7 1a

[10:42] <Minaplo> Persona: A Study in Velvet, Chapter Two: The Curious Case of the Schoolboy in Space. Week Seven, May 23rd.
[10:45] <Minaplo> The night of the 15th had seen Ji-hu and Hideki return, somewhat shell shocked but unharmed. They had recounted the events to the rest of the dorm- Smithson's interception, Black Hat's sudden appearance, using an Egg to freeze everyone but Hideki, Hideki and Black Hat's exchange, Adrien's rescue, Adrien's new team member, Amazon, and Black Hat's eventual fleeing.-
[10:51] <Minaplo> Things had been quiet, perhaps with an edge of tension to the air, but mostly quiet. After a few days, the awkward guardedness between Ji-hu and Sachiko seemed to dissipate, which helped ease the dorm over all.-
[10:53] <Minaplo> The Sea remained quiet. Their instruments showed that after just over a week of peace, the miasma was starting to grow again, only in very little amounts but still an amount. On being informed of this, Roy noted that even without an Archetype creating a bridge to pump miasma into the waking world, the ongoing decay of the seals meant that miasma would start seeping through on its own, and that this 'background miasma' appearing marked the essential beginning of the end for the seals in Sophia's roots.-
[10:53] <Minaplo> Nonetheless, there wasn't much they could do except wait for the next Archetype to appear.-
[10:54] <Minaplo>
[10:59] <Minaplo> It was raining on the morning of May 23rd. The week before had vacillated between half-hearted sunniness and gloomy cloudiness, and finally it was committing to rain. A weak rain, but a steady one.
[10:59] <Minaplo> This had the effect of washing out some of the tension around Sophia. First and foremost, many of the journalists camping at the gate, already dispirited with the faculty's stonewalling, had crawled into tents and vans to wait the rain out. Secondly, the rain pushed most of the students undercover and inside, and whilst this did pack students into tighter, denser spaces- all the more likely to start a fight- the constant light rain seemed to bring a degree of refreshing cleanliness to the school, whilst providing a constant damper to overenthusiastic spirits. Essentially, it just made people a little too sleepy to fight.-
[11:02] <Minaplo> …-
[11:07] <Minaplo> Early that morning, Ai would, as she entered the campus, spot a tall, broad-shouldered white adult standing on the edge of Sophia Court, staring out at the ume trees that dominated the grassy square. He had medium-length golden blonde hair, bright blue eyes and firm, strong lines to his face, offset a little by a softness to his lips and cheeks. He wore a crisp, well-fitting navy suit, the sharpness of which was blunted by the fact that he was also wearing a backpack instead of holding a suitcase. As Ai passed him, she'd hear him sigh and say…
[11:07] <Minaplo> "Sophia, huh. Back again at this place…"-
[11:08] <Minaplo> …-
[11:15] <Minaplo> That morning in homeroom, Ai would see the man again when he entered the room and took up position behind the teacher's desk. He took off his backpack, unzipped it, took out a pack of juice boxes, a bento box and a shogi board. For the first five minutes of class, he busied himself with his things, draining a juice box, setting up the shogi board and snacking a little on some sausages in his bento box. Finally, he stood up and spoke.
[11:15] <Minaplo> "Good morning, class." He said. He had a gentle voice, yet one that carried well. "My name is Gregory Cameron. I'm going to be taking over your homeroom and history classes from Mr. Asaka for the forseeable future."-
[11:15] <Minaplo> …-
[11:16] <Minaplo> SACHIKO AND DINAH.-
[11:17] <Minaplo> First period: mathematics. Starting off strong.-
[11:22] <Minaplo> "So many people see rain as romantic, and it is, but it's for all the wrong reasons. Pushing people inside. Making people stay over people's houses, or forcing idiots to share umbrellas? Huff. You call that romance? The true romance in rain is predicting how the rain drops fall. After all, the rain is all the same and comes from the same place, but predicting where each drop will fall is immensely difficult. We can make estimations, based on the strong influence of their starting states, but even small changes in these conditions can produce wildly divergent outcomes, making it impossible to predict how things will truly turn out… Just like love."
[11:22] <Minaplo> She sighed. "Chaos theory… Why does it have to be so beautiful?"-
[11:22] <Minaplo> …-
[11:23] <Minaplo> Second period: English.-
[11:26] <Minaplo> "I'm very conflicted today, kiddos." Said Kobayashi, sitting on his table, one leg folded over the other, cigarette-shaped sweet in his mouth. "So many middle schoolers gonna run off and strike today instead of going to class. And you know, ditching school to do what you believe in? Well that's just punk-rock American as apple pie."
