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[personal profile] azetidine_plays
 So this is the third and last part of Changes. Yes, it's incomplete, although Rainne has recently expressed interest in continuing. I still have a partial state of play stored in my memory, amazingly enough, and reading the logs has helped solidify it. So there could be more Changes in the future, but I don't have a plot written out or anything. I usually make it up on the fly and try to be consistent with what has already come, as far as I can be.

I didn't really think about the process of changing the players while I was doing it, but it's possible that the confusion at the end of this session was partially a result of having two players switch off piloting the POV character. Nuances get lost when you switch, and people take subtle cues different ways, which is part of the joy and the frustration in trying to run a dreamlike freeform for people whose dreams cannot and never will be like yours.

Part four here.

(03:35:13 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. So I'm a large hawk flying VFR, eastbound to Cedar Rapids, but I didn't file a plan or request clearance.
(03:35:44 PM) me: XD Something like that.
(03:37:07 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (If the FAA objects, I'll claim only the EPA has authority on me, and conversely. :-)
(03:37:19 PM) me: They probably won't?
(03:37:21 PM) pineapple left the room.
(03:38:06 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (to azetidine) That's good to know. Plenty people seem to object to my existence already.
(03:39:31 PM) V_PauAmma_V: *flapflap* *flappity0flap*
(03:40:40 PM) me: What are you thinking about as you flap?
(03:41:34 PM) me: The land drops down below you, details merging even with your better eyesight. You see the river cutting through the farmland grid.
(03:43:34 PM) me: Soon you are flying over an interstate-grade highway. The cars look puny.
(03:44:50 PM) V_PauAmma_V: That's I380? (looking at the google map you linked to)
(03:45:19 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I decide to fly level, more or less.
(03:46:00 PM) V_PauAmma_V: And I think about what I'm gonna do when I get to Cedar Rapids.
(03:46:26 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (Who/where I'll spend the night, etc.)
(03:46:40 PM) me: Yup, I380.
(03:46:59 PM) me: You feel invincible as you fly. You could stay aloft for a long time.
(03:48:41 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Don't want to starve. though. Or even be too tired/hungry to change back to some shape who can talk to people.
(03:49:07 PM) me: You sense that talking to people might not be a problem, at least if they're the people you're looking for.
(03:49:43 PM) me: You're being pushed along by prevailing winds, east-southeast. You can stay with them and get pushed past Cedar Rapids, or turn.
(03:50:20 PM) me: (by past I mean further east than Cedar Rapids, and north of it)
(03:51:27 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Hmm, ESE means I'm roughly flying parallel to I380, if I get my bearings right?
(03:51:58 PM) me: No, I380 runs pretty much straight southeast at this point. You're headed more east than southeast.
(03:53:39 PM) me: The prevailing winds today are 15-25mph, meaning if you glide you'd still get pushed along at a fair clip.
(03:53:57 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, coming around to SE. Rudder, ailerons, coordin... oh wait. It's probably instinctive-osh.
(03:54:36 PM) me: Something like that. You tilt your wings and keep your head level. 
(03:55:52 PM) me: It takes a little bit of tacking into the wind, but it's pretty easy to follow the road.
(03:57:15 PM) me: It only takes maybe 30 minutes to see the outskirts of Cedar Rapids.
(04:00:49 PM) me: The problem is, you know there's a safehouse here, but you're not sure where.
(04:01:20 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Meaning *pan on map* Robins Park? Or did I pass that already?
(04:02:07 PM) me: You're coming up to the Collins Rd. junction.
(04:03:42 PM) me: Off to your left is what looks like an industrial/commercial area, lots of flat-topped buildings and parking lots.
(04:04:48 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Here in CR in general, or here near the Collins Rd-I380 junction?
(04:04:49 PM) me: And yeah you missed Robins Park.
(04:05:03 PM) me: Near this junction specifically.
(04:05:27 PM) me: It's not a large industrial area, mostly along a railroad track and between these two roads (Blairs Ferry and Collins Rd).
(04:06:06 PM) me: There's a large green flat space that might be a golf course off to your right, and a bit beyond that you can see the river snaking through some wooded lowlands. Looks like there's roads winding through there though.
(04:06:38 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. What do I know about the safehouse?
(04:06:47 PM) me: Not a whole lot. You just knew there was one.
(04:07:05 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I circle overhead while I think.
(04:09:17 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, Can I spot the Walmart memory tells me should be nearby?
(04:09:40 PM) me: Yeah, easily. They all look the same, and the sign sticks out to your hawkish eyes like a sore thumb.
(04:10:02 PM) me: You remember hearing, one of the few times you met with others like you, about an emergency contact protocol.
(04:10:27 PM) V_PauAmma_V: What did I hear about it?
