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[personal profile] azetidine_plays
 The Google Maps link in this freeform is the same place, but the imagery has been updated since I ran this, and flooding appears to have changed the shape of the river in the period between the 2007-ish images I was using and the current (2013) ones. The sandy channel running on the north side of the wooded strip was either flooded or much deeper, making that strip into an island. I don't think I've ever been to this location in real life, but Iowa is where I grew up and what I know. The dream landscape has changed since I moved away, and the previous installment reflected some of those alterations to my nocturnal Waterloo. Which is more of a side note than anything else.

I think this was the most fun session of Changes, just in terms of the joking tone, but not the most successful in terms of atmosphere or weirdness, which is something I think I've gone further towards in dreamlike freeforms that I ran side by side and after this. Because, let's face it, dreams are deeply weird.

Anyway.

Part one here.
Part three here.



(11:27:15 PM) me: ) You are swimming down a murky river. It is known as the Cedar. You have spent the last few hours clicking merrily away, all the live long day. Your echolocation skillz are mad, as they say.
(11:27:15 PM) me: You become aware of a growling in your abdomen.
(11:27:43 PM) Rainne: oh, that's just typical.
(11:28:18 PM) me: Well, you -have- been expending a lot of energy.
(11:28:26 PM) me: Changing is particularly energy-hungry.
(11:28:49 PM) Rainne: okay. according to my mad echo skillz, is there anyone around as far as boaters, etc?
(11:29:40 PM) me: Nope. You passed the last one a while ago, when you carefully crept through the bottom of a tiny downtown area.
(11:29:55 PM) Rainne: do i know what's nearby?
(11:30:02 PM) Rainne: on the land, i mean
(11:30:06 PM) me: Not without looking.
(11:30:16 PM) me: Probably trees. That's what it's mostly been, when you've come up to the surface.
(11:30:27 PM) Rainne: okay. is there anything around, like a big snag or anything, that i can get behind to surface safely?
(11:31:10 PM) pineapplechild [~pineapple@65-128-247-89.mpls.qwest.net] entered the room.
(11:32:51 PM) me: You are coming up on a fork in the river. There's probably a marshy island in the middle. These things very rarely have people or buildings on them, due to the frequent floods.
(11:33:52 PM) Rainne: all right; if such an island exists, i'll surface in its lee and see what I can see
(11:34:11 PM) me: Lee = downstream side?
(11:34:15 PM) Rainne: yeah
(11:35:17 PM) me: http://maps.google.com/?ll=42.171753,-91.828934&spn=0.006886,0.016512&t=h&z=17
(11:35:31 PM) me: Trees. Dead branches. A little rocky place where you can stagger to your feet.
(11:35:42 PM) Rainne: ok, am I on the left, right or bottom?
(11:35:58 PM) me: Left.
(11:36:12 PM) Rainne: is there anything around?
(11:37:29 PM) me: Across the river (south) is what looks like a small turnabout. it's barely more than tire tracks in the grass.
(11:38:14 PM) Rainne: about how far am I from that city I was aiming for?
(11:38:49 PM) me: which one, the one further down the river, or the big one way on the east coast that had the secure warehouse?
(11:39:18 PM) Rainne: I thought the one with the secure warehouse was the one just down the river
(11:39:36 PM) me: It isn't. The one down the river is called Cedar Rapids. It's not that much bigger than Waterloo, where you came from.
(11:39:48 PM) Rainne: well you didn't tell me that yesterday :(
(11:40:00 PM) me: Sorry, I thought that was clear.
(11:40:16 PM) me: There would probably be some more "safehouses" for you to squat in in Cedar Rapids.
(11:40:19 PM) Rainne: no, you just said there was one city. You didn't say anything about a second one. :p
(11:40:41 PM) me: (*scavenges in logs*)
(11:42:41 PM) Rainne: there was one city to the west with a university, and another city down the river with a secure warehouse.
(11:43:26 PM) me: The second city was described as "There is a city somewhere to the east. On a coast or Great Lake, you think. You don't remember the name. It would be far. You'd have to fly most of the way."
(11:43:59 PM) Rainne: ohhhhhh okay. i must have got confused then because you followed that up with something about the river, so I thought that was the same city
(11:44:00 PM) Rainne: my bad
(11:44:01 PM) Rainne: okay
(11:44:11 PM) Rainne: so, i'm in the wilderness with half a dolphin head
(11:44:25 PM) Rainne: and i'm hungry
(11:45:23 PM) me: You got into the river, did a Change, and then swam. I described the "next major town" as "an hour's drive by pseudo-freeway." That next major town is Cedar Rapids.
