Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Under Your Skin
Fog's Audios

Under Your Skin

[Start Audio]
….
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Ugh.
We stayed a night in Bumshart, Nebrahoma so the sane part of our merry band could get drunk and the two girls could go end up dead in a dumpster or something, see if I care.
Who knows, maybe when they’d hit the ground running, they’d learn.
Eh, who am I kidding…
While my new favorite drinkin’ buddy Stan and I hung out at the local redneck bar the girls hit the ‘clubs’.
Nebraska at least settled for some booze and hung out with some fellow gearhead. She got busted for owning condoms or some shit though and we had to pay a hefty fee to get her on the street again.
Could have been worse.
She could, for example, have slept with a random guy just to catch awakened crotch parasites.
Like Zoé.
Yet again she got into trouble, yet again she needed us to drag her head above the shit-level and yet again she didn’t see how she brought in upon herself.
I just didn’t want the others to become hosts for skin-eating magic mites, so we called my girl. She knows how to deal with this stuff.
I miss Kiki a lot and I’m sorry that the only thing she heard from me was ‘Hi, how are you, we’re in trouble, help us!‘, but I’ll make up for it when this is over.
After some flower-picking and bee harassment along with a good deal of mojo and a culture clash with the backwater locals we managed to remedy Zoé’s condition.
She’s up and running again, though at least three of us give her the ’You’ll end up in a shallow grave’ look more frequently.
I can’t wait to see what’s the next big fuck-up…

[End Audio]

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Fun and Games
Tobias' Log

I will allow myself a little unprofessional commentary here. I fear for our investment, but following along on this roadtrip makes great entertainment. If the whole deal goes sour, we could sell movie rights.

Right. Back to business. The chocolate has survived a tornado, an attack by bison bull and a couple of minor incidents. Right now it’s parked in Grand Rapids. The group, on the other hand, has used the downtime caused by getting a new RV (the old one was badly damaged by the tornado) to make a trip to Six Flags Great Lakes. I think neither of us is surprised they chose the day that Tempo addict went nuclear there. At least they had the good sense to get out of there when things started to go bad. But not without stealing some burgers and fries and getting caught on camera with the other looters. You’ve probably seen the news.

Right now they’re back in Grand Rapids. I don’t know if they’re aware that their faces were all over the evening news. It’s not a big thing and they hardly were the only people to loot, but considering the job they are doing right now, this is a bit awkward. Let’s hope no one recognizes them and decides to earn some easy money.

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Making Amends
Rusty's Vlog

Camera acitvates. Rusty‘s on his way from Snohomish to the Nest on his bike, using his DNI to talk while recording the drive. It’s cloudy and it has been raining, the streets are still wet, he has to drive carefully. The farmland, nice houses and woods of Snohomish are not what people expect when they hear Seattle in 2071.

I decided to try and put things right with Colm. He did a lot for me when I was just some kid hanging around in front of Eddie‘s bar. I guess he did that to piss my father off, but it pretty much saved my life back then. And the one thing you don’t do when someone puts his trust in you is just leave and never say a word.

Angus would have killed me sooner or later, I’m sure of that and there was no way I could have stayed in Everett and not have that happen. So, yeah, leaving was the best thing I had eve done. Leaving Colm hanging was bullshit, though. I called him up and when he didn’t hang up right away, I invited him for dinner at the Boathouse. I was that close to chickening out, but it went pretty well. At least Colm’s willing to give me another chance. I don’t want to go back to working for the mob. He stops himself and laughs

Ok. I don’t want to go back working for that part of the mob. But I don’t want to repay what he did with just running away. That kind of thing is what Angus does, just take and take. Fuck him. And the way things are going with the Nest and Growler, sooner or later I will have to go back to Everett and I can’t do that with Colm pissed at me. So I made a peace offering, I’d smuggle some stuff for them wherever they wanted it, free of charge and no questions. I’ve always been good at this whole courier stuff and with a plane, that’s a valuable favor. Colm seemed willing to take me up on it and we’ll see how things go from there. I wouldn’t be in a hurry to trust me again if I was in his place and the job will probably be a shit one. The kind where messing up means that you don’t even need to go back home, just run. I guess I’ve earned that.

