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Keaton & Natalie

Natalie looked up. The girl she didn’t know the name of was asking her if she was okay, and introducing itself. Natalie sat up straight, and cleared her throat. ”Yeah, I’m fine. Just made a fool out of myself on the way back. Didn’t the younger of the two staff have....kind of a thousand yard stare? His eyes looked like mine. I asked about it and he told me to mind my own business. Anyway. I’m Natalie. Ellis.” she replied, reaching over to offer her hand.

“Keaton Plasse,” Keaton said, taking the offered hand after a split second of hesitation. This was the girl with super strength, after all. “And yeah, he looked like he’d seen some things, but he’s a member of The Promise’s disciplinary force, so that’s probably natural. You tried talking to him though? I didn’t bother. We were here to get interviewed, so he probably just wanted to maintain some professional distance,” she said, shrugging. “I’m sure you’re fine though. You meant well, even if your question was a little nosy.”

Nosy? Was Natalie being nosy? Maybe she was. She wanted to share her thoughts with others and find out about them. After two years of no normal conversations, she was in a sense, craving them. But at the same time, she was very bad at them. Natalie didn’t reply, just looked a little sheepish and stared at her hands which were folded on her lap.

The intercom came on overhead, announcing that the four in the waiting room were free to go. However much Keaton was relieved to hear that she’d been cleared, she still felt a stab of alarm. Amelia—why hadn’t she been cleared? Should they wait for her, or was this something more?

The nearest guard betrayed nothing, and the hallway remained empty, as far as Keaton could tell. But, if Amelia really got detained, she doubted that the police would let them all leave. They were witnesses, in one way or another, so maybe her interview was just dragging out. That could happen; Amelia hadn’t exactly been in a talking mood the last time Keaton had seen her.

Natalie saw that Keaton was still looking down the hall. She sussed that Keaton was wondering why Amelia wasn’t with them. Natalie leaned forward again and spoke in a hushed voice. “Remember. Amelia said she saw something weird in a classroom on the first day. I think we’re all clear, but what she knows might be helpful information in catching the killer.”

“True. I didn’t say anything about her telling us about that,” Keaton said, her voice dropping as well as she looked to Natalie. “Did you?”

“I left out the actual details but I told them she said something. It’s ultimately her decision how much she tells them. But we’re innocent. It’s not like we need to lie in order to protect each other. The truth is on our side. I’m just going to keep telling it if we’re asked any more questions by staff.”

Keaton stared at her for a second. Natalie was being practical, but was there a shade of willingness to hang others out to dry in there? At the moment, Keaton felt a certain loyalty to this group, having spent the last eventful day or so together, but that was in comparison to the loyalty she felt to the system aboard The Promise. Whatever system was running this ship, it was neither one Keaton had lived with on Earth nor one she’d wanted to be subjected to. That didn’t mean she owed loyalty to her fellow parahumans, but she certainly felt an air of a us-and-them situation, so Natalie’s words were a blunt reminder of reality.

“That makes sense,” Keaton said. “I deflected instead of lying. I doubt they’d let me out as fast if I had lied.”

Natalie wondered why Keaton would need to deflect. Between everyone leaving the crime scene, to Lynn’s paranoia, to even Keaton’s apparent skepticism of the staff, Natalie was starting to wonder if there was something they knew that she didn’t. Their paranoia was almost giving her a little herself. Natalie was no expert on anything. Person A beats a dog for two years and then person B gives it a bath and a treat, the dog is inevitably going to trust person B. But was it right to do so?

Before she could communicate any of this to Keaton, Archie asked the group as a collective if they wanted to get something to eat. Natalie was admittedly scared of being so close to Lynn for that long but she did want to ease the bad blood between them, however it got this bad. Natalie nodded at Archie, and walked behind him and Lynn as they left the waiting room.

“Food sounds good,” Keaton said, glancing at what was left of the donuts Archie was eating. Whether or not she was actually hungry didn’t even matter—she just wanted to get out of here. Maybe try and take her mind off this all while she was at it, if that was even possible.

At Lynn’s question, Keaton looked at the girl, her eyes widening slightly when she saw the smoke curling off her hair, which was now a mix of bright red and blue. Her powers included changing her hair color, apparently, but why? Was it a completely separate power? Was she one of those people who’d won the power lottery and drawn a pack of abilities instead of just one?

