Shattered Rift

Mansionverse Role Play

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The time-consuming part was how precisely the lighting could be changed. Going through all of the room-wide settings could be done in several minutes, but the time would multiply if Traj started messing around with individual sections of the table intended for individual players. Illuminating the room as brightly as possible revealed nothing hidden, though it made the jeweled painting reflect more vibrantly than ever. Lowering the curtains over the window had the unexpected option of lowering a layer that looked identical to the walls. Once it was lowered, it was as if the room had no windows at all, and a casual observer might have assumed that the room was somewhere towards the center of the Mansion rather than on the side. Another option was blinds that could be lowered from the top, either as one gigantic set of blinds or as several smaller sets. Normal curtains were an option as well, causing curtains to actually appear that could be pushed to each side to open or close. There was even a silver rope to tie the curtains back at each end. The steady transition towards total darkness didn't seem to reveal anything, either. Being able to see beneath the table was essential during this first attempt at adjusting the lighting, but if finding a relic required checking beneath every section individually, the search of the Werewolf forum might take hours. Total darkness was another matter. A relic could be hidden anywhere if the room was totally black, but how would anyone search through that?

 

ooc| As a thought, you're probably a good twenty plus minutes ahead of everyone else in the timeline, and it's always possible that someone could come into the Werewolf forum at some point. Furthermore, I'd imagine that the sheer quantity of variables would require several hours to fully investigate.

 

bic| “Sparkbot did not know about the relics until Shattered Rift's announcement,” Sparkbot said, but his head suddenly began to shift, somewhat mechanically, to look down to the left and then to the right. It was more and quicker gesture than he had made at any point. “However, Sparkbot is unfamiliar with the Sparkbot program source code. Sparkbot is the execution of the Sparkbot program.”Sparkbot's head jerked up and made eye contact with Star once more. “If Sparkbot is programmed to respond in any way to the Relics Competition, Sparkbot does not know.”

 

On the balcony overhead, the door continued to stand unmoved. The seam's depth stopped a little short of halfway to the outside. The window seemed to be one solid piece, including the door, and no touch seemed to affect it in any way. The rest of the balcony was fairly plain. The window started partway up the stairs and wrapped the full outside length of the Mansion, including at the corner where normal architecture would have included a support beam or somesuch to split up the window. In fact, there was no separation in the window at all, except for the door. It was an impossibility in reality that was made possible by the virtual reality of the Mansion. The tile floor as perfectly arranged as possible, and nothing there or on the ceiling appeared to be inconsistent with the rest of the design.

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Frustrated, Liz began to doff her wool coat with the intention of wrapping it around her fist. The thick black weave would shrug off broken glass much more easily than her flesh, and besides, as a virtual artifact she could have it spotlessly clean within a mere request. By that token the window was inconsequential as well, but...

 

Now now, I'd like to think we're better than this. Smashing windows when you've been back for less than a day?

 

Liz whipped around instinctively, a moment before she realized there was no speaker to see. Worse, the voice was already gone again by the time her thoughts caught up with her body. She swore under her breath and shrugged her coat back on. She was right. Her temper had grown woefully short if she'd already been tempted to start breaking things... all for some relics that Rift could've made up all along?

 

She flared her nostrils in distaste and pondered her options. Traj had gunned for the Werewolf chambers and would likely be making a mess of them, if her memory served. Sparkbot wouldn't be any help; Rift was far too self-absorbed to ever consider giving such info to one of his constructs. Or so she hoped. It would be quite the slight to think that a mere android possessed greater privilege of information than she had in the Old Days. Star was a new user to her, but a brief glance over the balcony again said the other woman hadn't made any headway either. 

"Wait, no." Liz narrowed her eyes and tried to make out some details of the interface. It showed the current room, both upper and lower levels, with objects she couldn't quite resolve highlighted. "Room configuration?" Her gaze returned to the door-that-was-not-a-door. "Perhaps..."

 

The unlined woolen skirt of her coat flared dramatically behind her as she took the stairs down, two at a time. The tile provided excellent grip for her boots, but more noise than she was used to, and Liz made a mental note to vote stairs as carpet, or at least partially carpeted, in the future. She came to the lounge floor with a distinctive STOMP, but her approach towards Sparkbot, Star, and Cel was a smooth and silent glide. Her gaze lingered only for a moment on the two other girls before settling firmly on Sparkbot.

