26th May 2020, 7:20 PM
Make plans to check the junkyard

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Make plans to check the junkyard
You thank Afu and Ezra for their time (and the cell phone, and the dream ring). You, Kate, and Cici head next door to the "Old Fashioned" Burger Joint. Posted on the door is a piece of paper; in big, bold letters, it reads

NO SOLICITORS FROM MONDOLGROUP
WE ARE NOT INTERESTED


The three of you take a table near the door.

You finally experience the breakfast burger.

All-beef patty. Sharp cheddar cheese. Eggs. Bacon. Hash browns. Ketchup.

On a burger.

It is the height of decadence, equal parts delicious and terrifying. It is a testament both to man's ingenuity, and to how much a human being can hate their own body. You're pretty sure you gained three pounds just by looking at it. If heart attacks had a mascot, it would be this burger. It is the best burger you have ever had, and may have ruined the experience of eating other burgers.

As you all eat, you discuss the situation.

"How dangerous is the junkyard?," you ask. You keep your voice low; though the restaurant isn't packed, per se, it's approaching 11:00 am, so the lunch crowd is starting to pile in.

"Don't bring food," Kate replies with an immediate smirk.

"Yeah," agrees Cici, "some of the raccoons don't sleep anymore, and the birds around here are just straight up rude. They'll leave you alone if you don't carry snacks--but it's a warzone if you have food in your pocket."

Some of the raccoons don't sleep anymore...? "Did you, just... like, follow the raccoons around and learn their schedules?"

"I had time," Cici says, before adding "I was curious! I was pullin' a double and I thought I saw the same raccoon during the day and at night. ...It's hard to tell raccoons apart, though."

You're pretty sure you can't ask any follow up questions without laughing, so Kate takes over. "Did... did you try putting little hats on 'em?"

Cici turns her gaze downward. "Maybe, yeah."


Once you and Kate have both recovered from laughing (and apologizing, and explaining that you're not laughing at Cici, you're just losing it over the visual of raccoons running around town in tiny hats) you resume discussing the junkyard.

"I think that's where we should go next," you suggest. "We can look for Franklin, we can look for weapons or whatever, and we won't have to prepare for it like we will the old library."

"Ehhh," Kate begins, "maybe, maybe not. We might have to prepare for Franklin. Was that game one of the magic ones?"

"I can't be sure," you reply, "not without taking a nap... but it was definitely suspicious. I think he knows how the games interact with the dream, and if that's the case then he knows about the dream itself."

"And if he knows about the dream, he's probably involved," Kate points out. "It'd be way too big a coincidence if he's just a magic game... dream guy who just happens to live in the small town where all this shit's kicking off. Fuck, it might have been Franklin that killed the witches."

"Isn't he blind?," Cici asks.

Kate gives a big, deliberate shrug. "Who knows? I didn't think he was a wizard, either. ...Or a programmer. Dude could've been faking it this whole time. We start asking questions, we might have a fight on our hands."

Hmm.

You're not so sure... but you really don't know.

"The First Lie isn't really a band, is it?," you ask Kate.

"Hell no," she says, "none I've heard of anyway, and I'm into some pretty obscure shit. You mentioned it when I asked about magic words last night, though--the first lie, and... that shit the bony guys were saying. I have a right to know."

"That one's from my brain," you state, "I'm pretty sure. Remember the first lie was written on the side of a weapon I found... well, part of a weapon. It was broken, and wrapped in weird police tape. The odd comments I got online were all referencing that phrase, too, so I think it's a shibboleth--like a secret handshake. The maybe-librarian pretending it was a band was likely to try and test Ezra... see if he knew what it really meant."

"What I don't get is, why be coy?," asks Cici. "All the secrets and code words... man, if I could do magic, everybody would know."

You mull it over while you take another bite of your burger. It's so good, but you can feel your arteries clogging in real time.

"It's clear there's a culture of secrecy," you begin. "A big masquerade in plain sight, keeping the public from knowing about this stuff. I mean, there has to be, or we'd have known magic was real sooner."

"The feds rolled in after the original owner of your house died," Kate remarks. "I know a government cover-up's pretty cliche at this point, buuut..."

Cici leans back in her seat. "So magic's real, some video games have magic built in, and the government's been covering it up? This is crazy. Why? Why hide it? Even just the dream stuff could like... change the world! And there's no telling what else it can do. Invincible houses!"

"I mean..." you shrug. "The mayor said the house could kill me, and clearly, people have died. Maybe magic's too dangerous for the world to know about?"

"Fuuuck that noise," counters Kate. "Guns are dangerous. Cars are dangerous. I know exactly why the government's hiding magic: because poor fuckers like us can use it."

"I'm not poor," Cici mutters.

"You're sharing an apartment with your sister," Kate replies, "a Mondol apartment. You're not POOR but you're definitely not the kind of people they want doing supernatural shit. Everybody knows the super wealthy are out there doing occult rituals and shit on their private islands--I'll bet they've had magic, real magic the whole time. They don't want anyone else to know about it because magic's fucking free."

