7th Jan 2020, 8:00 PM
Haul ass (in a calm and orderly fashion)

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Haul ass (in a calm and orderly fashion)
The best you can do right now is trust Cici.


You give a firm nod. "Stay safe."


You take off.

Out the side door, through a hole in the fence;

the next two backyards don't have fences so it's a straight sprint. You can see the Biggest Shrug guitarist running ahead of you, likely shooting for the same goal: the bus stop.


Oh, god, this is not like running in the dream.


You don't think your real legs have ran since high school.

Why are you even running?

What's the worst they could get you for? Trespassing?

You could still go to jail for trespassing.

You think...?

It might just be a fine.



Fuck, you can't afford a fine.


And then you'll go to jail for not paying the fine after panicking about it for however long that takes. Do they just send you to jail for not paying fines, or is that a prison thing? Holy shit would this be the weakest reason to go to prison.

Now is really not the time to focus on it but the guitarist has...

very large thighs.

You watch as she rolls onto the top of a long air conditioning unit, jumps off of the corner of that onto a high window sill, sort of... hops from that across two other window sills, then leaps over the top of a tall wooden fence.

A fence that you also need to get past if you want to reach the bus stop with minimal detours.

Or exploration. Because hell if you know the layout of the local backyards and alleyways.

Fuck why did you have to follow the parkour guitarist

Okay.

Focus.

You don't have Magic Mustachio powers but you have basically done some of this shit in a dream kind of.

Maybe not this... exact series of maneuvers. But you did some jumping and hustling.

Boy howdy it sure was easier to breathe in the dungeon though

Okay.

Okay you can do this.

She's in better shape than you and has clearly done this before but she also did it with a guitar in her hand. You have both hands. That's a difference maker somehow and you can do this.

You... climb up onto the air conditioning unit. You couldn't do sweet combat rolls in your own dreams, you're sure as hell not going to take a swing at it here. Once you've got solid footing, you take a breath... wait, IS this an air conditioning thing? Now that you're looking at it--

PLAIRE.

You take a huge leap from the corner of the machine. You grossly underestimate the difficulty of landing one foot on a narrow window sill and almost tumble off of it. In a desperate bid to salvage the move, you use your forward momentum to jump again to the next window sill. You're jumping a little more steadily by the time you hit the fence

and you literally hit the fence.

The planks are pointed skyward, but if they were sharpened you would have been bisected. Instead, you just have narrow boards trying to shove themselves into your torso. It blasts all the air out of your lungs, but you got enough... uh... upper body on the other side that you don't go sliding right back down.

Instead, after a very sad moment of flustered squirming, you more or less flop your way over the top of the fence.

There is nothing on the other side to break your fall but bushes. You manage to... kind of turn in the air as you fall, slamming down more on your side and arm than on your spine. Or neck. Or head.

Mmm you're probably going to rule this was a bad idea sometime circa tomorrow morning.

The sound of your weak, noodly body hitting the ground grabs the attention of the fleeing guitarist. She throws one glance back--almost keeps running--and then mentally registers what she saw.



"Oh, shit."

She skids as she twists around and begins running back toward you.

"Don't... worry about it," you tell her. "I got it."

You start to get up.

It turns out you do not, in fact, got it.

You hold out your hand to wave her off, but she takes it.

She pulls you to your feet, holding onto you as you both walk vigorously toward the bus stop.

"Buuus!," she yells.

You glance back. Cops just circled the corner and started running down the block toward you.

How badly do they want to bust you? If they track you down after this, it's going to be easy to identify the small redhead and the one with the pink hair who never skips leg day.

The bus pulls up.

The guitarist helps you climb on board, hanging halfway out the door still as she's motioning the bus to drive. "Gogogo--"

Despite the insistent yelling from the approaching officers, the bus closes their doors and accelerates hard. The cops reach the bus stop seconds too late.

You got away, for now.

You take your usual seat.







"Fuuuck," the guitarist blurts out as she paces down the aisle.

She spins around and offers her hand. "Hey. I'm Kate."