 

"Sparkbot." Her voice was not quite a command, but firmer than she would've used with another person. Whether it was from her opinion on the android or her general state of frustration was unclear. "What all can I manipulate in this display? Is there any control over the form and features of the window?" Liz gestured upward as she spoke. 

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Star didn't want to try to waste any time figuring out if Sparkbot had any other information about the relics stored away somewhere that might be triggered with a phrase or something, so when the other user approached--one that Star had not had much contact with previously, but knew was a much higher ranking member than herself in respect to how long she'd been a part of The Mansion--Star politely stepped back from the 'bot with a silent nod of thanks to it and turned to Celariel once it was clear the other user--was that LBZ above her head? It was hard to tell with just a quick glance--had questions for Sparky as well.

 

"The halls sound fine to me!" Star agreed pleasantly, taking the lead and bringing her and Celairiel out of the lounge to stand just out of the room and in the hallway beyond, letting her eyes scrutinize the area they'd just entered with thoughts in mind of anything that might be a relic as she listened to Celairiel, err, Cel...Riel? Hm. I'll have to figure out which one.

 

"My dealings with The Mansion in the past have almost been strictly limited to the werewolf variety." Star explained, "Traj and I know each other pretty well at this point, and he encouraged me to join in a werewolf game that he was co-moderating a few years back. That's really the only thing I actively participated in with any sense of regularity. And because of it I don't really know anyone else very well." She admitted. "What about you? What brought you around these parts?"

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"Rift, actually. We've been friends for a while now, and when he got the idea to reboot things here, I got to hear all about the site. I see names in the crowd occasionally that I recognize from his stories. Having heard all about that from him and seeing how adorably excited he got when he told me things were rolling out, I just had to join. The spark stories and the werewolf games are what intrigue me the most. But actually seeing the Mansion... well, I'm loving it!"

 

Cel smiled at Star, "And I'm really glad it's not a situation where everyone knows everybody else and I'm the odd one out. You knew Traj from before? Do many of you know each other outside of the Mansion?"

 

As she looked down the hall, Cel noticed the windows to the grounds. Leaning on the sill, she looked out over what was still all new to her. Sparkbot had said they were off-limits, but Celairiel just couldn't wait to get down and explore the outdoors. She loved to be out under the sun seeing new places. The grounds looked peaceful and exciting all at once: peaceful because of their emptiness, exciting because of their possibility. 

 

Stepping away, Celairiel was about to turn back to her new friend when a thought crossed her mind. 

 

"Star, have you ever seen a window seat box? Only reason I ask is that my dad built one several years ago for my sister. You can't even see the hinges on the lid. Her's isn't quite perfect - my dad's no carpenter - but in theory, it's completely hidden unless you know where the latch is. What are the odds a window sill would open up? I feel like Rift would hide the relics somewhere more significant, but I also wouldn't be surprised if he left hints in random places."

 

While she chattered, Celairiel ran her hands along the lower edge of the sill and along the outer rims. A relic might not fit in a window sill, but a clue most certainly could. 

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Traj sagged back in his chair, one hand over his eyes. A systematic search through the tablet's functions would take hours if not days, and he didn't have that kind of time. Sitting up, he blew a strand of hair out of his eyes in irritation and glanced up at the walls, where the windows had been replaced.

 

Wait a second....

 

Traj scrolled back to the "Remove Windows" function and tapped the tablet, watching as the windows themselves disappeared into the wall as if they'd never been there. If the walls themselves were fluid, perhaps...

 

Getting up from the table, Traj walked over to the north wall, where the werewolf in the painting was gazing down at him. Taking hold of the frame, he pulled it off the wall and leaned it against a nearby chair, baring the wall where it had previously hung. The wall was just as blank as before, but as Traj had seen, walls could be fluid. He went back to the tablet and perused the functionality again, trying everything that had to do with the walls themselves, such as making windows appear and disappear. There wasn't anything on the wall behind the painting at present, but perhaps the wall wasn't what it appeared to be.

