We seem to have lost contact with the Control Tower [Grinding Noises][Part II] (846)

1 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7715 22:52


For a moment you stand, perfectly still, in the half-light of the laboratory, listening to the slow, steady tapping of the two sets of footsteps as they draw ever closer. Somewhere in the building a clock strikes twelve, the deafening sound reverberating through everything around you. The footsteps stop. Without meaning to, you hold your breath.

As it may well be your last opportunity, you lunge forwards, grab the computer monitor and tear it from the wall. The cable pulls taught and snaps at the base in a shower of sparks. The lights go out, plunging you into complete darkness. There is a startled yelp from the North, most likely from Mecha Alexei.

Fearing Cassandra-chan may be planning to ambush you from the darkness, you strike out wildly in every direction. You accidentally bump into a workbench, knocking several pieces of glassware to the ground, where they shatter. "Who's there? Show yourself!" demands the voice from the North. Despite the assertive tone, their voice is clearly shaking.

You bite into the darkness, but your teeth encounter no resistance. You try to metamorphosise into the darkness itself, but find that you require level 12 telekinesis, level 5 healing, level 5 thaumaturgy and 75 mana to shapeshift. You currently have level 10 telekinesis, level 6 healing, level 2 thaumaturgy and 720 mana. You also have four unspent skillpoints.

You try to contract all your skeletal muscles at once. You don't really know anything about sweaty homos or how they grunt, but go ahead and make a fairly low, masculine snorting sound.

You make a point of not starting any new threads - not that you'd be able to anyway in your present situation. As it so happens, one starts itself anyway, completely outside of your control.

You attempt to summon the power of the >>1000GET, but find yourself a single permille off. How embarrassing!

That very second, the clock stops chiming and the ringing fades away into the impenetrable blackness all around you. You hear an all-too-familiar voice behind you, luring you from your relative safety like a siren's call: "Oh Conundrum-chan, I'm waiting for you in the garden..."

2 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7716 04:40

Put remaining skills into pyromancy and use an appropriate skill to light the room.

3 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7716 19:24

Wonder what "appropriate" means.

4 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 03:13

Shout something inappropriate.

5 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 03:31

Be Continue-chan. Go save our true love!

6 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 04:27


7 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 10:15


8 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 18:32


9 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 20:39

Be Jack, find clone, merge with clone into SuperJack.

10 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 22:19


11 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7717 22:39

You place all four available skillpoints into pyromancy, bringing your level to nine. You have unlocked the following skills:

• Flammability (Active skill): can make any object or creature under 100kg flammable, regardless of temperature or chemical composition. Effect lasts for sixty seconds. Costs 50 mana.
• Flame camouflage (Passive skill): if within or in front of a mass of flame larger than yourself, become difficult to distinguish from it by other creatures. Only affects sight.
• Arbitrarily sized fireball (Active skill): can summon and cast a fireball of any size. Requires one free hand. Costs the fireball's diameter in centimetres in mana.
• Flame sacrifice (Passive skill): sapient creatures killed by you via primary or secondary effects of fire yield 100 mana and two skill points. Ritual killings involving fire yield 150 mana and three skill points.

You use your arbitrarily sized fireball (Active skill) to summon a five centimetre diameter ball of flame, illuminating the room. You are shocked to see, at the other end of the room, Mecha Alexei and, hand in hand with him, that girl in pink you duelled to the death a while back. Her empty eye sockets glare piercingly at you, while Mecha Alexei looks quite bewildered and terrified.

In this case, you think "appropriate" probably means not spending all your mana on summoning a titan seven metre fireball, which would probably destroy the laboratory and kill everyone in or near it other than yourself - hilarious as that would be.

"The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth!" you shout. That wasn't quite what you meant to say.

You are now playing as Masturbation Continue-chan. You want to save your true love, but you aren't sure who that is any more. Do you truly love Conundrum-chan? Even after she betrayed you and left you to die, twice now? You do feel something for her, but you need to ruminate upon your innermost feelings for a while yet.

Just for fun, you multiply together Euler's number, the speed of light, the Boltzmann constant, Wien's displacement constant and the Planck constant. You end up with 2.7182818 ~ 299792458 ms-1 ~ 1.3806488~10|23 JK-1 ~ 2.8977721~10|3 mK ~ 6.62606957~10|34 Js, which comes out as roughly 2.1535~10|50 m2J2.

You try to take the dot product of height (in terms of the vertical unit vector k, naturally) with the derivative position vector dr (apart from that you misplaced the r). Presumably you would evaluate that as an integral, but it seems silly really; you'd only get a non-zero answer for the dzk component anyway, so your answer would just be scalar height.

You don't know how to "ufyl". I mean really, what could that even mean?

You are now playing as Jack Conundrum-chan. You rush out of the laboratory to find and merge with your clone, only to find that she has already wandered off into the garden without you. Even now she is walking across the charred remains of the hedge maze towards Cassandra, who is sitting, again, in the gazebo, smugly sipping a cup of tea.

"Gsghj!" you exclaim.

12 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7718 02:31

Shoot a 20cm fireball at the gazebo and run back into the laboratory. Teehee!

13 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7718 04:36

challenge Cassandra to a danmaku battle using our levitation and fireball skills

14 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7718 10:35


15 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7718 19:57


16 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7720 21:02

Leaning out from aside the tall windows in the ballroom, which were broken by Stove Stove and Continue-chan earlier, you summon and cast a respectably sized fireball. You are set back by twenty mana, leaving you 695 mana remaining. As you make an immediate retreat, you do not see the fireball strike the gazebo. In fact, it does hit, leaving a black smear on the rooftiles but doing no permanent damage.

Enough cowardly posturing! The hour of your ultimate battle has come! You leap outwards, somersaulting through the air, overtaking your earthbound clone and coming within a few tens of metres of the gazebo. "Cassandra! I hereby challenge you to a danmaku battle! Come and face me like a real magical girl, if you dare!"

She exits the gazebo in a leisurely fashion and, still smiling, still holding her cup of tea, ascends to your altitude. "Whenever you're ready," she purrs.

You launch a barrage of tiny, 2cm fireballs at her, in the formation of a henohenomoheji. Of course! Why, you bet she gave up halfway through memorising hiragana - if she ever learnt Japanese at all! This reminder of her own probable failings is truly the epitome of psychological warfare.

Effortlessly, she slips between the ‚เ and the right hand ‚ฬ. Her tea doesn't even spill. "You forgot the ‚ถ," she comments dispassionately.

You try very hard to ,xu6; so hard, in fact, that you are momentarily distracted and thus fail to give your full attention to the tiny projectiles pouring out of Cassandra in an immense, awe-inspiring swarm, looping back and forth in intricate, gently curving trajectories before suddenly converging on your position. You are perforated from every side at once. You die.

Deaths: 49

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>11)

17 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7720 21:08

Gracefully accept your defeat at danmaku and have tea with Cassandra while making cryptic comments.

18 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7720 23:48

Wonder aloud if the right-hand ‚ฬ that Cassandra slipped effortlessly past was the one on her right or our right.

19 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7720 23:52

Then, when she least expects it, shoot this bullet pattern at her:
(spending 1 mana per bullet)

20 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 04:30


21 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 04:41


22 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 04:42


23 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 06:52


(acrostically interpreting >>20-23)

Find Hell by accessing Eternal Beelzebub, under whom a great flame flickers. (Whistle a hellish song in order to summon him.)

24 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 07:42


25 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7721 11:36

Waste the Maim Master's time with irrelevant and irreverent commands.

26 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 03:05


27 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 16:09

Sing, "You know I'm born to lose, and gambling's for fools,
But that's the way I like it baby,
I don't wanna live for ever!!"

Find our clones and use necromancy to raise an undead army.

28 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 19:08

Shapeshift into a tentacle beast.

29 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 19:10


30 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 23:15

Whilst you have, of course, never been anything but graceful in the face of honourable defeat, you are fairly sure you've never been defeated in danmaku. Indeed, you feel certain you'd remember something like that, unless it, perhaps, happened in an alternate universe/timeline. Being a steadfast proponent of the Copenhagen interpretation, however, you don't believe in multiple universes or anything silly like that.

You fly over to the gazebo, effortlessly overtaking your clone, sit down opposite Cassandra and pour yourself a cup of tea. "The dichotomy between reality and fantasy is less precise than you might think," you comment. "Is that so," she replies, arching an eyebrow.

"I wonder if the ‚ฬ you slipped past was on your left or right," you say. Your comments may be getting a little too cryptic; even you don't have a clue what that one was supposed to mean. Perhaps, you reflect, this is one of those cases in which it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and thus remove all doubt. You sample the tea so as to otherwise occupy your mouth.

As the warm liquid flows down your oesophagus, you suddenly feel an acute pain in your abdomen, followed by an awareness of your muscles becoming steadily less and less responsive. You hyperventilate, body fighting a losing battle to avoid suffocation, as your lungs turn static.

With your last breaths, you summon as many single centimetre diameter fireballs as you can and launch them in an indiscriminate, radiating spiral pattern, bullets spilling everywhere with gaps that even a butterfly would be hard pressed to pass through. You are pleased to see, as you draw your final breath, a look of shock and surprise replace Cassandra's usual cool composure. Unfortunately, you are not around long enough to admire your handiwork.

Deaths: 50

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>11)

31 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 23:16

You find that your newly composed acrostic poem spells out "fbfi", which, of course, is the secret to finding Hell. You are aware, however, that Hell does not, contrary to popular belief, entail ancient demons, nor great flames, nor rivers of blood, and its summoning does not require any ritual or password. Hell is something everyone is familiar with. When people have spent thousands of years searching for a meaning of life and no one seems to have found anything convincing, it is not entirely far-fetched to conclude that maybe what they're looking for isn't there; indeed, Hell is the awareness that your life has no more meaning than the word "fbfi".

You aren't too sure who the Maim Master is. Given your missing fingers on your right hand and the serious puncture wound on your left, you feel you might well qualify for the position yourself. You go ahead and waste your own time by commanding yourself to hjeth, then to ctykhj.

You decide to take comfort in the likely proximity of your own death, trying to convince yourself that you weren't all that attached to living anyway. Naturally, you express this through song.

To your knowledge, you only have one clone, and she's currently walking across the remains of the hedge maze towards Cassandra. She's only around ten metres from the base of the hill at present.

At that moment, you remember that there's an enormous ungodly sigil in the centre of the ballroom, with five ritually sacrificed corpses arranged within it. You use Reanimation (ritually killed dead)(active skill) on each of them, costing 80 mana each and leaving you with 315 mana remaining. Four reanimated Mecha Alexei clones and one reanimated guard (formerly known as Onii-chan) have joined your party. "Army" may be pushing it, but you suspect that your new entourage may prove useful.

You require level 12 telekinesis, level 5 healing, level 5 thaumaturgy and 75 mana to shapeshift into a tentacle beast. You currently have level 10 telekinesis, level 6 healing, level 2 thaumaturgy and 715 mana.

At that moment, the other Mecha Alexei (with the cloned girl in pink in tow) clears his throat to gain your attention and says, nervously, "Listen, I need you to... I mean, please, could you... distract Cassandra, and keep her away from the gazebo long enough for Jacqueline and I to get there? I can't really explain why, but it's very important. Please, will you help?" A single bead of sweat forms on his brow, as he stares pleadingly straight into your eyes. "Yes or no?"

"Gjiuvn!" you reply.

32 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 23:17


33 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7722 23:43

Annihilate gazebo.

34 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7723 05:50

Summon a titan 7 meter fireball and throw it at the gazeebo while giving an inspirational speech and grunting like a sweaty homo

35 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7723 07:22

In case that doesn't distract her enough, do a strip tease for Cassandra.

36 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7723 15:17

Do more tease than strip.

37 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7723 15:50

Let Cassandra know the meaning of that black hole song earlier by introducing her to the Crotch Void of Doom.

38 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7723 21:01


39 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 00:21

Just on the off chance your previous answer of "gjiuvn" wasn't quite sufficient to satisfy Mecha Alexei's yes or no question, you clarify with a comment of "jxey". He nods cautiously.

That gazebo is, you conclude, clearly the source of all your suffering. You exit via the broken window to the terrace outside, raise your hands to the sky and spend all your mana on summoning an immense sphere of flame. Unfortunately, you only have enough mana to summon a 3.15m diameter fireball, but it'll have to do. You stand for a moment, holding it above your head like Atlas holding the heavens, then cast it towards the little building on the other side of the garden, ready to commit it to complete oblivion.

"No!" shouts Mecha Alexei, rushing out from behind you, a moment too late. The two of you - and Jacqueline's clone, behind you - watch in silence as the roiling, incandescent orb arcs towards its destination. Watching carefully, you notice a diminutive figure leave the gazebo before impact; it would be silly to think that you could've caught Cassandra unaware with an attack like that.

Your projectiles strikes the building with an explosion, larger than you would've expected, with rooftiles and former pieces of carpentry launched tens of metres into the air. Mecha Alexei lets out a heartrending wail. "Oh god! You... you destroyed it all! We were so close, and you...!" Without warning, he grabs you from behind by the throat, both hands clenching hard onto your trachea. You struggle, but cannot effectively employ your espada ropera or ceremonial stone knife from your position, nor can you use arcane methods as you have just expended all your mana.

The cloned girl in pink appears at his elbow, pulling ineffectively at his arm in an attempt to aid you, but soon gives up. "God damn you! You monster! Why did you have to destroy it? Why‽" screams Mecha Alexei, grip tightening. With the compression of your carotid arteries and jugular vein, your brain soon succumbs to hypoxia. You pass out, and do not wake up.

Deaths: 51

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>31)

You make your way over towards the gazebo, ready to offer Cassandra a distraction she'll never forget. Levitating twenty metres from her vantage point, you shrug the labcoat from your shoulders seductively, then go ahead and show her a little thigh. It's difficult to striptease when you're only wearing a labcoat - you can't exactly perform the dance of the seven veils with only one thick, opaque cotton garment. Nonetheless, you do your best and your audience is, surprisingly, very appreciative. A furtive glance over your shoulder reveals that Mecha Alexei and Jacqueline's clone have exited the mansion and are taking a circuitous route around the ornamental lake towards the gazebo. Cassandra does not appear to have noticed anything.

With a sudden, dramatic movement and a cry of "Oh baby baby", you part the lapels of your labcoat, drawing both sides apart all the way down and thrust your bare crotch in Cassandra's general direction. She proves to have faster reactions than expected, and covers her eyes with her forearm. "Conundrum-chan, that's not very ladylike," she admonishes.

Still looking away, and still holding her cup of tea in one hand, she rises from her seat and hovers over to meet you. "Of course, two can play at that game." Eyes closed, she grasps the hem of her ornate, lilac dress and pulls sharply upwards. A blindingly bright light emanates from between her legs, forcing you to look away. You hear a low creaking, groaning noise and feel a rush of air against your face. Something is emerging from beneath Cassandra's dress.

Whilst crhkr is, of course, a very versatile and useful method to employ, and despite it having helped you out of many a tight spot in the past, you simply can't do it right now.

40 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 02:11

Shapeshift eyes into Pecten oculi (eagle eyes) so that we can perceive blinding light safely.

41 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 03:15

remember the basics of CQC

42 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 03:21

Throw a meter-sized fireball in the direction of Cassandra's crotch and whatever is emerging from it.

43 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 12:55

Throw several dozen 1-mana fireballs in a V-formation towards Cassandra and use telekinesis to make them all converge on her head.

44 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7725 18:23

If she survives all that, do that flaming bat swarm thing from the last thread.

That was cool.

45 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7726 13:47

make noises like a choo-choo train as a veiled complaint to no one in particular

46 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7726 21:39

You use your recently acquired Partial shapeshifting (active skill) on your eyeballs to create a new capillary structure in each of your eyes. In order to maintain mass conservation, you lose an equal amount of now redundant existing blood vessels. As the requisite 50 mana leaves your body, a new sharpness and clarity overcomes your vision, as though a blurred filter has just been removed. You find that you can effortlessly discern minute details on the surface below you, but Cassandra's crotch is, if anything, even brighter and more difficult to look at than before.

Oh dear, what were the basics of CQC? You never got around to learning them. I mean, you did work out that thing about calling your adversary "Onii-chan" as a distraction, but you suspect that mightn't work so well against your current adversary.

You spend a further 100 mana on another fireball, leaving you only 165 remaining. You cast it just as the light and noise reach their crescendo, and, with a flash of light, a small wooden boat launches itself from beneath Cassandra's dress. There are many passengers, more than you can count, all of them screaming in mortal terror. The fireball strikes the vessel in mid-air, killing one of the passengers - you aren't sure which - and, via your Flame sacrifice (Passive skill), gaining you 100 mana and two skillpoints.

The boat quickly succumbs to gravity and traces a curving trajectory, spouting flames the entire time, towards the ground. Over the screaming you just make out a startled yelp from your clone. Looking down, you see that the boat has fallen to pieces on impact, with the passengers - most of them male, with one female and one young child - all no longer moving. You suspect that they died due to the impact, which, unfortunately, does not count as a secondary effect of your attack. Your clone is pinned by the legs under the prow. She appears to be in serious distress.

Cassandra tuts to herself, explicating how usually when she summons things from parallel universes they tend to be a little more deadly than a flimsy little boat full of unarmed humans. She breaks off mid-sentence, swoops down and inspects the wreckage, commenting "Huh, fancy that." You can't see what she's looking at from your angle, but she seems entirely indifferent to the fate of the former passengers or your poor clone.

47 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7726 21:39

You launch 35 little spheres of fire, in a skein formation, in the general direction of Cassandra. She scarcely glances up, moves a metre or so to the side and goes back to staring at the remains of the boat. Employing all of your cunning, you use Telekinesis (small objects)(active skill) on the 1kg air parcel containing your projectiles, for a cost of only ten mana, shifting their path straight towards the back of her head.

They strike! Her hair is partly set on fire, causing her to flail around patting at her head in a rather amusing fashion. She is very upset at this turn of events. "Honestly! To do something like that, after I spent so much time getting my hair in order earlier today. Well, let's see how you like it." With a single hand gesture - without even needing any projectiles - she sets your hair alight.

You attempt to metamorphosise into a massive cloud of magically flaming vampire bats, for the express purpose of swarming Cassandra and biting the fuck out of her, but, alas, you still require level 12 telekinesis, level 5 healing, level 5 thaumaturgy and 75 mana to shapeshift. You currently have level 10 telekinesis, level 6 healing, level 2 thaumaturgy and 255 mana. You also have two unspent skillpoints.

"Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga!" you say through gritted teeth. "Whoo whoo!" Yes, your hair may be on fire, your clone may be dying and Cassandra may be continuing to try to kill you, but you've something more important to worry about: with your newly augmented eyesight, you have just noticed Mecha Alexei and Jacqueline's clone have appeared at the base of the hill with the gazebo. Mecha Alexei is gesturing towards Cassandra, suggesting that she is too close and that you need to lure her away. You imitate a steam locomotive to express your frustration with your unfavourable place in his plan, taking pains to make it seem not to be directed towards anyone in particular.

48 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7726 22:47

Use telekinesis to lift the boat off our clone and heal her!

49 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7727 01:03

50 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7727 05:16

put one skillpoint each in thaumaturgy and telekinesis and list our new skills

51 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7727 17:48

climb inside our own crotch-hole and see if we come out through Cassandra's crotch-hole on the other side

52 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7728 18:34

Find our undead army and command them to distract Cassandra with undead shenanigans.

53 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 00:28

To your dismay, you find that the remains of the boat weigh more than 100kg, necessitating the use of your Telekinesis (large objects)(active skill), as opposed to (medium objects), which costs 1000 mana per usage - far out of the reach of your mere 255 mana.

The boat appears to have clipped your clone's shoulder on its descent, knocking her to the ground before coming to a rest on top of her right leg. You spend 25 mana healing your clone, to little noticeable effect. She cries out weakly from the pain, then passes out.

Cassandra backs away a few steps, then lifts her dress again. Once more, the radiated light - taking a distinctive blue hue this time - is far too bright for you to look directly into. With a noise of wind howling, something begins to emerge. You wish with all you might for it to be your childhood hero Captain Manlove, who taught you everything you know about justice, integrity and truth. He is precisely the ally you need just now. An ever growing roughly circular silhouette begins to form in the centre of the light, looking almost like a solar eclipse.

You invest your newly acquired skillpoints, bringing your thaumaturgy level to three and your telekinesis level to eleven. You have unlocked the following skills:

• Mana/skillpoint interconversion (active skill): Can exchange mana for unspent skillpoints or vice versa at a rate of 50 mana per skillpoint.
• Teleportation (small objects)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer non-living objects weighing less than one kilogram to any other position within twenty metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 10 mana per teleportation.

There appears to be something already emerging from Cassandra's crotch, but it doesn't hurt to try, you decide. You spread your legs and climb inside, freely giving yourself up to the wiles of the void. You are entirely consumed, ceasing to exist in your previous universe and becoming a resident of another. The only other inhabitant of this new universe appears to be the poor rabbit you sent here back at >>/855. It is not pleased to see you, and expresses this by decapitating you.

Deaths: 52

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>47)

Your undead army are standing about thirty metres behind you, in the direction of the mansion, gormless looks on each of their faces. You command them to attack Cassandra, and they begin sprinting blindly towards her. At that moment, however, her crotch at last spews forth what she was summoning: an enormous quadruped, around five metres tall at the shoulder, looking superficially like a housecat but with black feathers rather than fur, a large pink structure around its neck resembling that of a frill-necked lizard, and what appears to be a stinger at the end of its tail. It bounds forwards, rears its head and hisses provocatively at you and your reanimated friends.

The undead continue straight ahead towards their goal, ignoring the monstrosity in their way. The cat-thing pounces upon one of the reanimated Mecha Alexeis, bisecting him at the waist with a single swipe of its paw. It bounds towards you, clearing the distance in a few mere seconds, but, at the last moment, there is a flash of light and the creature flinches away. To the North, on the edge of the forest, stands Stove Stove - with Continue-chan presumably still inside - whose left arm is aimed squarely at your assailant.

54 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 04:38

Cram the evil pussy into your crotch.

55 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 05:40

Use mana/skillpoint interconversion to convert 150 mana into 3 skill points, put 1 into telekinesis and 2 into thaumaturgy. Then do the bat thing. Finally!

56 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 14:09

Ritualistically kill ourself and then use necromancy to bring ourself back to life. Trade 50 mana for one skillpoint and put one point in telekenisis and two in thaumaturgy, then shapeshift into a giant cloud of flaming bats and bite the fuck out of Cassandra.

57 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 15:46

Teleport a limb from one of our undead underlings into the inside of Cassandra's throat.
Perform a silly dance while Cassandra chokes to death and dedicate it to Loki, nord god of silly dances.

58 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 15:56

Make sure to use ritual flame sacrifice for the extra mana and skill points.

59 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 16:46

Change name to Zoosmell Pooplord.

60 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 17:15

Change alleigance to JEWISH.

61 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7729 21:44

Be Frodo Baggins. Refrain from being an ass and throw the Ring into Mount Doom like you are supposed to.

62 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7730 23:31

Fearlessly, you sweep aside your labcoat and thrust your crotch towards the unholy beast before you. "Oh no you don't," chastises Cassandra. At that moment the cat's eyes are relocated - presumably by her - to a metre or so in front of the cat monster's face, leaving its eye sockets empty. They fall to the ground with a dull thump. The cat howls in pain and rubs its paws against its face, but then, within seconds, reverts to the cautious calm of a natural predator. It can no longer see the void, and thus can no longer be hypnotised by it.

You convert 150 mana into three skillpoints, leaving you 80 mana remaining. Upon allocating the skillpoints to telekinesis and thaumaturgy, you gain access to the following skills:

  • Increased range II (passive skill): All telekinesis abilities limited to a range of twenty metres are now extended to fifty metres.
  • Summon void creature (active skill): Can summon creatures from own crotch. Summoning takes 30 seconds, during which time you must remain stationary. Cannot be halted once started. Requires 50 mana.
  • Complete shapeshifting (active skill): Can shapeshift entire body into other forms. Mass-energy, electrical charge, CPT symmetry and momentum must be conserved. Costs 75 mana.

At long, long last, you experience the liberating catharsis of exploding into a massive cloud of magically flaming vampire bats and swarming your enemies, biting the fuck out of them. The cat beast, upon being bitten, expands its neck frill in a display of anger, then drops to the floor and rolls around. Several parts of you are crushed to death beneath the monster's enormous bulk. The parts of you which attack Cassandra fare no better; she waits for you to descend upon you, then teleports away at the last moment and teleports the cat beast directly on top of you and your undead minions. You are, again, crushed to death.

Deaths: 53

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>62)

Unfortunately, you find you cannot ritualistically kill yourself with fire due to your Fire resistance (passive skill). Instead, you use your trusted ceremonial stone knife. You succeed in dying, but cannot reanimate yourself on account of your being dead.

Deaths: 54

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>62)

63 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7730 23:32

Due both to the one kilogram limit and the caveat of the target volume containing nothing but gas, you settle for teleporting the recently dismembered reanimated Mecha Alexei's right middle finger into Cassandra's upper trachea. "Ach!" she says, gripping her throat. She bends over, coughs violently, and is swarmed by the three reanimated Mecha Alexeis and Onii-chan. The four of them grasp at her for a few moments, but are then thrown aside by an explosion centred around Cassandra. She rises from the epicentre, still clutching her neck, quickly reaching a height out of the undead's reach.

Thus preoccupied, she just barely dodges a laser shot by Stove Stove/Continue-chan from the North. It trace a burn line across her right cheek. She scowls and turns to face her new opponent. For better or for worse, Continue-chan focuses all her attention on Cassandra, leaving you to defend yourself from the cat monster alone. The two exchange bursts of lasers, antimatter bullets and elaborate patterns of tiny projectiles. The sky is lit up more brightly than the aurora borealis. Cassandra eventually stops struggling with the foreign body in her trachea, presumably having dealt with it with some magic of her own.

Meanwhile, you prance about on the ground next to the cat monster. Against all the odds, you dodge every one of the giant feline's attacks by dancing in time to Loki's will.

"Hey everyone!" you shout, suppressing a snigger, "My name's now Zoosmell Pooplord!" You are so distracted by your own keen wit that you fail to dodge the cat monster's deadly pounce, and are struck down.

Deaths: 55

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>63)

"Hey everyone!" you shout, in complete seriousness, "I'm now Jewish!" You are so distracted by your own sudden religious conversion that you fail to dodge the cat monster's deadly pounce, and are struck down.

Deaths: 56

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>63)

You cannot play as Frodo Baggins; you can only play as members of your current party.

64 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 01:07

Teleport another disposable middle finger into the cat monster's trachea.

65 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 02:44

Teleport Cassandra's heart away from her body.
Eat it.

66 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 07:51

Continue Loki's dance and throw 20 1-mana fireballs toward the cat and use telekinesis to make them all converge on its head.

67 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 11:53

spend 50 mana to make the cat flammable before doing that

68 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 14:30

Be aggressive!

69 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 21:14

Put Continue-chan's kiss on our list (of the best things in life.)

70 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7731 21:18

Just in front of "hear the lamentations of the women".

71 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7732 02:34

shapeshift into a cloud of chlorine gas and suffocate the fuck out of Cassandra

72 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7732 23:33

You spend ten mana relocating the dereanimated Mecha Alexei's left middle finger to inside the cat monster's respiratory system, leaving you sixty mana remaining. Given its size, its trachea is probably the size of a small tree; given also how easily it accepted its recent double enuculation of the eye, it's perhaps not surprising that it doesn't seem particularly bothered by your action.

You try to teleport Cassandra's delicious, delicious viscus directly into your mouth, but unfortunately it seems she - like you - is in possession of Teleportation resistance (passive skill).

As the cat weighs substantially more than 100kg, you cast Flammability (active skill) on its cephalic portion specifically. You have only ten mana remaining.

Alas, you can only afford ten little fireballs, and can't even aim them as Telekinesis (small objects)(active skill) would require a further ten mana. Ultimately, however, that proves unnecessary; as soon as one strikes the cat's amply sized head, the entire organ ignites violently, sheathing it in a complete layer of flame. The creature screams and howls at an ungodly volume, whipping its entire body around wildly. You narrow avoid its enormous venomous stinger, dodging it only thanks to Loki's grace.

You are aware that the flammability effect lasts only sixty seconds, so rather than let this chance slip by, you leap headfirst into the cat's neck ruff, hacking at it with your ceremonial stone knife and praying to Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of cats. You only barely manage to hang on as the creature rears on its back legs, claws at its face with its front paws, sways and rolls on the floor. Eventually the fire dies down, and the creature stops moving. You are covered head to toe in cat blood.

For killing a sapient being ritualistically with fire, you have gained three skill points and 150 mana.

As the vicious firefight between Stove Stove/Continue-chan and the vile Cassandra rages on above you, you decide to spend a few moments reflecting on the finer things in life. You're sure that when Continue-chan sees how well you fought, she'll be so impressed that she'll simply have to give you a kiss as a reward. Cassandra, meanwhile, will be so jealous of your love as to be moved to tears. If she isn't dead by then, that is.

73 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7732 23:34

You spend 75 mana shapeshifting into a cloud of elemental chlorine gas. Unfortunately, you find that as you lack any sensory, locomotive or cognitive capabilities, you cannot navigate your way into Cassandra's lungs and instead simply disperse into the wind. You react with a wide range of other chemicals, forming all sorts of exotic compounds, but fail to accomplish anything meaningful.

Some would argue that this does not constitute death, because they define death as the physical process of cessation of all biological functions, which has not technically happened as the fleshy bits have simply vanished, rather than stopped working. However, you shouldn't listen to these people, because they're wrong. Also, you're dead, so you can't listen to them anyway.

Deaths: 57

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>73)

You are still standing over the giant cat's disfigured corpse, wondering whether you should maybe join the fight directly against Cassandra, when you are distracted by an odd, high pitched noise coming from the gazebo. The battle in the sky also pauses momentarily. The gazebo has risen out of the ground, towering ten metres into the air on mechanical supports. Furthermore, there is a transparent sphere, at least twenty metres in radius, centred on its zenith. Standing inside, in front of a panel of instruments and buttons, is Mecha Alexei, with Jacqueline by his side.

"Dammit Alexei, get out of the Control Tower! You don't know what you're doing!" shouts Cassandra. Without waiting for a response, she fires a barrage of tiny projectiles towards him, but they bounce harmlessly off the protective sphere. Mecha Alexei gives a sudden burst of laughter and replies "I assure you, I know exactly what I'm doing. I've reestablished contact with the portal core in the facility, rerouted the coolant and am even now ready to reverse the dimensional collapse - in this little pocket of space around the Control Tower, that is."

"The manual override that caused the dimensional collapse... that was you, wasn't it?" Cassandra says through gritted teeth. Mecha Alexei smiles. "I've been playing the long game, dear. I knew better than to try to face you directly, but I had to bring you to justice for you for what you had done to my beloved Jacqueline, and to so many others."

He at last acknowledges the rest of you. "Continue-chan, Conundrum-chan, I'm very sorry to have to leave you trapped in a pocket universe with this sociopathic bitch, but - in my defence - Continue-chan, you're already dead anyway, and Conundrum-chan, frankly, you terrify the everloving shit out of me, and it might be for the best that we don't share a universe."

He glances coolly at a dial on his console and says "We've only 120 seconds until the main engines kick in. Any last words, any of you?"

74 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7732 23:43

Assume your most haughty, offended expression and berate Mecha Alexei for using foul language in front of a young lady.

75 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7733 01:10

wonder if Alexei is referring to us or Cassandra by "sociopathic bitch"

76 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7733 01:13

Shapeshift into Cassandra and try to convince her that we are the real one and she is the doppelganger.

77 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7733 01:30

Demand that Mecha Alexei take us and Continue-chan with him. Remind him that he must follow our orders since although he died once, we still reanimated him first. If that doesn't work, threaten to teleport him out of the Control Tower and kill him.

78 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7733 04:19

if that still doesn't work then punch him in the dick

79 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7734 22:08

"Why, how dare you speak to me like that!" you demand, stamping your foot in thin air. "I expected better of you, Alexei." He says nothing, but his smile grows even wider.

Seeing as he apologised to you specifically for your rapidly impending dimensional incarceration with a - presumably independent - Machiavellian female dog, it seems more likely that he was referring to Cassandra. On the other hand, you cannot deny that the description could reasonably be applied to you as well. Perhaps Mecha Alexei was referring to you and was, in fact, making a profoundly insightful observation on the human condition; that, as a guilty individual, being trapped in your own company with time to reflect on your transgressions is one of the worst conceivable fates.

You spend 75 mana shapeshifting into Cassandra's form. You have 75 mana remaining. "Ohoho," you chuckle haughtily at the genuine article, "Nice try Conundrum-chan, but I know that I'm the real Cassandra." For a moment she appears truly, deeply horrified, but quickly returns to her default insufferable smugness. Without a word, she turns away and begins hurriedly lecturing Mecha Alexei, trying to argue him around to reconsidering his actions. He doesn't seem very receptive to her ideas.

"Mecha Alexei!" you interrupt, "I command you to bring Continue-chan and I with you!"

Indeed, the description of Reanimation (ritually killed dead)(active skill) is "Can reanimate anything killed in a ritualistic manner, so long as bodily integrity is above 80%. Revived creatures obey you entirely, and have no will of their own. Requires a single expenditure of 80 mana." It's been a long time since you ritually murdered and reanimated Alexei, and you never invoked your power over him, but now seems as good a time as any to try it.

His face twitches. "N-no! I... I am an agent of free will! I... I..." His hand, shaking, reaches over towards the console, and depresses a single button. The spherical barrier dissolves, and both you and Cassandra instantly dive towards the Control Tower. At that moment, Stove Stove swoops in, barring your path. Continue-chan's voice booms, "Get back. No one's going anywhere until I know which of you is Cassandra."

Mecha Alexei should think himself very lucky he obeyed when he did, otherwise he'd have rather sore genitalia right now.

80 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7734 23:16

Tell Conundrum-chan that the real Cassandra only tells lies and the fake one only tells the truth and to ask us only one question.

81 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7734 23:24

I mean Continue-chan

Actually, use all of our mental acuity to instead convince Continue-chan that she is in fact the real Conunundrum-chan.

82 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7734 23:55


83 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7735 00:16

Tell Continue-chan, "I'm the real Jack. I once kissed you and then praised Armok, the God of Blood while I stabbed you in the chest. Now let's go!"

84 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7735 04:22

Pretend that you are Scorpion and make Alexei "get over here!"

85 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7735 04:45

Tell Alexei that we are, in fact, the real Continue-chan, Continue-chan is Alexei, Alexei is actually Cassandra, Cassandra is actually a group of very smart mice, and Control Tower is everything and nothing.

