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American Arcana: Session XIII- Unlucky Number

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>Twitter: https://twitter.com/Judge_Presiding
>Last Thread: >>1824784 (http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/1824784/)
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When last we left off:
>>Can we just get a pair of supremes?
>>We've been dealing with this guy named Leroy recently- I heard you know him?
Sofia is alarmed you bring him up, probably because her uncle snarls when he hears the name. "Bastard, probably really." He becomes cold and focused when you mention the man has stolen from Black Cover. "Never learns. When I am younger he comes in and buys pizza, does not pay. Next time he comes in we don't serve him. He threatens my father, Papa pulls shotgun with salt out from under counter. His brother comes in later and is sorry, pays for food. That man we never have problem with."

>>Did you ever know Agatha Milani?
He snorts. "How do you know this name? Yes, I know her." Sarpino begins to reminisce when he comes back with the pizza. "Ah, yes. Is when I am younger as well. Delivering by bike to hospital bed room where little rich boy Clover is. Had his legs broken by mob, still orders from Italians," he laughs. "So I go there and there is this girl, her damn brothers beat me once for fun. She is bringing him food she made herself in secret, it is pretty good. She and Clover boy share pizza, I go home with Sunday Gravy and Rigatoni- test for poison first though. I think she still makes that for him, been some time since they come in. Son comes in, though."
The pizzamaker raises an eyebrow. "Why do you ask?" You manage to dodge the question and thank him, trying to remain calm at the fact that he knows who Aurelius is. You can't ask him now, he might get the wrong idea.

>>Ask Sofia if she knows about Clover visiting or not, she might have an idea.
She thinks. "He only gets delivery, never sits in. Uncle says he never has enough time. It's a bit awkward walking up to such a big building and telling them I have a pizza for the CEO. He never receives it in person, either, but he tips twenty dollars a pizza."

It's getting late, and while your stomach is full, you feel like you really should be taking the day off tomorrow. It might give you more time to study over the weekend- not like you need to.


LATE MORNING, Friday September 14th (Weather: Light Rain. Forecast for tomorrow: Moderately Cloudy.)
You wake up late, and your nose hurts like hell. You've been given the day off, which means that you should probably take it easy and not get into any trouble.
Also, you have a text from Sofia, as well as from Donna, Ruth, and Keith.

>>Morning Business
>Do some studying for later exams
>Call someone/Reply to a text
>Buy something from a school store
>Buy a snack/drink from one of the vending machines
>Check Anonymouse
>Great time to brush up on Starcraft
>Just rest and relax
>Think a bit more
><Write-In>
>>
>>1842591
>Check all the text
>>
>>1842591
>Check all of the texts
>Great time to brush up on Starcraft
>>
>>1842625
>>1842639
>Check all of the texts

>SOFIA: Are you feeling better?
>SOFIA: I've finished those socks. You can pick them up after classes end when you're able.

>DONNA: man Im srta mad u gt outa tsts bt brkn nse's gota suc
>DONNA: u wana get ice crm r wut?

>RUTH: Just wanted to follow up and make sure you were okay. Reply whenever you can- I figure everyone is worried about you.

>KEITH: Dude are you gonna be on to watch the game tonight? I'm sure Martinez won't mind, but might be good to keep you outta your room
Hoo boy. You ponder how to reply and consider what else you can do this morning before things get really confusing.

>Great time to brush up on Starcraft
Trying to relax yourself, you play a quick set of games against someone you've never seen before, blowing them out with Zergs. You have experience with all three armies, but one of your best matchups is Zergs versus Terrans.
This player may be fast, but whoever he is, he lost his concentration and made a bunch of mistakes with setting the pace of combat and failing to defend his expansions. You eventually overwhelm him with superior numbers and win as he continues to pump expletives and questions about your heritage and sexuality into the chat. With your nose hurting your focus, you think you might have lost had he simply kept his cool.

Light rain begins to sprinkle outside. It won't stop Martinez's game unless it starts to thunder.
(You get +1 to all rolls for today!)

It's nearing noon when you get off the computer. You feel a bit famished, and figure the cafeteria should be open at the moment.
You remember that the doctor gave you painkillers, but that they're supposed to make you drowsy.
>>Lunchtime
>Head to the cafeteria to chat with someone
>Go get lunch elsewhere
>Get a bite to eat then come back to nap
>Take a single painkiller
>Take painkillers until the pain in your nose is gone
>Answer texts accordingly <Write-In>
><Write-In>
>>
>>1842706
>Answer texts accordingly <Write-In>
>>Sofia: Okay, I'll come see you after classes
>>Ruth: I'm doing fine, thanks for worrying about me.
>>Donna: snds grt.
>>> Dammit, now I'm doing it...
>>> Mind if we head to the baseball game after?
>>Keith: I'll be there.
>Take a single painkiller
>>
>>1842733
Second
>>
>>1842733
>>1842786
>>Sofia: Okay, I'll come see you after classes
>>Ruth: I'm doing fine, thanks for worrying about me.
>>Donna: snds grt.
>>> Dammit, now I'm doing it...
>>> Mind if we head to the football game after?
>>Keith: I'll be there.
>Take a single painkiller

Your plans for the day set, you take the time to pick up the socks Sofia made for you. She's exhausted from tests, but comes to the door with them when classes are over.
"Here. It took me a while to find the right yarn, but I eventually got it."
They're very soft, and loose-fitting. You don't think they'll help you out any in combat, but they seem like they'll be good socks to relax in.

