Coffee Achievers

* There's just something about malls during the holidays. Perhaps it's the commerce. Perhaps it's the press of the crowds. Perhaps it's the little niches with Store-Santas with kids on their laps and getting lists of presents. But whatever it is, it makes other places pale in comparison when it comes to sheer humanity at its best and worst.

* Kid puts the sale-rack item baaaaack on the rack.... backing away from the Last Minute Shopper slowly, making no sudden moves, keeping her hands visible....

* The Last-Minute-Shopper snags the item quickly, mumbles a quick thank-you- to the redhead, and heads quickly to another section to purchase stuff. TWO DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! a sign proclaims along one wall.

{Kid} . o 0 ( And the predator instincts are *already* coming out. Wonder if oldboss's gonna start filming National Geographic specials in malls.... )

* Ayrie watches the shopper rush off. She slips over to Kiddy, and speaks only low enough for her to hear. *q* "...every year, I hope upon hope that the Lord of Children, the Most Just, and the Lord General has managed to convince the world that Christmas isn't just a mercantile revel... then I see things like -that-, and see that Greed, Gluttony, and the Media are still strong." *sigh*

{Kid} {q} At least it doesn't look worse.... I think it doesn't look worse. Do you think it looks worse?

* Ayrie considers, looking at the shop they're in. *q* "Mmmm. Can't tell. It's more crowded than Montgomery Mall, but then again, we're in the middle of Chevy Chase. Montgomery Mall's more spread-out."

* Kid nodnodnodnodnods, siiiiiiiiiighing. {q} "Right. Not to be staring at the rampant consumerism and depressing ourselves. Is bad."

* Ayrie nods. *q* "Yeah." She hms. "Want to see if this place has a decent arcade, at least?"

* Kimberly *nodnodnods*, perking up a little.

* Ayrie smiles, and heads for the mall directory, to see what they've got.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 16 (6 4 6).

* Ayrie whistles, pointing to one entry on the mall-map. "It's on the second floor... but it looks decently sized..."

{Kimberly} Let's check it out!

* Ayrie nods, and leads the way through the holiday crowds!

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 7 (3 2 2).

* Fortunately, being a tall, stauesque redhead, even when wearing a trenchcoat, folks get out of Ayrie's way. Of course, usually so they can ogle, but hey, any port in a storm...

* Ayrie heads up the escalators, patiently waiting her turn as it ascends.]

* Kimberly stands with, (im)patiently waiting too.

* The elevator carries them slooooowly up to the second floor. And yup, there's more people here, too! Ayrie makes her way for the targeted arcade.

* Kimberly starts looking over the arcade as they near it, curiously and a bit professionally. It's more than a trivial look. People hang out in arcades less for better games than for the socialization, the same reason people go to movie theaters--so that's in and of itself a good thing. But like the movies they're going to, the games can be good or bad, and not in the obvious ways.... Kid's been *part* of a phenomenon that was grabbed at by both Lightning and Media, so is a little sensitive to this, professionally and personally curious at the ratio of imaginative or at least whimsical storytelling and gameplay versus churned-out soulless product.

* Ayrie gives the arcade more than a once-over herself, her own mind subtly seeking out wether or not the inventions inside are truly creative, and not horrible retreds.

* Ayrie quirks an eyebrow. *q* "Hmm... you know, I think we may have lucked out, Kiddy..."

* Indeed, it -seems-, at least from the entrance, that this arcade is pretty decently appointed, if the sounds of the games and the cheers of people playing are any indication...

{Kid} {q} Am I actually hearing more arguments about who gets the next powerup than I am gleeful exclamations of gibbing, or is this just wishful thinking?

{Ayrie} *q* This bears further investigation, indeed. *she smiles slightly, and slips for the entrance.*

{Kid} {q} *Yay!*

* Kid follows the nice Creationer into the arcade.

