she_sells_seashells: (f ~ becalmed)
Shell Bell is currently explaining to her Director of Media that, yes, if she is gone, he is supposed to take orders from the duck, just like the Imperial Consort said. Neptune is nestling in Shell Bell's arms comfortably. The Director of Media is also now supposed to meet Jane and coordinate with his opposite numbers in Origin and Aurum about setting up an interworld generally-accessible internet with the use of ansibles.
she_sells_seashells: tricky (g ~ tricky)
The Bells are assembled, except the ones missing into the unknown world.

Shell Bell opens her aura up as far as it will go. (Back in Atlantis, Neptune glows with the spillover, snuggled up to Tinia.)

She reaches for the door.

She gets Atlantis.

She tries again and gets Downside.

"It doesn't look like I can get it," she says softly. "It looks like they're stuck until -"

The door opens, again.

"Thank fucking everything," Aegis says, "hello. Aether, Celo - these are - everybody and then some."

"Tab," supplies Tab.

Meanwhile, Glass staggers in the direction of the bathroom. [THAT IS NOT A NICE WORLD.]

[We fucking KNOW,] says Aegis, [how broke is Jane?]

[Very broke,] says Juliet, [tried a tenner, didn't go.]

[I might be able to do something now you're here,] Stella says, [with aura.]
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
When Shell Bell opens the door to Chronicle, she gets the attic Kiawen first led her to. In she steps, trailed by Juliet, Aurora, and Agent Honey.

on our own

May. 2nd, 2013 12:32 am
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Shell Bell's not anywhere near the Janepoint, nor talking to Jane, when the node in the palace starts beeping like it's getting paid. It will go right on tirelessly beeping until someone pays attention to it, but it doesn't have to be Bell.
she_sells_seashells: (k ~ chilly)
Everyone pops in. All the Bells, all the Jokers - except for the Joker, who is missing for some reason - and the Bells immediately, without having to speak, divide their tasks amongst themselves. Stella and Angela and Pattern and Cam start brainstorming solutions - not implementing them, yet, just generating ideas that might work depending on what they're dealing with. Golden, as the one who's actually had her mind read by a loved one - albeit under more controlled circumstances - is working with Shell Bell, the other previously broken-beyond-recognition Bell, on coming up with a plan to help walk Isibel through recovery after they fix this somehow. Cam eventually folds into this conversation from the other since he's the one with a talking notebook; if they can find Isibel's old books they might be able to turn them into something that could help more actively. Rose is peering into Isibel's mindscape, looking for visible damage that she can just heal directly. Amariah's popping back into Milliways and forcing the door to the elf's world so she can drop a Janepoint in the cave to keep it temporally synced, then coming back and joining Juliet and Aegis in interrogating the demon and the waking dragon about what exactly they have done to Isibel.
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Shell Bell goes home with her Sherlock and puts a Jane-point in her floating palace. There's no Internet to speak of in Atlantis right now, but there's a little snack in the moon city - Jane gets a half-ansible plugged into a deserted office terminal and uses Shell Bell's ring to pull away the other half into her Belltower hub - and some in District Three - another half-ansible to this largely self-contained network, this one in Tony and Sherlock's house.

She'll figure out how to announce the imminent return of the dead soon. First, there's a stray Sherlock back in Milliways who may need a merger - depending on how he came to be dead - and who may have a Jarvis at home to be networked with the other one. There's also at least one Jarvis that she's the only Bell to have met - the one belonging to the lone Tony who has no Sherlock to match - and so she's the one who's going to go extend the offer to that one. (And politely inquire if Jane may eat that Internet, too, less Jarvis, and have an ansible point installed. There's no reason for Pattern to have to do all the work. That world might not even be hooked up to Downside already; she should check in with that Tony and with Darcy and perhaps Heimdall about the subject.)

Also -

[Hey, Bells, after we're all settled down some, let's throw a party to celebrate fixing Downside.] Jane can relay through their ansible gems; she counts as being in every world she's got her tendrils into.

[I'll host on Mars,] Stella volunteers at once.

Shell Bell smiles.

She gives her Sherlock a kiss and asks to go back to Milliways to see about some Jarvises.

Jane, ever-obliging, picks her up and puts her down.
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Shell Bell has not found Milliways by herself since the occasion on which she first met Sherlock.

Today, after eight months, she does.