"Solomon!" Donna walks up to you while you're in front of Sofia's room. "Oh. Hi, Sofia. What's up?"

Carollo gives you a wary look, but ultimately doesn't question it. "I knit, so Solomon bought some socks from me."

"Ah. Well, you know what they say. If you're good at something, never do it for free." She snaps her fingers. "Oh, we were going to get ice cream to help Solomon's nose feel better. Did you want to come along?"

Thinking it over, Sofia ultimately shakes her head. "No, I think I'm fine. Have fun." You brought the ten dollars she was selling them for, and she removes the bills from your hand before promptly closing the door.

"Sheesh," Donna shrugs. "What's her deal?"

Thankfully, the painkiller you took is mostly doing its work, and you don't feel very sleepy.

---

You and Donna walk to the ice cream shop, and she chatters all the way there, a small disposable camera in her pocket.
"Anyways, Mr. Bennett was pretty sick-looking today. I think he even threw up at one point- he had to leave the room. I'm a bit worried."

>>Walking
>Do they have any sort of special flavors in Crescent City?
>Man, you sure do love cameras. How many do you have?
>You don't think it has to do with his drinking?
>Hey, do you have any photos of David? I want to see if his 'unusual' features show up on camera.
>Did you grow up here?
><Write-In>
>>
>>1842809
Not really a mistake so much as ambiguous, but
>Price snaps her fingers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U
>>
>>1842809
>football
Derp, I meant to type baseball, but w/e

>You don't think it has to do with his drinking?
>Do they have any sort of special flavors in Crescent City?
>Did you grow up here?
>>
>>1842818
No, that was my correction (Martinez plays both football and baseball- you played in the baseball game) I assumed you meant football- might have miscalled it baseball in a past thread.
>>
>>1842809
>You don't think it has to do with his drinking?
>>
>>1842818
>>1842845
>You don't think it has to do with his drinking?
Price frowns. "Man, I hope not. How much would you have to drink to get sick like that?"
A lot, you figure, especially if he's a regular drinker. Maybe you could convince David to talk to him about it, or confront him yourself.

>Do they have any sort of special flavors in Crescent City?
"Not really," Donna shakes her head. "We're really 'vanilla', eh?" the girl admits it's a bad joke with a hand wave. "We're not that fancy. I think the most 'unique' thing on the menu is a butter pecan the owner swears won awards."

>Did you grow up here?
"Yeah, I've never been a lot of places- never left the States. It really bugs me that I don't know anything about actually being in other countries. I have to watch them on TV or hear about them from my dad and take their word for it." She kicks a can on the sidewalk into an alleyway. "One of the main reasons I want to become a journalist is because it means I get to travel."

Price gets a bit pensive as you enter the shop. "I hear all these interesting stories and I can't say anything but 'Oh, I went to school', or 'Oh, me and my friends went to the skating rink'." Making sure not to talk about the Witching Hour in front of anyone else, she adds, "I wish I could tell my family about all the cool stuff we do, but you know. Secret." She orders a single coffee-flavored scoop and then sits down to poke at it and sometimes eat it with her spoon.

>>I wish I could tell my family about all the cool stuff we do
>What, are our 'normal' lives not cool enough for you?
>I think Crescent City is pretty interesting. Maybe that's because I haven't lived here all my life.
>That surprises me. If anyone could find something interesting in a 'boring' life, I'd think it'd be you.
>(Make a sensible order, such as one scoop of a single flavor)
>(Make a more interesting order, such as flavors that normally don't go well together or lots of crush-ins)
><Write-In>
>>
>>1842910
>That surprises me. If anyone could find something interesting in a 'boring' life, I'd think it'd be you.
>I think Crescent City is pretty interesting. Maybe that's because I haven't lived here all my life.
>(Make a more interesting order, such as flavors that normally don't go well together or lots of crush-ins)
>Maybe there sorta is a way you could tell your family about this stuff? You could try writing about the Witching Hour stuff as though it were story and present it to them like that?
>>
>>1842910
>That surprises me. If anyone could find something interesting in a 'boring' life, I'd think it'd be you.
>Actually order a vannila ice cream see if she gets the joke
>>
>>1842956
>>1842975
>That surprises me. If anyone could find something interesting in a 'boring' life, I'd think it'd be you.
She puffs out her cheeks a bit. "Pft. You talk like that to all the girls?"
>I think Crescent City is pretty interesting. Maybe that's because I haven't lived here all my life.
"Probably,” she snickers. “It’s not all bad, but I dunno. I just want to see things for myself.”

