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Author Topic: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~  (Read 672 times)

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Offline sykTopic starter

~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« on: July 29, 2014, 06:07:32 PM »

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.


Welcome to Night Vale.

Jordan brushed her short hair out of her face, still hardly believing it was true, she had made it. The NVCR Intern application program was rigorous, and a lot of the applicants didn't make it out. They didn't necessarily die per se, but letters of condolence were sent to the families none the less. She looked at herself in the mirror, smoothing her hands over the purple t-shirt, her very own badge of honor. She could not wait to get down to the station and start her first day of work, she was totally stoked.

She had just sat down to pull on her shoes when the insistent ringing of her phone dragged her out of happy day dreams. Cramming the device between her ear and shoulder she continued to tie her shoe, absolutely not wanting to be late. Cecil's voice poured out of the ear piece, and she had a terrible moment of fear. Was he calling to tell her not to come in? Were they rejecting her?

"Hi! Jordan, is this Jordan?"

Swallowing a lump in her throat she made a sound that was as close as she could to a yes. He continured, "This is Cecil, you know from NVCR." Even nervous as she was, she found it amusing that he felt the need to tell her who he was, like anyone in town didn't recognize his voice. "You haven't left for work yet have you?" She managed to croak a no over her mounting horror, all the ways he could tell her they no longer wanted her to intern playing in her head. Shit, shit, shit, she thought.

"Good, good, I am glad I caught you at home, this is about your first assignment as a NVCR Intern." Jordan breathed a throaty sigh of relief in the receiver as the voice of Night Vale continued to talk right over her. "So we decided that we want to do an appreciation piece on the Sheriff's Secret Police, you know because they do so much for our community but none of us really understand the true scope of how much our community needs them."

Jordan's mind reeled, she had always been sort of frightened by the Secret Police. When she was a kid she had been playing outside with her cousin when he had been taken during election season, to ensure his parent's voted properly, and never returned from the Abandoned Mineshaft. She wasn't really sure that finding out about the inner workings of the Sheriff's Office was a good idea.

"Neat, right?" Cecil continued, seemingly not noticing that the conversation was one sided, well he was a radio host, so maybe it seemed normal to him she supposed. "So anyway I arranged for you to go undercover, because its a secret appreciation piece for them, like a surprise you know? We don't want to tip our hand too soon."

"Uh, sure-" was all she managed to get out before he started talking again.

"So you need to be at the Moonlight Diner in... Oh, about thirty minutes to meet your contact at the Secret Police. Remember they don't know your coming! By the way, you should probably not wear your intern shirt, mmkay? Alright, good luck then!" The line went dead. All Jordan could do was sit there, utterly dumb founded. They wanted her to snoop around the Sheriff's Secret Police? She had to be dreaming, had to be. She pinched herself. Nope, still awake and now her arm hurt. Shit, she thought to herself again.

Well if she was going to be an NVCR Intern, these were the things she had to be prepared to do. Quickly, if somewhat reluctantly she tugged off her purple intern shirt and grabbed one of her regular ones, pulling it over her head without even looking at it. She didn't have much time to get to the diner, so after a checklist to make sure she had her basics: phone yes, keys yes, lip balm yes, pocket knife yes, she ran out the door.

Her ailing Hornet Sportabout squealed in protest as she made the turn into the diner parking lot. Glancing around nervously for her supposed contact, Jordan found herself half hoping whoever it was wouldn't show. Just when she was beginning to suspect she was right someone tapped her on the shoulder and nearly caused her to jump out of her skin.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 04:24:32 PM by syk »

Offline ajtrue

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 07:17:10 PM »

The Artic is lit by the midnight sun. The surface of the Moon is lit by the face of the Earth. Our little town is lit too by lights just above that we cannot explain


Welcome to Night Vale.



It was going to be a long day. An even longer day than the day that kid from the south side of town tried to walk his dog in the dog park. You’d think a kid living on the south side of town would know not to walk his dog in the dog park. The giant electric fence around the dog park and the ominous hooded figures in the dog park should have made this obvious. As did the signs posted at the Ralph’s. But either the kid’s parent’s neglected his education and didn’t teach him to read - which was entirely possible. Just look at those PTA meetings. What a mess. That Susan Willmen…sheesh -   Or possibly the kid’s seeing eye dog was falling down on the job and led the kid astray. Thank goodness for the blue helicopters.

Jackson “Call me Jack” Jaxon reached up with one hand to message the back of his neck and sighed down at the little slip of paper the Sheriff had left him. At least Jack assumed the sheriff had left the little yellow slip of paper for him. Sometimes other “people” left him notes. But those usually weren’t as innocuous as this one. And sometimes they smelled like ozone. The post it in his hand simply stated:

Jack sighed again. Gustily. The ballpoint pen ink in the station was glowing again. He should probably tell Shelia to call Carlos down to take a look at it. That guy sure had perfect hair and what a scientist! Jack glanced at his watch and noted the time. 9:11. No time to talk to Shelia now. Besides, how likely was it that something grave and awful was happening that would cause mass casualties at the station just because the ballpoint pen ink was glowing again? It probably wouldn’t be like what happened last time…

He did a few quick mental calculations, dropping his partially drained coffee cup on the cluttered little desk he used when in the station. Jack barely noted the coffee that sloshed over the side of the cup and stained the piles of paper reports scattered under it. He could probably make the Moonlight by 9:18 if he used the lights and sirens. And didn’t run into anyone taking advantage of their stop sign immunity. There were only about 6 stop signs between the station and the diner so he’d probably be safe.

