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Two Mules for Sister Sara.
Alice said nothing, simply watched quietly as Jeremy and Scout spoke. The situation was frightening to her, even though Jeremy didn't seem like the type to go along with the terrorist's instructions. Really though, did anyone at her school? As much malice as she could have for someone, she didn't know if her classmates could actually kill each other. She hadn't scene anyone hostile herself, at least. Then again, the last five classes probably had lots of people who thought like her.

Jeremy put the gun away, and Alice let out her breath, which until then she'd unknowingly been holding. It seemed surreal, how quickly she felt the nerves leave. She wasn't in imminent danger, at least.

Still, best not to incite anything; for all that guns were frightening, a person can inflict considerable harm even unarmed, if not kill. So Alice stayed at the edge by the door, and for a couple of seconds she contemplated her answer to Jeremy's frankly rather flippant question.

"Uhm...I was looking for shelter. A place to hide out." Alice looked around her at the chapel. "I'd still like to stay here, at least, if you two don't mind. It's not as if I own the place." She gave a small chuckle.

Why Y'all Gagging?
Fine, whatever. No need to get bitchy, Sandra. Blair asked a perfectly reasonable question, and she got all testy? The nerve. And freaking Noah took Sandra's side! Ugh.

Despite that, Blair only responded by nodding tersely with a slightly furrowed brow, making great effort to hold her tongue. As much as she'd like to say 'Excuse me? What kind of tone was that?' she was silent. Because as much as she felt annoyed, in the long run it wasn't quite worth it to start a fight. Who knew what might happen here when everyone had that niggling thought 'will I go home?'

Blair knew the answer. Spoilers; she wasn't going home. Yippee.

Because of Sandra having distracted Blair with her rudeness, Blair didn't hear the bell, or what Rene said. Something about the bell tower? "We're not going there, I don't think. I mean, me an' Noah and Sandra aren't. You can if you want." Blair shrugged.

Sandra said something about going outside, and Blair, slightly peeved at Sandra as she was, still had to admit there wasn't much point hanging around. "We should get going. If we're avoiding trafficked places, lots of people will probably think this place has stuff like we did."

Slipping past the others, Blair stepped under Sandra's arm and out the door. She wasn't quite sure what direction they were going, but whatever. Someone else could make themselves useful.

((Blair Moore continued in Early Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil))

Two Mules for Sister Sara.
Alice lowered her hands after the commentary from both. Her fear response was lessening now, and she felt a bit silly for reacting how she had. Still, who could blame her for being jumpy? For all she knew, whomever had barged in was as likely to shoot her as greet her.

"Sorry..." Her voice was soft.

It'd been this man to barge in. This Jeremy...Frasier? There was another one, in her grade, but she hardly knew him. There was also the loudmouthed Jerry, who was an interesting character to say the least. Perhaps Alice was lucky that Jerry Fury hadn't ran into this room. She might not have stood a chance. As it was, he seemed to be unenthused about attacking them.

Scout was a different story, of course. She was steely-eyed, with an inscrutable expression to Alice. There wasn't much talk, and for a moment Alice felt that she was between the pair. Anxiety gripped her, and her submission instinct kicked in. Alice stepped back, and moved around Scout, head down and shoulders up, hands clasped tightly together.

She meant nothing of it, of course; for Alice, it was perfectly reasonable to step out of the way of a conversation, and fade into the background. That was all.

Why Y'all Gagging?
After a bit of joking around, they finally got to business. Blair was glad; on the one hand, it was nice to have a touch of brevity in the face of imminent doom. On the other hand, brevity wasn't good for being productive, and if Blair wanted to not die, she would need to be productive.

"Basically." Blair said with a shrug. "None of this crap works, so unless we find out someone on the trip had an electrical engineering degree, this is a dead end."

She turned back to look at Sandra. She'd been about to say something, but dismissed it. "Hey, Sandra." Blair said, cocking an eyebrow. "What were you saying a moment ago?" Blair knew as well as anyone that when someone said 'never mind', they were hiding something. And in this soon-to-be-hellhole, secrets were a good way to get murdered.

"C'mon, no secrets." Though Blair's tone was teasing, she meant business. Sandra had seemed distracted for a while, ever since the apartment complexes, and Blair didn't want to be hanging around someone if they were unreliable.

