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3 mos ago
Current It's kind of insane to me that people ever met without dating apps. It is just so inefficient.
4 mos ago
One, polyamory is notoriously difficult to administer
4 mos ago
I'm guessing it immediately failed because everyone's computer broke/work got busy/grand parents died
7 mos ago
In short: no don't use basic acrylics.
7 mos ago
Pepperidge Farms Remembers


Early 30's. I know just enough about everything to be dangerous.

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Our lips met and I felt my body melting against his. Warmth flooded my body and fluttered at my heart as his hands tightened around my back gripping me closer. The smell of him filled my nostrils, an odd combination of sweat and leather. The earlier scent of cologne was gone, overwhelmed by the sharp tang of cordite. Our tongues twined and our steps faltered. My body tingled with excited energy and...

The door banged open and Lazarus marched in clutching a handful of dataslates and a number of bundled velum documents marched in. If he noticed the fact that Hadrian had me pushed up against the couch in a passionate embrace he didn't mention anything. He crossed to the table and dumped the arm load of files onto the dining room table with a clatter. Hadrian glared daggers at the former Skitarii and gently disentangled himself from me.

"I didn't realise your warning would be needed so soon," I said a trifle tartly.

"Your patent of nobility," Lazarus said, "apparently they have laws mandating that property won in duels passes quickly. The chief Arbitor is down there after the attack on the ball."
I laughed and set the ploin down on the table. Well it wasn't as though we were playing things safe as it was. I stood up and crossed to whre Hadrian stood, taking his offered hand.

"I know I'm not... you know, whatever you dangerous Inquisition types are used to," I told him. It wasn't as though I had ever done anything heretical but I didn't doubt that some of the psi-picting I had done for various clients perhaps pushed the limits. Ironically the most depraved of clients tended to the the Eclesiarchy itself, some of those private chapel rooms were really something.

"And I don't pretend to understand your mission," I told him, of course I understood the general mission of the Inquisition, or at least I thought I did at the time, lessons on that were in my future, but the exact nature of his investigation here was still a mystery to me. He laid his hand on my waist and I took up my position and began the steps of the dance to an imagined orchestra.

"But I promise I will do nothing to risk it, or risk you."
I regarded the ploin with intense scruitiny, noting the way my teeth had carved their way through the soft flesh. There is a feeling of guilt in my heart that I'm not familiar with. I'm not used to feeling raw emotions in situations like this. Most of the time its just a performance for the sake of securing myself a comfortable living.

"Well I kissed you as Emmaline, not as Emmaline," I told him. Hadrian blinked in confusion.

"That dosen't exactly clear anything up," he said.

"Well, whose fault is it that my alias is my alias?" I teased. Hadrian didn't laugh and I sighed.

"As myself," I told him. I felt like I was dangling over the edge of an abyss. Hadrian might well be over a deeper one. If we started any kind of relationship his masters in the Inquisiton might notice. If they did they might note that he had taken up with a psyker with a skill in mental manipulation within days of meeting her. That was the kind of question that interested the Inquisition.
I picked up a ploin and turned it over in my hands, it was so perfect I could make out my face in its shiny dark purple skin. I wasn’t entirely sure how to proceed. My mind still thought of the Inquisition in a certain way. Surely I had done something wrong by misusing the force staff. Surely I was in trouble. I bit into it with a soft crunch that filled my mouth with rich tart juice.

“I ah… well I had a good time,” I began, swallowing my mouthful and reaching out for a golbet of wine. I decided against drinking, a sure sign that all was not right with the universe. It seemed kind of silly to be thinking about a kiss when I had nearly been killed a half dozen times in the past few hours.

“You were uh… very convincing before, back on the balcony,” I managed.
The suite at hotel Imperial was predictably palatial. The range of high ranking Imperial travelers was vast, ranging from buying agents for the big commercial guilds, to ships captains, to the wanderlust afflicted nobility. I had guested with them a time or two, usually as the companion to one paramour or another. I suppose that wasn’t too different from what I was doing now. I suspected Hadrian would be angry with me for the clumsy way I had misused his force staff, but there wasn’t much to be done about that now. I crossed to my room and stripped out of my dust stained finery and wiped myself off with the luxuriously soft towels that they seemed to supply as though they expected a regiment of bathers rather than one, toasting the wet ones into the laundry hamper. The sound of conversation, muffled through the door told me that I had a few minutes so once I was clean I combed out my hair and braided it in a style that I felt was sufficiently different from my previous hairstyle to avoid instant recognition but severe enough that it could be something worn by an adept of the Administratum. Given the length and luster of my hair it probably wouldn’t help much, but it seemed like a reasonable way to get it under control.

