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[[suffering from repeated minor concussion. Post quality's going to be down sorry]]

Marcus shook his head and took the tea. He was so ready for this seasickness to be gone that he tried to chug it, but the hot liquid scalded his throat, and he gagged. After a few seconds of coughing, he shook his head and looked up at Sark.

"I've played video games before," he said,'"but nothing like this. Casual stuff, like Mario or some of the easier Zelda games, nothing this..." He waved a hand around vaguely at the virtual ship, "big. I don't know. My friends showed me how to do stuff, you know, when we first got in, but I've been on my own for a while."

He sipped his tea, hoping the curing effects would kick in soon. "You seem to know what's going on, though," he said, "did you game a lot?"

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"I'll drink to that thought," Terrel muttered, lifting her new mug shamelessly. Even as she did, though, something shifted on her person, so subtly she had missed it before. Digging a hand into one of her pockets on the vest, she pulled out a foreign item. She'd checked the pockets before taking the clothes--this was new.

It was a playing card of sorts with a single symbol on it, which she recognized. Keeping it secure in her hand, she slowly flipped the thing over so it looked blank, casually taking another drink before bringing up her findings to Rua.

"Looks like you might get a chance to meet some of my friends after all." When had someone gotten this on her person? "Don't know who yet, but we've been followed here. Don't stop reading that book, though; I'll spot him sooner or later."

---

"Yeah, you could probably categorize me as the sort of guy you'd 'expect' in a game like this. Progression's not what you might presume, though. The people who play a lot mostly just know more than the rest. I mean sure, they've probably got a bunch of fancy toys and money, but knowledge and connections usually win the day."

Sark drank some of his own tea, relaxing himself. "So what's the story with your friends then? Not so keen in jumping off the wagon with you?"

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Rua went tense at what Terrel said--he couldn't help it, he was out of his depth here. Still, he continued reading, though now he couldn't concentrate on the words now. He frowned as he pondered it. "What do we do when you find him?" he asked, glancing up at her briefly. "Fight or run?"


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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'Jumping off the wagon?' Marcus didn't know what that meant, but he thought he understood what Sark was asking.

"Well," he said, chewing his lip, "they joined some guilds, and I wasn't interested in that. They're great people, and I love 'em, but they get weird when they play games. They like the play 'the bad guy' in stuff like this, and this place is just so real that I got freaked out. So I left."


He frowned. "What do you mean by 'knowledge and connections?' I thought we all started at the same place, aside from a general background of 'oh I know how MMORPGs work?'"

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Bec shook his head in the negative. "I'd be liable to accidentally shooting you, or more likely myself. Besides," he held up his hands, "even a pistol his a bit difficult to handle with these." he replied with a shrug. "I'll be fine if we run into any trouble." At least hopefully. Real death made that a bit more important.

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"Hopefully neither," she said conversationally, taking another drink and slipping a glance toward the corner of the room. Everybody peeked in a place like this, you just had to make sure to do it less than the guy next to you. It made it hard to find people, seated where she was, but she wasn't prepared yet to relocate or blow her cover. The guy probably knew that she knew, by this point, but that wasn't an excuse to act quickly.

"He was a friend when I was here last time--him and his crew, anyway," she explained, hoping neither of them would appear too tense for the crowd. "He won't be here for blood or anything, just..." Terrel grimaced. No one owed her anything here; it was quite the opposite, in fact. "He might want to cash in a favor I owe him."

But she really didn't know, and that was the worst of it. Of course, she had guesses, but it was so hard to plan anything with just those. What else was new, though.

"Listen, it's possible he's going to ask me to come with him. They always have jobs, and expendable labor's the best kind of labor. It'll be better if I go with him, since I might be able to get back into the loop a bit. If I do, you should rent a room out here and finish that book. I'll be back before morning, all right?"

Maybe she was getting ahead of herself, but she wanted to put the possibility up before the situation arose. No doubt his first response in the moment would be to want to come with, and she didn't blame him--it'd be hers--but they'd be more effective split up. Safer, too.


---


"I mean, that's the main difference between someone who's played three years versus three months. It's not like other games where you play enough and you become a god eventually. Take these Arcanum Relics, for example: I'm sure there are plenty of players capable of killing whatever protects them, but the issue is just finding the things, you see?"