[11:26] <Minaplo> "But going on strike? Distinctively not American whatsoever." He grumbled. "I just dunno what to do."
[11:26] <Minaplo> "You could do your job." Said Wallace.
[11:26] <Minaplo> "No one likes a narc, McClean."-
[11:27] <Minaplo> …-
[11:27] <Minaplo> Third period: Japanese.-
[11:30] <Minaplo> Miss Smithson sighed as she looked out the window. "God, I'm so tired. This rain makes me want to lay down and sleep. Who here feels the same?"
[11:30] <Minaplo> Yurika Ito, sitting next to Sachiko, nodded drowsily.
[11:30] <Minaplo> "I remember sometimes going outside with an umbrella, sitting beneath a tree and setting it up, and just snoozing away whilst the rain came down… It was cool but I was dry and the patter-patter of the rain just put me right… To sleep."
[11:30] <Minaplo> There was a light thud as Yurika succumbed to the sweet whispering, her head falling on her desk. She snoozed.
[11:30] <Minaplo> Instantly Smithson re-energised. "Ha! Got'em!"-
[11:30] <Minaplo> …-
[11:32] <Minaplo> HIDEKI.-
[11:33] <Minaplo> First period: English.-
[11:36] <Minaplo> Mr. Bash was half an hour late. When he finally came in, he had a harried look and his hair was suspiciously off-kilter. "My hair! Damn rain got into my spikes! Where is it? Where?!" He raided his desk, pulled out a tub of hair clay and began slathering it through his hair to give it that closer-to-god look he so loved.
[11:36] <Minaplo> "Can't believe this'd happen to me of all people. Damned rain! Go away! Come back another day!" He turned towards the class. "That's a very popular English song, you know. Actually, my band and I play it all the time, check this out-"
[11:36] <Minaplo> He took out his phone and played a four minute long punk rock rendition of 'Rain, Rain, Go Away'. It was, needless to say, either excruciating or a national treasure.-
[11:36] <Minaplo> Second period: Art.-
[11:41] <Minaplo> Mr. Bazzoli nodded slowly as he paced around the circle of art students, eyeing their work. "My my, so much art on display!" He said happily. "So much variation on same theme! It is the same thing we paint, but where does variation come from?"
[11:41] <Minaplo> He walked into the circle and chuckled. "Variation comes from us. Yes, that is part of us we put into painting, make it our own! It is greatest beauty of art, to see 'painting', but to see 'heart'."
[11:41] <Minaplo> He picked up the apple that stood on the plinth in the middle of the classroom. "So many apple. But only one apple. That is the miracle of human art."
[11:41] <Minaplo> Then his expression became icily furious. "YET SOMEHOW ALL ART HERE TERRIBLE! WHERE IS TRUE HEART?! WHY? YOU SICK OF PAINTING APPLE!? APPLE GIVE YOU EVERYTHING AND YOU GIVE NOTHING! NONE OF YOU LOVE APPLE, SO NONE OF YOU PAINT GOOD! DONKEYS! DONKEYS, EVERYWHERE!"-
[11:43] <Minaplo> …-
[11:43] <Minaplo> Third period: Science.-
[11:50] <Minaplo> Mr. Husayn wove a hand through his glossy black hair idly, seemingly ignorant of the sighing glances of some of the girls in the class.
[11:50] <Minaplo> He took out an old-fashioned package from his desk and unwrapped it. Within were a set of metal spoons, unused and unstained. He picked one up and smiled at the class.
[11:50] <Minaplo> He then proceeded to make coffee, assembling it from ingredients in his bag. Hot water in a thermos, coffee powder, some milk… For the people who liked coffee, the smell was intoxicating.
[11:50] <Minaplo> He then handed the spoon and the coffee to Hideki for him to stir. As Hideki stirred it, he'd notice that the spoon was… Melting? In fact before long half of it had turned into a liquid and was sloughing off into the coffee.
[11:50] <Minaplo> "A trick spoon, designed to melt in hot liquid. A common prank toy of the fifties." Said Husayn. He smiled and took the coffee back, then dumped all of it in the bin.
