Arylett Charnoa

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OOC Thread

 


 

Shuffling through the halls, a young woman shrunk from the rest of the crowd as she self-consciously clutched her bag. She avoided the gaze of all of those around her. Finally, it was just about time to go home... after quite a day.  So far though, nobody here seemed keen on speaking to her. So her tactic of looking as small as possible was working. Good. Not like most people spoke to her anyway in the past.

 

But man, was it full in these halls. So very uncomfortably full, her personal space was being compromised. The dark-haired girl gently tried to elbow herself past the many others who were headed towards their cars or dorms or wherever else it was they settled. With a little too much force, her elbow collided with one of the various mounds of flesh that barred her path, causing a painful jolt to be delivered throughout her muscles. She squealed and rubbed her elbow, before noticing that this obstacle mound was in fact another person. Her face could only turn as red as the clothes on her back.

 

"O-oh!" 

 

As her heart pulsated quickly, she quickly took out a piece of notebook paper she had at the ready and scribbled a hasty apology on it, tossing it in the general direction of the person, as she tried to continue moving on. Direct communication wasn't something that was within her social skill set, and one of her rather... unique quirks was to write notes to those she wished to talk to rather than actually use words. Then run away before any attention could be brought onto her. Yes, this lady sure was one heck of a mess. 

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(edited)

Outside, pulling into the university parkade and paying the exorbitant cost for a non-student, non-faculty member to put his car as the day drew to a close, a man sat in the vehicle for a few moments, scanning the trickle of students and professors making their way to their cars to set out across the city. A hundred and fifty dollars an hour plus expenses, that was what the job was paying, but that wasn't why he was there. No, He'd been spending the last decade of his life as the eyes and ears of suspicious husbands and wives. Business as a private eye was good, but all the lustre and glamour of it had long since faded.

 

The man opened the door to his car, adjusting his jacket to ensure that all his tools of the trade were securely concealed and slamming the door shut in a smooth motion. Crystal City University, the man had once dreamed of sending his own kids to the prestigious academy, but life had shown that a family wasn't in the cards, and so he was set to scope out the place in the hours before closing.

 

There was a secret in Crystal City University, a secret that the police didn't want folks to know and that filled the tabloids to solidify what information did come out as the wild hallucinations of drunks and madmen. Folks were going missing in the area, and at an alarming rate. A killer or a cult could nab a person a month if they had accomplices and inside access, but the half-dozen or so that had vanished off the face of the planet? It made the mans nose itch, and that meant something big, or something spicy, and he didn't see any lavish restaurants around. Someone or something was taking people, and so far they had made no contact with family, made no demands or threats.

 

The man entered the university, the halls slowly emptying. Maybe he'd stick out, being a lone middle-aged man without a degree in the rapidly emptying halls, but if someone complained about his being there, he could probably strong-arm and intimidate them into letting him see most of the building. From there he'd be able to start constructing how the people might have been taken.

 

@

 

Thinking of finally being the hero in his own story once again, the man accidentally strong-armed a woman, student or teacher he couldn't tell in the immediate moment as he went sprawling onto the floor. Instinctively the man felt again for his tools, always suspicious that someone might try and lift them from his person. Feeling them all in their place, he turned his attention to the woman as he stood up.

 

"Hey miss, there a problem with the hallways not being big enough for you? The place is clearing out faster than a bus without air conditioning after a three hour trip in the triple digits."

Edited by Ochre_Dust

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It was the end of the day... at least for the students. The inventory staff had to work until many hours after they all left, and as a part of that staff one man had to try and fight his way through the students to deliver a dolly full of paperwork. For the most part he was patient, and waited for the students to clear out. But he was on a deadline, so he had to try and zigzag through them to prevent time being wasted.

 

It seemed the path was clear, but then a sudden surge came from nowhere. Perhaps a few classes just finished up all at once, or something. But the cause didn't matter, it was the effect that was the problem. Suddenly the student density rose to great levels, and the man was stuck in the middle of it. Practically brushing elbows with everyone around, one particular elbow stood out among the crowd. It happened to strike him right in his stomach, with a mildly unpleasant amount of force. He quickly turned to see a bright red face, followed by a note that seemed to appear out of nowhere. He picked it up and read it to himself.

 

'I'm Sorry!'

 

That was all it said, and before he had a chance to say anything to her, she disappeared into the thick crowd. He wanted to say it was no big deal, she looked to be in a bigger hurry than he was. While he was thinking about the weird situation, the crowd started to disperse, and most of them were headed in the opposite Direction of his destination. Finally he was able to walk without any problems. But he was already late, Dr. Andromeda was expecting all this paperwork twenty minutes ago!