Snatching up his jacket from the back of the chair, Jack hurried out to his squad and took off. Barely 6 and a half minutes later he stepped up to the door and pulled it open, hardly a mishap marring his trip. Jack had worried for a second that he was going to have to mow down Old Woman Josie. But once he laid on the horn, she perked right up and started moving faster. He may or may not have noted angelic assistance.

Jack looked around the diner for his new Probie. Probational Officer sounded so…well it just took too long to say. There were the usual coffee seekers and breakfasters scattered around the booths and tables but no one that looked like a rookie. Jack did a 360 and noted someone standing in the parking lot looking a little green around the gills. Had he been there when Jack pulled in? His eyes squinted suspiciously.

A question for another time he decided, pushing back through the glass door and out into the lot. The kid - and it had to be a kid, didn’t look much over 18 - had his back turned. Hrmph. Just not good police work that. Having your back turned. Jack shook his head as he walked up behind the kid and tapped him on the shoulder.

“You the probie?” he asked as the kid startled high enough to almost get air time. Jack quirked one eyebrow at the reaction, taking in the pale features and street clothes. Where was this kid’s uni? It dawned on him after a couple of strained seconds –and it was only a couple of seconds because he was darn sharp for a cop – that the kid in front of him wasn’t a him. It was a she. The rookie was a girl? Not that he thought all cops should be guys. He was enlightened and all that jazz. Man of the world. Member of the Sheriff’s Secret Police. But a girl. Huh.

“You’re the probie.” He said again a little more firmly when she didn’t immediately answer, practically daring her to disagree with him.


Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 10:53:07 PM »
Jordan turned around, heart hammering in her chest, fearing the worst. Fearing she would turn around and find something horrible, something monstrous, something hooded... What she found wasn't really scary at all though, just a regular guy. Kinda handsome, if you were into the whole clean cut nice guy look. She almost relaxed and then she noticed the uniform. She stared at the star badge with the emblazoned purple eye, not really hearing what he was saying to her. She blinked, slowly coming back to reality.

"Your the Probie." He said again, in the sort of loud, slow voice one normally reserves for small children or very old people with hearing problems.

"What's a Probie?" She asked, confused and suspicious. She was willing to do a lot of things for the good of NVCR but probing and/or being probed was not one of those things. "It doesn't have anything to do with... like... you know..." She stuttered to a stop, awkwardly trying to find a way to express her trepidation. The all-American type in front of her gave a officious harrumph. Idly she wondered if they taught them to do that in the SSP.

"Probational. Officer." Still in that slow, unnecessary tone. "You know, a rookie. A Prooobie."

"Probational Officer?" The term was utterly foreign to Jordan, but it slowly dawned on her and she muttered "Oh, like an intern." Then clearing her throat she tried to seem more like she knew what she was doing, "Yea, I guess that's me, and your deputy-?"

The officer was nodding before she even finished talking, as if he had been preset to say what he was about to whether she asked or not. "Just call me Jack. Unless we're out on a call in an official capacity, then call me Jaxon. Or if we're in front of the Sheriff -or Carlos-, then Deputy Jackson. But otherwise, most of the time, you can call me Jack. I mostly go by Jack unless I'm going by Jaxon."

Jordan found the man's -Jack's- train of thought to be a little hard to follow. "You're name is Jack Jaxon? Really?"

Jack looked slightly annoyed with her question, "No, my name is Jackson Jaxon. I just go by Jack." He stood up straight, placing his hands on his hips and looking down at her. "And I'll be the one asking questions here! What's your name Probie?" He barked the words, like he was auditioning for drill sargent.

"Jackson Jaxon?" She couldn't help but snicker a little bit. "Jackson Jaxon?" Jordan stopped her snickering long enough to realize she was on the receiving end of a serious glare. Shit, ridiculous name or no this guy was still part of the SSP, and she should be more careful. She cleared her throat and did her best to sound friendly, "I'm Jordan, Jordan Michaels."

Jack continued to glower at her, but didn't otherwise respond to her poking fun at him. Upon hearing her name he harrumphed once again, which in Jordan's opinion wasn't a whole lot better than her own behavior coming from someone in the SSP. "Right. Well into the diner kid," he jerked his head in the direction of the Moonlight Diner. "Can't do this job on an empty stomach." He gave his own a quick pat for emphasis, then turned and headed inside without waiting to see if she followed.

Jordan just stared after him for a minute. This was the guy she was going to be getting her info for the special secret appreciation piece from? Jack Jaxon? She sighed, wondering what she would have been doing right now if she would have taken the the summer training program to be on the Night Vale Spiderwolves women's rugby team instead of the NVCR internship. Then she realized she was daydreaming and hustled after the deputy who was already opening the diner door.

Inside of the Moonlight Diner all the usual smells and sounds of the American twenty-four hour a day greasy spoon were present. The scrape and sizzle of the grill, the soft blurble of fryers, the clink and chink of the dishes, and a soft murmur of conversation underlying it all. Jack had already taken a seat in the corner booth, and was looking very much like he owned the place. Jordan scooted into the bench opposite him. "Sooo... What exactly is it that Probies do, Jack?"

The deputy arched one of his eyebrows at her, she wasn't sure if it was because of the question or because she still couldn't take his name seriously. For a moment he didn't say anything, just picked the empty coffee mug up off the table and held it aloft for Marge, the waitress, to see. Jordan quickly turned, making sure Marge was still looking and held up two fingers, slightly miffed that Deputy Jack hadn't seen fit to offer her a cup. So she had laughed at his name, big deal, he couldn't offer her a cup of coffee? She turned back around when she heard him talking.

"Whatever their Training Officer tells them to do Proooobie." He smiled, it was probably supposed to be disarming but it was only making her more nervous. She could only imagine what sort of trouble she would get into following Jack's lead. "Starting with breakfast. Then we'll head back to the station and get you suited up." He looked at her, brows knotting, "Say... How is it you don't already have a uniform?"