(11:45:45 PM) me: My apologies, I'll try to use more names so that it's clear.
(11:45:47 PM) Rainne: okay. Where am I in reference to Cedar Rapids?
(11:45:52 PM) Rainne: (it's ok, don't sweat it.)
(11:45:55 PM) me: scroll out on your map.
(11:46:28 PM) Rainne: ok, so at this point I can depend on the map?
(11:46:29 PM) me: The river flows roughly southeast. So does Interstate 380, a spur that comes off of I-80 just west of Iowa City and goes through Cedar Rapids up to Waterloo.
(11:46:39 PM) me: At this point, yes.
(11:46:42 PM) Rainne: ok
(11:47:06 PM) Rainne: i'm not close enough to anything to see it or know where it is.
(11:47:14 PM) Rainne: I need to get up in the air
(11:48:28 PM) me: Your stomach growls again.
(11:48:28 PM) Rainne: Are the fish jumping?
(11:48:35 PM) me: Not quite, but you've passed a few.
(11:48:55 PM) me: A bit of patience might net you one or two.
(11:48:55 PM) Rainne: have I got enough energy to change again?
(11:49:54 PM) me: It's chancy. Better to pretend you are a fish friend, lure one into your petting hands, and then cruelly betray them.
(11:49:54 PM) me: Fish tears will haunt your dreams tonight.
(11:50:11 PM) Rainne: I think I'll survive. Heeeeeere fishy fishy fishy
(11:51:35 PM) me: You plunge back in. Your hands tingle. Soon enough, a many-whiskered catfish approaches you.
(11:52:06 PM) Rainne: I do like me some catfish. I grab him and toss him up onto the bank.
(11:52:54 PM) me: Her, you sense. She tries to flop back into the water. You might need to put her out of her misery.
(11:53:52 PM) Rainne: oh jeez, am i going to be all woobiefied over the feelings of a fish now? Freaking superpowers. I surface and whack her with a rock.
(11:55:17 PM) me: You are. Deal with it.
(11:55:17 PM) me: Oddly enough imagining putting on some sunglasses helps.
(11:55:17 PM) me: Still, the fish eyes smearing all over the rock and the little brains and the delicate bones and the sand on her gasping lips--
(11:55:27 PM) Rainne: Mmmm, catfish.
(11:55:37 PM) me: Indeed. Raw or cooked?
(11:55:51 PM) Rainne: Do I have anything on me to start a fire with?
(11:56:14 PM) me: The depleted battery that is your brain.
(11:56:36 PM) Rainne: oho. I gather a little bit of wood and see about fire.
(11:58:21 PM) me: It's not a matter of seeing so much as feeling, especially in your left fingertip -- it's hard to find anything dry here. It rained last night, you recall. And the island is low. If the river were any higher it would be a marsh.
(11:59:14 PM) Rainne: Can I set fire to the fish itself?
(12:01:09 AM) me: Mm, it's kind of wasteful to roast the fish. Better just to convince it to cook itself. It will take more energy than just starting a fire though, since you have to keep applying the chemical reactions. Like Changing the fish.
(12:01:31 AM) Rainne: No chance I can convince it to batter itself first?
(12:01:35 AM) Rainne: ;)
(12:01:45 AM) me: Unless you like the Sandy Bottom Special, no.
(12:01:55 AM) Rainne: damn XD
(12:02:06 AM) Rainne: okay. i'll cook the fish using Only The Power Of My Mind
(12:02:24 AM) me: It takes a lot out of you.
(12:02:33 AM) Rainne: i'm sure, but once I nom it, i'll feel better.
(12:03:33 AM) me: The fish warms up, first that strange lukewarm state, then actively warm. Like a hot shower. It's uncomfortable to hold, but you have to keep touching it to keep the reaction going. After a couple of minutes you sense that the fish is cooked.
(12:03:49 AM) Rainne: I peel the scales off and start eating.
(12:03:53 AM) Rainne: Carefully, to avoid bones.
(12:04:08 AM) me: You dig into it like a starving woman. Which is what you now are. 
(12:04:08 AM) me: One fish may not be enough.
(12:04:17 AM) Rainne: No, but it'll get me started.
