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The Others [IC/PG-16/Accepting]

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It, like every night, was dark. However it wasn't stormy. Instead it was cold and somewhat clammy. The time was 10 PM and, unlike some larger cities, the streets were mostly barren. The moon in the sky, and the streetlights on the ground, made the dark night possible to traverse without being blind.

They, in this case being Brian James Trantor and Carmen O'Conner, had gotten a message not long ago. It was from their mysterious savior/employer, Shiki. This was unusual, the first of several unusual moments, as the girl hardly ever used text messages to contact them. Though it was only a couple words, "Dagen Park" which was why they both had made their way towards said park.

Park might be something of an exaggeration. it was rather large, it would only take a couple minutes to cross it, and only had a singular bench, under an old gazebo, to sit in. Some trees were scattered around, mostly around the edge to the left facing from the street, but not many and only one or two that were truly large. A playground sat in the center of the small grassy field which consisted of a couple slides, monkey bars, and a bit of a distance from that a pair of seesaws and a swing set that creaked with the slight breeze. Off to the side of said playground, at the right edge of the park, was a concrete area for parking. And there sat a singular vehicle.

They each would recognize it as belonging to Shiki. A large van, practically a camper, that looked like it shouldn't be able to run. Yet they knew it did. Usually, yet another unusual thing tonight, this van was parked outside of their houses, or wherever they happened to be when Shiki wanted to contact them, and they'd use it to get to whatever Shiki needed them to do.

However this time it was in another location. The reason why was clear to them soon.

The third unusual thing of the night. Whenever they found said van they were the only ones who ever paid it any mind. However today there was another. For Brian this was Carmen. And for Carmen this was Brian.

Without any warning it seemed that Shiki had decided that the two of them would meet tonight. In this park. On this cold and clammy night.


Not much to start with, I know, if you wanted instant spooks sorry about that. But yes, it's time to meet. I tried to describe everything best I could but I didn't want to get too specific with where things are and such in this intro post. If you want more details about anything let me know.

Leaving how you get there and which gets there first up to you but basically there's only one road that you can take to reach here (actually will provide a bit of a map to explain)

Also I should mention this isn't the destination for the spook, the usual way is you'd get instructions inside the van.



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Even in his younger years (and, at the ripe age of twenty-six, those years were certainly far behind him), Brian had never been the type of person to run around on a playground going up and down a four-foot slide for some petty amusement. Now, he just trudged across the mulch lot in the middle of Dagen Park to the asphalt one on the other side, not even paying the jungle gym any mind at all. His hand instinctively reached for a pocket on the inner left side of his coat and came up wanting, cigaretteless. God, he thought, cold turkey was the worst way to go, but he also had to prove to himself the value of his own will. He could stop this if he wanted. Just as he would have stopped going down those stairs a month ago.

He could have taken up a different vice. No, perhaps his new vice was whatever this new nonsense was. It certainly would explain why he was enduring the cold such as it was. It wasn’t even raining, which would have given a reason for the miserable weather. Instead, the weather was just miserable of its own accord. Brian jammed his hands back in his pants pockets and shrunk further into his coat. Only just a little bit further.

Shiki had directed him to the van like Shiki always had, even if this time it had been somewhere other than just outside his house. Maybe the heat was fixed this time, Brian thought, and he could experience some semblance of sanctuary before committing himself to whatever ineffable task had been given to him, but he wasn’t holding out much hope. The van actually looked worse than how he remembered it, not helped by the fact that it had apparently attracted a loiterer in the meantime.

Brian had always assumed the reason Shiki lent him such a shitty mode of transportation was to avoid such attention. If you saw a nearly inoperable car you didn’t really care what was inside it, he figured. Even if it were easier to break into, the contents surely wouldn’t be worth the effort. And yet, as he stepped onto the concrete and shuffled even closer, he could make out someone poking around the van. They had to be the desperate sort, then. His hands balled into fists in his pockets. It wasn’t that he was about to fight some vagrant over something that wasn’t even his to lose, but it put him in the right frame of reference for what he had to do next.

“You looking for money or something?” Brian said. “I’m not gonna fund a drug habit or anything but I can buy you something from Taco Bell or whatever I guess.” He pointed at the van. “I am going to need to get into that, though.”

