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Through the Looking Glass



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Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:17 pm
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Elinor says...



"Right, because snipping the way you did definitely isn't being judgmental," Tara snipped back. "And I think you're projecting. You didn't have to bring it up, and not like that. I hate him too, okay?"

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

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Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:50 pm
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TheMulticoloredCyr says...



"I'm judging him, asshole," she said with a roll of her eyes, "but sure. I'm projecting and you're not a bitch." She cast one last glance at the book - that happy little cover made her want to hit something - and stalked away. Tara wasn't worth the time. She wasn't worth shit, as far as Queenie was concerned. Just some chick with daddy issues and a temper like a bonfire at an oil refinery.
  





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Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:24 pm
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Magebird says...



The moment that the argument started - and the moment that Odris stepped into the room - he tuned out what Queenie and Tara were saying. It wasn't intentional. He liked to be aware of what was going on around him. But the sounds of their rising voices and shifting tones brought back memories of meetings from what felt like an eternity ago. His mind, apparently, had gotten so used to tuning out the meetings when he didn't want to be a part of them that it tuned out this conversation, too.

As he scanned the shelves, his eyes caught on a leather notebook. "Hawke" was written on the side in a handwriting he didn't quite recognize. He grabbed the book from the shelf; something was drawing him to it.

When he opened it to its first page, he realized what that something was.

There was a photo tucked into what looked like some kind of diary. It was off a baby boy being held by a happy couple, in a setting that looked vaguely Western. It felt like a serious violation of whoever had kept this book to keep reading it, but Odris couldn't help it. Something about the baby's face seemed familiar.

He flipped through the other pages.

It didn't take long for him to find what he needed to put the pieces together.

There was a wanted poster in the book.

The man in the wanted poster had a different name that he did now, and his haircut was notably different. But Maahes had told Odris countless stories of his adventures with James. He knew James had a wanted poster, and he knew that he was wanted by the name underneath the drawing of his face.

Odris hurriedly closed the book.

He looked around the room again, eyes still focused on the shelves instead of the people present. He didn't even notice when Tara snapped at Queenie. His eyes had caught on another book - a book that gave him a heavy feeling in his chest.

The book wasn't really a book. It was a tablet, and not the Earth kind. It was a little sliver of metal and electronics. If you turned it on, it could open up a holographic screen the size of a regular iPad. Fiddling with the other controls would let a three dimensional display pop up as well.

The tablet was worn; it was probably as old as Odris was, even though Odris hadn't been conscious for the vast majority of his life. He tucked James's book underneath his arm and reached for the tablet.

He pressed the right button. He already knew what he was going to find.

The holographic screen appeared, displaying the title page.

The Mystery of the Missing Teenage Scientist, it read. The author only had their initials displayed - M.O.A. The initials didn't ring any bells; it must have been written by someone shortly after he ended up in the pod.

"Odris was born on..." the first page started.

Odris turned off the screen.

Now that his curiosity had been satisfied - and now that he was thoroughly distracted by the thought of someone writing a book on him - he turned to the other two. Tara and Queenie were both standing near each other; Queenie's arms were crossed.

...Had he missed an argument?

Odris awkwardly stared at the two of them, trying to figure out what they could have possibly argued about in the short time they were in the room.
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Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:21 pm
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EditorAndPerks says...



Colleen heard more than saw James hitting something beside her. The door had been the only thing to give light, but now they seemed to be trapped here.

She tried to stretch out her arm to catch James, but all she felt was air, and all she could see was darkness. Few people ever caught her totally off guard like CB had, yet here she felt lost again.

What could she do? They were trapped inside this room, and there was no light to use. Well, there was one thing Colleen never felt bad about doing.

"Uhm, James? Are you okay?"
The only thing we're allowed to do is to believe that we won't regret the choice we made.
- Levi Ackerman

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Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:10 am
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soundofmind says...



James stared down into the darkness. At least, he thought it was down. It had to be down. With his forearms and fists leaning against the door, he hung his head between his arms and took in a few deep breaths. Counting. It didn't feel like it was helping anything, and of course it wasn't. He was trapped again, and this time he didn't even know who'd captured him. CB - what did that even stand for? Carter's last name started with an R. Carter didn't have a voice like this. Carter didn't have magic, or trap doors in some castle, or palace, or whatever this was. This wasn't him. It couldn't be him.

But who else was out to get him? James didn't know anymore. He didn't know what he'd done to deserve any of this. Nothing. Nothing, anymore. Existing was his crime.

James's head hit the door a little too hard as he leaned against it.

Colleen's voice felt like it came out of a void, barely reaching him.