[11:50] <Minaplo> "These spoons are made of cadmium, lead and mercury. If you drink this coffee, you will die."-
[11:51] <Minaplo> …-
[11:51] <Minaplo> AI.-
[11:52] <Minaplo> First period: History.-
[11:54] <Minaplo> Mr. Cameron didn't seem to be in any rush to actually start the history lesson.
[11:54] <Minaplo> "I sense that Mr. Asaka didn't have time to do much teaching. Or if he did his lessons weren't very well absorbed." Said Mr. Cameron. "But let's do history anyway, albeit not history in the curriculum. We should try resetting this class a little. I'm going to make this an open forum, and all of you can tell me what he covered, what it was like in his class, and what you all want from this. The more I know, the more I know what to do."-
[11:54] <Minaplo> …-
[11:55] <Minaplo> Second period: Mathematics.-
[11:58] <Minaplo> Ms. Kongo settled in behind her desk. "I bet many of you here have crushes on other students. I bet even in this class, right?" She chuckled wistfully. "Here's a question for you. Let's say I choose a task for you to all pursue, and I put you all into pairs. First, what is the probability that you will end up with your crush? Second, what is the probability that out of every pair that forms, one individual has a crush on the other in that pair?"
[11:58] <Minaplo> It was the single hardest period of mathematics Ai had ever done.-
[11:58] <Minaplo> Third period: Cultural Studies.-
+++
[12:01] <Minaplo> Ms. Banerjee seemed to be struggling a little to maintain control of the class. Students were becoming restless, fidgety and starting to talk out of line. One student left and didn't come back.
"Come on, now!" She said testily. "I'm trying to teach you a marvellous juxtaposition between The Book of Tea and the western militaristic styles imported into the gakuran and seifuku! T… This is fascinating stuff!"-
[12:01] <Minaplo> …-
[12:02] <Minaplo> The cafeteria was busy and bustling as the bell rang. All four of the 5 Soejima crew would emerge from their classes, likely feeling hungry. Now they could go wherever they wished.
[12:14] <Hideki> Lunch~ Hideki wandered the hallways toward the cafeteria, a plastic convenience store bag dangling from one hand. He was eyeballing the flow of the students around him… were they heading the same way, or were they veering off? Was there another protest event going on?
[12:24] <Dinah> Heading into the cafeteria, Dinah was already grumbling about something or other as she headed for the line. She didn't even want much, just something small to snack on before she could sneak off for a quick smoke break. Rainy days always made that hard, which was an extra annoyance she didn't want or need.
[12:36] <Minaplo> Hideki would notice a steady stream of students heading away from the cafeteria, many of them with food- off to the protest, he had to imagine.
[12:36] <Minaplo> Dinah was off by herself, standing in line behind some middle schoolers she didn't know, a girl and a boy. "So we grab something and then it's off to the protest, right?" "Right." "Okay. We gotta make this one the biggest yet!"
[12:44] <Hideki> "Hmmm…" It was a good thing he had brought his lunch today. Curiously, he followed the crowd that was heading away from the cafeteria. At one point he would pull out his phone and send a quick message about his whereabouts to Ji-Hu and one or two of the baseball guys he sometimes ate lunch with when she was unavailable.
[12:48] <Dinah> Dinah crossed her arms as she had to wait in line, frowning somewhat. Hearing the two kids talk didn't really spark much in her attention, though there wasn't anything else to do in the wait but listen, really. Couldn't hurt to get a little information. "Hey." She intoned with her usual amount of force, if just to get their attention. "Where's it at today?"
[12:50] <Minaplo> The two kids looked over and up at Dinah. "Eh? Oh… The assembly hall." Said the girl.
[12:50] <Minaplo> And it was to the assembly hall that Hideki would see the students going. A steady stream of them, mostly middle schoolers, a body of red, white and gold. Amongst their throng he'd sight a familiar individual: Karo.
[01:07] <Hideki> Hideki smirked. Of course. But instead of heading straight for him, he meandered around the edges of the crowd, picking out anyone else he recognized. A teacher? One of his own classmates?
[01:14] <Minaplo> There were a few teachers trying to maintain the peace with the students- Smithson was here, so was Ms. Eichel, and of course Mr. Matsudaira was there as well, huffing and puffing somewhat at the students. Here and there Hideki saw high schoolers, but he only vaguely recognised them.
