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  #151  
Old 11-13-2016, 02:59 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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If you haven't noticed, I kind of has to call off November in November this year. My involvement in a certain other fan project has been eating steadily more time, and I just can't do it anymore.

I will try to get a post off by the end of the month -- but I honestly don't remember what it was going to be about.
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Old 11-30-2016, 09:36 PM
Malygos Malygos is offline

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May your other endeavors be fruitful.
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  #153  
Old 12-01-2016, 05:52 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Orb of Slow Dispatch #37

Hey, now. I was most of the way to having this ready by the time you posted! It's got some weld lines, but it had to get out the door ASAP.

* * * * * * *
Personal log, November Terra:
I’ve done many things as a Ghost. I’ve infiltrated the highest security in Terran space. I’ve assassinated senators, scientists, and corporate executives. I’ve even rescued children. But I never—not even once—imagined I’d be standing watch over a sleeping Spectre. With time at seventy-one hours, I’m doing exactly that.

I have half a mind to kill her while I have the chance—but she’s also proven herself. She could very well turn around and waste me, but I don’t think she will. Not for a while yet. She’s here for a reason—a bullshit reason—but one that’s at least half true. Besides, if she wanted me dead, I would be. She wants something; what I still don’t know.

That healthy skepticism is why I only gave myself four hours down. I was deliberately slow to kill the alarm, making it look like a sleep-shrug. I was apparently just in time to hear Blood-breath try talking to Tybi. “Care for some breakfast?” she asked. “No? You’ve got to be hungry by now.” I held still. My position would be much better if I could read the situation before she knew.

“Not from you.”
“My rats are perfectly safe. I’ll take the first bite if you want.”

“Not from you!” my younger self repeated.
Blood-breath was nonplussed. “Well, then. Miss Sunshine can keep it bottled up until she explodes. I should warn you.”

“Shut up! You’re worse than she is!”
“Am I? I’d say I’m just further along. Someday, she’s going to be me—and I guess you are too.”

“No! Just stop it!” She sounded on the verge of tears.
I rolled over. “That’s enough. Leave her alone.”

If nothing else, it switched her attention. “Ah, so you are awake. I was starting to wonder. Ghost discipline doesn’t allow sleeping in.”

I sat up, holding her gaze while Tybi scurried back to her hiding place. “No. It doesn’t. No fraternizing with outsiders, either. I assume Spectres kept that one too.”

“A rule you had the habit of breaking,” she added.
I glared. “You would know.”

She glared right back. “Indeed I would.”
I stood up, crossing my arms as I walked over. “You wanted to talk. What is it?”

“Always to the point, Nova. As I said, I’m here to protect you.” Her smirk was all the more infuriating because it was mine.

“Protect me from what? I’m a damn Ghost—the best Ghost. What could I possibly need to be protected from?”

The look she gave me was piercing, like I was looking into my own soul. “Yourself.”

It was enough to make me hesitate. “Myself? I need to be protected from myself?”

“You do. You may be the best Ghost there is, but you’re not perfect. You make mistakes; you break the rules. All Ghosts do. That’s what they got wrong.” Her fingers absently drew a terrazine canister from her belt. “The Ghost Program tries to create machines, but the Ghosts are still human. You hunger desperately for human connection, but you can’t have any.” She raised the canister to her lips and took a drag. “The job doesn’t allow it. So you start making exceptions—that’s how you live with yourself. Oh, I let him live because he smiled at me while I was under cover. I let her slip away because she reminded me of someone I’ve been made to forget.” She looked right at me. “I helped that little girl because I was symbolically helping myself. You love to do that one.”

I glared again. “Your point?”
She matched me. “My point is that hunger can make you do stupid, self-destructive things.”

“Like inhaling terrazine?”
“Yes.” She gave me that piercing look again. It wasn’t angry or condescending. She was just stating the facts. And that’s what made it so damn scary.

“Are you seriously telling me my humanity is what makes me into a blood-sucking monster? How is that even possible?”

