a coat if you know it's going to rain. I know it's going to rain, Fuzzy. I'm just making sure to have a coat beforehand."

"Still..." hedged Fuzzy, unsure of how to feel.

"I can start putting in a good word for you here and there. You've got a reputation as sort of a bad rear end from when you hit me and a hard rear end when you insulted Christina, but people don't know you."

"This is going to cost me, isn't it?" she asked.

"Yes, because this is something that will take time and effort," he said, simply. "I'm naturally charismatic, charming, attractive and I'm cultivating a heart of gold bad boy reputation. It's a simple narrative, but I work it well."

"Arrogant too," scoffed Fuzzy.

"I disagree. Arrogance is confidence without prowess. I'm skilled. Also, never underestimate the power of confidence. Pretending the world isn't falling around your ears when it clearly is is powerful if you can pull it off. Fuzzy, if I'm lucky I'm going to live for a really long time. Reputation is forever for an elf, or drat close to it. I can build a reputation as a scoundrel, as a skirt chaser, as a prankster, you know, basically being a lovable jerk. However if I get a reputation as a liar all that comes into question. It's not worth it. If your word is truly your bond then that bond is worth gold, because we're in a world full of liars. I'm not going to spill my life story to everyone, but if I tell people falsehoods to their face and they find out that all falls apart. If I tell someone I'm going to do something I will fight God and all his angels to make it happen, because it lets people rely on my oaths."

"And that's worth money," sighed Fuzzy.

"You got it," he said.

"Wait, you told me to tell other people that you grabbed my rear end," said Fuzzy, who furrowed her brow.

Kenji held up a finger and smiled mischievously.

"I didn't lie. You did."

Fuzzy's head hurt.

"Are you doing this for Julie?" she asked, changing the subject.

"Ah...No. Half of these corp princes and princesses are elves, including yours truly, magical gift running strong and all, though I don't have that pedigree. I could make some traction, but she really sank her reputation for the time being. Her looking all awful and pathetic on the pole probably soothed some angry egos, but I'm not sure what I could do for her beyond damage control."

"But she's one of us. She's tied to us," said Fuzzy.

"That is a good point. It makes me want to work harder for myself, and you if you want. Look, do you want me to ask her?"

"Yes."

"Then I'll ask her. Does that make you feel better?" he asked.

"Yeah, I guess."

"Good. You think on it if you want me to help you. I take nuyen or favors to be named later."

"Just regular favors, huh?" asked Fuzzy.

"Oh no. Don't worry. I have charts for what each kind of favor means. I won't surprise you and my rates are usually viewed as reasonable. Promise."

Fuzzy gave her final oral report for her magical safety class. She was grilled by Mother Bear quietly in private. She would jump from question to question, statement to statement. Ask for clarification and then ask for it again, but to be said in a different way. It was exhausting. In the end she nodded. Mother Bear passed her.

"I'm harder on you. You know what violence is," she said, her old, wrinkled face furrowed. "You're also more powerful than most of the class save for two others in terms of raw ability. I'm hard on everyone, but especially on those who don't get to grow into their power."

"I understand, Mother Bear," said Fuzzy, respectfully.

"I hear you're going on a hunt tomorrow morning. You be careful, and think about what new spell you want to learn. If it has anything to do with healing it'll be from me. You and I will spend plenty of time in the lodge. The world needs healers after all. I'd like to train a few more before I retire," she said piously, then grinned. "Though I'll probably die before then. I'm a stubborn old coot. Maybe too stubborn to die though. You never know. Now get out of here. You make me feel old," she barked.

"Oh, um...One more thing?" asked Fuzzy. "Something personal?"

"Yes, child?" she asked.

"Could you watch my dog? He's not old enough to go hunting with me yet."

Mother Bear cracked a rare smile.

"I'd love to."

It was early morning the next day, or perhaps the night, who was to say, when Fuzzy woke up to a soft knocking on her door. It was 4:00 AM. Hunting time. She opened the door, saw Sasha, nodded and then got dressed. Out she emerged in her hunting leather coat and pants, though her shirt was just her normal school shirt. Her previous one was old and threadbare.

"So where are we hunting?" asked Fuzzy.

Sasha's eyes unfocused in the dark. Her eyes lit up almost imperceptibly as her contacts fed her information. Then focused again on Fuzzy.

"The brochure says temperate rain forest. I'll buy a bow and you can show me how to shoot and we'll get some lessons. We have the whole weekend. I figure we learn stuff the first day and then go on a real hunt the second. It'll be fun."

Fuzzy nodded her head.

"It'll be fun. You're right. Let's go," said Fuzzy.

Sasha beamed with delight.

The normal boat that ferried them from one place to another wasn't there. Instead a different, sleeker, newer boat was at the dock waiting for them. Quieter too, because Sasha began to casually ask Fuzzy questions. Oh so casually.

"So...What social media do you use? I use Mars since my dad works for Ares you know," said Sasha.

Fuzzy actually knew what this was. She'd asked Kenji since most of the teens would constantly complain that they didn't have any access to social media and haven't since Salmon Run, the island's own social media account, died for some reason years earlier and was never repaired.

"Just tell her you don't use social media," said Kenji. "You're a girl with a bow, a spear and a dog. You wear giant rat leather. You're weird enough not to have an account and setting one up for you just for this instance would be suspicious."

This was before she decided to go hunting at the private grounds of a AAA corporation, one of the ten largest in the world, large enough to actually be its own recognized country despite not being a physical nation, at her friend's invitation.

"I don't use social media," said Fuzzy.

"What? Really?" asked Sasha. "You're like...Actually I've never met someone who didn't use social media."

"I don't know if you noticed, but I'm weird," said Fuzzy, self-consciously.

"Yeah, but I like you," said Sasha, who began to splutter. "Er uh...I mean, that you're weird. I mean...Different. Different is good. Yeah..."

Fuzzy had a sudden panicked realization as Sasha trailed off weakly. It was Saturday morning and she was going to spend the entire weekend with Sasha, not all of it hunting, and Sasha wanted to get to know her. As Blake Island disappeared into the distance she only now began to grasp how truly screwed she was. Sasha was having a hard time asking questions as a teen raised in an era where cyber stalking your friends was viewed as perfectly normal. However, undeterred, she was awkwardly asking them anyway. And why not? After all, she wanted to be friends with Fuzzy.

CYOA time

How do we deal with Sasha's attempts to get to know Fuzzy?

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 08:05

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.

Question. Did anyone catch that Sasha was going to start asking her mysterious friend questions about herself and that being a threat alongside her going to a megacorporation? I was hoping that would catch some people off guard. I feel like the threat of the megacorporation is huge, but maybe too huge on its own. Too impersonal. I wanted to make a sort of threat that was deeply personal as well.

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, information is dangerous. But.... aw gently caress it, Sasha's been nothing but good to us. It would be... nice? to have a friend. Never really had one of those before (besides Rat Man). And Kenji seems to approve of it.

I'd stay away from describing our past too much, though, at least for a while. Letting on that we're from the Barrens could scare her off. We'll see how the first day goes, and maybe open up a bit more later in the weekend.

E: Oh man, Mother Bear would teach us healing? I kinda want to pick healing just to hang out with her more. She seems to understand us better than most of the teachers.

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:

E: Oh man, Mother Bear would teach us healing? I kinda want to pick healing just to hang out with her more. She seems to understand us better than most of the teachers.

She would teach healing, yeah. Julian would teach manipulation spells. If we went detection or illusion I'd create a new teacher. Also technically there are ritual spells but they would take hours to cast. I don't want to mess with those. Learning any combat spells at all would have to be done outside of the school.

HiHo ChiRho
Oct 23, 2010

Then you remember. You have a message to send.

Something everyone must know.

You have the power. You have the means.

Let it be known.




