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You Gave Up Being Good When You Declared a State of War; Open
Topic Started: Oct 10 2016, 08:19 PM (1,073 Views)
Laurels
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Cause what you see isn't always the truth
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Nadia Riva continued from Aaaaaaand he's gone))

Nadia yawned as she lay against the wall, the table leg laying across her legs. She looked up at the ceiling and let out a soft sigh. It sucked to wake up and realize she was still here. She could have chalked all of yesterday up to being a weird dream. Dealing with weirdos in the one-on-one rooms, allying with Jerry Fury, being sentimental on camera. It was all quite odd, but sadly, it looked to be the reality of her situation.

She and Jerry had wandered a bit before ending up at the asylum again. They found one of the Doctor's Offices and decided to hide out there. The asylum was large enough to hide out in, and as long as they were quiet, any crazy folks would just walk by. It looked like it had worked for the most part. They went undisturbed through the night, although she did hear someone moving around in the halls after the announcement. It sounded like they were just passing by, so Nadia could take some comfort in knowing she and Jerry weren't in any immediate danger.

Granted, they were still in Hell, but now they had to know there were confirmed deaths and murders. Nadia had recognized a few of the names as some of the people in her senior class. Cristobal Morales she remembered from him creepily staring at her in the park. He was taken out by the mute girl. Nadia briefly thought that he might have looked at her weirdly, but then pushed the thought aside. This wasn't the time to think shitty things about her peers. That was the sort of thing she could do with Rod when they were hanging out in his Challenger before all of this. Now it just made her feel like an asshole, and she wasn't in the mood for being lousy.

Still, Nadia had to take note of the killers. Isabel Ramirez, Kimiko Kao, Alvaro Vacanti, Nancy Kyle, Alex Tarquin, and Jasmine Reed were all on her shitlist. There was no way she'd let them add her to their kill score, and she wasn't prepared to let to go so easily. She clutched the table leg in her hand. If things were serious, maybe she should be prepared as well.
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MK Kilmarnock
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((Jerry Fury continued from Aaaaaand he's gone.))

The room being so dimly lit made it hard to find a good shadow to spar with, but Jerry had managed. Nadia seemed to know this place, at least a little better than he did. It had been quite the trek to get here, but nice to know that there was something on the other side of that shore. Jerry's first impressions of the asylum told him it was something out of a comic. Hell, add a thunderstorm, and you've got the beginnings of an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode. Jerry smirked when he thought of a couple jokes from the show. Why couldn't every show have such a well-thought plot?

"So!" Jerry said between jabs thrown at the shadow on the wall. "You... geh... you been here before, right?" He lowered his first and turned around, wiping off some perspiration forming at the hairline with his sleeve. "Any hidden passages? Neat little secrets? Hiding spots in case some mean motherfucker comes through with a tommy gun?"

He looked to the table leg in Nadia's clutches. "No offense, Nad-Daddy, but that's just not gonna cut it."
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Nadia quietly watched as Jerry shadowboxed in the room. She had seen some shadowboxing before in movies and TV. Heck, she had even see Rod do something similar at his wrestling practices. She mostly didn't understand why Jerry was doing it now. Was it something he did when he normally woke up in the mornings? Was he taking the announcement as seriously as she was planning to? Either way, Nadia watched the guy spar with the dust particles in the air, studying his figure as he did.

Jerry then wanted to know about the asylum layout, as well as to knock her choice in weaponry. Nadia put her hand to her chin.

"Well, when I was here yesterday, I was more than ready to bail since I wasn't sure where I was," Nadia said. "I know there are some rooms with two-way mirrors downstairs, but I doubt that's useful to us."

Nadia stood up, stretching her back a bit and raising her arms above her head.

"However, I figure a place like this has a few of the staples of creepy-ass asylums. There's probably torture rooms of all kind and maybe some stuff that can be used as weapons. But at the same time, there are probably common areas and staff rooms like this one that could have people hiding or maybe some secret finds."

Nadia opened her free palm and began to hit it gently with the chair leg.

