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2 yrs ago
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3 yrs ago
"Mecha Cowboys" has less than a thousand hits on Google. I've never been more upset.
3 yrs ago
RP Concept: "Screw just the plans, we're stealing the Death Star and taking that baby for a joyride!"
3 yrs ago
The VeggieTales theme song has been stuck in my head for at least three days now. Can't decide if it a good or bad thing yet.


Writer of schlock dressed up in some decent clothes.

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Lott never knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. Truth be told, any question about the future filled her with dread. When people asked her where she saw herself in five years she’d pause, pretend to think, and reply with some sort of canned, inoffensive answer like a managerial position. In reality, the idea of going five more years down any kind of set path just seemed exhausting because she could hardly make it through the five day work week without losing her mind. Still, she secretly admired the people who were adamant in what their future would hold, those annoying little pricks who thought they could actually be somebody. More often than not those intolerable twerps would realize the futility of their dreams and settle like she had, but every now and then a few of them would breakthrough into greatness. That’s how Lott saw the five candidates as they hung around the common area of the Swathe Street complex: all great in their own special way, and all equally as insufferable.

Gatch’s publicist stood off to the side, unnoticed, just as she preferred to be at times like these. Lott had arrived earlier that day with Gatch’s advance team. While they saw to it that the complex suite’s were properly prepared and (probably) bugged for the four other candidates, Lott took it upon herself to train everyone on staff how breaching certain topics to the media or other candidates would be in violation of their contracts. Basically, the message boiled down to “smile, nod, and keep your mouth shut”, and judging by the cold shoulders she had been receiving for the rest of that afternoon it had seemed to sink in. She was growing accustomed to the icy reception from the other members of Gatch’s team. Lott was fine with it; the fewer people who talked to her, the fewer people to notice how incredibly wasted she was currently.

It had not been Lott’s intention to get so twisted that she’d spent the last five minutes staring at the reflection of her face upon the black screen of her tablet, but sometimes it happens. Usually not at work, but today's work had gone on longer than usual and there had been plenty of time to kill and besides she’d taken a few doses of her anxiety meds to counteract the effects of the uppers she’d popped and she was totally as cool as a cucumber and surely nobody could tell anyway, right? Right. Right? Lott looked up, ready to see the entire room staring back at her and found that everyone was engaged in their own thing like usual. She smiled at her reflection. See, nobody even noticed. Her reflection didn’t smile back. It knew that Lott was in no state of mind to determine if someone was even looking their way. She looked back up. Gatch caught her eye.

It was the signal. She breathed deeply and tried to slow down her racing heart, a difficult task for anyone to do when they were about to approach a group with Samsara Washington standing among the others. Lott tucked away her tablet and moved across the lobby. It felt like she was walking on ice, so she kept her arms tucked into her coat pockets out of fear that she’d otherwise start flailing them. Her eyes didn’t leave Washington. He was a great dresser. Made Gatch look like some jerkoff wearing some thrift shop suit. She wanted to know where Washington got his suit, how much it costs, and if they could make one in her size. Lott was curious if they needed a publicist. She wouldn’t mind being under him. The corner of her numbed lips twitched as she gave Washington a final once over, and then turned to Gatch.

The look he gave her told her it hadn’t been the signal. Lott froze, pulled out her tablet, and stared into the blackness again. She was close enough to hear the candidates verbally jousting with one another. Lott’s ears perked up as she heard APEX Industries get targeted. Gatch may have been their golden boy but officially he was not a representative of their company. Technically, Lott wasn’t an official representative of their company, either, despite having a job lined up for her once she completed this campaign trail. She shot Petrukov a look as the woman suggested APEX wasn’t a necessity. If it hadn’t been for APEX sending Lott to reach out to Petrukov’s lawyer with some sensitive information the woman probably wouldn’t even be in the running for council.

Lott looked at Gatch and saw that he had no defense ready for the pre-debate debate. Screw waiting for signals, he was floundering. No media was to be allowed inside of the complex yet, but that didn’t mean people weren’t recording. She knew that she was. As much as she didn’t care for the Mayor, it’d look bad if word got out that he couldn’t spar. It’d look worse for Lott if she just let the other candidates gang up on him and tear down her boss and her (“former”) company. Lott slid up beside Mayor Gatch, tucked a strand of black hair behind her ear, and pinned her tablet to her chest like a shield. She blinked. What was the plan here? She had just inserted herself into a conversation with some of the most potentially important people in the Twin City Sprawl and she was too high to even concentrate on anything but the pretty lights on Washington’s glasses.