I also asked him about Brigit‘s father. He wasn’t in a hurry to tell me, but when I said that Brigit’s an ork now and that this was kind of a big hint that Angus isn’t her father, he came out with the truth. Shit, I have no idea how I am going to tell Brigit about this. I now know who her father was and much good that will do us because Angus fucking killed him. He found out about the affair and a couple of days later, Jack was gone. No-one knew for sure and Angus got away with murder. I’m surprised he kept Brigit around. If she’d been an ork from birth, he probably wouldn’t have. Man, what am I going to tell her? And she is gonna ask, that I’m sure of.

The police checkpoint comes into view and this is more what people except. The Metroplex guards stand in front of their Citymaster, armored and carrying assault rifles. Rusty gives an audible sigh when he’s picked out for a frisk and stops recording.

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Trash
Frettchen's Therapy Sessions

[Recording Session, Session ID SEA#0003]

After fleeting static the recording starts. The cam focuses on Frettchen, sitting on top of her Volkswagen van, cybernetic legs dangling from the roof.
She offers the camera a glance but is busy pulling small bloody shards of safety glass from her arms and lower torso with forceps from her med-kit.
‘Hello, Doc.’, she greets the AR projection, her voice distorted by Seattles’s tame but steady coastal wind. Though roughed up, the elf seems genuinely happy.
‘To put it into words you prefer, Miss Aidee, you look way too jazzed for your current condition.’, the bald Psychiatrist comments, frowning with a hint of worry. ‘If you are in need of medical attention, please say “Yes” or don’t touch the Icon in front of you for 5 seconds…’
‘Calm down for fuck’s sake…‘, Frettchen replies and gestures towards a red exclamation mark with a timer. ’And you have no idea…’, she adds, snickering like the program just made a joke only she understood.
‘Very well, Miss Aidee, then please give me an idea.’
Wrapping a bandage around her left arm, the elf suddenly bursts with laughter, a roguish gleam in her eyes. ‘Sure, Doc… You see, I thought about what you’ve said. My current employment is kind of a necessity you know and I don’t get along that well with my co-workers…’
The Doctor flips a page in his notebook and nods. ‘Yes, the… “Racist Assholes”, if I remember correctly. Please continue.’
‘As if you could anything but remember that correctly… Anyway, the money’s good, but it’s not what I ENJOY, you know what I’m sayin’? So I followed your advice and put my many other talents to good use.’
Frettchen inhales sharply as dislocated joints snap back into place while she twists her shoulder. ‘I mean, that’s the greatest reward, to do what you love and get some meaning outta it, right, Doc?’
Scribbling digital notes, the shrink gives her a doubtful look. ‘I cautiously agree with you, Miss Aidee. And I am glad that you took my counsel seriously.’
‘Thought so. I figured it would be a good idea to borrow a garbage truck and crash it right into the favorite bar of my drekhead…colleagues… Man, you should’ve seen it! I shit you not, that was AWESOME! Bullets, whiteboys and car wrecks everywhere! Then there was this fucking cyber-dog and Santa Claus with riflemen racists in tow and thisliving caricature- nazi! And the best thing is, it’s all over the news!’
The psychiatric program slowly lowers his notes, slightly slack-jawed.
Frettchen takes a deep breath, regaining some composure.
‘I mean if 90 percent of your so called staff consists of racist assholes and borderline policlub members, you gotta make clear you ain’t take crap, right? It’s good for working atmosphere and all that. I even wanted to drag this ork-guy, Ruckus, into this…’ She lowers her voice and grins joyfully. ‘He fuckin’ HATES me!‘, the elf tells the program conspicuously, ’…but at least he’s a meta as well and I bet you my Honda that he would’ve appreciated the gesture.’
‘Miss Aidee, are you intoxicated?’
‘Not anymore, I’m afraid…‘, Frettchen replies.
’Besides, you should not endanger yourself or those around you like that. As per our confidentiality agreement, I will not inform the authorities.’ , the doctor says in calm routine ’ However, you have serious issues and I must confess I DO in fact diagnose an alarming regress in our therapy.’
‘Oh, come on, Doc…’ the green-haired woman intervenes, but the software just keeps talking.
‘I fear your psychological condition is beyond my competence, Miss Aidee. I recommend more professional help and I will gladly provide you with highly rated addresses…’
Frettchen angrily stares at the projection, struggling for words.
‘Forget it, Doc. I’ll only talk to you, and that’s that.’
The Doctor sighs in resignation, scribbling another note.
‘As you wish, Miss Aidee. Then what would you think if we resume the anger management sessions…’
‘Are you kidding? I’ll never stop being angry…‘, she refuses, content, almost affectionate. ’Let’s take a break, okay, Doc?’

