|Time & Date:||19:00 5th of October, 2020|
|Genre:||Science Fiction, Psychological Horror|
|Player Cast:||Esperanza Pradrera-Santillan, Luci Hensley, Richard Clayton|
|Content Rating:||NC-17 (Violence, Language, Nudity)|
In a Futuristic, High-Tech Blank Canvas of a Room
The lights are on.
This room is pristine and beautiful, the walls and floors shiny and sleek. Stepping into this room is like stepping into a well-ordered mind; everything is clean and bright, yet never to the point where it's harsh on the eyes. The walls are large, seamless screens, and respond to the lightest touch with a ripple of rainbow hues. The floors too light up beneath one's footsteps, and with the right controls, can transform the space into an exotic jungle, an urban cityscape, or any flight of fancy the architect desires.
It is after dusk, and about 65F(18C) degrees. There is a waxing gibbous moon.
During the course of this plot, some of your character's powers, stats and disciplines may not work. However, they may gain other abilities that they did not have previously.
In order to facilitate this, please do not use showstat at all once the virtual reality portion of the plot has started. Instead, use the attempt command for anything you would like to accomplish — see help attempt. You may even use the attempt command for stats your character doesn't have, and may see some unexpected results!
Your character will retain their personality, spoken languages and knowledge stats, which you may continue to use freely.
You may notice the SR probing different stats from what you would expect. Setting a higher level of trust will hide these echoes for immersion, but is optional. See help trust.
There is room on this plot for one more character if you would like to invite a friend, as long as they are neither human nor a werewolf.
Thanks for joining the adventure. Feel free to STalk or tell for any OOC questions for the SR. :)
[ ] [ ]
Esperanza is standing here.
Luci is standing here.
Richard is standing here
This is a tall drink of water with long chestnut curls in her mid-twenties with large D cup breasts facing you.
You would judge her to be a 5.5 out of 10.
They seem social.
She is 6'0" and has a warm sandy complexion, long loose curls of dark chestnut hair, and hazel eyes.
You can see her face, neck, stomach, and hands. More detail is visible for her hands, lower legs, rear.
Her warm, sandy skin-tone with neutral undertones is bronzed with a tan, contrasting her dark chestnut-brown hair. With an average build and some musculature, her torso is long, giving her a frame a vase shape: narrow shoulders, a moderate bosom, thinner waist, wide hips and a plump rear.
All the fingernails on her right hand are missing, the beds healed over with tough skin. When loose, thick, dark chestnut curls tumble to her mid-back with a healthy shine and soft texture. Prominent full lips break up her sharp features: angular hazel eyes, high cheekbones, a long, narrow nose, and a strong chin. Although smiling isn't uncommon, the mix lends her expressions a certain terseness when at ease.
Esperanza is using:
(D) a scuffed Samsung Galaxy A51 in a sparkled pink case
(waist-long) (D) asymmetrical, studded, hot-pink leather jacket
(glossed to a shine) (D) shiny, skin-tight black leather booty shorts
(cleavage highlighted) (D) strappy, clinging, deep v-neck black camisole
(lofting) (D) a pair of black suede block heeled sandals
(leg hugging) (D) sheer thigh-high, hot-pink silk stockings
(as necklace) (S) a wood bead rosary with a St. Francis pendant
(sparking in light) (D) dazzling one caret diamond studs earrings
(D) leather FARSCAPE messenger bag, carried
This is a pint-sized chick with glossy black hair in her late twenties with B cup breasts looking up.
You would judge her to be a 6.0 out of 10.
They seem prominent.
She is 5'2" and has indoorsy pale skin, glossy black hair, and brown eyes.
You can see her face, neck, top of her breasts, arms, and hands. More detail is visible for her forearms, neck, face.
Her hair is a glossy black colour, clearly dyed, that falls to about shoulder length with messy bangs constantly in her eyes. Thin, slightly over-plucked brows arch over light brown eyes, a toasty burnt-sugar shade. She has a little black star inked at the outer corner of her left eye. Pale cheeks and a thin nose set a delicate structure for a surprisingly generous pink-lipped mouth, adorned with a Monroe piercing on the right side. Her face tapers into a rounded chin.
The veins in her neck are visible due to her pallor, and collarbones are prominent. A black and white tattoo of the lunar phases decorates her chest and curves slightly down to her cleavage. On her right forearm is a clean, well-done poke-and-stick cyclical galaxy, resembling the milky way. There is a rainbow watercolour unicorn on her left wrist. Her hands, while slim and small, bear numerous little scars and tiny burn marks. Her left pinkie has a ring of scarring just above the knuckle, thick enough to indicate a previously severe injury.
Luci is using:
(E) a pair of loose women's dress pants in midnight black
(D) a pair of viciously pointed black stiletto high heels
(D) a lacy black bodysuit with satin inset modesty panels
(D) a vintage style necklace of shining smoke grey pearls
(S) a dual set of cartilage piercings rife with symbolism
a gleaming black Monroe on the right side of her lips
This is a sturdily-built, sandy-haired guy in his early twenties facing left.
You would judge him to be a 6.5 out of 10.
They seem social.
He is 6'6" and has fair Caucasian skin, brown hair, and blue eyes.
You can see his face, neck, and hands.
Tall, but broad-shouldered even for his height, this younger man appears to keep himself in good shape, with a natural frame that lends itself to football. His posture is straight and assured, almost military, and he carries himself in a prideful way that is somehow beyond his apparent years. His sandy hair seems to be kept about medium length by male standards, and often leans towards neat rather than messy. His brilliant blue eyes practically shine in the right lighting. His nose is large, straight, and narrow; his lips are thin and tinged with a hint of youthful colour; his jaw and chin are considerably classic All-American Hero, with even a faint cleft to the latter. He also favours being clean-shaven.
His neck's thick, but not overly disproportionate to his physique and head size, dotted here and there with old imperfections and minor pricks once wounds. He's got big hands even relative to his frame size, littered with minor scars and some callus, but the nails are well-maintained.
Richard is using:
(E) a rugged, well-tailored olive drab combat jacket
(E) strong, well-tailored olive drab combat trousers
(E) sleek black combat boots with synthetic reinforcement
The hour is late when a conspicuous black limousine pulls up to humble seaside town of Haven, here to collect a trio of locals by strict invitation. An officious looking email has been dispensed to each of them, indicating the time and place where they should wait for the chauffeur and promising adequate refreshments on the journey. The Tyrell Corporation wasn't overpromising; they take care of their clients and associates, and a selection of sparkling wines awaits the Havenites in the car, served by a besuited man tending to an elongated bucket of ice. Occasionally, the perceptive and supernaturally aware may glimpse him manipulating cryogenic magics, ensuring the lavish ride is as comfortable as can be.
They arrive at the Headquarters in Boston, not too far out of town. All three of them retain their Sanctuary protection, judging by the lack of any worrisome red aura, and are politely ushered in by a tall, leggy woman in a lab-coat who introduces herself as Dr Knowgood. They are asked to sign non-disclosure agreements prohibiting form attempting to reproduce any of the prototypical technology they witness during their stay, and warned in legalese of the significant fines they'll face if they breach these terms.
