The Blank Slate - (Updated 12-26) A Christmas Council

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 5/20) Basically just Shizune/Ha

Post by Blank Mage » Sun May 31, 2015 3:44 pm

Alpacalypse wrote:Heard that, Shirou? Somebody's spelled it out for you again!
I have been watching far too much of Ufotable's Unlimited Blade Works adaptation
Shirou taught me that the best way to win a girls heart is to get your shit kicked in, in front of them, by someone way stronger than you.

I'm gonna stay on topic, I swear, but I can't have someone reference Fate Stay Night and NOT say anything.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 5/20) Basically just Shizune/Ha

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun May 31, 2015 4:08 pm

Puncy wrote:WALL OF TEXT, ROUND THREE, FIGHT!
See? Now you're getting the hang of what a WoT is supposed to be like.
Alpacalypse wrote:However, the biggest moment is during the scene (IIRC) Morning Reverie, when Lilly gets knocked over by Kenji. She gets way more irritated than she has any real right to be for something like that, which (in my interpretation at least) probably stems from her normally being able to navigate the grounds just fine, the incident immediately throwing her limitations into the for. While she's okay with people mentioning the fact that she is blind, with the way she's able to get around so easily, her limitations are nowhere near as pronounced as, say, Shizune's, even though Lilly's is the more visible condition. Having those limitations be emphasised so suddenly, especially in front of her boyfriend, must sting pretty badly.
Interesting that you would mention that scene, because it has a bit of a history - and for the record I have Suriko's permission to tell it.

In the original version of that scene Lilly does not get knocked over.

Then during the beta one of the testers argued - very eloquently - how much psychological stress Lilly would feel at that time and that there should be one scene where "Saint Lilly should crack somehow". He suggested Lilly tripping over something during this scene, and Suriko liked the idea so much that the scene was rewritten and the idea included (with a few tweaks) not even half a day later.
I think it was the single biggest change to the script that happened during the beta.

So, I don't think pride does come into it... much. It's more that Lilly has been botteling up her feelings for weeks at that point and that fall is the drop that makes the barrel spill over - and considering the amount of botteling up Lilly had done, that "Dammit" was a very minor spill indeed :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 5/20) Basically just Shizune/Ha

Post by Alpacalypse » Sun May 31, 2015 4:52 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:In the original version of that scene Lilly does not get knocked over.

Then during the beta one of the testers argued - very eloquently - how much psychological stress Lilly would feel at that time and that there should be one scene where "Saint Lilly should crack somehow". He suggested Lilly tripping over something during this scene, and Suriko liked the idea so much that the scene was rewritten and the idea included (with a few tweaks) not even half a day later.
I think it was the single biggest change to the script that happened during the beta.

So, I don't think pride does come into it... much. It's more that Lilly has been botteling up her feelings for weeks at that point and that fall is the drop that makes the barrel spill over - and considering the amount of botteling up Lilly had done, that "Dammit" was a very minor spill indeed
Huh. Alright then.I stand corrected.

Thanks for the interesting tidbit.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 5/20) Basically just Shizune/Ha

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:49 am

So, I just had an interesting conversation in the Book Club...
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 5/20) Basically just Shizune/Ha

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:50 am

New Blood

Despite the wrought iron gates and brick walls, there is no security detail at the Yamaku High School for the Disabled. No guards stalk the premises, no classes are held in the dead of night. The campus was silent, save for the insects, chirping from their hidden places.

None noticed the note, a tone too high for even the blind to easily distinguish, a silent screech that echoed against the stone. Another joined it in response, and another, until the air was full of the sound of bats. From the darkness they came, a storm of leather and fur, fangs flashing in the ample moonlight. They swarmed about the gate, stopping short as if unable, unwilling to cross. Instead they compacted, coalesced, impossibly dense, a tornado of living flesh and flapping wings.