>(Make a more interesting order, such as flavors that normally don't go well together or lots of crush-ins)
>Actually order a vannila ice cream see if she gets the joke
When you’re done making your order, Donna stares at the abomination that results. “What the hell?”
You calm her down by mentioning that it’s vanilla- with as many crush-ins as the shop allows.
“Oh, I get it. Making the most of a ‘plain’ flavor by using it to hold a bunch of other ones without having the core flavor overwhelm the add-ins.” Donna smiles. “Smart.” This seems to spark an idea in her head.

>Maybe there sorta is a way you could tell your family about this stuff? You could try writing about the Witching Hour stuff as though it were story and present it to them like that?
Price sighs. “I mean, that would make me look crazy. One of my sisters is inevitably gonna say ‘that character is obviously you’, because, you know, it is. If I was gonna make stuff up, I’d make it up wholesale. Maybe I’d just write about a bunch of fictional Myth-users facing a different challenge and write like that.”

She ponders the situation, and you realize that you understand Price better. While she’s insightful, her curiosity drives her to seek out new things and see them for herself.

((Your bond with the Sage increased to Rank 2!)
Donna can now aid you during negotiation.)


You check the time and see that you should be heading back to Olympia if you want to watch the game.

---

Keith is there in an Olympia hoodie. “’Sup. Game’s starting soon. I had a pregame snack, so I should be good until the half.”

“Did your ‘snack’ have more than three kinds of food in it?” Donna asks with a mocking tone.

Allan rolls his shoulders nonchalantly. “I mean, a cheeseburger has a bunch of stuff in it, so I guess?”

“Jeez, what are you, a bottomless pit?” Price can’t believe Keith.

He shrugs. “Six foot two burns a lot of calories, shorty.”

You sit down and watch your school begin to kick the tar out of the opposition. However, in the second half, you notice the Olympia players getting lazy and making fouls. Martinez isn’t amused, and begins yelling at the center once he goes off-sides one time too many. The center is a little bigger than Martinez, and the coach calls a time-out once the argument starts breaking down.

“What’s going on out there?” Keith mutters.

>>What’s going on out there?
>Martinez is being too hard on him. It’s a shoo-in.
>Martinez has that guy dead to rights. This is no time to quit.
>I dunno. Wanna get snacks?
><Write-In>
>>
>>1843053
>Team is slowing down Martinez is trying to get them to step up their game
>>
>>1843105
Support
>>
>>1843105
>>1843202
>Team is slowing down Martinez is trying to get them to step up their game
"We're up 38 to 6, though, and it's almost the fourth quarter," Price kicks her legs. "I don't think they can come back from that."

“Don’t count it out yet,” Keith tells her. “Even when a slugger has been losing several rounds, one good knockout punch can end the fight. Teams have come back from worse scores by pulling it together in the last minutes- because the other guys quit.”

Sure enough, the enemy team begins scoring, and soon the points gap has closed to 38 to 19. That's where it stays after the football coach gives an angry speech halfway through the forth quarter that makes the defense focus. Martinez is unable to get his offense to score, though, and is disappointed and tired when he comes out of the locker room.

"Good game," Donna says, but Kenneth shakes his head sorrowfully.

"No, it really wasn't. We had a good first half, but if we did that late in the season, the other team would have jumped on it even harder and we would have lost." He rakes his fingers through his sweat-slicked hair.
"I just wanna go to bed after the tests and then that. See you all tommorrow."
He begins to walk away, looking somber and thinking, muttering to himself a bit.

>>See you all tommorrow.
>Don't you want to get something to eat? You must be starved.
>Hey, take it easy. It takes time to make a group into a team.
>If you care, the other guys are gonna start to care too.
>Well, if nothing else, you did well.
>Actually, I'd like to talk to you about something else... (Talk about his Monster)
><Write-In>
>>
>>1843214
>Hey, take it easy. It takes time to make a group into a team.
>Don't you want to get something to eat? You must be starved.
>>
>>1843214
>Hey, take it easy. It takes time to make a group into a team.
>Besides you won, that has to count for something
>C'mon let's grab a bite make it a celebration
>>
>>1843214
>Hey, take it easy. It takes time to make a group into a team.
>If you care, the other guys are gonna start to care too.
>Don't you want to get something to eat? You must be starved.
>>
>>1843221
>>1843226
>>1843271
>Hey, take it easy. It takes time to make a group into a team.
“I guess so.” Kenneth takes a deep breath.
>If you care, the other guys are gonna start to care too.
>Besides you won, that has to count for something
That really strikes his thoughts, and he stops walking and pauses to look up. “Yeah,” the quarterback closes his eyes.
>Don't you want to get something to eat? You must be starved. C'mon, let's grab a bite, make it a celebration
You seem to have persuaded him to put off bed. “Sure. A bunch of the guys and other people are going to an old-timey diner nearby. A few are stopping at Sarpino’s, but pizza wouldn’t really do it for me right now.”

“Cool,” Keith seems enthused. “I think I’ll get a patty melt.”

“Or five,” Donna snickers.

---

“Gotta love 50’s aesthetic.” Keith puts down his soda. “Or 60’s aesthetic. Or 40’s. I can’t really tell.”

“Yeah, places like these are timeless,” Martinez thinks out loud. He’s sitting beside the running back, who’s been telling terrible jokes all night.