"Is that all clear?" Dr Knowgood asks the trio with a smile, ready to wave them into the gaming room pending signatures.
By the end of the limo ride, Luci has had as much of the sparkling wine as they'd allow; should they be generous, she'd have swiped a bottle for herself. She is jovially unconcerned about any of it, and pleased to meet the Doctor. The form is willingly signed and her interest in the corporation is clear — judging by how she searches each face she encounters for familiarity.
Luci thinks: "Who was that hot Tyrell bro who comes to the Howl on Sundays ... Kevin? Is it Kevin? It was a lame-ass name for a pretty man. Maybe it was like, Kayden or Kellen or something like that. But I think he was Kevin."
You tell Luci OOCly 'is Kevin an NPC? Can I improvise him?'
Luci tells you OOCly 'Yes, go ahead!'
(Internally) Luci is entirely hoping to run into Kevin. She also muses briefly on the technology — it seemed interesting. Something to do. Something to maybe jerk her out of the terrible, perpetual griefy fog she's trapped in.
Having avoiding more than a few sips of wine, Esperanza was careful to pass cups around to disguise her more tee-totalling inclinations for the ride, focusing on carrying along with casual conversation. After signing her assurances of silence away, an impatient, "Si, si," is waved with dismissive agreement to Knowgood's inquiry, looking to Luci and Richard with some excitement brimming in her brow for the uncertainty of what is really about to come next.
Richard had come to be picked up in his paramilitary clothing, though whether to make an impression or it happened to be what he'd been wearing for the day, who knows. Habit, maybe. He doesn't partake much of the wine himself and chitchats with Esperanza (there being a bit of awkwardness on his part in Luci's presence.) When they arrive, he scans the form once, twice. "Hmm, heck. Already here, aren't I?" And so he puts down his rather unembellished signature. Done! He smooths down his lapels.
(Internally) Richard reflects on selling soul to corps instead of feds.
Luci thinks: "If there's an option to virtually stab Richard for trying to fuck a bitch in my house I will take it harder than a ten-dollar whore on rent day."
In the hallway below the crisper offices, a familiar face does indeed recognise Luci as the trio passes. "Lucifer! Lucy! I love Lucy," the yuppie calls out. He wears a big grin on his face when he glimpses her, and though he looks like he wants to stop and chat, he's mid-stride with a sterner-seeming associate. She looks to be impatiently trying to hold his attention so that they can discuss a dossier in hand, and so after brief pleasantries in passing, he's strolling off. "I'll catch you later, okay?" He isn't the first to notice her on their way up, but he is by far the warmest.
A much colder looking fellow greets her with a frosty gaze as they approach the game room. "Luci Hensley, so nice to see you again." Who is he again? They surely know each other, but something about him is ... off. She recognises the mannerisms, just can't pin down the face. He whispers something to Dr Knowgood, eyeing Luci as he does so, and then turns to depart. "Enjoy your stay."
Dr Knowgood freezes up around the man, her smile turning plastic. She offers him a nod of acknowledgement, and then leads the trio into the room.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "Did they intentionally get a doctor with a really suspicious name?"
"Thank you for agreeing to be part of our virtual reality experience. We are so excited for you to play our prototypical adventure and see for yourself how it competes with the current market," the woman in the lab-coat says. From a nearby wall, she retrieves a cart, and offers them each a white plastic helmet to cover their eyes. "Are you ready to step inside the future?" Beaming, she waves the headsets towards them enticingly.
Richard is a little frosty with all the employees for his part, which is just as well because none of them recognise him. He simply keeps professional distance as a subject. When they arrive, he asks Knowgood as he accepts his helmet, "Did ya pick your name or is it your actual, er, surname?" Quite rude.
"Oh my god — Kevin? Is that you? In the flesh ..." Luci croons, turning on her thousand-watt smile just for that cute yuppie. "How's — well, I won't keep you." She says that last part more to his associate who's trying to hustle Keve along. "See you Sunday!" Off she goes but then there's that ... cold man, and all good cheer properly vanishes as she attempts to gauge him — where she knows him from, what this is. An uncertain smile flits over her face and she replies stiffly, "You ... too." before he's gone, and she smooths her sweaty hands on the thighs of her dress pants. "What did he just say?" she wants to know from the Doctor. And while she does take the helmet — she's now hesitant to put it on. "Rich, Esper — you think ... think this is actually chill?"
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Esperanza's acute hearing picks up the mystery man's words: "If you touch a hair on Luci's head, I will disembowel you. She's mine to play with, yes?"
(Internally) Luci tries to place him — whichever terror she's pissed off this week. There's usually one. Lately — Astrid. But this man definitely wasn't Astrid, not now or ever. Her good humour evaporates into that discernment, into wondering whether this is just another invitation for suffering. Is he going to hurt her? Make this worse? Is there a polite exit just in case? What's the safeword?
Luci feels a strong desire to feel safe.
Something with Knowgood's phrasing gives Esperanza pause while she accepts the white helmet: a subtle bristle lighting in her shoulder as her eyes in a brief spell of distraction before Luci's voice tugs Esperanza's attention back and brings Esperanza wandering in close to the much-shorter woman and flipping the white device in her hands with a casually tossing flip, "What's the worst they can do to us, si? Teabag us for two hours and send the screenshots to our friends?" Esperanza looks up to Richard's chatting with the good doctor.
Esperanza thinks: "Just not the ... real future ... si?"
Esperanza senses the rising of the full moon.
Luci thinks: "You don't even fucking know the start of what can be done, do you?"
"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha." Dr Knowgood has that artificial, corporate sounding laugh, and when Richard questions her name, she flashes a beaming, wide open smile at him, batting her manicured hand through the air. "I think one of my ancestors had to be a scholar. I get that question all the time!" Was he being rude? She seems to think that either they're flirting or he's her boss.
"If you are at any point uncomfortable, we can stop the test," she tells the others with a tenderness in her voice. "We'll of course be really keen to hear your feedback and ask you to fill in a form about your experience before you leave. And I'm up for a promotion soon, so you know." She winks theatrically, with her whole face. "Put in a good word."
“Safeword. What's the way out?" Luci wonders, not seeming the least bit trusting despite the Doctor's corporate cheer. She clutches the helmet carefully in her fragile hands and eases in close to Esperanza right back, her shoulder brushing the girl's arm. "As long as I can get out, we're good. But I don't ... know." Her tongue presses briefly against the inside of her cheek, and despite all this dragging-her-feet, she puts on her helmet.
Luci thinks: "Please don't hurt too bad."
Luci thinks: "Maybe he's one of my old lovers from when I lived in Boston. Still bitter."
Luci thinks: "Men stay so bitter."
"Right. Can we have your cousin? Isn'tbad?" Richard snaps off his daddy jokes (or is it horrible boss jokes?) back at Knowgood as he spins his helmet around his finger by the strap, running the risk of inflicting severe damage to an extremely expensive piece of corporate equipment. Not his wallet, right? He looks at Luci and Esperanza, given the former's concerns, and does ask, "Yeah, does this thing have an abort button? Maybe if you put me in an ugly avatar. Or something." He starts to put it on.