[01:19] <Dinah> With just a nod to the students as they answered, they were left alone, with Dinah staying silent after. With the line moving, she reached out for the bags of melonpan, hand hesitating as she looked them over and grabbing a custard pan from the group. After she paid for it, she headed out into the cafeteria but then straight through it, tearing the package open to take a bite of it, unconsciously heading toward the assembly hall…and then figuring she might as well see what was up. She did like a ruckus.
[01:26] <Minaplo> Dinah's melonpan tasted pretty good. As she got closer to the assembly hall, her progress would slow as the trickle of students became a stream. She would glimpse Hideki, lurking around the edges. No Adrien in the crowd, as far as she could tell. The teachers were trying to slow things down, if only to avoid a stampede; there was no cancelling this strike.-
[01:31] <Dinah> Scarfing it down fairly quickly, Dinah did at least enjoy the flavor of it, even if she was more just looking forward to the cigarette she was going to try and sneak at some point. Always good to eat first, she had discovered. Still, watching the scene unfold, she glanced to Hideki and made her way toward him, arms crossing back in front of her as she did. "Gonna be a scene."
[01:35] <Hideki> "Think so?" Hideki frowned a little. "Sure, the teachers look worried, but it's not like the kids are chanting or lighting things on fire."
[01:38] <Dinah> "Yet." She sniffed, shifting on her feet somewhat. "They're in it. They wanted to make this one big."
[01:41] <Hideki> "Think they'll accomplish much?"
[01:46] <Dinah> She shrugged, a hand lifting to make a dismissive gesture. "I think they'll be loud and I think they'll get forceful the longer it goes on. But I dunno much past that, really."
[01:52] <Hideki> "Kind of surprised it's gone on for as long as it has. It's not like I think the school should squash this, but clearly standing around and waiting for it to die down hasn't been working so well either."
[01:56] <Dinah> "Yeah, me too. Maybe that's still the plan, though. Either they get tired of it or they go over the line and the teachers can start really cracking down on it. Until then, it's just…" She gestured to them all. "…like this."
[01:59] <Hideki> "I'd at least send a good representative to try to figure out what their demands are. But maybe the school's worried about legitimizing this whole thing?"
[02:01] <Dinah> "Probably, yeah. They start treating it like it's something other than kids standing around and being angry, then it means they have to deal with it without the upper hand. Like I said, if it goes too far, they can do what they want."
[02:07] <Hideki> "But if it -does- go that far, then people are gonna get hurt."
[02:10] <Dinah> "Yeah. S'how it goes." Reaching down, she patted her leg to make sure the pack of cigarettes in the top of her high socks were still there. "I'm sure the teachers are hoping it fizzles out first. But I don't think they're gonna be that lucky."
[02:14] <Hideki> "Don't envy them. Of course, even during the best times, I didn't envy them. Teaching looks hard."
[02:19] <Dinah> "Probably is, yeah. Anyway, you gonna stay and watch? I was gonna sneak outside and smoke."
[02:22] <Hideki> "Yeah. I… was planning to swing by the cafeteria again, but I'll stick around just in case. Stay dry, ok?"
[02:26] <Dinah> "I'll try." With a little wave, she headed off for the closest set of outside doors then, figuring she could just slip out, find a spot nearby and light up.
[02:31] <Minaplo> Before long, Dinah would be enjoying her wonderful nicotine in peace.-
[02:33] <Hideki> Hideki worked his way slowly into the crowd. He tried to catch Karo's attention with a cheerful wave!
[02:34] <Minaplo> Karo was not quite mingling, but looking like he was readying himself to dive in amidst humanity. When he saw, Hideki, he scowled and trudged over. "What?"
[02:38] <Hideki> "Just saying hi. Had no idea you were so interested in this Asaka business."
[02:39] <Minaplo> "That a problem?" Said Karo.
[02:42] <Dinah> She took the time to find a spot with a bit of an overhang at least, pulling her smokes out then and yanking one out of the pack with her lips. Covering her mouth to at least make it look like she was using a lighter, it sparked up and she replaced the pack, letting out a sigh of smoke after. In the silence, she pulled out her phone, looking through her messages before starting up one of her games on it.
[02:49] <Hideki> Hideki rolled his eyes. "You'll be fine. If people start burning things down and rioting, and I know you'll go into your usual action hero mode, one-liners and all."
[02:55] <Minaplo> Karo flushed. "Did you really just come here to insult me?"
