Kicking it High in the Afterlife

Hi everyone!

 

It’s been quite a while since we published anything, but as promised, here is the second part of the story about how we went hunting for a new bar in City 08 and ended up finding more than we bargained for.

Warning, this entry is LONG, while editing it, I realized it was super long since our session had lasted about nine hours in total in terms of real world time. As such, I’ve broken it into headings to make it a bit easier to read.

 

Introduction

 

Some time passed between our first visit and our second one, during that time, we revised some of the character sheets. My SO Niky’s tulpa Kay also decided to tag along and she wanted Niky’s pet tulpa raven called Dhum to follow since he was now her familiar. Now, to most of you who have been with the blog for a while, you know what a little cheeky cunt Dhum is. And being made into Kay’s familiar summon definitely hasn’t made him any less so. Meanwhile, IRL, between missions, me and Circe watched the old Addams Family movie from the 90s where she promptly fell head over heels with The Thing and of course started thinking of having that as her familiar.

After some nagging later from her about it, I decided to warn her that it’d require a sacrifice on her part if she really wanted a truly gruesome Addams Family style severed hand as her familiar. And as you’ve all probably figured out by now, no, she did not back down – she chose to ignore my obvious warning and kept pushing. So, without warning, I severed her hand cleanly with a butcher’s cleaver and sent her up to the infirmary to get it regenerated. When she came down again, I’d cleaned up most of the blood on the table, but there it was, limp… obviously dead, but undeniably the beautifully manicured female hand of Circe. Of course, Circe was pissed that I’d surprised her, but did reluctantly agree that it was definitely in the Addams spirit to do as I did.

The Hand, as we named it, then came to life in front of us, or… unlife as it were. It did look like Circe’s hand, but it also had this sickly ghostly white pallor to it. In addition to that it also had a circular mouth filled with spiked teeth in its palm, which it used to eat things with.

(Author’s note: between these two events, I had the opportunity to play the game Cyberpunk which is set in a big dystopian city similar to City 08 (except Cyberpunk’s city is actually nicer looking and generally safer). In that game, there’s actually a bar called The Afterlife, which made me smile when I found it.)

Either way, after a lot of talking about Sandy and her terminal state and the fact that there WAS something we could do to fix it, we all decided that a bit of an adventure was in order and it was for a good cause after all. Now, here’s the lineup:

On my side:

My SO Niky who’s also a tulpamancer had her side too:

Also, this the first mission that Circe brought along her new gun that was referred to as a gutpuncher. Jane had tinkered with it and as a joke, she’d electroplated it with a pink, metallic hue all over and on the side of the gun there was a big C embossed into it. Tacky as fuck, Circe was rolling her eyes until she fired it in the shooting range and found out that although it had a two barrel/two round firing mechanism, it also had quite a lot of explosive potential if you fired both rounds at once.

Meanwhile, both Sasha and Andrei were tinkering with a Saiga-12 shotgun which ended up being added to Andrei’s arsenal along with a flash suppressor.

 

Outside of Afterlife

 

Eventually, we ended up heading out into City 08 and in front of the horribly garish cream coloured façade of Club Evolution, we got into a havac (hover car) and set off again for The Afterlife bar.

During the ride which lasted about ten minutes IRL, Kay took the opportunity to summon her familiar Dhum, Circe summoned her hand (which promptly hid in her hair after having a less than stellar interaction with Dhum) and I treated Jane to a couple of shots of Paddy’s Whiskey which shocked her since in City 08, Ireland is basically nothing but a toxic wasteland. Whiskey from the era before that happened is highly sought after and are auctioned off for absolutely insane amounts of money.

Eventually, the havac started to descend and Jane turned to me, downed her second shot and grinned and said “Alright, so… Fairy, you talk to the woman inside, I’ll stay outside k?”

I gave her a puzzled look “Why?”

Andrei smirked “Jealous much?”

Jane sighed a bit “Every time they say the word ‘Hunter’ I wanna fucking punch someone. I know these types, they’re so fucking high and mighty about shit like this. But, put a gun in their hand and point one to their baby and you’ll see them change their tune soon enough. Fucking hypocrites if you ask me. Usually the same people crying about us ‘hunters’ killing people and needing to be banned are the first to hire us once their loved ones get fucked over.”

Andrei nodded with a somewhat surprised expression on his face “Oh…”

“You’ve… never actually done that have you? Pointed a gun at a baby I mean?” I asked her.

Jane grinned in a slightly unsettling way, her eyes as always obscured by the circular mirrored shades she was wearing. “Maybe… maybe not…”

“Nope. Not at all. Why would you ask?” Andrei said while grinning in a way that suggested that he’d done that and much more.

Colleen dove into the conversation with a look of genuine concern on her face “We’re not pointin’ guns at babies now are we?” she lilted with her Irish accent.

“I would suggest we keep a low profile.” Mech added.

As soon as the door to the havac opened, Dhum, true to his raven nature, took off into the dark night and quickly vanished among the shadows above the bar. The hand, apparently taking note of this, quickly followed suit as it jumped off Circe’s shoulder and scrambled up the facade and onto the roof.

“So, are we ALL going to go in there?” Andrei asked while eyeing the bouncers that apparently hadn’t noticed either familiar vanishing into the night.

I shrugged “I’d say it’s personal choice.”

“I say you two go in, we’ll wait here” Andrei said as he pointed to me and Circe.

“I’m game” Circe flatly said.

“Wouldnda pass up a pub like this now, would I?” Colleen replied.

Mech, sporting his android body and artificial eye implants, scanned the surroundings and the bouncers and made his decision “I will remain outside as well. You should do that too, Colleen.”

“But… me love, I’ve always wanted ta see a foreign future pub!”

“This is… trust me when I say that this is not a friendly place like your British style pubs.”

“You two can come in AFTER so they don’t think you two are with them maybe?” Andrei suggested.

“Aaaaactually…” I started, but I shut my mouth when I caught a warning glance from Mech.

“Alrite then…” Colleen sighed to herself “I guess I could stay out ‘ere with the rest o ya.”

And with that, both me and Circe headed towards the bar and here is where we noticed that the bouncers were different from the ones we had met last time. They were also sporting the same visors as before, one of them turned to us as we approached and eyed us both up and down.

“Interesting…… Welcome. Haven’t seen your face here before. Yet you have obviously been here…”

Circe shrugged and handed over her chip to the bouncer that looked intently at it and then at her as well before handing it back to her.

“Is this guy with you?” he said while gesturing at me.

Circe gave him a radiant, lurid smile “Yes, he’s my date!”

He just nodded and let us go in after we left our weapons by the door.

I whispered at Circe “That’s some chip you’ve got there…”

“All access pass baby!”

