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Some Notes on Magick

Magic in its present form has only been practiced for about two centuries.  The spirit shepherds were aware of the existence of other worlds and realms of being before then, but only with the creation of the spirit stake were they able to do more than observe via the use of assorted powerful drugs.
The spirit stake is created during a ritual undergone while on a particular mixture of alkaloid herbs and poisonous mushrooms.  Inspired carvings and designs link the stake to a specific spirit witnessed by the ritualist; from then on, when correctly hammered into a living creature at a focal point just above the navel, that creature is granted powers and abilities derived from the linked spirit.  While hypothetically usable on any creature with a navel, for reasons which should be obvious they have only been used on humans after the first furtive tests of their utility.
Those who bear a spirit stake are known as magi, bearers of sacred wisdom.  Spirit shepherds consider all magi living gods and treat them with due respect; governments across the planet consider magi force multipliers in combat and beings of intense utility outside of battle.  Conflict between these two viewpoints has favored world governments over shepherds; shepherds are funded and accommodated in exchange for equipping as many troops as can successfully host a spirit.  Most shepherds are content with considering magi as living monuments to the power and influence of the spirit realms on the physical.
Certainly, a spirit has little to lose once it has been attached to a stake; for all intents and purposes they are invincible in their native habitats.  Spirits attached to stakes do not die of old age or sickness, and while they can be beaten off, wounded, trapped in an untenable situation, or suffer a variety of other misfortunes, they cannot be slain.  This can lead to profoundly old and profoundly powerful spirits.  The oldest and most owerful spirit, the sail mantis Worldtree, was one of the first spirit stakes ever carved, perishing at the ripe old age of 183.
There is a consequence for harnessing the power of spirits: inevitably, physical alterations are made to those who host a spirit.  There is a cycle known coloquially as "being in."  Depending on the spirit, there are a few days or weeks of "being in toe-deep," as a magi can back out of their status without significant physical alteration.  When this grace period ends, then comes "being waist deep," where the first physical changes begin.  During this tumultuous period, removing the stake will leave the user either heavily injured, crippled, or dead.
One the physical changes are complete, one is "in too deep," and returning to a normal human existence is impossible.  Some magi can remove their stakes and return to life with some adjustments for their physical alterations; others are effectively bound to their stakes until they die, else perish ignominiously.  Rumblers, being the most common and most heavily altered, are the most affected by this.
Spirit stakes are immaterial once they are activated, and can only be removed in one of two ways: by a ritual of liberation that frees the stake for use again, or by the user's death.  Rarely, a stake may be destroyed by a sufficiently powerful attack to a magi's midsection.  This has since become more common with the proliferation of rifled firearms and explosives, as prior it would take a powerful stroke by a strong man to damage a stake, or an intensely lucky shot with a musket.
"Lucky," though, may not be the right word.  Damage or particularly destruction of a stake also results in the death of the attached spirit--and, in its death throes, its powers are loosed uncontrollably in the material world.  This is known as a magi burst, or simply a burst.  While slain doves may simply vent gouts of antiseptic fluid and analgesics, and slain automatons surge forth with hungry, panicking, dying, alien ants, other bursts are yet more spectacular and horrible.  Boiler bursts, for instance, have scarred the landscape of Równiny, perhaps irrevocably.
Modern warfare has made the prospect of fielding magi a trickier affair than before.  The new ubiquity of precision firearms and explosives has made effectively every magi death a potential burst, and thus a potential disaster.  Some insist that the age of magic in war is ending, and that the next big conflict will be the last nail in its coffin--a particularly showy and unpleasant nail at that.  Others think that the threat of bursts is not enough to deter the sheer utility a magi presents to a fire team or squad.  Only time will tell.

Certain Types of Magi

While other types exist, these are the ones most familiar to inhabitants of Równiny and Górazima.

Rumblers are the most common and, until the creation of the Boilers, the most iconic of magi.  Rumblers are imbued with incredible physical strength and endurance, along with a dramatically accelerated rate of healing.  While this is accommodated by a drastically increased need for protein and iron, the increase is distinctly insufficient to cover the logical deficit in calories a Rumbler would undergo to patch over rifle wounds or replace lost blood in moments.  While not flashy, Rumblers are simply easy to use, dangerous (able to flip over or cripple armored vehicles with particular use of a rumble pike, for instance), and have a number of uses in logistics due to their high mobility coupled with high strength.
The downside of these powers is the effect on the Rumbler's physical form.  Incredible physical exertion results in incredible damage to the user's muscles, which are healed over by their spirit's healing factor, resulting in irregular, abnormal muscle groups growing to replace the original.  Their bones harden, long bones and the bones of the skull having a tendency to "scab over" for additional protection, resulting in visible knotted lumps on their arms, legs, and skull.  Rumblers are typically Rumblers for life; removal of their stake generally results in a halved lifespan from the acromegaly-, cystic-fibrosis-, and fibrodysplasia-ossificans-progressiva-like damage done to their bodies.
A Rumble burst, known as a concussion burst or conc, results in the sudden expression of all potential energy contained in the Rumbler and their symbiotic spirit.  This creates a devastating overpressure wave, either all at once or in a series of devastating pops.
It is of note that while Rumbler armor (every army that makes use of Rumblers ensures that they are heavily armored) has a functional purpose--lowering damage taken and thus reducing the strain on the Rumbler's body from healing--its all-concealing nature is inevitably a means of keeping their gruesome appearance out of sight and out of mind.
Rumblers derive their powers from the rumble worm, an herbivorous spirit species that lives in forests constantly buffeted by hurricane-force winds.  Averaging four feet in length at adulthood, rumble worms resemble a cross between a caterpillar, a koala bear, and a pug, an absolutely harmless-looking green lozenge with four stubby legs and a blunt, toothy mouth.  Despite their appearance, their muscles have ludicrously dense sarcomeres and store incredible, perhaps impossible, amounts of energy.  Precise measurements are impossible due to only being witnessed in drug-induced hazes, but scientists who have taken the plunge accredit the Rumbler's healing powers to be a necessary secondary power in order for a human body to survive the influx of power granted by symbiosis with a rumble worm.