[02:58] <Hideki> "I'm not -trying- to insult you. I'm trying to tell you to be careful."
[03:00] <Minaplo> "Maybe you should be careful."
[03:02] <Hideki> looked confused. "Careful about what…?"
[03:05] <Minaplo> "Look." Said Karo. "Hideki. I get it. You're hanging around a trouble spot hoping something'll go wrong and you'll sweep in and be a big hero. But this is a middle schooler thing. Your teammates aren't here to back you up. You'll just get yourself hurt if anything serious happens, so why don't you go home?"
[03:11] <Hideki> "Seriously?" Hideki laughed. "You've got some imagination on you. Look. What are you guys trying to do? Stir up attention to generate changes, right? So why are you getting annoyed about a highschooler or two dropping in to watch?"
[03:23] <Minaplo> "I don't care about high schoolers being here. I care about you being here." Said Karo. "Like, don't you have something better to do?"
[03:30] <Hideki> "It's lunchtime. So, no."
[03:35] <Minaplo> "So what are you gonna do here? Just watch?"
[03:43] <Hideki> "Maybe! And maybe I'll walk around and talk to some people. See how the whole protest's shaping up for them."
[03:49] <Minaplo> "Why?!"
[03:58] <Hideki> "Curiosity! Buuut," He folded his arms. "You really do look like you're about to blow a blood vessel. Is it that stressful having me around?"
[03:59] <Minaplo> "I just-" Karo seethed. "This doesn't involve you. But you're getting involved in my business anyway."
[04:05] <Hideki> "It's not like I make it a habit."
[04:05] <Minaplo> "You don't have to. You just always are."
[04:17] <Hideki> "Fine. You're such a pain." Hideki shook his bag. "I'll eat my sandwich, look around without talking, and then leave. Happy?"
[04:18] <Minaplo> "Happy."
[04:19] <Hideki> "Good."
[05:16] <Syntax> A voice cut through the surrounding chatter. "Yes, thank you for your time- hey! Mr. Nakajima! Hold on just a second!"-
[05:17] <Syntax> A Japanese woman in her thirties was working her way past the middle schoolers milling about. Her attire was only slightly formal, standing out from the rest of the school staff. In one of her hands was a notepad, and she seemed to be relieved to find Hideki here.
[05:19] <Minaplo> Behind her was a man who could've been in his mid-twenties or his early thirties, wearing a buff coat, grey slacks and a coat. He had a video camera mounted over his shoulder.
[05:20] <Hideki> "Eh?" Hideki turned, blinking. He had been fishing an egg sandwich out of his bag, but now that was forgotten.
[05:21] <Minaplo> "Yes?" Said Karo, turning at the same time. His eyes widened.
[05:26] <Syntax> "Thank goodness. Okay. My name's Akira Kotsuhara, and I'm looking into the administrative misconduct surrounding the resignation and the strikes. I was hoping you could help me answer a few questions about the ongoing, hm. Situation. Would that be fine?"
[05:27] <Minaplo> "S-Sure." Said Karo.
[05:28] <Hideki> "Huh. You've got a news interview. Good for you!" He gave Karo a thumbs up.
[05:32] <Syntax> "No, sorry. Let me clarify. Frankly, it's your name, Mr. Nakajima," she said, motioning to Hideki with the pad, "that's come up more than a few times in the past couple days. Is there somewhere we could have this conversation with more privacy, maybe?"
[05:32] <Minaplo> "Seriously?" Muttered Karo.
[05:34] <Syntax> "Of course, I'll welcome any information the two of you might have."
[05:35] <Hideki> "Wait… why is my name coming up in all this? I'm not a part of the middle school. I'm not even here to protest today."
[05:35] <Minaplo> "He's not even part of the middle school! He's just some asshole who can't keep his nose out of it!"
[05:37] <Syntax> "Possibly so. You're good friends with your dormmates, right, Hideki?" Flip. "A… Kurata, and Schreier?"
[05:39] <Hideki> Hideki shot Karo a look. -
[05:39] <Minaplo> Karo shot Hideki a murderous glare.
[05:41] <Hideki> "We get along okay. But out of respect for their privacy, I have to decline any interviews focused on them."
[05:42] <Syntax> "I understand. But."-
[05:44] <Syntax> "You're, of course, aware of their involvement in the recent events, as well as possibly Ms Ji-Hu's, as well. Now, a lot of people seem to have a vested interest in piling as much dirt on this debacle before anyone shines a light on it, so if you want to set the record straight on anything, I might be the only chance you get."
