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Whispers of the Kraken (Epilogue: Revelations of the Kraken)


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Never change, Derpy - never change. :)

Although speaking nicely (at a moderate volume) to the nice kerbals with the funny smelling spray cans - is probably a good idea.

 

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And those who know him also know he's gonna make it - well, one way or another. It's great to meet him again, wonderful character! 

If this were a movie, the end credits will probably feature "do a little dance! Uh, uh! Goinintospace! Uh, uh! Spaaacekeeerb!" as closing track, just before the lights come up again. :D

Edited by lodger
sudden burst of childish imagination
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12 hours ago, lodger said:

If this were a movie, the end credits will probably feature "do a little dance! Uh, uh! Goinintospace! Uh, uh! Spaaacekeeerb!" as closing track, just before the lights come up again. :D

As the projector shatters and/or people run and scream. :D

 

 

 

Spoiler

pity, tho, they'd all miss the post-credits stinger :ph34r:

 

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2 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

As the projector shatters and/or people run and scream. :D

 

 

 

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pity, tho, they'd all miss the post-credits stinger :ph34r:

 

Spoiler

Are those the leftovers from the concession booth? Pickled or dried with dipping sauce.

Also, I've been playing a bit of Leppard on the way to work the last couple of days, including this rather good track. I think you ought to know that I can't help substituting 'Spacekerb!' for 'shotgun' whenever I listen to it now.

Edited by KSK
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2 hours ago, KSK said:
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Are those the leftovers from the concession booth? Pickled or dried with dipping sauce.

Also, I've been playing a bit of Leppard on the way to work the last couple of days, including this rather good track. I think you ought to know that I can't help substituting 'Spacekerb!' for 'shotgun' whenever I listen to it now.

Hehe. I'll try subbing that as well. Making an animated movie out of these stories would be great tho! Have Disney produce it :D

Though I was thinking of the Deadpool theme song, with Spacekerb hehe

 

Edited by vsully
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12 hours ago, KSK said:
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Are those the leftovers from the concession booth? Pickled or dried with dipping sauce.

Also, I've been playing a bit of Leppard on the way to work the last couple of days, including this rather good track. I think you ought to know that I can't help substituting 'Spacekerb!' for 'shotgun' whenever I listen to it now.

Welp, now I had to go download the album so I hope you're getting royalties. 

Ah, the good ol' days, when a band's power was granted by its hair like mystical musical Samsons. 

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Ahhh, the 80's. When musicians were real musicians and hairdressers were overworked.

If you've downloaded Hysteria, then you'll have Rocket to listen to too. Which is definitely the kind of track that the Solpugids or Fire in the Sky should be playing somewhere.

'Take a rocket... we just gotta fly.'

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23 minutes ago, KSK said:

Ahhh, the 80's. When musicians were real musicians and hairdressers were overworked.

If you've downloaded Hysteria, then you'll have Rocket to listen to too. Which is definitely the kind of track that the Solpugids or Fire in the Sky should be playing somewhere.

'Take a rocket... we just gotta fly.'

Nope, it was the wrong garpaflarping album, just :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad: some lame cover band. Apparently iTunes doesn't have much of their older stuff. 

I might have to to... sigh... go out & buy a CD...

funny you should mention that album tho. Up till now I thought they were singing about bacteria. :blush:

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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On August 4, 2016 at 2:06 AM, CatastrophicFailure said:

Nope, it was the wrong garpaflarping album, just :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad: some lame cover band. Apparently iTunes doesn't have much of their older stuff. 

I might have to to... sigh... go out & buy a CD...

funny you should mention that album tho. Up till now I thought they were singing about bacteria. :blush:

Did you write garpaflarping or is it a censor?

If so, what word was censored?

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Nah - garpaflarping is way too creative for the auto-censor. The only thing that hunk of misbegotten code is good for, is inserting replacement words that stick out even more than the 'offensive' words they're trying to cover up. I mean, who the heck uses 'excrements' in regular conversation. :rolleyes: 'Stuff' would be better.

Edited by KSK
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10 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Probably middle of next week or so. 2200 words in and not yet to the important bits, this is gonna be one of those tough ones.

Ooo, looking forward to it! :cool:

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Just started a new sandbox savegame to try out some new ideas. Decided to call it "Kerbs in spaaaaaace!" and immediately imagined the "Derpy Kerman Institue for Advanced Space Research" (DKI4ASR) as the organization running the whole operation.

Edited by lodger
Spelling & Donald Fagen (IGY)
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13 hours ago, lodger said:

Just started a new sandbox savegame to try out some new ideas. Decided to call it "Kerbs in spaaaaaace!" and immediately imagined the "Derpy Kerman Institue for Advanced Space Research" (DKI4ASR) as the organization running the whole operation.

hehehe like it!