"Basically, there's a lot to find, but most likely, we'll find people. Are you prepared for that?"
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Zetsumodernista
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((Asuka continued from A World of Sadness))

And to the surprise of everyone and no one, a couple universes had already been obliterated. See, Penelope? You gotta go with the forms of rebellion that don't depend on other people, that you know you can pull off yourself. You gotta be pragmatic. Asuka was totally a pragmatist. I mean, it feels good to know that your plan's pragmatic, even if pragmatism wasn't the main or second or even the third reason for going with it, you know? It wasn't Asuka's favorite virtue, but she wasn't against it or anything.

Yeah, something like that.

Jennifer. Gong. Tina. Gong. Isabel. Gong. The list of the dead and the lost cut through the air like the tolling of a bell, each name a punch to the gut.

Take in a deep and calming breath. Exhale shakily. And now-- smile. Because this is the place dreams come true. This was the rabbit hole, this was Fantasia. Fantasia, fantasy. Let's dance to that. Kick open enough doors and you'll find what you're looking for. Or, well, nudge them open. Didn't have the same flair, but truth be told Asuka didn't have much flair. Simple, right?

She'd almost forgotten and gotten her hopes up, hadn't she. But she was addicted. She was addicted, and now she'd never be satisfied again, now she was stuck trying over and over to get her fix even though she knew it wouldn't be the same. That goes double when the idealized state only ever existed in her head. Asuka was short on life and long on craving. She didn't even have a choice in the matter.

Nudge. Nadia and Jerry, deciding to look into the asylum of horrors. Nadia and Jerry, deciding to go Batman. Or maybe Punisher. Either way: technicolor fantasy. She hoped.

"Hey. Not playing. If you're doing what I think you're doing, can I tag along?"

Edited by Zetsumodernista, Oct 13 2016, 01:07 AM.
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G056: Asuka Takahara: The one who can out-pretentious them all.
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Jerry wildly shook his head to scatter sweat drops this way and that. The shower was less than he had hoped, disappointingly. He hadn't quite worked up enough of a sweat punching at an enemy that only he could see, that he could never hit. He threw a wide hook, one that surely would have caught Trav right in that smug "I-know-better-than-you-because-I-got-lucky-that-one-time-we-sparred-and-even-thought-I'll-never-come-right-out-and-say-it-I-constantly-look-at-you-with-this-air-that-I'm-better-than-you-and-will-continue-to-be-better-than-you-because-you-never-formally-learned-a-true-style-like-I-did-oh-look-how-cool-I-am-I-have-my-own-fucking-cheer-entourage" face. He turned, satisfied with that at the very least.

"Prepared for that? Shit, I planned on it."

Jerry wasn't particularly planning for that.

"There's a gameplan cooking up for when we meet somebody. Got it all figured out." There was no gameplan. Jerry had nothing figured out. If he was to be completely honest with himself, and that is a quality rarely afforded, he knew that he was basically just winging his own survival. He and Nadia couldn't survive according to the rules of the game itself. Still, he had a pretty good handle on the fact that she probably wouldn't go and try to kill him. Probably. Not with that table leg at least, not if Jerry had anything to say about it. He knew the best ways to shrug off hits from a steel chair; what was a lame old table leg going to be able to do to him? Of course, to their mutual enemies, it would be significantly more useful a tool. Jerry wasn't a betting man but he wagered there weren't too many other kids in Cochise that could stand up to an assault from the two of them working together.

Defensively speaking, of course. Going out and killing somebody wasn't on the books. Not yet.

Speaking of which, Jerry just about jumped out of his skin from the touch of ice to his spine when an unexpected voice joined in on the conversation.

"JESUS JUMPING CHRIST!" Jerry snapped, hand immediately fumbling around in his pocket to get a tight grip on his switchblade. "Fucking knock next time, will ya!?"
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Nadia was curious about Jerry's game plan for if they ran into anyone. He was a lot of talk and action, so she was very interested in hearing what that was. That would have to wait, since the door opened and Jerry had to react as if someone put an ice cube down the back of his shirt.

