[ISS] Scrimmage (Ash 2.5, Mar 2.4, Our 2.3, Tab 2.3)

edited May 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky
photo speedballheader3_zpslhhfbkp5.jpg

Power's gym is bigger, better equipped, cleaner. Everything is a cut above the facilities for the Hawks. There are bleacher sections over the visiting and away benches, the grav plates are perfectly rounded like official courts you see on the Feed. The crowd of Pod Eight and Pod Sixteen here for the scrimmage is over twenty kids, with monitors for parents who are watching as well as the coaches.

The Hawks starters: Team Captain Mark, Rys, Pax, Zola and Tabitha
Bench: Jace

The Power starters: Team Captain Ezekiel, Gen Yu, Gams, Kellek and Pellit
Bench: (four other people Ashlee totally knows about)

Speedball Gym - Power

Mark,

As the teams are warming up, did you want to talk to Zeke or Gen Yu?

Tabitha,

Anything you're doing special for your warm-up? Zola's staying near you. Oh, you notice there are two other Corps here, a dark-haired girl with a permanent scowl (it's Eff) and some scrawny, weasely guy you.... well, not you you, but Ioanna knew him, and somehow you do now. What do you recall about Corporal Sip?

Ashlee,

The Away Team benches are to the top of the court map, the "north". Mi Sun wants you to sit with her. You see Corporal Eff down by the Home bench. She's close to one of the starters, who is it?
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Comments

  • image
    I sit with Mi Sun. Absolutely I do not want to sit alone right now, and seeing Eff over there when we walk in almost has me lose my cool... but it's speedball and the adrenaline of the court and the fact that at least someone wants me here... yeah. I'm not going to just walk away.

    Not that I'm staring Eff in the face or anything. In fact I sit somewhere behind the metal crossbars in the corner so you know... maybe Eff won't see me there if I stay still, right? Maybe?

    And she is busy chatting up Gen Yu, which bothers me to no end, really because what do they have in common if not me? I feel that knot in my chest again and whenever Mi Sun talks to me it feels like everyone is suddenly watching.

    If anyone on the Hawks looks our way I nod and try to look... cool? No... that's too much to ask for. I try to look calm. I can go for that much, can't I.

    I wait for an opportunity to discreetly talk to someone on the team... Mark, maybe, or Tabitha! She's here Out of Iso? That brightens my mood a couple shades! Or... wait... oh stomm are they making room in Iso for me?

    I suddenly stiffen and scan left and right, expecting suddenly to see corporals and their stun sticks closing in on me! But... no... no... Ashlee... breathe... relax... Eff and her drokking corps are not going to do anything here in front of everyone, right? In front of the adults on monitor? She wouldn't.... right?

    And... and this is sacred ground.
  • image
    I loosen up along the right-hand sideline: jog, skips sideways, kick the heels up at the back. I can see Gen Yu at the home bench chatting to Eff. That's someone I haven't talked to in a long time. We used to hang out, kind of, when she was Effie. Not Corporal Eff.

    I do my floor stretches close to the halfway line, so that when Gen Yu starts to jog up and down, we're close enough to talk.

    I can see her looking my body up and down as she gets closer. I have my front knee bent, back leg stretched out, one elbow on the floor. I just watch as she comes up. Not unfriendly, just focused.

    She's bulked up since last term. Not so fragile, breakable. Got some meat on her bones.

    Finally she looks into my eyes. Looks a little guilty. The flicker of a smile plays at the corner of my mouth.
  • image

    Mark,

    image Eff looks you over, a lascivious grin on her face. She says something into Gen Yu's ear, and Gen Yu snickers. She calls over, "Hey Marky Mark, you still fill out a speedsuit better than anybody. I heard you're... unattached now, is that right?" She crosses her arms and turns towards you.
    Before you answer, she glances over at Tabitha, "Can't believe you pulled strings to get that out of Iso."

    image Gen Yu adds in "Oh, Tabby's not so bad. I can pretend I'm playing the legendary Ioanna... except on Easy Mode." Gen Yu chuckles, and bends over in half to touch her toes. "You sure the Hawks are up for a match? You can pull out... if you want. Nobody would blame you. Or... I can put in our second stringers."

    Are you trying to Turn Gen Yu On here?
  • Turn Someone On:

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 3. Total: 7)

  • image
    "Why would I want to pull out?"

    I stand up and move closer to Gen Yu. A little too close, if I'm honest.

    Quietly: "It's good to see you again. Been a while." So Effie and the others can't hear. Just the two of us. Like she's special somehow.

    As if she's special.
  • image

    Mark,

    Something about this gym, the acoustics or something, but there's a soft ringing like a tuning fork, behind your left ear. Just started, it's a little odd, but you can probably ignore it.

    image When you move closer to Gen Yu, she looks up at you from her position and stands back up. There's a nervousness that you sense, an attraction. She doesn't say anything for a moment, then, quietly, "You're.... you're a terrible flirt, Mark. You should hit on Effie or something. You'll be hating me when I stomp you in a few minutes."
    Take a String on Gen Yu.
  • image

    I do a few burpees cold, which sucks but gets my blood flowing. Deep lunges, some shoulder stretches. I sit and do some butterflies. I want my hips and shoulders loose after being coiled up in an Iso box.

    Corporal Sip..Ioanna remembers him from a couple short years ago..volunteering to be Corp over and over. Getting turned down because of physical concerns. Then he started turning in a lot of contraband evidence. Other corps are good at beatings, Sip is good at finding the stomm he needs on people.