Keaton made a mental note to ask about that later, preferably in a way that didn’t set Lynn off. “Breakfast or brunch, so pancakes?” she said, standing from her seat. “There’s a waffle house around here right?”

Branna Naves

Lothian Empire: Alymere Fort || Midday

Though Branna had stayed on her feet the last few days, picking up odd tasks here and there as the little lordling bade, the small tasks didn’t present satisfactory enemy counts. As a result, she’d been forced to start feeding Mors rations on days when missions took too long for her to send him off hunting. Though he was an efficient hunter, he was also a loud one, and it only took a few days for the local wildlife to catch onto his wingbeats above the trees. This was another reason why she preferred to stay on the move, just as it was another reason why she disliked taking long jobs, but her restlessness only served to amp her up for the current battle.

After fidgeting through the lordling’s brief, stroking Mors as she looked between the wyvern and her new compatriots, Branna figured a few things: That there were a few too many stoic faces in the party asking for some hassling, and that she could count on the enemy actually putting up half a fight this time.

A broad grin broke upon her face as the fort’s sentries began their shouting. The lordling in charge commanded them forward with a dramatic wave of his sword, and that was all the signal Branna needed to urge Mors into the air, coming to a low hover just high enough so she could make out the full perimeter of the wall. It seemed the gates they were looking at weren’t the main gates, which were instead to their left. Urging Mors up again, she made out a few guards at the front of the fort, which saw fewer posts than the gate directly ahead. Interesting, convenient, and exploitable.

“Low over the forest,” she croaked, hefting her spear.

Mors veered towards the forest towards their left, angling downwards as they approached, then rearing back for a dive as they neared. While his wingbeats were audible, his diving wasn’t, which is why hunting people on ground was easier than hunting deer in forests. They left themselves open, looking for an enemy on foot rather than one falling from the sky, and this fact widened Branna’s grin as she angled her spear.


Status: Fine
Class: Wyvern Flier
Exp: 10/80
  • Iron Spear (3/3)
  • Vulnerary (3/3)

Eryn Montero

Lakewatch Town || Day 4: Early Morning || @PlatinumSkink

Eryn left the ranger compound both riding a high from a night well spent and feeling like she could fall asleep on the spot. While she was giddy from just doubling her savings, thus making back whatever she’d spent earlier, she’d also just completely wrecked her sleep schedule—something she hadn’t done since a few, rather unpleasant nights during her third year of high school. But, again, it was worth it, and all she could do now was damage control.

“Righto, to the Pokemon Center,” she said, smothering a yawn. Rubbing her temples, she looked down at Kylie, who flashed her a tired smile. Beside her, Eri mirrored Eryn’s grin, showing her how tired she looked.

“I said, to the Pokemon Center!” Eryn repeated, fixing her grin and scooping up Kylie before setting off down the street. “We’ve got a few more things to do before we call it a night—morning. Whatever.”

The lobby of the Pokemon Center was, unsurprisingly, pretty empty at this early hour, so healing went pretty quickly. After thanking the nurse, Eryn headed outside again, searching out a rather secluded part at the edge of town before calling out Peri.

“Per-per, hello, sorry about putting you away so quickly earlier,” she said, hugging the rock-type, who was cold and rough to the touch. She should have seen that coming. “I can’t let you out inside the Pokemon Center, but get ready for some work when I wake up! We’re gonna get you on your feet—foot—whatever. It’s too, well, early in the day for this, so sorry and I’ll see you later, alright?”

Peri’s rumbling felt stronger than it sounded, vibrating the rocks she was composed of, and Eryn looked up at her with a lazy smile as she reached for her Pokeball.

“Night-night, Peri. Sleep tight!”

Then, returning to the Pokemon Center, Eryn was finally able to get ready for bed, releasing all her Pokemon but Peri. And, after she told them all to get a restful sleep in preparation for a good day, she crashed into the bed, falling asleep with the Pokedex in her hands opened to Phoebe’s newest message.

Route 5 || Day 4: Afternoon

“I present to you, Peri, our very big team baby!”