“Cool glasses. I need to get me a pair of those,” said Lott. Her voice was hollow and empty. Even when she wasn’t in an enhanced state of numbness her words always sounded so passionless, as if she was either always being sarcastic or just bored by the mere thought of existence. She had meant what she’d said about Washington’s glasses, she just hadn’t meant to say it outloud. She tried to smile at him to show that she wasn’t being a jerk. It didn’t quite work—her face, that is. Sure, muscles moved and teeth were bared, but nobody could ever confuse that look for a smile. At best it was a pained grimace from someone who was aware of their own awkwardness; at worst it was a sneer from someone who thought the other person’s sense of fashion made them look like a real prick.

“Ms. Petrukov,” said Lott, turning her attention to the Pirate Party candidate. “We can assure you that the influx in employment of private security firms is little more than preventative maintenance to dissuade the sorts of unsavory characters that often attach themselves to political campaigns.” She let her eyes linger. “However, I can get in touch with a media crew if you’d like to make a statement in regards to your belief that the Reclaim doesn’t deserve protection and that the hardworking men and women of the security firms should be unemployed.”

“I’d also like to remind everyone that working with APEX is not working for APEX. The Mayor works for the people of the Reclaim Zone. While Mayor Gatch and the Reclaim are grateful for what the company does to help build and grow our little slice of the Twin Cities, any information we provide on the subject is mere conjecture. If you have any questions regarding APEX Industries, I can reach out to one of their representatives. Otherwise, perhaps we can save the debate for the debate?”

“If you’d like, I could show you to your room,”
she finished. The offer was to any and all of the candidates, but Lott didn’t look at anyone other than Samsara. His glasses were just too cool.


“He’s not a murderer, but thank you,” said Penny as Justin spoke up and took control of the situation.

Justin was right. As much as she wanted to punch Rita for holding out on her and Britney for bringing it up in the first place, they had much more important things to worry about than an invasion of privacy. Penny stood back and listened as the group debated possible plans of attack, and she jumped when the Hound spoke up. She even chuckled a little to herself. She thought by now she’d be used to otherworldly creatures appearing out of the ether. At least she managed to not flinch when the Speaker arrive and gave its piece.

“At least we can confidently cross one idea off the list,” said Penny as the Speaker disappeared. The things that had given into the Glutton didn’t seem free. They seemed more like puppets, pulled and jerked around by strings, and were dangerously prone to committing grievous self-harm in the name of redemption. She’d pass. “Honestly, I think there’s only one real option. I’m with Britney.”

“Sorry, Lynette,” said Penny, as walked over next to Britney. “Your idea isn’t a bad one, there’s just too many variables and, really, I’m not sure if I put much faith in jackasses from another dimension, especially jackasses that helped seal the Glutton here. And yeah, Justin, if you met Amethyst you wouldn’t fucking trust her either. She wears robes, man; she definitely wouldn’t bother to try and bring everyone back.” Penny smiled. “It’s just...I don’t want to throw away our one shot by putting our fate in the hands of people who don’t even give a shit about us. I trust everyone in this room....even if they may not trust me.”

“...I never said I didn’t trust you,” muttered Rita as she felt Penny’s eyes on her.

Penny continued, “We should do the Ascension like the Hound says, bring everyone back, and seal that orange glowing son of a bitch away for the rest of time. It’s the best shot we got.”


Rita didn’t lower her glare as Britney gave them doomed scenario after doomed scenario. Put all their faith in the Hound and the Child? Rita trusted them about as much as she understood them, which was very little, and the idea that there were other things like the Glutton out there haunted her. Her eyes narrowed on the vines that Britney played with, and that loss of focus was enough to break her abstraction.

“Rita, you never told us what your abstraction was.”

“I thought I did,” said Rita hurriedly, her ears darting to the ground. She felt a tightness in her chest. She should lie. She had another abstraction. Did Britney know that? The others certainly did. She glanced at Tuyen. Maybe she could help. Rita needed to keep her abstraction a secret, especially from Britney. It’d be broken, otherwise, and leave her out in the dark. She felt her breath quicken. Penny could help her, right? She looked up at the blonde and all of the blood drained from her face. Penny didn’t look like she was about to defend Rita. She looked puzzled.

