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Into the Coalmine (Worm)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by JustCurious, Oct 19, 2021.

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  1. Threadmarks: Day 1 - First contact
    JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Hi, I am new. Throw me comments, feedback, tomatoes, thumbs up. No wait, no tomatoes. Also, send me PM if you have tips, thankee <3

    You can talk to Canary, but you do not control Canary (for now).




    Other threads (quest posts are identical):
    - SV thread: Into the Coalmine (Worm Quest)
    - SB thread: Into the Coalmine (Worm Quest)

    You can vote on any of the three, but your vote will only be counted once (that’s only fair for the other participants.)
    - Posting on several forums is allowed provided that you mention that you voted elsewhere. (A quick "I also voted on ..." is enough.)

    I advise you to check out the votes on those forums (they are visible even without an account).
    - That’s because I tally the votes from all three threads!
    - My post are strictly identical, no need to read them again.
    - It already happened that different options gathered a majority on different threads, and one got to be overruled :(








    Sometimes, in the middle of the day, you start and realize that you have no memory of the last few seconds.

    That had been happening to me a lot lately. I was tired, very much so. I pushed into the night to finish a couple projects over the past week, which made me even less productive during the day, so I had to work at night even longer, and before I knew it only coffee was keeping me awake. Still, right now I was kinda freaking out.

    Because the paralysis was new.

    I couldn’t move my fingers. My eyes were closed, and I could not open them. It was not that I was sleeping, I was lucid, as lucid as usual at least, but I just... could not move. It definitely took a lot of effort, or rather focus, to even twitch.

    Wait a second. I... I think I just moved my arm a bit. Maybe?

    Okay, let us focus on something else. No sight for now. I could smell makeup, and the same sort of hair products you smell in hairstylist workshops, the ones for women. There was also a weak, sweet smell of sweat mixed with deodorant. Coming from above was the faint droning sound of high end air conditioning, and about as loud was the distant hustle and bustle a few rooms away.

    None of that was familiar.

    I could also hear tight, deep breaths. My own breath. My chest felt constricted in an unusual way, as were my thighs, while my arms and chins were uncovered and rather chilly. Whatever I had on me, it was definitely not what I had been wearing a few moments ago.

    Suddenly, I leaned forward, or rather my body leaned forward, pressing my palms on my eyes, and took a quick deep breath. Then, I looked up.

    Sitting in front of me -- I was sitting too, apparently -- was a dashing young woman, in her early twenties. She looked the part of the nordic beauty, not a supermodel but definitely attractive, tall with sculpted cheeks, hair-fine brows, golden green eyes, and hair so blond it looked like a sunflower. Decorative, yellow feathers dotted her immaculate hairstyle. She was wearing a very elegant dress, full of glitter and cheerful, bright colors, that emphasized her slender, yet well-toned frame even more. One glance told me it would be way out of my budget by orders of magnitude.

    Also, she had been crying. Slight streaks in the bright make-up marred her cheeks, with more where she brushed the tears away. Some more shone on her cheeks.

    My hand brushed away some wetness from my face. The girl did the same.

    Shoot. That was a mirror? What happened to me?

    "What... You... Fuck off!" the girl exclaimed, gritting her teeth, pointedly looking at her own reflection.

    I would have flinched back if I could. Okay, no annoying the young woman. The, um, me, I guess? Just keeping to myself, yes I am ma’m. Also, what the fridge is happening. Am I suddenly a passenger in another person’s body? Or is that some kind of schizophrenia mixed with one heck of an hallucination?

    At the same time, I couldn’t help but think: geez, that’s a darn nice voice.

    My -- her eyes narrowed. I -- she turned around, scanning the rest of the... yes, definitely a dressing room, a very well-equipped one, like you found in first class concert halls. Dresser with a rainbow of outfits, full-length mirrors with powerful lights, swinging stools, coat rail. There was no one in sight.

    Whoever she thought she had heard, she seemed to revise her judgement. She took a deep breath to calm down, and spoke more softly, concealing most of the edge and distress behind a rehearsed prosody.

    "I am not taking autographs at the moment," she said cautiously. Gosh, was her voice beautiful. "Please go see my agent, she should be in the lobby, just right out the door."

    She waited for an answer. I couldn’t spot anyone, and no one seemed to be hiding. I also hadn’t heard anything. Who was she talking to?

    "Are you making fun of me?"

    She stood up, striding towards the door and looking left and right, inside the dresser and behind the coat rack. She even peeked through the dressing room’s door and into a short, dirt brown-tiled corridor. No one was there. No mystery admirer.

    I waited with bated breath. A beat. Then two. Still nothing moved in the room.

    Was the girl crazy?

    "That’s it, joke’s over," she exclaimed. "I’m calling security."

    Still no voice. The girl definitely was crazy-

    Wait. Was she hearing my thoughts? No, that would be impossible, but... Well, was it really more impossible that what I was currently observing? At least, it was easy to test.

    Jeez this is awkward. Um. Let’s try projecting my thoughts over to her. Can you hear me?

    "Yes, obviously!"

    Nailed it. Okay, I’m not sure about the "obvious" part, but nevermind. This is crazy. I, uh -- please stop looking around like that, I am kinda, um, in your head at the moment.

    "What?"

    Yeah. I am in your head. Seing through your eyes, hearing through your ears, feeling through your skin, etc. No clue how it happened.

    She thought about it for a second. I almost drew a breath of relief. Maybe we could discuss the situation civilly, after all.

    Then she plugged her ears and eyes with her hands, and started humming, the way one does to cover others’ voices.

    ... Are you trying to muffle my voice out? Rude. Also, not very effective. You know I am in your head, right?

    That made her pause. She stopped singing, not yet removing her hands, before speaking up aggressively.

    "Whatever it is you want, I will not join your villain team. I only want to make a career singing, nothing more. Now get out of my head."

