Today, I made a list of potential romance interests. Proximity was a concern. So, I narrowed my focus to a short list of 256 candidates. I have started on the invitations, but I think I am going to need help getting them just perfect. I was also thinking of personalizing each of them, but for the first elimination round I’ll keep it simple and uniform. This just gave me the idea of having a large party. That would save me time. If I organize it like cheerleader tryouts, I can go through each of them at one sitting. I’m so excited. I have to tell everyone the good news.
January 23, 2011 19:10
July 13, 2010 04:38
“Hello Niko,” smiled Sister Francis as Niko came into the office.
“Hello, Sister Francis,” Niko responded politely.
Like most of the teachers, Sister Francis was wearing her usual wimple and short black dress. She sat down at the desk and smiled at Niko, riffling through a manila folder. “Here it is,” she said, and pushed over several papers.
Niko sat down on the other side of the desk. She was wearing the school uniform of a pleated plaid skirt, white shirt and tie, beret, and jacket. She ran her fingers through her short black hair before taking them. “Thank you,” she said faintly, looking at them.
“Are you all right dear?” Sister Francis looked at her closely.
“Yes, I’m all right.”
“Not bothered by the… events of Friday?”
“Hm? Oh… no, not really.”
“Not having trouble with the test?”
“Hm?” Niko frowned. “Why do you ask?”
“Oh, nothing… I just wanted to be sure.” Sister Francis smiled at her, and got up. “I’ll check on you in a few minutes.” She left the room.
Niko looked over the test, tapping her pencil thoughtfully. The testing period had been interrupted on Friday, and she had had some concern that she wouldn’t be allowed to complete it.
It was a placement test, and Niko had been considering it all weekend. The results of this test would determine what classes she would take in the new school. But what classes did she want to take? It had been this topic which had been the focus of her thoughts for the last couple of days.
The break had been sufficient for her to focus her ideas. Although she had hovered indecisively over the pages on Friday, today she finished the remainder of the questions in a few minutes and smiled at Sister Francis when she returned.
“Fine, fine, let me see…” She ruffled through the papers.
“What happens now, Sister Francis?”
“Well, this gets sent to be evaluated, and you are assigned to classes.”
Niko was surprised. “You don’t grade it yourself?”
“Not this one.” She smiled at Niko’s surprised face. “Some evaluation tests are sent to the state as part of the standard student profiles. In the meantime, though… let’s see. I’ll have a schedule for you in a few minutes….”
True to her word, Sister Francis returned in a few minutes with a paper, which she handed to Niko along with a note. “All right, here is your schedule. We like to encourage our students to participate in extracurricular activities. You might want to think about signing up for something! In the meantime, off you go…”
This was an unexpected turn of events. She hadn’t thought about extracurricular activities, and she wasn’t sure what she wanted to sign up for. Sister Francis had helpfully included an additional paper with her class schedule, titled “Extracurricular activities contacts,” which listed each of the activities that the school sponsored, and who to contact if one was interested in joining.
She frowned as she perused the list. Cooking club? Cheerleading? ROTC? Her sisters Kayley and Oni were planning to join the cheerleading club, she knew, Penny had signed up for ROTC, and Satomi planned to be involved in choir and drama. Niko hadn’t planned to be involved in anything at all, but if all of her sisters were joining things, she supposed she ought to join something as well.
Her eye fell on the listing titled “School Newspaper,” and she pursed her lips, considering. Of all the choices presented, writing and photography sounded the most interesting, along with “Science fair,” the deadline for which was rapidly approaching according to the flier.
She put the flier away as she approached her first classroom. At the very least, she decided, she would pick up a copy of the school newspaper later and peruse it. She pictured herself handing in a tabloid-style article with a title like, “Space Alien Weds Two-Headed Elvis Clone!” and smirked briefly before knocking on the door.
Her first class was science, Chemistry to be specific, with all the vials and tubes that any mad scientist could ever have wanted. Professor Loche was tall and thin, with dark flyaway hair. Niko noted he was wearing one black and one brown shoe. “Ah, come in, come in!” he said when Niko appeared at the door, and took the note from her hand. “Yes, yes… everything in order… class, this is our new student, Niko. You’ll all get along with each other, won’t you? Niko, there are textbooks in that cabinet – we’re covering chapter five, section two – and then find a seat somewhere please? Now then – ” He turned back to the chalkboard. “Where were we? Oh yes – so the reaction we would anticipate…”
Niko found her books. Several of the other students tittered, whispering behind their hands at each other. She wasn’t sure what they found amusing.
A moment later, though, her attention was attracted by movement. There was something white sailing across the classroom – a paper airplane. She hadn’t seen who had thrown it, but it would be hitting Professor Loche in the back of the head in a moment. She reached out and plucked it from the air, and at that moment the Professor turned.
“Niko!” He looked quite ferocious when he frowned. “No paper airplanes in class! What have I told you? Oh – er – well, you’re the new student so probably nothing, but still, you ought to know better!”
“I didn’t throw this,” Niko said, seeing at once what had happened. “This isn’t my plane.”