“Actually, I don’t remember if you did,” said Penny as she rubbed her chin. It was strange, wasn’t it? Rita wasn’t the only one whose abstraction was still a mystery to the group—Penny couldn’t recall a time Kimberly used hers—but it would be in the group’s best interest to know what they had to use against the Glutton. Penny opened her mouth to ask her a question.

“Why didn’t you do anything about Billy after I told you he tried to kill me?” blurted out Rita as she beat Penny to the punch, deflecting the question about her abstraction.

“Because he’s my brother and I don’t want to fucking believe that the only living family I had left could do something like that!” shouted Penny with exasperation. “I still don’t. He’s an asshole and an idiot, but Billy couldn’t hurt anyone.” Not on purpose, anyway. Not unless his seed had started to sprout. Her eyes darkened. “I said I’d watch over him just in case, but I didn’t think he’d just disappear in the middle of the night. I’m sorry. I fucked up.”

Penny bit her lip. She wouldn’t have said half of that if it had been her choice. She glanced over at Britney, realizing that she had figured it out first, and then took a step towards Rita. In comparison to her confession, Penny’s voice was quiet and composed when she asked, “Rita, what is your abstraction?”

“I—” Rita glanced away and tried to come up with another question to ask Penny, but her mouth was already moving. “I just ask questions and get answers.” She sheepishly grinned. ”Is that a problem?”

“No, it isn’t a problem,” said Penny, lying, as she stepped back and prayed Britney didn't do anything stupid.


It was bizarre returning to where it all started. Penny found herself stopping and staring at the snow-covered husk of Dexter’s car where it rested a few yards away from the tree it had pinned Reese against. A thin frown set in on her face as she recalled that evening. If Penny had known things would turn out like this she probably would’ve joined everyone around the campfire as they drank and talked shit instead of search for her missing younger brother. Maybe if she had just accepted things as they were instead of try and push reality away she wouldn’t have even been in this town when all of it began. Although, the thought of not being in this town filled her with a kind of melancholy. As bizarre as it was to think, she was glad she was here.

Besides, someone had to be here to take Lynette’s side when Justin started proposing idiotic ideas. She trusted the hell out of the guy, but they were not splitting up. Penny kept it to herself, but she was concerned about what would happen when, no, if one of them succumbed to the Glutton’s influence. Regardless, it would be easier to handle the situation as a collective than as individuals. Also, she already knew where they could take a break.

“Yeah, I’m with Lynette. Splitting up is the last thing I’d want to do. The boy’s cabin was still relatively intact. We can hole up there,” said Penny.

Penny took her place back at the front of the pack and led the group to where she and Billy had hid during Scott Reese’s rampage. No place they found would be warm, but at least it hadn’t been hacked to parts by the bastard like the girl’s cabin so they could temporarily escape the elements. As they approached the small wooden building Penny shoved down a growing feeling of dread, mostly brought on by the hinged door being cracked ajar. She held up one had to stall the group and signaled for Justin to join her as she took a look inside. Fortunately, it seemed like the cabin was empty except for the unclaimed bags of campers. Penny stared at the pile. She felt like Billy’s bag should’ve been left there, but it was missing. She forced the thought out of her mind. Obviously, he had just grabbed it when running from Reese months ago.

“Okay, so Min brought up a good point earlier,” said Penny after the group piled into the cabin. She stood by the same window she had kept watch out for Reese at that summer, scanning the snowy grounds for any interlopers on the horizon. “To be honest, I have no fucking clue how we can fix the seals once we find them. There was nothing in the Mayor’s memory about it, Min?”

“Wouldn’t be surprised if Britney knows something,” muttered Rita under her breath. She sat on a bed with her back against the wall, her knees pulled up into her chest. She tugged at her sleeve as she glared over at Britney, trying to catch the woman’s eyes. “You keeping anymore secrets from us?”

Grand Ridge Academy

Penny didn’t look at the group at the end of the recollection. She kept her eyes on the table with her jaw clenched tight as Justin’s revelation rampaged through her brain. Everyone of them was at risk of becoming like those maniacs that had attacked them in the hospital the other day. Penny knew that asking everyone to head up into the mountain to face the Glutton and whatever else awaited them was was already suicidal, but now they were at risk of a fate worse than death—being the Glutton’s puppet. To make matters worse, not everyone had shown up to the meeting that morning, including…

“...your brother?”

“Huh?” asked Penny, as she looked up from the table to stare at the source of the hoarse, meek voice.