With my hair dealt with and my jewelry removed I changed into a white leather bodyglove with embroidered gold panels around the waist and bust. Needless to say, my clothing purchases from what I now realized was the previous day had been delivered with all the punctuality money could buy. I added a pair of knee length boots of a soft gray leather that had been buffed to a near sheen and sealed with a series of military style buckles in gold, the bright metal tying the boots to the embroidery nicely. I wasn’t going to bother to add any jewelery, my supply of it was fairly limited as our shopping had focused on clothing and the few pieces I would need for the party, but an idea struck me and I took a sapphire ring with an elaborate wire casing in gold and electrum and slipped it on my finger. I will admit that the ensemble was a bit more than strictly casual, but being dressed nicely was rarely a disadvantage, particularly if a man might be angry at you.
When I came back into the parlor I found hadrian and his tech priest friend in deep conversation, the crewman having apparently left or been sent on some errand. Both of them fell silent as I entered. Hadrian sucked in his breath and Lazarus emitted a low hissing sound which i woul slater come to understand as the sacred binary language of his bult. I crossed the room and took a seat on one of the couches. The adrenaline of the chase was wearing off and I could have used a cup of recaf, but this didn’t seem to be a good time to call room service.

“I told councilor Ignatius we were staying here,” I began, unsure if that was the most pertinent point. Hadrian nodded his head.

“I’ve rented several rooms including the penthouse,” he explained. The cost of that was staggering to me, but it did mean that anyone trying to find us in what amounted to a small hive stack would have a lot of ground to cover. The Hotel Imperial also had excellent security, a necessity given its clientele, and it would be tough to conduct any kind of a search while evading geneseed sniffers and servitor skulls. That meant we were probably as safe here as we were anywhere on the planet.

“He definitely reacted when I mentioned xenoarchaeology, more than someone surprised at a strange specialty. I tried bringing up glowing runes but that may or may not have narrowed it down any,” I told them. “I think by that point he had recovered enough to be more guarded.” Lazarus emitted another burst of binary nonsense.

“There is a footman in his livery delivering a card now,” Lazarus informed us. We wouldn’t know until we checked with the front desk, but I felt confident it was the invitation we needed.

“Do you think the assassins were his?” I asked Hadrian. He shrugged his shoulders laconically.

“Its possible it was the local nobility, but they were in place quickly and were well equipped. The sniper long las worries me a little,” he admitted. I arched an eyebrow.

“A little??” I demanded. He shrugged again.

“The long las isn’t a common choice outside the guard, its an oddity and that makes me uneasy.” What significance that had still escaped me.

“The real question is was this an attempt to kill an Inquisitor, or just an attempt to snuff out an uppity aristocrat?” he posed. I considered it. On the one hand it seemed like alot of force to kill one popinjay socialite, on the other it seemd like too little to take out what might have been the spear of an Inquisitorial warband. An idea occurred to me.

“What if the thugs were never meant as assassins?” I asked. Lazarus and Hadrian both looked at me in incomprehension.

“What would have happened after the sniper killed you?” I asked. Shadrian smirked slightly.

“I’d have made my accounts to the Golden Throne I hope,” he japed. Lazarus issued another burst of binary that might have been laughter. I rolled my eyes.

“I mean what happens after that?” I pressed. Hadrian considered it for a long moment and then his eyes brightened.

“Someone would have called the arbities!” he exclaimed. I nodded remembering the arbities gear the thugs had been wearing. It wouldn’t have fooled an actual law enforcement officer, but it probably would have been enough to get past panicked partygoers.

“Right so then our friends would have swooped in, taken your body, probably taken me and possibly others in for questioning,” I agreed. That hung in the air for a while.

“Its a lot of resources to put in place with less than twelve hours notice,” Hadrian pointed out. That was true, no one had even known we were going to the party until a few hours before. No one except Superior Duke Hostas. Hadrian and I shared a look.