She makes sure that Sherlock and Tony are both awake, finds that they are but do not want to join her in the bar today unless she finds something interesting, checks her coin supply and finds it sufficient, and steps through.

on trial

Feb. 12th, 2013 01:36 pm
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Bell goes a-hiring. Magic is of considerable use in sorting applicants; she narrows thousands down to manageable dozens before she even meets them.

The fact that she has abolished the Hunger Games - she for some reason had to make an announcement about this; people were unclear on the concept of benevolent dictatorship - means that the Career facilities have been abandoned by their students and their staff are out of work. She writes a retraining pamphlet, but here at least are a handful of school-shaped locations where she can start to funnel Capitol children. They don't have room for everyone. She hires caretakers and teachers; she magics up another building in the hole in the ground where the Capitol once sat.

(She will put facilities there, but not her own capitol; for capitol purposes this is tainted ground. For the time being she's still operating out of Sherlock and Tony's house, not that she's made this public. Ultimately she plans to transition into an artificial island. Which will habitually sit in the water, off the coast of Four, but will be possible to render airborne as desired.)

She casually renders tracker-jackers extinct on the first occasion she thinks about it.

When there are places to put each Capitol minor, she formally declares everyone age fourteen and under innocent, and situates the ones willing to leave where they're at and all the ones who can't form preferences yet divided between the three ex-Career schools and the new one. They'd all fit in the new one, but this way personality conflicts or similar can be handled by simple transfers, and the ones in the District are better situated to put the kids in contact with potential adopting families anyway.

Kids fifteen and up have sometimes started internships. She expects to find most of them innocent too - heck, she expects to find most of the adults innocent - but that is the age at which she begins trials.

The trials - such as they are - are fairly summary. A decent fraction of Avoxes committed actual crimes. These have their tongues restored - she is not a barbarian - but they have to stay on the moon, with everyone protected by the new ground rules. The others are sent back to wherever they came from, if all they did was try to run away or sass a Peacekeeper.

She takes down the fences.

She hands out cornucopias like they're confetti.

She consigns every Capitol resident who worked on the Hunger Games in any capacity except - grudgingly - the stylists and prep teams, to a life on the moon.

She interviews the stylists case-by-case and finds them personally repellent but not, probably, dangerous, and they get to go home.

Everyone in Snow's administration, with the exception of one pathetic intern who spent her one month on the job working on a proposal to offer more generous tesserae terms in what seems to have been a genuine if twisted attempt to be helpful: mooned.

Most of the useless typical Capitol people: not mooned. (Although she does screen them for bad behavior first. Unless their "employees" decide to put in personal appeals, everyone who has ever hired the intimate services of a coerced Games victor: is mooned.)

She magics up another building. This one is sort of a hostel for those who leave the Moon and are not of an age to be likely to find adoptive families. And by the time she needs to staff this one, she has District Thirteen employees, courtesy of Coin, to man the place and provide slightly more lucid career counseling than what the reeling District residents could produce. Careers per se are not going to be strictly necessary anymore, but people do like to have things to do with themselves.

Not everyone's thing to do with themselves can be being the Empress of Atlantis. On a floating island with a castle made of coral and stained glass. With a beautiful consort by her side who radiates love and magic.

(Bell makes herself her Coral Palace by the end of week two of the Capitol's relocation. She is not really patient when she does not have to be.)
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Bell and Sherlock haven't worked up to star-manufacture yet, but Bell has a couple dozen declawed "starter" stars from Stella in that shimmery black color that Alice makes. (Sherlock's coins are a pale pearly grey. Shell Bell thinks they are much prettier.) She uses several of these to place revised versions of Stella's ground rules - on Earth, and on the Moon - and then one to scoop up the whole Capitol and put it quite literally on the Moon.

She is even kind enough to hexagon everyone who lives in the Capitol but is not there at that moment back into their homes before making the transfer. (People who do not live in the Capitol but are there anyway she wants to investigate. Most of them will probably go home without incident. Some of them may be... problems.)
she_sells_seashells: (a ~ smile)
Shell Bell is dancing on literal air when they leave Milliways.

Stella is an even more fortuitous find than Amariah was, and Amariah was amazing. Stella has given her everything she needs. Stella is a Space Empress and Shell Bell is going to follow right after her, probably with slightly less Space.