    "Wanna do some ricochets?" I ask Zola. They're just like they sound - knocking the ball off the wall to get a feel for catching, throwing, and close plays with the heavy thing.
  • image

    Tabitha,

    Zola's down for some ricochets. You move across the west wall, bouncing the speedball off the sides, first her to you, then you to her, while you move. You speed up a little as you hit the halfmark, and things are falling into place, your body warming up. Zola's smiling, not a wicked or a cocky one, she's genuinely enjoying the practice, the play of the moment.

    image "Hey, Zola. Hey, Tabs." Ezekiel says as he hustles over to the pair of you, moving away from his own team to where you are in the corner after finishing a line of ricochets. "Listen, I'm sorry about the other day at the cafeteria. That was not cool of my team. I talked to them after. We're sorry things got heated. This is just a practice as far as I'm concerned, alright? We both need to hone our plays and get ready for the season." He looks to both of you for some response.

    image "Yeah? You must think we're stupid, Zeke." Zola says as she moves to stand in his face, keeping her voice low and threatening, but definitely loud enough for you to hear, "I'm going to stomp your drokking face in. I'm going to shove this ball," She brings the speedball up in her right hand, puts it right up to Ezekiel's face. He doesn't flinch away, but you can see him tense. Gams and Pellit notice this, they're watching closely. "In your pretty little mouth. Break a couple teeth. Then you won't be smiling anymore... will you?"

    What are you doing?
  • image

    Ashlee,

    Mi Sun chats with Bea, who sits on the same row, by herself. You see Ezekiel chatting with Zola and Tabitha, and Zola's talking some trash to him, no surprise. Mark and Gen Yu are chatting, friendly-like.

    image Mi Sun hasn't picked up on your concerns about Eff, it seems. She's excited for the game, waving to her brother. She looks over to you, "Hey, Ashlee," she reaches into the pocket of her light jacket, pulls out a wrapped fruit bar, starts peeling the wrapper, "You want some of this? It's too sweet, but chewy. I really like it." The bar is gooey, she has to pull it apart, then she offers you half.

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    Mi Sun is going to have to wait a second, I notice Mark keeping Eff busy while Zola is is on Mi Sun's case. "Uhh... it's ok, Mi Sun, gimme a second."

    I slip down the aisle to the corner of the court and with the palm of my hand a hard knock-knock on the plex to try and get Tabitha's attention. It sucks that I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone yet... well... if I'm lucky nobody else will notice.
  • edited April 2016
    image

    I shoulder Zola aside quietly and respond to Ezekiel. "Thanks. For the peace offering. It's doing me good already. Let's see what kind of plays. You've got."

    I glance back at Zola, see Gams and Pellit in the periphery of my vision. Hear all the squeaking shoes, smell the metal and cleansing agents and sweat.

    Hard knocking on the plex. Distinct, kinda close. "..hold up, I think. I need to check on something."

    I trot over to the corner, still wary. I think I have to break up with Zola.
  • image
    I press my hand against the plexi to keep it from shaking, afraid Eff will do something... afraid Zola's going to swoop in all territorial and chase me from courtside. But Tabitha hears me and as she turns to walk over in her speedball gear I can't hide my excited little smile.

    As she nears I put my face up near the slits in the plexi and gesture for her to get close.

    "Hey... uh..." at first I talk too fast, nervous... "I did some scouting... watch Ezekiel, he's calling plays behind his back... with fingers, like this," I move my hand between us down the plexi and mimic a few of the gestures I've seen Ezekiel make. "I don't know all the signs..." Talking ball I sound a little more confident, I smile slyly and add, "yet..." Then go on. "But if you lock him down, crowd him, or block their sight-lines to him... you'll drokk up the whole system... and maybe force a move to backup... they're not as sharp."

    I look past Tabitha's shoulder to make sure nobody's listening in, "Oh! Watch Pellit's head... he telegraphs his breaking shot by tipping his helmet this way or that..." I demonstrate with a subtle tip of my head to one side, "Has no clue he's doing it."

    Anything else I could say right now is probably obvious.... and hey. It's only a scrimmage. let's just see if I'm on the right track here.

    I nod hopefully and find her eyes before adding, "gl... glad you're ok..."
  • image

    My head bumps against the plex as I'm coaxed to get close. I just blink at myself and listen to Ashlee's explanation. "Okay, I'll work on that. Take up space." I could try to copy the gestures, get them down better, but that could be a tipoff when Ashlee can count on the press of people and the sheen of the plex to hide her hands and I can't.

    Ashlee kind of looks hurt and shaky right now, even though she's also plainly animated by the energy of the speedball court. I look closely at her, then she meets my eyes. "I'm going right back in. But thanks."
  • image
    She's a girl of few words... so cool. She's looking at me, too... wonder if she can tell there's so much on my mind. My eyes feel hot.

    I nod and simply answer, "kick ass."

    Then again glance across the court and retreat back up to my seat.
  • image
    I see Ashlee talking to Tabitha by the wall. Why is she in the crowd?

    When she goes to sit back down I try to catch her eye, then indicate the bench with my thumb and a shrug, like "why aren't you there?" Not hostile, just puzzled.

    Oh hey, maybe she's trying to stay undercover. That's zeng, I guess.
  • image

    All,

    More kids from other pods arrive, moving into empty bleachers, filling the front rows all around. You see kids from the lower Pods and a few from higher Pods, too. They start chattering excitedly, a nice little crowd for a little scrimmage. Somebody must have put the word out.

    A low but clear tone sounds, calling the speedballers to form up into teams and prepare for the game ball to be shot into the arena. Ezekiel calls his team together, and Gams slides near their goal while he and Turk stand to either side and in front of her. Pellit and Gen Yu move near the front of their line, it's obvious Gen Yu's going for the ball first for her team, with Pellit covering her.