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Bed was still sitting at his chair. From when Shattered Rift began his speech to now, Bed's body slowly slid down his seat like a dead slug. His head was nearly touching the seat of his chair and his bathrobe slid all the way up revealing his boxers. Suddenly, a painful look came across his face. An insecure thought led Bed to worry about someone looking at him in disgust. He then quickly sat back up and peered around. Luckily nobody was looking at him. There was always someone looking at him he thought.

 

Bed saw what looked like some sort of scavenger hunt. He listened and knew about the relics and wishes but Bed was a bit tired. If he could find some place to rest that would be nice. With everyone pacing around, he started to feel hungry just looking at the struggle. Bed wasn't sure what time of the day it was but he was expecting some food and drinks when he came to the tower. Perhaps there were some in a fridge somewhere. He slowly got up and looked for food, disguising himself as looking for these "Relics" in case anyone were to ask. The enthusiasm and excitement around him filled the atmosphere with a distinct festive feeling. In contrast, Bed's lack of attention deemed him indifferent about the current motion of things. Still, he felt the need to blend in to remain polite and respectful to those around him.

 

As he steadily walked out of an army of chairs, he tripped over a chair leg and one of his bear paw slippers flew up into the air and and landed back to where he was sitting. Bed quickly got up, looked around, got his slipper and resumed his task.

Edited by Bed

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Curtains may be added or a wall may be lowered to cover the window,” Sparkbot said, thinking nothing of Liz's authoritative tone. It took him a moment later to process her first question. “None of the features are changeable until a certain number of votes are processed. Included aspects of the room that may be voted on include the furniture, flooring, the balustrade surrounding the balcony, wallpaper, et cetera.”

 

ooc| Star and Cel: The 3rd floor hallways are off-limits. It's easy to assume that you went downstairs and through the member lounge to get to the 2nd floor hallway, but that's now how your posts are reading, so I wanted to at least remind you that the member lounge is there.

 

bic| The window sill was solid at all points, unmoving and without secrets to Cel's touch. However, on this hall alone there were a few more windows, and the Mansion itself held dozens of windows.

 

In the Werewolf forum, windows only existed on the southern wall. The wall with the painting was the northern wall, and the north, east, and west walls had far fewer settings. Windows couldn't be made to appear on either wall: to the west was the Werewolf Lounge, to the north was the southern hallway, and to the east was General Discussion. Windows on each wall would have meant revealing each of those locations. There was a wallpaper setting, and it was possible to change the wallpaper of each wall individually. The material of the wall could also be changed from drywall to wood. Brick was also an option, and it had a note beside it: “Brick feels wrong indoors. I'm leaving it as an option in this room since it's the Werewolf forum, but I'd like some feedback before I remove it entirely. -Rift”

 

ooc| Bed, your member quarters (on the second floor) are an option for rest, and Random Chat (the cafeteria, directly behind the parlor on the first floor) is an option for food. Notwithstanding that the Mansion is virtual reality and rest and eating/drinking are strictly an aesthetic choice.

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ooc: Yeah, and that's why I asked for a map.... I promptly messed up with just the description. I'll just go with the idea of skipping to the second floor. Probably too many people in the member lounge anyways. I'll let Star make the call on if we go back or just go with where we are.

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Liz frowned. Nothing on the floating display allowed her obvious manipulation of the door-that-was-not-a-door. Nothing even hinted at a mechanism. It was almost as if...

 

Her frown turned into a smile. And then into mild alarm, once she turned around and realized the other two women were gone.

 

"Wait!" But they were beyond earshot. Liz frowned.

 

"Sparkbot," she said, turning back around. "How many would I need for consensus to change this room? Besides myself, that is." To the side she drew up the user VI, and began tapping through the menus to find the PM interface. Trajectory couldn't have gone off too far... and who else? She supposed she could request Cel and Star return, but she didn't really know them, and the thought made her uncomfortable. Information was valuable and she had little interest in sharing with parties she hadn't worked with before. 

