When she first stepped foot into Lizbet’s car, Naninami notices how luxurious it is, with leather seats, surround sound, wood paneling and all sorts of delightful buttons. However, this notion quickly turns to, “Ohmygodtoofast!” when goes through an underpass towards the downtown area. She zips in between cars, goes onto the median, and at one point, the car is only on the side wheels, driving along the underpass walls to pass a group of cars.
Lizbet: Whee! I love driving in the city! Papa never let me do it before. Said I was too reckless. I haven’t hit a single car yet!
Naninami mutters to herself, “Need to strap in…” She struggles to locate the seatbelt and get it buckled while Lizbet guns the vehicle between two big rigs.
Her eyes are wide as she watches vehicles zipping past with unnerving speed. Nani is certain that some of the drivers’ gestures aren’t very friendly.
Lizbet: Whee! Almost there. Hey, want me to stop by this awesome restaurant for dinner? It’s across the city, but I can make it there in no time!But after a few moments of initial panic, she starts to calm down and observe.
Naninami: Sure. Sounds like fun.
Lizbet: Hold on tight!
Instead of you know… making a U-Turn, she somehow hits the breaks and flips the car around in a motion so quick, it has Nani’s stomach flipping around. Naninami braces herself from being flung out of the car, eventhough she’s secured by the seatbelt. She watches Lizbet’s technique and makes some mental notes: Right pedal accelerator, left pedal clutch, lever in the middle switches gear… Guess the other pedal is the break, but Lizbet doesn’t use it much. She only mostly uses it for drifting. After a great deal of zipping, zagging, zigging… and even some flipping, three police tails and a super hero vehicle chasing her, Lizbet breaks free and parks all of a sudden.
Lizbet: We’re here!
Naninami catches her breath, undoes her seatbelt, steps out of the car. “That… was… AWESOME! We have to do that again, only next time, I wanna drive.”
Lizbet: You can drive us home! I’ll give you directions as we go!
Naninami: Cool. I’m qualified on the MR-17 bi-wheeled recon platform and was training on the KT-64 main battle tank. Only in simulators, but… I never realized a four-wheeled vehicle could be so manuverable.
Lizbet entering a building called “Cheesy Chuck’s”.
Naninami follows Lizbet into “Cheesy Chuck’s”, looks around. “Oh, my Gosh! They have simulators in the mess hall! You can eat and train at the same time!”Lizbet: Whoa, I’ve never been in one of these either! The TV said it was the best place on earth to eat, and it really is! Hey, ball room!
Naninami: “Ball room?” She looks where Lizbet is pointing. “Oh! They’re so shiny!” Nani runs off and jumps into the balls, frightening a pair of kindergartners who thought they had the ball pit to themselves.
Lizbet jumps in head first, causing all the little’uns to evacuate. “Woohoo!”
Nani starts madly burrowing through the colorful plastic balls. “There’s gotta be something in here. Like treasure or something.”
Lizbet: This does kind of look like a pirate’s cove…
Naninami looks up from her crazed scramble for Cheesy Chuck pirate loot. Notices someone in a bright orange shirt with a nametag reading “Assistant Manager / STEVE / Crew Member For / 1 year”. Steve is standing between two angered adult women who are with the displaced little kids. “Hey! Steve!” she says. “Want to help us find the treasure?”
Steve: Uhh… no… yes? You get treasure with every Pirate’s Booty meal you order. But you need to come out of there. The height limit for this is four feet…
Lizbet: I’m well over that! Those little kids over there, they must have been cheating, since they’re all like three feet at most.
Naninami: Let’s see… mutters They do everything in metric in the lab, such a pain to convert…. I’m 145cm, that’s about four nine, I’m good. does a back flip into the ball pit
Steve: Uh… it’s a maximum limit… but why don’t I order you two some Pirate’s Booty meals and some complimentary arcade game tokens?
Naninami: Wow! Thanks, Steve. Climbs out of the ball pit and offers Lizbet a hand up.
Lizbet buys two Pirate Booty meals in addition to a few anchovy and cheese burritos.
Naninami looks at the Pirate Booty meals and anchovy and cheese burritos. “I never knew pirates ate pepperoni pizza and curly fries.” Then she starts eating. After taking a few bites, she turns to her companion. “Lizbet? Do you think maybe they were exaggerating just a little on TV? This is good, but maybe not the best ever.”