Though it would be the Door-PAY Kerman Institute for Advanced SPAAAACE Research Ayuh!

DPKI4ASRA!

Edited by vsully
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Special thanks to @Ten Key

Chapter 74: The Right Questions

Valentina walked on, away from the procession of screams she'd just created. The fellow certainty had heart, surely the KSA could find some task for him. But after that, at least the day couldn't possibly get any strang--

"Imagetchu!!!!!"

She dodged to the side once more. Another person darted past, holding one of those odd little bicolored balls before him and completely oblivious of anything else. 

"Shartle! Shartle! Imagetchu!"

He sprinted out into traffic to a cacophony of screeching tires, blaring horns, and colorful metaphors before finally catching the Midtown Express bus.

"Owwwwwwwwwwwwww....."

Eyes rolled. Valentina was just about to think that now, this day couldn't possibly get any stranger, but quickly scolded herself about underestimating the incredible talent these people had for strangeness. 

As she walked, she heard/felt that intense rumbling again. More distant this time, well hidden beyond the towering walls of buildings that flanked the street. Why would they be flying such a large craft so low over the city? Cargo delivery, perhaps? She had heard the Kleptogartis were fond of using enormous VTOLS to lift heavy equipment to the roofs of buildings under construction. Yes, that must be it. But... why was she getting that unpleasant sensation between her shoulders again?

Anyway, she had arrived. The City Café. Just another roadside eatery that dotted the streets in this part of town, wedged into the bottom floor of a much taller building. Where Anastasia Kerman would be expecting... Valentina looked down at her stained, smelly garb and sighed... a well-respected Krünian rocket scientist. 

Ding-a-ling!

A little bell on the door announced her entrance. A couple of patrons looked up and frowned, the big clerk slicing meat back behind the counter outright scowled. Despite the modern glass wall at the front, the rest of the space was rather more traditional, with ornately carved crown moldings and tiled mosaics covering the walls. 

Valentina scanned over the dozen or so people sitting at scattered tables and... there. Sitting alone against the far wall, tapping madly away at one of those little keyboard-phones that were everywhere these days. There was no mistaking that face, and brilliant blonde hair. After so long, the girl who had haunted Valentina's nightmares sat there in the flesh, completely oblivious to the world. 

She approached cautiously, "Anastasia Kerman?"

The girl looked up with a bright smile, which immediately evaporated, "Ugh, as if! Don't even tell me, you're one of those conspiracy nut jobs who thinks we didn't even go to the Mün, right? Baugh, I can't even!"

Valentina blinked, "even vas?"

"What?"

"Vas?"

"What?"

"Kant even vas?"

"What?!"

"Vas?

"What-ever!" the girl rolled her eyes. 

Inwardly grimacing, Valentina said, "vir gespoken on der telefon deez morgen, ja?"

"You," now the girl blinked, "you.. are Doktor Inge von Meerschweinchen von Kermann." Those enormous eyes... a memory flared in Valentina's head, distant and foggy, but... The homely little Kerbling had certainly grown into her eyes. Now, she was honestly pretty... the kind of pretty that was sure to make her father go grey before his time. 

"Ja for sure, Ich bin ein Krünerin," Valentina said with a weak grin. 

The girl blinked again, "you're a cheese danish?"

"Nein, nein, Ich bin from Krünia!"

"You," she sniffed, and made a face, "are a rocket scientist."

"Ja, for sure."

"From Krünia."

"Jawoll, from Krünia."

"Oooooooooo... kaaaaaay...," she squinted, "wait... have... have I seen you somewhere before?"

"Oh, er, nein... nein, nein..." Valentina gestured to the empty chair, "um, may Ich gesitzen?"

"You can do whatever you want," the girl said as she began to rise, "I was just leav--"

A smiling waitress suddenly appeared, and placed a cup in front of her, "here's your coffee, hon, that'll be √1."

The girl grunted softly, sitting back down. She produced a fashionably small wallet from a fashionably small purse, looked inside, and grimaced.

Bingo

Valentina slapped a large bill down on the table. This part of Foreign culture she'd come to understand well. 

"Tea, bitte, hot," she said, "und der roast beast zandvich, mit djan chips."

A sly look towards the girl, "und vatever die jungfrau vould like."

Said jungfrau's mouth fell open, her head twitching back and forth in a most disturbing way between glaring daggers at Valentina and gaping at the waitress. 

Finally, she blurted out, "cheeseburger! Make it a double! With bacon! Andarootbeer!"

