Questions 1

Jaito
Each of you receives the following video mail message:
11:26 AM
A blue wireframe image of a vaguely feminine appearance (with ear-length, straight hair and a soft tone, could just be a fashionable boy?) appears in the visual, leaning as if sitting over a desk. "Greetings. I am your admin. I would like to have a discussion with you, but I'd prefer to avoid video conferencing. The matters we have to discuss may be…sensitive. Please, if you can, meet me at [Babel's Brew] downtown. I think it's best for everyone, considering your recent circumstances. Thank you."

The image blinks out, leaving a link to the address and a gift card that would more than cover a pastry feast.
Jaito
The source address is ADMIN_HERSHEYS_XIAO@paradise. Official corporate tag, too.
11:31 AM Will
After everything that's happened in the last few days — her meeting with Annabell, a slew of weird tech cases, and her own personal research and… demons — Will isn't at all surprised that someone wants to meet with her. She had to get caught at some point… The hacker makes sure her file server is completely off the grid, then shuts it down just to be safe while she runs a trace on the file. Satisfied that it's legit, Wi
11:31 AM
ll shrugs. AR glasses firmly on, she summons Bean Sidhe before heading out.
11:32 AM Michael_Lin
sighs quietly. He doesn't particularly /want/ to go, but it looks like he doesn't really have a choice. Not even if he closes his account and never plays again, most likely.
11:33 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
At first, Shousei is confused that he's gotten something from an official address. Then, watching it, he's startled; oh god, did I do something wrong? Did I break some law or rule of the game? What the hell did I do? Then… well, fuck this week. Is this real? He spends a little time double-checking that this is a real address and nobody's posted anything about spoofs going around.
11:33 AM
He's still cycling between freaked out, angry and indignant, and increasingly emotionally worn out by the time he shows up, though little of it shows.
11:34 AM Jaito
(Quick Scholarship check, Shousei?)
11:37 AM Michael_Lin
Finally, he picks up his messenger bag full of books. He hopes this won't take long.
11:37 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
(1. :<
11:37 AM Jaito
Xiao is listed as an admin (THE admin, really) for the region. Odd, kind of a large area to handle alone.
11:38 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
Well then, if they are faking, they're very very good at it.
11:38 AM Jaito
A table's already been reserved on an upper-level landing. For those without AR active, it's a clean, trendy, if somewhat bare coffee shop…
11:39 AM
To those who DO have their goggles on, or just in low-power mode, you note that there are demons, monsters, glowing swords, all manner of oddness and more flitting through the space and interacting. It's an IG haven if the highest order.
11:40 AM
For those in low-power, you get the headache-inducing feeling of not seeing any of this directly, but being in a place with dozens of large mirrors revealing what's 'really' there.
11:41 AM Will
…Yay. Just the kind of thing she needs to be around right now. "Stay close, Bean Sidhe." One of Will's fists clenches nervously, and she slides it into her pocket. Freyja had always been the outgoing one, the one pulling her into social situations when she didn't want to be there…
11:42 AM Michael_Lin
has his glasses in his pocket, not wearing them, and is trying to read while walking. And simultaneously trying to keep his hand over his eyes because it's too bright.
11:43 AM Jaito
Bean honestly gets more attention than will, as more than one young "collector" player eyes it for its rarity…and one heavy-breathing pervert sips his cocoa and strokes his Incubus as he watches them pass. No one sits with that guy. Seriously, what the hell?
11:43 AM
Michael: Alertness?
11:44 AM Michael_Lin
(2)
11:44 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei debates between going up there straightaway and making himself feel better and getting some coffee first. When he sees Michael, he decides to get something uncaffeinated… Definitely better to let someone else make the first move.
11:45 AM Jaito
Michael gets these slight, but constant sensations of something going on in his peripheral vision…the mirrors seem to make it worse.
11:45 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
He doesn't have his AR on at all, so.
11:45 AM
That one guy is even creepier.
11:47 AM Will
rolls her eyes at the perv, resisting the urge to make a rude gesture at him. Making a stop at the counter for an iced chai and a scone before heading upstairs, Will pays barely any attention to other people in the bar… but she can feel Pervy Boy's eyes boring into her back as she climbs the stairs and suppresses a shudder.
11:48 AM Michael_Lin
really wants to sit down for a moment, whatever is going on in his peripheral vision is making him dizzy, but doesn't, just climbs the stairs. Slowly.
11:50 AM Jaito
The simple facemask on the barista isn't much help. Only Will can make out lovely, green-haired features. Everyone else gets…well…a blank white oval of a face being otherwise pleasant.
11:50 AM
As Michael and Will head right up, they have the joy of bumping into each other first.
11:51 AM
Meanwhile, the barista offers Shousei his decaf. "Feeling like driving blind for a while, hon? I understand that…it can get to be a bit much, especially in the back."
11:52 AM Will
…For Will, the bumping is quite literal, and she barely manages to not spill ice and milk-tea all over the person she bumps into. "Oi, Christ. Sorry, luv," she says unthinkingly in English at first, then switches to Chinese nervously and says it again.
11:53 AM Michael_Lin
"I-I'm s-sorry." Michael stammers in Chinese, barely audible - he understands the English, but he isn't feeling quite up to talking to a stranger in something other than his mother tongue.
11:53 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Hm?" Shousei is distracted by adding milk and sugar.
11:54 AM Jaito
She taps the side of her polished ceramic faceplate. If he looks close, it looks like a line of colored glass goes through eye-level. That's…an interesting AR setup, one could suppose. "Offline time is good for you. Otherwise, you can forget what your friends really look like."
11:55 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
His mind works for a moment. All these people wi- "Oh. AR content…?" In a coffeehouse? How had he not noticed how huge this game had gotten? On a real level, not just the news stories and his father's promotions and… "Yes. That would be… ah. That would be unfortunate…. that is kind of pretty."
11:55 AM
Reminds him vaguely of Daft Punk.
11:55 AM
(Yes, Shousei knows some things.)
11:56 AM Will
" 'T ain't your fault, luv. Din't get any on ye, did I?"
11:56 AM Michael_Lin
"N-no." the important thing is that it didn't get on his book, really.
11:57 AM Jaito
She tilts her head like she might be winking. "You should see what I've got underneath." Then she pauses. "I mean…the mask. I….er….here's your drink!" She makes herself rather busy.
11:58 AM Shousei_Yamazaki
He glances back to the- okay there's two of them, and the other one isn't someone he knows from school. He's pretty certain of tha-
11:58 AM
…Going to take the coffee and shuffle up to the suddenly less-embarrassing option right now.
11:59 AM Will
"Right then." Will tilts her glasses down and looks at the boy over the rims… and is vaguely surprised at the plainness of the bar without the benefit of AR. She quickly slides them back up her nose. "Sorry again." With a smile, she continues on up the stairs and to the reserved table flagged in the vmail.
12:00 PM Michael_Lin
also starts upstairs again. Slowly.
12:02 PM Jaito
You each arrive just about on time…and there's even little placecards. And the cheap, temporary display panels - basically flash drives with a 10" screen…and no Admin yet. The seat's there. There's even little notecards and a half-drank bubble tea. But no admin.
12:03 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Notecards? Really?
12:05 PM Will
blinks. More than two seats? Nervously she looks around… and sees the boy she bumped into and someone else heading her way. She suppresses her fight-or-flight reaction to this — it's feeling more like a trap — and takes a seat.
12:05 PM Jaito
Yes. Really.
12:06 PM Michael_Lin
just takes a seat. Closest to a good corner. If there's one.
12:06 PM Jaito
It's kind of a round table hanging over the main area. There's three of these balcony tables and theirs looks right over the bar - conveniently setting the bulk of patrons under or off-side of them.
12:07 PM
The most visibel seat was taken by the admin, apparently.
Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei looks to the new person, then to Michael. "I would've expected Night to be here…"
12:12 PM Michael_Lin
just shrugs timidly. Maybe she had something else to do…
12:13 PM Faito
Alertness?
12:14 PM Michael_Lin
(4)
12:14 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
(0)
12:14 PM Will
(1)
12:14 PM Faito
Shousei: That bubble tea has chocolate sauce in it.
12:14 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Ew.
12:15 PM Faito
Will: The note on top, with pictures drawn on it like dragons, sharp teeth, and…is that a pair of brass knuckles? "Evade the NAITO" is written in the middle of it.
12:16 PM Will
That word… Will's fingers fly over an AR keyboard to do a quick search. While her search runs, she sips at her chai nervously, even going so far as to chew on the straw. The scone rests untouched on a napkin beside her.
12:17 PM Faito
Michael: You also can make out among the scribbles "ENEMY OF KHAKHAM?"
12:17 PM Michael_Lin
…enemy of /what/?
12:18 PM Faito
How's your Hebrew?