She looked down. “In a word, Tosh.”
I snorted. “If I see that bastard again, he’s going to get a hole in his head.”

Blood-breath looked up again. “Yeah? I think you’ll find terrazine has a way of undoing brain-panning. Someday, you’re going to remember your history—and how you felt about him.”

“Felt about him? The very thought of that monster makes me sick! What could possibly get us back together?” I only later realized I’d tipped my hand about remembering.

Yet the Spectre didn’t notice my slip. She looked away. “Toom was dead. Mal was dead. We were both looking for a rebound—and there we were, both fully remembering the Academy.”

Suddenly, the pieces fit together. Meeting Tosh. Toom dead. Full memory. It all converged at one point: Ghenna Station. But that’s already in my past. “What happens to Mal?” I asked carefully.

Her fists clenched. “Hauler kills him—or Bennett—or whatever his name is. Happens right in front of you, too—and there’s nothing you can do about it. You should...prepare yourself.”

I gave her my best smirk. “I’ll prepare by killing him the moment we see each other again—if I ever get out of here.”

Blood-breath gave me that unsettlingly familiar smirk. “You’re me all right. Now do you see why I’m here? I can save you a hell of a lot of pain.” I said nothing, pretending to consider her offer—but she didn’t wait. “Think about it,” she said, standing up. “It’s my turn to get some shuteye, and I’m going to trust you not to disappear—or kill me.” Her eyes narrowed. “Remember, I found you once. I can find you again.” She pushed past me and made herself comfortable in exactly the place where I’d just taken my rest. The symbolism wasn’t lost on me. Needless to say, I won’t be racking out there again.

It’s been quiet for an hour now. From her breath, my Spectre self appears to be asleep, but I’m still on guard. Lulling an opponent into complacency is what I would do, and...she is me in a way. But she isn’t me. Not really. She’s some twisted version from an alternate reality. My Mal is very much alive—for which I should be thankful. Without him, I’d be one of them, massacring my way across the sector.

She’s right about one part, though. I could’ve been saved a lot of pain if I’d known what was up ahead, and it’s not too late for the other copy of myself in this room. Tybi, however, wasn’t much more interested in conversation with me than with Blood-breath. In fact, she deliberately faced the other way while she ate. I may have to make talk a condition of these hand-outs. As it stands, feeding two is burning through my rats at almost double. Some in situ resource acquisition may be in order. Nova out.

* * * * * * *
It's kind of ironic, but I've had a copy of Spectres sitting next to me for almost a year now. I can't bring myself to open it for fear of contaminating my Nova with the official one.

Still, I was pleased by what Mickey did with her in the comic -- that she on some level acknowledges the evil of her occupation. He suggested an idea that might get used in a few more posts...
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  #154  
Old 12-01-2016, 09:39 PM
Malygos Malygos is offline

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Just in time for the Nova vs. Spectre brawl.
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  #155  
Old 10-24-2017, 02:46 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Bloodlust Dispatch #38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malygos View Post
Just in time for the Nova vs. Spectre brawl.
Actually, it seems you were almost a year early. Sorry about that.

To any other readers, this is the finale to the big burst of posting stuff. Rest assured, however, that I'm arranging my schedule to make November in November possible this year.

* * * * * * *

Personal log, November Terra:
With my clocks reading seventy-six hours, I find myself fighting a new enemy, one that comes from the inside. My mouth is dry from more than the climate. My thoughts are scrambled. My senses are on red alert. I don’t know what’s happening. I must be getting sick. Ah, screw it. I do know what I’m feeling. It’s called ‘fear.’

Fear’s nothing new, of course. It’s just been a very long time since I felt it this strong. Ghosts are trained to suppress emotion—which is much easier to do when you have a clear objective. I don’t. I’m caught in someone else’s game. I don’t know the rules, and I certainly don’t know the win condition.