(12:04:58 AM) Rainne: If I'm still hungry when I'm done, I'll go back into the water and hunt up a bigger fish.
(12:05:01 AM) me: It tastes faintly of rosemary. Not bad. Still, you barely have enough energy to digest.
(12:06:32 AM) me: It's going to take 20 minutes before you feel up to luring another.
(12:06:44 AM) Rainne: That's okay. I'm not in a hurry.
(12:08:24 AM) me: You lounge indolently on the bank.
(12:08:31 AM) Rainne: *burp*
(12:08:34 AM) me: In the distance you hear the sound of a chainsaw.
(12:08:39 AM) me: Back to the west a little.
(12:08:39 AM) Rainne: how distant?
(12:08:46 AM) Rainne: on the island or off it?
(12:09:18 AM) me: Maybe 3/4 mile.
(12:09:39 AM) me: Probably the south bank of the river, below the island.
(12:09:50 AM) Rainne: okay, so not close enough to find me
(12:09:52 AM) Rainne: yet
(12:10:39 AM) me: Nah. Sounds like it's actually being used, probably to cut through a tree.
(12:11:12 AM) me: People gotta clear their pastures, yanno.
(12:11:13 AM) Rainne: suits me, as long as they're not close enough to find me and give me trouble.
(12:11:19 AM) Rainne: am i ready to fish again?
(12:11:22 AM) me: Yes.
(12:11:29 AM) Rainne: i want a bigger one this time
(12:11:41 AM) Rainne: something to give me a better return on my investment
(12:11:55 AM) me: You're probably going to have to go out to the middle of the stream, where the river forks back together.
(12:12:29 AM) Rainne: that's fine. While I'm at it, I can go around on the other side of the island and get farther from that chainsaw.
(12:14:37 AM) me: Okay. Just before you go back in you take a deep breath. The power lines arcing across the river catch your eye.
(12:14:50 AM) Rainne: what specifically about them?
(12:15:19 AM) me: They're one of the large lines, the giant pylons that look like cats marching across the farmland.
(12:15:42 AM) Rainne: And?
(12:15:44 AM) me: Just, dunno. Might be useful.
(12:15:54 AM) Rainne: okay
(12:16:01 AM) me: They go north-south. They carry a large current. Lots of energy there.
(12:16:07 AM) Rainne: ...
(12:16:09 AM) Rainne: oh
(12:16:20 AM) Rainne: can I access that?
(12:16:29 AM) me: You might once you have this second fish in you and maybe nap a little.
(12:16:52 AM) Rainne: Huh. All right then. Fish time!
(12:16:54 AM) me: Right now it just feels beyond you.
(12:17:33 AM) me: \Mister fish, mister fish, let me come in!\
(12:17:54 AM) Rainne: heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere fishy fishy fishy
(12:18:12 AM) me: You wait half an hour. Breathing. Listening to the currents murmur their currenty slow murmurs.
(12:19:00 AM) Rainne: heeeeeeeeeeeeere fishy fishy fishy
(12:19:04 AM) me: It becomes boring.
(12:19:51 AM) Rainne: and yet, I'm hungry.
(12:20:01 AM) Rainne: So, I fish.
(12:20:23 AM) me: Worry starts to invade the back of your mind. What if the fish never comes? What if a Department of Natural Resources guy is standing on the bank if you come back up, and sees you nom a giant-ass trout, which is probably illegal? What if they figure that you DID take the river, and they're sending a helicopter right now?
(12:20:53 AM) Rainne: What if I just hang out here and fish like a fishing thing?
(12:21:48 AM) Rainne: I send out a little call like I did before. Heeeeeere fishy fishy
(12:22:10 AM) me: Are your hands tingling? That bit is important.
(12:22:13 AM) Rainne: yes
(12:22:20 AM) me: Ah, good.
(12:22:56 AM) SporkyRat left the room (quit: Quit: SporkyRat).
(12:22:58 AM) me: An old man of the river swims right up to you, bold as anything. He's all "what's this then" and noses your hands.
(12:23:14 AM) me: He's probably five feet long. Got a couple fishing hooks stuck in his lips.
(12:24:03 AM) Rainne: "Hello there, old fellow." I pet him gently with my fingertips until he's comfortable enough that I can get my whole hand up next to him
(12:24:56 AM) Rainne: then I get my fingers in just the right position and I catch him under the gills with one hand and around his tail with the other, and I sling him way up onto the bank.