12:18 PM Michael_Lin
Not at all.
12:19 PM Faito
At that moment, there's the sudden ROAR of an engine and the backroom door slides open. "And next time, I won't just kill one of you!" is the shout that precedes the smoke as a white-clad figure on a high-powered scooter rolls into the area. As soon as the door closes, she turns off the bike.
12:21 PM
First, for those without AR: A woman with a white beret, white riding goggles, a white surgical mask, a white canvas coat, and businesswear (with heeled boots) to match takes a moment to lead her white, fine-polished moped to a corner…and she's heading your way.
12:25 PM
For those WITH AR…eveything but the beret glistens with leather and hard armor-plastics. There is quite a bit of green blood across the bottom half of her coat. That moped looks a whole lot more like a motorcycle with tactical options and several weapons.
12:26 PM
All that said, this figure (all 5'2 of her) sits down, peels off the mask and beret, and then takes a sip of bubble tea. "So glad you could make it."
12:27 PM Will
blinks, speaking for the first time since her apology for bumping into Michael. "Um… are you okay?" The blood draws her eyes.
12:28 PM Faito
takes a long sigh. "I've taken all of my medications, I didn't miss my pilates class, I only have 10 reports due next week, and I'm almost SURE I gave her the wrong number and that's why she never called me b-…ack. Wrong question. Yes, I'm fine."
12:29 PM Michael_Lin
very carefully doesn't meet her eyes, staring down at the closed book in his lap.
12:29 PM Faito
She takes another long sigh. "Miss Lawrenson. Misters Yamazaki, Mister Lin. It's a pleasure. My name is Hershey's Xiao and I think we have some things to discuss."
12:29 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…Shousei looks up from his decaf and raises an eyebrow.
12:30 PM Faito
She surreptitiously moves some things aside and happens to move a notecard out of the way and another in her likely view.
12:31 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"I assure you that whatever you, uhm, want to speak of… that…" But Night isn't here. But this other woman is. He trails off. "What is going on?" he says, far less confidently.
12:32 PM Michael_Lin
She's asking the wrong person if she wants discussion…he isn't going to be much help.
12:32 PM Will
Getting no decent hits on the word Naito other than a bunch of hentai and vague anime references, Will gives up. "Such as?"
12:32 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He is currently presuming that this woman is completely insane, but in some kind of genuine position of power.
12:32 PM Faito
She blinks. "That was fast." Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. She clears her throat. "Well…the reason I brought up those examples is that each of you seems to be surrounded by data errors in the game. Errors I think you might be causing intentionally."
12:33 PM
She then blanches. "…oh, crap. I skipped the examples."
12:33 PM Will
Oh shit. This is it. Her investigation into the Diver cases is about to be exposed, and she'll never find Freyja…. she should have just stayed home……
12:33 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Bw- no! What?" Shousei grimances. "Damnit, I knew that must've been some kind of faulty… software or hardware or something. It wasn't intentional!"
12:33 PM Will
vaguely considers bolting.
12:34 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"I just walked into a building! That's not hacking."
12:34 PM Michael_Lin
Michael nearly sits bolt upright, blinking confusedly.
12:34 PM Faito
She just stares at the three of them. "…none of this makes sense without the examples. L-let's start again…"
12:34 PM
<@Faito> She takes another long sigh. "Miss Lawrenson. Misters Yamazaki, Mister Lin. It's a pleasure. My name is Hershey's Xiao and I think we have some things to discuss."
12:35 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"I'll /give/ you the headset if you want it, m- wh- okay." He blinks.

12:35 PM
Did she just make the same grammar mistake twice?
Faito
"…all right. So. First…Miss Lawrenson. Isn't it odd that a number of anomalies have happened within a block of you since your character information appeared in the city/"
12:39 PM Will
"…A-anomalies like what?" Fist clench beneath the table. Pretend you don't know what she's talking about…
12:39 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…While he's thinking about it, he's going to try to take the damn thing out and turn on the parental controls. He's been meaning to.
12:39 PM
Well, the censoring bits anyhow.
12:39 PM Faito
"Well, for one thing, I picked up you actively playing in the apartment of someone who's a casual player at best. Making friends?"
12:41 PM Will
"I… thought that'd be a g-good idea, yeh. I been 'ere fer a few months now, an' ain't gotten meself out much t'be frank."
12:42 PM Faito
(Deceit?)
12:42 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Huh. Foreigner. Eh.
12:42 PM Will
(0)
12:44 PM Faito
Card-snap. "…Riiight. And Mister Lin…I've noticed that while you are a devil summoner, you seem to be lacking some key items. such as…well, a demon. Isn't that odd?"
12:47 PM Michael_Lin
can't get the words out. Doesn't even want to try, and Nikaia could have done it but Nikaia isn't /here/. Instead, he pulls a piece of paper out of his bag and a pen and starts writing.
12:48 PM Michael_Lin
I don't know - I never picked a path when I made my character.
12:48 PM Faito
"Mmm. And of course, there's Mister Yamazaki…a scion of the new technological age." She looks on the paper and gives Michael a…actually friendly smile. "Visited any new schools lately?"
12:49 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head and just shrinks down in his seat.
12:49 PM Faito
Shousei: Your parental control settings are locked and password protected. But you never set a password for them.
12:49 PM
Random glitch?
12:49 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei glances at him, then the admin, then glares at the stupid AR goggles and turns them off again.
12:50 PM
"What do you want?"
12:51 PM Faito
"…a few more days off. Another Admin that won't power-trip, perv out, or completely fail to handle work. I want her to CALL me, because I really am not in the best place emotionally right now and- …oh. Wrong question."
12:51 PM Faito
consults her cards. "H-hey. I'm the one asking the questions here."
12:52 PM Faito
She clears her throat. "Well…the reason I brought up those examples is that each of you seems to be surrounded by data errors in the game. Errors I think you might be causing intentionally."
12:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei's hackles raise slightly. "Yes, you already said that. And I've already said I'm not doing anything intentionally- as if I would even have the knowledge to do so?"
12:54 PM
"…For that matter, your data is wrong. He does have a demon; I've seen it. So obviously there are bugs we are not responsible for."
12:56 PM Faito
She blinks. "Wh-what? But I was checking his records right before the faerie war scenario-" She clears her throat. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. "You see, these anomalies all bear the signature of intentional hacks. This isn't errant code; it's motivated."
12:56 PM
She looks at Will. "You're using the game to communicate illegally with someone."
12:56 PM
She looks at Michael. "You've hacked your basic parameters."
12:56 PM
And then to Shousei. "And you're subtly affecting multiple player profiles."
12:57 PM Michael_Lin
is entirely certain that he shouldn't have even played the game to begin with.
12:58 PM Will
's jaw drops open a little. Once she has a chance to recover, her nerves are all gone, and she looks at Xiao coldly. "I havena initiated any of those correspondences. What do ye know about me situation?"
12:58 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He shakes his head. "Perhaps someone else is doing it? I /have/ noticed anomalies myself; I would be happy to help you figure it out."
12:58 PM Michael_Lin
writes on the paper more.
12:59 PM Michael_Lin
I don't know how to hack: I barely managed to get the game to run. Um, could you just delete my account then? I'll be happy not to play any more.
12:59 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Just not… whatever 'affecting multiple profiles' even means."
12:59 PM Faito
"Well, you'd probably look pretty cute if you didn't have that trapped-animal thing going. Mostly, I just kind of feel like you need a h….hug. Right. Wrong question." She rubs her eyes. "That's just it, Will. I don't know WHY you came here…."
12:59 PM
"And I can't delete any of your profiles. I…kinda tried."
12:59 PM
She looks away, looking rather guilty.
12:59 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Are you completely certain you don't simply need sleep, ma'am?" He raises an eyebrow.
1:00 PM
"…You're not the one who password-protected anything, are you?"
1:00 PM Michael_Lin
puts on his glasses for the first time that day, tries to delete his account himself.
1:00 PM Faito
"There…were odd reactions to my admin access of each of your accounts-"
1:00 PM
Michael: Discipline roll?
1:00 PM Will
"…" Xiao's response unnerves Will even more. Her hand shakes as she reaches for her chai and takes a sip, leaning back in her chair.
1:01 PM Michael_Lin
(1)
1:02 PM Faito
At this point, everyone wearing AR gets a nice, bright nova to their vision…and Michael gets the best, worst migraine of his life.
1:02 PM
"AAAAGH!" is the resounding cry.
1:03 PM Will
Including from Will, who slides her glasses on top of her head and rubs her eyes. "Wha' tgh' bloody 'ell!!" she cries in English.
1:03 PM
(th'^)
1:03 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…" Shousei looks disturbed.
1:03 PM Michael_Lin
just drops his head down onto the table, lets the glasses drop to the floor and just wishes he'd disappear.