I'm going with manipulation. We've got a dog, and plan on spending a bit of time outdoors so the controlling animals bit seems right up our alley.

Also Fuzzy doesn't seem all that worried about what the other students think of her as a normal teen would in high school, but she is worried about in a fight or flight sense. With that in mind I think Fuzzy would really enjoy all the tricks that manipulation would offer her

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Are you doing this for Lisa?" she asked, changing the subject.

Come again? You mean Julie? Think you just spoilered a new character.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Oh no. Don't worry. I have charts for what each kind of favor means. I won't surprise you and my rates are usually viewed as reasonable. Promise."

Then let's see that chart Kenji, and your new ends rates.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy shook her head.

I take it Fuzzy agrees with Sasha that it'll be fun? Maybe its just how I read things, in that shaking your head is 'disagree', and nodding your head is 'agree'?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Yeah, but I like you," said Sasha, who began to splutter. "Er uh...I mean, that you're weird. I mean...Different. Different is good. Yeah..."



Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy had a sudden panicked realization as Sasha trailed off weakly. It was Saturday morning and she was going to spend the entire weekend with Sasha, not all of it hunting, and Sasha wanted to get to know her. As Blake Island disappeared into the distance she only now began to grasp how truly screwed she was. Sasha was having a hard time asking questions as a teen raised in an era where cyber stalking your friends was viewed as perfectly normal. However, undeterred, she was awkwardly asking them anyway. And why not? After all, she wanted to be friends with Fuzzy.

What's the context here? 'Screwed' as in OMG, Sasha actually wants to talk *gasp*, and not hunt? Or, OMG, Sasha is going to kill me if I don't answer her questions? Am I missing something?

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA time
How do we deal with Sasha's attempts to get to know Fuzzy?

Treat it like a business transaction, the way Fuzzy deals with Rat Man and Kenji. She wants to learn about me, fine, then I better get something out of it too. It'll hurt Sasha's feelings, and, Fuzzy doesn't get that.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Question. Did anyone catch that Sasha was going to start asking her mysterious friend questions about herself and that being a threat alongside her going to a megacorporation? I was hoping that would catch some people off guard. I feel like the threat of the megacorporation is huge, but maybe too huge on its own. Too impersonal. I wanted to make a sort of threat that was deeply personal as well.

Ummm, come again? I would expect two girls to talk over the course of a weekend together, whether hunting or at a sleep over. Are you saying that Sasha is a specific threat to Fuzzy, in that Fuzzy is in mortal danger because of her? Or just that going to a MegaCorp hunting grounds might be dangerous in a general type of way? Think I'm missing something.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




I think the threat there is "if she asks too many questions we either have to reveal we're some half-feral barrens rat hunter and possible destroy our social life, or we clam up and again destroy our social life." Also, Fuzzy feels threatened by people prying for her personal information, even if it's a normal harmless interaction to more socially adjusted teenagers.

If there's supposed to be some kind of actual, credible threat that's not Fuzzy's paranoia/lacking social skills, then yeah I'm totally missing it too.

Crazycryodude fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 03:18

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

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

Kenji may be big on transactional relationships, but he just gave us a good piece of advice for free: Don't Lie. That doesn't mean we tell Sasha everything, but avoid an outright lie if at all possible. If she asks a question, try to answer it vaguely (but honestly), and make it clear that it's difficult for us to talk about. Our childhood was... different than most people. And hard. That sort of thing. Family is harder, but try and go in the same vein. Granted, this could take us just about anywhere that Sasha's imagination goes, so she might wind up thinking we're the daughter of an organized crime family raised to be an assassin hunting people down in the wilderness. Just stick to the rule of "Don't be the one lying".

To put things as Kenji would put it: even if we don't want her to know our secret, the reaction we would want if she *did* know it would be 'sympathetic'. So moving her in that direction before she actually knows the specifics means that if the truth actually does come out, she's more likely to double down on that ("It's worse than I thought!") than default to anger.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

erhecktile disfunction

Lipstick Apathy

Fuzzy should still be a little suspicious naturally because of her life up until school, but since she's our friend now we'll probably open up a little more.

Crazycryodude posted:

E: Oh man, Mother Bear would teach us healing? I kinda want to pick healing just to hang out with her more. She seems to understand us better than most of the teachers.

It does seem awesome. While detection or illusions would be helpful for hunting, Fuzzy's pretty good at hiding and tracking already, so she'd probably decide healing any injury received on a hunt would be more useful.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Ice Phisherman posted:

How do we deal with Sasha's attempts to get to know Fuzzy?

I think Fuzzy will keep Kenji's strategy in mind. Don't volunteer information about life in the Barrens, but don't lie either. Be honest, but honest at the pace that other people take it. Fuzzy is starting to learn how to be tactful, after all.

And we should grab Health magic. Healing, ideally. All sorts of other magic is also rad as gently caress, but the ability to heal injuries, cute diseases, and protect yourself from radiation is something that someone from Puyallup would find extremely useful.

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:

Come again? You mean Julie? Think you just spoilered a new character.

Changed that. Thanks. I wrote that right before I went to bed.

quote:

Then let's see that chart Kenji, and your new ends rates.

I actually forgot to ask the thread about that. I'll tie that up when we get back.

quote:

I take it Fuzzy agrees with Sasha that it'll be fun? Maybe its just how I read things, in that shaking your head is 'disagree', and nodding your head is 'agree'?

Changed that too. Thanks.

quote:

What's the context here? 'Screwed' as in OMG, Sasha actually wants to talk *gasp*, and not hunt? Or, OMG, Sasha is going to kill me if I don't answer her questions? Am I missing something?

Ummm, come again? I would expect two girls to talk over the course of a weekend together, whether hunting or at a sleep over. Are you saying that Sasha is a specific threat to Fuzzy, in that Fuzzy is in mortal danger because of her? Or just that going to a MegaCorp hunting grounds might be dangerous in a general type of way? Think I'm missing something.

The risk is exposure of who she is and the possible rejection by the only real friend and advocate she has.

Crazycryodude posted:

I think the threat there is "if she asks too many questions we either have to reveal we're some half-feral barrens rat hunter and possible destroy our social life, or we clam up and again destroy our social life." Also, Fuzzy feels threatened by people prying for her personal information, even if it's a normal harmless interaction to more socially adjusted teenagers.

If there's supposed to be some kind of actual, credible threat that's not Fuzzy's paranoia/lacking social skills, then yeah I'm totally missing it too.

Yeah, in my head it's exposure. As we're going to learn, Sasha comes from the corporate world and is a highly valued child (as she's a magician) of a highly placed corporation with highly valued parents. Shadowrun is a cyberpunk dystopia, and she has real power and authority in the corporation as the child of someone who we'll see is highly placed. I've tried to hint at this before, but I'm not really sure if I did it right or not and was testing to see if I'd lamp shaded it correctly. Sasha isn't cruel, but she comes from a culture that is about jockeying for power and nurturing/refining cruelty down to an art. For every story of a prince rescuing a damsel in distress as a sort of exemplar of what it means to be truly noble there are many more stories of them using their power in callous, cruel and even evil ways.

Fuzzy is walking into a megacorporation as what we'll find is the closest thing to a ghost. A person whose ID stretches back about two weeks. She's going to get found out and if things go bad Sasha could very well just do nothing to help her if she feels like she was played for the fool or betrayed.

Yeah, it's not perfect. I guess I didn't lamp shade it well enough. I need to work on that.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 09:05

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


All the more reason to never lie to Sasha. Follow Kenji's advice - make sure she's in our court whatever comes next.

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.

1 for stall
1 for transactional quid pro quo
2 for don't lie, but don't tell everything
1 open up a little more

I'll try to work as much as I can of all of these in given the distribution. So her response is going to be nuanced. A little bit of stalling, a little bit of exchanging information for information, more of not lying, but playing it a little cagey, and she'll open up more than normal.

