484: The Pajama Game

on January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized Chapters

In Which Dee Changes For The Better

I became incredibly grateful to Steff for her idea of the endless pajama party when she started to explain it to the others. It wasn’t like we made a whole pretense out of why we were doing it that weekend in particular. She started out by saying “since we’re probably going to be hunkering down indoors all weekend anyway…” And in fact, Ian and Amaranth had already sort of convened at my room before we got there, without any discussion.

There was no explanation of why, but one wasn’t needed. We all knew what was going on. And that was really why I was glad for the distraction.

“So, is this going to be like a girls’ thing?” Ian asked.

“I’d feel better with you over here,” I told him.

“The more the merrier, I say,” Amaranth said.

“Can I ask my friends Hazel and Dee if they want to come?” Two asked.

“Sure, honey,” Amaranth said.

“The thing is,” Ian said, “I don’t actually own any pajamas. I sleep in my, uh, nymph costume. And now that I’ve said that out loud, I wish that I’d said satyr.”

“I think your satyr costume’s a little small,” Steff said.

“Well, it’s not like I’m going to be wearing pajamas, either,” Amaranth said. “I mean, obviously. The very thought is… well, I mean, ‘pajama party’ is just another word for ‘sleepover’, and if there’s a point to the hanging out in pajamas it’s just that they’re very comfortable. They’re supposed to be, I mean, I’ve heard…”

“It’s a pajamas optional party,” I said. “Um, that’s not quite what I meant.”

“Well, I’m going to wear my pajamas all weekend long,” Two said, heading for the closet. As she slid it open and began looking through the hangers, I began to see the problem with this idea. “Starting now… Ian, would you please leave so that I can change?”

The light blue cami set she was holding up looked like something a dominatrix would wear on a really messed up kids’ show. It was also pretty sheer on the top.

“Um… you know,” Ian said, “I’m actually remembering I have a lot of…”

“You know what would be fun?” Amaranth said. “If we… those of us who wear pajamas, I mean… swapped. It can be like a theme. Mack, you can wear Two’s pajamas and she can wear yours.”

“I’m not wearing that,” I said at the same time Two said, “I would not like for Mack to wear my clothes again.”

“Yeah, it’s fine, I’ll just go,” Ian said.

“Bye, Ian,” Two said.

“Don’t be stupid,” Steff said. “Ian, you’re not going to perv on her. We know it.”

“That’s not the point,” Ian said.

“Then what is the point?” Steff asked. “Two only asked you to leave long enough for her to change… if her sense of propriety and whateverness says there’s no problem with you being in the same room as her when she’s in pajamas, what’s the problem?”

“During a pajama party that has boys and girls, it must be okay,” Two said. “Otherwise I’m not sure.”

Ian looked at me for support.

“I’d just really rather you were here,” I said. It wasn’t that I didn’t have an opinion on Two strutting around in her lingerie in front of him… I’d really rather that she didn’t. But Steff had a point. In fact, it wasn’t even like she’d be doing any strutting. They were just pajamas to her.

“It’s not like you’re going to see anything new,” Steff said. “They’re just breasts. Lots of people see them.”

“He could not see my breasts in this,” Two said. “It covers them.”

“Two, the material is see-through,” I said.

“But it covers them,” she said. “So they’re decent.”

“There’s nothing indecent about breasts, anyway,” Amaranth said. “But, anyway, I think Steff is right. If you’re not comfortable, Ian, you obviously don’t have to stay, but there’s no reason you have to go.”

“Yeah, okay,” Ian said. “It’s not like I don’t see girls in skimpy clothes over in Weyland. I mean, I’m not looking at them, but living in an all-male dorm means running into girls in the bathroom in the morning and stuff.”

“I can’t imagine using the guys’ bathroom,” I said. “I don’t even like running into girls in there.”

“The girls you run into, I don’t blame you,” Steff said.

“Of course, that’s another reason a suite might be a good choice for your next dorm room,” Ian said. “I’m gonna pop out into the hall, okay? Just let me know when you’re done, Two, please.”