Eryn beamed at her team as she called out the Onix, looking between their faces expectantly. As usual, Dei gave his ‘I’m not impressed but I’ll acknowledge you’ snort, and Tula flopped up and down, her eyes as flat as ever. Eri, on the other hand, looked somewhat impressed, warily eyeing the Onix who towered high above his low vantage point.

To her credit, Kylie seemed rather excited, but her level of excitement was beginning to concern Eryn. It had occurred to her that Kylie had a rather flat range of emotion; she was always happy, and though that happiness saw shades of difference when she grew tired or annoyed, it never varied enough for Eryn to term it anything but happiness. While Eryn wouldn’t go so far as to assume the emotion was fake, she wasn’t about to assume that Kylie was only capable of happiness either, so the options were up in the air. Either Eryn was just not very observant and kept catching Kylie when she was happy, or the happy mood Kylie was always in was intentional.

However, Eryn wasn’t about to go and confront Kylie about it. Her mood was the easiest to deal with in the team, even if it was also the hardest to read. Besides, though looking for the Mawile’s underlying motivations in her smiles always proved a challenge, Eryn was getting better at it. Right now, for example, Kylie’s smile said she meant no harm as she walked towards Peri, reaching a hand out towards the Onix’s side. When her hand touched Peri, her smile widened slightly, and with a happy “maw” she hugged the Onix, the clank of rock and steel sounding as she made contact.

“See, this is what I’m talking about. This,” Eryn said, indicating the hugging pair, one of whom was looking down with a rather curious expression that bordered on confusion, “this is the sort of excited you three should be.”

Once again, Dei snorted, Tula flopped, and Eri stared, a frown gracing the Jolteon form that Eryn was having him practice. In all honesty, a confused Jolteon was pretty much the cutest thing Eryn had seen in a while, but unfortunately his lack of excitement was not.

“Alright you three, get over here,” she said, walking over and picking up Tula before herding the other two towards Peri. “Say hello to your new teammate, and no more smoke from you, Dei, or I’ll pick you up too.”

After a forced hug and another few minutes of empty staring as Eryn gave Peri a quick run-down of her teammates, covering Eri’s illusions while she was at it, they were back to walking along Route 5. The goal for the day was to get Peri up to par with her teammates, and though that might be a tall order for a single day, Eryn figured her teammates weren’t too far out of her league just yet. Further down the line, catching new Pokemon might mean a more substantial power difference, but right now she figured it would be alright.

“Okay, two-vee-ones aren’t illegal when it comes to wilds right?” she asked, glancing around for the Caterpies her Pokedex told her were around here. “Dei, you’re going to help Peri take on bug-types, and Kylie will help with flying-types. Sound good?”

Other than an agreeable “maw” from Kylie, the team was silent, some opting to nod or snort instead. Eryn wasn’t about to name names or point fingers, but she didn’t exactly need to. The sounds and actions from below assigned themselves.

A strange sound—something of a mixture between a grind and a rumble—prompted Eryn to look up, her brows furrowing. What was that? Wait. No.

Her mouth dropped open a little. “Did you just…”

Peri repeated the sound, leaving no room for doubt.

“Damn it, Dei! Look what you’re teaching your teammates!”

Despite Eryn’s glare, though, Dei looked pretty pleased with himself, his chest puffed forwards as he continued on down the road.

Natsuko Rinha

Night || Land of Fire: Konohagakure — Mumi Village

At Koharu’s words, Natsuko startled awake, blinking rapidly. “Huh? Yeah? Bear?”

When, upon scanning the orchard floor, she found no bear, she relaxed, flashing Koharu a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Haru-chan. Waiting is just sooo booriiing,” she whispered, her voice hushed. She didn’t want the bear to hear, after all, if it was even coming.

“Ugh, my clone poofed.” She frowned, then shrugged. “Eh, Minoru-sensei can handle himself.”

Then, remembering her plot from earlier, Natsuko grinned. “Hey, say, you’re the clone Haru-chan, right?” she asked, cupping her hands around her eyes and peering into the darkness towards where Koharu’s post should have been. “And Kazu-kun’s clone… yep. Yeeeep. No need to thank me, Haru-chan. I’m just doing my job as a teammate.”