    Zola's eager to get things moving, while Pax quietly watches the crowd, her eyes searching the faces. What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
    image
    I move up close to the centre launcher, Zola not far from me. I turn to face the others, with my back to the Power. Everything in my field of vision seems so clear. I am filled with a cold serenity.

    "Pax -- Pellit. And remember, stay low and follow the player. Not the ball. Tabitha -- Gen Yu. Win the ball; I'll be clear. Zola... make a nuisance of yourself."

    Rys is too far to talk to without shouting. I nod to him. He knows what to do.

    I take a deep breath. My heart soars in my chest. Anticipation of the almighty hell I feel we're on the edge of.

    I turn to face front, ready for the opening siren. Let's go crazy.
  • image

    Mark,

    Pax blinks, looks over at you, then nods, moving over to line up opposite Pellit. Pellit sneers at her, offended at having a rookie line up against him. He mutters, "Gonna put you down, girl." Pax quirks a frown as if to say "really? how droll." Rys nods back, staring across the way at Power, clenching and unclenching his fists in anticipation.

    Tabitha,

    Gen Yu slips a mouthpiece in her mouth and gives you a cocky little grin. She's going to beat you to the speedball when it launches, she knows it.

    Ashlee,

    Mi Sun slips her hand into yours as the crowd starts stomping in a drumbeat rhythm of anticipation. The teams form up in their lines. It's coming, the moment the game begins. For a sweet moment, the images of all the greatest games on the Feed flood your mind and the hope for something truly incredible about to happen fills you.

    All,

    The siren sounds, a low reverberating unmistakable sound. Gen Yu sprints forward for the ball, ignoring everything else. Pellit pushes himself left to come in behind Gen Yu, but Tabitha, you see his head shake like Ashlee said, he's going to zip in front of her to try and fake Pax out and trip her up.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I do what I'm here to do - lead the line.

    I go forward to the ball and change direction at the last moment, leaping long and low over the grav plates. Gen Yu's eyes follow me when she should be keeping them on the ball. Doesn't matter who gets there first now, Tabitha can win it either way.

    I'm in acres of space, for the moment at least, open for the pass.

  • edited April 2016
    image
    I settle in to watch, curled up with anxiety and excitement, one foot up on the edge of my seat, the other on the ground.

    Mi Sun surprises me by taking my hand and it's awkward for a second, but yeah, ok... I let it be held. She's excited by the scrimmage, too, and yeah, I get that.

    "Go Hawks!" I shout as the siren sounds, forgetting for a moment that I'm trying to keep it low key.
  • edited April 2016
    image

    Mark's orders are good, even if I'd rather wait for Gen Yu to come with me, lock her up and steal the ball. Gen Yu has never seen me pour on speed. I usually save it for reacting and not acting. That works for me, usually.

    "Pax, left." That's all she gets, hope it helps.

    I lean forward and spring into the chase, my face mostly blank, but just a little pleased.
  • image

    All,

    Both teams converge as the thoomp of the speedball entering the arena from the center spot happens and there's a scramble for it.

    Mark,
    Roll to Lead the Line, please.

    Tabitha,
    You dash for the ball first. Roll with Volatile. On a hit, you have the ball. On a 7-9, Gen Yu or Pellit clip you and you take 1-Harm.

    Ashlee,
    For a second, you thought Eff looked back at you, but no, it's zeng. Mi Sun squeezes your hand, calling out Pax's name excitedly.
  • Lead the Line:
    +1 Hot
    +1 from Pax

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 4. Total: 8)

    (+1 xp, to 4 - Hot highlighted)
  • image

    Rolling Volatile: (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 2. Total: 7)

    Marking XP (5), holding on advance for the moment.
  • edited April 2016
    image

    Tabitha,
    Gen Yu's surprised when you close on the ball as quickly as she does. You can hear people in the stands as well. Gen Yu tries to adjust, but she's put all her effort in moving forward. You've got two choices here, take the ball from her and suffer 1 Harm from the collision, or grab the ball and you'll be out of position and take a -1 Forward on your next roll.

    Mark,

    You see Tabitha sprint right at the ball, your little soldier. You hear that voice come through your comm unit or wherever it comes from, "How bad do you want to win this match, Mark? I can help. Tilt the arena to your favor."

    Ashlee,

    Mi Sun jumps up to scream when Tabitha closes on the ball at the mid-point. She doesn't let go of your hand. Do you stand with her or wrench your hand away?
  • image
    Heck yeah I stand up!

    "Wooo! Take 'em out, Tabitha!" I shout, unable to control my excitement. Drokk it, right? This is our game and I gotta let it out or I'm going to to burn up from the inside.

    I glance at Mi Sun, a big smile on my face.
  • image

    I grin at Gen Yu - she didn't leave any oomph for trouble. And I still got it. We knock into each other and it's not pretty, but I come away with the ball, wait for Mark to be open.

    Taking my 3rd harm, cap'n.
  • image

    Tabitha,
    Let's mark that as your 1st Harm. For all of the boredom of three days in iso, the gel and the immobility let you heal up.
  • image
    I've got my eyes on Tabitha, moving to give her the option to pass.
    A glance left tells me Ezekiel is closing. Any closer and I'll be able to turn him easily.

    "Not now, head-voice. I'm busy."

    Hope no one watching can read lips.

  • Lead the Line

    +hot, +Pax

    (Rolled: 2d6+2 . Rolls: 5, 6. Total: 13)

  • edited April 2016
    image
    Tabitha's timing is perfect. Spin on the pass banks it at an angle up into my hands at waist height. It arrives just before Ezekiel does.