Sark finished off his tea, setting the cup down but resisting the urge to stretch his legs. The cabin was too cramped for that. Not moments later, though, the boat rocked gently beneath his chair, and he blinked at it. "Looks like we're casting off early, then," he remarked soberly, not displeased by it. "Stomach any better?" The tea should have kicked in fairly quickly, and the kid hadn't hurled yet, thankfully. It'd ward the sickness feeling off for a good twenty-four hours, if it functioned as intended.

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This time Rua couldn't stop himself from looking up at Terrel, frowning as he did so. His headband's ends waved off to the side in his vision. "Are you sure that's wise?" he asked, his voice touched with slight concern at her proposal. "I mean, I've seen plenty of movies and games and stories that have something like that. Considering our... condition?"

Honestly, it wasn't something anyone would normally expect in a game, however unorthodox this one was. Such incidents those kind of people were forced into were plenty dangerous, but that was normally not a problem for a player. But for those stuck in the game, to die was final. For Rua, and Terrel, and countless others, there was no respawn waiting for them. "Screwing up here wouldn't just mean waiting for the failed quest to reset, you know," he continued.


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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All she could do was shrug. She was certainly scared, but it was hitting her in an unexpected way. She was scared of dying in this game--who wasn't?--but it didn't make her want to just sit in a corner and hide from danger. That just seemed to make the fear even more palpable, and she couldn't stand it. If she wasn't actively pursuing a solution, if she couldn't be putting her hands to something, restlessness and true fear would almost certainly set in.

"If we can't walk the edge here, Rua, we might as well just give up and go home now," Terrel spoke at last. "I mean, we're talking about going after the most coveted items in the game, and we're starting by heading into one of the nastiest continents to look for a guy who seems like evil incarnate." Compared to that, a few thugs felt like bloody family.

Of course, that was all fine and good to say aloud, to act tough in the threat of danger, but she knew it would only thicken as those threats became more and more real.

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Rua sighed and shook his head, looking contrite and embarrassed that he had asked such a question. "You right, of course," he admitted. And she was--if they were going to try and acquire the Arcanum Relics, and find out who this Kasdim-Ur character was, they would have to put their lives on the line. "Sorry."

The swordsman turned his eyes back to the book, to keep up the illusion that they wanted in this dive. "Do you have any idea what they'll require of you?" he asked. Best to make sure what they were getting themselves into, after all.


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

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Terrel almost batted his apology away but decided instead to just let the moment pass that much quicker. The truth was, she could sit here as tough as she liked, but they were all just one break-down away from not making it.

"Could be anything, really," she said, "I can play all three roles, and they know that, so it could be any job from security to filching something." Terrel ran a hand through her hair, using the simple gesture to scan the room again, finally spotting the man in the far corner. He was watching them even now.

"Whatever it ends up being, though, I reckon it will be short--couple of hours at most." No sense in using your expendable labor for some deliberate, long-term con; that was good news for tonight.

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Bekka glared at up George, expecting him to speak again. But her old comrade confounded her for a third time in a row, shaking his head and stepping back a polite pace, armor rustling slightly as he nodded to Bekka.

She had the distinct urge to lash out. Feeling betrayed was never a good thing, but . . . on the other hand, it was still George. And had suddenly relinquished control of the situation again to her . . .So she quashed the urge to strangle him, at least for the moment. And readjusted her seating. It would do no good to try and hide she was bothered, that was plain as day. Better to push through, swallow her pride and accept it.

"The Stamarians believe the Luma codes are linked to the seven relics? So they'll continue to hunt them?"

____

Duff laughed at that, "Got the magic touch, eyeah?" He called out, heading down the gantry towards the airlock. Operating on instinct in the unknown environment. But then, every city was essentially the same. Learn to read the heart-beat, the pulse, ad you could find your way through anything.

None of it had the feeling quite of his home city . . . But in either event, he felt sure this Core wouldn't be too difficult of a place to find what he needed. "So are you really a boy?" He asked curiously. "I 'eard you can be boy or girl in this game. Thought it could be interesting. I could have been a girl. Gotten wooed. 'it on, ya?"