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Sparkbot does not know,” Sparkbot said. “It is possible that Shattered Rift is concerned about unfair manipulation of customization. However, Sparkbot believes it is more likely that Shattered Rift simply forgot to include that information. Forty-five members have registered, including thirteen spambots, making for thirty-two members.” There had been about two dozen present for the announcement, meaning others had registered but not yet become active or not been available at the time Shattered Rift had given the announcement. “Sparkbot would estimate that between three and twelve votes are necessary to affect customization at the present time.”

 

ooc| I grabbed the 45 number as the number of members that had registered through January 8th. It's... a bit arbitrary. I could have gone with 41 (going through the 3rd, as after the 3rd it's basically a member registering each day), but that then assumes that nearly everyone who had registered was at the announcement. ::.Shrugs.:: I'm tired.

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"You're useful." Liz drawled sarcastically, turning away from Sparkbot. "Didn't you at least used to give like... probabilities? What's the point of being unhelpful if you're not even going to give me gobs and gobs of unnecessary information in the process? You can go back to... whatever you were doing. Put my vote in for lowering the wall over the windows, completely, if possible. I want to try something."

 

She paused and glanced over her shoulder.

 

"Do you get a vote there, Sparky?"

 

Liz's talents at touch-typing continued to exist in the virtual world, and as she'd been speaking she'd also been typing.  

 

Traj,

 

If you got a moment, can you come back to the tower we were all in?

 

It could be interesting,

 

-Liz

 

She sent the message off by punching her finger through the immaterial 'send' button, and then began to trot towards the door Cel and Star had gone through. There was no way she was getting twelve, but... perhaps four? Perhaps.

 

Do you really want these children to know your plans, though? That quiet voice hissed.

 

Liz wasn't entirely sure if she disagreed with the sentiment. 

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Sparkbot smiled broadly at the compliment, but his smile faded as Liz continued on. “Sparkbot can still give probabilities,” Sparkbot said. “However, Sparkbot's recent version update opted for generalizations. For example, Sparkbot's reaction to your inquiry suggests the proper response is to inform you that there is an 81.7% chance that between three and six members are required to enact a change. For between three and five, 67.2%.” Even though Liz didn't seem to be listening, Sparkbot had prattled on until Liz's next question. “Sparkbot is unable to cast votes for the customization option. Furthermore, Sparkbot has no preference to the appearance of the Mansion.”

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((OOC: ...I've seriously been meaning to draw up a map/blueprints of the mansion since I have no sense of what the place looks like to begin with, but I'm afraid I still wouldn't get it right! Let's just say that we went into whatever hall was closest we could actually walk through, so 2nd Floor, right? ^_^;; Sorry about that!))

 

"Traj and I go back a few years. We went to the same college, actually. And I know lion wiggles too now that I think about it, but he hasn't been around for several months." Star put a hand to the back of her neck and rubbed at it sheepishly, "I have a vague sense that a few others know each other outside, but I really have no idea other than impressions I've picked up here and there. I've gotten to meet Rex, though!" ((OOC: I think the timing is right for that since Mansion time is only a month behind RT, but my brain is a little fuzzy right now. Ignore that particular bit if I'm mistaken)) She brightened at the remembrance, having greatly enjoyed getting to spend time with he and Traj and lion wiggles at the last gaming convention they'd gotten to attend.

 

Star watched with interest as Cel mentioned secrets in the window sills while carefully searching for one such secret. "You know, I do actually know what you're talking about. Let's split sides and check all the ones along this hallway."

 

Before she could turn to claim the other side, Star put a finger up to her chin and looked off thoughtfully, "You said you know Rift...is there anything about him that might point us in a specific direction?" At that she went ahead and started with the first window sill in the hallway on the opposite side of Cel, inspecting it carefully before she moved down to the next one as she kept speaking, "Personality-wise or maybe...I dunno. Anything really."

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"Detail oriented. And a bit of a perfectionist. Well, more than a bit." Cel tried to think of what could be relevant to the search. "He's passionate about Sparkbomb, but how he acts here, and how he interacts with the site and with the Mansion is still new to me. Coming here is very much like coming into Rift's personal world, for me. Since I have no other perception of Sparkbomb or the Mansion, it blurs together a bit. Not sure I'll be of much help." She shrugged, "I would guess that he would hide the relics in places with some significance. Even if it's just some silly, personal significance." 