(04:11:26 PM) me: Well, there were one-time-use phone numbers, routed through internet telephony services, that you could call; but if you happened to be stuck in a Changed form there was apparently some kind of signal you could listen to?
(04:11:39 PM) me: It sounded like ESP and brain waves and all that new-age stuff you don't really believe in.
(04:12:15 PM) me: But, you're a giant bird. Who's to say what's impossible?
(04:12:34 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. I listen for mating calls, which is probably what it would sound like to me?
(04:13:49 PM) me: No, it was explained as signaling that part of you that didn't Change, somewhere in your mind.
(04:14:09 PM) me: Besides, there aren't any other Giant Rocs out here to give you a mating call, are there?
(04:16:03 PM) V_PauAmma_V: If I land on the walmart roof, will I be able to take off again?
(04:16:09 PM) me: Hm, yeah, probably.
(04:17:05 PM) me: But you're not tired, and circling doesn't seem too dangerous. You just look like one of the regular hawks that occasionally fly around out here in Eastern Iowa, and people aren't really noticing that you're bigger, because it makes it look like you're just higher up.
(04:17:34 PM) me: Er, wait. Strike that, reverse it.
(04:17:39 PM) me: A smaller bird flying lower.
(04:18:41 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Can I do that on autopilot and turn off my bird brain for a while, to listen for those signals?
(04:18:48 PM) me: Yeah, sure.
(04:19:26 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (do that = circle in a holding pattern)
(04:19:33 PM) me: Yup.
(04:19:54 PM) me: How big of a circle are you doing?
(04:20:37 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Probably 1 mi. radius.
(04:21:16 PM) me: A one mile radius around the Wal-Mart. Okay.
(04:21:24 PM) ***V_PauAmma_V listens for hails/
(04:22:09 PM) me: Listening for hails makes you think of radio signals, but somehow this seems like a non-helpful analogy. You imagine old-timey radio tuning-in noises, but you know that you're just imagining them.
(04:22:54 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, I just listen, then.
(04:23:15 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (circling counterclockwise, if it matters, BTW)
(04:24:14 PM) me: You do one circle but don't feel any different. You seem to recall thinking that the safehouse was more towards downtown.
(04:28:21 PM) randomling is now known as randomling|zzz
(04:28:33 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I break out of circling and fly toward the Collins Rd-1stAve N
(04:28:57 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I break out of circling and fly toward the Collins Rd-1stAve NE jcr
(04:29:17 PM) V_PauAmma_V: s/jcr/jct
(04:29:25 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Jopi
(04:29:30 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Arth
(04:29:37 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Argh
(04:29:42 PM) me: (hehehe)
(04:30:07 PM) me: As you try listening for the signal, a sense of jaggedy unsettledness sinks into your heart. If static could feel like an emotion, you think this would be it.
(04:30:08 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Hoping to get a clearer memory/sense of location that way
(04:31:10 PM) me: You have some memories of driving down to Lindale Mall (which is basically the major feature around this junction) to go shopping with your mother, when you were younger. OH, and there's this great place called The Play Station, which has a three-story indoor playplace for kids. 
(04:31:19 PM) me: You only went there once but it was pretty awesome.
(04:33:10 PM) me: But the unsettled feeling stays about the same. You find yourself looking south wistfully.
(04:34:55 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, south has a cemetary and a school, or so it looks like to me. Does either bring up memories?
(04:36:44 PM) me: Not especially. You only really came to Cedar Rapids to pick up your mom from one of her freelancing jobs or to go shopping. Sometimes you passed through to go to the Eastern Iowa Airport or to Iowa City. Oh and there was that sports tournament once.
(04:37:02 PM) me: Maybe a bit further south. 
(04:37:27 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. I start flying south.
(04:40:10 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Was that tournament on the Mt Mercy campus?
(04:40:25 PM) me: Another couple of minutes brings you over another golf course, which also doesn't seem right. Crossing over a major road brings you over what seems to be a park nestled between a couple residential areas (on the map Bever Park).
(04:40:36 PM) me: Nah it was indoors. Some convention center or something.
(04:40:44 PM) me: Basketball... or was it volleyball?
(04:40:49 PM) me: You spent the whole thing reading a book, anyway.
(04:41:53 PM) me: As you fly towards Bever Park you feel the sense of unsettledness start to wash away a bit. In its place comes this calmness, a sort of warm, level, flat feeling. It's somewhat faint; you still feel half unsettled, but you think maybe the safehouse is near heer.
(04:41:55 PM) me: *here.
(04:46:13 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. I switch to circling again. Still CCW, 1.5 mi radius, centered on the closed-loop road NW of the Bever Ave-30 st intersection.
(04:47:07 PM) me: Which direction do you head first?