I came out here to learn more about the Nexus. I thought maybe there’d be a weakness somewhere I can use to escape—but my alternate selves are making that very difficult, each in her own way. One is a weight I can’t bear to throw away. The other has become a menace with my face.

I guess it’s a good thing I spent most of the last three hours scouting for new hide-outs. I’ve identified three—made easy by the orgy of looting at Phagun’s. Every resident for blocks is there, squabbling over anything the thugs didn’t take first. Under other circumstances, a diversion that big would’ve made it easy to swipe some local food, but things didn’t pan out that way. The Luxorians, it seems, serve their food on huge communal platters. Hard to grab one of those with out getting noticed. Harder still to carry it anywhere. And to take the food itself would get dirty fast. I might need to find some kind of container before this is viable.

I returned as the afternoon heat was reaching its height. True, the sun goes right through you when you’re cloaked, but that doesn’t do anything about the heat. If you can stay out of it, you should. My Spectre self was still down for the count, but Tybi was up. She was listlessly wandering the room—which was an improvement. But as I got closer, I realized she was crying again. “Hey,” I said, decloaking. I said it as gently as I knew how, but she turned her back the moment I became visible. “Look, I’ve been rough with you at a time when you’re very hurt. I just want you to know I understand what you’re going through.” She said nothing. “I know everything seems really hopeless right now,” I tried again, “but I also know you’ll get through it.” I reached out to touch her shoulder—and she shrugged me away almost before contact. “Believe me. Deep down, you are so. Strong. You have power you don’t even realize.” Still silence. It was like talking to a wall. “Please, say something—just so I know you’re still in there.”

Tybi’s voice was so soft I almost didn’t hear it. “I don’t— I don’t want to be a murderer,” she whispered.

I looked down. “I didn’t either. But I got over it. You will too. That’s how strong you are.”

Suddenly, she turned. “No!” she shrieked. “I don’t want to be a murderer!” She scurried back to her favorite hiding spot behind the piled furniture. I could hear her trying to stifle the sobs—in vain. Was I really such a basket case?

“Very smooth, Nova.” The voice was my own, but slightly lower, raspier.

I turned. Blood-breath had rolled over to watch me. “And I suppose a Spectre is going to give me a lesson in tact.”

She smirked. “If only. I’m you, remember? I don’t have any better graces than you do.”

“Then can it.”

Blood-breath sat up, her motion too familiar for comfort. “You’re rejecting my offer, then? You don’t want advice from someone who’s been there?”

“I never said that. I think it’s a conversation we need to have.” Changing the subject seemed like a good idea.

Her version of my face warped into a sadistic grin. “Then consider this your first lesson: There are lots of people who are attracted to you. Some will take pity on you. But you’ll never be able to love any of them back because you’re too damaged. You'll spend the rest of your life fumbling around in your relationships like Delta trying to read.”

So much for changing the subject. “For your information, Delta did learn to read.”

“True,” she admitted, “but it was never effortless. Not like you, Tosh, or any of the others. It was work. That’s how it’ll be for you, an emotional cripple.”

Now I really needed to change the subject. “Speaking of Delta, I hear you blood-suckers couldn’t catch her.”

She sighed. “You still like her. You always did. I suppose she was the first.”

“The first what?”

“The first lost puppy you collected. You have to stop doing that—or quit your job.”

I looked away. “Okay, so I’m not a robot. Your point?”

“Remember how I said your humanity makes you do dumb things?”

There was a crack in the wall, just to her left, that suddenly seemed very interesting. “I didn’t get to be the Dominion’s best Ghost by forgetting things.”

“No, I mean it. Her name is Lila. You will meet her on Altara. Stay. Away. From her.”

For a moment, my heart stopped. Luckily, my Ghost discipline stopped it from showing. “Why?”

“Because you’re going to kill her.”

It took everything I had to not react. “Big deal. What’s one more death to an assassin?”