Magic stuff:

The neat and frustrating thing about magic is that spells are singular. You can specialize in a group of spells, but just because you learned the heal spell doesn't mean you can cure someone of poison. You need to learn that second spell for just that. This means that we can hyper specialize and just be a healing master and punch way, way above our weight in healing for example. So if we specialized in healing the spellcasting skill would be spellcasting 1 with a +2 bonus to healing spells and we could never specialize in another skill in spellcasting again. Or we could do that, but maybe take one or two spells that let us do other things. Or go wide and learn a bunch of different spells and be flexible. I went with themes so I'm not overwhelming everyone with the 100+ spells that shadowrun offers all at once and trying not to overwhelm everyone with mechanics as I feel the story should inform the mechanics of the tabletop game, not the other way around.. The neat thing about this though is that each magician in shadowrun is unique due to that limit. Even if we specialized in healing for example the odds of learning all of them are low because there are just so many.

Apologies if this is confusing. :X

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 09:17

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Does the specialization just go in Healing spells, or in Health as a whole? Because that's the spell school if not just healing, but also buffs of most kinds, right?

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.

jagadaishio posted:

Does the specialization just go in Healing spells, or in Health as a whole? Because that's the spell school if not just healing, but also buffs of most kinds, right?

Health as a whole. So every health spell you learned would get a bonus. So there are about twenty or so health spells. Fuzzy can't possibly learn all of them. There are too many. She'd just be naturally better at casting them if she were to learn them.

The same thing would go for combat, illusion, manipulation and detection. She could specialize if she wanted to in any of these. The only drawback is that she can't specialize twice in the same skill. Once it's done it can't be undone. Spellcraft would be permanently specialized.

Writing 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.

Fuzzy and Sasha

Fuzzy really didn't expect to be asked so many questions. Whenever she and Sasha and whomever else was with them at the time would talk about a topic, it was almost always surface level topics. There was always something else happening. Class to complain about, someone on the shame pole, events that had happened, but people of this age had a harder time asking deeply personal questions. After all, that's what social media was for. One normally didn't have to ask deeply personal questions. The answers to those were almost always known. Social media being the ubiquitous leviathan that it was meant that one's own personality tended to be carefully pruned and crafted, like someone tending a garden. Sasha normally wouldn't need to ask about who Fuzzy's parents were. She could slip briefly out of the conversation, check her social media and know who those people were. Everything that was publicly visible allowed someone to already know a person's likes and dislikes, political affiliations, favorite bands, foods, hangout spots, everything. Fuzzy had absolutely no idea that she was socially invisible and that most people didn't know how to deal with that. People could merely just not care not to get to know others, but that information, pruned as it was, was almost always instantly handy. In Fuzzy's case it wasn't. Blake Island banned social media for a reason that neither of the young women fully grasped.

The two girls were truly alone on the Puget Sound. There wasn't even a pilot. They merely moved through the water in the near dark lit dimly only by the running lights of the boat, the moon and the Metroplex miles and miles away. The boat did not roar like the older boat that ferried the students from place to place. Instead it hummed, almost purred as it cut through the water. The waves would slap, slap, slap against the hull, but all was quiet besides save for Sasha's gentle and awkward probing and Fuzzy's racing mind.

"I um...Am I asking too much too quickly?" asked Sasha, delicately. "I can see that you're...Well..."

"Are you assensing me?" asked Fuzzy. "Mother Bear taught us that doing that without permission was..."

Her tone wasn't accusatory. It was just as awkward as Sasha's. It was like the two girls were dancing and either staying too far away to be close or stepping on one another's toes. Fuzzy couldn't see Sasha that well, but if she could see her she would've seen Sasha blush harder, for she already was. Sasha looked away and stayed quiet for a few seconds before looking back.

"Can you keep a secret?" she said hesitantly.

"Yes," said Fuzzy, immediately.

Sasha smiled, but that smile turned immediately anxious.

"I'm good at assensing because it's always on. I can't exactly...Turn it off. Can you do it? See the astral? It's hard to explain," she asked.

"No, I can't do it. Maybe with some practice I could, but it doesn't come naturally to me," said Fuzzy.

"Right, okay. Um...The astral is always there. We just don't see it. It's all emotions. Spirits. Life. There are bad spots and good. Bright spots and stains. I look out at the ACHE for instance, you know, that huge ghetto that used to be the Renraku arcology a million years ago? It makes me nauseous to even look at it. All that pain and death. It's a huge, evil spot in the astral. A nexus of awfulness. It hurts to look at. Hurts to even be close. My driver has to take the long way around. I can't even be within half a mile of it or I lose my lunch..." she trailed off. "When I first got to know you you were a puzzle to me. Normally I can pick apart someone's emotions within a few seconds and understand them. I can't not. It's like noticing the color of someone's hair. You're different though. Complicated. I liked not knowing. I still do, but that makes me curious because I always know everything and I'm not used to that. It's more curse than anything. I always know if someone is thinking bad thoughts. Especially about me. I'm always intruding. I see scary things in the astral all the time. Beauty too. Sometimes both at once. You wouldn't believe just how heavy the island's security is. Anyway, yeah, it's rude. I can't not be rude. Sometimes it feels like I'm always silently farting and no one has noticed yet."

Despite the heavy nature of the topic, Fuzzy couldn't help it. What started as a small snort turned into a giggle.

"Oh my God. I can't believe I said that..." started Sasha.

Fuzzy's giggles doubled and then redoubled. She laughed so hard she began to snort. All of that tension in her dispelled. It felt so good. Cathartic. For a moment she felt only joy and laughter.

"Always farting," repeated Fuzzy, giggling uncontrollably.

Sasha was offended at first, but began to laugh as well. After all she could see that her friend's laughter wasn't at her, it was with her. She truly knew her friend's heart in that instant. Fuzzy's joy was simple and pure and uncomplicated, and so Sasha's and Fuzzy's laughter filled the otherwise silent Sound for a time. After a few false starts on the conversation where laughter elbowed its way back into the mix the girls sighed happily as they caught their mutual breaths.

"So you're not mad?" asked Sasha.

"You don't already know?" asked Fuzzy.

"It...Seems polite to ask..." hedged Sasha. "And occasionally I'm wrong. It's not perfect. I'm also not great at reading you yet."

"I'm not mad that you're constantly farting," teased Fuzzy.

"You're not going to let me live that down, are you?" sighed Sasha.

"Hmm...I won't tease you about it then."

"Thanks."

"Much..." teased Fuzzy, wickedly.

Sasha groaned, but in exasperation, not anger.

"So you won't tell anyone?" asked Sasha. "Can you promise me?"

"Promise," said Fuzzy.

"Thanks."

"So...No social media at all?" asked Sasha.

"I...No."

Fuzzy drew back into herself defensively again. Then with sudden realization she knew that Sasha knew how she felt second by second even if imperfectly. She hadn't fully understood, but she suddenly felt naked before her friend. Exposed and vulnerable. Sasha sighed miserably in response.

"Yeah. That's almost always the reaction someone has whenever I tell someone what I can do," she said, and sighed resignedly. "I'd understand if you would want to go back. We can still go back if you want."

The girls were apart from one another. They sat on one of many seats on the boat facing one another. On a whim she decided to stand up to sit next to her friend.

Friend?

Friend.

The young women's sides touched and while Sasha momentarily stiffened, she eventually relaxed. They kept a companionable silence for the rest of the boat ride. Sasha didn't look at Fuzzy. She didn't have to.

A sedan pulled up to meet them at the docks as soon as they arrived, as if on cue. Two men flanked the vehicle on either side. They moved oddly, as if they were too fast. Their motions quick and graceful. They wore strange looking uniforms and just above their hearts was the emblem of a...Man in a helmet? Some sort of red fringe on top. Was this a gang? Fuzzy was reminded of the way a bird moves when she looked at the men. One opened the door for them and nodded respectfully to Sasha.

