< HSoS 81 | High School Of Scenes | HSoS 83 >

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Maia sulks somewhere until the band's next call, then aggressively makes her way to the stage.

TOR GM The rest of the bad, sans Antares, is already there. "What gives?" says Casey. "Your new guitar player ditched us."

Maia "You're fucking kidding me."

TOR GM Casey looks around elaborately and shrugs. "Or she's off puking, I dunno. Not my job to keep track of her."

Maia seethes. "Fucking wait here. Comp or something. I'll go find her."

Maia stomps off, asking everybody she sees where Antares is.

TOR GM Lots of shrugs, a few false leads for other cat-girls, and then a few people point out to the back yard, saying she went that way "with Caesar or whatever, probably to check under his toga."

Maia grits her teeth and heads over there.

Maia mutters under her breath as she walks. "Fine, dump me, whatever, date my best friend, I don't care, but don't EVER fucking ditch out on my band in the middle of a show. What the hell do you think..." and on and on in that vein.

TOR GM Out back there's not much besides some empty beer bottles and a couple of long scuffs in the ground.

TOR GM Maia's phone rings.

Maia grabs it. "Hello?"

TOR GM "What did you do, Maia? Who did you tell?" It might take her a second to recognize Johnstone's voice.

Maia "What the fuck are you talking about, Johnstone?"

TOR GM "I'm talking about your friends with poor impulse control. Have you said something to them?"

Maia slows down. "What. Happened to them?"

TOR GM "Probably nothing. In fact, I'm sure it's nothing, because why would they be out chasing after the same people who took Zavijava last week? Why on earth would they even know about that?" He's pretty caustic for an injured old man.

Maia "We're not children, Johnstone. We figure shit out. We're clever that way."

Maia "Where are they?"

TOR GM "You didn't quite get to that part of the cleverness, I suppose."

TOR GM "What will you do if I tell you what I know? Which, by the way, isn't everything and might not even be enough."

Maia "Do you want the truth or do you want me to lie and flatter your authority complex? I can go either way."

TOR GM "At least one of us in this conversation has to sleep sometimes, so let's go with brevity and the truth."

Maia "I'm going to go get them and possibly beat the living hell out of them. I haven't decided on that last bit."

TOR GM "If you could, pause and try to entertain for five seconds the idea that they are in over their head, and you will be too if you follow them. If that exercise works, spend another five seconds considering that this is precisely what we have been trying to avoid."

Maia "You said Zavijava was safe. You said everything was going to be all right. YOU said that nothing was going to happen. Who, exactly, is in over their head here, Johnstone?"

Maia "I'm tired of watching my friends disappear."

TOR GM "You have no idea how much time I have devoted over the years to protecting you and your classmates. Do you think you're the only one who's tired?"

TOR GM He sighs.

TOR GM "I don't know exactly where they are. I have a list of probable locations, however."

Maia "Give them to me."

Maia "I'll call you tomorrow and let you know what's happened."

Maia "If I don't...something happened."

TOR GM "Maia... these people are dangerous, and they are organized. Everything you do has consequences."

Maia "Are you scared, Johnstone?"

TOR GM "Of course I am. With any luck, you'll get through the night without understanding why." His voice sounds old, tired, and far away as he lists a couple of blocks in a run-down industrial part of town.

Maia pauses. "Thank you."

Maia "Get some rest. You need sleep."

TOR GM There's a long pause, then he says quietly, "God go with you," and hangs up.

Maia pockets her phone and glances over at Furud's car, then picks up a rock.

Maia "Of course I'm not drunk, officer," she mutters to herself as she stalks over.

Maia pauses partway there and sheepishly picks through the objects in her pocket until she finds her key to Furud's car.

Maia "Of COURSE I'm not drunk, officer!"


TOR GM This part of town has some warehouses, an abandoned steel mill that would probably be a Superfund site in a better-tended world, and a somewhat out-of-place electric parts store that has a lot of vehicles in the lot for this time of night.

TOR GM There's also a thin plume of what might be smoke visible from around the other side.

Maia pulls into a spot, narrowly missing the cars on either side, and nerves herself, taking a deep breath...then fades out of sight.

Maia walks around to investigate the plume of smoke.

TOR GM Near a solid-looking door is a hole in the wall, a cracks radiating out from a scorched jagged hole in the bricks.

TOR GM Inside there's a fluorescent lamp hung up, showing a half-cleaned mess of ceiling tiles, broken glass, and some dark red spots.

TOR GM A janitor is limpingly mopping at the floor.

Maia walks coolly and carefully through the hole and looks around.

TOR GM The janitor, who can't see Maia, is swearing under his breath about something.

TOR GM The word "freaks" features regularly.

Maia gives him a rude look that he can't see, then moves on.

TOR GM The door is propped open at the moment, opening on a hallway with several other doors. From the size of the implied space, it's a good guess that some of it extends into the warehouse that the store backed up against.

TOR GM The janitor unlocks some handcuffs from an overturned chair and hooks them on his belt with a snort. There are stains there, too.

Maia heads into the hallway and looks around.

TOR GM Three doors on the opposite face of the hall, and another one at the end--from the layout, that one probably goes into the storefront part.

Maia checks the floor for footprints, dust trails, bloodstains...

TOR GM The place is tidy in general, in a cold concrete sort of way, but the janitor hasn't gotten to the hall yet and there's a faint dusty trail smeared to the leftmost door.

Maia slips it open as little as she can, and slides through.

TOR GM There's a hallway, poorly lit with fluorescent bulbs, and another door at the end that looks like a bridge between parts of the building. A largeish guy sits by it in a chair, rubbing his bruised throat and talking into a radio. "Yeah, dumbest fuckin' thing. So now I have to stay by the door in case another one of them comes along. Doc says she's getting months ahead on research out of it, so at least someone's gettin' paid."

Maia keeps clenching and unclenching her fists, and forces herself to stop, since the click of bone is likely to give away her position.

Maia walks up and positions herself by the entrance to the door, carefully slipping past the guy, then bangs on it with her fist.

TOR GM The guard doesn't hear her through the static of the radio's reply, but he lifts his head at the knocking and frowns a bit as if something sounds wrong. "What's going on in there?" he calls.

Maia knocks again, louder and more urgently.

TOR GM "Aw, sonuva..." he grumbles, getting to his feet to open the door.

Maia drops to go under his arm and scrambles through the entrance as he opens it.

TOR GM He swings open the door and looks in, giving Maia enough time to squeeze through. On the other side is a small office with a large window into the rest of the building, showing a lot of empty space, walls of boxes, and a more recent-looking room jutting out to the left with an impressively large steel door.

TOR GM "The hell?" he says, stepping half-in to look around.

Maia does her best to keep out of his way while making as little noise as possible.

TOR GM He lifts his radio and says, "Hey guys, either someone's fuckin' around or somethin' weird is going on. Take a look around."

TOR GM "Lee, stop taking a piss and get back in front of that door."

Maia gets over to the steel door and checks it out -- locked or not, openable from this side or not, etc.

TOR GM The door is thoroughly locked, with not only a deadbolt but some kind of electronic card reader. Someone seems to have been emphatic about keeping the contents inside.

TOR GM As Maia checks it, another guard comes from deeper in the warehouse, zipping his fly and apparently heading back to guard the very spot.

TOR GM It's not clear how the ice cream shop is related to the door, but there is probably some sort of sinister connection.