<Nemi> A PA call goes out! "Hello hello! Would Miss Leah Nasser and Ellie Kingston please report for the gym? Bring activewear if you can! Thank you!" Someone sounds cheerful!
<gumbal1> Wow, two calls in one day. Leah was already planning on going on her evening run, so this was surprisingly convenient for her. She comes in wearing her gym clothes, warded as usual, along with her bag, which has the usual essentials, including a phone to play music.
<Nemi> Anthiel's soon on her heels, in as close to activewear as it gets. Which in this case is a pair of shorts and an off-the-shoulder tee. It works. Anthiel gives Leah a wry look and shrugs. There's a young woman, one of the Legal department interns, standing there next to something that looks remarkably like a lie detector and smiling. "Hello hello! I'm so glad you came so quickly!"
<gumbal1> "Eh, I was planning on doing some excercise anyways, so I didn't really have to change out of anything. So, what's the situation?"
<Nemi> "Well, it's pretty simple! Miss Fox down in Public Relations has requested we teach the two of you how to escape and react to changing dangers! Now, while we can't actually put you in some kind of crazy obstacle course, uh.. Miss Kingston, right, there has some unique talents that we can harness to, for the purposes of this, create a sort of.. Mental space where we can not just subject
<Nemi> you to unexpected changes of circumstance, but also keep a close eye on your vitals as you traverse the space! How does that sound?"
<gumbal1> "…okay, that sounds about good." Miss Fox again? That marks the second time today she'll be subjected to a mindfuck under her orders.
<Nemi> Anthiel seems dubious, eying the machine warily. ".. You've already had me hooked up to an amplifier and it gave me the worst week of my life. Do I /have/ to?" The PR intern smiles sweetly at Ellie and replies with a simple "Yes. Here!" And taking what look like electrodes, she steps up and promptly sticks them to Ellie's head, a crown of grey plastic circles. Ellie doesn't look pleased
<Nemi> but doesn't resist.
<gumbal1> Oh dear, this did happen before, didn't it? "Wait, are you sure this thing won't have lasting effects?"
<Nemi> "Definitely!" Says the PR girl. Ellie looks uncomfortable, dizzy even, and Leah will find a certain weighty feeling radiating out from the Tear Drinker to wrap all around her.
<gumbal1> And she puts on the headphones. Guess the workout is starting now.
<gumbal1> First track that comes on is Highway Star. Oh, this'll be fun.
<Nemi> And, coincidentally, Ellie and Leah find themselves… Apparently on the side of a highway. It looks like it must be Arizona, going by how dry and sunny and desolate it is. An obligatory tumbleweed rolls past. Ellie looks around and shakes its head out. ".. okay, not what I was expecting." And a digitized announcer voice calls out.. "Hello! Alright! In about ten seconds you are going
<Nemi> to want to run!"
<gumbal1> "…oh my god." Well, best to get a head start. Leah starts off with a semi-quick jog, which may have been a bit better paced if it weren't for the sudden rush of adrenaline caused by the odd situation. Jesus Christ, how horrifying. Okay, this can work, this can work…<♫ Nobody gonna take my car, I'm gonna race it to the grooooooound>
- MobileSavy has quit (Quit: Connection closed for inactivity)
<Nemi> Anthiel seems to think that's a great idea, and starts to job on after Leah. It moves with a certain liquid effortless grace that feels unfair to watch. ".. this is bizarre and I'm also /really concerned/ that they know enough to do this with /my friggin' brain/." And there's a sound like a rumbling engine behind them, very suddenly.
<gumbal1> Oh g-d. Leah looks behind herself, then desperately at the road. Okay, she ain't gonna outrun a motor vehicle on foot…oh g-d, her life was becomming JoJo, wasn't it?
<Nemi> That's not a motor vehicle. That's .. It's like someone decided they'd build a komodo dragon out of chrome and engine parts, then quintupled it in size. Exhaust vents in the thing's back spew fire and smoke and Ellie gets big-eyed and /that is very good incentive to run/. And the terrain's shifting, becoming more irregular. Chunks of road shift and slide upward ahead, as if being broken
<Nemi> from below by tectonic movements. Spires erupt from the ground just to be obstacles, and other chunks of ground and roadway split away and open up into an endless misty void.