    What team? And I don’t want anything -

    "I am calling the PRT," she said, stepping towards the door.

    No no no. Please! Listen, I promise it is not a prank. I mean you no harm. If I could get back to my own body, I would. Let us start from the beginning. I’m
    [ ] Norman.
    [ ] Elise.
    [ ] Luis.
    [ ] Kimiko
    .

    ... And you?

    "As if you didn’t know."

    Really, I don’t. I’m not in your head -- well, I am, but I cannot read your thoughts or anything.

    "Paige. Paige Mcabee." She replied after a beat.

    She did not sound particularly reassured, or friendly for that matter, but at least she was answering my questions. Her hand was on the door’s handle, but Paige wasn’t opening it. Small victory, for now.

    Nice to meet you, Paige. I, um, I like your voice a lot. Are you a singer?

    "Yes," she said slowly, as if to a dimwit. "For a couple years already. I go by Bad Canary on stage."

    Bad Canary. Hah, good name. Fit the colors very well. The feathers in her hair were a nice touch too. It kind of reminded me of that story, with superpowered humans and a hero who could control bugs; there was this one singer inside, who was unjustly sentenced to an inescapable prison because her voice could...

    Wait.

    Hold on.

    Paige. Your voice. Can it control people?

    "No. My singing voice can induce a light trance, but people need to be exposed a lot to start becoming suggestible. It cannot happen during casual conversation, whatever the duration. People tell me my voice is otherworldlingly nice to hear, but it is perfectly safe."

    Right. She didn’t say that defensively at all. What a load of PR BS.

    What day are we?

    "May 16. 2010."

    What was the timeline? In the story, the protagonist got her powers in January. Was Canary already in a trial by that time? No, that was not the important part. What did Canary do to be prosecuted in the first place? It had something to do with her powers, definitely. She was in an argument, and insulted someone, probably her abusive ex, and that guy ended up hurting himself by following her prompting. Did that happen already?

    Paige, sorry if this is getting personal, but it is very important. You may be in danger. Do you have an ex-boyfriend?

    "Yeah," she said coldly. "The cheating bastard. He’s not important."

    Did you have an argument recently?

    "How is that your business?"

    Listen, you don’t need to answer, okay? Just consider this. Did you, by any chance, insult him right before he left? An insult that he could try to follow literally if he was under the influence of your voice?

    Paige crossed her arms defensively. She thought for a moment.

    "If I did that," she said finally, much more subdued, "I wouldn’t mean it as an order."

    Did you, by chance, tell him to "go fuck yourself"?

    Her cheeks reddened. "I mean, he deserved it."

    Crap.


    [ ] We have to get out of here.
    Convince Paige to flee, so as not to be here when the police or the PRT shows up.

    [ ] You have to catch him.
    Try and find Paige’s ex and cancel the injunction.

    [ ] I may know a bit of the future...
    Explain what you know of her situation to Paige. Hopefully, it won’t be too far from the truth...

    [ ] (write in.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  2. Aleh

    Aleh Destroyer of Faith in Humanity

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    This is, unfortunately, illegible. Or at least very difficult for anyone who uses the dark templates to even try to read.
     
  3. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    My bad, I am not very familiar with the platform, and chose the colors wrong. Is it better now?
     
  4. trollord3000

    trollord3000 Getting out there.

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    Yes. I can read it on my phone while using the dark template. Thank you.
     
  5. AnonymousWhale

    AnonymousWhale Getting out there.

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    [X] You have to catch him.

    Let's try to avoid becoming public enemy No.1 right now.
     
  6. sportoner

    sportoner Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] Kimiko.

    [X] You have to catch him.


    Let's hope it's not too late.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
  7. VoidKindred

    VoidKindred Getting sticky.

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    [X] I may know a bit of the future...
    Explain what you know of her situation to Paige. Hopefully, it won’t be too far from the truth...


    You're a precog that got Tinker blasted out of your body in an experiment to remove the Endbringers from your blindspots.

    It worked. At a cost
     
  8. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Quick news:
    - Quest now crossposted on SV and SB. All votes are counted together. Please only vote on one forum, thank you.
    - First update will be tomorrow thursday. (So that SV and SB viewers can join in.)
    - Added a poll for your name.
     
  9. Jubjub3000

    Jubjub3000 Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] Kimiko.

    [X] You have to catch him.
    -[X] I may know a bit of the future...
     
  10. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    [x] Elise.
    [x] Luis.

    hope multivoting is ok.

    [x] You have to catch him.
    Her ex was a vindictive asshole iirc, so we miiiiiiight need to make sure he doesn't go to the prt either way after we rescue his dick.
     
  11. abyssmal_kismet

    abyssmal_kismet Experienced.

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    [X] Kimiko.

    [X] You have to catch him.
    -[X] I may know a bit of the future...
     
  12. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] Kimiko.
    [X] You have to catch him.
    -[X] I may know a bit of the future...


    The votes are from QQ, SV and SB, don’t worry if there are more than expected.

    [X] Kimiko.
    No. of Votes: 7

    [X] Luis.
    No. of Votes: 3

    [X] Elise.
    No. of Votes: 1

    [X] Norman
    No. of Votes: 1




    [X] You have to catch him.
    No. of Votes: 11

    [X] I may know a bit of the future...
    No. of Votes: 3

    [X] Explain that since she was in a relationship with him, he might be exposed to her singing enough to take the phrase literally
    No. of Votes: 1

    [X] laugh hysterically how your in the head of a birdcage inmate, tell her your from the future (2021), let her figure out the rest
    No. of Votes: 1

    Total No. of Voters: 13
     
  13. Threadmarks: Day 1 - Catch up
    JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Things were falling into place. Paige's abusive ex had probably been under her power's influence. Hell, I would not be surprised if he had been stalking her and attending her concerts before he came to her. That would have left him easily suggestible during their argument. And when Paige gave him that order... Well. He would try.

