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Enter The Above



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Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:46 am
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Vincian says...



Welcome to the city of Valkyrie. For generations, this has been our home, sheltering us from the unknown of the Above as we struggle to rebuilt what our forefathers sought so hard to destroy. My dear citizens, we have made this hunk of metal and stone into something more than functional, more than bearable, more than anything I'm sure our founders ever imagined for us.

Times have changed, though. Districts of the city have closed, with no reason, and our leader has kept it under wraps, but rumors of her being sick spread like wildfire. But, don't worry, brave citizen. She plans to address us by the town hall later tonight.

The City

Valkyrie is an underground bunker-turned-city over the years, utilizing technology of a civilization lost to history to create a lush life for almost 50,000 citizens. For them, Valkyrie is their entire world.

The Factions

There are three factions within Valkyrie that will make themselves known in the upcoming story as the crisis makes itself apparent. The first is the Government, a long established leader in the city that has run all essential systems for as long as most can remember. The Scientists are a faction of the government that strives to find more permanent solutions to problems within the city, and they are often at odds with the governing body with many solutions. The last faction is a group of Rebels that have banded together to protest the government, although they do not agree with the scientists either.

The Characters


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Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:40 am
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Vincian says...



White light flooded the town square, draining the color from thousands of faces and bodies as they piled in to see what the the announcement was going to be about. A constant dribble of subtle chatter filled the high walls of buildings and pipes that surrounding the awning of the town square.

On one side of the stage lay a large podium in front of a curtain, with no lights on. Behind the curtain, there was a scurry of workers preparing for a last-minute conference, with clearly too little sleep over the past few days. Among the worker bees sat their queen bee, a lady sitting in a short chair as several workers fluttered about, worrying over her hair, her features, her suit, the unimportant details of this affair. Well, unimportant to the queen bee, that was.

She stifled a cough into a delicate fabric that muffled her sounds to the disciples around her. Only one noticed, the one doing her makeup around her face. "Excuse me, Miss Kendel, please don't mess up your makeup."

Vivian offered the person only a nod in response. This was not her worry. It never was, of course, but of all the times, this was not her worry. Someone scurried up to her, a tablet in hand. It was shoved into her hands, which she promptly scanned the document the flared to life for her eyes --and her eyes only. It was a planned and thoroughly detailed list of what would be said tonight. They were not her words, but they never were. They were the words of the people, and she was just a mouthpiece for them. These words, well, they were the ones of the government.

"Vivian?"

Only one person used her first name.

"You're up."


295 words | 295 total
Week 1 | Post 1
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Sun Oct 25, 2020 8:35 pm
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ShadowVyper says...



Ryker Deleon - Scientist
326 words | 326 total | Week 1 | Post 1

Ryker cracked his wrist, setting the micropipette back on its rack. He looked at the 96-well plate in front of him and tapped the last row of lids into place with his fingers, then set it into the thermocycler and started the reaction. It had taken him entirely too long to get all the reagents in the proper wells. He knew he needed to map out the genome of his new soybean cross to see if the gene-editing had been successful, but it was far too much pipetting to suit him. He’d been sitting there hours.

“You get that new buffer mixed up yet?” He asked, spinning around on his stool.

“Yeah, I think it’s about done,” Alex answered, stepping away from the massive beaker sitting on the bench in front of him. “Can you check it for me?”

“Sure.” Ryker walked to the beaker and lifted it with both hands, swirling it in front of his eyes to ensure all the particles were dissolved. The buffer was always so annoying to make – he was glad that he’d recruited an intern who could do it for him. Mix this powder, that powder, deionized water, mix it for a life time, see there were still specks floating around and mix it again. He’d be glad to never make buffer again, if he could keep getting high school kids interested in doing it for him. “This looks fine. Put it in the bottles now. We need to get going, if we’re going to get to the speech in time.”

“Okay!”

