Scene One
Scene Two

Chapter Two: Back to School

Scene One: A Lawn at Pima Community College
mgrasso> Now, we left off last time making arrangements to go with Chet... somewhere. :)
Jack> brb, have to sign for Chinese food.
mgrasso> The next morning, which would be the 11th of May, Thursday.
Gemma> So it's the next morning now?
mgrasso> Yes indeed, Gemma.
Gemma> Thank you, Master.
mgrasso> You all meet down at Pima Community College.
Gemma> Which campus?
Jack> (back)
mgrasso> Um, downtown, I believe.
mgrasso> The central one.
Gemma> (Ooh! Mine! :D)
Gemma> (Okay. That was just sad. Smack me.)
James> what time did we leave chet's?
mgrasso> Last night? Oh, around 9 or so.
James> I worked.
mgrasso> Chet said he'd meet you all outside one of the larger buildings on campus.
mgrasso> The rumble of construction is evident on campus as large parts of the campus are roped off. Hardhat-wearing construction workers ply their trade on the buildings and the grounds of the campus.
mgrasso> (Gemma, want to do a little more description?)
Chet> !dice 5 6
* DiceWell Chet rolls 5d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 8 4 4 2 2
Gemma> Well, er.. Most of the campus is either very dusty or roped off into meandering little paths between buildings. There are a few randomly-placed trailers acting as substitute classrooms and one building is in the middle of being torn down while just across from it, another is being erected.
Gemma> In all, it's a confusing, busy mess.
mgrasso> Thank you, Gemma, for that gratuitious use of the word "erected."
Chet> (hah)
Gemma> You're welcome. ::curtsy::
Jack> (heh)
mgrasso> There's an oasis of peace among the rumbling of all the heavy machinery. Sitting on a patch of too-green grass, an older man sits cross-legged, a book in his lap, and a circle of eight to ten young adults also sit, with books. They appear to be having an animated discussion.
mgrasso> The older man is clearly fae, a boggan, like Chet. (Chet, care to describe him and the book they're probably reading?)
mgrasso> (I love collaborative storytelling) :)
Gemma> (Yeah, but it's guerilla collaborative storytelling!)
mgrasso> (*grin*)
Chet> He's quite a bit taller than the average boggan, which makes him roughly the same size as an average person. He's also fairly thin for a Boggan with a very thick head of greay hair and a thick, closely cut beard.
Chet> He's discussing the book "White Noise" by Don DeLillo with the others gathered around on the grass.
* Chet approaches the circle waving
mgrasso> The students pause as you walk up to the assemblage. The professor silently gestures to all of you to join them.
Jack> (Mike, work in a David Foster Wallce ref, quick)
mgrasso> (Heh, good things come to those who wait. :) )
* Chet walks up and plops down on the grass right next to the professor.
Chet> What's up doc?
* Ingrid saunters over and sits lightly on the grass.
mgrasso> "Very well, then," the boggan says in a down-to-earth, not-at-all-pretentious manner, "why Hitler Studies? What does this mean to us? Is it a joke? Are we supposed to laugh, or cringe?"
* Gemma lingers in the back of the group
mgrasso> One student very tentatively raises her hand. "Commodification of academia? The packaging and repackaging of knowledge?"
* Jack stands back and looks around uncomfortably. In college he would have been drinking and playing football.
mgrasso> The boggan nods slightly. "Fair enough. But I want you to delve deeper. Chet? You've read this one. Give me your opinion."
* James whispers loudly to Gemma... "I don't know, is the answer four?"
mgrasso> (Chet: Char + Literature, diff. 7)
mgrasso> (*grin* at James and Jack)
* Gemma nudges him and grins
Chet> ! dice 5 7
mgrasso> Space, Chet.