Jordan felt the wings of panic beating in her chest, she hadn't even technically gotten inside the SSP and she was already gonna blow her cover. Come on, think think think! She fidgeted nervously, and did the only things she could do, made something up."I uh, well, I was getting ready this morning, you know big first day! And this uh, dimensional rift, yes, this small dimensional rift opened up right there in my closet. And before I could do anything my uniform was sucked in and then it just winked out of existence. You know how that happens sometimes?" She rested her hands on the cool melamine surface of the table, realizing she had been gesticulating just a little too enthusiastically during her humble performance.

Jack just sipped his coffee and nodded along with her story, clearly feeling a sense of commiseration. "Those trans-dimensional rifts can be a bitch." He coughed and looked around, obviously having spoken a little too quickly. Jordan smirked. "Erm, I mean they're problematic. Well no problem. We'll just head back to the station after this and pick you up a new one." He nodded with a sense of finality and she sighed in relief, leaning forward against the table. He continued talking, oblivious of her deception. "The omelets are good here. I wouldn't touch the waffles though. Bioluminescence..."
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 02:09:12 AM by syk »

Offline ajtrue

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 08:03:13 PM »
Jack snatched up a slightly sticky menu from the stack tucked between the napkin dispenser and the salt and pepper shakers and looked it over as if he hadn’t eaten in this very booth a couple hundred times. The menus were probably at least two decades old and you could tell it from the wear and tear clearly visible by the crumpled edges and random miscellaneous stains and old color crayon doodles. Still. Jack always held out hope that something delicious and new would appear on it. Hey. Stranger things had happened in this town.

And speaking of strange. Jack let his gaze flicker over the top of the menu to take in the Probie seated across from him. Jordan Michaels. Jack tried to pull any information that name might trigger from his brain. Seemed to him there was a Michaels place over on 7th. Or was that 6th. Some days is was both depending on whether or not those dimensional rifts were acting up. And wasn’t there some Michaels living up near the Oak Park edition up near Radon Canyon? So named of course for all the sage brush in the area. He couldn’t be sure.

He let his gaze catalog the kid across from him. She seemed a little nervous under his stare. Fidgeting a bit and the like. Jack would be suspicious if not for the fact that he’d been sent here by the Sheriff to meet her. Besides, some people just reacted that way to authority. And he was mighty spiffy and imposing in his uni if he did say so himself.

“So tell me kid, what made you want to become a cop?” His eyes flickered to the neon green strip in her hair. She didn’t really strike him as the kind of straight laced Joe the Sheriff usually selected for the secret police. (There were five guys named Joe in the unit alone.) And again, not just because of the whole girl thing. Where was the regulation haircut, the shipshape wardrobe? The blank faced unquestioning subservience to authority? Jack was pretty sure there was a skull and cross bones stamped on the pocket of her T shirt. Not that he could check it out exactly because the pocket was over the top of her right…erm.

Jack dropped his eye rather than letting them wander their way into a harassment suit and checked out the menu, trying to decide what was doing for breakfast. The Egg platter was good. Although you never really knew what kind of eggs you might get. And there was that unfortunate incident with the Emu eggs a couple months ago. Jack suppressed a little shudder. Probably pancakes. Pancakes were usually safe.

He might have noticed her face paling out even further after his question if he hadn’t been distracted by the fact that someone had added “Whole Wheat” under short stack on the menu in green crayon and drawn a snake tongue next to it. Jack’s lips turned down in a frown. Very funny. Everyone knew they stopped serving Wheat and Wheat By-Products after the Sheriff helped the city council make all Wheat and Wheat By-Products disappear about a year back. It’s all fun and games until people get sent to live in the permanent quarantine behind Mission Grove Park.

Thank God for Almond flour though. Jack loved him some pancakes. And where the hell had someone come up with a crayon from? Writing utensils were banned in Night Vale for good reason. Jack didn’t remember exactly what it was, the Sheriff said once, not that he cared. They were banned. Jack could have pursued the crayon thing, but then he would have had to work over breakfast. That was just bad for the digestion.

So focused on his internal ramblings was he, Jack almost missed the kid’s slightly mumbley “Oh, um, you know... I want to…help….yea, Night Vale I mean, the people.”

A little “hrmph” slipped out followed by a “Not that they’ll thank you for it. Not even for the carnations,” mumbled under his breath. Then a little more clearly. “I’m having the pancakes kid. What’re you having?” as he slipped the menu back in its home and reached for his coffee.


Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 09:42:03 PM »
She really hoped Jack wasn't going to ask her too many more questions before she had time to think up a half way decent cover story for herself. Jordan never had been much of a liar, but the deputy thankfully, seemed to take her at her word. Marge came over with the coffee and an extra cup, looking world weary as ever. Nervously she placed both palms against the cup, feeling the heat of the bitter, black coffee it contained. She looked at Jack, trying to gauge him, worried maybe he was only playing dumb, luring her into feeling secure. He seemed to be genuinely absorbed in his menu though. His face was open, but it seemed almost too open, making him hard to read. Or, she reflected, she was just getting really paranoid.

Jordan really hoped Cecil knew what he was doing sending her undercover like this. She would have felt a lot better if the station would have at least let her get one full day under her belt before giving her an assignment this serious. There was a huge chance that she would screw this up, and that was not how she wanted to handle her first assignment. Grabbing a menu of her own, as much to have something to do as to pick a meal the NCVR intern incognito was happy the questions had ceased for the time being. She took a sip of coffee while she looked at it, curling her nose at the flavor. Coffee was still something she was getting used to, and it took a lot of sugar to make it palatable.