(12:26:50 AM) me: He is shocked. Fish shock has a completely different quality than human shock, you find.
(12:27:03 AM) me: He flops mightily. You were in the middle of the stream and not quite close enough to a bank.
(12:27:15 AM) me: The shallows churn under his powerful fins.
(12:27:27 AM) Rainne: I leap on him and wrestle him up onto the land
(12:28:38 AM) me: You sense his life force waning. It's... disturbing.
(12:29:02 AM) Rainne: I give him a soft apology, and then I whack him in the head.
(12:29:35 AM) me: Not enough. He's asphyxiating anyway, so another minute of holding him might do it. Or you could give him a swifter death with a sharp stick you find to hand.
(12:29:46 AM) Rainne: That works, too. *poke*
(12:30:19 AM) me: The stick irritates the gash you got when you dove into the river, what seems like a day ago but must have been just a few hours. The wound on your hand opens.
(12:30:26 AM) me: The old man of the river dies in your arms.
(12:30:38 AM) Rainne: ow.
(12:30:43 AM) Rainne: I do the cooking thing again.
(12:31:42 AM) me: It's going to take a while. Ten whole minutes of forcing a dead fish to Change. Maybe... maybe if you electrocuted him. You think you can manage a pull. But you're on the other side of the island.
(12:31:57 AM) me: On the third hand, the bank goes higher here. Some dry sticks nearby.
(12:32:07 AM) me: The smoke might alert the people with the chainsaw though.
(12:32:19 AM) me: You start to feel like Kali, four hands and a chain of skulls at your waist.
(12:32:23 AM) Rainne: Hmm.
(12:32:43 AM) Rainne: Lighting a fire would probably take less energy, but pulling power might be safer in terms of not being noticed.
(12:33:49 AM) Rainne: Can I reach the power lines without leaving the island?
(12:33:52 AM) me: It's not a simple thing. You'd have to touch the fish and the wire at the same time. Or make a giant arc.
(12:33:54 AM) me: Yes, they cross it.
(12:34:28 AM) Rainne: Ahh, so I'd have to get up the pole somehow, or fly. Hefty energy cost.
(12:34:29 AM) me: There's a clear-cut area going straight north-south across the island.
(12:34:34 AM) Rainne: I see it now.
(12:34:49 AM) Rainne: I think I'll be better off lighting a small fire.
(12:35:08 AM) me: Indeed. You start constructing a log-cabin, like they taught you in Girl Scout Camp.
(12:35:47 AM) Rainne: I make the fire very small inside the log-cabin, not so small that it'll go out but not too big, either. I want to use that pointy stick to skin this fellow.
(12:35:55 AM) me: Sure.
(12:35:59 AM) me: It has your blood on it.
(12:36:12 AM) Rainne: Is that an issue?
(12:36:43 AM) me: not in terms of scaling the fish, but it's a squick thing.
(12:36:43 AM) Rainne: Because a lot of things are going to have my blood on them until I have enough energy to see if I can fix this gash in my hand
(12:36:56 AM) me: Very well. You decide to power through it.
(12:37:00 AM) Rainne: Look, I just beat two fish to death with a rock. I think I'm past squick.
(12:37:08 AM) me: Battle-hardened.
(12:37:53 AM) Rainne: Yeah. So, clean the fish, then coat it with mud.
(12:38:00 AM) me: Before settling down to scale the old man, you stick your left fingertip in the kindling and focus. Pushing out energy. Staring at that damn kindling. There it goes.
(12:38:07 AM) Rainne: (I read this in a book.)
(12:38:18 AM) me: Oh very good. That time in the library as a child was well spent.
(12:38:36 AM) Rainne: And then impale it longways with a stick, and make a rotisserie type thing
(12:38:55 AM) me: You'll need two green branches to prop the rotisserie rod up.
(12:39:00 AM) me: The old man is heavy.
(12:39:16 AM) Rainne: Yeah, but there's plenty of wood.
(12:39:18 AM) me: Indeed.
(12:39:30 AM) Rainne: So. Fish!
(12:39:33 AM) Rainne: OM NOM NOM
(12:39:35 AM) me: Well, after a bit the fire is arranged to your satisfaction. The fish is cooking.
(12:39:44 AM) me: The clouds begin breaking, and a breeze comes from the west.