(Internally) Richard wonders, hypocritically, if Esperanza and Luci have other outfits.
(Internally) Luci runs through all the rich, older, cold men she's fucked. There's like eight of those, she thinks? Maybe? None of them were him. She remembers them in terms of gifts they gave her — the diamond man, the penthouse man, the Tiffany man — but she always left the presents when she disappeared.
Esperanza's countenance is drawn up into some warmth at the sight of Knowgood's reaction to Richard's repartee. A grin is flashed down to Luci with the woman's last word of uncertainty and Esperanza throws back with a small hint of excitement flared in mischievous eyes and colouring her Spanish accent, "Isn't not knowing half the fun?" A casually toss of her likely-expensive helmet is given, testing its weight and aligning it right-side-up in her grip before calling over to Richard, "I'll smash all the mirrors for you, don't worry — will keep you safe."
And with that last bit of commentary for Richard and a wry smirk that crawls over her lips, Esperanza pops the helmet onto her head: preparing to settle in.
Esperanza thinks: "Are we being paid for this? I don't remember ..."
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Esperanza recalls being promised payment for participation.
Dr Knowgood remains perpetually entertained by Richard's antics, tittering girlishly and clasping a hand to her face. At least someone here is having a good time already. "You will be given instructions once the experiment starts for how to safely proceed through the adventure. I would like to assure you that our technology is completely safe, and that no matter how real the obstacles you face may feel, this is purely fantasy. We would never let you suffer any real harm. You are too valuable to us." She looks emotional for a moment, clasping both hands to her chest. "Our customers are the future, and you are our early adopters."
Richard is the last to put on his helmet, and she waits for him to do so, still smiling at him benignly.
Esperanza thinks: "Siii, si, es correcto."
Luci thinks: "I hate this. I'm doing this. Why do I do things I hate?"."
"That's what my last ex and the Army told me, doesn't make it true. Be better if you held my hand, doc. I'm scared." Richard prattles on to Knowgood, moving to his designated spot if there ever is one, keeping a small distance from the other two pre-alpha testers with him, and clips the helmet back on.
Luci thinks: "Why aren't they scared? Why am I the only one who is scared?"
Luci thinks: "I'm reading too much into one man. Too much. They aren't worried."
Luci feels like that's bullshit.
When all three helmets are secured, the lights around them start to descend. They can still see through the visor, but the world around them is changing. No longer are they in a pristine white room; various landscapes transition in and out of view around them, each seeming, feeling, and even smelling very real. "Please enjoy your very own adventure," comes Dr Knowgood's voice from the air around them, for she's no longer standing there in the room with them. "We are simply thrilled to share it with you."
A dizziness sets in. The helmets fade from their heads, as if they were never there. Luci, Esperanza and Richard find themselves in the Otherworldly Forest in Haven, facing each other within a clearing. And something is very wrong ...
Many emotes you see during this plot going forward will be private, but not specified as such. The virtual reality experience has started. Please see the OOC extra for how to proceed.
(Privately to Richard:)
You wrestle with your sanity as lunacy grips you.
(Privately to Esperanza:)
You no longer sense the rising of the full moon.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "Why do I feel so ..."
Richard backs off several steps from the other two, looking down at his hands as if to ascertain they're his. They may not be, now. He promptly brings them up to grip at his head, expression tight like he's holding back trying to rip a real big one and it takes him several deep breaths to calm down and examine his surrounds rather more closely.
Luci has been walking a tightrope of emotion since they stepped into this place, and none of it helps. Her first instinct is to press her hands to her head and find the helmet, but it isn't there to grab and remove. She inhales a lungful of forest air; a low, distressed whine dies on the exhale, and she glances around warily to see just what's wrong. Her hand goes to her hip to find a weapon — in reality, she often has a knife, but here things are most likely different.
Esperanza's hand goes to her head, a thumb working at her temple as her head dips to the side and her eyes wrench in the strange quirk of wariness that doesn't really know where to land: her nostrils flare to find answers in the forest air, but they don't really seem to come — her ears strain and eyes narrow: seeking a full spectrum of her usual proprioception. Her narrowed eyes falls to her companions, each — she's seen them only moments ago, but can she trust her own eyes? A test of her lungs and vocal cords comes next to try out, "Luci? Ricardo?"
Luci thinks: "Don'tPanic Don'tPanic Don'tPanic you've been fucked up in the woods before, it's cool."
For all intents and purposes, Luci, Richard and Esperanza still look and sound like themselves, although they may not feel quite like themselves. Richard certainly looks more frenetic than the composed soldier tends to be, but at least their equipment seems to still be available. Haven is a dangerous place, but they should still be able to protect themselves — right?
The howling of wolves pricks at the edges of their hearing. The moon shines full above them But should they look up, it appears to be emanating a faint greenish light, deeply unnatural and reminiscent of an LED bulb.
"Level one has started. Participants will use teamwork and initiatives to solve obstacles together and make it through the levels safely. There are two levels in our beta test, for casual and competitive gamers. Don't forget to have fun!" The Siri-like sound of Dr Knowgood's voice has a reassuring quality to it, though it seems to be coming from all around them.
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Esperanza can hear the howling of the wolves ... but whose? And from where? The sound is dull and muffled. She cannot smell the trees around her, the soft loamy soil ... it's like she's wearing a muzzle. She hasn't felt this weak since before she turned.
(Privately to Richard:)
The wolves call out to Richard in the night. The sound is familiar, but not just because he's fought them before. These are his wolves. His friends. His allies. His brothers. He knows each sound — that one's Jackson, that one's Sonja. He knows exactly where each howl is coming from. Every sense is heightened. He can smell the trees, the woods, and the scent of the women nearby, even how fertile they might be.
(Privately to Luci:)
Luci feels much stronger than she's ever felt before, physically speaking. Her muscles are taut and tense, ready to spring. If she has that knife on her, she might be able to throw it at a bullseye twenty feet away.
Esperanza thinks: "I guess ... it is all virtual. They can't account for the supernatural, si?"
Another inhale. Exhale. Luci is tense but slowly, slowly, a smile flirts at the edges of her lips. "That feels ... almost good." she realises in a whisper. She withdraws a knife and stretches, the blade gleaming in the moonlight over her head as she veers up on tiptoe. She's still cautious when glancing about, the moon above definitely gathering her attention for a moment. Her eyes dart over Esperanza and Richard to ascertain that they're good, too. "Ya'll ready?"
Richard licks over his lower lip, sucks in air, then inhales deep through his nose. Quaint. His own instinct is to go for the handgun at his hip supposing he'd still have it in his instance, though with his luck it might not be there to draw any more. "It's just Pools and Jack. Swear I smell Payton far off. They won't hurt us." He wears a knifelike smile, certainly more at ease than he ought to be with terror-wolves in the midst.
(Internally) Richard goes 'yum'. Damn, does that Luci cooter smell fine.
Luci thinks: "I dunno 'bout Pools or Jack. Payton — I don't think he'd hurt me."