“A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. Bartender says, 'Sorry, we don't serve food here’.” This leads to a bunch of chortles from the players, who are snacking down on all sorts of sandwiches and fries.

Donna is sitting next to you and virtually dying in her seat. “Someone make him stop...” she moans.

There are other people here, but most of those in your vision are football players or the two that came with you. Keith is inhaling a double-patty melt and the fries that come with it, while Donna is stirring a small bowl of chili with onion rings on the side. Part of you wonders where David, Ruth, Sofia, and Mr. Bennett are, but you put it aside. No need to be clingy, they’re doing their own things.

>>Dining Out
>You’re a pretty good quarterback. Has anyone talked to you about going pro?
>Must have been hard getting all those points in the first half.
>Keith, you're a titan. Ever thought about playing football?
>Man, Crescent City has a ton of great restaurants. And this place is open forever, so we don’t have to worry about curfew.
>Hey, we started a club. You interested?
>Where’s everyone else? Do they not come to football games?
>(Tell a joke to beat out the running back’s <Write-In>)
><Write-In>
>>
>>1843310
>Toast on the victory
>Man, Crescent City has a ton of great restaurants. And this place is open forever, so we don’t have to worry about curfew.
>>
>>1843310
Gonna support >>1843317
>>
>>1843310
>Man, Crescent City has a ton of great restaurants. And this place is open forever, so we don’t have to worry about curfew.
>You’re a pretty good quarterback. Has anyone talked to you about going pro?
>Must have been hard getting all those points in the first half.
>>
>>1843317
>>1843322
>>1843324
>Toast on the victory
Apparently this catches on, and the football team trades toasts before the meal continues.

>Man, Crescent City has a ton of great restaurants. And this place is open forever, so we don’t have to worry about curfew.
“I know, isn’t it great?” Keith smiles. “I love this city.”

>You’re a pretty good quarterback. Has anyone talked to you about going pro?
He shakes his head. “Got a while to go before I have that conversation.”

“Like cooling your jets a bit,” one of the linebackers mutters, but Martinez lets it pass. He seems to realize that even though the team didn’t do as well as they could have, they pulled it together in the end.

“Besides, if you really want a pro,” he bumps the running back in the shoulder, “This guy can run like a bull and catch like a wide reciever.”

>Must have been hard getting all those points in the first half.
“Yeah, we put all of our energy into the first two quarters,” he says. “Everyone did great. We just need to manage to keep that momentum up for all four quarters and we’ll basically be unstoppable.”

Principal Brown approaches the table from behind you. “Well, you all did great. I’m not as much of a night owl these days, so I wanted to congratulate you on the win before heading back.” Before he leaves, he mentions, “By the way, don’t stay out too late so you’ll be awake on the train. I want to see everyone home safe.”

After he leaves, the football players joke about it. “Man, what’s gonna happen? Does he think the train’s gonna break down or what?”

“I dunno, maybe he thinks we’ll piss off some gangsters or something.”

“Isn’t the Principal supposed to be a gangster himself?” one guy says, and attracts everyone’s attention with it.

The running back is interested and prods for more information. “Whaddaya mean! Come on, spill!”

The rumor-spilling player drums his fingers hesitantly. “Well, I mean, I’ve seen him talk to this guy who’s all scarred and in a fancy suit and stuff, and there were these two other guys with him. Fancy car. Looked like mafia.”

“Man, that doesn’t mean shit!” the center guffaws. “What, is he gonna put us in concrete shoes for missing classes or something?”

There are a couple of laughs, but one or two of the players seem nervous that this might actually be the case and look around for people that look suspicious.

---

That'll probably be it for the night. I'll return at 7PM US Central Weds and Thurs (technically today and tomorrow for me at the moment). Hit up the Discord if you have any questions between now and then.
>>
Your meal out on the town is coming to an end, and most of the football players leave to go back to Olympia. As they go, Keith indicates that he plans to stay out later.

"You guys can go back, but I want to stop at my gym. They're open all night so long as you have a key like I do. There are probably a couple of guys there." He pulls out the key he's using and waves to you as he heads off in another direction. You've never been to the gym, so you don't know where it is.

Kenneth seems fine with Keith going, and waves after him."Be safe."

Donna almost speaks up as if she wants to follow Allan, but relents after she wipes the sleep from her eyes. "How's your nose now?" she changes the subject.

>>How's your nose?
>Fine. Let's head back.
>I'm good. I'm gonna go with Keith.
>You like getting a scoop, let's follow him and see where he's really going.
>Martinez, you notice all the strange things going on recently?
><Write-In>
>>
>>1845736
>Fine.
>You like getting a scoop, let's follow him and see where he's really going.
>Martinez, you notice all the strange things going on recently?
>>
>>1845767
Second
>>
>>1845736
Support >>1845767
>>
>>1845767
>>1845775
>>1845866
Price smirks in a fashion that can only be described as ‘Cheshire’. Martinez shakes his head and realizes that this spells trouble.

You and Donna decide to follow Keith discretely at a distance, and Kenneth dutifully tags along ‘to make sure you idiots don’t get killed’.