Edited by radio414

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Carmen wore a miserable expression as she  made her way down the night time streets of Marinton. A pronounced frown was on her face and her eyes told that they would rather be anywhere else then where she was currently. It wasn't as though she hated being out and about at night. There were always less people around and being able to move freely down both the streets and sidewalk were their own kind of comfort. However she felt like anybody she did see at this time of night was far more dangerous and terrifying then anyone she would meet otherwise. The girl continued to survey her surroundings as she eventually got to the park, seeing the somewhat unfamiliar vehicle that had been awaiting her. Were it a more standard vehicle, even with the location matching and the fact that it was by itself Carmen was likely to mistake it. However, the vehicle itself was unmistakably out of place no matter where it was that Carmen had an easy enough time getting up to it. 

Of course, between her and the van was the entire rest of the small, empty park. There was no one there and nothing out of the ordinary, aside from the van, to actually obstruct her way. Yet, in spite of this, the girl couldn't help but feel some level of anxiety, that if she stepped on the grass that some vengeful spirit might shoot out from underneath. Things to that affect at least. Yet, with her new, unwilling, job that she had to deal with it was inevitable that she'd have to deal with things of that nature eventually anyway. She just wished "eventually" was tomorrow. 

Taking a few deep breaths the girl eventually made her way over to the van - without incident! - to go and check what kind of secondary cryptic message she would receive. As she peered into the window of the van, the girl looked momentarily for - 

“You looking for money or something?”

The girl froze like a statue, her heart likely stopping for a second as she heard the unfamiliar voice call out from behind her. She remained unblinking looking at the window of the car, trying to see if she could piece together who the man was from the reflection in the window. Her first thought suggested that it might've been a police officer, and so the girl was quickly looking for anything she did wrong. She wasn't aware of any curfew in place so perhaps she just looked suspicious to the officer? She wasn't wearing particularly bright clothing nor did she look that well dressed - though that might've looked more suspicious? - so she could only assume that they thought they were going to burglarize the vehicle. Of course this wasn't her vehicle and she had no claim or proof that she had anything to do with it, and would explaining that it was her employers vehicle she was supposed to look for going to fly? For that matter was calling Shiki her "employer" all that accurate? She could maybe get them to call Shiki since Carmen did have her contact info, but then the officer would have her phone and find some of her illicitly downloaded music and make things even worse for her. 

“I’m not gonna fund a drug habit or anything but I can buy you something from Taco Bell or whatever I guess.”

It wasn't a cop! The girl turned around to look at the man, generously offering to buy her food at this hour. "Oh! Uh well um, no...no no I don't need money for drugs...but, um, well, Tacos do sound kind of nice..." Though she was in the middle of a job, sort of, and she wasn't sure if her employer would be good with her just ditching for tacos right now and she wasn't sure if being full of fast food would be a good idea before doing...whatever it was she was supposed to do. Besides, tacos weren't great to eat before going to sleep and it was getting late into the night. Not like she would've gone to bed in the next few hours on a normal night anyway. "Hehehe..." The girl chuckled to herself at the thought, only to look up and realize she had been standing there silent for a bit without actually answering them.

"Ah but um...I uh..." Carmen trailed off as she started to explain, now looking at the man up and down and realizing how strange it was for a stranger to also be here, at this time of night, looking at this shabby of a van in this exact park. There were two thoughts. One, that Shiki had sent someone else here for one reason or another and they were here for the very same reason that Carmen was. Two, he was in fact some kind of burglar who saw the old van to be an easy mark, being old it probably was much simpler to open then a more modern car. If he was in fact a burglar she didn't want to implicate she was interested in the contents inside the truck lest he also mug her. She was also hired to deal with paranormal stuff, not people crime so Shiki couldn't hold anything against them if things worked out like that, right? Though, if she didn't get what was in the car then she couldn't do her actual job and that would also end poorly. So, instead, shuffling to the side, she gestured to the door and said, "uh, go ahead." But was clear that she was intent to continue hovering around the car, wanting to see what was inside. 

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The girl didn’t react how Brian expected. She was jumpy but not in that weird druggie sort of way, and while she did accept the offer of food instead of money, she didn’t do any of that “God bless you, sir,” stuff. She kind of laughed and mumbled, and Brian could only stare. Maybe he just didn’t understand women. This one got out of the way, so he went to the driver’s-side door, climbed in, and surveyed the scene.

