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Jun 23, 2021 8:16 PM
Dottie lands in the middle of Brian and Jackson
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"Do you have virtual reality that stops magic?"

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"...were you in the woods or something instead? Who does that?" says Jackson, shaking his head.

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"I was in L.A., trying to get out of a sticky situation, so my alpha and I Escaped. Doesn't look like we got lucky enough to end up in the same place."

And that's incredibly upsetting to think about directly, so Dottie immediately steers her thoughts away from that. If she's in this state for more than a day she can start worrying about how to get good porn and start denning.

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"You're not making sense," says Brian gently. "Did you hit your head when you fell?"

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"Look, one of you must be able to chant something useful- Gift, everyone knows Gift."

Dottie chants the first few lines of the most common Gift charm; everyone and their mother knows that one. To Brian and Jackson, it sounds like someone with mediocre singing talent but above-average voice training singing about fairy godmothers. Nothing much happens, but it's pretty enough.

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"Maybe I should call a hospital," says Jackson uncertainly.

"No, still has to be Lockdown, he did teleport," Brian murmurs.

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...okay. Escape normally works by changing you into something that handle the situation you're in, or by changing some element of the situation to free you. Dottie knew she was overtaxing it, but whatever situation she's in now is not exactly safer or less complicated than the previous one. She's less immediately at risk of dying, that's nice, but whatever "lockdown" is, it doesn't sound good. The safest thing to do when surrounded by complexities that she's not ready to deal with and with people who mean her harm is- Dottie touches the back of her neck. It's not quite as effective as an alpha doing it, but- her postures relaxes slightly and her expression becomes slightly more vacant.

"Whatever you think is best," she says agreeably.

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Jackson dials. "Hi, Lockdown? I - you did, okay. - wait, what? - okay - so did someone else - okay, thank you -"

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Blandly polite lack of reaction.

Dottie waits for someone to tell her where to stand and what to do.

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"Did you say Swan? No, I met her is all... yes sir... do you have her number - yeah, got it - thanks."

Jackson hangs up.

"Lockdown says you... aren't... an eclipsed?"

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"I have no idea what that means, so no."

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"What... are you, then?"

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"I'm a chanter. Most people wouldn't call themselves that unless they did it professionally, though, since everyone can do it. That's not true in Illinois?"

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"It's not true on... Earth..."

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"...Illinois, in the United States of America, in North America. On Earth. Third rock from the sun. That Earth?"

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"Yeah-huh."

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"I'd love to talk to somebody who knows what's going on. This is- kind of above my pay-grade. Escape- that's one of the chants that chanters use- is supposed to do things like turn you into a bird when you're falling or a mouse when you have a tight squeeze- loosen ropes if you're tied up, stuff like that. I'm pretty sure I, uh. I'm pretty sure it did something bigger this time."

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"Yeah, uh, I'm supposed to take a picture of you and send it to somebody who works with Lockdown on eclipses and volunteered to figure out what your deal is. The picture's so she can talk to you, she doesn't live in town."

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"Alright. Is there anything you need while I'm here?"

Dottie hopes they don't ask for the obvious thing. Since they're probably casual, there's a chance they'd jump on a relative stranger, but so far neither of them have looked inclined to push the issue. She's probably strong enough to take Long Hair Jackson.

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"...no? I guess if you're not eclipsed it's safe to feed you," says Jackson.

"Yeah, you can have, like, what do we have, rice pudding, and leftover Chinese..." says Brian.

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Well, that's nice and friendly. Maybe 'lockdown' is part of...this Earth's...law enforcement and so they're both behaving themselves- or maybe it's related to the masking. They could be suppressing, not just masking. (She probably hasn't suffered a psychotic break. She's never looked up the symptoms of a psychotic break, though, so how would she know. Just because Dottie has never heard of this, doesn't mean it never happens. It's not like she would hear about Escape working like this, if it ended badly.)

"I'll take Chinese, thanks. I wasn't really expecting to wake up in a discarded Twilight Zone script but so far you all seem friendly."

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"Go get him some Chinese, Jackson," says Brian, and Jackson runs to microwave sweet-and-sour chicken and fried rice. "I'm gonna - go get the rest of the way dressed -" He retreats into his room.

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Alright. Dottie goes to examine the place on a surface level. If there's any differences, they're not very obvious. They speak English, they have an Illinois, but the culture here is clearly very different- maybe some kind of alternate history premised on different developments in suppression? Dottie doesn't know the details of pharmaceutical suppression for alphas, but she knows they're not as effective as the ones for omegas. Maybe that would be enough to give you this- if a bunch of alphas had to deal with lower sex drives, it might spread to everyone after a while. If she's here for more than a couple of months she'll probably need to find some kind of sex addicts support group - unless her credit card is somehow still good here.

"Sorry about ruining the mood," Dottie says to Jackson. "Thanks for not kicking me out straight away. Is that related to the whole 'eclipsed' thing?"

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"...what, not kicking you out? No, we're just not assholes?" says Jackson.

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Not kicking her out and not trying anything- maybe if everyone is on suppressants all the time, they just don't want to. Dottie will definitely need to make some money and hire a sex worker, but she can also relax, here, which will be nice.

"Glad to hear it. I don't think I caught your- dom's name."

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