Lizbet: No way! We’re just not good enough to really understand it. TV can’t lie. It’s a law, or something.
Naninami: Well, OK. But I’ll make you a homemade pizza one of these days. Just to see if it turns out as good as this. Now this burrito thing is another matter. Anchovy, cheese, such an odd combination. It’s either going to be good or lethal.
Naninami: In some ways, it should be the perfect junk food… The flour tortilla gets you carbs and fat. Cheese more fat, and since it’s canned cheese product a bit of salt. Anchovies, more salt still. But maybe it’s a taste I’ll have to acquire after staying here for a while.
Naninami leaves a mostly uneaten anchovy cheese burrito.
Lizbet: Yeah, I’m full up, sailor.
She leaves her half eaten meal behind, but has her pirate’s treasure in her hand, a small pirate with an outstretched saber.
Naninami takes her pirate’s treasure, a small injection molded plastic parrot. “So, what do we do with the arcade tokens?”
Lizbet: Uh… looks like they are inserted into the base of the arcade cabinets. Yes, where the numeric values indicate that two tokens must entered to play this game.
Lizbet inserts two coins into “Swords!” a game involving manipulating a plastic sword that is tied to the device, waving it about causing the motion sensors to judge the strike and attack enemies on the screen, or block enemy strikes.
Naninami: I see. It’s a system for rationing access to the combat simulators. But… They all say insert two tokens… Why not just issue half as many tokens?
Naninami shrugs, puts two tokens into the Swords! game and takes the second controller.
Lizbet: Maybe… it’s a… standard in pirate… currency? The world is a mysterious place! En guarde! Feel my wrath, black beard!
Naninami takes a defensive stance. Looks at the monitor and realizes that one of the pirates on the screen is mirroring Lizbet’s actions while another is mirroring Nani’s. She salutes the screen with her sword and takes a swipe at her foe.
The game ends with Nani beating Lizbet 3 to 1. Lizbet one the first few, but Nani steamrolled her every game afterward.
Naninami: Good game, Lizbet. That’s a fun simulator. We’ll have to try some of the others next time.
Lizbet: I didn’t feel like I was learning any useful combat skills, but it was awesome! The way the little pirates waved their swords, and spin and disappear when they die is hilarious.
Naninami: Yeah. I love the silly noises they make when you hit them. “Yargh! Shiver me timbers!”
Naninami: I’m out of tokens… And I think Steve is looking at us funny. Let’s go to your place.
Lizbet hands Nani the keys.
Naninami gets behind the wheel. Takes a bit of time to adjust the seat and mirrors. As she’s making her adjustments, she turns to Lizbet and says, “Let me make sure I understand the rules of city driving. As we approach cross streets with the colored indicators: If it’s green keep going at your current speed. Yellow, accelerate. Red, accelerate while dodging between the vehicles traveling perpendicular to you.”
Lizbet: Wow, you got all that without taking any driving lessons from the arcade? You’re awesome.
Naninami: I just observed your technique, sensei.
Naninami: If you leave the main pavement and use the auxiliary concrete roadway… Oh, it’s a sidewalk! You need to hit at least one plastic trash can, but you use the horn to give the pedestrians a chance to get out of the way.
Lizbet: Muahaha. Together we’ll conquer the world with cuteness!
Lizbet: Proceed, grasshoppa!
Naninami: Yes, ma’am!
Nani suddenly recalls a stunt driving class that she took… well the memory doesn’t make any sense, but she sure as hell knows how to drive all of a sudden.
She needs a few seconds to locate the igniton and put the key in. “Don’t forget to fasten your seatbelt”.
Nani puts the car into reverse and guns it, taking out a trash bin on he sidewalk before sliding into the street facing the direction of Lizbet’s building.
She quickly comes upon a large traffic jam. Her instincts tell her to pull down an alley and gun it through a market, but Lizbet says to go into oncoming traffic.
Naninami follows sensei’s advice. (Easily making another driving roll without modifiers) and slides Lizbet’s sportscar between a garbage truck and a city bus.
Lizbet: Ahaha! Punch it, you’ll squeeze through the gap up there, and then go down that sidewalk. There’s only like three people on it, and they already see you!
Naninami gives the horn a jaunty beep and hollers, “Yeehaw!” as she zips past the startled pedestrians.
Nani makes a quick left and pulls onto a supermarket parking lot. Her instincts say to cut around it and go through the fence. However, Lizbet says “Through the garden center! It’ll be AWESOME!”