Shiki’s camper van was just as much a run-down piece of junk on the inside as it was on the outside. There were still dishes in the miserable little sink, for one, and he was pretty sure the interior of the mini-fridge still smelled of cheese. Either way, he didn’t want to open it and check. The purple shag carpet in the back by the bed had seen better days, and the less said about the state of the microwave the better. At least all the stuff for actual jobs was there -- flashlights, cameras, a spirit box, the works. Brian wondered what the girl would think about all that. It was a weird image thing, would she think he lived like this? Would she think the only thing he did for fun was watch old VHS tapes on an even older television set? It didn’t matter, Brian thought. He wasn’t about to apologize for Shiki’s mess, especially to some girl he was driving to fake Mexican tacos before whatever job Shiki had in mind.

He found the keys in their usual hiding place and rolled down the window with the little hand crank. It always took a bit more effort than he expected, but he managed. “You getting in?” he said, looking at the girl through the mirror. “Just look out for the door, it doesn’t close right unless you really slam it.”

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Carmen looked into the camper van as the man walked inside, a bit impressed with how naturally he seemed to be navigating it. The man certainly looked like he had gone through this vehicle before, with how quickly he also managed to find the keys to it. The girl was a bit surprised though her assumption that he was here at Shiki's behest and was not, in fact, some kind of late night van robber was growing. Of course that did little to allay her suspicions of him, especially as he asked if she was getting in. For all she knew the place Shiki hid their keys was an incredibly common place and the man just had a calm and natural demeanor about him. Carmen did step into the vehicle of course, she really had no choice in the matter if she was going to do her job and not just let some stranger take Shiki's van right in front of her, but she also realized that she was getting into a van with a strange man that had promised her food. 

Deciding that it was best for her own sake to clear things up and figure out just who this man was, Carmen looked ready to speak. Of course, the act of actually speaking was much harder then most gave it credit for and instead of voicing anything her eyes drifted to immediately look around the camper, taking a few moments to examine the interior of the vehicle instead. She hadn't been doing this for long and so the utter outdatedness of the van had continued to surprise Carmen, as well as how much it looked like it was meant to be lived in. In a sense, Carmen couldn't help but wonder if this was actually where Shiki usually spent their days and hung out, and thus also wasn't sure how she felt about someone just driving off with their home. Similarly what was the mysterious person doing while they left their house on wheels to a near stranger. Maybe that just meant this new person and Shiki were actually close friends? After spending some time in contemplation about this, Carmen eventually looked back to the man and asked, "your uh, vehicle is pretty retro looking...do you like, live in here?" 

His hands tightened on the steering wheel. He didn't even give her the decency to look back at her. "No," he said. "The only people who live in their vans are rock climbers and cultists and I'm about as far removed from those people as you can get. I'm just borrowing it."

"Ahh...yeah I suppose...wait you don't think they're some kind of cultist do you? I mean, I guess that would make sense they do wear pretty weird gear..." Carmen wondered for a second if this meant that she was also part some kind of cult. Most cults asked for money though as opposed to providing them, and didn't usually have a sense of actual factual basing in their supernatural talk. Though most of that was from inferencing on hearsay as opposed to actual fact and experience so maybe she was just being judgmental? No no, they were definitely bad news. And the thought of actually joining a cult to find out was far more terrifying then the thought of getting tacos with a stranger. She didn't even want to be a part of this one to begin with. Though maybe Shiki was just some kind of mountain climber? Breaking her own chain of thought again the girl continued to probe this maybe robber for information. "Oh um, so uh, this uh, friend of yours...that owns this thing, they don't happen to have some kind of weird unorthodox job or something?"

"I didn't say Shiki was my friend."

"Oh! So you know Shiki too? Oh phew, I thought you were a robber and were trying to silence me or turn me into taco meat or something, hehehe." Her nerves settled, the girl let out a deep sigh of relief, before she stood to attention realizing something. "So, uh...where are you driving to?"

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Saying Shiki’s name like that was a stupid slip of the tongue. If the girl had been at the van for any other reason, it would have been a peek behind the veil that he would have been responsible for, and if there was one thing Brian didn’t want to be with random strangers, it was being responsible for them. He was doing this paranormal stuff for his own sake and nobody else’s. The fact that the girl had already been brought through was relieving. Of course she had been. Who else would have been interested in that van? He nearly laughed in spite of himself when she said he could have been a Sweeny Todd-esque taco vendor, completely forgetting the assumptions that he had made about her. 

Well, she could still be homeless. It seemed like Shiki was, after all, probably the most normal thing about Shiki if Brian thought about it. Why couldn't anyone working for Shiki also be homeless? It wasn’t like this job paid that much.