    I thought quickly about Paige's options. If she did nothing and everything went like it did in the story, then her ex would hurt himself and sic the PRT on her. The Wormverse being such a shithole, any trial was guaranteed to end up with her being Birdcaged.

    Once there, it was game over. Canary would not escape before the Gold Morning. She -- We would be at the mercy of every cape there. Every single psychopath that was too dangerous to let outside. Oh god. Glaistig Uaine would definitely see me, she'd kill me just as easily as one swats at a mosquito.

    For just a moment, I felt a desperate laugh rise up in the back of my mind. Of all people I could end up sharing the consciousness, it had to be the one unjustly Birdcage-bound parahuman in the Worm universe.

    I instantly felt...
    [ ] bad. Canary had it way worse.
    [ ] determined. I would do anything to escape this fate.
    [ ] excited. Canary's power was incredibly strong. If only I could steer her to use it to its full potential... With what I know, nothing will stop us!
    [ ] terrified. This is real, this is all real. All the horrors, the Slaughterhouse Nine, the Birdcage, Scion... And I'm in the middle of it now.
    [ ] giddy. We have powers, superheroes are real, I have to go see Legend, and Dragon, and Mouse Protector and Skitter and Panacea and Dinah and and and...
    [ ] (write-in)


    I held it back before Paige could notice. Nothing was set in stone; Canary wasn't Birdcaged yet. I could -- we could still do something. My being right here, right now, was an opportunity, and if I could only set one thing right, I would darn well try. And it all started with one quick action.

    No time to lose. Run after him and cancel that order.

    Paige's brows shot up. "What? No way. I'm not apologizing to this asshole."

    ... Ugh. Of course I did not anticipate that she would not want to deal with her ex. Not that it came as a surprise; I had my own experience of sleazy boyfriend too, the kind who would pick at your weaknesses at the first opportunity. I guess I did not think about her feelings in the first place. Way to feel bad, Kimiko.

    Still, Canary had to catch him if she wanted to escape her fate. Maybe some details I knew of this universe's future would help convince her? I didn't want to make her panic, but without any risk-taking on my part I wasn't confident I could convince her in time.

    I decided to tip my hand, a bit. Not much use hoarding secrets if we are going to share the same body if I am going to piggyback her body. She might not believe me, but I would try.

    Paige, listen. I know what happens in the future. Not everything, the big strokes. And I know what happens to you, specifically. Not because you made it big, but because of the asshole who you just kicked out. That "fuck yourself" you told him? Right now, if you do nothing, he will try his best to do it. He will hurt himself. Very badly. Then he or some random schmuck will go to the police, the PRT will arrest you, you will be tried, and you will found guilty simply because of your power. And you'll spend the next two years in the Birdcage.

    The room was very silent. I could hear Paige's -- our heartbeats, quickening, drumming in our ears even though she tried her best to appear calm. She let out a weak laugh.

    "No way. My power doesn't work like that. I- I just sing very well. Make people relax. That's all."

    Would you bet your life on it? Because that is what's on the line. Your life in the Birdcage, just because you did not run after him and tell him to not try to fuck himself.

    Paige glanced at the door. I swear I could hear the gears in her head. Weighing if I was saying the truth, then considering what happened if I was telling the truth, what if I wasn't, trying to find hidden motives and failing... She took a deep breath, then cursed.

    "If you are lying, I swear I will go to the PRT and have you arrested. They will find you."

    I did my best to restrain a sigh of relief.

    I'm sure you would. Best case scenario, we never find out if I was right, you continue your singing career with one less parasite on board.

    She did not answer; she was already moving.

    Operation: save the canary was in action. Success! Still, it was now obvious that I couldn't just boss Canary around. I would have to earn her trust, or find other ways to make her listen to me, or act like I wanted her to act. I felt bad for wanting to impose my decisions on her, but come on, she was so woefully unprepared to the Wormverse it wasn't even funny. Even though she lived in it.

    First, I would have to decide just how much I would reveal to Paige. She did not seem to trust me much for now, perhaps being more open could help. On the other hand, it might only scare her. If she ended up convinced that I was telling lies, I would be completely powerless. Worse, she might even go to the PRT to try and get rid of me.
    [ ] Full disclosure. We're in this together.
    [ ] I don't want her to panic. I'll share whatever might be useful, but keep the scary parts to myself.
    [ ] I'll only reveal what is immediately useful. She might still be arrested by the PRT, and I'll keep secrets better than her.
    [ ] The bare minimum. If she won't trust me, then I won't trust her.


    Also, should I wait until she asks about it?
    [ ] Explain at the first opportunity.
    [ ] Wait for her to ask.
    [ ] I'll try to avoid explaining for as long as possible.


    With that resolve, I turned my attention back to the outside. Paige had thrown a dark mantle over her shoulders to cover her show dress, and was briskly walking down the corridor outside her dressing room, into a large preparation area that was almost deserted. A couple technicians were discussing towards the back of the room; she ignored them, and beelined towards a smartly dressed, red-haired woman in her fourties who looked up from her laptop, raising an eyebrow.

    "Hi Elsie," Paige said. "Seen a guy leaving? This size, brown hair, black leather coat, beard that thinks it's sexy?"

    "Yep, left out back. Friend of yours?"

    "Absolutely not, but I have to find him. I'll be right back."

    Elsie smirked, already turning back to her laptop. "Kay. Don't give out too many autographs, we have to make them count!"

    Paige followed her directions towards what I assumed was the rear entrance. We crossed service corridors, walking past technicians and handlers moving props. I though back to the redhead.

    Who was that?

    "My manager," she whispered. Then we pushed open a double door under a large Exit sign, and stepped out.