“Okay,” Two said. Ian stepped out and she changed out of her clothes, carefully folding them and gently placing them in her hamper before technically clothing her nudity. “I’m going to go see if my friend Hazel is in her room,” she announced, “so I can let Ian know that I’m done changing.”

“Yeah, I can hear you,” Ian said as he opened the door, very pointedly looking around the room and not at Two as she excused herself and headed past him to the hall.

It occurred to me that by making a big deal out of it he was actually exacerbating the situation… under normal circumstances, it wasn’t like he kept his gaze fixed on Two’s chest at all times. He’d be looking at me or Amaranth, or the face of whoever he was talking about. Pointedly ignoring something was in many ways the opposite of actually ignoring it.

“So, does anybody have any popcorn?” Amaranth said. “The warmable kind? That seems like a traditional party food… I’m sure we’ll end up making cookies at some point, if Two’s friend Hazel feels up to hanging out.”

“And then we can do each other’s hair and nails?” Ian said, sounding the opposite of thrilled.

“If you really don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be,” I said. “I mean, I want you here but I’ll be okay, and I won’t take it personally if your idea of a good time isn’t hanging out with a bunch of girls.”

“No, I’m fine,” Ian said.

“I’m sure you won’t have to participate in baking,” Amaranth said.

“No, actually, I was kind of looking forward to that,” Ian said. “I’m not sure why I said that. Kneejerk smartassery for its own sake, I suppose.”

“Oh, well… what I was going to say is that I won’t be able to have the cookies, anyway,” Amaranth said. “Because of eggs and such, and while I can have pizza without cheese from some chains… well, that’s a whole pizza that no one else will really be interested in, you know? Unless we invite some of the less mammalian girls… I’d be for that, but maybe it’s best if we keep things restricted to close friends. Anyway, they have nice salads in the shop downstairs, but salad’s not really a party food.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve seen individual bags of popcorn kernels there,” I said. “I couldn’t tell you if they have butter or not.”

“Oh, butter!” Amaranth said, with so much dismay that it sounded like a swear. “I didn’t even think of that… people do put it on popcorn a lot, don’t they?”

“I’m afraid so,” I said. “But it’s worth checking out.”

“You know,” Ian said, “If we want to make a list, I don’t mind making a supply run into town before it gets too late. An actual grocery store will have popcorn without butter. I mean, I understand the whole idea is for all of us to stay inside and together, but it’s not going to be a great couple of days if we rely on what we can get delivered or from the store downstairs. Even if it’s a junk food kind of weekend, we’d go broke buying individual candy bars from the corner store.”

“That’s a really good idea,” Amaranth said. “But how about we save it for tomorrow, so you can go when it’s light out? We’ll order in tonight. If I end up having a salad, I’ll have a salad.”

“Breadsticks and tomato sauce,” I said. “There’s no animal products in those, are they? I mean, they’d make the breadsticks from the same dough as the pizza, right?”

“Hmm… maybe,” Amaranth said. “A lot of places coat their bread sticks with butter or cheese, as I found out when I was researching pizzas.”

“Just get a small pizza,” Ian said. “If you can’t eat it all in one sitting, we’ll stick it in the fridge. It’s not like anybody’s going to steal a pizza with no cheese.”

“Yeah,” I said. “And it’s not like one more pizza’s going to break us. You know, all that money we earned… I understand why you don’t want any of it, but we wouldn’t have it if not for you.”

“That money is yours, baby,” Amaranth said.

“Well, then, you can’t stop me from spending it on a pizza for you,” I said.

“Can’t I?” she asked, giving me one of her best looks.

“Um… yes, ma’am,” I said, blushing and looking down.

“It’s not a problem. If we do a weave scry, we can find someone who’s done their homework on which chains have vegan breadsticks,” Amaranth said. “Though, that still leaves Dee out.”

“I have grown accustomed to fending for myself in that regards,” Dee said from just outside the doorway.