* Ayrie heads into the arcade, filled with the bleeps and bloops and sounds of folks gaming and competing all friendly-like. Even with this being midday, there's a good number of teens, since some of the schools have closed for the upcoming holiday. Many games, and a good number of good ones, are being played. Some are even 'classics'.

* Ayrie then ooos. *q* "Ooooh! A standup console of 'The Legacy'... I haven't seen one of those in -decades-..."

* Kid looks over that very thing!

* Since her player hasn't seen one before.

* It's a team-participation game, based off a popular manga-comic-book series of the early 21st century, with an involved plotline and the ability to save your current game and team stats to a card to use at other consoles. Up to -ten- people can play, fighting against the nefarious Wrath that threatens to enslave all of humanity, both in the past, and the present.

* Kid watchges to see if anyone's going near the thing!

* Well, there's a couple players there... not a full team, though.

{Kid} {q} Should we?

* Ayrie smiles slowly, cracking her knuckles. *q* "Why not? Nothing like helping to save the world...."

* Ayrie takes this moment to walk for the empty "Acrobat's Legacy" game controls. "Hey there..." She smiles at the other players. "Mind if two more join in?"

* Kid bounces over behind her!

* The two other male players look at Kiddy and Ayrie, and rather -rapidly- agree. Their female companion rolls her eyes, but doesn't object.

* Ayrie slips over to the Acrobat's Legacy station... the Mage's, Theif's, Paladin's, Preist's, and Assasin's Legacies are empty, for Kiddy to pick from!

* Kid picks Paladin. Nah, y'think?

* Ayrie chuckles, and swipes cash-card and selects options, quickly getting into the game proper.

* Kid goes defense heavy. Nah, she's not compensating....

* And time passes as the group gets into the game, but deep. EAch player's strengths and weaknesses amplified by the Legacies they play, teaming up together to fight against the Wrath in a protracted campaign to save the souls of a world....

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 5 (1 1 3).

* As Ayrie is about to impale one Wrath Shadow, she blinks. She looks up. Her eyes narrow. *q* "... what the?"

{Kid} Ack! Time! Gotta go! {grabs the next person in line for Paladin nearly bodily, putting them in front of her station, if there is one}

* The person meeps! Meanwhile, Ayrie is quickly excusing herself. "Sorry 'bout that, I'm with her! Have a free game on me!"

{Gal} Um, 'kay? Thanks!

{Kid} Laterguys! {half runs out of the arcade}

* Ayrie follows Kiddy, quickly!

{Kid} {q} Something just happened upstairs did you hear it and I can't resonate Gill....

* Ambrose smiles at Gillian, glancing over as he can see that another patient has entered. "And now, I regret that I have to see another of my patients, Ms. Newman. But please, -do- enjoy the coffee." He smiles, almost charmingly, before retreating with the patient into his back office.

* Ayrie nods, biting her lip. *q* "I heard Essence being used.... you can't track her? Oh dear lord..." She's hurrying towards the Elevator sections as fast as she can.

* Gillian looks at him wide-eyed for a moment, then at the coffee. She bites her bottom lip hard. "I think I have time for a cup or two..."

* Gillian whirls and forces herself to *walk* to the coffee pot... well... kind of run a bit...

* The secretary, still a bit confused, nods, and pours a second mug. "I admit that it's not the best... Eep!" She backs away, and manages to hold onto her own mug....

{Kid} No and I think something bad happened and we need to get up there and I can't *hear* anything....

* Kid forces herself to stay calm. She pushes the elevator button eight times in two seconds just to make certain the contact is made. Really.

* Gillian grabs a mugga Joe, no time to sweeten, screw you milk, we're drinkin' black!

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 6 (4 1 1).

* Ping! Elevator is obtained!

* Ayrie nods quietly, her mein having become serious. *q* "Kiddy, you head up. I'll guard the elevator suite. If you don't spot her up there, -page- me on my pagerphone with yours."

{Ayrie} *q* Th eonly way for her to get back to the van is through us.

* MMmmmmmmmmmm. Coffeee. Taste the beans... feel the bite and tang of the bitter liquid.... smell the armoa, so -luscious-....

