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Runeseeker



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Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:02 am
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Chaser says...



Maji Nobuna


When Maji awoke an hour before dawn, she found that the city had woken with her. Maybe it had never slept at all.

Grabbing her belongings, she took stock of the tiny metal box that she had rented to sleep the night inside. "Tube hotels are a travelling saleswoman's pride," she'd bragged to her colleagues on multiple occasions. Certainly, she stayed in them very often, and was proud of the fact.

Maji slithered out of her box like toothpaste, glancing around the hotel. It was a sterile, white room, with dim fluorescent lights in the ceiling. The room-boxes were stacked on top of one another, with little lights indicating whether or not a person was inside. At this hour of the morning, there was a crypt-like quiet inside the hotel.

Maji tiptoed out to the row of lockers and grabbed her suitcase. Next to the lockers, an automatic clerk machine stood, a box with little fake arms forming a salute. Down the front was a faded list of rates for board and storage. Maji had gotten a ticket on the way in, and she now slotted this ticket back into the machine, along with her money. There was a slight beep from the simple circuit inside, and Maji was free once more for another bright, early, sales-filled day.

As she stepped outside into the throng of the morning rush, she noticed a spark in the sky, to the east of the city. The grid of lightcrystals that formed the city's day and night cycle appeared to be malfunctioning. The patch of crystals in the ceiling were changing color rapidly, flickering from a loose circuit somewhere. Not to mention, the mist in the early morning, spewing from the moisture vents which dredged up water and evaporated it from underground lakes far below. High above them, the moisture sparked with the lightcrystals, etching links of lightning into the stone sky.

Maji looked around. She really wanted to talk to someone about all this.

330 words
The hardest part of writing science fiction is knowing actual science. The same applies for me and realistic fiction.
  





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Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:03 am
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Chaser says...



Maji Nobuna


The Library Headquarters was just a few blocks of crowded street away, and so after an hour or so of elbowing, Maji popped from the crowd like a fish from water, landing on the marble doorstep in front of the doors. For a second time, her vision followed the Library building up into the sky, until she was bending over backwards to see it all.

"I already checked us in," came a voice from the left.

"Hm?" Maji twisted her head in a decidedly inhuman way, staring upside-down at the person who'd spoken.

"The attendant was here before," Berkel continued, attempting to make eye contact. "I told him we were coming. We should get let in soon."

"I see, I see." Maji retracted her neck and rubbed her chin. Just now, her mind had gone completely blank. It always took her a little while to charge up in the morning, to the point where she felt articulate enough to speak. Equally important, of course, was the topic to speak of; she'd learned that conversations were usually a saleswoman's way of getting in. Unbidden, she thought of the elf from the call station, and the sapphire hanging from his ear.

"Oh!" she said and snapped her fingers, which rippled on impact. "What are your pronouns today?"

Berkel smiled, looking a little relieved. "It's a she/hers day. No necklace, see?" Her outfit today consisted of a regular T-shirt and pants.

Maji nodded thrice in rapid succession. "Gotcha. That necklace was really pretty, though."

"I'm sure you'll see it again." Berkel's eyes turned to the shape of an attendant approaching the glass doors.

As the attendant opened the door to let them in, Maji smiled. "Hello again, sir!"

The attendant, the human who'd showed them around yesterday, smiled awkwardly in return. "Good morning, Miss Nobuna, Mr. Thuso."

"Ms. Thuso," Berkel corrected.

The human adjusted his glasses. "My sincerest apologies. Commander Vull is waiting with the rest of your team. Right this way, please."

331 words
The hardest part of writing science fiction is knowing actual science. The same applies for me and realistic fiction.
  





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Chaser says...



Maji Nobuna


Maji had already memorized the image of the areas they'd been to, but it was nice to walk through them again. In the early hours, there were still Librarians hard at work, preparing to go out on patrol. They carried stacks of paper and metal rune tablets along with them. Maji had to resist the urge to grab a talisman and try for herself.

The human brought them back to the double doors and bowed out as they opened. Korina stood there again, wearing an impish grin and holding a mug of coffee, with the words "Numba Wun Boss" printed on the side.