As her companions start to gather their bearings along with Esperanza, the tall drink of water is a bit less looming than either of her companions have probably usually seen, but she is none the less ready to sweep herself into her feet and fake the shit out of knowing what to do. Richard's assessment of the identity of the far-off howls briefly twitches Esperanza's brow, but she shakes it off with a crisp clap of her hands and the woman's voice stings with an authoritative support for Luci's query, "Never better. Let's go find trouble?" Like the others, Esperanza reaches into her bag, rustling for a handgun and knife.
Richard gets a blued Colt Delta Elite from his heavy combat jacket pocket.
Luci unsheathes her bowie knife.
Esperanza gets a small hunting knife from leather FARSCAPE messenger bag.
Esperanza gets a Glock 17 handgun from leather FARSCAPE messenger bag.
(Privately to Esperanza:)
The gun feels good in Esperanza's hand. Muscle memory kicks in, guiding her in the exact means to shoot a target for self-defence. Although her supernatural senses feel dull and human, she feels that she could still do some damage with more human means.
Luci thinks: "Is this power? Is this what it feels like to not be afraid?"
The trio of badasses start their way through the otherworldly forest, locked, loaded, and armed with a variety of abilities they may not have had before. Esperanza, however, might be something of a drag on the group — she just can't keep up! The natural walking speed that presently suits Luci and Richard is much too quick for her, and she's breaking a visible sweat.
It isn't long before a bristle of fur and a growl alerts them to the presence of danger nearby. Out from between the trees pads a golden-furred beast, monstrous in size and slavering at the jaws.
(Privately to Richard:)
It would be easy for Richard to join the werewolf on its hunt. That skin is second-nature to him. All he'd have to do is shed his clothes and leap, quadrupedal, into the fray.
A vein pops up on the side of Richard's forehead, continuing along to his temple. His right eye twitches but he holds onto his composure long enough to try to get a bead on the beast. It's not an especially long range, even for a handgun. How can he miss? But the 10mm kicks much harder than he remembers and his grip is uncertain, not to mention he finds he has to squint his left eye, something he thought he'd trained out of him. Bang, bang.
When the strain of sluggishness gets to be too much, Esperanza shouts from behind, "PENDEJOS! Despacio! I think — my avatar is broken, I can't-" just in time for the beast rustling through the trees to spike Esperanza's brows high and throw Esperanza into instant — much verbally quieter — alert. Her handgun is trained out on the monster, but she delays firing to sweep the tree-line around them in search for reinforcements: how often do beasts roam alone?
Luci attempts to jump into a low tree with superjumping(0)
(Privately to Luci:)
Although Luci can't quite leap into the trees using supernatural strength, she feels that she might be able to climb it with relative ease — her muscles feel as toned as an Olympic athlete's, or a Marine's.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "I can't wolf out. Why am I feeling this?"
Luci attempts throwing her knife with thrown weapons(0)
You tell Luci OOCly 'That will work!'
Luci slicks that knife out and yeets it full-force towards the beast, intending to impale it if she can ... even if it isn't fatal. Perhaps that's a dumbass move, given the lack of other weapons, but she seems a little high right now on the whole adrenaline rush of this experience. Her cheeks are flushed with the sheer pleasure of throwing something sharp.
Luci thinks: "♪♫ It's just Boss Bitch by Doja Cat 🎶"
Luci thinks: "Okay normally I talk my way out of shit, but this time it's KNIVES."
Richard, the Temple-trained career soldier, manages to somehow miss the werewolf with every single squeeze of that trigger. Instead it's Luci who manages to land an impressive strike, the kind that belies years of experience and expertise. Her body follows through with that throw on natural instinct, and the tip of the blade lodges itself in the werewolf's coat.
Angering it however may not have been wise, and while Esperanza's supernatural powers might not avail her, her knowledge does. The golden-furred wolf tosses its head back to let out a long, mournful howl, and is joined by a chorus of growls. In the night around them, reflective eyes make their presence known, encroaching through the trees.
All three may recognise the wolves present — these are the local packs of Haven. But it may be a little harder to see them in the dark, for most.
Luci thinks: "... Okay I can throw."
Luci thinks: "And they suck. That's weird."
(Privately to Luci:)
Knives, guns ... heck, why not a sword, or grenades? Luci, all of a sudden, is an expert on most forms of combat.
Esperanza feels crushing conflict.
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Is that Jackson, possibly? Richard said something about Poolside. They're a little too far away to properly see, where usually, Esperanza could know them on instinct by smell and the way they move. But it might be them — the coat is the right colour, more or less, it's just a little hard to be sure in the dark.
Luci draws a pistol next — she usually has one of those, too, and takes aim. "This is actually pretty fun." she cheers, taking aim at the wolf she just pissed off with a devil-may-care attitude. There's other wolves, but whatever. She takes it all in stride along with the power of gun — although she hesitates to pull the trigger, staring at the golden wolf with a slight frown and furrow of her brow. "Ya'll ... do you both have debuffs?"
Luci thinks: "Don't do something rash. One gun can't outdo a whole pack of wolves."
Luci recalls a girl stumbling upon Chloe in the woods — Luci putting herself with a gun between the truck-sized wolf and that dumbass chick. She's been here before. It's terrifying. It's ... familiar. Part of her understands this better than anything else.
Richard hadn't questioned the change in his night vision, but it's certainly a welcome boon. He stares incredulously at his hand though after his display of spectacularly bad aim. "Feels like you have all my time at the range. So." He swiftly impresses his Delta Elite, folding naturaliser, and two extra magazines into Luci's hand to buff her firepower even further with something in a more powerful caliber. "Just keep to your fundamentals." Now ostensibly unarmed, he hurries to start pulling off the buttons of his jacket.
Richard gives a blued Colt Delta Elite to Luci.
Richard gives a black polymer handgun to Luci.
Luci thinks: "I literally would rather be my own useless ass than be Richard."
Luci gets a blued Colt Delta Elite from a pocket.
"MIERDA!" Esperanza bites out as eyes starts to pop out through the mist and between the trees, and although things don't quite feel right, she still hesitates with her handgun clutched tight in her right hand, sweeping over the shapes she squints at in the night. "Chicaaaaa," Esperanza draws out awhile pacing backward toward the other two as they become more and more surrounded. As Richard starts stripping and passing his weapons to Luci, Esperanza beckons with a fret, "So, uh, you take those two and I'll put down.. suppressing fire?"
"Just — yes, suppressing fire!" Luci trades out guns to the nicer one Richard handed her, taking aim swiftly for a few well-placed shots. Once again, with this cold and terrible efficiency of one who has never hesitated, of one who knows the gun as well as her hands themselves. "Esper, if you're like me, you got the gift of heart now. Or maybe try whistling, see if a dragon shows up — I don't know." She tosses a wry grin over to Esperanza and keeps on shooting.
(Internally) The threat of the surrounding wolves looms less oppressively in Esperanza's mind than the reluctance to obliterate what feel like her allies. The knowledge of their fictitious nature struggling to break through the inane urge to protect her friends.
(Internally) Luci would actually be jealous as shit if Esper got even a fake Cheeto. She regrets saying it at all.