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Ratatouille
Christopher's Log

If this goes wrong, we are all dead. Maybe we already are and just don’t know it yet. If they come for me, I intend to take as many of them with me as I can. But let’s be honest, I’d rather I won’t have to make a last stand. I can’t be having with such things at my time of life.

Babsie and I went to The Cocoon to see what we could find out. If you want unsavoury magical things, telesma or drugs, this is the place to go. And you go there to see and be seen. I’ve always kept my distance, that came in handy because I could give the crochety old magician who’s more arrogant that powerful and he has plenty of power. Babsie was my mundane assistant who does all the dirty work. Which is pretty much what she did because people do talk to her much easier than to me. In the end, we came up with an invitation to a party given by Mikal, a show magician, and a connection to Virgin Mana.I was told that this was the go-to place for questionable telesma, not in those words obviously.

Babsie didn’t turn up much information at the party, but she did fall in love. The young man’s name is Justin. Forgive me, but I am very happy to say that Babsie dropped Kowalski like a hot potato. He had it coming and I was never very comfortable seeing them together. I don’t know what Kowalski was thinking. No, I know very well, but…no. Just no.

Anyway, we paid a visit to Virgin Mana. The owner is the walking cliché of a rat shaman and I probably could have sold Babsie to him without problems. We both beat around the bush for a while, but in the end he agreed to sell me dragon telesma. The money was just too good to refuse. When we left, we picked up a trail – a couple of kids were following us on scooters. They belonged to Virgin Mana, we had seen them hang around earlier. It took a while, but we managed to lose them.

We also called Mike at the hospital and he agreed to meet with us. We were too late or probably just in time. If we had been any earlier, we’d be dead, I’m sure of that. As it was, we walked up to his room a little way behind a woman in a business suit. She didn’t take much notice of us and I pulled Babsie into a storage room when I saw her enter Mike’s room. I cast a spell and watched her shoot him in cold blood.

Christ, I hate this. The woman was part of a runner team and I assume they were the ones the drake has worked with to kill the talismongers. They won’t balk at killing a washed up-magician and a private detective, not to mention a kid like Babsie. It’s possible that they tracked our phone call to Mike or that they are on our track just because we have been poking around their work. If that’s the case, they will come for us sooner or later and I don’t give a nickel for our chances.

We decided to drop the case. We are not paid nearly enough for this, it is way too dangerous. Also, we have enough that we can give our work to the police or rather our employer can do so, if they wish. It’s not in our job description to arrest whoever did this. It’s been two days and so far we’re all still alive, so I hope thr runners are either not interested in us or haven’t identified us. But I doubt that I will get a good night’s sleep for some time.