"Ah, the prodigal scriptors. Come in, come in." As she opened the door further, Maji caught sight of Alimer and Tetia, standing by the chairs Tetia was wearing a cast on her left foot, seemingly off-balance as it sunk into the carpet.

"Sit down, all of you," Korina commanded, walking to her desk. "Especially you, Ms. Vernathil."

"Thanks, Commander." Tetia's cheery demeanor was slightly subdued as she sat next to Maji again.

"What happened to your foot?" Maji asked, eyes whirring.

Tetia winced. "Maybe later, ok?"

"I'm glad you've all returned for the mission," Korina said. "In truth, I had considered a possibility where you would turn down or abandon the mission. I had also considered a possibility where that would become a liability.

"Which is why I'm grateful for your presence," she continued, giving a winning smile. "I've disclosed my briefing to Captain Holt, but the main mission is simple: Take the train through the Raza dimensiongate, and rendezvous with Commander Belcanter in Raza. He can show you the wreckage left behind by the Claw."

"Sounds good!" Maji said. "The Order of the Claw is ready to roll!"

Korina raised an eyebrow. "Order of the Claw?" She glanced at Alimer, who turned pink and coughed.

"Well then, Order of the Claw, good luck and godspeed." Korina smiled. "Safe travels to you all."

326 words
The hardest part of writing science fiction is knowing actual science. The same applies for me and realistic fiction.
  





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Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:03 pm
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kairamorgan says...



Tetia Lisrath Vernathil III


It was bad enough that the doctors thought a cast was necessary. What was worse in Tetia's mind is the requirement to wear that stupid uniform.

Thankfully, she managed to adapt it to her style with another ragged t-shirt beneath the brown shirt and coat, but that wasn't the point.

Getting towards the platform for the train, the sound of the electricity crackling through the air was a little disconcerting. The charge could almost be felt in the air, as if Orduna could sense the tension and was desperately trying to release it. From a magic standpoint, Tetia didn't know anything about the school of changing other than what was told to her in the academy and since that wasn't her speciality, what she knew was bare bones to say the least. Still, even though she knew virtually nothing, Tetia knew that didn't look good. But, hey, there are professionals about who do know why it's not working. There's enough to worry about without worrying about other people's problems.

Looking to the lightning expert and opening her mouth to ask, Tetia cuts herself off seeing the smile on Berkeley's face, the patterns of lightning tracing through the sky reflecting in her eyes. She's either clocked that everything's fine, or is secretly a fan of electrocution. Maybe that's why she's the wandering strike. Because she's constantly wondering when lightning will strike her. If nothing else, she definitely wonders a lot.

Meanwhile, Holt's expression, as always, was indiscernible. Usually, Tetia would give him a bit of lip for it, completely unconcerned about the sky maybe crashing down at any second, but after last night, she's easing off. Tetia thought he'd just patch her up and kick her out, at best, or just say to go to the Library. But he actually put her up. Doesn't mean she won't complain about the uniform, and doesn't mean she won't get back changed into her clothes at the next possible opportunity, but maybe, just maybe, she'll give him a break. And call him Sir. Maybe.

340 words
Last edited by kairamorgan on Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:05 pm
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kairamorgan says...



Tetia Lisrath Vernathil III


As for Maji, she was bouncing between excitement and concern, both for the sky and for Tetia. The tiefling could see the truly insane amount of restraint it was taking for the changeling to not ask again what happened. In honesty, Tetia didn't want to answer. She had to tell Holt, he's her superior officer and she'd given information away, but she doesn't need to damage her pride even more by telling Maji. True, Maji didn't seem to be the kind of person to judge others too harshly, but Tetia's pride is injured.

As is her foot. She swears, if she gets her hands on that doctor and Holt isn't there to shush like today, she's explaining how broken toes work and that this cast is far too big and has made the limp worse. The limp is incredibly inconvenient, as is the itchy uniform.

Abruptly feeling the quiet in their group and the static in the air making unease rise in her chest, Tetia decides to break the silence. "So," she says with the most enthusiastic smile she can muster, "how did we all sleep?" She was a litle breathless, trying to use the stick the doctor provided to keep pace, but it was difficult. There was no way she was going to ask them to slow down, though.

