Justine’s Jacket

“Damnit!” J.J. growled at the stranger next to her. He was surprised she interrupted him, and he leaned back on his barstool as she yelled at him. “I just want a drink. I’m not here for your stupid random event. Go bug another player,” she said. The stranger glanced around the bar, then leaned closer again.

“Well I was wonderin’ why they wanted you dead; but, I reckon it’s on account of you being crazy,” he chuckled and raised his hand to pat her on the back. Something about the way her black leather duster caught the light changed his mind. He kept his hand to himself. “I like crazy, I’ll help you anyway,” he said. J.J. replied by letting her head thud against the bartop, with a heavy sigh.  She took a moment to consider her options.

If she logged out, the NPCs would forget about her and whatever event she triggered would reset. But, logging out on an unfamiliar server made J.J. nervous. She’d heard that if Ballisea shows up, her presence might keep anyone from logging into the AlterNet. It was a rumor that she didn’t believe entirely, but the one thing she did know was that it wasn’t worth the risk just in case. She was waiting for someone that was already late, so she could not leave. She had to stay put and logged on.

“Big Earl’s the leader; you take him out and you’re golden,” the stranger said. He nodded at a towering, burly man leaning against the pool table. There was also a handful of thugs in boots and cowboy hats around him. J.J. did not pay attention, she continued to knock her head against the bar.

“But, you can’t go straight for him. Over in the corner there…,” he nodded at a dim corner; J.J. remained face down on the bar. “… that’s Tom Shivs; he’s the one you want to bring down first. The best way-,”

“SKIP!” J.J. sat up and yelled at the man. “I got it. Everyone’s trying to kill me. Start it up already!” She spun around on the stool and hopped off it. She ran her hands through her purple fauxhawk and glared at everyone in the room. “I’ve had a rough day,” she said. “If you’re not trying to kill me, you should leave,” as she spoke, her duster shimmered and disintegrated off her shoulders. It fell to the ground as a black pile of swarming spiders. The spiders spread out from the swarm and crawled out toward the nearest person.

No one left. Several of the patrons started pulling back from the swarm but a wiry, frail man screamed from the dim corner. He jumped on the table he was sitting at, then table-hopped his way to the bar while keeping his eyes on J.J. She sighed.

“Fine,” she mumbled and knelt down and reached her hand into the spider swarm while Tom took his time approaching. He pulled out two long daggers and did his best to give J.J. a menacing stare. J.J. pulled her hand out holding her coat. She shook it once to clear off the last few spiders, then held it up bullfighter style.

Tom froze in his tracks atop the bar. As J.J. held her coat up, a long, black, spindly leg shot out of the surface of the jacket. It was followed by another disturbingly long leg. A giant obsidian spider, almost as big as J.J. herself climbed out of her jacket and onto the bar. Its bulbous abdomen was about the size of yoga ball, with a red skull on it where a widow’s hourglass would be.

The huge spider crawled toward a terrified Tom; J.J. Turned around to face the rest of the patrons. She still held up her coat and another king-sized spider began crawling out of it.

Six minutes later the bar was calm but full of life again. The event didn’t give J.J. anything useful, and she went to the restroom to splash some water on her face. She came back, glanced at all the new faces, then sat back on her stool.

A different stranger came and sat down next to her.

“Everyone else in here is here to kill you. You need to li-,” his script was interrupted by J.J. banging her head against the bar again.

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