By now everyone had woken up, and those in the hallway had returned to the lobby. We all gathered around the foreboding door, the one with the strange graffiti symbol painted on its face. Conversations faded into awkward, prolonged silence… until Tiffani spoke what was on everyone’s minds.
So… like, is something gonna happen, or what?
Yeah! This place gives me th’ heebiejeebies, it’s so… quiet.
It is a little weird that we haven’t heard from anyone, isn’t it? They went to so much effort to capture us…
Maybe they just don’t know we’re awake?
A couple of people nodded tentatively, but before anyone else could say anything, Gugalanna and Ishi started bellowing threats at our invisible captor. How could anyone so tiny be so freaking loud?
Show yourself pendejo!!! Or are you a coward?! I’ll rip this place apart with my bare hands and suplex your ass to hell and back for defying El Toro del Cielo!!! Hyaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!
Yeah!! Yeah!!! C’mon binch, where you at?!
Both of you, cut it out! The Luchadora’s loud enough speaking normally.
Honoka rapped her cane against the metal floor, trying to get their attention. Gugalanna took it as a challenge, and only screamed louder.
Please my nerves are already shot can we tone it down a little ladies I’d really appreciate it??
I really don’t know what you two think this is going to accomplish…
Wha’, are we yellin’ now? Aaaaaaahhh!!!
The unnecessary panic grew louder and louder until…
Mein Gott will you people be quiet?!
Siegfried’s piercing shriek from the back of the room rivalled even the Ultimate Luchadora in volume. It wasn’t the words he said so much as the pure frustration in his voice that finally got the two to quiet down– Gugalanna was starting to run out of threats, anyway.
Vasundhara put a massive hand on Kapono’s shoulder and frowned at the screamers.
A-aren’t y’all just scaring them off more?
Why should they be scared? They have us right where they want us.
It was worth a shot, ‘kay?!
Well, they can’t have slept through that, so I guess there has to be another reason why they’re waiting…
Maybe they’re not here right now…? But who would be foolish enough to leave sixteen Hope’s Peak students unattended?
Ja, even if some of us have talents that are… not practical… People should be looking for us. We are famous!
Hopefully, yes. So either they’re stupid, or they’re confident we can’t escape for some reason…
…Was Riko right? Were we in space? I couldn’t bring myself to admit that just yet.
Or maybe they are here, and they just like making us wait. Like a cat playing with a mouse, or a celebrity showing up to a press conference fashionably late. Who knows?
Ping thinks they’re here! She heard noises!~
Oh, I’d almost forgotten about that strange little robot– while the rest of us stood around the door, she’d been sitting on the floor, playing with her reflection. I guess she’d been paying more attention than I thought.
Kapono tugged on Vasundhara’s shirt and whispered something to her.
U-um… Kapono says he– he heard them too, through the walls, and that door…
You mean they’ve been watching us this whole time??
Sal, you said you think they’re playing with us…
I mean, I don’t know much about criminal psychology, doll. But if they want to see us squirm, then wouldn’t the best way to break the cycle be to pretend like nothing’s wrong?
I suppose that’s not a bad idea…!
So that was why he’d been so calm all this time… It’s the same way you deal with bullies, right? Ignore them, don’t give them the attention they want.
Acting like nothing’s wrong? I can do that!!
I think it dangerous to trivialize our situation like this…
But isn’t he just talking about what you’re doing, Riko? Not giving our captor the satisfaction of scaring us? Of course we can still try to escape.
I suppose. Though given our current circumstances, trying to escape is a waste of energy.
W-what do you mean? If we got in, there has to be a way out! That’s just logical!
Oh yeah, I guess she hasn’t told you, huh? Riko thinks we’re on a space station.
T-t-that’s ridiculous! Even if they existed, how would we get up there without anyone noticing?!
Well, uh, space stations do exist, you know. But I’ve never heard of one this big…
Yeah, it looks like something out of Star Trek! It’d be more reasonable to think we’re trapped on a movie set…
It looks nothing like Star Trek. Bare sheet metal everywhere? And that tacky fluorescent lighting? No Federation ship with a half decent budget–
So you DO watch it! What’s your favorite series?
… uh, Voyager and DS9 but that's not important right now.
Guess Riko is human after all, huh?
I think I see what you’re saying, though! If it were a set, why would they use the actual materials and make it so sturdy…? None of the sets I’ve been on have ever been this realistic!
A real-life space station! Wowee!!
I sure hope it’s not real! What if we meet an alien?!
Come on guys, if aliens were real they’d have nuked our fucking shithole of a planet years ago.
That’s… not how I would have phrased it. But! Um!
Yeah, I don’t think we need to worry about aliens. I think Sal is right, we just need to pass the time as best we can until the situation changes…
Yes, that’s right! No use in fearmongering! Let’s all work together to get along!~
That sounds just splendid, darling! What do you suppose we do until our creepster shows up?
It seems our self-appointed leader hadn’t thought that far ahead yet.
I guess just what we were doing before? Standing around talking to each other. Not like there’s much else to do around here.
Y-yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess…
Sounds like a plan to me!!
Even silent Kapono nodded before burying his face in his scarf again. So we gradually split up, starting new conversations, trying not to focus on the overwhelming dread that hung over the room. All was relatively well… for a few minutes, at least.
Gugalanna had been uncharacteristically quiet, still fuming a little from being shut down. Eventually, though, she interrupted the chatter with a question I didn’t know I had.
Uhh… Has anyone seen a restroom.
…Now that you mention it…
Why did you have to mention it?! Now I gotta go! Do we really have to stand around waiting for this fucker to show up…
She stopped suddenly, and a grin slowly spread across her face. Oh no.
Guys… I got this.
…Ishi, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but please–
Too late. Ishi turned to the door and yelled at the top of her lungs again, propping one leg up on the couch dramatically.
Alright binch I know you’re watchin’ us! Now show your goddam face or I’m gonna pee right on this couch! This shiny white leather couch! Right in front of everyone!!
What the hell do you think you’re doing–
Please be joking, Fräulein…
I’ll do it! I’ll fuckin’ do it!! It’s their own damn fault for not giving us a port-a-potty or nothin’! I’ll even do a countdown!! Five! Four!…
What on earth are you– wait–
Okay okay okay I can’t do this anymore oh my god what if they actually show up–
Now this I gotta see. Where’s the popcorn when you need it?
Maybe if I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m not surrounded by blithering idiots…
P-p-please don’t actually do it…
Holy shit, she’s actually gonna do it!
Eh? Why is everyone running away?~
Shield yer eyes, child!!!
Three… Two… One…
No vandalizing school property!!!
The cacophony cut off into complete silence as a horrid, shrieking, robotic voice flooded the room. Metal screeched against metal as someone… something? scratched at the doors from the other side. It opened a tiny crack, and talon-like blades shot through and clawed the gap wider. Behind it all, looming in the darkness, floated a burning red light…
No one said a word as we stood there, frozen in fear. No one needed to say a word, for one look at the monstrosity in front of us confirmed that we were all utterly, totally screwed.
Well, that’s not entirely true. One person did say something…
…Shit, that wasn’t supposed to actually work.