Berkeley snaps back to reality a little, her absentminded smile shrinking into the usual mildly spaced out expression. "Okay, thanks," she says, "how about you guys?" Her eyes also traced over the cast, the chill passing over Tetia's spine.

"Really good, thank you!" Maji pipes up, eyes starting to spin in a dizzying way again, "It was a super nice tube hotel!" Tetia frowned a little.

"You like staying in those places?" she asks without thinking. They're... remarkably cold, last she'd checked.

"Yep!" chirps Maji, "They're a travelling saleswoman's pride!"

"I got a motel, personally," Berkeley chimes in, "nice firm mattress, it was cosy. I guess you guys are based around here, so you didn't have to find a place."

The tiefling looks to Holt to try and get an idea as to what she should say. His gaze met Berkeley's, expression still unreadable. How she wishes she could read his expression.

372 words
  





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Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:09 pm
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kairamorgan says...



Tetia Lisrath Vernathil III


"Something like that," Tetia laughs with an undeniable tone of discomfort, despite her best efforts. Different conversation topic. Now. "Have you guys been to Raza before?"

"Quite some time ago, but yes," Holt finally speaks, "I don't believe I have sent you there before, Vernathil."

"Nope," she shrugs, readjusting her duffel bag which seems to be getting heavier by the second, "least we've got one person who knows the place."

"It has likely changed since my last experience there," says Holt.

"I've been fairly recently," Berkeley tones up, "I travel about a lot."

"Two, great," Tetia nods, her lungs starting to burn from hobbling a little too fast, "Maji? Have you been there?"

"Nope!" she pops the P, eyes whirring happily again, "But I did grow up in a forest planet, so I know about the climate, but it'll be fun! It's meant to be a hub of nature, so it's full of trees and insects and everything!" Nature, huh. It hadn't occured to Tetia, but she's not really seen nature in it's untamed form before. Maji is right, it might be fun. Something to think about when the world isn't spinning.

"We are there on business, Nobuna," Holt's stern but calm tone snaps Tetia out of her head again as they reach the platform.

"But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves, right?" Maji says.

"We've been trusted with something important, love," Tetia surprises herself with her words, brushing her brow of sweat, "we can have fun, but we've gotta put the mission first."

Just as she finishes talking, the large silver train docks in. Tetia's eyes travel between the train and the crackling sky a couple of times. It's fine, she thought to herself as she climbed aboard, if it wasn't safe, the lines wouldn't be going.

299 words
  





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Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:49 am
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Europa says...



Alimer Holt



As the train ground out of the station, Alimer turned in his seat to survey his surroundings. It was an unremarkable business class car, with narrow leather seats placed close together, wide windows letting the lights from the crystals glow through the carriage. The train lurched forward, and the people around them lurched with it. At first glance they were as unremarkable as the car itself, business people hunched behind newspapers, civilians idly chatting in quiet, indistinct voices, but then his eyes hit the back of the train. The group of men who took up the last three rows didn’t seem too different from the other passengers, but their eyes were fixed on the row where Alimer and the others were seated with an intensity that lit a spark of unease in his chest.

The seat beside him creaked as Tetia leaned closer to him. “What are you looking at?”

For a moment he considered telling her, but dismissed it just as quickly. He wasn’t certain yet these people were a threat, but Tetia wouldn’t take the luxury of thinking anything through. “Nothing you need to concern yourself with.”

“Right then.” Tetia leaned back again and propped her good foot on the back of the seat in front of her, and Alimer resisted the urge to push it down again. She’d been much more reserved since they’d left that morning, as he half feared she was saving her energy for something bigger down the road, but for now he only leaned back in his seat and watched the men from the corner of his eye as his companions chatted.
269 words
  





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Mon Nov 16, 2020 3:50 am
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Europa says...



Alimer Holt


“Should be weird,” Tetia mused to herself. “Being in actual sunlight and you know, it not being deadly.”

The other two chuckled slightly. “Well,” Berkeley tapped her chin thoughtfully. “I guess the sun is still kind of deadly, it just kills you much slower.”

The train passed through a tunnel, leaving the car dark. He heard a rustle from the back rows over the banter and saw the shadows of the men pass by them. He stood.