From them stepped a young man, as casually as one might step off of a bus. Behind him, the bats dispersed as suddenly as they had gathered, confused by their own inexplicable behavior. The man, dressed in the casual clothes of an unremarkable youth, hefted his duffel higher onto his shoulder and pushed at the gate with his free hand. The gate remained closed, and a look of mild annoyance flitted across his features.

"Damn it, I even made sure to get permission." He looked up at the stars, throwing his arms up in a frustrated gesture. "What, is the gate not technically part of the school or some crap?"

The stars gave no answer, and he let his arms drop, returning his gaze to the bars in front of him. He paced for a moment, indecisive, before pulling a phone from his pocket. The tones were far too loud in the dead of night, and he muted it with a few muttered swears. His message sent, he resumed pacing, swinging his pack back and forth, until his phone buzzed in his hand.

"Thank you," he muttered, not bothering to check, and shoved at the gate, which now swung easily inward. "God damn rules."

Hefting his bag higher on his shoulder, Kyo Ketsuke began the long walk up the hill into the school proper.

------------------

Although the majority of the faculty had long since returned to their homes, a few remained in their offices and classrooms, cleaning, grading, or procrastinating as each saw fit. Kyo could sense them behind the solid walls of the school, like lights, each pulsing with vitality and warmth. A constellation in the near distance informed him of the location of the dorms, rows of lives, aligned and spaced like a grid. He smiled at the sight of it. He would soon have a place in that grid, himself. Part of the whole, an outsider no longer. The majority of his belongings would have to arrive traditionally, so his room would have to remain barren for a while longer. For now, he checked the paper in his hand, his school curriculum, and with it the office number of one Mr. Mutou, head of sciences. He found the man before he found the office, a slow, purposeful aura sitting behind the door. Kyo knocked, and waited.

"Come in."

Visibly relaxing, Kyo entered the office, giving a casual wave to the teacher inside. Mutou nodded in return, his expression serious, but not unwelcoming.

"Ketsuke, correct?" A pointless question, Kyo knew; Mutou, and indeed all of the staff here, doubtless knew more about him than anyone else he was likely to meet. For that matter, it was Mutou who had granted him entry minutes earlier. Regardless, he answered.

"Uh, yes. I'll be relying on you." It wasn't like him to be nervous, but he wasn't used to such formalities, and he was eager to make a good first impression on his new homeroom teacher.

Mutou straightened in his chair, fished out a folder, and opened it, glancing back at his charge before continuing. "Mmm. Yes. I should say you'll likely be relying on all of the staff here, or rather, I hope you will. There has been quite the effort made on their, and my part in learning about your condition."

Kyo shuffled his feet uncomfortably, either embarrassed at their consideration of the unfortunate implications. "Ah, yeah. The, uh..."

"-Vampirism." Mutou finished. "An exceedingly rare and very ill-understood hereditary affliction, carrying with it some very... unscientific misconceptions and rumors. I have no doubt you'll have some difficulty adjusting to life among the students here."

This was an understatement, and both knew it. The existence of vampires, only recently revealed, had resulted in a panic of superstitious propaganda, and even the occasional hate crime. Kyo was fortunate to have escaped the worst of it, although he remained keenly aware of the risks he was taking in making his condition known. He knew full well that this was likely a milestone in vampire integration in Japan, the school chosen specifically for it's well-adjusted student body as well as it's understanding medical faculty. Although vampirism, and the study thereof, was a very new field, the staff here was as well versed as anyone could be.

Kyo awkwardly rubbed the back of his head, unsure of how to proceed. "Well, I'm sure I c-" a muffled thumping from his duffel caused him to jump. Swearing lightly, he opened the duffel, a bat exploding from the bag. Both men winced as it smacked solidly into the small office window, falling dazed to the floor. Kyo gingerly stepped around it, opened the window, and tactfully tossed the thing outside, watching it wobble it's way to wherever. He closed the window, and cleared his throat.

"Aha. That, uh, happens sometimes. They get, ah, confused. Sorry."

