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Post by Trace on Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:09 am

The life of a wanderer was sure an arduous one. There was no doubt about that. But perhaps even worse was the life of a wonderer; but then again, what even was the difference? That seemed to be the topic for today. The internal discussion, if you will.

They were both one in the same if you think about it. What is wondering even, but a mere wandering of the mind, the broadening of a narrow field of vision? And what was wandering but the wonderings and musings of a curious or lazed mind? Topics like that were always on his mind. Whether it was philosophical, religious, or moral, there was always some kind of debate or internal monologue going on. Today's just happened to take longer than usual, and by the time Trace had regained his bearings he was a long way from his starting point and in dire need of a drink.

So he ducked into the nearest convenience store with a polite nod (and a huge grin) directed the man behind the till, delighting in the feeling of air conditioning.
The guy who invented AC must be getting a free ticket to heaven, he mused with a deep sigh. Wouldn't surprise me if they beatified him already.

He spent a good few minutes following this train of thought before he succumbed to the mildly irritating dryness in his throat and turned to the vast array of refrigerated beverages before him. By far the hardest choice he'd have to make today would be selecting a drink. Most definitely.

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Post by Kiev on Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:54 pm


It was fucking hot.


Not even just melt-my-skin-off hot, no, it was literally like, someone-please-just-set-me-on-fire-dear-god-I'm-begging-you hot, and for someone who perma-wore his jacket even in the most ridiculous weather, it basically meant he was having a literal day in hell. And that. Was not fun.

He'd gotten up earlier to start the 4-hour long walk to the east district of the City and... he could've SWORN it wasn't this fucking hot at 7AM in the morning. It's like whatever cruel god up there suddenly decided to, hey, maybe have a little fun and crank the dial up past roasty-toasty and more towards the burning depths of the abyss or something like that. Seriously, what was even RIGHT about this kind of heat?

Kiev probably would've gone on with that train of thought if the train wasn't completely liquidated and fused to its tracks by the intense sun he walked through as he made his way through the crowded streets of the eastern district. He couldn't help being sensitive to the heat; that was the fault of his obviously winter-suited jacket and, well. He couldn't take that off for several undisclosed reasons that he would very much like to ignore, thank you very much.

The only thing that could possibly save his soul from eternal damnation was a drink. A drink. Or AC. God bless AC. Bless.
So Kiev, panting beneath his bandanna, quickly sought out the nearest convenience store and pushed his way in, bumping into a few people and-- AC. AC. AC. Yes. YES. Fucking salvation right here. Thank the lord.

And so many liquids. So many. The back wall was literally lined in ice-cold beverages as far as the eye could see and just. Just. Kiev's eyes went wide with wonder at the sight of such a huge quantity of sodas. Just. Soda. Yes. He loved soda. He loved JJuice the best, but overall he was a universal lover of all sodas and carbonated beverages and he did not discriminate, especially on a day such as this one. Basically, he hit the fucking jackpot.

Then it occurred to him that he was broke.


He'd have to steal himself a few drinks then for the return trip. But he was good at stealing.
He didn't expect failure whatsoever.

He blamed his failure on the heat.

Seriously, he was usually really good at this sort of thing. Stealing was something that came naturally to him, kind of like... walking and stuff. But no. No. Today he had to fail of all days. When it was like 200 degrees celsius outside. He had popped a few cans of cola into the recesses of his big yellow jacket and he was slipping past the cashier when one of them slipped from his grasp and landed with a smack on the floor which promptly alerted the store owner and oops, gotta run.

And he was so close to escaping too, then he conveniently tripped on the welcome mat of the shop and hit his head hard against the pavement outside, earning him a big fucking huge bruise and a wonderfully piercing headache. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

He dropped the soda cans and sat up, rubbing his head as the cashier quickly made his way to him.

Damnit. Caught.

Last edited by Kiev on Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Trace on Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:53 pm

Okay, so maybe he got a little sidetracked.

And there's the possibility that, well, a little was an understatement. (Hint: It usually was!) But then again, the subject of debate today was wandering minds so... he could always pass that off as intentional. Yep. Not that there was anyone to convince since he was never good at lying to himself, and well, this was an internal monologue. Emphasis on the internal part. But now that you mention it, Trace would rather people not snoop around in his head. Lots of junk in there that no one should ever have to see. That and baggage. So much baggage that it was practically a baggage train in there. We're talking like those freight trains that shoot across the tracks endlessly, with about a million cars following behind, carrying only expensive motor vehicles and the like-- except this was a baggage-only train with your Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. But make no mistake about it, this wasn't any of that quality baggage you could come to expect from a name brand designer. Oh no, this was the cheap imitation brand made of leather that felt as fake as a Barbie doll (Hint 2.0: Approximately 95%), that even an amateur could-- Oh shit. His mind didn't just wander away from the point he was on about wandering minds itself. Now that's kind of embarrassing.

