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Blinding Lights

Scarmouth

56 INK

a part of Blinding Lights, by partially-stars.

A city slowly rebuilding itself.

partially-stars holds sovereignty over Scarmouth, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

1,112 readers have been here.

Setting

Default Location for Blinding Lights
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Scarmouth

A city slowly rebuilding itself.

Minimap

Scarmouth is a part of Blinding Lights.

11 Characters Here

Camilla Rhodes [15] "People think they know all the facts, in reality, they know nothing"
Noah Lawson [13] "Some things, you just can't speak about."
Magnolia Wrenley [13] Are we what we do? What we say? What we want? Who even knows...
Ryan Joshi [11] It has to be done, and somebody's got to do it.
Miles Caal [10] are you happy with the choice you made?
Samar Chopra [10] Every society has the criminals it deserves.
Hatch Williams [7] "pretty like a car crash."
Blake Langston [6] "Got no anger, got no malice Just a little bit of regret"
Scott Feltikk [5] don't pick the right side, pick the profitable side.
Danika Orlov [4] "Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.|"

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore Character Portrait: Ashleigh Barnes
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4.00 INK

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noah lawson
the medic - #879788 - outfit

i hear the voices when I'm dreaming
i can hear them say
carry on my wayward son
there'll be peace when you are done

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The last thing Noah wanted to do after yet another long shift was go to some awards ceremony for “significant figures in the revolution.” He’d seen enough of the revolution in person and he didn’t particularly want to be reminded of it. But Gabriel had said that they’d invited representatives from the Emergency Department after their role in things, and so Noah had agreed to go. Apparently there was going to be free alcohol and free canapes, which was at least something.

It had been six months since the revolution ended, and things were being rebuilt. They had a new government that was already implementing sweeping changes. It wasn’t official yet, but word around the hospital was that in the next few weeks, the healthcare system was going to move over to publicly funded. Public housing had already been implemented and the number of homeless people on the streets was dropping rapidly by the day. The damage caused in the rioting and fighting was long gone, just a memory.

But it was a memory that was sticking in Noah’s head. The nightmares weren’t as intense as they had been in the initial aftermath, but they were still very much there. The scar on his stomach was healed, but there were mornings he awoke and for a few seconds, the pain was still there. When he walked down the street, he was waiting for an ambush, for an explosion, for anything. The entire group of emergency med residents had stopped going to bars after work because every time a glass shattered, they all flinched and almost launched back into action.

Thankfully, the awards ceremony didn’t seem to dwell on the actual fighting too much. It seemed to be more government focused, awarding and recognising those who had protected their communities throughout the fighting. Someone who had helped smuggle people out of the fighting, someone who had created safe spaces for their community... They were in what appeared to be the last few awards when they began describing a scenario that was uncomfortably familiar.

“The next award we’d like to present is to someone who was selfless and brave on the front lines. We are deeply grateful to all of the staff of Scarmouth’s Emergency Departments who put themselves in harm’s way to save lives and minimise loss of life. But this man drew attention for his actions after he was photographed treating the wounded, even as a government soldier had a gun pointed at his head. Stories from those who served on the front lines tell us this was not the first or only such of these incidents, and that this doctor fearlessly and selflessly treated the wounded indiscriminately. Tonight, we would like to recognise Dr. Noah Lawson of SUH for his bravery and thank him for his service with the Medic’s Hero award.”

Noah glanced over at Gabriel, and the man’s small smile gave away where all this had come from. All around him, people were applauding, some even getting to their feet. Noah just wanted to climb under the table and wait until the moment passed, but he couldn’t. He managed a smile as he stood up and made his way up to the stage, taking the statuette and shaking the presenter’s hand. And then one of them smiled and said, “Would you like to say a few words, Doctor?”

Noah could feel the blood drain from his face. He instinctively looked back towards Gabriel, whose smile had slipped slightly but who nodded, somewhat encouragingly. Noah swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry as he felt what had to be hundreds of eyes on him. He wanted to shake his head and run back to his seat or possibly just straight out of the room, but everyone was watching, waiting, waiting to see if he lived up to what they expected. He knew he wouldn’t, but he cleared his throat.

“Thank you all for this aw- w- w- for this recognition.” He started. He tried remembering every single bit of advice he’d been given on how to minimise it, but his head was blank. And anyway, the rising discomfort and anxiety in his chest as he saw people glance at each other at his stammering was going to completely counteract anything he tried. He kept it as brief, knowing it was probably too short, but he couldn’t get off the stage quickly enough. And then they moved on to some other award, and eyes were finally off him.

“Noah, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise there would be a speech-” Gabriel said as Noah made it back to the table.
“It’s f-fine,” Noah said, sitting back down. The statuette was clutched so tightly in his hand it was starting to dig in, and he released it, stretching his hand a few times. He could feel Gabriel watching him for a few seconds, but his attention eventually turned back to the stage. As they announced the final few awards, Noah was restless, unable to concentrate or focus on anything around them. As the awards wrapped up, the hosts invited everyone to mingle and have a few drinks and canapes in the adjoining bar. As everyone moved, rushing to the bar at the promise of free food and alcohol, Noah slipped away, saying something about the bathroom to Gabriel. The bathroom was quiet and calm, exactly what Noah wanted and needed. He wet his hands and ran them down his face. For the half a moment his eyes were closed, he saw the barrel of the gun pointed at his face, saw his hands coated in blood- was it his own or someone else’s? He shook himself out of it, almost physically. He dug in his pockets, fishing out the pills he knew he had. There was one almost heart-stopping moment where he couldn’t feel them- and then his hand closed around the bottle. He tipped two out and swallowed them dry, taking a deep breath. And then he stashed them back in his pocket and headed back out towards the bar.


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hatch williams
the mechanic- #400026 - outfit

i wasn't born yesterday
a bloodsport but I'm a saint
it's time to consider
there are no winners

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Hatch hadn’t specifically received an invite to the awards ceremony, but an open invitation had been publicly issued for people to celebrate those who had been nominated and recognised. And the promise of free booze had been enough to lure Hatch into attending. And besides, she was curious to see the types of people who were getting recognised.

Choosing an outfit had taken her a while. She didn’t tend to get dressed up all that much and finding something she could actually stand wearing for a while was difficult. She’d contemplated a dress for a while, but nothing seemed right. And then she found the suit and everything fell into place. Roger looked confused for just a second as she stepped out of her room in heels and makeup. And then he jumped off the couch and ran towards the door.

“Not this evening, buddy.” He whined a little. “Trust me, buddy, I’d love to bring you, but don’t want to draw attention to myself. Not this evening. You look after the house for me, okay?”

By the time Hatch reached the hotel, she was fashionably late. She thought that she might have been out of luck with regards to getting a seat, but apparently the organisers had anticipated the demand as she was shown to a seat at the very back of the room. Her view of the stage was somewhat obscured, but that didn’t overly trouble her. She sat, her legs crossed, and watched the awards with some level of scepticism and interest.

They had an interesting range of awards for sure, and one thing that she noted was that the range of people that were being recognised was significantly broader than the old government would have recognised. There were people of all ages, all areas of the revolution, from all areas of the city. The focus seemed to be on bravery and loyalty, and things took a turn into the overly patriotic for Hatch. The speeches were at least kept brief and non-preachy. There were a few figures that she had heard mention of somewhere along the way, but none of them seemed to match what she imagined. One thing that struck her was the fact that none of them stood out. She'd walk past half of them in the street.

Eventually, the awards wrapped up, and Hatch followed the surge of people towards the bar. Her first priority was to get her hands on a glass of champagne, and then she turned to scan the room, seeing if there was anyone of interest to talk to. She new there had to be plenty, but scanning the room, nobody particularly stood out to her. She took a long sip of her champagne and stayed watching the room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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2.50 INK

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Damien had never worn such fine clothes. He could tell they hadn’t been worn much by how little give the fabric had when he moved. When they called his name to present the award he’d gone on stage just to say he wished to refuse the award, certain he was eliciting several inward groans from the crowd. He understood that people wanted to be celebrated, but he did not want applause for himself for doing the bare minimum - caring for others.

He’d planned to leave promptly after but then decided he’d hang around until after the event to see if they’d donate the leftovers to his Congregation. Not that they ever went hungry but it was rare for them to have a feast such as this event. Unable to refuse from a lifetime of food scarcity, every time a platter was offered with another tasty finger food he’d pop another into his mouth until he felt he might burst. Self-moderation had never been his strong suit no matter how hard he tried.
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song x xx outfit x xx hex #F08080

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Magnolia stared into her champagne flute, echoes of memories reflecting back at her. How many boxes of champagne had been spent to fuel frivolity while others hungered and here she was still engaging with frivolity. Of course she knew these people deserved celebration, hence her largely funding the awards. She had wanted to stay home, but of course the visual of one of the board members behind the awards being absent was unfavorable.

It had felt strange to sort through her closet. She hadn’t touched anything on the hangers in months, still zipped away in a joint garment bag stuffed out of sight. Everything she had seemed too extravagant, yet it didn’t seem appropriate to buy something new for the event. The heather silk lines of the bodice elongated her figure, dazzling golden embroidered flowers twinkling under the light. Once upon a time she would have scheduled an entire day at the salon before an event, complete with a bit self-pampering. After several failed attempts to style her hair, she’d thrown it all into a hair tie clipping a weave around the hair gathered atop her head and called it a day.

Since she’d arrived she’d hardly said a word, doing her best to be seen yet unnoticed. The others at her table had gone to mingle by the bar, Magnolia lingering behind nursing the shame glass of champagne she had been for the last half hour. It had always been a favorite of hers, but all she could remember was how the last time she’d had champagne she’d been toasting her father.

“Fuck this,” She finally mumbled under her breath, sliding the glass back onto the table and walking over to the bartender. “Do you have bourbon? Double, neat please.”

“Hard night?” Damien looked over at the slender woman beside him, eyebrow quirked.

“Aren’t they all?” Magnolia said more to herself than Damien. She hadn’t realized it was him until she looked over, though she supposed should have recognized his voice given he was on stage less than an hour ago. “Ahh, Father Damien...don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of making your acquaintance before.”

“We all know each other at this point,” Damien teased, taking Magnolia’s hand as she offered it. He knew who she was, had seen her in the news more than once. Why pretend to be strangers when the world has already made an introduction for them?

“I suppose so,” Magnolia offered a weak smile in return.

“Have a great night.” He didn’t have a drink, instead tipping his bottled water her way and giving a knowing grin. Damien knew when he made people uncomfortable. There were people who were drawn to him, and people who were skeptic. He could tell by the way the corner of her lips twitched downward that she was ill at ease around him. There was no sense in sticking around where you weren’t welcomed wholly.

“You too,” Magnolia said to the back of his head, watching as he walked out onto the balcony. She wasn’t surprised when Damien had denied his award. She hadn’t expected it but she wasn’t surprised. He was a radical guy by nature, she’d read his literature before. People like that had a hard time leaving the revolution behind, she could relate.

Damien found Danika looking out over the ruins of the city. Many buildings were still destroyed, some streets still blocked by rubble or barricades. Still when the sun set over it, the sky was painted in every shade imaginable.

“Never thought I’d end up in a place like this,” Damien said as he stepped beside her. He knew Danika had grown up going to events such as this. Damien wouldn’t have been able to even score a job serving drinks. He looked over to her, searching her expression to try to place where her mind was.

“Wanted to ask you if you like my speech?” Damien gave Danika a familiar smirk. She had always been the one to call him out when he transcended to a new level of pretentiousness, something he’d grown to appreciate. He had a feeling she’d have a few choice words about it.

The bartender still hadn’t come with Magnolia’s drink. She looked over to see them polishing glasses without a care in the world. Sighing heavily, she leaned over the bar trying to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Admittedly she’d grown used to people ignoring her, their own punishment in this strange world. After an incident at a cafe where a barista spat in her coffee before sliding it across the counter, Magnolia has mostly given up on ordering for things in person. Of course it was always in a moment of weakness she’d try again - always left in the same position.