“We need more information, and for that we will need to preserve our covers. Luckily most of the witnesses are dead, electrocuted or otherwise unable to report what happened. But the fact that two rather impressive fountains were destroyed is going to be a little hard to square without socialite covers,” Hadrian began he didn’t seem angry but I forestalled him anyway, holding up the sapphire ring.

“Devastating fashion sense?” he asked, cocking an amused eyebrow.

“In a sense, I used my digi-weapon when I was threatened,” I explained, wiggling the ring threateningly.

“I sense no machine components,” Lazarus said flatly. I slipped my make believe weapon onto my finger.

“Well lets keep that to ourselves shall we?”

Further discussion was interrupted as the doorbell played a blast of the March of the Primarchs.

"Room service," a haughty voice called through the expensive armored paneling.
I had driven ground cars before as it happened. The aristocracy of the Imperium was decadant and their pleasures were diverse. On Trajan Prime there had been a fad for driving expensive ground cars. I had never mastered the skill but the young men of the court there had been enthusiastic about giving lessons. I settled into the drivers seat and tried to make sense of the controls.

"Any chance you can get this thing moving," Hadrian demanded. I could see dark figures moving through the gardens. Whether they were more assassins or secruity for the noble houses I couldn't say. I lay my hands on the controls and felt a jolt as the last few jolts of psycic energy drained from my hands.

"Not as helpful as you would think," I responded. The glass in the rear panel exploded inward in a glittering shower.

"How about that?" Hadrian asked sardonically. I grabbed the ignition lever and yanked it downwards. The engine purred to life and the car jolted forward just in time to collide with another carapace armored thug as he emerged for the hedgerow. He rebounded from the fender with a thump and crashed back through the hedge. Fortunately the vehicle was as sturdy as it was expensive. I slammed the accelerator to the floor and the car leaped forward with a squeal of smoke and burning rubber. We fish tailed wildy as we rocketed out of the alley. The car was exceedingly responsive and I somehow managed to turn over correction after over correction into something like a straight line.

"Watch it! Watch it!" Hadrian shouted and I wrenched the wheel sideways, narrowly avoiding a sleek looking limosouine that was so bedecked in pennants and wood panneling it looked like a sailing ship.

"Where am I going?" I demanded as I pushed the throttle down to the floor. Ironically it seemed easier to control as I picked up speed, heading down the paved roadway at something like sixty miles per hour. The elaborate wrought iron lamp posts flicked past at a blur as we headed down hive as quick as I could.

"I think we lost them," I managed glancing over my shoulder. I turned back just in time to see a cargo 8 squeal out of a side street, it slid across the stones in a scream of tires. I slammed the brakes on and realised that I didn't have time to put a harness on about the time the steering yoke hit me in the chest, driving the air from my lungs. I bounced back against my seat, gasping for air and yanking the yoke sideways just in time to avoid rear ending the breaking cargo 8.

"Go! Go! Go!," Hadrian shouted, guesturing up. Four gunmen were struggling to their feet in the steakbed. One of them, faster than the others, unshipped a las carbine and opened fire. I shoved the throttle open and we zipped past as las bolts blew flaming chunks from the pyrocrete. Hadrian cranked the window down and levered himself up half out of the window.

"What are you..." conversation became impossible as his auto gun roared. Bullet impact sparked off the coming of the engine like fireflies. The windshield crazed and flew appart as the truck swerved wildly, lifting onto two wheels for just a moment. The front driver side wheel exploded in a spray of rubber and reinforcing wire and the big vehicle slewed sideways and turned turtle. It seemed to hang in the air for a second and then be sucked backwards as our accelration carried us clear. Debris and at least two bodies were flung into the air as it rolled over, collected a streetlight and than slammed into a ferocreet wall in an avalance of dust and flying rock chips.

"Pretty slick," I complimented, my eyes wide at the ruin he had wrought. He pulled himself back into the cab and produced a fresh magazine from the Emperor knew where, fitting the boxy mag into place with a baffling series of clicks.

"Lets not celebrate just yet," Hadrian replied, hooking a thumb behind him. Two more sets of headlights were closing rapidly from behind. Fast cars rather than trucks certainly.