Chet> !dice 5 7
* DiceWell Chet rolls 5d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 10 1 7 9 4
* Gemma is whispering to James
mgrasso> Chet rambles slightly, suddenly getting very animated. He talks about DeLillo's highly-honed sense of irony, and the fact that all of the main characters in White Noise are a title, not a person. They are defined by what they do, not who they are. The main character's inability to learn German, even though he is the chair of the "Hitler Studies" department, is a good example of this.
mgrasso> The students look at Chet with a modicum of attention. The class outside, while full of distractions and noise, is quite unaffected by all these things of the real world. You can feel the boundary between mundane world and Dreaming is a little weak here.
mgrasso> Perception + Kenning, all, diff. 6.
Gemma> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 3 8 4 1 3 8
Chet> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Chet rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 9 4 6 7 3 1 10
James> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell James rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 3 2 4 9 3 10
Jack> !dice 3 6
* DiceWell Jack rolls 3d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 4 3 8
mgrasso> Julia? Oh crap. -> [Ingrid] PING
mgrasso> I bet the storm got her.
Jack> Storm?
mgrasso> She was having T-storms.
*** Ingrid has quit IRC (Read error: 54 (Connection reset by peer))
Jack> D'oh.
*** Ingrid ( has joined #Changeling-Tucson
Ingrid> sorry, lost power.
mgrasso> Hi Julia.
mgrasso> I thought so. That was quick getting back, though.
mgrasso> Julia: can I paste the missing stuff in msg?
Chet> ( she's got emergency generators for Changeling. That's dedication.)
Ingrid> I've been gone about ten minutes. Ever since the new boggan asked Chet what he thought of the book.
mgrasso> OK, while she's catching up, I'll wrap up the prof's class here.
Ingrid> !dice 5 6
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 5d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 9 1 5 7 9
mgrasso> You remain seated for probably another 20 minutes while the prof finishes up.
mgrasso> "Well, this is the last class. I wish you good luck on the final next week, and I hope to see you all next year for my other classes!" The professor dismisses his students. Perception + Empathy all, diff. 5
Chet> !dice 7 5
* DiceWell Chet rolls 7d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 6 successes.
* DiceWell 9 8 8 8 3 9 6
Ingrid> !dice 5 5
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 5d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 6 7 10 4 8
James> !dice 6 5
* DiceWell James rolls 6d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 3 10 2 5 2 10
Jack> !dice 3 5
* DiceWell Jack rolls 3d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 5 8 6
Jack> (we ROCK!)
Gemma> !dice 6 5
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 6d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 6 7 7 5 1 7
Gemma> d'oh! wait.
mgrasso> OK, Empathy power-gamers.
Gemma> !dice 5 5
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 5d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 7 2 2 5 5
mgrasso> :)
Gemma> (::can't add::)
mgrasso> You all can tell that this class, unlike the usual college class, REALLY likes their prof, and actually understand and respect his ideas. There's no discord here, but yet, there's still polite disagreement and healthy debate.
mgrasso> The professor stands alone on the green grass. The sounds of construction assault you all again.
mgrasso> Very suddenly and jarringly, I might add.
mgrasso> "Come on, Chet," the prof says, "let's get to my office, quick."
* Chet follows him to his office
* Chet waves for the others to follow
* Gemma sighs and follows Chet
mgrasso> You all hustle to the prof's office building. On the outside, an anonymous office block. You take the elevator to the fourth floor.
Chet> !dice 5 6
* DiceWell Chet rolls 5d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 2 10 2 10 5

Scene Two: The Professor's Sanctum
mgrasso> On the fourth floor, you enter the prof's office. The name on the door says "James Wynderven, Department of Literature."
Ingrid> !dice 5 4
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 5d10 at difficulty 4. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 10 4 9 5 3
Gemma> (What's it look like in here?)
mgrasso> Inside, the Dreaming takes over in a big way. You feel like you're inside a hobbit hole! The walls are earthy brown and hung with old portraits. The desks are comfy, but not midget-sized. There's a chimerical teapot boiling by itself in the corner... no heat involved!
mgrasso> (sorry about the delay there)
mgrasso> The teapot whistles as the prof enters. "Ah, tea's ready. Well, tea's always ready. Chet, would you mind introducing these... individuals?"