 

As she paced the hall, running her fingers along each sill, carefully feeling for latches, hinges, really anything out of place, Cel tried to imagine Rift hiding the relics.

 

"I think also clues are a very likely possibility. I think he would enjoy the puzzle element rather than a simple tear everything apart approach. It's fun to watch everyone go crazy, but that's not going to get us results."

Thinking about the relics brought up another question in Celairiel's mind. "So, wishes. What would you wish for?"

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Bed made his way to the path where he first entered the tower. He stood there and gave one last look at the room.  Everyone was up and about. His brief look became a long gaze that lasted a few seconds and then it became a long stare that lasted a few minutes. 

 

Bed noticed Sparkbot in the chaos and saw a girl that resembled an old sparkbomb member, Liz. Bed immediately averted his eyes elsewhere to make sure eye contact did not happen. Memories of the terror and screams from the past filled his mind. He quickly closed his eyes and tried to imagine a happy memory. It proved a bit difficult so Bed ran fast out of the tower with his eyes closed. When he opened his eyes he was at the Cafeteria, exactly where he wanted to be.

 

ooc|

some questions. 

 

Do I have control of what the mansion looks like? It seems I can't really interact with anything before Rift describes the area right? That's why I had my character close his eyes because I wasn't sure.

 

From what little I know about roleplaying... it's pretty much write only about me and the environment that's given to me. Wait for descriptions from the MC. Interactions between roleplayers are mostly started with questions/gestures or by taking turns completing things(?). 

Edited by Bed

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Had Liz been facing Sparkbot, the crestfallen look would've softened her response. But his voice remained a robotic monotone, and she was given no indication of his disappointment. Still, something tugged at her, and she changed her response a moment before vocalizing it. 

 

"I doubt you have no preference. Why don't you think about that while we make an utter mess of the place?" She twisted around to give a mischievous grin, hoping that RIft would go through the feed later. If he did, she was sure, she'd hear the audible smack of a palm firmly applied to a forehead right about now.

 

Movement caught her attention in the corner of her eye, but whoever it was had scurried away before she'd had time to look. 

 

"Wait...!" She called, but it was half-hearted. Had that person actually run away from her?

 

What else do you expect? The voice hissed, chuckling richly. Liz ignored her.

 

Instead, minimizing her VI but keeping a pane up so she'd get a visual bell upon Traj's response, she tromped down the stairs two-at-a-time after Cel and Star. Hopefully they wouldn't run away from her, too. Down the staircase and then through the threshold into the lower room she went, coming up behind them silently. She folded her arms over her chest and then unfolded them quickly when she realized that the pose would come off as intimidating, not patient. Putting her hands behind her back felt awkward though, and eventually she just shoved her hands into her pockets and waited.

 

OOC| You can also just end a post with arriving at a new area and wait for the MC to describe what you see - no need for closed eyes. Your next post would pick up then, and then would contain your reactions to the area. 

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Traj sighed. It had been a long shot, of course, but he found it hard to believe there was nothing hidden in (in his opinion) the most iconic room of the mansion.

He got up and shut down the MC interface, pushing back the chair and striding purposefully toward the door. There was still the Werewolf Lounge to check, and maybe there -

Traj's VI lit up suddenly. Frowning, he opened it with a few deft finger movements.

One new message.... From... Liz? Huh.

Traj read through the contents of the message twice, brow furrowed in thought. Really, he'd prefer to search the Werewolf Lounge before anyone else thought of it, but.... Hmm. Liz had had a habit of understating things, if he recalled correctly (it had been a while.) If she simply said "interesting"...

Leaving the Werewolf Forum and heading down the hall towards the stairs at a trot, Traj cast a longing glance at the Werewolf Lounge door as he passed it. Perhaps whatever this was wouldn't take too long.

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ooc| I'm hoping to get ahold of Nebiros this afternoon and see if we can get a map of the Mansion drawn up. There are some flaws in my personal map.

 

Bed, I'm still establishing a lot of the appearance of the Mansion. Once everything's been thoroughly established and people have an idea about where they are and where they're going, it'll go a lot more smoothly for transitioning from room to room. Like Liz said, you could always say “Bed heads to -insert room here-.” And then I describe said room in my next post.