There was only one way to recover from this kind of embarrassment.

Oh, yes. He turned his attention back to the rows upon rows of carbonated (and other) beverages and-- oh. Looks like some kid managed to wander into the shop. A kid who dressed like he'd just made his way over from Santa's workshop and somehow managed to get lost in the Sahara because why in the name of Hell was he even wearing so many clothes?
He's probably some escaped convict with some kind of gross deformity or horrible scarring from the shackles and chains he had to escape from. Oh yeah. Playing the "who's that person and what's their background" game was basically his entire life. The kind of things you could come up with were just beyond hilario-- Okay. Enough with the tangents. Yes. Good.

He made his way out of the little corner he'd paced himself into and over to the shelves of wonderful drinks as the canary-looking kid rounded the aisle empty-handed.
Must be a much stronger guy than me he mused. Dressed up like that walking through town on a day like this could give anyone a huge case of sunstroke. And just dropping by the convenience store and not even getting a drink? Different strokes for different folks, he guessed. Oh well. Back to business.

He knew what he'd do. There were about four or five different brands of water behind these glass doors. He could already imagine the look on the store owner's face when he brought them all up.
Hey there, sir, he'd say. I'm really thirsty but I can't for the life of me seem to choose between these brands. I mean, they all look pretty good right now, huh? Yeah. Something along those lines. And then he'd ask the dude to choose one of them for him and explain the reason why. Ahaha. If the guy went along with his plan (and he was hoping he would), Trace would probably interject every once in a while-- But sir! This one here is ozonated! He wondered how many shades of annoyed he could make the guy in under five minutes. On a scale of one to annoyed, he'd probably be at about a 'God has a wicked party and invites everyone except Satan'. Yeah.

Except there was a sudden clang from the other end of the store and the owner seemed a bit preoccupied with yelling at someone. So Trace took the sensible approach and proceeded to dash towards the source of the commotion like an old gossip, water bottles still in hand. And that's when he saw the kid on the ground, soda cans scattered all around him. And the store owner hounding down on him. So that's what the huge coat was for.

He felt kind of bad for the kid, to be honest. He looked so small and, well, helpless like that. And it was pretty hot out there. So he decided to take the smartest course of action in the current situation.

He threw the water bottle in hand over the counter.
It hit the floor on the other side a second later.

And exploded with a loud bang a few after that.

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Post by Kiev on Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:34 am

Ok. There were several things severely and completely wrong with this whole situation. Of course, most of those things stemmed from the ungodly levels of radiation mauling this particular part of the earth at this very moment, but in any case Kiev knew he made some pretty key mistakes in the structure of his plan.

And the first one would be the fact that he had no plan at all.
He couldn't be on guard all the time, that was ridiculous. If he was on guard all the time, then he'd practically make no mistakes (that was how on guard he could be) and making no mistakes wasn't right, wasn't human, because humans make mistakes? At least that's what he'd been told. And then there was the whole jacket fiasco he'd already mulled over in his head and then the slip up (god, why were cans so slippery against fabric when wet with condensation) and then the oh-so timely way he tripped on the door way, yeah, oh yeah. Things were great he'd totally agree.

It wasn't hard to see that he'd failed enough today, enough to get him caught for once. Kiev already accepted this fate even before he banged his head against the ground, before the store manager made his way to him, before the unintelligible yelling ensued, the boy cringing and hanging his head not necessarily in shame, but in order to feign humility. He wasn't quite all there. The blow to the head was hard and knocked some of the senses out of him, but he could recognize the anger and he was sorry for it, but not for attempting to steal.

However, he wasn't disoriented enough to react instantaneously to what he heard next.

An explosion???

Kiev ducked momentarily, then realized he could take advantage of the situation; the explosion meant distraction and distraction meant he could get away. Maybe even with his prized soda.

Perhaps a part of him feigned the whole disoriented act to garner a little sympathy, use that face of his to his advantage. He didn't honestly know, but he didn't need to understand. All Kiev knew was that he was gonna get his cake and eat it too.