“I’m driving to Taco Bell,” he said. “Until Shiki figures out how to give a straightforward instruction. If whatever this is is going to ruin my night, at least I can ruin my night on my own terms. And yours, by proxy, since I’m still paying. I’m Brian, by the way.”

Shiki was lucky he knew how to drive manual. It seemed like nobody else in the world could. There were reality tv competitions involving driving -- not that Brian had watched any, but he had been in the room occasionally when an episode came on -- and there was always a challenge involving a manual gearbox. It seemed like even in a situation where learning how to drive properly would be beneficial, people still refused to do it. That didn’t make the van easy to drive, of course. It ran only slightly better than it looked.

No matter where he was, it always seemed like there was a Taco Bell nearby. This fact didn’t surprise Brian -- he knew how the franchise model worked -- but he was glad for it. It meant he didn’t have to endure driving for too long. He pulled into the parking lot and rubbed his palms; he hadn’t relaxed his grip since the girl had asked him those questions. “Alright,” he said. “Let’s- wait.”

He had just spotted something in the rear mirror. In the back of the van, next to the TV, was an ominously unlabeled VCR tape, the kind of ominous that made Brian swear it had not been there before even though it easily could have. “Yeah, hold up,” he said. “I think this is it.” He checked to make sure the tape was wound properly and stuck it in the slot.

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Static. That was all that showed when the tape was put in and the tv turned on. A low humming noise could be heard while on the screen the glitchy jumble of black and white, with occasional color, repeated again and again.

Then they saw a familiar face. Or rather a familiar paper talisman covering a face. Shiki appeared on the screen, sitting too close to the camera so that all they could see was said talisman and some of their hair.

"We are Shiki." They began, as they always did no matter how many times they have introduced themselves. "If you are not Carmen or Brian please stop the tape and rewind it. Thank you." They were silent for a few moments. Not moving the slightest amounts the entire time.

"Marinton High School. Two disappearances. One was two weeks ago. A janitor that was fixing a bathroom vanished overnight. The other was one week ago. A janitor that was fixing another bathroom vanished overnight. I was contacted. You will investigate. Meet the contact at the entrance. They will be waiting to let you in. There are a new batch of seals in the second tote under the bed. When you are finished bring the van to where you found it and we will collect it at sunrise. Thank you."

There was silence that followed. Shiki didn't say anything nor did they move. After a few moments they said. "Please stop the tape. Thank you." Then continued to sit there.

If they kept watching they would quickly begin to suspect that Shiki didn't know how to stop recording and simply continued to sit there in silence until the tape ran out.

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Carmen had just been standing awkwardly in the camper van, not really wanting to sit down anywhere in the moving vehicle and not interjecting with Brian's plan at all. She was becoming less and less sure about getting tacos before a mission to deal with some kind of ghost, but Brian seemed gung-ho for them so she said nothing about it. Instead, she just responded to his comments with a, "h-hi, Brian," neglecting entirely to introduce herself. The ride to the Taco Bell Pizza Hut combo was a short lived one, thankfully, and once there Brian got up from his seat and found the video to start their briefing on the mission. 

Carmen didn't have very fond of memories of school, in any year she went, and was dreading entering the old building more so than she was the ghosts at first. Of course the prospect of having to deal with a bathroom ghost didn't fill her with delight either, figuring that such specters were amongst the most heinous to deal with. Once the briefing ending, Carmen looked to the video of Shiki, then to Brian wondering if he'd stop it. Then, as Shiki told them to stop the tape, the girl looked back to the man and, not wanting to go against her paranormal hunting employer's wishes the girl awkwardly shuffled up to the television and shut it off. "Um...uh...yeah," the girl tried to say something, really anything, about the mission they were just given but instead went with nothing and shuffled over to the bed. Looking in the tote as described the girl pulled out a few familiar looking rectangular slips of paper just saying, "they're uh, here," and then put them back inside almost immediately before leaving the camper. 

While moments earlier Carmen had been having doubts about whether she wanted tacos at all and typically not wanting to spend too much of another person's money when they were buying, the combination of stress and newfound hunger had wrapped all the way back around to her ordering four tacos and a large soda. As she got her food, the girl looked sheepishly towards Brian saying, "so uh...well, I don't really feel comfortable um, driving, so, uhhh..." Having just mooched off the kindness of a stranger and then telling him to drive her, Carmen truly felt like she wished to go hide in a bathroom and vanish. 