 

When I started this role play, I didn't realize that the TRSR HNT would take such a huge spotlight (silly me). (That may be because I'd been planning the role play since before I thought of the relics, and so by following after Episode 4 I set the stage better than I thought without quite realizing what I was doing.) Er, anyway, point is that I actually expected a much more interactive role play between members rather than between members and the environment. I anticipate that this will head in that direction sooner or later.

 

---

 

bic| The windowsills revealed no secrets to the two girls.

 

Random Chat, the cafeteria, was more like a restaurant or a diner than like a cafeteria. Booths lined each wall in a U-shape around the room. The booths on the bottom of the U, against the ball wall, all had windows that showed the dusk outside. In the center of the room was a bar, with a dozen barstools lined across it, and a variety of mixers were all arranged on the shelves behind the counter. A fair distance separated the bar from the booths, and the tile floor provided ample space to walk through. At the two corners of the U, ceiling fans stood idle overhead.

 

“Sparkbot does not understand,” Sparkbot said. “Is Liz requesting Sparkbot's assistance in the Relics Competition?” Liz headed down the stairs, and Sparkbot, still confused, followed. In fact, following added to his confusion. At first, he had assumed 'the place' must be the tower, but now the most likely interpretation was 'the Mansion.' That was less likely, however, especially once Liz stopped in the hallway to watch Star and Cel test the windowsills.

 

Furthermore, did Sparkbot have a preference? Certainly not for the tower, except that that was still incorrect. He did value a layout that didn't encumber travel. A couch positioned in front of the stairs, for example, would be inefficient. However, it was unlikely that any of the members would opt for such a decision, and choices like that weren't even offered by the interface. But things like curtains versus windows or tile versus carpet floors? Neither affected Sparkbot. Sunlight and the view offered by the windows might have psychological benefits for the members, and Sparkbot would choose something that benefited the members over something that didn't, but that was a decision he would be making for others. If he even could.

 

ooc| Traj, I'm going to have you leave the Werewolf forum and pass through the Werewolf Lounge. It's technically taking a slightly long way back upstairs, but I think it's more fitting with what you intended.

 

bic| The Werewolf Lounge had another long table, similar to the one in the forum, but there was a subtle difference in how this one looked. There was also an arrangement of four couches facing each other, a spot that would pit twelve players in a circle well, or a few more if others sat on the arms of the couches or on the floor. Windows around the room showed the darkness outside, and stairs led up to another member lounge and farther up to another tower that wasn't yet accessible. The hallway leading back towards General Lounge had a few scattered paintings, old things drawn years ago, presumably by Nebiros.

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Having reached the end of the hall and not found anything - Star's lack of exclamation indicated a similar result - Celairiel turned to face her friend. As she did so, she noticed another figure still about halfway down the hall. 

 

Assuming Star knew the other woman, Cel glanced to her side. The neutral look on Star's face made it quite clear that, even if they did know each other, it wasn't well. Now that she knew Star was still a relatively new member, Cel took this in stride.

 

"Hi!" Cel waved, feeling more and more awkward by the moment. I wonder how long she's been standing there. We probably look silly. 

 

"We were just checking the window sills for clues. Well, not the sills. The hidden compartments. Not that there actually were any once we looked. But you know, gotta start somewhere."

 

Just shut up already, Cel. It's not like she was demanding an explanation. And everyone's gone a bit silly over these relics anyways. Maybe she wants to join you. 

 

"Did you want to search together?" 

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Star laughed when Cel reminded her of something as the two of them kept looking, "My dad sent my mom on a treasure hunt once for one of her birthday gifts. He handed her a card and it had a little rhyming riddle in it that indicated where the next clue would be. Sent her all around the house for the thing. It ended up being this gorgeous piece of jewelry." Star looked thoughtful, "I wonder...if there is some such initial clue back in the Member Lounge." She shrugged, "I honestly figured the relics and the places they were hidden would be more accessible by Sparkbombers who had been around for ages. Like, the relics would look like something an avid member would recognize, and the places they were hidden would have some significance to those who were here in the old days."

 

She wouldn't have been surprised if she found out that Traj had dashed out of the room to go to the Werewolf area of the forum. It was that sort of thing she was talking about though.