1:04 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Are… are you all right?" he asks the other boy, thinking he looks like he's collapsed or something.
1:05 PM Faito
There's the general cry of panic below, but Xiao shouts. "Keep it cool, everyone! Go to LP!" She types furiously at the air and then goes pale. "…Th…th-that is NOT possible."
1:05 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Why did you bring us here and accuse us of things you don't even understand?" Shousei hisses.
1:06 PM Michael_Lin
just really doesn't want to know.
1:06 PM Will
"Wot ent possible?" She manages to switch back to Chinese before she speaks, still trying to blink purplish-green bruises out of her eyes.
1:07 PM Faito
"…n-no. That was a GnOSis override. That wasn't…wasn't the game software. Every OS in in the room just basically stood up and said, 'No' to whatever Mister Lin just did. That…I…that isn't even MATH."
1:07 PM Michael_Lin
just writes on the paper limply, not even really looking at it.
1:07 PM Michael_Lin
I tried to delete my account.
1:08 PM
He isn't even sure that he can write legibly right now but.
1:08 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He licks his lips. "I have been blown up, by your software, led into legal trouble, and threatened with god knows what from an insane woman, and believe me, ma'am, I will be expecting an explanation for this."
1:08 PM
"And possibly an apology to these other two people."
1:09 PM Faito
"I-I-I c-can't explain what doesn't make any sense! Sorry, okay, but…but…but I'm worried about my friend, and I have to figure out how Naito did this, and if she's in danger! And if this is all turning into the Matrix or something and oh god a pixie answered my vmail."
1:09 PM
She looks like she's on the verge of tears.
1:11 PM Will
"…" As the lights fade from her eyes, Will looks closely at Xiao. Her reaction sounds eerily similar to how Will herself felt after… "Right then. Let's take a couple o' steps back an' try t' piece 'is together another way, hey? Who's Naito, and what's 'appened t' 'er?"
1:12 PM Faito
She blinks. "Her? You think this is about a teenaged girl?" She snorts. "She's barely even a player."
1:13 PM Will
"…Then what about yer friend ye mentioned?"
1:13 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Not Naito Misaki?
1:14 PM
"You think /she/ did this?" Shousei looks… frightened?
1:15 PM Faito
She shakes her head. "I don't know HOW Naito's involved in this, but I doubt his daughter's involved. She's…kind of a joke, really. Nothing to be taken seriously." She leans back. "My tribe's been investigating errors like these for weeks. Trying to find what lies underneath. The..sefirot, if you wil. There's an underlying logic."

1:16 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Oh dear god. No, no no. No. You have- a /joke/? Have you /met/ her?"
1:16 PM Faito
"Well…no. She's a minor. Hands-off, y'know?"
1:17 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…/I'm/ a minor."
1:17 PM
"And so is he. Actually, she's /not/."
Faito
"Close enough. She's still just a kid." She sips more of her tea. "Look…maybe I jumped to conclusions." She reaches up from under the table and sets down a…well, that looks like a shock baton. In AR, it looks a lot more like a nasty little collapsible blade.
1:18 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei does not normally get this riled. "I- you know what, nevermind. Start from the top. You were saying something useful."
1:19 PM
"You and some friends have been investigating weird things, your friend is in danger and you think for some reason Night's father has something to do with it, whoever he is?"
1:19 PM
"…" …And she chose to drag us here rather than going to the police? No, this must be an in-game thing. If she's roleplaying Shousei may very well scream.
1:21 PM Michael_Lin
is just listening for now, his head still on the table.
1:21 PM Faito
She shakes her head. "Not really a friend, more an acquaintance. She's…acting weird. And it matches certain patterns I found in internal messages…before the whole record got pulled from the company's database."
1:21 PM
She pointedly looks away from Will.
1:21 PM Will
"The Diver cases?"
1:22 PM Faito
She looks down.
1:23 PM Will
takes that as a yes and almost regrets her cold words from earlier. She knows how it feels to be worried about a Diver, after all. "Why din't ye say so up front 'en, lass? I been lookin' into those f'r months."
1:25 PM Faito
"Because I couldn't be sure you didn't cause it. You've got the hardware knowledge and your…friend had the lingustic background. This all has to do with words and what they mean."
1:25 PM
She deflates, tossing her cards onto the table.
1:26 PM Will
reaches for the cards to look at them.
1:26 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Are you even really an admin?"
1:26 PM Faito
Pretty much everything she said earlier on is on the cards. Including some interesting threats, some rather…purple spy-romance talk, and-
1:27 PM
She looks up. "Hey, watch it, toddler. I'm the only admin in Singapore, because this is a crap jop, dangerous, the pay is terrible, and I really really really love this game."
1:27 PM
"I'm the only person for miles that won't abuse, avoid, or ignore what's actually going on, and believe it or not, I want to HELP you, so watch. Your. Mouth."
1:29 PM Will
"Not a good way t' offer t' 'elp people by goin' 'round accusin' 'em of messin' wiv Amala," Will points out. Gingerly, she pulls her AR glasses back down over her eyes, pulling up a program to try to copy the cards' images.
1:29 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He's about to make a remark, but decides against it. "Okay. Fine. Thank you for… trying, I guess. I guess if you're looking into things, you're at least /technically/ useful. I mean, on the same side." Yes, that's actually way better than what he was going to say.
1:30 PM
No one ever accused him of social skill. "So, if you've gotten off the hacking thing, I'd be happy to give you what information I have."
1:32 PM
… He considers buying Michael a drink or something. Or some headache medicine. Seriously, he looks miserable. Not that you could tell, as his 'empathetic' face is very close to his 'offended' face.
1:32 PM Faito
"Okay…sorry." She shakes her hair out, trying to clear her head. "What I know so far - there are anomalies surrounding each of your profiles that are…worrisome. Will's got these 'ghost messages'. Michael…apparently had some sort of profile I've never seen. And then there's you, Yamazaki."
1:33 PM Michael_Lin
is just so confused right now.
1:35 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He nods. "So what do you mean, 'affecting multiple profiles'? I had a hard time getting the computer to accept my input when I went for the, erm. Manifest Potential, that one. Then it sort of went cock-eyed, an old man read my fortune, and the stupid tutorial angel turned into a demon halfway through the first mission."
1:36 PM Faito
She pouts. "Hey, I wrote that angel…it was supposed to be funny." She practically wilts. "Oh, it's just a pet theory, but I think you might be contagious."
1:36 PM Michael_Lin
Contagious?
1:37 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Really, setting a tutorial mission in an elementary school was a bad idea. We seem to have accidentally hit something… it was /not/ funny. Well." He considers. "I suppose it would've been, but I don't appreciate that sort of humor."
1:37 PM
"…Huh? Like a virus?"
1:38 PM Faito
"The school was never a valid location. The FW scenario seeks out pre-set play areas or builds onto sufficient green-space. It should've never been able to get into the school unless someone green-spaced the whole building."
1:38 PM Michael_Lin
So something went wrong. Or…someone did that on purpose?
1:38 PM
He remembers what he'd overheard, the talk about an 'experiment'.
1:39 PM Faito
"Besides…I ran some of the video before it was pulled." Looking away from Will again. "…I kinda…saved it." She clears her throat. "ANYWAY, the boiler explosion is weird…the boiler peaked temp several times…synced to when parts of the ARcitecture were attacked by your party."
1:41 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"So someone /does/ know what happened." Shousei's getting calmer.
1:43 PM Faito
"I figured you knew. The recordings were pulled by Yamazaki Senior."
1:43 PM Michael_Lin
Oh. Oh dear.
1:43 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…That does explain the lawyer. No, my father doesn't really tell me things."
1:44 PM Faito
"..does anyone have a functional family in this town? I'm going to bring that up in mother/daughter sessions this week. It's really starting to…bug me. Anyway."
1:44 PM
She sits up. "That's what I've got. Now dish - what've you got?"
1:45 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…There's nothing /wrong/ with my family." He doesn't look too offended, but.
1:45 PM Michael_Lin
doesn't answer that rhetorical question.
1:46 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Hmm." He thinks. "Well. If the angel was you, and the boiler room you know… was the creepy old man with the tarot cards a normal process? I don't know if I actually /completed/ that part of the profile."
1:46 PM Will
Will hesitates before speaking. After this… admin roundly accused her of trying to bring down the game, does she dare trust her with her precious research? She waits for a few seconds as Mr. Yamazaki speaks.
1:46 PM Faito
"Creepy old man? You know my fath-….oh, wait. Wrong question. You mean the one in the program."
1:46 PM Faito
brings up something on her goggles and reviews. "…those nose is both phallic and disturbing. Who IS that?"
1:47 PM Faito
"…race - Mannequin? What in hell? Why are there talking puppets now/"
1:49 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Huh?"
1:49 PM Will
"What d'ye mean?"
1:50 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Oh." No, that sounds like the right guy.