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Aero left the class he taught today feeling much more unnerved than he did earlier. He heard about the rampant disappearances before, but unless it affected someone close to him, it's easy to dismiss it as something that's never going to happen to him. That perspective was shattered this afternoon, when a student from the afternoon class he taught was absent and the other students were discussing rumors that he disappeared as well. That certainly was the most tense a class he taught had been. He put on a brave face during that class, and focused on his teaching to distract him from his newfound worries.

 

But once that class was over, he had nothing to distract him from his thoughts as he walked throughout the university. If it happened to one of his students, what's to stop it from happening to him too? Could he be the next disappearance? Is there anything he could do to protect himself? For that matter, just what is it that causing the disappearances? Without knowing that, there's not exactly much he can do to protect himself. And it’s much more worrying to know something bad could happen and there’s nothing he can do about it.

 

The university is always so full of students leaving campus at this hour, and it makes the corridors so packed full of people. At least it usually clears up rather quickly once everyone's left the buildings, which is great as Aero plans to stay back a bit longer. He needs to check in with his research group and see how well everything's going. His team is currently working on an apparatus that sprays water and shines light through it in such a way to create a rainbow, hopefully allowing them to analyze it in depth and help them better understand how actual rainbows work. And if he has time, he should check if the new anemometers they ordered have been delivered yet. Their current ones have gotten so old now and they really needed replacements.

 

But first, the cafeteria. Aero was feeling hungry, so it was time for a quick snack. He got two muffins, and sat down on his own to eat them. But he ate them really slowly. He kept getting distracted by his worries about the recent disappearances, and that put a damper on his appetite. While he was eating, he thought he heard two people knocking each other over, but it was hard to see them clearly through the thick crowds. 'I hope they're okay,' he muttered to himself.

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Letting out a small sigh in disappointment, the young red-haired girl crumpled yet another piece of paper and tossed it towards the general direction of her dorm room's trash bin, making sure she hit the target by using a sound clue. A globe-shaped table lamp emitted a dim light onto her projects as she quietly, yet hastily, skimmed through what seemed like a complex maze of numbers and symbols written down on a notebook, surely incomprehensible to anyone but herself.

 

The classes were finished for that day and the halls outside were starting to accumulate its usual flux of students and teachers alike - thus, using the little time she had alone in her dormitory, she decided to further research the possibilities and find out exactly what was missing for her project to work. With restless eyes and an emotionless expression, she continuously tapped a bright-pink pen on table, slightly eager. After a few minutes of thinking, however, something suddenly sparked inside her head. She turned over a few pages of her notebook, looking for a confirmation to her hypothesis.

 

"...Copper." She said to herself in a joyful feeling of relief, and instantly jolted out of her room towards the University's cafeteria, dodging whatever obstacles along the way.

 

@@FortyTwo42

Once she arrived her destination, she walked towards one of the cooks responsible for the canteen and shyly asked for a copper cooking pot - indeed, a rather odd request. While she was waiting, she took a quick look around the vicinity until she spotted a man sitting by himself, eating a delicious-looking muffin. That scene reminded her that she had forgotten to eat lunch - in fact, she got distracted by her studies and didn't notice how hungry she was until then. Subconsciously, she halted in place and began to stare down the sweets with shining eyes.

  • Brohoof 1

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The female kept making her way through the hallway hastily, but still slowly enough to avoid bumping to anyone. One of her better physical traits was to dodge past loads of people for the most part. It was a benefit of being so slinky. ...Slinky? Why was she even using that word in her thoughts?

 

Whatever the case, she found her mind getting lost more and more in itself as she began to once again depart from the physical realm. Yes, today had been her first day. Her first day in school for several years. Having something more to do than randomly browse the internet and promise herself she'd work on her project was nice, but at the same time, it was a bit stressful to have her time more limited. Especially by looming assignments and homework. 

 

Abruptly change the subject again! There were more important matters to attend to. Now, she'd be thinking about how to refine the designs in the doodles that she was gazing at that she had made in class. They were on some worksheet that had several equations scribbled on it, equations that she had already forgotten the significance of. Of a strange, biped creature...

 

@@Ochre_Dust

 

...Apparently, she got a bit too caught up in that. A sudden pain went throughout her entire body and she went tumbling to the floor, dropping her paper as her elbow collided with the hard surface. She shrieked and winced, feeling the white hot pangs consume her arm. And ominously, feeling the muscles suddenly become numb. She tried to get up with the arm before she could address the gentleman who had said some words she couldn't quite pay attention, but winced again and instead had to use her other arm to get back to her feet.