(12:40:02 AM) me: It's late afternoon.
(12:40:09 AM) Rainne: I'll want to watch that; I don't want the fire to spread.
(12:40:23 AM) me: You're fairly safe; plenty of damp sand nearby.
(12:40:35 AM) Rainne: if there's much in the way of debris around my fire, i'll push it away a bit, just to be safe.
(12:40:39 AM) me: Good idea.
(12:41:42 AM) me: The hot air irritates your echolocation sinus.
(12:42:03 AM) Rainne: Oh. That's - I need to put that away, don't I? I'll do that as soon as I eat.
(12:42:21 AM) Rainne: In the meantime I'll put some mud over it
(12:42:50 AM) me: The mud helps. Looks ridiculous, but who's around to see?
(12:43:07 AM) Rainne: exactly.
(12:43:15 AM) Rainne: is the fish done yet?
(12:43:22 AM) me: He's a big fish. Might take an hour or more.
(12:43:26 AM) Rainne: oh, phoo.
(12:43:36 AM) Rainne: I'll give him a little push.
(12:43:45 AM) me: You could start eating the outer layers. I mean, he IS a big fish.
(12:44:37 AM) me: Pushing him would require touching him. Best to get your hands near the inner layers. You did gut him, right? 
(12:44:51 AM) Rainne: Sure, when I was cleaning him
(12:45:01 AM) me: Good. There's a slit somewhere on his belly. Could stick your hand in there.
(12:45:12 AM) Rainne: I'll poke a hole with my pointy stick and slide two fingers in
(12:45:17 AM) me: Kinky.
(12:45:22 AM) Rainne: innit tho?
(12:45:40 AM) me: Just be glad you didn't do this to the female fish.
(12:45:45 AM) Rainne: *snk*
(12:46:50 AM) Rainne: So. Cook!
(12:46:51 AM) me: It's hot and uncomfortable and you wind up breathing hot air and irritating your sinus more, but you're able to push the cooking along. It's easier this time, since the energy is already present in the fire; you're just helping distribute it throughout the fish. Soon it's steaming.
(12:47:17 AM) me: You now have five feet of giant-ass fish. Congratulations on your feast.
(12:47:19 AM) Rainne: While I'm at it, I'll pull some of the fire energy into myself if I can
(12:47:40 AM) Rainne: even better if I can use that technique to actually put the fire out.
(12:48:31 AM) me: It's dangerous to do without cooking yourself.
(12:48:48 AM) Rainne: Mmm. Okay then. Pass on that. I'll let it burn for now, while I eat.
(12:48:49 AM) me: Bodies don't naturally have a way to store heat energy; in fact, you're designed to output excess.
(12:49:06 AM) me: Sweating is exactly that response.
(12:49:15 AM) Rainne: *nod*
(12:49:39 AM) me: It would have to be channeled somehow into chemical energy, which is what the fish is doing for you, in a non-superpowered way.
(12:49:53 AM) Rainne: So, I break the mud case open and nom on my fish, considering that fire as I do so.
(12:49:53 AM) me: You could just eat the fish and douse the fire with some wet sand.
(12:50:04 AM) me: It's getting towards sunset.
(12:50:08 AM) me: Nom nom nom.
(12:50:37 AM) Rainne: I'm not going to eat all this fish, am I? I'll have leftovers.
(12:50:44 AM) me: You will indeed.
(12:51:03 AM) Rainne: Right. So, I'll wrap up my leftovers in mud and either leaves or, if there's not any big enough, long grass.
(12:51:21 AM) me: The oak and maple leaves are kinda big. Four or five inches.
(12:51:53 AM) Rainne: No, I mean nig enough to wrap this fish in.
(12:51:55 AM) Rainne: big*
(12:52:07 AM) me: Not really any that big. It's Iowa, not a tropical island.
(12:52:13 AM) Rainne: yeah
(12:52:32 AM) Rainne: so, I'll pull up some long grass and use that, just wrap it all around.
(12:52:39 AM) me: Sounds like a plan.
(12:52:47 AM) me: The fish sits like a lump of guilt in your belly as you do.
(12:53:25 AM) Rainne: To Guilt: Pardon me while I claw my way back up to the top of the food chain.
(12:53:58 AM) me: The Guilt says: STFU. Tears or GTFO.
(12:53:58 AM) me: You can, of course, choose to be a cold-hearted fish-killer and ignore it.