    It was dark and hot. The street lights shone bright on well-tended faux stone facades. The street was bustling, trendy youngsters and couples laughing and grinning and holding each other's hands. Typical downtown in a big city. Some threw glances my way, surprised at my outfit. I ignored them, and focused on scanning the crowd.

    There. I zeroed in on a figure, about a hundred paces away. The man was waiting at a bus stop, hunched over slightly. Despite the heat, he was wearing a biker's jacket and jeans. His shoulder-long hair were falling around his tilted head, masking his face. A bus turned the road, and he looked up, straightening at the sight.

    There was no time to waste. I started sprinting, only to jerk to a halt when my limbs ceased obeying, and I was once again reminded of my status as a passenger. Only a miracle saved Paige from falling flat on her face; when we looked up, the bus had already passed us, and was slowing down before reaching the stop.

    What are you doing? Run!

    "High heels," she explained, starting a power walk towards the bus.

    Shoot, she was right. Running with them is an olympic discipline in its own right. Come on Kimiko, keep your head on your shoulders!

    The bus slowed down. Then stopped. People flowed out, then the passengers started climbing in. Leather-jacket stepped forward. We weren't going to make it.

    Call the dork. Call him, or we'll miss it.

    "Damn you," she muttered, then took a deep breath. "Frederick! Stop!"

    The leather-clad man stopped on the bus' steps, turning to us. His look of astonishment quickly turn to a wry smirk. He shot a quick glance to the crowd, before taking on a confident, relaxed pose while watching us approach. I did not like that one bit.

    "Bad Canary," he called as we approached, somehow turning her stage name into an insult. "Did you change your mind?"

    I felt Paige's teeth clench. "We need to talk. Somewhere private."

    "I don't think so, no," he replied, smirk widening. "I'm on a schedule, you see. We can have our talk right here."

    Be cautious. Even if you make him not hurt himself, he will still want to extort something from you.

    "I know," she said between gritted teeth.

    From what you know of Canary's character, you have your doubts that she is taking this seriously enough.

    [ ] Let her handle it. She knows her boyfriend better than I do.
    [ ] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
    [ ] Feed her all her lines. She has already proved unreliable under emotional duress.
    [ ] (write in.)






    I loved your comments! Even though I did not include all of them, I'll keep them in mind :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2021
  14. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    [x] I don't want her to panic. I'll share whatever might be useful, but keep the scary parts to myself.
    [x] Wait for her to ask.
    [x] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
     
  15. AnonymousWhale

    AnonymousWhale Getting out there.

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    [X] determined. I would do anything to escape this fate.
    [X] I don't want her to panic. I'll share whatever might be useful, but keep the scary parts to myself.
    [X] Wait for her to ask.
    [X] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
     
    Jacobs lash likes this.
  16. Jubjub3000

    Jubjub3000 Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] determined. I would do anything to escape this fate.
    [X] I don't want her to panic. I'll share whatever might be useful, but keep the scary parts to myself.
    [X] Wait for her to ask.
    [X] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
     
  17. OriginTrainer

    OriginTrainer Getting out there.

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    [X] excited. Canary's power was incredibly strong. If only I could steer her to use it to its full potential... With what I know, nothing will stop us!
    [X] I'll only reveal what is immediately useful. She might still be arrested by the PRT, and I'll keep secrets better than her.
    [X] Explain at the first opportunity.

    [X] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
     
  18. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    And now, appears the dread of quests: voters who disagree on different forums...

    As you know, I also post this on SB and SV. Unfortunately, this time the guys at SV all voted for the same thing, so their choice gets to win :(

    But don’t give up! Next time you’ll have your way! I believe in you!!

    [X] determined. I would do anything to escape this fate.
    No. of Votes: 7
    DeleteWolf CupswithsomeDude Energy Markala Whenyouseeyou AnonymousWhale Jubjub3000

    [ ] terrified. This is real, this is all real. All the horrors, the Slaughterhouse Nine, the Birdcage, Scion... And I'm in the middle of it now.
    No. of Votes: 2
    sportoner WallFlower

    [ ] excited. Canary's power was incredibly strong. If only I could steer her to use it to its full potential... With what I know, nothing will stop us!
    No. of Votes: 1
    Trainerzygarde




    [X] I'll only reveal what is immediately useful. She might still be arrested by the PRT, and I'll keep secrets better than her.
    No. of Votes: 8
    DeleteWolf CupswithsomeDude Energy Markala sportoner (Trainerzygarde OriginTrainer) WallFlower Whenyouseeyou

    [ ] I don't want her to panic. I'll share whatever might be useful, but keep the scary parts to myself.
    No. of Votes: 3
    Gaemnomut AnonymousWhale Jubjub3000




    [X] Explain at the first opportunity.
    No. of Votes: 8
    DeleteWolf CupswithsomeDude Energy Markala sportoner (Trainerzygarde OriginTrainer) WallFlower Whenyouseeyou

    [ ] Wait for her to ask.
    No. of Votes: 3
    Gaemnomut AnonymousWhale Jubjub3000




    [X] Feed her all her lines. She has already proved unreliable under emotional duress.
    No. of Votes: 7
    DeleteWolf CupswithsomeDude Energy Markala sportoner WallFlower Whenyouseeyou

    [ ] Try and steer the conversation to keep Canary out of trouble.
    No. of Votes: 4
    (Trainerzygarde OriginTrainer) Gaemnomut AnonymousWhale Jubjub3000
     
  19. Threadmarks: Day 1 - Confrontation
    JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Hey folks. Inspirations dried up, and when I finally put a chapter together I realized I needed an emergency vote.
    The bad news is, today’s part is shorter. The good news is that the next part is mostly ready, so it should be up quickly after this vote!







    Wait, I have a better idea. I’ll tell you what to say to stay out of trouble. Tell him...

    "Do you want to apologize?"The ex-boyfriend leaned against the door of the bus. Several people were muttering, listening while pretending not to.