 

As Star talked and searched, getting close to the end of the hallway, she got this...feeling in the back of her head for lack of better word.

 

"As for a wish, well, I think I accidentally made it kind of obvious, assuming wishing for more wishes is a no go, that I would-" Star's words faded off as she turned around to see Liz had silently taken a stand in the hallway with them.

 

Ah. Right. I knew someone was watching us, heh. That's what that feeling was. Been a while. 

 

Cel began talking and Star just gave a nod of greeting meant to not interrupt, waiting to see what Liz's answer would be.

 

Like with the vast majority of the older members--Except maybe little brother. And Traj--Star felt more than a tad unsettled to have one such member approach her. Even if they were all around the same biological age, the digital age of being one of the newest members of what seemed to be christened 'Old Sparkbomb' always made Star feel like the annoying little kid sister that everyone wished would just go away and stop dragging on their coattails. Especially since some of these people had met over a decade ago on other forums that Star only heard the names of on occasion.

 

So, as a self-fulfilling prophecy, she rarely interacted with them because she...well...rarely interacted with them. Out of perhaps a slightly irrational fear that they just wanted her to leave them alone.

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Bed stepped into the cafeteria and found it empty. He concentrated on any sounds that may give away anyone that might have been there. All he heard were the muffled voices of a few sparkbomb members behind the walls of the mansion. He didn't know where they were coming from but it seemed very far away. Bed quickly edged toward the silence of the cafeteria. As he got closer he could hear the soft sounds of the intricacies that was built in the Cafeteria.

 

"Hello? Is anyone there?" said Bed loudly but softly. The sounds of his voice bounced off the room and back to him making him realize how strange the acoustics were in the cafeteria. Places like this seemed so loud and noisy. It was a first for him to see it in a different atmosphere. He felt the eeriness of being alone in the mansion as if something can come popping out at anytime. Something told him to leave the area in his mind but then again, he didn't really want to bump into anyone like that girl if he went back. Bed decided to sit on a bar-stool and wait a couple of minutes. Maybe there was someone here and he or she went to the bathroom? Or maybe virtual reality works entirely different than he expected?

 

Bed got out his phone and started playing around on it in the meantime.

Edited by Bed

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The awkwardness read to Liz as anxiety... or defensiveness. She'd tried to wait for them to finish their task but her very presence interrupted them nonetheless. Sparkbomb had gone on without her, and she couldn't help but think her very presence was being rejected. Acutely feeling as if she'd been better off never returning she smoothed her expression and took another step forwards. 

 

"Not... exactly."

 

The cool calm of her own voice surprised her. It was a few notes lower than her regular speaking tone as well, and--

 

"I trust that Shattered left enough relics - if he left any relics - for multiple members to find." Her own words caught her off guard. Why had she called him by that nickname? She hadn't done that in almost a decade. "It would be terribly boring if one member found them all, and so I suspect they're going to be rather scattered. Searching with a group would only ensure strife over whatever we did find." Her hands had come out of her pockets, one lazily resting on her right hip, the other twirling a lock of copper-and-green hair around her fingers. 

 

"Hooowever... There are some activities that require greater numbers." She turned towards the sudden sound of Traj's footsteps. A second figure was also present.

 

"Perhaps some of your new protocols aren't so useless." Liz said to Sparkbot, noting that the android had followed her. "If you could please, Sparky, pull up the VI for this room again?" Taking a few steps towards Sparkbot and putting Traj Cel and Star opposite him to her, she gestured to the glowing interface.

 

"There's a number of objects we can only manipulate via democracy. For example, I would like to lower the walls to obscure the windows in the tower here." She gestured vaguely upward, but did not point directly at the door-that-wasn't-a-door. "I suspect that if you haven't already done so, you'll soon encounter settings you'd like to change to aid in your search that you cannot do alone. We could agree now to help each other in that regard." She looked specifically at Trajectory.

 

"Thanks for coming." Unlike the smile she'd given before, this one actually reached her eyes. Traj was an old friend, and it helped Liz's anxiety to see him around. "I just needed a bit of extra manpower to change something, and Sparky was being so stubborn about Rift's rules.."