Mantids are the signature magi of Równiny.  They can create and command gusts of wind, ranging from gentle breezes to localized tornadoes.  As a Mantid grows in power, their control over wind is such that they can approximate such tricks as telekinesis, flight, and barriers against projectiles which send bullets flying far from where they were aimed.  (The last trick is known as "adjusting with windage" among Mantids who think they're funny.)
Mantis have among the most mild of transformations due to their powers.  Their hair inevitably turns green and stays green; their eyes grow silvery mirrorlike scales that ward off dust and grit yet somehow do not impair vision despite growing over pupil and iris; and their tongue grows a slit from which emerges a retractable root covered in sharp rootlets, which they use to consume nutrients from food.
Retiring as a mantis is known as "putting the blindfold on," as the scales in the Mantis's eyes lose the property that makes them see-through, and until they are shed, the Mantis is blind.  More problematic is the tongue rootlet, which effectively becomes a tumor sitting in a wound on the subject's tongue.  Surgery can remove the root and restore some ability to eat normally, but often damage from the rootlet renders the tongue at least partially insensate or unable to taste, and at worst require the tongue be removed.
A mantid's burst, known as a vortex burst, results in powerful winds streaming from their bodies, creating a dangerous localized windstorm.  The more powerful the spirit, the more widespread and apocalyptic the resultant burst, up to the creation of tornadoes.
Outside of combat, Mantids are valued for their ability to cool or heat troops in intense weather and transport messages or small packages discretely and swiftly.  In battle, Mantids are used to sow discord among the enemy and transport fire team members to strategically useful locations, such as rooftops.  In peacetime, Mantids power windmills and commandeer sailing ships.
The namesake spirit which grants their powers is the sail mantis.  Averaging seven feet in length, they have serpentine bodies with a pair of long, spiked grasping limbs used to hold down prey while their "mouths"--a bundle of tentacle-like roots--do their dark work.  They also bear fine, feathery wings and a hollowness in their "chest" known as a vortex organ, the source of their ability to create powerful winds.  With use of the vortex organ and wings, the sail mantis can cover enormous distances with minimal energy, as well as stun enemies or prey.
Sail mantids never stop growing, and so sufficiently old mantids put down roots with their feathery tails and remain sessile, transitioning from predators to ambush omnivores.  Worldtree, the oldest known sail mantis, reached a height of forty feet (assuming one's perceived height in its spirit world is the same as in the material).

While Doves are among the least physicall demanding of magi to be, they are definitely one of the most viseral, and thus fewer exist than any country would prefer.  A Dove's tears sooth and clean injuries.  A Dove's salia numbs wounds.  A Dove's tongue becomes an enormously long member covered in manipulators, including a variety of scalpel-sharp teeth and cilia, all dripping with an agent that encourages swift healing.  Doves are thus among the best surgeons in the planet, but must perform every surgery by plunging their tongues into wounds.
One may surmise why Doves are not more common.
A Dove's physical alterations are relatively minor, but vocal communication is out the window.  Retired Doves generally undergo surgeries that remove almost all of their tongue, save the hindmost segment, in order to return some ability to speak, as well as prevent choking due to loss of fine control over the member.  Other than this, their eyes turn a pinkish color and their vision takes a pinkish haze due to the presence of antiseptic in their tears.
Dove bursts are perhaps the most mild of all, merely resulting in a messy explosion of topical anesthetic and antiseptic.  Colloquially these are called "sleep bursts."  While disorienting and vile, the only real risk of death is due to accident from loss of sensation, or due to drinking too much of the antiseptic and anesthetic.
A Dove's powers stem from the doctor's dove, a spirit pigeon with a woodpecker-like beak fit with nasty serrations and a numbing agent that enables them to cut chunks from large animals.  That Doves obtain their healing powers from rank and particularly unpleasant parasites is either ironic or entirely fitting, depending on one's opinion of getting treated by having one's injuries, to use a Terran expression, "French kissed."

The most infamous and gruesome of magi are the Boilers.  A recent discovery by Górazima, they may be thought of as a dark counterpart to Mantids--or at least a substantially more destructive one.  Boilers secrete and manipulate a layered fluid: an outer layer of a water-like substance that does not appear to actually be water (due to its swift evaporation it has been difficult to pin down exactly what it is), and an inner fluid of intensely inflammable oil.  The oil can be diluted to "merely" burst into white-hot flames on exposure to atmosphere, or concentrated to outright explode.  A Boiler can project these fluids in geyserlike gouts or create hovering clouds.
Boilers are immune to the effects of their own flames, though not any secondary explosions or fires caused by the spread.  A few Boilers who have launched attacks on magazines or ammo dumps have learned this the hard way.
Once a Boiler is in waist-deep, their arms grow long lines of fine, puckered orifices which secrete the fluid used in their attacks.  (Until this point, a Boiler summons the fluid out of thin air.)  While comparatively mild a mutation, the few Boilers who have retired due to injury have found that these orifices do not close up, ever.  Once retired, Boilers are resigned to having a number of tiny injuries up and down their arms, which must be continually dressed in gauze and antiseptic to prevent infection.  Loss of sensation in the arms and occasionally hands is common, as is loss of strength or coordination if the hollows that once contained glands do not shrink up following retirement.
There are few things as terrifying as a Boiler burst, known as a firestorm or hellstorm for reasons which should be obvious: the Boiler explodes in a mass of chaotically exploding and burning fluid, which, worst of all, does not all go off at once.  Pockets of buffering fluid sent spraying far afield of the initial explosion can evaporate and cause further explosions or bursts of flame minutes after the initial burst.  A few ill-timed Boiler bursts have destroyed farmland and old-growth forests in the Flatlands.
The source of a Boiler's power stems from the boil fish.  In its aquatic habitat, boil fish are fat mola-mola-like fish coated in an orangish grease.  The grease is a powerful irritant, and a taste results in a hideously powerful burning sensation, like taking a bite out of a ghost pepper.  Boil fishes brought to the surface burst into flame or, if they're unlucky, explode; it was the witnessing of alien intelligences accidentally pulling up a boil fish in a net that prompted research into the powers they may convey.
(As it happens, no sentient spirit-being has been successfully harnessed as a stake.  It is unknown why this is so, or what would happen if such an attempt were successful.)

Empire ants are [CLASSIFIED]

The cryptically named Squid are [REDACTED]
Machine Gun Princess, day 19: Some Notes on Magick
Another day of worldbuildin' while I ponder what wil happen next!  Because it's hard to follow up a tidbit like that.