    He got too close. With one step I push my side against his. With another I've rolled over him. Pax is free on the right, reading the game well. Good. I flick a hand pass over to her before my feet touch the ground.

    I play a push and run with Pax to get goalside of Turk. Gams looks so small and forlorn as I gather the return pass. I drop the ball to myself and half-volley it into the top right corner.

    I run over and hug Pax. "Good stuff! Keep it up."
  • image

    Hah! What a good opening goal! Pax is good at bringing it into the other team's space. I realize I've never played with her before. If this is her after day 3 on the team, that's zeng as hell.

    I bounce on my feet once, clap hands together and chuckle before moving back towards my team, get on my next starting position.
  • edited April 2016
    image

    Mark,
    Pax hugs you back, loosely, looks down when you pull away from her, nods her thanks. Ezekiel comes up to say loudly over the din of the cheering students, "Nice one, you two. We'll need to watch our line, that was too quick!"

    Ashlee,
    Everyone around you screams and stomps their feet. Nadja nearly loses her mind, screaming Mark's name over and over. Mi Sun lets go of your hand and claps and yells for Team Hawk!

    Tabitha,
    Gen Yu glares at you and heads back to center spot to line up for the next opening. Zola, who delivered a pretty vicious shot to Gams during the play, comes over to give you a warm hug, then heads back to her position.
  • image
    Ezekiel gets nothing back from me, I just head over to my starting position. I don't talk to the opposition - can't, really - when I'm in the zone like this.

    Deep breaths. My gaze sweeps across the kids watching. I don't see any of them.
    I lock eyes with Zola. She's ready to score one.
  • image

    All,

    The teams line back up in preparation for the next round. Power is set the same, though Gen Yu looks like she'll be more cautious this time.

    What's the line-up this time, Mark?
  • image
    Why mess with a winning formula? We line up roughly the same. If Gen Yu wants to be second to the ball, great.

    I see some of the remote cameras tracking me as I pace near the halfway line. I try to picture what they're seeing at the other end. Names floating over our heads. Those little boxes of stats.
  • image

    I let Gen Yu's glare roll off of me. Keep my smirk on the inside as I hug Zola close and breathe her in before letting her go to get in position. Have to go another four days without her.

    Mark lets us know it's all second verse, same as the first. I wonder how Gen Yu's going to play this now that she's seen me hustle. I watch Ezekiel a little while I wait for the siren.
  • image
    I pump a fist at the goal and feel the adrenaline pumping.

    As the teams line up again I try to catch Tabitha's eye and tip my head like I showed her to remind her of the information I'd gleaned.

    Also to remind her player of this custom move:
    If you can communicate with the Hawks and give them direction, you can give them a +1 Ongoing with Lock Down plays. If they take advantage of your help, they roll, and you choose options if you want.
  • Lead the Line
    +1 Hot
    +1 for Pax (subtract 1 if not applicable)

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 3. Total: 10)


  • image

    All,

    The next round takes several shots on goal before Pax opens things up by taking Gams down, twisting her leg in an "accident". With the numbers to your advantage, you're able to score and win the match.

    Mark, who scores the winning goal?

    As the crowd screams their heads off, with some of the Pod Eight crowd yelling about Pax's "cheap shot", others yelling at Gen Yu to get her head in the game, Coach Ryan calls the Hawks over.

    "Nice work, team! Some real spirit, good offense. I need you to focus on defense now, lock these guys down, and stop their attacks." He resets the score and gets you all back in position.


  • image

    Ourania,

    You arrive during the tumult of the Hawks' victory celebration. Ashlee is standing my Mi Sun, and you see Nadja's here. Even Bea showed up, and she seems somewhat interested. Where do you sit?
  • image
    Rys had moved to up to overload the left wing and Gen Yu didn't put much pressure on him even when she caught up. Say what you will about Zola's build-up play but she's deadly from a yard out. So when Rys crossed to her in space in the D, well, it would've been a miracle if she'd missed.

    I feel... satisfied. Like we're just done solving a puzzle.

    And now the coach wants us to go more defensive? I already have two locks on. I can't bring Jace on for one of them now Coach Ryan has said that.

    "Zola." I jog over to her. "Good movement. Take a breather, coach wants all the defenders to stay on."

    I pat Zola on the back and look over to Jace on the bench. I give him that finger-rolling gesture that means "substitution".
  • image

    I nod to the coach, then roll some stiffness out of my shoulders. Those were some good plays, and now I've got to keep my concentration up. Locking down on Gen Yu will be about speed, but also about anticipation. Gams, I dunno.

    I nod to Rys as we pass, "Good assist."

    When the time gets closer, I glance back up into the stands, see if Ashlee is still up there with Mi Sun.
  • image
    She is! I mean... I am!
    By now the game has taken pretty much all of my attention, Mi Sun is with me, sure, but it's all about the game. I didn't expect too much more than a scrimmage, thought maybe I could help the team with an edge, but you know... they're kicking ass! It's tight, it's not easy, but the Hawks are doing it!

    I find myself holding my breath, forgetting to blink as the plays go down... it's bliss, really... I imagine myself in Tabitha's place, dodging and turning with the play. Sharing those moments with my team... High five!

    Maybe I did that with Mi Sun... or did I imagine it.

    Totally yeah... you think I would leave? I've even forgotten... for a moment... that I'm probably doomed.
  • image

    All,

    Jace subs in for Zola, taking his position and looking around, trying to fall into the rhythm the team's setting. Pax gives him a "we got this" nod, and Rys bounces back and forth on the balls of his feet, energetic and ready to get moving again.