“Magnolia Wrenley?” Said a voice from behind her. Enough people knew her at this event that she didn’t think twice when she turned around. Before she could even see the person, the contents of their drink splashing in her face. Bits of ice hit her skin with an cold slap, the sweet alcohol getting into her eyes before falling down onto the front of her dress.

She stood there in shock for a moment, security descending on the drink-thrower and dragging them off before Magnolia had a chance to wipe her eyes. Droplets were still clinging to her lashes but she didn’t need to see to know people were staring. Her mouth opened to speak, catching her words before they passed her lips, her tongue pushing along the corner of her lips. She could taste the makings of a cosmo, they didn’t even have the decency to throw a good drink at her.

“Here,” The bartender offered a towel, reaching across the bar to hand it to her. She took the towel, nodding with appreciation. Before they walked away they poured her bourbon, sliding it across the bar with a sheepish expression. Magnolia detested pity but in that moment was just thankful for a drink.

“Thanks.” Magnolia took a long drink, patting herself down with the towel. Thankfully she had no idea how to do make up like they used to do in the salon, and what make up she did wear had been waterproof. She supposed she should have gone to the bathroom to wash herself off but right now she just wanted to finish her bourbon.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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5.00 INK

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I'm bad, as bad can be
So bad that it's hard to believe
Oh, what they say about me

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xxxxxxxxxOutfit ║ Hex: #A38E8E

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<3
The six months since the revolution had ended wasn’t as grand and glorious as people thought it would be. When the government finally fell and the rebels stood “victorious,” the struggle was far from over; people were still starving, still barely clinging onto life. Their motivation and faith from taking down the big bad guys had gone away, and now they had to focus on surviving and rebuilding. People called for executions and imprisonments for anyone that wasn’t on the rebels side, which included most officials and any of their cohorts; anyone who could be labeled as a traitor to the rebels. Camilla and her band were also under spotlight, but came to an agreement with the few people who stepped up to form a new council. After telling their story about being forced and threatened to do what the government said, which was the case for many people, Sophie’s Valentine was left off the hook, but once again under watchful eyes. Removing all propaganda from previous songs, and vowing to help support them going forward. The stage had changed, but the setlist was the same; Camilla and her band being told what to do and what not to do.

Camilla heard about the award ceremony happening, it was hard not to since it was the current thing being talked to by everyone. She didn’t want to go, but her bandmates and manager talked about how it could make them look for going. Cam didn’t care about the rebels and who they declared a hero and martyr but she knew it made sense to go, even if it was just to show face. Plus she had heard there would be some familiar faces and names would be going and Camilla would be lying if she said she wasn’t at least curious to see what was going on. There was also that most of these rarely went smoothly, and she was always up to see drama unfold, even sometimes getting caught up into it herself.

It didn’t take long for Cam to show up, deciding to go on her own instead of with the rest of the band. They would still be going, but she wanted some time to mingle a bit on her own and be a bit independent for the time being. She of course got dirty looks from some of the rebels, whispers of her actions, as if their actions were any more moral than hers. Everyone did what they had to do to survive, war wasn’t pretty or fair. Camilla met up with one of the council members when she arrived, well more so quickly approached and greeted by. They spoke of thanks for her coming and assurance that she and her band would be treated fairly. Cam just nodded and smiled to his face, but then rolled her eyes when he turned his back, quickly finding a place to lean up against as awards started.

Cam didn’t give much attention to what was going on on stage, but she was curious about hearing about the doctor she always heard infamously about back when she was being held captive. Dr. Noah Lawson. And what she saw was nothing of what he expected. She wondered how the government fell when him and some of the others here were the heroes “that brought down the government and led them into a new light.” Camilla was glad when they announced food and drinks would be served and quickly found her table, meeting up with her bandmates and the few people she knew didn’t want to see her executed. She mingled a bit before getting up to get a drink from the bar.

After flagging down the bartender to get a drink, she glanced across the room and quickly a face caught her eyes, and a bit surprised as well. Magnolia Wrenly. When the Revolution ended, she expected the whole Wrenly family to be imprisoned, but Magnolia came out mostly unscathed. It was told that she’s been a huge help to the council and even assisting in procuring resources from her family others couldn’t find. But Camilla wasn’t completely convinced, but she had no way of finding out, nor did she care too much. If more people were questioning why Magnolia, the daughter of Mo Wrenly, was still free, it meant less people questioning Camilla and Sophie’s Valentine. One of the only times when being in the spotlight wasn’t as good as being in the background.

Camilla turned her attention back to her martini and was taking a sip she heard a commotion to her side, and quickly catching the tail end of someone throwing their drink in Magnolia’s face. She let out a light chuckle, not because it was funny, but because she had been there multiple times, hence why she doesn’t dress in her best during these things anymore. Though watching the other patron get thrown out was a little humorous.

“What a waste of a drink.” Camilla said as she stepped up next to Magnolia. “Though you’ll get used to it. And soon enough after you return the favor by hitting them with your drink rather than splashing back, it will happen less often.” She continued, before taking another sip of her drink, turning back to the stage that was now empty with only a podium left on it. “And to think, you wouldn’t have gotten a drink splashed in your face if your father was alive and our-, his side had won. This ceremony would still be happening, Sophie’s Valentine would be on stage playing music, but instead of awards for saving people the awards would be for putting down the rebellion.” Cam turned back to Magnolia staring at her and pausing for a second. She then reached into her pocket and grabbed a handkerchief. Red with the name Sophie embroidered. “Should help a bit more than that trashy towel.” Camilla said, still no smile on her face as she left the cloth with Magnolia and walked away, swirling her drink in her hand. Another patron caught her eye, but instead of one that would make her smile, it just caused a devious curl of her lip.

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3.75 INK

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(EL-P: Deep Space 9mm) Hex #000000 Outfit

Scott pulled up to the awards ceremony in a fairly run of the mill Lincoln Towncar, looked to be a 2070, a year before they dropped the roof height and shrank the rims by an inch. He did his best to keep his affinity for ancient items hidden. He hopped out and gave the valet a nod before tossing his keys over to the well dressed attendant. "Thanks cuz" Scott spoke softly on the way towards the oversized doors of the building hosting the awards ceremony. Scott wasn't nominated, or a party member, but the words open bar had stuck in his head as he read the invitation just a few hours earlier.


"'Sup Reg" Scott greeted the bouncer on his way into the building. It didn't take long to find the bar, and even less time for the bartender to turn his head towards Scott. "What can I get cha there buddy?" The bartender sounded almost cartoonish.
"Triple of Bushmills Black, one ice cube" Scott spoke distinctly, so as to impose the seriousness of the specificity of the drink. All too often, careless bartenders wouldn't listen, and put two or three ice cubes, destroying the integrity of the liquor, and that was not what Scott needed tonight, free booze was the only reason he came, sitting in a room with these suits wasn't his ideal evening. As Scott turned his head down towards the rest of the hall, he saw a few others who caught his eye. Doubtful they knew him, but he knew who they were. Camilla Rhodes and a Wrenley, he looked over for a split second, hoping they wouldn't recognize him. He ordered a second drink, and approached the stage, taking a seat at an open seat, next to the engineer, Miles. Best cover is being busy.

"Miles the machinist." Scott paused for several seconds, before continuing his sentence. "Wouldn't have expected to see you here. Thought you'd be uptown, back at the lab. You been alright?"

Scott knew Miles wouldn't have survived if he had've turned the Facists down. Then again, dying for what you believe is what made the revolution stronger than the oppressor's. Either way, this wasn't the place for conflicts, so Scott spoke to Miles with respect, albeit Scott wasn't sure he could be trusted, so best to keep it light, small talk, and do everything he can to avoid the gaze of the Wrenley Daughter, as well as avoiding Camilla's eye. Scott was unsure of what they knew entirely, but they knew enough about Scott's involvement on both sides of the coin to have a distaste.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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2.25 INK

#, as written by Caille
ImageBlake had absolutely zero care for social events and even more so when they were getting something. The revolution had been bad enough, but now they wanted to remind everyone of it by having a big party where people could get a piece of paper or metal to boast around in their house, but all it would be would be the sad reminder that people had lost their lives, people were suffering mentally and yet people like them still had no home.

Despite Blake’s obvious hostility towards the event they figured they would go. It was best to present yourself in a social situation and at least play nice, but that wasn’t a skill set that they had, Blake was incredibly blunt and to a point.

Yet they had still managed to get a dress that was just above the knees. It was black and sleek while it hugged their body a little, but also left a comfortable room. Buttons went down the entire thing, similar buttons to what you’d find on a suit jacket. Blake would dress up, but they were not changing out their black Balenciaga sneakers for any other kind of shoe.

They had been seated with a glass of champagne in hand as the awards were being handed out. There were a lot of them and various people were getting them. Blake couldn’t help, but notice that Magnolia was among the people here tonight, which was a bit of a piss off.

ImageDanika sat next to Blake Langston and noticed they seemed mildly perturbed. “Penny for your thoughts?" She inquired as Blake Langston had been quite intriguing and a big name in the revolution.

“I am over it. Don’t want to be here.” Blake said as they began to swish around the liquid in their tall glass as the stem sat nestled between their fingers.

“You are welcome here, but if you really hate it return home?" She suggested to the short haired individual.

“Perhaps, but not much to return home to. Might as well dress up like Barbie and accept my stupid award.” With that the contents of champagne went down their throat smoothly.

“You do not have to accept it. It is your choice on what you do.” With that Danika got up from her seat as they began bringing out the other awards.

Danika did not particularly care to sit and watch people be tormented with awards. That poor doctor that ended up stuttering. Instead she sipped on her scotch as she made it out to the balcony for fresh air. She could hear more awards being announced, but the end did not seem in sight for some time.

She did keep the door open so she could continue listening at the least. She heard a few people give actual speeches, but she wasn’t prepared for the one she heard from Blake.

“I would like to say thank you for this award tonight, but to be perfectly honest I don’t even want this stupid thing. Is this supposed to mend things after everything that happened? Is this an ‘I’m sorry I spent money that should have gone to you on these flashy awards instead.’ It is utter bullshit. This will not magically make my night terrors go away, this will not make those lives lost be found again. Maybe instead of a fancy awards show you guys should be doing more work to better this shit hole. “ With that Blake chucked the award into the audience somewhere, not really caring for much else as they walked off the stage and headed towards the bar.

As Blake was ordering an Irish coffee, they noticed Damien makin his way over to the balcony where Danika was

“And here you are.” Danika said to Damien as he stepped next to her. Her entire life was filled with events like these and it sucked, but it taught her to be social with people. “These things are not usually so outrageous and dramatic, but the aftermath of a revolution I would presume.”

Danika was comfortable in Damien’s presence. She knew any opinions she had she didn’t have to keep them so under lock and key.

“Your speech? It was simply divine.” She said with a bit of a chuckle as she pressed her lips to the rim of her glass and tilted it back so the contents could hit her taste buds. “It would appear that many people were not a fan of the awards this evening, but I am not surprised.” She said, shaking her head slightly.

“What are your plans for the rest of the night? I cannot imagine you would actually want to stay.” Danika said with a bit of a laugh.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk
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29.50 INK

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every word has consequences.
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zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzevery silence, too.
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Ryan had been to a few events like this: he used to cover them. You show up, take a couple pictures, do a little eavesdropping, write a piece about how good the speeches were and how happy you were for all the award recipients, and that was it. He learned pretty early on not to dress a certain way, or else you might be mistaken for the event staff, which was a hassle that he’d once preferred to avoid.

The past six months hadn’t been easy; Ryan wanted his life to go back to normal, but it had become increasingly obvious that wasn’t going to happen. Either no one wanted to deal with him at all, or they wanted more out of him than he wanted to give. So far he’d survived by selling some of his unused shots from the revolution- some of his shots had turned out to be a bit too artistic for rogue news websites. He would have preferred to go back to being unknown by everyone besides the sorts of people that actually cared about the sports and entertainment pieces published to the media streams.

