17th Jan 2020, 8:34 PM
Establish the need for a sleepover

 <<First 

Establish the need for a sleepover
Kate's words drift away until she turns to look directly at you.

You don't know what to say, either. The word fire couldn't be a trigger--in a small town like this, everyone's going to be talking about it, and that's too much data to sort through. ...But then again, algorithms can do a lot these days. If the system can flag certain words it can flag combinations of words, or the word only when spoken by females, or...

You can't really explain where you were during the arson without mentioning the mayor or the house, and if Mondol knows anything then those are definite flag options.

"...Are you guys alright?," Cici asks. You realize you and Kate have just been staring at each other, making bewildered faces and shrugging.

"Plaire needs a sleepover," Kate blurts out.

Your name could be a flag. Kate said your name.

Cici said your name as soon as she walked out.

Ughhh you are not a super spy this is harrrd

"Plaire...?" Cici looks at you, clearly confused.

"Uhhh... yeah." You subtly, gently nudge your head in the direction of the sensor above the door. "Maybe a quiet sleepover."

Cici squints. You can see the gears turning, but she's not quite there yet. She leans over... and looks up to where you're suggesting. She sees the sensor. She turns back to you.

She tilts her head.

She squints harder with her one good eye.

You and Kate do everything you can to psychically project your intentions, but only manage to make stranger faces.

"...Oh!," Cici finally exclaims. "Yeah! C'mon in! I sure do love sleepovers."

She leads you into her apartment. Once Kate's shut the door behind you, Cici begins to cross the room--lightly tapping her fingertips across the wall as she does. ...Well, lightly for her. Though Cici gives it the smallest of efforts, it still sounds like someone bouncing a tennis ball.

She stops when the noise changes.

"Bebe," Cici begins as she turns to face her sister. "We're gonna have a sleepover, even though I know how much you hate sleepovers."

"What? I--" Bebe, somehow, gets it immediately. Her demeanor changes, the large young woman doing her best to sound... upset? She's not a great actress, but you can tell what she's going for. "Ohhh yeah. Yeah girl, you know how mad I get about strangers sleepin' in my house."

"Wow!," Cici replies, also giving a... less than award winning performance. "You need to calm down, Bebe! You look mad enough to fight!"

"I AM mad enough to fight," Bebe affirms. "In fact--"

And then, as you and Kate watch on in continued confusion, the two of them begin to playfully grapple. You're not... entirely sure where either of them is going with this, until the wrestling culminates in Bebe shoving Cici backward.

Cici hits the wall--as does one of her elbows, with enough force to crack the surface.



An awkward but surprisingly tense pause ensues.

Cici looks down, as though having expected something to happen--

"Damn," she says with almost comedic stiffness, "my legally protected disability makes me so clumsy!"

Cici slams her elbow into the wall a second time, this time a bit more to the right.

The lights in the apartment immediately go black. You hear the AC system sputter out, a sound so faint that you didn't even notice it until it was gone. The blue glow of Mondol's electronics is the last to fade away.

"Power box thing for the whole floor," says Cici.

"One of our friends used to be head of maintenance," says Bebe. "He knows where everything is."

"Marlow?," Kate asks. "Fuck, he would know all that, wouldn't he?"

"Heck yeah, this building was like his baby or somethin'," Bebe chuckles.

"How long do we have?," you ask. It's a little weird talking into the dark; there's no windows in this apartment, so until your eyes adjust you see absolutely nothing.

...You're a little surprised you can tell Cici's voice from Bebe's. They're the same voice, just... there's nuances. Minor things, like how they say certain words.

"Oh, I have no idea," says Cici. "We never really did this before."

"Yeah, we just joked about it," confirms Bebe. "They got backups ready, so I'd talk fast."



You and Kate hurriedly explain everything, from the concert until now.

...Well, not everything. You trim the details in the interest of brevity, leaving out--for example--how the conversation with the mayor actually went. You tell Cici and Bebe only what you need to to understand the overall situation.

By the time you're done, your vision of pitch black impenetrable darkness has been upgraded to vague silhouttes.

"Mmm, you got all that?," Bebe asks.

"Yeah!," replies Cici. "The bus, right?"

"Yeaaah bus has gotta have it," agrees Bebe.

She casually pulls a phone out of her pocket and begins to make a phone call.