 

Inside of the bar

 

As we entered the club, it was pretty dead, except for a few bar patrons drinking beer, the same bartender as before was there and gave us a smile and waved us over to him.

I looked at Circe and nodded towards him “Guess we should head on over.”

“Just… no pink bombs tonight please.…” she jokingly pleaded, I rolled my eyes at her while we continued towards the bar counter.

From outside via comms, Andrei muttered to himself “… Now I want to try one”

“Just ask Circe for one once we’re back at the castle” Sasha replied.

Meanwhile, inside, I leaned on the bar and said “Hiya, slow evening?”

The bartender gave a slow shrug “Pretty slow yeah, it’s a couple of crunching weeks ahead.”

“Crunching weeks?”

“Yeah, Happens every now and again, big corps want stuff done yesterday and they send out the order. Everybody has to pitch in. Of course, we get word a few weeks in advance when that happens, helps with the finances a bit.”

“Uh… is Sandy here tonight?” Circe asked him.

“She’s always here. She’s got a small apartment on the second floor.” after a pause, he added “Let me give her a call and tell her you’re here. Have a few brews on the house while you wait.” he finished, putting up two cans of beer on the counter and opened them for us.

“Thanks!” I said as both me and Circe got our beers and headed to the table we’d been sitting at the last time.

I sent a message via comms to Andrei outside. “You’re all missing free booze here!”

“Wait ’til you try it,” he replied wearily.

Taking his suggestion, I carefully sipped my beer and tried to keep my face straight as the taste hit me. It was an unholy mixture of dark grungy beer with the airy notes of a strong IPA. I put down the can onto the table and made a face as Andrei laughed.

Circe also tasted hers and she frowned as well “Fuck, this is pretty strong stuff.”

“Let’s not tip off the bartender, he’s probably messing with us.” I said as both me and Circe made a show of liking our beers and nodding happily at him from across the room.

“Idiots, he’ll think you like them and will always give you those from now on.” Andrei said over comms.

(Author’s note: Meanwhile, as another funny side note, IRL as we were experiencing this, I was having an IPA that tasted so much worse than my beer that was having in the bar… which is saying something.)

“I know a test when I see one Andrei” I hissed back at him as both me and Circe caught Sandy coming down the stairs from the second floor. This time, she was wearing a white, frilly dress that was in some ways reminiscent of the one Circe usually wears, but this one stopped a bit above her feet.

 

Meeting Sandy – Part 2

 

“Mother…. fucker…” I muttered to myself as she approached.

“What?” Circe said, eyeing her as well.

“Same dress as she wore in my dream.” I whispered back at her.

Circe turned to me and gave me a discerning look “You know… you never told me what KIND of dream that was…” while Sandy gracefully pulled out a chair and sat down with us.

“So… you’re back… I almost lost hope.” she said flatly, but with a small smile.

“In fact, we need your help here, but… I think that we might have some common interests.” I replied.

“Other than saving my life you mean?” when she noticed my obvious reaction, she laughed at me in a way that suggested it’d been mostly a joke on her part.

“We’ll get to that, one way or the other. But… for today, we need your help with something else. Do you remember the hunter that was with us the last time?”

“Oh how could I forget that little bundle of anger?” she said,

Outside, Andrei, hearing this, burst into laughter.

“Tell me, why are you working with someone like that?” she asked, with genuine concern in her voice.

“Believe it or not… but… she’s… sort of family.” I said, making her concern turn into curiosity.

“VERY distant family.” Circe added which prompted yet another laugh from Andrei.

“Oh… jealousy? That’s not a good look for you.” Sandy chided Circe and then smiled at her. “So, what does she want?”

“Actually, it’s more what her trader wants. Long story short, he’s in trouble with some nasty people unless we can find some things for him… I have no idea what they are myself, but… we do have a list.”

At this point, I silently told Jane to get inside since I was starting to feel like I was out of my depth.

(Author’s Note: After Jane beat up our trader Jones for working with the feds, he obviously wanted nothing more to do with us. So, in-between adventures, Jane introduced us to another trader called Turfo, who had a problem of his own since he got into a bit of a situation with a street gang that he owed some things, including certain chemicals. So in exchange for some good prices, we offered to help him with his problem, which of course led us all back to Sandy since she had prior industrial experience)

Outside over comms, Jane ranted “Always with the orders… Jane, don’t shoot the puppy, Jane, don’t slap your girlfriend, Jane, don’t be a betraying ass… I mean, it’s my life here!” She sighed theatrically and headed towards the bouncers which predictably stopped her in her tracks.

“I was wondering when you’d come around here… hunter,” he said, not taking his eyes off her for a second.

“Yahf yah, yap yap, whatever, I’m with the big girl and her flashy guy.”

The bouncer gave her a derisive look of disbelief. “I don’t think so.”

Jane took a deep breath and looked both of them calmly.

“Fine. Make my employer come out here. Make him pull your boss Sandy with him. Let’s see how that plays out.”

At that, both of the bouncers gave each other a couple of uncertain looks.

Jane shrugged “Your choice.”

Sasha, trying to defuse the situation, stepped forward “So… why don’t one of you guys go in and ask the couple?”

However, they’d already seemingly made up their minds as they shifted enough to let her go inside. She dropped her weapons in the crate and started to head inside, when one of them held out his hand towards her and said “If you make any trouble, we’ll come down hard on you.”

“Never mind, then” Sasha said to himself.

The other bouncer scanned Sasha and sneered “A reg defending a cap? Now we’ve seen everything.”

(Reg is short for regressives, which is derisive term for people living in the old USSR bloc, supercaps or caps is another term for China’s capitalist influence. Although the term cap can also be referred to as people supporting a capitalist system or just being rich. Jane, being a heavily augmented bounty hunter, is assumed to be working for corporations)

As they both laughed, Sasha joined in with them and then said “Oh, I’m not from here. That doesn’t make me a reg though, does it?”

“No augs, weird suit, sure man, you’re not a reg… and I’m no Dwitzer either!”

(Author’s note: Even to this day, nobody knows what a fucking Dwitzer is, not even Jane!)

Both of them laughed again at it and as he composed himself he said “Oh man, this job sometimes really pays off.”

In a grouchy voice, Sasha added “Suit’s by the boss’ orders… …as for augs, told you, not from here.”

 

The List

 

Meanwhile, Jane had come inside and joined us at the table.

“So, Jane, you had the list of what your friend needed?” I asked her.

“Yah. Now, lady, I know you’re gonna tell me it’s hard to get, I know that. But my friend needs it or he dies k?”

“Oh so dramatic!” Sandy replied with a smile, her eyes widening a bit as she accepted a small plastic screen from Jane and started reading through it.