He’d been invited to this event. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be there, or that he even deserved to be there. In his mind, he hadn’t done anything extraordinary; he’d done what anyone who had the nerve to call themself a journalist should have done, he told the truth. Apparently his work had helped catch the attention of the governments who’d sent aid to the revolution. The seemingly endless work he’d done in those long months had accomplished something, at least.

Ryan knew many of the people who were receiving awards: he’d taken their pictures, heard their stories, in one case his pictures had brought major attention to them in the first place. Ryan genuinely felt bad for Noah; while he couldn’t begin to understand what it was like, he did know how uncomfortable being put on the spot could be. How you never forgot the way the other children mocked you when your ears turned red, your eyes welled with tears, and you couldn’t spit out the words no matter how badly you wanted to. Some people refused their awards, and Ryan could understand their reasonings. He felt very much the same, in some ways. When called up to receive his own award, Ryan looked visibly uncomfortable. All those eyes on him made him wish he could run and hide; he stared wistfully at a fire escape, wondering if he could make it out before someone stopped him to ask if he was okay. He also considered using the moment as a platform to speak up about how disappointed he’d been in journalism in Scarmouth, how so many people should be ashamed, and how little faith he truly had in the new leadership.

Instead, he graciously accepted the award. “This is very nice... I’ll try to make sure my cat doesn’t break it.” Someone chuckled. Ryan hadn’t meant to make a joke. He grew a little more uncomfortable, and it struck him that this was the first award he’d ever received for his work. He wasn’t sure this was what he wanted to be known for. He wasn’t sure he ever really wanted to make a name for himself in the first place. He also knew he probably needed to say something else, “I, uh…” Why was it so hot? Was he speaking too quickly? He was speaking too quickly. “I did nothing more than what I felt I had to do, but thank you.”

Once all the awards were finally distributed, Ryan, like everyone else, made a beeline for the bar. Being the homebody he was, he never got out much, and he didn’t really know what to ask for. He wound up with some fruity monstrosity- tasted pretty good, though. He wasn’t really sure what to do with himself, but he saw Noah and made his way over. “Hello,” He said, and after a beat, “It's nice to see you again.” Ryan had never just attended an event like this, and Noah was the person in the room he felt most comfortable with at that moment. Whether this was a good or bad thing had yet to be seen.


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When you’re given a chance to integrate back into society- especially after a particularly bloody (and successful!) uprising- you take it. Attending a stuffy awards ceremony for the very people you’d once actively worked against seemed like a strange decision, but Miles knew he wasn’t that important. Not really. So he went to the award ceremony. These were the heroes of the revolution, and ultimately they weren’t all that impressive. (Well, aside from Damien. Sure, he turned down the award, but good for him.) Nobody seemed larger than life, several seemed like they would rather be anywhere else. Something about seeing it all laid out in front of him like that made him feel like perhaps he hadn’t done enough.

He thought about just leaving after the awards were given out, but there was something about fancy party food that was impossible to pass up. The free booze wasn’t really his thing, but Miles had never let himself feel ashamed for sipping a diet coke at a party before, and he wasn’t about to start now. As it were, he was pretty content to sit back for a time. There was plenty to take in, after all. Sad as it may have been, Miles knew that if life had played out how it was “supposed” to, he’d be very used to events like these. And probably in prison. Sometimes things really do work out, in the end.

Two things happened: first, Miles spotted Magnolia, and considered walking over to say hello. Then Camilla Rhodes approached Magnolia. An interesting mixture of dread and anxiety filled Miles’ stomach, and he immediately knew that there was no way he was going to go anywhere near that if he could help it. Cam was likely to be on her best behavior, but Miles was sure nothing good would come of it.

Second, someone came and took the empty seat next to his. Now, in years past, this wouldn’t have bothered Miles in the slightest. Now? He was in a room full of people, and though he knew he could leave whenever he wanted, he was beginning to feel a little trapped. He didn’t know if this would pass, if he would ever get used to being free again. He shot Scott a look that pretty accurately communicated his thoughts: ‘what do you want?’

Pretty quickly, though, Miles thought he understood: Scott wanted to sit down with someone nobody here would be looking for. If you look busy enough, people will leave you alone. It’s true at work, parties, the grocery store. So he smiled; bright, brilliant, and genuine enough that most people wouldn’t question it. “I think I would rather be at the lab right now, but you know how I live to disappoint.” He leaned over so he could speak lower and still be heard, “We’re all adjusting, aren’t we?” Other than that, he mostly dodged the question of how he’d been: the past year of his life had been a nightmare followed by some kind of listless twilight. Things were starting to look up for him now, but it wasn’t hard to guess that Miles had had a rough go at life, lately.

He shrugged, settling back into his seat, “But enough about me,” He said, as if he had actually said anything personal or noteworthy, ”What about yourself?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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When Magnolia heard the pop star’s voice, her chest clenched with anticipation of her wrath. Though the heiress was no stranger to being disliked just for who she was - she wasn’t sure how much more she would be able to politely endure. Kindness had never been Camilla’s agenda, though maybe she’d just wanted to get close enough to see if Magnolia was crying. She made no attempt of smiling at Camilla’s joke that Magnolia would one day be able to stop the attacks on her by retaliating herself - as if Magnolia ever had the option of self-defense.

“And to think, you wouldn’t have gotten a drink splashed in your face if your father was alive and our-, his side had won. This ceremony would still be happening, Sophie’s Valentine….” Camilla’s words faded out after that, Magnolia repeating those same five words over and over to herself.

If your father was alive.

Her glass threatened to give under her tightened grip. It was like Camilla had triggered sleep mode, only the core functions left running but nothing really processing. It was the only way to keep the image of her father gurgling his last breath out of her thoughts. Taking the embroidered handkerchief with a look of confusion, she could see Camilla’s lips move but her mind was already elsewhere - her psyche going into survival mode.

As fast as she had come, she left - leaving behind a path of destruction and an embroidered piece of fine linen. Magnolia left seething in Camilla’s wake. She clenched the cloth before throwing it aside in anger. Her thoughts came rushing in all at once, all the things she wished she could have said - processing Camilla’s words belatedly. Wincing, she raised a hand to her temples feeling the oncoming signs of a stress headache.

‘If you only knew why he’s not alive anymore.’ She thought to herself, wishing she could ever say the words aloud. Accidentally slamming down her now empty glass harder than she intended, Magnolia offered the bartender an apologetic expression - but they were too preoccupied making drinks to even notice.

A half empty bottle of wine left on the other end of Magnolia’s eye. It was an open bar but she was well past the time of waiting between each drink. She went to walk around to grab the bottle discretely and detour to the bathroom - a familiar profile causing her to pause.

Of course Magnolia had known there was a possibility that Miles would show but she was surprised all the same to see him. She almost smiled, forgetting for a moment the disaster that was the last seven minutes. Obscured by the crowd, she couldn’t see who he was talking to - if he’d come with someone, maybe. He gave them a big smile before leaning in, Magnolia inching along the edge of the crowd trying to peek through the windows between the people to make out who was holding Miles’ attention.

‘What are you doing?’ Magnolia shook her head at herself, huffing under her breath. Insecurity was a new emotion for her, quickly thrown from the veil of adoration into being one of the most detested free people of the State. It was enough to give anyone a bit whiplash.

Plan A it was then.

Magnolia made sure no one was looking when she snuck an arm around to grab the wine. She scuttled into the bathroom making sure to hold the bottle low to obscure it along the length of her leg. There were a couple people washing their hands and adjusting their makeup in the mirror when she walked in, quickly locking herself in one of the stalls. The cork had been haphazardly pushed back into the bottle, Magnolia ripping it out and throwing it at the ground before drinking straight from the bottle. Groaning in frustration because she couldn’t scream, she angrily tapped at her PCU dialing Samar’s number. When it went to voicemail, she turned on holo so that he’d get the full visual of her misery sitting on the toilet drinking wine straight from the bottle.

“Hey, Samar.” Magnolia sighed heavily, then taking a long drink. She could hear the two who’d been at the mirror leave, emboldening her to fully submit to her self-pity. “So, in case you are thinking about bailing on me - I have locked myself in the bathroom with a bottle of wine. I am not coming out either until you arrive, or until I need more alcohol.”

She considered telling him about someone throwing a drink at her, but decided instead she’d rather save it to guilt him with later in case he did end up bailing. “No one will even know you were ever here, it’s so crowded and people are drinking it’ll be like a frat house within the hour. Message me when you’re here, please - okay? Byee.”

Taking another long drink as she signed off, Magnolia slumped against the wall behind her. She had spent plenty of events just getting drunk in the bathroom before, those nights had rarely ended with grace. Maybe if she just stayed here for a while, she could make one last round in the room and just head home. No one would blame her, though the press would be sure to spin it into something if she was caught by them on the way out.

Admittedly, sneaking in an exiled radical to be her drinking buddy wasn’t the best plan. She and Samar both had their crosses to bear but both of them were worthy of praise, of celebration. Besides, most of these people knew their debts to Samar - what they owed him. He deserved his moment in the light, even if it was stolen.

Magnolia sat there for what felt like a while, or rather until the wine was finished. She used the toilet paper to dab at what remained of the drink on her dress, frowning when the residue of the drink left a shadow. As materialistic as it made her feel, she didn’t have much left from her life before. Not that she wanted to cling to those things, but she wasn’t quite ready to let go. She peeped out of the stall to double check she was alone, then quickly tossing out the now empty bottle. Using a combination of soap, water, paper towels and a hand dryer - she managed to wash out the stain. Wiping herself down with the moistened towelettes, she could still feel a bit of the residue of the drink on her skin but at least she was no longer sticky.

“Alright now, little dove.” She said to herself in the mirror, mimicking her mother’s tone and intonation. “You are a Wrenley. You will carry your head high, never let them see you falter.”

Repeating the words back to herself, they sounded wrong. It was the same speech her mother gave her every time Magnolia dared to express self-doubt. What pride was there anymore in a name so befouled? She gripped the sink as she leaned in closer to the mirror, examining her eyes intently - checking for weaknesses in her expression. Caught in her own reflection, she nearly jumped out her skin when she heard the creak of the door open. Shrinking into her own shadow, she blended into the wall behind her. The two stumbling into the bathroom didn’t even notice her, giggling as they followed one another into one of the stalls. Magnolia sighed with relief, leaning back against the wall.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk
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Samar stared at his watch, the device lit up with the ‘replay’ command and a still of Nola’s unsmiling face. She looked truly miserable- and maybe she deserved it for thinking that going to that party was anywhere near the realm of good ideas.

He wasn’t going.

He’d told her that already- when she’d asked him in her office, when she’d ‘dropped by’ with dinner and a request for him to join, when she’d called him yesterday and slyly asked what he was wearing. He’d told her sweatpants and a beer-stained shirt and hung up. Samar wasn’t surprised she was trying to guilt-trip him now with her sad bathroom pity party. He had half a mind to call, tell her to fuck off, and get belligerent drunk here on his own.

Pulling himself up, he looked around the semi-clean living room with contempt and boredom. The tv was off- it was all coverage of the award ceremony and he couldn’t stand to see the stupid speeches and close-up shots of the cities new celebrities. Samar had watched two seconds of Noah’s awkward speech and cringed so badly he’d slammed the off button and decided the ceiling was far more interesting. Until Nola had called- which he’d ignored- and then left him the most tragic looking holo-mail he’d ever received.

“If you get alcohol poisoning in the bathroom it’ll end up on the news”, He messaged her, standing up with the audible cracking of his spine as he stretched and shuffled towards the staircase.