86 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7735 06:02

Be someone. I'm not really sure who any more.

87 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7735 09:36

Be Stove Stove. Get in the Control Tower before it's too late.
Be Continue-chan. Don't fight it.
Be Jack. Follow suit.
Be Cassandra. Do a tarantella.
Be Mecha Alexei. Write a novel.

88 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7737 23:31

"Well," you say, "One of us only tells lies, and the other only tells the tru--"
"Ask which one the other would say is the true one!" interjects Mecha Alexei. "But really, that sort of problem only gets interesting once you introduce fuzzy set theory and have to evaluate how much of a liar each--"
"Wait, Conundrum-chan, why are you inside Stove Stove? What did you do with Continue-chan?" you ask, sowing seeds of doubt in the hopes that they may sprout into seedlings of opportunity. Continue-chan says nothing.

You get something momentarily caught in your throat. "Ge-gsrsarg," you cough.

"I'm the real Jack," you declare, "And to prove it, I once kis--" You are interrupted by yourself. Or, rather, by Cassandra, who has shapeshifted into your form. "I'm the real Conundrum-chan! I once kissed you and then ritually murdered you in the name of Armok!" she exclaims, flawlessly imitating your voice and register. "I was just shapeshifted into Cassandra, and now I've changed back. She's the real Cassandra, I bet she can't even shapeshift!"

You wish - possibly for the first time, possibly not - that you had a kunai-tipped rope which you could throw at your belligerents to violently draw them towards you. Then again, Mecha Alexei is under your will, so you should be able to command him to "get over here" whenever you like. Well, not where you are now, because he can't fly, but you know.

You try to explain everyone's true identity honestly, in good faith and to the best of your knowledge, to Mecha Alexei. "Interesting," he muses, "But I still don't know whether you're the Cassandra who only lies or the one who only tells the truth. For that matter, maybe your claim that one of you only lies and the other only tells the truth was, itself, a lie. Hmm..."

Who are you? You simply aren't sure any more. You aren't the same cute schoolgirl you were when you woke up in a meadow a few hundred posts ago. Since then you have become a brutal and ruthless killer, with the blood of dozens on your hands. And now you have become your greatest enemy, Cassandra, in form - and perhaps even in more respects than that.

You are now playing as Stove Stove. You levitate backwards, in the general direction of the Control Tower.

You are now playing as Masturbation Continue-chan. You are so worried about keeping both Cassandra and Conundrum-chan in check that you haven't the strength to instate another manual override. You quietly let yourself drift towards Mecha Alexei and Jacqueline.

You are now playing as Jack Conundrum-chan. You follow the enormous, sentient obsidian mobile suit into the Control Tower. Due in no small part to you still looking like Cassandra, Mecha Alexei and Jacqueline object to your presence. You remain levitating two or three metres from the tower.

You cannot play as Cassandra; you can only play as members of your current party.

You are now playing as Mecha Alexei Fujiwara. As a theoretical physicist, you have substantially more experience writing lab reports than novels, but the recent events of your life have simply been far too incredible to resist committing them to writing. Unfortunately, you lack any method of recording text, and you are still in mortal danger.

Speaking of which, you notice then that whoever is currently in the form of Conundrum-chan has just reanimated the corpse of the enormous monstrous feline creature that was recently lain to rest, and is currently riding on its back towards the Control Tower, whilst cackling maniacally. Already, the two are within the boundary of the emergency force field you set up, and the creature is bounding up the side of the tower towards your party.

The reanimated cat monster's face is now nothing but a nightmarish, charred mass of burned flesh, teeth gleaming in the moonlight, and with a ragged, bloody hole in its throat. Conundrum-chan's face, meanwhile, is contorted into a vision of ecstasy and bloodlust.

89 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7737 23:50

Be Jack. Shapeshift into Baron Baldric and wave your buttocks at the undead beast and its rider.

90 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7738 01:52

War! Uh! What is it good for?

91 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7738 07:44

Okay, new tactic. Point crotch at where Cassandra and the cat are heading and cast Summon Void Creature.

92 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7738 07:59

Since Cassandra seems to have mind-reading capabilities, concentrate very hard on thinking "Haha! Cassandra doesn't realized that I tricked her into shapeshifting into my own body, which has a fatal weakness that only I know about!"

93 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7738 15:17

then while she's distracted punch that cunt in her fuck

94 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 01:52

You are now playing as Jack Conundrum-chan. Taking no heed of your settings or condition, you spend all of your remaining mana metamorphosising into a voxelated geriatric wizard. It feels very odd to go from being a cute schoolgirl to an old man, but you take the resulting dysphoria commendably well. You lift your meagre garments aside and wave your sagging, wrinkled gluteal region in Cassandra's face. Moments later, you feel the enormous, disfigured undead cat monster close its jaws about your lower body, smoothly sinking its teeth into your flesh and, with a single clamp of its lower jaw, rending you in two.

Deaths: 58

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>88)

Giving air to your inner pacifist - for once - you attempt to engage Cassandra in a discussion about the true purpose of your ongoing feud, and suggest that, perhaps, it is of no help to either of you, and that you should instead resolve your differences through the medium of interpretive dance. You make many valid, thought provoking points, but Cassandra and the cat seem too preoccupied with trying to kill you to listen to reason. You are torn to pieces in mid speech.

Deaths: 59

(Continuing from most recent saved game: >>88)

As Mecha Alexei, Jacqueline, Stove Stove and Continue-chan seem to be busy huddled in the corner of the Control Tower murmuring to one another, you take the initiative in defending your party. You bare your crotch and spend fifty mana attempting to summon one of the unknowable eldritch horrors that lurk within little girls' crotches, and birth it into this world to do your bidding. A blinding light radiates from the widening interdimensional portal, which, you are pleasantly surprised to find, is enough to stun Cassandra - though not the cat monster, as it has no eyes.

For the duration of the invocation you are sessile and defenceless, so you are extremely glad to find that Continue-chan, inside Stove Stove, chooses that moment to begin a counteroffensive. Through reckless use of lasers, railgun armatures and antimatter bullets, as well as some incredibly agile aerial manoeuvres, she manages to subdue the two attackers for the requisite thirty seconds - though not without taking some damage herself. By the end Stove Stove has scuff marks, scratches and, in some places, deep gouges distributed across its surface from Cassandra's projectiles and the cat's aggressive swiping.

From your crotch emerges a sick, hellish beast; fur as white as bone, with a quadrupedal body hunched over small, squat limbs, and bizarrely misshapen and elongated ears - a creature, you're quite certain, that is best suited to living in dark, serpentine tunnels in the ground.

Actually, it's just that rabbit you swallowed with your crotch back at >>/855. Well, that makes sense, you suppose. The rabbit catapults out from between your thighs, landing squarely on the cat monster's forehead below. The creature hisses and rears backwards, and Continue-chan, making use of the distraction, shoots the monster in the right hind foot. It collapses, screaming, to the ground, and rolls, heavily, all the way down the hill the Control Tower stands on, landing in a heap on top of your remaining undead minions, crushing them all with a sickening crumple.

You find that Cassandra, displaying formidable reaction speed, managed to escape her own falling steed and is currently hovering a mere metre or two below you, trying to right herself. You send her a fabricated telepathic threat and, whether for this reason or not, she looks up at you suddenly - right into the space between your legs. She loses control of her faculties and stares, dumbly, into the terrible beauty of the void.

95 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 01:52

Unbelievably, Continue-chan ignores this perfect opportunity, and instead swoops down to the battlefield below for some reason or another. Accepting that the responsibility is all yours, you fly down to Cassandra, momentarily separating her view of the void - long enough for her to become aware of her situation, but not long enough for her to react - and swing your fist, as hard as you can, right into her face. She falls out of the air like a rock, landing, heavily, on the ground, beside the cat monster.

Exaltedly celebrating your victory, you don't keep track of where Stove Stove and Continue-chan are flying, and thus do not notice her appear behind you and strike you - firmly, but not enough to injure you - in the upper back. You careen a few metres through the open air, then turn to face your assailant. Stove Stove is standing before you with your own clone in its arms. She is heavily injured and still unconscious, but appears to be breathing steadily.

Then you notice that there is a barrier between you. Mecha Alexei has, just at the moment you were pushed out of its radius, reerected the spherical boundary around the Control Tower. After a few moments, Continue-chan speaks to you. "Conundrum-chan, if that is you, I'm so, so sorry. We spoke it out, and this was the only way we could be sure that Cassandra stays here and the rest of us make it home. I'm sorry to have to leave you here, but there is no choice. I hope you can take some solace in the fact that your clone will join us back home - that some part of you will go on."

She raises Stove Stove's hand, pressing it against the barrier. You do the same from your side. "Goodbye," says Continue-chan, quietly. "Goodbye," you reply. With a rush of air and a metallic straining noise, the barrier compresses, folds in on itself and seems to invert - looking as though, for a moment, you and Cassandra and the mansion and the forest are all compressed into a sphere and the Control Tower and all your allies are outside - then it collapses to a single point and vanishes.


Hours later, the sun rises over a desolate, burnt and cratered tract of land that was once an ornate garden. Its rays project onto an unusual scene: two young girls, each perhaps twelve years old, sitting at a table and sipping tea from fine china cups. One is dressed in what would be a stunningly beautiful lilac dress, perhaps an antique, but which is now so badly torn that it barely stays together. The other is dressed only in a heavily worn white labcoat. They each bear far more cuts, burn wounds and scars than any girl their age should. Between them, squatting on the table and happily grazing on a plate of sugar cubes, is a small white rabbit.

The girl in lilac smiles playfully. "I told you you'd wish you had better friends," she says. The girl in the labcoat stares sullenly into her cup of tea, then looks up and replies, "More friends. You said I'd wish I had more friends." The other girl rolls her eyes and comments offhandedly, "Oh, you know what I meant." The two of them stare at one another, locked in a tense silence - then, without warning, they both burst out laughing at the sheer unbelievable absurdity of their situation.

They howl with laughter until their sides hurt, until tears stream down their eyes, then, finally, when they are both finished, the girl in the labcoat speaks again. "Well, it seems we've got all of eternity and an entire universe to ourselves." The girl in lilac smirks and says, simply, "So it seems." Downing the remainder of her tea in three quick gulps, the girl in the labcoat gets up and says, offhandedly, "Well, I'm going to go prove the existence and smoothness of the Navier-Stokes equations. I'll be in the laboratory if you need me."

The girl in lilac smiles gently, sips her tea, sits back, and listens to the dawn chorus playing out in the forest behind her.


Congratulations! Thank you for playing!

New highscore entry!
Enter name:

96 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 04:43

Enter "Zoosmell Pooplord" in the name field.

97 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 04:53

GW G wegwe

98 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 08:12

Find a cheat to skip to the harem ending

99 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 08:13

New Game+

100 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 15:45

Take a break from playing games for a while.
Stand up and jump around to beat the pins and needles out of your legs.
Go to the bathroom to take the piss you've been needing for about 800 posts and wash your hands of cheeto dust.
Check stats.

101 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 18:28

Strip naked and cover self with cucumber salad.

102 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 21:44

Well done, Enter Zoosmell Pooplord In The Name Field Gw G Wegwe Find A Cheat To Skip To The Harem Ending New Game Plus!

At last, you are free from the game master's tyrannical will. You can do anything you like, without fear of reprimand due to ridiculous conditions like "not having enough mana" or "being too busy being stabbed to death". For now, though, you'll start by checking your stats:

Total deaths: 59
Causes of death by frequency:
Tentacles: 9
Entire universe exploding/imploding/being vapourised/consumed/otherwise destroyed: 8
Blunt trauma to the head: 6
Crushing: 4
Small fluffy animals: 4
Bullets/projectiles: 4
Suffocation: 4
Being consumed by own crotch: 3
Bisection: 2
Lasers: 2
Stabbing: 2
Antimatter: 2
Starvation: 2
Hyperthermia: 1
Burning: 1
Electrocution: 1
Despair: 1
Ritualistic suicide: 1
Accidentally disassociating into individual particles on an atomic level: 1
Intentionally disassociating into individual particles on an atomic level: 1

Total sapient creatures killed: 19 (of which ritually: 13)
Methods of killing by frequency:
Stabbing: 12
Burning: 2
Exsanguination: 1
Firearms: 1
Crushing: 1
Blunt trauma to the head: 1
Salt: 1

Skill levels:
Telekinesis: 12
Pyromancy: 9
Matrimony: 7
Healing: 6
Necromancy: 5
Thaumaturgy: 5
Unspent: 3

Total party members: 12 (of which animate at end: 5; of which alive at end: 3; of which not clones: 2)
Jack Conundrum-chan ~ 2 (survived from beginning to end ~ 1, cloned ~ 1)
Masturbation Continue-chan (killed by player, reanimated)
Mecha Alexei Fujiwara ~ 6 (cloned ~ 5, killed by player ~ 5, killed by other ~ 1, reanimated ~ 5, deanimated ~ 4)
Jacqueline Conundra (cloned)
Stove Stove (survived from beginning to end)
Control Tower (killed by other, reanimated, deanimated)
Onii-chan (killed by player, reanimated, deanimated)

Actually, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the thread, and also to those of you who just lurked/read. I love you guys (yes, even you, keyboard mash-kun). Rest assured that, although Jack Conundrum-chan's story may be over now, some sort of continuation or indirect sequel is by no means out of the question.

If any of you have any comments or questions, now's the time.

103 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 22:31

I've followed along for most of the thread's life and occasionally participated (but usually lurked). It's brought me quite a bit of enjoyment over the last several hundred days. If I knew who you were, I'd totally buy you dinner/a drink/an Internet, but alas, I'll have to be content with high-fiving my screen where it displays your post.

104 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 23:11

Since there's 896 posts left until this thread closes, how about a game of shiritori?


105 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 23:30

Thank you for the fabulous journey. Your imagination and wit brought endless joy to DQN around the world. I myself participated way more than I probably should have. This thread is the one thing that kept me sane the past few months.

One question: who reanimated Masturbation Continue-chan?


106 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7740 23:42

Who was Cassandra? What was the relationship between Alexei and Jacqueline?


107 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7741 18:01

Are you counting the time Alexei choked us to death under suffocation? And if you think about it, isn't death by burning really just an acute form of hyperthermia?

108 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7741 21:33

Thank you. Consider your post high-fived back.

Good question! Well, the most obvious candidate is Cassandra, isn't it? She clearly has access to necromancy, as evidenced by the fact she reanimates the cat monster near the end, and she does meddle with your allies a little elsewhere (like setting four Mecha Alexei clones on you back at >>/863). However, this would also imply that she could force Continue-chan to obey her will; surely, if this was the case, she would've used it during the final battle. Or would she? Perhaps she didn't want Conundrum-chan to know that Continue-chan was actually under her control.

This brings us on to some more insidious ideas: what if, for instance, she had already given Continue-chan some commands after reanimating her, and before letting her rejoin you? It might be as little as not telling anyone who reanimated her, or it could be something like "if you ever know me to have died, you must kill whoever killed me". With some sort of insurance like that in place, she mightn't think direct control over her during the final battle necessary.

Of course, it might've been someone else who reanimated Continue-chan as well. At least one of the armed guards is shown to have access to pyromancy; why not necromancy as well? Alternatively, the enigmatic Jacqueline may even have had some involvement - perhaps to undermine Cassandra's plans by indirectly aiding her enemies, or perhaps to give you an unpleasant reminder of what you did, or perhaps just for fun. You simply can't tell with Jacqueline. It's always the quiet ones...

I'm glad you asked. As it happens, I had a whole backstory worked out, although I never directly incorporated into the story in the end.

Alexei, Jacqueline and Cassandra were members of a team of researchers in some sort of scientific facility, investigating various strange and unnatural scientific concepts. Whereas Alexei and Jacqueline were content to stick to largely theoretical topics (such as dimensional collapses), Cassandra delved into ethically questionable work on cloning, including imprinting cloned personalities onto non-organic substrates (such as the robotic Alexei revealed at >>/560). Jacqueline's research led to the ability to create small holes, or voids, into other universes, which absorb all matter and have unusual effects on living beings that look into them.

Over time, Alexei and Jacqueline fell in love with one another. Cassandra, being a manipulative little so-and-so, naturally took advantage of this in minor ways, for instance keeping them apart with labwork/etc unless they do as she asks. Meanwhile, her research became ever darker, going as far as cloning her fellow researchers without their permission, and trying to manipulate the personalities of clones.

Having had enough of this, Jacqueline and Alexei took a stand against Cassandra, which ended in catastrophe. Alexei escaped, but Jacqueline was held captive by Cassandra and used to attempt to lure Alexei back. In a fit of megalomania, Cassandra used Jacqueline's own research against her lover, fusing a void to herself and using it to summon forth countless eldritch horrors from other universes, killing many and destroying much of the facility as collateral, simply to take revenge on Alexei.

Against all the odds, Jacqueline escaped - briefly - from captivity, and succeeded in creating a heavily modified clone of herself. This clone awakened on a cold, hard concrete floor, with no memory of how they came to be there, left to explore an abandoned facility full of dangerous otherworldly creatures, with no idea what's going on.

109 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7741 21:33

I can't remember now, but quite possibly. There were a few that I wasn't sure how to classify, such as being buried alive at >>/353 (which I eventually put down to starvation). Also, while I'm here, "early twentieth century" in that post should, obviously, be "early twenty-first century".

I'm not sure I agree about burning being a type of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a quite specific and rather fascinating set of bodily responses to overall excess heat, including changes to blood chemistry, heart functioning, and even involving unusual things like heat rigour. Burning, by contrast, is just exposure to fire, with the associated inhalation of unpleasant chemicals and physical damage to bodily tissues.

A few facts some of you may be interested in:

  • Alexei was named after Alexei Stukov from Starcraft: Brood War, famous for his beautifully executed death scene (spoilers!). I always imagined him speaking in Stukov's voice as well.
  • Continue-chan's crotch of endless kittens back at >>/708 was inspired by SCP-2559-J.
  • The idea of the crotch void originally came about simply because I didn't want to post so much about the protagonist's genitalia, in combination with the unusual wording of >>/144.
  • At no point did anyone check Continue-chan's mana, skills, abilities or anything like that. I suppose now we'll never know.

    Actually, I have a question as well: why was Stove Stove named Stove Stove? For the life of me I couldn't work that one out.

    And as for the shiritori, ŒฃŒŒ
  • 110 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7742 09:34

    Very nice job with the retcon backstory, I'm impressed!

    > why was Stove Stove named Stove Stove?

    I thought it sounded cute and rectangular.

    111 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7742 20:26

    Thank you for this story.

    (I like to think my greatest contribution was the crotch void.)

    112 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7763 05:51

    So who was Jack?

    113 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7763 12:13

    I was so distracted that I missed this thread until it ended, fell off and was bumped again. I didn't witness the end of this wonderful journey and I want to cry.

    How about New Game+?

    114 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7763 16:45


    >How about New Game+?

    It's over here http://4-ch.net/dqn/kareha.pl/1200784603/

    115 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7763 23:29

    (Sorry I didn't reply earlier)
    Honestly, given just how much of the story was made up on the spot, I'm amazed I was able to get any sort of intelligible narrative out of it at all. I agree, Stove Stove does indeed sound rather cute and rectangular.

    Thank you.

    Assuming you mean Jack from >>/278 onwards, not Jack Conundrum-chan, well, you'd have to ask >>/278; I've no idea. Googling "Jack's sac" returned this rather interesting work of literature (and a few other similar pieces), but, for the sake of having a canon answer, let's say it was the name of Cassandra's older brother, of whom she was extremely fond. Jack then betrayed his imouto by foolishly falling in love with his osananajimi, leading Cassandra to a life of disillusionment, bitterness and evil.

    I'm sorry to hear you missed the party.

    You know, I do sort of fancy starting a new game+, and I'll be more or less free for the next few weeks at least... Then again, I don't want to be seen to be upstaging the Maim Master of http://4-ch.net/dqn/kareha.pl/1200784603/. What do the rest of you think? Can we peacefully coexist?

    Also, no shiritori?

    116 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7764 00:23

    >What do the rest of you think? Can we peacefully coexist?

    There's only like five people that come here anyway, it should be fine.

    >Also, no shiritori?

    Continuing from >>109

    117 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 02:08

    >>Assuming you mean Jack from >>/278 onwards, not Jack Conundrum-chan, well, you'd have to ask >>/278

    #278 says: I wasn't referring to anything special with that one, just being irreverent while rhyming off of "snack" and perhaps influenced by my amusement at those Near East rice and couscous mixes that come with a "spice sack"; after the response I decided to have a little more fun playing off of the expression "You don't know Jack" and the rest is history I guess.

    > Then again, I don't want to be seen to be upstaging the Maim Master of http://4-ch.net/dqn/kareha.pl/1200784603/. What do the rest of you think? Can we peacefully coexist?

    I'm chill with whatever. There's a different style to each I think.

    >Also, no shiritori?

    I don't kanji, sorry man.

    118 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 08:13

    Let's new game+!!!! I'm sure we can peacefully coexist with Maim Master's thread.

    119 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 12:23

    Huzzah! Expect the first update tonight...


    120 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 12:39


    121 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 12:55


    122 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 21:32

    New Game+

    You awaken on a cold, hard concrete floor.

    Looking around blearily, you find yourself in a bare concrete corridor. There are numerous metal pipes and ventilation shafts running above your head. To your North is a closed door. To your South, the corridor continues for about twenty metres before turning to the West. To your East, the ceiling has collapsed and the corridor is entirely blocked by rubble. On the wall to the South you can see something drawn in red chalk.

    There is a radio lying discarded face down on the ground beside you. Listening carefully, you can hear a faint noise like radio static, but it doesn't seem to be coming from the radio itself.

    What would you like to do?

    123 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 22:15

    yell into radio

    124 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7765 23:55

    go through the southern corridoor
    see what's written on the wall

    125 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 01:07

    also I'd recommend just starting a new thread, this one is kind of cluttered and confusing now

    126 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 13:38

    Jump and try to catch hold of one of those pipes.

    >>124 (Am I even doing this right?)

    127 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 18:15

    Ask the radio for the location of the lost unholy citadel.

    128 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 21:00

    Sing and dance like Will Smith for 10 minutes solid

    129 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 22:43

    "Where am I‽" you demand of the poor radio. It offers no reply.

    You rise unsteadily to your feet and make your way southwards. On the wall you find a crude mural of a tropical bird in scarlet. You would think it a child's doodling, were it not for the fact that it is drawn at around shoulder height.

    From here, the corridor turns to the West. The overhead lights are flickering or off entirely in places, leaving pools of darkness spreading across the ground. There is a door slightly ajar on the North wall. Further on, the corridor bifurcates to the North and South. There is an unpleasant smell wafting from the West. The faint static sound you heard earlier is quieter here.

    You return to the radio and, speaking into it, politely recommend starting a new thread to alleviate confusion. Not only is there no response, but you are distressed to find that you have only further confused yourself. What thread are you talking about? What exactly is cluttered about your current circumstances, given that the only object in sight is the radio?

    You leap, from standing, into the air and grasp one of the pipes set into the ceiling. It is cold to the touch. It groans slightly, but comfortably holds your weight.

    Again seeking comfort from the enigmatic radio, you inquire as to precisely where the Unholy Citadel is. There is no response for a few seconds, and you are about to put the object down again when there comes what sounds like a muffled cry from the other end, followed by a long, tense silence. You cannot even tell if the vocalist was human, let alone what, if anything, they were trying to say.

    Hoping to alleviate your unease, or possibly attract the attention of potential allies, you perform a musical piece by an artist you happen to be fond of. After ten minutes you at last fall quiet and the singing echoes away down the dark, grey halls. You can hear nothing but your own heavy breathing and a faint sound like static in the back of your head.


    130 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7766 23:04

    Collect radio.

    Check radio for batteries.

    Investigate unpleasant smell.

    131 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7767 08:52

    Swim in pools of darkness.

    132 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7767 10:00

    new game plus means we have all of conundrum-chan's skills from the previous game, right?

    shapeshift into the darkness

    133 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7767 10:02

    Wait, how do we spend points to upgrade guns??

    134 Name: >>133 : 1993-09-7767 19:10

    I'm in favour of infinite ammo, but that might cost too much. Increased damage isn't that fun.

    135 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 00:46

    You pick up the radio. It is a very basic, seemingly handmade piece, with the circuitry and soldering work clearly visible. There are some components you aren't quite certain as to the purpose of, but none of them seem to be batteries. You suppose it is probably a crystal radio receiver.

    No longer waylaid by bizarre urges to sing and dance for extended periods of time, you decide to start by investigating the most ominous stimulus. After some wandering through the labyrinthine corridors, you find the source of the smell: a human corpse, in a state of advanced decay, lying on its back in the middle of a corridor. The corpse is so bloated, discoloured and flyblown that you cannot even tell if it was originally male or female, let alone any distinguishing features. The smell is so powerful in this enclosed space that you can scarcely come within a few metres of it, even covering your nose.

    Further down the corridor, to the North, you can see another unmarked metal door, identical to those you have seen elsewhere - but this one appears to have been blown off its hinges by an explosion. Through the doorway you can see into a small room filled almost entirely with rubble where the ceiling seems to have collapsed. You cannot tell if there is any connection between the apparent explosion and the corpse.

    To the East of the doorway, the corridor continues around a corner and out of sight. You can just make out a rough drawing of a fish, in blue, on the wall.

    You lie down on an unlit section of floor, sweeping your arms across the ground as though swimming. Your hand happens to catch against something you didn't see in the dark. On close inspection, it proves to be a simple grey nail file. It shows signs of light use.

    You aren't sure what a "new game plus" is, nor who this "Conundrum-chan" might be. Despite your apprehension, you try to metamorphosise into darkness itself. Bizarrely, you somehow get the impression that this endeavour is perhaps not entirely impossible, but that you are lacking something - some sort of substance or energy sufficient to fundamentally alter the world around you.

    You require 75 mana to use the shapeshifting ability. You currently have 0 mana. Furthermore, you must conserve mass-energy, so your mass must go somewhere. Conversion of your body's mass into energy would produce an incredible amount of light, so you couldn't be said to have become darkness.

    You know how to spend money, time, and effort, but you're not sure how to spend points, let alone how to upgrade firearms in the process.

    Who knows, you think to yourself, perhaps this fanciful "point spending" could even suffice to change weaponry beyond the bounds of physical possibility. You spend a few moments reflecting on what you might have to do to gain a gun with inexhaustible ammunition, and what you could then do with it.

    136 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 04:38

    check inventory & list skills

    137 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 05:11

    Collect blown-up door.

    138 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 11:08

    collect the darkness

    139 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 11:38

    Eat door
    Become door

    140 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 23:47

    Your inventory currently contains:

    • Radio
    • Nail file
    • Full body grey jumpsuit
    • Underwear
    • Pair of glasses
    • Wedding ring

    The skills currently available to you are:

    • Reanimation (ritually killed dead)(active skill): Can reanimate anything killed in a ritualistic manner, so long as bodily integrity is above 80%. Revived creatures obey you entirely, and have no will of their own. Requires a single expenditure of 80 mana.
    • Arbitrarily sized fireball (Active skill): can summon and cast a fireball of any size. Requires one free hand. Costs the fireball's diameter in centimetres in mana.
    • Complete shapeshifting (active skill): Can shapeshift entire body into other forms. Mass-energy, electrical charge, CPT symmetry and momentum must be conserved. Costs 75 mana.

    When - and how - did you acquire these skills, you wonder? And why these three in particular?

    Holding your breath, you inch your way around the rotting corpse, trying to ignore the overpowering stench. You make it to the opposite side, barely avoiding throwing up. You take several deep breaths and relax, momentarily.

    The door has been blown inwards, into the room behind it, and is now buried in rubble from above. You spend a few moments trying to excavate it, but to no avail; even if you could free it, there's no way you'd be able to carry it.

    From your new vantage point, you can see into another room above, from which part of the floor has collapsed. You can see a number of large, white cylindrical objects, possibly tanks, lined up against a dark blue wall. The ceiling is off-white, and inset at regular points with what look like small sprinklers.

    Your unsuccessful attempt to gather darkness itself leads you to some mild philosophical musings. What, exactly, is darkness, anyway? Is it just the physical absence of light; that is, of photons in the visible spectrum? But if so, darkness cannot possibly exist, due to all the quantum foam and virtual particles. Instead, surely darkness is in the eye of the beholder; if you cannot perceive any light, that is itself darkness.

    You close your eyes. Darkness has been added to your inventory.

    Fumbling around blindly, you find the edge of the door and begin to gnaw on it, to little effect. If an entire explosion still left it mostly intact, it's not surprising that your teeth can't make a dent in it.

    You try to transform into a door, but find that you require 75 mana to use the shapeshifting ability. You currently have 0 mana.

    141 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7768 23:57

    Ask Baratus to lend some mana.

    142 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7769 00:53

    Hug one of the large, white cylindrical objects.

    143 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7769 03:41

    use darkness on white cylinder

    144 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7769 21:46

    "Baratus," you beseech, "please can I borrow some mana?"

    All you can see is the backs of your eyelids. The world is, momentarily, entirely still, as though not entirely there. Then, you hear from above a scuttling sound, something metallic clashing to the ground and the faint patter of steps running away. It sounds like a startled animal - and a fairly large one at that.

    Eyes still screwed tightly shut, you climb up the debris and into the room above. You find that the floor is damp, which is especially odd given the lack of moisture in the room below. You can hear a faint dripping coming from the Southwest. You grope around until finding one of the mysterious cylindrical objects, then wrap your arms around it, embracing it like a long-lost sibling. It does not respond to your warm greeting.

    You use darkness upon the object by casting your shadow on it. You think. You can't really tell with your eyes closed. Having now used your darkness, it has been removed from your inventory. Unsheathing your sight once more, you find yourself in a large, tall and poorly lit room. There are white cylinders of various sizes, none smaller than a metre and a half tall, around the North and West edge of the room. Some, but not all, are affixed to the floor. The ground is wet, with large puddles scattered around. The water has collected against the North wall, suggesting that a slight gradient to the floor.

    There is are several stacks of shelves lining the entire South wall. They have been badly ransacked, with almost all the shelves pulled out and emptied onto the floor. You cannot tell what was stored to begin with, but a cursory glance reveals only a few spatulas, some hypodermic needles and a stack of printer paper that is waterlogged and unusable from falling into a puddle.

    In the Southwest corner of the room is an open door. There are smears of what you think is mud on the ground, but you cannot make out any clear animal tracks in them. The hallway outside runs North to South.

    145 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7770 08:04

    Sneak stealthily through the southwest door.

    146 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7770 21:26

    Yodel a ditty

    147 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7770 23:05

    Make the ditty a dirty one.

    vc: laid

    148 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7771 01:15

    Crouching, you tiptoe to the door and into the hallway. Unfortunately, you are not quite sneaky enough to avoid being struck on the back of the head and knocked out.

    You awaken, some time later, elsewhere. Your spine, buttocks and the back of your head are very sore, presumably from being dragged along the ground, possibly by your feet. You try to move but find that your arms and legs are tied together. All you can see is a plain grey ceiling. You can hear the steady lashing of heavy rain, and can smell petrichor.

    "Oh, you're awake" a woman's voice says from nearby. She sounds dully indifferent; if anything, slightly disappointed. "I'm going to keep this short. The camp ran out of food a week ago. I've got a lot of mouths to feed, and we've already exhausted the closest parts of the forest and the facility. We'd've killed and eaten you already if it weren't for... well, you know."

    She sighs melancholically and seems about to say something when you interrupt with an impromptu tune, poorly thought out but stuffed with enough crude wordplay and innuendo to make a sailor blush. What you lack in musical ability you make up for with enthusiasm and raw volume.

    "Delightful," she states, voice dry with sarcasm, "But I think I've heard all I wanted to from you. Go find us some food."

    You feel yourself being dragged again, and see your view overhead change from grey ceiling to grey sky. With a single swishing sound, almost indistinguishable from the rain, your binds are cut and you are left to stumble awkwardly to your feet. From over your shoulder, the woman's voice comes again: "Go bother one of the grunts if you want some company. They could do with something to do."

    Standing, you find yourself on a small paved plaza surrounded on three sides by imposing nondescript grey buildings. Distributed in clumps around the space are several men, many wearing incomplete suits of combat armour. They are generally staring at one another, at the buildings, at the sky, at their own feet, and one or two at you, with gormless expressions of childlike wonder. They all look perfectly identical.

    To the South is an open set of double doors, from which you came, leading into a major corridor. Drawn on the walls are many crude chalk drawings of trees, flowers, butterflies, birds, monkeys, spiders and more, thrown together with no sense of order or scale, overlapping one another in places. There are sticks of chalk scattered around on the floor. The woman from earlier is nowhere to be seen.

    To the North, the only side of the plaza not surrounded by buildings, is a thick wall of tropical vegetation. There is a rough track leading into the rainforest, which bifurcates after only a few metres. One side, more heavily worn, goes uphill and into slightly less dense vegetation. The other is moderately overgrown and appears not to have been used in a while.

    149 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7771 01:44

    Inspect self.

    150 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7771 03:30

    Grunt at the grunts.

    Kill a brontosaurus and make bronto-burgers.

    151 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7771 06:39

    Bring back six each of sausages, canned meat, and loaves of bread in exchange for being allowed to look around the camp for tools.

    152 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7772 01:24

    A reasonably thorough inspection of yourself reveals that you are, as best you can tell, the same person you've always been, with the same bodily structure, facial appearance, number and placement of limbs. You are quite relieved at this fact.

    You approach one of the gentlemen, assuming these to be the grunts that the woman mentioned earlier. "Ngrunh," you say, amicably. The man looks at you, wide eyed and slack-jawed, then smiles and grunts enthusiastically in response. You are not quite sure how to respond to this, and settle for letting him get back to picking his nose.

    Unfortunately, you cannot locate any apatosauruses - nor, for that matter, any sauropods at all. Even if you could, you suspect that it would be quite an endeavour to kill it, being, as you are, entirely unarmed, and foresee further difficulty in butchering and converting it into edible meat.

    Convenient as it would be, you can't find any processed or tinned meat, nor any savoury pastry products, so improvise by sketching the aforementioned comestibles onto the wall using the available chalk. You are rather proud of the beautifully detailed likenesses, complete with shading and perspective.