 

"I uh... I'm sorry," 

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@@Ochre_Dust, @,

 

Talisman had been outside. This was completely normal for her, even considering the fact that class had only just ended. She had been the drooling-by-the-window type in high school, and had decided to do something about it! ...Namely, get outside as fast as possible after every class, mess with one of her many assortment of sporting tools, and then trudge inside as slowly as she possibly could when it was time for the next class. Today, it had been her golf club's turn. Today, it had also been her soccer ball's turn, as she soon gave up on the golf club.

 

Now, after school, she could still be seen doing super cool awesome tricks with her soccer ball, when she heard the shriek of a young lady! She gasped, her head immediately going into the suddenly-invented hero mode. She leapt out from the side of the building and charged the man, surely about to kidnap and do terrible things to the young lady, who--

 

had clearly just bumped into her, and she was clearly already getting up. Talisman sighed in disappointment. She even thought she recognized the girl in one of her boring classes, though she was always silent as... Talisman's thoughts drew to a blank. Something silent, she supposed.

 

Just to make sure, she moved (a little more casually than her previous charging of the man) towards the two, soccer ball under one arm. "Everything going alright here?" she asked, attempting to recover from the rather embarrassing slip from her usually cool, detached, awesome attitude.

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With no-one to keep him company, Aero's eyes wandered around the cafeteria as he continued to reflect on his student's disappearance. His wandering gaze soon caught another incident of people falling over. It seemed like people knocking each other over was becoming a common occurrence, as he saw it happen again in, what, two minutes after the first time? They really needed wider corridors in this building.

 

@@Driz,

 

As Aero's eyes wandered around the cafeteria, he noticed someone standing in front of the counter just staring at him. Startled, Aero instinctively averted eye contact, hoping to play it off as if he looked right past her and never spotted her. But then logic switched on, and he quickly realized she would've surely noticed him looking in her direction, since she was staring at him the whole time. There's no point in pretending he didn't see her then.

 

Aero made eye contact with her again, this time getting a good look at her. Her staring was quite creepy, and the bags she had under her eyes just made it even more creepy. 'Can... Can I help you?' he tentatively called out to her, perhaps too quietly to be heard clearly.

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@ @Reaver,

 

"I'm fine," grunted the man as he straightened himself and dusted at his jacket once more. "We just weren't looking at where we were going," he said, being a bit more frank than curt than his previous statement to the woman.

 

Looking to the woman, he saw that he had dropped a pile of papers. "Here, let me help out with that." He bent down and started picking up the papers, scanning over them. It was incomprehensible gobbledy-gook, but that just gave him an in. Eggheads were always ready and eager to talk about their work to anybody who'd listen. Then with them eased up, he'd be able to ask about other work in the university, and finally move in for the proverbial kill by asking about the disappearances. With luck, he'd get a lead from it all, if not he'd just have to wander and snoop randomly until his nose itched again.

 

"Say-uh... Miss. What're these papers all about? Looks like you've worked mighty hard on this." Question and compliment, the easiest way into a person's heart. He continued picking up papers, trying to put them in the order they once were, but likely messing up horribly.

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Artful left his last class for the day with his face a deathly white and his eyes sunken in. Three. There had been three disappearances within his ROTC group so far. He knew their names by heart now. Just Vigil. Eminent Valor. Swift Strike.

 

Swift had been the most recent. They were meant to be in the same class, but when she hadn't shown halfway through, Artful's paranoia got the best of him, and he began to text the others in their group whether they'd seen her. Not a single one of his contacts said yes. Against his better judgement, he tried to think of reasonable explanations. Perhaps she had an emergency. Dead parents? Maybe an injury herself?

 

But someone would have heard about that. She was prideful, but she would keep her friends up to date about anything serious, wouldn't she? That's when he decided to type her name into a search engine. And swiftly begin to panic.

 

The second search result was a missing person's report.

 

The world around him stopped entirely, and his focus centered on the search result. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't hear. He could barely even see. He opened up the page. Her parent's filed the report a couple days ago, and hired a private investigator. No leads.

 

Artful's head spun with terror. They'd found him, they figured it all out. The crash, the hints, the likeness. They knew. And they were coming for him. First they would take his friends, one by one, using the recent disappearances as a guise. Then they would take his family. Then they would come after him. No one escaped the drug trade. He would be just another body in a river, his life crushed under the heel of ruthless druglords and his foolishness.