"Hey boy, it's Bebe. I got a faaavor. I know, I know! Mmmit's cop stuff though, I promise. Sooo you know they're out there lookin' for whoever burned the--yeah. ...Yeah, you got it! So I got two of those suspects here and I think y'all can take 'em off the list, I just need you to check some things for me. You got a pen and paper ready? ... Alright? Okay, you're lookin' for one of those Chariot buses. Yeah. It's a Chariot bus but it's got its cameras and junk turned off. Yeah. Okay."

... A brief wait.

"...Okay, what you need to do is ask for the bus's route last night. From liiike..."

"9pm to ten minutes ago," says Cici.

"9pm to ten minutes ago," repeats Bebe into the phone. "Yeah. It should look like... where that concert was, then it puttered around for a while, then it went to the mayor's office. Yeah. ...Yeah! The bus kinda hung out, then went to a convenience store. ... Yeah. Then to here. Yeah. I'm at home, yeah. But yeah, suspects said that's where the bus went and nobody else was ridin' that one, so if that's right then we got the bus as a witness these guys didn't do the--yeah."

...Another wait.

"Whaaat, a bus can be a witness! ... C'mon, really? Okay, one sec."

She covers up the phone with her hand, looking to Cici. "The bus route's good but they don't wanna bus as a witness. Bus could be lyin' about them being there. Y'all could have corroborated a story together after the fact or whatever."

"Whaaat?" Even as only a shape in the dark, Cici looks taken aback. "That's dumb, a bus can't lie. They're a bus. Okay, tell 'em... uhhh..."

Bebe shrugs. You can tell Cici's trying to think of something, but she's struggling as well.

Something that proves you were aboard the bus

that isn't just the AI vouching for you.

Hard evidence.

Evidence.

...Data.

Chariot MT is a company just like Mondol is.

A company working with Mondol.

With the clock ticking, you don't even hesitate to say it. "The bus might have logged our weight."

A short silence follows.

Kate finally responds. "...Oh, fuck, she probably did. That affects gas mileage and shit."

"And," you continue, saying the words pretty much as they come to you, "Chariot MT might not value the security of the passengers enough to reinforce the surveillance equipment, but how many passengers and how long they ride for affects their business. That's... demographic marketing stuff. That's gotta be on a different setup than the cameras and the recorded mics are."

You look at the shape of Cici, who nods and shrugs.

You look at the shape of Bebe, who nods and shrugs.

You look at the shape of Kate.

"...So why didn't the bus mention it?," Kate asks. "She's been pretty open about that shit, and if that's legit we really could've known it sooner."

"Maybe the analytic stuff is off limits for her to talk about." You don't like it, but it's the best answer you can come up with in the moment. "Maybe she doesn't know she's tracking all that... but I'll bet she still is." If anything, the bus being bizarrely open about the greater evils of capitalism would make it easier to smokescreen the smaller evils of capitalism. It certainly didn't occur to you until just now. Like Kate said: if you're right, the bus never mentioned it.

"Good enough for me!" Bebe brings the phone back to her ear. "Hey! Yeah, it's still me. When y'all find that bus see if they got data on their weight or capacity or whatever at different times, you can use that to find out when folks got on or off. You might have to get a warrant. Oh, and they're gonna fix those cameras tomorrow morning, so y'all gotta get on it or you're gonna need another warrant to figure out which bus had the busted--yeah. Yup.

A short redhead and an average sized lady with pink hair.

Yeah.

Cool, thanks!"

Bebe hangs up the phone. "They ain't gonna do all that, y'all are good. Soon as I mentioned needin' two warrants I could already hear him scratching y'all's names off, they're just gonna take my word for it. Lazy asses."

"I gotta say..." Kate begins, putting her hands up, "Like, damn. You thought of that plan quick."

Bebe shrugs and smiles, shoving her phone back into her pocket. "It was mostly Cici's idea. She was like the bus? And she gave me that look--"

"Yeah," Cici says, "and Bebe was like ohhh yeah the bus."

You turn to Kate, who likewise turns to you. She appears as confused as you feel.

Kate's the first to respond. "So... like... you guys conveyed that whole plan with a look?"

"And just mentioning the bus," you add.

This, after all the difficulty Cici had picking up you and Kate's charade routine earlier.