Across from her the deputy announced he was going for pancakes, his voice was very official sounding, as if the pancakes were part of is duties. She still stared unseeing at her menu, busy thinking about what a pickle she had landed in. Jordan fidgeted her feet under the table, trying to avoid looking nervous. Rather than try to pick something out on her own she simply said, "Yea, me too," with a weak smile while Jack nodded, already putting his hand in the air signalling Marge to come back over. Less than thrilled the uniformed waitress arrived at their table, not even saying anything, just stood there with her ticket book. Jordan wondered why exactly they still had ticket books at the diner when they weren't allowed to have writing utensils.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 02:11:04 AM by syk »

Offline ajtrue

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 10:09:59 PM »
Jack gave a single nod of approval in the Probie’s general direction. Good solid sense, pancakes for breakfast. Plenty of carbs to keep a body going and heavy enough to stick to the ribs. All that above and beyond the general almond deliciousness that recommended the cakes in the first place. It was good to see the kid had sense about these things even if she did have questionable hair. And she seemed to be following his lead. A promising start to their tenure together.  It made Jack feel down right magnanimous.

”Hey Marg,” he started, rattling off his order as he settled more comfortably in the booth again. One arm slung up across the back of his seat, he stretched his legs out just a bit and crossed the long limbs at the ankles under the table. “I’m gonna go with the short stack. And can I get that with a side of fruit? Strawberries if you have ‘em. Tell Hank hold the whipped cream, butter and syrup.” Jack fixed his waitress with a stern look. Hank could be a little cantankerous if you ordered off menu but a guy had to look after his figure. His free hand smoothed down the fabric of his uniform shirt. Extra crunches were fun for no one.

“And a glass of skim milk.” He watched Marge’s eyes get a faraway look as she memorized the order, fiddling with the ticket book that was absolutely pointless but a fixture of the place none the less. After a heartbeat, Marg gave a little nod and turned to the Probie. Jack’s fingers tapped out a little rhythm against the scared wood of the booth back as he waited for the Probie and Marg to finish up. The clock over the kitchen said it was almost 9:45. He needed to be back at the station by 10:30 to check on the carnation delivery.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 10:11:28 PM by ajtrue »

Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2014, 11:38:33 PM »
When Marge turned to her with that expectant, weary facial expression Jordan simply doubled the order, rather than try to put her own spin on it. For the moment she felt it was safer to just go with the flow of the assignment, rather than take too many risks. Marge gave a disinterested nod, ripping the blank ticket out of the book and walking back to put in the window. Ritual, however long rendered pointless, was a large part of Night Vale culture.

Jordan stuck the menu back into the holder, and drank some more coffee, wishing very much that she was a suave, 007 type that could talk through any situation. She was not, but she was an NCVR intern, and it was her duty to get as much information as possible. Suave or no, she knew one thing for sure, pretty much everyone liked to talk about themselves, so she figured that was a good place to start. Taking a deep breath and unconsciously trying to sound like Cecil she addressed the deputy, "So, Jack, what made you decide to join the SSP?"

She wished that writing utensils weren't forbidden, so that she could take notes, but she would just have to do the best she could to remember without them. Jordan could just imagine handing a stack of notes to Cecil, and him mentioning her on the radio... But he wouldn't would he? Not for this assignment. No, that would be too dangerous. He would just say an anonymous source or something of that nature. For her own protection of course, but... She felt her face fall a little at the thought. Still it was for NVCR, and what was her personal recognition compared to that?
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 02:11:34 AM by syk »

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 08:05:03 PM »
Jack lifted the coffee cup to his mouth and took a swig of the brew as the Probie ordered. It tasted awful and he grimaced, tempted to spit the bitter liquid back in his cup. But that would look pretty dumb. And Jack needed to make an impressive impression here. Nothing undermined authority faster than looking stupid. People were still talking about the time the Sheriff had come out of the bathroom and stomped around the station with TP trailing off his shoe. And that happened last year!

Instead he made himself swallow the coffee and quickly reached for the sugar shaker to sweeten it up.

“Hmm?“ He hummed glancing up while shaking a few crystals out of the shaker. “Me? Well I just always knew I wanted to be in a position of authority. Ah,” Jack cleared his throat, his eyes dropping to the troublesome shaker, continuing on quickly. “you know, so I can make a difference.”

A little frown curled his brow as he fiddled with the shaker. It seemed to be plugged up or something. He tipped it and knocked it against the table top a couple times, then tipped it back over to pour out more sugar. “I was elected hall monitor in high school ‘cause I’m pretty observant,” he continued without looking up as he struggled with the sugar dispenser. Barely enough sugar had eked out to make it worth his while yet.

He brought the metal top to eye level, squinting his eyes as he examined it. It looked plugged. He picked up a fork and started prying at the little holes. “And then I got hooked up with the ROTC. And they required discipline you know? We did all sorts of drills and learned protocols and all that stuff.” His words trailed off as he tipped the bottle towards himself and checked the progress he’d made with the fork. Not satisfied, he pried a little more at a couple of the small openings.

Jack glanced up at the Probie, just too sort of check in since she wasn’t saying much. But she sat watching him, a sort of inscrutable look on her face as her eyes flickered back and forth from the shaker to Jack. With a mental shrug Jack shifted his focus back to the shaker. He tipped it over the top of his cup. About 4 little grains tumbled down into the dark brown brew. His brews drew together, a disgruntled frown forming. What the hell was wrong with this thing?

“So the next logical step was the military after high school. Did a stint with the Army at White Sands.” He jabbed at the top of the shaker. A little too forcefully as the fork deflected off the metal and stabbed into the meat of his forefinger near the knuckle. Jack grunted. “Sonofa..,” he hissed as the abused digit started to throb, leaking blood.