“And how do I know that?”
Nico opened one of her notebooks, removed a page from it, and folded for a moment. "My plane would have looked like this."
To her surprise, Professor Loche visibly brightened. “Would it really! I see you are a student of aerodynamics.” He took the new plane from her hand. “Do you know, in the fourteenth century, the Japanese – ” But the snickering from the nearby students seemed to bring him to his senses. “I mean – that is – Humph! No paper airplanes!” He took the other plane too and pointed to an empty desk. “See me after class!”
Niko was so upset by this that she almost couldn’t follow the lecture, but when she tentatively approached his desk after the bell rang, he seemed to have forgotten all about it, absorbed in the textbook. “Oh – Niko. There you are. Why did I want to see you?”
“Oh, yes. No paper airplanes in class. Off you go!”
She stared in disbelief. “That’s it?”
He looked up. “Was there something else?”
“Uh – no,” she said hastily.
“Well then, that’s sorted, isn’t it? Hurry up, you’ll be late to lunch!”
Niko hurried away, hardly able to believe her luck.
Halfway there another student bumped into her, without even stopping to look and see what she had done. Niko grumbled, picking up her papers, and noticed that the “Extracurricular activities” flier was printed on the back, something she hadn’t seen before.
It was a listing of internships. There was an explanatory note about local businesses that would teach students about various lines of work. “Students will spend four hours a day at the place of business, three days a week,” read the explanation. “At the end of the semester, students will receive an evaluation from the place of business. The grades thus generated will be counted as an extra-credit class.”
According to the text, various businesses had left fliers, and so Niko stopped by the principal’s office to inquire about them, as instructed. The secretary there pointed her to a table in the corner with stacks of papers. Niko took one of each, and then spent her lunch hour leafing through them.
The first was a longer explanation about the internship program. Only businesses who had completed an application process with the Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Education were allowed to offer them, and then only in certain fields. Each intership lasted three months and required parental permission. Students were not paid, but successful completion of an internship counted as an extra-credit class.
Niko thought that the entire thing sounded like a lot of trouble to go through if one was a businessperson, but the business tax incentives the pamphlet mentioned must have been generous, because there was no shortage of fields to choose from.
“Learn to Work in a Print Shop,” read one phamplet. “Explore the Exciting Field of Radio Communications!” read another, whose stack had been so short that there had been only three fliers left for it. In short order she had skimmed through “The Wonderful World of Real Estate,” “So You’d Like To Repair Computers?” “Young Minds; The Future of the Legal Field,” “The Joy of Dentistry,” and others.
Then one of the fliers caught her eye. It was titled “You Could Be the Next Top Model” and was another of the stacks that had been very short. It had been printed by a business called the Chambers Modeling Agency, and described how students could apply for an internship. “Students who are awarded an internship will model products for local businesses,” it read. A number of pictures were included of smiling young women wearing fashionable hats, holding props of locally-produced items, or standing in front of signs (one was standing in front of an old biplane which had ‘Smith and Jones Cropdusting’ emblazoned on the side.)
Interested, Niko detached the application form and read through it. Students wouldn’t be allowed to do certain types of modeling, such as liquor, cigarette, or swimsuit/lingerie ads. However, a student who successfully completed their internship could be awarded a full modeling contract at the discretion of the agency, with parental permission. Internships were awarded by means of tryouts, which took place every three months, at the beginning of the internship period. As luck would have it, the next tryout was listed in only two weeks time. She considered for a moment, then took a pen and began filling out sections.
Perhaps the flier had heightened her awareness of the issue, but it seemed as if all the girls were talking about the tryouts. For the rest of the afternoon, she overheard snippets of conversation between classes, and whispers here and there. “But what about the weight limit?” “Just donate a pint of blood, I’ve done it lots of times…” “I can’t believe we have to try out in our uniforms!” “Who else has signed up? We need to try and eliminate the competition…” “SHE’S trying out? SHE’LL never get in! Everyone knows Chambers only takes the best!” “Do you think I should cut my hair?”
It wasn’t until three days later that it occured to Niko she could propose a story to the school newspaper, promising to write up her experiences in trying out for the modeling internship.
June 10, 2010 17:35
Sensei Conner suggested I start a journal, so here it is.
Everything I thought I ever knew was all a lie.
I believed in the Maelstrom Empire. I did. Thought what we were doing was the greatest thing in the world. Now… damn them. Damn them all. I gave them my heart, and they had no business breaking it.
It seems that the others haven’t thought our situation through, at least not yet. I worry about what will happen to them when our new status really sinks in. We are no longer in the Maelstrom military. They are still training as if we were, but we aren’t. The Commander double-crossed us. Don’t they realize that yet?
When the Commander sent us on our mission to this world, I genuinely thought that he expected us to eliminate our targets, the Ravenni clan. Since then, Sensei Conner has been kind enough to give me some insight about the nature of the clan we were sent to kill. Nothing particularly specific; he has said very little, and I haven’t asked very much. But I have at least come to understand that we never had a chance of success. Furthermore, there was an extremely high probability that we wouldn’t be coming back.