Kazuhiko Taketori

Night || Land of Fire: Konohagakure — Mumi Village

Natsuko was up again, thankfully. Koharu had made sure of that. Honestly, Kazuhiko would have volunteered for lookout duty with a clone or two if Minoru had made that an option. It’d have been more efficient, for one, though rather unnecessary considering that they were up against a simple bear. Without chakra, the amount of resistance their enemy could show was minimal, so they could stand to take a few mistakes from Natsuko. What he couldn’t stand, though, were Natsuko’s plots, which had been mounting in intensity since the morning. Unfortunately, Natsuko seemed to have a sixth sense for which ideas would be particularly irksome, and while Kazuhiko could usually brush her antics off pretty easily, her current angle was, to say the least, jarring. Specifically because it didn’t just involve Natsuko; it involved—

A rustle in the leaves snapped up his attention, distracting him enough to have him flinch when Koharu grabbed him. Freezing, he had a few thoughts run through his mind: that she looked scared, that she wasn’t popping like a normal clone would, that she wasn’t a clone, couldn’t be a clone, that she was currently clutching onto him, that she was actually currently clutching onto him, and that she was currently very, very close to him.

Her surprised voice brought him back to his senses, and, hesitantly, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. He’d done just this earlier during tag, having noticed the fear on her face when she looked below her feet. Of course, he hadn’t forgotten that she was afraid of heights, but touching a clone would dispel it, and… that didn’t apply right now.

“Y-you okay?” he asked, then cleared his throat, focusing his eyes on some random point across the clearing. The point he chose, though, was close enough to Natsuko’s post that he caught her waving and making heart shapes at him with her hands before blowing him kisses and giving him two thumbs up.

Naturally, he quickly looked away from her, and his eyes ended up on Koharu, causing him to freeze again. This time, though, he squashed the instinct to immediately avert his gaze, instead meeting her eyes hesitantly. Was she alright? With this?

Natsuko Rinha

Night || Land of Fire: Konohagakure — Mumi Village

Natsuko was cackling, clutching her belly as she balanced laughing and not falling from her perch. “Oh god, this is too good, too good,” she said, wiping tears from the corner of her eyes. “Too. Good.”

She paused, mid-wipe, her brows furrowing as her hand went down to her side. “Wait a minute… what…”

She turned to Koharu’s clone with wide eyes. “Haru-chan, do you actually like Kazu-kun? Like like like? Not just… that you’re embarrassed cuz he’s cute or something? Which he is, obviously, but like…”

At Koharu’s expression, Natsuko clamped her mouth shut, slapping her hands to her cheeks. “What? Whaaaat?”

Her hands went up to her forehead“Oh my goood,” she said, her voice pitching up impossibly high at the end. “Oh my gooooooood.”

The loud crunching of leaves below, though, quickly drew her attention, and she looked down to see a goddamn monster. Black with a silvery sheen under the moonlight, the thing was huge, stirring up stray leaves as it moved forward through the orchard. Another moment or two of staring in awe allowed Natsuko to place the monster as Nusu, and she realized with a thrill of fear that she’d have to get close to that thing soon enough.

“A-all right, one distraction coming right up,” she said, signing to release a breeze in Kazuhiko and Koharu’s direction. It’d draw Nusu there to investigate, most likely, and then everything would go according to plan, just as it had during the team’s game of tag. Well, hopefully it did.

“Haru-chan, get ready,” she said, flashing her teammate a grin as she pushed the breeze towards its destination. It blew over Nusu’s head, whistling past bark before landing not too far from the tree her teammates were on, rustling up the leaves there and scattering them in a small flurry of debris.

Across the clearing, Kazuhiko looked like he tensed, signing his jutsu as well, the signal no doubt close. Now, Nusu just needed to take the bait.

Aedre Charbonnet

Mesalon: Gym

Seeing the woman storm up to Lan and shout at the gym leader was enough to cement Aedre’s shock and slight admiration for her. While shouting at people was undoubtedly rude, it proved the purple-haired woman’s confidence. However, instead of being deterred, it seemed the pomp of the new challenger only served to further incense Sophia, who readily leaped to the challenge.