Sneaking a few blocks back from your target, you slowly realize that Keith is heading to the South side of Crescent City, because the buildings get more and more rugged and the streets less and less lit. You pass by the costume shop and see there are broken car parts like worthless hubcaps on the sides of the road and alleyways where trash piles up. You pass by closed liquor and convenience stores, trashy bars, and beaten apartments, even seeing some suspicious red lights not too far off.

Kenneth doesn’t seem too threatened, but still concerned, while Donna is putting on a brave face. She’s not scared, but she suspects something wrong is going on behind the scenes. Strangely enough, however, Allan does actually enter a boxing gym, Bill’s Weights and Boxing, which is lit and there are figures working out and sparring inside. It’s visibly aged, sure, but the area outside of it is clean. There’s a vending machine that looks like it’s been punched more than a few times outside.

“What do we do now?” Donna whispers. “I thought there would be more windows.”

“You mean you don’t have a plan?” Martinez growls. “Let’s just go, it’s really late and we’re on the bad side of town.”

>>What do we do now?
>We’ve come too far to quit. I’ll text Keith we changed our minds and then we’ll head in.
>South side… There’s someone I need to talk to here.
>Yeah, no way I’m going in there.
>Ooh, a vending machine! I think I have some change from the restaurant.
><Write-In>
>>
>>1845869
>>South side… There’s someone I need to talk to here.
>>Ooh, a vending machine! I think I have some change from the restaurant.
>>
>>1845869
>He's actually going to a gym.
>Boring
>C'mon let's make like a tree and leaf
>>
>>1845869
Supporting >>1845897
>>
>>1845897
>>1845964

>>1845960

“Dude, what?” Kenneth pales. “Who the hell are you talking about-”

>>South side… There’s someone I need to talk to here.

Leroy Brown. Probably the principal’s brother. A petty thief at best and murderous gangster at worst. Part of you wonders if you’ve come underequipped to deal with him. You need a bracer.

>>Ooh, a vending machine! I think I have some change from the restaurant.

“Oh, get me something too,” Donna begs. “I’ll pay you back. Do they have Mountain Mist?”

“Jesus Christ, you have to be kidding me.” Martinez shakes his head. “You’re going to talk to a gangster you previously pissed off at-” he checks his phone “-half an hour from midnight with nothing on you but your fists? Dude, your nose is already busted up, this is suicide.”

“They won’t kill kids,” Donna says. “It would cause too many questions. He might rough us up, but I’ll be damned if that stops me from getting a picture.”

Martinez hears this and refuses to let a 5-foot-tall little girl out-macho him. “Fine. Your funeral.”

---

You search with partial dread for any sign of Brown. When you see an ambulance with lights on in front of a large fenced and gated house on a hill, you suspect something is up and slow down.

“Dude, what the hell happened?” Kenneth gasps as he sees a rotund older man with black hair wearing fine clothes being carried out on a stretcher. Price raises her phone to catch a picture, but Martinez snatches the device away. “Come on, now isn’t the damn time!” Soon enough, two of the figures in the blinking lights become clear- Walt and Leroy.

Walt looks as calm as ever, while Leroy is extremely grim and stares at the man being taken away with sorrow. His lingering gaze on the man with sunglasses makes him seem like he suspects Bennett of wrongdoing. As for your teacher, he looks up from behind his shades as if he knows you’re there.

“We should really go,” Kenneth mutters to himself.

“Not yet,” Donna begs. “This smells of trouble.”

“Yeah, which is why we should LEAVE!” Martinez hisses and grabs Price by the shoulder.

>>A sudden death?
>Fuck outta here, I’m not sticking around.
>So that’s where he was. Okay, Bennett REALLY needs to fess up.
>Let’s head back to the gym.
>(Snap a picture)
><Write-In>
>>
>>1846020
>(Snap a picture)
Another one for the conspiracy web
>>
>>1846020
>(Snap a picture)
>>
>>1846020
>(Snap a picture)
I'm tempted to add
>So that’s where he was. Okay, Bennett REALLY needs to fess up.

but I don't know if we should pounce on him yet. Might be better to discuss with the other party members before confronting him about it.
>>
>>1846032
>>1846040
>>1846048
>(Snap a picture)

You take a photo with your phone, and unfortunately, Leroy is able to pick your photo flash out of the whole scene. He gives you a dirty look and puts his hand into his pocket, but he doesn’t do anything else. This is enough to frighten off Kenneth, and he pulls Donna away before breaking out into a sprint with the tiny girl in tow.

-

Eventually, you manage to come to a halt at a safer place and catch your breath. “We are not doing that again,” Kenneth huffs.

>That reminds me, have you noticed all the odd things going on lately?

“Yeah, I guess. Does Bennett have something to do with it?”

“I guess so. We have a sorta-occult club that’s been tracking the stuff that’s happening.”

“Occult?” Martinez seems unconvinced. “I don’t think a pair of mysterious heart attacks and a strange woman is enough to justify labeling the situation ‘occult’. Weird, maybe, but not ‘occult’.”