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Six Flags
Fog's Audios

Six Flags

[Start Audio]
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I’ve been to Disneyland with my parents when I was a kid and Six Flags ain’t got shit on it. Still decent. Nice rides, good food, no endless lines…
The whole thing was even pretty relaxing until we met that fortuneteller.
So, basically for the first ten minutes.
There was nothing wrong with ‘Madame Esme’, not by default. Just like most of the time, we were the weak link that shattered a potential chain of pleasant events.
Zoé got a prophecy that got her all jazzed but the icing on the cake was that from all the fortunetellers in the world…from the 99% impostors and conman we of course got the one percent who’s the real deal.
After reading us, she seemed spooked and I can’t really blame her for that.
The usual misunderstanding in our line of business happened and when she tried to bail, we stopped her, calm but threateningly told her to stay the fuck away from our million, no matter what she saw.
She promised to behave and told us that this didn’t have anything to do with us, but that Zoé should stay away from the water ride.
A long, drawn out sigh interrupts the flow of words.
As if there ever was a chance that was going to happen.
Let me try to explain this in the most reasonable way…
First, there was a dude near the water ride.
It was warm, he was wearing some kind of full body armor, helmet and all, black as midnight, just standing there mysteriously.
I don’t know why on earth I suggested he was a vampire.
It was just a fucking joke!
Even if, why not just leave that poor asshole alone and enjoy a tranquil day in an amusement park!
Truth be told, vampire or not, that guy seemed like trouble, so I’d rather have us all stay away from him.
Another Sigh.
At some point in the resulting discussion about parapersons I was this close to call Circe de Soleil ‘cause the girls were seriously flipping their shit about this.
Nebraska wanted to stake and probably simultaneously fuck him or something, at least she couldn’t stop talking about absurdly long vampire schlongs and Zoé had this ‘must fly straight into the light’ gaze she always has right before doing something stupid.
Against better judgment, we told her to stay away from the ride and since no clairvoyance held the rest of us back, we hopped right in.
There was a guy with a serious lack of sleep and/or a nasty cough with us, but I’ll get to him later.
Right at the top we saw Zoé, walking over to the dude in the black armor, seemed like she would offer him a drink.
Shame we couldn’t fetch the pic you get at the end of each ride…‘cause 4 people facepalming in unison without faking it? That’s something.
When that thing was slow enough Nebraska and I jumped out of our wagon, sprinted to Zoé’s ‘rescue’.
She was happy enough about her second prophecy which was meeting a mysterious stranger… And Nebraska joined in, both droning on about going back to the Haunted House with him.
I tried my best to stop them, I really did.
Even played along with the whole vampire thing to stop them from endangering their lives and the run.
At some point I just snapped.
Especially at Zoé.
You know I… Oh screw this.
I’m just spent. I’m done saving this self-righteous belligerent bitch.
She won’t grow, she refuses to learn, she couldn’t negotiate or even lie her way out of a wet paper bag, is borderline useless in combat and contributes virtually nothing but trouble again and again.
Pulling this whole thing off with her is as painful as having a rusty bear trap clamped to your face and I can’t fucking take it anymore!
Phew, spirits, that felt good…
To make it short, they both survived, I couldn’t care less why that armored dude was content enough with spooking them.
Oh, and that weird guy from the water ride was possessed by a tempo spirit and went berserk or something. We left the park in time and I knew better than to take him on.
I need a break now…

[End Audio]

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Natural Disasters
Fog's Audios

Natural Disasters

[Start Audio]
….
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Alright I can deal with kleptomaniac ravens and flooded highways. No problem.
Getting ripped off at the border ‘cause of a souvenir? No offense taken.
Losing matrix connection and home support ’cause Glitzy is now a fucking satellite terrorist? Well, I guess that happens all the time to a lot of people.
I even don’t mind too much when wannabe go-gangers try to ruin our day, almost kill Jet and shoot me nine times.
Yes, nine times.
Close shave.
If there’s any state where I can marry my armor, I swear to all spirits, I will.
But…it’s actually pretty humbling to reflect on one’s mortality… So, no hard feelings.
I’m only starting to question Karma’s intentions and good taste when friggin’ tornadoes start throwing fully grown trees through our windshield and wild furry cows, aka buffaloes, aggressively try to make out with our RV.
Being a follower of the athlete’s way and a survivor at heart I’m used to tough rides and I think you got by now that I enjoy challenges.
But Spirits, this whole trip feels like juggling chainsaws… while on fire.
Buuuut….Despite all the whining, we’re okay.
We juryrigged a new system for the RV after the storm wrecked the old one.
He’s called Bob, got a nice spray-painted face and is a patchwork abomination salvaged from our trideo and some freeware programs.
At least we managed to limp to the next town to get a replacement car.
Our insurance will love us for this.
To kill some time the gang wants to go visit Six Flags, some kinda amusement park.
I have a bad, bad feeling about this…

[End Audio]

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Little Lies
Tobias' Log

Another update on our chocolate: they made it to the Sioux Nation at least.