Though Aedre listened to Amber’s addition to the conversation about Pokemon, waving at Nyxx when she arrived back, Aedre was distracted by the two trainers duking it out over a gym challenge. Sophia was proud, yes, but she had shown a sensitive side that proved her receptive to others’ opinions. Poison, as the purple-haired woman had introduced herself, seemed to have no such side, even going so far as to call Lan a ‘dumb nerd.’

“Oh my,” Aedre breathed, covering her mouth with a hand. Insulting the gym leader you were challenging—what a move.

Needless to say, Sophia wasn’t about to back down, quickly calling out her own Pokemon to match Poison’s challenge. The typing weakness would heavily skew the battle in her favor, but considering that both were looking to challenge the gym leader, Aedre couldn’t say participating in a trainer battle was a good idea right now.

It was at this point that Alexis decided to reenter, confronting both Sophia and Poison at once. Just as the situation couldn’t get any worse, Ty interrupted, cheering everyone on as they headed towards the arena doors. Aedre looked to Amber with wide eyes before breaking out a chuckle.

“Good luck, everyone” she called as well as they walked into the main arena. She herself quickly made her way to the spectator area, Little hopping onto the nearest ledge beside her. When Amber joined her, as well as whoever ended up being forced to wait for their match, she grinned, waving.

“Watching battles is pretty fun too,” she said. “Plus you can think of going later as a preview of Lan’s team and strategies—right? I think that’s how it works.”


Addy Spletzer

Tuesday, September 3rd || Mather Memorial: Journalism Room

“Rough morning? Or is it just the food coma kicking in?” Clarence asked.

A few chuckles ran through the otherwise quiet journalism room as the new students shifted in their seats. At the front of the class where the paper’s staff sat and stood along with the other returning members, Addy looked out at the new recruits, a flat smile on her face. So this is what she had to work with her senior year. Great.

“Well, whatever the case, welcome to newspaper! My name is Clarence, and I’ll be your editor-in-chief this year,” Clarence continued. “In the back we have Mr. Morrison, our teacher advisor, and beside me is the rest of The Raven staff.”

On cue, the staff waved, Addy among them. Unfortunately, no amount of impatience was going to make this cheesy intro go faster.

“This class is where we, the Raven staff, write and compile articles for our award-winning publication, and by ‘award’ we mean ‘awards,’” Clarence continued, indicating the side wall where numerous certificates and engraved plates hung. “So, real quick, let’s run through everyone on the staff. Give us your name, year, position, and… what you did over the summer.”

Addy managed not to pull a face. Whether or not Clarence had run the schedule by her was irrelevant; icebreaker questions were a waste of time.

“I’ll start. My name is Clarence, and, again, your editor-in-chief. I’m a senior, and this summer I volunteered abroad in Costa Rica.”

He looked to his left to Tabs, who grinned.

“Hey all, I’m Tabitha, but you can call me Tabs. I’m your news head, junior, and this summer I visited France and Italy. If any of you are thinking of going, feel free to hit me up for restaurant recommendations.”

She turned her grin on Addy, who resisted rolling her eyes. Petty.

“Hi everyone, I’m Addy, and I’m your other news head this year,” Addy said, waving as she pointedly avoided Tabs’ grin. “I’m also a junior, and this summer I worked at Espresso House in West Crestwood. They had me at ‘unlimited caffeine.’”

On the staff intros went, Clarence transitioning the stage to the new members after the last member of the staff finished speaking. Addy perked up at this, watching as the new members picked between flexing their familial wealth and easing the tension with a cheesy joke or two about their summers. Since this was her future staff, she had to separate the investments from the weeds and figure out who was both a good writer and here to stay. The weeds were the people here looking for a grade or a requirement, and after the year was over, they’d pick a different class and move on. The investments were the ones who were looking to stay, and the good ones were staying not because commitment looked good on college applications but because they were truly interested in writing for the paper. These were the people Addy—as well as the paper—would benefit most from having around, and Addy appreciated a hard worker.

When intros were done, the group moved on to story overviews, where the column heads briefed the group on what was being worked on for the week. Though Tabs and she jockeyed a bit for the stage, they managed to keep the news brief relatively tame, and soon enough the talk was done and the period was just about over, as was customary on days when column heads gave briefs. Clarence opened the rest of the time up for story sign-ups, encouraging new members to talk to column heads to sign up for some basic reporting, and after Addy talked to a new face or two, the bell rang and she was onto her next class.