“Thanks!” Ryker wandered out of the back room of the lab where the bench was, chucking his gloves into the biohazard bin. He plopped down at the desk in the room with the computers and freezers. He grabbed his lab book and scratched down the date, the primers he used, and which extracts he was using. He looked up as Alex wandered into the room. “You ready, nerd?”
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Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:22 pm
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Tuckster says...



Alex Reynolds

328 words | 328 total | Week 1 | Post 1

"Who are you calling nerd?" Alex flashed a grin at Ryker. "We all know that between the two of us, you're far more of a nerd."

"Not true," Ryker shot back. "Being a teenage apprentice for a scientist is, like, peak nerd."

"Whatever. You love me." Alex pulled up a chair next to Ryker. "Need any help writing stuff up?"

"I will later, but for now we're about to be late to the speech." Ryker checked his smartwatch. "We have five minutes before we need to be downstairs."

"Five? The speech doesn't start for another fifteen minutes," Alex protested.

"We leave in five minutes so we have ten minutes to suck up to the wealthy supporters who are roaming downstairs as we speak. I want to try to convince the director to buy us some new primers, and maybe find some grant funding for this project. Most of science is being charming and likeable to earn funding."

Alex frowned. "That's dumb."

Ryker shrugged. "Dumb or not, it's the way science is and always has been." He stood and smoothed the wrinkles from his suit jacket before examining Alex with a frown. "You should buy some more professional clothes."

Alex looked down at his button-down shirt and dark-washed jeans with offense scrawled across his face. "Excuse you, this is the most professional shirt I own."

"Exactly my point." Ryker wrinkled his nose. "Good luck soliciting funding from an old white man in the type of shirt you wear to a bar with friends."

"You're literally the only person who wears button-downs to bars," Alex shot back, following Ryker outside the lab and down the stairs to the main hall.

Ryker shrugged. "Regardless, being well-dressed is an important part of science." They reached the bottom of the stairs. Ryker opened the door and motioned for Alex to enter. "Time for you to learn how to suck up to funders like a pro," Ryker whispered as they stepped into the crowd.
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.
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Sun Oct 25, 2020 10:40 pm
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Vincian says...



Lights flared on, flooding the podium with pale white, and Vivian entered the stage. Immediately, the chatter stilled to a dead silence. Several different microphones awaited her at the podium, and flying robot drones flittered about, recording her every move. She stifled a cough and covered her mouth with a small handkerchief.

She stepped up to the podium, and the microphones blinked on with minimal feedback. She set the tablet down on the podium. She let out a small smile. "I apologize for the tablet, I am not feeling too well so I asked for a bit of guidance. Nevertheless, I decided that the pursuit for information was far more important than any small cough." Like it was right on cue, a cough settled in her lungs, struggling to get out. She stifled it into the small handkerchief. She glanced into the white fabric and noticed spats of crimson on it. She folded it in on itself before the cameras could see. She focused her attention on the tablet.

"Before I begin, please know that there will be no questions afterwards. You can ask any and all questions you may have to the office of the secretary. In the beginning of last week, we asked the residents of the River District to relocate by the end of the week. This was a last moment notice to all of those residents. To recompense those, we will be compensating them for their inconvenience. We are doing emergency maintenance to the electric wiring within River District's main street, and it could have caused problems with infrastructure. I will not say when this construction is finished, as I don't have a time frame for it. There will be more reconstruction happ--" She stopped, with some kind of intense burning in her stomach. She stifled a cough. "I'm sorry, where was I?" She glanced down at the tablet. Suddenly, the urge to cough came without a warning, and she hacked out blood onto all over the podium. The lights turned off immediately throughout the entire plaza and the drones went dark. The crowd errupted in screams and chaos. However, the true chaos would happen the morning after, when the news was leaked that Vivian Strokay had died the night before.

375 Words | 670 Total
Week 1 | Post 2
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Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:48 pm
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Vincian says...