 

But he wouldn't be the only tally. They'd take his friends too, make them pay for his mistakes. And that's what weighed upon him the most. Not that he might be consumed by his past, but that it would take everything he cared for with him. When Vigil vanished, he thought he was just another disappearance. Maybe a serial killer got him, or some sort of clandestine enlistment program by the government, he didn't know. After Valor vanished, Artful had his suspicions. It was now terribly, terribly clear.

 

They vanished, and probably died, because of him.

 

Artful barely noticed when class dismissed, his body running in automatic. Somehow finding his way out of the university rush hour hallway traffic, he took a seat at a vacant cafeteria table, concentrating on a crack in the table while his mind ran rampant with fear. What was he supposed to do?

 

What could he do?

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@@FortyTwo42

 

Absent minded, she kept on daydreaming about the muffins displayed on the table, nearly forgetting what she was doing in the cafeteria in the first place. It took a while until she noticed that the man was aware of her presence, and that he also had directed a question towards her. Disoriented, she turned around in a desperate reflex, attempting to break eye contact and pretending like nothing happened, unknowing that the man had already tried to do the same.

 

The girl then sighed to herself: would she really need to wait until she got home to eat? If only she had some money with her, she could buy any flavor of muffin she wanted. Heck, she could even buy two muffins if the canteen's staff were generous enough! At any rate, assuming everything went well, she was confident that her project would be finished soon enough. Besides, focusing on the task at hand was of most importance - thinking about food would only make the situation worse.

 

After shaking off the bothersome feeling, the cook she had spoken to came back and explained that, unfortunately, they didn't have any kitchen utensils made out of copper. Even though she wasn't so confident that the university's cafeteria would be able to help with such an unusual request, it was worth the try. She had other locations in mind around the campus where it could be possible to find the material she needed. However, before she left the scene, she took another quick glance at the man eating by himself and, out of curiosity - and also in an attempt to be friendly -, she approached him.

 

"You're the meteorology teacher... aren't you?" She asked, hoping her memory wasn't failing and unconsciously disregarding any formalities. "You look... uneasy..." She continued, even though the cause of said uneasiness was most likely the cold stare she gave him early on. She wasn't used to making small talk, either.

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Finally the rush of students was beginning to fade! He looked at his watch and he was... only 25 minutes behind schedule. But that was alright. It was only paperwork, after all. He opened the door to Dr. Andromeda's office, and brought in the six hefty boxes. The blue-haired physics professor was sitting at her chaotic desk, eyeing something that seemed important while scratching her head.

 

"Hey Doctor, sorry I'm late. The students were just causing quite a ruckus out there today. I got dragged around by the sea of flesh. Where do you want this stuff?"

 

She looked up, not even noticing him until he spoke. She replied to him, "Oh, Lunaris! Um.. just put them on that desk over there." She motioned across the room. He walked over and placed the boxes where she asked. Then she asked him a question, "Lunaris, you know about these strange disappearances lately, right?"

"Of course", he replied. "I'm sure everyone knows about them by now."

 

"Well... everyone seems to think they've all been kidnapped, but I've been comparing some unusual data with an abstract theory. It may seem weird, but if this theory is true the disappearances might be caused by some supernatural phenomenon."

 

Lunaris raised an eyebrow, and leaned casually against the dolly, "Supernatural phenomenon? Like what, are they getting kidnapped by ghosts or something?"

 

She shook her head, "No, not ghosts. Even I don't believe in ghosts. The theory points towards wormholes. You might get sucked into one, and you never know where in the universe you might end up. Maybe even another universe altogether!"

 

He thought for a moment, about the strangeness of that possibility, "That's interesting, but what are the odds that's actually happening?" Then he looked at his watch and realized he was now wasting his lunchtime, and Lunaris, having food as his number-one priority, couldn't let that happen. "Nevermind... I have to go, or else I'll miss the opportunity to eat. I'll see you later!" And before she had any opportunity to say anything he was gone, heading for the cafeteria... and he forgot his dolly.

  • Brohoof 1

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Ach, damn! She flexed her pained arm as subtly as she could, still wincing slightly. It hit her in the funny bone... forget that, forget that. She didn't want these random strangers to notice her in pain. They might think it was a big deal. The arm pain would probably go away at some point anyway. Just ignore it. 

 

And ignore the fact that this guy was kind of rude. 