Asuka Takahara wasn't someone Nadia was too familiar with. She was Japanese like Nadia, and she seemed nice, but that was about it. Asuka wasn't on the offensive right now, and she seemed willing to join them. Of course, Nadia had to vet her first. Jerry couldn't vet since he was probably going to put that switchblade wherever he could think to put it in Asuka.

"That depends," Nadia said to Asuka. "What do you think we're doing?"

Nadia clutched the chair leg in her hand. Asuka wasn't one of the Day One killers, but that didn't mean Nadia had to be unprepared in case she decided to join their ranks.
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Zetsumodernista
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Asuka froze. She was trying to move, to do or say something, but all that happened was the same phrase, looped over and over in head: Oh, shit, here we go again, and then she went and said it out loud. Stupid.

Because that was a really big fucking pile of meat and muscle yelling at her to knock next time, and she was whispering or maybe it was whimpering sorry because her eyes were starting to sting now and this was oh-so-fucking stupid. You ass. Asuka didn't like to judge people. She didn't give a fuck right now.

Look up. Yes, that's Nadia, and Asuka should've felt reassured because really anybody would've been reassuring to see after some big fucker flipped out and pulled a knife on you, but she didn't. Nadia's eyes weren't exactly inviting and welcoming.

Cool down. Deep breaths. It was a simple question. Problematic, to be sure-- Asuka wasn't really sure what they were doing anymore. She could tell Nadia that she was down for whatever they had in mind. Asuka just wanted a group, so fuck it, whatever is fine. Nadia didn't look like the type who'll be obliging of an answer like that, though.

Well. It was a rather sketchy answer.

"Honestly? I don't really care. I'm here to do hospice. Service with a smile for the dead and dying, unless the smile freaks you out. And don't get your head in the gutter, I don't mean that kind of service. Anyhow, I just figured I'd hop on board cuz I heard you were gonna head to the asylum and run into people there and I thought that maybe like it'd be a meaningful adventure if we did that, y'know? So unless your business is killing, I'd come. You don't have to take me, though."

Asuka hoped that last line guilt-tripped them. Served the bastards right, turning her into a wreck five seconds after she walked in the door. Reject me. I dare you.

Ah, fuck, please don't interpret that as a guilt trip, that would make things so fucking awkward.
Edited by Zetsumodernista, Oct 18 2016, 04:11 PM.
dear god dear god tinkle tinkle hoy

G056: Asuka Takahara: The one who can out-pretentious them all.
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Jerry raised a finger.

Asuka made the 'service' joke before he hand the chance to.

Jerry lowered his finger, glowered, and took a half-step back before crossing his arms.

"So you're just asking to tag along. What's with all that hospice junk, though? Like, isn't that for about-to-be-dead people or..." Jerry paused for a moment and swished the words around in his mouth. Huh. People who were 'about to be dead'. He started to get a grasp on what Asuka was saying, then raised an eyebrow like a certain boulder who liked to ask people if they could detect the aroma of their culinary efforts.

"That's real cute. Really makes us wanna take you along, shorty."
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Nadia had to raise an eyebrow at the "service" comment. She wasn't the kind of person to get into dumb Beavis and Butthead fits of giggles for innuendo, but even she had to think about how odd it was to be thinking of those kinds of words in the midst of all of this chaos. Maybe that was supposed to be levity, but Nadia didn't really crack a smile. They still needed to address Asuka.

Jerry had his piece, so Nadia spoke.

"Well, we're mostly going to check the asylum out for anything useful," Nadia said. "However, we now know that some of our peers are playing, so we're gearing up for that."

Nadia tapped the chair leg against the palm of her hand.

"So yeah, I don't know how prepared you are to work hospice right now, but we're coming to terms with how likely it is there are lunatics running around this abandoned asylum. Have you yet?"
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((Toby continued from The Cuckoo's Calling))

Toby hadn't slept much. What little had been snatched had been near enough force of habit from the days looking after the kids, studying, kids, studying, exercise... her schedule had beaten into her to steal somerest when she was able to. It's just that didn't come along too much. Always too much to do. Always too much on the schedule. Sucked, that way. She'd wound up curled in a little alcove in a bleak and dank corridor somewhere in the asylum, cold and aching, but at least able to lie down.