"Well... yeah! Pretty much," says Cici. "I mean, Plaire came up with the weight thing, but... yeah. I just had to be like... you know, the bus."

Bebe adds, "If y'all don't got sisters you probably don't get it."


The room hums softly as the lights flicker back on. The sensors and the large TV in the living area reboot as a bright, almost blinding red before returning to their previous soft blue tones.

Bebe, fighting back a smile, very loudly declares: "I have learned not to overreact about sleepovers, and I will definitely not do this again."

Cici approaches you and Kate, keeping her voice lower. "You guys at least shouldn't have to run from the cops now. If you need a place to stay, well... we got a couch! And a floor, but it's not very comfortable."

 <<First 


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17th Jan 2020, 8:49 PM
pkrankow
Couch and (carpeted) floor can work awesome with a couple extra blankets. Just like visiting Grams and Gramps when little.

Ask about a spare pocket notebook, pen, pencil, crayon...

We need to play some party games, board games, or cards (4 is perfect for many games), and other sleepover type things. Get to know our hosts, local history and be friends.
17th Jan 2020, 8:56 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
actual history can wait till morning... and off the premises. but yeah card and board games and general vague niceties sound good.
17th Jan 2020, 9:01 PM
Hari_Seldon
Are we going to play board games or card games in case we need powers if we still have the Alcazar dream? What should we play to get powers? I can imagine some games might give us no powers, like poker. Magic the Gathering would be cool but unlikely they have it.
17th Jan 2020, 9:39 PM
Limrix
+1, we need to take our breaks where we can get them. Playing a board game seems worthwhile, in that it's likely hard to find a video game here, and we can test if board games grant powers on the off chance we do still dream.
18th Jan 2020, 1:25 PM
Snervalton
+1 to seeing if other types of games grant powers in the dream dungeon.
17th Jan 2020, 8:51 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
Eh, might as well. It's late.
Plus the couch might have one of those pull out unfolding beds in it. I mean, how often do you actually check under the cushions for one of those? ... also they feel like standard stock apartment issue stuff to me.... and the cheaper option than getting tube cop grade couches since the bed acts as further reinforcement when it's all folded up.
17th Jan 2020, 8:55 PM
We owe these two a beer.
And, well, I think Plaire might still be holding that unopened can...
20th Jan 2020, 9:39 PM
17th Jan 2020, 9:08 PM
Hari_Seldon
So we could play board games or card games, but if they have no good ones we could do truth or dare. Might make the bone monsters talk (Truth, Plare has a right to know) or order them to leave us alone (Dare).
17th Jan 2020, 10:09 PM
pkrankow
Ooooo. Truth or dare is a good plan.
17th Jan 2020, 11:32 PM
Snervalton
+1 to Truth or Dare
18th Jan 2020, 12:03 AM
lil Joshu
+1 for it, but for later in the haunted house... interesting to learn if it has to be video games or if all games apply.
18th Jan 2020, 10:41 AM
Hari_Seldon
Lil Joshu I'm just worried if we don't play a game before bed at Cici's we are not prepared if we do have the dream anyway. So we should play a game just in case. It could be for like 5 minutes if we are tired.
17th Jan 2020, 9:21 PM
I vote for telling *fake* ghost stories, just on the off-chance that it trips Mondol's algorithems with false flags and ticks off an intern or two who have to listen to our nonsense.

Also, thank the super sisters for saving our butts. Hugs if they'll allow it. Then get settled and don't forget to clean up in the morning.
17th Jan 2020, 9:38 PM
undeadDreamer
Thank Cici and Bebe then tell them if it's not too much of a bother it's getting late so it'd be nice to be able to stay the night. Tell them you really owe them one and ask them if they have a sister named Ayay or something like that.
17th Jan 2020, 9:48 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
Gotta be honest, I'm thinking it'd be best to not introduce any new variables beyond sleeping somewhere other than in our haunted house right now. Been a long day, further experimentation can wait till tomorrow at the earliest.
19th Jan 2020, 11:27 AM
18th Jan 2020, 6:29 AM
I totally grok the sister telepathy thing, happens all the time about basically everything.
18th Jan 2020, 6:40 PM
18th Jan 2020, 11:42 PM
Warn them that sleepwalking/talking may occur and to wake Immediately if you hear 'I have a right to know.'