[Prologue - 006]

Group shot of everyone standing around the graffiti door.

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.

Tiffani speaks.
Tiffani

So… like, is something gonna happen, or what?

Jurou looks worried.
Jurou

Yeah! This place gives me th’ heebiejeebies, it’s so… quiet.

Aoi thinks.
Aoi

It is a little weird that we haven’t heard from anyone, isn’t it? They went to so much effort to capture us…

Michi shrugs.
Michi

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?

Gugalanna hollers.
Gugalanna

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!!!

Ishi also hollers.
Ishi

Yeah!! Yeah!!! C’mon binch, where you at?!

Honoka frowns.
Honoka

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.

Nikola needs some smelling salts.
Nikola

Please my nerves are already shot can we tone it down a little ladies I’d really appreciate it??

Aoi grumbles.
Aoi

I really don’t know what you two think this is going to accomplish…

Jurou also yells.
Jurou

Wha’, are we yellin’ now? Aaaaaaahhh!!!

The unnecessary panic grew louder and louder until…

Siegfried flips his shit.
Siegfried

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.

Kapono winces.
Kapono

…Loud…

Vasundhara put a massive hand on Kapono’s shoulder and frowned at the screamers.

Vasundhara huffs.
Vasundhara

A-aren’t y’all just scaring them off more?

Riko speaks.
Riko

Why should they be scared? They have us right where they want us.

Ishi sulks.
Ishi

It was worth a shot, ‘kay?!

Tim looks exasperated.
Timaeus

Well, they can’t have slept through that, so I guess there has to be another reason why they’re waiting…

Yusra speaks.
Yusra

Maybe they’re not here right now…? But who would be foolish enough to leave sixteen Hope’s Peak students unattended?

Siegfried looks to the side.
Siegfried

Ja, even if some of us have talents that are… not practical… People should be looking for us. We are famous!

Tim thinks.
Timaeus

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.

Salvatore chews on his pen.
Salvatore

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 smiles.
Ping

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.

Vash speaks.
Vasundhara

U-um… Kapono says he– he heard them too, through the walls, and that door…

Michi looks freaked out.
Michi

You mean they’ve been watching us this whole time??

Aoi thinks.
Aoi

Sal, you said you think they’re playing with us…

Sal grins.
Salvatore

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?

Tim thinks.
Timaeus

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.

Nikola grins.
Nikola

Acting like nothing’s wrong? I can do that!!

Riko frowns.
Riko

I think it dangerous to trivialize our situation like this…

Yusra smiles.
Yusra

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.

Riko closes her eyes.
Riko

I suppose. Though given our current circumstances, trying to escape is a waste of energy.

Honoka barks.
Honoka

W-what do you mean? If we got in, there has to be a way out! That’s just logical!

Michi smirks.
Michi

Oh yeah, I guess she hasn’t told you, huh? Riko thinks we’re on a space station.

Honoka splutters.
Honoka

T-t-that’s ridiculous! Even if they existed, how would we get up there without anyone noticing?!

Tim laughs nervously.
Timaeus

Well, uh, space stations do exist, you know. But I’ve never heard of one this big…

Aoi speaks.
Aoi

Yeah, it looks like something out of Star Trek! It’d be more reasonable to think we’re trapped on a movie set…

Riko huffs.
Riko

It looks nothing like Star Trek. Bare sheet metal everywhere? And that tacky fluorescent lighting? No Federation ship with a half decent budget–

Aoi grins.
Aoi

So you DO watch it! What’s your favorite series?

Riko looks embarrassed.
Riko

… uh, Voyager and DS9 but that's not important right now.

Guess Riko is human after all, huh?

Nikola thinks.
Nikola

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!

Nikola laughs.
Nikola

A real-life space station! Wowee!!

Ishi looks nervous.
Ishi

I sure hope it’s not real! What if we meet an alien?!

Jurou squawks.
Jurou

An alien?!

Tiffani snarks.
Tiffani

Come on guys, if aliens were real they’d have nuked our fucking shithole of a planet years ago.

Tim looks exasperated.
Timaeus

That’s… not how I would have phrased it. But! Um!

Tim smiles.
Timaeus

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…

Honoka smiles.
Honoka

Yes, that’s right! No use in fearmongering! Let’s all work together to get along!~

Salvatore laughs.
Salvatore

That sounds just splendid, darling! What do you suppose we do until our creepster shows up?

Honoka thinks.
Honoka

Um… uh…

It seems our self-appointed leader hadn’t thought that far ahead yet.

Michi speaks.
Michi

I guess just what we were doing before? Standing around talking to each other. Not like there’s much else to do around here.

Vasundhara smiles.
Vasundhara

Y-yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess…

Nikola smiles.
Nikola

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.

Gugalanna looks serious.
Gugalanna

Uhh… Has anyone seen a restroom.

Salvatore thinks.
Salvatore

…Now that you mention it…

Ishi grumbles
Ishi

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.

Ishi grins.
Ishi

Guys… I got this.

Tim takes a deep breath.
Timaeus

…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.

Ishi hollers.
Ishi

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!!

Timaeus screams.
Timaeus

Ishi NO!!!!!!!

Honoka panics.
Honoka

What the hell do you think you’re doing–

Siegfried looks terrified.
Siegfried

Please be joking, Fräulein…

Ishi continues hollering.
Ishi

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!…

Yusra gasps.
Yusra

What on earth are you– wait–

Nikola loses it.
Nikola

Okay okay okay I can’t do this anymore oh my god what if they actually show up–

Tiffani grins.
Tiffani

Now this I gotta see. Where’s the popcorn when you need it?

Riko closes her eyes.
Riko

Maybe if I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m not surrounded by blithering idiots…

Kapono is fully retreated into his scarf.
Kapono

…!!!

Vash starts crying.
Vasundhara

P-p-please don’t actually do it…

Michi watches in awe.
Michi

Holy shit, she’s actually gonna do it!

Ping looks confused.
Ping

Eh? Why is everyone running away?~

Jurou yells.
Jurou

Shield yer eyes, child!!!

Ishi screams.
Ishi

Three… Two… One…

A mysterious voice.
???

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…

A robot claws its way out of the darkness.

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…

Ishi gulps.
Ishi

…Shit, that wasn’t supposed to actually work.