1:50 PM Faito
shakes her head. "I don't know who coded this, but they're a) very good,and b) not using any standard templates. It's like they took an MP profile and snaped it into pieces."
1:50 PM Faito
"…it shouldn't even work. According to this, you have no soul. Well, no personality, anyway. I've never even heard of someone scoring zero…you know, I know a great therapist…"
1:52 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…"
1:52 PM
It takes Shousei a moment to realize she's not actually calling him shallow. The look on his face is priceless and nearly purple.
1:52 PM Faito
She looks entirely serious and a little concerned.
1:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…I. Am kind of oblivious, I know. And I… may not have obsessions or… dreams or whatever, but… no, it just wouldn't take my /answers/. I told it things and it got annoyed! And if I got a zero, how did I get one of those summons?"
1:55 PM Faito
She shrugs. "…the program judged you and assigned something. It's…weird. So elegant, though…."
1:55 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Did… it just randomly assign me one?"
1:55 PM
He sighs. Wait, someone else was talking.
1:56 PM Faito
"Nothing is random," she says, like she's said it a million times.
1:56 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Well, /obviously/, but I mean in computer terms. Pseudo-random." Totally missing the point, math student.
1:56 PM Faito
flips something over…and blinks. "…This looks like Ariel's coding. Not yours, Shousei. Now….if only I could figure out what all this junk data is supposed to DO…it isn't actually feeding into the game profile…"
1:57 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Oh." Pause. "Ariel?"
1:57 PM Will
"Hmm… c'n I see 't?"
1:57 PM Night_Misaki has joined the channel.
1:59 PM Faito
"Oh, the last admin. Quit a couple months ago, claimed she was on the design team. A pretty nasty person to meet in a back alley IG, too. Sweet my sweet ass…and kind of…cute….wow….what IS this code?"
1:59 PM
She sends a rather huge file over to Will's comp.
2:02 PM Will
opens it, scanning the lines of code.
2:06 PM Will
…Now she's half-regretting taking her fileserver completely off the grid before she left her apartment. Would be nice to cross-ref some of this with her data there. She makes sure a copy of the file is saved to her COMP. "Yeh, 's def Iris's work, hey? She worked wiv me girl when we was both back home.."
2:07 PM Faito
"Your…friend was on the original dev team?"
2:08 PM Michael_Lin
"I-Iris?" how many women named Iris were working on the development things? not that many, likely…
2:08 PM Will
"Ayup. I did a li'l too, but not s'much as Freyja." Wow, she managed not to choke on the name. "Me girl was in deep early on, doin' a lot of localisation work an' such."
2:09 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…He spoke?
2:11 PM Night_Misaki
At around this time, certain not-at-all-underage people come in the door of the bar.The faint strains of some woodwind play somewhere. Where do tumbleweed even show up in Singapore, anyway?
2:13 PM Michael_Lin
AR effect, clearly.
2:13 PM Night_Misaki
None of that is important, because in the space of …what she sincerely hopes was just a nap, Night's classmates went missing and she had an unread message. Needless to say, she wasn't exactly pleased. "…I really sincerely hope you've had fun on this little field trip. Neither of you is even old enough to be in here."
2:14 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei jumps about six inches, but-
2:14 PM
"-See? She's older than /we/ are."
2:14 PM Night_Misaki
"By less than six months, that's not the point."
2:14 PM Faito
Xiao looks over at Night. "…oh, god. I'm running late. I just hope Annabell doesn't show up…"
2:15 PM Michael_Lin
just really wants to disappear right now.
2:16 PM Will
Wait. "You ken Annabell too?"
2:16 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…No, I still want to know what these 'sefirot' are and whether I can't just return this stupid thing and get a set that functions and a profile that'll let me play."
2:18 PM Annabell
may not be a devil, merely a supposed caller of them, but it is as though the mention of her name caused her to appear. Or, at the least, walk in in the wake of Night's entrance. Impossible dark eyes, at least in AR where they were not hidden behind the glasses, look around slowly for signs of the one who called her here
2:22 PM Faito
"It's…more complex than that, now. It's tied to your profile, not your hardware. And that ties to biometrics…it's as unique as your fingerprint. There's no way to know it won't jsut happen again."
2:22 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Night smiles, in a most unsettling way that looks eerily like the person she learned it from. Couldn't be many other japanese with bright, ice blue eyes, could there? "Sefirot are angels, but in this case it's a term the Khakham use to explain the fragments of 'truth' in the game. The Khakham are loreseekers, they pride themselves on excellence."
2:23 PM
"Just what have you been doing to bring that up, you two?"
2:25 PM Michael_Lin
Maybe if he just breaks his hardware and doesn't get another set, even if he can't delete his profile, he won't have to deal with it. Outside of paying for it every month….sigh.
2:26 PM Faito
sighs. "None of your business, Misaki. I have different questions for you."
2:26 PM Faito
(The woman does, not Faito.)
2:26 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Huh. Truth as in what?"
2:27 PM
"We've been talking about the game glitches."
2:27 PM Night_Misaki
"It's all my business, Xiao, especially where those two are concerned."
2:27 PM
"Well, you'd have to ask them, now wouldn't you?"
2:27 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"She thinks he doesn't have a demon and my profile apparently glitched and got turned into multiple peoples'."
2:27 PM Night_Misaki
"He doesn't have a demon. Jacques wasn't taking orders from him."
2:28 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"And something about your father, and for some reason she thinks you're an adorable little child who shouldn't get involved." He grumphs.
2:28 PM Faito
"I don't know about adorable anymore. Much nicer in pictures."
2:28 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Oh? I thought the demon he came in with was his. Fair enough."
2:28 PM Night_Misaki
"Or-" Night suddenly goes very, very quiet. And very very still. "…What…about my father?"
2:29 PM Michael_Lin
…oh dear.
2:29 PM Will
frowns. Clearly these two know each other. She goes back to reviewing the code, her eyes alternately looking around the bar and going over it with a fine-tooth comb, then… "Well, Xiao, if ye're waitin' on Annabell, I t'ink she jes' got 'ere."
2:30 PM Annabell
"Um, Danu?" Annabell murmured to her pixie as she moved away from the door, still trying to spot anyone sitting alone, "This is probably silly, but do you have any idea what Hershey looks like? I only met her when she looked like an 'op'. Or could you message her or something to say that I'm here?"
2:30 PM Michael_Lin
just really quietly crushes his AR glasses under his foot. He really shouldn't feel that brief pang of loss at that, but so it happens.
2:31 PM Faito
Danu nods and shouts, "Hey, Hershey's!"
2:32 PM
Hershey's looks up, blinking. "…did a pixie just…oh, god. no no no no no…."
2:32 PM
Danu waves up at the table. "There she is, Bella!"
2:32 PM Annabell
bit back a laugh even as she blushed then straightened and headed towards -that- table, "That worked, Danu. Thanks."
2:33 PM Night_Misaki
"Xiao." Night is still completely and utterly calm. "Take a deep breath, and start from the top, because you have a great deal of explaining to do."
2:34 PM Faito
"I don't have a thing to explain to you, child. You're welcome to sit down. Do you want some tea or coffee?" For someone so uneasy earlier, she tightens up quickly. "You'll behave around my guests."
2:35 PM Night_Misaki
Night-smiles, a sharp crescent moon grin that promises Hershey's is not going to be happy later. "Well, given you've stolen my coffee dates, I'll have to go for that tea."
2:35 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…" Shousei rubs his eyes.
2:35 PM Night_Misaki
"Oh don't you even start."
2:35 PM Michael_Lin
just rests his head on the table. When do visiting hours start at the hospital? What time is it?
2:36 PM Hersheys_Xiao
sends over a digital gift card that's enough for a pot and a whole tray of pastries. "My guest."
2:36 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Michael: Couple of hours to go. It's barely after noon.
2:36 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"We're not your guests."
2:36 PM Night_Misaki
Let's have a seat then, shall we. And just keep. Smiling.
2:36 PM Hersheys_Xiao
waves over to Annabell. "Come on over. We're just…sorting things out."
2:37 PM Hersheys_Xiao
winces at Shousei. "I know, rocky start, but if you're not causing the problems, I really am here to help."
2:37 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…" Shousei looks very hesitant and kind of awkward. "Could- you- see if he wants something? He looks ill," he says to Night. "And you… things. Nevermind," he mumbles.
2:37 PM
"I appreciate that. Just…" Stop being dismissive to my not-friends-they're-both-certifiable-but-no-one-else-will-speak-to-me.
2:37 PM
"Nevermind."
2:37 PM Night_Misaki
"…Shousei."
2:38 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…What?" He snaps.
2:38 PM Night_Misaki
Night almost looks…tired for a moment. "Just speak if you have something to say."
2:38 PM
"In complete sentences."