“Don’t say that!” Her tone suddenly reminded me of how Spectres are prone to wild emotional swings. Hell of a time to remember. I instantly went into combat stance. She was in one too. “She’s practically a clone of you! You break some of the most sacred standing orders of the Ghost Program to help her—and then...” Spectre me was well and truly choking up, her breathing ragged.

I chose my words very carefully. “If you liked her so much, why kill her?”

Blood-breath pulled herself up straight, fighting back the emotion with a very familiar resolve. “Because of this,” she said, pulling the terrazine canister from her belt. She took a drag and held it so long I thought she was going to pass out. But when she finally did release it, she was back in control. I’m not sure whether my relief showed or not. “Terrazine exposure has to be paired with a healthy dose of jorium or the subject goes insane. Lila didn’t know that. She was just a kid.”

“How—”

She took a step closer. “One can. Left where she could reach it. That was all it took.” It was strange to see my face looking so...defeated. “Gabe offered to take care of it, but I insisted on doing myself. I put her in the situation. She was my responsibility.”

Is it possible for Spectres to feel regret? That’s sure what it looked like—but I couldn’t let it show. If it was an act, she had to think it wasn’t working. I sighed dramatically. “Too bad memory-wipes don’t work on Spectres. You could really use one.”

Her expression changed to wry amusement. “That is what you’d say, isn’t it? That’s your solution to everything—to forget.”

“How dare you,” I said evenly. “You know as well as I do what I’ve been through—how strong I’ve had to be.”

She shook her head. “You’re not strong. You’re weak. The Dominion asked for your soul, and you gave it to them without a second thought. You became exactly who they wanted you to be because, as painful as it was, it was less painful than being yourself.”

This again. “I think your ‘advice’ has gone on long enough,” I told her. “The Dominion made me who I am. The Dominion made me great.”

“Then pardon me for calling you by the wrong name, Agent X41822N. That’s all you are to them: a number.”

“All I am to them?!” I retorted. “How many men were under my command? How many?”

In retrospect, I should’ve curbed my outburst. I was talking to a Spectre. I lost my cool. She blew up. “How can you still not get this?! Yes, Emperor Mengsk created a whole squadron just to be your personal backup. But you never commanded the one person who mattered: you!”

“Every choice I made was my own!”

She scowled. “Becoming a Spectre was the best choice I ever made. You know why? Because it forced me to take a long, hard look at who I am. No more forgetting. No more running away. Just me, trying to live with myself.”

I glared back. “I guess terrazine really does make you lose your mind. And for the record, those mind-wipes haven’t changed a damn thing about who I am. I rediscovered framberries after every one of them.”

“Yes, because there wasn’t a damn thing about you they needed to change. Train. Kill. Forget. Train. Kill. Forget. Is that all you want out of life?”

“Yes!” I shouted. “Now leave me alone!”

“Like hell I will!” She vaulted across the room, bringing her leg up for a kick.

I was ready. I caught the kick and twisted her to the ground—which was, unfortunately, her intent. Her other foot hooked behind my ankle to drop me as well. I rolled and lunged at the same time she did, which threw us into a wrestling match. We grappled for who knows how long, neither of us able to gain the upper hand. Suddenly, I had an opening. She switched to fighting one-handed for some reason.

I figured out where the other hand had gone when I felt cold, sharp steel against my neck. “You are so...small—and pathetic,” she panted. “You’re cruel and lonely and miserable. Admit it!”

“Killing me won’t accomplish anything. You said so yourself.” I tried to sound tough, but it just wouldn’t come.

Blood-breath looked confused. “Then— Then her.” She nodded toward Tybi’s hiding place. “Who will take care of her if you’re gone?”

Something was very wrong. She was becoming more unstable by the minute.

“What do you want?” I asked as evenly as I could.

“You are my past,” said without looking at me. It was like she was slipping into a dream. “If you somehow ever get out of here, you can stop me from ever existing. Please, tell me you will.”

“Yes,” I replied, trying to sound calm. “I won’t make the same mistakes you did.”