    "An apology? You cheated on me-" Canary started, shaking an accusing finger.

    Oh no don’t you start an argument again. Out of reflex, I wrenched as hard as I could, a full-body spasm. It miraculously had an effect, though not the one I expected; Canary merely twitched, but it was enough to make her lose track.

    "Was that... Let me talk," she hissed under her breath.

    No, It’s your loose tongue that put you -- that put us in this mess in the first place. Just tell him what I say. Or does the Birdcage appeal to you so much?

    "What? I can’t hear you, Paige."

    The bus driver stood up from his seat. "Sir, ma’m, please don’t block the door."

    "It’ll just take a moment," Paige said.

    Frederick turned away. "If it’s more insults you want to say, don’t bother. You’ve made it clear I’m not god enough for Miss Feathered Pop Star, Bad Canary."

    More people looked up at that, Paige’s stage name seeming to gather even more attention. The bus driver paused to examine us with a frown. A couple teenagers took out their smartphone and pointed them at our direction.

    Don’t let him seize control of the conversation. Follow my lead!

    "Frederick, let's be civil," Paige started repeating after me. There was a small delay, and she had a slightly-robotic intonation, but it was still rather inconspicuous, her power normalizing her speech patterns by itself. "We exchanged heated words, the kind better not taken too literally. It's not a reason to make a scene."

    "Oh? Are you willing to give credit where credit is due then? Pay me back for all I did for you?"

    Paige laughed. "You- no. I owe you nothing, Frederick". She took a deep breath, collected herself. "I’m just concerned for you. I know you deal with frustration badly. Don’t go and- and hurt yourself over it. It’ll help no one."

    She said it with a stutter at the end, struggling to let the words out.

    "Sir, please, I’ll have to ask you to get off... "

    Frederick scowled. "Slander now? How low, Canary. I distinctly remember how you needed my help when you first got on stage. Yet look at you now. You’ve got a power, some success, and suddenly all I did is worth nothing. Well, we’ll see about that."

    Paige took a step forward as Frederick brushed past the driver. "We’re done. Apologies."

    Did it work? He didn't behave any different, so did the order really take root? Weren't Canary's victims supposed to be all drooling drones when suggestible? I had no way to tell without knowing more about Paige's power, and I didn't have the time to ask.

    Damn it. We only had time for a sentence or two before he left, and we absolutely had to cancel Paige’s order. Which raised the question. We wanted to make it stick; another use of Canary’s power would give us a guarantee of that. On the other hand, we were in public, and things were looking bad; using the power would make it look extra bad.

    [ ] Ask her to use her power. This way I can make sure he doesn’t raise a fuss.
    [ ] Use it just a touch, only so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
    [ ] Do not use the power. Hopefully the initial effect hasn’t worn off entirely yet.
     
  20. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    [x] Use it just a touch, only so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
    Better not cause a scene. Not to mention, his complaints might not be entirely unjustiefied, can't remember the details from canon. As much as we have to lose, mindcontrolling him on purpose now just makes us actually guilty of what they accused Canary of in canon. Stamrolling over him right now is just risky, better to use the power to cancel the last order, then hope he calms down and things smooth over. If he escalated further we can deal with it then.
    Although, it might pay to prepare a bit. Proactively get a lawyer and such perhaps?
     
  21. Threadmarks: Day 1 - Instruction
    JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    [X] Use it just a touch, only so that he doesn't hurt himself.
    No. of Votes: 5
    [ ] Do not use the power. Hopefully the initial effect hasn't worn off entirely yet.
    No. of Votes: 2
    [ ] Ask her to use her power. This way I can make sure he doesn't raise a fuss.
    No. of Votes: 1





    Damn. I don't like it, but we don't have a choice. We have to make sure he doesn't go and maim himself. Use your power - low intensity, without drawing attention if possible. Just repeat and we'll be out.

    "Wait," Paige finally let out on my cue. Frederik froze. Her voice had taken more resonant tones, harmonics and rythm grabbing the attention of everyone around. It made it just that bit harder to think, as if distracted by flitting movements at the edge of my vision. It was definitely noticeable, though it could have been worse. I pushed the effect back and gave her the next line. "About our discussion. I told you to do something at the end. Don't do it."

    "How'd -- why would you... Why are you talking like that?" Frederick frowned.

    "Listen to me. When you go back, do not hurt yourself. Don't bring any more trouble in my life. We are done. Just leave, and never come near me again."

    Frederick gaped at us, thoroughly unnerved. Silent stares bore down on us. Paige had trouble keeping her eyes off the ground; her fists opened and closed within her overcoat's pockets.

    That should do the trick. Well done Paige.

    The singer had already turned heels. I could now see the building we came from; it was an early twentieth-century concert hall, not particularly big but of respectable size. A handful promotional posters of Bad Canary dotted the wall, including one next to the door we came from. Canary pushed open the door, a bit roughly, and let it slam behind her.

    Hey Paige. Come on. Chin up. we did it, quickly and well, he's out of your life for good.

    "How is that any better than before? I used my power on him. Possibly for the second time." Her voice warbled in barely restrained hysteria.

    I tried to think of something to reassure her, and failed. Still, I couldn't let her panic, or start doubting me. Better act confident. Fake it till you make it and all that.

    True, but it's not as bad as it could have been. Pretty sure you dodged the worst.

    "Pretty sure, uh? I'll have to tell Elsie. She'll know how to handle the consequences." She shook her head. "All this time, I dressed in bright colors, only sang cheerful songs, so that people wouldn't associate me with the... with the Simurgh. So that they wouldn't mob me because of my power. And now... I had to go and use it in front of witnesses."