"I need to know where we are going," I told him, turning hard onto one of the artieral roads. We were moving out of the true noble canton now and the roads were lined with expensive shops. Luckily at this hour they were closed and the parked groundcars were very few.
@PatientBean I always encourage you to take charge! If you want to bounce ideas or want a shot of inspiration just let me know.
In my defense I had never used a force staff before. I've learned a considerable amount about such tools since of course, the annals of the Inquisition have a number of treatises on the subject and there are other... less conventional resources. When Hadrian handed me the weapon I had no idea what it was, other than it was some manner of psychic focus. I was about to try to intervene against Hadrian's attackers when two more men in carapace and shock batons came around the corner of one of the geometric fountains, from the low frequency buzz, clearly coordinating with their fellows via vox. Both of them surged forward towards me. Instinctively I lifted the staff and used my will. What I MEANT to do was to convince one man to protect me from the other, but what I actually did was just hurl the words 'protect me' out into the warp. My will surged down the force staff and exploded from the point. The intention to aim at men was less binding than the idea of protection and a force staff is, first and foremost, a way to project force. Over a hundred marble stones, each perfectly cut to form the wall of the fountain, answered the call. They ripped themself free in an explosion of motar and quick lime, pummeling both men into bloody pulp a second before the thousands of liters of water they had been holding crashed over the bloody bodies and dislodged stones like the tide coming in, hammering both through a decorative hedge which was half ripped from the ground by the force. The tip of the force staff sizzled and popped with incandescent force. For an instant there was complete silence, save for the sloshing of water rushing back after impacting the walls and garden beds. I wasn't looking in their direction but I got the impression Hadrian and his attackers were standing stunned by what I had so accidentally wrought. The water glugged towards me like the last wavlet of a closing tide. My eyes widened in shock.

"Up!" I yelled, and leaped up onto the edge of one of the other fountains. I turned to see the final two attackers coming into the courtyard. One drew an autopistol from his belt. The other stepped into the water and was thrown back by an arching flash. The two charged stun batons I had drowned shorted their powerpacks and he jittered back like a stop motion animation from hell, eye sockets smoking and blue white electricity snapping around the metal of his armor and the fillings in his teeth. His companion lifted his auto pistol and aimed at me, now that I had so conveniently elevated myself to provide a target. I lifted the staff again, not wanting to use it but lacking other options. He fired right at me. Pop pop pop. Marble dust exploded between us like a dropped sack of flower as the ensorcelled stones, still apparently obedient to the need to protect me, threw themselves infront of the bullets like human shields. Gravel pattered down in the water infront of me and the gunman stared at me in abject disbelief. That seemed a reasonable reaction under the circumstances. I sneezed violently, my black dress covered in marble dust and my hair crusted with hoarfrost.
Great first round everyone. The plot is thickening!

We have Primrose and Flynn heading to the lounge, Eleanor fleeing the burning gas station and Mal and Jaelle picking up the pieces.

The corpse at the crash site was marked with vodon symbols of warding.
The vehicle he was driving visited the Lounge several times.
The Petersons saw him come out of a dirt road.
The car suggests the dead man was a professional of some kind.
The strange antagonists were at least partially mechanical immune to magic and very resistant to physical damage.
Mal is not to be trusted near flammable.

Madame Lafittes
The road the Petersons saw.

Does anyone have great ideas for the next scenes?
My head was swimming and for once not because of the amasec. I was... well alot of things. Excited? Infatuated? Maybe. Part of me tried to tell myself that it was the cover. Maybe Hadrian was that good an actor, but I certainly wasn't. I melted against him, returning his kiss with a fervor I doubted any Adept of the Administratum was likely to employ. I held to him for a long moment, enjoying the feel of muscular arms cradling my body, enjoying the scent of leather, soft cologne and the slightest frisson of psy which I didn't really smell so much as... well if you aren't a psyker you wouldn't understand. By the time he broke the kiss my heart was pounding and a flush had crept into my cheeks that had nothing to do with theatrics. There were a number of people watching us through the glass but a bunch of nobles on a planet I didn't much care about didn't loom very large in my mind.

"I think we should probably make our exit," I said, a little embarassed to hear my voice a trifle breathless.

"I think you are probably right," he agreed, lifting me gently upright. I smoothed my dress and cleared my throat and then touched the door. It gimbled open and the sound of the ochestra swelled back to full volume. Numerous faces looked back at us, only to be snapped back to their own bussiness by a brief swipe of Hadrian's eyes.

"I am afraid..." he began.
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