“Good, good.” She rolled off me, returning the knife to the scabbard on her thigh. We sat staring at each other. Without warning, she stood up and walked away. I stood up too when she picked up her rifle. I was scared—and for me, that’s saying something. People trying to kill me I can deal with. They act in predictable ways that you can counter. Not knowing is whole other level.

To my surprise, Blood-breath thrust the weapon toward me. “Here,” she said. “You’ll need this.”

“What?” I was beyond shock. For a Ghost to hand over her weapon is sacrilege—heresy. She’s me. She had to have been taught the same things I was.

“TAKE IT!” she shouted. I accepted, even more confused than before. “Now, more...recon. Yes, that’s it. Find more places to hide.” The Spectre sprinted up the steps to the roof, then stumbled and fell at the top. I saw her get up as the cloak activated.

“What just happened here?” I said out loud. There was no answer. Of course there wasn’t. There’ve been fewer and fewer answers the farther I go along.

The smart thing to do right now is to get out of here and into one of the new hide-outs ASAP. It’s dangerous to go anywhere with that...thing running loose, but it’s even more dangerous to stay here. Nova out.

* * * * * * *

Things could be getting ugly in the next few posts...
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  #156  
Old 11-13-2017, 05:56 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Oil Dispatch #39

It's been a bit, but I figured it was best to let the BlizzCon hype die down before proceeding. I'd go so far as to say I'm happy about it happening at the beginning of the month than the middle or end, which left November in November buried and forgotten in previous years. In addition, becoming a better writer means I make more smoothing passes than I used to. That should be improving quality.

* * * * * * *
Personal log, November Terra:
It’s only been two hours since my last message, but there’s been a very big change. Tybi is talking to me. I almost can’t believe it. It’s like Blood-breath’s speech affected her somehow, though it wasn’t immediate. She didn’t make a peep while we moved to our new hide-out, one I picked out on my morning sortie. While I can’t be certain we weren’t seen, silence—and the mid-day heat—upped our chances considerably. Then again, it’s that Spectre, not the neighbors, that worries me. I have no doubt she’s out there prowling the rooftops just like I would be. That’s why I left her rifle behind. I’m never one to give up potential weapons, but I couldn’t take the risk it had some kind of tracking beacon. I’m not stupid.

For her part, Tybi didn’t need much coaxing. I just told her we were going, and she went. It wasn’t far anyway. She did, however, spend a lot of time scratching her head. I think her fuzz is getting to a length where that wig is really uncomfortable—which explains why the first thing she did on our arrival was to throw it on the floor. She hasn’t touched it since.

I offered more food as we got settled in, which she took without a word. I could’ve put conditions to make her talk, but I didn’t feel like it after what my Spectre self said. That…rattled me. In a way, though, it was my own uncertainty that opened the channel between us. I just stayed where I was and started talking. “I’ve been thinking,” I told her, “about what you said—about not wanting to be a murderer. I...agree.” That got her attention. “You’ve seen my memories. I made the choices I did because I didn’t see any other option. After what happened, I couldn’t go back to my old life even if I’d wanted to. I wanted more than anything to forget—to disappear—to just stop existing. I was...weak.”

“No.” I almost jumped when she spoke. I guess I was used to being ignored by now. “You did...what you had to. That’s what has me so scared. All those people...” Her voice trailed off.

“Are you...blaming yourself?” I asked. “Don’t. You’re me—but you’re not me. You live in a different world. You don’t have to do what I did.”

She looked at me for the first time in days. “But what if I do? What if there’s some force of fate making me like you?”

I shrugged. “So what if there is? This is Luxoria. There’s no Ghost Program taking kids from their families. You can be anything you want.”