(04:48:02 PM) V_PauAmma_V: WSW
(04:50:19 PM) me: You fly over wooded streets with fancy houses and rectilinear streets with less fancy houses. The sense of calm increases. Then you get to about the Oak Hill Cemetary and start circling counter clockwise, and the unsettled feeling starts sneaking back in.
(04:55:55 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Stupid googlemaps, why did you return to the initial position?
(04:58:29 PM) me: :(
(04:59:21 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, back where I want to be.
(05:02:37 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Hmm, so promising area is around Wellington Hts?
(05:02:57 PM) me: Yeah that.
(05:08:28 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. Circle Well Hts, CCW, 0.5 mi. radius, starting due North, somewhere on Bever Ave between 18th and 1th.
(05:09:42 PM) me: Are you circling any lower? it might give you a better sense.
(05:11:21 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Hmm, good point. Yes, lower, but not too low either.
(05:11:25 PM) me: Mmkay.
(05:11:46 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Say, 3/4 initial altitude.
(05:12:34 PM) me: Circling and zeroing in on the location gives you a modest house on Bever Ave between 16th and 17th St. SE.
(05:14:07 PM) me: It seems to be the Cedar Rapids Zen Center.
(05:15:41 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Which side of Bev... OK, you're ahead of me.
(05:18:26 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. I circle it and check it and the surrounding area. Anything/one looking out of place?
(05:19:33 PM) me: Nope. Kids are having recess at the school nearby and the streets are quiet.
(05:23:02 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. What do the roofs and grounds look like?
(05:23:40 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (trying to decide where/how to land)
(05:24:19 PM) me: An average to smallish plot of land, houses on either side, a peaked roof covered with the regular asphalt-flap roofing stuff, a front porch, a couple trees.
(05:26:34 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Where are the trees relative to the front porch?
(05:27:01 PM) me: one of them overhangs it.
(05:30:49 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, I consider my approach - I'd like to get in that tree, preferrably the side overhanging the porch to be less visible, and without making too much noise as I touchdown.
(05:32:47 PM) me: There's a strong branch near the top third of the tree, with a gap in the foliage from the side. From there you could climb down the tree--something you're really good at in human shape for whatever reason. You'd be really visible if anyone was looking up, so you should do it when there's not any traffic.
(05:32:52 PM) me: alternatively you could just land on the porch roof.
(05:32:56 PM) me: What are you aiming for here?
(05:34:45 PM) V_PauAmma_V: From the porch roof, how would I get down?
(05:35:11 PM) me: Shimmy down a pillar like your mad sexy self? Actually, on closer inspection there's a window open next to the porch roof.
(05:37:04 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK. I land on that branch I spotted, but don't change from my bird shape (yet).
(05:37:16 PM) me: You look incongruously large in the tree.
(05:38:12 PM) V_PauAmma_V: Instead, I try to send out a signal instead. "OK, I'm here."
(05:40:03 PM) me: That sense of calmness almost pervades the air here. You feel your heartbeat become rock steady, your breathing falling in rhythm with it.
(05:40:25 PM) me: You get the sense that whoever it is that's broadcasting that signal, they know you're here.
(05:40:47 PM) me: A voice comes out of the open window above the porch. "You should come in, friend."
(05:41:12 PM) me: It's not loud. It's as though they're talking to someone standing in the doorway of that room, not to someone outside.
(05:41:55 PM) me: A squirrel two trees down distracts your bird senses.
(05:43:23 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I try to ignore the squirrel and look inside the room, and I prepare myself to change to human shape,
(05:44:34 PM) me: There's a ceiling fan going; it has wooden floors with a hand-woven area rug, some bookshelves, a small bed and table. Someone is sitting on the bed. They look human.
(05:46:18 PM) me: You are seeing their back and right side.
(05:46:39 PM) V_PauAmma_V: But not their face.
(05:46:49 PM) me: Correct.
(05:49:13 PM) me: There is something palpably otherworldly about this person, that makes you think that they sense you without needing to turn their "eyes" towards you.
(05:49:15 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I'd like to make my face different as I change back, Can I do that?
(05:49:34 PM) me: yes.
(05:52:05 PM) me: You feel bones and muscles shifting, a couple alarming popping noises, but it seems easier to go back to human because you know what it feels like. Your body becomes the last shape you took, an androgynous, average-height, a little overweight but relatively strong body. You're going to have to focus on your face to Change it to something else.
(05:52:27 PM) V_PauAmma_V: OK, I do that. I'd like a somewhat bland, unremarkable, forgettable face,
(05:54:27 PM) me: What specifically? Are you trying to get an average of a certain demographic?
(05:56:53 PM) me: The 20-and 30-somethings in Iowa these days have this sort of look to them. You might be able to come up with an average farm kid face.
