World War Burst: Part #11

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  • Oxford has changed the topic to: All late fees are assessed at MIDNIGHT of the listed due date! Remember to return or renew!
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<Oxford> Elsa crouches next to a cart loaded with library books, each awaiting reshelving. She's been at it for almost two hours now; Westfield clearly had no intention of making her 'slap-on-the-wrist' house arrest a freee vacation. Fortunately, Caitlin and Joslyn have stopped by to make the time pass a little bit more quickly.

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<Joslyn> "how're you holding up?" Joslyn chirps up, a bottle of water in hand.

  • Elsa clearly doesn't want to do this but at least its better than the alternative. "I'm doing fine." At least the books look a little bit more organized than before.
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  • Elsa really doesn't look all that confortable with this.

<Joslyn> "if you say so." a shrug. Water bottle left on the cart.

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<Joslyn> "…glad you're still with us."

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  • Elsa shrugs and puts another book on the shelf, at least its cool and a bit lonely down here, the only one that really ever comes this far into the library is Cait, so she has her wings out, her coat nerby just in case.

<Celeste> Caitlin shakes her head and moves to help Elsa, likely having to re-sort ones that Elsa's already shelved. Caitlin's not said a single word ever since she woke up from being blown up by Aerendis and having her pendant destroyed and goes about her business silently.

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  • Elsa doesn't know anything abou Arendis or the pendant blowing so she just keeps sorting books as her punishment.

<Oxford> The current section seems to be mostly old government documents and compiled newspaper articles. While it would probably be invaluable to historians, its hard to find much to distract her from the shelving.

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<Joslyn> "…What about you, Kate? I know it must be rough, having lost your pendant…"

  • Elsa occasionally glances at the titles seeing if anything interests her, no such luck, at least as a distraction. "Wait, what happened? Last thing I remember is the air raid siren and ummm…"

<Joslyn> "Bombers - right on top of us. Ærendis blew them out of the sky, but…" Joslyn trails off. "we lost another pendant."
<Elsa> "You girs don't really need them anyways, you know that, right? They're like a crutch." She says as if this was common knowledge.
<Caitlin> Caitlin opens her mouth for a moment before closing it in silence. She simply frowns and shrugs, a dark expression on her pale face.
<Elsa> girls*
<Joslyn> "I tried transforming without one, before Erica told me it could get you executed…" Joslyn whispers. "didn't work."
<Caitlin> Caitlin nods towards Joslyn in agreement.
<Elsa> "Really, they can do that to you? Its really eas you just need some practice, figure out exactly how to push it."
<Joslyn> "…I'm not sure I'd want to try, for what it's worth…"
<Joslyn> "With Reiker going after us as hard as he did, I'd rather not take any chances."
<Elsa> "Well, I already know how so I can't really forget it. Besides thanks to that I figured how to not let my powers go out of control…at least when I'm not fighting."
<Joslyn> "…" Joslyn looks around, seeing they're alone in this section. "…how did you do it?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin frowns disapprovingly, wordlessly shelving the books for Elsa. She doesn't look happy that the conversation is going down this road.
<Joslyn> "It might come in handy at some point - and you can't tell me you weren't wondering how it worked yourself!"
<Caitlin> Stony faced glare. Caitlin has no desire to return to court.
<Elsa> Finally some distraction! Elsa puts the stack of papers and documents down and begins speaking, "You see, its like when trying to fill a baloon with air, if you try to do it in one huge heap the air will go back into your lungs when you relax. Its kind of the same thing, just with magic."
<Joslyn> "…huh. I'll keep that in mind - not that I plan to need it, but you never know when you need to fight after someone running off with your pendant…"
<Elsa> "Well, its not about fighting without a pendant, its more about controlling how much you let out so you don't get things like these." SHe flaps her wings for emphasis, "The more practie you get without the pendant the easier it is to do it until it all sorta clicks and you figure it out."
<Caitlin> Caitlin taps Elsa on the shoulder and fake-coughs.
<Joslyn> "Yeah, I think that's enough discussion about that…" Joslyn gets the message.

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<Elsa> "Ummm, yeah…good point…You know I just wish we could talk about these whole magic things with other people, it really weird to just keeping it between us three, well and Paige and Maddison, but they're not eally around."
<Oxford> Elsa is almost finished with the cart, thanks to Caitlin's help. Her hours for the day are about done; once she finishes she'll need to report back to Westfield.
<Joslyn> "I know…but we're the only ones here. If only Flauri was here…"
<Caitlin> Caitlin is crestfallen at the word Flauri.
<Elsa> "Well, what about girls from other squads, it should be ok to talk to them." She says ignring the mention of Flauri, confident taht she'll show up eventually.
<Joslyn> "Yeah, but there's only so much we can do here…"
<Joslyn> "and with you on lockdown, it'd take a raid that forces us to land somewhere else…"
<Elsa> "Well, I guess we could use the phone, or send some letters. I mean it would be pretty cool if we got to meet them."
<Joslyn> "Oh yeah Kate, did Westfield say anything about a replacement pendant?"