(12:54:07 AM) Rainne: I can, indeed.
(12:54:28 AM) Rainne: I pat my full belly and thank the fish for his noble sacrifice. Then I burp.
(12:55:02 AM) Rainne: Once the fish is all wrapped up, I'll put the fire out and cover it with sand
(12:55:40 AM) Rainne: Then I'll go further in toward the middle of the island and look for a tall tree with some good, thick leaf
(12:55:52 AM) me: The display of your atrocious manners makes you think of an old family joke. Your paternal grandmother, Maggie, would chide her husband. "Roy! Don't fart at the table!" To which he would respond, "I'm not farting at the table, I'm farting at the chair!"
(12:56:01 AM) me: There are plenty of said trees.
(12:56:02 AM) Rainne: I giggle at the memory.
(12:56:53 AM) Rainne: Once I find a suitable tree, I climb until I am well-hidden from the ground, then I find a comfortable nook to place myself in
(12:57:03 AM) Rainne: and one close by for my fish.
(12:57:08 AM) me: Sunset paints the scudding clouds sherbet shades of orange and pink.
(12:57:13 AM) Rainne: pretty.
(12:57:32 AM) me: You find said nooks. Done and done. Sleep (y/n)?
(12:57:40 AM) Rainne: Y.
(12:58:00 AM) Rainne: In the morning, I shall have fish for brekkie.
(12:58:16 AM) me: You sleep. Choruses of fish singing slow, ponderous chorales for their millions of eaten brethren course through your adrenaline-addled dreams.
(12:58:33 AM) Rainne: My dream self sits back, tying flies.
(12:59:12 AM) Woggy left the room.
(12:59:53 AM) Rainne: (*g* I'm sitting here watching these reality shows where people are out shrimping, fishing, and hunting alligator and duck and stuff. I will not feel guilty over catching fish. Besides, fresh fish is DELICIOUS.)
(01:00:25 AM) me: A whale in the dream looks at you askance. \Impudent child,\ it thinks at you. \The gifts you have.\ You hear Pini di Roma in the background. The whale lifts up from the sea and starts flying over it. \And you still loft yourself above your fellows.\
(01:00:40 AM) pineapplechild left the room (quit: Quit: pineapplechild).
(01:01:09 AM) Rainne: I shake my head at the whale. \I gotta eat\ I tell it. \Do you call the shark impudent for eating his fellows?\
(01:01:47 AM) me: \The shark,\ says the whale, pausing to let the strings and drums beat, \is what it is. You are more.\
(01:02:33 AM) Rainne: \I am what I am, whatever I am. I still have to feed my body.\
(01:03:23 AM) me: \All bodies are one, just like the oceans,
(01:03:38 AM) me: \ says the whale, and dives upward into the night sky.
(01:03:44 AM) me: The rest of your dreams are incoherent.
(01:04:04 AM) me: (and yes fresh fish is delicious, not arguing there >_>)
(01:04:13 AM) Rainne: (LOL)
(01:05:31 AM) Rainne: (So, do I wake up or what?)
(01:06:20 AM) me: The sound of the chainsaw wakes you again in the morning. God, those people don't let up, do they?
(01:06:54 AM) Rainne: Ugh. I stretch and sit up on my branch, then grab my fish and peel it out of the mud. I give it a sniff to make sure it's still sound.
(01:07:07 AM) me: Yeah, it's fine. Cold, but fine.
(01:07:25 AM) Rainne: Suits me. I eat breakfast.
(01:08:01 AM) me: You manage to get through about a third of what's left. You still have a lot of fish. Like half of the sucker.
(01:08:56 AM) Rainne: I hate to waste it, but with what I have planned, there's no way for me to carry it with me. -- How close is the chainsaw this morning?
(01:09:39 AM) me: Same distance. They must be working on something close to a home base.
(01:09:55 AM) me: You could tie it up in your overshirt or something. Be creative.
(01:10:03 AM) Rainne: As long as they're not right underneath. I drop the rest of the fish to the ground; some animal can eat it.
(01:10:17 AM) me: They're not. Ok.
(01:10:52 AM) me: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62V-ALlLZSg totally listening to this right now )
(01:10:55 AM) Rainne: Now I climb up to the top of the tree, and I focus on myself. I want to change, but in a more intense way than I ever have before
(01:11:03 AM) Rainne: I want to turn myself into a bird.