"Good morning Miss Oliver," said the man.

"Morning. Thanks for picking me up."

"My pleasure. We'll be in the front if you need us."

The two girls piled into the car and sat as the doors closed on their own. Everything was so soft and sleek. Everything smelled new. There were drinks behind a pane of glass that opened up, but only partially. Fuzzy was thirsty after all. She'd been talking and laughing far more than normal. That felt wonderful, but it was thirsty work. The two men moved into the front of the sedan and a window, previously down, went up to seal the men away from Fuzzy and Sasha.

"That's Duncan and Beef. They work for my dad," she said.

"What does he do?"

"Duncan or Beef?" she asked.

"Your dad."

"Oh, he's the chief of police for Renton. Well, one of the bigger precincts anyway. He got a promotion when I awakened. We had a huge party," she said, and smiled wistfully. Then she sighed. "I see him a lot less now though. Lone Star is really bucking hard to win back the Seattle police contract from Knight Errant so he works long hours."

Fuzzy nodded slowly, not understanding any of that. He sounded important though. Very important if he had his own car and men to pick them up.

Are you thirsty?"

Eager to change the subject and for a drink she nodded. Sasha popped the top off some sort of Fizzy fruit drink and handed it to Fuzzy before having something for herself from a compartment that not only contained drinks, but a wet bar. The wet bar was sealed off by glass though. Fuzzy didn't know what that was and was instead distracted by just how tasty the drink was. She didn't know the taste. Not apple, but fruity. There were words on the side, but of course she didn't understand them and so couldn't ask what it was.

"Can I ask you a question, Fuzzy?" she asked.

"Yes."

The car didn't even rumble to life. It simply moved. So different than the bus and how loudly it rumbled. She felt like she was gliding across the surface of the earth rather than rolling on wheels.

"When I ask you about yourself I can tell you don't want to talk," she said, anxiously.

Fuzzy fidgeted nervously.

"I want you to know that's okay, but if you want to share, that's okay too."

Fuzzy pondered and thought. She nursed her drink to collect her thoughts. It really was good. With a grin and sudden realization she took a picture of the drink, fed it to her commlink and her commlink's text to speech read her what the fizzy drink was.

"Dale's Own Best Pomegranate Juice."

Fuzzy was proud of just how clever she was. She did feel a little bad that she was drinking Dale's drink though, whoever Dale was. She hoped he wouldn't mind. The tasty drink put her in a mood to share because she was being shared with after all. Just a little. Sasha confided in her and Fuzzy regarded her as a friend. Her only friend in fact.

"Life for me is...Complicated," started Fuzzy, at first distracted. "Painful. It's hard to share with you. In part because I'm not used to sharing."

Fuzzy bit her lip and looked down.

"In part I think you would like me far less if you knew that side of me," she said.

Sasha looked at her for a time and frowned.

"You really believe that, don't you?" asked Sasha.

Fuzzy nodded.

"Well...Maybe I can convince you that I'll like you no matter what. We have all weekend, right?"

She nodded, but that was all Fuzzy had in her to share and Sasha didn't press her further.

From the car to a set of doors. Fuzzy didn't know where she was, only that she was somewhere. It'd been dark after all. She stood before big doors, clear and wide. The logo then men wore was on the building, big and bold. Words were on it and she once again checked her commlink.

"Ares Macrotechnology."

That meant nothing to her though. However, the building stretched high into the sky. As she followed Sasha, men and women sat behind desks looking attentive. Fuzzy followed Sasha through a sort of square door flanked by rails. Sasha put her pack on some sort of moving floor at waist level and it went through a machine. Then she emptied her pockets into a plastic container at the man's ordering. She went through the door and it beeped and turned red.

"Check for any more metal please," said a man in a uniform.

She checked her pockets once more.

"Oh, sorry, missed a bottlecap. Can I just throw this away?" she asked.

She did without getting a response. The man continued.

"Let's see...Sasha Oliver," he said. "You're scheduled for hunting time today. Is this your plus one?"

"Yes."

The man nodded and she stepped through. No sound this time. Fuzzy followed suit with her own pack. The guard eyed her suspiciously, but there was no red light.

"Let's see...Your bow, arrows and spear were sent ahead, but I see that you have two knives in your pack. Miss...Fuzzy?" he asked, dubiously. "Miss Fuzzy Smith, we'll provide these to you when you reach the grounds. Please stay here for a moment."

The man's frown intensified as her backpack was taken by another man. Fuzzy felt nervous. She looked to Sasha who looked confused.

"You go to the Blake Island School of Magic, correct?" he asked.

"Yes," said Fuzzy.

"Miss, I'm going to need to ask you a few questions. Please step to the side."

Fuzzy looked to Sasha again, who looked alarmed and was guided by the man to another man took her just a few feet away, though within earshot of Sasha, which made her extremely uncomfortable for some reason.

"Hello miss...Fuzzy...Smith" said a guard, dubiously. "I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience. I'm just going to need to ask you a few questions to authenticate your system identification number. Full name please?"

He was so big.

"My name is Fuzzy."

"And your date of birth?" he asked.

She looked back to Sasha only long enough to register more fear and confusion.

"I...Don't know."

The guard raised an eyebrow.

"You don't know your date of birth?" he asked.

"No."

"Right...Current residence?"

"Blake Island."

"Well that checks out...However, miss, I'm not seeing you as registered to a previous home before that. Perhaps you could provide me with your last address so we can perform a standard search to alleviate any confusion."

"What?"

The man didn't sigh. He was too well trained.

"Where did you live last?" he asked.

"I...Um..." she began.

The man said nothing. He merely waited.

"Puyallup barrens," she said, quietly.

The man put a finger up to his ear, mumbled something and two more guards came by. A hand fell on her shoulder, Fuzzy tensed, and when she looked at Sasha she felt a sudden emotional punch to the stomach. Her friend's mouth was agape as the security forces of Ares Macrotechnology lead her away. She'd only had a SIN for two weeks after all. They couldn't be too careful. Corporate saboteurs, spies and shadowrunners were everywhere after all.

After a two hours of being asked the same questions over and over by a man in a room, she fidgeted nervously in her chair. She had a sense that answering these questions wrongly or lying would land her in even more trouble. She thought she was fifteen. Maybe fourteen. Maybe sixteen. Where was she from? Puyallup Barrens. Did she indeed go to school at Blake Island School of Magic? Yes, she took classes from Mother Bear in magical safety. Was she a registered awakened? She wasn't sure. Was there anyone that could verify what she told them? Yes, Julian, Mother Bear and Rat Man. Who is Rat Man? He's just Rat Man. She sold him pelts. This process repeated over and over, and to her credit she stuck to her story.

"Well, it seems like you check out," said the interrogator. "Apparently you were headhunted for your gifts. Lucky duck. Your teachers vouched for you. Apparently you're part of some new pilot program."

"Wait, headhunted?" asked Fuzzy, and fear spiked inside of her.

"Recruited. Anyway, you're free to go. My apologies for keeping you here. However, this is for the safety of everyone. Please keep that in mind, Miss Fuzzy Smith," he said, as if by rote.

"Thank you...So I can go?" she asked.

"Yes, you can go. Remember that I'll be keeping my eye on you, Miss Fuzzy Smith," he said.

His unreadable, shiny metal eyes. She was escorted out. She heard a small click, turned as she was being moved, and saw the man had taken some sort of device and plugged it straight into his temple. She shuddered. She didn't see Sasha immediately, but a few seconds later she was let out of a room adjacent to hers. She looked worse for wear. At first she didn't look as if she was going to speak. She opened and closed her mouth a few times before she finally gathered her resolve to speak.

"They asked me a lot of questions about you," she said, quietly.

"They asked me a lot of questions too," said Fuzzy.