Self Doubts and Hurricanes
Feet pounding against the hard, damp rocks between sand and earth, Henry didn't look back as he sprinted along the shoreline.

He made it less than a hundred yards before he slipped. It was inevitable, really, that he skidded along the wet shingle stone, his red sneakers losing traction and sending him onto his butt as he fell. He rolled over onto his side, pulled in his knees against his stomach, and wrapped his arms around his shins on the ground. Classic fetal position.

Henry had been the picture of ignorance up until now. But something so fragile as denying one's mortality couldn't last forever. His ability to play pretend and act as though nothing were wrong was apparently less persistent as he'd anticipated. So now he was faced with a cruel, unbearable, unavoidable, inescapable unerring truth. He and dozens of other classmates, companions, friends and acquaintances, all of them would be killed. Probably within a week of today.

There were so many reasons that this was a devastating revelation; Henry's own personal demise was just one. Sure, he wanted to live; he liked being alive! Still, if it were only him to suffer, it'd suck, but it'd be okay. But so many people were hurt; the other students, for one, who had so hopes and dreams of their own. The parents, who would lose their beloved children. Even former survivors, whose trauma would be reopened anew by this travesty.

Nobody deserved this. Not a single one of its victims.

Of course, Henry wasn't so concerned with all that. He would've liked to be able to look at this from the bigger picture, acknowledge the cruelty from a selfless stance, and be at peace with his own fate. But he wasn't in that state of mind; he was scared, selfishly scared, to die. He wanted to go home, see his dad, watch some movies, play games, do things! He didn't want to die.

So Henry curled up on the ground and whimpered, overwhelmed by sudden, crippling waves of fear and dread. Not the good kind of fear, the kind bordering on delight from his films and books, but real fear. He didn't like it.

Three sentences about your kid: Critique experiment.
why am i still awake have a Henry

Two Mules for Sister Sara.
Face flushed with embarrassment (and a bit of exertion), Alice turned slowly to face Scout with a sheepish smile. Of course, there was no reason for Scout to be lying. If she wanted to kill Alice, she could do so easily now. If someone had murderous intent, why wait?

Hmm. Perhaps Alice was a bit hasty in her assessment that her fellows on this island would jump to murder so quickly. Though many of her peers seemed rather reckless, aggressive, or otherwise predisposed towards violence, the majority were likely in a state much like hers; frightened. So far, none of her encounters had led to violence in any real manner. She'd upset Aiden, but that was hardly equivalent to pointing a gun at him.

So perhaps there were fewer risks than Alice had anticipated. "Uh, hi, sorry." She gave a little wave to Scout, who seemed to be smoking a cigarette. How many of her classmates were smokers? Johnny, Scout, even Lili. Very strange. Regardless. "I was just a bit surprised to see someone in here. Are you...is..." Alice exhaled, then said, "Have you been okay thus far? Obvious disagreeable situation aside, of course."

Just then, someone burst into the room, and as Alice turned to face the young man who'd come in behind her, she spotted the thing in his pocket. Almost definitely the handle of a gun, and in fact the first she'd immediately recognized as such.

Letting out a squeak of fear, Alice stepped backwards away from the boy, hands in the air as though she were being arrested. She tried to speak, but no words came out. He'd offered a friendly greeting, but as far as Alice was concerned, that was just as likely to be a sarcastic, biting comment one could give before pumping lead into his targets.

Alice froze.

Three sentences about your kid: Critique experiment.
Hi Naft, could you give thoughts on Blair Moore?

Why Y'all Gagging?
And then everyone hopped onto Blair's joke to throw in their own variant. Typical.

Rene seemed to be in good spirits, though, and given her frankly surreal story, nothing too bad had happened to her. She also didn't look particularly threatening. She didn't seem to be armed, but then again, she had a big size advantage if she tried to use brute force on Blair.

Secretly, Blair wondered how long Rene's cheer would last here.

Cocking an eyebrow at the Nixon quote, Blair replied, "Nixon impersonator? Excuse me?" The lasy couple of words got gunked up partway up her esophagus. She cleared her throat and looked quizzically at Noah. "Do we have a Nixon impersonator in Kingman?"

Blair shook her head. "Whatever. You're okay though, I take it. I mean, not exactly shot up or anything."

The Socrates Cup
He gazed, slightly teary-eyed as he gazed at a small Polaroid photograph. She smiled back at him, through over a lifetime’s worth of history long since forgotten, history whitewashed like a canvas covered in tears, history that didn’t have to be. But he was getting ahead of himself.

