Dec 01, 2021 2:24 PM
The Group is not allowed to have an uneventful quiet meal
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When Naima gets out of the lunch line, Holden is there waiting for her.

"Hi! I'm sorry, I don't think I got your name the other day - anyways we found a mana sink for you, it's kind of leaky and really big but better than nothing and it's still got a bit left in it - I'm sitting over there" he points "So just come get us when you're done eating and you can show us where you want it."

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He actually did it.

Okay. Uh. She had a plan for this. Probably. What was the plan.

"Okay! Cool, I'll head over in a bit."

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- okay that's the world's...most obvious...trap. Right.

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"I really need to start taking meals in my room. Let's, uh. Eat. And figure out what in the world is going on."

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She heads over to where Julian is sitting.

"So it's definitely evil mana storage," she says, just to clarify that she's not stupid enough to think that it's probably legit. "...probably. Right? Is there any way to tell?"

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"Well, if you take it, and get drained and die, then we'll be able to tell it was evil mana storage."

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"I think mana storage that drained people who tried to use it would be pretty complicated to build? And if it's big that means it was made by teenagers in here, so – maybe it's okay? ...but also obviously it has to be some kind kind of set up."  

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"Maybe he just has a way to steal Naima's mana from it."

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"Yeah, that's the most likely thing. There's probably some way to tell if it's networked or not, but I don't know it." 

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"I don't either." She sets her tray down and flops at it. "And here I wanted to spend lunch uneventfully complaining about classes."

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"The thing is, he's crazy, right? Or at least, like - he's not exactly flying under the radar, with the standing on tables routine? If he were a maleficer, wouldn't someone have noticed?"

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"It's hardly maleficing if you put your mana into the thing voluntarily and he has another sink that draws from it. That's just like an enclave power-sharer, but – sneaky." 

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"Being crazy and getting a lot of attention is not a good way to be up to anything nefarious but it's also not a good way to achieve any non-nefarious goals so I don't know that we can conclude much about his goals from him doing it."

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"Yeah, okay, probably it's at least a scam to skim some mana off the top, but that's way less worrisome? What I want is something that holds enough mana at a time that I can draw on it to kill anything that slithers under my room door at night, as long as it still holds enough for that, that's... not actually bad to use until I can build something for myself? Unless it's evil in some other way. Which it might be."

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"Of course, networking mana sinks is also hard, it was easy everyone would do it – actually, if he could do it he'd have better options than stealing from freshmen." 

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"He might've found a preexisting networked one."

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"You said he was with Seattle, right? Why would an established American enclave be - I guess if he's an enclaver he's probably not maleficing, I want to say, except apparently we can't actually expect that very strongly these days."

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"Is he with Seattle? I didn't see a power sharer. ....Also, now I want to know how big it is exactly – if it's too heavy to carry in, that's a point against it being networked but not definitive. My mana storage is big, but, like, as a fraction of my weight limit, not like it's person-sized."   

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"Maybe the Seattle power sharers are less obvious than most enclaves'? I'm not seeing anything that looks like one on any of the people at his table, but of course I might not from this far away. It's not a very good table location though."

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"Seattle can't have ditched him, can they? I thought enclaves didn't always do that even for murder."

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"Does he have an obvious mana store with him?" she asks, craning her neck and looking for him.

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It does not look very obvious. "Also it's possible he just went around asking everyone 'hey do you have spare mana storage' because he's an idiot and someone said 'oh, why yes I do' and that person is the maleficer."

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"If all this is legit it'd be stupid to say no, but - there's just no way, right? It's just... so obviously too good to be true I have no idea what he could possibly be going for! And it's not like we're the easiest people to try to trick with something like this, there's all the Chicago kids who might legitimately fall for it..."

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"Right? Except that if we do go for it then maybe we are the easiest people to trick?" 

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"Maybe you are the only person who had the nerve to ask him for something."

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