Jack tossed the fork on the counter with a glare, slapping pressure over the wound. “Served out my four years but it wasn’t want I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” he fairly growled. Enough was enough. With sharp movements he unscrewed the metal top and tipped it slowly and carefully over the rim of his cup. A giant chunk containing approximately three fourths of the shaker broke off and dropped into his cup with a Pluunk. Hot coffee splashed upward adding a burning sensation to the already bleeding hand. A muscle worked along Jack’s jaw and he did one long, slow blink.

The shaker was returned to the table and Jack picked up a spoon to mix the catastrophic amount of sugar into the coffee very calmly. “The Sheriff approached me when I got back into town." Jack glanced at the Probie again least he glare at the coffee cup. "Said he was looking for a few loyal men to serve with distinction and honor.” Jack gave an eloquent shrug that he thought managed to hint at his modesty and perfectly suited skill set quite nicely thank you.

And through all this, he completely missed the fact that the wall at the back of the diner was slowly melting…


Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 10:32:46 PM »
The story that tumbled out of the deputy's mouth was almost painful. Compounded by the frown of frustration with which he regarded the sugar shaker, it was all Jordan could do not to burst into laughter. Part of her felt bad, but it was far outweighed by the part of her that was astonished. It only got harder to stay quiet when he impaled himself with his fork, causing him to get quite red with anger and hiss unpleasantries under his breath. It felt rather like being in an episode of the Three Stooges, this kind of stuff just wasn't supposed to happen to real people.

When the brick of sugar hit his coffee she could contain it no more, letting out a strangled snort of a laugh. Jack's face had congealed into a mask of calmness, which was almost impressive, except the muscle in his jaw was twitching furiously. She had to bite her lip to keep quiet, but somehow she managed. Suddenly behind her someone gave out a yell. Quickly she turned in her seat too see who it was, and there stood Steve Carlsberg. Steeeve Carlsbeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrg. Jordan felt an irrational flash of anger. She didn't even know Steve, but the way Cecil talked about him... Well it was very convincing.

Steve was standing, slack jawed one arm raised pointing at the wall behind Jack. She turned back, Jack's face was still frozen in frustrated blankness as he stirred his sugar with coffee, and behind him...

The wall, the normally solid, reliable wall that was an integral part of the diner was melting from the top down. In slow, molasses thick ripples and ponderous bubbles. It looked like plastic that had gotten too hot, warped and bowed in waves that were moving right towards Jack, as he sat in his booth, stirring his coffee as if it required every once of his concentration.

"Jack watch out!" Jordan's voice was a little squeakier than normal, as she looked at less than solid wall and reached to grab the deputy's sleeve. This was really, really, really not good. "Jaxon!"
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 11:31:33 AM by syk »

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 10:51:58 PM »
Jack looked up from the cup of aggravating coffee, a disgruntled frown once again taking up residence on his lips as the apparently over excitable Probie got, well, over excited.

“It’s just sugar kid. I think I’ll survive,” Jack quipped as she grabbed his sleeve and spilled the now heinously sweet coffee. Thank. God. He popped to his feet to escape the flood headed for the edge of the booth and his lap while scrabbling to grab some napkins. The last thing he wanted to do was show up at the station with a giant wet splotch in a very inconvenient location on his pants. Jack shifted awkwardly out of the booth, curling around the corner to keep the flood from getting at him.

The Probie didn’t seem to be moving and he felt like he was getting dangerously close to invading her personal space. Jack was not willing to sit through another of those sensitivity training – even the words in his head were in air quotes – videos.

“A little room here?” he stated, trying to sound firm but not overly annoyed. Can’t let the new recruits rattle ya. It was like chum in the water. Jack wasn’t one hundred percent sure what chum actually was never having been outside a landlocked state. But his TO at White Sands used to say that all the time and whether he fully understood the idiom or not, Jack figured they were words to live by.

After a moment of still not making headway, Jack looked up from his personal crisis and would have turned a stern glare on the Probie but for the fact that movement on his other side caught his attention. He did a double take. The whole top of the diner appeared to be listing, the once solid wall looking more like so much congealed mucus than anything a wall should ever look like.

“Great hopping hooded figures! The wall’s melting kid!” This Probie was never going to make it as a cop if her insticts were so dull. You'd have thought she would have spotted this mess as soon as it started happening. Her facing the wall and all. Sheesh. But now that his razor like focus and sharp detection skills had been activated, Jack noted that there were people running around and screaming all over the joint. It was going to descend into anarchy any minute! It was a damn good thing a member of the Sheriff’s Secret Police was right here in the diner when it happened.

Jack straightened to his full height, pulling his natural air of authority around himself like a cloak. “Keep calm people,” he shouted over the cacophony, raising his hands in the air. “The Sheriff’s Secret Police are aware of the problem and everything’s going to be oh kay.” A mother snatched up a crying toddler who stood in the oozing mass’s path, inches from the molten material deluge while he spoke and the kid screamed, half drowning out the end of his words.

He huffed out an annoyed breath and called out again, “Everything’s going to be oh kay,” waving his arms in the universal signal to settle the crap down.

“If you’ll all just walk slowly and calmly to the exits located here, here and here,” looking very much like an airline stewardess as he waved to the front, side and emergency exits – which Jack would have known had he ever flown commercial - “the Sheriff and I would ask that everyone gather in the parking lot so we can take a head count. This looks nothing like something that would cause an explosion or any be caused by kind of radioactive material so I’m sure there’s no need to leave the parking lot or gather on the other side of the street.” He made sure to use his “Hail fellow well met” tone of voice to inspire extra confidence in his leadership.