Chloe is among the wolves to appear, as are Sonja, Jackson, Darrow and others. It seems like almost everyone except Esperanza has turned up, even if it doesn't make sense for all of these wolves to be here — rival packs, even werewolves who usually prefer to stay locked in a basement.
Now that Richard takes a closer look at the golden-furred wolf, there's something familiar about her, too, even if they others don't recognise her. She's someone who hasn't been seen among the living in close to a year, and even then, she looks more natural and wolf-like than the last time he saw her.
Every shot that Luci takes finds its mark, but the werewolf is strong. The beast turns away with a growl, limping and bleeding to lick its wounds among the imminent reinforcements.
(Internally) Luci doesn't like shooting Chloe. No matter what the estrangement ... she don't like that at all. The golden wolf looks familiar in a distant way.
Richard is hasty about stripping down, undoing the side-zip of each boot before shucking them off with a strong kick each leg. No time to waste, though maybe Doctor Knowgood might appreciate his backside as the pants come off too, roughly balled up in a hand and then hurled Esperanza's way. "Catch! Might need those later." they're in a stressful, surrounded situation, some of the tension seems to ebb away from his nude frame, like he's ceased rejecting his true nature. He may feel kinship with all these wolves but he hasn't lost his mind yet. With a shudder he begins to transform, groaning at the unfamiliarity of the sensation — like he's going through several puberties all at once.
Luci very pointedly does not enjoy the view of Richard getting naked — that's all Knowgood's territory. She's lightning — doing a Kim Possible roll just because she fucking can, righting herself, shooting more. Enjoying the power as it comes. Pew Pew Pew. She, of the three, is likely the least stressed out by the changes they've been subjected to.
(Internally) Luci is what is needed — they need a warrior? A warrior they get. And she sort of likes it. As long as she doesn't look any of the wolves in the face.
"Gift of a heart-attack, maybe!" Esperanza snaps back to Luci over her shoulder while starting to shoot up into the canopy, above the encroaching beasts' heads, planting her knife-bearing hand to her heart as she shouts over the snarl of wolves and gunfire, "Do you ever go to the gym?!" Esperanza manages to catch Richard's pants — maybe just with her face, and hastily stuffs them in her bag. She's mostly the valet here anyway, right? "Anyone got a light?!" she shouts out over the din, throwing out a few more bullets into the trees.
Luci gives a brushed metal Zippo lighter to Esperanza.
"Level one is almost complete," comes Knowgood's aerial encouragement. They can almost hear the smirk in her voice, which colours the landscape with its disembodied presence.
Esperanza turns out to be a pretty good shot — Luci is just a bit better. But that support is needed, and it makes the wolves think twice about their prey, darting and circling in and out of the trees. If only they'd brought silver. "We could not have asked for better beta testers. These are remarkable results."
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Esperanza's firing skills are much, much better than they normally are, however.
Level One does not finish in time to interrupt Richard's transformation into a proper wolf-form, dropping from twos to fours, a hulking wolf in a furry blend of Esperanza's own chestnut fur and his sandy-blond painting its hide in streaks. It doesn't appear to be a she-wolf but this is not the time to gaze at wolf-balls, is it not?
And just as he feels the natural draw of kinship to his fellow wolf, he too feels the urge to stand his ground, stake his territory, growling back at the packs of wolves encroaching on their position.
Luci tosses Esperanza a lighter with that excellent coordination. "I don't have to go to the gym." she grouses, still focusing on being a mini-badass and firing off shot after sexy, accurate shot. "I bet you could mix a perfect cocktail right now and you've got plus-ten to your charisma stats, count your blessings." Another tuck and roll that really, really isn't needed. Poor Jackson eats it, and once that shot finds its mark she flinches, looks away. There's fleeting guilt despite the game-nature of all of this.
Luci thinks: "Plus I took so many intensive gun classes. I do my best, okay?"
(Internally) Luci feels a deep, deep insecurity. Of not being useful. Not being enough. It sucks to be her, and now someone else knows. She'd shoot Richard dead for the house-fucking and Esperanza dead for knowing her an ounce too well, so long as they woke up. That urge is tamped down.
Luci thinks: "They're tapping memories, aren't they?"
The golden-furred wolf looks good and done for, writhing and whimpering on the ground. One more bullet, or even just time to bleed out, and she'd surely be done for — but someone else leaps in to her rescue; a Non-Player Character. An enormous black wolf with olive eyes and sleek angular fur, far larger than most of the werewolves Haven has seen. In moving to defend its fallen packmate, it moves to tackle Richard mid-air, snarling and biting at his chestnut fur, or rather, Esperanza's chestnut fur — worn by a different skin.
When the lighter comes flying at her from Luci's direction, Esperanza tries to catch it as nimbly as possible, though she rolls her eyes at it and just shoves in her bag for now, shouting first, "Beg to differ," as she breaths heavily despite her relative lack of athleticism compared to their compatriots. Continuing her efforts of suppressing fire that send pits of bark and shredded leaf flying into the wolves faces while Esperanza holds her ground as the other two make the real waves. "Does that make me the plucky comic relief?" Esperanza wonders to Luci before the snarling of Richard and the golden wolf catches her attention, and a subsequent curse, "MIERDA!"
Richard thinks cryptographically: "Use the damn naturaliser!"
"If I was funny, yes." Luci drawls over to Esperanza, but then her own eyes get real big at that absolutely massive wolf. "Oh, fuck!" she fires off in that direction — but while she's got all of Richard's military skill, she lacks the cool head. She backs off after to let him handle it some, and she glances to Esperanza again. "I'll try one round at the gym if it'll make you feel better, but I'm pathetic." She helps out with that fire at the rest of the wolves, the patter loud and steady.
Richard would probably comment if he could, but his spin on Esperanza's wolf form lacks the requisite faculties for speech. Intelligence is still definitely there, but that doesn't help much at the much larger wolf slamming into him and interrupting his pounce, landing clumsily and reeling back — little experience in fighting in this form, either. And no hands to wrestle. He plays evasive instead of matching might for might, taking advantage of he being a smaller target, to lure it into an easier place for Luci and Esperanza to really pelt it with all their lead.
(Internally) Luci thinks of the dragon's tamed and the terrible things survived, the secrets known, the things lost — and it's all down to 'go to the gym'. Bitch. She's gonna rage-fuck Kevin later.
"We are preparing to load Level Two," comes Doctor Knowgood's all-seeing voice. The neon-green light that emanates from the overhead moon starts to flicker, and when it does, the melee appears to get harder. She promised them that they would suffer no real or lasting harm for this, and yet the pain of Chloe's claws against Richard's hide is very real. She nearly bites a chunk out of his flesh with those massive jaws, sending a spray of blood against the forest floor. "Please stand by ..." A whirr fills the sky. The forest around them starts to hiss, and bits of dirt collapse from out underneath them.
"Apologies, we are experiencing a minor glitch. Please enjoy the current Level while we sort out our technical difficulties ..."