Chet> Well, prof, this tall one here is Jack, he's the one we spoke about on the phone.
Jack> P-pleased to meet you, Professor Wynderven.
mgrasso> Professor Wynderven nods.
Gemma> !dice 5 6
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 5d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 2 9 2 9 2
Chet> The others I just met for the first time last night. This one here is James.
* Chet indicates James
James> can I call you ed?
Chet> He's kind of quiet and sulky, but you get used to it...
* James smirks
mgrasso> The professor looks at James and says, "Well, it might get confusing with two Jameses... sure, why not." He smiles an impeccable grin. -> [Ingrid] PING
*** mgrasso sets mode: +o Ingrid
Chet> This is Ingrid. She has impeccable taste in art.
Ingrid> A pleasure, professor.
mgrasso> He bows, just slightly, to Ingrid.
* Ingrid smiles and curtsies respectfully.
Chet> And...Holy, cow, don't sneak up behind me. This is Gemma.
* Chet moves aside
Gemma> Yes. 'Tis I, the Holy Cow. Mucho gust, professor.
* Gemma holds out her hadn for the prof to shake
Gemma> (gusto... damn keybord)
James> !dice 5 7
* DiceWell James rolls 5d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 5 9 7 2 4
mgrasso> The professor quotes something in archaic Spanish to Gemma. It's from Don Quixote.
Gemma> !4 7
Gemma> !dice 4 7
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 4d10 at difficulty 7. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 1 8 5 5
Chet> And I think that's everyone. Everyone, this is my old prof, James Wynderven.
mgrasso> "Well, Chet," the professor says, sitting down and pulling up chairs for you all.
mgrasso> "Maybe you'd better let me know what you need."
Chet> First off, I thought we were supposed to meet at 10. What was the deal? Did you think I needed a refresher on DeLillo. You know I *hate* that book.
Gemma> !dice 5 7
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 5d10 at difficulty 7. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 9 1 2 7 7
mgrasso> Wynderven smiles, and takes out his pipe. "Well, I did want to have a final class outside. It does this old body some good."
Gemma> It's the best time of year for it.
mgrasso> "And you have a keen eye for literature, Chet. Always have. This one was my top student, you know," he says to the rest of the oathcircle.
mgrasso> To Gemma: "Right before it gets intolerably hot, yes."
mgrasso> "But what I want to know is... what do you want from me?"
Chet> So, everyone just kind of tagged along with the big guy.
Chet> This is the one who came along the other night when the place got all busted up.
mgrasso> "Tell me," the prof says, peering at you all, "do you serve... the count?"
mgrasso> He asks this of no one in particular. :)
mgrasso> Just everyone except Chet.
Ingrid> On occasion we have found need to do so, yes.
James> the count can suck my toes... except for the voodoo that he doo so well...
Ingrid> "Serve" is very subjective.
mgrasso> The prof nods sagely. He turns his attention first to Ingrid. "So, then, you have not sworn an oath to him or to his court."
* Ingrid says with a slight smile.
James> for (when it comes to) the
Ingrid> We have sworn an oath only to each other, sir.
* Chet settles back into his chair
mgrasso> He smiles broadly. "Very well, then. I like that. So, Chet, you have come to your old mentor seeking a trod to the Dreaming, eh? To gather more of your esoteric plant life, hmm?"
Chet> Yes, sir. These mooks overran my garden and now it's gone...all of it.
Jack> Bad intel...
mgrasso> The prof looks at Jack. "Wait, I know you."
Chet> The big guy's promised to help restore it and I think the others are along for the ride.
Jack> Me?
Jack> (have I seen this guy before?)