And the Commander had too much experience as a military officer not to know that.
Why, then, was our very first “live” mission a suicide mission?
I have a few suspicions. I believe that the first real goal of the mission was to see if we were so utterly devoted to the goal given to us by the Maelstrom Empire that we would be willing to slaughter 3,400 civilians to see that it was done.
In addition… I think we may be prototypes.
We’re clones, after all, and easily mass-produced. But who would want to mass-produce a product without testing it thoroughly? Any flaw in the originals would be duplicated endlessly if not detected early. Presumably, then, the boys – who attacked the building without question, who never encountered the Ravenni clan, and who made it out afterwards – are considered to have passed the test, while we are considered to have failed.
Lurid possibilities come to mind when considering this line of reasoning. Both teams had “evac” buttons. But would both buttons have worked? Perhaps the true purpose of the mission was not only to see which of the two teams would pass their test, but to ensure that only one team would live to see possible mass production. Perhaps only the first button to be pressed would have worked: perhaps the buttons were rigged so that the second button, if pressed after the first had been activated, would detonate self-destruct devices implanted into our uniforms; or perhaps the teleportation coordinates would have shifted, dropping the second team into deep space.
In any case, I doubt that the Commander expected both teams to live. But we did live. He probably knows it. Perhaps he is even surprised.
The question is, having lived… what do we do now?
I am certain that it is crucially important to break with our old Maelstrom-empire style of training as soon as possible. As long as we continue to behave in the way that they trained us, we remain predictable. Predictability is a very bad thing. I am trying to make the break now. The others aren’t ready yet.
Making the break is proving to be more difficult than I had anticipated. I have been skipping morning training entirely, and I think I will continue to do so. For now, I believe I will train in the evenings instead.
I might just stick to katas for a while. I am having terrible trouble concentrating on much else.
Who am I? I don’t even know. I am a made thing, built out of blocks of genetic material in much the same manner as one might build a wall out of bricks and mortar. My personality was downloaded from a computer somewhere. Ironically, I’m not even an original – I’m a replacement for the original Sapphire clone, who may herself have been a replacement for her own predecessor. Who knows how far back it goes?
I have never had to make decisions before and am having trouble with it now. And what if I make a decision, and it’s wrong?
The very first real decision I have made bothers me terribly.
We were supposed to register for classes today at the new school. The school was attacked in the middle of registration, which doesn’t bother me so much. Ninjas? Get serious!
The new vice-principle of the school, however, is one of the Maestrom Empire clones. Just like the Commander… just like all of them. The second I saw him, I was going to kill him. I really was. We can’t take that sort of risk.
But in the end… I didn’t. I could have. I had the drop on him. But I didn’t. I didn’t, because I wanted to choose what sort of person I would be. I wanted to make that choice. I didn’t want the Maestrom empire training to make it for me. So I walked away.
But I worry. Is it normal to worry after making a real decision? He could take out the school and everyone in it. We could be knee-deep in corpses before we even suited up. And if that happened, wouldn’t all those deaths ultimately be my fault?
He said he was there to protect the students. But isn’t that what the Maelstrom empire said? All that talk about Honour? And it was all a lie. They sent us to kill 3,400 civilians. So much for Honour.
I don’t know. I don’t know about any of it. My head hurts thinking about it. It hurts all the time now.
For the moment, I am trying to concentrate on choosing classes tomorrow. I am trying to go through and choose all of those courses that the Empire would never, ever have had me take. I don’t even know what half of them are.
All of that is for tomorrow, though. It’s late and I am tired. More later, I guess.
June 09, 2010 05:42
Sent on a mission to take out the enemy
Wore skimpy uniform inappropriate for most missions
Duped into being the evil empire’s weapon
Ended up stopping a great catastrophe
Saved thousands of innocent lives
Took out boy group
Found mission target “bad guys”
Rescued by 3rd party “good guys”
Found a new home with a new sister and a new life
Needing to hide on Earth
Met a big head that wished to hire us
Hired to save the planet Earth
Got really great suits of armor made from gems
Got a pet/bot/mech/nanomorph awesomeness thing
Sad to hear new sister not grown in lab
Curious reaction when questioned about non-lab grown people
Found strange sleeping habits among the people of Earth
Sisters acting strangely, but adapting to new environment
New family very nice, and lots of food
Breakfast was familiar
Attempted to enroll in new school
Blonde creep became vice-principle
Other interested alien “party” of ninjas crashed school
Icy woman leading the raid
Ninja’s specifically looking for Soldier Girls
Mysterious armored sister shows up to kick some serious booty
Nanomorph’s in action
Enemy teleported away to some far off planet
Panicked school closed for the day
New sister brought into the fold
Robot bakes cookies
New sleeping arrangements made
Experiments in waking arrangements continue
Nanomorphs tango, tickle, and bite
Prepared for new day at school
What’d I miss?
A blog for your campaign
April 05, 2010 00:27
Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!
While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!
The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!
Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.
One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.