    Team Power huddles up, and some guy subs in for Gams, a bigger guy, broad shoulders, slow, but thick. Gen Yu is yelling at the team, and Ezekiel's trying to keep a lid on things. There's some serious angst going on in that huddle. They turn and hustle to their spots, ready for the next round.

    A few moments later, it begins again. Gen Yu moves like she's taking the ball for sure this time, and Pellit's running right up her back in some weird move.

    Ashlee,

    As the teams ready for action again, you catch Mi Sun in the corner of your eye, staring at you, her mouth open with surprise.

    What do you do?
  • image
    That look on her face makes me stop and settle down, slowly turn to her and wonder what happened... did I do something?
    "What?" there's still that adrenaline rush going through me, probably a hint of a slightly unsettling smile at the corner of my mouth. "What Is it, Mi Sun?"
  • image

    I stand a moment, detached as I take it in. The box is still in my hand. I see Bea. I should probably go and sit there. I see Nadja and I clench my jaw.

    I look away, up towards the players. They look... good. In their element. So... physical. I mean, I've seen my roomie in her gear but out and active is different. Mark too. Arrogant bastard is too good-looking.

    Finally, my eyes settle on Ashlee and Mi Sun. After thinking things through a moment, I go to sit by them.

  • edited May 2016
    image

    Ashlee and Ourania,

    image Mi Sun doesn't notice you moving up to join her and Ashlee as she responds loudly enough for Ashlee to hear over the screaming students and echoes, "I swear I felt Tabitha, like I was running where she was, but it was like, not Tabitha. It was. It was you. Out there running, and you scored, too. Like a waking daydream or something."
    She leans in closer, "Did you do that, Ashlee?"
    What do you do?
  • image
    That takes the breath out of me.
    "Uh..." she felt that?

    I always thought that's just something I do in my head, imagine what it's like to be out there on the court playing. What it must be like to be someone who can actually play... someone like Tabitha... athletic, strong, confident.

    "I don't know..." I say with a confused but curious tone. I reply in a hushed, excited voice, "it sure would be awesome to be out there.... wouldn't it? I was just... daydreaming... or something."

    Seriously? She felt it too?
  • image

    What Mi-Sun says catches my attention, of course. Hard to avoid it. I sit down immediately behind them and lean in myself to catch Ashlee's answer.

    This isn't the first strange thing we've seen from Ashlee either. Then there's my own strangeness. And something changed with Mark too, months ago but I don't know what. A connection? I don't believe in coincidence.

    I lean in. "Perhaps you could do it again?"

  • edited May 2016
    image
    I shut up suddenly, as Ourania leans in like that. I didn't mean for her to overhear this.

    "A.. again?" I share a glance with Mi Sun, "We... we... must be imagining things, Ourania. Excitement of the g... game..." I direct my gaze towards the court. Deflect! "Y...you know? The Hawks are playing their asses of against team Power... like... holding their own!"

    I feel Ourania's hot, lurking presence nearby, too close to feel comfortable. Sometimes I think she's more of a corporal than the corporal.

    "It's really exciting..." yeah, weak, I know...
  • image
    I shake my arms and legs out, ready to go again. I look at the Power players one by one, assess them.

    This is the moment where the possibilities are the greatest. Once all the bodies are in motion, the possible diminishes. Momentum will carry a movement so far. An arm can reach this far. The combination of hips, knees, feet can move a body in this many ways. Cones of potential narrowing to an irrevocable point.

    But right now, anything could happen.
  • image

    I purse my lips a moment, lift my brows thoughtfully. I look at Mi Sun.

    "Are you imagining things, Mi Sun? It didn't sound like you were imagining things." I say, ignoring Ashlee's attempt to change the subject.

    I look back at Ashlee with that cool stare that's second nature to me now. The Commandant's stare.

  • image

    Ourania,

    If you want to Manipulate Mi Sun to blurt out the truth, tell me what leverage you're using (is it a scary look? your authority?)
  • image

    It’s more a rhetorical device aimed at Ashlee. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have Mi Sun back me on this. I’m not sure if Ashlee is really ignorant, or if she is just being evasive.

    I look back to Mi Sun, subjecting her to the same look and raising an eyebrow, daring her to lie to my face.

  • (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 2, 2. Total: 3)

    +1xp
  • image

    Mark and Tabitha,

    The metal ball shoots up from the middle of the court and the match begins.

    Gen Yu charges forward, diving through the air to snag the ball at its apex. She comes down into a somersault forward that follows into a dead run. Pellit comes right behind her with a block to Pax, taking her by surprise and flooring her. He keeps moving, slower than Gen Yu at a straight run, but there to keep someone off her.

    Jace is hanging back, either nervous, or trying to find a way to flank. Rys is moving around their attack, trusting you'll stop them. This looks like a strong play from Power. What do you do?
  • image

    Gen Yu has to pass, and I'd love to introduce her to the floor before she has a chance to do it, lock her up and maybe muddy possession.

    I catch Mark's eye as I aim towards Gen Yu - Rys can handle Pellit, it's up to Mark and I to give Jace a shot.

    Gonna try for a Lock Down.
  • image

    Ashlee and Ourania,

    image "No, Ourania, we have psychic powers. I have a special connection with my brother, did you know that? I felt it when you broke his arm. It was my tibia piercing my skin. It was my wrist failing to work because the muscles were drokked. I felt him pass out from the pain. I cried for his fear because Doc drokking Haladay was shorting him meatmesh. And I'm working on some way to pass it along to someone else." She fixes you with a look. "Would you like to help me out with that, Ourania? It could help you with your snooping... right?"