Mutou only sighed heavily. "Please refrain from bringing any of those out unannounced, going forward. It won't end well for anyone, least of all yourself."

Kyo nodded seriously. "Yeah, I know. Mass panic and stuff. I know." Best case scenario, he's be hated and feared. In the worst case, he'd be staked with a number two pencil. He heard that that had happened to a guy somewhere in London, and he couldn't say he wasn't concerned himself.

Mutou held his eyes for a moment, before nodding, seemingly satisfied. "Good. Then I'll see you tomorrow for class. Don't feel the need to rush. I understand navigating a course around direct sunlight can pose quite the challenge." Kyo shrugged. Even direct sunlight could be handled in moderation. It was a bit like fire; only fatal if you were trapped in it, and if you were trapped in it, it was only because something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. All things considered, very few vampires died due to sunburn.

Securing his duffel once again, he gave a departing wave. "Don't worry about it. I wouldn't be much of a student if I let a little bad weather get in my way, would I?"
Last edited by Blank Mage on Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by brythain » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:40 am

'Hoomroom'? How did that get past the autocorrect? Fun to watch, though.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Alpacalypse » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:02 am

No nurse supplying black market blood or Scottish-Japanese Hellsing agents. 0/10, not worth reading.
Just kidding man, you're great

Okay, so that's a thing. I like it :D

You might think that the whole "being able to materialise from a swarm of bats thing" would have something to do with those very unscientific misconceptions, but what do I know.
Also, does Kyo Ketsuke have a relevant meaning in Japanese, or am I reading too far into this?
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:31 am

Kyou can have any number of meanings depending on the kanji used, ranging from "today" over "border", "misfortune" and "mirror" to "cooperation" not sure how common using either of those for names would be.
Fujibayashi Kyou (藤林杏) from Clannad uses the kanji for "apricot"

Ketsuke sounds more like a given name to me.

Leaving the linguistics aside this seems like it's going to be fun :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:05 am

Mirage, you're thinking way too hard about this.

I'll give you a hint. Put his names together.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:31 am

I hadn't even heard of that let alone know the Japanese term for it ^^°
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Puncyclopedia » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:38 am

I really liked the tone and style of this - taking itself seriously but at the same time not seriously. I'm a sucker for portraying outlandish premises in serious, grounded ways, and this does an excellent job of that.
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Leaty » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:21 pm

I... don't have a lot to say about this.

Hmm, actually, I can think of how I would have done it differently (if that's even appropriate as a comment.) The only vampires I particularly like are Old World of Darkness-style vampires, so if I wanted to proceed with this kind of content as a Katawa Shoujo fic, I'd make it an amalgam universe/crossover where Schere's Disease is a normal, documented thing and have some teenage Kindred (or Kuei-jin, I guess, given that it's Japan) attend Yamaku under the pretense that they suffer from the disease. I'd probably have it be an established character, too—not Rika, since she's cliché; maybe 3-2 Aoi. Reading Suriko's microfiction about her and Miyagi, I could totally believe that she's actually some three hundred year-old Lasombra or something. Or, ooh, maybe a high-humanity Ventrue whose blood exclusivity is for disabled youth. (Can you tell I'm unhealthily obsessed?)

Anyway, this is a fun little ficlet—it is what it is, there's not much to say other than that it's well written. Also, for some reason I'm picturing the vampire as looking like an SNK character.

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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Jun 03, 2015 1:48 pm

I never described him, but in my head he looks like a friendlier, naive Gilgamesh, from Fate Stay Night.

Once again, and as always, this is just something I wrote on a whim, so who knows if it'll see a continuation, eh? I have too many balls in the air as it is. Speaking of which, expect another chapter in the chronicles of Shizune and Hanako soon.

And then I have a thing planned, and it will be awesome. Leaty knows what's up.
Last edited by Blank Mage on Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-3) Lost in Translation? Whuzz

Post by Leaty » Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:08 pm

Blank Mage wrote:And then I have a thing planned, and it will be awesome. Leaty knows what's up.
I can notarize this assertion. It will absolutely be awesome.