The waitress smiled, "sure thing, ho--"

"And djan chips! With cheese! Andandand chili!"

She didn't miss a beat, "sure thing, ho--"

"And ice cream!" the girl was practically shaking now, "with sprinkles! Andandandand a cherry!"

Those huge eyes continued to dart back and forth for a few moments, carried by their own momentum, "please." The girl looked down at her lap and blushed. 

Unfazed, the waitress simply smiled, "sure thing, hon!" Though with an uncertain glance at Valentina she did make sure to take the bill with her as she left. The clerk behind the counter was still scowling at them.

The girl went back to staring assorted stabbing implements as Valentina, "All right, you've got my attention." 

Great. So... what now? Yes, I've been sent on a special mission to find you, in the midst of dark conspiracies and shadowy metaphysical strangeness, come with me if you want... what, exactly?

Valentina could only grin helplessly. The clerk moved from scowling to glowering. 

"I swear I know you from somewhere..." the girl wrinkled her wrinkleless brow.

"Nein, um... Ich just have zee familiar face, no?" Valentina's grin began to falter. 

The girl had just opened her mouth to say something, when a frosty mug appeared before her, "here's your root beer, hon."

Her eyes did the darting thing again, then she veritably smashed the mug into her face, "NGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

She went back to staring at her lap and held the mug up, "moreplease."

"Sure thing, hon!"

Dispensing with the grin altogether, Valentina just gaped at her. 

"So, you're from Krünia?" She smiled politely, "whereabouts?"

"Um... er... Münchkin," said Valentina. 

The girl's pretty face lit up, "oh, I love Münchkin! The waterfront is just soooo beautiful, there along the Inseine  River."

"Jawoll," Valentina nodded feverishly, "is schparkling jewel of der stadt."

The girl's smile became a wicked grin as her huge eyes narrowed, "Münchkin's not even on the Inseine River, it's on the North Sea. And the waterfront is nothing but dilapidated old warehouses that smell of fish and despair."

PЦTIЙ.

"Um... perhaps my translate is not..."

"I'm positive I've seen you somewhere before..." She put a hand to her chin and thought for a moment. Then she raised both hands, fingertips and thumbs pressed together to make an O shape, and looked through it at Valentina. 

The girl's eyes shot open, "Ermagherd! You're Valenmrrphlgrrph--!"

Valentina fervently shook her head as she pressed a hand to the other's mouth. The big scowling, glowering clerk was there in an instant.

"Is this... person... bothering you, miss?" He sneered. Valentina quickly withdrew her hand. 

The girl seemed to consider her options, then looked up at the fellow with her best 'boys always do anything I want!' smile, "no, we're just really good friends, but thanks ever so much for being so sweet, tee-hee!"

"Aw shucks," he said, blushing and scratching the back of his head. He spared another dirty look for Valentina before returning to his work. 

"You are Valentina Kermanova!" The girl hissed quietly once he was gone, then looked Valentina over again, "why're you dressed like a vagrant? And what's with the bad fake accent?"

"Is long story," Valentina began, "I am not quite sure--"

"But you can help me!" The other blurted out, not listening, "of course you can! You're a famous Kerbonaut, of course you have information!"

She leaned over, whispered confidentially, "what is it? A secret communique? Classified Ussari intelligence? Is there really a giant--"

"Cheeseburger!" The waitress beamed with plates in her hands, "and roast beast sandwich, fresh as you'll ever get 'em!" She went about arranging plates and beverages on the table. Valentina looked wistfully at the cheeseburger. They just weren't the same unless they'd been languishing under a heat lamp for--

No sooner had the waitress departed than the girl did the eye-dart thing again. Valentina wasn't exactly sure what happened next, but the girl seemed to unhinge her jaw like a snake, cram the entire mountainous meaty mess into her face, and swallow it whole. The mug quickly followed.

"NGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUKNGLUK--"

She set it down slowly, blinked twice, and then--

"BRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPP!!!!!"

Valentina gasped. One or two of the other diners looked up. The girl blushed a bit. She opened her mouth to--

"UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPPPP!!!!"

Then clapped a hand to it, her eyes bigger than ever. More patrons looked up. Disapproving mutters fluttered about. The girl raised a finger, took a sip of water, smiled sweetly and then--

"BBBBRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEIIIOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRPPP!!!!!"

It took a few moments for the windowpanes to stop vibrating, their dull "wooka-wooka" the only noise left in the room. Nothing else made a sound. A dozen or so pairs of eyes stared silently, even the noisy soda cooler held its rattles in stunned awe. That, or the acoustic shockwave had simply broken it. Valentina's hair was plastered in a cone shape jutting from the back of her head, giving her a somehow alien appearance. The girl looked around at the bewildered stares before pondering her own lap again.