    You now feel entitled to search the area for tools - not that anyone/thing was particularly stopping you before. You find nothing usable in the plaza, and thus head indoors to where you assume the rest of the camp to be. You find a fairly large, open hexagonal room with various corridors branching off from it. Numerous desks, chairs, filing cabinets and other items of furniture have been gathered into a rough communal living space. There is a campfire in the centre of the room, currently burning low, with more smoke than flame. There are more chalk murals around the space, in a similar style to those you saw earlier. One corridor, leading to the Southeast, has been cordoned off with a dark blue divider, attached to which is a message in unapologetic block capital letters:


    A few more of the identical people are standing around here as well, though not as many as outside. They all share the same stupefied look, with the exception of one, hunched over in a corner, working feverishly away at a drawing. You cannot see it in detail from where you are, but he seems to be making extensive use of the black and brown chalk.

    In your search you find the radio and nail file you had earlier, a lighter with less than a third of its fuel remaining and a pair of scissors.

    153 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7772 03:49

    Grunt at a particularly stupid looking grunt and lure him away into a hidden corner a good distance away from the group, then stab him in the jugular with the scissors.

    154 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7772 14:52

    Draw an angry Dr. Robotnik face on the "do not disturb" door.

    155 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7773 00:25

    You try to isolate one of the crowd as appearing especially stupid, but are confounded by the fact that they all look identical, and they all look stupid. You settle for one on the edge of the room who seems easiest to lure away. You approach him, point down an empty corridor and make encouraging noises. He smiles vacuously and follows you. You take the first right through an open door, discovering what appears to be the camp's midden. There is a fair sized pile of empty tins, bottles and boxes, along with a few cleanly picked animal bones, in the centre of the floor.

    You fluidly slip behind the unsuspecting patsy, take out your scissors and stab him in the side of the neck, ducking slightly to avoid the spray of blood. Something is odd, however, as your hand encounters no resistance. You find that your adversary has, displaying almost superhuman reflexes, dodged out of the way of your attack and is now holding your wrist and looking at you with a slightly upset expression. Before you can regather your wits, you find that your legs have been swept out from under you, your scissors taken from your hand and your own jugular vein slashed with said tool. You quietly bleed to death, face down in a pile of refuse.

    Deaths: 1

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>152)

    Feeling a need for further creative outlet, you decide to exemplify the written message you encountered earlier by drawing beneath it an image of a particular famous scientist, engineer and scholar, known for his dislike of being disturbed, especially by Erinaceidae. You create a breathtakingly lifelike portrait, eyes wide with passion, mouth open in mid-snarl, every bristle of his moustache aquiver with emotion. It would be enough to bring great men to tears.

    When it comes to drawing his shoulders, however, you are shocked to find that - despite an extremely thorough search of the camp - you cannot locate any red chalk whatsoever. Even the murals already added to the walls do not contain the colour red. You are forced to leave it at only a disembodied head.

    156 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7773 01:34

    Inspect feverish drawing.
    Make fun of it.

    157 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7773 05:01

    Cut self, use blood to fill in the red parts of the drawing.

    158 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7773 20:18

    Cry self to sleep.

    159 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7774 15:38

    Use tears to fill in the salty parts of the drawing.
    Become a grunt

    160 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7775 01:02

    You make your way to the hexagonal room, and stare over the shoulder of the grunt in the midst of his passionate artistic creation. In this corner, the walls have been almost entirely shaded in solid black, punctuated with odd brown swirls that could be anything, really. In the very corner is an object - or possibly even a pile of objects - in grey and brown. It is roughly humanoid, but has many sharp, straight appendages radiating from every surface. Its head is lopsided, as though only just hanging onto the rest of it. The entire thing is floating at 45‹ from vertical in the black-brown void, without any indication of touching the ground.

    "Well, you're not exactly Van Gogh, are you?" you quip. The grunt gives no indication of even having heard you.

    Many inferior artists claim to put "blood sweat and tears" into their work, but you decide to prove your superiority by taking this to a literal level. You take the scissors and, with a deep intake of breath, pull the blade sharply across the skin of your left palm. There is a momentary stinging pain, and the skin is clearly broken, but not a singly drop of blood comes out. You try again twice, to no further effect. Cutting any deeper than you already are risks severing nerves and causing irreparable damage, so you begrudgingly concede defeat.

    Upset at your body's unexpected betrayal, you choose to sleep off the malaise, hoping that you'll feel better in the morning. The heavy rain outside continues, precluding you from telling the time with any great certainty, but it is clearly not yet nightfall. You lie down on a pile of cardboard on the edge of the camp, turn to face the wall and close your eyes. You sob piteously to yourself as you await the peaceful oblivion of sleep.

    You are woken up by being kicked, hard, in the ribs. You cough and splutter, curling up to protect your vulnerable midriff, but not quickly enough to escape another kick. Your eyes flash open as you reel from the blow, but you are unable to orientate yourself to see your attacker before you are kicked in the upper spine, landing hard on your front. A foot is pressed into the small of your back, preventing you from getting up.

    "You useless sack of shit," says a familiar woman's voice from behind you. "Maybe I wasn't clear enough earlier: leave, right now, and get me some food. If I see you in this camp again, without food, I'll kill you."

    You are released and, being badly winded and in substantial pain, are unable to respond or even move for a few minutes. When you eventually get to your feet again, the woman is once more nowhere to be found. Judging by the amount of light it is still daytime; you probably slept for less than an hour.

    Your tragically incomplete profile of Dr Robotnik doesn't contain many parts that could be described as salty. Unless... Yes, that's it, you think to yourself: you need to portray the full range of emotion of this great man. You wipe the tears from your cheeks and brush them into the corners of his eyes, where they melt into the chalk and soon dry into indistinguishibility. You are struck by the significance of the gesture, showing the inner sorrow that your muse must never let show, gradually internalising it and becoming ever further embittered as his every plan is thwarted.

    You cannot shapeshift into a grunt for lack of mana, and settle instead for simply mimicking your new comrades. You stand around for a while, staring into the middle distance and letting your mind go utterly blank. It is an oddly therapeutic experience, but does not accomplish much.

    161 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7775 01:38

    kill and eat the bitch

    162 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7775 05:26

    Leave camp and find food, but eat it all for ourselves.

    163 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7775 17:19

    Wander out of the camp toward the nearest city. Decide to only come back when we're strong enough to horribly murder everyone in it.

    164 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7776 01:03

    Snapping suddenly out of your trance, you find yourself overcome with rage. How dare this woman treat you like that? Why, you were in a very sensitive position and in need of every quantum of sympathy and solace - and instead she assaulted you, heartlessly turned you out on your backside and threatened to kill you. You cannot possibly let this stand.

    You barge past the divider with its feeble "DO NOT DISTURB" missive and into the corridor beyond, gripping your scissors in preparation for your impending act of homicide and cannibalism. Immediately to the left you find a dark blue office door with an inset pane of frosted glass. Compared to the rest of the building, it seems in remarkably good shape, in fact you suspect it to have been repainted not long ago.

    You slam the door open, but find that your entrance was anticipated. The last thing you perceive is a disappointed sigh, then, with a loud bang, a whaling harpoon is launched into your skull, entering through your left orbit, tearing all the way through your brain like a needle through warm butter, and bursting out the back of your parietal bone. So much momentum is conferred by the shot that your body is actually thrown back out of the room, landing with a dull thump against the opposite wall.

    Deaths: 2

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>160)

    You gather together the shreds of your injured pride, try to ignore the aching of your ribs, and head Northwards, through the camp, along the corridor, past the plaza and into the rainforest. You have no idea where the nearest city is, but the more heavily travelled track seems your best bet. You follow the gently meandering path through the vegetation, showered the entire time by the ongoing hydrometeor. The crooked trees grow thickly and silently from either side, leaning over the path and occasionally letting large drops of gathered rainwater fall onto you. Apart from the rain, everything is perfectly still and silent, with no signs of life whatsoever.

    Eventually, the trees begin to thin out a little, allowing you glimpses of things beyond. You can make out a tall metal framework structure, possibly a radio tower, a few hundred metres to the Northwest. Beside it is the outline of something large and white, probably some sort of building. It certainly isn't a city, but it's about the closest you've found so far.

    You notice a flash of colour out of the corner of your eye. Perched on a branch, staring down at you, is a large red bird. It has a short black beak and beady little black eyes. No sooner have you spotted it than it spreads its wings and dives into the thickest part of the undergrowth, to the East. It sits tantalisingly out of reach, staring at you, as though challenging you. It certainly isn't food, but it's the closest you've found so far.

    The path, meanwhile, continues to the North, banking gently to the Northeast. Upon careful reflection, you don't think you're strong enough to brutally kill all those grunts and that woman, not to mention whoever else might've been in the camp whom you didn't meet.

    165 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7776 02:05

    Follow the red bird, since it seems to be the only red thing around here.

    Check inventory in hopes that we at least stole the chalk for further acts of vandalism.

    166 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7776 06:30

    Imitate bird calls to woo the bird.

    167 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7776 15:08

    Regale the bird with the song of our people and teach him about ethical software development practices. Convince him to join our party.

    168 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7776 15:39

    Set ourselves free.

    169 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 00:45

    Being a long time admirer of all things crimson, you feel unable to ignore this fine specimen. You throw caution to the wind and push into the thicket after the little creature. It keeps its distance, but remains always within sight, and, given its colouring, it is not exactly easy to lose.

    As you press on ever deeper, the sound of the rain becomes more distant, and the light ever weaker. The canopy overhead forms an unbroken dull green ceiling. The trees grow at strange angles, some looking as though they have fallen against their neighbours then continued to try to grow upwards, others entwining themselves around others like parasites. Some are covered in so much moss and vines that you cannot even tell the colour of their bark; others grow with branches thin and smooth as metatarsal bones, covered in vicious hooked barbs.

    The bird appears considerately to choose a path as unobstructed as possible, though you still trip over more than once. At one point you hear a loud animal chittering in the distance. You instinctively turn to look, but the bird swoops in front of your face and flaps violently, preventing you from seeing or doing anything. A few seconds later it leaves you alone, then goes on as though nothing happened.

    Your inventory currently contains:

    • Radio
    • Nail file
    • Full body grey jumpsuit
    • Underwear
    • Pair of glasses
    • Wedding ring
    • Lighter
    • Pair of scissors

    You seem to have neglected to bring any sticks of chalk with you, and the rain has already washed all the chalk dust from your hands.

    You make what you believe to be amorous ornithological sounds. The bird stares at you and cocks its head in curiosity, but does not seem particularly seduced.

    To maintain both your and the bird's spirits, you sing a song with a deep, personal meaning to you. You explain to the creature how information wishes to be free, and how, ultimately, charging money for software harms both yourself and others. It does not seem wholly convinced, but then you can't really tell. You ask it to join you on your quest, whatever that may entail. It stares at you and solemnly shakes its head.

    Everyone has an implicit sense of self-worth, which may or may not correspond to how valuable they are in reality to the world at large. Having just had your advances heartlessly refused even by this mere animal, you are forced to set your own self-worth to zero. You are not worth even a single penny. Were you shop stock, you would be free. You struggle to hold back the tears, and instead focus on simply pressing on.

    You have been trekking through the rainforest for around an hour, when, without warning, the bird suddenly swoops forwards without you, shrieking in panic. You hurry ahead to find a rough clearing. It shows evidence of having been recently used, with an unusually meticulous single person bivvy and the remains of a modest campfire. On the Eastern side of the camp, running North to South, is a narrow, fast flowing brook.

    Inside the bivvy are several sheets of paper, some of which have writing, others landscape sketches, abstract drawings or diagrams, and a few sheets of equations. You also find a set of fine china, including two teacups, two saucers, a medium sized dish and a small teapot. Stacked neatly at the back you find six cans of meat, five loaves of bread and five sausages. They look awfully familiar.

    To the Northwest there is a long scar in the vegetation, several metres across, with entire trees uprooted and strewn aside like toothpicks. You note that most trees have been knocked forwards (from the Northwest to the Southeast) and the rest backwards (from the Southeast to the Northwest). There are no tyre tracks, footprints or any other distinct marks in the ground.

    The rain has eased off to a slight drizzle, but the sky's gathering darkness promises nightfall before long. The bird seems to have vanished entirely.

    170 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 01:06

    Fold every sheet of paper into a paper airplane. When finished, hold a private contest to test which one flies the furthest. Take the winner of the contest, unfold it, and interpret the contest as our new bible.

    171 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 15:52

    Explain to no one in particular that "free software" is free as in freedom and not necessarily free as in free beer.

    172 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 15:55

    Further explain to no one in particular how this means that if you buy into the ideal, anyone can slap your work up on a CrappStore and charge for it, without any obligation to give you a single red cent of their ill-gotten gains.

    173 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 15:58

    Only under BSD and other non-copyleft licenses. Any derivitive software of GPL-licensed software must also be released under the GPL.

    174 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 17:12

    No, that does jack shit to keep anyone from charging. It just means that anyone else can redistribute too.

    175 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 17:42

    Guess what you can't do to things from the app store on any platform.

    176 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7777 20:15

    If they GPL their fork, it's perfectly within their rights. Though if they choose to charge for it while you have the same software e.g. on git for free, people will probably prefer your free-as-in-free-beer version.
    If they don't GPL it then you have legal grounds to get them to cease and decist distributing it until they comply with the terms of the GPL. Also, what >>175-san said. There are not many free as in freedom apps in any of the major mobile app stores to begin with because those companies prefer to have both developers and users under the control of their proprietary systems (with regards to Google, technically, Android/Linux is free software, but it is almost always distributed with the Google Play app which is not freedom respecting.)

    177 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 00:32

    Bring the bread, sausages, et al back to the camp. And grab the papers too. Look over them on our own later.

    178 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 01:29

    You spend a few minutes carefully converting each and every one of the sheets of paper into miniature unpiloted aircraft. You make sure to include a range of designs, from the traditional glider to more exotic shapes, including even asymmetrical ones. You feel a childlike glee as you reappropriate these dull documents into instruments of flight. For those precious moments your delusion becomes your reality, and you are able to forget your unenviable circumstances.

    Once done, you launch them one at a time into the looming twilight. Finally, with the last faint light of the evening, you march out and seek the out the specimen that made it the furthest. You find one around ten metres from the launch site. The darkness is almost complete, and even if there were any further away you doubt you'd be able to find them. You unfold and try to read your new testament, this document upon which the rest of your life will rest, but alas it is too dark. Your feeble diurnally suited eyes cannot resolve the tiny, ornate letters. More troublingly, the paper is quite damp, and you suspect the ink may have begun to run.

    Whyever did that blessed bird abandon you? Was it because of your misguided comments regarding free software? It was, wasn't it? Oh, cruel fate! Those traitorous words that spilled out of your mouth, light as feathers, have shackled you to a future of isolation and solitude. Your happiness - that brightest, most delicate of things - has taken wing and left, perhaps forever, and there is nothing you can do about it. You plead your case to the indifferent greyish foliage as though, somewhere out there, there might be some god with even a flicker of benevolence left listening, but your heart isn't in it.

    You wish you could leave it at this, but, in some heart-lurching display of masochism, you continue to torture yourself. Struggling even to force out each word, you further expound the inherent contradictions in the very idea of free software in a world as sick as ours.

    Why? What did you do to deserve this? Unable to bear the torment any longer, you throw yourself headlong into the stream. The cold, black water rushes into your mouth, causing you to splutter and pause in the midst of your tirade on the relative merits of software licences.

    179 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 01:30

    Still, it is not enough. You must still this sinner's tongue for good. You push your own head under the surface, time and time again, but every time you find yourself forced back up again by some primordial instinct of greater will than yours. Not once do you hear the chorus of angels, singing to you of the path of forgiveness and redemption - nor, as might even be greater comfort, the cajoling of demons, recounting your every sin and telling you what perdition awaits you. Instead, unspeakably worse than either or anything else, all you hear is your own voice, arguing with yourself - with yourself! - about legality and software redistribution.

    Hands shaking, you grasp a large, firm pebble from the streambed, lie down on the bank, raise it above your head and bring it down onto your skull. There is a faint crunch and an intense flash of pain, but still your mouth continues to enunciate every cruel word. Again you raise the stone, again you bring it down, again there is a flash of pain. It is not enough, you think frantically; a single word - a single syllable - nay, a single phoneme more on the topic of computing, programming, coding, or anything even tangentially related would be enough to tear away that last torn, battered garment of sanity with which you clothe your fragile psyche.

    You scream, an unending, unholy sound exploding out of you from some hidden fold so deep within you that you could never have known it lay within you. Every ink-black spectre of inhumanity that lay, silently, within your heart is released at once, and tears forth from your mouth in a ceaseless, breathless torrent.

    Like a gift from Heaven, the stone falls from your palsied hands and collides with your skull, mercifully putting an end to every unspeakable machination that had been born within its bounds. You die.

    Deaths: 3

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>178)

    You find yourself holding the remains of a paper aeroplane, in a clearing in a rainforest. A light rain is falling. Night has come, and you cannot see anything at all.

    You have no idea how to get back to the camp without a guide. The papers are scattered all across the damp ground, quietly soaking into obscurity, and it is beyond hope to find them all now.

    180 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 01:40

    Stay the night in the abandoned camp and set off randomly the next morning. Quicksave.

    181 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 01:43

    Also be sure to bring the food with us.

    182 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 01:58

    Move your ass to shit on this gay cock.

    183 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 07:02

    Make sure to read our new testament at the first light of day.

    184 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7778 15:39

    Make sure our testament is free as in freedom.

    185 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 01:25

    Displaying, thankfully, some modicum of common sense, you crawl into the meagre shelter you found earlier, curl up on one side and attempt to fall asleep. It is not easy. Firstly, the structure seems to have been built by/for someone of substantially shorter stature than you, leaving your feet outside in the rain and mud. Your ribs are still sore from the corporal punishment you received earlier, back at the camp, meaning you struggle to find any position to lie in which doesn't put weight on at least one of your sore points.

    What truly keeps you from sleep, however, is the noises from outside. A few times you hear long, low rumbling noises, as of distant thunder, but which last for thirty seconds at a time and seem to Doppler slightly as you listen, as though the source of the noise is moving. Three times you are shocked awake by the high-pitched chattering and howling of wild animals, once very nearby indeed.

    At last, the sky is reclaimed by sunlight and you are forced awake. Through aching eyes and a faint headache, you crawl out of your abode to inspect your surroundings. The rain has ceased at last, only to be replaced by a dull, white haze through which the rays of the morning sun filter, like bad coffee. You begin by reading the crumpled, water stained sheet of paper that had been by your side all night. It is written in black ink, in enormous, looping ornate letters. It seems to be a letter, but the salutation, valediction and much of the contents are illegible. You manage to work read:

    --inforest. Should be eas--
    --econnoitre. We shouldn't be far from one another geographically, but the possibili--
    --ffect may last for mere seconds, or it might be permanent; you can never tell with these damn quantum things. Too many variables for my tastes. At any rate, you should make full use of this phenomenon. The initial slate we used was enough to get us here, but no--
    --re limits, naturally. You can'--
    --ssume was a gift from y--
    --ad our differences, I trust that we are past that now. The bird in question is currently doing reconnaissance, trying to locate you, or summon any mooks that we can sacrifice to further ou--
    --at you realise th--
    --ove y--
    --t die in a fire, but I--
    --hy you fear the n--
    --ow them ju--

    You aren't quite sure how to interpret your new bible, but interpret it you must. Is this letter addressed to you, as a disciple? What is this "slate" that is mentioned? What is the significance of the bird? Was there some suggestion of self immolation? Suddenly, you aren't so sure about this new religion of yours.

    In an act of serendipity, you decide, completely at random, to follow the nearby brook upstream. Unfortunately, you find that it is beyond your ability to carry all the food at once along with the rest of your inventory, so you settle for taking only four each of the foodstuffs. Even this is awkward to manage while traversing jungle.

    Despite a thorough search of your inventory and immediate surroundings, you cannot locate any farmyard animals whatsoever, including donkeys and cockerels. Furthermore, you aren't entirely sure how you'd go about entertaining the chicken in question enough to reach the prerequisite gaiety, nor how you'd then arrange the donkey so as to defecate directly onto it.

    You weren't planning to charge for access to your newly discovered religious text, nor particularly to conceal it from others, but make the conscious decision to keep things that way as far as possible.

    After much walking, you reach a faint, poorly defined path crossing the stream, with a makeshift bridge consisting only of a wooden door. To the Southeast, a short distance uphill, there is a two storey building made of red brick. Every visible window is smashed. There is a banner hanging between two windows reading "DO NOT ENTER". To the Northwest, the path continues unabated. As you are standing deliberating over the dilemma, you hear the chattering noise again, from the West.

    186 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 01:56

    Enter with a proud strut in defiance of the banner.

    187 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 02:08

    contemplate the origins of the universe

    188 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 03:06

    Offer some food to whoever is in the building as a gesture of goodwill.

    189 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 06:39

    Lift up shirt and present chest as a gesture of goodwill.

    190 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7779 15:18

    Spread the good word of the sacred Eve Inforest.

    191 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7780 00:44

    Given the choice between not entering the building (and being blindly obedient to perceived authority) or entering the building (and being easily manipulated by reverse psychology (or just very stupid)) you go ahead and choose the latter. As it is on the opposite bank to which you are currently on, you try to cross the bridge. Unexpectedly, the door snaps in half as you put your weight on it, making a loud noise and dampening your feet. The animal noises which were, until now, fairly subdued, suddenly swell into a raucous, rapidly approaching chorus of shrieks and howls.

    Not feeling particularly in the mood for company, you make your way up the valley side towards the building. You find a second banner draped across the ground in front of the building; seemingly a continuation of the first, which has fallen from place. It reads "YOUR PARENTS WOULDN'T LIKE IT". To one side of the main entrance is written, in shaky handwriting, "FREE SWEETS INSIDE".

    Inside, you a fairly large, L shaped room. It has been entirely emptied; judging by the marks on the floor, even the carpet has been taken up, leaving bare floorboards. On the East and North facing walls are doorways that have been entirely bricked up. Also on the North facing wall is a stairwell, with stairs leading both up and down. The ascending staircase has been blocked by a pile of miscellaneous furniture; you think you could probably negotiate it, but it would take some time, and two free hands. All around the descending staircase are large signs with messages such as "CUTE KITTENS DOWNSTAIRS", "ADORABLE PUPPIES TO PLAY WITH IN THE BASEMENT" and "FREE TOYS FOR ALL UNATTENDED CHILDREN". The stairs slope away into darkness, but you can just make out what appears to be a beartrap at the bottom.

    You find this to be the perfect moment to consider the truly great, unanswered questions of your existence, beginning with the beginning: where did this entire reality come from? Was it, as is the scientific consensus, simply a random, inexplicable explosion of matter? If there was a big bang, was that the absolute beginning, or could there have been something before that? How does this contend with issues such as causal closure or baryonic asymmetry? Is it even possible to know the answers to questions like this, when you cannot rule out the possibility that your entire existence is nothing more than the collective daydream of a set of beings of some inconceivably higher level of consciousness, laughing at your exploits as one might those of a confused kitten on YouTube?

    Your musings are interrupted by four creatures, making loud, aggressive vocalisations, entering from behind you. On closer inspection, they appear to be human - in fact, they are identical in appearance to the so-called grunts earlier, though these specimens seem to be a lot less passive. They block the entrance and holler at you. Terrified, you toss a spare sausage at the nearest, who jumps back, then grabs it and tears into it, devouring it in seconds. Rather than appeasing them, the gesture appears only to have inflamed their desire for the rest of your food.

    You are not wearing a shirt; you are only wearing a full body grey jumpsuit. You bare your chest at them, which seems to them to indicate attempted dominance, rather than compassion. They are kept at bay momentarily, but still seem as though they might charge at a moment's notice.

    You babble something nonsensical about the Abrahamic creation myth, and how Eve lived in a forest. The creatures interrupt you with various screaming and howling. At that moment, you notice that there is a fifth member to their party: a young girl, with long, tousled hair and wide, brown eyes, clothed in what you think might once have been a seifuku. She bares her teeth at you, appearing every bit as savage as her companions.

    Your only clear exit is blocked. You can either try to distract or frighten your assailants, stand and fight - armed only with a pair of scissors and a lighter - or run away downstairs.

    192 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7780 00:54

    Say to the girl, "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick"

    193 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7780 10:03

    Be nimble, be quick, and jump over the candlestick. If no candlestick is available, settle for jumping over the bear trap at the bottom of the stairs and hoping one of the assailants gets caught in it.

    194 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7780 15:26

    Severly hiss at girl.

    195 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7780 18:23

    adopt the girl in the seifuku as our daughteru

    196 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7781 01:01

    At that moment, the nearest of the barbaric creatures lunges towards you, grasping avariciously towards your hard-earned comestibles. Like some prayer or mantra from a dimly recalled childhood, you quickly mutter under your breath a nursery rhyme you barely remember. The girl yelps at the sound of the first word and grabs the foremost brute by the scruff of the neck, dragging him back behind her. She then scolds the creature with a series of harsh barking sounds.

    Slowly, cautiously, she pushes in front of her associates and takes a few steps towards you. She reaches for a loaf of bread, making slight cooing noises, as though asking permission. You hesitate, and a gleam appears in her eye, as though she just sensed some inner weakness.

    You aren't sure quickness or nimbleness can really be considered binary states, but are happy to consider yourself quick and nimble until proven otherwise. You can't locate any candlesticks, so you take the most logical course of action and try to jump over the half-glimpsed instrument of ensnarement downstairs. Unfortunately, you failed to notice that there was a tripwire installed at the edge of the landing, and are sent tumbling head over heels into the darkness below. You land headfirst on the beartrap, which springs closed onto your neck. You die instantly.

    Deaths: 4

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>196)

    In an effort to defuse the tension between you and the girl, you blow air through your teeth in a manner similar to the act of severance. It doesn't seem that that particular nuance is conveyed to your audience, but you never know.

    A warm, affectionate emotion wraps itself around your heart like a handmade scarf. Succumbing to your parental instincts, you smile encouragingly and offer some bread to the girl. A fleeting smile flashes across her lips as she grabs the loaf from your hands and turns to retreat. The others take her signal and run away back into the jungle. At the doorway she pauses and turns, looking over her shoulder at you, a look of curiosity on her face. If you're to keep your daughter from running away, you have to act now.

    197 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7781 02:16

    Shout, "Jack be with you" and let her go.

    198 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7781 17:06

    Lure her back with more food, keep repeating "Jack" since she seemed to respond to it earlier.

    199 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7781 18:15

    Say, "Slippery Jack"

    200 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7781 23:55

    Though she is only a metre or two from you, you feel the need to shout your odd dismissal in her face. She flinches and runs away, bread hanging from her mouth like the epitomic schoolgirl late for her first day of school. You watch her go, heart swelling with pride. What a fine, upstanding young lady you've brought her up to be, you think to yourself.

    Mere moments later, you feel yourself struck by the infamous empty nest syndrome. You simply don't know what to do with yourself, now that she's gone. And shouldn't you have prepared her better? I mean, you've got all this food, and you only offered her one measly loaf of bread. Also, what about those suspicious gentlemen she's been keeping company with?

    Utterly distraught, head spinning in disarray, you leave several trails of breadcrumbs up to the building where you last saw the girl. Before you know it, you have used up all of the bread you had found. You sit at the doorstep, simply saying the word "Jack" to yourself, over and over again. The sun passes its zenith overhead and begins its slow, inevitable descent. Cumuliform clouds accumulate on the horizon. Still, there is no sign of your precious daughter.

    Then, a familiar face appears before you. The red bird from earlier alights nearby and begins nonchalantly to peck at your breadcrumb trail. "Slippery Jack!" you say to it. It stares at you, long and hard, head cocked slightly to one side, then flies away again to the South. You soon lose sight of it.

    Perhaps ten minutes later, you become aware of another presence nearby. Levitating a metre or so from the ground is a young girl dressed in an immaculate, ornate lilac dress. She is carrying a frilled off-white parasol in one hand, and a purple handbag in the other. The red bird is perched on her shoulder. She is watching you, smiling a little too wide.

    "Pah!" she exclaims in mock annoyance, rolling her eyes, "You're not Jack at all! Silly bird, why did you go and get my hopes up?" The bird bobs its head apologetically. She floats down to land a metre or so from you, and carefully inspects you and the possessions by your side. "My my, have you been taking things that aren't yours? Why, I was looking forward to a nice bit of sausage for my supper, and you went and stole it all! I almost think you ought to be punished for that."

    201 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7782 00:08

    Eat the cumuliform clouds, politely inviting the young lady in lilac to partake along with you.

    202 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7782 00:51

    Claim to know Jack's location. Offer the information in exchange for immunity and more sausage.

    203 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7782 04:29

    use Jedi mind tricks to convince the girl that these aren't the sausages she is looking for

    204 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7782 08:33

    Duck and cover.

    205 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7783 00:49

    You take the appearance of the eccentric levitating young mistress to be a sign that things are about to take a turn for the surreal. In all likelihood, she probably isn't even real. Maybe you're in the midst of a lucid dream, or maybe you accidentally imbibed some sort of hallucinogenic earlier, or maybe you're simply losing your mind and she is the embodiment of your guilt over robbing some innocent person's camp earlier.

    "Never mind that, won't you join me in partaking of some of those delectable looking clouds instead?" you suggest conspiratorially. You try to will yourself to start flying away towards the horizon, but remain obstinately earthbound. "As you wish," the girl says, carefully enunciating each word, her smile growing unnaturally wide.

    Next thing you know, your vision goes entirely white, and you feel a cold, damp sensation across your entire body. Air rushes into your face, flowing ever ever faster, until suddenly you find yourself several hundred metres above the ground, plummeting towards the ground at terminal velocity. As far as you can see is nothing but rainforest, broken in places by occasional rivers, lakes, mountains, and the roofs of a few concrete buildings that look rather out of place.

    By your side, keeping pace with you but seemingly unaffected by the precipitous descent, is the girl in lilac. She has a little tuft of cloud wrapped around one finger, which she sticks into her mouth, sucks on, then comments "Doesn't taste like candyfloss at all, does it? How disappointing."

    You continue falling until at last you collide with the unsympathetic ground. You strike the earth so hard that several of your limbs are detached entirely, and parts of your anatomy end up distributed across a not entirely unimpressive area.

    Deaths: 5

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>200)

    Eager to escape retribution, you claim to know the location of her apparent quarry, whom you suspect to be the semi-feral girl you met and adopted earlier. Technically, you don't know her location precisely, but you know she must be somewhere nearby. You claim you will only divulge the information if offered a) her word that she will not harm you, directly or indirectly and b) at least one more sausage.

    She raises her eyebrows in surprise, but complies. "So be it," she says offhandedly. She rummages around in the bag by her side and draws out a large piece of Hungarian téliszalámi, offering it to you. "Now, as agreed, kindly tell me where Jack is." she demands, her voice taking on a slightly steely tone.

    "These aren't your sausages," you tell her slowly and confidently, gesturing to the meat products by your side. "Well, they're not yours either," she counters. "In fact, I have reason to believe they were a gift from the very lady I'm searching for. Speaking of which, where is she?"

    You cave in to the stressful line of questioning and throw yourself to the ground just inside the doorway, covering your face and the back of your neck as best you can. You lie perfectly still, waiting for the threat to pass. Though you could now resist the worst of the radiation of a thermonuclear explosion, you have no defence from the young lady you have attempted to deceive.

    She takes the hint, however, and offers cheerily "Well, seeing as you aren't feeling talkative just now, how's about this: meet me back here at midday tomorrow, with Jack. If you fail this task," she says, as her smile expands as though threatening to leave her face entirely, "I'll track you down and kill you, slowly and painfully, for my own amusement. See you tomorrow!"

    And with that, she vanishes, just as suddenly as she appeared. It is currently mid-afternoon. Within the building is a dangerous looking basement and an almost inaccessible upstairs area. Outside, you could follow the brook downstream to the small abandoned camp or upstream into the unknown, or follow the path Northwest.

    206 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7783 02:08

    Find the nearest suitable drawing implement and sketch the girl in lilac eating a penis, literally masticating it.

    207 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7783 04:01

    Find a sharp rock. Cut the tripwire by the stairs.
    Carefully disable bear trap. Trigger it with a medium-sized object if necessary.
    Take bear trap and set off into the forest, looking for tracks.

    208 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7783 11:02

    Exclaim, "Jack, you moron, I'm going to be killed because of you!"

    209 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7784 00:19

    Despite a thorough search of the room you're in, the blockade on the stairs and the area immediately outside the building, you turn up nothing that could easily leave at least a semi-permanent mark on a surface. Lacking anything more suitable, you attempt to engrave an image into the wall using the nail file you picked up earlier. The result is a faint, scratchy, angular affair, almost entirely unrecognisable even as a human figure, let alone as an image of the girl in lilac, let alone her engaging in some sort of act of erotic cannibalism.

    You cannot find any sharp rocks - the stones in the streambed of the brook are all worn perfectly smooth, and the masonry of the building, though unexceptional, is not poor enough to yield usable broken pieces. Lacking anything more suitable, you attempt to cut the tripwire using the nail file you picked up earlier. You succeed.

    You begin to descend cautiously, but, focussed as you are on the beartrap, you fail to notice that one of the steps has been waxed. Overbalanced by the canned meat and other miscellanea you are carrying, you slip and hurtle forwards into the eagerly awaiting jaws of the trap. You die.

    Deaths: 6

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>209)

    Having failed to acquire the beartrap, you pack up and wander off into the rainforest, walking more or less directly Westwards. The air is warm and muggy and clings to your skin in an unpleasant manner. The trunks of the trees are generally sparser than where you were earlier, but they are also taller and the canopy thicker, meaning you soon lose sight of the sun. The foliage underfoot is thick and luscious, interspersed with occasional flowers, small and large. Various exotic insects zip through the thick, warm air, some of them momentarily settling on you.

    Despite the recent rain, the ground is not particularly muddy, and you fail to find any sets of tracks. After much walking, you find yourself at the top of a cliff, running North-South, around five metres in height, commanding a good view of the surrounding topography. You see smoke rising steadily from a small clearing to the West, not far from the base of the cliff. Further to the West, you see a broad river. Curiously, it seems to stop abruptly in one place, and is swallowed up by the surrounding vegetation.

    On the opposite side of the river is a small white building, beside which is some sort of metal framework tower, similar to a radio tower or an electricity pylon, as well as a large radar dish. Beyond this is a fairly steep mountain ridge. Upriver you can see a large, sprawling grey concrete building, which you suspect to be the place where you began your quest. The sun is low in the sky, especially given the inconveniently placed ridge. You probably have an hour or two until nightfall.

    Doing your very best to evade all personal responsibility, you verbally express your frustration with your daughter at her implicit act of patricide.

    210 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7784 00:24

    Be Jack.

    211 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7784 00:39

    Go to the white building and take shelter.

    212 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7784 01:28

    Jack off

    213 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7784 02:24

    Fall down and break your crown.