That was right. He was with someone. A stranger. He had to keep it together. He had to be capable, strong, and focused if they were ever going to get out of this. If only it were that easy.

He took in a deep breath as he tried to reset himself and come up with a reply that wouldn't sound entirely like a lie. But before he could say a word, a voice that sounded stiff and artificial echoed throughout the room with a sickly sweet tone. It didn't sound real. Something was off.

"Command not registered. Please request a simulation by describing the scene."

James leaned into the door.

"Mm," he grumbled under his breath. "It's just - this stupid door. Won't budge."

The artificial voice spoke again.

"Door materializing."

A faint light appeared behind them as a simple wooden door appeared, like a picture on a black background, except it was physical and tangible. James turned around, standing up straight, but slowly.

This... was this like the dining room? Could they just think things and they would appear? Or did they have to say it out loud?
  





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Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:48 pm
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EditorAndPerks says...



Ah, that was a door, that came out of the air?

Colleen jumped a bit, not trying to make it obvious that she was absolutely startled by whatever James was managing to do. Now, did his words cause the door to appear, or was this just another game?

There was the voice overhead which pointed to this maybe being both of those ideas - that this was a game to mess with them, but if they asked in certain ways, they would be able to cause change in this room.

What could she say to test this?

"Could I get a tissue, please?"

She stretched out a hand. A light similar to the one that appeared with the door blinked into the room, and there was a soft folded sheet across her fingers.

"I, ah, see."

Colleen turned to James then.

"Is your head okay?" He had hit it in a fashion that looked like it hurt. "And, do you think we should go through that door?"
The only thing we're allowed to do is to believe that we won't regret the choice we made.
- Levi Ackerman

Castle Grounds Consultant
  





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Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:57 pm
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Elinor says...



For now, Tara ignored Queenie. She was... how old, sixteen, seventeen? Tara wasn't about to start a fight with someone that she was almost a decade older than. She'd been pissed off at the world when she was that age too. At the circumstances of her conception and her birth. When Tara was sixteen, her mother told her the story.

I was going to give you up. And the first time I held you, I fell so in love with you that I changed my mind.

Nevermind that she'd been eighteen and had given up a lot of dreams to raise Tara. Her mother had always told her that that didn't matter. And still, she wondered.

And yet, Tara didn't know she'd actually trade her family for a normal one if she had the chance. Yes, it was weird that Adam was so much older than them and they'd only all met within the past year. And yet, they were family.

Her eyes drifted away from Queenie's gaze and to the bookshelves. She wanted to look more. But that was when the door appeared.

"I think we should go through it too," she said.

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

-- Walt Disney
  





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Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:46 am
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Magebird says...



Odris stared at the door.

He didn't think it was a good idea to go through doors that seemingly appeared out of nowhere, but he also knew that CB had probably made it appear for a reason. He took a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair again.

"We probably should," he relented.
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Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:41 am
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soundofmind says...



James sighed. "I'm fine," he said dismissively, walking towards the door. He touched the front, and then looked behind it. All that was there was darkness. It didn't look like the door should open up to anything, and when he twisted the knob and pushed it open, he was right. It was just a door.

"It looks like this place works like the dining room, but we're not limited to food," he observed.

He hummed.

"Light up the room, please. Lights overhead."

Instantaneously, the room was lit up. Simple, modern light structures lined the ceiling, revealing that the room really wasn't quite as big and daunting as it felt in the dark.

"Remove the wooden door," he said, being sure to specify which one. He didn't know if this room was the kind to play tricks. The wooden door disappeared as quickly as it came.

He looked back at Colleen, and the tissue in her fingers. A tissue and a door weren't very big things to ask for, and they weren't the most specific either. CB probably wanted them to have "fun" in this room, or at worst, to panic, and he wanted to do neither. Having the room conjure up some sort of dream environment was not something he wanted to waste his time with.

"I have an idea," he said to Colleen. "I'm not sure if it'll work, but let's see." He paused, before making his request.

"Uh... computer thing, or whatever you are - make this room look like CB's."

A few seconds passed in uneventful silence, before the computer's voice responded.

"CB's room is loading. Please wait a few moments."

James's eyes widened, and he looked over to Colleen. If they could snoop around CB's room without being there, maybe they could find answers. At least, that was... if CB wasn't already aware that they were doing it.
  





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Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:36 pm
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TheMulticoloredCyr says...



Queenie rolled her eyes. This CB person was really starting to get on her nerves. The door was CB's, the suggestion to go through it was Tara's, and Queenie didn't want to comply with either of those people.

Unfortunately, the choice wasn't hers.

Might as well not drag her feet.

Without word or warning, Queenie strode forward and tried the door. Unlocked. She opened it with some caution - though Briar would still point out how recklessly she did it - and looked through.