"It does mean," you begin, "that not only do we have to avoid anyone that might exploit the house, like Rill Parsons or anyone from MondolGroup... but we can't trust anyone that might report us to the feds, either."

Kate immediately looks at Cici.

"What?," Cici asks.

"You can NOT tell your sisters about ANY of this," Kate tells her. "Bebe likes to talk and Deedee's a narc."

"Deedee's not a narc!," scowls Cici.

"Deedee's dead serious about puppy patrol, she'll totally turn our asses in."

Cici huffs. "...Puppy patrol's a serious job."

You fight back a smile. "You say that, but you're still calling it puppy patrol."

"No cops," says Kate. "No friends of cops, no cop wives, no cops-in-training. We're allowed one former-cop-adjacent, and that's Cici. If they even have a cop friendly bumper sticker on their car I'm hitting the veto."

"The veto?," you ask, trying not to laugh. "Am I president now?"

"You will be," Kate says, stifling her own laughter. "After we figure out this magic shit, we're taking over the country. I don't have to eat the rich, I'm gonna summon nightmare monsters to do it for me."

Cici sighs, smiles, and shakes her head. "This is escalating way too fast. I signed up for a sleepover and some fun ghost adventures, not a coup."

"I haven't even beaten that stupid wall yet," you reply. "I don't see us overthrowing the government any time soon."



In addition to eating and trying to decide how much prep you need for the junkyard, you start writing things down in the notebook you received from Bebe. If information is really just... disappearing, then you reason it might be a good idea to keep documenting your investigation. You have a couple of files on your computer now, but field notes could prove useful, as well.

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26th May 2020, 7:36 PM
Now we shall head to the junkyard, led by President Plaire!
26th May 2020, 11:14 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
Pretty sure Michelle, Fuse, Finch, Caius and the rest of the BIM crew have first dibs on the magic president thing... but that's just semantics.
26th May 2020, 7:48 PM
Limrix
I think a quick trip to Maria's first might prove useful if it's not too much out of the way. If Franklin's not there, Maria's the best person to ask where we can find him. We can also ask the bus.
26th May 2020, 7:51 PM
26th May 2020, 8:19 PM
BJBlack
+1, hit Maria's; that arson thing has "Sidequest Hook" written all over it, and if action on our part will help to secure our food supply, we'd better find out about it.

The bus's assistance will also be valuable; she's been very forthcoming.

Also, don't forget: Name the bus Cherry.
26th May 2020, 8:54 PM
26th May 2020, 10:17 PM
+1, the junkyard might not be the best option if we're smelling like breakfast burgers. : P
27th May 2020, 8:17 AM
26th May 2020, 8:13 PM
BJBlack
Hey. Does the Junkyard have an owner, or employees, or anything? The conversation makes it sound like it's in the abandoned part of town (but not "that far north" with the direwolves), but could we get a rough description of where it is, compared to "safe" neighborhoods?
26th May 2020, 11:13 PM
Go say hi to that crow.
26th May 2020, 11:54 PM
+1. Crows have good memories! It can't hurt to befriend the local corvids. Do we have any leftovers to feed them? (If we do, obviously we should get rid of those before heading to the junkyard lol)
27th May 2020, 8:18 AM
27th May 2020, 6:40 AM
27th May 2020, 10:05 AM
27th May 2020, 5:36 PM
27th May 2020, 7:59 PM
BJBlack
"There is apparently no crisis so imminent that will deter you from contemplating idiotic and frivolous actions."

-Homestuck, page 199
27th May 2020, 10:26 PM
Snervalton
Hey them corvids were pretty useful in BIM, so I wouldn't characterize this particular action as idiotic or frivolous.
26th May 2020, 11:41 PM
Who needs Brainsate when you've got a burger joint around ?
26th May 2020, 11:58 PM
Plaire is pretty dang smoll, so as long as she doesn't have a family history of high cholesterol or anything, eating more of these burgers is probably a good plan for her lol.

What equipment do we need in order to tackle the library? We should think about that while we're on the way to wherever we're headed next (apparently Maria's, according to votes further up the page) and consider where we need to go and what we need to do to equip ourselves. Both Kate and Cici have jobs, so I want to make sure that next time we have both of them available and good weather and daylight, we're ready to go.
27th May 2020, 12:06 AM
Snervalton
We might want to contact Marlow and pick his brain re ghostly matters to get an idea of what we might need to prep for a visit to the haunted Old Library.
27th May 2020, 12:46 AM
If Cici were actually financially well-off she could've bought herself a new eye.
27th May 2020, 8:20 AM
pkrankow
That is the difference between financially well off, as in stable, not living from paycheck to paycheck, or being actually affluent with cash reserve.
27th May 2020, 3:05 PM
Snervalton
This story takes place in the same country as BIM and they had bio-printing in that story. Makes me wonder how affordable a new eye would be to a person on say, a librarian's budget? A society that has privatized police probably has privatized healthcare as well.
27th May 2020, 11:19 PM
Another thing to keep in mind is that, after the events of BiM, it might have gotten more expensive and difficult to get bioprinted body parts, like how traveling by plane became more expensive and difficult after 9/11.