Meanwhile, outside, Sasha had decided to go in, so he addressed the bouncer again “May I go in?”

The bouncer sneered at him “Not unless you’ve got someone whose NOT a reg vouching for you.”

“Well… officially I’m with all the ones inside…”

“So you say, but what proof do we have that you’re not a lying sack of reg shit?”

“Go in and ask them yourself? Don’t tell me you can’t call your boss?”

At this point, Mech walked over towards the bouncer and stared him down, the difference in height was definitely obvious and silently intimidating.

“I highly suggest you call my employer inside. Now.” and after a gravid pause, he added “We do not wish any confrontation to take place here.” He kept his blank gaze on the bouncer.

Sasha smiled “Oh, no need to get… like that. I just want to keep an eye on the hunter, that’s all. I mean, we’re friends here, but… I… have a feeling she may need some… common sense.

“We have enough common sense inside, assuming she doesn’t.” The bouncer said back, not keeping his gaze off Mech, who was still looming over him.

“Well, I’m trying to stop her from doing anything stupid AND getting hurt.” Sasha shrugged and continued “I kinda doubt you care about the last part though…”

From the other side of the building, the other bouncer from the last night appeared, taking his time, he strolled up in a relaxed manner and asked “Got any trouble here?” to both of the bouncers that tore themselves away from Mech and looked at him.

“No… just this… person trying to get in.”

“I’m friends with the couple inside…” Sasha started

The bouncer eyed him “Curious. You seem… familiar.”

“I want to keep an eye on their OTHER friend the hunter you see.”

“What couple?”

“She’s like a giant….. and he’s… this… weird guy.…” Sasha explained to him, struggling to properly describe us.

He smiled and looked at the other two bouncers “Was there a tall woman coming through here recently? Did she have the token?”

With a voice that betrayed his inner “Oh fucking shit” moment, the other bouncer replied “Yeees…. She did… “

The man grunted “Let him through. Now.” in a way that made it very clear that this was a direct order, both of the bouncers stepped back and made room for Sasha that quickly entered the bar and casually walked up to the bar, sat down and checked the room, noting all of us sitting at a table.

Having seen this exchange from the side lines, an old man with greasy hair and worn lumps of clothing stepped up to the bouncers who focused on him.

“I also know the owner, I’m with those guys!” the old man said with an air of absolute confidence.

However, both the bouncers laughed at him and shook their heads. “Go home Terence, you’re drunk again. You’re not getting in!”

Sneering at them both, the old man gave them the finger and walked off to the side and left.

 

Sasha gets a drink

 

Meanwhile inside, Sandy had finished going through the list and looked up at us all and said “You’re right, this stuff is next to impossible to get now.”

After some deliberation, she strummed her fingernails against the table and added “Tell you what… Let me… check this real quick.” She got up from her seat and walked over to the bartender and had an animated discussion with him about something. As she returned to the table, the bartender approached Sasha.

“What can I get you?”

”Vodka. On the rocks… please” Sasha added.

“So… expensive stuff or the stuff… well… these people drink?”

“The cheaper, the better…”

The bartender shrugged “Alright, rot gut it is then….” as he threw a couple of ice cubes into a lowball glass with a clinking noise and then filled it with a decent measure of vodka from an unmarked bottle while muttering half to himself “Shame to do that to fine ice…”

Sasha laughed and replied “Oh, I’m sure I’ve had worse.” as he accepted the glass and took a sip, momentarily lost in his thoughts.

“I’m sure you have. That’ll be 200 credits please.” the bartender said, snapping him out of it.

Sasha laughed “Yeah… good one…”

“We don’t keep a tab here,” the bartender deadpanned back at him. And then he cracked up with a laugh. “Nah just kidding, I know you’re with these guys over there. Kinda hard to miss.”

Sasha eyed his glass and then the bartender “I would have believed you if you hadn’t said it was the cheap one, you know. So… got a tip jar?”

The bartender smiled “No tips here. We get an honest salary instead. Not many places around that do that anymore. Brings a sense of class to the place I suppose.”

“So what if I want to leave someone a tip?”

“Then I suggest that you find one of these fine ladies and ask her if she wants one,” the bartender laughed at him. Then he leaned in and added “I’m sure you won’t have trouble with that.”

“I’m….. uh… not really looking for company, you know?” Sasha retorted and had a bigger sip and looked at the glass and then the bartender. “You call this bad?”

“Yes, it’s the lowest quality our still can produce while still keeping it within legal toxicity laws. Usually only the rough miners go for that one.”

Sasha made a “not too bad” face as he replied “Where I come from, this is… quite good actually.”

“So, you’re a reg huh?”

“Actually, no” Sasha said with a smile. “But everyone seems to think I am.”

“I’ve heard stories about their booze. And yeah, you seem to fit the stories about regs. Never really met one myself.”

Sasha leaned forward with a glint in his eye and said “Well, let me tell you a secret, I’m an inter-dimensional traveler.” and as the bartender laughed he added “And… well, we have no more Union where I come from.“ He made a long pause. ”And get this, I was also born in the states, so, not even from there!” he finished laughing himself.

The bartender took some time to digest this unusual information and replied with a chuckle “Oh you’re a funny one alright. Only union I ever heard about is the one us bartenders are part of and that’s an even bigger joke than what you just told me.”

“Oh, I mean… soviet Union” Sasha continued airly “As the rest of the world has always called it anyway. Most people don’t get that The Union refers to the Soviet Union you know? Idiots.”

The bartender gave Sasha an odd look and asked “Soviet? What’s that?”

“I’ve been told that’s the equivalent of the Regs in my world.”

“Whatever you say, I have no idea what that would be.”

After that, the bartender backed off a bit, not really sure if Sasha was genuinely crazy or just having a really bizarre sense of humor. Sasha took the opportunity to focus on us at the table, also having a bit of discussion in the meantime.

 

Jane being Jane

 

Sandy was shaking her head as she sat down again “What you’re asking for is really hard to come by right now. These stripping chems… they’re really high tier.”

“Yah, I know. So, if you have a lead on where we can find them, we’ll deal with the rest K?” Jane replied, leaning back into her chair confidently.

“Look, if you make any trouble, it’ll be traced back to me… it won’t be good.”

“How about you follow us then?”

Sandy hesitated a bit before answering. “No… I’m… I’m not really up for that stuff anymore.”

Jane grinned as she spat back “What? You’re telling me miss razor feathers has retired?”

At the mention of the name, Sandy’s calm demeanor broke for a second and we could almost see the gears in her head turning as she was shocked for a bit before she composed herself again.

“I have no idea-” she started before getting cut off by Jane.

“Bullshit” she said a bit slowly, obviously savoring the shift in focus of the discussion.