(Privately to Luci:)
Luci's aim starts to feel a bit off, or at least closer to what it was before. But she's still holding that naturaliser in her hand, and could probably take a shot against the black-furred wolf, to spare Richard further pain.
(Privately to Esperanza:)
Esperanza's muscles start to regain some sense of vigour, and her aim improves. Having perhaps broken 'the wall', she feels like she could hold out for just a little while longer. She's a hardy woman, after all.
"Shit,” Luci whimpers, as things begin to fall apart — she doesn't look surprise, just disappointed. She tucks the gun away fluidly and raises her naturaliser instead, aiming this unfamiliar thing at the giant black wolf. "M'sorry, Chlo’,” she whispers under her breath, before she makes it rain. Sort of. The ground stumbles and she peers around, a soft whine released into the night air.
Luci thinks: "Of course something goes wrong."
"He'll need your help!" Esperanza frantically warns Luci as she watches Richard fumble and struggle with his newfound body-parts — and lacking others. "Trust me, I will work on these ones, you save him from her!" As promised, Esperanza looks back into the tree-line and with a few settling breaths, she starts firing off into the trees: at the large shapes that move within it. She might not be able to make out what is what or who, but large-bodies rusting the trees at chest-height — that she can manage to guess at.
Clawed up and whining in some pain, Richard resorts instead to a tactic more appropriate for a person accosted by a particularly large and rabid dog — he sacrifices an arm, or a paw in this case, to try and force it right into Wolf-Chloe's mouth, choosing to let her chew up his forelimb in exchange for a guaranteed shot to bite down at the neck of the bigger wolf, teeth sinking in. The dynamic might soon change with Luci's use of the naturaliser.
Another bullet rings out from Esperanza's gun, but it does not strike a wolf. There is another figure in the woods, a tall, scaled man with bright red eyes. Wings stretch out from behind his back, and horns crest the side of his head. He sneers at her, stretching out a clawed hand to grab at her neck ... And then nothing. He fades out of view and then back in again as golden sand blows out across the forest floor.
They're no longer standing in Haven's Forest. There are enemies all around them, but the enemies aren't wolves. Olive-skinned soldiers with dark hair and curving swords swarm the sandstone temple they stand upon, attacking the many Israelites who fight by the trio's side.
And then that's gone too. The level never plays out in full, and the scenery continues rapidly changing, cycling through different terrains and stories.
When Luci fires the naturaliser, it catches Chloe with a painful jolt, sending her careening off of Richard's mutilated flank. The slim tomboy is human, naked and defenceless, but suddenly so is he. She shatters into dust when she hits the ground, but he remains, whole and hale despite having just lost an entire arm seconds prior.
Luci thinks: "No no no."
Whole and hale and on his ass with his clothes gone, Richard stumbles back to his feet, swaying in place as he regains his bearings, the transformation back to human instantaneous and rather jarring. He closes in with his present company, not thinking yet to ask for his pants back from Esperanza. "Fuck! Looks like they cut corners."
(Privately to Luci:)
Luci's senses are overwhelmed. She can smell every single change of scenery, from wood to sand, wolf to demon. The sounds of battle ring through her ears for the brief moment it appears.
"Chlo —" Luci starts to call, reaching an arm out for the girl who is dust — but things change swiftly. She backs away fearfully from the scaled thing, right into a soldier who is suddenly there. "I want out." she calls suddenly. "Out! Out, let me out!" She sways where she stands and crumples to her knees, clutching her head. "Red! Teddybear! Penguin! Whatever — whatever the fuck!" She does keep ahold of Richard's naturaliser, although the less dangerous part is pressed to her skull.
(Privately to Richard:)
Lunacy is gone. Richard is himself again, more or less, or ... less. Mostly less. He could probably fire a gun now, but he's still lacking those Temple reflexes.
Luci feels a strong desire to make it stop.
Luci thinks: "He did it on purpose. I'm gonna find him and beat his ass, that fucking weird bastard."
(Privately to Luci:)
You wrestle with your sanity as lunacy grips you.
Those curses turn into a baleful howl that's too big to be contained in such a little body — but that's fine, because soon Luci's little body is sprouting fur, changing into Esperanza's colours as she gradually grows. Her claws sprout, and fangs erupt from a rapidly elongated jaw. The sudden werewolf only retains the colour of her eyes — the rest is just a slightly smaller, more delicate version of Esperanza's wolf. She howls again, long and loud up at that neon moon, and then whirls around to snap at whoever's nearest.
Richard dives to one side, retrieving the gun that Luci has abandoned in the middle of her transformation as well as the naturaliser, though instead of immediately putting it to use to keep Luci from biting off his limbs or (worse) his peepee he rushes back first, passing the naturaliser then Esperanza's way; he seems to be betting that she'll be the one receiving his marksmanship this time. "Point and shoot, Pepsi —"
Richard thinks cryptographically: "What a clusterfuck."
Richard thinks cryptographically: "But! I've had worse."
Luci definitely aims for the dick. Poor Richard.
(Internally) Luci feels enraged and it feels good — she ain't even sure what she's mad about, but damn. She feels those feral urges to run and howl and fight. There's something that definitely wants to bite Richard's dick off though she can't remember exactly why.
Having trouble keeping up with everything changing around her (including that inside her) Esperanza is only just trying to turn to comfort Luci — or perhaps berate her — when the woman that shifting and growing, sending Esperanza back a few full steps with a sharp, "MIERDA!" But then Richard is planting a gun in Esperanza's hand and it feels ... right. Maybe she is too used to people in Richard's state to think anything of it, but the pants stay tucked away in Esperanza's bag as she starts to advise of his expected luck, "Try not to run too hard, you might get a bought of asthma."
Luci's pleas are heard, and Dr Knowgood's voice sounds out around them. She sounds terribly disappointed. "You would like to end the simulation, Ms Hensley? Very well. Please stand by, it appears Level Two requires further testing. We will attempt to disconnect you shortly."
When Ancient Canaan fades from view, fragments of a new scene take its place. This one appears more fantastical rather than historical, rooted in horror. The air around them is bleak and cold, a chill of death gripping them. Instead of soldiers and demons, now there are pale and ghostly figures closing around them.
This environment seems equally unstable, liable to collapse in seconds. But for the time being, Richard and Esperanza find themselves trapped in some bleak underground cave system, wreathed in mist with a lunatic werewolf to contend with.
You tell Luci OOCly 'Hope it's OK to take some liberties here — the scene that will unfold in front of them now is going to be something that Luci will have some control over, subconsciously, so feel free to narrate it. If she's had any supernatural ancestry dreams, the kinds of things she sometimes dreams about are going to be here.'
Luci tells you OOCly 'That sounds great!'
Luci tells you OOCly 'Starting now, or next round?'
You tell Luci OOCly 'Now!'
You tell Luci OOCly 'I went for catacombs 'cause I saw your storyidea about Mania, so figured deathly/spooky would be apt.'