[05:45] <Minaplo> "He's not gonna tell you anything. It's too important to him that he plays the hero." Said Karo.
[05:46] <Syntax> "What does that mean, exactly? This is just an organized protest, isn't it?"
[05:47] <Hideki> "Knock it off for five minutes, Karo. This is important." -
[05:48] <Minaplo> "You knock it off."
[05:48] <Hideki> Hideki shook his head. "Look. He's just pissed because his embarrassing older brother showed up today in front of all his middle school friends."
[05:49] <Minaplo> "That's not it!"
[05:52] <Syntax> "Well, that's another question you can maybe help me with, Mr. Karo." Akira said, putting her notepad away and taking out a pocket recorder instead. "What are the middle schoolers doing protesting? This controversy didn't start with middle schoolers, after all."
[05:56] <Minaplo> "S-Sure." Said Karo quickly. "We're protesting… The school, you know? No, not the school but like…" He paused for a moment. "The reaction. The middle schoolers kinda get ignored when stuff like this happens, it's like, er, like our stuff isn't that important. There aren't any middle schoolers on the… The council… and none of the big incidents happened to, uh, to middle schoolers, so it felt like this was just… A big thing between the high schoolers and the teachers, and it's not, it's our school too and we're tired of living in the shadow of everything else."
[05:59] <Syntax> "So this was all started by the Asaka resignation, correct?"
[05:59] <Hideki> Hideki simply listened now, letting him say his part.
[06:02] <Minaplo> "The protest? Yeah. It started there."
[06:04] <Syntax> "Something that's a little unusual is the protests don't seem to be organized by the student council or anyone discernable, either. Where did you hear about this protest taking place today?"
[06:04] <Minaplo> "W-well, I mean, you hear about it from students…"
[06:06] <Syntax> "Think carefully. Someone clearly came up with the time and place for this turnout."
[06:08] <Hideki> "Excuse me, ma'am. Maybe we could take the interview someplace more private after all. Once Karo here has answered that question, of course."
[06:09] <Minaplo> "Stop trying to control things, Hideki!" Snapped Karo. "What's wrong with having it here? This is fine! Just let me do this!"
[06:11] <Syntax> "Okay, one last question. What do you think about the rumors that university students or alumni have stirred up this crowd to cause trouble for the administration, or cover up for some other misconduct?"
[06:16] <Hideki> Hideki, again, waited for the answer, glancing briefly to the crowd around them. Maybe the other students weren't too fussed about another interview happening when there had been a big media presence on campus lately?
[06:19] <Minaplo> "N-No. Wait. I don't under… L-Let me back up." Said Karo, a grimace spreading across his face. "This protest isn't about any of that, it's just about making us be heard. There's some high schoolers helping us but they aren't trying to stir things up, w-where did you hear that?!" His voice was starting to crack a little.
[06:22] <Hideki> "A protest like this wouldn't necessarily have an outside instigator. The middle-schoolers attending this school are bright, motivated, and clearly passionate about Sophia Academy. Why wouldn't they try to do something themselves?"
[06:24] <Minaplo> "I don't need you to keep speaking for me!" Shouted Karo, loudly enough to draw attention. It appeared that there was more than a little attention on him already, especially as people began catching sight of the camera. A few teachers were shouting something about the media.
"I can handle this myself! Holy shit, you always hang around like this, just- just go away!" Karo stepped forward and shoved Hideki hard in the chest.
[06:30] <Hideki> Hideki took it, stumbling a few steps. There was no way he was going to start shoving back when there was a camera focused on both of them.
[06:32] <Syntax> Akira kept her cool, glancing off to the side as she picked up on the noise. "Ah. I think we're about done with Leaderless Revolution over here." She fished a business card out of her pocket and quickly handed it to Hideki. "If my sources are right, something's going on at 5 Soejima. If you or your friends want to get ahead of the story, you know who to call. Thank you for your time."
[06:33] <Syntax> She gave a signal to Tsune. It was clearly time to bail out.
[06:35] <Hideki> Hideki slipped the card into his pocket, and flashed her a quick smile. "Right. Thanks, I guess."
[06:37] <Syntax> "No problem at all!" She pocketed her recorder, navigating away through the crowd with haste.