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Bec nodded. Honestly, that was a question that came up fairly often in games like these, so he wasn't offended. "I am. I found it hard enough to control a character that was more.... normally sized. God knows how hard a time I would have had trying to fit into the body of a woman." He followed after Duff, allowing the much taller man to lead the way.

"But what about you? Not about your gender, since I would assume that you are male, but in general? I'm sorry to say it, but none of your, erm, company, seem to fit the stereotype of a gamer. And what with the way all of you talk, and your knowledge of weapons, I would venture to say that the four of you are far more interesting than most players of this game."

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Rua slowly nodded as she talked. It made sense. You don't use expendables on the long-term, unless they proved themselves not to be so expendable. Off-handedly, he wondered if Terrel was close to such a point with this group, but then discarded the notion. She implied she'd been gone for a while, and she was surprised to a degree that they had contacted her.

Speaking of that...

"So where do you stand with them?" he asked of her, glancing up at her again from the page he was on. "This isn't going to be some punishment for a past slight, is it?"


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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"Oh, Bekka's a gamer. Can't get enough of the stuff, not really." Duff called out as he made his way through an airlock. Finding a likely route, a concrete stairwell heading upwards. He started up it. "She, Lancy, George and I all grew up together." Here his body shook with its usual energetic motion, though he kept it in check so as to not outpace the much-shorter Bec.

His gnarled hand tapped intermittently on the pistol at his hip, his eyes snapped round in careful sweeps of the area, always wary for danger. "Polite term for our job is Private Military Contractor, in the real world. Bekka woz one of the best. When we heard she was in trouble. . . well, Joburg orphans gotta stick together."

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Terrel shook her head, honestly not knowing the answer to his question. "Not sure. I've never showed them any malice, but it's possible someone's not happy that I left at all--who knows? Guess we'll find out sooner rather than later." She took another drink, realizing the second one was almost already gone too.

"I've spotted him here, though. Skinny guy playing dice past the bar." Terrel fingered the card idly, keeping the symbol out of sight for the time being. "I guess we should get this over with. You ready?" If he was, she'd raise the flag.

---

"It's a best guess at this point," the White Lion admitted. "We only recently picked up the contract--within the last couple of months--but we're wishing that we had started looking earlier than just now." Of course, every fireman wished they could have been at the building before someone left the burner on overnight.

"But as I said, there are numbers of things those codes are rumored to do. Who's to say that even the Programs themselves know all those functions? For now, all we know is that they're in danger. If you did more than just bring Luir here, though--if you actually freed her--then I would say you've done this world quite a service."

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Marcus nodded and stood. "Yeah," he said. "Thanks." His stomach had completely settled, which was a little unnerving until he forcibly reminded himself that this was a video game, so herbs and remedies worked much more quickly than in real life (Marcus refused to even think the acronym for 'in real life.' For whatever reason, to pick up the lingo of the world felt like accepting his situation, and he resisted against anything close to accepting a life in this virtual reality hell).

He tapped his fingers against his arm and looked out the small port window thing. "Hey," he said, "is it alright if I go onto the deck? I want to take advantage of that tea."

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Bekka's mismatched eyes narrowed at Bavish's words. A slip of the tongue, a careful plant? "You've taken a contract regarding the Luma's?" She asked simply, keeping her voice level, devoid of any significant emotion, though her curiosity was now very much centered on the White Lion.

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"We've got enough on our plates without picking up pet projects," the informant replied casually, though he didn't break his line of sight from the two of them. He had no idea of the ideological preference the White Lions had towards the Luma Programs, if any, but it really wasn't his place to say. If their contract had been to find and capture the Luma Programs, would Hemmingworth have done it? Bavish didn't honestly know.

"You'll understand if I can't discuss the specifics of the contract, but suffice it to say that we're looking to see the Lumas remain un-tampered with."

Five minutes to destination, a cool, automated voice read to the passengers.

---

Sark couldn't help but laugh. "Walk wherever you like, Marcus. For better or worse, this here is a free world. I tell you what, though: when you decide to turn in, might want to lock that door of yours. I think we'll be plenty safe, but the city's headed toward the horizon in a hurry."