<gumbal1> Okay, yeah, Leah's in full running mode. That was actually far worse than what she had anticipated. She quickly makes her way to the divider, hoping that this thing at least followed motor laws.
<Nemi> Ellie's similarly sprinting fulltilt, actually bounding up onto the concrete centre divider of the road and running with that irritating liquid smoothness. Leah, the rough terrain might hinder the Rocket Dragon- Lord in heaven that thing has rocket engines on its back, though they seem to only be for jumping assistance, as demonstrated by it leaping up atop a pillar of risen concrete.
<Nemi> "THIS ISN'T WHAT I THOUGHT WHEN THEY SAID TRAINING!"
<gumbal1> Leah hated everything about this. Hated that they just threw her into this with no warning, hated that they chose a fucking motor dragon, hated the way the road curved, and most of all, hated how g-ddamn fun all this was. If only…
<gumbal1> "HEY ELLIE! SINCE THIS IS YOUR MIND, DO YOU THINK I COULD TECHNICALLY GET POSSESSED INSIDE IT?!"
<gumbal1> "IF NOT, I HAVE AN IDEA!"
<Nemi> "PRETTY SURE I CAN'T I THINK!" More pillars rise up from the ground, broader ones, like stairs separated by several feet of empty space. Where the pillars do not rise, the ground falls away entirely. Ellie flings itself off the concrete divider and onto the first of the stairs. The ROCKET DRAGON uses its jets to bound through the obstacles before it. It's getting closer..!
<gumbal1> There are two options from here, at least to Leah. She can continue going on, relatively comfortably or as comfortably as it can get when chased by a mecha drake. Or she can take of her shoes and risk injury, all to rot the pillars as she goes in hopes mecha drake slips on the rotten surface and falls into the abyss. Hm…
<Nemi> Ellie starts bounding up the stairs. They're getting more highly spaced out, so it's having to leapfrom step to step. The Rocket Dragon's reached the base of the stairs..
<gumbal1> Leah slows down to remove her shoes. "GET AHEAD OF ME! I'M GONNA TRY SOMETHING!"
<Nemi> And now it's randomly raining. Because of course. Ellie looks back- "OKAY!" And off it goes. More pillars jut forth from the ground, the pillar Leah's on rising higher into the air and tilting strangely. Not enough to buck Leah off, but it's precarious.
<gumbal1> With each step, Leah advances, leaving behind the last step. Why go down when up is the correct solution? Why blindly cling to the past when the future is so near? Of course, there's always the posibility of your past slipping you up.
<gumbal1> But that's when you weaponize it.
<gumbal1> ‘calc 4d3-8+4 Leah’s feet rot the pillars with their touch as she ascends higher and higher.
-ChanServ- Error: You typed an invalid expression.
<gumbal1> ‘calc 4d3-8+4
<GameServ> 4d3-8+4 = 4
<gumbal1> She makes sure never to stay on one for too long.
<Nemi> The first few steps seem easily rotted enough, but hardly stop the Rocket Dragon’s pursuit. Ellie's FAR ahead now- the Tear Drinker's apparently obscenely fast, meaning it's almost just Leah on her own now. But as the steps get higher— Leah's nearly having to just leap and pull herself up with each one, now— the spaces between them are greater, and the Rocket Dragon, for its shockingly
<Nemi> sinuous and organic motions, makes a misstep. It hits a pillar a little further out than the others, having shifted with the tilting of the pillars, and the rotted-out platform breaks. The Rocket Dragon lets out a metallic scream as it's hurled into the abyss, but hardly a second passes before there's the sound of engines, of /thrusters/.
<gumbal1> Hooooooooly shit, those weren't for show. Well, not enough time to put her shoes back on, unfortunately. Leah continues on, chest pounding, adrenaline pumping, scared as hell, and having fun.
<Nemi> The stairs finally level out into.. What looks like an abandoned Soviet city. Brutalist architecture everywhere. Also known as /perfect parkour territory/. Oh and the rocket dragon literally just came roaring up out of the misty abyss below on rocket thrusters and that is probably the Coolest Thing You've Ever Seen were it not actively chasing you. Ellie's at the top of a two-story
<Nemi> housing block and waves frantically. Looks like there's balcony's and a wall opposite that Leah might be able to use to pinball herself up..