“I did a tour at White Sands Missile Range in the army so I should know,” he added with a smile for extra effect while people ran willy nilly about the place screaming and trampling each other to get out of the building. The sludge rolled and oozed a scant foot or so from his feet, not that Jack noticed as he performed his civic - not to mention employment – duties with aplomb. The sludge hit the support legs on the booth where he and the Probie had settled, knock the table askew and sending a wave of over sugared coffee straight over the side and into his pants where it did indeed leave a stain in a most inconvenient place. 

« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 12:45:24 AM by ajtrue »

Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2014, 12:34:29 AM »
Jordan had been rooted in horror at not just the incident but the deputy's strange take on handling the situation, but as the torrent of wall crept ever closer she was suddenly inspired to move away from the wall as quickly as she could. She sidled out of the booth and was about to make an adrenaline fueled sprint for the door when she realized Jack wasn't moving, he was just standing there bewailing the coffee stain making its way down his pants. With a sigh of resignation she grabbed him by the arm, and with a grunt -he really needed to lay off the pancakes- pulled him away from the ever encroaching flow of the wall.

The deputy dragged in her grip, muttering at his pants for another moment before looking up and realizing what was going on.

"What are you doing? We are the secret police, we can't run from the scene of an incident!" His voice sounded quite indignant, though she was unsure if it was her actions or the coffee that prompted it. "I'm serious Probie, we can't just leave this is serious! Seriously!"

Jordan ignored him and kept heading for the door, and while he continued to lecture her on proper secret police procedure and being observant of her environment he didn't actually try to prevent her from removing him from the premises. Which was good because she was fairly certain that having to take drastic measures would blow her cover completely, not that she was sure what drastic measures she could take exactly. The intern turned probie glanced back at the ever growing pool of wall in trepidation, it didn't seem like it was slowing down at all. If anything it was getting faster. Panic rose in the back of her throat, but she tried to ignore it. What would Cecil do? What would Cecil do?

Carlos.

"We need to call Carlos, Jack!" They were so close to the door, so very close. If Jack would just stop muttering to himself and trying to clean off his pants they would be there already. This was no time to be concerned with appearances, even if it did look rather like he'd had an accident, under the circumstances everyone would understand.

At her mention of Night Vale's favorite scientist the deputy looked up, a grin forming. "Yes, Carlos will know what to do, he is such a swell scientist. I'm pretty into science myself these days. That's not half bad Probie, you mi-" Then his face fell, and he shook his head, "No, no, Carlos can't see me like this." Jordan couldn't tell if he was still talking to her or not. His face was so dejected though she almost felt bad.

Finally they were through the door and into the relative safety of the parking lot. Jordan let go of Jack's arm and pulled out her phone, dialing the station, next to her the deputy continued to lament the unfairness of the situation. The phone rang, rang, rang - one of the other interns picked up but she cut them off before they could say anything. "It's Jordan, I'm at the Moonlight Diner, I need you to get Carlos to come out here, something is happening. The wall, its melting." She listened to the muffled sounds of the other intern telling Cecil, who jumped at the chance to call the scientist. That settled she hung up and turned back to Jaxon.

"Okay, Carlos is gonna come down here and help figure this out." She was so relived to have a real expert coming in. Jack was still staring dejectedly at the long coffee stain that disrupted his otherwise tidy appearance. "Shouldn't you uh, radio for back up or something?"




« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 01:41:50 AM by syk »

Offline ajtrue

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 01:28:01 AM »
That stain was going to set in his trousers. Jack could just feel it in his bones. And then he’d either have to “lose” them somewhere so he could requisition a new pair. Or he’d have to cough up the dough to replace them out of his own pocket. There was no way he’d wear them with a stain!

But even in my personal hour of crisis, I didn’t give up my rigorous professional standards, Jack thought while the Probie carried on with her phone. No he prided himself on his professional behavior and that meant he held firm to his responsibilities as a training officer and had gently pointed out a few key areas where the Probie could use a little work in her approach. He didn’t want to show the SSP in a bad light to the general populace so of course he’d gone along gracefully while she manhandled him through the diner and out the door. It had seemed a tad high handed in his opinion but then again luckily she had him to help her along in these areas so help her find her feet he would.

These thoughts tumbled through his brain as Jack took the time to assess the situation at hand in proper SSP fashion.  People were crossing the street to get further away from the diner – a happenstance that made Jack frown in exasperation, had he or had he not assured them confidently that the parking lot would be just fine – and a crowd of people seemed to be gathering from outside sources as well. Old woman Josie and what may or may not have been an angelic host stood off to one side chatting as the woman’s thin arm pointed toward the back of the building.

Jack glanced in that direction, his attention split between listening to the Probie’s one sided phone call and noting that there appeared to be a swirling purple glow emanating from the general direction of where the diner’s back wall had once been. That was a heck of a thing. Never seen that before, Jack though just as the Probie recalled his full attention. Relief trickled through the cracks of his professional demeanor as soon as she told him Carlos was on the way but Jack sternly composed his face to hide it.

“That’s gre-“ the word trailed off, replaced with a small frown. “Wait. How did you get ahold of Carlos so quickly? You have his personal number? He told me he couldn’t give that out to people because the Desert Bluff city council member’s had been crank calling him after they got a hold of his last number. Everyone knows that those Desert Bluff people are jerks.”

Jack felt a moment of hurt that somehow the Probie would have Carlos’ number but Jack himself had been deprived. But of course there must have been some explanation for it. As a matter of fact, Jack bet Carlos has actually called the Probie. He didn’t remember actually seeing her dial. Yes that was probably it. Carlos had probably known there was an issue by using one of his machines or mysterious inventions and called just as the kid activated her phone. After all, everyone knew what an amazing scientist Carlos was.