(05:57:20 PM) V_PauAmma_V: That would work.
(05:57:43 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I'll go for that.
(06:01:25 PM) me: All right. Your head broadens a bit--there's a funny feeling--your cheekbones shift their angle, your nose broadens slightly; your hairline shifts and your hair turns brown; your eyes become somewhere between blue, hazel, and green depending on the light. You make your jaw a rounded square.
(06:01:55 PM) me: Of course, you're doing this without a mirror so you're unsure of the results.
(06:02:04 PM) me: Whoever's inside waits patiently while this happens.
(06:03:35 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I look around. Can anyone (other than the room occupant) see me drop onto the roof?
(06:04:20 PM) me: people on your side of the street might, but you don't see anyone at the moment.
(06:05:25 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I drop onto the roof as quietly as I can, then go in through the window quickly,
(06:08:15 PM) me: The figure is dressed in a white robe, and is wearing black plastic sunglasses. The fan hums.
(06:09:38 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (I'm naked, right?)
(06:09:55 PM) me: Are you?
(06:10:06 PM) me: Well, now that you think about it, you guess you are.
(06:10:49 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (I mean, unless the feathers morphed into clothes which I doubt...)
(06:11:44 PM) me: Nah, they kind of schlooped back into your skin and became body hair. Although you notice that you have one bit of feathery down near your right elbow. When you try to pluck it it hurts.
(06:12:22 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "Hello. Have we met before?"
(06:13:21 PM) V_PauAmma_V: I try to make it morph into a mole.
(06:13:40 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (the feather)
(06:15:47 PM) me: The figure smiles. "Hair follicles are different than melanocytes, you know." They take a measured, deep breath. "And not that you would remember."
(06:18:37 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "So how old was I when we met? And I'm still new at this: you have a better suggestion, since it apparently didn't want to change into hair like the rest?"
(06:19:23 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (might have to pause the convo soon)
(06:22:01 PM) me: (sure)
(06:22:18 PM) me: Hm. A few hours old, I think.
(06:22:20 PM) me: " "
(06:24:59 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "Measured from my birth, or from,,, whatever made me able to shift shapes?"
(06:25:48 PM) me: "From when your first cell division happened."
(06:27:26 PM) me: ((Lemme know when you need to stop))
(06:29:24 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "So you're one of my parents or a twin? Is that what you;re saying?"
(06:29:43 PM) V_PauAmma_V: (Bi
(06:30:20 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "(But perhaps this is not the best place to discuss this)"
(06:31:33 PM) me: "This is a good place. The teacher here knows of me." They smile at you. "And I am neither."
(06:33:16 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "Who are you then, if I may ask? You seem to know more about me than I know about myself, in all respects."
(06:33:42 PM) SporkyRat [] entered the room.
(06:33:52 PM) V_PauAmma_V: ((10 minutes))
(06:34:30 PM) me: "I only know you from a few details, here and there. They are important ones, but they are hardly all of what you are. You know yourself from your daily experience, and so you are the true expert."
(06:35:12 PM) me: "I am something of a mentor. If you need a name, I may be called Lark."
(06:38:23 PM) V_PauAmma_V: "With all due respect, my daily experience, barring the last 24 hours, didn't include becoming a bird or a water-breather echolocating swimmer, Many would consider those salient features, Are you saying you don't know about them?"
(06:39:18 PM) SporkyRat left the room (quit: Quit: SporkyRat).
(06:41:58 PM) me: ((A reminder that the last 24 hours, while having been intense, have not been entirely atypical. You've had the ability to Change things in some fashion for at least some months, up to a few years. ))
(06:43:15 PM) me: ((You have been to three of the aforementioned meetings with those like you, but they seemed to be just people who didn't know much more than you, and were kind of stuck having the same questions. They'd established the safehouse system with the phone numbers for each other after having figured out that some agency wanted them contained, and the beacon/mental signal was an addition to this emergency system at the latest meeting.))
(06:43:52 PM) V_PauAmma_V: ((cut at "the latest m"))
(06:44:01 PM) me: (meeting.))
(06:44:47 PM) V_PauAmma_V: ((OK, Did you mention that earlier IC and I missed it?))
(06:45:59 PM) me: (("You remember hearing, one of the few times you met with others like you, about an emergency contact protocol"))
(06:46:03 PM) V_PauAmma_V: ((Otherwise, might make the person I'm talking with tell me?))
(06:47:07 PM) me: ((I think it came up the first session too, but as an aside))
(06:47:33 PM) me: ((also apologies for the confusion))
(06:47:36 PM) V_PauAmma_V: ((Oh, parsed that as chance/random encounters, not something organized))
(06:48:01 PM) me: ((hm, interesting))
(06:48:15 PM) me: ((sure, it could've happened that way too))