The man stood up as well at that, collecting the cups and stowing them away. "As for me, I think I'm going to catch some shut-eye now. Your room should be marked on your map, when you decide to turn in."

Edited by Ribitta on February 23, 2014 at 22:18:54

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"Good to hear. In that case, they're your problem now." Bekka said with more icy conviction than she actually felt. Far from it, she owed Luir a favor, and the Orphans would repay it with interest, if she could find a way to help Luir. But at the moment, it was her and the three others, and she doubted Ma would care for the plight of some AI program in a gameworld.

She leaned more casually against the chair now. "So what do you want from us? We told you what we know."

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Bec chuckled. Should have known they would be military folk. They certainly checked out. And that answered another question; Duff probably wasn't the one that was stuck, but rather it was Bekka. "It's nice that she's got friends willing to come in after her." He said wistfully, though he nodded with approval. He had a few friends, and some of those were trying to help in their own way, and even fewer still had dared step foot into the game so soon after the initial "accident".

"I've gotta say, your training has probably come in handy. I wouldn't normally be jealous of such a life, but me? I'm a researcher, outside the game, so life was probably pretty cush, in comparison. Well, was anyways." He shrugged. Bec, too, looked around rather than looking at Duff as he spoke, suspicious of his environment. More out of fear than any conditioning, but at least he was trying to stay cautious.

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Rua could only shrug, looking back up at the thief. He gave her a half-frown as he did so, then spoke. "This is your game at the moment. I'll follow your lead. Just... try not to get us shot or something, okay?"

After all, less than an hour ago he saw just how good she was at the decision-making process when put under pressure.


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

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Terrel nodded passively, taking the card and flipping it over, leaving it on the edge of their table. The reality was that if there'd be shooting tonight, Rua was probably quite safe. For her own part, though, she honestly didn't know. It only took a few moments for the other man to rise to his feet, stretching his arms naturally and meandering over to their booth where he drew up a chair.

He was a lithe fellow, narrow-framed with slicked back hair and a half-dead look in his eyes. Looking at him, he appeared unsavory but not enough to make you afraid of him necessarily; he looked like a runt to her--one who would always be second-best or worse in any organization. But of course, that didn't mean he wasn't dangerous or important.

"Do I know you?" Terrel asked, almost good-naturedly except for the icy underbelly beneath the question. It didn't phase him though.

The skinny man filched the card off the table, holding it up for her as if he honestly thought she could've summoned him on accident. "Eeh'know you, eh? Ooh's the quib?" Apparently he couldn't make a 'w' noise--that'd get old real quick. He was looking at Rua suspiciously, though, so she focused on that.

"He's my man. What's it to you?"

The skinny guy with the speech impediment sniffed derisively. "Dun look like much of 'un to me," he said, the insult too poorly delivered to handle seriously. "Eye'dun you come'n take a ock'ith me?"

If she hadn't been waiting for the request, she might have missed it underneath the catastrophe of a sentence. There was no point trying to prove her worth or resolve to a grunt like this, though, so she decided to expedite the process, simply nodding to him. He seemed surprised by this, but she stood anyway, looking at Rua one last time before taking off.

"Take care of what you need to take care of," she said simply, dropping a couple of coins on the table in payment for the alcohol before turning to leave. "I'll be back before morning." With that, she nodded at the slimy man and made for the door in his wake. Or maybe she wouldn't be back--it was up in the air at this point.

---

Could she be reliably acquired? Bavish didn't know. He spread his arms across the backs of the seats, glancing out of his window at the towering buildings and their roads that bustled between.

"You've told me some of what you know," he responded to her, not unkindly. "And what you did for Luir has been for the good of all us, probably in an extent neither of us can really appreciate yet. But there's always more behind any story, and the White Lions do deal most pervasively in trading information."

He smiled at her, one that spoke more of satisfaction than happiness. It wasn't a soulless or malicious expression, but neither could it be called exactly selfless either. "You were the ones who struck the Stamarian prison, then?" he asked candidly, already fairly certain of the answer, whether or not she lied.