“Excuse me.”

Alimer swept quietly after the silhouettes, out the door to their car and the next, and entered the hall that separated the passenger’s car from the engine. The dread that had taken root when he’d first spotted him grew and tangled in his ribs as one of the men reached for the handle. Alimer’s hand crept toward his shock talisman, his others toward his badge. He took a breath to shout the order to freeze, then felt arms lock around his shoulders and drag him back through the door. He grunted in surprise and rammed the butt of his talisman behind him. He felt it connect, and the arms around his shoulders went rigid as the magic surged through them. He pulled away as the assailant fell back, and whipped around, two more men were facking him, with another pacing down the aisle, keeping the terrified passengers in their seats. He hardly had time to wonder where they’d come from when the train ground to a stop.
254 words
  





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Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:27 am
winterwolf0100 says...



Berkeley Thuso


Berkeley jumped to her feet, her eyes wide as she tried to understand both who these people were and why they were attacking them. Berkel glanced out the train windows, and realized they weren't at their stop. Somehow, these people had managed to stop the train.

"Berkel love, now would be a great time for you to use that electricity gift you seem to have, to get this thing moving again," Tetia said, her eyes trained on one of the figures who was approaching her.

She felt a little panic rise in her chest but she pushed it down, turning to Maji instead. "I need your help. I'm going to have to get to the control center in the first car of the train if I want to start this thing up again."

"I..." Berkel realized it was the first time she'd seen Maji falter. "This isn't usually the environment I thrive in," she confesses, then her eyes whir. "But I'll try."

Berkel nodded. "Good." Maji turned and grabbed the arm of one of the figures in front of them, pulling them away from the aisle with surprising force. Berkel ran down the aisle towards the door that would leave to the next car, nearly making it before one of the figures stopped her.

"No one is leaving this cart," the person growled, and Berkel smiled a little.

"That's funny," she said mildly, "because I am." She thrust her hand out, one of the crystals in a bracelet on her right arm beginning to glow a bit. She winced, squeezing her eyes shut in concentration, and pulled at the heat coming from the fluorescent lights. The one over them popped and shattered, spraying glass all over the figure, leaving them disoriented enough for Berkel to shove her way around them and yank open the door, running into the next cart.

312 words
Last edited by winterwolf0100 on Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:28 am
winterwolf0100 says...



Berkeley Thuso


Berkel pushed her way through the passengers, all looking around, confused as to why their mode of transport had suddenly stopped. Behind her, she heard someone, the figure, yelling at her to stop, but she kept going, finally reaching the next door and going into the engine room. She shut the door behind her and quickly grabbed one of the wrenches used on the engine in case of emergencies, jamming it in between the handle of the door so it can't be opened. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them and looking around. Time to get to work.

She jumped at a loud bang, glancing back to see the figure had ran into the door and apparently discovered that she had blocked the way. She hoped the others were doing okay currently but she couldn't worry about that right now. She needed to look into this source of power and what had stopped it. It must've been applied from the outside or before the train took off and only activated now. The engineer seat was empty, but that was no cause for alarm. It had taken a while at the beginning of its introduction, but at this point electric self-automated travel was common enough that citizens no longer worried or felt they needed a person in the train maneuvering it.

She sat down in the chair, spinning it around to face the board next to the engine. She looked inside, watching the energy, pure and wild, coursing through the machine. It wanted to get out. So what was stopping it? She paused, eyes narrowing as she caught sight of a flat, expandable sheet of plastic, currently wedged between the tank holding the energy and the engine. That wasn't supposed to be there... she wondered briefly why the energy hadn't simply flown through the plastic; there was enough of it to destroy it. But she quickly realized these trains were built to be insulated. If someone knew the design of the train, they could easily block the flow because there had to be a way to stop the train if it needed to be stopped.

Quickly and precisely, she concentrated, pulling on the energy. It was stuck in a cage, and lightning didn't like to be stuck. It wanted to be free, to move. She channeled the energy, focusing it on one corner of the plastic, and the dam broke. The energy rushed through, and the train shuddered, powering on again and speeding up to its original speed. In no time, it had pulled up to the station and opened the doors for the five minute drop off and pick up. Berkel grinned. She had done it.