For some reason, Luci's next noise sounds more like a film's T-Rex roar than a wolf's howl. Her teeth are jagged, more deadly. Another roar spills a sea of black butterflies that further obscure everything in black velvet wings. The wolf blinks, and then there's a song — a glorious song, a Siren's song, beautiful and echoing through — numbingly surreal and amazing. It contrasts the slick, oily stuff starting to drip from the walls — the butterflies stick to it in a sad little replica of an awful seventh grade science project. Midst the madness, the wolf screams and leaps on Esperanza, aiming to seal deadly teeth around her throat.
"Pop Luci with the naturaliser, Pepsi." Even in his nude and vulnerable and altogether stamina-less state, Richard does retain one of his good qualities - the cool head — and his sense of tactics. He narrowly avoids a stalagmite and tries to punt Luci in the side while she's going for Esperanza, all business and no music here folks.
(Internally) It isn't just lunacy, it's a call to madness that sings to her soul — besides the actual memory of a True Siren's song that flowed through so many of her dreams. There's that conflict in all of her dreams. The Fae who owns them. The goddess who wants them. It's been fucked up for a real long time, and now it's all just pouring out of Luci in a disgusting, literal sense.
With none of Richard's quick and practical thinking, Esperanza's first instinct is to hurl her own revolver at the lunging Luci but Richard's instruction clicks in quick and Esperanza is bracing herself into the ground - as well as she can with it all collapsing around her and lays into the neutraliser with a steady, unending stream of shots with her eyes shot wild and crazed.
With none of Richard's quick and practical thinking, Esperanza's first instinct is to hurl her own revolver at the lunging Luci but Richard's instruction clicks in quick and Esperanza is bracing herself into the ground — as well as she can with it all collapsing around her and lays into the neutraliser with a steady, unending stream of shots with her eyes shot wild and crazed.
The first shot of the neutraliser misses, and Luci's heavy weight lands on Esperanza's legs. Those teeth part, saliva dripping from them — are they getting sharper? Yes. There's rows of them now, and more are sprouting and growing, crowding her jaw with nothing but fangs. They leer at poor Esperanza, but the next one catches and she's abruptly human. And also probably naked. Except she still has a mouthful of sharp, sharp teeth, and now her eyes are black and burning with way too much batshit crazy. She grabs Esperanza's throat and tries to pin the larger woman to the ground by it. "Can you hear the song?" she rasps — her voice echoes oddly in the chamber. How could you not hear the song? But her palms put painful pressure on Esperanza's neck and she demands again, "Can you hear it!?"
Luci thinks: "You'll hear it and you'll know why I don't dream."
Luci thinks: "What's been taken. Traded. Used. Hear it and weep ... and see this place and know what I can become."
In untrained hands, neutralisers are known to misfire frequently, and werewolves aren't exactly known for their skill with technology. In Esperanza's, however, it hums to life with a single click, and her own werewolf form crumples away for the second time, struck down into Luci's (mostly) human form.
The scene shifts, that song starting to fade from hearing. Luci hears it longest, hear supernaturally attuned ears picking up each and every note, and knowing instinctively exactly where it's coming from and how far might be the source. The butterflies shatter against the walls, which turn pale.
"Thank you so much for participating," Dr Knowgood's voice sounds out around them. "We are unable to proceed with Level Two due to stability issues. Disconnection is available upon request, though you are welcome to play as long as you like ..." She sounds hopeful in this.
Despite Dr Knowgood's promise, the simulation continues to warp. In the distant horizon they can see the Colosseum, in all its ancient glory. The stone structures of Ancient Rome are a scenic sight to behold, and beneath them, wild grass and floral fields caress their skin. Another lupine howl pierces the air, far louder than any that has ever been heard in Haven.
Richard raises his bare foot and tries to shove Luci off Esperanza with a push kick. While he finds he's not nearly as strong as he is 'supposed' to be, he still has his weight to back up the motion. "You can ask her that without chokin' her," he grouses back, but with the imminent danger absent he lowers his gun to listen. His brows raise. Yes, he hears it, but not for long. "That you, Knowgood? I'd be game ... next test, maybe, if you give me a stronger body. Also, if you're in here for me to pinch every time something goes bad." After that, he tries to help Esperanza up with a hand, though he soon winces, crouching down and covering his normal human ears.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "Ow, sounds like that one wants the wolf manager."
Luci gets kicked off with a yelp, and then ... her eyes aren't black anymore, and her teeth are normal and human and dull. She looks up like a frightened rabbit. "Let me out,” she whispers again in a small voice. "Please."
Esperanza helps Richard dispatch of Luci as well as she can and just as she is readying to accept the lift, her assistant is crouching, fending off the noise from the blaring howl in the distance. Esperanza winces back against it but begins to crawl her way to her feet on her own. Finally, Esperanza reaches into the bag and tugs out the pair of trousers Richard had entrusted to -or at least punted at — Esperanza. "You'll want these before Knowgood gets knowing you too good before you're ready." Even as she attempts at wit, her eyes scan the countryside, curiously inspecting the unfamiliar landscape.
Luci bares her teeth again and little, soft growls get panted out, her nails digging in the ground. "Out. Now!" she orders sharply. Her jaw lags open and her tongue lolls out like a dog's, despite her very, very human appearance. She's eyeing the pair next to her like they're snacks again.
"Afraid science is her first love," Richard mutters back to Esperanza, sliding back into his pants and relieved to be at least a little covered up or at least comfortable, though he hadn't been shy while nude anyway. He moves to Luci to examine her, then steps back, raising his pistol. "Speakin' of — hurry up, hon, Luci here still wants to eat us unless that's part of the test. Or the bigger wolf." He works his jaw and though all the terrain around him is open it gives little consolation.
The sun shines bright above them, far brighter than in the real world. Is starts to emit a greenish glow, and a hiss of steam sounds close to each of the trio's individual ears. Everything then fades to white.
That was no sun above them, but a blinking green light from their individual sleeping pods. Sleeping pods which neither of them voluntarily entered, having only agreed to don helmets, but at present all three of them appear to be lying on their backs inside a comfortable, cushy white bed with a fibreglass case. The pressure gauges release, and the lids of the pod open to allow them their escape.
On the walls of the white room are numerous charts and scans of their vital activity, including neural imagery. Dr Knowgood is standing at the back of the room, making notes on her chart.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "Those big ones bound space in a leap ..."
Richard feels a little nauseous.
(Incidentally, both Richard and Luci are fully clothed. Nothing's torn, either, and no one's missing any arms or any other important appendages!)
Woozy, but gladdened when he realises where he is, Richard calls upon his own recuperative faculties to carry him through popping out the pod. Too quickly. He gets lightheaded and stumbles back into the pod for support but at least he isn't imprisoned. Then he examines his hands and starts to straighten, sucking in fresh — real — air. "Glad to be back," he notes.
Luci breathes in and is slower to wake than Richard she stares for a long moment at the tech around her, disoriented. "I don't like it," she mumbles. It's a slow process to pry herself out of her own pod, carefully easing her legs down to support her weight. She spends a moment there at its side, hand on the expensive thing, and then she stumbles slowly towards Dr. Knowgood. "Didn't like it,” she mumbles. "Not for me. Need ... got any whiskey?"
The virtual reality portion of the plot is over. All stats and powers are now accessible and may be used as normal.