“Stop being so difficult - you know you’re going to be drinking yourself into a stupor either way. There is unlimited food and booze here. Just put on the suit in your closet, get your ass down here and I promise I will never ask you for a favor ever again.” Samar glared down at Nola’s message, then up at the suit bag hanging in his bedroom closet like it had been there the whole time. Which meant she’d snuck past him while sleeping (or passed out) and drug this thing up his stairs and safely in his closet without him noticing.

“You piss me the fuck off”, He replied back to her, then unzipped the bag and pulled out a modern black suit with satin lapels and a skinny tie. Of course Nola would pick him something out that looked so irritatingly perfect just on a hanger. She probably somehow knew his measurements and everything.

-----

Samar hated that he was here.

The awards were over by the time he arrived, so the majority of the guests were bustling near the hors d’oeuvres, trying to steal the attention of the overworked bartender, or mingling in groups scattered across the large room. He eyed the room with a single-minded aversion that made him want to turn around immediately and recluse back to his dark living room.

A few people might recognize him here, but he was hoping the majority were too wrapped up in the event to pay another man in a dark suit any mind. He’d seen Noah on the tv earlier, so the doctor was probably present and very much unhappy with all the attention. He was happy to see Scott tucked away in the corner, he hadn't seen him since the last day of the revolution and hadn’t been sure if he’d made it out okay. Samar avoided being noticed though, preferring to steer clear of the prescribed small talk of these gatherings in favor of tracking down the annoying little devil in his life.

“Where the fuck are you?” He whispered a message to Nola into his watch, shuffling uncomfortably and continuing to run his gaze over the crowd without making eye contact.

Samar’s phone instantly pinged back a photo of Nola standing at the bar pouting with the bartender clearly ignoring her in the background. He glanced over at the crowded bar on the far side of the room, sighed the disgruntled anger of a 70-year-old man, and made his way over.

Nola was loosely perched on a barstool, very much within the eye line of the bartender but very clearly being overlooked in favor of other guests. Samar squeezed up next to her, ignoring the irritation of the man next to him, and spun Nola’s chair towards him.

“Did you finish that entire bottle yourself?”

“Samar!” Nola said a bit louder than she intended, a look of relief washing over her expression. “Look at you! You’re so cute in your little suit!” She poked at the buttons of his jacket, her lips upturned into a smile that answered Samar’s question very clearly.

“I am not cu- no listen fuck. This is why I drink in private, this whole shit is being televised Nol” He pushed her finger away from his button and pointed over at a camera interviewing some of the guests, “You're a goddamn mess, that's my role”

Nola looked over to the camera then back to Samar before shrugging, waving off his concerns. That little voice in the back of her head repeated his words back to her, reminding herself of her obligation to her business to maintain some sort of decorum. Unfortunately, that voice was deafened by the reminder that no matter how hard she tried, their perception of her would never change. Every day was spent distracting herself from this fact by trying to help others - but she was tired. She just wanted to stop caring, even if just for a little bit.

“No one’s looking at us, loosen up. I’m just here for the optics. No one’s interviewing me - I’m not one of the good guys, remember?” Her tone was upbeat but her words hollow. Propping herself up on the bar and looking back to Samar with a mischievous expression, she gestured over her shoulder. “Now...how about you stop being a grump and go on and order us a couple drinks.”

They glared at each other for an exaggerated amount of time before he obviously caved first and leaned forward to signal for the bartender. Nola was right- the cameras were here for people like Noah and all the others that had ‘contributed their lives to the cause’. He might as well drink their alcohol, eat their food, and get what he could before he went back to doing nothing.

He ordered them two bourbons neat and a shot each, not even trying to pretend like he wasn’t ordering just to get drunk. Nola was already swaying on her stool and although he’d started the day with a beer, he’d need a lot more than that to catch up. Once their drinks were in hand, they finished off the shots quickly and he pushed her out of her seat in favor of one of the unoccupied standing tables.

“Wait - where are we going?” Nola asked while he led her from the bar, though she didn’t resist his direction she did look back at the bar with big doe eyes. Now in the thick of the crowd it was easier to blend in, but Nola still preferred the comfort of the bar. Admittedly, she felt a lot less isolated knowing Samar was there to have her back - even if it was begrudgingly.

“You clean up nice, you know.” She said with an all-knowing smirk. “You should try it more often.”

He forcibly put her drink in her hand, cheersed it, and drank almost half of his, “I have literally never worn a suit and I will not be doing it again” His eyes danced across the crowd, avoiding catching anyone's gaze but also making sure no one he knew had noticed him yet, “So are you gonna explain why you were drinking an entire bottle of wine in the bathroom by yourself at the party that you basically funded?”

Magnolia’s expression wilted, rolling her eyes dramatically as she sighed. “Do we really have to go into it?”

His glare told her that it was indeed necessary, especially given the lengths she’d just made him go through to come here with no context. She pursed her lips, already annoyed with what his response would be. "First of all, it was not an ’entire’ bottle of wine. As for the why… I mean it’s honestly a bit comical in retrospect. Someone threw their drink at me. Like I’ve only seen that in movies. It was this whole scene and they were kicked out." Magnolia looked down, biting the inside of her lip to keep the image of her father out of her mind before continuing. "Then Camilla Rhodes, you know from Sophie's Valentine? She made some comment about my dad, it was so stupid - but..."

Her sentence trailed off, Nola staring into the crowd directionless for a moment before snapping back to Samar. “But, then I drank a lot of wine and I’ve got to say - I think I need to be doing this more often.”

He hated that he wasn’t more surprised. No one was ever going to throw a drink at him, but he hated the idea of whispers behind his back and uncomfortable looks. Samar never wanted to be somewhere he wasn’t wanted. But Nola…. she’s been doing that exact thing since he’d met her. Hell, he’d even hated her, until he realized how much work she did to right her family's wrongs. But even after the revolution was over and their city was finally peaceful, Magnolia was still trying to right her name.

“Rhodes being a bitch is the thing that finally gets you to drink? Shit. You get pissed at me when I drink like that, remember that next time you're trying to take the whiskey away”, He glared into the crowd like he was glaring at the fake idol musician herself, “Out of anyone, Camilla Rhodes is the one person that should not be at an award ceremony for war heroes. I still don’t get how she didn’t end up in a cell”

Magnolia gestured to interject, grasping for the millions of intangibilities that led to her quick spiral, but the words were too hard to string together in this state. It wasn’t just Camilla, it was everything that led up to that moment that pushed her to the edge - Camilla just happily pushed her over. She shook her head, looking into her drink then back at Samar.

“Plenty of people say the same about me,” and you. Magnolia let the implication sit between them, shrugging her shoulders. She knew all too well the dirty details that bound Sophie’s Valentine to the elite. As much as the pop star was a thorn in her side, Magnolia still felt the guilt of her father's action forcing her to just take it. She finally took a drink of her bourbon, suddenly aware of the tipping scale of her blood alcohol level.

“Oo - yeah, you need to take some of this.” Magnolia poured some of her bourbon into Samar’s glass, spilling some onto both of them. She winced, mocking an apologetic expression before taking another baby sip from her drink.

He really didn’t care much for the spilled bourbon on his cuff, ignoring it in favor of his partially refilled glass. Samar was tempted to down it, toss aside tonight's issues with a few more drinks, shit-talk the guests into Nola’s ear, and then end it with a bleary cab ride home. He wasn’t exactly sure why he was second-guessing his usual charade- possibly because of the drunk sad girl in front of him, possibly because of the particular crowd he was surrounded by.

Samar had never expected to win any trophies. He’d known what he was getting himself into when he’d chosen this role, his uncle had helped him understand there was no parade for their breed of revolutionary. But standing here in the corner with Magnolia Wrenley- someone who did deserve the utmost praise- Samar felt the slight sting of jealousy. Not for some stupid piece of metal he’d throw in a box and forget, but for the comradery amongst the winners. Six months ago he’d been present at the cease-fire and tonight he’d had to sneak his way in after the main show.

"Alright", Samar finished off his drink and set down his glass harshly, "Fuck this. If I'm going to be here, I'm not sitting in the corner like some sad asshole. Come on".

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Blake Langston
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Seeing her across the room, Camilla made her way over to Hatch. The two interacted much since the revolution, when Cam needed her car looked at, and have become a bit close ever since. As she walked past one of the waiters, she placed her glass down and picked up a glass of red wine and whiskey meant for someone else, but Cam didn’t really care about whoevers drink that it was going to, now it was going to Hatch. “If I knew you would be here, I’d let you look at my car. I need some tuning done.” She said as she bumped her hip into Hatch to draw her attention away from the bar and placed her glass on the counter.

She visibly looked Hatch up and down, to let her know she was checking her out. Camilla already looked her over as she approached, but Hatch was always a good look on the eyes. “Nice suit, pretty sure you missed a button though…” She said with a smirk as she took a sip of her wine. “And I don’t mean one higher up.” Camilla genuinely enjoyed her time with Hatch, not worrying about much else of the revolution and it was always fun to flirt with someone like Hatch.

The feeling of someone bumping against her hip made Hatch turn around, ready to make some sort of sharp comment. But when she heard the familiar voice, she smiled instead, taking the glass that had just been put down on the bar. “You need to get a better car, then,” she remarked, raising an eyebrow and taking a sip of her whiskey. She could feel Camilla’s eyes on her but didn’t react.


“Funny, I know I have... exactly the right amount of buttons done up,” she remarked, turning to face Camilla fully and scanning Cam for a second or two. “That dress is… more subtle than I would have expected from the great Camilla Rhodes. You should ditch the jacket, though. Lots of… spilled drinks tonight it seems,” she said with a raised eyebrow, draining her whiskey and signalling to the bartender for another. “So. Did you enjoy the show? Enjoyed honouring our great heroes?” She asked, leaning back against the bar.

Camilla smiled and let out a small chuckle as Hatch made her own comment about her outfit. “I’m not here to impress, just for good PR. And the council ‘recommended’ it to us.” She said with air quotes, sipping on her wine afterwards. “And if you insist darling.” Cam said as she slowly took off her jacket and hung it around a chair. “Is this better?” She rhetorically asked with a small wink, laughing a bit to herself as she watched the woman down her drink quickly, the mechanic was always one to get drinking done and down to business quickly.

Cam let out an audible laugh as she asked about the show honoring the great heroes. “Sure, heroes. The famous medic was smaller than I expected from all I heard. Others weren’t that memorable.” She paused for a second. “Except for Blake …” she trailed off and just took another sip of her drink. She saw Blake in the crowd, staring for a moment. Camilla hadn’t seen Blake since they last talked before going their own separate ways, Cam into the spotlight and Blake into the service. But they still looked as good as they did back then. She didn’t share much of her past, besides Sophie’s Valentine. with Hatch; so she probably didn’t know about the history between them.

Hatch’s smile widened slightly as Cam took off her jacket, raising an eyebrow slightly. She was surprised that Cam had been advised to come, seeing as she wasn’t exactly a particularly popular person around these parts. Hatch could feel plenty of dirty looks being sent their way, but a few of them were directed towards her. She really didn’t care.

Hatch was about to make a comment about the award recipients, but then Cam brought up Blake. There was something different in her tone and in her expression, something that made Hatch do a slight double take. She hadn’t seen that in Cam at any point they’d known each other, and she wasn’t quite sure how she felt about it.

“Can’t say I know much about this Blake, I don’t know if we’ve crossed paths at any point. How do you know them?” She asked lightly, keeping her tone curious and open.

Camilla was brought out of her staring when she heard Hatch’s voice and realized there was silence before them before she talked. “Oh. Just pre-revolution. Pre-stardom for me. We knew each other in high school a bit and Blake would come around to our rehearsals and our first couple gigs.” Cam said as she finished her glass of wine and pointed to it as the bartender saw her, asking for another. What she said was true, but she did purposely leave out them dating, one of the few people that the media didn’t know about and wasn’t on her or the bands wiki.