(01:12:15 AM) me: This is tricky. You have to deal with conservation of mass. To some degree your natural flight ability, when engaged, lets you negate some of your weight in some way that you're not entirely clear on, but there's still a lot of you to loft.
(01:12:29 AM) Rainne: That's okay. I was good at math.
(01:12:38 AM) Rainne: and physics.
(01:12:44 AM) me: You were indeed.
(01:12:55 AM) Rainne: (yay for fantasy roleplay)
(01:13:03 AM) me: (XD "fantasy")
(01:13:15 AM) Rainne: (You know what I mean. I suck at math and science, LOL)
(01:13:21 AM) Rainne: So. Bird.
(01:13:30 AM) Rainne: I do the math in my head and hope I'm right.
(01:13:49 AM) me: what you're going for is ability to stay aloft a long time, yes? And some sort of direction-control mechanism, more accurate than flapping your arms and hoping.
(01:13:58 AM) Rainne: Yeah
(01:14:32 AM) Rainne: I'm thinking either a hawk or an albatross, as both have the ability to fly for long distances by riding the currents, so they don't get too tired.
(01:14:43 AM) Rainne: Probably a hawk, as people might notice an albatross this far inland.
(01:15:04 AM) me: You're really set on this bird thing?
(01:15:04 AM) me: There are hawks around here. The ones that sound like eagles, especially. You'd wind up being a rather big hawk though.
(01:15:23 AM) Rainne: that's okay; if I get high enough, most people won't notice me.
(01:15:49 AM) me: Hm.
(01:15:53 AM) me: Okay, so, birds.
(01:17:04 AM) me: You sure you don't want to be a human kite or balloon or anything?
(01:17:12 AM) me: I mean, birds are appealing, sure.
(01:18:16 AM) Rainne: I don't want to be noticed.
(01:18:24 AM) Rainne: and I want control over my movements
(01:18:29 AM) Rainne: and I want to be able to hunt
(01:18:33 AM) me: Fair enough.
(01:18:41 AM) me: Have you ever touched a bird?
(01:18:46 AM) Rainne: Sure
(01:18:50 AM) me: When?
(01:18:52 AM) Rainne: I had a parrot when I was a kid
(01:19:12 AM) me: He was a cockatiel. He liked to masturbate against his perch. 
(01:19:17 AM) Rainne: used to carry it around on my shoulder and stuff.
(01:19:30 AM) me: He peeled the wallpaper from the wall above the mirror in the front hall.
(01:19:30 AM) Rainne: He was a yellow-crested Amazon, and he used to drink tea out of my grandmother's saucer.
(01:19:55 AM) Rainne: He did poop all over the kitchen floor, though, and we were still finding down feathers years after he left.
(01:20:06 AM) me: Fair enough.
(01:20:16 AM) Rainne: (True story.)
(01:20:24 AM) me: (So was mine. lol.)
(01:20:38 AM) Rainne: (though he actually would rather have bitten me than look at me, but he LOVED my brother, and now he LOVES my cousin.)
(01:20:58 AM) Rainne: (my grandfather brought him from south america when my mother was 13)
(01:21:34 AM) me: (oh wow. old bird.)
(01:22:18 AM) Rainne: (parrots like that, they live a LONG time. Conventional wisdom says if you get one, you better have someone to leave it to in your will.)
(01:23:54 AM) Rainne: So. birds.
(01:24:38 AM) me: You conjure up the somatosensory memory of feathers under your fingers. You hone in on what his wing felt like, how it articulated when he let you fold and unfold it.
(01:25:08 AM) Rainne: Soft, but stiff also, and carefully overlapped
(01:25:41 AM) me: You're going to have to shorten your arm bones, you realize. And lengthen your fingers. Rearrange them. Fuse the bones.
(01:25:50 AM) me: Thank the Whale that you ate all that fish.
(01:26:01 AM) Rainne: Yep.
(01:26:38 AM) me: What else? Probably get rid of the echolocation sinus. Eye adaptations, for seeing farther. Important from on high.
(01:27:06 AM) Rainne: The legs, too. Claws rather than feet.
(01:28:22 AM) Rainne: and the knees have to turn around backward.
(01:29:25 AM) me: Yes. As you think about these changes, your body starts shifting. It's... creepy. You realize your skin is literally crawling.
(01:29:34 AM) me: You're still wearing your clothes.