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Brian sighed as he bit into something called a “Black Bean Chalupa Supreme®” which tasted, well, it didn’t taste great, but then again, he wasn’t going to Taco Bell at ass-o’clock at night for a majestic palate experience. He was doing this to pay off a debt. That justification worked for the broader scenario too. He owed his life to Shiki, didn’t he?

Come inside. Come inside.

He shivered. His Chalupa wasn’t appealing to him anymore, which left the videotape and Carmen. The girl was Carmen, right? She’d already outed them both as associates of Shiki, though she hadn’t introduced herself yet despite Brian doing so and he wouldn’t put it past their employer to make that sort of logistical issue. He’d just call her Carmen and see where that took him. If she wasn’t, he figured she would say something.

Carmen did say something, but it still was barely anything worth listening to. “I don’t feel comfortable driving,” she said.

Which was fine. It was fine. “That’s fine,” Brian said. “I can drive, no problem. Just let me…” He took another bite of his Chalupa, managing to hold back his gag reflex long enough to keep it down. A sip of lemonade helped, but as he got back into the camper van he still wedged the thing into one of its cupholders and tried to forget about it. He grabbed the steering wheel and positioned his arm so he wouldn’t even have to look at it, but he was still aware of its presence and the grip was awkward, so he moved it back.

His hands went to his coat pocket again. Still no cigarettes. Okay. Shiki wanted them to poke around in a bathroom for a couple hours, so that’s what they were going to do. He turned the key in the ignition and the camper van sputtered to life once more. “Let’s get this over with.”

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As the van went down the road, flanked by trees, that led to the high school there was a sense of unease. No matter the number of times they did this there was always a disquiet when heading to the scene. Perhaps it was their own expectations, or perhaps there truly was something unnatural that only those who have encountered entities can detect, but this feeling didn't go away as they passed the treeline and could see the school itself.

The atmosphere certainly wasn't helped by the cemetery located across the street on the left.

The building itself didn't seem threatening, except of course for students arriving late. It was long, with two stories, and shaped vaguely like a stretched out U. As they turned, passing by the electronic sign which had an advertisement for a bank under it, a constant reminder to students about the responsibility that awaited them as soon as they graduated, down the curved road that took them to the front of the school, they felt as though someone, or something, was watching them.

In front of the main building was attached a smaller structure, still wide but shorter than even the bottom of the U, which at two ends had openings supported by three pillars at one side that led to a series of glass doors.

While the night was dark the area under one such openings was even darker. They would need flashlights to even see on their way towards the doors.

As one of the lights flashed across a door they saw a face pressed up against it. A thin old woman with chalk white skin and greying hair.

Suddenly the door opened and the woman stuck her head out. They could see that across the back of her neck hung at least half a dozen rosaries which jingled lightly as she moved. As the woman slowly stepped a bit farther out they could see she was covered in religious imagery and religious paraphernalia.

"Y-you aren't Shiki. Are y-you here for the...." Her eyes, small and beady, darted around nervously. "d-demon?" She gasped as she said this then made the sign of the cross across her chest.


You are now at the outside of the school. For lines or any other information, which you'll likely need unless you stop your post right as you approach the school (which I would be okay with provided you intend to continue after a round), I will be around at more/less all times.

I did my best but I'm not great at describing buildings. Best image I could find was at the opposite end but here.

Make sure to specify what you're taking in with you by the way.