“Haven’t seen or interacted with Blake since I left high school with Sophie’s Valentine.” The bartender set the freshly refilled wine glass on the counter and Cam swiped her card on the slider on the edge of the counter, leaving a tip. She picked up the glass and swirled it a bit, she wouldn’t admit it, but was feeling the alcohol a bit and assumed that was what was causing her to spill a bit more to Hatch. “Surprised I haven’t heard of her-” Hatch started. Cam looked up as Hatch spoke, but quickly interrupted her. “Them.” She said sharply. “Their pronouns are they/them.” Camilla didn’t mean to come off sharply, and had a little hope Hatch wouldn’t take offense. “You know I had that Alphabet People album come out.” She said quickly to try to cover for herself.

The sharpness with which Cam corrected Hatch took her back for a moment, but she shook her head. “Sorry. I… shouldn’t have presumed,” Hatch said. “But, in my defence, I had nothing to work off of.” It was a side to Cam Hatch hadn’t seen before, and one that may have impressed her at any other time. But Hatch hadn’t seen Cam act like that towards anyone else before. Not that they tended to do much… conversing or gossiping on Cam’s visits to her workshop. Hatch took a long drink of the whiskey she’d been handed. “And I would have thought that you’d know I’m not enough of an asshole to do it deliberately,” she said dryly, not looking at Cam as she spoke.

Camilla rolled her eyes a bit, playfully. “I know that Hatch. My apologies.” Cam wasn’t one to say sorry to someone, rarely actually feeling sorry, but her harsh correction of Hatch was more impulsive than deliberate. “Anyways, enough of that. Neither of us want to be arguing about pronouns when both of us rather be drinking and enjoying ourselves.” She lightly tapped her wine against Hatch’s whiskey and gave a light smile before taking a sip. “Now, what’s your opinion on, as you said, the great heroes of the revolution?” Camilla asked, quickly changing the subject back to what it was before. “And how have you been lately?” She added at the end.

Cam enjoyed her time with Hatch, while rather being at her shop, it was nice to get something a little bit different than what they usually would be doing together. Not many people dealt with Camilla outside of Sophie’s Valentine, let alone treated her like an actual person rather than a piece of media. While she loved the spotlight and the flashing of cameras, it was nice to get away from it for a bit.

Cam’s apology was met with a half smile and a slight nod from Hatch, who just took another mouthful of her drink. Cam remarking that neither of them wanted to be arguing about pronouns seemed almost like Cam putting back on a mask, but Hatch let it slide. Their relationship wasn’t one where they really ever discussed their feelings or had conversations that were anything more than small talk, and Hatch was perfectly happy to keep it like that.

“Some of them are pretty decent people,” she said with a shrug as Cam asked what she thought of the heroes. “But also I’m mostly here for the free booze,” she said, indicating her glass. “I’ve been fine. Business has been booming, even if people aren’t convinced I wasn’t secretly spying for the government the whole time. As if I cared about the government that much,” she said with a wry smile. “How’s Sophie’s Valentine faring? Haven’t had to take down all those government promoting songs yet?” She asked.

“Hey, free booze is always good, though this is much better than that whiskey you keep under your tool box.” Camilla said jokingly. “You did what you had to do, who cares what these no names think.” Cam certainly didn’t, especially with most people wanting her jailed just as much as Clare Wrenley. “Hades and Persephone are fine, though she’s been taking more to Father Damien’s pamphlet lately.” She rolled her eyes. “And yeah, slowly but surely having to run our songs by the council to make sure they are what they want… Seems familiar to me…” She trailed off.

Cam wasn’t happy about being told what to do with her band and how to do it. When the revolution ended, she thought for a moment her band would be able to go back to how things use to be, but they just had new masters telling her orders now. Camilla scanned the crowd as the two of them continued to talk before another person caught her attention, and scowl came across her face. The effects of her drink weren’t helping her temper much, but she knew she had to say something to him. “Hey Hatch… Why don’t we go mingle with some others? I see the good doctor over there that accepted the award.”[./color] She asked, already starting her strut. She wasn’t entirely interested in the famous (or to her, infamous) Noah Lawson, but rather the man he was talking to. Ryan Joshi.

Hatch laughed as Cam brought up the bottle of whiskey she kept in the workshop. Cam had a point, but it was hard to beat a nice glass of booze in the workshop at the end of a long day, especially if the company was any way decent.

[color=#400026]“It’s just an occupational when you proved yourself to be such an effective propaganda machine for the other side. And hey, better than jail, right?” Hatch said, raising an eyebrow and smiling wryly at Cam. As they talked, Hatch could see Cam watching the crowd, presumably in search of trouble. So Hatch couldn’t have said she was surprised when Cam suggested they went and worked the crowd. When she mentioned the doctor, Hatch just shook her head. “I’ll leave you to it, Camilla darling. I have other people I want to see and talk to,” she said. “Do try not to make that poor doctor’s evening any worse, won’t you?” She added with a smile. As she straightened up, she leaned in to Cam. “And if that car gives you any trouble on your way home… you know where I am.” She whispered in Cam’s ear, before walking away.

Camilla shrugged when Hatch spoke about it being better than jail, she wasn’t wrong, but still wasn’t something she enjoyed. Camilla would be lying if she said she wasn’t a bit disappointed when Hatch said she wouldn’t join her, but understood. A small shiver went down her spine and made her feel a bit flushed when Hatch spoke into her ear, not replying before the two went their own ways, for now.

It didn’t take Cam long to get over to where Noah and Ryan was, not caring about who she bumped into. “Mr. Lawson, or is it Doctor Lawson? Pleasure to meet you. Camilla Rhodes, of Sophie’s Valentine. I heard much of your efforts over the months.” She said, holding out her hand. “Though I was imagining someone a little bit… bigger…” She continued, as she crossed her arms. When she crossed her arms she ‘accidentally’ spilled the rest of her red wine onto the man next to her, and the real reason she came over here.

“Oh my apologies,” Camilla said and acting as if she didn’t know he was, pretending to try to assist him in lessening the stain, but just bumping into the table and making his award fall to the ground. “Oh my, I’m so sorry to be so clumsy.” She quickly sarcastically apologized, taking a step back and staring at Ryan. She was a little proud of herself with the small amount of chaos she just caused. “It's a shame that happened to a fancy award like that… though, was a bit surprised to see you getting some sort of award…” She trailed off, setting her now empty glass down on the table.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi
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noah lawson
the medic - #879788 - outfit

i hear the voices when I'm dreaming
i can hear them say
carry on my wayward son
there'll be peace when you are done

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Even with the sedatives starting to slow his heart rate, Noah couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that he wasn’t supposed to be there, that he didn’t belong there. He was a doctor in a room of soldiers, a room of heroes, and he had only ever just been doing his job. There were tens of other doctors out there who had done as much or more and who went unnoticed, and Noah would have given the world to be one of them right now. Apparently in his rush to escape, he’d even left the trophy behind him. He only missed it once Gabriel handed it back to him, before ending up wrapped up in a conversation with some important looking guy that Noah vaguely recognised as one of the council members. Not a conversation Noah particularly wanted to be a part of, so he found himself drifting towards the bar and just standing, watching the room. He nearly jumped out of his skin as someone said hello directly to him, but a wave of relief washed over him as he spotted it was Ryan.

“Hi.” He replied, his brain immediately going blank as to what to say next. “Yeah, it’s nice to see you too.” They’d only seen each other a handful of times since the fighting ended and never in a situation like this, where they were both clearly uneasy. “Good to know I’m not the only one afraid of breaking this thing,” he said, laughing a little awkwardly and indicating his own trophy. He didn’t have a cat to break the trophy, but he felt that if he did, it probably wouldn’t last more than a few hours knowing his luck. He didn’t even really want it, but he’d still feel bad if it got broken that quickly.

Camilla Rhodes seemed to appear from almost nowhere, although maybe that was because Noah was desperately avoiding making eye contact with everyone right now. He shook her hand as she held it out, but he got the impression her question about whether or not it was Mister or Doctor wasn’t one to be answered. As she remarked that he didn’t quite meet her expectations, Noah forced a laugh that sounded as forced as it was and glanced away, not wanting to rise to her bait.

He wasn’t sure whether or not she knew that he saw or whether or not she cared, but he knew that her “crossing her arms” was a cover to just tip the remnants of her glass of wine over Ryan, and she basically nearly threw herself against the table in order to knock his trophy. He was about to say something, about to call her out on it, but the words died on his lips. He was only going to stammer, only going to embarrass himself more, and make things worse for both him and Ryan, and neither of them wanted that. “I’ll grab some more napkins,” he mumbled, before shooting Camilla a look and stepping away briefly, heading for the nearest table of canapes and retrieving a handful of napkins. God, they’d shown the photo of him staring down a gun, and here he was, unable to say anything to an overconfident, entitled pop star who had probably never even seen a gun, let alone held one. He returned back and found Camilla still lingering, the smugness written all over her face.

“Were you looking for something, Miss Rhodes?” He asked, his tone calm and polite, but his expression set.

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Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi
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every word has consequences.
outfitx|x#3B5998
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzevery silence, too.
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A brief, but very real, wave of guilt washed over Ryan when he realized he’d startled Noah. Maybe he shouldn’t have approached, but he wasn’t sure he knew anyone else in the room well enough to hang beside them like a shadow so he didn’t have to feel so much like the new kid on the first day of school. It wasn’t as though he really needed someone to talk to throughout the evening or anything, he just felt a bit braver with someone a little familiar by his side.

He smiled when Noah returned his greeting, and even found it in him to laugh when Noah expressed he was also worried about breaking the award. “It’s going to look so out of place in my apartment.” He said, almost solemnly, in reference to the award. He wasn’t even sure why he’d said it, he felt like he lived too normal of a life to be displaying awards, and sometimes thoughts just need to be spoken aloud. He wondered if Lela might be doing him a favor if she really did break the thing.

As always, Camilla Rhodes entered Ryan’s life when he wasn’t looking for her. He offered a polite smile, but she was initially focused on greeting Noah. Ryan assumed there were plenty of people in attendance that would want to speak with Noah over the course of the evening- the pictures he’d taken had sensationalized Noah to a degree. Ryan would almost say he deserved it, but the attention was clearly a little uncomfortable for him, so Ryan decided to keep his opinions about who may or may not deserve to be viewed as appropriately heroic to himself.

Ryan wasn’t particularly impressed with Camilla’s choice in words- he knew she was bold, and now she was clearly bitter. He shot a look at Noah, as if to try to assess how the man was feeling. Ryan didn’t quite know Noah well enough to judge what was written on his face, but he fully intended to say something to Camilla. Then he felt the unmistakable sensation of a drink sloshing over him. He stood for a moment, eyes wide, mouth open as if he was going to say something, not unlike a fish out of water. When Camilla said her first apology, Ryan thought it best to try to just brush the whole thing off, “Oh, don’t-” But she quickly moved in, effectively knocking his award to the ground.

He heard Camilla’s apology as he bent down to scoop up the award. Noah excused himself to grab some extra napkins. Ryan became very aware of his heart beating in his chest. He closely examined the award as he stood; it had landed just right for a corner to chip right off. A whole litany of emotions swam through his chest, made evident to the world by the furrowing of his brow. It was odd, moments ago he’d been musing about how it might be good if his cat did this very thing, but he supposed Camilla wasn’t his cat.

And what was he to say about her surprise that he would receive an award? He’d risked a lot to do what he did, all because he thought it was the right thing to do. He never would have claimed to deserve an award, but something about her tone frustrated him. “Well,” He started, trying to stay calm and even-toned, but he could feel his voice beginning to falter, and quickly settled on saying, “Okay.” Instead of whatever it was he might have been planning, which he would obsess over for days, no doubt. The way he couldn’t even manage a word in his own defense made him feel like a very different person from the one who’d been there in the middle of it all, unblinkingly documenting the atrocities of war for the world to see. None of that was personal, though. It was easier then, because he wasn’t himself. Not really. Out there, he was more like a camera with a pulse than an awkward man with little to say.