The boy scrambled back into the shop, as the manager fled to call for help, to gather the cans he dropped from before, but in his rush to exit he bumped into something else--

Then he looked up, it was a boy not more than 2 or 3 years older than him.

Fuck this, he had no time to be polite. He needed to abscond the fuck out of there.

Last edited by Kiev on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Trace on Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:15 am

There were very few things going on in Trace's head when he decided to raise the kid's shoplifting a terrorism charge (at the very least). Common sense was not one of them. But he figured he could smooth talk the store owner into thinking the explosion was some kind of climatic and situational phenomenon rather than a blatant display of his power -- C'mon, sir! If I tried to bomb your store, you'd think I'd have the common sense to leave first, at least? Besides, there's no property damage! It couldn't have been a detonation. He'd find a way, eventually. Persuasion was something he was exceedingly good at when he wanted to be.

But it turns out that he wouldn't even have to brush up on those skills because the manager just looked at him and the scene with a wide-eyed expression of fear and bolted to call for help, no doubt. In recollection later, Trace would probably mention the growing dark stain as he turned and fled, screaming. A minor embellishment, but one that made the whole scenario that much richer, in his opinion at least. That kid though. He was like a torpedo as he bolted back into the shop to reap the spoils. Perhaps he hadn't been as helpless as he thought. Maybe he was actually a cunning manipulator who knew this would happen and bid his time until Trace managed to get rid of the store owner. That would be an excellent plan, actually, since the manager was probably scared so shitless he'd most like forgot all about the petty little shoplifter. Besides, he could always tell the story later (to anyone who'd listen) about how he survived a personal bomb attempt, probably by using his cunning and ingenuity, or some crock like that.

His delusions about the boy being the player in this chess game were shattered when none other than blondie himself came crashing right into him. One a scale of one to wrong it seemed that he had hit a nice, even 'so wrong that the kid you thought was an evil mastermind didn't even know you were standing there'. That was a whole new level of wrong. Trace could almost bask in the afterglow. But he decided to hold off until later.

"You're welcome," he murmured, smirking.

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Post by Kiev on Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:45 pm

Now who's this douchbag??

Kiev backed up, peering at the stranger's face and frowning at the sheer levels of totally smug that seemed to permeate his whole face and then some. You're welcome he said. Obviously that meant that this guy had something to do with, well, the thing that just seemed to have happened mere moments before-- the thing with the explosion no doubt. Now there were only a few reasons in the line of rationality that could possibly explain the prescence of this-- this guy.

One. He was a fucking terrorist and Kiev, for the sake of the people of the city, should somehow turn him into the police and maybe score some cash while he was at it. (And maybe a nice house. And a family. Would they put him into an adoption agency for that? Technically he could just hang around an orphanage but-- no, no, bad idea. Just not a good thing.)

Two, he was fucking nuts, which would also technically fall into place with the first reason no doubt.

And the third reason, the most implausable reason of all three was that maybe this guy randomly just wanted to help a poor plebian kid out with the most unconventional way possible-- by creating a ruse for his untimely can accident and subsequent tripping so that he could get away with a few more sodas or whatever.

Yeaaaah right. Like that would ever happen. People were better than helping thieves, and Kiev after all was half a criminal (only half though because he figured he'd forgive himself for needing sustenance for living.) Plus he was a total random stranger vagabondboy extraordinaire so everything about the whole idea was absolute bullshit and needed to be shot down immediately.

Goddamnit, he was a busy boy. He didn't have time for this kind of musing.


He did get an extra 2 sodas because of him. It'd be rude to not acknowledge a fact.

So before turning to make his dashing escape, Kiev shoved one can of orange soda into his arms, then turning towards the door as fast as he could.

A thank you?
Maybe. Just maybe.

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Post by Trace on Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:33 pm

Trace watched the boy carefully. He realized how this must look. (Hint: Very strange at the least.) Maybe it had been a bad idea to explode a water bottle. Or explode anything, really, because in a few seconds he'd probably be added to a list of known/suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathizers within the Substratum. If they even had one like the rumors said.

You just never knew, did you? It wasn't something he could change, though, so why even bother worrying about it? Besides, it was pretty cool to be a suspected terrorist when all you had on you were sealed bottles of pure H20 (which, for the record, came straight from the store). Then again, he was a harbinger. But they wouldn't know that unless they checked the Index-- he made a job out of fooling people into thinking he was normal. It helped that his eyes were a near-normal shade of blue, especially when the sun wasn't reflecting off of them and making him look like he'd come out of a 13 year old's first attempt at fanfiction. Twinkling aquamarine eyes that sparkled in the sunlight. Or something. He wasn't an expert at fanfiction.