 

@@Ochre_Dust,

 

"Just some... math homework?" She was somewhat baffled at his reaction, but was hoping he wasn't referring to her doodlings of strange creatures. The girl tried to see what page specifically he was looking at. Hopefully it was just a blank one. Right now, she wasn't really in the mood to talk to a stranger. Well, she wasn't ever. But now was a particularly no moment for th...

 

Aww, great! Another one?

 

@@Reaver

 

Rather delayedly, as her mind wasn't able to process... so many people all at once, she responded as well to the other person who had stuck their nose there, nervously eyeing that ball of hers. Huh. A face that she had seen on occasion.

 

"Yeah, it's... f-fine... just uh. Going home...!" The girl stuck her hand out awkwardly at the man as she still kept her head turned in the direction of the female, groping at the air as a silent request for her papers back. Her longing to get out the doors of this place panged within her suddenly. Oh wait. That was her heart.

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@@Driz,

 

This girl, while odd and a bit creepy, still seemed friendly enough. She's probably just really shy. 'Well, yes, but teaching is something I do on the side. My main job here is in meteorology research,' Aero responded to her first question. It was a bit weird being known by everyone as a teacher when that took up a small part of his work at the uni, but since that's the only time he interacts with students face to face, it made sense. Aero wondered how she knew he was a meteorology teacher, since he's certain she's not one of his current students. However, his memory wasn't good enough to rule out the possibility she was his student previously. He's going to be really embarrassed if that was the case and he didn't remember her. That would be so awkward.

 

Her later comment on his uneasiness alarmed him. Was it really that obvious something was troubling him? He briefly considered telling her how he's worried about all the recent disappearances, but quickly decided against it. Nobody would like being told something so concerning, especially someone who's seemingly very shy. She still seems to be expecting an answer, so he bent the truth a bit. 'I ordered some new anemometers a while ago, but it's been a while and they haven't arrived, so I'm getting worried about that,' he replied. It wasn't a whole lie, he really did order some anemometers lately and they haven't arrived, but he certainly wasn't worried about them. It's not like he needed them urgently, the old anemometers will still suffice until the new ones arrive.

 

Despite the unsettling start to their conversation, Aero has been speaking to her long enough to get past that and now felt rather comfortable conversing with her. He wanted to ask her name, but due to the possibility that she was a past student and he really should've known her name already, he refrained from asking out of fear of embarrassing himself. Instead, he asked 'Aren't you going to get any food? You've been hanging around cafeteria quite a while for someone who isn't eating anything.'

 

@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

Out the corner of his eye, Aero noticed someone vaguely familiar heading towards the cafeteria. He turned to get a better look at him. If he remembered correctly, he once saw him delivering something to one of his research partners. Either that or he was a door-to-door salesman trying to sell them something. Anyway, if Aero was remembering correctly, then perhaps he would also be involved in the delivery of the new anemometers? Aero warned himself not to get his hopes up, since there are multiple people working on delivery so it was unlikely he was assigned that particular job, and that's if he isn't mistaken about his delivery job in the first place. Aero soon realized he was spending an unusually long time looking at him, so he quickly turned back to look at the girl he was speaking to earlier hoping he didn't notice Aero was staring at him.

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@,

 

Talisman blinked at the girl, who looked like she was having a cross between a seizure and an urge to run for her life as she attempted weakly to get her papers back. "Right..?" Talisman said uncertainly, and added sarcastically, "Looking good, definitely." She looked at the man suspiciously,  raised two fingers from her eyes and gestured at the man, in an "I'm watching you" movement. She wasn't, really, she just wanted this weird creepy guy to know that if he tried anything funny, he would be caught! and brought to justice!

 

"Since everything's... er... in order," she said, once the positioning got awkward, and began to walk off in a random direction. Wait, no, she was heading back inside! Her eye twitched as her mind went into overdrive. Turn around, pretend that she hadn't just did a 180 for no apparent reason? That looked stupid, even to her.

 

She decided she'd definitely done that on purpose, as she was hungry. Yes, definitely hungry, and her subconsciousness was steering her towards the cafeteria. She walked proudly through the hall, then realized--she still had the ball under her arm! Was outdoor equipment allowed inside at the university? Better safe than sorry.  She casually leaned against the wall and attempted to fit the ball into her backpack. It took some effort, and once she managed it, it looked like she was carrying a suffocated baby inside her backpack... but eh, it didn't look that bad. At least most of the students had cleared out.

 

She slipped stealthily into the cafeteria, still struggling to return her bulging pack onto her back. A surprising amount of people were in the cafeteria, considering classes had mostly ended for the day. She eyed the soda machine, picked out a Pepsi, after much consideration, and slipped into the nearest chair at an empty table.