Naninami: OK! (Makes another driving roll.) Oooh! Garden gnomes! They’re so cute and creepy at the same time!
Nani plows through the flower department and narrowly avoids the tree isle and busts through a few flimsy counters through the back of the store. Luckily, it was closed at this time.
She then goes through a fence and into a residential neighborhood. Nani’s instincts tell her to slow down until pulling onto the main road…but Lizbet, “Punch it down the street, use that SUV like a ramp and we’ll be on the main road in no time flat!”
Naninami will go with her instincts this once, just because she can’t see past the SUV. Nani slows down and makes a quiet drive to the main road, before punching it again.
Lizbet pouts: Ahh, it was totally set up just like in “Street Racer, Go Go’s Revenge.” If you did that, we would like win a record or something.
Naninami: Sorry, sensei. Maybe next time. I didn’t want to land in something crunchy.
Suddenly the theme song from “Four’s a company, Five’s a crowd” begins to play in Nani’s pocket.
Lizbet: Oh, Gord’s calling.
Lizbet lunges, digging through Nani’s pockets for her phone.
Lizbet: Got it!
Lizbet answers the phone: Heeeellllloooo Gord!
Naninami yells towards the phone, “Hi, Mr. Gord!”
Lizbet: It’s Lizbet, Nani is busy driving right now! Oh hey, go through that newstand, it’ll make a shower of newspapers as we go down that staircase onto the main parkway!
Naninami hits the gas: Got it!
Driving skill takes the newsstand in one go, blasting it apart as they fly down the staircase, bumping along.
Lizbet: Yeaaaaa…uh.uh.uh.uh! Hahaha awesome!
Naninami: Lizbet… I don’t think this little car can take this kind of abuse for much longer.
Lizbet: I armored it before I left this morning. Hey, so, what was that? Fire? Okay, if you’re sure. Okay, go across that bridge and jump over the side, and we’ll be on the street that goes right to my building. Bye Gord!
Naninami: When you armored the car, did you remember to reinforce the suspension?
Naninami drives over the bridge, but looks for a way to the street without jumping.
Lizbet: Oh, you mean traditional car stuff. No, I just fit it with repulsor lifts, so if it goes a certain speed down, they kick in and give it a floaty feel.
Considering the bridge is pretty much walled, going through any way means jumping. Naninami grips the steering wheel, and guns the car to attempt the jump. “Hope this floaty stuff works.” The car bursts through the side of the fenced street down over a busy street. Just as they’re about to explode, a sudden push from below lifts the car up and make sit feel like bouncing on a yoyo string as they descend further down to the street.
Naninami: Whoah! The Karabou military has nothing like that.Lizbet: Nope, my pop and me, we’re the only ones who can legally use them without paying a huge royalty fee.
After another few minutes of driving regular crazy, they arrive at a tall building’s underground parking.
Naninami: This your building?
Lizbet: Yeah, I have the penthouse.
After a ride up to the lobby, they get on a elevator that requires a key, which Lizbet produces. There’s only two buttons inside: Lobby and 30.
Lizbet: Press the 30 button.
Naninami presses the 30 button. “Thanks for letting me drive. I have a feeling I should only drive that way with your car.”Lizbet: Really? I dunno. It’s the only one I’ve driven.
They reach her penthouse. It’s giant… there are four hallways that lead to four different parts of the floor.
Nani steps out of the elevator. She sees a window at the end of the hallway and runs towards it. Looking out she sees the lights of the city at her feet. She turns around and says to Lizbet, “Oh, my Gosh! Are you a princess?”
She takes Nani into the northeast corner. “You can use this corner (GM: it’s as big as a house) for whatever you want. I don’t have a use for it yet. You can drag a bed from one of the spare bedrooms running around.”
Naninami: Oh, wow! Thank you! Lizbet, before I start using a room in your house. I have to ask you a question.
Naninami: If something’s “real sick,” is it a bad thing?
Lizbet: As in a person?
Naninami: As in when I told you how I Adastra made me in a lab, you said that was real sick.
Lizbet: Yes, real sick is not good at all. What I meant was that Adastra people were bad for making a person and not treating them like a person, but instead like a lab rat, doing experiments and tests without asking permission.
