Alright, brief explanation time.
Most of you are probably used to my meandering serials, but this one has a bit more of an explanation. Two of my players and I have made a mini-RP group for days when the main group can't meet due to cancellations. We're hoping it won't have to meet often, but we are also suspicious.
Regardless, the possibility certainly exists that the game will go long periods of time without meeting, so I decided I would write up summaries of each session so we can remember what's going on. Then I thought, "Hey, why not make them fiction pieces".
Which leaves us here. As it stands, I am approximating what happened in given sessions; my memory is imperfect and my notes equally so, so dialogue especially is at least partially of my invention. Also, as a little something to raise interest: One of the players was not familiar with the game that we decided to play, and the other was. Because of that, his character had no idea what was going on in the first session (and only a vague idea of the second, I prophesize). To that end, I have decided not to admit what we're playing. Instead, I leave it to you guys to guess!
And if my players object to a depiction, they can create an account, log in, and chastize me in front of everyone.
Anyway, part one of Session One follows:
It was a sweltering summer day when the stranger came to town.
Joseph Baskerville (Joey to his friends, or occasionally â€œHoundâ€ after some of them found a copy of Sherlock Holmes back in grade school) didn't know that anything had changed. In fact, at the minute that the stranger arrived, he was enjoying a quick lunch break down at Smith's Garage.
â€œThe Old Man working you hard?â€ Tim Warner grinned, taking a bite of his sandwich. Kaze Smith (another oddity, he'd taken the name when he first came to America and abandoned his Japanese surname) ran the garage, and was notorious about wanting only the highest levels of quality out of his few employees. Despite his advanced age, he remained an imposing figure, by virtue of his simple but unyielding will. And his martial arts - when Karate Kid fever had swept the kids of Grovedale, Montana, their parents had been forced to explain to them that not every oriental person knew kung fu - only to have Mr. Smith cheerfully start teaching his own brand of martial arts at gym classes alternating weeks when a few of the children, Tim and Joey included, had ignored their parents and bothered him about it. Joey was one of his few remaining students, but he would admit that the man wiped the floor with him in all of their real duels.
â€œSame as always.â€ Joey shrugged, wiping some grease from his hands.
â€œAnd how's the saving going?â€ Everyone in town knew that Joey had ambitions to be the second person from his class to leave the small town of Grovedale. Six thousand people was enough for most of the inhabitants, but Joey's year seemed to have been bred with a streak of wanderlust.
â€œSame as ever. I'll have enough to head out in a year.â€ Joey paused, considering the state of his bank account. â€œOr three,â€ he added ruefully. Tim laughed.
â€œWell, while you're waiting, the crew's having a party over at my place tonight.â€ He shrugged vaguely. â€œNothing special - just seeing the pilot for Sam's new show.â€ Samantha Devlin had been the first - and thus far, only - person Joey knew to leave Grovedale, and was working on some pulp television show called Danger Ace down in New York. In truth, Joey was a bit surprised that Tim wanted to watch it; his friend had been close to Sam, but was rabidly envious of her. â€œEveryone's going to be there - Lee, Jackie, Tyler...â€
â€œSure, sounds good. But I have to get back to work - unlike you, I have a job that cares about that sort of thing.â€
â€œI could get you a job as a park ranger. This far north, no one gives a damn.â€ Tim grinned, but stood. â€œBut I wouldn't want to get you in trouble. See you around.â€
Joey nodded, with a vague wave, already returning to work.
On the other side of town (which was about a ten-minute walk, if truth were to be told), the stranger was walking down the street. Her eyes flickered across the buildings, but her bearing was of someone who was new, but at home in a small town in the northwest. The only thing about her that stood out was her skin - rich brown against the pale pink of those around her, it singled her out as a newcomer. She didn't seem to mind, orienting on a building simply marked 'Diner'.
Inside, she sat at an empty table, glancing around the room. The waitress, a thin woman whose nametag marked her as 'Julie', made her way over. â€œWell, hello and welcome to town, ma'am. You staying long?â€
â€œJust overnight.â€ The stranger smiled at the waitress, who found herself smiling back in reality, not simply for form's sake.
â€œWhat can I get you?â€
â€œHouse specials will do.â€
â€œRight. Vegetable soup, one hamburger - they're good ones, honey, don't you worry - a slice of apple pie. Coke to drink?â€
â€œSure.â€ The woman smiled as Julie walked away, and then her gaze swept the room again. In the background, two old-timers discussed whether Barack or Hillary would be a better choice for the White House, while a pair of young parents talked around and over their children. Almost imperceptably, she began to frown. It was what she had expected, but worrying nonetheless.
A man sitting alone at a table in the corner caught her eye, a large burly person with a bushy black beard, wearing a serviceble grey long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Onlookers would not have been able to tell why, but she zeroed in on him, gesturing to Denise to serve her there. She walked up to the man, who was hard at work on a crossword, and slid in across from him as Denise came by with the soup. The man glanced up at her. A flicker of some undefinable emotion crossed his eyes.
â€œCan I help you, miss...?â€
The stranger paused. â€œHillary.â€ She smiled. â€œI hope so, Mr...?â€
â€œMiles Warner, ma'am.â€ He put down his pencil and nodded to her politely.
â€œIt's nice to meet you, Warner.â€
â€œMiles.â€ The correction was given after only a heartbeat, during which a hint of concern lit his eyes. â€œNot from around here, are you?â€
â€œNo, I'm just passing through. Looking for someone.â€ She smiled. He didn't respond. Instead, he stood, taking a last bite of his sandwich, and leaving the crossword behind.
â€œYou won't find him here. Eat your lunch, then keep moving.â€ With that, he started away from the table, dropping a pile of money for the bill.
The woman stepped after him, following him out. â€œNow hang on. I'm not that easy to get rid of.â€
â€œHm.â€ Miles turned, looked her up and down. â€œWhat's his name?â€
â€œHodath Teran.â€ She tried a smile. â€œHe's foreign.â€
â€œNo foreigners here. Haven't been for years. Keep moving.â€ The man turned to leave.
â€œLike I said, I'm not that easy to get rid of.â€
Miles turned back, and his voice was a hiss. â€œIf I were you, I would leave while I still could. Before I ended up dead - or worse.â€
â€œNot without him.â€ The woman shook her head solemnly. Miles sighed heavily.
â€œDo you have any idea what you're getting into?â€
â€œIf I didn't, would I be here?â€ The woman smiled again, taking a careful step forwards. â€œTrust me. I can take care of myself.â€
There was an instant of hestitation, then the man nodded. â€œI hope so. Stop by the Baskerville house at ten o'clock. It's down Cherry street, red house with a white picket fence. You can't miss it. Maybe you'll find who you're looking for. Maybe you'll even escape. But don't follow me.â€ With that ambiguous comment, he turned and went down the road. The woman watched him go with hooded eyes. When she got back into the diner, her food was ready. The waitress smiled.
â€œHe left enough money for both of you, honey. Old friend?â€
â€œNo.â€ The woman took a bite of her 'hamburger', and nodded thoughtfully. â€œI'm afraid not.â€