A few heartbeats passed before Sasha spoke again.

"You're from the Puyallup Barrens?" she asked.

Not able to deny it any longer, Fuzzy nodded slowly.

CYOA time

What do we do?

I rolled some dice. Fuzzy's extra shiny dice in etiquette paid off. Things weren't as hosed as they could've been! Also something else that's coming down the pipeline won't hit as badly now.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 30, 2017 around 02:17

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'm curious what everyone thinks about the pacing. Should I keep it where it is or speed it up?

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!


It moves a bit fast for me, but I can always catch up. You do you!

Also, does Fuzzy have the Uneducated and/or Uncouth qualities? I think we should save some karma for getting rid of those, if applicable.

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.

Tias posted:

It moves a bit fast for me, but I can always catch up. You do you!

Also, does Fuzzy have the Uneducated and/or Uncouth qualities? I think we should save some karma for getting rid of those, if applicable.

She had a chance of being uncouth at the start when I asked questions, but due to the thread's choices I gave that a pass. However, she's illiterate and uneducated. I haven't actually gotten around to Julian or Mother Bear talking to her yet which is probably an oversight on my part. I'll correct that after this story. Her ability to use her commlink is entirely governed by people helping her and in this case, Mother Bear or Kenji essentially running it for her or setting up and app that she can click and use that'll run on its own. She'd have no ability to use that app in any other way and has no idea how it works, only that it does.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Sasha can see our fear and embarrassment blazing on the Astral. There's no way she doesn't pick up on something that obvious, right? Hell, she can probably tell that this was the sore spot that was getting poked earlier.

She gave us the option the turn back earlier. Give her the same opportunity. Ask her if she's okay with that, and really hope she is.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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




Sasha can read our emotions like a book anyways. Just let it all out. Yes, we're from Puyallup. No, we didn't tell you. Yes, this is the secret we were so worried about you finding out. If you don't like us anymore that's ok, we can just go home. Cry a little bit. Or a lot.

Crazycryodude fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 15:30

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

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

Crazycryodude posted:

Sasha can read our emotions like a book anyways. Just let it all out. Yes, we're from Puyallup. No, we didn't tell you. Yes, this is the secret we were so worried about you finding out. If you don't like us anymore that's ok, we can just go home. Cry a little bit. Or a lot.

Exactly, tears may not be necessary because it shows weakness but maybe we're learning to show weakness in front of trusted friends

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

This is absolutely brilliant and I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I think the pacing is shockingly good, especially when some of the other CYOAs I follow can have enormous gaps between updates (I'm looking at you, loel ) due to real life circumstances, writer burnout and the like.

Your prose is excellent, and you're doing a fantastic job of characterising the various players. They come through as realistic, three-dimensional people with likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears and social quirks rather than two-dimensional cutouts (which I often worry some of my own characters tend toward).


Crazycryodude posted:

Sasha can read our emotions like a book anyways. Just let it all out. Yes, we're from Puyallup. No, we didn't tell you. Yes, this is the secret we were so worried about you finding out. If you don't like us anymore that's ok, we can just go home. Cry a little bit. Or a lot.

I'm down with this. I see Fuzzy as being hugely embarrassed and afraid of what just happened and that it's going to ruin her burgeoning friendship with Sasha, whom I feel she really likes. Kenji's been square with us so far and he gave us that invaluable piece of advice earlier: "don't lie". We should be square with her, open and honest, and maybe somewhat tearful. Tearful not in a manipulative sense because I"m not sure Fuzzy is "there" yet when it comes to that sort of thing, but tearful in a genuine "this terrified the crap out of me and I don't want to lose my friend" way.


edit: Also, I haven't gorged myself on the setting since third edition, what the gently caress happened at the Renraku Arcology

edit2: Forgot to mention that you're also doing a great job of making the background and the setting feel alive.

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!


I don't know as of 5th ed, but during 4th the Arcology got locked down by the rogue AI known as Deus. It assumed control of the SCIRE security systems and locked the arcology off from the outside world. With Renraku loath to admit failure they played it off for a long time as something that was supposed to happen, all the while Deus experimented on people inside in all sorts of fun ways. Eventually the federal government got sick of Renraku, and Seattles government took over control. 1.800 of the original 90.000 employees living inside perished, and Deus escaped, possibly inside the minds of some of the people, as it was connected with the technomancer emergence as well.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Holy shitballs, that's, uh, pretty special. And by special I mean messed the gently caress up. What a nightmare.

hi Tias, I'm also enjoying your Shadowrun thread too.

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 bubbled over with shame. She felt stupid. She felt stupid for feeling stupid. She tried to tell Sasha the truth earlier and would have eventually, but her secret was so big. It'd be like trying to swallow a whole poached egg. She could've did it, but it was so much easier to take small bites. For her to dole out small truths. When she was comfortable. When she was ready. Now feared losing her only friend in the world. With that fear came pain and redoubled as she feared that pain. She feared it more than hunger, more than failure in a hunt, more than breaking a weapon or being chased by ghouls or devil rat packs. It nestled in her stomach and clawed at her and she clutched her belly with both hands as if it would claw it's way out of her.

Sasha stood there, feeling awkward, her feet were set wide, her body language unsure. Sasha looked at her, but then turned away.. Fuzzy's heart broke and a choked sob escaped her in front of those security offices. After hours of fear and frustration she felt as raw as a scraped pelt. She felt exposed to her friend.

Friend?

She thought Sasha was going to turn and leave. She didn't. Instead she awkwardly side shuffled towards Fuzzy. Her shoes squeaked against the oh so white tile of the floor. She didn't hug Fuzzy, because she didn't like to be touched, and so she pressed her side against Fuzzy's. Sasha was a few inches taller than her, but more willowy. Fuzzy was far smaller, but more compact. Unsure of what to make of this, her pain halted, but did not abate in intensity. Her fear stopped wriggling inside of her, but did not leave. Instead they waited for weakness. Waited for the moment when Sasha would strike her or push her away. Her fear and pain waited to devour Fuzzy alive.

"You're sort of hard to look at right now," whispered Sasha.

Fuzzy could understand that. Those wriggling fears and clawing pains began to stir again.

"I tried to tell you," whispered Fuzzy, weakly. "I didn't know how. It was too big. I was scared."

Sasha pointedly looked towards Fuzzy.

"Look at me," she said.

Fuzzy looked. Sasha's face contorted with pain and nausea. Here it came. The moment she'd reject her. Fuzzy braced as weakly as she could.

"You are hard to look at," she said.

Sudden understanding dawned within Fuzzy.

"You're not going to send me away?" she asked.

"No. I'm not going to send you away," she said, and then, more gently, "I want to hug you, but I might barf. I'll still do it if you want to though."

A bubble of joy popped inside of Fuzzy. It was so dumb and inappropriate that she couldn't help feel good for just a second. She managed a smile.

"I'd rather you not barf," whispered Fuzzy.

"Me too," agreed Sasha.

They hugged anyway in the sight of the heavily armed corporate security of Ares Macrotechnology and the last of the corporate wage slaves streamed in to begin their normal seven to seven Saturday morning shift. It was 6:55 AM.

In the end they were late to their appointment to go hunting. Sasha took Fuzzy by the arm and transported her to a restaurant for breakfast. They got a private booth in the back. Sasha switched on a white noise generator and the noise of the restaurant was suddenly gone. Fuzzy thought it was strange at first that Sasha sat next to her and that all noise was gone, but she wrapped an arm around her shoulder and brought her in close. Fuzzy checked with herself and found that she didn't mind being touched. Just this once. The girls shared everything. Sasha talked about her extreme isolation. Her inability to keep friends. How invasive she felt when she looked at people and how invaded she felt when certain people looked at her. She talked about how she avoided certain people because they made her fear greasy or dirty, but didn't elaborate beyond that.