He’d never been a rich man. Passion-pursuits were rarely lucrative. He never quite starved, but he often had a part-time job while he worked on his real love. She had understood; she worked a menial position, but her real passion was music; she played beautiful music, and she wrote lovely pieces. And she was happy.

Never published any compositions, though. Her love, her passion, was lost forever.

His hand trembled as fury like a tensed muscle, like a crushing vise, like the hatred in a scorned lover’s eyes, raged through his arm and he nearly crumpled the photo. He bit his lip, hard enough to draw blood, and set the photo on the nightstand. They had taken her, and now they were gone too, like dust in the wind.

He had lost so much. He didn’t know what he had until he’d lost it. Uncountable beauties, his beloved, the one who meant the most in his life after all this time, after his parents, after his other loved ones distanced from him because he couldn’t get over it. How could he? There was so much to mourn. A lifetime of sorrow.

No more.

Standing up, he stepped into the small closet and began rifling through clothes long unworn and knickknacks long lost. He needed something.

--

“You in there, sir?”

Kurt stood outside the door of the residence in the dim light, looking perplexed. The rent had been late, and Kurt’s attempts to contact the tenant had seemingly failed. So he took to his own measure, trying to arrange a meeting with the tenant. No response. He began to suspect that the tenant was avoiding him. So he paid the home a visit.

The knocker received no response, but it wasn’t like Kurt couldn’t get into his own housing. He fumbled his key into the lock, and pushed the door open. Immediately, the most godawful smell hit Kurt in the face, making him gag in disgust.

The apartment was filthy. Dishes, laundry, grime everywhere, dust settled on everything. The blinds were drawn shut. In the doorway, a chair lay overturned. He stepped further into the residence, and winced further as the smell grew stronger.

He looked around. No sign of, well, anyone in days, even weeks. Kurt steadied his breathing. He already knew what he’d found. As he moved into the apartment’s bedroom, Kurt confirmed those suspicions.

Derek Spencer, dead for as long as a few weeks, hung rotting by the throat a foot off the ground in the corner of the room.

Kurt’s eyes widened and he fled.

Two Mules for Sister Sara.
((Alice Baker continued from Needles and Pins))

Here she was again. Lovely.

The church's visage had faded from memory quickly in the blur of fear and intent from last time. Alice could tell now that it was truly dilapidated. Worn by weather and growths of reclaiming life, it was eerie in that devoid way, a bastion of faith desecrated by primal forces. In that same way, it was lovely, elegant even despite the lack of care. Very gothic, except greener.

Alice slipped into the front door full of anticipation. She doubted anyone had come here and stayed for long, perhaps just enough time to pray or make some sort of spiritual atonement or something. Kingman was a fairly conservative city, and though her young generation was remarkably liberal, she doubted that religious ties were severed so easily.

Regardless, the point was that the church was supposed to be empty. It was not.

Scout Pfeiffer stood in the chapel, staring upwards. Alice and Scout were hardly close friends. In fact, Alice knew next to nothing about the girl. She had vibrant orange hair and a surly disposition from the look Alice had seen on her face before. But that told her nothing. Also she was smoking, but Alice could hardly blame the other girl.

Still, a small part of her wondered, when did so many of her peers turn to drugs for relief from stress?

The door slammed loudly behind Alice before she could react. She turned to look, then suddenly whipped her head to face Scout, back pressed against the door. She had no idea what the girl was like, if she was armed (was that a handle in her hood?) or what she intended to do. And there was nowhere to run if Scout had a gun.

There was about a 20% chance Alice would die now, by her estimate. Fear reaction startled her, and her eyes widened. She struggled with the door, but trying to keep her eyes on Scout made the task difficult. She made no progress.

Killsifeed V.3
So I don't know that I am hugely fond of this idea for kills and deaths. To me, kind of showcasing your kids as potential killers can upset the surprise if/when they do kill. I also think that this kind of thing seems odd to request death ideas; yeah we usually just PM ideas if we don't have plans, but it seems like it cheapens the death potentially? I dunno.

THAT BEING SAID I do like the idea for creating scenes and plots with people you might not interact with. I think that's excellent. With that in mind, I present ALICE BAKER as a candidate for a witness to a murder. With rolls coming up, I have some ideas for how Alice could progress in development, but I need help. I want her to encounter a kill in progress, but obviously don't want her to intrude on a scene, nor do I want her to lack a contribution to the thread besides 'Alice watched'.

