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Dec 02, 2022 12:08 AM
druids need math tutoring too
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And Jane hears Ibrahim. "Jane? You there?"

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"It's your boss's boss or something that's gonna get fired, if anything, but yeah, I'd start looking for a new one."

Aha, radio.

"Heya.  It's me; I'm sure River's still spooked, so should I tell you something only I would know?  Over - which means 'I'm done saying things for now', in radio."

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"Good to hear from you! They're not trying to chase us so I think we're probably safe, but yeah, River's pretty twitchy. Maybe tell her what she had for breakfast or something? 'Over', I guess."

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"Some sort of porridge that I doubt she remembers eating because she promptly fell asleep on the couch.

"I think that whoever masterminded this plan...was really bad at masterminding.  So the security people aren't going to actively try to do anything creepy, especially now when the cops are coming.  Over.  ...Yeah, you're right it's a bit silly to do with just us talking."

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"Yeah, cool, I'll tell her it's you if she asks, she's kind of out of it at this point. Thanks again for all the help. …do you think it's cool to borrow their bug spray? It's really buggy out here."

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"Yeah, I think so; they use it on themselves, y'know.  I'm just glad I could help, Ibrahim.  I like helping people."  She smiles.  "Over."  

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Bug spray gets applied. The police arrive, and the kids leave with some of them, and then people come to search the building. Does Jane actually feel like staying for this, given that the kids seem to be fine and she's not willing to leave the door area anyway?

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Jane will ask the kids that are still here if they'd like her to stay.

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It sounds like things might be awkward if she does, given the, er, elephant in the room.

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Security would kind of like Jane to stay? This is a verbal preference expressed in response to the radio conversation, not anyone grabbing for Jane, which would at this point be way above their pay grade.

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...Does Ibrahim think the room is the elephant, then, or...?

 

She's inclined to stay, herself, if nothing contraindicates - which it might, there's certainly plausible reasons.  Especially if the elephant objects, or the kids would prefer the government not seeing it, which...she mostly just assumed, now that she considers it.

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The "elephant" is quietly pointing out that a) River seemed pretty confident she could get her parents to pay Jane, but b) if Jane describes herself as being from a dystopia and thinks the kids are from a similar world, does she really want to let that world's governing institutions interact with Milliways?

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"...I consider that hundred bucks well spent, so I don't give a damn about getting it back.

"So I suppose, given that, that I'll be going now.  Despite feeling rather invested in Calabra's inevitable downfall, alas."

 

The door opens, and then shuts.

 

"Well, that happened."

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The dinosaur un-dinosaurs. "Yup! Good work there. Hey, their world's not paused anymore, you could probably ask Bar for news from there."

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"...what, and it would fast-forward arbitrarily to when it's done?"

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"Time's flaky around here and often in a somewhat friendly way? It's been a few weeks since last I saw you, for me. And you have a job here now even if it doesn't pay amazingly, and I got the feeling you wanted to stay here for a while if you could afford it?"

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"I certainly hold very little attraction to my dead-end life back home.  ...so, uh, Bar, do you have the news?"

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There isn't a newspaper out yet, but "Calabra Director Accused of Kidnapping" is the title of an article on a Pennsylvania news show's website.

Calabra Director of Product Development Philip M. Shutter was arrested this morning on charges of kidnapping by the Moroville PD. Shutter was accused by several families and a whistleblowing employee of running a summer program under false pretenses. We've been able to get copies of some documents this employee shared with law enforcement, including a 'Camper Experimentation Schedule' that looks pretty chilling.

Calabra has issued a statement claiming that they were not aware of Shutter's actions and that these go against the Calabra core values.

…mysterious case. There is a large hole in Building 5 of the Calabra campus, despite the lack of any other signs of explosives or other demolition equipment being used. Additionally, this incident was discovered in part thanks to the actions of an anonymous caller, who left the scene before police arrived. Security guards describe her as a tall woman not matching any employee's description, who claimed that the hole was made by a dinosaur and later left without a trace.
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"We are going to be such an enduring mystery to those poor talking heads.  I love it; there ought to be something harmlessly numinous for everyone to get caught up in, like a conspiracy-theorist safety valve.  And we helped people!"

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"We sure did! Good work. …do you think Calabra actually didn't know about this? They would have hired more loyal security guards if they did, right?"

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"...I honestly couldn't say one way or another for sure, but I'm leaning towards 'they might actually not have', because, yeah, that, and the number of flaws in the plan that a five-year-old child could have caught.  That sort of incompetence comes from single sources."

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"For the 'it was just an isolated bad actor, we had no idea!' excuse to work for a black-ops program, there does kind of have to be at least a few plausible cases of the type."

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"To be fair to - well, okay, more like I'm playing devil's advocate on this one - nobody ever really believes it.  Modulo, well, not overgeneralizing."

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"In that model it gets said … what, so that people who don't really want to have conflict can pretend to believe it? I suppose that's an equilibrium."

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"Yeah.  The shitty cyberpunk dystopiaest equilibrium.  ...shittiest cyberpunk dystopia equilibrium?  ...Shitty cyberpunkest dystopia equilibrium is right out.

"But yes.  That actually happens, and it sucks.  There's just barely starting to be the sort of actual pressure to do literally anything to bad actors in high society, and...mm.

"I shouldn't get into that.  Politics.  But it's definitely used to distract from enforcing systemic accountability or making any real change, sometimes."

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