  • Elsa makes a mental note to ask Westfield about this.

<Caitlin> Caitlin shakes her head.
<Joslyn> "…hmm…" the lieutenant sits down and tents her hands. "think we ought to pay him a visit?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin frowns, but after a moment's hesitation, she nods.

  • Joslyn takes a few books and shelves them, finishing the rest of the cart. "what're we waiting for, then?"

<Caitlin> Caitlin gives a big shrug and starts walking.
<Oxford> Nothing at all. Emerging from the depths of the library, it takes everyone's eyes a moment to adjust as the artificial light gives way to a beam of reddish-gold from the afternoon sun, which is already low enough to shine directly through the library's windows. Evening has been coming earlier and earlier as the winter solstice approaches.
<Joslyn> "…am I the only one who hates this weather? It gets too dark too soon…" Joslyn whines a little as she raps on the Major's door.
<Oxford> "Come in," replies the Major from the other side of the stout oak door.
<Caitlin> Caitlin switches from leading the way to hiding in back of the pack.
<Joslyn> "…um…" Joslyn realizes that she really didn't have much to talk about at the moment - time to come up with something. "Any news, sir?"
<Oxford> "Indeed there is," the officer says, frowning over his paperwork. "None of it good, I'm afraid. Though there is one bright spot: I've requisitioned a new Focus Pendant to replace the one lost in the attack on Headquarters." Caitlin can't help but feel that his glance at her seemed a bit harsh, though nobody else even noticed it.
<Joslyn> "That's something, I suppose…is any of the bad news things we can help with?"
<Elsa> "Umm…I was wondering Major…is there any way we could talk to girls from other squads? Its jst that we can't talk about any of this with anyone else and sometimes you kinda need someone that can listen."
<Caitlin> Caitlin is extremely stony-faced, her emotions under lockdown currently as she listens to the others.
<Oxford> He reaches for his pendant briefcase and pops it open, giving Joslyn a shrug. "One of the bad things is this," he says, retrieving Caitlin's new Focus Pendant and passing it to her. Even a cursory examination reveals some major differences between it and the ones the girls have been using.
<Joslyn> "…I'm guessing that's not a current model?"
<Elsa> "It…looks new?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin flips it over and back; she examines the pendant closely.

  • Elsa is totally guessing she has no idea how new models are supposed to look.

<Oxford> Westfield lets her study it while he answers Elsa's question. "As far as talking to girls of other squads, I think you can appreciate the way that might compromise operational security. Any one person knowing the names and identities of all our Pendant Users would put us in a very risky position. Even I don't have access to that; you'd have to send a request to HQ."
<Elsa> "Fat chance of that going through, especially from me." She mutters.
<Joslyn> "I mean, if the radio waves hit just right we could connect to Durmhurst, and Ærendis is at Bruinham - they're certainly in radio range."
<Oxford> The new pendant is more capsule-shaped, compared to the circular medallion of the mk. IIs. Instead of the dull silver-gray, it is a gleaming chrome. But most strikingly, this new pendant doesn't seem to have a crystal set in it at all.
<Caitlin> Caitlin taps where there would normally be a crystal, holding it up inquisitively.
<Oxford> Westfield nods to Joslyn. "We know them in a professional sense - you've worked together in the past, so there's really no avoiding knowing each other. Beyond that, though, all I have is a list of the other han- commanding officers. I suppose I could try to track down some names. Why do you ask, Elsa?"
<Joslyn> "…huh. That's a strange design. I take it that's a mk. I, though?"
<Elsa> "I really think that we really need to have other girls that can listen, I bet theres at least one other girl thats pretty much in m situation. It would just really help knowing them, talking to them, maybe meeting them even. We wouldn't even need to use our real names if we don't have to."
<Oxford> Westfield shakes his head. "On the contrary, that is a prototype mk. III Focus Pendant. The current batch of mk. IIs are all deployed, so I had to volunteer us for final-phase testing of the new model."
<Joslyn> "…That is…" Joslyn tries to find a word for it. "That sounds like it should be a good thing, though! I mean…do you have doubts about its integrity?"

