3rd Dec 2019, 5:21 PM
Purchase groceries

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Purchase groceries
Acting on Maria's advice, you shop around for about a week or two worth of healthy food. The store is fairly clean, and you see (and avoid eye contact with) a couple of other people shopping here. There's a definite... DIY element to it all, though. You see technology you've never seen in a grocery store--or anywhere, maybe--with a mish mash of pipes and wires running in and out of the walls. The homebrew tech definitely explains the strange combination of smells, though you're not entirely sure what it's all for.

By the time you return to check out, Maria is gone, but her dad is still working the register.

"Have you ever been to the Back Room?," you ask.

He shakes his head while ringing up your purchases. "I've heard it's a weird place," he says. "A bunch of guys that quit Mondol to do their own thing. No idea what they sell, though."

You finish purchasing groceries.

You are left with almost no money,
but you do still have money.

You return to the bus stop and wait. It takes a little longer this time, but it's not that bad. You watch some very round birds fuss over someone's discarded fast food until the bus pulls up.



"How was it?," asks the bus.

You sit down, setting your groceries on the floor. "I met Maria," you begin. "She's... energetic. She said Mondol's trying to take over the town."

"They are," the bus replies with a frankness that almost blows you out the window.

She continues in the face of your stunned expression. "I'm not programmed to track their growth, but less than three years ago their local presence was one convenience store. Today they own a significant percent of the businesses in town and have begun moving on to the residential districts. If the data from other AIs in my network is accurate, this is standard procedure. They've witnessed Mondol bulldozing houses in other towns to make room for expanded malls with Mondol apartments."

"Holy shit," you blurt out. "Literally the whole town becoming Mondol."

"Springmark, East Virginia," the bus states simply. "The town of Springmark is a mall."

"Like..." You trail off, eyes wide.

The bus says again, "One mall is the entire town." You're pretty sure she could phrase that sentence a dozen different ways and you'd still have trouble imagining it.

"What... aaaabout... like... going outside?"

"MondolParks provide the latest when it comes to indoor wilderness experien--"

"Oh," is the only reply you can muster. It's not much of an interruption, but the bus seems prepared to accept that you don't want to hear the rest of the spiel. "Wow."

"Yes," the bus concludes in a tone neutral fashion. "As part of a contractual agreement between the company and Chariot MT, I'm strongly discouraged from engaging in discussions about how those not actively under Mondol's employ--and many who are--have been fighting against MondolGroup's growth. The owner of Maria's being involved in that fight fits all my previous data."

The rest of the ride is fairly uneventful.

The bus drops you off at your house, and you thank her again.



It's about 1:00 pm when you step back into your home, groceries in tow.

You stash all of your recently acquired foods in their appropriate places in the kitchen; you now have healthy food options in addition to your instant food products.

You toss the leftover grocery bag into the empty box in the kitchen.



Physically you're fine, mentally you're exhausted.

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3rd Dec 2019, 5:36 PM
Yeaaah, let's not force Plaire into more socializing then. Look up and decide on what easy recipe you're going to be making today, and consider your video-making options: gotta make more mmmmmmoney somehow, right?
3rd Dec 2019, 5:37 PM
3rd Dec 2019, 7:30 PM
3rd Dec 2019, 7:57 PM
+1
make reverse breakfast, eggs and bacon.
3rd Dec 2019, 9:33 PM
3rd Dec 2019, 11:51 PM
Sweet, sweet moolah. Come to mommy.
3rd Dec 2019, 5:39 PM
Omg I love the bus. 10/10 good AI friend.

Right, do we have the mental energy to work on a video? Is that something that we find mentally invigorating, or draining? If it's the former, let's do some work on a video! If it's the latter, let's find something else we can do that will fit under the umbrella of mental self-care. Perhaps play a video game or do a craft or something. Do we have a hobby besides vidya?

Also, definitely congratulate ourselves for going outside and doing things. Take THAT, anxiety! We are *awesome.*

Edit: Oh wait, it's lunch time. Let's make an easy but healthy lunch-- sandwich, perhaps? If we got fresh corn, we can chuck an ear of that, still in the husk, into the microwave, and then shuck it and butter it. You can also microwave potatoes whole to make "baked" potatoes.

Edit edit: Before microwaving, *poke holes in the potato,* this is important.
3rd Dec 2019, 5:42 PM
Limrix
+1, especially to the holes.
3rd Dec 2019, 5:41 PM
Limrix
Take pita (or other bread), cover in hummus, top with spinach. Serve with water, assuming the water here is fit to drink. Then let's make some videos.
Also bus is good people, they've given us good info on their town. Probably best not to rat them out as our source, though we already don't talk a ton.
3rd Dec 2019, 5:42 PM
Sounds like it'd be a good time to relax with some comfort video games. Do you have a soothing favorite?
3rd Dec 2019, 5:45 PM
Portal In Time
I feel ya, Plaire.

Let's heat up some ramen (Using actual spices instead of the flavor packets) and play a game for a few hours, then switch over to editing our latest crush souls video, once our battery has recharged enough. We can take a break for food at around 6, later. Then we can make something that takes a little more effort than ramen!
3rd Dec 2019, 6:47 PM
I hear somebody knocking...
4th Dec 2019, 12:27 AM
That bus is a perfect example of malicious compliance. ^_^
4th Dec 2019, 1:46 PM
I, for one, appreciate when our AI not-yet overlords know how to apply sarcasm.
With some luck Plaire will end up emancipating her (and possibly others).
4th Dec 2019, 12:49 AM
I think we should just play a bit of video games to relax
4th Apr 2020, 8:05 PM
The bus is the best character