Tuesday, September 3rd || Mather Memorial: The Loft

The front row was the last choice for many, but it was always the first for Addy. Sitting there guaranteed that the teacher would notice you, guaranteed that you’d make a good impression provided you paid attention and participated some. In fact, sitting in front actually detracted from suspicion, as some of the kids in her AP classes had figured out. Cheating in the front row ran rampant in classrooms where the teacher’s desk was positioned in the back, but this class wasn’t an AP class.

Though this classroom had no front seats, it still had a front, and that’s where Addy headed as soon as she entered. Sitting down at one of the cushions beside Jonas’ desk, Addy watched as her new peers flowed in, watched as both upper and underclassmen joined her in the dusty classroom that had likely seen better days years ago. ‘Social Conscience’ sounded about as far from an academic class as one could get, and the fact that sophomores and—could it be?—freshmen were here with her meant it was probably going to be a survey class of sorts. Maybe the school was taking a census for their next new program, or maybe they were finally getting around to singling out the problem students. Though Addy was pretty sure there was nothing of note with Charlie or Demi, she was just as sure of there being something to note with Kayla and herself. Perhaps the school was finally going to get back at her for writing all those controversial articles. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the school tried to do something; though publicizing issues tended to take the heat off her and put it on her subject in the eyes of the community, she’d been called in for a fair number of talks with the principal, and they were on a tense first-name basis of sorts.

However, that Rosalyn was here called that all into question. While some rich folk were certainly touchable, Rosalyn’s family name preceded her, as did their impact on—and therefore influence in—the community. Even Addy had to cave a little when it came to the Osbornes, but Rosalyn knew that their relationship didn’t mean she got off scot-free for everything. Or, at least, she'd be better off if she assumed that.

If Addy had boundaries, though, the school had even less, so Rosalyn being here meant the class was not some sort of half-baked attempt at reformation. In that case, was it really just a new class, enrolling a random pool of students for its first trial? Whatever it was, Addy was going to find out. After class. When she cornered Mr. Jonas Lehrer to politely ask him for a time when she could interview him about the class. The student body had a right to know what he was teaching, or at least that’d be Addy’s sell—not that she thought she needed one. Any new teacher who didn’t want to advertise themselves and get their name out to the student body was a teacher looking to get booted, and new teachers generally wanted to stay.

When Jonas started talking, he confirmed some of Addy’s suspicions and dispelled others, introducing the class as what it was: some sort of anti-depression self-help course. Naturally, Addy was about done with the class by the time he introduced his semi-innovative icebreaker. Though trips were nice and all, she wasn’t looking forward to doing anything, much less going anywhere, with this lot of people. At the very least, though, she had a firsthand take on every story she might write to cover this class, which she hoped would be many. The class had a varied cast, after all, and though most of them seemed like reasonable folk, perhaps Felix would be inclined to punch Aiden again after a heated bus trip, or Kayla’s friend would mysteriously decide to strike during one of their trips. There was no way to know for sure, but Addy had her fingers crossed.

Kayla stood up to introduce herself first, ending with a question for Jonas. When she sat back down, silence settled in for a second, only to be broken by the entrance of a large black-and-white dog. A husky, if Addy was recalling her dog names correctly, and one who Kayla quickly named as Oleander, thus marking it as hers. At this, Addy checked for Jonas’ reaction. Depending on his response, she could use this as an anecdote in the story. Unfortunately, that plan fell through since he opted to silently wait for the class to calm down from his place in the front.

When quiet fell again, Addy cleared her throat, giving the class a small wave. Standing up was a hassle.

“Hi everyone, I’m Addy. I’m a junior, one of the news heads for The Raven, and whatever else you might think of me because, well, there’s probably a kernel of truth in that.”

She yielded the floor with a thin smile, hoping someone else would keep the snowball rolling because right now, Social Conscience was shaping up to be a boring class of non-talkers.
Interview #4: Keaton, Radvi, and Griffin

“We’ll start with whatever you can tell me about the events leading up to the body being found by Mister Anderson. From your perspective.” Radvi began.

“Mister Anderson… the boy, right?” Keaton asked, looking between the two detectives.