Tybi suddenly looked away, leaving me to wonder if I’d hurt her again. She had me convinced she’d gone silent by the time she spoke. “Anubet. That’s what we call them here. When our lord, the mighty Ta-sadar, pledged himself to Sut, the Destroyer put his mark upon him and increased his power a thousand fold. He demands that all gifted ones—like me—be joined to him and marked as his children.” She shuddered. “They are his elite guard, our most powerful weapon against the swarm—after the temple.”

I thought a moment. Elite status. Unfathomable power. “Wait. This mark—it wouldn’t happen to be the head of a dog, would it?”

“A jackal. But yes.”

“I see.” I stood up and paced away. “Phagun wasn’t the only one after you.”

“No. The king’s men killed my parents—my whole family. I was away when it happened, but—”

“But you came back and found them,” I finished for her. I turned. “Similar, but different.”

She nodded. “They left us alone because we were nobility. Then, one day, they came anyway. Why would they do that?”

I looked at her. “Honestly? Maybe this Tassadar is a jerk. Maybe the war is going worse than you think. Does it matter? Shit happens. You just have to figure out how the make the best of it.” My smile was almost unintended, layered with all the burdens of a professional killer. It’s weird how sharing a load can make you do that.

Tybi mirrored my expression perfectly, and for once I was glad about it. I knew exactly what she was feeling. “You’re right,” she said quietly. “I’m glad you’re here to help me with that part.”

“So am I.” The words came out before I could stop them. I cringed. “Uh, I’d better take a look around; make sure we weren’t followed.” I didn’t look back.

Tybi—I don’t know how to feel about her. Maybe Blood-breath was right. Maybe I do keep trying to rescue myself. That would explain the attraction. I’m also getting too close. But I guess it’s past time to worry about that. WAY past time. Nova out.

* * * * * * *

Probably the chief hurdle of the Luxoria story arc is that this is my first attempt at a character who changes over the course of the story. You have to balance the forces and start hinting at an emerging new self in conflict with the old self, which leads to the ending above. Nova has tremendous difficulty allowing herself to be vulnerable, but that's the solution to the problem with Tybi. Too bad -- oh wait, I can't tell you that yet.
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  #157  
Old 11-30-2017, 06:50 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Runes Dispatch #40

With mere hours remaining in November, I'm dropping one more bit of November. I really wish I could've gotten more out to you guys, but I'm also trying to improve my quality as much as possible. The two things just aren't compatible. Sadly, production will have to slow down again until next year. I do hope to get off a few more dispatches before next November, though. Commentary after the passage.

* * * * * * *
Personal log, November Terra:
I’m getting that weird feeling again. I’m starting to miss the predictability of the Battlegrounds. At least there I knew what my objective was and who my enemies were—even if we were fighting over nothing. Eighty-three hours since my departure, the constant surprises are getting tiresome. Ghosts hate surprises. They happen, of course, but you deal with them by finding a new path to your objective—which I don’t have.

Maybe that was why it felt so good to turn the tables with a surprise of my own. I’m certainly good with surprises, but mine usually involve bullets. This one was about food. Tybi hasn’t had anything but field rats since we met, and I figured something local would pick her up a little. Actually, the bland, preserved cuisine in my pack has been starting to wear on me too—which is odd. Ghosts never complain about the chow because of the memory wipes. You can’t miss having better food because you can’t remember anything else. You just have a vague feeling that something’s missing.

Luxorian food, though, I’m reluctant to try. The dish I grabbed was a platter of mashed beans and onions with flatbread pockets. Whatever it’s called, it smelled stronger than Vilnorian curry. The family I dropped in on smelled like it too, and I’d rather not join them. In any case, my appearance was enough of a shock to disappear before they could decide what to do about it.

Tybi was...less than impressed. She was more suspicious than happy when I decloaked with her present. “I brought you a treat,” I told her. “Not the Antigan buffalo you used to get, but it has to be better than a protein slurry pack. Well, okay, anything beats those.”

“What?”
“Nevermind. It’s real food. From here.”

Her eyes narrowed as she came closer. “How did you get this?”