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      The last moment lingered a bit longer than Director Sekelsky intended, which mattered in the face of all the time pressure, but was still recoverable. “You have a few minutes to finish your reading, ask any questions, you might have, and then get going. Leave through the back while the sixes don’t have the building completely surrounded yet.”
      Hidden World
      Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos Lanthimos, the Moray Clan’s three Fates, arranged themselves in various positions about their lair’s (for lack of a better word) throne room searching for something that might fit the correct vibe. It was the new costumes that were the problem here. They’d just gotten three matching dresses from Rajawongse made out of Clotho’s fibers -- and they were the kind of dresses that came with pockets! -- but the room had been put together with their old aesthetic in mind. They’d started out so stereotypical, even getting one of those prop replica thrones from that one show, but the dresses were some kind of postmodern art. They had a flow to them that looked especially nice when they all stood together and the blotches of color started to blur. It was a total clash. The only pieces of fabric left from their old costumes were their blindfolds.
      “Blindfolds” was another one of those words that was technically true but not really. They were a solid black, but The Fates could all see through them just fine. Part of the magic of Clotho’s string was that its properties could be whatever she wanted it to be. That was one of the reasons Rajawongse had been so inspired in the first place -- a practically infinite amount of new materials, right there at his fingertips, who wouldn’t? But phrasing it that way would also sell the Renegade clothier short. He was a master of his craft even without his power. Rajawongse had created dresses that were identical down to the tiniest stitch. With them, the only way to identify which Fate was which was their distinctive manner of speech.
      “Maybe it’s the room that needs to change, not us,” Clotho said.
      “Sure,” Lachesis said.
      “But that doesn’t change the fact we need to figure out what we’re doing right now,” Atropos said. She was also identifiable by the butterfly knife she carried with her, a helpful outlet for not just her power, but idle hands in general. The swish-clack sound of its handles seemed to punctuate everything that particular Fate said, and frequently some of her sisters’.
      They settled on one of their standard formations -- Lachesis lounging on the throne flanked on either by her two sisters -- just as three of their underlings entered the room. Vi, Sibyl, and Demiurge were their names. The Fates gave them some time to get situated and even offered them some fruit in case they hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. It was still early in the morning, after all. It also gave them an excuse to get everyone up to speed on the previous night's events, the prophecy, the riots, everything.
      “The Stadium isn’t our territory, though it’s close enough that it might as well be,” Lachesis said.
      “And we’re going to have to deal with the smashed windows that are in our territory. Some of our people are already on it.”
      “It won’t be finished until later, though. Right now, G3 --”
      “-- The Generic Good Guys --”
      “-- The Group of Giant Goobers --”
      “-- is going to be pushing us for some kind of temporary truce until they can get their act together, and we don’t have any reason not to accept.”
      “But we also have reason to believe the Gibbons aren’t going to take the deal,” Lachesis said. “There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is that, like, it’s Gibbons. There’s no way Caesar” -- she pronounced it “ˈsi zər” -- “is going to let a land grab opportunity slip through his fingers, no matter how bad of an opportunity it is.”
      “That’s what happens when most of your territory is crap,” Atropos said. Swish. Clack. “Even when you have the most of any gang in all of Skitty.”
      “So it’s in character for him,” Clotho said. “But perhaps more damningly, he laid out his plans this morning while Worm still had one of his walls bugged, and later we hear some Gibbons capes are on the way to our territory. So we just- we know it’s going to happen. ”
      “Sorry to bury the lede like that.”
      “Our people cleaning up Nola Street already know this,” Clotho said. “There are some pretty hefty capes helping out there, both ours and otherwise, and DEUS is still in the area for at least a little bit longer.”
      “We’ll fight too if we goddamn have to.” The swish-clack of Atropos’ knife was especially forceful that time.
      “The point is, there’s a little time before anything goes down. There are still a few preparations to make, though. More thorough battle plans, making sure complementary powers are together, that sort of thing. Your job this morning is to keep Caesar distracted, and the way we’d like you to do it is to wreck some of his shit first.”
      “The target is a warehouse eleven point five nine kilometers that way.” Lachesis pointed in a direction she knew to be Northeast. This was her showing off her Thinker power and she relished the opportunity. “Pretty close to The Shimmer without getting up and personal with it, about as far as possible away from what’s going to be happening here.”
      “We think it’s a lab for a Tinker on Caesar’s payroll, which means it’ll have a skeleton crew of just that one Tinker and an assistant or two.”
      “The point is to get them calling for help. We’re not killing them or anything. Just roughing them up a bit to get Caesar’s attention, you know?” Clotho winked. “Of course, if they do go running to the hills leaving a trove of Tinker tech behind, you might as well take any of the interesting shit, right?”
      “At the same time,” Lachesis was quick to add, “if help does show up, that’s your cue to get out of there. Remember The Stanley Principle. You’re not invincible no matter how far ahead you might seem.”
      The Fates finally went silent as the invocation of that nearly-sacred rule brought a little extra weight to the proceedings. Both Clotho and Atropos shifted uncomfortably where they stood, and Lachesis had to stop lounging and actually sit in her chair. “Oh, that was a lot, wasn’t it?” Clotho eventually said. “Sorry about that.”
      “Anyway, the actual meat and potatoes planning of this mission, that’s up to you,” Atropos said.
      “We’ve given you the place and the goal, kinda want to just see what you come up with,” Lachesis said. “Call it a test, you know? Show us what you can do.”
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