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"That's our Sparkbot. I always thought of him as a bit of a pedant, to be honest, but perhaps robots can't help but be pedantic."

 

Traj grinned. It was good to see Liz back in the mansion. He hadn't exactly... clicked with many of the "old guard", as it were; he'd been around a long time, of course, but there had been those that had been around since the very beginning, and Traj had failed to really connect with very many of them - of those he had connected with, LIz was really the only one remaining. The others had drifted away like so many ghosts in the mist.

 

He scratched his neck, making the dogtag around his neck jingle. Traj hadn't thought of asking Sparkbot about the Werewolf Games room. Maybe there was something about it that a consensus of members could change. First, though, he looked at Liz, tilting his head (black hair immediately fell into his eyes, and he brushed it away impatiently.)

 

"I take it from your suggestion that lowering the walls to cover the windows requires a group of members voting as a bloc?" Traj inquired, walking over to Sparkbot to study the VI. He hadn't been up on the balcony himself, but he remembered Liz had been up there during the group meeting. There might be something up there, but as Liz had found it first, he didn't really want to take it away. Besides, he might need her help later.

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ooc| Cel was talking to me, and apparently I misunderstood exactly what it was you guys were checking the windowsills for. Your search still didn't yield any results, but it has reminded me how much I need to pay attention to minor bits of layout like the hall windows.

 

bic| Perhaps it was a natural response to sitting at the barstool, or perhaps Bed had made an unintentional gesture while playing with his phone, but a display appeared in the air in front of him. It showed a selection of drinks and meals. One recognizable drink, Vintage Spark Juice, was grayed out and “Temporarily Out of Stock.” If he was hungry or thirsty, at least in a virtual sense, he could choose something to eat.

 

“Sparkbot disagrees,” Sparkbot said after Liz mentioned the possibility of there being enough relics for multiple members to find. “Considering Shattered Rift's preference for the number three in design, it is probable that at least one relic requires multiple members to find and will either grant the wish of multiple members or requires their wish to be the same. Alternatively, if there are many relics, a group of three being necessary to find a relic would result in them finding three relics, enough to obtain one each.”

 

At Liz's request, Sparkbot waved his hand in mid-air and made two displays appear. One was for the tower, which Sparkbot predicted Liz intended, and the other was for the hall they were currently standing in. “Sparkbot would like to remind everyone that individual users may pull up their own VI displays and cast votes on their displays. Also, Sparkbot is not able to bypass Mansion software. Sparkbot was merely stating software mechanics that are currently in place.” When Traj commented about Sparkbot's pedantic nature, he looked up at Traj and smiled as if he had been complimented.

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StratusNova stood on the balcony above the podium Rift had finished speaking at, his mechanical right hand rapping lightly on the guard rail. He looked down at the now defunct screen embedded into that arm and the small label beneath that still read 'Stratus'. Other former staffers would turn in their control panel, or CP, or keep it as a souvenir. He, however, had chosen to have his CP integrated into the functions of his prosthesis. Of course, with the equal footing currently given to all members, the device merely served as a nostalgia piece. Not that he disagreed with Rift on the concept of everyone having a voice in the new Sparkbomb, nor did he contest the idea that having staff members interfered with that goal. It was just that, he'd been a staff member of the differing communities he had been involved in for the better part of a decade, to not be so now seemed...off.

Bringing his left hand up and running it over his now shorter and more manageable auburn hair he glanced around the room through the scarlet shaded glasses he had adopted from Nebiros' Color War character designs. The white hooded coat he wore also came from Code's former story as well. It suddenly dawned on Stratus that he had spent an unreasonable amount of time lost in thought as people had gone to search for the relics Rift had mentioned in his announcement. He pulled up his map and noticed several members congregated in the hallway with Sparkbot.

 

"Better to not get involved with that." He audibly discerned, before descending the staircase and flopping onto one of the disheveled couches in the member's lounge. He pulled the red accented hood over his head leaving only the bottom half of his red sunglasses visible to others, and slumped down further on the comfortable piece of furniture. To most it would appear as if he was napping instead of just observing the others in their search. He really had no need for wishes or the like. He was back amongst friends and that was all he really wanted.

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