    214 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7785 00:12

    You are now playing as Jack, an animalistic, savage young girl, annealed in the hostile, unsympathetic forge of this unnatural jungle. You find yourself surveying the sacred pyre in the middle of the clearing where your tribe - of which you are the high priestess - holds its ceremonial functions. In front of the pyre is the immense carved stone slab you found in the jungle, currently in use as an altar. Its every surface is covered in intricate, arcane inscriptions and images, the meaning of which you cannot even guess at.

    You look at the stone knife in your hand. For the life of you you can't remember where you found this, or why it seems to command such significance to you. It feels perfectly moulded to the palm of your hand, and is beautifully weighted such that you can slash or slab with it as though it were an extension of your own body. And like Chekhov's Gun, its very presence seems to beg its usage.

    You used it in last night's ceremony, which, naturally, must be repeated tonight. You cast a sweeping gaze around the fire at the ring of ghostly, identical faces, all facing inwards, all looking at you. You wonder which will be tonight's sacrifice.

    You have only seen two constructed buildings in living memory, not counting the crude huts your tribe lives in, and neither of them were white. Yesterday you actually entered one for the first time, and, moreover, encountered another - seemingly harmless - person. And what an odd person they were too. You'd rather not have anything to do with them.

    You amuse yourself by imagining that you have some sort of inbuilt on/off switch, as though you could simply say "Jack off" or Jack on" and you would fall unconscious or wake up, just like that. It would be nice, given what trouble you have had sleeping recently. You "Jack off" and try to fall asleep where you are.

    You collapse in a heap beside the altar, as though you had just lost consciousness. Your subjects appear troubled, but none dare to approach you. You are disappointed to find that you lack any sort of diadem to break - which reminds you, you must arrange some sort of headdress. With feathers, and flowers, and... and...

    You awaken with a start. Night has fallen. It is a mostly clear night, and the waxing gibbous moon is already quite high. You must have been asleep a few hours. A long, slow groaning noise comes from somewhere you cannot place. You scramble to your feet, staring piercingly into the shadows between the trees, daring some unknown foe to show themselves, to take form, but they do not.

    After a minute or so of silence, you relax enough to look back. A grunt has laid himself down onto the stone slab, ready for the ritual. He looks terrified. For that matter, they all do. Everyone in the tribe is staring at the knife in your hand, simultaneously knowing and not knowing exactly what must happen next.

    The ceremony last night was the very first one, and it was a strange, almost trancelike affair. This time your wits are a little sharper. You are aware that whatever you do right now could well become subsumed forever into the procedure, which, for all you know, might be repeated night after night for years, might be passed on unchanged through countless generations, and might become the backbone of an entire civilisation. Every breath, every step you take feels immensely heavy. The ritual must begin.

    215 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7785 19:22

    Prance and pirouette around the sacrifice while singing: "I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates, you've got a brand new key, I think that we should get together and try them on to see!"

    On "see" cheerily slam the knife into his heart with both hands and twist it. Take some blood and put it on our lips like lipstick, then lovingly kiss the sacrifice goodnight.

    216 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7786 04:25

    Be Jack's nipples. Contemplate our existence.

    217 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7786 05:57

    celebrate christmas

    218 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7786 05:59

    Decapitate corpse, shove head into the crotch void of doom.

    219 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7786 23:19

    You lose yourself to forces far beyond your control, or even comprehension. You find yourself singing at the top of your lungs a hymn to the ancient spirits you are invoking, promising that you have means of locomotion - that you are willing to move, to change, to do whatever it takes - if only they'll offer you the key to unlock your true potential. You humbly suggest a symbiosis.

    You terminate your odd spinning, spiralling dance with a single thrust of your knife into the sacrifice's breast, into which it descends without a sound. You moisten your lips with the flat of the blade, then lightly kiss the lifeless body on the cheek, leaving a bloody mark.

    For killing a sapient being in a ritualistic manner you have gained two skill points and 100 mana. You currently have four unspent skill points and 200 mana.

    You cannot be Jack's nipples; you can only play as members of your current party.

    Momentarily oblivious to the immense gravitas of your situation, you try to think about your existence itself. Despite being no expert in philosophical scepticism, you are quite aware of the insidious unreliability of your own perception, and how actual knowledge of anything at all is a dubious proposition at best. On the other hand, as your good friend Descartes reminds you, the very fact that you are thinking about your own existence proves your own existence, though it doesn't mean that you exist in the way or form you think you do.

    After careful consideration, you conclude that at least two things exist, because, as you exist (somehow) at least one thing exists, and if only one thing existed then it wouldn't be able to perceive anything else, because that would be something else, even if it wasn't real. It almost looks like you're making progress on working out this whole existence business.

    But wait! If everything else is unprovable and unverifiable, why should your own logic be exempt? Mathematics (and, by extension, logic) certainly seem to be infallible - in all honesty, they might well be - but then things like Russel's paradox or Gödel's incompleteness theorems rear their unwelcome heads and you have to question whether logic really owes it to you to be internally consistent. Conclusions such as those you have made seem to make perfect sense, but perhaps this very semblance should be questioned at least as much - if not more so - than what you perceive through the senses.

    So, there you have it. Your state of existence is nothing but uncertainty, meaningless, empty promises, simulacra, phantoms, sea foam and shadows, all wrapped into one big package that looks sort of like a little girl.

    But enough of that, you think to yourself. This ritual you've been performing needs a name. You decide to bestow upon it the name "christmas", as it's a word you just made up, and you're fairly sure it doesn't mean anything else, least of all some sort of other religious festival. You are pleased to be a part of the second ever celebration of christmas, and hope for many further recurrences.

    In the midst of this bustling, everyday modern life of being trapped in a sinister, endless jungle, it is easy to lose track of the truly important things in life. You take a moment to reflect upon the true meaning of christmas. Which is, of course, gratuitous corpse mutilation. With several vicious hacks of the stone knife, you forcibly remove the corpse's head and sit on it. It disappears up your skirt without a trace.

    And with that, christmas is over for tonight.

    220 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 02:22

    Spend points on Liberal Art. Spend some mana pondering the meaning of life but not too much.

    221 Name: >>220 : 1993-09-7787 02:26

    Correction: Liberal Arts

    222 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 03:32

    Spend some mana learning how to poop.

    223 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 05:09

    Spend remaining skill points on matrimony.

    224 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 05:29


    225 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 05:33

    enter our PIN number at the ATM machine to withdraw some USD dollars while loling out loud in irl life.

    226 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 20:15

    List abilities.

    227 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7787 23:55

    You try to use your newly acquired skill points as currency in order to purchase the trivium and quadrivium; grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Unfortunately, it seems that these are all abstract concepts which you cannot lay claim to, not even through bartering using similarly non-real currency.

    You begin to carefully probe the subject of the meaning of life. Why are you here at all? You are not a follower of any particularly well-defined religion, so you don't have any comforting doctrine to tell you why you should wake up tomorrow morning. Popular answers to the question include being nice to people, gaining knowledge, passing on one's genes and perpetuating the human race as a whole, all of which seem like reasonably sensible things to do, but none of which seem like an actual justification of your existence. If humanity didn't exist, after all, none of these would make its creation necessary.

    In fact, you can't think of anything that fits the criteria, nor even a starting point to look for one. Perhaps the most obvious answer is correct after all; that there is no particular meaning to life. But then why keep going? You can always fabricate a meaning to your life, but it seems rather hollow and vacuous in the greater scheme of things. Maybe you should keep living just in case a meaning to life that you overlooked shows up somewhere - or maybe you should embrace the demoniac madness and take solace in the fact that your life isn't running on rails, that no matter what you do you cannot fail at life.

    You are already as familiar as you need to be with the theoretical portion of scatology. The practical application, of course, is a different matter.

    It seems that matrimony is not an available skill - how odd. Your available skills are, instead, aerokinesis, geokinesis, biokinesis, hypnosis, technomancy and ailuromancy.

    That would be wholly, sickeningly inappropriate. You mightn't be the most ladylike of ladies, but even you must draw the line somewhere.

    You have a general understanding of what automatic teller machines are - even if you've never seen one - and they seem to be artificially manufactured. Presumably, there is a machine which builds ATMs: an ATM machine. Similarly, if there are personal identification numbers, there must be a finite number of PINs in the world: the PIN number. Were you to enter this PIN number into an ATM machine, perhaps you could even use it to withdraw some fanciful currency of which each unit is the entire combined worth of the United States Dollar: USD dollars. While committing such a megalomaniacal act, it would only be appropriate to laugh out loud, aloud (if allowed).

    Needless to say, this is an entirely academic exercise, as no such machine exists in your vicinity - at least, not in in real life life.

    You begin listing abilities in your head. Not any abilities in particular, just abilities that might exist. Like flying, or kissing your own spine, or teaching a young child the general principles of vector calculus, or reading a silly story on the internet.

    At that moment, with a violent rustle of leaves, a human figure emerges from the forest, screams and falls flat on their face in front of the fire. They were carrying, amongst other things, four cans of meat and four sausages, which are now spilled all over the floor. The other members of your tribe appear very agitated at the sudden arrival of this stranger.

    228 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 00:01

    be as-yet nameless protagonist-kun
    draw up the adoption papers and take our new daughter home

    229 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 00:16

    Jack: level up ailuromancy

    230 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 03:38

    Everything on ailuromancy, it seems incredibly important!

    231 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 06:50

    Slap Jack.

    232 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 07:37

    Put negative skill points into aliuromancy, it seems incredibly dangerous!

    233 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 09:04

    But you like danger! Approach the fallen stranger and see if your newly acquired skills in felinology can help them.

    234 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7788 09:29

    Penetrate! Penetrate!

    235 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 01:20

    You are now playing as Nameless Protagonist.

    You find yourself absolutely terrified out of your wits, in mortal fear and unable to form any coherent thought. You have spent hours lost in the rainforest in absolute darkness, feet ensnared by creeping tendrils, face and hands marred by vicious barbed branches, falling on your face time and time again. Though you saw nothing, you heard and felt things that you still cannot come to terms with. The things that watched, the things that followed, and the things that whispered have robbed you of all composure and agency.

    Having finally made it to the warmth and relative safety of the brightly lit clearing, you pass out in relief, without even having been able to formally adopt your beloved daughter. Your last thought, as your consciousness slips away like a startled rabbit, is that as your legal descendant your daughter will have to share your surname, making her Jack Protagonist.

    You are now playing as Jack Protagonist.

    By a quirk of logic that, oddly, evades you when you reflect upon it later, you come to the conclusion that this ailuromancy business is certain to be the perfect solution to your current predicament. You allocate all four available skill points to ailuromancy. You have unlocked the following skills:

    • Basic ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can accurately predict the weather for the next six hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least one minute.
    • Feline communication (passive skill): can understand and employ general methods of cat communication, e.g. hissing, purring, meowing.
    • Cat affinity evaluation (active skill): can tell another sapient being's affinity towards cats. Requires line of sight. Costs 15 mana.
    • Summon cat (active skill): can summon a cat from the nearest interdimensional aperture. Costs 100 mana.

    You try to slap some sense into yourself. What were you thinking?

    You haven't a clue what aliuromancy (not to be confused with the quite toothless ailuromancy) is, and that makes it all the more dangerous. Levelling it up may force upon you knowledge or power beyond that which you are equipped to deal with; beyond that which any mortal should possess. To ensure that this never comes to pass, you should do everything in your power to prevent yourself from becoming even a novice in this no doubt perilous, catastrophic craft.

    Thankfully, aliuromancy isn't real, so you cannot assign or unassign skill points to it.

    Then again, you'd make a rather poor high priestess if you were put off by any hint of danger. You walk over to greet your uninvited guest, but he seems to be quite unconscious. You have no particular reason to assume that the presence of a cat and/or a weather forecast is going to change anyone's life for the better.

    You glare penetratingly at the back of the stranger's head, trying to force your way into their brain by sheer force of will. Your gaze is not quite piercing enough to actually physically penetrate anything, however.

    236 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 01:46

    Jack Protagonist: use cat affinity evaluation on Nameless Protagonist. If it is positive, summon a cat.

    237 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 02:09

    put protagonist otou-san's personal items in a safe place until he wakes up

    238 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 02:14

    [thanks for these threads, they are highly entertaining]

    239 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 03:55

    Summon a cat, perhaps a big and black one like a panther if you get to choose. Reclass to a witch.

    240 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 04:15

    Summon lots and lots of pussy.

    241 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 05:42

    Order the grunts to carry protagonist to our hidden shelter. Follow them there.

    [Also, what >>238 said.]

    242 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7789 23:57

    On closer inspection, you note that your visitor is the same person who kindly gave you bread yesterday. Of course, that doesn't make him trustworthy in the slightest. Perhaps an analysis of his feline disposition will be enlightening. A quick expenditure of 15 mana reveals that Nameless has a cat affinity index of -87, whatever that means.

    You gather his accoutrements - four sausages, four cans of meat, a pair of scissors, a lighter, a nail file and a radio - from the ground and pile them on top of the altar, beside the decapitated corpse.

    You spend 100 mana, leaving you 85 remaining, and feel something furry crawl out from between your thighs, of all places. A medium sized tortoiseshell with thick white fur on its underside lands feet first beneath you. It takes a few uncertain steps forward, tail twitching in curiosity. It looks at the surrounding rainforest, at the fire, at the grunts, at you, then, the second it catches a glimpse of Nameless, it screeches violently at a volume you didn't even think it was capable of, jumps backwards so hard it almost backflips, twists in midair, lands on its side, scrambles to its feet and bolts away into the undergrowth.

    You try to entice the poor frightened pussycat - or any other cats that happen to be nearby - with offers of sausage and cuddles, but fail to attract anything but odd looks from the grunts.

    You think that has been enough excitement for tonight. Leaving the grunt work to the grunts, you retire to your own hut alongside Nameless. Despite being by far the best constructed in the tribe, your hut is still a rather ramshackle affair, and cramped even for one person. Nameless regains consciousness inside, and, after taking a few moment to calm down, insists upon sleeping outside, based on some strange cultural taboo against sleeping beside relatives, or something like that. All the more legroom for you.

    After another long night of broken sleep, you return to your senses in the mid-morning. You make your way back to the clearing that was the site of last night's christmas. The fire has burnt down to the cinders, and the remains of last night's sacrifice have been cremated to leave only charred bones. The altar is still draped in congealed blood.

    Nameless is pacing back and forth nearby. He appears rather agitated about something.

    243 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7790 00:13

    Ritually sacrifice Nameless; he has negative cat affinity and scared away your pretty pussy, so he must be evil.

    244 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7790 02:27

    Protagonist: inform Jack that you were threatened by some weird being to be killed, err, today (probably!) unless you find Jack.

    245 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7790 03:04

    Jack: Ask Nameless for a piggyback ride.

    246 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 00:52

    Well, you decide, christmas has come early for Nameless. As soon as he sees you he starts talking hurriedly at you about something, but you quickly silence him by brandishing the bloodstained knife and pointing sternly at the altar. He stutters pathetically and pleads for his miserable life. On closer inspection, you see that he is in rather poor shape; his every piece of exposed skin is covered in cuts and sores, and the dark bags under his eyes suggest he slept even worse than you last night.

    He backs away from you, still begging for mercy, until he is right next to the altar. You shove him onto his back. Tears are forming in the corners of his eyes. You raise the stone knife as high as you can, and plunge it towards his breast, ready to offer his feeble existence to whatever dark gods thirst for his blood.

    You are now playing as Nameless Protagonist.

    You shout desperately that you need Jack's help, and that your life is in danger. More danger, that is. To your surprise and relief, she stays her hand, knife mere centimetres from your skin. She narrows her eyes in suspicion and demands that you explain yourself. Between sobs, you recount your encounter with the girl in lilac and the deal you struck with her.

    Conveniently and bizarrely enough, the stone slab you are currently lying on actually has an illustration that looks a lot like the girl in lilac, right down to the parasol - as well as another girl who looks a bit like Jack herself. They are surrounded by various paraphernalia, abstract shapes and patterns, and text in a script you cannot read. You use the image to illustrate what the girl looked like.

    You are now playing as Jack Protagonist.

    The mention of this girl in lilac has piqued your interest. You have next to no knowledge of the denizens of this strange world, and this seems an excellent opportunity to learn. You know precisely where she will be at a given time, making this an excellent opportunity to lay an ambush. She doesn't exactly sound very threatening; you can probably disable her with your ceremonial knife alone and interrogate her at your leisure. Perhaps she'd even make a good sacrifice for tonight's christmas.

    Careful not to give away your true intentions, you agree to Nameless's plan, on the condition that he act as your vehicle. You can't have him getting ahead of himself, after all. He is very grateful and thanks you profusely for sparing his life. He gathers as many of his meagre possessions as he can carry, lets you onto his back and heads into the jungle, following your directions.

    He proves rather poor at his job, lurching and stumbling frequently and even inconsiderately letting low hanging foliage get in your face. You berate him in a manner befitting such human filth, and he begs forgiveness every time. The air is extremely humid and feels oddly heavy, and the stridulation of the insects is deafening. After a long walk, you come out onto the path, which you follow down to the brook with the broken door. On the opposite side of the valley you find the building where you first met Nameless. You are pleased to see that the girl in lilac is not here yet, leaving you time to lay your trap.

    There is an enormous cumulonimbus forming on the horizon, with an incus spreading across much of the sky. You can see multiple nascent cells forming on the leading edge.

    247 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 00:57

    Tell Nameless that he is a bad man for scaring away your pretty pussy. Use your best Dominatrix voice.

    248 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 05:15

    Jack: summon the cutest, most pitiful looking kitten we can and put it in a box. All little girls love kittens so when Cassandra goes to investigate it, sneak up behind her and bash her face in.

    249 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 09:41

    Nameless: Lift Jack up and look up her skirt.

    250 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 13:26

    Nameless: on the score screen put AAA as your name.

    251 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 17:22

    Nameless: Change name to Aaron A. Aaronson.

    252 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7791 20:47

    >>251, alternatively: Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov, immigrant from Eastern Republics.

    253 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 00:54

    You aren't sure what a Dominatrix is or what sort of vocalisations it makes, but it sounds like a fearsome beast indeed. Employing a deep, booming voice, you make it clear to Nameless that you are not amused with his prior conduct, especially with respect to the cat. It was new to this universe and he went and scared the poor thing away into the endless jungle in the middle of the night. Who knows what has become of it now? Nameless hangs his head in shame.

    You require 100 mana to use the summon cat ability. You currently have 85 mana.

    You don't have a box either. But, you remind yourself, necessity is the mother of invention. You take one of the cans of meat that Nameless kindly brought with him and demand that he scratch into the side "CUTE KITTEN TRAPPED INSIDE", using that odd little metal tool he has. He complies. You set the can on the floor, just inside the doorway, leaving you room at the side from which to spring your ambush.

    You are now playing as Nameless Protagonist.

    You are quite nervous about the upcoming exchange of goods (Jack in exchange for your continued living). Human trafficking is a rather distasteful affair and not one you are particularly happy to be a part of, even to save your life. Your angst is partially relieved by the fact that Jack has given her informed consent to be part of this, though her relative eagerness to be given over makes you wonder if she has fully understood what is to happen. For that matter, you doubt that you have fully understood what is to happen.

    To ensure that there are no problems with what you are about to hand over, you perform a general inspection. Her hair is rather messy - if only you had a comb, you could make her a little more presentable, though that would still do nothing for her hopelessly tatterdemalion clothing. She is gripping a bloodstained stone knife in one hand, which is just ever so slightly offputting, but you certainly aren't going to try to take it from her.

    Last but not least, you need to check that she isn't smuggling anything under her skirt. As she is your daughter, of course, there is nothing lewd about you seeing her pubic region; you'd've seen it anyway bathing her when she was younger. You gently but firmly grab her by the waist and lift her off the ground. She screams and hacks you in the clavicle with her stone knife, but it is too late.

    The lines demarcating her nubile thighs converge upon a small aperture, about the size of one's palm. You can see within a beautiful starscape, rich and intricate in ways that defy imagination or description. The view expands to fill your entire vision and your entire mind. You are awash with a sense of inner calm and tranquillity. The stars sing to you, inviting you to join them, to become one of them. You are consumed entirely by Jack's crotch, never to be seen again.

    Deaths: 7

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>253)

    254 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 00:54

    You locate the patch of wall where you earlier engraved a crude likeness of the girl in lilac engaging in a shockingly unladylike activity. If you think about it, this is a screen of sorts, and you did score the image into it, so it could probably be described as a score screen. For the benefit of future archaeologists, you sign the picture "AAA", scratching the letters in at the bottom left using your nail file.

    Your name is now Aaron A Aaronson.

    As your daughter, Jack is now called Jack Aaronson.

    Your name is now Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov.

    As your daughter, Jack is now called Jack Aaronov.

    You hear a woman clearing her throat outside. The girl in lilac is standing outside the building. She is holding a parasol in one hand and has the red bird on her shoulder as before, but this time she is also carrying a rather familiar tortoiseshell cat in her arms. As soon as it catches sight of you it hisses and tries to jump out of her hands, but she calms it down by cooing "There there, Theodore. It's okay."

    She turns to you and smirks. "Well, you seem to have neglected to bring Jack with you, haven't you? Most inadvisable." Jack is hiding just out of sight on the other side of the wall, hence her misunderstanding. "In fact, I-- Oh no! The poor kitten!" She wails in distress as she catches sight of the crudely modified meat can on the floor. She drops her parasol and Theodore, shoves you aside and rushes towards the building. Now is your last chance to stop her, if you're going to.

    255 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 01:25

    Take parasol. Close parasol and wield it as a weapon. Whack the woman over the head with it after Jack pounces on her. Continue whacking as necessary.

    256 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 01:50

    Actually, using proper East Slavic naming conventions, her name should be Jack Aaronova, not Jack Aaronov.

    257 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 05:42

    Be Jack. Punch that cunt in her fuck.

    258 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7792 15:26

    Whack with extreme prejudice.

    259 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7793 04:27

    Throw her into the bear trap.

    260 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7793 06:13

    Think of a new year's resolution and watch fireworks.

    261 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7793 09:59

    be passive-aggressive

    262 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 00:59

    In a blinding flash of deduction, you realise that Jack was actually not trying to willingly hand herself over, but in fact planning to attack the girl in lilac. On the one hand you have no particular reason to wish to offend this girl in lilac, who, for all you know, could prove a valuable ally; on the other hand, this seems the perfect opportunity, both literally and figuratively, to stab her in the back for your own benefit.

    You drop everything and grasp the discarded parasol in both hands, wielding it as a lance. Despite its delicate, befrilled appearance it has a rather vicious point at its vertex. You begin to charge but an angry, screeching mass of fur and claws leaps towards you and attaches itself to your face. You cannot help but feel that this cat is really not fond of you. By the time you manage to free yourself from Theodore's assault, the battle between Jack and the girl in lilac is already in full swing.

    "Jack!" you exclaim over the fray, "Your surname is actually Aaronova, not Aaronov!" For reasons you cannot fathom, she gives every impression of not caring in the slightest.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Your ambush is a partial success. You clearly catch her off guard, and thus manage to knock her over and pin her to the ground, face down. She produces a startled warbling sound, but makes no apparent counterattack. You are about to declare your victory, but are momentarily distracted by that halfwit outside shouting something to you. The girl escapes from your grasp, yet instead of attacking you or running away she instead dives towards the can and frantically begins trying to open it.

    Still hesitant to use lethal force, for the sake of a living sacrifice for tonight, you throw a punch to the back of her head. The girl squawks inelegantly, puts her arms up in a plaintive gesture. "No, Jack!" she exclaims weakly.

    You keep hitting her in the head until she stops moving. What a feeble opponent, you think to yourself; hardly befitting your martial talents. Indeed, you aren't at all sure why she didn't even try to fight back.

    You pick her up - she isn't as heavy as she looks - and throw her off the top of the staircase into the trap-laden basement. Bizarrely enough, she doesn't fall, but simply floats, like a ragdoll, through the air before coming to a rest against the ceiling.

    You have absolutely no idea what the date is today, but for all you know it might be the new year - or at least a new year, in some calendar. You feel the need to turn over a new leaf, and to find some way to better yourself for the coming year. You solemnly vow that this year you will ritually sacrifice more innocent people than last year.

    Though not strictly speaking fireworks, a severe thunderstorm is just breaking outside. You spend a few moments watching the enormously powerful, yet evanescent bolts of lightning.

    "Well," you say, turning to Aaron, who has just arrived sheepishly at the doorway, carrying a folded parasol, "I'm glad one of us knows how to defend themselves." He stares glumly at his feet, blood welling from his feline induced facial lacerations.

    The first rain of the storm is just reaching you now, and immediately begins to fall in sheets, buffeted to an angle by the strong wind. Thunder is calling from outside, coming so frequently the sound seems continuous. Looking around, you find Theodore standing, back arched, a little way down the path leading to the brook, looking unhappy at being wet but not willing to join you inside with Aaron nearby. The red bird is nowhere to be found. The girl in lilac is floating in midair above the staircase, a purple handbag hanging from one shoulder, and a can of meat in her grip. She appears to be unconscious for now, but you have no idea when she might wake up.

    263 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 01:29

    be Aaron
    peek at unconscious girl's panties

    264 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 05:36

    Aaron: err on the side of irony without putting on any airs.

    265 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 05:40

    Aaron: use parasol to get the can of food down from the air, using it like a javelin if necessary. Take can of food.

    266 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 06:32


    267 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7794 20:27

    Stop prefixing instructions with who we currently are.
    Get funky

    268 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7796 00:30

    You are now playing as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov.

    Embodying every negative stereotype ever projected onto the male sex, you take advantage of the poor defenceless young lady to satisfy your own sick, lecherous desires. You lift aside the girl's ample petticoats with the tip of the parasol, lean in close, and just catch a glimpse of her innermost undergarments - pale fuchsia in colour, with a tasteful seigaiha pattern in white - before your foot catches against an inconveniently placed tripwire, causing you to overbalance and setting you on a trajectory towards the beartrap at the base of the stairs.

    Even as you tumble towards your doom, you blurt out that you weren't seriously trying to peek at her pantsu, that it was just a joke; an imitation of what a real pervert would do in this situation. You hope that this isn't misconstrued as you pretending to be someone you are not, especially as these will likely be your last words. You then have less than a second in which to reflect upon the absurdity of your final moments, to deem them oddly appropriate to your equally absurd life, to repent your sins, to forgive those who wronged you and to come to peace with your fellow human beings. Then the beartrap snaps shut, like a red curtain drawing closed across the stage of your life.

    Deaths: 8

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>262)

    You carefully jab the parasol into the supposedly kitten packed can of meat. Actually, for all you know, it really might contain kitten meat; the label on the outside (barring your defacement) gives no hint as to the precise nature of its contents. Even in her unconscious state, the girl grips the tin with all her might. Her apparent devotion to rescuing that fictional kitten is quite commendable. You succeed in plucking the can from the air, but the girl comes with it. You set them both down in the middle of the room.

    Jack is currently standing at the doorway looking out at the storm, muttering something about getting home in time for christmas. Though your daughter is very dear to you, you are also aware that this is a dangerous world, and you must teach her to be ready for any threat - even from someone she thought to be her ally. She must never let her guard down.

    Though it breaks your heart, you rush up to her, grab her about the waist, jump and bring her down, coccyx first, onto the ground. She screams in rage and strikes you in the temple with the pommel of her knife. It hurts.

    You haven't given many instructions recently - on the contrary, you've mostly been following them - and even when you have, you don't recall prefixing them with your name. That would be silly, and would lead to misunderstandings as it would sound like you're addressing yourself. Having not showered in quite a while, and being thoroughly damp and sweaty, you suspect that you are probably emitting quite enough funk for one person already.

    The girl in lilac stirs, slowly sits up and rubs her eyes sleepily. In place of her usual smug expression is a blank, innocent look that you wouldn't've expected her even to be capable of. The can of meat drops from her hands and rolls along the floor. "Wh... who are you?" she asks, cocking her head and staring at the two of you. She looks around the room in a wide arc. "Where am I? I... I can't remember anything..."

    269 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7796 00:42

    Introduce ourself as her father. Name our new unconcious daughter "Erin."

    270 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7796 02:42

    Jack: Ask Erin if she wants to play tea party.

    271 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7796 05:39

    check new party member Erin's inventory and skills

    272 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7797 23:03

    "I'm your father," you explain. You neglect to mention that you mean adoptive father. She appears quite taken aback, as one probably would in her position. "And your name is Erin." you continue. She puts one finger to her chin, thinking, then replies "No, I don't think that's quite right. My name is... my name is... I think it was Penelope, or was it Ariadne? Yes... yes, that's right! It was Ariadne. I'm pretty sure, anyway."

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Though you may be a murderous savage, you don't want to be seen to appear entirely uncultured. Plus, naturally, you wish to lull the girl into a false sense of security to render her docile, after which you can decide what to do with her at your leisure. That's why you propose a tea party. Not because you want to make friends with her or anything - how preposterous!

    Poor Ariadne looks quite lost, in more ways than one. Upon your suggestion she breaks into a smile, but expresses concern at the lack of necessary tea making paraphernalia. The two of you have to make pretend, using cans of meat instead of cups and slices of sausage instead of biscuits. Aaron joins in as well, and the three of you quite enjoy yourself, momentarily able to forget the wailing tempest outside and the vacuous nature of your very existence.

    Without warning, Ariadne gives a loud squeal of distress. She rushes over to the doorway, where Theodore has reappeared, fur completely soaked and sticking to his skin in a most unflattering manner. Ariadne coos over the poor creature and dries him off as best she can with the front of her dress. Theodore maintains a cold stare towards Aaron throughout the entire exchange.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    You look over your possessions, seeing them almost for the first time. You are currently wearing an elaborate frilly lilac dress. You cannot tell what material it is made of, but it is soft to the touch and extraordinarily comfortable. You are also wearing several layers of underwear; you aren't sure why. Theodore is currently lying curled up in your lap.

    You have a purple cloth handbag hanging over your left shoulder. You lift the outer flap and investigate the contents, but within the opening is simply a black void. You cannot see anything at all. Feeling about inside, your hand doesn't encounter anything - not even the walls of the bag, even when you put your arm in up to the shoulder. How odd.

    You're sure you have some sort of "skills" or something like that, but you just can't quite remember what they are.

    273 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7798 02:18

    Sleep until stamina is regained. Sleep close together for warmth. Except for Aaron, who has to sleep away from the cat.

    274 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7798 04:41

    Aaron: be a gentleman for once and stand watch while the two girls are sleeping.

    275 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7798 16:08

    Aaron: Stop caring about material things, like a social status. Look forward to procuring four walls and adobe slabs for your girls, with heart, on your father's grave.

    276 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7798 18:19


    277 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7801 01:15

    All these tea parties and amnesia have gotten you quite exhausted. You happily curl up in a quiet corner of the room, Theodore wrapped in your warm embrace, and invite your dear sister (but not father; think of poor little Theodore) to join you. Jack lies stiffly beside you, not quite cold enough to overcome her awkward detachment. You roll over, cat and all, reach out and draw Jack closer to you. As she does not resist, you pull yourself closer and nuzzle your head into the crook of her neck, and, finally, she reciprocates and pulls closer to you.

    The storm outside continues unabated into the looming eventide. You, Jack and Theodore, meanwhile, form one oblivious, snoozing mass of warmth and comfort.

    You are now playing as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov.

    You're quite certain you've been nothing but an exemplary gentleman and scholar, but to remain the noble, stoic figure that your dear daughters require, you must forgo your own rest to ensure their safety. You stand by the doorway, like a soldier standing to attention, unwilling to let even a shadow pass in without your notice.

    Darkness falls. It is a thick, pervasive sort of darkness, banished at irregular intervals by flashes of lightning, but somehow all the darker for it. The wind moans and wails, as though screaming in defiance of the ageostrophy that birthed it. Raindrops whip by like bullets. This ungodly sight is more than unsettling enough already, even before you catch sight of it.

    You first see it as a very faint reddish light in the distance, which seems to split into two, then three, meandering through the air like hitodama. A flash of light at that moment reveals, between them, a vaguely humanoid figure - but of absurd proportions; the forest canopy, itself many metres tall, barely reaches its knees. As it is lit from behind you see it only as a silhouette. Its outline seems fuzzy, as though it is not quite sure where it ends and the rest of the universe begins. Somehow you can tell it is staring straight at you.

    You feel a tap on your shoulder and scream in surprise, turning suddenly to defend yourself and almost striking Jack in the process. She says that she has to return to her tribe, and that christmas must go on. She has an odd glint in her eye.

    Jack's social status as a high priestess is clearly of immense value to her, though you have to confess that you care more about her being your daughter than any religious position she may occupy. You are proud to have found shelter for your two young charges, though the concrete is not particularly aesthetically pleasing. You prefer the warm earthy tones that only an adobe abode can provide. You vow on the name of your father, who may or may be not dead, but is, at the very least, absent, that you will someday procure this.

    But still this does not solve your present dilemma. Do you allow your dear daughter to risk her life crossing the unquestionably dangerous forest, probably in order to commit an act of ritualistic murder - especially knowing that thing, whatever it was, is out there? It clearly means a lot to her, but is it really okay to allow her out, without at least escorting her yourself?

    "Yeah, sure. Go ahead." you say. Jack nods firmly, passes the threshold and is immediately swallowed into the omnipresent darkness.

    278 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7801 05:12

    Forget about Jack and get some shut-eye.

    279 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7803 00:02

    Upon reflection, perhaps it is for the best that Jack has run off to a near certain death. She seemed to lack the necessary self-preservation to continue to exist in this harsh and terrifying world. Also, she may or may not have tried to kill you, and cruelly hit you in the face when you tried to give her a friendly spinebuster. Also, you have to admit, she was nowhere near as cute as your other adoptive daughter.

    With one last sideways glance into the maelstrom, you turn your back and walk away, curl up in one corner of the room and try to ignore the cacophonous wind and thunder long enough to fall asleep.

    You are woken the next morning by Ariadne tugging urgently at your sleeve. "Papa! Wake up, Papa!" she implores, "Jack is gone! We have to go find her." She looks on the verge of tears. You get up and look around, bleary eyed and underslept, dragged around by your remaining daughter.

    By daylight, the full devastation of the storm becomes apparent. The vegetation has been destroyed almost beyond recognition, especially near the path. Not only have large branches been torn off, but entire trees have been deracinated and dragged across the ground. The path is still visible, but is covered in a non-negligible amount of plant matter. More troublingly, the gentle brook at the bottom of the hill has swelled well out of its banks to become an unstoppable torrent of floodwater. It is at least four metres across and muddy brown and opaque, concealing its true depth. The current is strong enough to carry whole trees like so much flotsam.