You notice Keith approaching with a tired expression. “Man, I heard an ambulance nearby. Hope nobody died. What’s up?”

>>What’s up?
>Someone died.
>We need to talk to Bennett badly. And I do mean badly.
>Nothing interesting.
>How was your workout?
>Do you want to tell Kenneth about the club?
><Write-In>
>>
>>1846109
>Fill you in later
>For now,do you want to tell Kenneth about the club?
>>
>>1846109
>Leaving the flash on
C'mon Solomon! What is this, amateur hour?

>Someone died.
>How was your workout?
>Do you want to tell Kenneth about the club?
>>
>>1846122
>>1846141
You mentally chew yourself out for leaving the flash on in your excitement to take a photo. You hope Brown didn’t recognize you at a distance- in the dark you have plausible deniability and nobody got enough of a look at you to tell. All Leroy knows is that there was a rubbernecker- you hope.

>Fill you in later
>For now,do you want to tell Kenneth about the club?

“Uh, what about it?” Keith seems a bit conflicted. “I mean, it’s sorta a big deal.”

Martinez, still catching his breath, leans against a wall. “What’s so important about this stinking club? Do you have some sort of secret knowledge?”

Donna nods. “I guess you could say that. The best way to do this would be to show you directly.” She looks at you as if to indicate you should do that tomorrow.

“This had better not be some sort of prank,” Kenneth mutters. “I’ve had enough excitement for one day. Night. See you all later.”

Martinez walks off with his hands in his pockets, causing Allan to shrug. “Them’s the breaks. Let’s go home.”

---
You explain what you saw on the way back, leaving Bennett's involvement out of it for now.
>Someone died.
When you expand on it, Allan is shocked. “Dude, what? Another old guy bit it? Damn, it’s like they’re being hunted or something.”

“I mean, he was probably a gangster, so you can’t feel too bad for him,” Donna tries to comfort Keith in her own way.

“Yeah, but still, how many people REALLY deserve to die?” the boxer asks. “Not a lot, I think.”

“He killed other people,” Price argues. “What about justice for them?”

The tall boy simply shoves his hands into his pockets and keeps walking with you. “What a night...”

>How was your workout?

"Was pretty good, the hurt feels nice. Maybe you can come along next time. We'll need to work on getting stronger if we want to go up against dudes like those robots."
He holds out his fist to bump yours, and you return it.

(You feel your bond with the Orphan will improve soon.)

---

EARLY MORNING, Saturday September 15th (Weather: Moderately Cloudy. Forecast for tomorrow: Sunny.)
The next morning, you wake up because of a text from David. You also have a text from Kenneth.

>KENNETH: What is it u wanted to show me?
>KENNETH: I got some free time

>DAVID: Something happened last night and Walt won't talk about it. Please advise.

>>Morning Business
>Do some studying for later exams
>Call someone/Reply to a text
>Buy something from a school store
>Buy a snack/drink from one of the vending machines
>Check Anonymouse
>Great time to brush up on Starcraft
>Get the photo you shot printed
><Write-In>
>>
>>1846324
>Call David
>>
>>1846324
>Call David
>Text Martinez a time to meet later
>Make a backup if the photo on a flashdrive.
>>
>>1846347
>>1846369
>Text Martinez a time to meet later
You text Martinez that you’ll get back to him. Right now you need to prioritize.
>Make a backup if the photo on a flashdrive.
You make sure this doesn’t get fried if your phone goes belly-up. Thankfully, the copy occurs without much issue, and you pocket the drive.

>Call David
He’s no less than panicked when he picks up. “Boss! It’s… It’s bad. It’s not as bad as after his date, but he’s completely closed off! I can’t get him to talk about it!” You can almost hear him frown on the other side of the phone. “I think it’s just like what happened to Martinez- whatever is going on in Babylon is making him paranoid.”

>>Whatever is going on in Babylon is making him paranoid
>I think so too.
>I have a photo you need to see.
>Try to get him to spill any more details you can. Did he say anything in particular?
>It’s worse than that. Get over here. I’m calling an emergency meeting.
><Write-In>
>>
>>1846429
>It’s worse than that. Get over here. I’m calling an emergency meeting.
>>I have a photo you need to see.
>>
>>1846429
Supporting >>1846481
>>
>>1846481
>>1846513
“What? What do you mean?” He seems confused, but trusts you. “O-Okay. I’ll be right over.”
You send out a mass text requesting everyone meet you in your room.
>SOFIA: What is this, a joke?
>DONNA: No joke. Seriously, this is super important.
>KEITH: Okay, what the hell happened last night?
>RUTH: It can’t be…
>KEITH: What can’t be?
>KEITH: Will someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?
>DONNA: The photo will explain everything.
>SOFIA: Everyone calm down. We’ll handle this there.

---

“What is Mr. Bennett doing with him of all people?” Sofia clenches her fists. “Associating with criminals? Is that what he’s come to?”

Allan nods and looks over your shoulder at the computer. “Yeah, seriously, what’s going on? All this freaky shit has got to stop. I need an explanation, and I needed it yesterday.”

David merely stares at his shoes in worry.