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Firing Blanks - (Updated 6-27) Scrapped Routes

Post by Blank Mage » Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:30 am

Scrapped Routes
---------------------------------

I'm woken up by the sickening sensation that only comes from having rolled out of bed, the momentary loss of gravity pulling me from my sleep instantly. I brace for the impact of the floor, but instead find myself on something soft the moment I realize what's happening. I'm still in bed? Did I dream about falling? I try to remember what my dream had been about, but my mind is as blank as the ceiling I'm staring at. There's something off, though, even the ceiling tells me that much. It looks dingy and faded, the lighting is all wrong. My bed was against the wall before, wasn't it? Why isn't... why isn't my bed against the wall-

I sit bolt upright, my pulse thundering it's off-kilter beat into my eardrums, and I struggle to make sense of the unfamiliar room around me. My bed is a gurney, or a cot, something metal and utilitarian, and around me is a cage of glass and metal, I think, what the he-

"Calm down", demands a voice from behind me.

My heartbeat redoubles, my vision swims, as I spin around to face him. "Wh.... the.... what the hell?!"

As I thumb vision into my eyes, I begin to make out the silhouette of the man behind... some kind of control board? He's thin, and tall, his dull brown hair shaggy and unkempt. He hasn't shaved in at least a week. He wears a threadbare lab coat over otherwise casual clothes, but overall the entire outfit looks tattered and worn.

"Not what. When. When the hell. It's October the 7th, 2021. The where hasn't changed. This is still technically your room. Easiest way to get you here. Now come on, the door's unlocked." He turns, and walks through the doorway just behind him.

I've been abducted. I've been abducted from Yamaku by a crazy hobo with an elaborate set. My delayed reaction finally catches up, my anger and indignation slamming home just as he begins to close the door.

"You could have-"

"Given you a heart attack?", he finishes from outside with a dry chuckle. "Yeah. I know. Now report to the auditorium. Class is about to start." The door clicks behind him.

I struggle to dress as quickly as I can, happy to have found my uniform placed just outside the weird... glass cubicle thing that surrounds my(?) bed. This clearly isn't my room, even though it has the same dimensions. The walls are stained and crumbling, the lights are off, even my sparse furniture is gone. In it's place are electronics that look like they were cobbled together from a scrapyard, loose wires and exposed circuitry heaped in piles atop battered laptops and duct-work. I see a couple of large canisters marked 'oxygen' and 'argon'. The rest is completely foreign to me.

I stop at the door, hand on the knob. Whoever this man is, he's managed to bring me... wherever I am, but apparently trusts me enough to go along with him. I suppose if he had any ill intent, he could have acted on it already. In any case, staying here won't get me anywhere. As much as it irks me to play into such an obvious, cliche situation, there's only one path available to me right now.

I open the door to the hallway, and it's again a kind of aged and worn-down version of my own dorm hallway. As I make my way to the auditorium, I see no one else, only more of the same faded decor. Graffiti and trash litter some of the rooms, broken windows and long-since-raided desks and cabinets. The school has no power, but the setting sun still manages to light my way.

Outside the auditorium, I see a tabled stacked with name stickers. Each reads;

Hello! I'm dating:

...and the "this is all a dream" argument was just given a lot more credence. I'm not dating anyone, though, so I ignore the pile and step into the darkened auditorium; the hushed roar from inside is the only normal thing about this whole weird situation. Since most of the seat are occupied, I slide into a row towards the back, moving towards the center... and stop dead.

I'm seated in the seat ahead of me. Which is to say, my clone is. I am. The person next to him is also me. The person next to him is me. My eyes dart across the gathered assembly, seeing the same messy brown hair in row after row, each whispering among themselves.

Oh my God, I've lost my damned mind.