Ingrid> !dice 4 8
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 4d10 at difficulty 8. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 7 10 7 2
mgrasso> "Yes," he says. "You were on the Wildcats back in '93, right?"
mgrasso> "Left tackle, was it?"
Jack> Yeah, right. Wow...
Jack> That's pretty good.
* Gemma mutters flatly, "Go wildcats."
mgrasso> "Hell of a player, you were. Weren't Chrysalised back then, were you? I would've noticed an eight-foot-tall blue lineman on the field." The prof smiles again.
* Chet suppresses a laugh
Jack> No sir, that was the "before" photo, I guess you'd say...
mgrasso> The prof laughs. "Well, Chet, this is certainly a group you have brought here to me. And yes, I think I recognize her, too." He points at Gemma with his pipe cleaner.
Gemma> Ever miss the tight pants, Jack?
Gemma> Me?
Ingrid> Speaking of wildcats.
* Ingrid mutters.
mgrasso> "Hmm, yes. I think I know of your family."
Gemma> Oh.
mgrasso> "But I won't be impolite and divulge everything about your eminent lineage here."
* Gemma gives him a strange little smile
mgrasso> He puts a strange emphasis on "eminent."
* Jack cocks an eyebrow at Gemma.
James> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell James rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He botches the roll.
* Chet whispers something to Gemma
* DiceWell 1 6
James> gah
Gemma> !dice 5 4
* DiceWell Gemma rolls 5d10 at difficulty 4. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 9 5 10 6 1
Chet> So, prof, want to make it a clean sweep? Do you know this one too?
* Chet gestures towards James
mgrasso> He looks at James. "Nope. Never seen him before in my life."
James> phew.
Gemma> Sure, you have. Don't you watch mtv? He used to be a veejay.
Chet> Ha! I can't believe you stumped him.
* Chet slaps James on the back
James> I like to hide in dark corners and take long naps... any help?
mgrasso> "But!" The prof says, chewing on his pipe, "I bet you're an engineer or a programmer."
mgrasso> (And yes, I did make an Enigmas roll for him at diff. 9) :)_
Chet> OK, everyone watch this one. Prof, how many fingers am I holding up behind my back?
James> yup.
* Chet puts one hand behind his back
mgrasso> "Oh, come on, Chet, they didn't come here for parlor games." You can see the prof puff thoughtfully on his pipe for a minute. "Three, by the way."
James> (that one would be more impressive in real life)
mgrasso> (right, in a cantrip-less world)
James> =)
Chet> You're right. They didn't come here to be wowed by your mental prowess. I'm not sure why they came, but maybe you can tell me that.
Gemma> And us, while he's at it.
* Gemma looks expectantly at the prof
Ingrid> I'd sure like to know.
mgrasso> "Well, you need a way into the Dreaming. A *free* way into the Dreaming, not controlled by some brooding prince." Bitterness creeps into his voice.
James> i thought we were getting seeds?
* Ingrid raises an eyebrow.
James> Furk you to the establishment... (James mutters)
mgrasso> "Anyway, I have that way. It's on the outskirts of town, about 30 minutes east. I have a road map," he extracts a AAA TripTik, "and a map that might be more of use to you in the Dreaming," he extracts a worn parchment scribbled with wiggly lines and colored splotches.
Chet> Does this map tell me where I can get the necessary implements to restore my garden to it's previous glory? Or is that another of your "continuing life lessons"?
James> (oh oh mike, this sounds like that obscure map that time in planescape...)
mgrasso> The prof smiles broadly and claps Chet on the shoulder. "Finding the plant, that's your quest. This map will get you to an inn where you can begin that quest."
* Chet takes the map and begins puzzling over it.
mgrasso> (Hmm, a bit, yeah, Mandy)
Chet> Great, another continuing life lesson. Hope you're all ready for some "adult learning"...and not the fun kind either.
mgrasso> Chet: the map is not written in any language you recognize, but there is a friendly icon of a big log cabin in what you believe to be the lower right corner.