Fuzzy talked about her fears. Fear of hunger, fear of injury, fear of being eaten by devil rats or ghouls, fear of sickness, fear of gangs, fear of losing even a single arrow or breaking what was once upon a time her only weapons. She shared the story of breaking her only bowstring and not having enough to pay Rat Man for another when she first received her bow. She shared the story about two men fighting over a box of soy noodles because one cup was missing only for one to kill the other. How she scrounged the body afterwards for the slim pickings that hadn't been scrounged by the other man, despite the fact that she knew the smell of death would bring ghouls. How she would burn trash in the winter to stay warm, but couldn't always stay warm because not all trash would burn.

The young women shared everything like friends do. Best friends, even. Fuzzy had a long cry with Sasha. It was the first time she'd allowed herself to be weak like this since she was a little girl too weak to pull a bow string or throw a spear when Rat Man took her in and gave her a job preparing rats for food and board. She had to explain to Sasha that that was one of the happiest days of her life and one of her earliest memories. Sasha didn't understand, but she could see the remnants of relief and joy borne upon her soul while she relived the memory.

"Are you hungry?" asked Sasha. "We've been here an hour and a half and haven't eaten anything."

Fuzzy wasn't hungry, but she knew from experience that that would change, and balked at the idea of turning down a meal.

"A little," said Fuzzy.

"We should get out of this booth. Dad is going to give me an earful when he knows I used a private booth. They're expensive," she said. "Your face is a mess though. Here."

She produced a fancy looking cloth from the table and held it out to Fuzzy. Fuzzy, not understanding, found her face gently brushed moments later by that cloth when she didn't take it for herself. It was so soft.

"Sorry," said Sasha, anxiously. "Anyway, let's have a quick breakfast and get to hunting."

They slipped out of their booth, went to a different booth, this one not private. The sounds of the restaurant were back now that the white noise generator wasn't active and near them, though Fuzzy didn't know that. She just knew that sounds were back. Fuzzy was introduced to pancakes and she loved pancakes and her love of condiments on hot dogs sort of extended to syrup, strawberries and whipped cream and just like a hot dog, she asked for and received liberal amounts of all three. So in the end her pancake was more syrup and strawberries and whipped cream than pancake. She also had bacon on the side. Porks are delicious after all. Sasha ate a smaller breakfast and quirked a smile at Fuzzy.

"You're going to get fat," said Sasha.

"Fat is successful where I come from."

"Well it's not here...Hey, give me a bite of that."

Even an hour and a half late the girls were still able to sign up for training. After all like Sasha said this was a hunting ground for Knight Errant, and as the new police force in town they were far busier than when they were mere corporate security. As Seattle's only police force, and a private one at that, they were busy trying to establish themselves lest they lose their contract back to Lone Star. And so the girls traipsed through the woods with their instructor. Fuzzy found it interesting. He taught them how to shoot a bow, how to set a spear, how to hold a knife without cutting themselves, how to set a snare, how to move in the forest and at Fuzzy's request, how to dress a killed deer, though she had to watch that on her commlink since deer are expensive. Fuzzy found that while she learned a lot of new things, her skills mostly transferred over with little problem. Sasha on the other hand was learning tons of new things and both the instructor and Fuzzy helped Sasha when she didn't understand something or fumbled. It seemed obvious in retrospect, but Sasha knew nothing about how to navigate, how to move silently, how to start a fire, shoot a bow, wield a spear, hold a knife, all of it was new to her. Sasha wouldn't have lasted a day out in the barrens and Fuzzy resolved never to let her go. Hours later Fuzzy was tired and Sasha was exhausted. Both of the girls were sweaty, but Sasha was drenched with sweat. They walked back to the entrance of the park.

"You did stuff like this every day of your life?" asked Sasha.

"Yes. Every day," said Fuzzy. "I didn't move so much though. Mostly I'd wait. I used traps a lot. I learned to be patient."

Sasha's eyes unfocused for a moment. Fuzzy could tell that she was reading something.

"Oh, that little bitch," she muttered.

Sasha looked like she was fuming, but schooled her features and put on a nervous smile.

"What?" asked Fuzzy.

"Heyyyy...Sooooo..." Drawled Sasha. "Do you want to spend the night at my place?" she asked, and dodged the question. "I'll have to ask my dad...And probably clear it with security...But you could stay the night. You know, sleep over. It'll be a real hassle to get you back to school anyway and pick you up in the morning. You should stay! Really. Stay."

"What's wrong?" asked Fuzzy.

Sasha worried at her lip.

"I just got an anonymous text from someone about you, Kenji and Julie. I'm pretty sure it was Christina, but I don't think I can prove it. It's...Pretty bad."

CYOA time

What do we do?

So I rolled the dice to see if Sasha would reject Fuzzy or not. It was always a possibility. However we scored three hits out of nine. Five for Fuzzy's charisma+etiquette and another four for her loyalty rating. We scraped by without damaging her loyalty at all. Since we decided to share just enough to prepare her for this situation and so we didn't get any negatives to the roll. If we got no hits, glitched or critical glitched Fuzzy would be alone right now. At the same time her loyalty to Fuzzy didn't increase. Three was the number to beat and we didn't get that. While she has a new understanding of Fuzzy her opinion of her didn't change for better or worse.

Christina the enemy has appeared. Fuzzy is too tough to gently caress with in a direct physical altercation. Each arc she has a chance to gently caress with Fuzzy in some way (currently a 1/3 chance). Seeing as she hates Julie for the mutual racism and losing her weekend pass, Kenji for threatening to wipe Julie's snotty rag all over her face and Fuzzy for dressing her down on the first day in front of a crowd (currently on social media!) she has taken it upon herself to thoroughly gently caress over the teens' reputations. Kenji has been outed as a resident of ACHE, Fuzzy got outed as a former SINless (basically no identity) and Julie gets the worst of it and has been outed in the death of her father. Julie is going to have a very bad day come Monday.

Playing Julie was always going to be the worst path if we picked her. Or at least worst in terms of suffering.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 27, 2017 around 19:37

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.

Tias posted:

I don't know as of 5th ed, but during 4th the Arcology got locked down by the rogue AI known as Deus. It assumed control of the SCIRE security systems and locked the arcology off from the outside world. With Renraku loath to admit failure they played it off for a long time as something that was supposed to happen, all the while Deus experimented on people inside in all sorts of fun ways. Eventually the federal government got sick of Renraku, and Seattles government took over control. 1.800 of the original 90.000 employees living inside perished, and Deus escaped, possibly inside the minds of some of the people, as it was connected with the technomancer emergence as well.

It actually happened during Christmas so an additional 60,000 holiday shoppers got trapped inside as well. Kenji's Christmas brick was one of Deus' Christmas creations. Ho, ho, ho. Also remember that it's fall and Kenji probably wants to be anywhere else than home come this Christmas.

Hexenritter posted:

This is absolutely brilliant and I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I think the pacing is shockingly good, especially when some of the other CYOAs I follow can have enormous gaps between updates (I'm looking at you, loel ) due to real life circumstances, writer burnout and the like.

Your prose is excellent, and you're doing a fantastic job of characterising the various players. They come through as realistic, three-dimensional people with likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears and social quirks rather than two-dimensional cutouts (which I often worry some of my own characters tend toward).


I'm down with this. I see Fuzzy as being hugely embarrassed and afraid of what just happened and that it's going to ruin her burgeoning friendship with Sasha, whom I feel she really likes. Kenji's been square with us so far and he gave us that invaluable piece of advice earlier: "don't lie". We should be square with her, open and honest, and maybe somewhat tearful. Tearful not in a manipulative sense because I"m not sure Fuzzy is "there" yet when it comes to that sort of thing, but tearful in a genuine "this terrified the crap out of me and I don't want to lose my friend" way.


edit: Also, I haven't gorged myself on the setting since third edition, what the gently caress happened at the Renraku Arcology

edit2: Forgot to mention that you're also doing a great job of making the background and the setting feel alive.