Miranda Peters
321 Words | 991 Total
Week 1 | Post 3


Miranda Peters sat in a plush chair by her electronic fireplace and sipped a cup of hot tea. This was her favorite chair, bought years ago from someone within the Victory District. Quite a bargain, if she did say herself. All it took was a small bargain to tutor their child for a year. They were a terror to teach, but the chair was more than worth it.

That was in her earlier years of teaching, back when she was still in school herself. How ironic it was that the only time she sat in the chair nowadays was when she was grading work. That was her version of relaxing at this time, at all times now.

She flicked on her telescreen, glancing down at an essay. The screen flickered on. The government leader, Vivian, she thought, was her name, was supposed to talk about the state of River District later tonight. There were speakers exclaiming to each other and theorizing what happened to River District. Perhaps it was a similar notion to the expansion of the Youth Disctrict to allow more room from the poorer districts' children. They then talked about what kind of redistricting would need to be done in response to the relocation of all those residents.

Then they quietened down as the lights flared up on stage. Miranda clicked her pen and scribbled down some notes onto the essay she read. The tablet flickered and a notification pinged at the top, notifying her that the speech was due to start soon. She dismissed it and continued on the essay. It was over a particularly interesting subject, to be honest, but the grammar needed a bit of work. Even still, she was impressed indeed about the subject matter. It signaled to Miranda that her teachings were getting through to her class.

She smiled as she turned up the volume of the speech, as it was about to start.
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 12:48 am
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ShadowVyper says...



Ryker Deleon - Scientist
514 Words | 840 Total
Week 1| Post 2

Ryker cut his way through the people milling about the open assembly room. Their research hub was an amalgamation of a bunch of different career paths that all converged into one. There were various professors who taught at the Science Institute next door who had their lab spaces in this building; some Emeritus Faculty who still hung around for some reason. He spotted a few Science Foundation members scoping out the room and made a mental note to approach them later.

Finally, he saw who he was looking for -- Hayley Deamon, the Director of the Research Institute. He tugged his vest straight and swaggered over to her with a charming grin. "Dr. Deamon! How are you today?"

She turned towards him and looked him up and down. "I'm not buying you any more gloves yet, Ryker."

"First of all, rude," he said playfully. "Secondly, I listened to you when you said that last time. I still think those vile fungal plots you make me cultivate deserve fresh gloves each time, but I've been rinsing them. I'm a good boy."

"Mm-hmm," she answered. Her eyes landed on Alex standing behind him and her demeanor softened. "Alex! How are you, darling? Holding up okay under Dr. Dork's mentorship?"

"Woooooow," Ryker said, placing a hand over his heart. "That hurts, Hayley. Words cut deep."

Alex grinned. "I'm well, thanks! How are you?"

"Doing well, thanks!" Hayley answered, then looked back at Ryker. "What do you want, then?"

"Well, all I wanted," Ryker answered. "Was to congratulate you for that article in ValkSci. Big-name journal, excellent work. Super enjoyed the read."

"Mhmm," Hayley answered, unconvinced. "You've changed how you feel about small mammal research then?"

Ryker hesitated for a long moment, considering his options. Agreeing to that question might land him on the stupid job of taking care of all her stupid little squeaking beasts. If he didn't, it'd ruin his spiel. "... As I was saying--"

Hayley smirked. "You were saying?"

"Excellent work!" Ryker repeated. "I can only hope that some day I can even achieve half of the legacy that you're leaving... and you know what would really help me do that?"

"Here it goes," Hayley said. "We've come full circle. What do you want, Ryker?"

"I would kill for some fresh primers," he answered, flashing a grin. "And maybe a plate of restriction enzymes?"

Hayley snorted. "Fine. Send me an email with catalog numbers."

"You're the bestest!"

Hayley rolled her eyes. "You're lucky I like you, kid."

"And I thank my lucky stars every day for it."

The screen ahead crackled on, drawing his attention. The room fell silent as they all turned towards the screen and listened intently. Ryker frowned as the speaker coughed into her handkerchief. It sounded like a productive cough -- she gurgled a bit and folded her kerchief quickly.