“I’d still like to be able to offer…” Amaranth said, before she trailed off at the sight of Dee’s… robe.

It was hard to describe, if only because I’d never seen anything quite like it. It was like she’d taken a blanket and stapled it around her body. It was kind of loose, though not as flowing as her usual gowns and robes.

The thing that was really weirding me out was that it had legs. I’d seen Dee naked, but I’d never seen her wearing anything that even approximated pants.

“I apologize,” Dee said. “I gathered from Two’s description that standards were somewhat relaxed for a gathering of this nature… is this garment unsuitably immodest?”

“Those aren’t the words that want to fall out of my mouth,” Ian said.

“That looks really… comfy,” Amaranth said. “Where did you get it?”

“It is very comfortable,” Dee said. “I overheard it advertised on a television during my stay at Ceilos, upon my arrival at the surface. The halfkind are quite fond of the serialized drama programs of the sort that are shown during the daylight hours. I have no interest in them or in television in general, but I could not picture the product being described, so I sought out the advertisement. It looked… oddly appealing. A bit form-fitting for my tastes, but not overly revealing.”

“It looks really comfy,” Amaranth said again.

“Yes,” Dee said. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go change into my nightgown.”

Amaranth looked like she wanted to protest but couldn’t. Two returned just after Dee slipped out.

“My friend Hazel said she’d be happy to come over but she’s just going to go to bed early tonight because she has business in town tomorrow,” she said. “And she might come to hang out after that but she’ll have to see how she’s feeling.”

“I hope she’s alright, given her condition,” Amaranth said. “Did she say why she’s going into town?”

“No, but she did say to tell you that it’s none of your damned business when you ask,” Two said.

“Oh, well, I don’t see why she has to… wait, she told you to say that to me in particular?” Amaranth asked. “That’s just…”

“Insightful?” Ian said.

“Prophetic?” Steff said at the same time.

“It’s not just Hazel I’m concerned about, you know,” Amaranth said.

“It is not just Two’s friend Hazel that is none of your concern,” Dee said as she re-entered, wearing her very dark green night dress. As much as the other thing had been kind of unsettling, I couldn’t help but think how much warmer it had to be. In fact, it was probably downright toasty… and the benefit of wearing it would be that you wouldn’t have to look at it. “Your compassion is laudable, but concern without respect is… it leads to no place worth visiting. It is condescending, if I understand the use of that term.”

“I do respect Hazel,” Amaranth said.

“Not if you do not respect her autonomy and privacy,” Dee said.

“You know, I still need to change,” I said, “and I’m not really comfortable doing it with everyone in here.”

“Of course,” Dee said, bowing before she withdrew from the room. I realized right after she closed the door that she was the only one who was going to leave, which was so far from what I’d been going for. It ended the argument, which was my intention, but since I really kind of agreed with Dee I didn’t relish the feeling of having thrown her out. I hoped she was perceptive enough to not take it personally.

“Here’s a thought,” Ian said as I somewhat self-consciously stripped off my jeans. “We should probably do any pizza-ordering as soon as possible, so we’re not responsible for any delivery guy being out on campus late at night.”

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” Amaranth said. “I’m ashamed to say I didn’t think of it.”

“I don’t think a deliveryperson in particular would have any reason to fear,” Steff said. “They tend to be capable of taking care of themselves, and anyway, it’s Friday night. It’s not like someone’s going to have to make a special trip just for us. We’ll just be adding to the haul they make for risking their life.”

“Still, there’s nothing wrong with getting the order in good and early,” Amaranth said. “Since it is Friday night and they will be busy. Mack, baby, is your mirror in your coat pocket? I want to find out who has vegan breadsticks.”

“Yes,” I said.

She gazed while I dressed.

“Huh,” she said.

“Not finding anything?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I mean, I am finding things… I’m just considering now that pizza places have more than just pizza and breadsticks. I wonder if they’d think it was weird if I ordered a calzone with no cheese?”

“If they deliver to drunk college students, that probably won’t be the weirdest thing they’ve heard,” Ian said.