Whoops; he'd forgotten that he'd just tried to start up conversation with thief-in-training canary over here. This must be pretty weird for him. He completely botched his robbery attempt. If it could even be considered robbery. Seriously? Orange soda. In this heat that'd do no good. As much as he craved an ice-cold Ginger Ale, he'd have to make do with water. Excess sugars would only make you thirstier. And his head? He'd hit it pretty hard, hadn't he? Well, he might have a (slight?) concussion, and on top of the heat... That was trouble.

And then the kid shoved a can into his hands. A sort of peace offering, maybe? A thank-you?

Then the kid turned to run.

And he found himself folowing.

It'd be irresponsible of him if he didn't.

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Post by Kiev on Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:48 am

He had wanted to get away without causing any sort of trouble or safety issues or a ruckus but apparently something in the air today had to deny him that one simple reassurance. Kiev didn't ask for much-- didn't need much. All he wanted was a few sodas, heck-- he could practically live on soda, as unhealthy as the shit was. The kid was simple. He liked simple things, like cats and colas, and anything more complex than that, like his favorite genre of music or whatever required too much thinking to be pleasurable to him by any means. He did not require any technology outside of a radio and a few working batteries, and he wasn't particularly picky-- well. Ok. Yeah, he was. But he ate whatever he could get his hands on anyway, sacrificing his tongue in lue of filling his stomach.

You can't be picky when you're poor as fuck after all.

However he did indulge a little bit, here and there. Kiev was a kid still; it was a natural thing.

And sometimes he was a little too stubborn to let these indulgences go. Even when it caused him a lot more trouble than it was worth.

Such as now, for example.

His first reaction when he heard footsteps behind him was to run a little faster, trying to dart between the people in the crowd that quickly grew around the store before he actually took a glance back and realized-- hey. Hey wait a second. It's that guy again? What'd he want??

Oh god, no, what if he was secretly a vigilante out to get all kid-thieves out there in the city? What if he'd been set up this entire time?? Oh shit. No can do.

Kiev turned abruptly into an empty alleyway, stopping in his tracks when he felt it was safe. He needed to confront this guy, or h--

--but fuck did his head hurt. The brunette winced, unable to keep thinking about defending himself because owwww that hurt like a bitch. Goddamnit. The pain ebbed in his skull, growing stronger with each pulse.

Fuck. This was so majorly uncool.

As he heard the footsteps come to a stop, he knelt on the ground, growling a little at his pursuer. He wasn't gonna get turned in. No way.
No fucking way.

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Post by Trace on Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:08 am

God, this was way creepy in retrospect. This kid was who knows how old, and here he was dashing after him like some pedophile hot on the tail of his newest and youngest conquest yet. Though, that thought was very off-putting so he decided to scrap that. Better leave the metaphors to those who weren't really thirsty and possibly afflicted with a slight heatstroke. Yes, better off leaving those to the professionals.

Then there was the crowd. All these people seemed to converge around Ground Zero-- And yes, he was calling it that, thank you very much. It wasn't every day he was crowned a terrorist, so he had to make sure it was as hyped up as possible. Any (pseudo) terrorist worth his salt would do that, right? These crowders were really starting to get on his nerves, though. Seriously? You hear an explosion and your first thought is to go and check it out? He almost wished that it was some kind of gas explosion and that someone would light a match and combust the hell out of those stupid fuckers because seriously--

Wait. Oh yeah. Boy to catch. Non-suggestively, of course!

Trace was starting to catch up because, luckily for him, more passerby decided to possibly endanger themselves, and it was getting harder and harder for mister canary to dodge around them like the little midget ninja he was. So maybe the crowd wasn't completely useless. Really incompetent imbeciles. But not totally useless. Something's better than nothing, right?

Then the boy dashed into an alley.

It took a few seconds for Trace to skirt around a particularly pissed (Excuse you, bitch lady!), but when he did he found the boy on his knees, wincing, and it wasn't hard to surmise what the problem was. The growling, however, was a fair bit unsettling, though it didn't deter him from dropping to his knees in front of him and then cursing because of those fucking shorts.

"Are you okay?"

Now he was really worried.

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