The speech went on, and then suddenly she coughed again and spewed droplets of blood all over her podium. The lights cut off, and suddenly the broadcast ended. Shock rippled across the room. Ryker's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Well that's not good.
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:58 am
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Vincian says...



Jace Kirian
365 Words | 1356 Total
Week 1 | Post 4


Jace Kirian pushed all his fabriks into the middle of the table, light glimmering off of each one as they were scooted into the dim lightbulb overhead. They pulsated slightly in the fresh light, which garnered some oohs and ahhs from the people sitting around the table.

"All in already, Jace?" A woman leaned back, letting her red hair flow past her shoulders as she stretched her arms.

"Seems like he's wanting to lose early on, isn't he?" A bald man chuckled at his own joke.

"What can I say, I have better company to attend to," Jace retorted with a smile of his own.

"You're leaving me?" A tanned man said and clasped Jace's hand. Jace met him, forehead to forehead.

"Of course not, Lee. I just have a late night appointment for some tattoos." He let go of Lee's hand and leaned in. "So, what shall it be? You gonna let me win already?"

The red haired woman smiled. "Never. If it's going to be a short night, let's make it an exciting one at that." She tossed more fabriks onto the pile. "I'm all in."

"Well, shit, if we're all going to toss brains out the window, count me in as well." The bald man pushed his modest pile of fabriks in. He kept a hand lingering on it for just a moment before letting go. "Well, Lee?"

"I'm in it forever." Lee glanced at Jace, then threw in his share. "Let's see." They took their tablets out and Jace pushed the button in the middle of the table. A vibrant flash of colors spread across all of their tablets.

"Call it."

"Orange," Jace said. They all tapped their tablets at the same moment.

Lee laughed. "Ha! Looks like it's my lucky night." He scooped all of the fabriks in.

Jace clapped in on the back. "Well, that's good at least. All right. Clear out, you lot. I'll see you after the speech, Lee."

The others all gathered their things. Lee hugged Jace and left. Jace sighed and turned his workstation on. He never really enjoyed doing after hours tattoos, but they gave him more money, so who was he to complain.
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Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:38 am
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Tuckster says...



Kris Simms

386 words | 714 total | Week 1 | Post 2


Kris settled into the tattoo chair and rolled up her sleeve. She tapped on one of the few blank spots left on her forearm. "Right there, please."

"You're gonna run out of canvas," Jace, her tattoo artist, joked, picking up the tattoo gun. Kris grinned and braced herself for the pain.

She felt the gentle scratching of the tattoo gun against her bare skin, and she tipped her head back in the chair. Even though the scratching was painful, there was something therapeutic about the tattoos; she was filling her body with meaningful art, transforming herself into something beautiful.

"So, are you going to attend the speech live or stream it?" Jace asked after several minutes of silence, lifting his eyes up for a moment.

"I was going to attend it live. I have some reservations about certain government officials, so I want to be there in person to confirm these suspicions."

"Understandable," Jace drawled, his brow furrowing as he squinted at the tattoo. Kris looked up at the ceiling to distract herself from the intensifying pain. "It seems like we're heading towards a time of crisis from all the recent measures that have been enacted."

Kris nodded. "I don't like it," she admitted. "I think they're massive oversteps."

"I think steps are necessary, but I'm worried we're moving in the wrong direction." Jace lifted the tattoo gun, and his dark eyes met Kris'. "We should be listening to the experts on these matters, not doing whatever is most politically advantageous."

"Even so, I think we need to consider personal liberties," Kris argued, brushing a ringlet of pink hair from her face. "I want each citizen to choose what they want to do based on their knowledge. It's not the government's place to dictate what we can and can't do."

"You seem very independent," Jace mused as he finished the tattoo. "Want to take a look at that?"