Noah returned, and Ryan gave a strained, awkward smile. That would have to do as a “thank you” for the time. He busied himself trying to blot the wine from his shirt, almost as if he thought ignoring Camilla and her attitude would make her go away.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi
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.co-written by. maci-care
xxxx.featuring. ivisbo

The party had already begun to devolve from assigned seating to clusters throughout the venue, each varying degrees of a drunken stupor. Some had managed to maintain a semblance of composure, though most of the sensical sorts had already left. The stiff formality of ceremony had passed, the free flowing bar working it’s influence on those who remained.

Despite the rough start to the night, Magnolia was actually enjoying herself. She’d almost completely forgotten her crash and burn earlier, though that was probably the bourbon doing it’s thing. She was laughing a bit too much, talking a bit too loud, moving a bit too languid. In the sea of faces and figures it was easy to go unseen, her and Samar navigating along the fringes of the conversations. It was the closest she’d been to anonymity for years, making her buzz with a sort of giddy excitement as they bounced around.

They wouldn’t stay in one place for too long, something else catching Magnolia’s attention causing her to drift - Samar always making sure to gripe that he wasn’t there to babysit her as she dragged him around. Small talk was dull anyways, Magnolia would indulge as much on any other day. Always ready to put on the performance. People never knew what to talk to her about, her reputation a shadow on the conversation. She’d moved past caring .05% blood alcohol levels ago.

“If I have to have one more fake conversation about the economy, I think I’m just going to throw myself off that balcony.” She said in a hushed tone to Samar, pivoting them to exit another excruciating conversation.

Samar snorted, “I’ll just start bribing up communism and taking down our economy next time, that’ll shut them up” He grinned at her around his almost empty glass and pointed over at a be-speckled man with a severe scowl, deep in a long one sided conversation that had him gesturing wildly, “That guy would love to hear my thoughts on a radical reset of the global market right?”

He was joking, but Samar was drunk enough now that all it would take was a little push and he’d be very into making a scene. Something less extreme than Nolas balcony jump but just as socially suicidal. The free booze was great but the droning hum of repetitive conversation was ridiculously depressing. He was better off paying for his own liquor and staying out on his couch at home.

Nola looked over at the man Samar pointed out, chortling with suppressed laughter. She led them towards the bar, ordering them a refill - this time with success. A voice nearby interrupted her momentary joy, catching Camila from the corner of her eye - though she had shed the jacket from earlier, the taut black fabric of her dress left little to the imagination. She had approached Ryan and Noah with a look in her eye that Magnolia could recognize, taunting but just playful enough to feign innocence.

Magnolia watched as Camila crossed her arms, mouth agape as the wine glass conveniently spilled over onto Ryan. All of Magnolia’s frustration and anger with Camilla swelled in that instant, her cheeks reddening with heat. Her words echoed in Magnolia’s mind, that smug grin on her expression. ‘And soon enough after you return the favor by hitting them with your drink rather than splashing back, it will happen less often.’ Magnolia stood there frozen, clenching her hands as she watched - unable to look away waiting for the train wreck to derail. She couldn’t make out what Noah, though she suspected from the sense of urgency that he had gone to grab napkins. When she saw Ryan’s expression when he looked between Camilla and his now chipped award just about made Magnolia’s heartbreak - quickly then flushed with a combination of intense resent and fierce protectiveness.

Camilla snickered to herself, watching Ryan stammer and unable to get words to be formed. “Sorry, what was that?” She asked sarcastically, leaning in a bit pretending to try to hear what he said, knowing he couldn’t form any words. Honestly, it was a bit embarrassing how a ‘great journalist’ couldn’t even come up with a few words in the moment. “Or do you only say things from behind a screen and in your articles about other people?” Cam still held a grudge with the things that Ryan wrote about her and her band, without much of even asking for an interview or anything.

Before her question could be answered, she heard the medic, or doctor, or whatever he was, come back and ask if she was looking for something. “Excuse me? Do you think people who don’t have an award aren’t good enough to speak to someone who did? Thought you were a bit better than that my good doctor.” Cam barely turned her head to speak to Noah, then quickly dismissing his presence. “Anyways Ryan. Good to see your little articles are getting some sort of attention, though, you should probably start conducting a bit more research and maybe an interview or two before fabricating lies in your stories...” Cam leaned in slowly and closely to Ryan’s ear. “Wouldn’t want some false information to spread and someone end up being hurt by it.” She left a light kiss on his cheek before pulling away. “But by the look of you, I see that the award is all you have going for you, the chip actually goes will with your look.”

“I can’t listen to another second of this,” Magnolia grumbled, more to herself than Samar. She didn’t allow Samar the chance to stop her from walking over, making sure to move quickly before he saw where she was going.

“You know, I’m curious.” Magnolia entered the conversation without so much as an introduction, emboldened by the bourbon and repressed anger, speaking pointedly at Camila. “Did you come here thinking ‘I’m just going to be a bitch every opportunity I get’?”

Camilla was just about done with the conversation when a familiar voice came in her direction, and one that had some hostility behind it. Cam let out a small laugh after hearing Magnolia speak towards her. “Honestly? No. Mostly just when someone deserves it. I recall not being much of a bitch to you when you got a drink poured on you. And this was an accident… I got distracted talking to this gentleman here.” She continued her fake charade, enjoying herself with the bit of drama she had stirred up, though surprised that Magnolia of all people was coming at her. But the smell of alcohol, and the splashing of the glass gave Cam the hint of Magnolia not being completely sober. Granted, neither was she.

“Now, do you come here thinking you’re just gonna get incoherent and embarrass yourself?” Camilla asked the other woman, a bit of smugness behind the smirk she was wearing on her face. In truth, Camilla didn’t come here to cause drama, but she wasn’t one to walk away from it when presented in front of her.


||xx song xxxxx||

“God, I’m so sick of you.” Magnolia rolled her eyes, “You can keep pretending, but you know exactly what you’re doing. If you think anyone believes that was an accident, you’re kidding yourself.”

Magnolia pinched the bridge of her nose, trying to stop the room from spinning around her all to aware that she wasn’t in the clearest state of mind. Camilla might have mastered dancing that line, saying just enough to maintain her innocence - but Magnolia was tired of the theatrics.

“What do you get from this, by the way? Your whole thing of trying to make others feel less than? Is that the only way you can feel superior? By putting others down?” Magnolia’s tone grew increasingly more agitated, her gestures a little more severe emphasizing each question - cutting through the distance between them as she stepped toward the pop star. It was almost humorous to Camilla the things that Magnolia was saying.

“Whether I believe it, you believe, or this so-called journalist believes it. Doesn’t matter.” She paused for a second, watching the woman pinch the bridge of her nose. “Open bar, people drink, just like you. We all get a little bit more clumsy. Accidents happen. And I get nothing from anything here, I don't need to feel superior to anyone, and I’m not putting anyone down, just making observations. My bad if two people have conflicting opinions.” Cam took a step forward, matching Nola’s offensive.

“And when it comes to pretending? I’ll let you know something, I wasn’t pretending when you got the drink thrown in your face. I actually did feel sorry for you. Left alone at the bar, just for some no-name who is less than you to try to do a cowardice power move.” There was only a foot or so between them now.

Samar stayed back for a moment, content to see a drunk Nola navigate an irritating social situation from afar. But shit, it was Cam she was dealing with and even from afar he could see her tense shoulders and discomfort radiating off her. Samar downed the last remnants of his drink, ditched it on a nearby table, and beelined it over to Nola's side.

“But hey, I’m not saying you’re alone and don’t have friends.” Camilla spoke referencing the man she noticed coming towards Nola when she started going off on her, but not taking her eyes off of Magnolia. “Though, surprised he isn’t trying to calm you down before you get hurt or embarrass yourself some more, must not be that good of a friend or not getting paid enough.”

Camilla knew the man Nola was with, didn’t need an introduction - she assumed nor did he. Samar glared at the blonde, standing behind Nola for support and restraint, "Some of us are not so easily bought."

"Honestly, Camilla - I would respect you more if you just owned your bad behavior. Instead you're trying to peddle this, 'I'm just making observations bullshit, picking on people who you think won't bite back." Magnolia spoke through a clenched jaw, pointing a finger between her and Ryan. It had been easier to let Camilla's side comments slide when they were directed at her, but Ryan didn't deserve this treatment.

Camilla rolled her eyes as Nola continued to talk, bringing up respect. She didn’t need her kindness let alone her respect. Magnolia wasn’t someone who would be in Cam’s circles going forward if she could help it. She wanted nothing more to do with the Wrenley family after the end of the revolution. “I prefer it when people bite back little Maggie. It’s more fun that way, just some people don’t wanna show their teeth.”

“I don’t even know why I bother, honestly. I wouldn’t expect a narcissist like you to be capable of taking any accountability for their actions, ever.” Magnolia huffed, turning to leave when another thought rushed to the tip of her tongue. Cam was just about done with the little argument with Magnolia, getting bored of the talk and crossed her arms as the woman turned to leave.

“Another thing -” Magnolia turned back towards Camilla, gesturing towards the pop star. The motion was a little sharper than Magnolia intended, the contents of her drink spilling out and splashing onto Camilla. For a moment Magnolia froze with apologetic shock, her free hand going over her mouth, jaw dropped. As the realization settled in, the all too satisfying delivery of instant karma made her smile. Magnolia’s face twisted in sheepish delight, unable to stop the wicked laughter from bubbling up.

Her face and upper body now covered in whatever alcohol Nola had been drinking, Camilla was furious. The combination of the alcohol in her system, the already heated argument; and seeing Magnolia laughing at her made Cam impulsively react. Her hand quickly struck out, one hard slap across Magnolia’s face leaving a hot red mark on her cheek. The sound seemed to echo through the venue.

“Bitch. You need to be careful with your daddy no longer around.” Camilla said, venom behind her words and stepping forward as the woman she just slapped took a step back. “I warned you earlier about throwing drinks at me.”

Magnolia was at a loss of words, the harsh clarity of adrenaline making her hyper aware of their situation. She instinctively went to cover her face, her hand hovering over the red mark flinching when her fingers brushed across her skin. Shrinking in her own shadow as Camila stepped forward, her eyes began to water - feeling herself finally begin to lose her grip.

Impulses still inhibited by alcohol and amplified by the rush of adrenaline, Samar stepped forward in between Nola and Cam. His shoulders tensed in a way that made him seem even taller than he already was. Any hint of amusement in his expression had extinguished, replaced by the smoldering glare of his ire. He pushed Cam backwards, shoving his palms into her shoulders to put some distance between them - underestimating his strength.

Camilla brushed her hair out of her face as she watched Magnolia cover her face. She barely had enough time to look over and see Samar coming towards her, expecting some sort of mean words and caring towards the slap on Magnolia’s cheek. But the next thing she knew she was being shoved back roughly, tripping over a chair behind her and falling to the ground hard, elbow hitting a table on the way down. Cam stayed on the floor as she cradled her elbow with her opposite hand, wincing a bit in pain.

“Ugh fuck.” Camilla mumbled to herself in pain, definitely feeling something up with her left arm now. In all honesty she didn’t expect anyone to do much more than get between them or just separate the two women, let alone be assaulted and shoved onto the floor.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk
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he seems to feel his own worth,
outfitx|x#CC0063
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzand the greatness of his fall.
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Miles could handle idle conversation. Did he enjoy it? No. But it suited him for the time. He was content to share vapid thoughts and make useless comments for the sake of appearing invisible. But the night was quickly devolving, and eventually Miles felt his patience for the event growing thin. He could see the appeal of it all, but it was very clear that he didn’t belong there. Not really. So in time he decided to take his leave of Scott, citing a desire to get home. Not a lie, but maybe a little too convenient of an excuse.

He thought he might attempt to say something to Magnolia before he left; both because he enjoyed her company, and he didn’t want to hear about how she’d seen him at the event and wished he would have stopped to say hello. But she was still talking to Camilla, or talking to her again. It didn’t look friendly, but it wasn’t his business or his problem. He knew how it could be with Cam, but he tried to keep his distance. Being around Camilla Rhodes wasn’t good for him; she had this way of worming herself in just enough that he couldn’t fully get over her.