* How can you stop at just one cup? HOW CAN YOU? Gill would love to know, really.

{Ayrie} K: *q* And the office was the 12th floor!

* That answer is not forthcoming. In fact, that next cuppa joe had better be forthcoming, 'cause this one is... *gasp!* empty!

* Gillian had better fill that up again... heck, if it wouldn't drive her out of the office, she'd be drinking from the spigot.

* The secretary appears impressed. "... woah. If I'd known you were that eager for the stuff, I would've brewed up -three- pots..." She quickly refills Gillian's "mug"

{Gillian} Thanks... *she scowls for amoment at losing the mug, then realises what she's doing and focuses* I'm trying to stay awake.

{Ms. Artesia} Long night last night? *she hands the mug back*

{Gillian} You could say that...

* The secretary resumes drinking her first cup of coffee.

* Gillian resumes draining the crock.

* Kid nodnodnods. {q} "*Thank you.*" She pushes the button for the floor that Tivoli's office is on.

* The secreary watches, a little amazed. Man, this woman clearly loves the Java...

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 11 (6 2 3).

* The elevator doors close. The elevator takes its time...

* Ayrie , meanwhile, down at the elevator suite, starts pacing while not looking like she's really nervious and worried about the life of a friend -really-....

* Kid paces around the inside of the elevator.

* Sluuuurp...

* Cooffeeee. Wonderful nummy coffee. The ultimate pick me up. The ultimate beverage. It's better than food. It's better than air. It's even *gasp* Better Than Sex!

* The elevator continues its slow ascent. Some other people get on, making it harder for Kiddy to pace.

* Kid paces in her head, then, shifting weight back and forth. She does manage to not look any more than a person annoyed at an impatient elevator.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 9 (4 4 1).

* Fortuantely, not -too- many people look annoyed at the vibrating redhead...

* Kid waits a *little* more calmly because of the people who do look annoyed....

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 10 (5 3 2).

* And before Gillian knows it... she's out of Coffee! Again! The HORROR!

* Gillian refills. You thought otherwise?

* There's a minor problem. You see, the coffee pot is now empty, with Gill's last refill.

* Gillian looks for crystals!

* There's that opened bag of Folgers that the secretary used earlier... though it does appear pretty empty...

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 6 (1 1 4).

* Ping! 12th floor! Businessmen, Medical Professionals, Demons, and Elohim!

* Gillian sighs and makes whatshe can...

* Kid does not *run* for Dr. Tivoli's office. She just walks very fast. Really.

* The secretary eeeps. "Um.. you know, -that-'s office property, Ms. Newman..." She purses her lips. "But if you want to buy more, there's a Starbucks down in the Mall that's open as long as it is..."

* Gillian pauses. "Thank you." She brisk walks out.

* The secretary blinks, and waves, surprised. "... goodbye?"

* Kiddy espizes Gillian just as she walks out of the office!

* Kid blinks, stopping. "*Gillian*how'ditgoareyouokay?"

{Gillian} Walk with me. There's a Starbucks downstairs. *she doesn't stop*

* Kid blinks. Twice. And does walk with her, looking increasingly confused but deciding to deal with it later. Hey, the fact Gill's in one piece is just utterly reassuring right now, y'know? "Um, right...."

* The elevators are quickly reached.

{Gillian} Just... come on.

{Kid} Right.... um.... why are we going to Starbucks?

* Push the button, angels...

* Kid pushes the button.

{Gillian} Shh. Downstairs.

* Kid nodnods, waiting impatiently again though thankfully for slightly less intense reasons.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 7 (2 3 2).

* Ping! The elevator opens. It is empty. Going down?

* Gillian steps in, hurridly.

* Kid steps in with, and pushes the button.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 13 (4 4 5).

* The elevator starts to descend. At a decent clip, save that another person get on at the 10th floor... and then the seventh... and the fifth... ooooo, that last one happens to have a cup of.... Coffee in his hands....