<gumbal1> Thank g-d she had gymnastics training. Leah runs at the wall,a nd uses it as leverage to make it to the balconey. Next'd be through the house, hopefully with a window on the other end overlooking a shorter but not too short building. In any case, straight ahead's the way to go from here.
<gumbal1> Highway Star ends, and Born this Way begins.
<Nemi> Gymnastics training treats Leah well— the wall's easy to kick off, and she can snag the edge of the balcony and fling herself up and over. It's almost a straight cut through the house to a window on the other side, which overlooks.. Oh. That's a drop, but at least another flat-topped apartment building is jutting up out of the mist. Nowhere else to go, and .. The Rocket Dragon sticks
<Nemi> its head into the balcony where she just left. Where else but forwar— and there's Ellie flying overhead to land in a roll on the building below. In the distance, across several more spaced out buildings with different levels of heights and architectural features, is.. A checkered flag with lights.
<gumbal1> Well, Leah wasn't about to stop anyways. She breaks through the window and tries a roll onto the apartment below.
<Nemi> Ellie's limping a bit as it rolls up to running, but it still turns around and focuses a moment. Leah- that kind of fall would normally be the 'hurts even trained gymnasts' variety, but an unseen force slows your descent- you're able to land in a run without much difficulty. And then Ellie's off again, sprinting to the edge, bounding across a gap to grab the edge of a roof and flinging
<Nemi> itself up.
- Lena is now known as Lena`
- Lena` is now known as Lena
<gumbal1> Right then, take stairs in a regular situation, if this ever occurs. Leah continues on her way towards the goal.
- Lena is now known as Lena`
- Lena` is now known as Lena
<Nemi> Aaaaand there's the Rocket Dragon, landing on the roof just behind Leah. She can feel the furnace heat coming off it, the rainfall amidst the miserable brutalist terrain hissing and steaming as it lands near the thing. Ellie's ahead again and flings itself bodily over a last gap to land behind the checkered flags.
<gumbal1> Leah's been running for a while now. She's tired, pressured, and scared. It's just…no! Her heart trembles! It burns with an awesome heat! Let her pulse pound! All she needs to do is kick her pace into a glorious, heated overdrive!
<Nemi> And that final surge of vigor! That burning determination! Leah's legs are like fire, the fire that will see her through! With one final mighty leap, Leah clears the final gap and lands under the checkered flag as the Rocket Dragon roars overhead in a streak of fire and smoke! Ellie looks up at her and grins the goofy grin of someone who can share in a terrible ordeal with another,
<Nemi> tempered by triumph!
<gumbal1> Leah grins, flashes a thumbs up, and collapses. Oh well, at least the dragon didn't get her.
<Nemi> And the mental world fades out. Back to the gym! Ellie and Leah are.. flomped on the ground in the positions they took as WINNERS. The PR Intern smiles at him. "Well done! Normal people would probably say that having you run laps would be good enough, but I like to add more incentive!"
<Nemi> "AND. It meant you could demonstrate ability to adapt to changing circumstances and escape a physically superior foe using wits!"
<gumbal1> "…that was fun."
<Nemi> ".. yeah, serious," Ellie agrees. ".. though my head hurts and I really, really, really want some ice cream now." The PR Intern cheerfully removes the electrodes from Ellie's head, earning some squirming when it comes to the ones on Ellie's scalp.
<gumbal1> "…jeez, I'm really fucking tired. Is it okay if I just, like, lie on the floor a bit?"
<Nemi> And Leah /feels/ like she ran a mile over irregular and changing terrain, in terms of aching legs and burning lungs and general exhaustion. Ellie nods in agreement and.. Flomps onto its side. The PR girl smiles beatifically. "Sure, whatever! Just be sure to rehydrate and have some snacks or something! Okay, seeya!" And away she goes, wheeling the machine on its cart out of the gym.
<gumbal1> Leah stays where she is for a while. Hopefully this counts as excerise. Tomorrow was supposed to be her off day and she'll be pretty pissed if it turns out it isn't.
<Nemi> Anthiel shuts its eyes. ".. I'm gonna get ice cream after this. You in?"
<gumbal1> "…sure, yeah."
<Nemi> ".. cool."
<Nemi> ~training scene .. trained. with a rocket dragon.~