Ingrid> Professor, how important is it that we find a "free" way into the Dreaming? I'm curious.
Chet> To Wynderven: Can you at least draw a big smiley face on the map to indicate where we need to end up?
James> can I check it out?
* Chet offers to share the map with James.
mgrasso> To Ingrid: "It's important for all of us, dear. We all need free access to the Dreaming, unmonopolized by special interests or powers."
Gemma> to Wynderven: Oh, please. Like a sidhe can understand that.
Chet> What do you make of it, James?
* James kind of leads chet over to the table so he can study it more carefully
mgrasso> To Chet: "The inn is run by a friend of mine. He left the mundane world after the Accordance War. Name's Grimsley."
* Ingrid glares at Gemma.
* Jack goes to peer over their shoulders at the map.
James> when are we leaving guys?
* Gemma ignores Ingrid
Chet> Hey guys, get a good look, because I guarantee we're *not* stopping for directions.
mgrasso> (*snort*)
Ingrid> I don't expect that you would know what Sidhe can comprehend, Pooka.
Gemma> Why, Chet? Do you have male issues?
Chet> Male issues, female issues... I got
Chet> 'em all.
James> When are we leaving?
Ingrid> !dice 3 6
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 3d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 4 8 6
Chet> When can you all leave?
mgrasso> I figure on the weekend. Of course, we could pop out two hours later or two years later, depending on time dilation. :)
Chet> Prof, should we pack light. I don't even see the scale on the map. How long is this trip going to take?
James> I would actually *love* a few hours with this map before we go
Gemma> I know what a sidhe can comprehend, chica. Trust me, it's near to nil.
Chet> You and me both James
Ingrid> Trust a pooka? Good one.
mgrasso> ("chica?" :D)
Gemma> Let me look at the map.
* Ingrid snorts
* Gemma nudges her way between James and Chet
James> sure hun
Chet> Damn. Now everyone wants to see it. Is there a photocopier in this place anywhere?
Gemma> Get a tissue, Ingrid, dear. It's unattractive for a lady of even your age to snot all over herself.
mgrasso> Chet: it's chimerical!
* Jack glances at Ingrid to see if he'll have to drag her off Gemma.
mgrasso> It won't copy that well, unless James can invent a chimerical Xerox. :)
Chet> Well do you have a chimerical copier around here?
Chet> James, can you do that?
James> give me a week or two...
mgrasso> Actually, James... that might not be impossible! Remember those Ben Franklin doohickeys?
mgrasso> With the pen on the thing, with the thing? :)
James> (lol)
Chet> Can't we just put it on the regular copier and have you let loose a real stream of profanities and see what happens James?
* Gemma studies the map
mgrasso> Someone here knows what I'm talking about with the... it was called a polygraph!
mgrasso> Maybe tom Jefferson invented it.
Ingrid> I remember!
* Chet traces his finger along the map and mutters "Ya cahn't get theyah from heyah"
Ingrid> You trace, and the second pen writes.
James> I'll remember what it looks like... I have a head for stuff like this
mgrasso> That's just got moving parts, James could make one easy.
mgrasso> Yes! Definitely.
James> really then?
mgrasso> I think we should stop here, but I'm going to do a few rolls with some people first.
Chet> OK, well it never hurts to have a copy of the map. Can you rig one of those up by the weekend James?
mgrasso> James: sure! It would take a night and the sacrifice of one of your crossbows as raw materiel. :)
James> alright, alright, if you want it that furking badly
* James seems to like being needed
Jack> (pantograph, Mike. Sorry, I was out for a sec.)
mgrasso> Thanks, Sam!
Chet> Great, well is there anything else we all need to know before we go prof?
James> hey prof, is it all right if I stay for a little while and examine the origional?
Chet> Come on James, I know *you* want a copy of this thing. Would you trust *me* with the only copy?
mgrasso> to James: "Not a problem, lad."
James> I hellofasure wouldn't...