A loud bang brought Berkel back out of her head as she turned to see the figure had finally broken through. They certainly wouldn't be happy. Berkel had just let all their captives go. And it was quite clear that everyone was leaving, seeing the rush of people piling into the station from the window.

"Game over," they snarled, nearing her. She backed up and closed her eyes as they lifted what looked to be a crowbar. She was surprised when, instead of feeling the impact, she heard a buzzing sound, and the figure fell over to reveal Holt, looking grim.

"We need to leave. Now." Berkel nodded, and they ran.

563 words
Last edited by winterwolf0100 on Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:02 pm
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kairamorgan says...



Tetia Lisrath Vernathil III


“Vernathil, you need your cast,” Holt insists, arms folded over his chest. They had managed to find a secluded spot, somewhat away from the chaos, something Tetia was for once grateful for. She wasn’t grateful for the smell of singed gears, oil and gasoline, but the roof and the lack of pursuers was enough to make up for it. Currently, however, she had grabbed her craft knife and started cutting away the blasted thing that slowed her down oh so inconveniently.

“Getting away with our lives is more important than having straight toes,” grumbles Tetia, manoeuvring around her heel, “and it means I won’t slow you guys up again.” She could see from the corner of her eye the look of disapproval that Holt had, though it was quickly broken when the sound of Maji and Berkeley’s footsteps echoed through the room.

“We should have at least ten minutes,” Berkel informs with a slightly shaky smile, “What’re we doing?” The cast clatters on the ground as Tetia shoves her shoe back on.

“Taking them head-on, tying them up and taking them to the nearest Library outpost,” says the tiefling almost instinctively, pulling her leather coat on, instantly seeing Maji tense and Holt frown.

“There are at least a dozen of them and four of us,” stammers Maji, “there’s no way that we can take them all.”

“Calling for backup is the standard procedure,” reminds Holt as firmly as ever.

“With all due respect sir,” snaps Tetia as she rifles in her bag, “this isn’t exactly standard. You’re one of the Library’s most talented evokers, Maji knows endless things about runes, Berkeley is one of the most talented evokers ever and I am a conjurer with an idea. We can do this, together.”

292 words
  





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Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:04 pm
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kairamorgan says...



Tetia Lisrath Vernathil III


She could practically see the resistance in Holt trying to not to scold her for the tone, instead inquiring, “What precisely is this plan?” The Barrier rune finally found Tetia’s hand as she rose it in the air.

“You both have electricity-based runes, right?” she asks, looking at both Holt and Berkeley, who nodded. Tetia shuts her eyes, hands on the ground, concentrating as hard as she could, forming the picture in her head, keeping it smooth, calm. Something began forming on the ground, a few raised surfaces, sharp points but not massive. Opening her eyes once more, there was a large metal coppery shield on the ground, entirely flat and, next to the slightly muddy floor, difficult to notice. There was a brief moment of quiet as she looks between the three of them before Maji’s eyes started spinning like slot machines again.

“Oh!” she exclaims, “I get it! That’ll conduct a shock wave, won’t it?”

Tetia nods, wiping a little sweat from her brow, “I’ve got a couple other runes for more flashy purposes, we can draw them back to multiple sheets of these then Berkeley, Captain, you can shock them.”

It takes him a moment, but Holt’s head eventually mimics Tetia’s movement. “And any remaining we can certainly take care of, and if we lay them in multiple locations, we can repeat it.”

“What happens if they don’t follow?” Berkeley pipes up as Tetia begins to work on the next shield, far more energetic than she’d seen her before, “Have we got a backup plan?”

“Not a clue,” Tetia says, far more spikes this time as her concentration lapsed a tad, “Use our general combat expertise to take them out?”

“Without killing them,” Holt insists quickly, to which Tetia nods. Somewhat begrudgingly, but nods nonetheless.

“We have combat expertise?” Maji asks somewhat tentatively.

“Enough to take on those thugs,” Berkeley smiles.

“Right,” Tetia smiles with a wicked glint in her eye, “you guys form a more fleshed out backup plan, I’ve got a trap to make.”