“Yes.” Radvi replied, “Archie Anderson. The one involved with… well, last week’s mess.”

“Nothing really. I just met him, was talking with the others when he screamed. Then we saw the body, and I decided to walk away.”

Radvi sighed, pausing a moment, passing Griffin a glance. “Regarding last week, do you have any knowledge of what may have been taking place besides Mister Anderson’s ‘outburst’? Involving the deceased.”

Griffin was standing quietly in the corner, leaning gently into the wall. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes bore straight into Keaton as she spoke. He stood about ten feet away, respectful but still within range in case she got uppity.

Keaton traced the man’s glance to the boy. Mind Reader? Not sure, but he was standing awfully far away. Did his powers work at a distance?

“No, I got out of the cafeteria pretty quick last week,” she said, her eyes flicking between the two before settling on the one farther away. “I don’t have the powers for that stuff.”

“The body belonged to one of our doctors.” Radvi continued, “Arthur Coleman. From what we understand, one of the other members of your group from last night encountered him during last week’s incident. Has Miss Nelson mentioned any details regarding this with you?”

“Well that’s news to me. You have my file right? So you know that I just got here last week, that I didn’t know anything about powers, even mine, for long before that?”

“I hadn’t personally read your file, no.” Radvi replied, “From what I understand, you… make very accurate observations. Is that right?”

Keaton stared at him. Was he trying to psych her out? Trip her up? They wouldn’t need to do that if they had a mind reader. And, judging by the boy she’d been staring at, it didn’t seem like the two were communicating. Now, telepathy… that was up in the air.

“I think my file would answer a lot of your questions, but yeah, something like that,” she said.

Another pause from Radvi as he sat and thought for a moment. “You didn’t see the body yourself, did you?” He asked.

Keaton raised her brows. “No, I didn’t see the body alone, but yeah, I saw the body.”

“And you, as well as Miss Holmes and Miss Nelson, left the scene afterwards, after Miss Ellis reported it to Cara.” Radvi said, “Do you have any inclination as to why the other two left?”

Well, they for sure had information, and not from her. From the others? Keaton doubted Lynn would talk after she said…

Her eyes flicked to the boy again. So, they had information, probably from a witness, or from cameras. Probably no mind reader, or their questions would have been redundant. To hide a mind reader? It’d be more intimidating to have a public one, prompted honesty, so probably not. Her thoughts were her own then.

“I can’t say I know why they left, no,” she said.

Another pause. “No one else besides Miss Nelson expressed any knowledge of the body’s identity, correct?”

Keaton wasn’t sure who ‘Miss Nelson’ was, but it didn’t matter really. She could guess. “Correct.”

Radvi tapped his fingers on the surface of the table, turning slightly to face Griffin. He gave him an inquisitive look, but wasn’t met with any returning assurance. “Alright.” Radvi said, standing up. “That’ll be all for the time being. Griffin, you can see her back to the reception area.”

At this point Keaton was sure the boy wasn’t a mind reader, but she couldn’t be sure he didn’t have a related power. Whatever the case, one thing was for sure: He wasn’t going to touch her. She’d learned that lesson with Jeira the first day.

The interview was simple enough, though out of everyone Griffin found himself not trusting Keaton the most. Perhaps the way she answered the questions, or kept shifting her eyes to him. He pushed himself off the wall and opened the door, peering towards the girl. ”This way Miss Plasse.” He gestured towards the door and stood just outside of it. His dark blue eyes never leaving her.

Keaton walked towards the indicated door, not liking any of this. Frankly, the interview was extremely unproductive and felt more like a fishing expedition than anything. Or was it routine? She’d declined to properly walk them through the events step-by-step when asked, but they could have insisted. On the other hand, though, they had information they were going by already, so they didn’t need any from her, didn’t think they did. The others that went before her had answered their questions. That wasn't surprising.

Following wherever the model-like boy led, Keaton rubbed her right index over her thumbnail. That was it, right? No more questions? She was free to go?

The walk to the reception area was quiet, Griffin choosing to keep it so instead of making conversation. He didn’t truly blame the girl for being so guarded with her answers but had hoped she would have been more trusting. He supposed there might have been something in her past that kept her from seeking help from authority.