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy it. I'm not always sure if what I'm writing is good or not. I have a sense of it, but my pacing can be a bit slow sometimes for my liking. I'm a big fan of creating strong motivations in characters and then seeing them clash against one another. Once people are complicated enough it'll feel natural when they clash on their own. I really don't have to make too many huge leaps at that point to make the story believable.

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 sleep over. Going back to camp sounds like a lot of hassle, both with just the logistics, and the potential social fallout from Christina's smear campaign. We should try and run damage control for Julie and Kenji when we get back, even if it's just a shoulder to cry on (or more likely taking orders from Kenji because he knows what to do), but for now let's try and have a good weekend with Sasha.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


At this point it would be rude to refuse her hospitality, right? Fuzzy more or less gets that, whereas the nuances of what could be happening on social media are beyond her. Especially when it's her one and only friend suggesting they spend more time together.

Here's hoping Kenji's prep work was enough to help soften things for Julie. With the help of Marco, maybe.

How do you think Fuzzy reacts to the news about specifically Julie, though? Does she understand what happened in a pragmatic, survival-at-any-costs sense? Or the sense of being without family, being alone and isolated? Do you think it makes her respect Julie the Powerful more or less? I think it could go either way.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

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

Well, I'm sure glad that the friendlier, less paranoid components of Fuzzy's subconscious outvoted me.

We definitely stick with Sasha. She's our best friend, she accepted our past when we confided in her and has continued to be supportive. Leaving now would be incredibly weird and alienating, and we would accomplish... basically nothing? Fuzzy's probably got a lot of anonymous bullying in her future, so having a well-connected friend is a good idea, for Fuzzy's happiness if nothing else.

Regarding Julie... I think Fuzzy's hardened enough that this isn't going to move her strongly in one way or another until she knows more. She's probably got enough of a read on Julie to know that she wouldn't just go out and murder somebody, but she also probably has a hard time imagining Julie being in a life-or-death situation. I think we're open-minded about it.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Changed that. Thanks. I wrote that right before I went to bed.

I actually forgot to ask the thread about that. I'll tie that up when we get back.

Changed that too. Thanks.

No problem, you've been writing a lot lately!

Again, not that I have any business critiquing the writing of a professional writer; based on what I've read so far, you seem like someone who wants to the details right, so, I'm playing editor.

If its annoying or coming across as nitpicky, let me know and I'll stop.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy and Sasha
Blake Island banned social media for a reason that neither of the young women fully grasped.

This is wonderful. Actual reasons for why things are they way they are, and not just author fiat.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Always farting," repeated Fuzzy, giggling uncontrollably.

You. I see what what you're doing; you're making me care about these two characters so I'll be sad when you butcher Sasha. I'm on to you Mister.

Ice Phisherman posted:

"Yeah. That's almost always the reaction someone has whenever I tell someone what I can do," she said, and sighed resignedly. "I'd understand if you would want to go back. We can still go back if you want."

Stop making me care!

Ice Phisherman posted:

The young women's sides touched and while Sasha momentarily stiffened, she eventually relaxed. They kept a companionable silence for the rest of the boat ride. Sasha didn't look at Fuzzy. She didn't have to.

Alright, now you're not even given me a fighting chance anymore.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy was proud of just how clever she was. She did feel a little bad that she was drinking Dale's drink though, whoever Dale was. She hoped he wouldn't mind.

Made me genuinely smile into my screen.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm curious what everyone thinks about the pacing. Should I keep it where it is or speed it up?

Pace is great, as long as you're not going to burn out on it. I might be behind an update or two, based on how busy I am during the day, however, I can always catch up.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Fuzzy
"Look at me," she said.

Fuzzy looked. Sasha's face contorted with pain and nausea. Here it came. The moment she'd reject her. Fuzzy braced as weakly as she could.

"You are hard to look at," she said.

Sudden understanding dawned within Fuzzy.

"You're not going to send me away?" she asked.

. . . the feels . . . must, resist, the feels . . .

Ice Phisherman posted:

The young women shared everything like friends do. Best friends, even. Fuzzy had a long cry with Sasha. It was the first time she'd allowed herself to be weak like this since she was a little girl . . .

I swear if you ever hurt Sasha . . .

Ice Phisherman posted:

"I just got an anonymous text from someone about you, Kenji and Julie. I'm pretty sure it was Christina, but I don't think I can prove it. It's...Pretty bad."

Nicely done. Really like the way you organically introduce these moments, as they're completely believable. Julie getting into a racially motivated fight? Yep. Mean Girl sending out a rumor text? Yep Yep.

Ice Phisherman posted:

CYOA time

What do we do?

Stay the night. Talk it out some more Sasha, and conference call Kenji in to strategize. Let's not walk into Monday unprepared.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Playing Julie was always going to be the worst path if we picked her. Or at least worst in terms of suffering.

Poor thing, hopefully we can make things right in her life.

Ice Phisherman posted:

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoy it. I'm not always sure if what I'm writing is good or not. I have a sense of it, but my pacing can be a bit slow sometimes for my liking.

Its good. Trust us, its good; you're peddling the equivalent of literary crack to us here.

In fact, its good enough that I suspect you'll throw up a pay wall soon.

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:

No problem, you've been writing a lot lately!

Again, not that I have any business critiquing the writing of a professional writer; based on what I've read so far, you seem like someone who wants to the details right, so, I'm playing editor.

If its annoying or coming across as nitpicky, let me know and I'll stop.

I will always listen to critiques so long as they're constructive. Early on when I sucked at writing any criticism killed my drive. I had to develop a sort of thick skin because a good amount of criticism is destructive and not constructive. So I don't mind. I've got pretty thick skin. Thanks for you help.

quote:

Made me genuinely smile into my screen.

Really glad you like it. To me having an audience to let me know I'm on the right path helps my craft quite a bit. It's hard for me to just write stuff and then look at it 10-20k words later, decide its crap and scrap it. Writing to me truly is performative and without an audience I tend to get discouraged.

quote:

Its good. Trust us, its good; you're peddling the equivalent of literary crack to us here.

In fact, its good enough that I suspect you'll throw up a pay wall soon.

Like I said this is a writing exercise. If it does by some insane chance generate enough attention or I like it enough I may pitch it to Catalyst Game Labs (I think that's who owns the property right now). I'm in the process of letting enough book percolate in my head right now and if I can do this I think I might be able to sell that one. I've never written anything substantial outside of romance before so I want to see if I could actually do it.

No pay walls. Besides the legal problems I'd rather more people read me rather than less.

Time to write some more.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

Time to write some more.

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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.

Sleepover time it is then. I saw some people wondering openly about what we're going to do with Julie and there were conflicting views. So Fuzzy will have conflicting feelings.

Fuzzy and Sasha

As it turned out Fuzzy couldn't take a shower because she didn't have any other clothes to change into. The idea of "other clothes" was still a new concept to Fuzzy. She was used to changing clothes and showering everyday because she could, but if she didn't it didn't bug her. She thought she had her priorities straight when she sent her weapons ahead, but clothes? After some careful explaining Sasha explained that as a young woman it should bug her not to wear clean clothes every day and smell good and that she was taking her down to the shopping district. She'd be in and out of her family's quarters in fifteen minutes and Fuzzy was to wait right here on this bench in the shopping district while she showered. Fuzzy waited, wasn't harassed by security and fifteen minutes later Sasha came back to the lobby where she left Fuzzy, now fresh and clean.

"Sorry, I can't really be seen walking around drenched in sweat. Mom would have a fit," she explained.