"Hey", comes a voice to my right, the Hisao nearest to me attempting to grab my attention. "Don't worry, you get used to it."

"....Do I?" I manage, getting only a casual shrug in response.

"Well, I did, didn't I?" His nametag says 'Saki Enomoto'.

I'm about to ask who the hell Enomoto is, and why this is apparently so damn important, when the sudden light of a projector catches my attention. The man from before stands at the podium, and the hushed conversations around me slowly die down. I recognize him now, despite the distance. It's obvious, of course. It's me, in my mid-twenties. I find myself irrationally happy to know I live that long, before the more reasonable parts of my brain promptly shut the line of thought down in self-defense.

The projector is only a blue screen, but before long it's replaced by an image; that of a branching flow chart. At each fork, there's a single, cryptic line of text. 'Tour', 'Not/Cute', 'Running', 'Risk'... I spot a 'Library (Hanako)' fork, and I vaguely remember hearing the name a few days earlier. Looking at the branches, I see 'Introduce' and 'Apologize'.

I remember! Hanako Ikezawa was the scarred girl in the library! And I... introduced myself normally, didn't ? I considered apologizing, but I didn't want to draw attention to her reaction, I thought it would be rude. My eyes trace the line backward, to 'Risk', only now realizing what it refers to. I played defensively. I've always been defense-oriented. Sure, Hakamichi may have wrecked me, but I think playing aggressively would only have made me lose faster.

As I'm matching these events to this bizarre map of the last few days, the Hisao at the front addresses the assembly.

"Gentlemen, we stand at a crossroads. We always have, and it's possible that we always will. We are among the few, the precious few, whose choices shape the realities we live in." He gestures at the chart with a pointer. "Ikezawa. Tezuka. Hakamichi. Satou. Ibarazaki." He punctuates each name by slapping the pointer against the canvas, landing on a different branch each time. "These are the realities left to us. Many more have been lost. Takahasi. Kurai. Suzuki. Miura. Katayama. Enomoto."

I glance over at... myself, sitting next to me. His hands clench at the last name.

"Our universes are unstable, and unlike most, our actions, our decisions, are enacted across a hypothetically infinite number of parallel continuities from a given point." He slaps the pointer against the first branch, one labeled 'Tour'. "This point. There might have been more previously, but these realities are collapsing. Some of you here tonight are new. Some of you have been here for many years. To those who are new, I say this: You are the hub to which other's realities connect. You are their anchor. It is your, no, our choices that ensure their continued existence. We are not Gods. I posit that we aren't even special. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the people in our lives are more impressive by half. No, I believe this is simply a quirk of probability, a universal constant in an equation that exists in every timeline."

With a click, another image slides into place, one of me, smiling beside a rail-thin girl with silver hair and piercing red eyes, standing in front of the bizarre contraption I saw around my bed earlier.

"The Katayama effect, named after the women who theorized it's existence, as tested by one Hisao Nakai. Ha... one." The same chuckle is issued simultaneously from a couple dozen mouths, and the result is deeply unsettling. I'm really not in a laughing mood, personally. "It was the Katayama faction who breached the barriers that separate our universes. They were the first Hisaos to discover their nature, and they were the first Hisaos to fall. The nature of this machine has been explained to us, so that we can continue the fight in their absence. I'll put it bluntly; we are under attack."

The image changes, this time to a blocky, blurred image of what appears to be myself. "This is the best photo we have of him. All we know is that he is one of us; a Nakai. Pictures taken of this Hisao exhibit strange properties, often changing or vanishing. We believe this Hisao is literally a 'Schrodinger's Cat', that he originated in a universe that has since stopped existing. It shouldn't be possible for a Nakai to exist independently of the timeline he hailed from. The paradoxes and contradictions should have erased him long ago. Yet somehow, he remains, and even more frightening is that we don't know how to stop him. He doesn't exist, so he can't exactly be killed. He's like a software glitch, a bug in the code of the multiverse."