    Tabitha,

    Go ahead and roll it!
  • image

    Rolling Lock Down with Ashlee Bonus: (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 7)

    Marking XP (1)
  • image

    Gonna choose to injure Gen Yu but get pulled from the game.
  • image
    I probably turn paler with every word, feeling cold, then hot and finally I can't take it any more.

    As Mi Sun finishes I have a panicky desperate look on my face, I try to nervously laugh, like she must be joking.

    "Pfft... come on Mi Sun... reaally?" But I have a feeling she's not laughing, and probably not Ourania. That knot in my chest tightens, my instinct is to run...

    But just then Tabitha goes after Gen Yu, locks her down just how I advised... keeps her in Ezekiel's shadow and shuts her out! I cringe at the violence of the move.

    "Oh, stomm!" I take the opportunity to quickly stand and get the drokk away from Ourania and Mi Sun, rush down the aisle to the glass to see what's happened.
  • image

    I watch Ashlee get up and run away. I'm not done with her but Mi Sun has my interest now. I'm glad that the noise is so high, I lean in close to Mi Sun.

    "I'm sorry he got hurt, and that it hurt you, but Jace broke his own arm. No one asked him to go after me. If he'd left me alone he'd be fine. So you know... Halliday is out. I had him removed for treating Tabitha and Jace the way he did."

    "But you think you can transfer your connection to others? Why would you want to do that?"
  • image

    Ourania,

    image Her face still tight with spite, Mi Sun's forced to acknowledge the bit about Doc Haladay. "Glad that piece of stomm is gone. You had him removed? I find that a little sketchy. If you have that kind of power, what the hell are you doing in Pod Sixteen with drokk-ups like us?" She glances at the cleaner, healthier kids rooting for Power. "Why aren't you with a higher Pod?"
    She meets your eyes after you answer, "As for sharing my connection. I just want you to know what it's like to sympathize with someone else, Ourania. That's it. To have one moment where you... actually care about somebody. And it's the only way I think it'd work."

    Ashlee,
    You rush down to the railing, see Gen Yu take a hard hit and a shrill whistle comes up. Ezekiel is rushing over, picking her up and carrying her to the sidelines. But play continues. Oh... Eff's looking up at you. She's heading your way.

    What do you do?

    Tabitha,
    How do you injure Gen Yu? Do you take out her legs, throw up an arm and let her run her throat into it, or what?
  • image

    I dip in to tackle her and leave my following arm up as I reach for her legs with the other. We cross into each other hard, but when it's done I'm fine, if dazzled. I think I flipped her over me?
  • image
    Stomm. Now Tabitha's gone and we're a player down.
    The sporting thing to do now is to wait for the Power to bring on a substitute for Gen Yu.

    But the ref hasn't stopped play and it's the Power, so drokk them.

    The ball is bouncing forlornly away from the impact site. I scoop it up.

    Lead the Line?
  • image

    Mark,

    Lead away!
  • (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 3. Total: 5)
  • edited May 2016

    image

    Ouch. That's first.

    She was drokking with me about the psychic whatever. That's second.

    "Drokk you." I grip Dad's ring on my finger and look away from her, feeling my face petrify even as my guts churn with...whatever. "You don't know what the drokk I care about, so shut your drokking face before you get on my stomm list. And I did get Haliday kicked. My mother listens to me. I told her about him and she looked into it. And he's gone now. I mean she's not going to just kick someone because I say it, but if I make a legit complaint, she takes it seriously. You're drokking welcome."

    I don't wait for a reply, getting up and storming after Ashlee. I have business with her.

    "I need to talk to you." I say to her tightly. "I want you to do something for me."

  • edited May 2016
    image
    Stomm! I've been so engaged in the game, and then Ourania's ambush that I've almost forgotten about Eff and what went down in the halls.
    That knot tightens and my body is tense, just like then... if she pushes me I may just lash out again... like it or not.

    Then suddenly Ourania is on my back again, too close... even when she's being casual she sounds aggressive. I'm torn in two directions.... wait.. three? Four?

    In a panic I answer Ourania, talking too fast, "Wha... what is it?" Keep Eff in the corner of my eye. Don't lose it, Ashlee! Even so I can't keep the sarcastic edge out of my voice, "what could you possibly want from me?"
  • edited May 2016
    image

    I locate who she’s freaking out about. Besides me, I mean. I shoot Eff a cold look, a warning. Then turn back to Ashlee.

    “I want you to get me something of Nadja’s. Something personal to her.” I say in a low voice. "I'll make it worth your while."

  • image

    Mark and Tabitha,

    Mark, you pick up the ball on its second bounce and turn to head for the goal. Pax looks like she might have slipped free from Pellit, and with that big guy at the goal, it's the perfect time to press. You dump off the ball to Jace, who bobbles it. That's all you see, though, because Kellek comes across to clear you, delivering a savage forearm across your chin. You fall back, shoulder hitting the deck hard, gravity pad pushing on you as he comes down with a knee (take 1 Harm).

    Meanwhile Tabitha, a ref finally appears, announcing, "Tabitha R. Smith, you are DQed. Captain Larsen, you may sub in for her, if you have an alt." Play continues, Tabitha, and you saw that hit on Mark.

    What do you do?
  • image
    My eyes flicker from Ourania to Eff. Not what I expected... Ourania need something from Nadya? Well getting that would be trivial, not getting chewed out for it... not so easy but whatever.

    I hiss through my teeth as I see how close Eff has come and how she hesitates when Ourania gives her that glance.