  • Elsa crosses her arms,"Or you could try to do the thing we were talking about earlier."
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  • Joslyn not-so-subtly pokes Elsa in the gut for suggesting that.
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<Caitlin> Caitlin disapprovingly glances at them both.
<Oxford> "As far talking out your problems, though, Warrant Elsa - protocol is fairly clear. Any issues you have, you're to discuss with me or your fellow flightmates. Though…" Westfield says, pinching the bridge of his nose, "I suppose I can see the benefits of a larger exchange of ideas. Perhaps… I'll draft a proposal of sorts. Come by my office tomorrow, and we'll go over it together."
<Joslyn> "Oh…"
<Joslyn> "Umm…any news about Fla-er…Warrant Flamenca?"
<Oxford> "Regarding the mk. III," continues Westfield, still vainly trying to carry on two conversations at once, "I have every assurance that they are perfectly safe, stable, and reliable. But given they said the same things about the mk. II, I think you can understand when I still hold some reservations."
<Oxford> The Major sighs, exasperated. "And regarding Warrant Flam-" Suddenly, the phone on his desk rings. "Excuse me a moment, girls," he says, answering with a curt "Westfield."
<Caitlin> Caitlin looks down at the pendant as though it were a snake in her hands.

  • Elsa nods in agreement to Westfield's suggestion and keeps on looking at the pendan.

<Oxford> Westfield's conversation is evidently one-sided: he contributes little beyond a few terse affirmations before hanging up the telephone with a click. "Ladies, I'm afraid I have more bad news. Major Donalds has gone AWOL."
<Caitlin> Caitlin's jaw drops and her eyes widen—she frantically searches for a pen and paper.
<Joslyn> "…again?"
<Elsa> "He's probably looking for Flauri, I'm sure he'll find her."
<Joslyn> "Still…are we to try and track him down again?"
<Oxford> "There's no probably about it; unlike last time, he's been so kind as to leave a note." Westfield sighs and sinks into his chair. "Gone to Sachsen, apparently with the intention of silpping into Gaulia from there."
<Oxford> *slipping
<Oxford> "Headquarters has other suspicions; they're convinced he means to defect."
<Joslyn> "…Why would he be headed to Gaulia? I thought the base we took out was novgaardi…and I can't believe he'd bail on us after what we've done…"
<Oxford> Westfield gives Caitlin an odd look as the girl glances around the room frantically. "I'm sorry, is there a problem, Warrant O'Connell?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin mimics a writing motion.
<Elsa> "Cait if you don't want the new pendant I could pretend to use it and you could have mine."
<Joslyn> "No. She can use mine. I'm not going to let either of you use something that I wouldn't be comfortable using myself."
<Oxford> He passes her a notepad and one of his finely monogrammed pens.
<Caitlin> Caitlin shakes her head, refusing Joslyn and Elsa. On the notepad, she writes in a quick and neat cursive script, "Mister Donalds knows where Flauri is… or knows who does know."

  • Elsa mouths the word 'pretend' at Joslyn

<Oxford> "As you say, Joslyn," he continues as Caitlin writes, "I fully expect Donalds' motives are sincere. Nevertheless, our duty is to bring him in."
<Joslyn> "…is something wrong, Kate? can't talk?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin gives Joslyn a look that would scorch even Reiker, reducing him to nothing but bitter dust.
<Joslyn> "…oh." subject fukken DROPPED.
<Oxford> Westfield inspects the note, nodding. "His departure does strike me as sudden; it could well be the result of new intelligence. Or…" he rummages through his desk drawer.
<Elsa> "Or what?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin writes down and passes to Westfield a note containing the following: "Flauri may have used her power to send him a clue." Of course, she's steaming over the fact it took 48 hours for Joslyn to notice Caitlin's not spoken once, even if a fair share of that time was spent in the infirmary.
<Oxford> He comes up with a newspaper from a few days ago. The girls recognize it as the same one they read to Aerendis back at Headquarters.

  • Elsa catches onto the implicatin almost immediately, "You're kidding, right?"
  • Joslyn has to reread it, not getting it just yet.

<Joslyn> "…if that's…and she…what's she thinking?"
<Joslyn> "In any case…when do we leave?"
<Oxford> Westfield shakes his head. "I put in a request for the combat reports referenced in those incidents; I should have them shortly. In the meantime, we have to contend with the possibility that Warrant Flamenca has gone rogue."
<Caitlin> Caitlin is passive, having already considered this possibility and decided it's probably not her.
<Joslyn> "I…no. That's not it at all. Couldn't be - not her. Sure she's a bit…naive with her powers, but she knows better than this! we…" Joslyn blinks, breathing heavily. "She treated us like family, dammit!"
<Oxford> "Take a breath, lieutenant. Knowing her powers, we should be able to tell once the combat reports come in. Until then, we need to prepare for the mission." Westfield fixes her with a stern look until Joslyn can compose herself.