Soon enough they arrived back in the reception area and Griffin gestured to the chairs. ”Return to a seat of your choice, but do not leave the building. That’s your only warning for that. He shot a look to Archie and gave a nod before turning and walking back down the corridor from whence he came.

Keaton picked a random seat, watching him leave as she sat. So it wasn’t over. Or was it? There was no reason why they couldn’t have finished questioning her in a single session, and it wasn’t like she had any more information to give either.

Looking around at the others in the waiting room, who were also still here despite having finished their interviews, Keaton figured they probably weren’t being kept around for another round of questioning. Not about what’d already been covered, at least. So, it was just a matter of waiting now.

A few chairs to her left was the girl who’d cried wolf, who was currently staring at the ground. Keaton looked to the now-empty hallway, then back at the girl. Her call had done nothing, just as Keaton’s choice to walk away had done nothing, so Keaton was willing to look past it. At the end of the day, they were still on the same team.

“Hey, you good?” she asked, her voice soft. “And, uh, I don’t think we got introduced yesterday, with everything that happened. I’m Keaton.”

Keaton Plasse

That surveillance was how The Promise operated became obvious when there came a knock on Keaton’s door. She’d been informed of how little her right to privacy mattered on Earth through a string of events that had brought her aboard this ship, and now she was being informed that that attitude hasn't changed. Perhaps she’d been too optimistic in thinking change was possible, been too hopeful that signing up for the program recommended to her would dissuade any lingering suspicions about her. Or, perhaps, she’d simply allowed herself to be lulled into a sort of false complacency aboard a ship that was starting to seem as false as its name.

Whatever the case, she went readily with the guards, giving up whatever identifying information they asked for. Though it was kind of them to wait until the morning after, she would have preferred for them to fetch her as soon as possible. It would have given her more time to think, or at least steered her towards a better usage of her time last night than trying and failing to sleep, but that was probably why the guards had saved their visit for the morning. As such, Keaton had just the car ride to organize her thoughts—to figure out how compliant would she be, how quiet, how deceptive. Lynn had recommended complete silence the previous day, but here in space where there was no justice system, no indication that anyone wanted to play ball and pretend to rule fairly, silence sounded like a one-way ticket to a guilty sentence. Appeasement, though, was a bit much. While Keaton was obliged to give up information because these guards could quite literally decide life and death for her, she was in no way obliged to give it up readily. She’d answer when prompted, and only when directly so. Otherwise, she’d feign confusion or misunderstanding, give them some sort of vague answer. As for deception, that was off the table. The threat of there being someone with fact-checking powers was too high since many a power had abilities in that vein, and honesty had always been Keaton’s brand, her default. If her honesty encouraged them to be happy with getting a little less information from her, even better.

She arrived at the station to find most of the crew already present. The boy and girl who’d been talking the previous day were still at it, despite the setting, but just as well. There was no reason waiting in silence was a better tactic than trying to make small talk, though Keaton could understand Lynn’s silence at the moment. They’d walked away from the body because they hadn’t wanted to be tied up in the case, but here they were anyway, waiting to be fully tied in. Silence might not be the most comforting to sit through, but in the lobby of the station precinct waiting to be interrogated, it seemed the most logical. Why give away more than what was necessary? Besides, for Keaton’s strategy to work, she needed to come off as someone who didn’t talk much, which was about what she was feeling right now.

So, giving the others a tight-lipped smile, she took a seat beside Lynn and relaxed into the relative silence, taking in the waiting room as she rubbed one hand over the newly-shortened nails on the other. Donuts—how appropriately unassuming.

Pebble “Pebs” Meyers


Finding the key, then the piece of paper, gave Pebs a thrill of giddiness, and she picked up both, taking care not to tear the taped paper as she brought them over to Duncan. The previous cloud she’d felt looming over her had disappeared, and the sense of threatening claustrophobia had gone with it.

At his mention of the car, she nodded.

“Yeah, let’s try it out,” she said, a smile on her face as she walked over.

Fishing out the car remote from her pocket, she handed it over, appraising the speaker with a grin. “Nice job, it looks brand new. And, while we’re at it, look what the plant gave up,” she said, holding up her new discoveries. “Keys are always nice, and this paper,” she said, opening the folds, “hopefully it’s as helpful as the last.”
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