    "Can you keep Eff off my case?" it comes out in a panicked hurry, I don't know how far Ourania's authority goes, but I know if I'm all alone there's nothing I could do except.... don't even think about it.

    "Whatever you want... Ourania... if you can do that."
  • image
    I get up, slowly. And make my way over to the bench. I need the breathing time.

    "If you have an alt." We have Zola and that's all.

    "Guess you're on, huh." Zola looks ready to go. She always does. "Get free, get in the D, you know. Try not to maim anyone. Maybe Kellek."

    I pick up my Navi to make the sub official, sliding Zola's number over Tabitha's, which is greyed out already.

    I take a couple of seconds to send a quick message too.
    To: Ashlee

    Can u get to the bench?

    If someone asked me why, I don't know what I'd say. Maybe I just want moral support. To see someone on the sidelines for me. But no, more than that. I want people to see that Ashlee is with the team.
  • image

    I raise an eyebrow. I was planning on trading her brother's game ball for this little favor, but I guess I get to save that for a rainy day.

    That's something Dad used to say. It would be nice to know what it means.

    "Okay. I'll get rid of her. And you'll get me what I want. Deal."

    I turn to face the approaching Eff

  • image

    DQ'ed? Drokk! Now I don't get to play the same game with Kellek's face that he just did with Mark's shoulder. I toss my arms up and head for the away lockers.

    I should get a look at the play footage, see where I crossed the line. I cross Zola on the way, give her hand a quick clasp.

    Wait, is that Ourania in the stands?
  • edited May 2016
    image
    "Deal!" I crow as Eff closes in. I step behind Ourania, of course wondering if Eff is going to come at me physically, or what. I see Tabitha being forced to leave the game and Mark over there at the bench on his Navi... which is weird.

    Then I feel mine buzz in my pocket... Instead of answering I look over at Mark and raise my hands and (Still behind Ourania's back) I silently mouth, "what?"
  • image
    What, is she not even gonna read the- ?
    Oh, never mind.
    I shrug to Ashlee and jog back over to the team.

    Pax looks nervous.
    "Pax, you zeng?" I don't wait for an answer. "Yeah you are. Bend over more when you cross the grav pads. You're doing good."

    That's all a player ever wants or needs to hear, really. "Well done."
  • image

    Tabitha,

    image Zola squeezes your hand, pulling you to stop for a second, meeting your eyes. "Good hit. Love that she's out, we're going to trash these fools now." She offers a quick smile, "You're out, might as well climb up in the stands and hang out. See you in the showers later." She lets go of your hand and hustles in to take a position.


    Ourania,

    image Eff comes up towards Ashlee, ignoring you until you're in her face. She reaches down for her stun stick reflexively before she sees it's you. "Ourania." She looks past you. "There's a student I need to discipline. What did you need? Something for your mo- for the Commandant?" She sneers back at you, annoyed at you getting in her way. She's following protocol, just barely.

    What do you do?

    Mark,

    Zola sprints back in, chatting quickly with Tabitha, then takes position at point, eager for some action.

    Pax gives a nod, like "yeah, I'm good." The feedback is obviously appreciated, she smiles for a moment before getting her game face back on.

    Ezekiel looks over at you, "Let's take it down a notch, Mark!" His tone is stern, like he's concerned this will erupt into something out of control.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I meet Ezekiel's look with a placid gaze of my limpid grey eyes. I smile my most angelic smile.

    "Ezekiel, you worry too much."

    I can feel his nervousness, and it's because we both feel the same thing in the air: short fuses, raised hackles. I can't feel the emotional change myself, but I can enjoy seeing it in everyone else.

    There's something else in his look. Something about how he feels right now too.

    -----
    Turn Someone On
  • image

    Mark,

    Let's see those dice.
  • (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 2. Total: 5)
  • image

    Mark,

    The speedball match continues, your team's pushing hard for another score, while Kellek is looking to put you down again.

    You feel the urge to create the chaos Ezekiel fears, to tear some things down to see what survives. You've entered your Darkest Self.

    What do you do?
  • image
    So we get the ball onto the square a few times, close the gap. And Zola is hassling Gams like all the time, and Rys has left his foot in on a few tasty challenges. Pretty sure Zeke had a couple of teeth rattle loose in that last one. The Power are keeping their cool though. So far.

    So I decide to just start drokking with them. We're within a kick of the lead, just two points down. Rys recovers the ball deep and spins it out to Pax, who goes to me and I send it forward to Zola. Who sends it right back, and I pass it all the way back to Rys to start again. We're controlling the play totally. The Power are running around like headless chickens now, whatever that means.

    Zola keeps laughing at them. I am as nonchalant as drokk. "All day, guys," I call out to the Hawks. "Aaaaall day."
  • image
    That look on Mark's face is puzzling... what does he want during a match? I'll have to check that later, but for right now, Eff is coming at me, though when she hesitates on the sight of Jr. Commandant Ourania... that makes me almost laugh out loud.

    But those words, 'a student I need to discipline' send a new chill through me. Drokk, I hope Ourania is good for that promise.

    I stare at Eff past Ourania's shoulder and defiantly hold my breath.
  • edited May 2016

    image

    I’m standing straight at my full height which is above average, taller than Eff is in any case, and I cross my arms, raising my chin slightly as I look down at her coldly.

    “Indeed, Corporal Eff, you will have to forgo your discipline of Rai for the moment. The Commandant is currently monitoring her, and will thank you not to contaminate her observations… any further than they already have been that is.”

    It’s a hunch. The only reason for Ashlee to be so afraid of Eff is if they ran into each other earlier and something went down.