  • Joslyn takes one breath before continuing. "The point is that despite her timid side, she's a good combatant and would know what she was doing if that's what happened!"

<Oxford> Westfield nods. "There's an alternate explanation. I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone of the photograph recovered from Dr. Tereshkova's lab?"
<Joslyn> "…if that's the case, he's walking into a deathtrap!"
<Elsa> "What about it?
<Caitlin> Caitlin shoots Joslyn an expression urging her to make like… Caitlin.
<Joslyn> to shut up? not a chance. "It was of what looked like a military squadron - made up of teenage girls. Bet you ten pounds they've got mk I pendants, or something on a similar power level."
<Oxford> Westfield turns to Elsa. "The photograph shows a dozen or so Novgoraadi girls around your age, among them Dr. Tereshkova's granddaughter, in military uniform. While our intelligence service has been unable to identify any of the other girls, we were able to identify one of the instructors as Podpolkovnik Vershinin, of the Novgoraadi Air Force."
<Oxford> "In short," he says, almost reluctantly, "there is a strong possibility that Joslyn would win that bet. A unit like that could easily be behind the rumors from the newspaper.""
<Caitlin> Caitlin writes something out on the notepad before turning red and balling it up in a pocket.
<Joslyn> "…Yeah. I don't like it either. but what other choice do we have?"
<Oxford> Westfield raises an eyebrow, but continues. "Whether or not Warrant Flamenca is behind these events, we're under orders to catch a supply plane to the base in Sachsen in two days."
<Oxford> "Naturally, I would prefer to leave earlier, but shipments have come under attack recently, and they've been less frequent of late. You're all aware of the dire situation on the continent, I'm sure."
<Joslyn> "And I assume Elsa's getting a hall pass for this?"
<Oxford> Westfield shakes his head. "Not a chance; they made sure to specify. Both Warrant Elsa and Warrant Højgaard, Donald's only other subordinate, are to remain here. I disagree with it, but that's protocol."
<Joslyn> "So…just the two of us then?" Joslyn doesn't like those odds at all…
<Oxford> Neither does Westfield, by the looks of things. He frowns but says nothing.
<Oxford> A silence falls over the table for a moment. "Er, I'll write up a briefing once I've had time to review the files HQ is sending over. In the meantime, any other questions?"
<Joslyn> "…" Joslyn opens her mouth like she wants to say something, but doesn't. At least, not to Westfield. "Caitlin…is there somethign I can do for you?"
<Joslyn> "Like, did something happen up there?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin solemnly holds up one finger. Then she mimics an explosion with both hands and mouths "BOOM."
<Joslyn> "…you're gonna have to write it down, sorry."
<Joslyn> "I mean, I get that there was a big boom, but what exactly happened?"
<Caitlin> She writes out "Ærendis."
<Joslyn> "…yeah. we knew that much. do you know anything else? Like, can you just not make sounds or something?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin opens her mouth—the most she manages to force out is a small hacking cough sort of noise.
<Joslyn> "…how do you think that even happened? like, all I saw was the massive explosion and the two of you falling."
<Oxford> Westfield watches their odd exchange with a bemused expression, and shares a shrug with Elsa.
<Caitlin> Caitlin points towards Elsa and swipes her arm, imitating the mass destruction of a first turn finisher.
<Joslyn> "…that's…huh. Maybe that's how she learned how to do it?"
<Caitlin> Caitlin has a twinkle of irony in her eye as she mouths out the syllables EEE-FISH-NT.
<Joslyn> "Oh right…Major, would there be any issues if I were to…you know, test the timing of the mk. III? Just…I'd rather not be learning how to use it in the heat of combat, and this is as close to lab conditions as we'll be able to manage…"
<Oxford> "Inside? In my office?" Westfield's tone is one of mildly-concealed concern, most of it for his very nice oak desk. "Why don't you take it to the bomb shelter instead, Lt.; just to be safe."
<Joslyn> "…is tht permission to do so?"
<Oxford> A quick handwave shoos her out. "Make sure you close the door, lieutenant. Dismissed."
<Joslyn> "Thank you sir. Kate, you wanna watch?"
<Joslyn> "I mean, barring some terrible disaster this is going to be yours…"
<Joslyn> of course, barring some sort of vocal objection, she's getting dragged down there anyway.
<Oxford> Westfield watches the one-sided conversation and shakes his head. As Elsa follows the other two out, the Major lets out a long sigh, retrieves a bottle from the bottom drawer of his desk, and prepares for a long night.
<Oxford> /session