Why Carlos would have had the girls number never crossed his mind. Jack simply sent the whole thing from his mind as a problem solved and once again over come by reasoning and sound logic. He was a natural at detective work.

“No need,” he said instead answering her question, using his chin to point as the whomp, whomp, whomp became faintly audible to nod at the helicopters, black ones from the south but just behind them and to the west the distinctive blue of the SPP fleet. Jacks feet braced shoulder length apart, his hands settling defiantly on his hips as his chest expanded a little.

“We’re like the Mounties. We always get our man,” he finished, the pride clear in his voice. Although which man and what he had to do with a swirling purple glow Jack could not yet say.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2014, 01:37:03 AM by ajtrue »

Offline sykTopic starter

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2014, 12:06:55 PM »
The ambient light of the swirling violet distortion and the muted thunder of the approaching helicopters painted an alluring picture against the back drop of mid morning Night Vale. Citizens gathered round to look on, clustered as close as they dared, pointing with ooooohhhs and aaahhhhhhhs. The vortex, though it was hungrily eating up the diner, was quite a breath taking sight. (Indeed several citizens reported feeling that the breath had been quite literally stolen from their lungs.)

It was into this postcard portrait of the small desert city that Carlos arrived, only moments before the choppers themselves. He had been just down the street at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex investigating the progress with lane five, when the call about the vortex came in. He stepped out of his truck, perfect hair caught majestically in the cross breeze of the helicopters; and fearlessly approached the diner, newly designed vortex distortion reader in hand.

Jordan and Jack were the only two left in the parking lot, the deputy still posed as if someone was going to be shooting the new SSP propaganda posters. The young intern was so relieved to see Carlos, to know that someone was in charge that could handle the situation. Before she could think more about it the choppers were landing and she had to throw up an arm to keep the dust out of her eyes. Suddenly it hit her, she now had to fool not just Jack, but all of these SSP officers.

How was she going to do that? Surely one of them would realize something was amiss, and she would be dragged off to the Abandoned Mineshaft never to be heard from again. Would her family know what had happened to her? Would they put her name on the memorial board in the intern break room after only a few hours on the job? The rising tide of panic warred with the sweet relief of knowing real science was tackling the diner problem. Jordan felt rather like she was being torn in two. Next to her Jack didn't seem to notice that she was on the verge of hyperventilating.

The black helicopters kept circling, unable or unwilling to land. On the ground swarms of SSP officers were cordoning off the area, sheriff's badges glinting like sparks of purple fire in the light of the vortex. Carlos came back around from the other side of the diner, one hand pushing through the majestic locks that perfectly framed his face, which was turned down studying the device in his other hand. A frown pinched his lips and he seemed to be muttering to himself. Suddenly he looked up, as if only just realizing that there were other people now that he was a mere foot away. He gestured with the strange contraption and started to say something when a loud squeal of feedback and the voice of the sheriff himself boomed out of the PA system.

"Attention Night Vale citizens! The Moonlight Diner is now under strict quarantine. Vacate the premises immediately. I repeat vacate the diner and surrounding area immediately! Further bulletins will inform you if and when the diner still exists and it is safe to eat there. Thank you and remember to vote correctly."

The voice cut off into a hiss of static and then the speakers went quiet. Jordan found herself staring at one, blinking slowly, unsure what to do. She looked over and realized Carlos was doing the same. Only Jack appeared to be unaffected by the announcement, still seeming to be waiting for the opportunistic photographer to happen along.

"Um, Jac- I mean, uh," her eyes darted from Jack to Carlos and back. "Deputy Jaxon, shouldn't we also vacate the area, like the sheriff said?"

Offline Woodlark

Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 10:28:28 PM »
Marielle Valli wasn't having the best of days today. As a newcomer to Night Vale, she'd been driven a little crazy over the last few days by her aunt's continued insistence that the events clearly happening all over town were not, in fact, happening. Well this was it! Just this morning, she'd walked in on her uncle reading the paper. Well, that's what he'd said anyhow. WHAT PAPER??!? He'd been grasping at empty air and flipping imaginary pages. And don't even get her started on the shifty-looking lot that had come shuffling along the sidewalk to pick up the trash. Pick up the trash?? Well that was one way of putting it. Another, rather more obvious description (in her opinion), was eating it straight from the bin whilst glowing with a strange orange light. Jesus. What was in the water here? No...don't answer that. It was better that she not know. Well after the incident with the tomatoes this morning, Mari had packed up her things into the little suitcase she'd arrived with, hopped in her car, and taken off. Out of sight, out of mind. It was the attitude she ought to have adopted in regards to her aunt and uncle in the first place.

Two blocks down the road and she'd nearly been t-boned by some jack-off who blew through the stop sign as though it hadn't existed. And then, barely had she gotten her heart rate back under control and managed to creep her way through the rest of the intersection and the next one, than a veritable flood of people were clogging up both driving lanes, streaming over to the other side of the road in the efforts to escape a pulsing, purple, glowing vortex. She'd slammed on the brakes just in time to avoid hitting a kid with two heads and been promptly rear-ended by a cop car. Great. Beautiful. The crunch of metal and the sharp pain in her neck were the perfect ending to her stay here in Night Vale. Provided whoever had rammed her hadn't damaged anything essential. Belatedly, and with a blast of noise, her air bag deployed.