Today: 2458 words!
Total: 30,177!
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(Contains: sexual themes)
There was a movie theater with an all-night program en route.  The words "in color" cinched the deal.
"You ever see..." Osanna said, before falling into a sputtering laugh.  "Of course you've seen a movie in color.  They probably screen all the big hits at your place before they, uh, before they even get out to the rest of us."
"How would they be hits if they haven't premiered yet?" Irenka said.
"I dunno.  Guessing?"  She fished around her pockets before Irenka pointed at her chest.  "Don't stare.  It's... unbecoming."  She checked around a little while longer before the gears clicked.  "Ooooh yeah.  Pocket, money, there."  She paid the man in the ticket booth.  "One for me.  You sell food in here?"
"Yes, m'am," the man in the booth said.
"Fantastic."  She shouldered through the door before Irenka could buy her own ticket.
Irenka didn't pay too much attention to the movie.  It was a Threshold import, so there were a lot of brown-skinned girls in scandalous bathing suits singing about the weather, the goodness of the gods, and how fun it is to beat the hell out of people.  One of them was an heiress, maybe.  Her Tradespeech was a little rusty.
"Do you speak Trade, Osanna?" she said during a calm scene where the heroine was talking things over with her love interest, some pale-skinned Continental who needed a little loosening up.
"Not a word," Osanna said.  She'd used her unspent drinking money to pick up a pile of snacks from the snack bar.  "I don't really care.  Look at that!  Color!"
It was either too early or too late--it wasn't quite midnight--for there to be anyone else slumming it in a movie theater.  They didn't bother keeping their voices too low.
"It's neat, yeah."  Irenka settled into her seat.  "Nice seats, too."
Onscreen, the heroine leaned over to pick up a fallen shotgun shell.  "You're telling me."
Irenka pondered her next words carefully, then blurted, "So, uh, you like girls?"
"I do."  She popped a candied almond in her mouth.  Or, at her mouth.  "Ever since I was a kid.  Never had an eye for boys.  How 'bout you?"
"Uh... I don't know."
"You don't know, or you don't want to tell me?"
In the movie, the cast sang about how the heiress could never love a man who couldn't shoot straight.  Oh, so that must have been the plot.
"Still not telling me," Osanna said.
"I... don't really... I mean, I, uh..."  She tried to will herself to stay pale, but no go.  "I kind of like both."
"Ah.  That's handy.  So, this is really your kind of movie, isn't it?"  She gestured at the hero, who was presently shirtless and posed dramatically before the sunset.  Irenka wondered how they could film straight into the sun without it washing out the image, before realizing it must have been a backdrop.  It had fooled her for a moment; the visual effects were fantastic.  "Guess they haven't invented dress clothes in Threshold."
"They, uh, they have clothes on when they're at our parties.  But they're usually pretty drunk, and uh, I think their vice president is a pervert."
"I'd be too.  Damn, look at the tits on--ohhh, damn, really look on the tits on that one!"  The heiress's suit-top had mysteriously come undone, offering just the most tasteful glimpse.  "Ha, gods bless those oyster-eating sons of bitches.  Almond?"
"...sure.  Almond."
"Gods, I love movies."  Osanna tilted the bag, letting Irenka take a handful.  "You know what the best part is?"
"What's the best part?"
"A nickel gets you two movies, some cartoons, the news, and an afternoon of central heating.  In the winter a little central heating is like being reborn."
Irenka nodded.
"Feelin' rich girl guilt yet?"
"Feeling like I should be taking notes."
"Ha.  'Cause you'll be a queen one day."
"Yes, exactly."
"You know, unless you die, like, 'cause you're a machine gunner."
On the screen, the heiress was talking to a buxom woman in a pointed black hat perched on her head and an '84 Broomstick autorifle hanging from her shoulder.  Irenka had the chance to fire off a few magazines in training, leftovers from Threshold's care package to Górazima.  She had no idea what to think of it; it felt like a marksman rifle that wanted to be a machine gun.  How it could be one without taking ammo belts and with only twenty rounds per mag, she could never understand.
"You know what the average life span of a Broomsticker was?" Osanna said  "In the Border Skirmish last year, I mean."
"Not off the top of my head."
"Twenty minutes.  Two times ten.  Minutes.  You carry that kind of payload around, everybody wants you dead.  Why do you think I'm with you?  Just to change your barrels and lug your ammo?  If you die, I pick up where you left off.  And when I die, somebody picks up from there."  She shook her head.  "It's always like that with guns.  Magi, you have to keep them in the game.  They can... survive.  They can defend themselves.  With guns it's all kill, kill, kill.  You can't keep yourself alive with a gun.  You just kill the other guy first."
In the movie, the pointy-hatted girl gave the heroine a whack on the backside with the butt of her gun, then made a pun so painful Irenka and Osanna paused the conversaiton just to wince at it.
"Just so you know," Irenka said, "part of why Równiny's mage advantage never panned out was because all their mages wore distinctive uniforms.  All our marksmen had to do was point and shoot.  Either they were too busy defending themselves to fight back, or they didn't defend themseves."
"Gotta kill any forward momentum this relationship was building, don't you, girl?"
"You don't talk like you're drunk."
"I've been drinking all my life.  I'm used to it."
"We need to get more into you."
Osanna smirked.
"...you were using all this time to sober up, weren't you?" Irenka said.  "Just so I'd get you drunk again."
"I'm not sober."  Osanna pushed a handful of almonds into her mouth and chewed thoughtfully.  "Bu' I 'ay as 'ell 'e.  Aw in th' min'."
"Clever girl," Irenka said.
On screen, the witch's top tastefully slipped.
* * *
It was almost five in the morning by the time Irenka and Osanna finally made it back into the bunks.  It seemed they were the only girls in the barracks to bother coming back here to sleep, in fact.  Not that they wanted to, but Osanna insisted on paying for any hotel room out of pocket and Irenka had already seen her spend too much.
The barracks were dimly lit, and they were alone.
Alone but for Irenka's mother, gently dozing on one of the bunks near her and Osanna's.
"Oh, no," Irenka whispered.
"Hmmmmm?" Osanna said.  Irenka had been giving her a piggyback ride the past mile or so.  All things considered she more or less weighed what Irenka carried into battle.  "Who was it?  Is it?"
"It's my mom," Irenka said.
"Oh, hey, Queen... Queen Whatserface!" Osanna said, waving.
"Mm... did you wake me~?" Agnieska said, rousing from her sleep.
"I did!"  Osanna waved harder.
Irenka groaned.  "Morning, mom."
"So-o-o, my little lady passed her bein' a soldier exam!"  The queen slid from the bunk and skipped over, wrapping Irenka in a firm hug.  "I thought I'd show up for graduation a little early.  Say hi, give you a hug..."
"Thanks, mom," Irenka said, laying her head on her mother's shoulders.  She hadn't drunk near as much as Osanna, but she'd managed to get a few in nonetheless.
"This isss awkward," Osanna said from Irenka's back.
"Hush," Agnieska said.  "You two've been getting along so well.  And you're the assistant gunner to my little lady!  That makes you part of the family as far as I'm concerned."  She leaned over and planted a kiss on Osanna's forehead.
"Aw, man..." Osanna said.
"And now the shoe's on the other foot," Irenka said, pleased.
"So!  Any fun stories about basic training?" Agnieska said, taking a seat on another bunk.  "Fun stories about blowing stuff up?  Fun stories about that time Osanna nearly shook herself apart?  Or fun stories about shooting those fancy little test dolls and trying not to get a titful of paint?"
"Ha, what even is it with tits tonight?" Osanna said.  Irenka hoisted her up onto her bunk.
"Go to sleep, Osanna, you're drunk," Irenka said.
"O-kay.  I'll try.  But no promises.  Beeeecause I am... so very drunk."  Osanna gave her a thumbs up.
"I can tell," Irenka said.  She sat next to her mother.  "I don't really want to talk about it.  I'm just glad it's almost done."
"I bet you are.  Missing your bed and your easel?" Agnieska said.
"I... yeah.  Not as much as I thought, though."
"Gonna miss your gun when you're back home?"
"Well... I still have to check in every now and again, right?  Until it's wartime.  Or I..."
"Or you could go to officer training school!  Get your stripes, never actually have to look down the sights at somebody's poor head before it pops like a melon.  Schlorp!"  Agnieska mimed a pistol going off.
"It's... no, that's... alright.  I don't think I'm cut out to lead that much, anyway."
"Ut, ut.  What's that I heard?  Run that by me one more time?"
"I... don't think I'm... oh.  This is a point you're trying to make, isn't it."
"You're a queen and you don't think you're leadership material.  This doesn't strike you as a problem, Irena?"
"I'm... I'm not a queen yet!  I'm a princess!"
"But one day you will be a queen.  Unless you're not cut out to be a leader.  I'm sure one of your many siblings can pick up the slack."
"W-well... that's what they're there for, right?" Irenka said, sheepishly.
"Irena."  Her mother touched her face.  "Irena Jadwig Wojciecha Kowalczyk-von-Jez.  Your life is yours to live, but I think you're made of better stuff than the kind of girl who stands back and lets her baby sister lead the country because she doesn't think she can handle the responsibility.  Oh, there it goes, you're blushing again..."
"I... well, I'm a little drunk..."
"You're a lot of little things, Irenka, but one thing you're not little at is potential.  Don't write off being a leader just yet, alright, hon?  I don't mean drop everything and sign up for generalissimo school, I mean--just don't write yourself off so easily, okay?  Did you ever think you'd be lugging around a huge cutting-edge gun and actually being good at using it?"
"...N-no, I guess not."
"So think about it.  You may not think you're tough now.  But you've got more tough in you than I think anybody here knows.  Okay, Irenka?"
"O-okay."
"So don't let me hear you go 'I'm not a leader, I'm not a queen...' because I think you can do the first, and I know you're going to be the second.  So buck up.  Now's not the time to write things off."
"I... I promise I won't."
"There."  She kissed Irenka's head.  "That's a girl."
Irenka hugged her mother.  "Thanks for believing in me, mom."
Agnieska hugged her right back.  "I wouldn't have thrown you here if I didn't think you could hack it."  She giggled.  "'Hack it.'  I sound just like a soldier, don't I?"
"I... guess."
"Ooh... speaking of soldiers..."  She glanced up at Osanna, who was already snoozing.  "Have you two hit it off?  Romantically, I mean?"
"...moooom..."
"But think about it, 'Renka, you come from opposite sides of the tracks, she's dark and edgy, you're little and red, it's just absolutely perfect.  Unless..."  Agnieska gasped.  "Irena Kowalczyk, are you telling me that the men make nightly sojourns here so they can relieve their powerful male urges with--"
"Moooooom!" Irenka said.
"'Ooh, ooh, ohhh!'" Agnieska said in a fainting falsetto, falling back on the bed.  "'Please, be gently with me, or I'll, eeeee!'"
Irenka brought a stiff pillow over her mother's face.
"Aaaah nooo, I'm being assassinated!" Agneska declared from beneath the pillow.  "But not really in case anybody is listening!"
Machine Gun Princess, day 18
Attempt to stave off the urge to yuri: successful!
Attempt to stave off generally perverse mood: totally unsuccessful!
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(Contains: sexual themes)
(Timestamp: 9:16:33 AM)