Kris walked over to a full-length mirror and examined the tattoo.It was a simple design of a brightly colored serpent, coiled and prepared to attack. Beneath the intricate pattern, however, cleverly concealed wiring betrayed the actual purpose for her tattoo. She pressed down gently on the head of the serpent, and a faintly blinking light showed that the biomod device buried under her skin was recording.

"It's perfect."
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.
~MLKJ
  





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Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:41 am
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Tuckster says...



Chris Fullman

368 words | 1082 total | Week 1 | Post 3


Chris pulled his chin up above the steel bar and grunted. "Nine," he counted to himself as he gently lowered himself. His arms trembled, and it felt as if his blood was fire, but he forced himself to complete one more. His chin barely cleared the bar before he let himself fall and planted his feet on the ground. "Ten," he panted, grabbing a towel from the nearby bench press and wiping his face and chest. He doubled over with his hands on his knees for a moment, sucking in some deep breaths.

He checked the handwritten schedule he had written for himself. He was about halfway through his three-hour workout, but he allowed himself to sit down for five minutes to let his arms rest. He practiced some deep breathing techniques to allow oxygen to flood his muscles.

After a few minutes, he stood and continued with his workout, cranking out 20 reps of different exercises involving 50-pound dumbbells. After that, he headed to the benchpress, where he loaded up the bar and pushed himself to tie his personal best.

After a few more carefully selected arm workouts, his workout was finally done. Chris grabbed the protein shake by the dumbbell rack and drank the entire thing before downing 16 ounces of water. According to his meal plan, tonight was his favorite meal, grilled chicken with rice and bell peppers. It was one of the more flavorful meals he enjoyed, which was part of why he had planned it right after this intense workout. His arms felt like jello, and he knew that chest and shoulder day tomorrow would be hell, but he knew that this intense physical training was what earned him his respect. His cadets would never listen to someone who expected more from them than he did from himself. At the end of the day, it was all worth it.

Chris donned a light jacket and slipped out of the gym. His schedule was tight-packed today; in about fifteen minutes, he was expected to watch the speech streamed live with a group of cadets. He broke into a light, cool-down jog as he followed a series of paths across campus to the main auditorium.
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.
~MLKJ
  





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Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:44 am
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Vincian says...



Asami Sato
347 Words | 1703 Total
Week 1 | Post 5


Asami Sato glanced down at her arm, flicking through the screens on her armguard. Each one had a camera screen attached. Screen Three looked fine. Screen four looked good, maybe a touch of glare. Screen four looked...

Asami scrolled past the fourth screen, and back. There was nothing there.

"Hey Jack." Asami crouched down to the central monitors. Jack looked at her. "Can you go to Screen four?"

"Sure thing." Jack scrolled over to the right monitor and flashed through the screens. Screen four glitched and flickered black and white.

"Run diagnostics." Asami pulled up the screen on her arm and pressed it for a few seconds. A support screen popped up with several options.

Jack pulled up a wall of green text. "I'm not seeing a problem with screen four on this, Miss Sato."

"Link me up, please." She unscrewed an opening on her wrist, and revealed an electrical opening. Jack plugged a cord into it, and blue writing flashed amongst her eyes. "Seems to be a short, apparently." She glanced down at her forearm. "I'm not sure how long it'll take to fix that."

"Should I pull the drone out of the footage?"

"Yeah, it's not gonna get fixed tonight." She unplugged her wrist. "We have a speech to attend." She smiled and rubbed Jack's shoulder. "Have a good night, Jack. Get some rest."

"I'll have to monitor the drones."

"Don't you worry about that, Jack. I'll keep an eye on it from my position tonight. It should be a time of celebration, Jack!" She smiled and left the office. The trek home was fast, as was all the places in Victory District. She quickly stripped of her official attires and adorned a red dress, something that would most definitely be showstopping in a normal event or place, but in a place with the leader, she would just blend in to all the other successful people vying for her attention. Asami wasn't looking for power.

She adjusted a long sleeve on her right arm and forearm. She didn't know what she was looking for, just yet.
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Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:11 am
Mea says...