So if anyone comes up with a death idea after rolls or (at some point in the near future) and thinks a shy girl could somehow improve the situation, hit me up and I'll see if we can make a scene that both of us benefit from! Bonus points if it's someone who would know Alice.

Why Y'all Gagging?
Blair bit her lip uncomfortably as Noah started with what she anticipated to be plenty of waterworks. Sandra seemed to be upset too, but Blair wasn't paying as much attention to the other girl. Damn it, if she was going to tie herself with a guy for protection just to have him get all choked up, she could do better...Holy shit, what the hell? Was she some kind of sociopath? She'd barely been here for a few hours and she was already plotting like it was Survivor or something.

Like, okay. Sticking with someone for safety was one thing. That was just common sense. But she couldn't just ditch them when she decided they weren't suitable for her purposes. She wasn't some nefarious ne'er-do-well. The guy was scared to death, possibly literally, and here she was thinking about how useless he was? He's doing alright, given the situation. Not as bad as Blair, but she'd been through worse.

Besides, she hadn't even thought of her family. Miley, she could take or leave relationship wise, but her parents were probably so fucked up over this. And Blair was the one dying here! Now, Blair had no idea what Noah's family was like, but judging from the long list, he had it okay. Poor bastard.

"Hey, Noah-"

As soon as she tried to offer him some comfort, though, the door opened and some fat girl popped in. Okay, that was mean. But the girl was probably double tiny Blair's weight. Rene was in theater and something of a class clown, if Blair recalled. Not a likely thread unless she had a fucking bazooka.

"Nah, just some gospel shit." Blair said with unexpected comfort. In hindsight perhaps the religious jokes were best held off when talking to strangers, but fuck if Blair was going to let fear of imminent death censor her. "Rene, right?"

Needles and Pins
Still standing at the bottom of the stairs, Alice contemplated the morality of her actions.

Was she right to force him to confront this so...bluntly? She didn't like to think of herself as an especially blunt person. She thought tact was the way to go when it came to breaking hard news. But somehow, she'd gotten it into her head that she had to tell the guy, for his 'own good' that he was going to die. Perhaps the truth did need to come out, and maybe now had been the right time.

But it wasn't necessarily Alice's job to bring poor Aiden crashing down.

Seeing him breaking down into tears, covering his ears, Alice felt guilt rise up in her gut and strangle her from inside. She stepped back gingerly, further down the stairs. She watched Johnny, stoic and stony, heard Raina speaking softly to the distraught man. She still felt she didn't belong among this group. And now she felt like she'd only made things worse by being around them.

Emotions clashed inside her. She'd acted out of turn, upsetting an ally's close friend and causing a great big scene about the poor guy who just wanted it all to turn out okay. She couldn't imagine being in denial like that herself, but she could understand it nonetheless. She felt ashamed of opening her mouth and causing this scene. Her cheeks burned. She wanted to get away.

Alice took off down the stairs, bolting out of the building as fast as she could.

((Alice Baker continued elsewhere))

Self Doubts and Hurricanes
Henry smiled and nodded.

"Oh yeah, no, totally. Misidentification of objects due to distance is perfectly normal, especially when one mistakes an object for a similar-looking one, in this case a fake gun versus a real gun."

Henry looked over at the other two. Still there! He looked back at Coleen.

"There's a condition called delusional misidentification syndrome, however, which is very different. It entails believingf that something is actually a different object despite evidence to the contrary, such as thinking everyone you meet is the same person in disguise."

Henry started walking down the beach, past Coleen. "That's the Fegoli delusion. The most well known example is Capgras, where one believes a loved one has been replaced by an impostor. Very commonly related to schizophrenia, it...it..."

Henry trailed off, then took off running.

Eclipse Phase: Robotic Turtle Edition
Espi!
What days are you free, normally? Uh, as of now, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as the weekends.
What times are you free on those days, normally? Please use EST. Monday/Wednesday; anytime after 3:30 pm EST. Friday; anytime after 1 pm est. Weekends; basically all day.
What's your experience with tabletop RPGs in general? Lots of experience! I've been in games of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5e, 4e and 5e, Pathfinder, Iron Kingdoms, a tiiiiiny bit of Shadowrun, Marvel Heroics and possibly some I've forgotten.
Can you use Discord? Yes.
Can you tolerate a nerd who really likes robots as your GM? As long as you don't turn into the Singularity and force us to battle you IRL.