I held up my hands. “Nobody died—and I waited ‘til after they were mostly done, so they’re not starving either.” Her look of suspicion only deepened as she scooped some filling with the bread. “Alright, compassion isn’t my strong suit. You said it before. I just...don’t like exposing myself.”

She sighed. “I know the feeling. I shouldn’t judge.”
“You’re only judging yourself,” I added with a smirk.

My other self instantly unleashed my own glare against me. “No,” she said forcefully. “I am not you. Similar, but different.”

“Similar, but different,” I conceded. “Do you mind if I ask some more questions?” She paused, but then resumed eating. I decided to take that as a ‘no.’ “Is there a reason why the sun comes up in a different direction every day?”

Tybi shrugged. “It just does—ever since the war started. Some say Ka is angry with us for defiling his temple.”

I paused. “So...how did the war start?”
“I don’t really know; It happened when I was very small. I just heard messengers reporting to my father.”

“That’s more than I’ve got.”
She stopped to chew another handful. “Well, Semkhet sent Zagara, the Scorpid Queen, to kill us for our wickedness. The gods refuse to help us—except for Sut. The scorpids just kept coming and coming until we couldn’t fight them anymore. We’ve been trapped inside the wall ever since.” She took another bite. “They say we have enough farmland inside the wall to hold out forever. But people keep disappearing.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Disappearing how?”
“They...disappear. Why do you think there are so many empty buildings?” Her eyes narrowed. “You think you can fix this.”

“I didn’t say that. I just want to have situational awareness.”
“Yes you do,” she declared. “You like to think of yourself as a hero.”

“I...what? I’m a Ghost. I take orders, and I carry them out. That’s the opposite of a hero.”

Tybi chewed harder. “You can’t lie to me. I know you too well.”

I had half a mind to tear the platter away from her. “No, you don’t,” I told her. “I’m not letting you read my thoughts, so don’t think you know what I’m thinking. Similar but different, remember?”

The look she gave me wasn’t angry. In a way, I wish it was. It’s easier to ignore something when you’re under attack. “I don’t need to hear your thoughts. No one made you help me. No one made you rescue Li Li. No one made you go back for her hat. You like helping people. You’re just not very good at it.”

EDIT: Removed until I find a better way to do this. I crossed the line.

UPDATE
I believe I've found a way to continue the planned plot while maintaining our T-rating. However, with a flu bout putting me out of action for much of the past week, it could very be next year before I get anything up. The holidays are coming, sadly.

* * * * * * *

This passage was one of those infuriating cases where you think you have everything planned out, then you start writing and go somewhere else. There was supposed to be another philosophical discourse with Spectre Nova, in which she would taunt our heroine by suggesting she'd inherited her father's naive humanitarian streak -- which would then lead to admitting she knows Nova has her memories. Instead, the appearance flowed so naturally into the fight that I couldn't not take the opportunity. It's almost always better to go with the flow on these things. You have to let the story be what it wants to be.

On top of that, I had to take a pause to really pin down what's been happening in Luxoria up to this point. I honestly had no clue what my notes from a year ago meant. Then, I had to take another pause to research Egyptian food. They like spices and pitas, apparently.

The irony is that both of those points were for the first part, which I added because I wanted to lighten things up before the big, bloody mess. Sorry about that. It's the most envelope-pushing thing I expect to do in the whole run of the story, but it has to be done. You'll see why. Actually, that was one of those go-with-the-flow things. Spectre Nova's suicide had to be messy, yet Ghost Nova ended up with a gun in her hands. So, if you thought it was a little out of character to freeze up in that situation, you're right.

I hope someone out there is enjoying reading this as much as I am writing it. There was a certain joy to seeing how many different meanings I could give to that "similar but different" phrase by repeating it in different contexts.
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"Well, I'd been planning to just shoot you the moment I don't need you anymore; but I'm starting to think that would be too lenient."

Last edited by DarkAngel; 12-09-2017 at 08:27 AM.. Reason: Removed offense.
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