 

She considered the groups of students and teachers, talking quietly amongst themselves. A vague memory struck her. Jogging to school, past the newspaper office, papers in the window, headlines--

 

Police puzzled after another disappearance at the university

 

And, with a sudden horror, she remembered the weirdo guy, bumping into the weirdo girl, seemingly so innocently! She gasped, spewing out some soda. Her eyes narrowed as she stared at the wall. Was it..? No, maybe a coincidence. But then he had questioned her work, looking too interested. No, why should she care, anyway? It was just a possible kidnapping about to happen, and she could stop it--and if she did, she would be a hero... She considered the wall painstakingly.

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@ , @Reaver

 

"Math homework, eh?" replied Gut as he shuffled through some more of the papers. There were certainly some advanced figures, he was certain that there were some Greek letters, and maybe even Cyrillic, not that he knew what kind of math would use those. There were graphs with wavy lines and equations so long they filled up two double sided pages.

 

"What're they having you work on in your math class? Trigonometry, Calculus?" He paused a moment to look over what seemed to be a marking of subject. "Lamda Theta Retrograde Waveform Cancellations? Is that what you're working on is all about?"

 

Gut then stopped on a page. Maybe it was just a bit of art class she took in order to keep her workload from being too much that semester, maybe between all the Carl-Saganisms and Stephen-Hawkingesque equations she even had time to doodle in class, but the way the equations were scrunched to the side of the giant dog-ape that was drawn on the page made his nose itch, and he couldn't smell any spicy food nearby to be the culprit.

 

Holding out the page, Gut smiled. "You've got quite a talent for drawing too, little lady. What's this a picture of?"

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Talisman relaxed. No, she was being ridiculous. The thought was a rather unnerving one--she was usually calm and collected, except on the field. She shook the newspaper out of her head, and the man and the girl. She would see the girl tomorrow, and the man... was some parent or something. No, wait, he looked too young for that. But what were the chances that some random encounter while she had been practicing was a kidnapping? Yeah, zero. No chance. Definitely wasn't going to be related to the disappearances.

 

With this in her mind, she finished her soda with a loud slurp. She tossed the can in the nearest trash can, chuckling a little to herself. The girl was fine. In fact, just to make sure, she jogged back to the entrance of the school and peeked out of a nearby window. And, there they were, still talking. She opened the door, grinning as she jogged past the merry couple. It was time to head home, with a good Pepsi in her system, too. She'd need to work that off. She waved at them. "Hey, be careful, you two! You never know who to trust," she said in a lower voice, mostly to the girl. Just in case. That was all. Then she was away. Plenty of homework to do, after all.

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Well... that was one out of the picture. One who was... certainly out there. Somewhere. But then again, who was she to talk?

 

@@Ochre_Dust

 

"It's... just some basic algebra," The young woman said kind of baffledly, still unsure how she exactly was staying in this situation. It appeared he interpreted her doodles of random symbols as some kind of advanced math. Something worth a chuckle if she wasn't so nervous. Too bad she couldn't get out of here as that would be rude. Her arm briefly stung for a moment, perhaps she could use that as some kind of excuse. However, he kept on chatting, and didn't really give her any opportunity to chime in with that.

 

"Landa Theta... that... has nothing to do with math. It's just for a project... I'm not very good at math, so I take remedial classes," She blushed a little at this next misinterpretation. That was one of her creative projects, a science fiction story in which she made up some technical-sounding mumbo jumbo to make things sound more legitimate. Well, at least it worked.

 

And then he noticed the big one.

 

"Uh, uh. Just a doodle. Nothing special!" Once again, she reached out her hand to tentatively snatch the papers, but not having the courage to actually take them out of his hand. "I need to get going... uh...  I kind of hurt my arm in the fall, so I should get that checked out!" 

 

@@Reaver

 

Her head abruptly turned in the direction of the other female, who had... come back a gain with a soft drink. Vaguely, she waved her other hand at her.

 

"Uh, yeah. Bye!" What an unnerving thing to say... did she suspect this man to be some kind of criminal?

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@

 

Now Gut Feeling never trusted a dame in recent history, the last time had ended with him losing half his net worth plus expenses and lawyers fees, but it wasn't just a bruised ego that was being agitated by a rather bald-faced deceitful use of the word 'just'. His clients had told him that just prior to their child's disappearance, they had mentioned off-hand about some big projects that were going to the school.