Maybe a tiny little fragment of her thoughts were clinging to the old-fashioned notion that things would look better in the morning.

Ha. Hahaha. Ha.

Abby had killed herself. One of her best friends, maybe even one of her two closest friends. This experience, this... place had been too much for her. She- Toby didn't want to dwell on the reasons. She didn't want to understand, or even really try to understand. Abby was a kindly, caring person - the person who more than anyone else would try to make Toby slow down, spend a little time caring for herself than everything else in her life and-

She was gone. Dead.

She-

Toby didn't cry. Wouldn't cry. She wanted to scream. Would've done, if not for the other worry.

Because, other than Abby - and thinking about her tore away at her resilience, over and over and over - other than Abby - there were killers, not just suicides.

Toby wasn't naive enough to call all that death accidental. Kimiko. Isabel? Once, one person, then maybe... but more than one incident, and in Isabel's case, multiple murders...

No. Deliberate. Premeditated.

Half of Toby wanted to be sick again. Except perhaps it wasn't half, perhaps it was less than half as, bit by bit, it sank away into a boiling, seething rage. How dare they. How could they? If not for people like that - and Toby might have known them before but that was then and this was now, then maybe Abby would still be alive. Maybe Toby wouldn't be standing here staring down the barrel of a world without that smile and sincere affection and goodness.

Too late. Too, fucking, late.

Voices, from an open door up ahead. Prickles ran down Toby's spine. Had she heard any of those before? ...Wait, that tone, that cocky drawl... Great.

Jerry Fury. Not who she wanted to see right now, but...

Well, he knew Travis too, and right now Travis - or even the idea of Travis - was what was keeping her together long enough to actually concentrate on something other than her blinding, white-hat anger. Maybe Jerry would know a little more than her.

She took a step forward, put a hand on the wall, just before the door. She could see the frame, but not inside - not who Jerry was talking to, nor he himself.

"Hey in there," soft, but enough to carry. "It's Toby."
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"It wasn't even supposed to be a joke, it just...ah. Forget it."

Lunatics. In the asylum. And they're making fun of Asuka for having a--well, does it really count as a bad joke if she didn't realize it sounded like one until after the fact?

Well. Asuka couldn't really blame them. Their classmates were killing each other. It was dumb and it was stupid and it was funny. What do you do about that?

Asuka laughed. "Come to terms? Do you think I can come to terms with this bullshit that easily?"

Asuka looked from Nadia to Jerry, Jerry to Nadia.

"I can barely accept and function in the real world. I'm not interested in accepting and functioning in this one. This is my offer, so that you'll take me with you if you want. I have a gun. If someone goes after any of us, I'll scare them off with my shaky hands and shitty aim. I probably can't actually bring myself to shoot them when it comes down to it, though, so don't count on that."

Oh. Hi Toby. Now Asuka knew how Jerry must've felt when she came in. Important difference: Asuka was Asuka. Toby was...yeah. She could beat you up. Not that you could much tell the difference between them based on a door creak and a couple of syllables. Asuka was just feeling kinda grumpy about that, was all.

So. Toby. Workaholic. Bet you're really glad you were such a try-hard. Not that Asuka was one to talk, but at least she only tried hard when she liked to. She was qualitatively different. How did she know? She didn't. Bad Asuka. Be nice.

"Well met, I guess. Wish I got to know you better before...you know."

Hey, it's worth a shot. Tell me about yourself.
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G056: Asuka Takahara: The one who can out-pretentious them all.
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"Uuuuuuuurgh!"

Jerry let loose a... he wasn't honestly sure what to call it. A groan? A roar? 'Roar' sounded a bit more pleasantly royal and intimidating, but given that this was an utterance of irritation and being totally fed up with somebody's shit, 'intimidation' was not his first goal in mind. He followed it up, then, by bringing the pinky-side base of his fist against the plaster of the wall. Jerry would have rather full-on punched the wall, but one busted knuckle from punching a cinderblock when he was twelve taught him better of that.