“Yeah, well… oh! Lee’s reflecting,” Amaranth said. She held the mirror out to me. “You’d better take it… I’m sure it’s for you, and you know he gets motion sick when we pass him around.”

“Yeah,” I said. I took the mirror and accepted the reflection.

“You’re in your pajamas,” he said in place of a greeting. He looked kind of haggard.

“Yeah,” I said. “We’re kind of having a slumber party tonight… I’ve got a bunch of my friends here at the moment. Should I…”

“So you are done with your classes for the week, then?” he said. “In light of the current situation on campus, I was thinking it might be best if we get you out of there for the weekend. If you want to head on down to the coaches, I could send someone back to get the things you’ll need for a couple of nights. If you throw a coat on, you’ll probably be decent enough…”

“Lee… is something wrong?” I asked. His face was a blank mask betrayed by the urgency obviously underlying his way-too-calmly-uttered words. He hadn’t wanted me off of campus before, and it seemed like “the current situation”, as he knew it, was winding down or wrapping up.

“No, not a thing,” he lied. “Let’s just get you away from campus for…”

There was an unexpected knock on the door, not loud but insistent. Lee froze. I froze.

“I have to go,” he said. “I’m sorry.”


Soon: Oh, shit.


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63 Responses to “484: The Pajama Game”

  1. Drudge says:

    “Is something wrong?”

    Does she need another reason on top of EVERYTHING ELSE?

    Current score: 0
    • arsenic says:

      I suppose it’s more of a curiosity about WHICH thing went wrong, and in what way lol.

      Current score: 1
  2. Colette says:

    Was the knock on Lee’s Door or Mack’s?
    In any case it appears things have just hit the Fan.

    Current score: 0
    • Frelance says:

      Lee’s

      Current score: 0
      • Sapphite says:

        At first I thought it must be Lee’s, but rereading I think it is more likely to be Mack’s. He has to go, because otherwise he would be interfering with a client’s interests (and no, I don’t mean Mack’s interests). Biggest indicator to me is “unexpected” – Mack wouldn’t know if a knock on Lee’s door was unexpected.

        Could be wrong though.

        Current score: 0
        • arsenic says:

          Yeah, I *think* it was Mack’s door. Lee was probably going because either 1) he didn’t want to be seen in the mirror by whoever was knocking on the door, or 2) he had urgent stuff going on on his end too.

          Current score: 0
          • Rey d`Tutto says:

            If Lee had just discovered that his Client, Miss Mackenzie, was going to be arrested, His almost timely warning could cause him grief with the Firm’s other Client, Mr. Embries.

            Current score: 0
    • Fan says:

      OW!!
      *Shoves Mack, Two and Amy off me and picks self up off the floor* I hate when people say that with out thinking… Every time I get slammed with crud *Sigh*

      Current score: 0
  3. Frelance says:

    “Um… you know,” Ian said, “I’m actually remember I have a lot of…”

    Current score: 0
  4. Kevin says:

    I just had the image of Embries making a light snack out of undesirable persons on campus.

    Current score: 0
  5. slaxor says:

    This has got to be one of the better(worse?) cliffhangers.
    Especially as it’s on a friday.

    Current score: 1
    • beappleby says:

      No kidding. I thought the words and then saw them: “Oh, shit!”

      Current score: 1
  6. Potatohead says:

    I honestly can’t remember the last time the ending to a ToMU update gave me chills. Props, AE.

    Current score: 0
  7. readaholic says:

    Dun da-dun-dun! Arrgh! A cliffhanger!!
    Has Ariadne stirred up a lynch mob already?
    Is Granny Blaise coming in with all swords blaising to kidnap Mack “for her own good?”
    Is Mack going to be sacrificed for political convenience?
    Will Amaranth get her calzone with only cheese?
    Tune in for out next exciting episode of Tales of MU!
    Same MU time
    Same MU channel
    Pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza pizza for Mackman!!

    Current score: 0
    • Mammoth says:

      Awesome!

      Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      It was a calzone with no cheese not a calzone with only cheese.

      Current score: 0
      • Speight says:

        Which is exactly what would make the scenario a disaster like the others. (Famous for their record-fast delivery time that frequently disregards causality, Tachyon’s Pizza is always in such a hurry that they frequently mangle orders.)

        Current score: 2
    • Lunaroki says:

      Actually that’s a calzone without cheese.

      Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      They never ordered the pizza – Amaranth was just trying to decide what to order later.

      Current score: 0
  8. cnic says:

    Dee in a snuggie? Ha! That is awesome.

    Also the competency of delivery people on campus. It gave me shades of Snow Crash but with a fantasy spin.

    Current score: 2
    • arsenic says:

      Hahaha I loved Amaranth’s reaction to the snuggie.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        It’s not quite *clothing*, is it?

        I think Mack wants one too – she likes cozy.

        Current score: 0
    • Oitur says:

      Weird…I’m reading Snow Crash

      Current score: 1
  9. Kaila says:

    Just as I was about to get all ‘woo! update!’ it’s a friggin cliffhanger.

    *sigh*

    You know, there’s a reason I buy dvds instead of watching shows on tv. Cliffhangers = optional.

    Current score: 0
  10. Kaila says:

    Oh, and is Dee wearing a snuggie? I love those darn things.

    Current score: 0
  11. Alex says:

    Did Dee come back in? If not, its probably Dee wondering how much longer Mack is going to take to dress

    Current score: 0
  12. Zathras IX says:

    satyric costume:
    Bananas in Pajamas
    May not measure up

    Current score: 3
  13. Gorgonopsid says:

    Drama, suspense, and Dee finally pointing out that Amaranth lacks respect for other people’s decisions.

    Good times.

    BTW, anyone else wonder if that’s actually Lee in the mirror?

    Current score: 1
    • arsenic says:

      Are there any good ways of disguising oneself as another person in the MU-universe? Polyjuice potion type things? I don’t remember hearing about any, so I think it’s really Lee.

      Also YES! to Dee pointing out Amaranth’s lack of respect for other people’s decisions. I could never put my finger on what it was about Amy that occasionally ticked me off (because I like most of her traits and I usually like her), but that’s it.

      Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Possibly there are illusions and things like that. It was coming from his mirror, though.

        Current score: 0
      • Gorgonopsid says:

        MU’s vice principal is a shapeshifter. I strongly doubt that he’s the only one who can. There hasn’t been any mention of Doppelgangers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

        And with regards to Amaranth: to me she frequently comes across as incredibly condescending. Even from the beginning, she’s acted like she’s smarter than everyone else to the point that when her goddess told her upfront that something was simply not allowed the first thing Amy did was look for some kind of loophole. She hasn’t displayed much respect for Mack (ignoring complaints that something made her uncomfortable, shushing Mack because she didn’t want to hear something Mack had to say on an important issue- like that Two wouldn’t want them to chat while she was at work). Finally, she often comes across as completely clueless when it comes to dangerous situations, like when the bullies started throwing rocks at Mack. She seems to have this idea of how she thinks things ought to work but never seems to grasp that she doesn’t actually know everything. Good intentions + lack of respect = condescension.

        Current score: 0
        • The Dark Master says:

          Amaranth is naive and vain, those are her chief flaws. Two put it best: She is nice and smart, but isn’t very smart about being nice, and she isn’t very nice about being smart. Its a bit of an empathy problem, not looking for the reasons why people think or feel certain ways in the first place.

          Look back at her dreams and you’ll see how she thinks, she went to university to earn deplomas for the knowledge she supposidly already had, and every one had her come up with some increadible new idea that nobody else had ever thought of before.

          Current score: 1
  14. Burnsidhe says:

    That’s not a Snuggie. Snuggies don’t have legs, nor do they have a back.

    In any case, Mack had better pass Lee’s advice on to Amaranth, because it sure sounds like Harlowe is about to suffer a catastrophic event. Either by lynch mob, or by a sudden act of dragon.