2:38 PM Annabell
tried to find a seat to rest on, glancing over the others there before she spotted one person in particular. Upon spotting Will she gave a deliberate nod then commented quietly, "You two are… friends then?"
2:38 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He grumble-sighs. "Right."
2:39 PM Will
"Wouldna call Xiao 'ere me friend, lass, but we be workin' on 't… mebbe." She does give Annabell a smile though, and tips an imaginary hat at the Pixie at her side. Bean Sidhe, of course, tenses at the other demon's presence.
2:40 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Danu gives Bean a 'bring it' gesture. She certainly seems full of vim now.
2:40 PM Night_Misaki
…Somewhere, Night makes a note to keep Jack asleep for this.
2:40 PM
He's not exactly a subtle creature.
2:42 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"We are experiencing technical difficuties," Xiao mutters. "Look, guys, we all have things we care about…and together, we can fix this. I hope. But I'll need each of you…now, Michael. Are you okay?"
2:42 PM Annabell
had dressed perhaps a little more… nicely that a very casual meeting would suggest with a good quality blouse and skirt. However the way she was starting to frown hinted that she was reconsidering a few things.
2:43 PM Michael_Lin
just lifts his head off the table and nods. He isn't sure. He can still see the flickers of whatever it is out of the corner of his eyes, even with his AR glasses in pieces under the table.
2:44 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Night quietly pulls advil out of her bag-when did she get her bag and why does it have painkillers in it?-and slides it across the table to Michael.
2:44 PM Hersheys_Xiao
stares at Night.
2:44 PM Michael_Lin
just stares at it.
2:44 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…you are a weird, weird little woman."
2:44 PM Night_Misaki
He was a dream, this was all a dream, but people could die in dreams, and he'd saved her. That was all. "…That's hilarious, coming from you."
2:45 PM
"And I'm taller than you are, knock it off with the 'little'."
2:45 PM Michael_Lin
just slides it back, shaking his head.
2:45 PM Night_Misaki
Alright then. Back in the bag it went.
2:46 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Size is not a function of physics, but of impact," she recites. "Anyway. I'm with a tribe, called the Khakham. We look into these code anomalies. We're trying to uncover….well, the link behind a few specific incidents."
2:46 PM
She glances at Will and Annabell. "To make sure no one gets hurt by a game I personally love."
2:46 PM
"So…please. If you can, just keep doing whatever it is that you do, see what shakes loose…and with your permission, I'll be watching."
2:47 PM Night_Misaki
"Too late." Night eyes her hand, and snorts."Hurting is more than physical damage."
2:47 PM Annabell
"Should I leave you all to your discussion and come back at another time?" Annabell asked, glancing at the painkillers as they disappeared, "I've already mentioned what I know to both you and the 'uninvited guest' there when she unexpectedly visited."
2:48 PM Night_Misaki
"I believe she has separate discussions for you and I, miss. Take a seat, this should be illuminating."
2:49 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Hurt is more than physical damage, but some damage just can't be fixed….uninvited-" She stares at Danu. "…oh. Okay, what the hell is that?"
2:49 PM
Danu blinks. "…are you Welsh? Because you're just about as rude as Welshie over there."
2:49 PM Will
"Eh heh." Will is again considering mentioning her data cache to Xiao when Annabell speaks about her own visit to the other girl's flat. At the last moment she closes her mouth again, then creates an encrypted message. If Xiao is really as good as she says she is, it should be no problem for the admin to crack the encryption.
2:50 PM Night_Misaki
glances at Danu again, and then adjusts her glasses. Maybe waking Jack up wasn't such a bad idea afterwards. Unless he was going to hide behind canned responses again, but she wasn't in the mood for that bullshit. Jack, are you listening in?
2:51 PM Annabell
seemed a little confused at being asked about that, "Her name is Danu. And, unless proven otherwise, I think she is a pixie but you can ask her about that yourself if you prefer."
2:52 PM Will
ignores the pixie's jibes.
2:52 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Jack replies, Booooooooss…I don't like this plac.e There is some major mojo goin' on here and some baaaaaad mojo demons. Worst one at this table.
2:53 PM Night_Misaki
Night smiles, thin and tight. Hershey, or Danu? …Or is it one of the kids from last night?
2:53 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Xiao types something to herself, the nods. "That is no ordinary Pixie. Standard filesize: 34MB. Hers? 7.2 TB."
2:54 PM
"That's with a T."
2:54 PM
Anyone with a Scholarship of 1 or higher may feel free to whistle.
2:54 PM Michael_Lin
…o_o
2:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Hurt, well, we /did/ end up in the hospital, but no harm do- ow."
2:54 PM Will
blinks.
2:54 PM Night_Misaki
"We can spell terrabyte, Xiao, thank—Shousei shut up."
2:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"How does that even fit on the hardware." Blink.
2:54 PM Will
"TERAbytes?"
2:54 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…are you calling me fat?" Danu asks. She not does not possess a Scholarship of 2
2:54 PM Will
"Wtf."
2:54 PM Hersheys_Xiao
*1
2:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He snorts at Night.
2:55 PM Night_Misaki
Night gives him a sharp look.
2:55 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Even a top-level COMP only carries 5-6 TBs." Xiao blinks. "I'm not sure…where she's hosted."
2:55 PM Night_Misaki
Not a word about the physical damage. Especially not her hand.
2:55 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He goes back to sipping his coffee.
2:55 PM Annabell
"She mentioned that there was a problem with not having enough room, bu.." Annabell broke off at the mention of hospital and looked at those gathered with a more evaluating eye, "-Hospital-?"
2:55 PM Night_Misaki
…It still aches, son of a bitch.
2:55 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…You said you had the tapes."
2:55 PM Night_Misaki
"…Shousei, I don't think she's involved?"
2:56 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
(ack, rewind.)
2:56 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Jack finally replies, The one you tried to drug and carry off. He's a deeeemon….no kinda clan I've ever seen, though. Is he one of the Eaters?
2:56 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
(I misread the speaker. even he's not that oblivious. X3)
2:57 PM Will
The only movement from Will during the exchange is to meet Xiao's eyes once and nod minutely.
2:57 PM Night_Misaki
Night…stills for a moment. …He's not, but I'm starting to think that's why this idiot is here. He wasn't a demon last night, was he?
2:58 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The reply: Last night? Did we do something last night?
2:59 PM Night_Misaki
…Is this another one of your programmed responses? THINK, Jack. The Cerberus, the lab, the stones…everything you asked me to do.
3:00 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The answer: Don't you hee-ho holler at me. I don't know what you're talking about, boss!
3:01 PM
Xiao goes on. "So…I think we should all exchange information, just in case. Right now, we don't know enough to even make a plan. A good one, anyway."
3:01 PM Annabell
settled her metaphorical ruffled feathers and asked, as politely as she could, "I seem to be missing something here. Would someone care to explain?"
3:01 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Xiao winces. "…there's just weird stuff going on with all of your code. So this is sort of a…User Group! Yeah."
3:02 PM
(Anyone want to Empathy that?)
3:02 PM Will
(5)
3:02 PM Michael_Lin
(0)
3:02 PM Will
(6, actually.)
3:02 PM Night_Misaki
Night…seems to have gone off to la-la land, for those still in the rooms. That's…odd. Right after you went to dialed-in, programmed responses…it's only around him. I ended up in the hospital for real injuries after we fought. I have saved data from that lab. It wasn't …Huh.
3:02 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
(1.)
3:02 PM Night_Misaki
(-2)
3:03 PM
"…" Jack I think our lives just got really complicated.
3:03 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Will: She's totally got a crush on Annabell. Also, she's lying to protect her. Understandable, right?
3:03 PM
Everyone else but Night: Wow, that was a terrible lie and she should feel bad for telling such a terrible lie.
3:03 PM
Night: She isn't real. Busy. Fuck off.
3:04 PM Will
"…"
3:04 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"I… think you should let us in on the remains of what you and your people have been looking into."
3:04 PM Annabell
(3)
3:04 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Annabell: What Will got, minus the "Understandable" part.
3:05 PM Will
levels a gaze at Xiao. "Y'know, mebbe if me Freyja'd tol' me jes what she were up ta, afore she took 'er a Dive offa are 'ouse, mebbe I wouldna hafta be tryin' t' find 'er now, hey?"
3:05 PM Will
Then she blinks.
3:05 PM
Did she really say that out loud?
3:05 PM Night_Misaki
Looks like.
3:05 PM
My god, I've dreamed up a soap opera.
3:06 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…" The only word out of that Shousei understood was 'Dive'.
3:06 PM Night_Misaki
Night will translate for you later.
3:06 PM Annabell
"A… user group." Annabell began when Will's comment registered and she fell silent. There wasn't really much which could be said in response to that.
3:06 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Xiao practically jumps the table. "Wait, Freyja dove?!"