“I could pull up the net records and show everyone in this damn bar who you used to be.” Jane then turned to me and smiled that crazy grin I know that means she’s really enjoying herself. “See F, I did some digging after we were here the last time. I kinda found out that our little miss innocent here, didn’t use to be so innocent. She-”

Sandy huffed out “You’ve made your point. We should have this discussion… elsewhere,” as she got up from her chair. As Jane looked at Sandy, her vision momentarily cut out as if there was a disruption in her feed.

“… The fuck…” she muttered to herself and blinked a few times, her vision was restored, but meanwhile, Sandy was already heading up the stairs, smiling and waving at all of us to join her.

As we all got up, Sasha noticed us as well and finished his drink and gave the bartender a nod that he returned. He joined us as we all went up to the second floor, seeing Sandy having opened a door that looked like it had been purposefully made to blend in as much as possible with the décor.

Meanwhile… outside, Kay was leaning against the wall, juggling with her knives, Andrei was giving Niky some much needed warmth as it was a fairly cold night while Mech and Colleen were having your regular happy couple back and forth.

Inside, we all heard a loud click as the door behind us locked itself and for a moment, I was considering whether or not we might have severely misjudged Sandy and her personality.

“Welcome, to the prohibition era room I guess” she said.

 

The inner sanctum

 

In the room there were six small tables, the windows on the other side of the wall had a long marbled bench running alongside it, with some plants scattered around, the floor was made out of what appears to be wood and the tables looked really old fashioned. Looking at it, the room gave us all a strange sense of being in an old time wild west style saloon.

“A bar inside of a bar?” I said incredulously.

“Yes, I reserve this place for people who want to be… undisturbed.” then she pointed to a nearby table and added “Sit, you have a lot of explaining to do.”

Jane sat down, obviously being pleased with herself and the rest of us followed suit.

Sandy then stared daggers at Jane and exclaimed “Now, how the FUCK did you learn about me?”

Jane shrugged and said with a relaxed tone of voice “Chill lady, nobody else knows about your… other side… and it’ll stay that way if you help us.”

I gave Jane a stern look. Enough was enough I thought to myself. “Jane, you’re not extorting her. I’ll fucking punch your lights out if you try that shit.”

Jane just stared at me with a disgusted look and replied “Man… you’re just NO fucking fun today.”

I stared at her for about a minute and then said “Alright Jane, tell us what you know.” I turned towards Sandy “It’ll stay in this room, you have my word on that.”

Jane sighed “This isn’t nearly as much fun now. But fine. A while back, some people remember that there was a sort of riot uprising among the corps here. Big thing in the media. Huge blowup of shit that went down really fast.”

She paused for a second before she continued.

“Turns out our little friendly miss here was actually the person unknown behind those. She even earned her nickname that way… they never caught her of course. Afterwards in the investigation, the corps got ransacked by the feds… and well… we all know how that shit turned out.”

“Fucking feds,” Sandy said with a lingering trail in her voice.

“Yeah, they are, aren’t they?”

“Still, that is… fitting. I was expecting… something different” Sasha said, keeping his eyes trained on Sandy, no doubt expecting her to do something.

“No point in going into your every fucking shitty thing, but yeah, we all know you were bad-ass. I’m actually impressed you managed to duck those guys back then. I know feds, they’re pretty fucking good.”

“I did what had to be done, I don’t care about myself. If you’re here to bring me in…”Sandy said with caution in her voice.

“We’re all friends here.” Sasha said, which prompted a chuckle from Jane that turned into a genuine laugh after a while.

“Oh girl, you’ve got this so wrong that it’s hilarious.” she barked at Sandy, which made her apparently a bit confused. “My boy here,” she pointed at me, “he’s here to fix your shit alright? I… work for him, get it?”

I smiled at this and nodded. “It’s true. She’s my hunter on retainer. But… we’re really here to help out her friend. But, if we can help you in the process, that’d be great too. So, if you wanna come along, sure, let’s do that, but if you can find a place that has both what we need and what you need, that’s gonna be perfect isn’t it?”

Sandy took a moment to reflect on all of this and then put her hand against her forehead “I knew you were dangerous.”

I chuckled “Honestly, I’m probably the safest person in this whole world.”

“That’s what you get for visiting people in their dreams…” Sasha said quietly with a sardonic smile.

“You… you’re dangerous because you… you give people hope.” Sandy stuttered for a moment. “Are you all serious about this?”

Smiling, Circe leaned forward and gently patted her hand “Yes… yes we are.”

“We also have some more friends outside you haven’t met yet.” Sasha added.

“My bartender told me there was a bigger group. Maybe we should get them all in here. Just a moment.”

But as Sandy started to get up, Sasha interrupted her with a gesture “No need, they already know.”

“But… how?”

He shrugged “Magic. You can trust us.”

She gave him an uncertain look “This place is supposed to be secure.”

“It is… as far as things are here.”

“If your people outside know, then obviously it isn’t.” Sandy said looking intently at him.

“Did we tell you already that we’re inter-dimensional travelers?”

Here, Sandy gave him a sharp “don’t fuck with me” look, when she didn’t relax he added “Oh come on!”

“That’s not even funny man.” Jane added dryly.

“She’s the only one from here” Sasha pointed to Jane “That’s why she doesn’t want me telling you.”

Jane shook her head and gave Sasha a look of caution. “We’ve got some cutting edge tech, don’t worry, nobody is going to get through that. Sasha here has a weird sense of humor.”

At this point, Sandy took stock of all of us and I could see her cogs turning again.

“Some of you are lying right now, I didn’t get this far by believing every moron out there.”

Before any of us had a chance to react, Sandy pulled out a gun which she put against the side of my head. With an absolutely level tone of voice she went “You all need to start talking now.”

 

Sandy pulls her gun

 

“You visited him in his dreams didn’t you?” Sasha said with a challenging tone of voice.

“I had a weird dream. Then all of you show up. But then this… hunter digs up all this info on me, info that I knew was buried… and one of you says you’re from other dimensions?”

A silence fell over the room, smooth as velvet.

“Talk.” She pushed the gun harder against my head as if to accentuate her point.

“Well… let me put it this way, we’re your best hope, aren’t we? …Aaaand we’re keeping Jane here in check, aren’t we?” Sasha said with an equally level voice.

I sighed “Fucking hell, we’re the least secretive party in the fucking history of parties. Alright… put away the gun.”

When she didn’t move, I chuckled to myself “Actually… you know what?”

Let
                         Me
       Do
                That
For
           You

I appeared behind her and snatched the gun out of her hand.

“Cheater” Sasha snarked.

As she tried to elbow me, I proceeded to slam her into the wall, stunning her momentarily.