First lesson, don't punch a cinderblock. Second lesson, if you're going to whack something out of irritation, make sure it's a part of your hand and not something that crumples up faster than a bag of chips in the presence of a fat kid. Jerry really wanted to punch Ass-ka here more than the wall, but he was willing to wager that Nadia would get all up in his ass about that being unneeded aggression or something.

"You're fucking weak. Right now, I do NOT need this safe-space 'hur hur I can't function in society' BULLSHIT!" Jerry's chest heaved, followed by a sharp exhale. "You got a gun? Cool. Either put it to good use or hand it over. And I don't mean use it on me, either. You point a gun anywhere in my direction at all, and-"

... Wait. Toby?

Jerry's jaw was still clenched, but he allowed his lips to close as he grumpily moved his eyes over to look at Toby while keeping Asuka weeeeell in his line of vision.

"... Yo. Seen Trav lately? He ain't dead?"
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So Asuka had a better weapon than Nadia and Jerry. That was a plus, although Asuka's hesitancy to use it was a few points off. To Jerry, it was a whole letter grade deducted, however. Nadia was almost ready to roll her eyes and fold her arms at his outburst, but another figure appeared. Nadia bemoaned the fact that they had left the door open and had attracted another person, but she didn't let it show.

Toby was a fighter back home. Nadia didn't know her that well, but the fact that she was calmly approaching them suggested she wasn't playing. Jerry's reaction made it seem like he at least was okay with her, so Nadia didn't have to clutch the chair leg too tightly when looking at Toby.

"Okay, so let's not get too jumpy and angry right now," Nadia said. "Now that we know someone in this room has a gun, I think it's best we do nothing that can result in a hail of gunfire."

"Asuka, I am much better knowing you have a gun. However, if you're really not comfortable carrying it, we can trade, if you'd like."

Nadia held out her chair leg. If the roles were reversed, there was no way Nadia would give up a gun for a chair leg. But then again, she didn't know Asuka that well, so maybe the other girl would take comfort in a less intense weapon.
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It wasn't Jerry who hailed her back at first, but one of those in the room with him.

Not the ideal start, even if Toby was trying to avoid tunnel vision. Not very well, mind, but she was trying. Her priorities had been more than rattled by the announcement, especially when it came to her actual goals. This wasn't the reality she wanted to live in, the reality where she was barely able to spare a thought to grieve over a friend dying because another friend was dead. Toby could barely process that Abby was dead, let alone deal with it. She didn't even want to address that the first person to die was Jennifer.

She was trying to calm herself down, and it wasn't working.

Toby slid just a little further around the door frame, catching a glimpse of who it was that'd spoken. Oh, Asuka. Their social circles - insomuch as either of them had ones that counted - had ... brushed, here and there, but they weren't close. Toby didn't think she'd exchanged more than a handful of words with her throughout high school. In any case, she made an asinine comment about said lack of familiarity, and Toby had to clamp down on an angry response.

No, actually, Toby didn't wish either of them had known each other better. Because there shouldn't have been a 'before' to look back on. They shouldn't be in this fucked-up situation for Asuka to express regret that the most significant conversation they'd ever had was one of them borrowing a pen from the other.

"Don't we just," was what she managed in reply.

Then Jerry piped up again, and Toby very nearly punched the wall.

He asked her exactly what she was about to ask him.

"I was hoping you would've seen him," Toby let the 'dead' part lie. If she didn't address it, it wouldn't be there.

She let out a breath. "Fuck."

All right. All right. She'd tried. That was important.

"I really need to make sure he's okay, so if he's not here..." she trailed off, looked at the three in the room. Asuka, Jerry - another girl just to the side, who Toby recognised as Nadia Riva. They'd crossed paths on runs on occasion, but again, nobody close. "Look, I don't know what you guys have all got planned or anything so I'm not going to get in your hair."

