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"Time to get started," she announced. "You can bring your food over but watch your drinks. Maybe put that on the back table, Raye."

Raye turned around and set his mug down on the other table.

"You got your attribute sheets Rain?"

Everybody else had theirs out already. "Hang on. I think I left them in my car."

"Shell's not here yet."

"She knows the deal. We gotta start when we gotta start," Kat said.

I sat back down and spread out my papers in front of me.

"Rain, you were in the middle of dealing with wildfires last time."

"I was going to mobilize all nonessential citizens to the fight," I said.

"You don't need that many people," said Raye. "Even the logistics of doing that would be a disaster."

"Alright, how many do you suggest then?"

"Let Rain do this, Raye," she interrupted. "You worry about your own turn."

"Actually I do want to hear this. Let me spend some time in official consultation with Raye's people."

"Noted," she said. "Starr, you're next. Corruption and safety were your big concerns last time. Are you still working on them?"

"Yes," he said. "We were gathering data and research."

"Make an intelligence check."

Starr's amber-colored die clattered across the table and bounced off the plate under Raye's sandwich. "14," he said.

"Not bad. Now a wisdom check to integrate your findings."

Starr rolled again.

"You have the data," Kat said, "but it might take some extra work before everything is running smoothly. Do you continue your current actions next turn?"

"Yes, keep going."

"Alright Raye, your turn. Rain has sent an official delegation. How do you respond?"

"Is Rain among them, or are these her underlings?"

Kat looked at me.

"If it's going to make a difference, then I'll be going."

"Okay, high level meetings then," Raye said. "I'm coming down from the Tower."

"That ends your turn then, since you'll be busy in discussions. Shell's not here but her kingdom marches on." Kat rolled some dice behind her screen. "Dark forces are on her horizon but lucky for her, benign spirits have risen up in her realm to defend it."

"Do you think we need to help her?" asked Starr.

"Everyone make an intelligence check," Kat ordered.

Three dice tumbled across the table surface. Kat took a look at each of them. "Sorry," she said. "None of you realize what's happening over there. You're all too preoccupied with your own issues."

Starr threw his pen down, disgusted.

Kat turned to me. "Have you finished your discussions with Raye?"

"In-game or real life?" I asked.

"Real life."

"Yes, I'm ready now."

"Wisdom check," she said.

"Fine." I rolled.

She rolled. Then she rolled some more. "Things are looking good. Due to the help from your neighbors, you feel comfortable enough to remove your state of emergency. Your people are able to breathe again, figuratively and literally."

"Great. Do I still have time to do more stuff this turn?"

Kat took a sip from her mug and rolled a six-sider. "Tell me your plans, but that's all you have time for."

"We're going to rebuild, and try to allocate resources as best as we can to do that."

"Fair enough," she said. "You won't find out the results of your efforts until next time."

"I'm sending a delegation over to Shell's kingdom," Starr jumped in.

"I don't think that's fair. You don't know she's in trouble." Kat rolled behind her screen. "Well I'll be darned, I'll allow it this time."

She rolled again and her eyes widened. "It seems your delegation has encountered the spirits and they've joined forces. Shell is doing better when she's not here than when she is."