    Current score: 1
    • arsenic says:

      Huh. I wonder if Harlowe will get destroyed. I don’t think they’d have enough room to keep all the displaced students in on-campus housing though, which would conflict the known-future of Mack living in Gilcrease Hall very soon.

      Current score: 0
      • Potatohead says:

        Alternatively, something does happen to Harlowe and Mack is just one of the lucky few that manage to keep on-campus housing after the dust settles.

        Current score: 0
  15. Greenwood Goat says:

    Hmmmmmm…

    Lee knows something which would make it advisable for Mack to leave campus immediately. Not even throwing some clothes on or grabbing a sponge bag. And he can’t give the reason over the mirror – while Mack is not the best person in a crisis situation, he ought to be able to risk a calm “Mack, you have to get out of there now, because…” Time wise, he must have called her as soon as he could, and Amaranth was able to pass the mirror over to Mack as soon as the call came in. So what could it be?

    It might be that he has advance knowledge that a mob of some description is after her, but how would he? Also, angry mobs are noisy, and a lynch mob, even if they managed a quiet approach, wouldn’t really go for a quiet but insistent knock. Also Lee would be able to tell her exactly what was going on.

    It might be that the IBF are coming to do some further investigation, possibly involving interrogation enhanced by water elementals, but Lee is hardly going to interfere with a legitimate investigation or stick his neck out too much to stymie an extraordinary rendition. If the imps were likely to find out that he had helped her to evade them, he’d know would be unlikely to escape legal consequences just because he didn’t tell her what she was evading. Unless… it was informal. Mike Gregory (who would be able to do that sort of knock) going over to ask Mack some questions on his own account, where her badly fumbled answers might lead to another round of more formal questioning with potentially bad results. If Lee got wind of this, and just happened to advise her to leave, “thinking that the situation on campus was becoming hazardous to her”, Mike, working unofficially, would be unable to divert official resources to finding her, or do more than growl at Lee.

    So, who else and what else? It’s going to have to be a serious danger, possibly fatal, to have Lee this worried. It’s also going to have wide enough connections for him to have found out, and be powerful enough that he wouldn’t want to stay on the pane when it arrived.

    Granny Blaise probably doesn’t have a soft knock, and unless she has been granted (or regained!) some official powers, Lee could just tell Mack she was on her way. The swan people might have been given leave to follow things up, and it might have been diplomatic problems that Lee was trying to avoid. The Yokano and Drow are also diplomatically active in the current situation, but have no reason that we know of to target anyone. Iona, Einhorn and Mur-si are threats, but how would Lee have known, and why would he end the call?

    Embries. He’s vice chancellor of the university, and if he wants to talk to Mack, she will find it nigh-on-impossible to evade him indefinitely. It’s not easy to think of reasons why Lee would want her to go to such trouble to avoid him for just that weekend (at most). However, we know that he is a valued client of Pendragon and Associates, so Lee would have opportunities to fathom his intentions and also have reason to avoid being seen attempting to thwart him. And if, for the sake of argument, he was intending to kill Mack, it would be possible for Lee to justify drastic action in order to save her life, and for Mack to want to put her academic career on hold while her life was so threatened. As to why he might want to cause serious or fatal harm to Mack, I have nothing firm. However, the Man did specifically mention Embries as a threat, and Mack’s connection to the mermaids as a reason for avoiding him. And it does appear that the main reason that Embries was employed at MU, probably at great trouble and expense, was to be able to deal with unusual threats – with extreme prejudice if necessary. It would be far from difficult for him to accomplish and legally finesse Mack’s death. At any rate, he has to be admitted as a possibility.