Across the lab, Gogo and Honey were talking about something.

"So," Fred said from the comfort of his bean bag chair (tucked in a nook by the minifridge), "you know anythin' about cameras?"

"A little," Wasabi said, cleaning dust from a laser lens.  "Why you askin'?"

"Just sayin', man, maybe we should keep one on Honey and Gogo.  You know--"

Wasabi turned to Fred.  Fred dutifully looked him in the eye.

(Timestamp: 9:16:54)

"Ahem," Wasabi said.

"Yeah?" Fred said.

"Are you going to suggest, in your next sentence, that I make some kind of tiny flying camera to follow Honey and Gogo around just in case they decide to do something... like... involving waving their lady-parts at you?"

Fred twiddled his thumbs forcefully.  No breaking eye contact.  Can't afford it.  Gotta man up, face the musick.  "Nnnnnnpossibly?"

"Fred.  Those two are among your best friends, for one.  Two, I am one hundred percent certain that between the two of them they have enough brain power to figure out if a tiny flying camera is following them and then what to do about it.  I.E., figure out which of us made it, then on behalf of who."

"Well, I mean, I was just kinda..."

Wasabi raised his hand.  "And then, Gogo is going to kill you, with her bare hands, in a way you probably don't want to imagine, because I sure as hell don't, and I will have to testify in court that you wanted to spy on her on the toilet with a tiny flying spy camera, and so God help me they will bury you upside down."  He took a few bracing breaths.

Fred scratched his chin thoughtfully.  "But... why?"

"Because it would be the right thing to do."

"Buryin' me upside down?"

"I... well... I guess it would be, too.  The right thing to do, in the circumstances."

"But what does that prove?  I mean, I sleep on my belly anyway.  That'd be like, saving my corpse some effort once they stick me in the dirt."

"It's... disrespectful, I guess.  That's why they bury criminals upside down."

"Do you have, like, the source on that?  'Cause I'm not sure that's a thing."

"Man, now I don't even know.  It just leaped into my head like a ghost put it there."

"Wait, ghosts put thoughts in people's heads?"

"Stop making me doubt my thought processes, man!"

"Stop citin' things without sources, guy."  Fred threw up his hands.  "It's way too early in the morning for all that.  I mean, what time even is it?"

Wasabi checked his watch.  "9:19.  And change.  Ah, there it goes, 9:20."

"Frig, the campus mailman shoulda been here by now.  Hey, ladies, you seen the mailman?"

"Not yet, Fred!" Honey said, mid-chew.  She blew a small bubble.

"Dang."

(Timestamp: 9:16:33 AM)

"--memory by about 25%.  Or 125% if you prefer!" Honey said.

"Eh, either way's fine."  Gogo set her hoverdisc in the composition checker.  Her newest models were wearing out a little faster than she liked; the trick had to be in the composition of the materials.  "But that's more a your-problem thing than a my-problem thing.  Most of my stuff is reflexes."

"Oh, it would be, wouldn't it?  The faster I can process data, the faster my chemballs get made."

(Timestamp: 9:16:54)

"Oh!" Honey said.  "Would you like to make out?"