  • image
    I can't keep a little satisfied smirk off my face as Ourania speaks on my behalf. (What a strange day this is turning out to be) My head still aches from earlier, and I have a little tickle of satisfaction inside knowing that Eff can surely still feel it too.

    "Yeah, so back off, lizard!" I unwisely taunt, my face at the level of the much taller Ourania's shoulder.
  • image

    Ourania,

    Oh, take a +1 Forward on dropping your mom's name here. And roll me a Shut Down!
  • [ Ranid]

    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 5, 2. Total: 10)

    +1 xp
  • Control Play (+Cold, +Pax):
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 6)

  • image

    Ashlee and Ourania,

    image Corporal Eff glares at you, Ashlee, your taunt really annoyed her, especially since now she can't do anything about it. She looks at you, Ourania, stepping back to stand straighter, more militaristic. "Yes, ma'am. I will make sure Rai is not tampered with further. If there is anything I can do to help with observations of the subject," she glances again at you, Ashlee, "Please let me know, ma'am." She makes a showy salute, then turns to head back down the stairs away from the bleachers where your pod sits.

    Mark,

    Your team presses hard, and Ezekiel baits Zola into over-committing, then tosses an excellent pass to Pellit, who'd sprinted up the line. He scores easily, then does a little "leg wobbly" dance, and the crowd explodes with excitement.


    speedball_round_two_Home_01_zpsnstbskme.png

    Oh, Mark, when your team lines up after the celebration, Jace is holding his arm, looks at you and shakes his head. He must've hurt it again.

    What do you do?
  • edited May 2016
    image

    I walk over to Jace. Could he keep playing? Maybe. No fight in his eyes though.
    "It's OK, Jace. Go get that seen to."

    I jog over the centre to talk to Ezekiel. Not private. Loud enough for everyone to hear.
    "Hey Zekie, one of your cheating lizards just busted up Jace's arm. Nowhere near the ball. So we're down a player with no subs. You want to pick one of yours to drop out or are you gonna loan us a player?"

    Lizards? Got to stop hanging around near Ashlee so much.
  • image

    String on Eff

    I watch Eff go, impassive, then turn back to Ashlee, riasing a brow.

    "Lizard?" I say like 'Really? That was the time?'

    "Alright. That's my end." I put an hand on her shoulder, glance around for anyone else too close. then look steadily into her eyes from a less than a foot away. "Now remember I want something of Nadja's. Something personal to her. Sentimental. You have been roommates for a while, you should know what would work. She is not to know that you took it, or who you gave it to, understood?"

  • image
    A slightly self-satisfied little grin as she repeats my brilliant little jab at Corporal Eff. My look says, 'Yeah! It was awesome, wasn't it?'

    She touches my shoulder, which brings me back to focus on her and what I've promised. She's too close and well... uninvited touching is usually bad. But I bear with it.

    I nod with each condition, little sound of agreement. I'm not about to back out of this one, Ourania, for whatever reason, has kept her part of the deal and she's done what seems to be a bang up job of it. If you divide the world up into us and them then Ourania is totally, definitely one of them... but this time I kind of need one of them.

    But she can probably see me wondering what's the point, though... it's not like she wants someting specific right? Just... something. I almost ask... but I don't.

    "Yeah... I've been stuck with her forever... I got it... yes. She'll never know..."

    Weird.
  • image

    “Good”

    I can see her wondering why, also the discomfort of me being too close. I let go, back off.

    “Sorry” I mumble. There’s an awkward pause and I see that Tabitha has been taken out of the game. See the exchange with Zola.

    “Okay then. I’ll, uh, I’ll see you later.”

    I turn to meet Tabitha. I need to tell her about her reprieve.

  • image

    Mark,

    Jace hesitates only for as long as it takes to make it seem like he wasn't taking off right then anyways, then he scoots off the court.

    image Ezekiel nods, like he heard you, but he didn't readily agree. He jogs over to talk to his own coach on the monitor, out of earshot, which is about a foot in the din of the stomping feet of the crowd and their screaming. He comes jogging back, his face unhappy, "Coach Simms said we play on, if you're short, you're short. Said it isn't our fault you couldn't field a whole team and subs. Sorry, man."

    What do you do?
  • image
    I kind of turn alongside Zekey so that we're walking side by side. I put a brotherly arm around his shoulders.

    "That sucks, man. I mean, you're the captain, you're supposed to be in charge on the court. And he's not even here, he can't read the atmosphere down here. That's not gonna play well. It's lose-lose for you guys. I you don't beat us now, everyone will say you suck. And if you do, it'll be big whoop, you beat a team with only four players. I guess we're lucky, Coach Ryan trusts us to handle things on the court. You know?"

    (Giving Mark's patron a string to activate Uncanny Voices.)
  • image

    I walk into the stands, looking for familiar faces next to empty seats. All of these pod 8-ers around makes me antsy, really. I keep twisting around to catch bits of the action. I need to get a seat.

    "Oh. Ourania." She turns and looks right at me, purposefully. "Ashlee."

    Some kind of snack puffs bounce off of my head as someone tells me to sit down already, idiot.

    "Guess I should have tried harder to. Play it clean." I don't want to sit down without being invited.

  • edited May 2016
    image

    Mark,

    image Ezekiel gives a quick frown, shifts his stance, looks back over his shoulder to his coach's monitor, then meets your eyes. "You actually care about what they think, man? No way I'm countering Coach Simms."

    "Listen to what a sheep he is, Mark." you hear through your implant. "He's terrified of bucking authority. How sad. He thinks it will get him past the test."

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