After that little interlude in Spokane, they got detained by police for a short time and managed to bribe their way out of it. The rescue mission for the two girls back in Spokane went over less than perfect and it seems Nebraska had a meltdown, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But they got their act together and drove on. The next thing really wasn’t their fault, could have happened to anyone, they got targeted by some go gang or rather some kids who want to be a go gang when they grow up.

I must say they handled that well, all things considered. One of the ganger is dead, but only because his friend miss-aimed and shot him instead of Mr. Sullivan. By the way, I have the information you wanted, find the files attached. Everyone else is alive and our runners are mostly unhurt, with the exception of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Kyldrasic, but he is a quick healer. They got once again questioned by police, but it was only a routine thing. Their fingerprints and SINs (the fake ones) are in the system now, though.

Crossing the border into Sioux Nation could have gone better, but it could have gone a lot worse, too. Customs pulled their usual bullshit and kept them waiting for hours while they went over the RV and transporter with a fine-tooth comb, but except for some porcupine quills, they didn’t find anything. That cost them 1000 NY, about twice as much as would have been the normal fine. Also, social services were called in because the girls played the ‘kids with behavioral problems’-card a bit too hard. Nothing came of it except some uncomfortable questions regarding Mr. Voynich’s conduct.

They also lost their satellite connection, but again, through no fault of their own. Right now, they are camped out in the middle of nowhere, which pretty much describes the whole state of Montana this side of the border.

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Catching Up
Rusty's Vlog

Camera activates and pans over a lake in the sunlight, surrounded by firs, pines, some alders and birches. The viewpoint is high up and when Rusty turns the camera around, he has climbed a tree and sits on a large branch, his back against the trunk. The wind’s rustling in the leaves and birds sing loudly . Below, a small creek flows into the lake.

I need some time by myself, the Nest is just too fucking busy to think.

First of all, Brigit‘s okay. She needs some time to get used to her new body, but she’s just as sharp as she used to be. And I don’t know where she got her looks, but people turn their heads when she walks by. That’s awkward for her, she’s a fourteen year old kid inside, but she doesn’t look it any more. She’ll get used to it and in the meantime, I’m happy to turn people’s heads back around for them. But all in all, she handles it well. We rented her her own container, we wanted to do that anyway. But she still hangs around with me a lot and I wouldn’t want it any different. My little sister…she’ll grow up soon enough.

I got myself some cyberware. I didn’t ask where Neil got the body, but there were some nice reaction enhancers inside and I was top of the list for those. It feels weird, but I’m getting used to it. I’m faster, now. Not seriously boosted like Growler or Twitch, that shit’s too much for me. But it gives me an edge and I like that.

There’s a good chance I’m going to need it because I want to make good with Colm. When I ran away, I broke the promise I made to him and it’s been bugging me ever since. There’s no way I’m going to go back, working for the mob again. But I want to at least apologize and explain myself. I know that this is probably a spectacularly bad idea. Might get me killed or land me in the clinic for a long while. Still, I’m going to do it. I don’t plan on going there empty handed, I think that I have a fair offer to make with a free smuggling flight. I hope it helps.

I also made a trip to the Funhouse. People have been talking about it so much, saying that you can get anything there for cheap. I wanted to get Ling a camera, a real one. Not a commlink cam, a real camera with a good zoom lens and stuff. Old school, but these things still take amazing photos. Han got me in touch with a guy who can rustle up an adapter for the tech. It took me a while, but I did find a camera. And not just that, there were lenses and lights and filters and all kinds of stuff. I probably paid too much for it, but I don’t care. It’s still far less that I would have paid anywhere else.

The girl who helped me find my way around the Funhouse, Cash, she’s something. Tells me all about how everything should be free, even and especially love and sex and by the way, how about we fuck? I think her world view took a kick to the knee when I said I wasn’t interested. She couldn’t shut up about how old fashioned relationships are and that it’s selfish and people should just give away everything they’re asked for. From the way she talked, no-one ever told her no, no matter what. If that’s how it is at the Funhouse, whatever floats your boat. Not my style, though.