Gogo tilted her head.  "Any reason?"

"Well, you have to wait for a readout."

"Eh, sure."  She took Honey by the back of her head and pulled her down into a ferocious, open-mouthed kiss.

(Timestamp: 19:17:12)

Makeout begins.

(Timestamp: 19:18:38)

Pause for breath.

(Timestamp: 19:18:42)

Resumption of making out.

(Timestamp: 19:19:48)

The two pulled away, panting.  The taste of Honey's tongue, with a bit of mint from Honey's toothpaste, filled Gogo's mouth.  Also, her butt was a bit sore.

"Ease up on the Roman hands, okay?" Gogo said.  "My ass is not a life preserver."

"Well, I don't know," Honey said, teasing curiosity in her tone.  "We haven't conclusively proven it."

Gogo rolled her eyes and retrieved her gum from storage.  Or that was the plan, at least, getting it from its home between her lip and incisor.  It was gone.  "Wait..."

"Hey, ladies," Fred shouted, "you seen the mailman?"

"Not yet, Fred!" said Honey, around a mouthful of Gogo's gum.  She blew a small bubble.

"Dang."  Fred sank back into his chair, and Wasabi, who was looking at Fred for some reason, went back to cleaning his emitters.

The bubble popped, sticking on Honey's lips, chin, and the tip of her nose.  She giggled.

Gogo, on tiptoes, licked the bit of gum from Honey's nose, and engulfed her lips in her mouth, sucking and licking softly until her gum was retrieved.

"Goodness," Honey said.  "You're just ravenous, aren't you."