3:07 PM
"I mean, I knew you were involved with her and that she was invovled with the Divers, but- WHAT?!"
3:07 PM Will
bites her lip, but it's already out in the open… She nods.
3:07 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…This has something to do with all those disappearances?"
3:07 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…but we've been watching the news. She wasn't one of the six…"
3:07 PM Night_Misaki
"Hoy, Miss. Y'might want t' slow down f'r the lot of 'em that don't speak English as a first language." Night barely cracks an eye open…the london accent might be a bit odd coming out of that face. "Now, I think there's a lot goin' on here you're still keeping in the dark from us."
3:08 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei speaks English. /That/ was not English. That was… that was pirate.
3:08 PM Night_Misaki
That was Welsh.
3:08 PM Will
"Cuz th' bloody sods never found 'er body, an' they ruled 'er nothin' more'n a bloody disappearance!"
3:08 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…That's someplace pirates come from.
3:08 PM Night_Misaki
Pirate's intelligible.
3:08 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Fair point.

3:08 PM Will
is clearly getting upset, and her accent is becoming more unintelligible as she goes.
Night_Misaki
"…" Night watches this for a moment, before sighing. "Shousei, Michael. Get your cups off the table, please?"
3:09 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Xiao looks like she just might cry herself as she falls back. "…she had a brillant grasp of language…she…spoke to people. Not at them - TO them…."
3:09 PM Hersheys_Xiao
sighs. "And she was also Khakham."
3:09 PM Will
"…"
3:09 PM Michael_Lin
doesn't have a cup on the table.
3:10 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"She was investigating the Naito connection, in fact."
3:10 PM Night_Misaki
Night-jumps visibly.
3:10 PM Michael_Lin
picks his paper and his book up.
3:10 PM Night_Misaki
Why do these people keep using that name?
3:10 PM
They're not real, they don't get to use it!
3:11 PM Will
switches to English unthinkingly. "This godsbedamned bleedin' whole bloody t'ing-" She bites her tongue - literally. Behind the lenses of her AR glasses, her eyes look full to brimming. Suddenly, she gets up, heading downstairs and to the ladies' room.
3:12 PM Annabell
hesitates, starting to reach out towards Hershey then stopping part way and pulling her hand back, "Quite the user group. Should I go after her?"
3:12 PM Night_Misaki
As soon as things are off the table, Night leans back—and slams her heel down into it as she sets her feet on the table. "ENOUGH. This is confusing enough without you all flinging loose threads without context and using truth as some sort of knife on each other. Shouldn't the Kharkham know how dangerous knowledge is? Don't go flinging about what you know so wildly. Now take a moment, calm down, and start fro
3:12 PM
beginning."
3:13 PM
"And yeah, go along. I'm no good with people, and y'seem to know her already."
3:13 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Xiao watches her go, deflated. "Frey was digging into the OS. The universality, the flow of information…Naito was researching the same thing. People were getting hurt. We backed off, because Naito IS dangerous."
3:13 PM
She nods to Annabell.
3:13 PM Night_Misaki
"…Naito?"
3:14 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"And frankly, I'm starting to see the resemblance. Maybe it's time you left, Misaki-chan." She raises an eyebrow.
3:14 PM Annabell
got up, murmuring something unintelligible but apologetic, and headed off in the direction which Will had fled in search of the other woman.
3:15 PM Hersheys_Xiao
(Naito, Naito, Naito, Naito….."Misaki-chan" in a step-off bitch tone)

3:16 PM Will
Annabell might just see the swinging door of the ladies room. What she finds inside, though, is a girl a lot different from the confident troubleshooter who had been at her flat a couple of days ago. Will's a mess, curled up in the far corner on the floor with her knees hugged to her chest, and sobbing almost uncontrollably. She barely registers Annabell's entrance.
Night_Misaki
"…" Night slowly stands up, and leans forward, her smile completely gone. "Let me be perfectly clear. If you know what happened five years ago, if you know where he is now, if you have anything at all, there is absolutely no way I'm leaving, Xiao, and you should fucking know that."
3:18 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"If I knew where Naito was, Miss Misaki, I assure I'd let you keep what's left. I think this meeting is done. We can each meet privately, if we have more to discuss?"

3:18 PM
She remains in her seat, but her hand rests calmly on her baton.
3:18 PM Night_Misaki
"What's. Left."
3:19 PM
Jack, if she pulls that, we're finishing this.
3:19 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…"
3:19 PM
He shakes his head.
3:19 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Boss, if she pulls that, I think we're gonna have more than a SOFTWARE PROBLEM.
3:19 PM Michael_Lin
just picks up his book and paper. puts them away. Takes a moment to slide under the table (more than a little hiding) and start cleaning up the glass and remains of his AR glasses.
Shousei_Yamazaki
"Miss Xiao, with all respect, you are an idiot. Please get some sleep and talk to us afterwards."
3:20 PM Night_Misaki
If she pulls that then I can legally break both her arms in self defense.
3:20 PM Hersheys_Xiao
She blinks, completely off guard. "Excuse me?"
3:21 PM Annabell
wasn't the most empathic of people, wasn't one of those 'people persons' with a knack for saying the right thing, but seeing someone stricken with grief wasn't a new thing for her. Her face was calm, almost professional, as she moved close and just waited for Will to register her as more than a patient presence.
3:21 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"You have been incoherent this entire discussion, and now you're threatening someone you believe to be a child?"
3:21 PM
"This can't be normal behavior from an admin. I apologize if we've made things worse."
3:22 PM
"You clearly need some time off from this… whatever it is."
3:22 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"That's….that's not what happened at all. I can't explain what doesn't make any sense. You were supposed to KNOW what was going on…" She sighs, putting her hands in her face. "I…don't know how to handle these sorts of things without my character."
3:22 PM
"This is all off-script."
3:22 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Interceding. God, he sounds like his brother right now. Night glances over at Shousei, as if…considering whether or not she's going to accept it."
3:22 PM
"There is no script."
3:23 PM
"Whatever happened last night happened physically, not in the AR."
3:23 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He sighs. "Well, I know what it means to be socially awkward, but I'd still advise you to stand down before you do something… you will sincerely regret." Like get shivved by a high-schooler.
3:23 PM Night_Misaki
Hey!
3:23 PM
She doesn't need a shiv she'll use her bare hands!
3:23 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Seriously, you don't know her. She is fucking scary.
3:23 PM
Oh, /so/ much better.
3:23 PM Night_Misaki
Accuracy is important.
3:24 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"I'm not scared of the girl. But I can't blame her for her father, either." She starts to gather her things. "I need to check on Annabell. I'm sorry this didn't go the right way. Wrong questions…just means I have to find the right ones. Please keep playing - I'll keep you safe. I'm pretty…pretty good at that, at least."
3:24 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Night looks like she's seriously considering flipping the table.
3:25 PM Michael_Lin
isn't going to play any more. His answer is pretty clear when he comes out from under the table with shattered frames and broken glass in his hands.
3:25 PM Hersheys_Xiao
stares at Michael, horrified.
3:25 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Night eyes him, and then taps at her glasses. "I don't think that's going to work."
3:25 PM
Still a demon, Jack?
3:25 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…no. No, no, no, no. I won't let that happen. This is supposed to be FUN!"
3:25 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head.
3:26 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Getting stronger.
3:26 PM Night_Misaki
"Michael."
3:26 PM Michael_Lin
"I-I only played b-because my cousin gave it to me."
3:26 PM Night_Misaki
"I think I need you to hear something a…friend of mine has to say."
3:26 PM
"Because he seems to think you're a demon."
3:26 PM Michael_Lin
….
3:26 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…my mom bought this for me, so I could make real friends." She gathers up her things and bows-then prompty falls right over.
3:26 PM Michael_Lin
No.
3:26 PM
He is not staying to hear this.
3:27 PM Night_Misaki
"…Xiao, remind me, why am I the one who's a child here?"
3:27 PM Will
After a few moments, the hacker takes a shuddering breath and wipes her eyes again. They and her nose are cherry red. She finally notices Annabell. With careful enunciation through a stuffy nose, she finally speaks. "Sorry 'bout 'at back 'ere. I'd jes started finally bein' able t' function like a person, y'know? Not thinkin' about 'er every second of th' bleedin' day. An' I c'n finally start lookin' f'r 'er wit' a clearish he
3:27 PM
ad, hey? Then…" The angry finger gesture vaguely up and outside the bathroom gives Annabell an idea that what has Will upset is something Xiao said.
3:27 PM Michael_Lin
is going to turn around and start to walk out.
3:27 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Heh." Shousei grins.
3:27 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Ow…you're a child, because otherwise, you're an enemy. I don't like fighting kids." She regathers things. "Now what do you mean, a demon?"
3:28 PM Michael_Lin
He isn't anything. Isn't anything at all.