* Gillian's eyes widen. She fumbles with her wallet, then pulls out a twenty. "I'll trade you..."

* Kid blinks. And looks at Gillian. {q} "Um...."

* The man blinks. "Um, what? Um, this is my mug, lady....."

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 8 (6 1 1).

{Gillian} I'll pay for the mug too... *hissed at the others* Hold me. Fast.

* The Other folks in the elevator blink. This is starting to get -way- too weird for them, and start backing away from the lady with the coffee craving...

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 8 (3 4 1).

* Kid pauses and punches the button for whatever floor they'll go past next.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 4 (1 1 2).

* Ping! Second floor! JUST in time to see a pacing Redhead in trenchcoat! Her head snaps around. "Kimberly!"

* Kid tries to pull Gillian out of the elevator with her!

* Gillian lunges at the coffee. She prays to Himself that Kim can hold her back.

* Ayrie 's eyes widen, sprinting for theelevator to hold it open even as the other folks try to get OUT of the way of the crazy-woman.

{Man} HEY!

{Ayrie} Onesidescusemehaveagooddaysirdon'tminduseverything'sundercontrolREALLY! Gillian! DOWN!

* Kid is a *determined* little cherub and does her best to hold Gillian back and/or yank her toward the door.

{Gillian} *hissed* I *can't*...

* Gillian struggles against Kid, trying to get that by any means necessary.

{Gillian} . o O (Wait. Starbucks below. Think through this. Ratinalize. Grab it, you're thrown out. End of coffee. Get down there, you aren't. Supply is plentiful.)

* Gillian starts to relax.

* Kid, of course, can't hear her internal monologue, and is still trying to pull her hard toward the door and isn't expecting an end of resistance.....

* Gillian lets Kid pull her, in case her intenral rational fails...

* Ayrie grabs Gillian by the shoulder, adding her strenght to Kiddy's, getting her out of the Elevator.

* The guy with the coffee mug gets the Hoek outta dodge, spilling some as he heads for the exit, rapidly.

{Gillian} *vvvq* Resonance. I'm fairly sure it's not a Geas, but that leaves one or two other options. You can guess what it's for, can't we walk any faster? I'm having trouble keeping straight what I need to keep straight.

{Kid} {q} Right. Starbucks ho.

* Ayrie bites her lip, and nods. *q* "It's on the first floor. I'm buying."

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 9 (3 1 5).

* Thank the lord, the down escalator is -clear-.

* Gillian walks faster. Why? Because when you're dancing on the head of a pin and the fires are under you, you don't move slow.

* Ayrie almost seems to clear the way for the Coffee-Craving Power, acting like a sword-thrust through the crowd.

* And soon... sooon... the heady aroma of that blessed ambrosia can be scented, wafting through the air... getting closer, oh so closter... tantilizing, tempting.... it's all you want, it's all you NEED....

* Gillian walks right up to the counter and looks at the waitperson. "I'd like coffee. A bottomless cup. There's a hefty tip in it for you if you can make sur I never see the bottom of my mug."

* The waitperson erms. Ayrie smiles winningly at the waitperson. "What she means is that she wants the biggest, widest, deepest cup of the best coffee you have. What the heck, make it a triple for the three of us, right, Kiddy?"

{Waitperson} Um... right....

* Gillian nods a touch, folding her hands together. No. No jumping the counter. Cut off coffee if that happen.

* The waitperson rings up the order, still looking at the Redheaded League oddly, but starting the orders.

* Ayrie nods slightly, and glances over at Kiddy a moment, as her mind runs through thoughts and possibilities.

* Kid looks from Gillian to Ayrie back to Gillian.

{Kid} {q} So.... what, *exactly*, happened?

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 13 (6 6 1).

* Ayrie watches over the staff behind the counter like a hawk. Or a predatory feline. Which is a lot more exact....

{Gillian} *q* He got me.

{Kid} {q} I think we got that part....