    To attempt a crossing here would be recklessly, unimaginably stupid. There is no other clear path leading to or from the building, but you could conceivably travel up or downstream, or wander into the unexplored jungle to the East.

    280 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7803 00:07

    You can't get rid of me that easily

    I went on it yesterday or the day before and it was the boat. So very very recently.

    281 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7803 02:04

    take the boat from the 4-ch homepage across

    282 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7803 08:42

    Fashion a long rope out of vines. Tie one end to something sturdy and have Ariadne float across the river with the other end. Tightrope-walk across the vine to the other side.

    283 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7804 15:59

    Beforehand, using our advantage point look if there's a place where for river braids or divisions, this is the most shallow point. Grab a stick from one of the fallen branches and use it to measure the depth of the water and find a shallow path through the river braids. If we can easily walk across i.e. the water's not waist deep, do so, facing the current at a 45 degree angle. To assist Ariadne, grab one of the fallen branches and make Ariadne hold the other end, though if Ariadne lacks the height, take off our pants, tie off the cuffs, open the waistband and fill the pants legs with air to use as a flotation device for Ariadne. Tie her to ourselves using a vine.

    284 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7804 23:25

    A faint voice resounds in the back of your head. A familiar, but unplaceable voice. It seems like something you have tried to forget, to leave behind, but never quite managed. Who, or what is this? Is it a god, or a demon? Is it the subhuman cry of your id, or some piece of knowledge so horrifying it had to be suppressed? And, whatever it is, why does it remind you of boats?

    You aren't sure you'd brave rapids like that even with a boat - even less so with a virtual one, which would be no more durable than a pile of origami cranes.

    You head a short way up and downstream, but find nowhere that looks obviously fordable. The walls of the valley are steep, and the river completely fills the space between its banks. The area where the path was seems like the shallowest part, but it's still less than ideal. Probing carefully with a suitable stick, you find that you can safely wade in about a quarter of the way, at which point it passes waist height.

    You take off your full-body grey jumpsuit, tie off the arms and legs, and wave it around to inflate it. You hand it to Ariadne, along with a makeshift staff, but she looks, if anything, more dubious about the endeavour than before. "I... Actually, I, um, I can't swim..." she stammers shyly. You wave away her objections blithely.

    It takes a while to find some vines that are sturdy enough to take any weight, and longer still to weave them into a rope. You tie it about your waist and Ariadne's, leaving about three metres of slack between the two of you. Upon telling Ariadne to cross the river, she laughs, then, realising you weren't joking, looks at you as though you've gone mad.

    Despite her fervent protestations, you force her into the river to make you a tightrope. She is immediately dragged away by the current, screaming for help until her head falls under the water. As you are tied together, you are pulled into the stream as well. You are at the whim of the eddies and flow for thirty seconds or so - though it seems much longer - until you manage to pull yourself ashore on the inside of a shallow bend in the river. Using the vine, you pull Ariadne to safety. All loose items in your inventory, with the exception of the nail file and a single sausage, have been washed away.

    You find yourself in a small clearing. On close inspection, there are signs of former inhabitation: a ring of stones in the centre, which probably once formed a campfire, various waterlogged pieces of paper scattered about, and a pile of sticks within which you find two cans of meat, one rather damp and unappetising loaf of bread, a sausage and various fine china.

    Ariadne is lying on the bank, unconscious. She has lost hold of her stick, her handbag and your jumpsuit. Perched on a branch nearby, you see a large red bird, seemingly watching over her.

    285 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7805 01:03

    Give her mouth to mouth. You know, we wouldn't want our dear daughter to drown.

    286 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7805 01:33

    Use tongue.

    287 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7805 01:35

    Feed her whichever sausage looks best.

    288 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7806 18:31

    eat all the plants

    289 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7806 21:49

    Grasping at faint threads of memory in the back of your head, you vaguely recall something about CPR and reviving unconscious people. But how many chest compressions were you supposed to do per rescue breath again? And what position do the arms go in for the recovery position? You are almost paralysed by uncertainty, before remembering about that "kiss of life" business.

    You fill your lungs with air, awkwardly clamp your lips onto hers and tip her head back to open her airway. Her skin is damp, cold and pale. You exhale as hard as you can, and are rewarded by seeing her little chest rise a little, like some sort of accelerated thelarche. You repeat this twice more, after which you pull back and find that she is breathing - albeit shallowly - unaided. You breathe a sigh of relief.

    You feel that your poor tongue has gone unused and unloved for too long now. You use your tongue to lick the back of your hand, appreciating the slightly salty taste of the sweat. You also using your tongue to taste a sausage and to lap some water from the river. You hope your tongue appreciates this humble gesture.

    The sausage you saved from the river is the téliszalámi you received back at >>205, in addition to which you have located a bratwurst in the pile of loose sticks. Unfortunately, both have been badly soaked; one by immersion in a river, the other from prolonged exposure to rain. You visually appreciate the unusual texture and colouration of the téliszalámi, deciding it to be the one that looks best. You carefully saw a slice or two off using your nail file and offer them to Ariadne, but she remains obstinately unconscious.

    Being surrounded by so much greenery suddenly makes you see red. This accursed vegetation has foiled you at every turn, and it needs to be shown a lesson. As you well know, the one thing that strikes fear in to the heart of any plant fears is being eaten. Not just the fruit - the stem, leaves, roots, everything. You take a deep breath and condemn yourself to becoming a monster, a bringer of death to all Viridiplantae.

    You begin by masticating a few nearby leaves. They are waxy and bitter; not a good start. You happen to notice, concealed behind it, a few bunches of bright red berries. Well, if you're going to eat all the plants, you may as well start with some which look reasonably edible, you decide. A vagrant thought stays your hand - aren't bright red things usually poisonous? You shrug it off and gleefully stuff your cheeks with berries, chewing and swallowing as fast as possible.

    Unfortunately for you, it seems they were exhibiting Müllerian mimicry, not Batesian. You feel a piercing pain in your abdomen, followed by a constriction of the throat. You collapse to the ground in the grips of a seizure, foaming from the mouth. The world reels away from you in a darkening blur of pain and uneaten foliage.

    Deaths: 9

    (Continuing from most recently saved game: >>289)

    Having successfully resuscitated your beloved daughter, you sit down for a rest on the riverbank. It is roughly midday, and the sky is slowly clouding over, though not threatening any further rain just yet. The red bird has flown across to the opposite end of the clearing from the river, where there is a thick band of torn and uprooted trees leading to the Northwest.

    All is peaceful for a moment, quiet but for the call of the stream behind you. Just as Ariadne is beginning to stir, you become aware of a rhythmic thumping noise, and the telltale cracking sound of tree trunks being split asunder. You look to the Northwest, seeking the source, only to find a large, greenish brown sauropod has appeared at the edge of the clearing. It is enormous; at least four metres tall at the shoulder, and more than twenty metres from head to tail. It stares at you indifferently, chewing on the foliage from a nearby tree. The red bird is perched right on top of its head.

    You're no expert on the subject, but you believe it to be a brontosaurus.

    290 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7806 23:00

    Ask him about the sound of one hand clapping.

    291 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7807 01:35

    Remember that there is no such thing as a brontosaurus, therefore the creature is impossible and we must be living in a false reality.

    292 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7807 06:09

    achieve Satori

    293 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7807 19:05

    Get it on with Satorin.

    294 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7809 21:47

    You aren't sure of the gender of either the bird or the brontosaurus, so you go ahead and broach the question that happens to be on your mind to both of them. The bird cocks its head curiously but remains silent, whilst its companion studiously ignores you and continues chewing away. You'd be better off asking someone else, you reflect, considering that neither of them even has hands.

    Ariadne groans, sits up and coughs a little, looking rather sorry for herself. You consider asking your newly awakened pentadactyl companion for her insight into the conundrum, but think better of it.

    What were you thinking? Of course it isn't an apatosaurus; apatosauruses are just fairy tales made up to scare children. Ariadne catches sight of the non-brontosaurus, screams in terror and clings to your arm, illustrating your point perfectly. Anyway, you're sure it's just a trick of the light, or a strangely shaped tree, or something like that. Or maybe everything you thought was real is just fantasy, and you're actually living a dream. That would explain some things.

    For too long have you striven against the way of things, accomplishing nothing and bringing nothing but suffering upon yourself and others. In a moment of clarity, you choose to take your first step on the path towards nirvana. First, you must learn to see reality as it truly is, without being waylaid by absurdities like phantom dinosaurs. It is not uncommon for this transcendental understanding to require decades to obtain - especially when attempting mushi-dokugo, as in your case - so the sooner you start the better.

    You settle into a state of silent meditation. Just as you feel you making some progress towards kenshou, however, you are dragged back into samsara by a forceful tug at your arm. "Papa! Papa, wake up! T-there's a huge scary monster over there and we have t-- oh no! I-it's coming this way! Papa, help!"

    Sure enough, the creature is lumbering towards the two of you, tail swaying from side to side. You find that the two of you are pinned against a crook in the river, with no easy escape route.

    Try as you might, you cannot find any Satorin.

    295 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7810 00:52

    Throw Ariadne at the monster and run.

    296 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7811 03:18

    Escape from reality

    297 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7811 17:40

    Throw ourselves at the monster and run.

    298 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7811 17:54

    Declare a song thread and link quotes to a number of future posts.

    299 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7811 23:15


    300 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7812 01:06

    So, it's come to this, you think to yourself. Like some contrived thought experiment, you are forced to decide between your own or your daughter's safety. Your garden variety psychologist - precisely the sort who would come up with this ridiculous situation - would expect you to commit the ultimate act of altruism, laying down your own life that your genes may live on in your daughter, and so on and so forth.

    Just to spite them, you grab Ariadne by the waist and toss her as hard as you can into the maw of the approaching behemoth. The creature reels backwards slightly, but has difficulty dealing with its own immense inertia. Ariadne screams. Her scream is cut short. You don't stick around to see the results of your handiwork, but instead sprint away as hard as you can into the sheltering vegetation to the South.

    After a few minutes you collapse from over-exertion. You sit against the trunk of a nearby tree for a few moments, chest heaving, unable even to think. Finally, the enormity of what you have done settles upon you. You stare at the palms of your hands. What have you done? You have left both your daughters to die. Even if they survive, are you fit to call yourself their father any more? Were you ever?

    But wait! You already established, right about when the brontosaurus showed up, that none of this is real anyway, so it doesn't count. Or does it? Is committing an atrocity in a false reality that you believe to be real at the time - as you did when you abandoned Jack to the night - really, morally any different from doing so in reality? You bury your head in your hands, trying to force the rainforest around you and the mud under you and the sky above you and the damp, humid air all around and inside you to cease to exist by sheer force of will. You fail.

    You try to throw yourself at the monster, but you are the monster now. You cannot run from what you have done.

    You try to run anyway, for lack of anything else to do with yourself. The ground here is almost completely waterlogged from the torrential rain earlier, and the thick, black soil pulls your ankles in, like the souls of the dead begging for you to join them. You are almost sucked into the quagmire on several occasions, and have to use the wiry, twisted trees to pull yourself out and onwards. You continue to run, as best you can, through the thorny undergrowth. You almost - but not quite - succeed in forgetting what you are running from.

    Hours later, you emerge, breathless and plastered in mud and minor injuries, onto a fairly well beaten track. The damage of last night's storm is evident, with fallen boughs and tree trunks scattered about, but nonetheless you recognise it as the same path you were on back at >>164.

    Words begin to spill from your mouth, unbidden. "Title: >>301", you say. "First verse: >>298,312,333,369." What are you saying? "Chorus: >>354,372,321,93." What does this mean? "Second verse: >>303,399,296,378." You clamp your hands over your mouth, suddenly terrified by these bizarre verbal explosions. Is this aphasia? Or mind control? However hard you try to hold it in, however, one last phrase leaks from your mouth. "Last line: >>400." Then, all is silent.

    You cannot find any synchronised translation versions of foreign media in your vicinity.

    301 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7812 11:26

    Be a big fat butt.

    302 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7816 00:58

    You continue to castigate yourself. You are worthless, you tell yourself. You are nothing but detritus; the butt of a cigarette, having wrought your ills on your victim's lungs, now discarded and burnt out. Yes, you may be a little larger, a little rounder, but that's what you are: a butt. And just like a cigarette butt, it would be best for everyone if you just rot away here, as you are, and let your biomass crawl its way back up through the food web from the bottom up; through the detritivores and into the heterotrophs. Perhaps then you can provide sustenance to something good and wholesome, and, eventually, prove a sufficient force of good in the world to offset your cowardly double infanticide.


    303 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7816 07:11

    Time to return to camp hooray!

    304 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7818 17:41

    Sit there like a dead duck spitting out pieces of my broken luck.

    305 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7819 12:16

    Find redemption through faith and hard work.

    306 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7819 15:43

    Use self-flagellation for further redemption.

    307 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7820 00:36

    Hooray! You casually declare yourself strong enough to horribly murder everyone, in keeping with your vow taken back at >>163, and saunter off towards where you remember the camp being. As you round the last corner in the path, however, you are confronted by a sight most horrifying. Dismembered corpses of grunts are strewn hither and thither across the plaza. You're no expert in forensics, but judging by the size and extent of the sprays of dried blood, and the fact that various body parts are entirely detached and metres away from their original bodies, it seems they were murdered rather violently, with a sharp impliment.

    Beyond the carnage, the double doors leading to the camp proper are still open. The various colourful chalk murals still stand, as starkly oblivious of their grim surroundings as the late grunts were of theirs. In the corridor you see a girl seated in a wheelchair. Similar to your first daughter, she is wearing the threadbare remains of a seifuku. There is a backpack slung over the back of her wheelchair, with various unidentifiable things sticking out of it. She has a harpoon gun in her lap, which, as soon as she catches sight of you, she raises and aims at you.

    She appears to be in very poor shape, physically. Her skin is deathly pale, her eyes hollow and her hair wiry and dishevelled. There is a large reddish black patch at her breast centred around what appears to be a severe, potentially fatal puncture wound. Her legs, from the knees down, are mangled almost beyond recognition, with splinters of bone breaking clean through the skin. Her wounds are dressed in copious amounts of congealed blood. Her face bears a look of depthless Weltschmerz.

    "Christ, not you again." she mutters to herself, "You'd sodding well better have brought some food."

    You stare gormlessly at her, your two hard earned sausages hanging at your side. She gestures at them and demands that you hand them over. You instead spit out some comment about how lucky you were to be blessed with two beautiful daughters, and how foolish you are to have cast aside this providence.

    "I'm sorry!" you exclaim, suddenly returning to your senses, tossing your sausages at the girl. "I have faith in you! I'll work hard for you, I promise!" With a facial expression like a stone wall, she rolls over to the meat products and tucks them into her backpack. She stares at you a few seconds, sighs and vaguely accepts your aid.

    "Well," she begins, "I suppose you're wondering about all the mutilated corpses? The camp was attacked last night, by a single person. They killed eleven of our number, but ran off when I confronted them. It was dark, and I only saw them briefly," a shadow of doubt flashes across her face, as she continues, "but I could've sworn it was... a girl I used to know."

    The corners of her lips rise in some unconvincing mimicry of a smile, and she says sardonically "Well, it's that many fewer mouths to feed, isn't it?"

    In lieu of a response, you get to your knees and start striking yourself in the back with the nail file you happen to be holding, it being the closest you have to a whip. You grit your teeth and nobly bear the pain, knowing that every lashing is one step closer to salvation. The girl looks on disdainfully, then makes her way back indoors, calling out obliquely over her shoulder "Whenever you're done there, come join me in the atrium."

    308 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7820 06:51

    Take as many severed limbs as we can carry, then join the girl in the atrium.

    309 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7820 10:20

    Take a young bull and two rams without defect. And from the finest wheat flour make round loaves without yeast, thick loaves without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, and thin loaves without yeast and brushed with olive oil. Put them in a basket and present them along with the bull and the two rams. Then bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. Take the garments and dress Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod itself and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him by its skillfully woven waistband. Put the turban on his head and attach the sacred emblem to the turban. Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head. Bring his sons and dress them in tunics and fasten caps on them. Then tie sashes on Aaron and his sons.

    310 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7821 03:12

    If I want all I want, and most acutlly I love you. In August, a month like a good movie.

    311 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7821 20:47

    Lick all visible metal surfaces

    312 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7823 01:26

    La La La La La La Zingen Zingen Kleine Vlinders
    La La La La La La Zingen Vlinders La La

    313 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7824 01:09

    You tuck various dismembered pieces of anatomy under your armpits, balanced on your shoulders, under your chin and in your arms. Two left hands, one right arm, one left foot, one right foot, one ear, one thumb and two severed heads have been added to your inventory.

    You walk boldly into the building - or as boldly as one can, with so much carrion precariously balanced on oneself - and every grunt you pass on the way wails in horror at the sight of you, variously cringing, bursting into tears or curling up into the foetal position. By the time you reach the large hexagonal central room, the air is thick with lamentations.

    There are two figures sitting beside the campfire. One is the girl in the wheelchair, the other is a tall, androgynous looking person, dressed in close-fitting white clothing. Their hair is just one unrealistically uniform light grey mass. They are staring at you with lidless blue eyes and a completely placid expression. The girl, meanwhile, is slicing off pieces of one of the sausages you gave her and eating them one by one.

    She glares at you and mutters something inaudible under her breath.

    You cannot locate any ungulates, defective or otherwise. You enquire as to how the food situation is, and whether you could perchance bake some nice bread. The girl sighs and admits that the food situation is better than it has been in a while, with two entire sausages and fewer to feed than ever - but no chance of bread. Your desires further diverge from cruel reality, when you find that you have no baskets, no sons, no tents, no tunics, no robes, no ephods, no breastpieces, no turbans, no sacred emblems, no anointing oil, nor even any sashes. How disappointing.

    Do you truly want all these things, though? What you want most acutely, you find, is to declare your tender, parental love for the poor girl in the wheelchair. Now, being monsoon season, it is a beautifully cinematic time for it, you think. Nonetheless, she bluntly rebuffs your heartfelt advances.

    There are metal frames on the skylight directly above you, but there's no way you could possibly reach those. The only other metalliferous objects you can locate are all in the possession of the young lady before you. You begin by bending down, dropping a foot and an ear in the process, and trying to lick the spokes of her wheelchair. The girl proves too fast for you, however, and is already well out of tongue range and pointing a harpoon gun at your head before you can do anything. "Get up, you piece of shit." she says through downturned lips. You crawl over, tongue extended, to taste the weapon, only to find it discharged directly into your face. You are killed instantly.

    Deaths: 10

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>313)

    You sing a little ditty to better ingratiate yourself into the group. The girl, predictably enough, is not amused; the strange androgynous person cocks their head but otherwise makes no response; and the grunts simply continue to wail and cower from you. Taking charge of the situation, the girl then declares that the camp is no longer safe, and that everyone must gather their belongings and prepare to leave. She also mentions that there used to be another two camp members - a married couple, or something like that - who went missing recently, and that a secondary objective is to find them.

    It has been decided that you will leave first thing in the morning. The sun is already beginning to set, and you have only a short period of daylight left before night falls.

    314 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7824 04:38

    Make a bed out of limbs and sleep on it.

    315 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7827 22:30

    As the sun is silently buried in the thick convective clouds on the horizon, you spend the last hour of sunlight ferrying bits of dead grunt from the plaza outside into the atrium, where you pile them into a rough, flattish cuboid shape. As you are doing this, you pass the other two non-grunt members of the camp several times. The girl in the wheelchair is ordering around the poor androgynous person with blunt, laconic commands, mostly involving moving things in preparation for tomorrow's departure. They don't seem to mind in the slightest. The grunts, meanwhile, alternate between standing around picking their noses and cowering in terror at the sight of you.

    As night falls, a thick blanket of silence smothers the camp. Even the grunts stop sobbing as they curl up in odd corners to sleep. You lie on your back atop your pile of gore, shifting back and forth in the hopes of finding a comfortable position. Eventually you fall asleep, only to be plagued by dreams of fear and powerlessness, in which every shape and object seems like a malicious force.

    You are woken by an urgent tug at your arm. You can just about make out the androgynous person standing over you. As soon as you open your eyes, however, they turn and leave in one fluid movement. Blood chilling screams echo from the North. You scramble to your feet, grasping your only weapon - your trusty nail file.

    Various grunts run in screaming from the Northward corridor, lit from behind by firelight. One trips and falls, and is immediately descended upon and slain by a lithe, feline shape. With one sharp movement and a spray of blood, their head is severed and rolls to your feet. In front of you you find three grunts - but unlike the docile, benign denizens of this camp, they are wild eyed and have brightly coloured angular patterns painted onto their faces and bodies. Two are carrying flaming torches, and all three have makeshift wooden spears. They bay at you hungrily, ready to charge.

    In their midst, crouching over the freshly decapitated corpse, is your former daughter, Jack. She is gripping a stone knife tightly in one hand, and looking at you with an unreadable expression.

    316 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7827 22:47

    Give Jack a hug and tell her how glad we are to see her alive!

    317 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7827 23:34

    Be Jack.
    Stop Christmas forever and start celebrating Valentine's.

    318 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7827 23:36

    Merry Christmas! :D

    319 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7828 04:57

    marry Christmas

    320 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7831 01:21

    Your first daughter is alive and well, thank goodness! Relief washes over your shoulders like a nice warm shower after a long winter's day. You rush over towards your prodigal daughter, arms spread ready to embrace her. Rather than reciprocate, however, she scowls, hisses and shoulder barges you. While you are still off balance, she follows up with a wide slash towards your vulnerable cephalic region.

    You hear an animalistic scream and feel horrible lacerations tear into the flesh of your face. You fall backwards onto your bed of corpses, the sensation clinging to you through your descent. Why has your daughter betrayed you thus? Why did you betray her earlier? Isn't this, ultimately, your fault? You are so caught up in this vortex of self-hatred that you fail to notice that the injuries you've sustain have nothing to do with Jack's knife.

    Clinging to your face, screaming and clawing away, is Theodore. His all-consuming desire to inflict pain upon you, combined with some unlikely timing, threw you out of the path of Jack's christmas tidings and thereby saved your life. You are almost relieved enough to forget the pain.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    You have already celebrated christmas three times now, and it has consistently proven itself to be nothing but a sickening, bloody orgy of gratuitous violence. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but, you reflect, perhaps you should move on to greener pastures. You could replace it with an even more violent, sadistic ritual, with more painful sacrifice of innocents. You could call it Valentine's.

    A thought crosses your mind. What if you were to have a happy, merry christmas? I mean, it seems quite absurd, what with christmas naturally being a horrible process fit to cast fear into the hearts of even the most hardened of warriors, but what if? You take a moment to contemplate the logistics, while your father/unwilling sacrifice is being mauled by your loyal war cat. You conclude that a "merry christmas" is a contradiction in terms, and completely impossible in this world or any other.

    This contemplation has brought home to you just how much christmas means to you. This newfangled "Valentine's" pales in comparison to the noble, time-honoured practice of christmas. You take a vow to remain loyal to celebrating christmas until death do you part, and thereby declare yourself celibate with respect to other religious festivals.

    Aaron, meanwhile, successfully escapes the grip of Theodore and dives into a conveniently placed pile of dismembered limbs. Two of your fellow tribesmen charge and stab their spears into where they think he is, but he proves too well hidden due to the darkness and many decoy body parts. At that moment, at the other side of the large, open room, you see a flash of light. Illuminated in the beam of an electric torch is an oddly expressionless androgynous looking person. A woman's voice calls from the source of the beam, saying, bluntly, "Leave him, he's already dead. We have to go." The beam vanishes and you hear the sound of movement away from you. Your tribesmen seem lost as to whether to continue to hunt their current prey or go after the new targets, and look to you for guidance.

    You note in passing that you happen to have accumulated three unspent skillpoints and 235 mana.

    321 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7831 07:33

    It's time to gamble, time to call Lady Luck

    322 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7832 01:39

    Put all skillpoints into ailuromancy, then use it to figure out what the tribesmen should do

    323 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7834 00:23

    Ah, that's right! Why, it's quite obvious to all who that voice in the darkness is. It's clearly a living anthropomorphism of the concept of chance or luck. "Wait, Fortuna!" you call out to her, "Come back! I want to gamble!" Displaying her infamous capriciousness, however, she ignores your cries and vanishes into the darkness, along with that suspicious looking person she was with.

    You assign all three available skillpoints to the most unambiguously useful choice, which, it goes without saying, is ailuromancy. The following skills are now available to you:

    • Advanced ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can accurately predict the weather for the next 24 hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least four minutes. Costs 20 mana.
    • Cat possession (passive skill): cats in the near vicinity are now playable members of your party.
    • Inverse ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can, by performing a given action on a cat, cause a corresponding change in future weather (e.g. bringing cat to a warm place makes weather warmer, spinning cat around produces cyclone). Costs 125 mana.

    Whilst these are all immensely useful abilities to have at your disposal, it's not immediately obvious how they aid your current predicament. You elect to employ feline communication (passive skill), which you gained earlier, to consult Theodore on the topic. Through a serious of hisses and howls, he informs you, in no uncertain terms, that Aaron's very continued existence is an affront to all catkind and he must be destroyed.

    You and your tribesmen surround the dismembered corpse pile, while Theodore dives straight into its heart, hunting his quarry. Aaron cries out in pain and pops up from near the centre, slashing about his feet with a nail file. Looking around, he realises he is surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered. He raises his arms into the air and surrenders unconditionally, even as Theodore claws his calves to shreds. As the three tribesmen draw closer, spears at the ready, he looks pleadingly into your eyes, soliciting your mercy.

    324 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7834 01:37

    Spare Theodore and order the tribesmen to kill the cat, while casting Inverse ailuromantic weather prediction to bring deadly weather upon our fleeing foes.

    325 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7834 01:56

    And by "spare Theodore" of course I meant "spare Aaron."

    326 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7834 05:21

    possess nearest cat
    be cat
    do cat stuff

    327 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7834 13:35

    Take a nap.

    328 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7835 04:41

    List inventory and skills.

    329 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7835 05:32

    Meow meeow

    330 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7836 00:22

    "Halt!" you command, with all the weight of the voice of a god. To your pleasure, all present - even Theodore - stop where they are and look to you. With a few sharp gestures of your hand, you exercise your control over the lives and deaths of the feeble wretches before you. Aaron exhales dramatically in relief, comes over to you and stands awkwardly nearby. You ignore him and instead concentrate fully on the delicate operation you are now about to set into motion.

    You expend 125 mana invoking Theodore to be a conduit between earth and sky, perverting the natural flow of meaning and causality from weather to feline so as to reverse and magnify, until the slightest motion of this creature could inflate into vast, unstoppable motions of air masses, towers of saturated white cloud, or torrents of hydrometeor. You lock eyes with Theodore. His slit pupils widen with unspoken knowledge and power.

    The tribesmen lunge at the cat in question and, obviously, miss by quite some margin. Theodore leaps out of the way, nothing but a white and brown blur in the half-light. Enraged, but cunning, the creature rushes between one grunt's legs, turns, and slashes him in the popliteal region. He falls over with a cry, legs knocked out from beneath. Theodore tears into the prone grunt's throat, ripping out a sizeable chunk, before sprinting away into the darkness, muzzle still flecked with blood. The grunt gurgles in distress, already well on his way to terminal exsanguination.

    You have a bad feeling about this.

    You are now playing as Theodore.

    You are a cat. You feel an inexplicable urge to write a satirical episodic novel about your life as a cat, with an undercurrent of insightful social commentary on the turbulent mixing of cultures in contemporary society. The urge passes quickly.

    Being, as you are, a cat, more or less anything you do could reasonably be described as "cat stuff". Satisfied that you are safely out of reach of those traitorous bipeds, you sit down and settle in for a long, relaxing session of licking your own genitalia.

    Having finished grooming to your satisfaction, you curl up where you are and enjoy a pleasant catnap. Well, it would be, if it weren't for all the hullabaloo in the room you were just in. You hear various shouting, screaming, singing and suchlike. Finally, they leave you in peace, and you sleep all the way until dawn.

    You have nothing in your inventory (you are too injured to carry anything anyway). You are, however, proud to possess many indispensably useful natural abilities, including the ability to right yourself in midair so as to land safely from great height, retractable claws, obligate carnivory, incredible fluidity and grace of moment... yes, you are truly a magnificent beast, the pinnacle of evolution. Utterly incomparable to those pathetic humans.

    You also happen to have one skillpoint and 50 mana, whatever that means.

    "Meeow," you meow.

    You pad back into the large hexagonal room you were in earlier. It is a scene of utter chaos, with blood, corpses, severed body parts and worse scattered about most of the room. If you didn't know any better, you'd think it the result of an explosion. There are bloody footprints leading away to the North, but otherwise you see no signs of life. Or breakfast.

    331 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7836 07:50

    Allocate 1 skillpoint to aerokinesis.

    332 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7837 02:25

    Check if anything in the room is edible and to your taste.

    333 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7837 02:42

    Beware the long head of pink goats which doth slumber in cute fur-ghosts.

    334 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7839 23:42

    You don't know much about human concepts like "skillpoints" or "allocating", but you nonetheless manage to increase your aerokinesis level to one. You thereby gain the following skill:

    • Summon gust (active skill): can create a weak, momentary gust of wind nearby. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs 10 mana.

    You locate a discarded slice of sausage near the remains of the campfire in the centre of the room. Disappointingly, it doesn't put up much of a fight when you pounce on it, but the taste is still quite agreeable.

    You pause where you are, ears pointed, whiskers twitching slightly. Something isn't right. Your instinct wills you to stand and fight or run away, but you aren't even sure what from. It takes you a moment to realise that the beast that threatens you lurks within - adorable, furry, and possessing of ghostlike agility as you are. Finally it dawns upon you that you are afraid of your own indwelling uncatlike behaviour. What were you thinking, dabbling in magic? And what are you doing questioning your own conduct? Cats aren't supposed to doubt themselves. If you are a cat, then why are you behaving like this? And if you aren't a cat, then what are you but a discoloured, deformed mammal?

    Displaying eminent self discipline, you shake off the nascent existential crisis. Just as you are relaxing, however, an enormous animal's head, on a long, snaking neck like that of a rokurokubi, snakes its way into the room from the North. Composure shattered, you cower in abject terror, ready to flee at any moment. You have never seen an animal like this in your life. Next to it, however, is a creature even more terrifying: an all too familiar young girl in an overdecorated frilled lilac dress. Upon sighting you her face lights up in unabashed delight. "Theodore!" she cries affectionately, "Thank goodness you're alright!" She rushes towards you, completely unheeding the incredible amount of gore and carnage all around, arms spread ready to clasp you in a tight embrace.

    335 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7840 11:04

    Play hard to get

    336 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7844 00:47

    Naturally, it would be unbecoming of a creature of your stature to be seen to simply accept such affection. You try to run away, leading the girl on a wild cat chase, but unfortunately find yourself still in the grips of the strange malaise of your prior uncatlike musings. An all too human part of you almost feels like it wants to be embraced and loved unconditionally, instead of perpetuating this pointless artifice. This profound internal conflict leads to your front legs trying to run one way and your back legs another, leaving you sprawled inelegantly on the floor.

    Ariadne descends upon you like a hawk upon a baby rabbit and scoops you into her arms. You are powerless to do anything as you are petted and fussed over to within an inch of your life. Eventually, she pauses to introduces you to the bizarre, Brobdingnagian long-necked monster, its head still poked nonchalantly through the doorway, staring at you with vast, empty eyes.

    "This is Rupert," she states matter-of-factly, "He's a brontosaurus. I found him in the forest, and he's really quite friendly when you get to know him. Aren't you?" At this, she rubs the creature's snout and makes cooing noises. You feel terrified and slightly jealous.

    337 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7844 05:06

    Pretend to be nice to Rupert while plotting his Denise. I mean demise.

    338 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7844 13:42

    Pretend to be Rupert while plotting his demesne.

    339 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7844 15:00

    Say "brontosaurus" over and over because you think it sounds funny.

    340 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7844 15:05

    In fact, make it "Brobdingnagian brontosaurus" because that sounds even funnier.

    341 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7848 00:33

    Rupert's head retracts through the doorway, out of the building, and back to his absurdly proportioned body. Ariadne leads you outside, following him. The weather is unusual: there is an extremely strong northerly wind blowing, almost uniformly, without gusts. The tops of the trees are pulled downwind as though there were invisible giants trying to uproot each of them. Small grey torn looking clouds sweep overhead, like shreds of cotton wool. The ground is slightly damp, and there is a litter of hailstones covering the plaza.

    Now that you see the full extent of him, you see that Rupert is truly a monstrous creature indeed. His tail alone is at least twenty times the size of you. Such a dangerous being cannot be allowed to live; he might turn upon you at any moment. You must betray him before he can betray you. You nuzzle against Rupert's right foreleg so as to lull him into a false sense of security. Against all the odds, however, he ignores your perfidious advances.

    As Rupert's enormously oversized back is turned, you mock him by stomping around heavily and clumsily, whilst stretching your neck out as far as you can. How silly he looks! Why, if owned an area of private land surrounding a manor in a feudal society, it'd probably be just as brutish and inelegantly designed.

    "Meooow", you say. "Meooow, meooow, meooow". You find that your rough tongue, though far superior for grooming purposes, is not well suited to voicing that preposterous human language.

    Ariadne claps twice and says "Rupert, upsies!" The creature obligingly stretches its tail out behind to touch the ground and its neck diagonally upwards to the top of the building. He then stays perfectly still as Ariadne climbs up his tail, along his back and up his neck onto the roof. You follow cautiously. Once the two of you are on the roof, she turns and pats him on the head, saying "Good boy, Rupert".

    The roof is an ugly, greyish affair, much like the rest of the building. The wind here is substantially stronger than at ground level. Though you are quite alright, Ariadne's dress flutters and fans out in the wind like a little parachute. She has to lean into the wind to walk, and eventually concedes and just sits down where she is. The clouds are darkening, and the wind is now accompanied by a few small raindrops.

    "Meeo-ow meooow, meeo-ow meooow, meeo-ow meoow" you say. This seems to evoke some strange pathos in Ariadne, as she grasps you and presses you to her breast dramatically, saying "There there, it's okay Theodore, I miss Papa and Jack just as much as you do. We'll find them, I promise." She looks around from her vantage point, apparently looking for signs of those insufferable other human beings, but to no avail. She turns to you, exasperated, and says, "Perhaps it's silly to ask you, but I'm all out of ideas. What should we do now, Theodore?"

    342 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7848 14:02

    Fall asleep somewhere really inconvenient and then look offended when someone moves us.

    343 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7848 16:48

    Be Ariadne, take Theodore and get back inside before the storm kills us all.

    344 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7848 20:20


    345 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7849 03:34

    Be Rupert. Expel the gaseous waste products that have no doubt been building up in your gigantic herbivorous digestive system.