Just another part of the fucking library. There was only one bookshelf in that area of the study, however, so CB was probably getting a little more overt with their instructions. No, look at these books, not the other books, THESE books!

She heaved a sigh and went through the door, half-wishing CB had decided to rig some kind of trap to put a bullet through her skull before she could reach the extra special bookshelf.
  





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Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:06 pm
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Magebird says...



Odris wasn't sure what he had expected, but it hadn't been another library. Shifting the books underneath his arm so they were less likely to fall and hit the floor, he slipped through the doorway. He didn't want to find out what would happen if he decided to walk around it instead of heading straight through.

A second later, he realized the shelf was the one he had been at earlier - but that there was a book on the top shelf that stood out even more than his own had.

It said CB on it.

Odris stared at the book.

CB wouldn't have left something important out in the open, right? It must have been some kind of trap. Why else would it be there? CB had been so mysterious so far - a book that would likely tell CB's life story didn't make any sense.

...But he had to at least check.

Odris sighed and walked over to the shelf.

He had to stand on the tips of his toes to reach the book, but he was able to get a grip on its spine pretty easily.

He pulled on the book.

The book didn't budge, but the shelf did. It suddenly spun around, bringing Odris with it. He barely had a chance to figure out where he was before he went stumbling forward - he had lost the little balance he had.

He bumped into someone.

The book and tablet fell to the ground. Odris looked down, ready to pick them up, but paused when he realized who he had bumped into.

"James?" he managed to get out.
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Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:26 pm
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Elinor says...



Tara ignored Queenie and walked through the door, behind Odris. Another library?

The bookshelf flipped over, and when Tara come to, they were reunited with the rest of their group. What's going on?

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Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:53 am
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soundofmind says...



James stumbled forward when someone came out of nowhere, bumping into him from behind. He steadied himself and whirled around to see Odris, dropping books on the floor, and Tara and Queenie just behind him. The door they'd come through was already disappearing behind them, spinning into the wall and taking a bookshelf with it.

There was a brief silence as James looked between the others and anticipated the transformation of the room around them.

"Things are about to change," he said. "The room, I mean. It--"

"Loading complete."

Oh.

It started from the ground, up. The harsh lighting overhead faded into soft candlelight, and the room came together piece by piece.

Wood floors, cluttered desks, a million little vials and tools scattered across them. Stacks of books, stacks of papers, and shelves upon shelves with plants, containers, boxes, and jars, labelled in scrawled handwriting. A large, bubbling cauldron over a burning fireplace.

And then he looked up.

Image

A seemingly endless tower of books above him, accessible by a ladder hanging down, that seemed like it could be pulled up into it.

He could have stared at the books forever, and been swallowed by them, but he didn't. He dropped his gaze to a large table at the end of the room that was shaped like a "c." Five large orbs sat atop it, each glowing and sparkling like a precious gem. In the middle of the curved table there was a large, comfortable chair.

The table wasn't exempt from the clutter either. Notebooks and pencils and papers were scattered and piled up around each orb like little towers.

He could smell... chamomile. His gaze flicked around the room before finding the burning candle, hazardously burning on a table cluttered with flammable things.

He cleared his throat.

"This room simulates environments," he explained, pretending he was an expert. "I asked it to simulate CB's room."
  





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Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:40 pm
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EditorAndPerks says...



Eh? Eh? Oh, gods, was that the rest of the group already?

Seeing the entire room change, let alone watching as the other group stumbled into the library as well, was surely a sight. Maybe not for sore eyes as Colleen figured she would be stuck with a wide gaze for at least the next week due to how many shocks had already spooked her, but still.

Colleen took a couple of steps forward, closer to the oddly-shaped table, but then turned around to face everyone else.

"Did you all find anything? Where were you all?"
The only thing we're allowed to do is to believe that we won't regret the choice we made.
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Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:37 am
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Magebird says...



Odris felt like he was back on Altera between the existence of the simulation room and the room that it had simulated - it all had a high-tech touch that Earth currently lacked. He gave a little nod when James commented on what the room could do; he had already guessed that from what he had heard earlier. But if Colleen was from a world like James's, and Queenie and Tara were both from Earth, he doubted something like this was something they had ever run into.

"We were in a library," Odris said, leaning down to pick up the two books he had brought with him. He knew he was supposed to share them right now, but it felt wrong sharing the one that talked about James. Even if it hadn't, he wasn't sure he was all that ready to share his life's story, either.

He glanced back in the direction he had come from. "There were books on us there. CB had one, too, but it wasn't real. It was just a mechanism to open the secret entrance that led into here."
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