“I said, where is your brother?” repeated Rita, her voice more firm than last time. She glared at Penny with betrayal in her eyes. Penny had promised to watch him for Rita, in case he tried to do anything weird again. In Rita’s mind, being absent this morning qualified. Especially just after what Justin had shown them.

“I don’t know,” said Penny. The words surprised her; she’d thought for sure she’d make some excuse. It was the truth. She didn’t know where Billy was. He hadn’t been in his room that morning, and he wasn’t answering her now. “Shit. Maybe he just ran away or maybe, well,” Penny let out a deep sigh and swallowed her emotions. Her voice sounded hollow. “I think we should just expect the worst from here on out.”

“Anyway,” said Penny as she stepped towards the table. “All I can say for certain is that we’re running out of time. If there’s some evil shit growing in my head then I’m not just going to stand here and consider all of the possibilities while it sprouts. We’re going to that mountain, we’re going into the mines, and we’re fixing those five seals to keep that piece of shit locked up for the rest of eternity. I think the easiest way in would be…” she drew at the last word as she scanned the map, and then jammed her finger down on a spot that would be familiar to all of them: the old campgrounds. “Here. Any problems?”

Grand Ridge Academy

For Rita, last night had felt like the longest night of her life. She had tossed and turned for what felt like hours, mostly because she was steaming with anger. Jordan’s decision to go with the Hound ate at her. Kimberly said it was her choice, but it was the selfish choice. Plus, it felt like anyone who knew what was going on—Britney, the Child, the Speaker, the Hound—contradicted the others so much that Rita was certain that she was always getting lied too. Then, once she had managed to swallow her anger, push down her worries, and actually fall asleep her dreams were filled with memories of other people’s lives.

She had never even spoken with Charlie, and now she had to reflect on their deepest, darkest secrets and witness as they kept filling themselves up with false hope to keep on going down a fruitless career path. Rita shouldn’t hate so hard, as her studies were for Journalism with a minor in retail work, but at least it wasn’t Fine Arts. Despite spending too much of her night in Charlie’s head, Rita couldn’t understand how their mind worked. Since when did thinking happy thoughts do anything but set someone up for a grand disappointment? They were utterly unrealistic.

It was with this negative energy that Rita started her day, and it was with this negative energy that she joined the group. Nobody needed to have an empathic link with the young woman to see that she wasn’t her best self; the dark rings under her eyes, her stringy, unwashed hair, and yesterday’s sweater said enough as it was. Rita did what she normally did when they had their group sessions: find Tuyen, squeeze in next to her, and try to disappear from sight. However, this morning there was no hello, no wave, and not even a quiet smile as Rita took her spot. She was practically Tuyen’s second shadow, which while perhaps more moody than the first was certainly less likely to tear the whole lobby apart.

Penny offered Rita a smile as she joined the crew that were studying the map, the blonde’s face falling as the other girl outright ignored her. Penny also had a restless night, although she didn’t look as worn out or tired as Rita. Perhaps it was because she was no longer weighed down by heavy makeup, but Penny looked more like she felt—which was like a lost child crossed with a surprised deer. The role of leadership was proving itself to be an overwhelming one, and the fact that four of their own were now dead added a weight to any of the choices she was going to make. She should’ve fought harder against splitting up in the first place.

"Great, so..." started Britney as Lynette arrived with the copies of the map. "The balls in your court, what would we do oh wise leader?"

“Seriously?” said Penny under her breath as she shot Britney an annoyed look, not letting the tiny little dig slide by. Penny had an urge to remind Britney how she had been the one to suggest that Penny be one of their “oh wise leaders”, let alone how Britney would be dead if Penny and the others hadn’t backed her up against Amethyst. She swallowed it, and wished that she hadn’t smoked her last cigarette the other night. Penny was already feeling on edge because Billy still hadn’t decided to join the group yet, despite her telepathic reminders to get the hell up. She didn’t need to keep stirring up a rivalry she was trying to bury.

Justin mentioned having some tough news to swallow, giving Penny a minor reprieve of coming up with a plan.

“She’s right,” said Penny after Tuyen urged Justin on. “I’m pretty sure we can handle anything at this point.”
@Ghost NoteAhhh welcome back! And with a new name, too. Now that's a comeback!

And wait, we were supposed to be posting!? Shit!
@OppositionHere's our corporate burnout schill PR hero, ready to rebrand and promote synergy.

@Moskau SpieluhrShould I feel personally attacked that Sister ViK doesn't enjoy pineapples on pizza? I feel personally attacked that Sister ViK doesn't enjoy pineapples on pizza.
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