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GM

 

Emerald City, 4 PM, November 28th

Magh'kee had been busy. Her work as a welder, working beneath the waves on Emerald City's new wave-power generator seemed to be a never ending one. Always something to do, always something to put together. She was not alone under the water, despite her clear advantages. A security measure, it had been called. At least two under the water, at least one, preferably two, above. All for safety reasons. Working under the water was not exactly a safe job for a regular human, after all. Her coworker, one Matthew Stone, had been acting unusual all shift. He had always been twitchy, but cautious. Not the hardest worker, but he had done his part, even if he complained all the while. Today, he had been working like a man possessed. No extra breaks, no complaints. Working in silence, working hard. 

And then, suddenly, while they were alone under water, started thrashing about, before he stopped all together. Even under the water, Magh'kee could hear his scream. Pain, fear. 

 

Across the city, at University Hill, Robin Lynne Langley had left work, hurrying to catch the bus, when she heard a scream, not entirely unlike what Magh'kee had heard under the water, though without the water buffering the sound. It was clear, almost inhuman. Everyone turned to look at a ragged-looking homeless man, standing in the middle of the road. He fell, thrashing about violently, and then stopped moving, as cars swerved to avoid him.

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"Krrg'k!" 

 

Lunging awkwardly through the water, Magh'kee reached for the horribly motionless creature, drawing back in the nick of time as she saw water vibrating from the heat of her hand. Struggling with her heavy, far less flexible crystal arms and legs, the Magmin pulled on the cumbersome heat-resisting gloves that had been assigned her. Working it over her fingers, struggling with the things on edges and crevices that had never, until this moment, been even noticed. What made this already slow work even worse was Stone. The jittery, howling and barking things she worked with had a rhythm, and stillness was as alien from them as their behavior would look on another Magmin.

 

At last, the final jerk of the heavy padding registered across her silica nerves. Hurling herself once more into Stone, Magh'Kee tucked him under one arm and pounded the buttons on her chest and his. This tripped the signal above, telling the topside supervisors to lift them both out of the water. Only one button press was necessary, but Magh'kee was still hazy on how any of this bizarre technology worked. 

 

Tipping Stone back a little, she checked his face, her smouldering eyes searching for any sign of abnormality. She hoped and prayed fervently to the Underdragon that she would see nothing. If she did see something, what could she do about it?   

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Justice

 

Aw, no. People were staring, but Robin didn't really care. She hurried to the man. She didn't really have any medical training, but she couldn't just do nothing, could she now? As she kneeled by the man, Robin called out to the people around her. "Somebody call an ambulance already!" Some had taken their phones out, mostly to take pictures. At least one guy turned his phone around to start calling, while Robin tried helping.

 

Press on the chest, mouth to mouth. Try and revive him, right? He wasn't breathing, he was completely still. Robin tried, she really did, but it didn't work. He was just... gone.

 

She was still trying when the ambulance arrived, and Robin stepped back to let the professionals take over.

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GM

 

Even through the diving gear and the heavy mask, Magh'kee could see that Stone was not himself. He was unnaturally still, even for another human. His eyes were red. Not just bloodshot, but red, like blood had swelled up in his eye balls. His pupils were all but invisible. Blood seemed to flow freely from his mouth, coloring his normally blonde beard. No, something was very clearly wrong.

 

They were pulled out of the water as soon as the signal was given. Once on dry land, the other workers came flocking to them, quickly pulling the suit apart, trying to revive him. They worked fast, but to little help. He coughed once, spitting up blood. Rambled, shouting something about something amazing in Southside, then went silent. Blood ran from his eyes now too.

 

---

 

Robin experienced something similar. For a brief second, the man revived, coughing up blood directly on her shirt, just before the paramedics arrived. They were quick to remove him, leaving her behind. Everyone else passed them by, leaving Robin behind with her bloodstained shirt. And the man's forgotten wallet at her feet.

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Maggy watched, struggling with the powerful sense that she should DO something. It was hard, even if there was pretty obviously nothing she could do. Fumbling out of her suit, the magmin took her time to ponder the words barking and squeaking all around her. 

 

If she'd known what first principles were, Maggy would have started there. But she didn't, so she started from the base of what she knew and worked up. Her co-workers didn't know what this was, she definitely didn't know and she couldn't remember her comrade Mo mentioning anything like this...at least when being serious and not talking in circles that made her stress-crack at the temples. So this was obviously new. Matthew had been unusually effective before leaking and jerking around, so that might be part of why. Finally, Matthew had mentioned what Magh'kee now understood as the Southside of Emerald City. It wasn't her favorite place to be(anything aboveground wasn't, if she was being honest, which was surprisingly rare) but it was the only actual idea of what to do that presented itself.

 

Nudging her supervisor, she made them understand by signs that she was calling it a day, something the harried-looking creature seemed enormously thankful for.

 

With nothing in particular to stop her, Maggy jumped into the river, hoping the cool water would help her think on the way over.

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Justice

 

Robin knew she shouldn't do it, but she was wearing gloves, and she had to find out more about this man. So, she picked up the wallet when no one was looking and quickly looked through it. Nothing out of the ordinary at first. A driver's license, a credit card, some cash, and then, something that stood out. A piece of paper with an address in Bethlehem Heights. It was hurriedly scribbled, barely legible, but it was something at least.

 

Picking out the piece of paper for herself, Robin left the wallet. Better someone else ended up handing it in. She would have to stop by her home first, pick out a clean shirt. She was already getting looks for the blood on her shirt, so no reason to keep that up. Then, she could head to Bethlehem and see what she could find.

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GM

 

Bethlehem Heights was not a nice place, in any description of the words. As Robin and Maggy each made their way towards this poor part of the city, that became abundantly clear. Many buildings were in disrepair. Glasses were smashed. The stores around the district were either boarded up, or fiercely guarded. It was the home of the poor and the forgotten. A perfect place to hide, because who would want to come here, after all?

 

Robin might have an address, but with her phone having trouble getting a signal and multiple missing street signs, it didn't help much. Maggy knew even less, but maybe she would find a way to search for the amazing thing that Matthew Stone had raved about before he died?

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