Needles and Pins
They kept dancing around the issue, and it was driving Alice nuts. Everyone here knew it, but nobody wanted to start anything. Well, someone had to point to the elephant in the room.

"I uh, I think he means he doesn't think it's real."

Still, Alice surprised herself, really, speaking up. She was almost at the base of the stairwell when she spoke, and had to raise her voice a bit to be heard properly. She hated yelling, but she did have a pretty quiet voice and being misheard was a good way to cause trouble. Alice definitely wanted to avoid trouble.

"Aiden, right?" She felt bad, really. She understood denial; he might not have had time to process it, or he might just be too afraid to admit it. But, even if the truth was scary, it had to be known if you wanted to overcome it. Overcoming the truth here would be hard, but without trying, you were going to die. That was probably going to happen anyway, but it was worth a try to avoid it.

"It really is an island. I came into this place from further away, I think to the south of here. There was a church and everything, and I saw the ocean when I came in here." She paused. How far did she need to go? It wasn't like she wanted to break him. She just wanted to break it to him. But where was the line?

"I know it's scary and I understand. But it's real. And the sooner you accept it, the sooner we can do something about it." Alice didn't realize it, but she was on her back foot, ready to bolt. Instinct.

Why Y'all Gagging?
((Blair Moore continued from Rolodex of Hate))

Blair could not care less that the plan was stupid.

Of course the terrorists weren't going to leave an easy way of contacting the outside just...sitting there! That would be awfully careless for an organization like this one to miss. You don't run murderfests five times without being clever enough to spot an obvious security breach.

Of course, she wouldn't bring this up to Noah. He was the one with the sawblade shuriken boomerang slingshot thing. Sawlaska Thunderfuck 5000 her ass. Still, best not to piss him off, especially if she still wanted someone around.

"Sure. Who knows, they might've missed something." Blair gave a wry grin. They hadn't missed anything, most likely. But again, playing nice with Noah was a priority.

Sandra seemed less keen on that front. She was just standing nearby, offering a half-assed reply. Hrm. That wasn't really Blair's problem, but she wondered what was on Sandra's mind that she was so distracted. It wasn't like they had their phones or anything.

"Sandra, you okay? You seem kinda down." She reached over to put a sympathetic hand on Sandra's shoulder. "We'll get through this, I'm sure." Ugh, could make Blair sick with that kind of sugary crap.

Rolodex of Hate
Blair nodded as the two settled on the southernmost part of the island as their destination. She followed the two out the building, feeling a little bit better than when she'd entered.

Sure the traumatic witnessing of a suicide (which she might've accidentally caused but don't think about that) was only going to get worse as more people she cared about and/or knew died. But hey, she had two people to help keep her safe while she figured things out. Things might actually turn out...well, not okay, but hopefully not a hellish nightmare of screaming and gnashing of teeth or whatever.

Wait, what did Noah just say?

Oh lord.

((Blair Moore continued in Why Y'all Gagging?))

Self Doubts and Hurricanes
Oh, she noticed. The others were following him too, which was Great! since he didn't want to lose track of his friends. He might...never...

Henry arrived at the girl's position as she turned around. He stopped in front of her, flailing slightly to avoid crashing into her. He grinned and bowed in an exaggeratred manner. "Hey, Coleen right? Hi, I'm Henry. I said that already, right? Sorry!"

He looked back at Jasper and Arthur, who were almost on his heels. Huh, he wasn't as swift on his feet as he'd though. That was odd. Perhaps the cold, unfamiliar to his body after the start of spring heating up, was causing muscle cramps? He felt fine, at least. Perhaps they were cramp-free cramps? Anyway. Coleen. Or was it Colleen? Or perhaps Cologne.

Henry returned his gaze to Co(l)leen. She seemed distracted, but Henry couldn't identify the expression on her face. Hrm, perhaps she was overwhelmed with emotion? "Oh, that's Jasper and Arthur." He gestured casually back to the other two. "They're cool. Oh, look at this!" Henry fumbled up the whip, which had been coiled around his shoulder with the handle tucked into his jacket breast pocket in an awkward and weird-looking position.

"Cool, right?"