[06:38] <Minaplo> Karo looked between the two of them, his eyes growing wider. "No, wait…"
[06:38] <Minaplo> Tsune turned to follow Akira when Karo finally stepped forward. "Not gonna let this happen again- HEY!" He shouted.
[06:38] <Minaplo> Tsune pivoted back reflexively.
[06:38] <Minaplo> "It's me!" Shouted Karo. "I'm the leader!"
[06:41] <Hideki> Hideki went completely stiff for a second. He turned, slowly, to stare.
[06:45] <Syntax> Akira took another few steps, hesitated and whirled around. That was the sound of a development. Outside, the press encampment stirred, roots loosening in the ground. The staff had other things to worry about, now.
[06:46] <Hideki> "Karo, no." Hideki's voice was carefully even. "Be real. Think about what you're saying."
[06:51] <Minaplo> "I thought I told you to SHUT UP!" Roared Karo.
[06:51] <Minaplo> "It's been like this ever since I was born! You overcrowd me and never give me a chance to do anything! You've always gotta be peering over my shoulder like I'm some hopeless case! You and mum and dad don't give a shit about me until I'm trying to do something without your say-so, then you crowd me, wait til I fuck up and then you swoop in and suddenly I'm just dumb hopeless Karo and you're the star yet again. No one sees through your bullshit except me and I'm done hiding it!"
[06:51] <Minaplo> "I don't need you to speak for me. You're not me and you don't get to decide what I say or do! So yeah! I'm the leader! I organised everything! Where we'd meet, what we'd do! And now that you're here I'm telling you that I'm not going to stop until we kick out the principal and every faculty member for letting this happen over and over, and if the Academy senate won't let that happen we'll go after them too! We're going to make this a school for schoolkids and YOU'RE NOT GOING TO STOP ME ANYMORE!"-
[06:52] <Minaplo> No one else in the room saw what Hideki saw.-
[06:54] <Minaplo> A great plume of purplish black smoke burst outwards out of Karo's chest and back, swirling outwards like a demented lighthouse. As he spoke his last few words, Hideki heard a second voice speak in stereo with Karo's own- the voice of a Shadow.
[06:54] <Minaplo> The overwhelming sense of miasma caused a massive spike of pressure behind Hideki's eyes. He couldn't see anything except, for a glimpse, a Shadow wearing a white mask gesturing at him furiously.
[06:54] <Minaplo> Then the miasma seeped away, the voice faded and the vision did as well.-
[06:55] <Minaplo> There were screams from the students around him, not from fear but from agreement. As though he'd let off a spark, they rapidly intensified their chants. It wasn't many- maybe ten or fifteen- but they grouped together and began causing mayhem, storming around Karo, shouting and drawing attention. The teachers marched towards them, trying to break them up, but this began triggering a panicked reaction from the rest of the students.-
[06:56] <Minaplo> But it wasn't just Hideki. Sachiko, Dinah and Ai would all feel it, that excruciating sense of pressure, of wrongness as the birth of a new Archetype was heralded with a wave of miasma.
[07:05] <Hideki> Hideki was being pushed back, swept up in the new frenzied movements of all the students around them. -
[07:10] <Hideki> "No… NO… Karo, you goddamned idiot!" He braced himself and tried pushing back against the crowd, trying to get back over to him. "Why?!"
[07:17] <Syntax> Akira snapped her fingers and smiled. There were still a lot of coincidences going around for her to feel comfortable, but things were moving now, and she was on top of a sizeable chunk of the story. She quickly confirmed with Tsune that they'd both got the goods, and that they were already being uploaded to the cloud. She sent a quick warning to her editor and headed out.
[07:17] <Syntax> At the front entrance of Sophia Academy, the puggy senior administrator was once again giving his rehearsed answers to the crowd of reporters. So, when one of the doors slammed open, with Tsune and Kotsu hustling out with their equipment bags and all, it was a nice change of pace. A hush quickly fell over the scene at this new development, but the message was clear to the assembled media. Meat was back on the menu, and the administrator would need a new set of answers for tomorrow.
[07:18] <Minaplo> Karo didn't reply. Even he seemed shellshocked by the reaction. He was starting to get swept away as well, but in the opposite direction.
[07:40] <Hideki> After a struggle, and some failure, Hideki ended up once again along the outer part of the assembly hall. He was still fuming, practically shaking with anger, but he couldn't bring himself to leave. Instead, he hung back and watched.

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