 

Had he honestly, literally bumped into some sort of student researcher in what the university was keeping all hush-hush about? His nose itched, and his gut was telling him yes. If there was any lead to be found that night, it was going to center on that woman.

 

"So, your arm is hurt?" Gut brought a hand to his face as he cooperated in letting the woman have her papers back. "Please, let me at least make sure you get there alright. I don't need it on my conscious knowing you weren't alright." He rose up to his feet, offering a hand to help the woman stand.

 

He'd follow her to the nursing station, drop her off, and learn her name at the bare minimum to look up later. If he was lucky, he'd be able to get some more information from her. Gut's nose itched, getting a feeling the woman would turn down his kindly offer however.

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@@FortyTwo42

 

Now that he was in the cafeteria, Lunaris was ready to get some delicious edibles to quell his hunger. He was ignoring all the people, even that one meteorologist guy who seemed to be staring at him. None of them were important! Food was important! He went up to his usual cafeteria worker, Fresh Deli, and started chatting with him.

 

"Hey, Fresh! What's cookin'?"

 

The man responded, "Hey Lunaris! I take it you're here for your usual? And by the way, any news on that shipment of gloves yet? We're about to run out, and we can't be touching the food. That ain't fresh!"

 

Lunaris sighed, "Yes, one triple-meat special! As for those gloves, they were supposed to be in today, but I've been a bit delayed in checking them. There was a mistake on one of the orders, and it caused quite a delay today. I'll see if they arrived later tonight, but if not they'll definitely be here tomorrow."

 

He finished making Lunaris' order and handed it to him, "Here you go, Luni. So what caused the delay, anyways?"

 

"A zero." he replied, then after a large gulp of a drink, he continued, "Someone was trying to order a set of 30 anemometers, but instead they accidentally put in for 300. Needless to say, I've been trying to settle things with the company they were bought from, trying to get them to accept a return of 270 of them. There's not even enough wind in the city for 300 anemometers! Anyways, thanks for the sandwich. I'll be sure you have those gloves tomorrow"

 

Fresh thanked him, then moved on to the next customer. And Lunaris found a place to sit and eat his lunch... for the next 3 minutes, since half his lunch was wasted by the sea of students.

  • Brohoof 1

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(edited)

Something inside Artful snapped. His face contorted and his hands turned into fists.

 

It was too late for his friends and family. If they'd really found out, they would surely go down with him. But that couldn't be the end of it, could it? He'd come so far, fought against his upbringing, against the darker side of this world, and for what? A bullet to the head?

 

No. He thought, digging into his pockets. He pulled out his wallet, checking for what money was in it. A few hundred. He looked at a credit card, its red design poking out of its sleeve. He remembered paying it off last week. More than enough, Artful decided before returning the wallet back into his pocket. Jumping out of his seat, Artful made a beeline for the cafeteria doors.

 

He hadn't realized how packed it'd become. Having nearly run over several students, Artful tried his best to apologize while keeping a steady pace. He caused at least one person to drop their food, but that would have to wait. He had much more important matters on his mind.

 

Entering the much sparser hallways, his eyes were drawn almost immediately to a hulking, surly figure looming over a young woman. He skid to a halt, the man's appearance blindsiding him. He looked about as gruff as his stature suggested, with a brown overcoat, greying hair and stubble, and-

 

Artful froze. He could see embroidery of a magnifying glass and hand print, with some text below. There was no way he was a member of the staff or the student body, he had to have been a private investigator. And not just any investigator. The one Swift's parents hired.

 

His eyes narrowed and regained control of his body, quickly steering himself away from the two. One more reminder of what he lost. Of what he will lose. He could feel his throat tighten at the wave of emotions, but he swallowed it back down. He knew how to make it right. They wanted him. It was no guarantee they wouldn't come after the others, but he wasn't just going to surrender himself to them. He was going to take them with him. He'd already been given some rudimentary training on how to use a weapon, and he felt it was time he put it to use. He may not live long enough to serve his country, but at least he could protect those closest to him.

 

But first I'll need a gun.

Edited by Durandal

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As she was about to answer, she noticed someone in the corner of her eye...

 

@@Durandal

 

Someone who moved a little suspiciously, and made her feel kind of uncomfortable. She watched this individual steer himself in another direction, allowing the silence between her and Mr. Questions to hang for a time. The usually nonobservant young woman then shrugged it off. Just some random kid.

 

Still, the entire encounter gave her a very odd feeling. A sense of urgency was creeping up in her mind... had to... have to leave now. 