Another glance around them. Two people she didn't know if she could trust and one that she sort of trusted but didn't really like. Jerry was, well, Jerry. He was a jackass, but Toby couldn't see him hurting anyone.

But then, she couldn't see Kimiko hurting anyone, before this morning.

Company was... it was a risk, there were no two ways of slicing it. More of a risk than going it alone? It was hard to say. Damn hard.

"If you wanna come with, I'm going to go find Travis," she spoke looking right at Jerry. "But you better not slow me down, if you do."

Toby bounced lightly on her heels. She was prepared to run and not stop until she was sure her friends were safe.

She couldn't protect Abby. She hadn't even had the chance. She couldn't let that happen again.
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Nope.







Asuka was on the verge of tears. Not at Jerry's words, though. She'd heard that line too many times to let it get to her. Really. Don't let the tears make you think otherwise. They're tears of rage. Asuka hated that. She hated how every time she got juuuust pissed off enough to unleash a brutal, no-holds-barred verbal beatdown her tongue tied itself into a knot and her tear ducts opened and what the fuck, she was mad, she was supposed to be fucking mad. Her body was a traitor. What's that, body? You're trembling? Fuck you.

Oh, and now they wanted her to hand over her weapon, too, huh? Did--did they actually think she'd do it after--like--all that? Was this real life? Was this just fanta--fuck, she was not gonna finish that thought. Even now, it seems, she's still incapable of keeping her mind from following dumb tangents. But seriously, was she dreaming? How the fuck did these people even exist? Answer her. Please just fucking answer her. No? Well. Okay then.

But first. Address Toby. "Wish I had something of substance to tell you. Good luck." And she meant it.

And now to talk to them. Well, mostly Jerry. Though Nadia wasn't exactly off the hook either.

"Fuck you. Fuck both of you." It was as good a start as any.

"Y'know, I always knew that assholes existed, but this is. Um. Kind of a first. Can you even fucking hear yourselves? Do you also steal food from orphans and kick kittens or something?"

Her voice was following a really weird cadence, alternating between 'coolly analytical' and 'inside-voice screaming'. Asuka hated it. Impossible to take seriously.

"You'd think the realization that the person you're talking to is gonna die soon would make you pause before you go and be a total dick, but nooo. You have to go and--and--like, you're not real asshole. You're the image the shitheads come up with when they make dumb PSA's about bullying. Did that sink in? No? Don't answer, because even if you do get it it's my fucking turn, and if you wanted me to have a different mental image of you then you shouldn't have made yourself look like a dumbass jackass. You're so ridiculously disgusting I can't even accept that you exist."

Jerry and Nadia, platonic ideals of the bully and the bystander. Oh, that was extra pretentious. Lovely.

Still, though, the logic checked out. Jerry was objectively an asshole. Objectivity didn't exist. Ergo, Jerry didn't exist. What, it doesn't check out? Shh, don't tell her that. She's feeling a tad emotional. She's venting. Actually having sound logic wasn't the point.

"Sit on that for a while. I hope I die tomorrow. I hope I fucking die and make you realize that you kinda helped kill me. Don't fool yourself by saying you couldn't have known what would happen. You have to know by now that my odds of making it alone are worse than if I'm in a group. So yeah. Not sure if you'd feel guilt over that. But I hope I die. And I hope you go and fucking win this thing, so that you can go home and realize that all the shitty things you may or may not have pulled but honestly I am so done with being nonjudgmental I'll go ahead and make that assumption BUT ANYWAYS I hope you go and realize that all that shit was way way way shittier than you ever thought it was."

Asuka turned to Nadia. "And I'm not giving this thing"-- she patted her gun-- "to players. Not to assume that y'all are gonna be players. But I pretty much am."

Asuka immediately regretted half the speech. It was too manipulative. Too calculated to hurt. Still, though. The other half? Totally worth it.

"Sayonara."

That's your cue. Apologize. You get one chance.
dear god dear god tinkle tinkle hoy

G056: Asuka Takahara: The one who can out-pretentious them all.
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