"You don't wanna know how much I spend on gum."  She blew a bubble of her own.  "I gotta save it somewhere."
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)
Icemelt could've snugly fit in one of the boroughs of Mountain Home, but for its smallness it was as modern a town as Irenka had ever seen, and cozy for all that.  Electric lights glowed throughout the town, illuminating handsome houses of antique style, painted with bright patterns on roofs and doors.  The closer she and Osanna came to main street, the louder the music playing there became, a delightful cacophony of disparate styles and instruments, many of which sounded live.
And then Osanna's arm pressed into her back and steered her towards a small grocery store, a sign hanging from the door reading "Always Open."  "Oh--do they have a--like, a bar in the back?" Irenka said.
"Oh, no."  Osanna opened the door and slipped the two of them inside.  The place was dimly-lit and had a strange, slightly mildewy scent to it.  The sign declared it a grocery, but Irenka didn't see any food on display outside of a few perfunctory rows of cans in the middle aisle.  There were, however, a great many bottles in assorted sizes and colors and styles, and she had not paid enough attention at her mother's parties to know what shape or brand name signified what.  "Bars are expensive, Kowalczyk.  We have to warm up before we begin."
"Y-you know, I can--" Irenka said.
"Ut."  Osanna held a finger to Irenka's mouth.  "I'm not going to take a free ride on the ginger train just because you offer.  This isn't reparations.  This is going out and getting tarnished.  On soldier's terms.  Understand?"
Irenka nodded, slowly.
"Good."  She took her finger away.  "Now.  This is what we'll need."  She held up a slender bottle a little longer than her palm.  The label read "Winter Choice 20-20 Fortified Wine -- Ruby Flavor."  The liquid inside was a vivid red Irenka associated with paint thinner.  "Red, blue, green, or purple?  What's your flavor, Kowalczyk?"
"Those aren't flavors."
"They are in the magical land of fortified wine."
"Uh... are they anything like cherry, or blueberry..."
"They are red, blue, green, or purple.  They don't taste like anything in nature."  She dangled a bottle of bruise-colored WC 20-20 in front of the princess's face.  "Royal purple?  You know you want it.  Or something that matches your hair?"
"I'll... have what you're having," Irenka said.
"Ruby, the classic choice."  She set the other bottles down and walked to the front with two red-filled bottles.  She handed over forty cents to the tiny pale man at the counter and immediately wrenched the caps off of both bottles.  Osanna steered the princess out of the grocer's; once they were on the small porch outside, she handed Irenka one of the bottles.  The smell rising out of it made her wonder if it actually was paint thinner.  "On the count of three we're popping the cherry.  One... two..."
She took a long swig and held up three fingers.  Irenka matched Osanna's powerful swig and nearly choked.  The stuff tasted a bit like cherries, a bit like strawberries, and overwhelmingly like kerosine.  She sputtered and coughed, wiping foul-smelling liquid on her sleeve.  "Wh-what is this?!" she said.  "This--no, this is like when Stolarz sent us to get headlight fluid, isn't it?  It's some kind of..."
Osanna had already finished her bottle.  "It's liquor for people who don't waste time.  Kowalczk, you are going to finish your breakfast or I am going to whip you with a switch.  Gonna send you to get a whippin' switch, like grandad.  Would you like that?"  She leaned closer to Irenka.  "Would you, in fact, like that?"
"Why is everbody mean to me?" Irenka said.  It was as sincere a question as she'd ever asked
"Because you're little and cute.  People have two reactions to that.  Either they want to pet you, or they want to kick you.  And cute things get cuter when they're kicked.  Understand?"
"That's horrible!"
Osanna pointed at her scars.  "Begging got a lot easier after I got these little bastards.  Getting kicked can pay off in the long term.  So are you gonna get mean with me or are ya gonna stay behind?"
"I don't know if I can--"
Nowakowski put her hands on Irenka's shoulders.
"Hey.  Hey," Osanna said.  "I know you're freaked out right now.  You don't wanna get in trouble.  Or you don't wanna wake up with a hangover."
Irenka shivered.  "I've had one.  It... it wasn't nice."
"Ah."  Osanna laughed.  It was the first time Irenka had ever heard her laugh.  It was nice, actually, warm and a little rough.  "So you're not totally new to the drinking thing!  Underestimated you.  How bad was it?"
"I couldn't open my eyes 'til noon."
"Not bad, not bad.  Tell you what."  She plucked the evil-smelling wine from Irenka's hand and took a long drink.  "I lead, you follow.  If I get too drunk for you, take me back to barracks.  Or to an inn.  We're clear 'til tomorrow evening, right?"
"Yeah, we are."
"Okay.  Wires still not crossed."  She finished the bottle.  "Warmed up, ready to go.  We're gonna drink 'til you want us to stop.  Okay?"
"You trust me?" Irenka said.
"Well, I trust me drunk.  That's as good as trusting you sober and with a machine gun.  If you want me to trust you like I trust me drunk, you've got some proving to do."
"...Alright."
"So, let's do us a little looking, Kowalczyk.  Find us a happy little place to drink."
* * *
The happy little place to drink was a noisy dive called the Bloody Prince.  The sign was a riff on a classic painting, The Prince in the Ashes of his Father's Kingdom, which hung in the royal gallery.  It was one Irenka was intimately familiar with, having stared at it for many long minutes in her youth and having vivid nightmares about it.  Seeing the prince take a bracng sip from a flask in lieu of what he cradled to his chest in the original painting made her feel oddly... relaxed.  The flash of levity stirred her.
And so she and Osanna were drinking here, right there at the bar, Kowalczyk downing a pint following a bracing shot of whisky, Osanna sipping a mix of phosphate and rum.  The bar was greasy and smelled like beef tallow, which was funny, since they didn't seem to serve food here outside of communal bowls of peanuts and assorted pickled things in jars behind the bar.  Irenka was startled her sleeves weren't staining.  That would explain how there were not two but three empty seats on the bar when everything else was packed with Wood, Leaf, and Stone class workers.  Many of whom, it smelled, had worked well outside when they were supposed to and come straight here.
"Wha'ya think, Kowalczyk?" Osanna said, setting down an empty pint.  "Do you like?  Huh?"
"I think I might've picked a better bar," she said, trying to say so under the bartender's hearing.  "But the drink is nice!"
"See?  Just have to get something to... do... your... taste... thing... right."  Osanna laughed, and Irenka was already happy that laughing was now part of her repertoire.  "Guess you're just a sissy lil' girl when it comes to drink.  I hear they make, uh, these crazy sorta... fruit drinks... in Threshold.  You ever have any?"
"I've been to one of the islands!" Irenka said.  "But I was too young to drink.  They looked cute, though."
"Hear they make Water Closet look like grape juice, in the gettin' you hammered department, at least.  Taste like ice cream, too.  You ever have ice cream?"
"Yeah.  All the time."
"Shit.  Really?"
Irenka nodded.
"Okay, tonight, you're not my retainer... girl.  But you are definitely going to be getting me a bunch of ice cream when... I dunno.  I visit?  Can I visit?  Shit, they'd probably shoot me on sight just in case."
"Uh, I can get it delivered, I guess."
"There you go!"  Osanna ave her a hearty slap on the back.  "You're not too bad, you little ginger... so and so.  Shit, I can't cuss at you too much now, huh?  'Cause we're partners."
"You can cuss at me all you like.  Just don't kick me to make me cuter."
"Shit, I don't need to do that!"  Osanna edged her pint and shot at the bartender, who dutifully attended to them.  "Look at you.  You're tiny."
"I'm five foot one..."
"You're still tiny!  I have like eight inches on you.  Ha, don't take that the wrong way, people!" she said, to nobody in particular.  She took a moment to swig down a shot and follow it with a long gulp of beer.  "An'... an' you have red hair and when you blush you blush like you dipped your face in paint and you blush all the goddamn time.  You ever notice that?"
"I, uh, do."  Irenka's ice had almost entirely melted by now.  It was her first drink of the night.
"Yeah, I knew you couldn't not notice that.  It's like your head is a lighthouse or something and you gotta warn people that you're tiny and sensitive.  Ain't you some kinda, like, artist, too?"
Irenka nodded.  "I paint when I'm at home.  And I've been keeping a sketch journal while I've been training."
"Totally one of those sensitive types.  Ha, and of course your mama throws you at the army.  And you still look like a little red cat!"
"Well, uh, I like to think that I've learned some discipline!  And, uhm, how to fight.  I did manage to... oh, right."
"Yeah, you actually got me off."  Osanna snorted.  "Ha, got me off.  Almost got me killed you little witch, and here we are, shootin' robots like... like we were... meant to."  She took a long drink.  She'd gone through four shots and four pints.  Where was she keeping it all?  "You know, maybe this wasn't all a big waste of time.  You know I write poems, right?"
"You do?"
"I do."
"We should get back to base, compare notes!" Irenka said.
"Like now?"  Osanna leaned against her.  "But we just star-ted."
Irenka glanced around.  "I guess we did.  But, uh.  All these people smell really bad and I don't want to stay here too long."
"Pansy."  Osanna hiccupped.
"Maybe yeah alright yes you're right.  I am kind of a pansy and I don't want to stay here drinking.  Also I'm hoping nobody will start hitting on me beause that will be so awkward."
"Eh," the bartender said.  "I've seen hotter in here."  The bartender was a one-eyed woman with a finely-embroidered eyepatch.
"You gonna take that?" Osanna said.
"Huh?" Irenka said.
"You gonna take that from her?"
"Take what?  She was reassuring me."
"She was taking the piss, Irenka.  Don't take that from her.  Or at least don't tip her."
"Why would I want to make an enemy out of nowhere?"  Irenka dug around in her pockets and pulled out some cash.  "If I make enemies everywhere I go I won't have anywhere to go."
"...shit, that's brilliant," Osanna said.  "You know, only place I can still drink back home is... like... the guy's who sells... the bad stuff.  Shit, I think this is startin' to kick in."  She fumbled around for her own cash.  Irenka pulled open one of Osanna's breast pockets, the faint glint of coinage inside reminding her.  "Shit, there we go.  Thanks, Red."
"Yeah.  Let's get back home."
"You're a pansy, Red.  But at least you're not a..."
"Jerk?"
"Huge cunt."
"Ah."
"Yeah!"
"Maybe don't use that word?"
"I'll... try.  But I am very drunk."
Machine Gun Princess, day 17
Today: 1933 words!
Total: 25679 words!