"Excuse me," she mumbled. Then stole a djan chip.

Valentina shook her head to clear the ringing in her ears and ridiculous coif, "erm... when is last time you had a proper meal?" 

The girl looked up with a defensive pout, "I dunno, like last week. Probably." And stuffed another chip into her mouth.

Pausing to rub her face, Valentina groaned. When she looked up again, the other Kerbelle's plate was empty and she was now pilfering chips off of Valentina's. 

Caught greasy-handed, the defensive pout deepened, "but I'm not starving, ok??" she brandished a djan chip, "I've got a whole half case of ramen..."

"Plain or flavored?" Valentina raised an eye... bulge. 

"Plain."

"You poor girl..."

The poor girl took a breath that became a long sigh, gazing at the table once more, "it's tough to make ends meet."

Hm? She seemed awfully young to be on her own. The brother, the Kerbonaut, he was... in a hospital or something but...

"But... where are your parents?" Valentina asked. 

The girl's eyes flicked up for an instant, "gone. KerbAir Flight 86." She seemed to deflate against her chair.

Valentina covered a gasp. Hesitantly, she laid her other hand on the girl's. 

"I had someone close to me on that plane, too."

Gene...

The eyes flicked again, their defensive edge perhaps softened, "I get Billy's pension, but it's not much. An' I bag groceries part time at the BUY-N-BLOAT. It's expensive to live in the City."

Valentina went to speak, but instantly the edge sharpened. 

"But I won't abandon my brother!" The girl snapped at some perceived assault, "I won't!" She lunged forward and slapped a hand against the table, and a little sparkly object on a chain popped from the neckline of her dress. 

It took a few moments for the threads in Valentina's mind to connect before she realized what she was seeing, and this time the gasp couldn't be silenced. 

"Where did you get that?!" Her head snapped back and forth, searching for anyone else who noticed, "how did you get that?! You... you cannot have that..." She sat back, agape, "...can you?"

The girl looked down at the sparkly grey rock cradled in her hands, a genuine smile blooming on her face for the first time, ascending her to new levels of loveliness. 

"It's my münrock," she said to it, "my brother got it for me. He always promised he would. Now they took him away and it's all I have--" She looked up with renewed intensity, "but you can help me, right? That's why you called me, right? Thats why the whole cloak and, um..." she gestured vaguely at Valentina, "...beggar routine, right?"

Valentina groaned and rubbed at her temples, trying to process everything, "look, we need to get on same page, we are not even in same book. Miss Kerman--"

"You can call me Anna," Anna said brightly. 

"Valentina. Miss Anna, why don't you start from the beginning? I will see if I can fill in any holes," that sounded honest enough, right?

Anna gave her an odd look, but just sighed and stared down at her lap again, "ok." It was some time before she began to speak again, "Billy... my brother... he was never afraid of anything. I don't think he knew how to be afraid. The first couple times, I wasn't either, and then Mom and Dad--" She screwed her eyes shut for a moment, "and then, the accident. Everything changed. It was hard. 

"He was assigned to a space station crew, I didn't want him to go, but of course I never said anything. He was so happy, it would be his third mission and he's finally get to fly together with Edgas..."

Another memory floated up in the fog just beyond recognition. Valentina thought the name sounded, somehow, familiar.  

Anna didn't seem to notice, "I kept playing the doting sister but it was hard. He'd never been away that long, and I'd never been alone at all. I was overjoyed when I heard they were coming back early. Then..." she let out a long breath, "then Billy said they were going to the Mün. 

"I'd never seen him so excited. For months, that's all he would talk about, 'we're goin' to the Mün, Anna, Ed an' me are goin' to the Mün! M-U-doodleybop-N, that spells Mün!'" A wistful smile crept across her face, "he practically wore out that old geology book, studying. I had to sew new bindings for it, twice." She trailed off, and her smile faded like the last brilliant colors of fall giving way to the dead of winter, "once they got there, everything seemed to be fine at first. I talked to Billy a lot on the radio, tried not to let on that I was a nervous wreck. Everything was going good, and then... they went to the anomaly."

"Wait, what anomaly?" Valentina asked. 

Anna's eyes flicked around the room in a gesture Valentina found disturbingly familiar, and she spoke with a hushed voice, "it's why they were sent there in the first place. It was never a real big secret, just not talked about much. Now it's one of the things nobody will talk about at all. There was something near the base, something the Company wanted them to survey--"

"The Company... Layland-Wutani, yes?"