The fact that Shell Bell has to torture her girlfriend to accomplish anything in this department is a mood dampener, but she went and had a look at the memories of those "tastes" Stella provided and - well. They're bordered pale, even the big one. She's spooked about looking any closer; she managed to neglect to ask Stella before she went back to her Empire if looking at pain-related thoughts hurts. She looked at the square-sized memory and it was... too close to call. Stella might not even know the answer - mental opacity could easily interact somehow with mindreading. Stella might be protected against painful reading where Shell Bell, with only a wished-for imitation, might not.

But Sherlock seems content, and so -

"We're gonna take over the wo-orld, we're gonna take over the world, we're gonna take over the wooooorld," Bell sings, dancing into the house from the bar. (She can dance now. She is not in the least danger of tripping, wouldn't be even if her feet were touching the ground, and if she does anyway, she will float.)
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
They go home after a couple of days, without incident. The colors in Bell's hair are fading, albeit incompletely.

A bit later, when there is not the question of whether Sherlock can accompany her unnoticed, Tony finds a door and in they go.

Other Sherlock - whether this is their other Sherlock or some other other Sherlock, Bell cannot be immediately sure - is in the main bar area. Bell waves!
she_sells_seashells: bitey (e ~ bitey)
Shell Bell tries not to think too hard about Tony's sketchy Capitol friends or why they'd send him a train. She stows away for the short trip. She wears her godawful stupid dress. She paints triangles over her eyes and her cheeks, and squares around them, and she irons ringlets into her carefully divided hair, pins it up, and attaches the hat to the heap of white and blue.

She tucks her amulet under her neckline - the chain is fine enough to look like some more conventional piece of jewelry.

She holds her stick in her hand and stuffs her hand in her pocket.

It's early when they get there, barely dawn. The poll workers are setting up, but voters haven't accumulated yet.

She scopes out a starting place.

Leaning on a wall of a building across the street, pretending to be bored, forgetting not to chew her lip and tasting makeup - she finds one.

There are decorative torches, here and there, and that one has a bit of the Panem flag dangling quite near it in the calm. The flag has a cord. The cord touches the arch of the dome. From there she can get everything.

She waits for Sherlock to find where they'll duck when the panic starts. And when she gets the nod...

She assumes control of the torch. Yes, it's real fire, that's useful.

It flickers, it sways, it leaps.

It touches the flag, and maybe it wouldn't have caught, normally, but she makes it catch. The flag goes up in smoke; the cord catches and burns.

She sends the fire a quarter of the way around the circle at the base of the domed roof, first, before letting it climb any higher. She can still see all of the borders of the fire, but it's going to be implausible for her to keep it that way much longer.

People have started to notice - a poll worker, someone walking her dog. They don't seem to know what to do about it.

"Time to duck out of sight?" she murmurs to Sherlock in her best imitation of a Capitol accent.
she_sells_seashells: bitey (e ~ bitey)
Snow's death is announced on television the day after it happens. The announcer speaks of "sudden illness".

There are going to be emergency elections to replace him in three days. Without advance notice and the standard scheduling of elections, they're going to be setting up polling places in the Capitol at a limited number of sites. Some outlying neighborhoods will be served by schools and the like. But most of the city will be congregating at the Memorial Dome to cast their votes for the next president.

(There follow thirty solid minutes of campaign ads. The district imports comptroller, the chairman of the traffic control commission and former Gamemaker, the deceased Snow's personal assistant, and a handful of lesser individuals are running. Bell hates them all.)

"Suppose the Memorial Dome caught fire," she says to Sherlock and Tony, frowning at the TV.
she_sells_seashells: bitey (e ~ bitey)
A reasonable amount of time later, when the Belltower is presentable even to magical Empresses of this or that, Bell and Sherlock and Tony take Isabella and Path and Kas and Petaal home with them.

"You're going to have to show her what she needs," Bell says to the Starks. "I don't know which locations or objects are relevant. Or which of you is going to be her someone-he-met focus."
she_sells_seashells: bitey (e ~ bitey)
The following morning, Bell hears what sounds like a fire alarm. It's not in their building - it's at least a block away. From her window, she can clearly see the house that's caught, near the train station, and just as clearly see that there isn't any bucket brigade handling it yet.

She seizes her wand from the nightstand and assumes control over the fire; if there's anyone in the unburnt part of the house they'll be able to get out. "SHERLOCK! TONY!" she calls.