"Plaire." You're relieved but you're still turning the gears in your head. Would the cops give enough of a shit to look you up? Do they have bigger things to worry about? It's a small town, of course they don't have bigger things to worry about. They're probably after the band more than they're after you. They might question you but they wouldn't arrest you for not knowing the band didn't own the god damn garage they were doing a concert in.

You realize you've just been staring. You shake her hand. "Do you guys... uh... usually play in other peoples' garages?"

Kate shrugs. "Gotta play somewhere."

Absolutely calm.

Just fucking... stone cold. Holy shit.

She looks up toward the ceiling. "You uh, hit that bump on the way here?"

"I did," replies the bus. "It disabled my cameras again. Something should really be done about that road--I have very sensitive equipment."

Kate smirks, and retrieves a stick of level from her pocket.

"Mind if I smoke?"

"Well, Kate..." begins the bus, "I am scheduled for cleaning tomorrow morning. Don't make a habit of it."

Kate's smirk widens. "Don't make it sound like a challenge, then." She retrieves a lighter from her pocket.

Level is a drug that... well, levels you out. You've had it suggested a few times as a way to deal with your anxiety, but it's still illegal in the state of Misuschaqua. Kate smoking level does explain her cool demeanor though.

...Until you also remember that smoking level and overtaxing yourself physically can literally explode your heart. Like, arteries simultaneously bursting, pericardium popping like a balloon. You've been told that it's audible. If Kate was leveled when she did that big spy movie maneuver...

well, that's high on a list of crazy shit people did tonight.

"Where would you like to go?," asks the bus.

"Anywhere else but here," Kate says. She lights her level and takes a long, slow drag. "Just keep driving for a while. Thanks."

Her attention slowly drifts from the bus... to you.

"You new in town?," Kate asks. She squints. "I feel like I'd remember you."

"Y... yeah," you force out. You're sitting and she's standing and either she does a lot of running from the cops or she's a god damn competitive free runner, and also you're very out of breath and she has


a very commanding voice

She gives a small nod, but still seems... mildly skeptical. Of what, you can't even begin to guess. "Like... by yourself?," she adds.

"...Yeah," you reply.


Yeah.


By yourself.

Kate gives another nod.

She takes another, smaller puff.

Whatever her suspicion was, it seems to disappear from her face.

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7th Jan 2020, 8:09 PM
If we're looking for a topic for small talk, I think the bus AI mentioned never having had the chance to hear Biggest Shrug perform. Could lead with that.
8th Jan 2020, 9:44 AM
Ooh, +1, I think the bus would love that and we definitely would.
7th Jan 2020, 8:10 PM
Let's attempt to explain that we just moved here and end up blabbing *way* too much about how freaked out we are and also how she has nice legs! I-I-I mean you're super athletic wow!

Also, do we have a garage? I don't *think* we have a garage to offer, sadly.
7th Jan 2020, 8:21 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 for that and us explaining we live at the cursed house
7th Jan 2020, 9:07 PM
Do you give out your address to random people you just met? No. Be polite and say we're new in town? Yes. Job? Yes. Nice legs? .......Fine. But let's not give our address to people that regularly trespass and get cops called. She could be cool, but let's build trust first.
7th Jan 2020, 8:21 PM
Limrix
Hi we moved in from out of town and bought the house no one wanted. We run a video game mutube channel so it was that or poverty, and ever since we've been running for our lives in our dreams and now also real life? Lot harder awake. Would it be bad if we came here with someone?
+1. We should figure out the full floorplan of our house sometime. For now we're probably just going to crash, but we should try to game at least a little before going to bed.
7th Jan 2020, 8:31 PM
7th Jan 2020, 8:50 PM
Snervalton
If we do game before bed we should make it a kind of experiment, find out if only a single round of volleyball will gives us any powers in the dream dungeon.
8th Jan 2020, 11:18 AM
Hari_Seldon
+1 one round of volleyball for us and either volleyball or Captemon for Kate