(01:30:00 AM) Rainne: Hopefully my clothes shift with me, or I'm going to be disturbingly naked when I get where I'm going.
(01:30:42 AM) me: Once you think about it you find a way to incorporate the clothes by having your skin ooze outward into the weave of the fabric and... you know, it's best not to think about it too much.
(01:31:34 AM) Rainne: Yeah, let's just do it without focusing on the details.
(01:32:40 AM) me: You cross your - whoops. - well, you don't have fingers to cross anymore.
(01:32:56 AM) Rainne: mentally. And go for it.
(01:34:20 AM) me: Your heart pounds, your skin crawls, you sprout long hollow hairs all of a sudden, then you're blooming with beautiful brown feathers. Your teeth fuse and jut out of your face, pulling the bones in your nose along with, then suddenly you have a beak. Your eyes become seriously farsighted. Like, ridiculously.
(01:34:38 AM) me: Your shoes present a problem so you just ditch them.
(01:35:08 AM) Rainne: am I a bird?
(01:35:15 AM) me: Moooostly.
(01:35:26 AM) Rainne: what do I lack?
(01:36:56 AM) me: Need a bit more wing. Ahh, the stretching sensation is truly strange-- 
(01:36:56 AM) me: And then all your muscles shiver as they crawl around under your skin, attaching and reattaching themselves, eventually reaching new positions. You lose your footing and sink down into the branch.
(01:37:34 AM) Rainne: into the branch?!
(01:37:44 AM) me: You're still in the tree, right?
(01:37:52 AM) Rainne: yeah, but INTO the branch?
(01:38:13 AM) me: Well, your weight impacts it more. You're not absorbing into the branch or anything.
(01:38:35 AM) me: In fact, it's a lot like when you used the tree branches to whip yourself up into flight as a human...
(01:38:45 AM) Rainne: okay, just making sure
(01:38:51 AM) Rainne: So, am I done shifting?
(01:39:21 AM) me: yes oh shit time to fly--
(01:39:33 AM) Rainne: WOOT! I push up and take off
(01:40:06 AM) me: Takes a bit to get the proper ratio of down-flaps to up. There's a rotation trick that your muscles just don't quite grasp until--ah, then you have it.
(01:40:10 AM) me: Which way, my lady hawk?
(01:40:29 AM) Rainne: East, toward the city where the safe house is
(01:42:01 AM) me: The District of Victoria.
(01:42:04 AM) me: D.V.
(01:42:22 AM) Rainne: FLY, MY PRETTIES!
(01:44:07 AM) me: The farmland drops away in a patchwork of light and dark browns, dusted with hints of green. Drainage ditches swoop through the rectilinear crop rows.
(01:44:36 AM) me: You have a tailwind, coming from the west, but there are few thermals this early to speak of.
(01:44:58 AM) Rainne: That's all right. I'll fly along while keeping one eye on the ground for tasty tasty prey
(01:46:49 AM) me: Red squirrels are tasty. Annoying fuckers. You want to get back at them for the one that stole your pizza crust directly from your hand that one time.
(01:47:25 AM) Rainne: squirrel is nummy. (Especially with rice.)
(01:48:45 AM) me: (do I want to know how you know that. does it taste nutty?)
(01:48:55 AM) me: You spot one.
(01:48:57 AM) Rainne: (No. It's good though.)
(01:49:19 AM) Rainne: I'll dive on it. I'm not hungry as such right now, but it's good practice for later, when I really AM hungry.
(01:49:43 AM) me: (Bison is faintly nutty, to my surprise. Bison "beef" stew was a thing at a local foods dinner my college had once.)
(01:50:56 AM) me: The dive is exhilarating. I would describe it more but my brain is going "NUUUUUUU you must zone out now".
(01:51:04 AM) me: Shall we pause?
(01:51:18 AM) Rainne: Aww. Are you done for the night?
(01:51:29 AM) me: Probably.
(01:51:32 AM) me: it's nearly 2am.
(01:51:40 AM) Rainne: Okay. Do I at least get the squirrel?
(01:53:13 AM) me: Yes.
(01:53:15 AM) me: Enjoy.
(01:53:22 AM) Rainne: NOM
(01:53:38 AM) me: Your revengitude is sated.
(01:53:47 AM) Rainne: and also my little hawk belly.
(01:53:52 AM) You are now known as aze|sleep
(01:53:56 AM) ***me pats rainne.
(01:54:02 AM) Rainne: AWK
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