Halfway there, baby.  Gotta go fast!
Loading...
Out of the thirty-five men and women who tried their hand at getting a spirit bound to them, only four of them, counting Stawski, had managed to pass.  Everybody else had either hurt themseves or almost hurt somebody else.  This was about par for the course, Irenka had read.  Few were cut out for playing host to a spirit, and rumble worms were among the most docile and easy to control.
Irenka only missed a week of training.  The saliva and surgery of the Dove ensured that Osanna was only bedridden a month, and back to light exercise for the first week back.  The overall effect, Irenka was startled to find, was minimal.  It just meant she had front-ended all the paperwork and textbook learning of her training.  By the time she was catching up on the physical portion of testing Irenka was being schooled in the history of the army from a soldier's perspective.  That and military philosophy.  And a crash course on calculus to better determine how to place a sniper's bullet or a mortar or indirect grenade and launcher fire.
On one level it was a lot like being in school, not again, but for the first time, ever.  She was not a good fit for a school environment.  The utter blandness of her surroundings was hardly a problem when she was busy getting her head handed to her by physical training, and then finding her niche in the art of soldiering, and then the, er, Osanna incident.  But now that everything was slowing down and she now spent most of her time reading masive textbooks and testing on them, she felt her mind start to shut down in protest of lack of visual stimulation.
She supposed she could throw her weight around a little bit and spend an afternoon or so painting a mural... but no, that would be flaunting.  She shouldn't flaunt.  Not this late in the game.  And besides, Stolarz wouldn't let her.
Not that it wasn't tempting to flaunt the hell out of being a princess.
So she read the texts and took the tests, all while Osanna finished the physical portion of her training.  Waiting to meet again in the middle.
* * *
There were seven in the courtyard.  One was patrolling, shotgun clenched in its clumsy hands.  The others were hunched behind cover--a cheap, bullet-pocked statue jutting from the center, low walls of stacked sandbags set with flat tops of cheap wood, concrete pillars just large enough for them to duck behind.
"So, what's the puzzle?"
"Puzzle?" Irenka said.  She was sketching a map of the combat zone in the dust.  The final test in basic was a live-fire exercise, one five-man fire team against a squad of automatons, number unspecified in the briefing.  Other than Irenka and Osanna, there was Warner, Shizuka, and...
"Yeah, there's gotta be some trick to it," Pvt. Horowitz said.  "Like, if we go here, and do this, then we win!"  He gestured vaguely.  "Besides, they're just wind-up toys, it's not like we have to outsmart 'em."
"Why the hell would our live fire test be a puzzle?" Osanna said.  She was stationed closest to the edge of the two-story house they were using for cover, keeping an eye out for any machines who ventured out too far for comfort.  "Do they expect us to fight people who set up puzzles that we can figure out with five minutes of poking the dirt?"
"Well, this is a test," Horowitz said.  "They gotta grade us somehow."
"Listen," Irenka said, holding up her hand, "you're not totally off.   Here..."  She pointed at the map.  "It's all about applying what we've learned, right?  So here's what we do.  We need to get them out of cover if we want to shoot them, while not losing cover ourselves.  We have to think about it like we're in a war, so we can't just throw all our grenades and call it a day.  Think like we have to make our gear last all day."  She drew a line in the dirt.  "I'll circle around and get to the roof of the house on the west."
"--Wait, wait," Shizuka said, "so plan A is our machine gunner fucks off?"
Irenka pat her gun's receiver.  Plugged into the top was the dual drum magazine.  "These are faster to load than belts.  I can operate on my own a little while, at least.  They're going to be focusing on me, and I'll be on the roof--so Horowitz and Osanna can go here..."  She indicated the southern house.  "And Shizuka and Warner can go here.  Overlapping fields of fire, and nobody will be shooting at anyone alive.  Nowhere to hide."  She flashed a smile.  "Easy!"
"Fingers crossed," Warner said.
"You can climb with that?" Osanna said.
"Sure thing," Irenka said.
"No, I'm actually asking you.  There aren't any back doors on these buildings.  Did you see any footholds?  Is there anything on that building that can actually support all hundred pounds of you when you're climbing up?  Why was your plan A assuming that there's a ladder?"
"I... well, it's... it can't be that hard..." Irenka said.
Osanna sighed.  "Look."  She stomped over to the map and pointed at it.  "Better idea.  You and me, here..."  She pointed at the southwest corner, peering around the house.  "Cover, and we cover the whole courtyard.  We get Shizuka and Horowitz here..."  She pointed at the northwest.  "And Warner here..."  She indicated the south house.  "Goes upstairs, hucks a grenade.  Then we advance to their own cover, Warner moves to another window and takes his shots.  And that's how we do it."
Irenka looked around.  "W-well.  That's one plan.  What do you all think?"
"I think we're missin' something," Horowitz said.
"I'm with Nowakowski," Shizuka said.
"The princess's is safer!" Warner said.  "That and it doesn't have me throwing an explosive device out a window.  Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't sound too safe."
"So, it's a tie," Irenka said.
Osanna sighed.  "You know, I'll defer to you, princess.  Just remember this--no matter what happens, we do not shoot at each other.  The enemy is going to be shooting at our own goddamned heads, we don't need to help them out."
"Right!  Right.  Whatever happens, never fire straight at each other.  Uh--Warner, you keep south, Shizuka, Horowitz, you keep north.  Fire at an angle from where the other guys are shooting.  Got it?"
General agreement between the five of them.  "Alright.  And that makes us west," Irenka said.
Irenka and Osanna paired off first, darting from behind one building to the next on Osanna's go.  The machines were more milling about than actively patrolling, though with all of them facing different directions it made actually passing them something of a chore.  It was close to six minutes of waiting by the corner before they actually made their move.
Behind the western house there was nothing suitable for a foothold.  Osanna smirked.  Irenka sighed.  Osanna indicated the corner: that's where we fire from.  She took the lead, raising her carbine, and no sooner did the barrel come in sight did something on the other side fire.  Osanna backed up, cursing under her breath, and a hidden automaton stepped from the corner, pumping its shotgun.  Which was its mistake; Osanna trained her gun on its head and fired.  It locked up, teetered, and fell forward.
"It can't decide if it's smart or dumb, huh?" Irenka said, her ears faintly ringing.
"Shut the hell up and move."  She pointed at the other corner of the house.  "And watch yourself!"
Irenka was already prepped for assault firing--sling looped around the handle and her shoulder, left hand clenching the bipod like an angle foregrip, buttstock under her arm.  Finger on the upper trigger she crept around the corner.  No hidden machine here, but--
A fat glob rushed by her head, hot droplets of paint splashing on her cheek.  She ducked back into cover.  "Son of a bitch!" she said.  She looked around, didn't see Osanna...
Cracks of gunfire--Osanna's carbine, in fact.  More gunfire, wet spluts as misses impacted with the houses.  From cover Irenka had a good view of the southern house; from the front the houses looked like modern art installations, assorted shades of paint blasted across their forefronts.  She waited a few moments until the splats of paint stopped--then, heart in her chest, she rushed out of the corner, gun pointed out and into the courtyard.
Osanna had already taken out one of the machines, but the rest were still up.  One of them was still aiming in her direction, but it was reloading, standing out of cover.  Her finger slid down to the second trigger and she loosed a second-long burst.  Four neat holes appeared in its chest armor and it locked up and plunged.  With as ferocious a scream as she could manage she rushed for a chest-high concrete block, squeezing quick bursts of bullets at every robot straight ahead of her and thus between her and the empty space between houses where Shizuka and Horowitz were definitely not.
She slid into place behind the block.  She hadn't taken out any more machines, but the gunfire had tapered off, and they were going behind cover.  That was good.  She flipped open the bipod and planted it on the block.  When one of the robots tried to pop out of cover she gave it a warning shot or two.  Single fire now, had to make the rest of the mag last.  It was already much lighter than before and she couldn't afford having to reload when all attention was on her.
Where the hell were the others?  Unless...
The front door of the southern house was open.
"Frag out!" Warner shouted from the southern house, and a grenade flew from a second-story window.  Guess he liked Nowakowski's plan better than he thought.  The grenade skipped off a barricade and behind three of the machines, which had hardly begun trundling out of cover before it went off.  Scratch three robots.
Osanna popped from the corner, beating feet to cover, and Irenka obliged by emptying her gun at the remaining automatons.  She hit empty and ducked behind cover, dumping the empty mag and yanking a spare from her back.  Warner obliged her by taking pop shots at the machines.  Reloading was practically leisurely, then, slamming a fresh mag into place and working the action.  She peered over the block, and one of the machines opened fire at her.  Her helmet flew from her head, carried by a wash of paint, and she wondered if that counted or not.  There would have been a klaxon if she'd been taken out, she presumed, and so ducked back behind the wall.
Osanna's carbine cracked and the automaton that had nearly taken Irenka out got a third eyehole on the side of its head.  Irenka moved from her cover to another wall ahead of her, closing the distance with the remaining automatons.  They were falling back, trying to put more defensive terrain between themselves and their attackers from the west and south.  One of them vaulted behind the bullet-pocked statue, at which point a rifle's muzzle flash lit up a window in the north house and stopped it in its tracks.  Two to go...
Two to go with inadequate cover.  Irenka set her bipod on the cover, took aim, and squeezed the lower trigger.  One fell immediately, the other after she'd flung half her mag in its direction.
She ducked back behind cover and waited.  For a few pitilessly long moments there was no sound but the absence of gunfire, a ringing in her ears, and then the all-clear sounded.  "Cease fire, all soldiers in the clear!"  Irenka flipped on her safety and slung the gun over her shoulder, cradling its buttstock.  Her heart was pounding and, alas, her face flush with pride.  One day science would discover a cure for her tendency to blush like a ripe tomato.  She marched to the center of the courtyard, by the two machines she'd taken down, and stood, waiting.
Osanna was right behind her, carbine over her shoulder, looking pleased.  Horowitz was next, striding out of the northern house, followed by an ashamed Shizuki, whose chest was blasted with powdery blue paint.  Warner was the last, hiking from the southern house.
Not long after, Stolarz and her aides had stepped down from the observaton towers ringing the walled-in test range.  Stolarz clapped.  "Congratulations," she said, "with only one lamentable casualty you have taken the town from the finest training dummies money can buy.  This concludes your final exam.  Any comments, privates?"
"This paint shit hurts, sergeant," Shizuki said.
"Don't have to tell me twice," Stolarz said.  "Any comments on something that isn't the blindingly obvious?  No?  Fantastic.  Return your arms to the armory, hit the showers.  The rest of the evening is yours as you please.  I would like to note that Icemelt has a selection of bars which is second to none and they just received a fresh shipment of libations this very morning."
"--wait, really?" Horowitz said.
"Yes, really, sergeant," Stolarz said.
"Sorry, Sergeant."
"De nada.  On that note, I leave you be.  Dismissed!"  Stolarz turned on her heel and walked off, whistling the Reunification anthem.
"Hell yeah!" Horowitz said.  "I'm gonna get fuckin' toasty tonight!"
"You're buyin' me a drink, right?" Shizuki said.  "Because I ain't kiddin', this paint shit hurts."
Irenka took a seat on one of the concrete blocks.  "Wow," she said, softly.
Osanna sat next to her.  "So we survived basic training.  And neither of us killed the other."
"We did.  We did, didn't we?"
"You know, if you wanted," Osanna said, glancing aside, "you could wash your hands of all this now that you're done.  You've learned the basics, you can just head back to being a princess."
"I could."  Suddenly there was nothing in the world she wanted to do more than flop into her bed back home and sleep for a week.  It was a pang of homesickness so powerful it was almost a palpitation.
"And just think," Osanna said, "you'd be leaving me here to do... whatever it is they make assistant machine gunners do when they're not helping machine gunners shoot people.  Which is, apparently, shooting people without the machine gunner attached.  Which makes you just a reason I carry a smaller gun and heavier ammo into battle."  She slapped the ammo boxes and spare feed cover on her back.  "So maybe I should get rid of you before you make me regret any other life decisions."
Irenka smiled.  "It's... you know?  How about we just, you know, have us a night on the town?  Relax, get to know each other.  We've barely just patched up, if you think about it.  We spent most of the last two months not seeing each other."
"Ah, right.  Plenty of time to remind me why I hated you."
"I can buy as much wine as you can drink, remember that."
"Wine?  I have more important things to drink.  The question is, princess, have you ever drunken anything in your life more alcoholic than water?"
"I--uh--no."
Osanna pat her on the back.  "Right.  So tonight I'm going to be educating you in the finer points of drinking."
"...should I be afraid?"
"Oh, Star Maiden, yes."
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Listening to: superfast i come in last~
  • Reading: A bounty of new ToC stuff!
  • Watching: Two Best Friends Play
  • Playing: Alice: Madneff Returns
  • Eating: Sporadically!
  • Drinking: Water, because I'm dry as heck.
I didn't get something up quiiiite every day, but I got up lots of stuff frequently!  And with a few more days to go and then NaNoWriMo, I like to think that I've made my return nice and secure.  It feels good to be back in the game.