    So there’s my analysis. Best guesses are Mike Gregory working a private hunch, the swan black ops (or should that be Black Swan Ops?) team pursuing vengeance, or Embries with harmful intent. Roll on next episode, and hope it isn’t just the pizza guy at the door. >:=D>

    Regarding the speculation that this ‘flect came from an impostor, I would wonder who or why. It could have been an abduction attempt (Mack runs out unprepared and jumps into a strange carriage), but if so, seems likely to have been thwarted. Perhaps the putative impostor wants them to attack whoever is at the door, but unless Steff decides to leap in, they probably won’t. Still, I really hope it isn’t the poor ol’ pizza guy knocking. >:=)>

    Changing the subject, this points out another useful skill that Mack would find comparatively easy to learn: falling and landing. With unbreakable bones and tendons, Mack would only have to worry about dislocated joints and synthetic concussion, and could handle a terminal velocity landing with a simple centre-of-gravity tuck – no roll required, and certainly no featherfall spell. So she would be able to escape from her current dilemma with a single bound (straight out the window)!

    Current score: 0
    • drudge says:

      Falling and landing is the sort of skill that would probably save her life all day. I mean look at Danny, he’s got basically the same powerset and fell two goddamn miles. His only real injury was a minor cut where some enchanted glass hit him after all.

      Current score: 0
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      The other reason we can safely remove Emberies from the list of potential threats is that his place on the danger scale is somewhere between “nuclear bombardment” and “Chicxulub Crater.”

      In other words, having him gunning for Mack is simply too big a threat and there’s no realistic hope for her to actually survive. That would make for a boringly inevitable outcome.

      Current score: 0
      • The Dark Master says:

        Emberies is more likely a latter threat then current, Mack can’t really deal with a threat like that right now. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Feejee or Iona yet though, they are more the current foes that Mack has to worry about. They can be quiet, and Dee does not know that they are man eaters.

        Current score: 0
        • beappleby says:

          Why would Feejee or Iona be enough of a danger for Lee to call Mack to warn her to get off campus NOW, but have to get off the phone mid-conversation? I agree that Mack needs to really watch out for and worry about them, especially Iona, but I don’t see how it would have become Lee’s concern.

          Current score: 0
          • drudge says:

            We just got through the legal issues here. The issue isn’t just two college girls, it’s an entire species. Not only that, but given the recent tsunami, a whole lot of people are going to be missing relatives out at sea without a chance.

            They’re going to be pissed, and rightly so, that the government happens to be hiding mass murder from them like that.

            Current score: 0
      • tjhairball says:

        Well, there’s “Embries pissed” and “Embries *curious*” as two different levels of threat.

        Embries pissed means death and destruction. Embries curious and poking around Harlowe is, while not necessarily lethal, highly hazardous.

        While it might be difficult to imagine Mack surviving an irate Embries, a curious Embries is a survivable possibility, perhaps even more so with her “eat me now pl0x” aura being impacted by the anti-fertility potion. I don’t feel quite ready to eliminate Embries as a possibility.

        That said, there are plenty of possible visitors that Lee might know about.

        Current score: 0
        • Gorgonopsid says:

          Mack wasn’t affected by Embries’s aura when she wasn’t on the potion.

          Current score: 0
          • bramble says:

            Mack wasn’t affected by Embries’ “you want me to eat you” aura, but we don’t know whether Embries is usually affected by Mack’s “I want you to eat me” aura. Remember, we’ve seen multiple examples of people wanting to eat Mack, whether she wants to be eaten or not.

            Current score: 0
        • JS says:

          I don’t suspect Embries directly at this point. He likes to keep things under his hat and showing up at Mack’s door would not do that. It may be an emissary for him, though, which basically amounts to the same thing. I’m super curious to see what this will be!

          Current score: 0
  16. C8H9NO2 says:

    My thinking is: we’ve got a deity en route.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Ooh, that’s a thought. She’d definitely want to be elsewhere for that. But why wouldn’t Lee be able to say that?

      Current score: 0
    • erianaiel says:

      A deity in the same building would probably cause Mackenzie unbearable pain. One in the same room would outright kill her.
      Remember, Mackenzie could not stand Khersis even paying a little attention to her prayer. And that was just attention, no physical contact, no real divine power involved (beyond the obvious of praying to a deity of course).