339 words
  





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Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:53 am
winterwolf0100 says...



Berkeley Thuso


Berkeley was hesitant to fight the thugs. She hadn't shown it because she generally tried to be an optimistic person and not complain, but fighting wasn't her strong suit. She liked to chase, to follow, to constantly move. Being chased? Not so much. Being chased and staying to fight them head on when you knew you were being chased? Yeah, that would be a definite no for her.

But the team was down for it and she certainly wouldn't disappoint. She had a feeling Tetia would jump into any fight without hesitation, Holt would access the situation but quickly join in, and Maji would join simply because she enthusiastically went along with everything anyone else suggested. Berkel definitely wasn't going to be the only person to say no to this crazy and possibly suicidal idea. She was the lightning person! Out of all people, she was the one they expected to be up for possibly dying. But she also knew more than any of them that lightning longed to be free. She had witnessed it in the train. Using small amounts of lightning had to be done in a way that allowed it to roam free. You couldn't try to call it down and then contain it. Which was why using it to zap their enemies both fascinated and unnerved her. Of course the lightning would have no problem leaping through all those people, but what would happen when it recognized the closest person to it was one of them instead?

255 words
Last edited by winterwolf0100 on Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:54 am
winterwolf0100 says...



Berkeley Thuso


Her mind wandered as they set up the numerous traps. The main thought on Berkel's mind was why the thugs were taking so long to get off the train. There was a five minute stop for departures and arrivals on the train cars, but all the customers had run off as soon as they reached the station, so there certainly wasn't any foot traffic they had to fight through or obstacles in the way of getting off. Maybe they were going to stay on the train and get off at the next stop? That would be a nice surprise. Unfortunately, Berkel knew the more likely reason was that they were planning something. Berkel hated planners. Planning stopped the fluid movement of nature and life. Nothing could go perfectly all the time, so why contain life to a box when you could be free?

"What are they doing in there?" She murmured, not even realizing she said it aloud until Holt responded.

"Doing yoga," he grunted, moving one of the heavy metal sheets. "What do you think they're doing?"

Berkel was caught off guard, but a grin spread across Tetia's face. "Did you just make a joke?"

Holt didn't look up from where he was shifting the sheet. "No."

"You did! Gods, strike me dead, Alimer Holt just made a joke."

He stopped what he was doing then. He stood up and straightened his uniform, before saying in a calm but completely stoic voice, "Jokes are the humor of children. I did not make a joke."

Berkel frowned, then smiled a little. "But you were being sarcastic," she concluded, "which is the sophisticated humor of adults."

279 words
Last edited by winterwolf0100 on Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
  





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Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:55 am
winterwolf0100 says...



Berkeley Thuso


“Isn’t sarcasm just another form of jokes?” Tetia asked, looking amused but also confused.

“Oh, I get it! Sarcasm is a part of humor, and jokes are a part of humor, but sarcasm isn’t a part of jokes. Like the whole square rectangle thing, right?” Maji said, trying to enter the conversation.

Holt frowned a little and considered it, before shaking his head. “Not exactly. Sarcasm isn’t a part of jokes but jokes aren’t a part of sarcasm either. So more like triangles and squares both being shapes but never being each other.”

They continued talking, but Berkel had already grown bored of the conversation about shapes and tuned it out unconsciously. She wasn’t trying to be rude and she wasn’t bored of the people having the conversation, but her brain just wasn’t interested in the topic anymore, so it searched for something else to keep it occupied. That’s when she noticed one of the figures on the train looking around out of one of the doors a little ways down the tracks. Berkel’s group must’ve been far enough away and tucked behind one of the columns that the figure didn’t see them, because they gestured inside the train car to the others.

“There they are!” Berkel whispered, immediately silencing the conversation.

“We get to start now?” Tetia grinned, and Berkel hears Maji’s spheres whir through the air in excitement or anticipation, though Berkel kept her eyes on the figures exiting the train car.

She gulped when she noticed they had somehow managed to rip some of the poles used for standing passengers out of the train, carrying the sharp, deadly objects as potential weapons along with the ones they already had. She felt her face pale. “I don’t think they were doing yoga.”

296 words
  








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