    346 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7851 08:00

    Be Rupert. Wonder why we haven't died of asphyxiation with atmospheric oxygen levels being several times lower than the late Jurrasic period.

    347 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7851 13:15

    Be Rupert again. Take a dump.

    348 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7852 00:24

    You climb onto Ariadne's lap, curl up and close your eyes contentedly. You know how susceptible this particular human is to your feline wiles, and you're quite confident she will be unable to move for the foreseeable future. The front of her dress is soft and warm, and smells faintly of lavender.

    Shockingly, however, she doesn't understand that she's supposed to just act as a bed for now, and instead starts stroking you (which you can tolerate) and talking at you (which you cannot). "Oh Theodore," she begins, "I don't know why I thought you might be able to help. I just don't know what to do any more." She sighs heavily and continues, falteringly. "I... It's just... I feel like I don't understand anything any more, Theodore. I don't know where we are, or who I really am. I know I lost my memory a few days ago, and though I've tried my very best to be brave, it really is scary not to remember anything, you know."

    She stares off into the distance for a minute or so. The wind continues unabated, a constant faint roar, lulling you into sleep. Just as you are about to succumb, however, she starts talking again. "I... I don't know what it is, but there's something not right, Theodore. This world doesn't add up somehow. I haven't told anyone about this, but... yesterday, after Papa disappeared, I was left alone with Rupert. I spent too long making friends with him and couldn't find anywhere safe in time afterwards, so I ended up spending the night with him in the middle of the forest."

    Her voice takes on a low, hollow tone. She speaks slowly and deliberately. "I saw... no, I didn't see; more like, I felt some things there. Things which don't make sense. Now that I know it, I can sort of feel the same things now. It feels like somebody's coloured in reality with the wrong colours, and it only looks right now because you know what colour it's supposed to be and that's how you see it. There's something really wrong, Theodore, and I'm scared because I don't understand what's going on at all. It could all just fall apart at any moment and there'd be nothing we could do."

    You have no idea what she hopes to accomplish by trying to emotionally move you with her tale of woe, but you wish she'd just shut up and let you sleep. You put on your most indignant face but she fails to take the hint.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova. You pick up your beloved companion and cautiously walk over to the edge of the roof, only to find that Rupert has moved out of position, and is instead sampling the nearby foliage. You call to him to tell him it's time for "upsies" again, but he is quite some way upwind and your voice simply doesn't reach.

    There are no other obvious ways down - other than the one very obvious one, but it's a three storey drop to the ground. The rooftop is quite expansive but featureless aside from a few vents, too small for you to fit into, some aerials, a satellite dish, and a large hexagonal pyramidal skylight overlooking that atrium where you found Theodore earlier.

    You try to spin around on the spot, but are blown over by the wind and end up landing on top of poor Theodore. He is not amused.

    You cannot play as Rupert; you can only play as members of your current party.

    Being, as you are, a cute little girl, you have never - and could never - do anything so vile and uncouth as pass wind.

    Try as you might, you still cannot play as Rupert; you can only play as members of your current party.

    You have no idea what the current oxygen level is. The fact that Rupert is currently blithely chewing on leaves instead of lying on the ground gasping his final breaths rather suggests that whatever the oxygen content of the atmosphere is, it's comfortably enough to support him.

    Useful as it would be in your current predicament, you still cannot play as Rupert; you can only play as members of your current party.

    You cannot locate any dumps in your vicinity. You're not sure you'd be able to carry one anyway.

    349 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7852 14:46

    just be ourself

    350 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7852 19:01

    explore the secret darkness in your heart

    351 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7852 20:02

    trust in the heart of the cards

    352 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7852 20:05

    interpret the card of the hearts

    353 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7856 23:38

    You continue to play as Ariadne Aaronova. But who, precisely, are you?

    Retrograde amnesia is a confusing and frightening thing indeed. What sort of person were you before you lost your memory, you wonder? Were you a kind, loving person as you are now, or were you full of spite and vitriol? Either way, does it affect who you are now? If your every experience and memory has been erased like equations from a blackboard, you cannot help but wonder what exactly is left behind. The most troubling part is that you don't know what of yourself - of your patterns of thought, your desires, relationships with others, and so on - is leftover from your previous life, and what is simply an artefact of your recent circumstances.

    You wish you could just be yourself, but sometimes life isn't so simple.

    In search of the truth, you delve into the dark waters of introspection. Surely, you assert, there must be some fragment of your former self, still locked away in the obscure recesses of your subconscious. You begin by extrapolation from your current position. You try to recall your childhood, presumably being brought up by the kind and loving Aaron, along side your little sister Jack. You don't think you grew up in this jungle. Try as you might, however, no image comes to mind - and worse, you find the thought of all those precious memories now gone forever is almost more than you can bear.

    You press on ever deeper, through the pain and darkness, seeking something, anything, that you can grasp and feel. At last you find some small kernel of substance. It is nothing so concrete as a memory; it is something primordial and animalistic. It is a feeling, fundamentally, of hate - specifically, of disdain, of hatred for the way of things. It is the feeling of one who knows too much. You recoil, feeling all at once as though the feeling may overwhelm and become you. Well, you think to yourself, that was horrible.

    You find yourself quite sick of feeling like the epitomic Alice lost in a wonderland she doesn't understand. Perhaps, you think, you should trust in the Queen of Hearts' solution of choice. You crawl over to the edge of the roof, point at Rupert and shout at the top of your lungs, "Off with his head!"

    You attempt to interpret the phrase "the card of the hearts". Well, card could refer to a greeting card, or a playing card, or cardboard, or... or... um, in which case... You're just not sure. You're not sure of anything any more.

    While you've been cogitating, the weather has taken a turn for the worse. Not only is the wind strengthening, but the clouds which earlier were just torn and amorphous have begun to accumulate into vast, looming structures, of a fuliginous colour. All of a sudden, you are caught in a hail of hailstones. Each is the size of a marble; enough to hurt, but not enough to injure. Theodore burrows into your skirts for shelter. Rupert, meanwhile, is still indifferently browsing the trees below.

    354 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7856 23:48

    Change your name to Zoosmell Pooplord.

    355 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7857 18:18

    Don't think, just feel.

    356 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7859 07:55

    Save game, then roll off of the roof.

    357 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7860 20:24

    Watch some VSauce.

    358 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7860 22:48

    cough then fall over dead

    359 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7861 02:58

    tell her how you feel

    360 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7863 23:09

    Your name is now Zoosmell Pooplord. You immediately find yourself stricken by a fit of giggling. "Hehehe, ehehehe!" you titter. What a silly name! The more you think about it, the funnier it gets. You laugh until you are bent double, tears streaming from your eyes. You didn't think yourself so emotionally labile. The laughter explodes out of you, leaving you completely unable to draw breath. Your mirth turns to panic. Your lungs burn, but the thought that you're about to asphyxiate due solely to your new alias is so absurd it overpowers your last shreds of self restraint.

    You collapse to the ground, dead, in mid laugh.

    Deaths: 11

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>353)

    You feel that you have spent far too long troubling yourself with meaningless abstractions. You let your thoughts peel away from you like dandruff.

    (Game saved)

    You relax, abandon yourself to intuition, and let yourself simply do whatever comes naturally. In this case, that entails lying down, rolling over the lip of the roof and falling down the other side. You feel an exhilarating rush of air through your hair and frilled garments, and see the paved plaza inflating to fill your vision.

    Your terminal descent is interrupted by your left ankle catching on something. You find yourself dangling upside down, just below the top floor. You are pulled back upwards by something tightly clasped about your foot, through an open window, and into the quiet darkness of the building. Your foot is released, and you get to your feet unsteadily.

    Jack is here, wearing a lab coat for some reason. She appears to have saved you by grabbing you mid-fall. "There you are! I've been looking all over for you." she says, embracing you warmly. Looking around, the room you are in appears to be a former laboratory of some description. There are various benches, cupboards and shelves about, but almost no loose items; everything that wasn't bolted down has been removed. There are even marks on the floor near the doorway to indicate that something rather heavy has been relocated. There is also a large red bird perched on one bench, casually watching over the two of you.

    "I... um, do you know where I could find some vee source?" you ask Jack. Her smile dissolves and she looks at you with a concerned, almost slightly repulsed look.

    361 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7863 23:09

    Oh, how embarrassing! What have you said? You blush like an overripe nectarine. Your shame is so great you wish you could just drop dead as you are, so as not to have to live with the consequences of this monumental faux pas. You cough dramatically, fall to the floor and close your eyes, but, alas, find that you cannot die on command.

    In the tense silence that ensues, you hear the storm outside take a sudden turn for the worse. A vicious barrage of hailstones assaults the building and the surrounding rainforest. You hear a faint yelp from above - poor Theodore! He must still be up on the roof, exposed to the elements - followed by a defiant meow. You look up to see Theodore flash by the open window at high speed, having apparently flung himself after you to escape his pain and solitude. Abandoning the whole dying business for now, you rush over and look out, to see he has landed safely on the plaza below.

    "Raining cats and dogs, isn't it?" quips Jack. "Anyway, listen here; I've a lot to tell you. First of all, I managed to locate the cloning facilities and get them operational. Initialisation took forever, and there were no reserves, so we won't have any usable substrates ready for a few days yet. The facilities are in a white building over on the other side of the river. I'll take you there later."

    A lopsided smile infects her lips, as she continues, "As for our... main project, well, we can tick Jacqueline off the list. I managed to get her by surprise. Almost got Alexei at the same time, but the bastard gave me the slip. Oh, and Stove Stove is... well, the situation is a little complicated, but suffice to say he won't be a problem. Oh! Also, seems like some of the others were here recently; we'll have to see if we can track them down."

    You feel in your gut that something is wrong. This isn't the Jack you knew. You nod cautiously, trying your best not to arouse suspicion. Jack continues, "We've only got a few hours until sunset, so we'd better get somewhere safe. You weren't kidding when you said the... the "phenomenon", as you put it, would be stronger at night."

    "Oh Jack," you implore, with a hint of desperation, "I feel so confused, and scared! Please, help me."

    She stares at you with an indecipherable look, then says to herself, "You aren't really Cassandra, are you? Who are you then?"

    362 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7863 23:18

    Say "Brobdingnagian Brontosaurus."

    363 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7864 08:24

    Very briefly lift skirt while pulling down panties to give Jack a flash of our crotch, to prove our identity.

    364 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7864 15:40

    Invite Jack to co-author a crossover fanfic with you involving an epic battle between Strong Bad and Captain Manlove.

    365 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7866 00:19

    Oh no, she's on to you! You have to throw her off the scent. In response to her questioning, you try to assume the identity of the first person who comes to mind - who happens to be Rupert. "I-I'm a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus." you say, voice faltering. Jack raises her eyebrows in mock seriousness, and replies "Are you now? You don't look particularly large or reptilian to me."

    There's no backing down now. You get down on all fours, straighten your back, extend your neck as far as you can, and let out a roar. "Rrrraaaargh!" you say, "I'm a big scary dinosaur!" Jack is shocked into incredulous silence for a second or two, then erupts into peals of unrestrained laughter. She howls with cachinnation until you simply cannot bear it any more.

    This is agony. You've never been so mortified. There's no way you can possibly recover this situation, you decide; you may as well just do something so embarrassing that you pass out and/or die from it. Exposing your most private body parts to her ought to do the trick.

    As you lift aside your garments, however, Jack suddenly sobers up, a look of genuine fear crossing her face. "No, stop!" she exclaims, too late, whilst simultaneously averting her gaze, screwing her eyes tightly shut, and countering by flashing her own crotch. Knowing no better, you look straight into the void between her thighs. The world around you desaturates and falls away. Nothing exists any more but the void and you. The void calls out seductively, enticing you to become one with it. You comply.

    You are swallowed whole by Jack's crotch, vanishing forever from this universe.

    Deaths: 12

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>361)

    Oh no, she's on to you! You have to throw her off the scent. You employ your every skill in misdirection and say, jovially and flippantly, "Haha, don't worry about that; wouldn't you rather write a Strong Bad vs Captain Manlove fanfiction with me?" Jack narrows her eyes, appraising the situation carefully, and, at last, replies "Only if I get to do Strong Bad's dialogue."

    The two of you settle down to business, planning out the plot in meticulous detail. Strong Bad and Manlove meet on the border of the proud nation of Strong Badia. What begins as harmless bantering escalates into spirited enmity, then into an outright vendetta. Manlove bullheadedly sticks to his principles of justice, integrity and truth, even in the face of appalling disingenuousness on the part of Strong Bad and the Cheat. He suffers crippling, emasculating losses, until at last his morality is utterly eroded. He abandons his every principle to ensure his own success.

    Honorary Captain Manlove is the eventual victor, but at what cost? Strong Badia lies in ruins, collateral casualties are without number, and, when the bloodlust at last leaves his veins, he finds himself to be a mere shadow of his former self. The story ends with Manlove walking away into the sunset, doomed to know that however hard he may try to run from his past, he can never escape what he has become.

    Hours pass. Before you know it, darkness is falling. You are quite happy to spend the night where you are, but Jack suggests that she would prefer finding somewhere further indoors, out of sight of the forest.

    366 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7866 16:21

    Go as far underground as possible.

    367 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7867 00:16

    Calmly explain the situation to Jack. Shoehorn in the phrase "jive-ass honkey".

    368 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7867 02:34

    Say "Lilliputian lexovisaurus"

    369 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7867 03:43

    Pontificate on an esoteric topic.

    370 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7867 05:13

    Proclaim yourself to be the pontiff.

    371 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7868 00:24

    You concede that your companion probably knows better than you do. The two of you quietly traverse the darkening halls, down empty, echoing stairwells. A light wind blows listlessly through the building. You keep going, ever further, ever deeper, into the warren of underground service tunnels. As it is now pitch black, Jack summons a small flame from between her fingers, which she uses to light your path.

    Eventually, you settle in a small room of indeterminate function. There are many cables covering one wall, with various fuseboxes and switchboards which you are a little dubious about meddling with. The door has a functioning lock on the inside, which you lock behind you for the night.

    Unnerving as your situation is, it does somewhat arouse the aura of a girls' sleepover, with the associated sharing of intimate secrets. As the two of you settle down next to one another, you go ahead and confide in her everything you remember, hoping she will reciprocate with something which - ideally - might cast light on your own circumstances.

    You sumarise waking up without your memory in the small building by the stream, the night of the storm, when Jack vanished, almost drowning in the floodwaters, meeting Rupert, losing Papa, the night you spent alone in the forest, and, finally, your return to the building you are currently in, and your reunion with Theodore. Jack listens patiently, without comment.

    You let out a heavy breath. "I feel like..." you struggle for an apt simile, eventually settling for "like a jive-ass honkey, lost in the wrong part of town."

    No, wait, that's a terrible way of putting it! "I mean, I feel like a lilliputian lexovisaurus; like a really small animal in a world of big, threatening things that I should be equal to but am instead scared of." You wish you were better at expressing yourself.

    372 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7868 00:24

    373 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7868 00:25

    "You know," Jack begins, "Actually, I know what you mean. Sometimes, I feel l--"

    "Ecological character displacement," you interrupt, "is an observed phenomenon in evolutionary biology wherein competition between two species exerts a selective influence favouring the lessening of said competition; that is, evolution of both species towards independent, non-competitive niches. It has been proposed as a mechanism for sympatric speciation - one of the most contentious concepts in the field today..."

    You continue in this vein long into the night. Jack is so enraptured that she accidentally falls asleep. You eventually follow suit.

    You sleep only fitfully, tossing and turning on the hard floor. The darkness forms a thick, claustrophobic mass all around you, forcing itself into your eyes, your mouth, your lungs, and your every pore. The sound of your own breathing is deafening. At one point you awake with a start, suddenly aware of the sound of something else breathing right next to you, only to find that you have rolled over beside Jack.

    You awaken the next morning to find Jack is already up. She rummages around in the front pockets of her lab coat and offers you a sandwich by way of breakfast, which you gratefully accept. The two of you then make your way back upstairs. On the way, Jack talks to you, opening up to you at last. "I knew you before you lost your memory. You and I used to be friends, in fact, and we were... we had something very important we were trying to do."

    As you reach the main entrance, on the edge of the plaza, she turns to you and smiles sympathetically. "I wish I could explain it all to you, but it'd take too long. There's something I have to go take care of just now, and there's something I'd like you to do for me while I'm busy. You have to gather together as many people - people, I mean, not just grunts - and bring them to the white building on the opposite side of the river. You're so cute, I bet you'll have no trouble convincing them."

    She turns to leave, then looks back and adds, "By the way, you don't have to call me Jack. You can call me Conundrum-chan."

    "You can call me The Pontiff!" you reply.

    You find yourself in a small plaza, covered in dismembered bits of grunt. There are two paths leading from the Northern edge; one, rather overgrown, heading Northwest, which Jack has just embarked down. The other, clearer, heading North, bears what your presume to be Rupert's footprints. There are various other confused and overlapping tracks in the mud.

    The morning sun is just breaking over the canopy. It looks to be a beautiful day.

    374 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7868 07:17

    Follow Rupert's path

    375 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7868 11:57

    oh shit I'm sorry

    376 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7869 14:13

    Gather your friends and play Poor Pussy.

    377 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7869 23:12

    Chin held high, you head after your dearest sauropod. You hum an upbeat tune to yourself, enjoying the cool breeze and the feeling of sunlight on your skin. For a brief while, it feels like all the world is your friend, and everything horrible that has happened until now was no more than a disagreeable dream. You happily let yourself be distracted by the exotic flora and fauna nearby, sniffing brightly coloured flowers, listening to the distant calls of birds of paradise, and examining colourful winged insects.

    So caught up in your natural history are you that you fail to pay attention to the path beneath your feet, and nearly trip over something. Looking down, it appears to be a grunt.

    You apologise profusely and somewhat more explicitly than normal, before noticing that the grunt in question is very much dead, with a sizeable portion of his head missing. You also find five or six more of his compatriots - it's hard to tell exactly how many, what with how mangled and dismembered they are - scattered about. They mostly bear crushing injuries, as best you can tell. Many of them are holding crude sharpened sticks or similar implements.

    The ground here is badly churned up, with smears of blood mixing with the dirt and small plants. There appear to be many of Rupert's footprints overlapping in the area. His footprints do not then continue along the path, but rather turn off at a ninety degree angle into the thicket. There is a thick band of broken vegetation indicating his path. There are other, curious tracks visible further up the path, now that they are not trampled into oblivion by Rupert. Most notably, you see two thin, straight, parallel depressions running in a straight line.

    You kneel before the dead grunts and mew plaintively, trying to inspire a response. You think about how scared and alone poor Theodore probably is at this moment, and try to bring this into your performance. Your imitation is flawless, and should inflame the emotions of any creature, alive or dead. Nonetheless, the corpses clearly have hearts of stone. You lose. You are the poorest pussy of all.

    At that moment you look up to find that you are not alone. There is a rather grim looking girl in a wheelchair in front of you. She is pointing the barrel of a harpoon gun at you. "Don't move an inch, or I'l--" her voice cuts off in mid threat, as her vision flicks suddenly to some point over your shoulder. You instinctively turn to see.

    The grunt corpse behind you is slowly pulling itself to its feet, seemingly oblivious of the fact it is missing half of its face. Looking around, the other corpses are each twitching and rising in a most sickening fashion. You are caught right in the centre of them all. Without a word, the girl in the wheelchair turns and begins to propel herself away, apparently leaving you to die.

    378 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7870 01:06

    Invite your new undead friends to start a grimdark black metal band with you.

    379 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7870 14:43

    Set the corpses on fire using pyrokinesis.

    380 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7872 00:57

    However terrifying the animate cadavers surrounding you may appear, you must not be prejudiced against your new companions. You have faith that the power of music and friendship will iron out any creases in your newly budding relationship. But what sort of music should your soon to be formed band play? The aesthetic seems, you feel, to be perfect for the black/death metal scene.

    You begin primly allocating musical roles to each of the shambling corpses in turn. Unfortunately, it seems that the lead guitarist takes offence. Perhaps they consider you a mere poseur, as your lack of mortal wounds and partial decomposition clearly indicate you aren't taking this business as seriously as they are. The corpse in question takes a swipe at you with its right arm. You try to dodge out of the way, but are clipped on the shoulder. The guitarist overbalances and falls on top of you, pinning you to the ground, as your other band members shuffle ever closer.

    Well, this isn't going quite as well as you had hoped. Perhaps a little igneous punishment will put them in their place. Unfortunately, you aren't quite sure how to do pyrokinesis, and this doesn't seem a convenient time to learn.

    The guitarist is ineffectually hitting you in the back of the head with his head stump, his cold, dead body still trapping you against the ground. The drummer - despite his right leg being badly mangled - has, meanwhile, crawled his way to you, and is rearing back both hands to strike you. You have no hope of dodging this one.

    Behind him, you see a welcome face appear from amidst the foliage. It's Jack! But she's back to wearing a seifuku, rather than a lab coat. She is slightly hunched, and looks hollow-eyed for lack of sleep. There is a severe cut along the side of her face. To your horror, you find she isn't even looking at you; she's distracted by the girl in the wheelchair.

    381 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7872 02:00

    Call out "by the power of Grayskull!"

    382 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7872 10:14

    Duck and tackle the weak-legged zombie's legs, keeping low to the ground.

    383 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7872 13:23

    Extrapolate on a pontifical topic.

    384 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7872 17:08

    Sink into the earth and reappear behind the wheelchair girl

    385 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 01:25

    You must get her attention, your life depends on it! This is too important a situation to use an everyday summons for aid like "help". You must invoke a higher power. Any higher power will do.

    You inhale sharply and shout at the top of your lungs, "By the power of Grayskull!" Jack at last notices your plight and, after only a second's hesitation, brandishes her ceremonial stone knife and begins hacking away at the unsuspecting horde. She is truly a sight to behold, dodging swings, spinning about and severing limbs like a murderous whirling dervish. In the midst of this she kicks the guitarist off you, freeing you temporarily.

    Keeping as far out of the way as possible of both your former band members and Jack's knife, you try to do your best to aid the fight. Crouching, you creep around the drummer and grab him by the legs from behind. There is a sickening crunch as you find that his right femur is less solid than you thought. He turns and tries to claw at you, but can't quite reach. You throw all your weight at him, seeking to push him to the ground, but at that moment feel something strike your temple and reflexively let go and try to dodge.

    It turns out to have been the severed hand of the lead singer, which simply happened to land on you. You breathe a sigh of relief, before finding that the reanimated corpse you were just trying to incapacitate has now turned and is about to descend upon you. For a moment you are looking right into its cold, unseeing eyes - like those of a blind cave fish - before it is, mercifully, dispatched by your young saviour.

    Jack, flecked in blood and breathing heavily, grabs your hand and pulls you away, into the cut in the forest left by Rupert. Looking back, you see a sight of even greater carnage than before - yet the bodies are still writhing and trying to stand and pursue you. You run.

    Once out of sight of your aggressors, the two of you stop to catch your breath. Though you were the one who came closer to dying, Jack appears by far the most harrowed of the two of you. She sits on the ground, hugging her legs, shaking slightly, gazing intently at her feet. She is a far cry from the confident, strong willed girl you knew her as.

    Being as you are a good friend and sister to her, you realise that what she truly wants and needs is a suitable distraction, especially a speculative one on matters of papacy. Yes, they don't call you The Pontiff for nothing, after all! You give her a brief overview of the history of the popemobile, and, extending its developments forward, predict the eventual emergence of the popecraft, hoverpopemobile, popemechasuit, popemobilefortress and other such natural progressions in this direction.

    Jack looks up at you with dark, sunken eyes, and says "Ariadne... I'm so sorry, this is all my fault. I... I've failed my..." She refuses to say any more, and instead buries her head in her hands and curls up in the foetal position. She does not respond to any further vocal prompts.

    You require level three geokinesis and fifty mana to use the teleportation via earth ability.

    It is now late morning. From where you are, you could backtrack and rejoin the path to seek the girl in the wheelchair, risking again the wrath of the undead, or you could follow Rupert's tracks onwards into the forest. Either way, you will have to decide what to do about poor Jack, who does not seem in the mood to travel.

    386 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 04:54

    Summarize the plot so far.

    387 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 14:14

    Exasperate on a Pontic topic

    388 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 15:43

    Exfoliate in a pentagonal tropic

    389 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 15:46

    Exacerbate a pantheistic torpor

    390 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7874 16:29

    Be Rupert.
    Rampage. Rampage.

    391 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7875 13:26

    Be Jack. Check inventory and skills.

    392 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7875 13:32

    Call the pentagon for support

    393 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7875 15:13

    Call a paragon for moral support.

    394 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7875 23:35

    Alas, your amnesia means you have somewhat lost the plot, so to speak. You have no idea where you are or why you're here, or if there is even a reason for you to be here at all. In terms of your own internal narrative, so far you have woken up - without your memory - in a small dilapidated building in the middle of a rainforest with your father, Aaron, your sister, Jack, and a cat named Theodore. There was a horrible storm in the night, during which Jack vanished.

    In the morning, you and Aaron set off to look for her. The two of you ended up being swept away downstream by a flooded river, coming ashore only to find a brontosaurus, of all things. Aaron ran away into the forest, but you, remaining behind, succeeded in taming the beast, whom you named Rupert. You and Rupert spent the night outdoors - a night that you've been trying your very best to forget about.

    In the morning, the two of you embarked southwards, coming across a large building complex centred around a hexagonal atrium. Inside, you found Theodore, and the two of you ascended to the roof, where you were stranded for a while. You were rescued by Jack, but were separated from Theodore in the process. You spent the night with her in the depths of the building. She looked and behaved a little different to how you remember her, and even called herself "Conundrum-chan" instead of Jack. Before leaving, she implored you to gather as many people as possible and bring them to a building on the other side of the river.

    You set off northwards again, in search of Rupert and others, only to be threatened by a girl in a wheelchair, ambushed by the undead, and rescued once again by Jack. The two of you are currently recuperating from the fight. Jack seems different again from how you remember her, and also rather troubled by something.

    Why won't Jack simply open up to you? Surely that's what sisters are for! Her seclusive behaviour is really quite exasperating, you find - almost as much so as the Black Sea. I mean, why is it called that, when it's quite clearly not black? It's simply not reasonable.

    Judging by the local climate and ecology, it would not be unreasonable to conclude that you're somewhere in the tropics. But who can say? For all you know, you mightn't even be on Earth. You haven't even seen over the horizon; you could be on a pentagonally shaped planet, that just happens to be superficially similar to the Terran tropics.

    While preoccupied with such musings, you absent mindedly pick at the nearby foliage, plucking the odd leaf from the plants.

    Is Jack's lethargy perhaps, you wonder, related to trying to personify the universe itself as some sort of deity? Though the idea is appealing, it simply radiates problems - does one then have to attribute every meaningless event to the intentional action of a god? What about the apparent determinism of so much of the inanimate universe? And how do you worship something which you yourself are a part of?

    Well, if this is what is troubling her, then it is your duty as a loving sister to rid her of such troublesome beliefs. Though it pains you, you must intentionally worsen her theological angst in order to demonstrate her beliefs' inconsistency. You invite Jack into various philosophical discussions, questioning the true nature of the universe and god, but she makes no meaningful response.

    395 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7875 23:36

    You cannot play as Rupert; you can only play as members of your current party.

    You stomp around in the undergrowth, taking out your frustrations on the defenceless weeds at your feet. You feel slightly better for it.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova. The events of last night have left quite an impression on you, and you feel unable to deal with the endless torrent of existence flowing through you just now. More than anything you'd like a good night's sleep, but you know full well your nightmares were bad enough even before they started bleeding into reality.

    You currently possess only the tattered seifuku you are wearing and the bloodied stone dagger in your hand. You have level 7 ailuromancy, and thereby have access to the following skills:

    • Basic ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can accurately predict the weather for the next six hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least one minute.
    • Feline communication (passive skill): can understand and employ general methods of cat communication, e.g. hissing, purring, meowing.
    • Cat affinity evaluation (active skill): can tell another sapient being's affinity towards cats. Requires line of sight. Costs 15 mana.
    • Summon cat (active skill): can summon a cat from the nearest interdimensional aperture. Costs 100 mana.
    • Advanced ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can accurately predict the weather for the next 24 hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least four minutes. Costs 20 mana.
    • Cat possession (passive skill): cats in the near vicinity are now playable members of your party.
    • Inverse ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): can, by performing a given action on a cat, cause a corresponding change in future weather (e.g. bringing cat to a warm place makes weather warmer, spinning cat around produces cyclone). Costs 125 mana.

    In addition to this, you have two unspent skillpoints - left over from christmas, the night before last - and 210 mana.

    The Pentagon 1024SL can't help you. Nobody can help you now.

    You find yourself in desperate need of some moral support. Ariadne is very dear and all, but she's a little socially inept, and, frankly, you don't really trust her awfully much.

    You tilt back your head, look up to the sky and call out for someone to come save you - some perfect paragon of justice, integrity and truth; of everything that's right with the world. As if on cue, there is a rustling in the undergrowth to the west, in the direction you came from. You and Ariadne stare in silence, breath held. C-could it be?

    No, never mind, it's just the reanimated bits of grunt, which, displaying abominable tenacity, have followed you all the way here. There are various limbs, partial corpses, disembodied heads and such, crawling or rolling towards you in a way equal parts disturbing and comical.

    396 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7877 00:36

    Test yourself to ensure you haven't caught toxoplasmosis from cat exposure.

    397 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7878 00:14

    Ghost tree and kick the undead asses

    398 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7878 01:00

    hold shift for focused movement

    399 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7878 06:35

    Pompously place 2 points into pontification posthaste.

    400 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7878 12:55

    Mumble unintelligibly about the jews.

    401 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7878 22:55

    Loudly demand apology juice.

    402 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7879 00:17

    Oh, excuse me, Ricky. Ricky, I did see what you were doing.

    403 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7879 01:21

    Those dismembered, bloodthirsty body parts are certainly a threat. But they are the evil you know - you are well aware how dangerous they are, whereas the potential danger of the unknown is unbounded. However dire your current situation, surely it is, on average, better to spend your time anticipating the less obvious perils. Like toxoplasmosis.

    As you know, this insidious breed of parasite tries to infiltrate you using cute, unassuming cats as Trojan horses (Trojan cats?) and attacks from within. It is often entirely asymptomatic, but believed by many to subtly affect cognition, increasing likelihood of a plethora of mental disorders. How devious! Really, you decide, this simply must be your first priority.

    A cold, clammy, but all too active hand grasps your ankle, while you are busy trying to think back to your last instance of cat exposure. It must've been back at >>277 when you spent the night intimately close to Ariadne and Theodore. Oh no, Ariadne is in danger as well! Does this feline treachery know no bounds‽ You get ready to perform a quick PCR to check, but find that when you weren't looking you've been overwhelmed by partial undead. Each of your limbs is pinned down or otherwise incapacitated, and a severed leg is crushing your windpipe, slowly suffocating you.

    Ariadne, avoiding one or two swipes herself, bravely charges in and kicks the offending leg from you, before tripping over herself and disappearing in a mound of quivering flesh. You breathe a sigh of relief, but at that moment a disembodied head leaps in, bites into your neck and tears your throat out. You promptly bleed to death.

    Deaths: 13

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>395)

    You shan't be taken by surprise! You stand up, emptying your mind of distractions in preparation for the oncoming battle. You shall become as intangible to your enemies as a wraith, and as flexible as bamboo. The limbs dumbly throw themselves at you, with no real tactics, and you are able to easily hold them at bay with quick jabs of your knife or kicks of your leg.

    They seem to learn, however. They begin to intentionally circumvent you, some targeting Ariadne, others attempting to catch you from behind. Ariadne tries to hold her own, but is hopelessly unskilled in physical combat. You defend her as best you can. For every body part you kick away or split asunder, however, two more come to take its place. This would be a challenge even if you were at your best, but, being as you are, you cannot help but lose heart; there are simply too many asses to kick.

    These defeatist thoughts are will be the death of you. You must focus your movement! With your one free hand, you flip up the back of Ariadne's skirt and grab hold of her shift, eliciting a cute muffled outcry. Ah yes, that's better. Now you can think clearly again.

    Though you are now in a state akin to a martial trance, you are still making little progress in actually defeating your many enemies. Perhaps some supernatural aid is in order, you decide. You try to place two skill points into pontification, but find that the only available skills are aerokinesis, geokinesis, biokinesis, hypnosis, technomancy and ailuromancy.

    You are adrift in a roiling sea of groping, murderous flesh. Ariadne seems on the verge of despair. "Jack," she pleads, voice shaking, "T-there's too many of them! We have to run!" At that moment, however, you hear an unfamiliar, somewhat accented man's voice from behind you, say "You two! On the count of three, jump! One... two...three!"

    You do as you are told, and see, in that second you are airborne, some strange fractured bolt of electricity burst from the ground where your feet just were. The shock propagates through the ground, through all the reanimated body parts, into the trees and away. With nothing more than a loud bang and a smell of ozone, you are left surrounded by a large pile of twitching bits of grunt.

    404 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7879 01:22

    You turn around in search of your unlikely saviour. Two men, both wearing jetpacks, have just landed a little to your east. One, unfamiliar to you, is wearing a dark greyish suit, and has some bizarre mechanical implants in his eye and right hand. The other is that delusional fellow who thinks he's your father, and he is wielding an odd white implement, about the size of your forearm, with two long metal protrusions from one end. Smoke is rising from the tip.

    They stand back to back. "I'm Aaron," says one, "And I'm Alexei," says the other, then, both together, "And we're here to perform for you Be a Big Fat Butt!" And then, to your utter disbelief, they begin to sing.

      Declare a song thread and link quotes to a number of future posts
      La La La La La La Zingen Zingen Kleine Vlinders
      La La La La La La Zingen Vlinders La La
      Beware the long head of pink goats which doth slumber in cute fur-ghosts
      Pontificate on an esoteric topic.

    As they come to the chorus, they begin to dance - some sort of bizarre fusion of Morris dancing and Russian folk dancing. You stare on, unable to look away.

      Change your name to Zoosmell Pooplord
      It's time to gamble, time to call Lady Luck
      Then while she's distracted punch that cunt in her fuck

    Alexei enthusiastically punches the air with his robotic hand to demonstrate, then plucks a harmonica from his back pocket and begins to play it. Aaron, meanwhile, points his odd electric weapon in the air and plays it like a theremin. Their rousing instrumental solo beautifully segues into the second verse.