Luci thinks: "One day I'll come back and find that dude — find him. Just be like ... "the fuck"."
(Internally) Luci is somehow convinced it's the Not-Kevin guy's fault.
"Oh I'm so sorry to hear that," Dr Knowgood replies, turning around to face Luci with a truly stricken expression. Science might be her first love, but she's clearly trained in corporate culture customer-service, and feigns authenticity well. "We were really pleased to have you here for this early phase of our beta testing. We understand that, as with any game, there are often bugs in early development, and I apologise for the difficulties you all faced in Level Two. It is thanks to you that we could catch these early, before releasing our product for mass market engagement."
"Uh. So what kind of ... market are you gonna be targeting with this game?" Richard tugs on the cuffs of his rolled-up sleeves as he parks himself close to Knowgood, seeming to assume that Esperanza can make it out of her pod on her own just fine.
"I want two things," Luci croaks to the good Doctor. "I want Hot Kevin's number. And I want to talk to that weird guy I can't remember but knows who I am some point. Put it on his calendar." She hushes up for Richard's important, relevant questions after.
Esperanza apparently takes a bit longer than her companions to click back into proprioception of this room she did not remember bringing herself into. Her gaze sweeps the room from her spot on her back a bit, listening to the others speaking and gaining her bearings before finally visually rousing. Hers is slow going, but she pulls herself up and out of her pod with care, retesting her senses and body as she gets to her feet.
Richard thinks cryptographically: "What a ho."
(Internally) Richard is definitely not hypocritical or maybe salty that Luci has never let him in.
Luci's requests have Dr Knowgood freezing up. She might be a diabolical scientist working for an evil supernatural megacorp, but it seems even she's afraid of some things. She answers Richard first. "I'm not at liberty to discuss that." Her hazel eyes flicker down to study her chart while she speaks. "However, if you enjoyed your experience, we may be willing to negotiate a controlled, prototypical release on behalf of certain qualifying organisations you may happen to represent."
All of them may be noticing some minor, lasting impacts from their ordeal ...
(Privately to Esperanza:)
The recollection of that final lupine howl sticks in Esperanza's memory. Thinking about it emboldens her with some renewed vigour. It seems to be calling to her, from across the boundaries of the virtual reality experience, and she may find it plaguing her dreams ... along with the visage of an ancient, monstrous werewolf, whose fur is white as snow and bright as the moon itself. Something about this image makes her think that the wolf is the moon and the moon is the wolf. It prowls across her subconscious.
(Privately to Luci:)
Every so often, Luci may hallucinate the strange things she saw in the catacombs, flickers of Mania creeping across her consciousness. It seems to want to interrupt her reality, and when it does, she may recall the various kinds of strength and power she felt while emboldened by Esperanza and Richard's powers and abilities. Even now, standing here in front of Dr Knowgood, her muscles feel a touch keener.
(Privately to Richard:)
After the initial nausea fades, Richard may feel stronger than he did before. The memory of what it felt like to have a werewolf's strength lingers in his muscles and bones; he may notice his reflexes are a touch sharper, though not by much. This will only last for as long as he maintains his regimen of Temple augmentation.
You tell Luci OOCly 'Optional plot hook, but basically, Level Two was an attempt to extract and harness her supernatural ancestry, and she may feel some lingering effects from that.'
You tell Esperanza OOCly 'Optional plot hook, but basically, Level Two was an attempt to extract and harness her supernatural ancestry, and she may feel some lingering effects from that.'
You tell Richard OOCly 'Optional plot hook, but basically, Level Two was an attempt to extract and harness supernatural ancestry, which in Richard's case was rooted in Temple's ancient history in Canaan. It will be tied to his maintenance of the semi-supernatural Temple augmentation.'
Esperanza tells you OOCly 'I totally love it — have any suggestion on what sort of effects? I feel like all the noob here about this'
Luci tells you OOCly 'Thank you! 10/10 will use.'
You tell Esperanza OOCly 'Toootally up to you 'cause it's post plot stuff and I don't wanna force it, but the general gist is feeling a touch more connected to the history/lore of ancient werewolves. You can interpret that as purely psychological or have it be physical in some way, up to you. Or she could just have weird dreams.'
"Sure thing. Do I call the same number on the card?" Richard asks Knowgood, tousling fingers through his own hair though it didn't need as much rearrangement, being fairly short. After a moment, he decides to copy a page off Luci's book and asks the good doctor as well, "How about your number?"
(Internally) Luci feels some things unravelling that shouldn't — the very edge of the thread. Part of her wants some fucked up shit. Some fear. A little extra hit of crazy that stirs her blood.
"I will be glad to give you my personal number," Dr Knowgood replies. She's a touch more stoic now that she's no longer trying to ease them into undergoing weird supernatural experiments or signing various legal forms, but she remains polite and professional with Richard. "And Kevin's, of course, I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
Finally, she turns to fix her gaze on Luci's own, pursing her lips as she considers the other requests. "I'm sure that ... Mr Smith ... will be glad to put you on your calendar. He speaks of you so often, and so fondly." The way she says that name, it sounds like she might have made it up on the spot. "Is there anything else I can do for you to thank you for your part in our Beta Testing? I believe you were all promised a cheque for your participation, but there are other favours we might extend, as a token of good faith."
Luci thinks: "Often? Fondly?"
As Luci and Richard discuss phone numbers and intended use of this technology, Esperanza's is just wandering idly around the room while regularly checking her phone and the time thereupon. Impatience and irritability have started sinking back into Esperanza's psyche and she finally marches up to the trio with a sharp click of her heels and interrupts with a sudden demand of, "I need a ride back to town."
The Tyrell Corporation is a very wealthy organisation, and Luci, Richard and Esperanza may wish to consider what favours they could ask. These might include ...
— Cash — Influence — A boost for your alliance's influence over a global territory — Coloured items — Artefacts
(To be handled offscreen via the plot award system, if you have the plot experience to spend.)
"The meeting will be enough," Luci decides sweetly. "With ... Mr. Smith. And literally as much money as ya'll wanna throw my way." She steps aside for Esperanza, her smile frozen on her face.
Luci thinks: "He doesn't know me that well."
Luci thinks: "Whoever-the-fuck. She's lying. I'd love to know why."
"I'll give you a call when I've decided," says Richard, clearly not lacking in terms of his own personal cash. Nonetheless, he's gotten Knowgood's phone number and that suffices for now and he joins up with Esperanza. "We'd like that ride back home."
"Home is good," Luci agrees, stretching. "I'll be in touch."
Luci tells you OOCly 'I'd love money, I have a lot of experience and it'll be nice to burn some of it.'
You tell Luci OOCly 'How much do you wanna burn? 10 plot XP = $1'
Luci tells you OOCly 'I have like up to 40k I could throw at this, so it's up to you.'
You tell Luci OOCly 'Will award/summon in a sec, just waiting on Richard's award pick'
Luci tells you OOCly 'It's good!'
[STalk] Richard: 'I'll save it.'
Luci succeeds in her adventure.
Esperanza succeeds in her adventure.
Richard succeeds in his adventure.
Luci is awarded $567