{Gillian} *q* There's not much more to tell. *she slurps as fast as she can*

* Ayrie has obtained the Uber-Mugs of coffee for the three of them, and has escorted them to a table in the corner. She does not drink her own coffee, but hands it off to Gillian immediatly.... and goes back to obtain MORE Coffee. Nothing like being preemptive.

* Gillian takes another...

{Kid} {q} How? When?

* Ayrie mmmms, watching the consumption. She looks towards Kiddy, making sure she's ready to provide Gillian with the Coffee when she needs it. *q* "Kiddy, keep these within her reach... and I suspect when we .... he used Essence, didn't he, Gillian?"

* Gillian nods to her. "Yes..."

* Ayrie purses her lips. Her eyes narrow, and for a moment, those there can get the feeling that the warrior, the tactician, the protective predator is coming to the fore. *q* "I have my suspicions... but I don't want to voice them here. Would you be up for travel to the Tether if you're well-coffied?"

{Gillian} *vq* Yes, Ayrie. I just... can't do much while this is happening. *she looks into her cup* I... Ayrie? Kim?

* Ayrie nods. *vq* "Yes, Gillian?"

{Gillian} *vq* I'm... not too clear-headed now. My judgement will be impaired. I'll need you to check me every step of the way. *she considers, looking like she wants to add more*

* Ayrie nods again. *vq* "Understood, Gillian. We'll take over from here. For now, drink your coffee, and ride it out."

* Gillian nods. "*m, to herself* A slippery slope is the road to Hell."

* Ayrie purses her lips. *vq* "Yeah." She looks pointedly at KIddy. "Keep the coffee coming. I've got some ordering to do." She gets up, and heads back to the counter, looking almost ready to order the entire darn expresso machine if necessary.

## Ayrie rolled 3d6 = 13 (6 1 6).

* Ayrie obtains about 13 of the blessed travel Uber-Mugs.

* Kid just looks at Gillian, very worried.

* Gillian keeps drinking as fast as she can, face an even blank.

* Ayrie comes back with the Uber-Mugs in carry bags. She hands several to Kiddy, keeping the rest for herself. *q* "We are heading back to the van. Kiddy, you've got the back seat with Gillian, and will keep providing the coffee. I'm driving us back to the Tether, where there is free, heavenly coffee, in unlimited amounts. We will talk with the seneschal, explain the situation, and ride this out. We will deal with the aftermath as it happens. Come on."

* And no matter how much Gillian drinks, she Just Wants More.... lovely liquid ambrosia....

{Gillian} *vq* Of course we shall... *she takes another one and quaffs as she rises* I'm not one to wish often. I suppose it's too much a sigh of the heart to be comfortable wishing. But... I wish that it was easier. Not to feel...

* Ayrie shivers a bit, starting to lead the way. *vq* "That isn't the easy path. Not by far. It only -looks- like it, but it leads to Hell instead...."

*R-Type* [Laurael] Oh, but not feeling is so much -simpler-.

*R-Type* hush, you.

* Ayrie makes sure to keep the aroma of her carried coffee leading Gillian on, like a doggie treat or leash line, towards the Mall entrance and the van in the garage.

-} *R-Type* [Ayrie, OOC, Gores Laurael.]

* Gillian walks with them, not saying more.

*R-Type* [Laurael picks herself up off the ground, muttering about how much it will cost to have her suit repaired and dry-cleaned.]

* Kid walks with Gillian, close to her. She'd hug her, but has a feeling the sentiment just being there helps more right now.

* Ayrie gets the group to the van. She opens the doors, and shoves her own coffee bags within, making sure Gillian and Kiddy get into the back. She then gets the driver's seat, and locks the doors. "Buckle up, you don't want to spill the coffee."

* Gillian also would spill her coffee all over Kid, and then she'd have to suck it out and that would just be *going* places we don't wanna go.

* Ayrie checks that the folks inside are buckled, starts the ignition... and then makes like an Ofanite of the Sword on Speed, driving for the heart of DC.

* And here, for the moment... we fade.

In Nomine 2070