      Current score: 0
  17. Ally says:

    A deity? Do they knock? I’d think that would be less of a visit and more of a visitation, kwim? My bet is not on deity. The best possibility I can think of is the school administration in some form–remember that Lee’s original job had to do with Mack’s case against the university. Lee might unofficially know if the school was going to take some sort of action toward Mack, which I’d think would likely be some off-record questioning. Bad for her case, probably bad for her personally. Not as exciting as a deity. What I wonder is: what happened to Dee? She’s supposed to be waiting outside, and we know that people just outside the door can be heard by people inside the room. So either she doesn’t question the knocker or she is somehow silenced.

    Or that could be overanalysis, a detail that isn’t actually significant.

    Current score: 0
  18. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    Dee’s pajamas sound more like a couch pouch than a Snuggie to me. *used to have one of those things, and it was comfy, but man did it look ridiculous.]

    Current score: 0
    • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

      … the asterisk and bracket keys are nowhere near each other. How in the world did I…?

      Current score: 0
  19. Xi'Cree says:

    I LOVE how fascinated Amaranth was with Dee’s clothes… She sounded almost mesmerized saying “That looks comfortable” LOL.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      Well, the thing is – if it’s something “a blanket stapled around her” – then it’s not really *clothes*, is it?

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  20. The Dark Master says:

    Has anyone else noticed that not only are others less interested in Mack sexually right now, all her usual sexual thoughts/gazes have disapeared? She hasn’t stared at Steff or Amaranth’s chests since taking the anti-fertility potion or thought of doing anything with Ian. That seems to be a bit out of character after her first week…

    Current score: 0
    • Gorgonopsid says:

      Could be the potion. Could just be the author focusing on something else. Mack doesn’t go around thinking about sex *all* the time.

      Current score: 1
  21. Eric says:

    One aspect I think people are overlooking. We have reasonable knowledge that Mack’s father had contact with Lee and payed for his services. Could Lee not have received some word that Mack’s father was heading there, and could he not be the one knocking on the door? Sounds reasonable to me, and a firm polite knock sounds perfectly in character for him.

    Current score: 0
    • Greenwood Goat says:

      Counter to that, he does favour dream contact, probably because he finds it hard to manifest on the material plane, and admits that he prefers one-on-one contact to dealing with crowds. Also, he does seem able to keep abreast of events on the material plane, and so should be aware that the crowd in Mack’s room includes a divine being, and that there’s a holy priestess about to rejoin them. While they might not have the divine oomph between them to banish him, and Amaranth might not have the focus required to direct her energies without hurting Mack, they ought to be able to blunt his style at least. Considering the sort of long game that he’s playing, he’d have to have a damn good reason to manifest right here and right now.

      Current score: 0
      • bramble says:

        I’m pretty sure that The Man is physically manifest already, and has been for years – he’s offered to let Mack see him in public as a show of good faith, and speaks of being banished from the material plain as being sent back to somewhere he doesn’t want to be. On the other hand, I believe that Mack has mentioned, if only in the narration, that “congress with demons” is flat-out illegal, and The Man seems pretty invested in keeping Mack healthy and at her liberty. I don’t think he’d risk showing up in person at her dorm – unless he’s also gotten wind of whatever’s got Lee spooked, and decided to get his little girl out of there himself.

        Current score: 0
  22. Oitur says:

    “…fending for myself in that regards,” Dee said…

    I think “regard” is more correct.

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  23. 2nt9 says:

    not a snuggie? …I wonder if dee makes her own clothes…

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  24. BlackWizard says:

    “The light blue cami set she was holding up looked like something a dominatrix would wear on a really messed up kids’ show.”

    I read this line and darn near fell out of my chair as I imagined this on some sort of kids show…Hella funny! Also Dee is right, Amaranth DOESN’T respect Hazel’s privacy. Dee mad a very valid point on showing concern without showing respect for the person, belittles them and shows how little you think of their judgement. Right or wrong, it is THAT person’s call on how to handle a situation, NOT yours.

    Current score: 0