A group of hands all rise, and he nods to them. "The Hakamichis. The closest Hisao may ask."

"If we can't beat him, how do we fight?" The rest of the Hisaos labeled 'Shizune' nod in agreement. "You can't win a game if the opponent has such an unfair advantage."

"Well, we aren't defenseless. He can't be stopped, but he can be deterred, sent back to wherever it is he recovers for a time. The difficulty comes in finding him. Fortunately, there is a method; by gathering all of our selves into a single universe, it should theoretically force him to do the same, leaving him nowhere to run. It also protects each of us from having to fight him one-on-one. We've managed to work out ways of disrupting his influence for a while, and the older versions of us are trying to work out a way to keep him from reappearing when we do. For now, just worry about manning the defenses here."

More hands go up. "Yes, Satous. Again, the closest."

"Have we tried talking to him? Do we know what he's after?"

"Sadly, we do. This Hisao wants nothing more than the annihilation of all other realities. We don't know if it's a result of his degraded state or simply madness, but all attempts at negotiation have failed. He simply invades, kills the native Hisao, and vanishes, leaving the associated timeline to collapse. Invariably."

Whispered conversation erupts around the auditorium, and more hands. "Ikezawas have the floor."

"Can the damage be restored? Can we regain access to the universes you mentioned?"

The leader breaks into a smile. "In a rare bit of good news, yes. As long as a native Hisao exists to provide a 'save state', we can find the universe he originated from and return him when it's safe. Though the Katayama's may be gone, there is hope for most other timelines. In fact, we recently managed to acquire a very early Hisao. We hope that continued extractions might yield the 'original' Hisao, the one who made the first choice, and use him to re-map the multiverse. Perhaps we could even find a way to preempt Iwanako's confession. Who knows? Any other questions?"

Only a few hands, this time. "Oh, it's rare to see the Tezukas with a question."

"Who did you end up going to the festival with?"

He rubs the back of his head sheepishly. "I, ah.... I fell off the roof...."

----------------------------------------------------

It's only a week after I was brought to 'Root Yamaku' that we're attacked. I guess the collection of Nakais ensured that it would happen sooner or later. The still-powered PA system crackled a warning to all Hisao, battle stations are quickly manned. My post isn't terribly important, since my recent time in the hospital has left me with less stamina then my older selves. For now, I'm just sitting in a makeshift trench as older Hisaos pass out weapons. I'm handed a bizarre gun that would look futuristic if it wasn't obviously assembled in a work shed. Conventional weapons aren't all that effective, I'm told. "Remember: aim for the heart. It's the quickest way to put him down." I nod at the Hanabro, who smiles at me. "Don't worry about it. We've all got people to go home to. You will, too." I smile back, happy to know that despite my heart, I have a future. I have enough futures to last me a thousand lifetimes.

I bring my binoculars up to get a better look at the figure on the horizon, only to wince at the instant headache. It's like looking at a real-life Picasso, or an Escher. Conflicting views compete for my attention, only a few points making it through the resulting visual noise. He's thin, but wiry, and I have no doubt that he's in even better shape than the Track Club Nakais. He's also armed to the teeth, the guns apparently not subject to the same rules that apply to their wielder. His uniform, the traditional Yamaku white and green, are dirty and torn. I ignore the headache, and for a moment, I see him.

He's crying, but otherwise his face (our face, whatever,) shows nothing but raw fury. He strides towards the school, fearless, checking his equipment with all the practiced ease of a professional mercenary. The only other thing that sets him apart from the countless Hisaos around me is the burnt, tattered scarf around his neck, fluttering dramatically behind him. A scream is carried on the wind, full of rage and despair, the lone howl of a broken man, as though heard through a cheap, waterlogged speaker:

"YOU GOD DAMN FEMINISTS!"
And we're back.
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"I wish I could convey to you just how socially inept I am, but I can't."
"I think you just did."
"No, I really, truly haven't."

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