"Right, they paid for the whole thing. The day Billy and Edmund... Edmund Kerman, the mission commander," Valentina just nodded her on, "the day they went to the anomaly... something changed. I could hear it in Billy's voice, almost... feel it, too. I convinced myself he was just tired, that they all were, it's hard work after all."

Anna stared down at the table for a while, her brow pinched. Occasionally her mouth would twitch, as if seeking words. Finally, she closed her eyes and let out a ragged breath. 

"The call came in the middle of the night," her eyes flicked up again, "they always do, I think. Probably some rule about it. I knew right away, before the voice even spoke. It said--" her own voice cut off for a moment, her throat working in spasms, "it said... that Billy had been... hurt. That they were aborting the mission and coming home.

"That's when the silence started. Nobody would tell me anything else. Nobody would talk about it at all. When they got back, they were put into quarantine for a week. I could still get into the building, then, but they wouldn't let me into the quarantine wing. So I camped out in the lobby. 

"I overheard from someone that they let the Eds go. I never heard from Edmund again, they took him somewhere else. I tried to talk to him later, but he wouldn't see me. He doesn't see anyone, they say. I mean, he's the Commander, right?" her voiced edged toward hysterical,  "He's at least suppose to send me a letter or something, right?"

Before Valentina could even answer, the girl pressed on. Somewhere in her own mind, it registered that this might be the first time Anna had spoken this much about it to anyone.

The edge in her voice was reined back, and for a moment, something harsher came through, "Edgas found me, eventually. Took me to a dim corner of the room, gave me this--" she gestured with the sparkly rock, "said it was from Billy. Then he just... turned away and walked off. He was Billy's only friend in the whole world, and he just... left. Like he shut down. That was the last I ever saw of him, too. And they still wouldn't let me see Billy.

"They just ignored me, didn't even bother to call security. I threatened to break the door down if they didn't let me in. They didn't, so I did. Right off the damn hinges!"

Anna paused, obviously trying to rally herself, and ran a hand through her luxurious hair. Valentina wasn't sure when she had started holding the other one. 

"But Billy wasn't in there. He wasn't anywhere. A staff doctor in a lab coat took me into a little white room," her throat twitched again, "he said, um..." she had to bite her her lip for a moment to keep it from trembling, "he said that Billy had..." words came between barely controlled gasps, "had... hurt himself... that he was... that he couldn't see anymore, and... and..."

...plip...

...plip...

...plip... 

Tears patted against Valentina's hand, making little clean spots in the grime. Anna seemed to founder, the word "and" coming out as a sob over and over again, "... and they said he didn't know me anymore. That he didn't know anyone. Or anything. They... they said that his mind was gone."

For a few moments, Valentina groped for a response, but how do you respond to something like that without sounding trite and hollow? What words could assuage something so awful? In the end, she just gave Anna time to compose herself. 

"They'd already taken him to the Sanitorum," she said softly, "he's been there ever since. I visit him three days a week, it's all they'll let me. I cut his hair, shave his stubble. He always did hate stubble...."

Anna took another ragged breath, her eyes flicking up, "Dr. Kerman's in charge there. He's nice. He lets me stay a little past visiting hours if Billy's having a specially bad day. He says... says there's something going on in Billy's head, but he doesn't know what. 

"I know Billy's still in there, I know it, but like, trapped... trapped by..." she trailed off.

"What?" Valentina tried to sound reassuring, "what is it?"

Those big, pleading eyes flicked up again, "you... you'll just think I'm crazy..."

Valentina looked at her flatly, "I am the one wearing smelly rags pretending to be rocket scientist, no?"

Anna didn't look up, but Valentina felt her hand tremble, "sometimes... when they've got him really sedated and leave us alone together... it's almost like... there's something else there. Behind the bandages. And like... I can feel it... looking at me... like... it's hungry...

"And still, no one will tell me anything about what happened," she locked Valentina's gaze with renewed intensity, "Edmund knows something, I know he does, he was there. But he's a shut in now. They say he's sick. I've pestered everyone else I know at the Space Center, security won't even let me though the gate anymore." 

Her hand shifted, and now she was squeezing Valentina's, "they won't even lie to me," Anna pleaded, "and that's what scares me the most.

"I even sent a letter to the President, begging for help," the pouty scowl suddenly returned, "all I got back was a generic form letter and a signed photograph."

She crossed her arms with a huff, "squid-licking son of a--"

Valentina raised an eye... bulge. 

"Well he is!" Anna said defensively, leaning forward. 

She said something else, too, but Valentina didn't hear. She didn't hear anything in that moment. The entire world seemed to have dissolved away, as her vision narrowed down to a point, focused on the tiny, red dot of laser light dancing on Anna's forehead. 

 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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