Edit: actually maybe volleyball is too embarrassing so anything else, but we each should play a different game
7th Jan 2020, 8:12 PM
Heroshima
if we're going to be here talking for a while, let's ask her about the Back Room. she's been in town longer than us.
7th Jan 2020, 8:20 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 and hope she is a little bit of a gamer so she might actually know anything

Edit: +1 ask about the old library, weird mayor, and that news article "Mayor's Office Receives Visit From Federal Agents."
7th Jan 2020, 8:23 PM
Limrix
Back room, the old library, weird mayor. +1 to Mochi's asking why Cher stuck around.
And whatever you do, DONT SMOKE THE LEVEL. Our heart's bound to still be racing, don't need to go dying on Cher. That'd sure be hard to explain, they'd probably fix the cameras too.
7th Jan 2020, 8:33 PM
Lunar Waffles
again, +1 to all of this, info mine!
7th Jan 2020, 8:17 PM
Mochi
assuming kate is the one who asked the bus to hang around, maybe ask the bus if she usually does that when it's requested of her. if it wasn't kate, maybe we can figure out why she stuck nearby. presumably she does have a route she's supposed to follow.
7th Jan 2020, 8:20 PM
Hari_Seldon
+1 something about why is this corporate bus OK with running away from cops
7th Jan 2020, 8:41 PM
Snervalton
+1 to all of the above
7th Jan 2020, 8:57 PM
Hari_Seldon
I regret not asking Franklin about our house specifically (let's call it the "cursed house"). We just asked about haunted houses specifically:
http://mda.thecomicseries.com/comics/38

Next time. Maybe we need to ask each person in town about our house and piece the puzzle together.
7th Jan 2020, 9:21 PM
Snervalton
This sounds like a good idea for most people, but we might want to hold our cards a little closer to our chest around anybody Mondol-affiliated or anybody connected to the mayor's administration, at least until we get a better feel for them.
8th Jan 2020, 3:45 AM
Portal In Time
The bus already knows where we live, it won't do us any harm to bring up the house we live at, especially if it's something sorta locally known.
8th Jan 2020, 5:36 PM
I'm against inviting Kate over to our house - at least at this point in time. We're trying to get Plaire to be a bit more comfortable and make friends: risking weirding people out by being weirdly-eager-even-if-shy to have them over is not the way to go about this.
7th Jan 2020, 9:10 PM
Hari_Seldon
Does Kate need a safe house? Does she want to stay over at our house? If so be sure to tell her the house is cursed.
7th Jan 2020, 10:10 PM
Lapdragon
I was going to suggest this and see if we can manage to BOTH fall asleep on the couch - if we plays our cards right (maybe be touching shins on the couch once zonked out) we might be able to take an ACTUAL athletic person into a dream with us - granted it'll be a shitty thing to have to explain to an unexpected passenger, but it's a worthwhile experiment and *might* actually help.
7th Jan 2020, 11:04 PM
8th Jan 2020, 12:57 AM
Remark to Kate how you thought her performance was the only good one, hopefully without coming off as overly insulting to the others.
8th Jan 2020, 8:44 AM
Snervalton
Yeah, compliment her on her stage presence and musicianship, just...don't mention the others.
8th Jan 2020, 3:15 AM
Just wanted to give a reminder that cops are privatized. They don't just go randomly patrolling around.

This could be a good thing if some homeowner just called them in to shoo out the loud miscreants trespassing in their garage (they got through 5 songs after all).
It could be a bad thing if they're MondolGroup-hired cops and so DO patrol as part of a corporate contract. But given the house Plaire is in seems to be privately owned (the last owner sold it, not MondolGroup), hopefully it's the former.

If Kate has any info on that subject, it could be a huge stress relief (or at least confirm Plaire's anxiety).
8th Jan 2020, 8:47 AM
Snervalton
I wonder if the private police in this world wear uniforms that reveal a particular affiliation? Did the cops who raided the concert have a Mondol insignia? Is it possible to look on a private cop-company's website to see when/where they're been active lately?
8th Jan 2020, 6:47 AM
Chariot MT don't get along with the police? Or is it the AI?