Mirabelle Ellemore
789 Words | 789 Total
Week 2 | Post 1


"Cokal, I'm home!"

Mirabelle Ellemore kicked open the door to her tiny, hole-in-the-wall flat (literally - it was built into the cavern wall) and staggered over the threshold, back bent under the weight of an evening's haul of scrap metal. After playing a few rounds with Jace and Kris, Mira had stopped by the junkyard, timing it carefully so it was just after the daily dumping, but before the gangs got there. She'd taken too long, and they had almost seen her - but they hadn't, and so Mira counted it as a good evening's work.

A great evening's work, actually.

Mira let the heavy sack slide off her back and thump to the floor, kicking the door closed again with her foot. Normally she took her haul to her workshop, but not tonight. Home was for special projects. And this was the most special project of them all.

But a familiar buzzing drove Mira's plans from her mind as a white blur rocketed down the hallway toward her and slammed into her chest. Mira laughed as she stumbled back, pushing helplessly at the smooth white nose pressing itself against every inch of her face.

"Cokal, get off! I'm glad to see you too."

Mira's dragon familiar pulled back and made his high-pitched wining noise, his dark glass eyes reproachful. His entire body was only a bit larger than Mira's head, formed of smooth white plastic with 3-D printed scales stretching over his innards. His wings were etched with feathers each set with two embedded fans that whirred in place, keeping him aloft. At his chest, under several layers of protective plastic scales, his control center glowed a soft green. Though Mira's shirt was too thick to tell, she knew the chip underneath the wings tattooed above her heart was glowing exactly the same shade.

"Yes, of course I'm going to pet you." Mira smiled at Cokal, reaching out to stroke under his chin. "Yes it was a long day. I'm sorry I couldn't come home for lunch. But it was a good one. Look at this!"

She crouched down and opened the sack. Cokal hovered at her ear, chest flashing an eager orange. "I got it!" she told him. "The posi-plate."

Cokal's tone deepened to a dull, wary red, just like Mira had expected.

"I know," she said, rolling her eyes. "But I've got to figure it out sometime! Or someone else is going to first."

Cokal's light just blinked. His AI was still skeptical. But he landed on her shoulder and curled around her neck, his usual perch while Mira worked, so it was a start.

Mira grabbed the posi-plate out of the sack of metal and parts, not bothering to haul the rest down the hall to her workshop. There wouldn't have been anywhere to put it. Mira dodged around the stacks of books and android parts piled along her hallway and slipped into the tiny kitchen that doubled as her home workshop. She kept the stove clear, for safety, and the sink empty except when she needed to test her electronics waterproofing, but every other surface overflowed with tools, parts, and half-finished projects. The perfect environment for a mad scientist.

And Mira was definitely a mad scientist. Though she preferred engineer. And she wasn't crazy. Just determined.

Did "rebellious engineer" sound catchy?

Grinning, Mira swung the posi-plate onto counter on top of a balance meter and started heating up her solderer so she could detach the extra wires. She gestured at the big telescreen hanging on the wall over the tiny table and it flicked on, the buzz of the news fading into a low background murmur as she worked. She didn't look up when the screen announced a speech by Vivian. It would all just be more of the same politics and empty promises.

Cokal suddenly left her shoulders and took flight, but Mira was trying to melt a particularly difficult bit of solder and didn't look to see what had caught his attention.

"Not now, Cokal," she said absently when he gave a low whine. He'd probably thought of of something for one of her other projects.

He buzzed back over to her and hovered above her head.

"I said not now." She waved him off with an absent hand.

But instead of flying away, Cokal swooped right over her work, his wine rising to a high-pitched cry.

"Are your wires shorting?" Mira demanded, spinning to face Cokal. "If you don't stop interrupting me while I work I'll have to —"

She stopped. Time split.

Vivian's too-polished voice was no longer speaking. The lights of the plaza had gone dark, and on the screen Mira could just faintly see an unmoving figure slumped over the podium.
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