Clio vs. Kayfabe will continue into the NaNo month, I feel.  I'll try and get some drawin's put up every Wednesday or Thursday, keep you all up to date on my words per day, and try to get words per day without sleeping a million billion years like I've been the past week.

Doot de doot, that's the tall and short of it~

Journal History

deviantID

KriegsaffeNo9
Jacob
Artist
United States
Current Residence: Beside you in time
Favourite genre of music: Rock most of all, but anything that's good-sounding.
Favourite style of art: If it's good, I like it.
Operating System: Call it: Windows.
MP3 player of choice: My reasonably up-to-date eyePod
Shell of choice: That +5-and-up cloth armor that lets you fly
Wallpaper of choice: Appealing!
Skin of choice: Demure and understated.
Favourite cartoon character: Black Rose. ...in that way.
Personal Quote: You can find a better place in this twilight.
Interests

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:iconzeonet:
ZeoNet Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2014
Yo, buddy. You still alive?
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:iconkriegsaffeno9:
KriegsaffeNo9 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014
I am now!
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:iconthevioletfox:
TheVioletFox Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hey there! Hope all is well on your end of the metroplex :3
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:iconredsplendence:
Redsplendence Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Thank you for the fave! :iconmoesmileplz:
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:iconkriegsaffeno9:
KriegsaffeNo9 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
No problem at all.
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:icondehblee:
dehblee Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch!
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:iconkriegsaffeno9:
KriegsaffeNo9 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Welcome kindly.
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:iconscarlet-impaler:
Scarlet-Impaler Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks for the fave!
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:iconkriegsaffeno9:
KriegsaffeNo9 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012
No problem~
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:iconbluestripesstudios:
BlueStripesStudios Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey there! Long time no talk! How you been?
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