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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:39 pm 
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Sherry had gathered everyone into a relatively out of the way area, near one of the defunct fountains. That way, those still on duty wouldn't have a mob to contend with just trying to get up the damn stairs. The shabby memorial had been erected as well, in an unused corner of the commons area near where they stood. Already, people were busy adding to it their own reminders of those who'd died.

She spied Petro.

"Looks like we're ready to go," she said under her breath.

Clearing her throat rather loudly, she looked out into the crowd.

"All right," she said.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:40 pm 
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Calm. Easy. Just one breath after another.

Fuck, he was almost panicky, though he kept his expression calm. He couldn't even figure out why the fuck this was getting him so worked up. He forced his hand to stay steady as he thumped the ash off of his cigarette and listened.

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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:47 pm 
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Jared sat on the bottom step, and Melanie ruffled his hair affectionately as she passed him, moving to Petro's side and snaking an arm about his waist.

"You're pale, darling," she said, kissing him on the neck.

Sherry began, searching for Mike in the audience.

"You all know why we're here," she said with a wave of her hand, "so I'm not going to bother with any introductions or anything. What I really want this to be is a time for all of you to just... let go of your demons, I guess, is a good way to put it."

She took a deep breath and shifted her weight to the other foot.

"We've got cold, hard times ahead of us, there's no bullshitting around that. And we've got to be focused, we've got to be in the present. So this is the day you have to just let go of the past, okay?"

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:49 pm 
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Punt squeaked into view at the back of the room. He noticed Jared sitting on one of the steps. Well, at least he'd hear Punt. The damn chair didn't sound like it had been oiled since- Well. Since the outbreak.

Mike stood near the front of the crowd, and gave Sherry a reassuring smile.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:50 pm 
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"I'm f-fine," he stammered at Melanie quietly.

Keep it together, asshole. Go rattle apart in the god damned office when you're done.

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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:55 pm 
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She sought Petro's hand with her free one and held it against her.

"I don't know what you're so worked up about," she said, kissed his palm, "but we don't have to stay..."

Sherry gave Mike a playful wink and offered a few more words, and then said a bit awkwardly:

"Ah, Ramon offered to play a few hymns... I don't know the words, though, so unless someone else volunteers, guitar's good enough for me."

She looked to a tan youth who hoisted his guitar and began to play something she didn't recognise.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:59 pm 
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He opened his mouth to agree. Be the damned easiest thing to do. He stared at the collection of pictures.

His people. It wasn't that he couldn't deal with the fact that people died on his watch, no matter how well-executed the missions were. He knew that going in.

But he'd managed to keep his distance from it, and this whole process was breaking that down.

There were people on that wall who were dead because of him. But be damned if he'd fail them on their last memory. He closed his mouth, gritting his teeth, and squeezed Melanie's hand in a death grip.

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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:59 pm 
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"Hey there." Punt whispered to Jared quietly as the music started. "Thought y'd be here."

Mike listened quietly, looking at Sherry out of the corner of his eye.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:05 pm 
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Sherry stepped down as the boy played, figuring she'd said all she could at that point. She leaned heavily on Mike, closed her eyes.

Meanwhile, the boy looked up.

"I didn't think she'd let you come," he said to Punt. "You're in a bad way."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:10 pm 
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Mike put an arm around her and propped his head on hers, giving her a little squeeze.

Punt shrugged, not that the boy could see it. "I'm just sittin' here, listenin'. Not gonna keel over doin' that."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:16 pm 
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"She's jes worried, you know," Jared said. "You wouldn't understand that, though."

Melanie slid her thumb over Petro's knuckles. "You know," she said, "I bet there's some letting go you need to do, as well."

She looked up at him.

"You don't have to do it here... but everyone has to sometimes."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:18 pm 
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He cleared his throat, sucked in a breath, maneuvering to interpose her so people couldn't see him composing himself.

"I have to be here for this," he said. "Duty."

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:18 pm 
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Punt shrugged again. "I don' have to." He said simply.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:29 pm 
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"When are you going to learn that these people don't need you to carry them?" Melanie whispered against his neck. "Sherry's carrying them right now. If it's not good for you, then you don't need to be here."

Sherry sighed. "I was gonna say something about Steve," she said to Mike with a bit of a worried look. "But... what could I say that we don't already know, you know?"

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:31 pm 
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He felt a cold burn of anger, and embraced it. "These people trusted me to keep them alive. I owe them this," he said brusquely to Melanie. It wasn't fair to her, but it gave him something to focus on besides his weird-freaking-out behavior.

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:33 pm 
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He shrugged and squeezed her again. "You did well." He said simply, kissing her on the temple. "We can just remember him. That's what we're here for, after all."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:35 pm 
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"Trusted?" Melanie said with an arched eyebrow. She squeezed his hand in a way that looked tender and loving, but in reality was putting a painful amount of pressure on the bones. "Trust," she said, "there's no past tense about it. Don't be daft."

"I ain't heard music in a long time," Jared said.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:36 pm 
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He relaxed a little, staring at the wall of photos again. "I'm talking about them."

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:38 pm 
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"And what? You think that just because a person dies, that their last thoughts must have been renouncing you?"

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:41 pm 
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He sighed. "It's not that. I knew what I was doing when I got the job. It's just that..." he swallowed. "I keep my distance from what happens, and this isn't helping that."

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:41 pm 
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"It has been that." Punt agreed. "We just ain't had the time 'till now, I s'pose."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:44 pm 
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"What do you think you'll gain by that?" Melanie asked, staring straight ahead as though ignoring him. After all, they couldn't appear to be losing composure in the middle of a crowd.

Jared closed his eyes and listened to the music. "Music makes me feel good," he said, "'cause I've still got my ears."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:47 pm 
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"Heh," he said. "Not going stark fucking nuts." He put a hand on her shoulder. "I'm better now, I'm keeping it together."

Fuck, but he was going to need a day off soon, though. He'd been through stress-jittery overload before, and he knew the symptoms.

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:50 pm 
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"Just promise me you'll deal with what you need to," she said. "It would hurt you, me, and everyone in here if you just let it catch up to you and boil over. You're not as stupid as you act sometimes; I know you can keep it together."

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Punt nodded. "I'll let y' listen, then."

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