    I couldn't find anything to say. She was right. Chances were that this would blow out of proportions on PHO. Given my experience of sensationalist medias and the internet -- and I had no reason to believe it would be different in the Worm universe -- it could come back to bite us in the ass, hard. If only I had more information on our options... Maybe I could think of a way to avoid the possible backlash, but right now I drew a blank.

    We arrived to Paige's dressing room, and closed the door behind us. Paige leaned against the door, looking at herself in the mirror. It felt like she was staring right back at me.

    "Are you done? Or do you have other instructions?" she asked bitterly.

    Almost. There are things that I have to explain.

    "Fancy that." She sighed. "Can it wait? You said you are stuck in my head, right?"

    Unfortunately yes. I'm not going anywhere. And yeah, it can wait.

    "Let me get out of costume then. And go home. I need to unwind."

    I doze off as she controled our body. While I couldn't actually cut myself off from her body, I found that I could distance myself in some manner. Spectating without controlling. It felt like when one wakes up briefly in the night, too relaxed to move one's body, before falling asleep again.

    Paige's voice pulled me from my thoughts. "Kimiko? Are you still there? You've been quiet for the last hour."

    Uh, yeah, still there -- woah, where are we?

    We were sitting in front of a half-eaten dinner. I looked around with curiosity. The appartment looked comfortable and tastefully furnished, but somehow without much personality. Not what I expected from an artsy person; but Bad Canary had been performing, so maybe it was not her home? A hotel room then. I did remember passing through the reception. It had been a short walk from the concert hall to the hotel.

    Now that I thought about it, I had the memory of the time elapsed, but it had felt instantaneous. As if all had passed in the blink of an eye. So I could tune out the boring parts of her day? I didn't know what to think. It was neat, I suppose? Yet it also meant I would lose entire hours of my life if I used that too much. A rather horrifying perspective.

    "So. Please explain now."

    I had already decided to share what would be helpful. Right now, it depended on what would prove useful. Most of my knowledge were related to Brockton Bay, and centered around Taylor Hebert. With Canary out of the Birdcage for now, it all depended on what we were going to do.

    [What will Kimiko try to lead Canary to do? This will influence how much Kimiko reveals. There is no guarantee that Canary will accept straight away.]
    [Write-in for ideas are appreciated even if you select one of the provided options.]
    [ ] Use her power more.
    [ ] Have a cape career.
    [ ] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    [ ] Go to Brockton Bay. That is where we have more information.


    "And I want to know who you are too," she added.

    A reasonable demand, but now things could become dicey. I didn't like the idea of lying to Paige, but I did not want to tell her the full truth. Any number of powers here would be able to extract information from her. Tattletale, the PRT, the Simurgh, or who knew how many parahumans with master or thinker powers... Maybe it was best to lie a bit, for our own protection.

    [ ] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    [ ] I am a thinker, and there was an accident. Now I'm in your head.
    [ ] I just appeared out of nowhere. I have no previous memory besides my knowledge of the future.
    [ ] (write in)
     
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  22. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    And we get a double draw! (See results in the spoilers). Consequently,
    **The vote ends in 24 hours.**

    If you see this and haven’t already voted, your opinion would be much appreciated!

    What does Kimiko want Canary to do?

    [X] Go to Brockton Bay. That is where we have more information.
    No. of Votes: 2, of which:
    -[X] Aim to recruit Leet the tinker who can build anything once.
    No. of Votes: 1
    -[X] Built a cape team
    No. of Votes: 1

    [X] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    -[X] You, Paige, are an artist. Check out what other artist may exists. Barring that, if nothing personally interesting can be found, than check out successfully Rogues.
    No. of Votes: 2

    [][Write-in] Ask Canary can contact the powersales(wo)man and inform them that you have information to gift about a common foe and inform them that you may sell them insights at later points in time, when it won't be harmfull to share the knowledge.
    -[] Gift them on the idea that Teacher his thrall, mister Pellick are a threat to the humanity and that the love between the daughter of Richter and Armsmaster.
    -[] Ask them ask they can set you up with a meeting with Mimi if she hasn't been forced into the S9 yet to see whether you can master her into calming down. If Faultline hasn't raided the asylum yet then maybe you could ask Labyrinth wants to come along too.
    EDIT: This was the year that Ballminder betrayed Cauldron, so contacting her powersalesman could be a bad idea.
    No. of Votes: 1






    Who is Kimiko?

    [X] I am a thinker, and there was an accident. Now I'm in your head.
    -[X] Unfortunately the world is going to experience an apocalypse in less than 5 years and we need to prepare.
    No. of Votes: 3

    [X] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    No. of Votes: 3
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2021
  23. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    [x] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    [x] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    [x] I just appeared out of nowhere. I have no previous memory besides my knowledge of the future.
     
  24. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Vote closed!

    Who is Kimiko?
    [X] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    -[X] Unfortunately the world is going to experience an apocalypse in less than 5 years and we need to prepare.

    What is Kimiko’s goal in the mid-term?
    [X] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    -[X] You, Paige, are an artist. Check out what other artist may exists. Barring that, if nothing personally interesting can be found, than check out successfully Rogues.


    Quick piece of information

    Here is how I select options. First, sort the options by decreasing number of votes, then for every option, ask myself:
    - is the option compatible with the already selected options? (e.g. a suboption, the ones after -[X] or --[X].)
    - if yes, did it get at least 2 votes?
    If I get two yes, then the option gets selected, and I continue until there are no options left!