Naninami gives Lizbet a huge hug. Almost, but not quite activating powered armor huge. “Thanks for telling me what you meant. You’re a very good friend. I’m glad you don’t think that making me was a bad thing.”
Naninami: And I’m glad you understand why I don’t want to go back there.
Lizbet: Making someone in a lab or in a woman is the same thing. But people treat babies with extreme care and respect. They treated you like a thing.
Naninami: You have got to meet Professor Jipson. She treated me like a person. I think she’d like you.
Lizbet: I hope we get the chance. Oh that reminds me. Come with me.
Naninami releases her deathgrip and follows Lizbet.
They go into a rec room where a dozen monitors are set up. Most look like they’re downloading TV shows, but a few are set up with a bunch of pictures of Adastra, and pictures of scientists.
Naninami starts looking at the pictures of scientists. She realizes that most of the white coats were interchangeable in her memory. They’d come in, say the secret words, then Nani would be dozing off while they did whatever they did while she slept. But there might be someone she recognized.
She recognizes a few of the ones who would watch her through the glass, but they were mostly just fixtures, a background much like trees. However, Professor Jipson’s picture appears halfway through the pile.
Lizbet: I tried to locate her, but she’s been missing since the night you disappeared.
Naninami: She just disappeared? No story about what happened to her? I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Lizbet: Who were the others that helped you escape?
Naninami sits down in front of the computer screens. "Let’s see. There were two men. I hadn’t met them before. The first one wasn’t from Karabou. I think he was Japanese. Myrna said he was her boyfriend. Tohsio Ishikawa I think is what she called him. He seemed nice. "
Lizbet starts rapidly typing.
Naninami: Myrna didn’t say much about the other one. He was somebody who “got things” for the people in Lakana. Don Ronaldo. I don’t know what she meant by getting things. Lakana was owned by Adastra and they got us everything we needed.
Lizbet: Oh, I know him. Everyone knows him. He’s a smuggler. I order stuff from him too. He procures…uh…stuff…from…wherever. Mostly high tech stuff that just isn’t for sale. It’s hard to get stuff now that I’m off my dad’s floating castle.
Naninami: Your dad owns a floating castle? Sure you’re not a princess?Lizbet: He made it. If he was a king, he would have inherited it. But he invented it, and had people construct it. Therefore, not king, me not princess. I mean, just because I have a few crowns doesn’t mean I’m a princess, either.
Naninami: OK. You’re not a princess.
Lizbet: Yet. So, want me to order some parts so we can meet Don the Don, and see what he has to say?
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. ‘Kay.
Lizbet pulls out her zPhone.
Lizbet: Don the Don! Hey, yeah I need more stuff. What ya got? — Uh huh. Yeah, I’ll take one of each. Yeah, usual spot. Ok, we got a meeting.
Naninami: Usual spot? That means you think he’s safe to deal with?
Lizbet: Don the Don? Yeah, he’s cool. I hope he didn’t betray you, because I’d hate to have to find a new smuggler. I usually meet him at the docks. He has these cool secret crates that he lets people hide in sometimes. I had to use one a few days to avoid my pop’s goons.
Naninami: That sounds familar. I think the chronostasis chamber I was in was supposed to be shipped in one of those. I still can’t believe I spent two and a half years sleeping in that thing.
Lizbet: You’re like sleeping beauty. Woken from the eternal by the Gremliminator…
Naninami: What!? I don’t live on top of a crystal tower and my dad doesn’t have a floating castle. I’m not a princess either.Lizbet: Yet.
Naninami: Oh! Speaking of Gremlinatator. What was he calling about?
Lizbet: I dunno, something about a fire.
Naninami: Grem… Fire… Did he set it or was he trying to put it out?
Lizbet: Maybe it was a bonfire? Oh, too bad we didn’t go. I’ve never been to a bonfire.
Naninami: Me neither. So, when are you meeting Don Ronaldo?
Lizbet: Tomorrow morning.
Naninami: Maybe we have time to see the bonfire before going to bed.
Lizbet: We can probably see it from the veranda on the roof. Tallest building in the city.
Naninami looks over the city to see if she can spot a fire. There’s smoke in the distance, but the fire doesn’t appear big.
Lizbet: Yep, missing out on the bonfire.
Naninami gets her zPhone and dials Grem’s number.
Naniami: Hey, Mr. Grem. Sorry I couldn’t talk earlier. Lizbet was giving me a driving lesson.
(Continued in Session 34)