But she’s sixteen or so and has lived there all her life, so what can you expect. She’s not dumb and after she finally stopped pissing on everyone and everything that doesn’t work like she wants it to, we talked for a while. She’ll come to the Nest, for a crash course in first aid at the med station and when she starts preaching at the Nest, that won’t go over well with people. Plus she has a crush on me, like this serious teenager crush, and I’m not sure how to handle that. I told Ling about it and she promised not to kick Cash through any walls. Probably.

But hey, depending on how the talk with Colm goes, that’ll be the least of my worries then.

camera deactivates

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Little Things
Neil's Journal

We’re in the middle of a war zone and the Barrens are looking at a tough time, it seems that KE has decided to starve the gangs out. Yeah. Like that’s going to help.

But life goes on and little things happen. Dawn and Ela have finished their tree house or at least it’s done so far that they can move in. They plan on adding to it. It’s really quite charming and they are thrilled to have their own space. Ruby and me can start refurnishing the guest room for the twins…which lead to some discussion over how much technology we will need to raise our kids. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle, I guess.

Kiki is building herself a small cabin at Crescent Lake and she will run a small shop and pharmacy from there. We can use something like that – I’ve talked to her and the clinic will cooperate with her, people will be able to get her potions for minor illnesses on prescription.

I’ve had a conversation with the Draco Foundation a couple of days ago. Fog has asked them for a grant to clean up the fertilizer plant and to get Esmeralda her new legs and since I will be the one to operate on her, they wanted a bit of background. I feel a bit anxious, having their attention. So far, obviously, no strike team has come to abduct me and we’ve always been careful about Eric. There are so many rumors about what happened to him and many are a lot more believable than ‘hey, this washed-up street doc did what no-one else has managed to do’. I did tell them about my friendship with John and may have slightly exaggerated on my experience in treating him. I warned him about that exaggeration, in case they want to check with him.

Chill came to me last week with Trey in tow and wanted to know what had happened. I had no idea, but Trey looked like he got thrown under a bus. Stanley had already treated him, so there wasn’t much I could do and Trey wouldn’t say what happened. Said that some people didn’t like his face and that it was not worth making a fuss about. I send Stanley a message, maybe he knows what happened. But with Chill around, I couldn’t get Trey to talk. He looks like shit, by the way, and so does Chill. Both eaten away by Tempo, the one by taking the actual drug and the other by the need to get the money for it.

Eric is in the middle of a depression. He’s had that problem forever now and half turning into a ghoul has not helped at all. Getting together with Nebraska made him feel better, but depression isn’t healed by a relationship and it doesn’t even help to know that one should feel good because everything’s fine. I suspect he skipped on his medication, he sometimes does because he’s never been happy to have to rely on that. But at the moment it’s all he can do just to get out of bed and manage a couple of hours of work, so I hope it won’t take that much convincing to get him to take it again. And I won’t experiment with his medication unless I really have to, it works quite well when he does take it and together with the painkillers for his back, we’re out of options for an alternative. I might ask for Rusty to help me if I need to.

Rusty has a lot of his plate right now, though. Brigit has started to goblinize and has turned into an ork. She took it hard and worries that people will call her a freak and no-one will fall in love with her, at least no-one she wants. I don’t think she has to worry about that because frankly, she’s stunning. That will take some getting used to, after all she was just a kid of thirteen years old a week ago and now, she looks like a young woman. Physically, she did well during the transition and there was no brain damage or problems with her skeleton or muscles. She just has to grow into her new body now. But I’ll bet she’ll be the subject of some bar brawls. Rusty probably won’t take kindly to people catcalling his little sister.

Since I’m gossiping here, Diego has finally caught on to the fact that Selma has been flirting with him for the last couple of month. I won’t dare to comment on his obliviousness since I am probably holding the current record with three years of total ignorance. In any case, Simon told him and he talked to her, resulting in a date. I really hope it works out for them. Diego is not the easiest person to be around, but I think Selma can handle him.

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