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"eh, geweld s'alays come naturally to Bekka and I." Duff said easily, tapping open the final door on the stairway to reveal what looked to be a giant parking lot, everything seeming to shine and speckle with light. "Bloody 'ell." He muttered, looking up beyond the lot to the towering buildings that looked to be straight out of some fantasy writer's idea of "Capital magitech city."

High shining peaks, glimmering walls and a sort of deafening silence. Around it appeared mostly deserted, a few pedestrians going to and fro, garbed in a uniform dark green that appeared to be some sort of security garb.

"Right. . ." He said, glancing around, taking in each and every security guard and their weaponry. "Central bank 'o some sort, got Bekka's codes. This should be easy."

_____

Bekka shrugged simply, striking a balance between calm assurance and just a touch of lethality. "They had a mate of ours. We remedied the situation. Picked up Luir on the way." She said simply, not wishing to divulge too much.

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"Stamarians don't tend to go down easy," Bavish pried further, suspecting he wouldn't get much from her but trying all the same. "You must've been packing some heat in order to pull that off as successfully as you did. Been doing this for a while, then?"

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The armored form of George jerked a thumb to Bekka. "She's the hardcore nerd. Knows how to crack plenty of Stamarian eggs."

Bekka shrugged. "Ex-military." she said simply. "Some of this stuff is a bit easier, with knowledge of what real combat is like."

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Bec took in the sites with a bit of awe, and more than a bit of fright. The Core was vastly different from most other places; most of what he'd seen from the game was heavily based in medieval fantasy, but the Core looked like something straight out of Isaac Asimov or Vernor Vinge, crossed with Tolkien. It was unfamiliar, and he did not like it. Nevertheless, there was work to do. He pointed to a booth, clearly marked "Guide" by a floating hologram, down at the base of a nearby ramp.

"That should get us where we need to go."

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As the deadbeat approached and casually insulted him, Rua only narrowed his eyes in response. Play it cool or not, he wasn't much for getting insulted, and certainly not by this greasy-haired twit. Still, this was Terrel's game for the moment, and he held his tongue.

He rolled his eyes at the man's snide remark on his masculinity, as even he could tell that there was no bite to make it a real insult. The swordsman didn't really think that this guy was that high up on the food chain 'round these parts, judging by this performance.

When Terrel looked back at him, he only waved her off. I'll be fine, his expression and almost flippant demeanor said to the thief. She slapped some money down on the table and made her way to the door with the lackey and Rua turned back to the book, just missing someone else stepping through into the dive moments after Terrel had exited.

Rua couldn't miss the sudden low whistling of several of the drunkards in the room, as well as a slight but noticeable increase in the ambient volume in the bar, nor could he ignore Relayia suddenly perking up on his shoulder at the commotion. He glanced up from the book, and almost did a double-take when he saw her making her way over to him, a deceptively sweet smile gracing her features. He froze, green eyes widening in shock.

She was pale of skin, marking her instantly as an outsider like himself. Reddish-brown hair, adorned by an ornamental white headband behind her bangs, cascaded over bare shoulders and down to her shoulderblades, framing a pretty face with deep blue eyes that swept casually over the bar. Her clothing was light of color and material, reminsicent of Cher Plek's fashions.

Her shirt, shoulderless and yet with loose, billowing sleeves, was the color of cream, its downturned collar dyed in a soft rose color. With the way it was cut, anyone would've taken note of the considerable amount of bosom she showed, and the pendant she wore around her neck nestled comfortably over her cleavage, drawing the eye down to the peak of violet-blue lines that broke the series of downturned red triangles that looped around the pink hem. A belt encircled a slim waist and red shorts, and his gaze traveled down bare legs right to the soft leather boots she wore. Looped around her elbows and behind her back was a shawl of orange cloth, its body adorned in red squares bordered in violet, and its edges cut into a series of purple triangles. She made her way over, ignoring the few remarks made about her and casually dodging a few errant hands that reached out towards her from the wooden tables.

His gaze followed her as she swept around the booth he occupied, sliding into the seat Terrel had been occupying moments earlier. Her smile widened a fraction, and she cocked her head in a manner that was almost girlish as she propped her head up on her hands, her elbows resting on the table.