“And now you’re gonna hurt her, man.” Sasha continued, seemingly unfazed by the sudden violence.

I narrowed my eyes at him in anger and growled “We’re way beyond normalcy at this point.” I turned to her as she was getting up from the floor. “So, you really want to know the truth huh?”

“… couldn’t you simply tell her I was crazy?”

I ignored Sasha as I continued “I’m going to ask you only once, because there are some things you’d rather not know about everything.”

“Gee, man… the inter-dimensional travelers tale is… enough, isn’t it?” he spat back.

She got up halfway and gave me a ferocious look “Tell me. There’s something wrong isn’t there? Something really really wrong.”

“Actually, this whole place is wrong. For this next part, feel free to blame Sasha for it, this is his stupid fault.” I said as I touched her forehead and gave her the combined knowledge about tulpamancy, the worlds and the state of existence as it really is, for a moment her stare went vacant, then she blinked once… twice… and then she focused on me with disbelief in her eyes.

Sasha shrugged when he saw her reaction “You should have stuck with my version.”

“She was figuring it out. You blew it.”

As I helped her up, she slumped down into the chair with a resigned manner that I’d seen many times before in NPCs that were shown the truth about everything. I cursed to myself internally and thought to myself that maybe this was one of those times that wouldn’t really go over well.

A long silence fell over the room again, then she looked up at all of us, the light in her eyes different as she asked us all with doubt in her voice “You’re all tulpas?” She paused, then looked down at her body. “I’m a tulpa?”

I sat down next to her “No, not… quite. You’re different.”

She shot up and looked around frantically “Excuse me… I need a drink…”

I smiled up at her “Allow me…“ I said as I held out a drink glass towards her.

“Should have stuck with the inter-dimensional travelers version, man,” Sasha repeated again.

She looked down the glass, shrugged to herself and downed it in one go, as she shivered and sat down again and looked us, she asked “What… was that?”

I grinned at her “Good old fashioned Bourbon, nothing more, nothing less.”

“So… why… why are you here?”

“I’ll be honest, I just wanted a new bar. And. I don’t really control the worlds. They do their own thing. So… I asked… and it… well… it led me to you.”

“I see… did… did you create the dream as well?”

“No.”

She looked around at all of us “So, he doesn’t control you all?”

“Nope, we’re… ourselves.” Circe said, smiling at her.

”This is making my head spin a bit.”

“We still need your help though.” I told her.

“But… if you can do anything… why can’t you just… fix everything?” she said, gesturing to everything around her.

I paused a bit, weighing my words before I answered “Because I respect nature and the worlds. They are their own things. To shape them to my will would be the same as destroying them.”

Another long pause blanketed the room.

“I see….”

“Free will.” Sasha said, with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.

“In that case… you don’t control me either?” she asked.

“That’s why the place is not a boring hell — I mean paradise” Sasha added.

“No. I don’t control anyone,” I said slowly.

“In that case…“ Sandy said while grinning and before I knew what happened, she’d planted a big kiss on my lips. I recoiled as she laughed and said “Sorry, I just had to try that.”

I rubbed my lips and gave her a suspicious look “Thanks… I guess?”

“I was only partly expecting that… I mean, it was either love or hate,” Sasha interjected.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not into… I’m… you know…” and here she deeply sighed and added “It’s a loong story.”

Sasha shrugged. “All of them are.”

 

Miss Razor Feathers

 

“Guess you’ve seen it all huh? You REALLY wanna know?” she said with a challenging tone.

“If you’d rather not say, then don’t. Like I said, it’s your choice.” I shot back.

She got up from her chair in an oddly demure way and gave us all a strange look.

“Better you know now I guess. It’ll save me a hell of a lot of effort trying to keep it from you.”

And then she pulled up her dress which revealed that her lower torso was actually completely artificial from the waist down.

Jane whistled appreciatively “Whoa… those are some heavy augs, man… No wonder you kicked ass back then… man… those things’d ……” her voice trailed off.

Here, no doubt feeling too exposed, Sandy let go of her dress and sat down again.

“Let me guess, that’s what’s killing you isn’t it?” Sasha asked her.

“The accident took more than what most people know. Half my body was gone by the time they found me. I’ve had these for almost a decade now. But lately, there’s been… glitches.”

“Man… what you’ve got is way beyond what any medbot could do for you. I’m not gonna be cruel here, but you’re not gonna make it if this keeps getting worse.” Jane said, the tone of her voice betraying her surprise at what she’d just seen.

Sandy smiled at her and nodded at me “That’s why I told him he was a dangerous man.”

I sighed and gave Sasha a venomous glance “Fucking… why Sasha? WHY? I didn’t need to know this shit.”

Again, he shrugged. “Knowing is always good. And I’m SURE we can help her.”

Here Circe patted my shoulder. “There, there, we would have found out eventually.”

I sighed again deeply, feeling incredibly frustrated by how this whole plan had gone completely fucking sideways. I shook my head and asked “So, how many people know about your… real condition?”

Sandy looked at me sternly “About a handful I guess.”

“That’s gotta be some good infosec on their part. There’s not a blip about you getting augged past the standards.” Jane said, again, sounding like she was deeply impressed.

“Yes, that was part of the deal. They’d fix me and I’d keep working for them. It was all hush hush. I was a prototype they said.”

“Well… it’s getting late… how about we go take care of your little problem… and then… later on, you can help us take care of our problem?” I asked her.

“True. As good as world-building is, we have a mission to run tonight” Sasha added. Then he paused and turned to Jane “Hey…”

“Yah?

“Within the world, how would you… help her?”

“Give her a lethal dose of downers and have her drift away?”

“You didn’t hear me the first time, I said FIX her, not kill her.” He said slowly, pronouncing each word carefully.

“Look man, her body is rejecting her graft, nothing you can do when that happens. Maybe put her in a wheel chair? Or you know, hook her up to the net permanently?”

“NO! I’d rather die than… be with that fucking thing.” Sandy said with a bit of fear in her voice.

“Gotta say, I saw lots of that stuff back in the lab, most of the time it didn’t take. Once they start eating away at the CNS… it’s fucking nasty.”

Jane gave Sandy a look and hazarded a guess. “Had any shakes?”

Here, Sandy looked down into the table. “Yes…”

“Stiffness? Numbness?”

Sandy exhaled. “Yes… and … yes.”

“You’ve been living in a dreamworld, girl. There’s only so much you can do before shit starts dying. To implant something, you have to have something to put it in, or attach it to. Sure, you could get her a custom bod, but… it wouldn’t be human.”

“Brain is still the same?” Sasha ventured.

“Pretty much the only thing left, yah.”