3:28 PM Night_Misaki
"…" More and more like Nikaia every second. Good. "Keep track of him, Shousei, I don't think this'll end well for you." She shrugs, turning on her heel. "Don't know. I haven't gotten any answers from you, so I'm not real keen on giving you any."
3:28 PM
"Can't get something for nothing.
3:29 PM Annabell
listened, not saying anything as Will spoke, then just reached out and gently squeezed her shoulder before murmuring, "Would it help distract you if I said that the first thing that I thought when I saw you two together was '…they outsource -stalking- nowadays'?"
3:29 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"-Wha?" Shousei was distracted by what Xiao said, but he turns his attention to Michael who is bleeding wait why is he bleeding Shousei grabs a napkin.
3:29 PM Michael_Lin
Bleeding and just kind of walked-ran out the door.
3:29 PM Night_Misaki
Go get him, tiger.
3:30 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei is run-running after him.
3:30 PM Hersheys_Xiao
She stands up, facing off against Night. "You're the kind of person that makes things worse by being there. Give me one good reason I should work with you. It's obviously you know even less than I do."
3:30 PM Michael_Lin
Okay, if there's someone else running down after him, Michael's just going to flat out bolt.
3:31 PM Will
That gets a ghost of a smile from Will. "Thanks… I think."
3:32 PM Night_Misaki
"Because the only way this gets better is if it gets worse." Night shakes her head, sighing. "You talk like you knew him, so maybe you'll understand when I say knowledge is a heavy burden, but it's a burden everyone deserves a choice to carry. I'm not going to lie to anyone about what's happening."
3:32 PM Will
"Wit' all that Xiao were sayin' up 'ere… I mean, I loved Freyja. I'da died f'r her. But th'more that bird spoke about me girl? I were startin' t' think maybe I din't know 'er as well as I thought."
3:32 PM Night_Misaki
"If you want to save this dream, maybe you should consider doing the same."
3:33 PM Hersheys_Xiao
She considers the girl for a long time. "I'll think about it. It's a tribe decision."
3:33 PM Annabell
"I don't know who exactly is involved, and I don't mean about 'stalking' there, but I'm not the best person to ask about knowing anyone." Annabell replied self-depreciatingly, "You loved someone and, as far as I know, part of that is that you start learning about them. Not that you start out knowing everything about them."
3:34 PM Michael_Lin
isn't looking where he's going, or paying attention to where he's putting his feet, until his foot comes down on a slick spot (someone spilled a drink) and trips. headlong. down the stairs.
3:35 PM Night_Misaki
"…the Kharkham…" Night sighs, toying with the long blue bangle hanging from one ear. "Well, you know how to find me, I'm sure. I just want you to remember; more than one 'truth' can exist. I'm going to look for the reasons 'why' he's done…whatever it is he's done and left me alone in this nightmare."
3:36 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Why is one of the few questions we don't often bother with…that's a personal thing." With that, she heads down and after seeing the Michael/Shousei situation resolve, leaves.
3:37 PM Night_Misaki
"Why is the most important question. Nothing happens without the 'why'."
3:37 PM
Now to find her bag and…and…
3:37 PM

3:37 PM
Jack, I need to blow something up.
3:37 PM
Any suggestions?
3:38 PM Hersheys_Xiao
….Hee-ho, here we go! Let's blow them all up! Canned…
3:38 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…Why is he stop that stop running damnit- Shousei just about slides down the stairs and catches Michael before he lands.
3:38 PM Will
ACTION shakes her head, realising what she's saying probably just sounds like rubbish to Annabell. "Ye're prolly right. I jes thought…" She sighs, getting up and wetting a hand towel to run over her face. Now it was merely splotchy instead of red. "Sorry again. I din't wanta break down inta a ball o' sobbin' right out there where God'n ever'one could see me, hey? But thanks f'r comin' after me." She holds out her hand to Ann
3:39 PM Night_Misaki
Night grits her teeth, and slams her fist into a wall. Enough, enough enough enough enough! This is so dull, so infuriating, she won't have it. This is her dream, goddammit.
3:39 PM
…Maybe a gym. Maybe the tae kwon do team. She hasn't punched them in the face recently.
3:39 PM
They're getting complacent.
3:41 PM Michael_Lin
isn't really sure what happened, except that his half-brother just caught him. Bag full of heavy books and all.
3:41 PM Annabell
"I'm pretty sure that you'd have to run a lot further to make sure God couldn't see you." Annabell replied, but she took Will's hand, "But you are welcome. Better this than anything violent and so says someone who got punched once for smiling at the wrong time."
3:42 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Uff- Shousei looks very awkward for a second, then attempts to half-drag Michael over to a chair to sit. "I- look, I don't know what's going on, but you're clearly not well. Sit down so I can get a bandage."
3:43 PM Michael_Lin
just lets himself be dragged.
3:43 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Do you- need to go back to the hospital? Is it- bad?" He looks puzzled and mildly irritated, or possibly just confused.
3:43 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head. It's just his hands.
3:44 PM Michael_Lin
And now that Shousei is close enough, he can probably see the broken AR glasses frames, too.
3:44 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Danu flits over and lands on Will's head. And Will FEELS it. "Hey…it'll be okay. We're gonna help, aren't we, Bella?"
3:45 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Ah…" Shousei hmmphs. "All right. Don't move, will you?"
3:45 PM
He goes over to see if the barista has a first aid kit.
3:46 PM Hersheys_Xiao
She does and runs over. "Do you want me to call an ambulance?" As she works on Michael, only he hears REJOICE, REJOICE, REJOICE in the edge of his hearing.
3:46 PM Annabell
"I'll be trying to." Annabell agreed with the pixie and then tugged Will towards the door, "Should we go back to the back or sit outside the front for a while? Either way, sitting in here probably isn't the greatest of ideas."
3:47 PM Michael_Lin
is torn between bolting again while Shousei has his back turned and just passive obedience and in the end, the latter wins out.
3:47 PM Michael_Lin
shakes his head, and closes his eyes tightly. Now he's hallucinating even more.
3:47 PM Will
"Oi." Will ducks reflexively when the pixie flies toward her, then looks at Annabell. "Bella, hey? I s'pose it works." The hacker rubs at her eyes one more time, then follows Annabell. "Ye're prolly right, lass."
3:48 PM Night_Misaki
After a long moment, Night takes a shuddering slow breath. Alone in a dream. She's always been this way, right. It's fine, none of it is real, when she wakes up he'll be waiting for her (please don't leave me alone again jack come back there's more than code and numbers in this game come back), so it's fine. There's work to do. Homework to do. Cat who needs feeding. Secrets than need finding. She just has to take
3:48 PM
breaths and figure out the next step.
3:48 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…" Shousei looks at Michael, not really knowing what to do.
3:48 PM Annabell
"I'm taking it as a compliment." Annabell replied dryly, "I haven't exactly been called 'beautiful' many times in my life so I'll take every little I can."
3:48 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Are you okay, boss? You're acting like a nutcase or something. Hee-ho, let's just go scare someone!
3:49 PM
Danu grins, riding Will's hair like reins. "Anyone who gives someone a good name IS beautiful! I'm Danu, by the way!"
3:49 PM Night_Misaki
I'm-You know what, that's just too long to explain. I like your idea, let's go.
3:50 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The barista finishes binding Michael's hands and whispers in, "Are you okay, honey? I think your friend is going to get you home. SOON. SOON. SOON…everything will be just fine."
3:50 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"I should… I have no idea where he lives- where's Night?"
3:50 PM
Night knows, right? She's a stalker.
3:51 PM Michael_Lin
just nods, his eyes tightly closed. He doesn't want to hear this. Whatever it is.
3:51 PM Night_Misaki
WHY DOES EVERYONE ASSUME THAT. But Night is already heading down the stairs and out of the building, so you may have to run to catch her.
3:53 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Keep him still for a minute?"
3:53 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The barista nods. "I've got him, he's all mine. Go on."
3:54 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
That was a creepy way of putting it but- "…I'll be right back, Lin."
3:54 PM
Running after Night.
3:55 PM Will
"Well, good t' meet ye, Danu-lass." Will takes a look around outside the bathroom, peering over her AR glasses at the two guys who had been upstairs. "I sh'd prolly go apologise t' Xiao too. Weren't her fault I got upset, really." She heads upstairs, looking for the admin.
3:55 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Already gone, it seems
3:57 PM Night_Misaki
Night is already pulling keys out of her pocket, considering where best she can grind for levels…maybe find something interesting. Her bag does indeed have a helmet in it and-who the hell gave her a motorcycle?
3:57 PM
WHere did she get the money for that.
3:58 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Hey!" Where /did/ she get a motorcycle?
3:58 PM Annabell
followed along behind Will then bit back a curse as it seemed that her… person to meet had already departed. Looking at the table and the distinct lack of certain people she asked Will, "Was it something I said?"