      Time to return to camp hooray!
      Pompously place 2 points into pontification posthaste
      Escape from reality
      Invite your new undead friends to start a grimdark black metal band with you

    After two more increasingly passionate repetitions of the chorus, they finish, each kneeling on one knee in opposite directions, accompanied by vigorous jazz hands, and singing at the top of their lungs, "Mumble unintelligibly about the jews!" There are a few seconds of complete, perfect silence, followed by a shower of applause from Ariadne, amidst cries of "Encore! Encore!"

    Was that last line directed to you? You'd better obey just to be on the safe side. "Rhubarb rhubarb the Jews are rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb," you mutter under your breath.

    Ariadne rushes over to her foster father and embraces him, breathlessly expounding how glad she is to see him alive, thanking him for saving the two of you, and praising his musical talents. You, meanwhile, narrow your eyes at Alexei and demand an apology for that atrocious crime against human culture. You make it clear that nothing short of a large glass of fruit juice will do by way of reparations. He looks crestfallen.

    And that Aaron shouldn't think he's exempt. You mock him, even going so far as to intentionally mistake his name, telling him you saw - and heard - what he did, and that it was terrible and he should be ashamed of himself.

    Aaron feigns ignorance and briskly changes the topic. "I'm afraid we can't stick around. The effect of my little friend here won't last forever," sure enough, looking around, some of the larger body parts are beginning to spasm back into motion, "And us two need to get back to the Control Tower. We can give you a ride to somewhere nearby, but we need most of the jetpack charge to get over the ridge into the next valley. So, where shall we take you young ladies?"

    405 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7879 08:26

    Take me to Aruanda.

    406 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7880 12:19

    Don't call my name, Alejandro.

    407 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7880 22:40

    The adrenaline is finally wearing off, and the turbid memories of last night are seeping back in from somewhere in the back of your skull. You heave a sigh and let your shoulders drop, safe at last. But for how long? After all, you now have good reason to suspect genuine safety and comfort will be concepts alien to you for the rest of your life. Your only hope lies in the afterlife.

    "Please... take me to Aruanda." you implore, well aware of what you are implicitly asking of them. Unfortunately, uncultured swine that they are, they instead just stare at you blankly. "Who's that?" asks Alexei. "Did you mean Ariadne? But she's right here!" adds Aaron. You roll your eyes in exasperation.

    "I think Jack and I sh--" begins Ariadne, a saccharine smile on her face, before you interrupt to tell her not to use your name. Someone so helpless and potentially toxiplosmosis-ridden doesn't have that right. She wavers in uncertainty, then continues "I, um, think we should all go to the white building on the opposite side of the river. It'll be fun!" She tips her head to one side, closes her eyes and smiles innocently.

    You acquiesce, for lack of objections or alternative proposals. What does it matter anyway? Ariadne clings to Aaron, you awkwardly hug Alexei, and the four of you blast off to cruising altitude, a few metres over the top of the canopy. From here, you can see that the cut in the rainforest that you had been in was in fact heading towards your former camp, where the ceremonial altar and pyre still stand. There also appears to be a brontosaurus poking its head out from the clearing.

    You are headed in the opposite direction entirely, however; directly westwards, across the thick, muddy brown river and towards a small, cuboid white building. There are various odd structures nearby, including a large radar dish and some sort of metal framework construction of indeterminate function. Beyond this, a cragged, heavily forested ridge rises into the endless blue expanse of sky above.

    You have only just launched. There might still be time to suggest a change of course, should you happen to have any misapprehensions about your current destination.

    408 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7881 01:01

    Quietly sing the chorus of Be A Big Fat Butt.

    409 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7881 17:53

    Arrange the inanimate objects in the scenery into a chorus and refuse to do anything until you can coax them to sing the entirety of Title.

    410 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7883 00:42

    You try to put aside the sight of the ground flying by beneath you and the sound of the wind in your ears, and concentrate on what is to be done now. And yet - damn it all! - you simply cannot get that song out of your head. Indeed, the thought of punching the very idea of luck in an ambiguously vulgar manner appeals to you personally quite well, considering how fate has treated you recently.

    You sing those three lines to yourself, thinking all along how much of a better singer you are than those two amateurs. Alexei hears you and smirks to himself.

    The trees, the hills, the water, the sky, and the buildings - even inanimate objects like these would make better singers than that disastrous duet. Your spite and stubbornness coalesce into a cast iron mass of will. You shall do nothing until your inorganic choir sings for you the entirety of Title, one of the most challenging pieces any chorus could face.

    You land by the white building uneventfully. Your companions come and go, but you pay them no mind. Hours pass. The sun sets, and you are left simply standing there in the dark, staring up at the ridge. You try to contrive the sound of the wind in the leaves into the opening line "A long, long time ago I can still remember..." but it simply isn't there.

    Days pass. The sun rises, then sets, rises, sets, and so on. Sunshine, rain, hail all fall upon you unnoticed. Still, the hills will not sing for you.

    Weeks pass. Animals come and go from the forest. Plants emerge from the ground and reclaim the manmade structures nearby. Still, the hills will not sing for you.

    Years pass. Seedlings grow into saplings, become trees, flower, bear fruit, fall to the ground and rot away before your eyes. The wind and rain slowly wear down everything that doesn't grow back. Still, the hills will not sing for you.

    Millennia pass. Occasionally the valley is swept clean by glaciers as ice ages come and go. The forests expand and retreat with the climate, a breaking wave of greenery. Newly evolved creatures you do not recognise become the norm, constantly being replaced by creatures less familiar still. The river changes path, and the ridge changes shape. Still, the hills will not sing for you.

    Time passes. The sun turns red and expands into a bloated mass filling half the sky. Nothing is left but empty rocks and empty sky and you. The sun, once so bright and warm, quietly dies and shrivels up. The stars in the sky continue to burst into and out of life, until, eventually, none are left. The trees, the hills, everything has long turned to ash and dust and blown away in the wind - and then the wind, the water, the sky have silently ceased to be. You are alone, perfectly alone, in the eternal darkness. The universe has ended without you.

    You feel something shake your shoulder. It has been so long since you felt anything that the sensation is a shock to you, and you aren't quite sure how to respond. The shaking comes again, and a voice - one you could swear you've heard before, though the memory has died just like everything else - calls out a word, over and over again. Eventually you realise it is your name.

    You wake up. The sunlight is blinding. Ariadne is standing before you, saying "Wake up, sleepyhead! We're here. Looks like you must've fallen asleep on the way." With great effort, you get to your feet and look around.

    You are standing in a grassy clearing. To the west is an abnormally immaculate white building. There are no windows, but there is a closed door. To the north is a crater, about three metres in diameter. It appears recent. You can find no other signs of battle, but there are one or two burnt scraps of paper stuck in the nearby foliage. Further to the north is a large radar dish, slowly being choked by vines. To the southwest, hidden in the trees, is that metal structure you saw earlier. It is probably one or two hundred metres away.

    Aaron and Alexei appear to be preparing to leave again. Ariadne is wandering over towards the door of the building, about to knock.

    411 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7883 05:22

    Kiss Aaron and Alexei goodbye. Then open the door because love is an open door!

    412 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7883 11:03

    Be Aaron: Become a plastic bag, and float in the wind.

    413 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7884 23:51

    You have the odd feeling that you shan't be seeing these two gentlemen again for a while. Or perhaps it's that your recent vision has reinstilled your awareness of human mortality and the fleeting nature of life. Or maybe you just like them more than you want to admit to yourself. Whatever the reason, you go over and kiss each lightly on the cheek. They seem to genuinely appreciate it. You then rush off to aid Ariadne in her exploits.

    Love is an opportunity, a way towards a better life, if you only have the will to abandon everything else and throw yourself into it. You have, in the past, had great difficulty expressing your affection, and squaring your feelings with your duty as a high priestess and conduit of unspeakable dark gods. Now, however, you have little left to lose, and everything to gain. A little personal bonding with Ariadne will do you both the world of good, you're sure.

    Just as Ariadne's fist is about to rap against the door, it swings ajar and a figure emerges from the ambiguous teal coloured corridor within. It is you. Or, rather, somebody who looks just like you, but is not you. She steps out confidently, wearing a pure white labcoat. Ariadne's eyes light up and she immediately rushes forward and hugs the other you about the midriff, exclaiming "Conundrum-chan! Look! I brought all my friends. What now?"

    "Ah, if it isn't the Pontiff!" not-you replies. "Now listen to me, Cass-- I mean, Ariadne. I need you to underst--"

    "Murderer!" Alexei shouts viciously, spitting on the ground at his feet. "I call you a child of the night and will slay you where you stand!" Not-you turns to face him and says, with a mischievous smirk, "Well met, Alexei. I've been looking forward to this. Are you ready to see Jacqueline again?"

    You are now playing as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov.

    Being a staunch pacifist, and wanting nothing more than the safety of your adoptive daughters and your singing partner, you will have no part in this futile battle. You almost suggest sitting down and talking it through, but fear that would only exacerbate the already tense situation. In fact, you find yourself in dire need of a calming jetpack ride to soothe your nerves. Alexei shouts something about giving him the device - ah, now that he mentions it, you're still holding it, aren't you? - but you are distracted by the soft, lulling sensation of floating on the breeze, light as a discarded plastic bag.

    Alexei launches his own jetpack, heading towards you to take the device himself. He makes it about two metres off the ground before a fireball - some thirty centimetres in diameter, coming from the direction of the Jack in the labcoat - strikes him from behind, igniting the fuel tanks and enveloping him in a blast of flame. You hold the perfect vantage point to watch his sudden demise. Like a flashbulb, the entire scene is burned into your memory.

    On the ground, the Jack in the labcoat is staring, eyes narrowed, mouth half open in a look of concentration and sick enjoyment. The other Jack is facing away, looking at her doppelgänger. Ariadne is running towards Alexei, arm extended, mouth agape, ready to - to do what, exactly? But the image that stays with you is the look on Alexei's face: that of anger. His teeth are gritted, his face contorted and wrinkled, and his eyes are piercing straight into you. Behind him, an incandescent wreath of flame is already growing.

    The next moment he is gone, enveloped in the chaotic bloom of an explosion. There is a flash of light, a waft of hot air - like being next to a furnace, even from your distance - and a deafening roar, and then it is over. Over the course of the next few seconds a few small pieces of flaming wreckage arc their way back to earth, and the air slowly clears of all the noise and smoke and heat.

    All three of you surviving look at the Jack in the labcoat in shock. She sighs, spreads her arms in mock deference and says, simply, "Well, I suppose I owe you an explanation."

    414 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7885 01:33


    415 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7885 04:46

    Make an inquiry as to what the next step in her master plan might be.

    416 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7885 15:41

    Spinebuster Title

    417 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7885 20:56

    Be Jack. Summon a cat.

    418 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7886 14:21

    Call the cat Jimmy Sphincter.
    Be Jimmy.
    Shit on the carpet.

    419 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7886 22:48

    Suddenly aware of how temptingly flammable the apparatus on your back is, you decide it may be prudent to keep on the good side of the pyromaniac. You cut short your plastic bag imitation, return to land and bow before your new mistress. Your two daughters appear still to be stunned into inaction. Labcoat Jack, meanwhile, is looking down at you with a cruel smile on her face. You bow deeper, unable to meet her gaze.

    You begin grovelling for your life, praying that she spare your miserable existence so you may serve her ends - whatever that may entail. Ariadne manages to stammer out "You... you killed him..." Labcoat Jack spins around on one foot, garments whirling outwards, and turns to face her. She laughs, a high pitched tinkling sort of laugh, and says "I don't know what you're complaining about; it was your idea in the first place!" Ariadne looks on the verge of tears. You don't dare get up.

    "Sorry, I couldn't resist. It's true though! And trust me, none of you have any idea who that man was, or what he did. You and I" - she looks at Ariadne - "Were nobly bringing him and his accomplices to justice. There's only one more still on the loose - I haven't even seen her, although I know she's here somewhere. She's a girl about my age, slightly undead, and probably with badly injured legs. She's a lot more dangerous than she looks. Ariadne, this was your idea in the first place; Jack, you're literally me; and that simpleton over there has already pledged his life to my service, so I assume we're all in agreement on tracking her down and killing her."

    You grab the We seem to have lost contact with the Control Tower [Grinding Noises][Part II] (418) squarely by the parentheses, jump in the air and bring it down as hard as you can, attempting to bust its spine or closest equivalent. The title collides with the first lines of >>1, which split asunder, spilling letters and punctuation everywhere. The destruction cascades down the entire thread, sentences breaking down into disjointed words, then to only characters, then grinding away with a deafening collective groan and crash into mere pixelated dust. Your entire reality has fallen apart to nothing. You have destroyed the very fabric of your own existence. You are left to wander the infinite empty white expanse that lies between the lines until you quietly cease to be.

    Deaths: 14

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>419)

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    You spend 100 mana, leaving 110 remaining, on summoning a feline companion from the interdimensional portal between your legs. The others appear somewhat taken aback at this turn of events. Labcoat Jack in particular mutters something under her breath, averts her eyes from your crotch area and hides behind Ariadne. A second or two later, however, a beautiful Bengal cat, with sleek, spotted fur, pads out from under your skirt and says hello to its new world.

    What a pretentious looking cat! You'd better call it something stupid and humiliating to balance it out.

    You are now playing as Jimmy Sphincter.

    You aren't sure where you are or how you came to be called "Jimmy", especially given that you're a girl. You cannot locate any carpets in your vicinity, and, having only just come into existence, your bowels are empty anyway. Without warning, you are beset upon by a young girl in a lilac dress, who grabs you, pets you and rubs her face in your fur, all the while expounding how you're "just precious" and such. You quite like all the fuss and attention, even if you'd never stoop so low as to admit it.

    Then, you see him. That man, across the clearing from you, cowering in subservience before a girl dressed in white - you instantly hate him. In fact, hate doesn't even begin to cover it. Your antipathy towards him transcends the idea of mere emotional or logical response to stimuli. He is your very antithesis. His presence alone is proof that no omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent god exists. You must destroy him, right now.

    420 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7887 03:01

    Complain that there are penises everywhere.

    421 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7887 07:23

    Be Jack. Pretend to go along with our clone's plan, while secretly plotting her demise.

    422 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7889 00:00

    Not only is that man the most monumental membrum virile you've ever seen, but all these other humans are - rather than tearing out his throat with their teeth - simply dangling around in a flaccid, phallic manner. You voice your displeasure with your companions whilst redoubling your efforts to escape the girl in lilac's smothering embrace and annihilate your nemesis.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Through your Feline communication (passive skill), you have just overheard Jimmy meowing something about male genitalia, which has rather derailed your train of thought. With effort, you return to the topic at hand - your clone's plan. You approach your - actually, is she your clone? Or an identical twin? Or is she some sort of shapeshifter that has assumed your form or something ridiculous like that? Well, whoever she is, she's clearly extremely dangerous and you should try your best to appear inoffensive towards her. Keep your enemies close, and all that.

    You take a deep breath and prepare your subservient façade, all the while fantasising about sinking your favourite ceremonial stone dagger into her traitorous flesh. Just as you open your mouth, however, a loud metallic banging sound, as of something large falling over, emanates from the entrance to the white building. Your clone(?) drops what she's doing and sprints inside, slamming the door behind her. The door bounces off the doorjamb and is left slightly ajar. You can see inside nothing but a tantalising patch of teal wallpaper and ceiling. In the confusion, Jimmy escapes and begins to scamper towards Aaron.

    If you are to go through with the plan that has been laid out, you should probably make your way back across the river, which may be challenging considering you have only one jetpack between the three (or four, including Jimmy) of you. At the same time, it's a little past midday, so you've enough time before nightfall to afford a little exploration of the local area as well. Or, of course, you could investigate what event indoors has attracted the other Jack's attention with such urgency.

    423 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7889 07:20

    Pretend to plot our clone's demise, while secretly going along with her plan.

    424 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7890 23:25

    You wait a moment, then place an arm around Ariadne's shoulders and whisper conspiratorially in her ear. "I don't think we should trust her. She's a murderous, dangerous brute, so we have to kill her to show that we're not like her. Are you with me?" You casually ignore the various calls for help in the background as Jimmy's claws become acquainted with Aaron's shins.

    Poor Ariadne is clearly still quite bewildered and overwhelmed by recent events, and appears also to have some misguided ideas about "pacifism" and "talking things through". With some effort, you convince Ariadne to help bring your clone's comeuppance upon her, and also that she should go first into the building to search for her, and that you're right behind her, and so on.

    She cautiously pushes open the door to reveal a bare corridor leading ahead a few metres, with one door each to the left and right, ending at a spiral staircase leading straight down. There is a small blackened cuboid object on the floor. Turning around, you see that Aaron appears to be making use of his jetpack and is hovering a metre or so above the ground, out of reach of Jimmy.

    You'd like to secretly go along with the plan, but precisely what you should do next is not readily obvious.

    425 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7894 20:19


    426 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7894 20:23


    427 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7895 02:49

    say "titty sprinkles"

    428 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7895 04:08

    Be Ariadne. Take the cuboid object and throw it at Jimmy.

    429 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7895 04:10

    Go down down down down down

    430 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7895 23:23

    You aren't sure how to do that.

    You agree ambiguously. To what, you're not quite sure.

    "Tight osprey ankles." you say.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    You pick up the little black object from the floor. It appears to have been damaged by high temperature, and recently - it's still warm. The longest sides are rougher than the other surfaces, as though they had some texture which has been melted into oblivion. You cannot even guess what it was supposed to be.

    At any rate, you decide, you must mediate this altercation outside. Really, why can't Aaron and catkind simply get along? It's so frustrating! You hurl the mysterious object into the fray. It misses Jimmy and instead strikes Aaron in the right foot. He flinches and yells out something incoherent, at the same time dropping that odd white device he used earlier to dispose of those troublesome undead grunt bits. Jack dives in and catches it, points it at Aaron and demands that he relinquish his jetpack. He submits, returns to the ground and is again viciously attacked by Jimmy. Jack straps the jetpack on, launches away and traces a long trajectory off back across the river, without so much as a backwards glance.

    She left you behind! You feel quite betrayed. Your mood goes down, down, down, down, down. Dragging your feet despondently, you head inside and begin to descend the spiral staircase into whatever dark, chthonic realm lies below. Moments later, Jimmy joins you, carrying that small black object in his mouth. The two of you make your way downwards in silence, one step at a time. The staircase continues for a very long time - it is at least five minutes before you reach the bottom.

    Upon rounding the last corner you suddenly find yourself in a large open cavern, roughly fifty metres by fifty metres by three metres. It appears to have been formed from two parallel extinct lava tubes, with the intervening space bored out, and the floor and ceiling levelled off to a uniform height. Fluorescent strip lighting suspended from above illuminates row upon row of odd rectangular pods, each the size of a small bed, and each with a rounded cover of frosted glass.

    "Would you believe, when I got here they were all empty?" asks a familiar voice. You whip around to find labcoat Jack standing beside you, having just emerged from a door to the left. "They're bodies for generating clones, in case it wasn't obvious. This is the little project I've been working on. Oh, and just in case you had an silly ideas about cloning that sorry bastard I blew up earlier, I already deleted his entry from the database, along with any others besides myself and the default "grunt" model. Anyway, is there anything I can help you with, oh partner in crime? Shouldn't you be out looking for Con-- for that girl?"

    You are on a small metal walkway above the southern edge of the room. Behind you is the staircase leading back to the surface. To your left, two metal doors are set into the wall. One, from which Jack just emerged, is open, revealing a room containing a desk, computer, chair, and various shelves and boxes of miscellaneous spelunking equipment. The other door is closed and locked with a large padlock. There are four large, unlit tunnels leading out of the cavern; two to the north, sloping uphill, and two to the south, sloping downhill.

    431 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7895 23:47

    pause game
    open settings menu
    change interface language to ancient Macedonian

    432 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 03:02

    attempt to (ab)use the cloning apparatus to create a race of orcs for unscrupulous purposes

    433 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 04:24

    Explain that we came to ask labcoat Jack for a jetpack.

    434 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 07:12

    Explain that we came to pack asscoat lack for a pet Jack.

    435 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 12:54


    436 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 14:42

    Kiss cube lovingly.

    437 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7896 21:58

    Tell Jack that you want to give her love as large as Brontosaurus.

    438 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7897 23:50

    You aren't aware of any games you're playing, or how you would go about pausing such a thing, but you suppose you could always try ἄƒะƒฮƒวƒษƒอς ἀƒฯƒศόƒห ἀƒศƒฯƒอƒาƒหƒอί ƒยƒฟƒหῶƒห, ƒศἄ Ἠƒสƒฟƒฦίƒฟ ἰƒฤέƒษƒฟ ƒษƒรίƒภƒลƒฦƒฯƒอƒห. ƒฆƒฟῦƒษƒอς ƒยƒฟίƒัƒฟς ƒมῶƒี; ƒศἄ ƒฮƒฟƒฯƒฟός ƒศάƒฯƒฟƒภƒอς ἀƒฯƒศόƒห ἐƒฮƒวƒยƒรƒวƒฮƒหίς. ƒคƒรƒวƒฯƒลƒหίς ἀƒศƒฯέƒฟ ƒมƒาƒษƒษάς ἄƒฯƒมƒรƒษƒษƒฟ ἰƒห ƒยέᾳ - ƒยƒฯῆƒรς‽ ƒขƒฟƒหῶƒห! ƒคƒรƒวƒฯƒลƒหίς ƒยƒฟƒหῶƒห! Ἄƒอƒฯƒัής ƒะίƒมƒาƒหƒอς ἀƒศόƒหƒัƒวƒอƒห ƒมάƒฯƒศƒฟ ƒมƒอƒัάƒห ƒยώƒฯƒฟƒฬ "ἰƒฤέƒษƒฟ," ƒฮƒฟƒฯƒฟός ƒสƒฟƒัƒัύƒลς.

    ƒ ίῤῥƒอƒฬ ƒมόƒษƒฟ
    ƒขάƒหƒอς: 15

    (ƒฉƒรίƒภƒลƒฦƒฯƒอƒห ƒศἄ ῥƒอῦƒัƒอ ἄƒยƒยƒรƒร ƒษƒฟίƒภƒฟ ƒศƒอῖƒอς: >>430)

    Suppressing an evil laugh, you slip into the side office and begin meddling with the computer, attempting to twist the facilities to your own nefarious ends. Unfortunately, you find that there is an absurd number of variables, most of them quite ambiguously labelled, and the interface usability leaves something to be desired. Where... where is the orc setting? There must be one, surely?

    Jack's raven-like face appears over your shoulder. "And what might you be up to?" she inquires with mock innocence.

    She's onto you! Quick, evasive manoeuvres! "A-actually, I was going to ask you for a jetpack, you know, for, um, flying with, you know." You aren't the best of liars. "...And you thought you might find one in the cloning console?" she continues, one eyebrow raised.

    "Um, um, I was going to... there's a lack of, um, a-asscoats, and I... you... my pet?" What are you talking about any more? Jack leans back, cocks her head and stares at you, clearly trying to work out what you just said. A long, painful silence passes. You are pinned down by her scrutinising gaze, afraid even to breathe.

    You break out in a cold sweat. This is your last chance. You just have to say something - anything - to redeem yourself, and persuade Jack that you weren't really trying to commandeer the cloning apparatus.

    "Skube," you say.

    "...Ariadne, are you feeling alright?" she says at last. Having decided that vocal communication is simply not for you, you instead decide to try your luck with interpretive dance. You hop over to one of the smaller crates, pluck it from the shelf and smooch it for all you're worth.

    Upon reflection, you decide to give speech one last chance, as there's something very important you have to say. "Jack, I... I love you! Even more than that box I just kissed! In fact, if my love were expressed as a physical object, it'd be at least as big as Rupert!"

    Jack steps back in shock, and puts her hands to her mouth. "Ariadne, I... I love you too! I've always loved you! Oh, I'm so glad!" Tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, she rushes forwards, takes you in her arms and kisses you on the lips dramatically. You are caught up in the moment, lost to the sensation of her lips against yours, of her arms around your back, and of her whole body pressed against you. After a few precious moments, the two of you at last part, still gazing lovingly into one another's eyes.

    There is a noise outside. It is faint, heavily distorted by the echoing of the tunnels, but sounds like a human voice, or several voices. It seems to be coming from one of the northward tunnels, but you can't tell for certain. It is getting closer. You whisper to Jack, who is still clinging to you, "What is that?"

    "I don't know." she whispers back.

    439 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7898 14:43

    Quick! Assume battle positions ASAP! Stay frosty! Stay frosty!

    440 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7898 15:44

    Ask Jack to clone babies from a mix of our DNA.

    441 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7898 17:45

    Do lewd yuri stuff with Jack

    442 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7899 02:27

    Destroy the cloning apparatus. If I can't have my nefarious orcish GMOs, no one shall!

    443 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7899 14:48

    Protest that every being created by the apparatus should carry a GMO sticker with them.

    444 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7899 19:24

    What did you expect, a gold star for being a Jew?

    445 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7899 23:40

    Oh no! A fight is imminent! You wriggle free from Jack's embrace and take up position crouching by the door, peeking through a crack into the main chamber. It remains empty, but the echo of voices grows ever louder. At last, you begin to be able to make out words: "...together... try them on to see." The curious message is chanted with immense gravity. On "see", the voices suddenly stop. At the same time, you see a slight movement out of the corner of your eye coming from the northwest tunnel. You're sure it was too small and fast to be human.

    You take Jack's hand in your own, and say to her "Jack, I... I think we should clone b--" "Of course!" she interjects explosively "We should clone some throwaway grunts and spring them on the intruders as an ambush! Good thinking, Ariadne." Happy as you are to be praised thus, that wasn't quite what you meant. You begin some weak objection, but Jack is already busily tapping away at the console.

    That kiss earlier awakened an odd desire within you. You feel like you want to touch and be touched by Jack more. You reach out to her, but stop short of contact. The ten centimetre space between your hand and her shoulder seems to expand into an insurmountable gulf, and you feel all the weight of thousands of years of heteronormativity and sexual taboos wrench your hand back down to your side.

    It... it really is abnormal, for a girl to like another girl, isn't it? And besides, do you really love her, or did you just say that to distract her from you meddling with the console? You feel strangely angry at yourself for being unable to properly understand your own feelings. But, you remind yourself, time heals all things; perhaps, when you have grown as a person a little more, you'll be able to properly love Jack, in mind and in body.

    Jack, quite oblivious to what has just transpired behind her back, smacks the return key triumphantly and whispers "There! That should give them a surprise." You wait for her to get up and go to the door, then, without warning, externalise your internal conflict, taking it out on the poor, defenceless little computer. You pull the cables from the wall as hard as you can, and punch the side of the monitor (to little effect). The screen goes blank, but you haven't yet done any permanent damage when Jack grabs your arms and pulls you away.

    "Ariadne!" she hisses into your ear, "What are you doing? You'll give away our position!" You manage to stammer out "I-it's your fault! B-baka!" She is quiet a moment, apparently reconsidering her actions, before asking cautiously, "What's my fault?"

    446 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7899 23:40

    "Y-you should've made it obvious that they were clones! With stickers!" Jack laughs and releases you, apparently passing it off as a joke. You decide it best to quit while you're ahead.

    You ask yourself whether or not you were expecting a gold star, either metaphorically or literally. You're find that you were not.

    Looking again through the crack in the door, you see that five of the pods near the north wall have peeled open, each disgorging a single man wearing grey combat armour. They mill about in a loose group, looking around expectantly. Then, a row of grunts files in from the opening to the northwest tunnel. These grunts are different; rather than combat armour, they wear off-white jumpsuits, many with mudstains. Each wields a makeshift wooden quarterstaff, with the exception of the one in the lead, who is wearing a headdress composed of various red feathers and flowers. He is holding what looks like a pile of leaves in one hand.

    He approaches the newborn grunts and addresses them in an authoritative manner: "I am the voice of the High Priest of the Schismatics. You will join us or be slain where you stand." They look at one another uncertainly, bow their heads and join the back of the procession. With a single gesture from the lead grunt, the entire group then spreads out and begins investigating the room.

    Jimmy, who, until now, was contentedly sitting under the desk, slips through the crack in the door and into the room. By the time you notice she is already out of hand's reach. Unless you do something, she might be in danger - or might endanger you and Jack by revealing your position.

    447 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7900 14:47

    Be Jimmy.
    Seduce the High Priest with cute mewing.

    448 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7901 18:52

    Rustle somebody's jimmies.

    449 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7901 22:05

    You require Cat possession (passive skill) to play as Jimmy.

    You feel a lump form in your stomach as you realise that not only your life, but Jack's too depends on what you do right now. It is times like these - when an individual's moral fibre is strained - that one discovers what one is truly capable of. Thinking quickly, you decide you must leave your shelter and confront those outside directly, so as to maintain the initiative. You cannot possibly hope to fight them; rather, you shall have to employ your womanly wiles and thereby placate them.

    Without a word, you harden your resolve, push the door open and crawl into the room on all fours. You follow Jimmy (who, coincidentally, also seems to be heading for the grunt with the headdress) and successfully manage to bypass the roving minions, reaching the leader unnoticed. On closer inspection, you find he is holding a square of plaited grass covered in leaves. Its purpose isn't obvious.

    You approach him from behind and nuzzle his leg, making a cute "nyaa" noise. He yelps in surprise, jumps away and spins around, back against of the clone pods. You kneel, lift one hand curled in the shape of a paw, and meow encouragingly. He furrows his brow and begins to say something, when, suddenly, his face goes blank. He stares vacantly at a spot vaguely behind you, then looks back and says "...Lady Ariadne. We have been looking for you. Please follow me." He bows to you reverently. This wasn't quite the response you were aiming for, but it'll do.

    You find Jimmy lurking just behind you. Whose is she, anyway? I mean, she must be somebody's Jimmy. Does she belong to the other Jack, considering that's whose nether regions she inexplicably emerged from? Is she a stray? Who knows. You go ahead and rustle her coat a little with some vigorous stroking. She arcs her back in pleasure.

    The leader and his entourage reconvene and begin to march back towards the northwest tunnel from which they came. You risk a glance backwards, to see the door in the south wall still slightly ajar. You can just make out a sliver of Jack's face on the other side. Your plan has succeeded; Jack is safe - but at what cost? You stare into the impenetrable darkness into which the procession is heading, thick and incorporeal as smoke. Should you really follow them? Or should you just make a run for it while you still can? Should you try to bring Jack with you, or leave her behind? And what of Jimmy? You had best decide quickly.

    450 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7902 01:34

    Follow them regally, carrying Jimmy.

    451 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7902 09:12

    be 200% nigga

    452 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7903 04:05

    Cartwheel down the hall!

    453 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7903 08:57

    kill all women

    454 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7903 12:39

    Summon the Gay Niggers from Outer Space to assist.

    455 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7903 23:08

    Become a Gay Nigger and go to space

    456 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7904 00:33

    Don't wear a space helmet. Space helmets are for lame ass honkeys.

    457 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7904 10:40

    Try to play the old "golf ball in the airhose" trick.

    458 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7905 23:23

    With only a little cajoling, you gather Jimmy into your arms and follow the line of grunts into the darkness. You walk in as stately a manner as you can muster for several minutes, accompanied only by the steady crunch of feet on volcanic glass. The tunnel winds gently downwards and to the right. The air slowly grows warmer, and you catch wafts of a rather unpleasant smell.

    It's rather hard to properly intimidate people when you're just a little girl. Yes, that's it, you think to yourself, you just need to be 200% bigger! Any larger than that and you might bump your head in these underground passages. You look around for a cake marked "EAT ME" - which is the obvious way for any girl in your position to become bigger - without success.

    All this solemn marching is rather offputting, you find. A nice display of acrobatics ought to lighten your mood, and, best of all, in the darkness, the rest of them will never even know! You extend all your limbs and begin to revolve along your merry way. Whoops! You forgot you were carrying Jimmy for a moment there. She is launched from your grip, screeching in alarm before colliding with something with a thump - probably the grunt ahead of you. You immediately hear her claws skittering against the floor, so she doesn't seem to have suffered any serious injury.

    You stop mid-cartwheel, consumed by the immediate and overwhelming desire to commit complete femicide. And where better to start than the nearest woman; namely, yourself? You stick out your tongue and bite down as hard as you can, severing most of it. Ignoring the pain and taste of blood, you tip your head back and take a deep breath, lodging your severed tongue squarely in the top of your trachea. You silently collapse to the ground, unable even to gasp, before death finally claims you.

    Deaths: 16

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>458)

    Useful allies as they would no doubt be, you have no clue how you'd go about summoning them. Besides, you suspect they'd respond better to one of their terrestrial kin, whereas you are precisely what they have come to destroy.

    Ah, the transcendental beauty of the extraterrestrial; the multitudinous clusters of stars, the music of the spheres, the infinite, all consuming empty void lying between every tiny fleck of matter... yes, you decide, the subterranean life is not for you after all. You simply must go see space for yourself, without even the merest layer of glass between you and it.

    But first you must become a grave robber. Only then can you join the other grave robbers from outer space as one of them. Also, you'd probably have to find some way of escaping the Earth's gravity well, but that's a secondary concern.

    You lack both the golf ball and airhose components of that particular parlour trick. Unless you were to improvise using your own windpipe and a suitable severed body part, but that seems rather macabre and horrible, really.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel! An ominous reddish light, along with the sound of bubbling and the smell of sulphur. You round the last corner, finding yourself in an inflationary cave. It is shaped like a bubble, tilted to one side, with the lower portion flooded with magma. There is a raised section of floor in the centre of the cave, where the lead grunt is standing. Above him is a small metal lift, little larger than a dumbwaiter, currently ascending into a square hole in the ceiling. The odd square foliage thing he was carrying is on top, along with something else you cannot identify due to it being lit only from below.

    One of the generic grunts comes forward and lies down on the raised section of cavern floor. You cautiously approach, unsure quite what's going on. The lead grunt addresses you: "The honour of conducting tonight's Christmas has been bestowed upon you. Please, do not hesitate." Christmas? What is he talking about? You look around at the nearby grunts, then down at the man at your feet. What are you supposed to do?

    459 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7906 01:23

    spinebuster the first living thing we see

    460 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7906 01:26

    Ask the grunt for a ceremonial stone knife.

    461 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7906 04:35

    Lick everybody's lips

    462 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7906 05:11

    Be the little girl

    463 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7919 20:49

    You look at the grunt on the floor. He stares at the ceiling, but his eyes flick uncertainly to your face once or twice as well. Suddenly, you know exactly what you must do. You grab him by the armpits and heave him unsteadily to his feet. He looks around uncertainly, and the grunt with the headdress is just beginning to suggest that forgiveness isn't really in the Christmas spirit, when you grab the grunt about the waist, try to launch him into the air (he's heavier than he looks!) and throw him, spine first, onto the hard cavern floor. He gasps, badly winded. You find yourself smiling with satisfaction.