    [X] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    No. of Votes: 8
    DeleteWolf, JayTar, Nigerian Duck, RookDeSuit, jkey, lordlight, ToG fanatic, Gaemnomut

    -[X] Unfortunately the world is going to experience an apocalypse in less than 5 years and we need to prepare.
    No. of Votes: 3
    Zhaitan, Markala, WallFlower

    -[ ] tell her that it is mostly centered around BB
    No. of Votes: 1
    DeleteWolf


    [ ] I am a thinker, and there was an accident. Now I'm in your head.
    No. of Votes: 3
    Zhaitan, Markala, WallFlower


    [ ] I just appeared out of nowhere. I have no previous memory besides my knowledge of the future.
    No. of Votes: 1
    Gaemnomut





    [X] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    No. of Votes: 8
    Nigerian Duck, JayTar, WallFlower, RookDeSuit, jkey, lordlight, ToG fanatic, Gaemnomut

    -[X] You, Paige, are an artist. Check out what other artist may exists. Barring that, if nothing personally interesting can be found, than check out successfully Rogues.
    No. of Votes: 6
    Nigerian Duck, WallFlower, RookDeSuit, jkey, lordlight, ToG fanatic

    [ ] Go to Brockton Bay. That is where we have more information.
    No. of Votes: 2
    DeleteWolf, Zhaitan

    -[ ] Aim to recruit Leet the tinker who can build anything once.
    No. of Votes: 1
    Zhaitan

    -[ ] Built a cape team
    No. of Votes: 1
    DeleteWolf
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  25. Threadmarks: 1.5 - The Talk
    JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    Who is Kimiko?
    [X] I come from another world, in which there is some limited knowledge of your world's future.
    -[X] Unfortunately the world is going to experience an apocalypse in less than 5 years and we need to prepare.

    What is Kimiko’s goal in the mid-term?
    [X] Investigate Cauldron and long-term issues.
    -[X] You, Paige, are an artist. Check out what other artist may exists. Barring that, if nothing personally interesting can be found, than check out successfully Rogues.

    (I did not find a way to include that last write-in, it’ll appear in the future.)







    For a moment, I considered telling her that I was a cape. Everything was possible with capes; I doubt anyone would put it into question if I just pretented to be a thinker with a particularly odd trigger event... A sort of super case 53.

    There were several problems with that. Paige knew that I remembered my name, at least, so playing amnesiac wouldn’t fly. By contrast, there were tons of self-evident things about the Wormverse that I did not know or that I had forgotten. I’d give it a couple minutes of interrogation before anyone would notice the gaps in my knowledge, even less if I was facing a Thinker.

    Also, lying to Canary made me feel like crap.

    I’ll just start with me then. I’m not from your world; I come from another earth. I was...

    [ ] looking for a job (Kimiko will know how to get by)
    [ ] beginning a PhD (Kimiko will have advanced knowledge on a field from her studies. You may write-in the discipline.)
    [ ] starting at a new place (Kimiko will handle stress better)
    [ ] volunteering for a charity abroad (Kimiko will better handle unfamiliar social situations)


    It... wasn’t going super well. Last couple weeks were hell. I pulled a few all-nighters in a row, then bam, I’m in your head. No clue how it happened, no clue how to get back.

    A dark night, the clouds backlit by the moon; the smell of petrichor, a silent road. I hadn’t known the neighborhood. I pushed it back. Paige’s finger stroked her knife’s handle. I waited a bit, wondering if she would ask more.

    "What about the future?" she asked impatiently.

    The world ends within five years. I know of one way it can be... not averted, but reduced in severity. There is more, some details, but they’re irrelevant.

    "The world ends." Her voice was flat. She lined the knife along the plate.

    Yeah. Billions dead. The collapse of virtually every government on earth Bet and on many other parallel earths. Most parahumans you know, dead. Alexandria, Eidolon. Legend... I don’t remember.

    But I know where we can find help. There is an organization, a secret one, that prepares specifically for this scenario. And if I remember correctly... You bought your powers from them.

    Her eyes widened. "What are you talking about?"

    I paused. Paige had stopped toying with the cutlery. Her arms were tense.

    Cauldron. Didn’t you buy a vial? A power in a test tube. As random as it gets, and with side effects sometimes, like your feathers. Rings a bell? The guys at Cauldron aren’t doing it just for money -- they prepare for the end of the world. They create parahumans, because every cape might make a difference.

    "This is r-ridiculous."

    It is. Their whole shtick is to stay unseen, manipulate events from the shadows. And they do it really well. What, you thought they were some common business? Selling powers while every government, every country is unable to?

    Paige stood up abruptly. "It’s getting late. I need to take a shower. Can we continue afterwards?"

    Sure. Take your time, I’m not going anywhere.

    Canary didn’t answer. She slipped out of her clothes and stepped into the shower, running her hand through her hair, eyes closed. Her fingers gripped a couple feathers. She stayed like this for a moment, unmoving.

    Then she started singing. The tones echoed just right, bolstered by the resonance from the small bathroom. Even the falling water added a complex, delicate percussion part to her melody. It felt rehearsed, edited to perfection in a multimillion-dollar studio, yet it obviously wasn’t.

    Powers were so bullshit.

    I listened, entranced, before a thought snapped me out of it.

    Paige? I’m not sure that I’m immune to your power, would you mind-

    "Don’t worry about my singing," she replied.

    Even that sentence was part of a melody, a spoken part in an otherwise a capella, lyricless song. I dropped the question and just enjoyed the song.

    A few minutes later, she cut the water, dried herself, and started wrapping her hair in a clean towel. She called my name, and I reluctantly focused back on my other senses.

    "Let’s start again. Answer my questions and don’t lie to me. What are your goals?"

    Depends. Going back to my own world, maybe. If I’m stuck here, then to help you stay out of the Birdcage, and to save the world. Also, get in contact with Cauldron, they...

    "Don’t," she interrupted. "Don't talk about them." I shut up. She took a deep breath. "Were you lying before?"

    Only by omission. But it was to help. I thought maybe you’d panic if I told you the whole truth.

    "I don’t know who you’re taking me for. What you told me won’t make me panic."

    That’s because I didn’t tell you everything. Part of what I know is just too dangerous; it might tip off the wrong sort of people.

    "Do you have ulterior motives?"