Here, Sandy shook her head “They offered me that. I told them no. I want to be me… and I guess ‘I’ll die… being me too.”

Sasha bent forward a bit in his seat. “But… personality IS in the brain”

Sandy shook her head a bit “It’s not the same, you can tell the difference even though it’s small. People in the know can also tell as well.”

“So, how about a re-implant?” Sasha said.

Again, Sandy shook her head. “The tissues, they’re degenerating. It’s because of the nanos, they’re… eating away the dead flesh.”

“Any way to… stop them? Or to stop the things from dying in the first place?”

Jane turned to Sasha and said with some scorn in her voice “What she’s saying is that her shit’s dying. If you stop them, it doesn’t stop the tissues from dying. You’ve got this all backwards. Sorry, that’s where our medical tech gets iffy. Sure, we can grow new shit, but when stuff starts just straight up dying, we can’t fix it. Sure, you could transplant shit over and over, but… it’d be the same thing over and over again.

“Won’t it last for some time?”

“Nah, couple of weeks, maybe a month, then you’re back to where you started.” Jane turned to Sandy “How much of you is augged anyway?”

“It’s up to here.” and Sandy indicated a place just below her navel.

Again Jane whistled in appreciation. “You’ve probably got more metal than I do.”

“So, no real vital organs affected, though,” Sasha noted.

“You’ve got a weird idea of what vital is, man.” Jane chuckled back at him.

“I mean, the intestines, but… those are easy to fix.”

Here, Jane moved closer to her. “So… you… can’t anymore, can you?”

Sandy looked at Jane for a long while and then shook her head and lowered her gaze, no doubt ashamed of the question.

“Right, you’re coming with me. The rest of you can shut the fuck up or follow us back to the castle.” Jane said with a deadpan serious tone and then grabbed Sandy by the arm and led her outside.

 

Egress

 

Meanwhile, Andrei, being true his asshole self was mocking the whole situation over comms. “Oh what a drama! It’s so touching! My eyes are brimming with tears! Oh the humanity!”

Here, Circe brushed past us and went. “For once, I agree with Jane… so rare!” and grinned as she left the room.

Sasha turned to me as everyone was leaving. “Maybe if this hadn’t happened, we could have never saved her, you know?”

I sighed again in frustration. “I don’t think any of this was supposed to happen this way.”

“So?”

“Now we follow the proverbial white rabbit.” I paused for a bit and then continued “You said what you said for a reason. The world then acted and this was the result. Maybe in the universe where you didn’t say anything had her going on a mission with us, she was still getting her meds and then still dying.”

Sasha looked thoughtful for a moment and then mused “I honestly didn’t think they’d believe me… much less that you’d… you know, simply not say ‘Haha, he’s funny, ignore him’ a few more times.”

“Maybe… or maybe we’d been found out and this would have repeated.” I turned my gaze to the ceiling, addressing our omniscient AI: “Sarah, once we get out of this bar, blank the bartenders remembrance of Sasha’s words please.”

Sarah: Memory reconstruction is now queued for actor NPC

“Still, again, this leads to her getting saved… probably the other paths didn’t.” Sasha paused again a bit and then added “So, the official story is… somewhere else in the world, we have a clinic that’s giving her new meds to keep her alive?”

Now it was my time to shrug. “Eh, we’ll deal with that shit later.”

Sasha stretched a bit. “Alright, guess that works.”

As we both headed down to rejoin the others outside, I flashed the bouncers a smile as I passed, both of them no doubt chiding themselves for having given all of us a hard time before.

Jane, noticing us all being outside shot back. “Three minutes.”

“So… where are we going?” Sandy said, obviously a bit numbed and bewildered by all that had just transpired upstairs.

“Uh…. Fairy Tale world I guess” Jane said, giving her an odd smile.

“Pretty much, yeah,” Sasha added, having waved goodbye to the bartender as he passed through the bottom floor of the bar.

“…. I don’t know what to think about all of this…”

Andrei walked up to Sasha and half whispered “Sasha. Next time I’m NOT leaving you alone.”

Sasha smiled at him. “Maybe this time, it was for the best.”

After a brief introduction between Mech, Colleen, Kay and Andrei, Sandy was giving our entire motley crew some wide eyes as The Hand came jumping off the roof and scrambled up Circe’s clothing and hid in her hair.

Sandy blinked in surprise “Was that a… hand?”

“Yeah, my pet.” Circe said casually, grinning widely.

“That is the kind of questions you probably don’t want to ask.” Andrei offered her as a piece of friendly advice.

A havac then swooped down and as we all entered, a small shadowy figure snuck aboard as well behind Kay. Once the doors closed, he peeked out his head from behind her seat and said “Hiiiiii!” to everyone’s sudden shock.

Sandy just looked at him and went “Oh… hi…“ and then she turned towards the rest of us and pointed at Dhum and said “I’m hallucinating aren’t I? This is all just one… big… fat… hallucination isn’t it?”

Kay handed her a piece of raven candy. “Here, give him this.”

Sandy eyed the piece of candy and then very very carefully stretched it out towards Dhum.

“Nice… uh… birdie?”

Dhum proceeded to grab it equally carefully, but as always belted out in full volume “ANDY!! ETHANKS!!”

“You’re… welcome I guess?”

She leaned back against the white plushy leather interior and looked around at all of us and shook her head. “Talking ravens, disembodied, crawling hands…?”

“Yes, those questions, better not asked.” Andrei confirmed with a smile.

Here Kay piped up for a bit “Actually, Sasha didn’t… really lie. It’s all magic actually.”

“We can… sort of break the rules. But we usually don’t.” I clarified a bit. Then I thought for a bit and added. “Sandy, what’s your favorite drink, can you describe it for us?”

“My favorite drink? .. I… uhm… gimmie a moment…”

“When you remember, touch the table and think about it.”

“Well, I I know what MY favorite drink is …” Jane interjected and got herself a Klobb beer from the fridge and twisted it open.

“Don’t tell me it’s THAT,” Andrei said in disbelief, having tasted the really harsh beer once before.

Jane just nodded happily at him as she downed half the bottle.

As Sandy touched the table, a pink and green drink manifested in front of her, as she opened her eyes, they widened and she stammered “I-it’s exactly as I remember it…” She dubiously picked it up and smelled it and then took a careful sip, then she exclaimed, “how? …seriously… HOW?!” while looking at us all in bewilderment again.

I smiled and shrugged my shoulders “Magic. We quite literally can impose our will upon the world.”

Dhum, having finished his treat took the opportunity to chime in “MAGIC!!!!!”

After we all shared a hearty laugh at that unexpected outburst, it all quieted down a bit as Sandy looked at me with an expression that signaled disbelief and a bit of sarcasm.