As Fuzzy later learned this wasn't just a place with a forest and a restaurant, but a tiny city that surrounded an arcology surrounded by walls. Almost a fortress, though the security was discreet. Everyone who lived here worked for Ares. There were high and low density residential areas, an underground tram, shopping malls, dance clubs, movie theaters, clothing stores and so much more. Sasha's family, the Olivers, lived in the arcology proper near the top.

"We used to live out in town, but once I awakened..." she said, an trailed off for a few seconds before continuing, "It's basically an instant promotion."

"Why?" ask Fuzzy.

"Awakened are rare. Having in house ones are rarer still. People who are born into an Ares family that is. People hired from the outside are never fully trusted and so people raised here like me are highly valued. My grandpa and grandma on both sides worked for Ares. My mom and dad work for Ares. Even my uncle, my dad's brother, he works for Ares and his children, my cousins, they'll work for Ares when they get older too. It's like a big family. We take care of one another. Ares is good to us. It's not enough to just work hard. You have to be smart and innovative, but the lazy don't thrive here like at other companies. Hard work is actually appreciated."

"So...It's a gang?" asked Fuzzy.

Sasha winced. She turned to Fuzzy, looked and sighed.

"Normally I'd say not to get political, but I guess you don't know what that means."

"I'm not dumb," said Fuzzy, defensively.

"You're not. You just don't know...Things?"

Fuzzy looked at Sasha, nonplussed.

"I'm not good at this," said Sasha.

"I can forgive my first and best friend just this once," Fuzzy said, piously.

Fuzzy didn't catch Sasha's outrageous blush at the compliment because she took Fuzzy by the hand and lead her towards the arcology's shopping district.

"Going to Bellona," she said, almost too quickly.

Bellona turned out to be a women's clothing store. It had all the latest in what was fashionable. Fuzzy was intrigued by all the different patterns and colors and cuts. She looked at the mannequins and they would pose in different ways in augmented reality to better show off the clothes they styled. Fuzzy had a start when she saw her own form doing the styling seconds later, but said nothing, somewhat creeped out now. When she looked at a piece of clothing it showed the materials, sizes available, alternate colors, maker and of course, price. Price was the only thing that made sense to Fuzzy.

"Is this really 300 new ends?" she asked. "This is really flimsy."

She poked at a black dress.

"I think that's the point. And it's nuyen," corrected Sasha.

"That's what I said. Nuyen," fibbed Fuzzy.

"Right. Yeah, it really is," said Sasha.

"That's a lot," said Fuzzy.

"Okay, now I'm convinced. You don't know how much women's clothing costs. You've convinced me. You can stop trying now," she said in mock exasperation.

Fuzzy felt like she was being teased. She merely grunted. If it was up to Sasha she would have kept Fuzzy there for hours. Fuzzy didn't have the patience for that. Between Fuzzy's chomping at the bit to leave and Sasha's wishes to stay and try on everything they stayed for only half an hour. Sasha bought her some night clothes to sleep in as well as some clean unmentionables. Shorts and a top along with some underclothes with an Ares logo. However it was just a few stores down that drew Fuzzy's eye. It was the weapons store of course. Not a gun store, no, not a hunting store, but a store for old style weapons.

"Want to browse? asked Sasha.

Fuzzy nodded vigorously. That was enough for Sasha and they went into Artemis.

Bows, crossbows, axes, pole arms, knives, swords, clubs, batons and shock weapons lined the walls. Fuzzy had never seen an armory before and was impressed. She was interested in the bows at first, but there were way too many moving parts. Who heard of a bow with wheels at the ends? Madness. However a blandly handsome man stepped in front of the girls like some sort of human popup ad.

"Hello miss," he said. "I noticed that you might be interested in our spears."

He hadn't. Fuzzy's eyes just stayed too long on the shiny, black spear in the display window and that alerted the salesman to something she might be interested in.

"The new Ares Pilum just came out if you'd like to take a look," said the man. "Maybe even a demonstration?"

"We really should get..." started Sasha.

"Yes! Yes I would like to look. Demonstrate."

The man smiled broadly, yet inoffensively as he pulled a spear from the wall.

"Fantastic. Follow me."

The girls, one resigned and one eager stepped through some doors into what looked like a Roman style gladiator school, a Ludus, though this one had a firing range for ranged weapons like bows, crossbows and thrown weapons. The man twirled the spear expertly as he made his pitch and began a simple spear drill.

"Unlike the Cougar collapsible spear our spear uses a different proprietary blend of memory metal to render it distinct from what is an obviously inferior model. With a touch to the haft it can be made into a simple staff, as almost all staff drills are spear drills, a personal touch that Cougar has yet to duplicate."

He touched the side and the spear tip vanished into the metal. There was no hiss or click. The metal simply accepted the spear tip into the haft before it sealed seamlessly.

"So one has the option to use lethal or non-lethal options with both ends. A person with this spear can be discriminating in what type of force they can use," said the man.

He touched the haft again and at the end of the drill in a practiced motion made a small flourish. The metal collapsed downwards until it became a knife. The man threw the knife at a target and buried it in said target all the way up to the hilt. Fuzzy gasped and turned to Sasha. She began to shake the taller girl by the shoulders excitedly.

"It's a spear that's a knife!" she hissed.

"It also has wireless capability to turn from spear to knife to staff without touch all at the speed of thought," he said, and pulled out the knife before retrieving it.

Fuzzy stopped shaking Sasha and put her game face on. Her face was passive and disinterested now.

"Perfectly balanced for throwing you see and when it reverts to its knife form it has an Ares no slip grip that differs from the grip on the staff and spear. If you don't like the color it comes in all varieties each to your own specification. We can even customize the length to your own requirements."

He flipped the knife and offered it to her. By the time it was flipped a "sheathe" formed around the blade so he didn't cut his hand. Fuzzy was desperate for the spear that was a knife. She could've lived like a barrens queen with that weapon. Rats would fall before her. Ghouls would cower. Gangers would...Well, they'd shoot at her. But still. Fuzzy tried her best to keep from vibrating.

"How's it for skinning?" she asked, bored.

"The edge is customizable, though we'd have to program that in. There'd be a small fee," he said.

She grunted and looked to the target.

"By all means," he said. "Knife or spear?"

"Knife."

As if by magic it became a knife again as it lots its "sheath". Feeling the weight of the knife that was a spear it was remarkably light for what it was. Maybe just over a kilogram. Maybe a kilogram and a half. The grip was good and heavy, which reassured her in a way that her smaller skinning knife didn't, though Kenji's survival knife did. In a smooth motion she tossed it underhand at the target. She didn't score a bulls-eye, but she came close and buried it up to the hilt same as the man.

"Never has to be sharpened," said the man. "A steal at 1500 nuyen."

Fuzzy sighed internally. Of course a magic spear knife would be three times as much as she had right now. She didn't look to Sasha. She didn't want to even think about preying on the emotions of her new and only best friend. Instead she nodded at the man, puffed out her cheeks and blew a breath.

"I'll think about it," she said, her tone disinterested.

"We do have payment plans," he pressed. "For only ten percent down you can walk out of here with it right now."

"Let me see your bows."

Sasha sighed. If it was up to Fuzzy she would have kept Sasha there for hours. Sasha didn't have the patience for that. Between Sasha's chomping at the bit to leave and Fuzzy's wishes to stay and try out all the weapons they stayed for only half an hour. Fuzzy got a recharge for her survival knife's phosphorescent light in the end. The girls meandered back up to her home at nine, though not before getting a smoothie.

"Right. Asked mom and dad if you can stay the night. They said yes if they get to meet you," she said.

"Am I in trouble?" asked Fuzzy.

"No trouble. They're just protective of me is all. Also we might've tripped a security alert this morning and my dad is a cop."

"What's a cop?"

"Yeah, you just let me do most of the talking."

Nothing yet. Taking a short break before I continue.

SPEAR THAT'S A KNIFE!

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 28, 2017 around 00:26

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