 

@@Ochre_Dust

 

Without another word to the man she had been speaking, she rushed off towards the door. leaving him to stand there with her papers. The young woman kept running past the sea of students, ignoring everything that was beyond the confines of her mind. This was far more important. Was it crazy? No, of course not. Not what her mind was telling her. Her mind told her this was more important than anything.

 

She made her way out the doors, dashing across the courtyard and finally stopping to catch her breath at the school's sparkling crystalline fountain. Rather conspicuously, the entire place was empty. That didn't really mean anything to her though. Here, she would wait... she would wait for the chance to finally go home.

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@@Lunaris Adamantine, @@Driz,

 

Aero wasn't one to eavesdrop. But he was sitting rather close to the counter which that delivery person happened to order from, and he wasn't exactly quiet as he spoke to the cafeteria worker. Although Aero could hear him, he wasn't paying attention to their conversation. That is, until he heard the word 'anemometer'. His focus immediately shifted away from his conversation with the girl across from him to whatever the delivery person was saying. Perhaps he really was lucky enough to run into someone who knew how the order was going!

 

The world seemed to stop when Aero learned he made the horrible mistake of ordering 300 anemometers instead of 30. As the delivery person went on to explain what he had to go through to return the extra ones and fix the problem, Aero's heart sank deeper and deeper. It was probably such a simple mistake, he probably just accidentally held the '0' button for too long when he made the order and didn't notice the extra zero. But it was certainly a massive screw up that someone else, who did nothing wrong themselves, had to clean up for him.

 

Although Aero had intended to speak with him earlier, he was now very glad he didn't. Now Aero is possibly able to get out of here without being recognized as the screw-up and inciting his wrath. He already felt horrible about letting him down; the last thing Aero wants is for him to make a scene so everyone knows he messed up. Every second he spent in the same area made it more likely he would be recognized, so he needed to get out of here as soon as possible.

 

Aero abruptly stood up and quickly walked out of the cafeteria, explaining himself with a very quick 'Gotta go,' which was seemingly directed to no-one in particular. It was so abrupt that Aero left behind his bags on the floor, as well as one half-eaten muffin and one whole muffin on the table. He had to get out as quickly as possible; there was no time for formalities or gathering his belongings.

 

@,

 

He didn't stop until he was out of the school doors and in the courtyard in front of the school. Once outside, he found the emptiest part of the courtyard, which was close to the crystalline fountain. There, unaware of the woman standing nearby, he fell to his knees and put his head in his hands, shouting quietly to himself 'Oh, how could I be so stupid?! I messed up so badly! He probably hates me now!'

  • Brohoof 1

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As his stomach was being satisfied, he started doing his usual routine of observing everyone around him. He was always curious about what others were doing, silently observing, sometimes chuckling at some silly scenarios he happened to witness. But one person who caught his eye was that Meteorologist guy who was staring at him earlier. Now he was able to think without his stomach getting in the way, he started to notice some connections.
 
Who else would order some anemometers, but a meteorologist? It seemed he might have overheard Lunaris' discussion with Fresh, as he nervously got up and walked away, leaving a muffin and a half in his wake. He figured it would be best to have a chat with him, he was curious about whoever made that mistake anyways. Best to make sure he's not too concerned, it was just a simple mistake, after all. Lunaris stood up and took the last bte of his sandwich, then he followed the man outside, into the University Courtyard.
 
Once there, he saw the man badgering himself by the fountain. Sure, he made a mistake, but it's hardly the worst mistake that Lunaris has had to fix. Probably best to let him know it's not really a big deal. He walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

"No need to torture yourself over it. It's only a zero, it happens all the time."
  • Brohoof 2

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@@FortyTwo42@@Lunaris Adamantine,

 

The sound of two sudden voices seemed to rouse her from her random trance. She nearly jumped out of her clothes as she herself screamed rather loudly in intense startlement. Wildly, the young woman glanced for the source of these... interlopers, finding what appeared to be an extremely nerdy man. He might've been a teacher here, but his age could've also implied that he was a student, and that random proclamation didn't seem very mature or teacher-like... the other voice seemed much more suave and cool, and surprisingly belonged to a rather large and more muscly man.

 

She didn't want to get involved in this situation, but her scream kind of was one of those horror movie-type screams. And that usually lead to questions about whether one was dying or in any pain. 

 

"Uh... so-sorry. You... you just scared me," Lame. What a stupid response. But she couldn't think of anything else to say. All she could really do was look away from the pair of them, slowly moving towards the fountain and watching its crystal clear water flow. Gazing at it gave her a very soothing sensation, almost like she could have the confidence to speak like a proper human being.

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