Bell wants a second opinion before she snakes this fire down the corner of the house and over the grass to destroy the train station.
she_sells_seashells: (l ~ preoccupied)
Shell Bell doesn't get off the train immediately when they hit District Three. Tony has one last miserable speech to deliver, and the train will then stick around long enough for everything to be unloaded. Bell sits tight in Sherlock's compartment with the TV on, keeps her wits about her, and awaits cues from either Stark twin.
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Bell can listen as fast as she can read. Paper would be better for recording her life, but with her nifty little device, it's a close contest; besides, she's used to this. She glances at Sherlock occasionally while she directs the playback to skip around, reviewing this chat on physics and that on why Panem is economically implausible and the other on what books she ought to read (she thinks she's read them all, now, but she may as well check again if she'll be ushered back to Milliways at any moment.)

Usually Bell doesn't even reveal the recorder's existence in front of anyone. Having crossed that hurdle, she doesn't mind that she has to speak aloud in front of Sherlock to find what she's looking for.
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
The second time ever Bell finds to Milliways, she is better prepared. She has a bigger bag of shells with her, and she knows that she'll need to pace herself with the food to stay as long as she can.

She is still six. As far as she can tell, she is the only child in the place - everyone else is an adult or at least in their mid to late teens.

Except - oh, there is a girl her age, over there. (Only maybe not. Last time she was warned that appearances can be deceiving.) But she's certainly worth investigating.

Bell drags her shells over in that direction.

on a train

Jan. 25th, 2013 04:24 pm
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Bell turns over the crate to her parents. They believe her about finding it on the beach. They open one can to celebrate, and then Shark very sensibly insists that the rest of it be stored until it is needed.

The next few days, leading up to Tony's victory tour's stop in Four, see her ferretting out her remaining stash and distributing it between her parents and Lynnis's family until it's all gone. They're assuming a ship lost a lot of merchandise at once. Bad weather, one assumes.

She stops replacing her shells by the doors. But she does show up to work, until the day before when she has to leave. Then, she fakes sick enough to stay home, spends the day sleeping, and - at night - is rested enough to execute her plan.

Dear Mom and Dad.

I'm going for Atlantis. It's okay! I have a plan! I'll come back and get you when I can and then we can all live there. Please tell Mr. Carrasen I'm sorry about the canoe. I'll bring him a new one after I get there! I love you! It's going to be great!

- Shell Bell


...the idea, after all, is to instantly convince them that she is dead. That she is too foolish and unprepared to have any chance. That there is no point in worrying about her any further, and they should move directly to grieving - certainly not wasting time looking for her or reporting her as a missing person. The fact that she's not swiping any of the cans and only one water container - is not even bringing a fishing rod - is another clue, of course.

Shell Bell wears her nice dress - it'll attract less attention in the town than work clothes, on a Victory Tour day where everyone's supposed to celebrate, and the town in question is big enough that her mere unfamiliarity won't catch her out immediately. She packs one more practical change of clothes, sticks her stick in her hair, and puts one salty roll in her pocket to eat at around midnight and a few strips of dried salmon to nibble on as necessary through the walk. She's also wearing the less remarkable-looking of the two protective amulets she traded for during her stay in Milliways. It looks like a lump of white glass - it could even pass for sea glass. The other stuff she obtained is waiting for her in her room in the bar.

She melts the lock on the canoe shed and buries it deep in the sand. She drags out a canoe. Briefly, she considers actually canoeing to the next town up, but while she knows how to row like any District Four resident does, she's worried about being noticed on her way in, and it'll be easier to avoid that if she's not in the place where all the actual industry goes on, namely the shore. She pushes it out to sea regretfully. Saltwater spatters her dress, but it dries as she goes.

She talks to her recorder in the dark silence.

And just before dawn peeps over the ocean, she's picked her way through the sleeping town to the train station and she's pretending to be a premature, eager celebrator.
she_sells_seashells: maybe (Default)
Shell Bell finds Milliways once when she is eighteen. She has been there for two days now, setting up her sign ten minutes out of every waking hour, wiping down tables for her quarters in the staff area, eating buttery potatoes (she has been told that this is a complete nutrient package, for humans). Her wand is holding a bun of hair in place on the back of her head. Her shells are stashed safely in her room; she's budgeting carefully and she'll pay her tab when she leaves.

No one's talked to her due to the sign yet. They don't always. She sets it up anyway, like clockwork, so everyone gets the chance.
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