Grumbling, Mar opened her door, snagging her purse because...well, you know...strange town and all that, and stepped out to inspect the damage. Not the purple vortex. Definitely not that. That thing gave her the heebie jeebies. She was not going anywhere nearer that thing than she needed. As she purposefully looked anywhere but at that glowing mess, she spotted an old woman accompanied by......angels? She was no expert, but that woman didn't really look super holy. Weren't the ones who attracted angels supposed to be nuns or something? She gawked openly at the sight for far longer than she should.

"Attention Night Vale citizens! The Moonlight Diner is now under strict quarantine. Vacate the premises immediately. I repeat vacate the diner and surrounding area immediately! Further bulletins will inform you if and when the diner still exists and it is safe to eat there. Thank you and remember to vote correctly."

Mari turned to stare at the nearest speaker, clapping her hands to her ears when that last final squeal of feed-back nearly deafened her. Vacate the premises? How exactly was she supposed to do that when her car was all dinged up. And by those cops to boot. Vote correctly her ass... She would have no need of voting just as soon as she left Night Vale and all of it's disturbing activities far FAR behind her. Muscling open her car door again with far more force than was strictly needed, the college student fished around inside for her cell. She'd just have to call her aunt and uncle and figure out how to get her baby to the nearest mechanic and then...THEN...she could get the hell out of Dodge....er...Night Vale.

Offline ajtrue

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Re: ~:Say Nothing and Drink to Forget:~
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 06:51:32 PM »
When Carlos arrived on scene, Jack was standing as a manly oasis of calm in the otherwise stormy air around the diner. Even the backwash from the helicopter rotors slapping at him didn’t rock the SSP officer on his feet. Much. Jack congratulated himself on once again living up to the SSP standards, a grin flashing above his lantern jaw. He took in the scene with a sense of anticipation. Or at least Jack told himself it was anticipation. It might have been gas. He had eaten three alarm chili at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex for dinner last night. But no, Jack was almost positive that slightly queasy “I can’t breathe” feeling was anticipatory.

The Probie on the other hand looked a little green around the gills. But Jack figured he could coach the kid through this. It was quite the experience to meet both Carlos AND the Sheriff in one fell swoop. Jack figured he’d let the kid keep her dignity though and left her to her own devices while he continued to assess the controlled – not counting the swirling, diner dissolving vortex of course- chaos in the parking lot.   ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ was a core tenant of any good police force after all.

The boys from the station had things well in hand the moment they were feet down on the scene. There was a little crack up with one of the units behind him, but Jack was sure the officer involved would just write out a ticket to the negligent driver and be on the scene in a moment. He on the other hand was standing in reserve to liaise with Carlos. Jack felt his chest expand just a bit again at the importance of his role today. It will be a feather in my proverbial cap, he thought as he watched the handsomely disheveled scientist approach.

Jack patted himself on the back that he only jumped slightly as the Sheriff’s wise words split the air around them. A quarantine. BRILLIANT Idea! Of course they were probably going to have to make room in the quarantine zone behind the playground at Mission Park. But on the upside, the weaving production in town would probably skyrocket. Jack never considered for a moment that he and the Probie would be “invited” to join those who would become sequestered in the quarantine zone should it become necessary. He was just too vital to the community and the Probie of course would have immunity to these types of things just by virtue of being Jack’s protégée.
 
“Vacate the area?!?!” Jack asked the Probie, trying to keep the incredulousness out of his voice, (and failing only slightly.) He shook his head at the girl, including Carlos in a “Kids, Whatta ya gonna do?” kind of smile.

“We’re the proud. The Brave. The FEW. Members of the Sheriff’s Secret Police, Probie. We don’t run from danger!” He finished passionately, one pointing finger shooting skyward. Carlos blinked at Jack again slowly. Awed with my dedication to duty and upholding the honor of the SSP and Night Vale, Jack congratulated himself silently as the little device in Carlos’ hand started vibrating. The great man looked down, a frown creasing his brow as he turned and hurried away from them mumbling something that sounded suspiciously like ‘No time. There’s just not enough time!’ 

Jack watched him go with a mixture of sadness and devotion that was tempered with the understanding that they all had roles to play in this crisis.

“No. What we need is to find a volunteer to run directly at the purple, swirling mass, shrieking and waving their arms just to see what it does. Any good detective will tell you, you can never have enough intel in a situation like this.” Jack’s gaze began panning the crowd that had gathered across the street.

“Sure. We know the swirling purple mess melts walls. But what about people? Or even cars. The back wall of the diner probably didn’t have much metal in it at all. Maybe we should send someone into the cloud on foot and another in a car…” Jack mused, his gaze slipping over Old Woman Josie and the Angels which were not acknowledged to exist standing at her side.

“Or it might only melt walls of diners. It could be if we build a different kind of wall around it, like the kind that was never really built but was all a figment of our collective imaginations at the Waterfront Recreation Area that was in fact never built, that’s how we’ll solve this little dilemma. Maybe that’s even why we all had that collective dream!” He finished sounding excited by the thought as he looked around for a likely candidate. Most of the crowd was avoiding making eye. Some were even shuffling off as they watched Jack taking in the crowd.

“Don’t worry,” Jack assured the Probie off handedly as a little frown drew together his brows. “It takes years of government and city training before you start putting together the puzzle pieces like I can. But I’ll teach you everything I know,” he finished glancing back at her with a helpful smile.

After only a second and a rather awkward pat – that he redirected several times before it actually touched down so as to pick the most innocuous body part he could find – to the left shoulder, he snapped up straight and called out “You there! What are you doing here and were did you come from?!?!”

The clipped words voiced loud enough to cover the distance between the parking lot and the fender bender were directed at a woman Jack had never seen before. And he’d know because if he had seen her before, he would have seen her before. As anything new was suspect, Jack suddenly had his first lead in the case. “Stop right there!” he called out to the stationary figure and started marching in her direction.