James> thanks ed
Chet> James, I'm going to take the original home with me, but if you can spend the whole evening at my place with the original if you want while you work on your copy dealy.
James> sure, I just think I can figure some of this giberish out...
James> !dice 5 9
* DiceWell James rolls 5d10 at difficulty 9. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 10 2 7 5 2
Chet> I think I might be able to make out some of it as well. Maybe if we put our heads together, we can get it sorted *before* we all leave.
mgrasso> Chet: Int + Enig, diff. 10
Ingrid> May I take a look, then?
* Ingrid moves closer to Chet and James.
Gemma> How cute. Go ahead, INgrid. Take a look, sweetheart.
Chet> !dice 8 10
* DiceWell Chet rolls 8d10 at difficulty 10. S/He botches the roll.
* DiceWell 8 5 9 5 1 4 5 5
* Gemma steps away from the map so Ingrid can have room to look
mgrasso> Want to avoid that with a WP point, chet?
Chet> (give me a sec)
* Ingrid peers closely at the map.
Ingrid> !dice 4 10
* DiceWell Ingrid rolls 4d10 at difficulty 10. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 4 2 8 10
mgrasso> who's standing and who's sitting?
James> I'm sitting
Ingrid> I'm standing.
Jack> Standing.
Chet> standing
mgrasso> Chet holds back his commentary as he sees James go to work. Using the back of the AAA map, he starts to uncover a cipher in the map's writing, although he's nowhere near finished yet.
Chet> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Chet rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 4 successes.
* DiceWell 10 5 3 9 7 6 4
James> (you have sooooo many freaking dice for everything!!! =)
mgrasso> James, you REALLY want to take this home. Try some computer stuff out with it. And make copies.
Chet> ! dice 7 5
Chet> !dice 7 5
* DiceWell Chet rolls 7d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 1 7 9 4 7 10 1
* Gemma fidgets restlessly behind Jack
James> um... chet, I hate to ask (James says looking up from the map he is so intent on)
mgrasso> Guys, we really have to end it here. On Sunday we can go to the portal and enter the Dreaming.
Chet> OK James, you appear to know what you're doing. Why don't you take the map home with you. Can I ask you to bring me a copy tomorrow so that I can have a day to look it over too?
James> eh... I'll get the copy to you asap... two days tops
Chet> Come on, dude... weak.
mgrasso> Heh
Chet> I need to see it before we go. You know, the rest of us aren't *totally* useless.
James> you want to supply me with materials, paid time off work, extra space? If you do, I'll have it in an hour.
Chet> How nuch would that cost?
* mgrasso makes the "wrap-it-up" signal
Jack> Yeah, you guys can haggle this out over email. : 0
Chet> Then, everyone can just reconvene at my place Saturday morning and we can take off from there.
mgrasso> Good plan!
mgrasso> I like Chet's idea about leaving Saturday morning too. :)
Jack> : 0 = : )
Chet> And don't forget to pack an extra pair of underpants.
James> sure... like I said- 2 furking days days tops
Ingrid> Jack, that is one weird halo. :)
*** Ingrid is now known as Julia
Jack> Aack.
*** Jack is now known as Sam
*** Gemma is now known as Erica
*** Chet is now known as Joe
mgrasso> Awesome guys. Thanks for the wrap-up. Julia's leaving REALLY early tomorrow.
*** James is now known as Mandy
* Erica scampers off
mgrasso> That was a lot of fun for just an hour!
Erica> Merry trip, Julia!
*** Erica has quit IRC (flock to the vampire scrotum)
Sam> Bon voyage, Julia.
Joe> Oh, and where is *she* going? :)
Julia> Thanks, Sam :)
mgrasso> We'll do all pertinent rolls next time.
Julia> And Erica! :)
Mandy> see you tommorow Julia... pleasant trip =)
Joe> Thanks, that was great.
Julia> See you tomorrow, Mandy! :)
Joe> See you all Sunday night