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[So, since there doesn't seem to be a Rising Heroes-specific daily battle log, I'm starting a thread for myself specific to that quest/membership, in a more narrative fiction form. If an RH sub-forum is created, I'll migrate this over that-a-way. <3] 

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Galina squared her shoulders as she strode into the local coffee shop. Immortals did not *limp*.  Or slouch.  Although, she had to concede that this particular immortal had made a singularly bad decision to canvass the neighborhood in what had started out as comfortable heeled boots. She was fairly certain the latest communique's insistence on altitude had not meant fashionable footwear.  And while Steve's message had indicated Colorado as a base, that didn't stop operatives from being everywhere - she noted more than a few suspicious figures among the crowd inside. Especially the one in the corner, looking like a college student, studiously tapping away on a keyboard, a website open on the screen. Except that the nearest college was miles away. And the coffee shop wi-fi wasn't working. 

 
Their eyes met as she stepped into line, and he closed his laptop, scooping up his backpack and striding out, an untouched coffee left behind on the low table. Hm. 
"What can I get you?"


...


Galina looked down at the "skinny" latte she'd bought. She'd intended to ask for hot tea, which was cheaper and healthier. A weekend of very poor food choices had caught up with her, and she suspected she'd inadvertently eaten one of the shadow group's tainted packaged foods... But the woman in front of her had asked for a skinny latte, and Galina had repeated the request without thinking as she stewed over the stranger who had left in such a hurry. 

 
"Immortals don't limp," she muttered sternly to herself, heading out of the shop and back toward the office. 

 

Immortals also needed to pay bills. Capitalism sucked, Galina mused, sinking into her chair. After a morning full of mind-numbing busywork, the rest of the floor had vanished to a meeting to leave her with a blissful quiet for a short while. She should have gone to the meeting as well, but it was unlikely to be anything especially important, and if something big were to be announced, it would also be sent out via email later.  Time to analyze the speech patterns in her latest Japanese feeds; the shadow organization might be hiding a hacker in Colorado, but the amount of packaged foods in Japanese convenience stores would be far too large a target to ignore. 

 

Her mind wandered as she listened to the language, absently noting when the subtitles did not match the spoken lines; perhaps artistic license, perhaps cultural differences, perhaps coded messages. She made a note to analyze the lines later, pausing the feed to stretch. 

 
Immortal, perhaps, but sore, and years of too many false starts and bad economics had left her in a body she didn't recognize. Sure, she knew she could pick up heavy items, solve household challenges, and - time and energy permitting - whip up a damn fine meal, but her conditioning was non-existent. The daily recon mission to the coffee shop seemed like enough of a challenge that getting in much more movement left her joints aching - even in proper footwear.  And she couldn't blame the shadow organization for all of it, no matter how tempting. It sucked, feeling more like a prisoner in her own body than an immortal ready for any challenge. 


The phone at her desk rang, and she made a face before forcing a smile and picking up the receiver. Back to work. 

 

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Galina slapped the snooze button again. She should be getting up and hitting the gym, trying to get back her strength, but the bed was comfy. And she'd been having a NICE dream. She never had nice dreams these days - they were always fighting or struggling or failing at something. This one had been nice, and interesting, and adventurous without turning into a nightmare. The second alarm bleated at her from across the room; a skill she'd learned that wasn't worth bragging about was being able to get up, cross the room to hit snooze, and get back under the covers - all without opening her eyes. 

 

"This is why I set six different alarms," she mumbled, burying her face in the pillow as Pema Chodron's voice began a cheerful monologue about bodhicitta. 'Compassion. Have to have compassion for my flawed self,' Galina thought, curling up deeper under the covers. She'd never been good with cold, and even a Southern California winter was leaving her teeth chattering. She debated cranking the heat up on her electric blanket, but alarm number four chirped at her, and she fumbled with her phone, trying to find the snooze option. No dice. Inane chirping, a cheerful Tibetan nun, another iPod on the far side of the bed playing gagaku music... Time to get up. Sometimes, compassion meant dragging her logy backside out of bed just in time for her day job. The gym would have to happen after work, instead. 

 

At least she could make the bed easily enough. Score two points for Havik. 

 

Galina pondered her breakfast options as she sat at her desk. She'd brought hard-boiled eggs, but a breakfast burrito sounded SO good. But one of the missions had been to NOT eat fast food for 24 hours, and while the ingredients in the burrito were tame enough, it was convenience food all the same. Besides, she'd gone to the Japanese market last night and had enough shiitake in her fridge at home to make miso soup for an army. Eggs for breakfast, then... With some seasoned salt. She wasn't going to stick to any healthy decisions by eating bland food, however nutritious.  She still really wanted sausage and avocado, though. Hmph. 

 

...

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Amego Financial... Galina skimmed through the innocuous website. Hmph. 

 

At least the latest missives on debt management made sense. She didn't have a lot of debts, but she had one that always rankled: her credit card. It was handier than cash and the internet was such a convenient place for shopping... she'd spent more than she'd made for months, now. "Not cool, 'Lina," she mumbled, tallying up the categories. Too much money thrown at pointless stuff with free next-day delivery. Most of the purchases hadn't even been that useful - they certainly hadn't added any value to her life. And yet... She'd thought she'd needed them at the time. "Idiot," she scolded herself, circling the total in red pen. 

 

Next mission: make that extra $40. Time to pull out her jewelry supplies and try again. Maybe she'd have better luck this time around on Etsy. 

 

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Galina glared at her budget. Sure, she wasn't doing great after a spending-happy holiday season, leaving the credit card balance higher than normal, but the tasks from Mission Control weren't what she'd expected, either. She wanted help getting physically fit - nutrition and strength missions - not finance and public speaking. Sure, those were great to know and valuable life skills, but that wasn't why she'd signed on.  She circled the monthly subscription fee in red and moved down to the next recurring transaction. Getting financially fit meant cutting out what she didn't need.  It also meant actually using what she'd already bought - and she already had Academy and Rings subscriptions collecting dust (not to mention the equipment she'd bought for those subscriptions).  Rule for this year: Use what she bought or don't buy it at all. 

 

She tallied up the red circle amounts... well, her budget would just become that much more flexible, if she took them out of the equation. 

 

 

[So... as you can see, my original expectations of RH are not lining up with the current month, so I'm probably going to put it on hold for now.]

 

 

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Galina skimmed through the missions. Some seemed relevant, some did not. Well, with the increased social factors available, she decided to stick around another month. Though the "financial" missions from last month sure made her want to cancel just to get the $30 back. "Being immortal shouldn't be this damn hard to maintain," she muttered, digging up an old list of seasonal produce. One new veg this week, huh? Well, it might be something deep-fried; she finally had a chance for a weekend away from the office, which meant Las Vegas and all the interesting things to see and try there. It might be a gambler's paradise, but it was also chock full of restaurants and eateries that catered to being unique experiences. Which meant hopefully unique ingredients.  And "hops" probably wasn't what Steve had in mind on a new vegetable to try, so craft brews weren't going to mark that mission complete. Oh well. 

 

 

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