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Don't cast aspersions on my asparagus.
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((Kiziah Saraki continued from So, so tired...))

She regretted losing that bottle.

Her throat was parched, but she was being conservative with drinking. Forcing herself not to be too attentive to her needs - had to keep in mind she'd lost a bottle, had to ration things out accordingly. Not that she had ever constructed a rationing plan, not that she'd even thought about the concept until the need arose just then, but now she felt like an idiot for not working it out sooner. Bart and Jennifer had probably been doing it without a second's thought.

Even now, though, her rationing plan was subpar. It was still just "take a drink whenever the need emerged", the logic and intelligibility coming in subtly, just turning down every other mental request to take a swig, as if to compensate for the lost water. It wasn't effective, and she was working up the courage to ask her companions how to refine her system. Or actually make a system. That was the true need. She didn't want to intrude on their own thoughts without a good question already formulated, however, and that meant that, in practice, she remained largely silent, bar necessary communication, and whatever small talk her friends saw fit to initiate.

They hadn't even encountered any real drama yet. They'd been lucky. Privileged. The recipients of, by the standards of the game, good circumstances. Insulation from the true horrors.

The names hurt. Of course they did. Memories and regrets and lost potential came flooding into her mind with every name that Danya rolled out, not enough time to process even one properly before the next tragedy hit. But she couldn't complain. Hearing about tragedy was much more palatable than witnessing it. A nuance of human psychology, sure, a cognitive bias that served only to impede empathy, but one she was well-aware of. It was awful. The safety they felt, as flimsy and circumstantial as they all knew it was, even that was a lie.

There was something strange about going from a warehouse to a storehouse.

Or was it the other way round?

They were basically synonyms, after all. She got why they needed a way to differentiate between the two, but still. Certainly a storehouse was more general. Could be anything. Big, small, whatever. A warehouse was wares. Products. Raw materials, that kind of thing. But it was a minor difference, and one that she was actually surprised to see brought to the surface.

That whole train of thought was a distraction, of course. She liked not to dwell on things too directly.

And then they saw Clarice. Kizi was the last to spot her, but she broke into a sprint. Her bag and shotgun fell to the ground, at Bart's feet, as she sprinted towards her. If anyone needed a hug, it was Clarice. She'd heard Conrad's name. It hurt. Must have hurt Clarice far more.

And then she was about to throw her arms around Clarice in a hug but, midway through the motions, she stopped. Because that shoulder. Ouch.

"Oh God, Clarice, I'm so glad to see you."
V7 peeps:
Nick Ogilvie
Ashlynn Martinek
Bill Winlock
Camille Bellegarde

V6 peeps:
Kiziah Saraki
Bradley Floyd
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Why We Fight · The Storehouse