"Fancy seeing you in Rogueport, Rua," she greeted, her voice carrying a soft, lilting accent that almost strung the words together. "You never did seem the type to associate with this kind of rabble."

Rua leaned back in his seat in as nonchalant a manner as he could, and wondered if it was not too late to make a bolt for the exit.


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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CAPCOM: We put the "No" in Innovation.

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Rogueport Pub, 04:00


Terrel stumbled back into the pub, wearing a setting of clothes completely different than the one she'd left in. Even in the game, her body felt weary, and somehow her head still managed to ache repulsively, but she tried to ignore that all the same. It was strange, because you didn't really need sleep in the game--that was the whole point of Project Theta--but the more time she spent in the game, the more it still seemed necessary.

It occurred to her, though, that she had no idea which room Rua was in. Had he even managed to secure a room? She had left the party with him shortly after leaving the pub, and that had been the end of their communication. Attached to the pub, though, was a small hallway containing doors to no more than half a dozen rooms. If he were here, he'd be bound to be inside one of those.

"RUA?!" she bellowed, not really capable of adequate volume control as tired as she was--not that she noticed, of course. "Rua open the door! I don't know which room you're in." Hopefully the neighbors wouldn't mind.

---

Bavish's eyes checked the windows briefly. They were only a minute or two out, now. When they reached their destination, hopefully things would go a bit more in his favor. It helped to be on home-turf.

"Ex-military? Give it up for a noble life in gaming?"

Edited by Ribitta on March 4, 2014 at 21:49:10

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It took a few moments, but one of the doors at the far end of the hall opened up with a light creaking noise, and Rua leaned out to see, his left hand clasped around the rusted doorknob. He only opened it enough to look out, leaving his other arm obscured. It was a curious action, but it spoke of caution, which was always necessary in a shithole of a town like Rogueport. Unlike the thief, he didn't really look worse for wear, or like he wanted to go to sleep.

His eyes narrowed in a derisive manner as he saw Terrel, and alone, and his expression twisted into a grimace. The girl looked like hell. He shook his head, let out a long-suffering sigh, and let go of the doorknob, gesturing her to come over and enter. "You keep yelling like that, and someone with a hangover's bound to shank you for it," her fellow Theta victim told her as he disappeared into the room.


"Why do you care that I care that you care enough to care that I care for caring?" "Conversation isn't your strong point, is it?"
"I worship the supreme comrade Cossack!"
"OugharagarraaahhHHH: When 'Ow' just won't cut it."
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Duff guffawed at that. "'Ere, where's de fun in finding something if you 'ave to use a guide-bot?" He chortled, at the same time heading for the guide-station in question.

He gave a dirty look to one of the passing security guards, muttering something that sounded suspiciously like "rentacop" under his breath before finally stopping at the kiosk and tilting his head, taking in the lay of the machine.

"Right," He finally said, cracking his knuckles. "You know how to make these things sing?" He tapped experimentally at one of the buttons, bringing up . . oh no, the infernal languages menu. "I'm not too great with the techy-tech when it don't involve killing someone."

____

"Do you ask all Theta's if they gave up their previous careers for a noble life in gaming?" Bekka replied sarcastically. "I got into this game due to my work. Kept up with the gaming even when the work stopped." She trailed his gaze to the window, he seemed expectant. Not of an attack . . no, more as though they were reaching their destination. The White Lion headquarters, or at least one of their offices.

"Just an ex-soldier now, stuck. No different than any other player, really." She couldn't even put up much of an effort for that particular statement. Even though in a few ways, it was technically true. Work had brought her to the game, and Ma had kicked her out of the Orphans when Bekka's "proclivities" had swayed a few of their better operatives into her own lifestyle. In most ways, she was just a girl who liked to game.

Bekka wondered absentmindedly how hard Duff had to have argued to be sent in at all, to help her. But then a sick thought crept into her mind . . what if she wasn't the main point of him coming in? Were there other Orphans stuck in the game?

She clamped down on that, making a mental note to ask George or Duff later. Or maybe just corner Lancy and glower at him until he broke. "What about you?" She questioned. "Bavish. White Lion and all that. You a stock broker in the physical world? You seem a bit like a suit."