He missed what prompted it, but he didn’t miss Cam slapping Magnolia across the face. He briefly looked around; was Cam here with someone? Magnolia certainly had someone to look out for her, and it wasn’t long before he stepped in. Miles briefly considered the fact that Cam didn’t want a real relationship with him, so she didn’t need him coming to her rescue.

Then she started falling.

Well, was pushed, to be accurate. Miles started in that direction the moment the man’s hands touched Cam’s shoulders, and picked up the pace when he saw her start to go down. Whether it was intentional or not didn’t really matter to him. He shouldered his way past a few people, shot a pointed look at the man who’d pushed Cam, and crouched down beside her. “Camilla,” His voice was gentle, even. If he was worried, it didn’t show in his tone. “You hit your head?” As he asked, he put a finger under her chin, gently guiding her to look him in the eye. When she shook her head no, he helped her to her feet, wrapping an arm around her waist while she regained her balance.

Then he let go of Cam and, with all the authority of someone who wasn’t half a foot shorter than the guy, pointed at the man with Magnolia and- very eloquently- said, “What the hell?!” He glanced in Magnolia’s direction, a complicated mixture of emotions bubbling up in his chest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes
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#, as written by Ivisbo
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Samar had stopped caring about his image long before he’d planted his first bomb. For the most part, he’d earned the looks of distaste, disgust, and ire directed at him, the name Chopra standing for brutal and harsh. His uncle had once explained it well- that sacrificing your name and honor for the good of a cause was enough if you let it be.

But Nola had done nothing to deserve this bullshit except be born under a bad name. While Chopra stood for something others would rather not look at, Wrenley was an easy villain. A target for the smoldering hatred of thousands to be directed at, a scapegoat now that the real bad guy was dead. Samar would scream the names of all the people he’d killed if it would stop the city from looking at Nola a second more.

When Miles finally looked at her, it felt like an afterthought. Any traces of concern in his expression weren’t for her, they were for Camilla - or so said the voice in the back of her head. Magnolia dropped her hand from her face, making sure Miles would be able to see the lingering hot red mark on her face, hurt evident in her expression. Magnolia had been outright slapped, and now because Camilla drunkenly tripped over a chair when Samar pushed her back that made her the victim.

Samar should have punched Cam. He’d wanted to, whether it was the burning fire of whiskey igniting his anger or just the very real hatred he felt for those like her. Camilla was a stain, the reason Samar still had a hard time moving past the rebellion, the kind of person that made him wonder if they had really accomplished anything. He smirked down at her fallen form, brushing his hands on the new suit Nola had acquired him like Camillas grime had rubbed off on him. He turned back to Nola and gave her a once over, not one to ask stupid questions like ‘are you okay?’ even if he was worried. She could handle a slap- she could handle way more then that- but he wasn’t sure she could handle the mortification of all eyes on her.

“What the hell?!” Suddenly there was a man in his face, angry and broiling and somewhat familiar in a way that he couldn’t place. Samar turned back around and made a face at him, equally confused why he’d be defending Camilla and why he thought he stood a chance against Scarmouths number one anarchist.

“Back off. Don’t be that dude that defends the angry bitch” Samar rolled his eyes and cast a scathing look over the shorter mans shoulder towards Camilla

When Miles saw Magnolia’s face, an interesting combination of shame and embarrassment hit him square in the chest. Magnolia had become a real friend to Miles, and the fact that it looked like he’d sided with Cam- who he promised himself he’d stay away from- over her when he knew this whole thing was undoubtedly Camilla’s fault, and it clearly hurt Magnolia… Miles didn’t know how to respond to that.

Luckily he didn’t have to, as the man who’d pushed Camilla was engaging him now. A part of him wished he’d stayed home: cleaning up the messes people make when they’re drunk was something he thought he’d left back at his father’s house. Another part of him wished he’d stayed out of this mess, but whatever he felt towards Magnolia, and whatever he still felt towards Camilla meant that he knew he wouldn’t be able to do that. Either way, some of the fire had died down in him. He knew two things here: this guy was a lot bigger than him, and a lot of people were staring. Preferably, he’d like to get through this without any further incident, but he’d settle for getting the attention away from Camilla- and Magnolia- if that’s what it came to.

“Listen,” Miles said, knowing he was cemented as “that dude” no matter what he did, “I get it, okay. Cam’s a bitch. You’re drunk. But you’re acting like a fucking barbarian.” He shot Magnolia a look, as if to ask “who is this asshole?”

Magnolia wanted to look anywhere but at Miles but the heat of the stared around them had her gaze fixate on him. Angling herself towards them, hoping to obstruct any camera angle trying to snap this moment. She had dragged Samar there on the promise that he’d go unnoticed then went ahead and caused a whole scene with Samar left made out to be the bad guy. The adrenaline had finally burnt through the last bit of alcohol, color flushing to her cheeks.

“Samar didn’t do anything,” Magnolia stepped forward in between them, her tone pleading. “He was just trying to defend me, Camilla tripped over the chair by accident.”

Samar glanced around at the gathered crowd, a little too aware of their eyes on him. Nola’s words were sweet, but it was clear from everyone's expression who had been painted the bad guy already.

“Nol, we should go” He grumbled slowly, reaching a hand forward for her arm. Magnolia glanced back briefly, then back to Miles. For a moment it looked like might say something, but then her eyes drifted back to Camilla over his shoulder looking all too satisfied with herself and the scene she was able to just put on. Nola sighed, doing her best not to shake her head and laugh only discernible to those in their immediate vicinity.

“I gotta…” She tapped her temple as if she’d just remembered something before gesturing over her shoulder.

Samar? Miles knew that name, and he knew it well. “Wait,” His words were half a whisper as he reached out for Magnolia, grasping at her hand. But he looked past her, studying the mountains and valleys of Samar’s face. He was taller now, but of course he was taller. It had been a long time since they’d really seen each other. “I-” What was he doing?

He dropped Magnolia’s hand. “I’m sorry, I,”

whyareyoulikethisyoualwaysdothewrongthingyouthinkyou’rehelpinganyone?you’rejustinthewayyoualwaysdothisyou’realwayslikethisyoushouldjustmindyourownbusiness
nobodyhereneedsyoutheycanhandlethingsthemselves

Miles smiled, big and bright and fake, “Right.”

Samar stared right back at the man, caught between his cocky act and confusion. As soon as Nolas hand was dropped he tugged her back, murmured a fast “We’re leaving” and spun them back into the crowd. It wasn’t dense enough that they could disappear like they wanted to, but people parted easily enough around them for Samar and Nola to make a beeline for the entrance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi
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noah lawson.
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hex: #879788. outfit: here.
xxxi hear the voices when I'm dreaming
xxxi can hear them say
xxxcarry on my wayward son
xxxthere'll be peace when you are done.
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Noah had met his fair share of unpleasant people in his time. When you worked in emergency medicine, it wasn't uncommon to get screamed at because you told them that their precious darling daughter had a hangover instead of meningitis, or because you dared to leave them waiting for a few hours. It was easy to brush that kind of nastiness off. Emergency departments brought out the worst in people. People were in pain, or scared for their loved ones, or just scared in general.

But there was absolutely nothing that could excuse the unpleasant and downright nasty attitude of Camilla Rhodes. Her response to him just made him raise an eyebrow in disdain. Truth be told, there was plenty he could have said to her in that moment, but he wasn't confident he could get it out without stammering, and he would be damned if he gave her that ammunition. He glanced away awkwardly, taking a mouthful out of his drink as she leaned in to Ryan, whispering something before kissing him on the cheek; a gesture that seemed so contradictory to what she'd been saying beforehand. Noah might have commented on it to Ryan, might have tried to turn it into a joke or something. He'd only gotten as far as shooting Ryan a sympathetic look before Magnolia appeared, and things began to take a turn for the worst.

Everybody was staring at Magnolia and Camilla. Which meant, by extension, everyone was also staring at Noah and Ryan. If the tension of being that close to the argument wasn't troubling enough, the tension of having everyone staring at them was only worsening things. He was about to try and make a run for it and drag Ryan with him for fear they would be dragged into the argument as well when Camilla threw the first slap. That should have been the perfect opportunity to get away, but something made him stay. Somebody's going to end up getting hurt before tonight is out.

He'd expected the girls to start fighting, perhaps, or for the alcohol to get the better of one of them, resulting in a twisted ankle. He had not expected Samar to physically shove Camilla away from Magnolia, causing Camilla to stumble over a chair and hit the ground, her elbow colliding with something on the way down. Noah was already assessing the situation. She didn't hit her head, at least, which took urgency away from the situation. He flagged down a waiter. "First aid kit, now. And some ice," he instructed. He knew better than to try and get involved in that situation when Samar and the other man- Miles, wasn't it?- were yelling at each other. Cam was stable and could wait. If a brawl broke out between the two men, Noah knew it probably wouldn't end as cleanly. The minute Samar and Nola left, Noah knelt beside Camilla, examining her elbow as best he could without touching it.

The waiter had left the first aid kit and a bucket of ice beside him, with the forethought to leave a towel with the ice. Noah wrapped a handful of ice up in the towel and pressed it to her elbow. "Hold that there," he instructed. "I don't think you've broken anything, but I can't say for sure without an x-ray. It's probably worth checking it out, but I'm not going to force you to come to the hospital if you don't want to," he said. He glanced at Miles in the hope he might have some sway in encouraging her, but not feeling particularly optimistic.





hatch williams.
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hex: #400026. outfit: here.
xxxi wasn't born yesterday
xxxa bloodsport but I'm a saint
xxxit's time to consider
xxxthere are no winners
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Hatch had discovered that almost everyone else at the party was incredibly boring. She had, at least, convinced two council members to bring their cars in to her, but she wasn't even sure their business was worth the effort of playing nice. She was getting ready to leave when shouting from across the room caught her attention. Well, it was better than idle conversation, she told herself as she wandered over. And then she spotted who was involved. A wry smile settled on her face as she leaned against a table a short distance away, watching as things unfolded.

Camilla seemed to have met her match in Magnolia, it seemed. The two of them were equally angry and equally intoxicated, and it was amusing to watch. She knew Cam would win, of course. Cam would refuse to let anything go until she felt like she'd won, even if the other person never actually admitted defeat. But watching Magnolia put up a fight was at least worth it. At least, until Samar stepped in. Two against one seemed unfair, especially when the extra person was Samar. She wished she could have said she was disappointed when he decided to brutally shove her to the ground, but she wasn't.

She began to make her way over to Camilla, but Miles got there first. Hatch had never seen him quite so protective over anyone, and she raised an eyebrow. Something about that didn't sit quite right with her. The doctor was checking her out now, and said something about bringing Camilla to the hospital. "I can drive you, if you want. This party is boring anyway," she offered, keeping her tone light.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi
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every word has consequences.
outfitx|x#3B5998
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzevery silence, too.
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Ryan wasn’t stupid, of course all of this was about the articles he’d written on Camilla’s band. None of it was personal, he just didn’t think it was right to let them get away with such blatant propaganda. Maybe that was a mistake, but he wouldn’t do it any different. But when she insinuated that he would lie in his stories, he felt much more defensive. It didn’t take a genius to analyze the lyrics Sophie’s Valentine put out, and claiming he was lying about any of it was just her wounded pride trying to take him down with her.

“Wouldn’t want some false information to spread and someone end up being hurt by it.”

And after saying that, Camilla had the nerve to kiss his cheek. A mixture of the unwanted contact and her words sent a shiver down Ryan’s spine, and for the briefest of moments, a disgusted crossed his face. ”Is that a threat, Camilla, or a cry for help?” He asked flatly, softly, trying not to draw any more attention to them.

