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May 13, 2021 4:41 AM
summer camp!
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"Yeah, maybe so. ...tell me what you want me to call you, whenever you figure it out. No rush, though."

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"Everyone's just going to call me the invisible girl anyway."

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"Well, they will if you don't give them anything else."

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"You gave them a name and they all call you Slayer."

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"Being the slayer is all right. And anyway, even if it's gotta be a superhero name, if you make your move first then maybe you can make it something cool. More Phantom Girl than Miss Martian, you know?"

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"I'll think about it."

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"'Kay. See you around. Or. Well. You know."

So that's one point of contact, which is better than zero. She'll try making more if she has the chance (for Alex and for Zeke, even though it's hard). Next obvious order of business is to get more information on the government's current stance on demons.

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There are three teachers of the demon identification class. Chris is tall and blond and talks them through slides of different kinds of demons, dead and alive; Jason handles physical samples of the goos and excretions they're supposed to learn to analyze; Jennifer wears her hair in a very tight bun and distributes the textbooks and wrangles the projector every time it stops working. All three of them like Karen quite a lot, for some reason. 

"Hey, Slayer," Chris will say with a big grin every time she has a question, in or out of class.

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This is disconcerting and suspicious. Very suspicious. Margaret-Slash-Phantom-Girl is probably right about some of it being - not that she's thin and pretty per se, but that she's cute and knows some things about demons and has some kind of general aura of likableness around her. It's suspicious beyond that, though. She takes notes and smiles a lot and tries not to let on that she finds all of this being liked business vaguely alarming.

(Being "Slayer" is maybe not as OK with her as she imagined it might be. Maybe once she gets used to it. And people stop smiling at her and looking at her all the time.)

Karen wants to know whether all of the demons they're analyzing are uniformly hostile. She's especially going to ask this any time she recognizes a demon and knows that the answer is "usually" or "sometimes" or "nah".

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The answer is usually "we've never encountered a peaceful one" but sometimes it's "not always, but if they're stalking young girls around the city at night, you'll get yourself killed if you assume they have good intentions" and sometimes it's "they're killers, but they're sometimes quite friendly if they're not hungry".

They're never exactly wrong but some of these things are things you could also say about humans.

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Suuuure.

It's not exactly Starfleet, but it's not obviously a serious problem. She needs to come home with more, though. She watches everybody's reactions to Callida and the other half-demons a lot, which is hopefully less suspicious and less noticeable than just constantly staring at Callida. 

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Varies! Some of the camp counselors are as friendly around them as around the human kids; some keep their distance, or make a point of keeping an eye on them. She might get the sense that inviting half-demons to this summer camp was controversial. Callida seems quite cheerful about it. "The last place they wouldn't let me have anything made out of fabric. Said I'd shred it. Which, to be fair, I would, but -"

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Mhmm. Good to get a sense of the range of reactions, anyway.

She's not entirely sure what else she's supposed to be doing here. She doesn't like it here - one week she could take, no problem, but she's going to be really miserable spending ten like this, without her room or her sister or her nephew or her friends or her ancient magical dog or anyone she knows better than Margaret-Slash-Phantom-Girl. At night she imagines turning her waterfall up really loud so that maybe people can't hear that her prayers consist largely of childish complaints.

If she can focus on investigating then maybe she'll be too busy to be miserable, though.

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"Why're you here?" Phantom/Margaret asks her at the end of the first week. She's eating potato salad. It looks super weird.  "You could make them send you anywhere probably. Disneyland."

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"I hear Disneyland has really long lines in the summer. But nah, I'm like - I wanna be able to do my job well, I guess."

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"So you're here for, like, the classes? Man, that'd suck, going to summer camp just to do more school."

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"Yeah, I guess. Plus I thought maybe I could make some friends who weren't in Sunnydale. When weird stuff happens it's often pretty localized, so it can be good to get sanity checks from people who're in other places." Or something. Alex definitely said something about that at some point.

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"Do you need us to be anywhere in particular? Or just, not Sunnydale."

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"Just not Sunnydale. Where're you usually?"

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"Hadn't really figured it out. If you wanted someplace I could probably go there. - I stay in furniture stores overnight. Did you know that there are mattresses that cost twelve hundred dollars?"

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"That's - I mean I guess it's probably not super unsafe, if nobody knows you're there, but it doesn't sound like much fun."

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"Well, life's not much fun. And they are cozier than normal mattresses, the twelve hundred dollar ones."

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She nods solemnly; it doesn't seem like a good time to get into an argument about whether she really has to stay in furniture stores or not, especially since she actually doesn't have housing plans lined up for random teenage superheroes. "It probably would help, having someone who could take care of themselves and go investigate things in different places. - here." She tears out a piece of paper, writes her home phone number on it, and pushes it vaguely in the direction of the potato salad. "It's my home phone, so I can't answer while I'm here, obviously, but - if you ever need to reach a slayer."

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The piece of paper disappears. "You could send emails to a secret email and I could go to places to investigate things for you. If you wanted."

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"Yeah. We probably could."

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