    I thought for a bit. Paige was wringing her hands. See more of Earth Bet. Maybe go to Brockton Bay, if you agree.

    "Brockton Bay? That’s on the east coast?"

    Yes. That’s where I have the most information, so I’d be more useful there. There are also people I'd like to help.

    She nodded. "You say you’re stuck in my head and you don’t have control. What is it that you can do?"

    Talk to you, basically. I have to project my thoughts, otherwise you don’t hear them, at least not reliably. I can also feel whatever you feel. Same with hearing, taste, sight... But I can’t read your thoughts. Oh, and I can put myself on standby, sort-of.

    "What about seeing the future?"

    Not something I can do. I learned about it from... an external source.

    "What source?"

    A story about this world. That's how I know the world ends.

    "A story. Really." Paige scoffed. "And in that story, what brings about the end of the world?"

    Scion. Actually, he's not what he seems to be, he's an alien that gives powers and blows up planets as part of its life cycle. He's just deciding to blow all the Earths way earlier after Jack Slash gets to him, since his partner died crashing on the planet.

    "And no one is aware of that? Even with all the precogs going around?"

    Cauldron knows, I wanted to say. I didn’t.

    I know that Glaistig Uaine knows, but she's completely crazy and not against it. And precogs don't work on Scion. The best they could do is foresee a catastrophe within the next two decades, sometimes less.

    "Sorry to be blunt, but do you have a mental disorder?"

    No. I don’t think. I never had any doctor tell me I had anything. Though I did feel shitty more than once, but that’s normal, I guess. Why?

    "Because your story is outlandish, and it would make much more sense if you were imagining it," she replied. "You understand that I’ll need proof, right? You can’t just come in and say, hey, Scion is secretly an alien who wants to kill us all. He’s... He’s Scion. The last shield against Endbringers. He’s done more for mankind than anyone else."

    I’m telling the truth, though.

    "Yeah, now I know you’re convinced of that." She rubbed her eyes. "Sorry Kimiko. For doubting you, and for..." She paused. "There were rules I wanted to set, but... we’ll wait tomorrow. I feel bad enough already."

    Hey, I understand if it’s hard to believe. I didn’t take offence. No need to feel bad for that.

    "Right. Okay." She clicked off the light, and lay down. "Good night."

    We closed our eyes, and I was out a few minutes later.

    ~~~~~~

    What will be Kimiko’s first priority in the morning?
    [ ] Socialize with Paige a bit, she seemed down tonight.
    [ ] Look for proofs that would convince Paige
    [ ] Learn more about Paige
    [ ] Browse for information (current priority: find other rogues with artistic careers)
    [ ] Write-in








    Canary uses her power! It’s super effective!

    NEW RULES FROM NOW ON (Until Canary retracts them or they clear up on their own).
    Yes, they apply to YOU.

    0- you cannot mention the rules (Kimiko is not consciously aware of them).
    1- you cannot consider directly lying to Canary. (Hiding things is okay.)
    2- Kimiko won’t speak about Cauldron.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
    Rayrage, ZetaSan, meloa789 and 2 others like this.
  26. trollord3000

    trollord3000 Getting out there.

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    [Rip her a new one for being a hypocrite and mastering you when she didn't even want to use her powers a few hours ago.]
    [Look for proofs to better convince Paige]
    [Try getting in contact with Cauldron. I do not think we are immune to the Path to Victory. We can help them Path out better solutions to prevent the end by telling them everything we know. Maybe to repay any favours owed if there's any?]
     
    Jacobs lash likes this.
  27. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    [x] starting at a new place (Kimiko will handle stress better)
    [x] volunteering for a charity abroad (Kimiko will better handle unfamiliar social situations)
    [X] Socialize with Paige a bit, she seemed down tonight.
    [X] Look for proofs that would convince Paige

    trollord3000, I'm not sure your vote fits with the new rules. If we can't even mention cauldron I'm not sure we can look for them. If we're not aware of the rules I'm not sure we're aware that we've been mastered.
     
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  28. trollord3000

    trollord3000 Getting out there.

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    I don't even know how I missed these rules.
     
    Gaemnomut likes this.
  29. JustCurious

    JustCurious Know what you're doing yet?

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    This is it for the vote! We had a fun write-in too.

    [X] starting at a new place (Kimiko will handle stress better)
    - No effect for the moment, but I'll know the next time I mention Kimiko's background!
    [X] Socialize with Paige a bit, she seemed down tonight.


    [X] starting at a new place (Kimiko will handle stress better)
    No. of Votes: 4
    RookDeSuit, lordlight, Silent5layer96, Gaemnomut

    [ ] volunteering for a charity abroad (Kimiko will better handle unfamiliar social situations)
    No. of Votes: 2
    ccstat, Gaemnomut

    [ ] beginning a PhD (Kimiko will have advanced knowledge on a field from her studies. You may write-in the discipline.)
    JayTar, Eternal_0bserver, WallFlower, sportoner, DeleteWolf

    -[ ] Counselling
    No. of Votes: 3
    JayTar, Eternal_0bserver, WallFlower

    -[ ] Celtic languages and literature
    No. of Votes: 1
    sportoner

    -[ ] Criminal Law and Economics
    No. of Votes: 1
    DeleteWolf



    [X] Socialize with Paige a bit, she seemed down tonight.
    No. of Votes: 8
    ccstat, lordlight, Silent5layer96, Eternal_observer, sportoner, Eternal_0bserver, WallFlower, Gaemnomut

    [ ] Browse for information (current priority: find other rogues with artistic careers)
    No. of Votes: 1
    RookDeSuit

    [ ] Look for proofs that would convince Paige
    No. of Votes: 1
    Gaemnomut
     
  30. 5elementsage

    5elementsage I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    (x) volunteering for a new charity
    (X) learn more about Paige
     
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