“I was there, and so was Kenneth. That photo’s legit. I don’t know who the old guy is, though.” Donna drums her fingers on the wall she’s leaning against.

“So I suppose that explains who the Phantom is...” Ruth states bitterly. “So I guess all that pretending not to know what my powers were was a lie, too.”

Carrollo clutches her head and sits on your empty bed. “I can’t believe it.”

“I don’t believe it,” Evelake shakes his head. “I mean, Bennett has always been secretive, but not evil. I like to think I’m a good judge of character.”

“Yeah, well… How do we know he’s not lying about this too?” Allan slams his fist down on your desk, causing the monitor on it to shake. “Someone who can just lie like that has gotten really damn good at it. He could have just played dumb these last few years.”

“No, I won’t believe my brother is evil!” David states firmly. “He cares about us. He’s just being secretive to help.”

“Then what the hell is he planning that needs all this secrecy?” Keith demands.

“Keith is right,” Ruth declares. “We need him to tell the truth if we can possibly hope to trust him. If he really is the Phantom, why did he hide it from you?”

You consider Bennett’s motivations.
>>Why is he hiding things from you?
>I can’t figure it out. Only one way. We’re talking to him directly.
>David is right. There’s some nobility behind all this.
>Keith is right. Walt has been playing us for patsies this whole time.
>He's working for the government.
>He's working for the Milani.
>He's working for Clover.
>There’s someone else involved in this.
>Bennett has a secret identity, and I know what it is. He’s trying to hide that.
><Write-In>
>>
>>1846584
>There’s someone else involved in this.
>There's too much to process right now
>Here what we know so far.....
>>
>>1846584
Supporting >>1846618
>>
>>1846618
Support

Maybe I missed something, but how did Ruth come to conclude that Bennet is the Phantom?
>>
>>1846618
>>1846624
You try to think who else is involved.
(You can view what you know in the Siege Perilous discord thread or here: https://pastebin.com/AvWGMJbJ)

It's just too much information. You wish there was something you could pull out of it.

>>1846655
>Ruth, how did you conclude Bennett is the Phantom?
Ruth seems surprised that you're asking, and collects her thoughts right away. "Well, he's got the connections to have sent me that letter, and it's possible he was pretending not to recognize my powers because he was the one feeding me information and help with the tarot readings I do. He's a professional Myth-User, who knows what he's capable of?"

"But his telepathy has a limited range outside the Witching Hour," David says.

"He said so," Donna wags her finger. "But we can't trust what he says for this thought experiment."

"Still, he'd need precognition and telepathy and also have to be a consummate liar," Keith is not convinced. "Do you really think a guy who puts back several drinks a day could do all that? Also, what about other Myth-Users who could find him out? You really think all of them are in on this?"

Everyone returns to thinking.
>>
>>1846687
I'll be honest, I'm just throwing shit out there, I'm struggling to make connections here.

Let's see...

Clover's electronics company? They could be responsible for producing the fancy tech that operates in the Witching Hour. That lebds creedence to the theory that Bennet works for Clover.

On the other hand, ge could just as easily be working for the government. They were the ones who produced the Paladin units, and he seems to be very knowledgeable on the subject.

Personally, I don't think Bennet is the Phantom... I believe that he has had the party's best interests at heart, even if he's gone above and beyond to hidr things from them. If he had precognition, why wouldn't he have predicted the night Durandal was injured and Keith, Sofia, and Solomon awakened? Why would he only specifically be using them on Ruth? Hpw could he have known about her abilities or that she would end up in Crescent City?
>>
Alright, closing the thread for the night. As usual, I'll be back tomorrow at 7PM Central.
>>
>>1846809
There's only one way to find out. You head to Bennett's office and find him talking to someone on the phone. The door is closed and locked, but you can hear him speaking.
"Yes, I'll give you a statement, but this is ridiculous. He probably drank like a fish, ate rich food every day, and hadn't broken a sprint in forty years. His heart did years before he did."
Soon after, Walt finishes up the conversation and walks to the door, adjusting his sunglasses. "And you're here for..."

"You tell me, you're the mind-reader." Keith mutters.

"Yeah, yeah. Look, Sostrato Milani is dead. Heart failure." Bennett doesn't seem affected by the mob family leader's death, but Sofia is very surprised.

"What?" Carrollo shakes her head. "No, more importantly, why do you know? Solomon caught a picture of you with a thug we've dealt with at the bookstore. And I'm suspecting you were with him at the Milani house when the heart attack or whatever occurred."

"Uh, because he was there to recruit me?" Walt drinks from his flask. "He had dinner prepared and told me he wanted me to work for him, I told him to shove it up his ass because it was obvious he was trying to get me to do some illegal stuff. He, uh, didn't take it well. His heart didn't take it well, either."

"He wanted to recruit you?" Donna asks. "I mean, how do you turn something like that down? He didn't have you at gunpoint, did he?"

Your computer teacher snorts and sits in his swiveling chair. "You have principles, that's what. This isn't the 1940s, the police would catch up to him if I suddenly was found dead after a talk with him."