“So what is this then? You’re all just… gonna fix my legs or what?”

I looked at her intently “That remains to be seen.”

Kay added “It’s… a bit more complicated than that…”

I nodded grimly “Yeah, remember what happened the last time? We can’t be sure of anything.” I motioned for Jane to hand me a Klobb, opened it and took a sip. It still tasted like a watery beer that someone had laced with liberal amounts of alcohol. I had a bit of an unpleasant shiver as I swallowed the sip. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”

“… so, can’t you tell… the thing to just patch her up?… for, uh, minimal world disturbance?” Kay asked me.

“The infirmary, It’s part of the world network. I certainly could, but… I won’t.”

“I mean… you don’t want to give up on your current life, do you, Sandy?” Kay asked her, then she turned to me “She can’t just appear like new you know?”

I sat back, relaxing a bit. “If there’s one thing I do have in all of this, it’s faith.”

“Look where that got you, man.” Sasha added with a serious tone of voice as Andrei laughed at it, no doubt finding the whole situation hilarious.

“Well, yeah, I’m in a havac, talking to the woman of ye olde dreams, together with my friends. Pretty good so far if you ask me.”

“I remember you being angry at me.”

“I was more exasperated to be honest. It was more like ‘Oh no… not this shit again’ you know?”

“Uh huh.”

“So… you all keep this secret right?” Sandy asked us all.

“We have to. Most people tend to freak out about it.” I answered.

“Yes. Else, everyone would ask us for favors, and… it wouldn’t end well,” Sasha added.

“I see… that’s… I can understand the burden.” Sandy said thoughtfully.

I smiled wryly “It’s fitting though that you’re wearing that dress.”

Andrei shrugged “She obviously knew we were coming… or changed into it for your benefit, Fairy.”

I grinned and said mischievously. “So, how much did you scramble to get into that dress?”

Sandy stayed quiet for a moment while the blush on her face betrayed her before she answered. “Did you… spy on me?”

Andrei smiled “Nah, it’s obvious, hon”

“So, we could make your legs work as they are… but… are you prepared that you might get your old legs back? That’s… a possibility too you know? Would you be comfortable with that?”

Sandy again, grew silent and was obviously fighting back tears as she answered “That’d be… really something.”

“So, the people that know, what would you tell them?” Kay asked her with a probing gaze.

“New… implants I guess?” Sandy said. “Could… sort of work I suppose?”

“Kinda hard to explain away not having your power though. I bet those things can kick through most walls right?” Jane interjected.

“Not… that much no. But they can make a good dent.”

“We’ll see what the machine does.” I said, hoping I could end the speculation as I noticed it was making her a bit jittery.

“So, if I got it all rite… yer… half robot?” Colleen asked in her… oh so innocent, but accurate way. She nodded towards Jane “Like that lass?”

Here Sandy looked at Colleen, not really having noticed her before until now and answered “Yes. …I guess you could call it that.”

“Absolutely bloody fascinatin’…”

“You’re… from the British islands?”

“Aye! Born an’ raised there!”

Meanwhile in the back, Andrei looked as if he was about to say something snarky, but for some reason he didn’t. Niky murmured something about someone learning to bite his tongue which caused him to groan.

“Hmm, how strange” Sandy said .. and then she continued “But your British islands are in a different .. dimension?”

“Yeh, we’ve got a completely difrent kind o’ world from yers, maybe I’ll show ya sometoime!”

During this exchange, The Hand, ever curious, had very slowly crawled out from Circe’s hair. Deciding that the coast was clear and that there was probably food and drink to be had, it suddenly jumped onto the table and startled most of us.

Sandy watched it with a mix of fascination, apprehension and probably some disgust too. “So that’s… a hand… a real… moving hand…”

The Hand gestured back to her. “Yes, that’s right!”

“It’s making weird gestures….“ Sandy said, not understanding the sign language of it.

Here, Dhum, having decided that a hand would probably make a better snack than raven candy, jumped on it, no doubt in an attempt to eat it.

We all watched them scuffle for a bit, before the hand managed to slap him away, but then gently started scratching his head. Initially, Dhum was confused, but soon started to relaxed and floofed his feathers in happiness.

“It was saying ‘quite right!’ in it’s own sign language” I clarified to Sandy.

“And… these… two are friends?”

“I don’t know… they’ve just recently met.”

“Yep. they met today, but Dhum can’t say no to scritches” Kay added.

“Come here Dhummy. I’ll scritch you, boy!” Andrei said, attempting to get his attention. The only reply was a sharp “CAW!” from him.

As Dhum stared daggers at him, the hand tried to placate him while also somehow managing to give Andrei the finger. Dhum gently beaked at the hand as if saying thank you.

“Great, someone ELSE that also hates me.” Andrei said with feigned exasperation.

“Nobody hates you, Andriosha.” Kay replied dryly. “It’s you who are an asshole, and people react to it, is all.” She added as an afterthought.

“Yep.” I said, “Nobody puts up with your shit is all.”

As Andrei sighed the havac opened it’s door facing an alley.

Sandy peered out, recognizing the city and asked “So… where are we?”

“Place called Evolution… and our exit.” Jane answered curtly as she got out.

“Exit?”

I gave her a smile “Just… eh… go with the flow.”

“Inter-dimensional travelers, remember?” Sasha added, smiling at her.

As the havac flew back into the inky night, we all made our way deeper into the alley and then exited into the City 08 locker room again.

 

A trip to the infirmary

 

“A… locker room?” Sandy asked, I motioned for her to move through the other door.

“Oh just you wait, the real mind fuck comes in a bit.” I said, ushering her into the gallery of worlds.

Sandy looked both ways and then at me and shrugged “Okey… so it’s a really long hallway?”

I opened the door to the dusty blue planet and Sandy looked inside.

“What… the fuck is that?”

“One world” I said and closed the door and opened another leading to the red planet and it’s odd crystalline beach.

She looked inside and shook her head. “Crazy”

“Alright, let’s head into one that’s really weird then.” I said as I opened the door to the infinite loading tower. We all stepped through the door and as I closed it inside, I urged her to check out the view.

(Authors Note: The infinite loading tower is in fact an actual infinite tower that exists in a plane of air that’s inspired by descriptions I stumbled across in one of the old Baldurs Gate games. However, that little spark that I came across in those games (the area is super small) ended up creating a version of the elemental plane of air that’s quite different. If you look down from a window, you’ll see the tower stretching both up and down as far as your eyes can see. If you look outside, you’re just going to see an infinite sky in all directions. Sometimes that sky has clouds and is full of rain and storms, sometimes it’s a clear blue day. Interestingly, there’s no sun in there, but it does have day and night cycles and it also has gravity that’s aligned with the tower. So if you were to jump out of it, you would indeed fall downwards.)