3:58 PM Night_Misaki
"…" Shousei. One of the more amusing ghosts. Fine, then. Night looks back over her shoulder. "What?"
3:59 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei pauses well out of melee threat range. "Ah- Night- sorry- do you know where he lives? I don't think he's getting home without help."
3:59 PM
"It… would be irresponsible for me to leave him." He stands up straight, trying to look… something. Nonthreatening? Sensible?
3:59 PM Night_Misaki
"…Why does everyone assume I know these thin—Check his ID, the address should be on there. Or take him with you, if it's that bad, he shouldn't be unsupervised."
4:00 PM Will
"Prolly not. She were gettin' a couple o' us riled up, intentional or no. She mighta flown th' coop afore any of us got violent."
4:00 PM Night_Misaki
Michael wasn't interesting enough to know where he lived!
4:00 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Danu shrugs. "She's kind of creepy. Will's much more fun." She's starting to get heavy up there.
4:00 PM Night_Misaki
Or hadn't been
4:00 PM
She knows where you live, Shousei.
4:00 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…You do put up an impression of having some kind of esoteric knowledge." He shrugs. "Er- right. Or I guess I'm just being oblivious again. Whatever. Thank you."
4:00 PM
Also? That. He'll start walking away now.
4:01 PM Night_Misaki
"I have no reason for stalking him. Or, well, had."
4:01 PM
"Besides, if I showed up at his house he'd have a heart attack and I am not giving him CPR."
4:02 PM Will
's eyes cross and look up. "Ye sure you ent eatin' anyt'ing up 'ere, little lass?"
4:02 PM Night_Misaki
"Now get going. This is probably gonna get ugly, and make sure he does his homework."
4:02 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
…He /could/ take him to his house. His dad would probably… well no, if Shousei's lucky his dad isn't home to begin with and he'll just have quiet to deal with. Or the twerp. "I wasn't aware you needed reason."
4:02 PM Night_Misaki
"Of course I need a reason, I don't do this for fun."
4:02 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Right. Goodbye."
4:02 PM
Not going to even bother trying to process that.
4:03 PM Night_Misaki
Night shrugs, and sighs. "Look, he'll get too much attention if he's missed an assignment."
4:03 PM Annabell
glances over to check that Danu wasn't snacking on Will's hair or anything, "She seemed like the sort to get wrapped up in finding things that she was too… blunt with the 'truth'?"
4:03 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Fair.
4:03 PM
…Damnit.
4:03 PM Night_Misaki
"Now get going."
4:03 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
He already was!
4:03 PM Night_Misaki
"I've got other things to do."
4:04 PM
"And if Xiao turns up, contact me immediately."
4:04 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Walking away, considering dinner- "Same to you."
4:04 PM
I hope his parents can play nursemaid, I'm terrible at it.
4:05 PM Night_Misaki
"If she turns up I may be busy breaking her face, but I'll try to remember."
4:05 PM
Now, off to go light something on fire.
4:06 PM Will
nods at Annabell's assessment. "An' I were gon'ta talk t' 'er s'more about mebbe gettin' into 'er tribe. Seems me best bet t'wards findin' out more about me Freyja."
4:07 PM Michael_Lin
is considering just trying to escape the barista and go find somewhere to hide.
4:07 PM Annabell
"I was hoping a little more for having a normal talk. And sharing coffee or something." Annabel said as she glanced around this place, having never had a chance to take in the 'look' before, "To get advice, discuss things, ease into being around… people again."
4:07 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Sadly, that's when Shousei returns.
4:10 PM Will
"An'… y'know? Howzit yer pixie 'as some kinna actual weight t'her, Annabell? Kinna strange, seein's she's bits an' bytes."
4:10 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"…are you calling me fat AGAIN?" She baps Will on the dome with a boot heel. Ow.
4:10 PM Michael_Lin
is just kind of staring at the mirror-polished floor at his feet.
4:11 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"Is he going to be alright?" he asks the barista.
4:11 PM Will
Ow indeed! "I never called ye fat t' begin wit', lass. That were Xiao."
4:11 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The barista runs a hand through Michael's hair. "You seem sweet. You're always welcome here," come throuh, in a voice not like the barista's. The barista then says, 'I dunno…it's like he's in some sort of…fugue, I think it's called?"
4:12 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…Well. Then. I'll be taking him home." Which means you can stop groping him, I cannot fucking believe I thought you were kind of nice.
4:13 PM
"…Now."
4:13 PM
Politely.
4:13 PM Hersheys_Xiao
She blinks, confused. "Uh…okay, honey. You okay to walk, Misha?"
4:14 PM Annabell
"Isn't that supposed to happen?" Annabell asked, betraying her shocking ignorance, "I thought there was some sort of feedback thing."
4:16 PM Michael_Lin
He isn't Misha here (and never again, he broke that way to him), but he nods. timidly.
4:16 PM Will
shakes her head. "Neh. They's spos'ta be just bits of data floatin' 'round…" She has a thought. " 'Ey, pixie… Danu. Would ye kindly fly down 'ere f'r a sec so's I ken see somethin'?"
4:17 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Danu does so, hovering at eye-level. She makes a pose. "Glad you're in a better mood. I have that effect."
4:18 PM Will
With her AR specs, Will runs an analysis program, letting it scan over the pixie for a moment.
4:18 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Oh, he's coherent. "Uhm… Night suggested I make sure you get home safely, I mean."
4:19 PM
"If that's all right."
4:19 PM Michael_Lin
"I-I'm sorry."
4:19 PM
barely audible.
4:19 PM Hersheys_Xiao
You get an average Pixie with average stats…in fact, there's quite a few unspent build points
4:20 PM
…Scholarship, though?
4:20 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei blinks. "There's nothing to be sorry about. You know where you live, right?"
4:20 PM
"So, you can lead the way."
4:20 PM Annabell
"Is there a reason you're staring at her so intently?" Annabell asked, trying to figure out what the other woman was doing with Danu.
4:21 PM Will
(6)
4:21 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Don't be jealous, Bella. You'll always be my partner.
4:21 PM
She preens.
4:21 PM Will
She holds up a finger to Annabell while her program finishes.
4:22 PM Michael_Lin
nods. Will slowly stand up.
4:23 PM Will
…Well then. She switches off the program. "Mostly testin' a theory, 's all." She frowns.
4:23 PM Hersheys_Xiao
The barista backs away, stumbling over to the counter. "…ugh…I…did-did you two need anything? …oh, honey, your HAND…do I call for an ambulance?"
4:23 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"…You already asked that."
4:24 PM
Is /everyone/ weird around him?
4:24 PM Will
"Also? Yer pixie 'as some stat points ye can use t' level 'er a bit. Make 'er more effective." The other bit of knowledge she would keep to herself for now, at least until she could figure out what it *meant*.
4:25 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Oh…right. I think I need a break…nice meeting you, Murakami." She ducks into the kitchen area.
4:26 PM Annabell
"That's good to know." Annabell acknowledged then addressed the pixie, "Any ideas about what to do with that, Danu?"
4:26 PM Michael_Lin
isn't really paying attention to that.
4:26 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
"My name -" okay-
4:27 PM
He looks at Michael and nods.
4:27 PM
"Unless you need anything else, let's get going. We both have homework."
4:27 PM Michael_Lin
already did his homework. He'd been planning to go see his mom.
4:27 PM Hersheys_Xiao
Danu grins. "I recommend more firepower! One of us has to be mean!"
4:28 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Well, he's leading, so if they end up where his mother is…
4:28 PM Michael_Lin
No, he's going to go back home.
4:29 PM Annabell
smiled, "And the other generous?"
4:29 PM Hersheys_Xiao
"Obviously, partner!"
4:29 PM
"Now let's get out of here - you need real food. You coming, Welshie?"
4:31 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Shousei is following, regardless.
4:31 PM Michael_Lin
It'll…probably take some time.

4:32 PM Will
makes a little moue with her mouth. That was *definitely* not one nickname anyone else had ever stuck her with. "Yeh, sure. If'n yer partner don't mind me taggin' along." She looks to Annabell for her okay. [Bean Sidhe: I know you don't like this, m'dear, but go along with it for now. If you want, ye can go have a rest. I'll call if'n I need ya if'n ya do.]
4:33 PM Shousei_Yamazaki
Well, Shousei walks a lot.
Hersheys_Xiao
Bean nods, fading into her comp: [I…do not LIKE the princess, but I must honor her until I can get away with eating her wings…]
Annabell
"On the note of generosity, let's go get something to eat and you can fill me in on Hershey." She gave Will a wicked grin, "I mean, if she had you looking in on me then I can return the favor. Right?"
4:40 PM Will
nods. "I c'n least tell ye what ye missed afore ya got 'ere."