Then Magnolia Wrenly came, presumably, to his rescue, and Ryan immediately wished she hadn’t. He did, however, step back as the two women started arguing, trying to stay as far out of it as he could. Nola was kind, but Ryan only got the feeling that things weren’t going to end well from there. He glanced at Noah, almost as if to ask if they should be getting out of there when two things happened in quick succession: Nola splashed her drink on Cam, and Ryan pulled up the camera function on his PCU, which he got to start filming right as Camilla slapped Magnolia.

Ryan hadn’t really noticed Samar before he came barreling in towards Camilla, but he did know this wasn’t good for his image.

Miles Caal got involved. Ryan didn’t know him, but he knew enough about him to know that this was an interesting development. Ryan had stayed up to date with all the news that had come out about people who’d worked for the government during the revolution, and Miles had insisted the entire time that he didn’t have a choice in what he did (though much of what he’d done didn’t hit the news, just the results), and he seemed genuinely repentant. Ryan wasn’t sure if Miles looked like the kind of man who was sorry to have done the wrong thing, or the kind of man who was only sorry because he wound up on the wrong side.

At any rate, he didn’t really seem to help in the current situation, but it defused itself, nonetheless.

Nola and Samar left, probably for the better, then Noah was looking over Camilla, and Miles had (halfheartedly) turned to check back in with Cam. Ryan wasn’t about to interject on Camilla’s possibly-necessary medical care, but he did offer a sideways glance at Miles, interested in seeing how the man who’d so quickly run to her aid would react.

”You should probably go, Cam.” Ryan didn’t think Miles looked all there, ”Hatch ‘n the doctors’ll take good care of you.”

Miles seemed to notice that Ryan was staring at him, then, and turned to look at him. ”Cam do that?” He asked, referring to the wine staining Ryan’s shirt. Ryan nodded. ”Hm.” Miles nodded, himself, and without ceremony looked at Hatch, said, ”You know how to reach me if anyone needs me.” And then turned to leave.

Weird guy.

Ryan scratched his head, ”Do you have any stuff you need someone to get for you, Camilla? A coat or something?” He wasn’t particularly fond of the idea of helping her, but he wasn’t heartless either, and he didn’t want to leave the woman high and dry while she was drunk and hurting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Blake Langston
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#, as written by Caille
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Blake Langston.
#603670
Surprisingly Blake had stayed out of most conversations, or maybe that wasn't as surprising as they thought. They were however good at being in the background without really being noticed, they had received their Irish coffee and were nursing it at the bar when Magnolia had a drink spilled on her and the one and only Cam had come up to her to give her assistance. That being said the conversation was barely audible to Blake at the time because all they could do was stare at Camilla Rhodes.

Blake had not seen Cam in a long time, but some of her features were just the same as they had been before. The way she held herself was one of them because Camilla Rhodes was not someone you could walk all over, she was determined, confident, passionate, and sometimes a trouble maker. That aside who wasn't a little bit of trouble maker from time to time? Blake sure wasn't above it and had been known for it their whole life.

Just as quick as she was there, she was gone, but their eyes followed her a little until they caught themself. There was a compelling aspect that made Blake drawn into going to see her, going to say something to her just like all those times before. This had quickly settled into Blake as they reminded themselves of the countless pages they sat in front of, staring and wanting to make the words produce on paper. They had tried numerous times to say anything at all to Cam over the years. They wanted to write her all the time, but only ever produced 5 letters at various points in their life. All five being unsent.

At this time Blake was downing the Irish coffee faster than before but avoided looking up to find Cam. Last they had seen, she was with another girl and they didn't want to seem creepy if she had ended up looking their way.

As Blake turned to order another drink, this time nothing with alcohol in it, Blake noticed that Cam had taken off her jacket and placed it on the back of one of the chairs. If Blake was going to talk to Cam at any point tonight, they didn't want to be drunk and they wanted to be somewhat stable.

Blake had also noticed by this point Magnolia was back from wherever she had went and some bulky dude was next to her as he grabbed bourbon and shots. This was not going to be good. "Bottoms up," Blake mumbled to themselves while shaking their head and taking a sip back of their coffee.

It seemed slowly one by one everyone was meeting up in the same place. That may not be the best idea, as much fun as Blake was having to watch their own personal TV show, they got up from the bar to use the restroom and by the time they came out a fight was breaking out. "For fucks sake Cam." They said with a small chuckle and zero animosity. Before they could step in to knock that gorilla off his feet, Miles was there and that girl from before. Instead, Blake knew what they could do and it would be their only shot of talking to Camilla at this point.

Blake quickly went to retrieve something and they had a rough idea where it was. It took some time, but finally, Blake found it and folded it over their arm before heading over towards the group.

They would be lying if they said they weren't nervous to see Cam face to face let alone talk to her. It had been years, but they always wanted to reach out again and see how she was doing. Blake would not back down now.

They approached the doctor, the girl, the reporter, and her. There was a mention of trying to find the rest of Camilla's stuff for her, which Blake put a hand out to pause the conversation.

"I believe all she had was this jacket." They said with a small smile and looking over to Cam. "It might be chilly outside, let me know if you need help with it," Blake said extending their arm out to give the jacket to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Blake Langston
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I'm bad, as bad can be
So bad that it's hard to believe
Oh, what they say about me

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xxxxxxxxxOutfit ║ Hex: #A38E8E

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<3
Eyes were all on Camilla, but not in the way she would have preferred, plus the pain in her shoulder was taking most of her attention away from the usual glamour of the limelight. She had her eyes mostly shut and wincing in pain, but when she opened her eyes, she was met with a smirk from Samar before he turned away to Magnolia. And when she scanned the crowd she noticed Ryan Joshi with his camera out, presumably filming what was going on.But a familiar and gentle sound voice drew her attention from the report, seeing that the voice belonged to, a former friend, Miles. When he asked if she was okay she just nodded, letting his hand touch her chin and around her body, helping her up. His gentle touch just as she last remembered it. “Thanks.” She said in a soft quiet tone, before he turned his attention to Samar.

Camilla would be lying if she said she wasn’t surprised that Miles was standing up for her. Reminded her of the time where he stepped between her and a guy that was obsessed with Cam was upset she wouldn’t reply to his DM’s. But Samar was much bigger than the obsessed fan, a bit worried for him. She watched as Samar told Miles not to defend her, shooting a look in her direction, Camilla tried keeping a straight face, but the pain of her arm was still on her mind. “Hey!” She tried to interject when Miles said she was a bitch, but the two men just continued.

Magnolia spoke up again, saying Samar didn’t do anything, and that Cam had tripped. “Bullshit, he shoved me.” Cam spoke again, but it was useless as the two left, and Camilla’s felt cold pressure on her arm, seeing the doctor from earlier tending to her, giving her directions. “Okay.” She just said, holding the towel and rag against her arm. He spoke about going to the hospital, which at this point she felt too tired to deal with, but before she could reply, Hatch was next to her again. Her recent partner suggested that she could drive her, and a comment about the party being boring. This would be a good excuse for her to leave the party, without the commotion of an ambulance and being forced to go to the hospital. Plus she could spend some time with Hatch away from all the commotion, and she did always love Hatch’s ride. She heard Ryan say something about how she should go, but she just ignored him. “I like the sound of that Hatch.” She replied, turning back to the doctor asking about if she had anything.

The only thing Camilla had was her jacket, which she left over by the bar. But as that came to mind, it seemed to appear as she thought of it, and being held by another familiar person from her past. Blake Langston. “Blake?” She mumbled out loud, before realizing Blake had asked her if she would need help with it. “Yeah actually.” She turned around and let them help her put on the jacket, getting a bit of goosebumps from Blake’s touch. Her tone was a bit softer than how it usually was, not sure how to exactly react to what to say to Blake since it’s been so long. “I was just leaving, but you can walk out with me, and Hatch.” She said to Blake, before turning back towards Hatch and flashed a smile as the three of them headed outside.

Hatch went off to get her car while Blake and Camilla stayed by the curb, Camilla couldn’t remember whose idea it was, but agreed as it made sense, and she was getting a bit tired of being in her heels. “It’s been awhile Blake, years. Good to see you survived all the conflict.” Cam said, turning her head to Blake, who had their arm around her. She didn’t need help standing up, but she still allowed Blake to have their arm around her. If she wasn’t already a bit cold from the weather and red from the alcohol, she might have blushed a bit when they spoke about her band. “Yeah, it’s been a bit wild. Especially with the… rioting and such…”

As Hatch pulled up and honked to show she was ready to leave, Blake looked away from Cam and opened the car door for her. Camilla gave Blake a hug before sliding into the passenger seat. “We need to talk again Blake. It was good seeing you.” She said, holding out her manager’s card. “Just mention the Alphabet People album if they don’t put you through to me.” She said with a smile as she closed the door and Hatch drove off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Magnolia Wrenley Character Portrait: Danika Orlov Character Portrait: Noah Lawson Character Portrait: Miles Caal Character Portrait: Hatch Williams Character Portrait: Samar Chopra Character Portrait: Camilla Rhodes Character Portrait: Ryan Joshi Character Portrait: Scott Feltikk Character Portrait: Blake Langston Character Portrait: Damien Moore
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hatch williams.
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hex: #400026. outfit: here.
xxxi wasn't born yesterday
xxxa bloodsport but I'm a saint
xxxit's time to consider
xxxthere are no winners
Image
Hatch drove Cam home. Cam had insisted that she didn’t want to go to the hospital, that she didn’t need to go, and Hatch got the impression that it was probably best not to argue. Hatch left Cam be, but not before telling her to call her if she needed anything. She wasn’t sure if she was disappointed or relieved when her phone didn’t ring all night.

The following two weeks had been quiet. Boring, almost. Work was picking back up, but plenty still regarded her with suspicion, so it wasn’t what it once was. But it got her through. Cam brought her car in for a “service”, as she’d promised, but Hatch hadn’t seen as much of her as she usually did. She told herself she didn’t care, and she almost believed it.

Usually, she never would have bothered with these carnival type events. But she had nothing better to do with her evening, and besides, it seemed like everyone she knew was going. So she found herself wandering between obnoxiously coloured stalls and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy. It was more enjoyable than she expected, if she was being honest to herself. She heard chattering from a nearby square, and headed in that direction, cotton candy in hand. A screen had been set up, with a countdown ticking down. It was down to single digits as Hatch hovered by the edge of the square.

3.

2.

1.

The screen flickered, and then a video feed came up. The audio was crackly and uneven, but you could make out what they were saying just fine. One of the council members was talking about ambushing unarmed citizens during the revolution. Then the feed cut out, and cut to another. And another. A woman shooting a man. “Heroes” of the new state working with those who had been declared criminals in the aftermath. The clips kept coming, getting worse and worse as they went on. The crowd got more and more restless.

Eventually, the screen went black, with white text appearing in a simple, but bold font. “THESE ARE YOUR HEROES. THESE IS YOUR GOVERNMENT. THEY WILL BETRAY YOU. MORE EVIDENCE TO FOLLOW.”

The screen went black. And then, everyone’s phone beeped in sync. Hatch pulled up her PCU, opening her email. Somebody had sent a folder, containing a video file, presumably the video evidence that they had just shown, and a document. Curiosity got the better of Hatch, and she opened the file. Around her, everyone was doing the same, and there was gasps of horror and disgust as they read the contents. Everything from government officials accepting bribes, details of experiments they had allowed, to reports about those they had honoured at the awards ceremony. Hatch shut her PCU down and decided that she needed to get out of town before things turned nasty. She wasn’t the only one with that idea, and she was jostled as she headed back into the city to head back home. People were already beginning to shout at each other, the party atmosphere of the carnival gone.

Hatch wasn’t sure what happened first; if she heard the explosion or if it flung her from her feet to land a few feet away. Her ears were ringing as she turned to look behind her. Everything seemed muffled, as if through water, but she could still make out the screaming. She staggered to her feet, picking glass from her hands, as she just stared at the blaze a few yards away from her.