Sandy stared for a good five minutes until she pulled her head into the tower and looked at the rest of us in bewilderment “This… this isn’t possible. It can’t be.”

I smiled as I replied. “It’s magic. this is the plane of air.”

“Everything is possible, every world is unique in here.” Sasha added.

As we all started down the stairs, rain started falling outside and Sandy stopped and looked at it and exclaimed “Wait…. it’s raining… if it’s an infinite sky… how… how can it rain?”

I grabbed hold of her shoulders and ushered her down the stairs as I said “Best not to think about it, the more you think, the less sense it makes.”

“So, does the rain also fall infinitely?” Andrei asked, suddenly curious as well.

“To be honest, the elemental planes give me a headache. You should read the DnD manual sometime. It’ll make your head spin.”

“Should do, yeah,” Andrei replied noncommittally.

“I just created this place to have somewhere to walk while I was relaxing in bed.” I continued. “The plane outside made itself… sort of. I mean, I think it’s based off the elemental plane of air, but… in some respects, it doesn’t follow at all the rules of what the source material assigns to it.”

“So… you didn’t make this?” Sandy asked me with a bit of concern.

“I made parts of it. This staircase, the things on the wall… the small patches of moss, sure. that’s all me.” Then I pointed outside. “But the stuff out there… not my thing.”

“Weird… it’s like a dream.”

“You’re not far off. Me and Mech have been discussing this for a few decades. Our idea is that I’ve somehow managed to tap into the routine in my mind that generates dreams.”

After that exchange, we all headed down the staircase and during our interlude, I explained the history behind the towers inception and that in an odd paradox, the tower is always as long as it just needs to be to get you relaxed enough to enter the inner world in a relaxed state.

Soon enough we reached the lower doors and exited them on top of the castle roof. Sandy surveyed the whole thing, looked up towards the tower in the middle and grabbed onto me in a half delirious manner and said “Wow… a real castle… I’ve… I’ve only seen these in VR… this… this is real isn’t it?”

I shrugged. “Real in here is an odd thing to talk about… and you know why.”

She nodded, still just drinking in all the details with her eyes.

“At least it isn’t raining today.” Andrei said dryly.

“Don’t tempt the weather gods, Andrei…” Circe murmured back at him as we headed down towards the infirmary. After a minute or so, we all found ourselves in the almost neon white infirmary room that had that sterile smell that you can only find in really good hospitals.

“So, Fairy, you’re not telling… the bed to do a particular… program?” Kay asked me all of a sudden.

“Nope. I might make it worse if I do. I’ve learned my lesson.”

“So, Jane, how do you do it?

“Uh… I lie down on the bench and… it sorta does it by itself?” Jane replied to Kay.

Sandy moved closer to the bed with the canopy hanging over it. “Alright… here we go I guess…”

As she laid down, the canopy lowered as always and a sharp hissing sound of steam erupted from inside, as the canopy opened up, steam wafted out across the side and onto the floor and Sandy’s clothes appeared beside the bed in a neatly folded pile.

“Alright everyone, this is where we all give her some privacy and turn around until she’s dressed.” I sad and on cue, we all turned around, anxiously waiting to hear from her.

“… This is… …oh wow… amazing! You should all see this!” she exclaimed happily from behind us all.

“You’re still naked” I reminded her.

“Oh, it’s alright if you all have a look, come one!” she said as we all turned around.

And there she was, fully healed with her lower body, her sex and her legs and all the skin fully regenerated as if she’d never had a problem at all. She walked around a bit and then flexed her legs a bit. I found myself averting my eyes as I was getting the full view and then some. It was oddly embarrassing because of the weird situation that we were in.

Sandy got her shirt and underwear on and walked up to Jane and asked “Jane, you’re augged enough to take a kick without any problems, right?

“Yah”

“Can you block my kick?”

“Sure,” Jane said confidently.

With a quick kick, Sandy unexpectedly sent Jane flying, and as she bounced off the wall with a loud crash, she was coughing in surprise, clearly not expecting a kick of that magnitude. As Sandy helped her up and apologized, all Jane could grind out was an impressed “Holy shit… that hurt…” as she picked up her glasses (and metaphorically her hurt pride) off the floor and put them back on.

Sandy, looked at her legs with a critical gaze, no doubt thinking the worst and said “But I don’t get it… they feel fine… they’re fine right?” She looked up at us with fear in her eyes.

“Back on the bed again,” Jane told her and she sat back up on it. “Sarah, can you… tell us what her legs are made of?” Jane asked.

“Her legs are made out of flesh and blood.” Sarah responded with her melodic, but neutral voice.

“Bullshit, nobody can kick like that and have legs that look like fucking sexy super model legs.”

Sandy blushed a bit at that, but Jane was so wrapped up in her line of questioning that she didn’t notice it.

“They are mended, but operate according to previously established parameters.”

“So… basically the world treats them as if they’re still android legs?”

“Yes.”

“Honestly can’t see I saw that one coming.” Jane said, briefly touching Sandy’s leg as if not really believing they were real.

Jane looked mildly annoyed at that for a moment until Andrei chimed in. “And you people call ME the cheater huh?”

“Shut up, Andrei.” Niky said with a tired voice.

“This is why people hate you, you know?” I told him. Then I added, “besides, if you wanna reduce cheating, maybe you should have a talk with Sasha about not telling EVERYONE that he’s an inter-dimensional traveler?”

“Already did, remember?” Andrei said, clearly referring to his throw-away line outside of the bar.

As Sandy was putting her clothes back on, she looked at me and asked “Uhm… so… if… this is all back… does that mean… it’s all working down there?”

“Yep.” Sasha confirmed with a neutral face.

Sandy sighed. “I really hated my cramps you know?”

“We could ask Sarah to… make sure you don’t get those again,” Kay said, smiling.

Meanwhile, Jane had interpreted all our looks as something else as she just muttered, “You guys, do you ever think with anything else than your dicks?” And then she took Sandy by the arm and said “Come on, I know exactly what you need right now, a nice hot bath and a good nights sleep. What do you say?”

And with that, the girls headed down to the pool while I bid Niky and her crew a good night as they too went to sleep. I, myself made a cup of tea IRL and ended up musing over it in the castle kitchen. Why had Jane made that choice that was selfless? She, if anyone, knew just how big of an impact such a thing could have in the world, yet against all common sense and reason, she’d made that snap decision to help Sandy, a person she only briefly knew.

People sometimes surprise you, in really good ways.

And, that wraps up part 2, which turned out a lot longer than I expected. Stay tuned for the third part entitled “Fun With Flamethrowers” 😀

 

//Wondrous Fairy

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