>>Bennett's Reasons
>Not why we came to talk to you. You're working for the government, right? What are they looking for in the Witching Hour?
>I think we've proved ourselves to know the truth. Where's the Principal?
>We have a problem, and his name is the Phantom. Do you have any idea who this suspicious person could be?
>Do you work for Clover, then? I mean, if you did Milani would want you to go traitor.
><Write-In>
>>
>>1848020
>Not why we came to talk to you. You're working for the government, right? What are they looking for in the Witching Hour?
>>
Sorry, Internet cut out
>>1848027

>Not why we came to talk to you. You're working for the government, right? What are they looking for in the Witching Hour?
“Yeah, you see, when I was looking into very secretive databases I’m not allowed to tell you about for what the THING I sensed at the bottom of Babylon was, I came across THIS.”
He moves through some files on his laptop before turning a three-dimensional see-through rendering of the Earth with extensive blue portions indicated in the crust. It doesn’t reach to the center, but the blue portions cover perhaps a good third of the Earth’s volume.

“What’s that? Is that, like, portions of the Earth subject to the Witching Hour?” Donna looks at it carefully.

“I wish. That’s the thing. All of it. Everything you see in blue is the thing.”

“Good joke,” Keith laughs nervously, before he sees that Bennett is completely serious. “Wait, what? What the fuck? There’s no way. Nothing’s that big.”

“Nothing restrained by biological size restrictions is that big. This thing is not.” He points at it. “Thankfully, as far as we know, it’s completely docile unless provoked. Don’t quote me on it, but it’s supposed to be the Monster representing the survival instinct. Since it’s usually sated, it’s asleep almost constantly.”

“Unless provoked? Who would be stupid enough to fight that thing?” Sofia asks.

“Someone who thinks they can exploit it. There was an experiment a while back. The only thing I can bring up for it was the fact that it dealt with the Thing and had a 70 percent casualty rate.”

Sofia is shaken by this revelation. “So I take it the power source of the Dreamcatchers...”

“Comes from the Witching Hour, yes. The Thing apparently produces them from time to time, and they can be harested at about the rate they break down safely. I haven’t seen it myself, but the last notes on it were from before Olympia closed down. The Dreamcatchers I use are old crystals in new tools.”

>>The Thing
>Someone could tap into that thing’s powers?
>You mean there were at least ten Myth-users trying to do something to this thing and more than half of them died?
>How long have these experiments been going on?
>Do you think Faust could try to devour part of it?
><Write-In>
>>
>>1848079
>You mean there were at least ten Myth-users trying to do something to this thing and more than half of them died?
>How long have these experiments been going on?
>>
>>1848079
>How long have these experiments been going on?
>>
>>1848086
>>1848087
>You mean there were at least ten Myth-users trying to do something to this thing and more than half of them died?

“Yeah. Considering this thing is the size of a small moon, I was expecting it to be higher, actually.” Bennett admits. “But, I mean, when you go up against the psychic embodiment of self-preservation, killing it really isn’t an option.”

>How long have these experiments been going on?
“Since the moon landing. Seriously. When people say we didn’t go to the moon and cite secretive measures the US took, it’s because we found some shit up there even I don’t have clearance to look at.”

“But you know anyways, I suspect,” Sofia mutters.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the computer teacher twiddles his thumbs innocently.

“Alright, alright,” Keith waves. “But now that this is happening, what are those guys trying to do with the thing? It seems like that’s the reason why they’re trying to stop us, after all.”

“Yeah. If I had to guess, they’re trying to harvest it for energy somehow. If Babylon is related to it, that’s probably how they’re focusing it. But the fact that those two creepy kids weren’t helping them leads me to believe Babylon works for someone else.” He looks up. “But if Babylon is able to access it, that may be why they’re trying to stop you from going deeper in and interfering with them.”

“So now we’re going to get to the bottom of all this- literally!” David declares cheerfully. “We can’t let them use it. If it’s really that powerful, them using it could lead to all sorts of problems.”

“That’s right,” Bennett nods. “But there’s one other thing you all seem to have on your minds. Kenneth.” He looks at you. “You’re telling him about this?”

>>You’re telling him about this?
>Sure. Why not? He has the potential.
>Yeah, we need as much help as we can get- another recruit beyond would be nice.
>No, on second thought, I think we need to reconsider him.
>No, we can take care of this. No-one else needs to get hurt.
><Write-In>
>>
>>1848137
>Sure. Why not? He has the potential.
>If things are this serious then we'll need all the help we can get.
>>
>>1848137
>Sure. Why not? He has the potential.
>Yeah, we need as much help as we can get- another recruit beyond would be nice.
>>
>>1848179
>>1848198
Unfortunately may not be able to continue tonight, sorry. Will make it up with bonus round accordingly.
>>
>>1848255
Sorry I missed this session Judge, wish I'd had the time. Thanks for running.
>>
>>1848255
Hey Judge, so sorry I dropped from the quest a while ago. Persona 5 had me in its clutch, and maxed out my persona style limit. Stopped following you, USA, and Stars and Stripes.

Back now, and ready to roll.
Thread posts: 65
Thread images: 1


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