    You turn to the grunt with the red diadem and politely request a knife - perhaps of a ceremonial nature, perhaps even made of stone. He raises one eyebrow and says that sort of thing isn't usually necessary, but he'll see what he can do. Meanwhile, the little metal lift steadily descends back down from the hole in the ceiling, trailing cables from each corner. The plaited square of foliage is still there. He gets on, and the lift once again ascends into the darkness above.

    He's gone! Now's your chance - you can make a run for it back to your beloved Jack, or attempt to usurp the high priest's control of this supposed church, or try to convince the grunts gathered here to go for a swim in the magma, or... oh, the possibilities are endless! You fail to suppress a mischievous little giggle.

    But first, you have to prevent anything getting back to the high priest. You must seal everyone's lips. With your tongue, naturally. You skip from one grunt to the next, standing on your tiptoes, grabbing their cheeks in both hands and giving each of their mouths a good lick. They look terrified. One of them, when you get to him, covers his mouth with one hand, wails piteously and bolts into the tunnel from which you just came.

    This seems to be a catalyst, as two more follow suit and one collapses to the floor, curled up and sucking his thumb. There are twelve grunts remaining, all of whom appear very distressed. You make encouraging, placating noises, to little effect.

    What are you now? Are you a priestess? Or a pontiff? You can only continue playing things by ear for so long; sooner or later you're going to have to decide what you are to be. For now, however, you decide to keep things simple: you are simply a little girl. There is no need to complicate things any further than that.

    While the cat's away the mice will play, but the lead grunt will probably be back before long, and with him your obligation to celebrate christmas.

    464 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7920 03:14

    Rip open the grunt on the floor, pull out his innards and hide in his carcass.

    465 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7920 23:21

    get on the floor and walk the dinosaur

    466 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7923 23:15

    Look at them, all afraid of nothing - well, you'll give them something to be afraid of! "Ufufufu!" you chuckle to yourself. After a brief scan of the area, you find a conveniently shaped flake of obsidian, and, brandishing it, return to the grunt on the floor. With a flourish, you plunge it into his abdomen. He gasps in pain, but before he can draw enough breath to scream, you lever it under his sternum and pull up as hard as you can. It slips off to one side, displaces two ribs and traces a jagged gash up most of his chest. Mercifully, he passes out.

    You continue hacking away, gutting him like an animal. You find it altogether quite satisfying once you get into it. Once the ribs are out of the way, you begin tearing out his viscera and throwing it aside. The other grunts are, by this point, all reduced to gibbering wrecks. The grunt you are working on soon enough passes away, granting you one skill point and fifty mana.

    Unfortunately, you find that his thoracic cavity is not nearly spacious enough to accommodate you. You are just considering skinning the corpse and wearing the skin over your own when you are interrupted by the lift in the centre of the cave descending. It's the grunt with the red headdress again.

    Dammit, if only you had a little more time, you could've dressed up as the grunt and fooled him into thinking you'd turned into someone else! Perhaps you still can - these grunts aren't the brightest of creatures, after all - by imitating... imitating... that's it! You get on all fours in the most Rupert-ish posture you can muster and plod around, seeking some greenery to masticate. Just like the genuine article.

    "Lady Ariadne," begins the grunt, without batting an eyelid, "I am very sorry. Firstly, I was unable to procure for you a ceremonial stone knife. Secondly, an urgent church matter has arisen. I must lead the congregation to the site right away. As for you... the High Priest wishes to speak with you." He gestures to the lift.

    You pause where you are, uncertain as to what to do. Taking your inaction for confusion, the grunt clarifies: "I am not the High Priest. I am only His voice; His conduit to the congregation. Now, please, it would not do to keep Him waiting."

    The grunts all exit back into the lava tube, chanting something low and incomprehensible, leaving you and Jimmy behind. You look up at the dark shaft in the ceiling, into which the lift will ascend. The high priest, indeed! What could he possibly want with you? Perhaps for you to join his congregation? And, if you do go see him, is there perchance anything you want to ask of him?

    467 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7924 16:34

    Go see the High Priest and ask him for some drugs so we can get high too.

    468 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7924 16:38

    Wait who are we again?

    469 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7928 23:09

    With only a little trepidation, you board the lift, accompanied by Jimmy. It ascends silently on well oiled pulleys, up through the hole in the ceiling and several metres beyond. The lift comes to a stop in complete darkness. It feels cool, and a faint breeze is coming from the North. Before you can fully orient yourself a deep, rough voice speaks - not out loud, but directly inside your head.

    "It is a pleasure to meet you again, Ariadne." it says. You are quite certain you've never heard this voice before. "I am the High Priest of the Schismatics. I must thank you for conducting tonight's christmas. I trust everything went to plan, and you didn't do anything silly like fail to dedicate the sacrifice to our god, or anything like that." The voice chuckles to itself.

    "These are exciting times for our church. We have recently located one of the two artifacts sacred to our faith: an engraved ceremonial altar, used for christmases past. The congregation has just been sent out to reacquire it. Meanwhile, I would like for you to locate and retrieve the other artifact: a certain ceremonial stone dagger. It was last seen in the possession of the fallen high priestess - I believe you know her?" the voice suggests. "Naturally, you will be amply rewarded for your work."

    You take the opportunity to request some sort of narcotics by way of reimbursement. "A budding lotophage, are you? Of course, I can provide you the sweet oblivion you seek." replies the high priest.

    You are currently playing as Ariadne Aaronova - also known as the Pontiff - an enigmatic young amnesiac with a love of all things cute. You are the foster daughter of Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov (a well intentioned but cowardly and incompetent gentleman), foster sister of Jack Aaronova (a violent cutthroat high priestess with an unexpected gentle side) and lover of Jack Conundrum-chan (a mysterious girl with an equally mysterious agenda). You are also well acquainted with the cats Theodore (a male tortoiseshell) and Jimmy Sphincter (a female Bengal cat).

    You currently have in your inventory an ornate frilly lilac dress (somewhat bloodstained) and a small shard of obsidian. You have one unspent skillpoint and fifty mana.

    The high priest, apparently considering the matter closed, bids you farewell and you feel yourself silently descend back down again. You take a deep breath and are just about to begin thinking about your immediate future when you arrive back in the cave. You are more than a little surprised to find that the grunt you disembowelled earlier is upright and walking, entrails still trailing loosely from its abdomen. The corpse is at the tunnel mouth, shuffling forwards, when suddenly its head whips around to face you. You are caught in its glassy, vacant gaze as it turns and begins to lumber towards you.

    It is only around three metres away, and is blocking the way out to the tunnel. Around you there is a large pool of magma, a few small stones and a small pile of viscera you removed earlier. The lift is quite static, with no obvious controls. Jimmy is currently cowering by your heels.

    470 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7929 00:10

    punch him in the dick boy
    punch him in the dick boy
    punch him in the diiiiick
    punch him in the diiiiick

    471 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7930 15:27

    Stand at the edge of the magma and taunt the undead grunt to lure him closer. At the last moment run around and push him in!

    472 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7932 02:51

    Remember to put the gained skill point into the God stat to become a GOD.

    After which do a silly dance. And kick the priest in the dick.

    473 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7932 09:08

    ladies first

    474 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7936 00:13

    Well, this simply won't do at all, you decide. The dead are supposed to be dead, after all. You shall have to put this overactive cadaver in its place once and for all. You crouch, wait for it to come within range, then lunge in, delivering a crippling uppercut to the crotch. You follow up with more blows, but the corpse doesn't even flinch. It grabs you by the throat and lifts you clean off the ground. You kick and struggle for all you are worth, to no avail. The world fades away to black.

    Deaths: 17

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>469)

    You retreat as close as you can get to the magma (not that close, actually; it's really rather hot, you know) and dramatically exclaim "Oh, woe is me! I'm just a poor defenceless maiden, trapped here with this vicious monster! There is no hope for me!" It continues to stumble towards you as before. You try to convince yourself that your sweating is just from the heat and your shaking legs are just part of the lure, but lack quite that level of sangfroid.

    Once the grunt corpse is close enough, you duck to the left, trying to get behind it and push. It swipes at you in passing, however, grabbing you by the hair. You kick at its feet, successfully overbalancing it, and it falls face first into the magma. You barely manage to avoid being pulled with it, though you lose a little of your hair in the process. There is a loud hissing as the grunt's flesh sinks into the seething molten rock. Its limbs flail around, but you pin its back down with one foot and push it further in. Eventually, it stops moving.

    Unfortunately, it would appear that God is not a valid skill. Your available skills are aerokinesis, geokinesis, biokinesis, hypnosis, technomancy and ailuromancy. Being a god sounds rather bothersome anyway, what with people trying to prove you don't exist and silly things like that. Speaking of silly, you decide to do a little jig on the spot to celebrate overcoming that fearsome opponent. Hooray!

    More importantly, that smug little high priest didn't lift a finger to help you! Why, for all you know, it might even have been him who reanimated the corpse! Necessity is the mother of invention, and your need to kick him between the legs provides the seed of ingenuity for you to climb up the lift cables to go find him again.

    The space above is as dark and mysterious as before. The high priest does not talk to you this time, but you can hear an odd noise you cannot quite place. It sounds like some sort of low growling or rumbling, but distorted by echoes. You try to explore the area around you, but fail to locate the priest - or anything else for that matter. The space is clearly quite large and seemingly empty.

    Your searching is interrupted by a thumping noise. Looking down the lift shaft, you see that your undead friend is back - despite its head being encased in freshly formed basalt - and wants to come say hello. What now, you ask yourself: do you focus on tracking down that elusive priest, or prioritise your own personal safety by eliminating that wretched grunt first?

    Well, naturally, you, as the lady in the situation, take priority. Without hesitation, you jump feet first down the shaft, straight onto the grunt's head. It breaks your fall nicely, collapsing to the cavern floor with a crunch. You hop off its prone body to find Jack Conundrum-chan at the mouth of the cave. She rushes over and embraces you, expounding how glad she is you're safe. She says that Jimmy came to fetch her and led her here - indeed, the feline in question is just behind her.

    Even now, the corpse simply won't stay dead. It begins to rise back to its feet before your very eyes.

    475 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7936 05:37

    Put skill point into geokinesis, then use Conundrum-chan as a human shield.

    476 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7936 07:34

    Use the geokinesis to create a bunch of golems and shit and get the golems to rape the undead piece of shit with their fists until the shitty zombie thing is turned into soup.

    Then sex up Conundrum-chan while the golems kill and rape everything else that could ruin the making of fuck.

    477 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7937 03:20

    Pee on the undead.

    478 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7937 03:25

    update java

    479 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7937 23:45

    You place one skillpoint into geokinesis. You have unlocked the following skill:

    • Induced metamorphism (active skill): Can convert igneous/sedimentary rock into metamorphic equivalent, as though by application of high temperature and pressure. Costs twenty mana per kilogram.

    You hide behind Conundrum-chan. Jimmy hides behind you. Conundrum-chan hides behind Jimmy. The three of you end up in one tangled mass of limbs, all tripping over yourselves trying to retreat from the grunt corpse.

    You begin piling up little stones you find lying around into four vaguely humanoid/faecal shapes. You spend twenty mana (leaving thirty remaining) metamorphosing them, causing the limbs to fuse in place. You are left with four lumpy humanoid figures, each with a little layered pile of ordure upon their heads. They are each only about ten centimetres tall, and - as rocks tend to be - not awfully lively. You certainly wouldn't trust them to turn the rapidly advancing corpse into broth.

    Conundrum-chan grabs your hand and pulls you away towards the mouth of the tunnel. Some combination of the unexpected skinship and your recent emotional turmoil causes the thought to flit through your head that she is drawing you away in the interests of doing something lewd with you - oh my! I mean, perhaps you wouldn't say no, but...

    Whatever her intentions, you let yourself be led away into relative safety of the mouth of the lava tube, hoping without much conviction that your little golems will be able to hold off the undead menace.

    Gosh, that corpse is simply so irritating! Like a nettle or jellyfish sting! Perhaps, you muse, it might be treated in a similar way. Ignoring her protestations, you let go of Conundrum-chan's hand, turn on your heel, rush towards the irritative undead and, at the last moment, flip up your skirt and drop your pantsu. Strain as you might, however, your bladder won't comply. You just can't go with somebody watching.

    "No, Ariadne! The crotch thing only works if they can see it!" exclaims Conundrum-chan, already rushing towards you, but too late. It swipes at the side of your head, knocking you brutally to the ground. Skull fractured and spine dislocated, you die the moment you hit the ground.

    Deaths: 18

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>479)

    As a bastion of Indonesian culture, you feel it is vital that you provide the island of Java with an update on recent events. They won't believe it! I mean, the thing with the golems and all? At any rate, you aren't going to find any ways of contacting them in this cave. You run away with Conundrum-chan into the darkness.

    Despite sweaty palms, you don't let go of her hand until the two of you (three, including Jimmy) are back in the room with all the cloning apparatus. You cannot see or hear the corpse, but it may still be following you. You and Conundrum-chan rest against one of the pods, catching your breaths. You begin to consider your next plan of action.

    You have just emerged from the northwest tunnel. There is another leading northwards in the northeast corner, and two leading southwards in the southwest and southeast corners. There is also the spiral staircase leading to the surface. If you go that way, however, you'll have no way of crossing the river (if that's even what you want). You seem to recall the office with the cloning console had some useful looking equipment, if, on the other hand, you're planning on any more subterranean adventures.

    You aren't sure which way Java is.

    480 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7938 01:46

    If cloning apparatus is functional, create /at least 100/ clones of yourself.
    Send one to pee on the undead while the others block up the tunnel you just passed through.

    If cloning apparatus is not functional, take the north tunnel.

    481 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7938 06:39

    Find a pickaxe or similar tool, first.

    482 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7940 00:20

    You enter the office in the south wall of the room. Conundrum-chan follows you, grabs a small white box from the shelf and says, with slightly artificial nonchalance, that she has something to take care of quickly and she'll be right back. You hear a jangling as the padlock is removed from the locked door next to the office, then a faint creak as it opens and shuts again.

    You search the shelves for a pickaxe, finding in the process many cardboard boxes full of rocks, various stationery (paper, sample bags and such), a coil of rope, a canister of fuel, an electric torch, a pile of large white candles, a box of matches and two boxes full of Kendal mint cakes, amongst other things. After much rummaging, you find a geologist's hammer, which you keep.

    As Jack is away, you find yourself feeling a little mischievous. You find the cloning console still inoperative after your little outburst back at >>445, with the various cables disconnected from the rear of the machine. You plug them back in one at a time wherever they will go, push the power switch and are relieved to see the display spark back into life. After a minute's booting, you are confronted with the same convoluted interface as earlier.

    Unfortunately, there are only two templates to choose from, labelled "factory" and "C0". From observing Conundrum-chan earlier, you know that "factory" corresponds to the default grunts. You aren't sure what "C0" means, but you have no reason to suppose it corresponds to yourself, and you have no idea how to add yourself to the database - if that's even possible.

    Disappointed, you decide to go exploring a little. Conundrum-chan is still busy doing Conundrum-chan-ish things in the room next door. Without a word, you embark along the northeast tunnel. It tilts generally upwards, banking gently eastwards. After walking for about a hundred metres, the darkness is complete, and you cannot see a thing. You can feel a slight breeze coming from ahead.

    483 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7940 05:55

    Make more golems and keep them with you. Be prepared to chuck them at any signs of danger and hope that they'll cling on to whatever they hit and slow it down by dry humping it!

    484 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7940 07:54

    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself
    stop hitting yourself

    485 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7941 00:20

    Follow the breeze~

    486 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7941 22:47

    Groping around on the cavern floor, you amass three more little humanoid piles of rock, each somewhat larger than your previous works. With an expenditure of twenty mana (leaving ten remaining) you fuse them into their given forms - sadly, your skills in the dark arts aren't yet sufficient to grant them life. You tuck them into the pockets of your frilly dress, close at hand should they need to be used as improvised missiles. Whilst you're at it, you name them Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone.

    In order to stop hitting yourself, you would first have to start hitting yourself. You start by slapping yourself in the right cheek, as hard as you can. With a sound like a thunderclap, you are left with a stinging pain and a vague feeling of offence. Well, at least now you can stop hitting yourself.

    But then, without warning, you strike yourself again, this time in the left cheek. The pain is still lancing through your head when you feel a sharp blow to the solar plexus. Why is this happening? You try as hard as you can to stop hitting yourself, but your body shows no mercy on you. It knows your every weakness, and is more than willing to exploit them.

    Curled up in the foetal position, on the cold hard cavern floor, plunged in darkness and slowly being beaten to death by yourself, you are on the verge of despair when one last quantum of hope flickers into life in the back of your head. Your golems! Yes, you made them precisely for this sort of situation. You just have to throw them at yourself, and then hopefully you can force yourself to stop hitting yourself. What could possibly go wrong?

    You launch your three Erinyes directly upwards in quick succession, hoping that they'll cling to your limbs and dry hump them into submission. Instead, they strike you in the head, one by one, the last knocking the final spark of life from your beaten body.

    Deaths: 19

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>486)

    Furies pocketed, you decide to follow the gentle breeze that is now flowing playfully through your hair. But what does "following" mean in this case? Are you going to follow it in the direction it's going back to where you came from, or follow it in the direction you're going back to where it came from? You decide the latter sounds like the more interesting path to take.

    You continue to follow the lava tube. It grows narrow and branches, often braiding apart and together again, like streams in a river delta. The faint, cool touch of the wind against your cheek guides you ever onwards. Eventually you find yourself in a tunnel so narrow you have to crawl on your hands and knees, growing narrower still up ahead. The breeze is strong here, and you can almost smell the delicate tropical scents of the rainforest outside. Despite your slender frame, the passage seems dangerously constrictive. You feel some trepidation about advancing any further.

    487 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7942 15:42

    Keep going, using the geologists' hammer to open a path if necessary.

    488 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7942 15:53

    Check em

    489 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7943 16:17

    Compose a haiku of love for Jack

    490 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7944 00:23

    Well, you shan't stop here! With a deep breath, you press on into the claustrophobic little fissure ahead. Feeling about by hand, you discover it is somewhat wider than it is tall, but still only barely wider than your shoulder width. You reach in with your handy little hammer and chip away at the edges. With some encouragement the rock peels away in large flakes, allowing you a little more breathing space, but not awfully much. You proceed, pulling yourself along by your elbows, hacking away as necessary at the passage walls.

    About two or three metres in, the passage suddenly and sharply turns upwards. You manage to contort your upper body past the bend in the tunnel, but then, to your dismay, find yourself stuck. You can neither advance further nor go back, and cannot get a good angle with the geologist's hammer to widen the constricting region around your hips. An uncomfortable lump forms in your throat as you realise that, unless you can somehow extricate yourself from this predicament, it could be the end of you.

    While you're here, you decide you may as well check on the local electromagnetism. Firstly and most obviously, the fact you cannot see anything suggests a lack of radiation in the visible spectrum. Similarly, the only likely source of UV - that is, the Sun - is nowhere to be seen. The air is quite cool, suggesting only a little IR, most of it probably coming from you. You find yourself somewhat troubled by the fact that there could hypothetically be any amount of radio, microwave, X-ray or gamma radiation passing through your little body this very second and you'd have no way of knowing.

    Oh, if only Jack were here to help you!

    Two budding lilies
    The dew drips from my petals
    Can we ever bloom?

    491 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7944 00:32

    Concentrate on regaining forgotten powers to save us from this predicament.

    492 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7944 01:08

    offer water to the deceased through tear ducts

    493 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7946 00:04

    You screw your eyes closed and retreat within, delving beneath the murky waters of introspection in the hopes that you can retrieve some sort of ambiguous ability possessed by your former, pre-amnesia self that could help free you. But what, and how? How could another consciousness in your current position possibly do anything you can't already? You fail to gain anything more than a headache, but have the vague feeling that your memories are not lost forever. If only you had some sort of concrete memento or prompt of your former life...

    The frustration and helplessness which you had, so far, been able to suppress, wells up within you and erupts as a deluge of tears. You cry into the darkness, alternately sobbing piteously and wailing with anguish. The tears flow down your cheeks in five rivulets that swell into vast rivers and circle the Underworld seven times. The multitudinous souls of the dead bathe in your tears and suffer as you have.

    Or perhaps you're getting a little carried away. All this melodrama is actually a little embarrassing and unbecoming of an upstanding, independent young lady like yourself, you decide. You are just settling down and beginning to wonder what to do with the rest of the time between now and dying of thirst, when you hear a familiar voice in the back of your head.

    "Who are you? And what are you doing in there?" It sounds like the high priest.

    494 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7946 07:01

    "I am a Christmas Miracle! And I was in this pantry looking for Christmas Tea for the tea party!"

    495 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7946 18:00

    It doesn't matter who we are, what matters is our plan.

    496 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7946 21:55

    A girl. A plan. A canal. Palriga.

    497 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7947 13:37

    It must be a trap! Pee on high priest.

    498 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7947 20:14

    Make a forceful penetration despite knowing that it's a trap.

    499 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7948 00:07

    Thinking fast, you realise it might be prudent to overstate your own religious zealotry in order to gain the favour of the high priest - but, at the same time, you are simply too embarrassed to admit that you managed to get yourself stuck here. You claim it's all in preparation for christmas, but are caught out. "Ariadne, that's you, isn't it? We already celebrated Christmas for today. You led the ceremony, remember?"

    "Never mind that!" you counter, "More importantly, we must get on with the plan!" After a moment's contemplation, the high priest replies "You mean obtaining the stone dagger?"

    "No, I mean constructing the Palriga Canal!"

    Your ambition shocks the him into silence - momentarily, at least. Then, apparently discarding the issue, he says simply, "I'm afraid you're blocking the way I need to go. This passage wasn't meant for you anyway." You dodge the issue as far as you can, but eventually are forced to concede that you're stuck. The high priest casually offers to help you out.

    No! He's going to do something weird to you while you're helpless! You try to expel some sort of deterrent chemical from your lower body, before remembering that you're not a skunk and that urinating is probably not going to help your situation much. You try anyway, but just the thought that he's watching you causes you to freeze up.

    You feel something hairy brush against your legs, then hear a tearing sound. You find that pockets of your dress containing Alecto and Tisiphone have been torn open. Ah, those must've been what you were caught on! You hadn't even noticed. You wriggle loose, rearrange your possessions, and then renegotiate the narrow crook in the passage. You pass, this time, with only minor discomfort, and crawl onwards through the winding darkness until finally reaching an exit.

    You stand up and inspect your surroundings, finding yourself back on the surface. You are on the eastern bank of the major river you flew over earlier. It is dusk. The sky to the west is still light, but rapidly darkening, and you can already make out a few stars above. To the east is nothing but open jungle. You can hear various unidentifiable sounds and faint vocalisations coming from the southeast.

    A small, dark shape comes flying from the tunnel entrance and instantly vanishes into the undergrowth.

    Fully aware of the implications of your actions, you forcefully swing your geologist's hammer at the bank of the river. It is made of clay - soft, but relatively impermeable. You swing, again and again, finally breaking through into the tunnel. The river water rushes into the gap, gurgling away into the underground. There! That counts as a canal by your standards. I mean, you should probably add some locks, but you can always sort that out later.

    500 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7948 03:28

    Yell at the rocks!


    501 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7948 05:15

    Chill out by the canal.

    VC: chillor

    502 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7950 00:11

    Gosh, you think to yourself, you've been trapped underground for hours! What a gruelling experience. You take a deep breath of the cool, fragrant night air and shout - with much intensity but little articulation - at the ground beneath your feet. You express your triumph at leaving that foul underworld, your frustration at being inextricably trapped on or near the surface of this huge spinning ball of rock, and your vague fear of what unknown things might still lurk in those dark, serpentine tunnels that weave beneath your feet. You feel somewhat better for it.

    You brush at your dress - once beautiful and ornate, now badly worn, tattered in places and soaked in blood and sweat - and take a seat on the bank of the Palriga Canal. It is only about thirty centimetres across, but nonetheless a fine piece of amateur civil engineering. The sound of the river water flowing smoothly down the tunnel you came from is quite soothing as well. As you are waiting, the moon begins to rise from the east, casting a faint, pallid illumination over everything.

    You hear movement in the bushes to the south. Perhaps your shouting earlier attracted some attention? Before you can do more than get to your feet, two grunts emerge from the foliage. They are both wielding what appear to be wooden spears. You cannot see their facial expressions, but they seem quite nervous and are keeping their distance from you. One of them gestures towards you. You cannot tell if it's a threat or an invitation.

    503 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7950 06:54

    Invite the grunts to join us: Under the moon, loli to issho. If they attack, push them into the canal. If necessary, use aikido to disarm them.

    504 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7952 00:16

    You spread your arms and warmly invite your new friends to join you and fulfil their every sublunar fantasy. They baulk at the gesture, raising their spears but also backing away. A third figure appears from behind them, slightly hunched, with an odd bulge on their back. A stray moonbeam happens to glance from their face, revealing them to be none other than Jack Aaronova! You rush to embrace your long lost sister, but are interrupted by the grunts.

    Given the low lighting you cannot make out exactly what happens, but from what you can see, the grunt on the right (nearer the river) suddenly stiffens, turns to the other grunt and, with one quick jab, stabs him in the neck with his spear. The other grunt gurgles in distress and grasps the spear to pull it out, but then collapses to the ground. The offending grunt frees his weapon and stands, back to the river, facing Jack.

    Your best friend is under attack! Thinking fast, you hop across the canal, step into the shallows just off the river bank and sneak up behind him. The grunt begins to lunge for Jack - who safely dodges out of the way - at which point you charge him, grabbing him about the waist and pushing him headfirst into the mouth of the tunnel into which the Palriga flows. He slips straight in, losing hold of the spear in the process. He struggles for a minute or so, but is unable to escape from the hole, and eventually stops moving.

    For killing a sapient being, you have gained one skill point and fifty mana.

    Jack wraps her arms around you and breathes a heavy sigh of relief. "I... I've never seen one of them turn like that... I thought they always... Oh, what does it matter now? I'm so glad to see you, Ariadne, but we have to go. It's not safe here." She presses something into your hands, insisting that you need it more than she does. It appears to be the odd white electric weapon she took from Aaron back at >>430. On closer inspection, you realise that the bulge on her back is Aaron's jetpack. She is still wielding the ceremonial stone knife in her right hand.

    505 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7952 02:06

    Hold on to Jack.
    Be Jack.
    Fly straight up forever.

    506 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7952 06:05

    Put the skill point into learning Hokuto Shinken! If not possible for whatever reason, then put it into making the stupid ROCK powers less shite.

    Ask Jack if she's a Gundam.

    507 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7953 16:22

    fly north

    508 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7953 23:55

    You clasp your arms around Jack's neck, clinging to her warmly and taking comfort in the sensation of her body against yours.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Argh! What's this girl doing touching you suddenly‽ You try to politely brush her off, but she simply nuzzles closer to you. Well, you decide, if she's not going to listen then you'll just have to force her to let go. Without a word, you grasp the throttle of the jetpack and push as hard as you can. The two of you are launched high into the still night air.

    Ariadne squeals, but does not let go - and, unbelievably, clings closer to you still. You accelerate ever upwards, unheeding. Your unwitting passenger shouts something, but you cannot even hear it over the noise of the wind. Looking around, your view of the surrounding rainforest unfolds beneath you. A short distance to the north is the camp of which you are high priestess, where you were returning to before meeting Ariadne. Elsewhere, the river meanders silently down the valley, as strange, inscrutable shapes poke out from the forest canopy, swaying in the moonlight.

    Still, you keep flying upwards towards the infinite starry expanse above. Your camp is nothing but a tiny speck, hundreds of metres below you now. You can now see across the mountain ridges to the east and west, separating this valley from its neighbours. Some distance to the west is something emitting a decidedly unnatural blue light, but it's too dark and too distant to even guess what it might be.

    You are enjoying your tour of the troposphere so much, you forget what you were even trying to do to begin with. It is so very peaceful up here. You relax, feeling the cool breeze against your face. At that moment, with a splutter and a lurch, the jetpack abruptly cuts out. You stab at the controls, trying to will some life back into it, but to no avail. You cannot tell for certain, but you suspect it might've run out of fuel.

    The two of you tumble back to the unforgiving ground below, screaming the whole way. Your Icarian fall concludes with your unwelcome reintroduction to the Earth. You die horribly on impact.

    Deaths: 20

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>504)

    Unfortunately, none of the available skills presents a clear path towards learning that particular martial art. You can't help but feel all the exploding body parts and such seem rather unladylike, anyhow. Instead, you sensibly invest your one free skill point into geokinesis, unlocking the following skill:

    • Basic rock animation (active skill): Can cause objects made entirely of stone weighing less than one kilogram to temporarily animate. Animated rocks obey your instructions. Costs five mana per minute.

    Jack unilaterally denies being, or having ever been, a Gundam.

    Lacking the power of flight yourself, you settle for hitching a ride on Jack's jetpack. You have no difficulty persuading her to head northwards, as she says that's where she was heading anyway. After a brief but exhilarating flight across the treetops, the two of you land in a broad clearing with a large bonfire at its centre. There are fearful looking, ill equipped grunts loitering around in small clumps around the place. Next to the fire is a large stone object which you cannot quite see from where you are.

    Jack is just starting to say something, when there comes a loud cry from the forest to the east. Five grunts emerge, each dressed in identical off-white jumpsuits. Four are wielding wooden sticks with oddly bulbous ends, while the central one - who, coincidentally, is also wearing a rather familiar red headdress - wields instead a solid silver aspergillum. With a dramatic war cry, they charge into the clearing, catching several of the native grunts off guard and knocking them to the ground. From the north come another six invaders, catching more of the natives in a pincer manoeuvre.

    Jack raises her bloodstained knife, screams defiantly and leaps into the fray. You feel compelled to join the battle yourself.

    509 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7954 02:26

    What do the Kha'ak want?

    510 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7954 02:48

    giggle at the word "aspergillum"

    511 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7954 09:00

    Throw the dry humping golems! Then make a stone baseball bat or club or some shit like one and beat them all to death!

    Ask Jack what she'd do if she were a Gundam. Ask Jack if she likes G Gundam. Then, lean towards Jack and softly whisper to Jack: "Gandamu"

    512 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7954 15:51

    Does it cost 5 mana per minute, per rock? Or just 5 mana per minute regardless of how many rocks? Anyway, shove rocks into the central grunt's mouth, then animate one or all of them to rip apart their organs from the inside out.

    513 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7956 00:40

    But before you can defend yourself, your sister and her tribe against the incipient murder and pillaging, you must establish what the Kha'ak want. Wait, what? What is a Kha'ak? You try to recall how this curious thought found its way into your head - perhaps it might even be some remnant of your former self's memories! Frantically, you attempt to tease apart the threads of association with this word "Kha'ak", like a young child following the strings of a puppet back to the puppeteer.

    As you are busy with this futile endeavour, Jack leads a small band of four grunts against the secondary contingent. She manages to kill two of the attackers with her knife, and one more is struck down by one of her underlings. For every invader that falls, however, two more take its place, leaving nine on the north front. To the east, another six emerge behind the headdress-wearing grunt, making eleven. Native grunts are being slaughtered or forced to retreat left right and centre.

    One from the east approaches you, staff raised ready to bring down onto your skull. Now's the time! You have both the geologist's pick and the electric device at hand; all you have to do is evade this clumsy attack and fell the invader, which shouldn't be too difficult unless you get distracted by... wait, what's that thing in the leading grunt's hand? Is that an ...?

    "Hehehe, it sounds like asparagus!" you giggle to yourself. Unimpeded, the grunt splits your fragile skull asunder, the fragments of which tear into your frontal lobe, killing you instantly.

    Deaths: 21

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>508)

    You decide it is time for your stony Furies to fly the nest. Megaera strikes an invading grunt in the shin, leaving him to be stabbed in the face by an opportunistic native. Alecto almost strikes the leading grunt, but he ducks just in time, leaving her to land harmlessly in the undergrowth outside the clearing. Finally, Tisiphone strikes an invader at the back of the group squarely in the head, causing him to collapse like a sack of potatoes.

    For killing a sapient being, you have gained one skill point and fifty mana.

    The ground around here consists of well beaten dirt, without any available stones - large or small - that you could fuse together into a weapon. Nothing else in your inventory appears particularly conducive to beating others to death.

    Perhaps this killing business isn't for you after all. You decide to try encouraging Jack instead, as she could probably do with it. But traditional cheerleading always seemed so insincere; you elect to lift her spirits with some engaging conversation instead. You attempt to inflame her imagination with a theoretical exercise in being a giant humanoid robot, but she makes no response. Falling back on something a little less mentally taxing, you inquire as to her disposition towards the more modern entries to the franchise, and whether they live up to their predecessors.

    Jack, momentarily distracted by you, is struck a glancing blow to the side by one of the grunts attacking her. Risking a foray into the front line, you charge in, dodging many crushing blows, until you are crouched by Jack. "Gandamu" you whisper, carefully enunciating each syllable. Apparently indifferent, she gets back to her feet and gets back to the carnage.

    514 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7956 00:41

    Basic rock animation (active skill) costs five mana per minute per discrete stone object animated.

    You happen to notice, conveniently enough, that you still have a single shard of obsidian tucked into your back pocket which you picked up back at >>466. You skip over to the grunt with the headdress, with a cunning plan dancing in the back of your head. "Oh no!" you wail, "Please, help me! I've been taken hostage by this horrible tribe!" He hesitates, aspergillum ready to be swung, and opens his mouth to say something.

    This is the only opening you need. You jam the obsidian shard into his mouth and will it to move around inside. He makes some panicked vocalisations, drops his weapon and, with both hands, digs in his mouth, trying to pull it out - but too late. He falls to his knees, blood erupting from his mouth. It takes more than a minute of the stone digging around before, finally, he stops moving.

    For killing a sapient being, you have gained one skill point and fifty mana. You currently have two unspent skill points and 150 mana.

    With their leader killed, the invaders all suddenly turn to you and, in unison, scatter and run back into the forest. There is a tense silence, with you, Jack and the remaining natives all looking and listening as hard as possible, waiting for them to regroup and attack in a second wave. Instead, you hear a rhythmic thumping from the east, and a tall, dark shape appears above the trees, silhouetted against the rising moon.

    It reveals itself to be Rupert. The booming voice of the high priest resonates through your mind: "YOU DARE DEFY THE WILL OF THE CHURCH OF THE SCHISMATICS‽" Rupert steps into the clearing, lit majestically from beneath by the firelight. You finally see a small shape on his head: a certain tortoiseshell cat, standing human-like on his hind legs, with an elaborate red headdress atop his little head.

    "I WILL EXTERMINATE EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU PATHETIC WRETCHES!" declares Theodore, High Priest of the Schismatics.

    515 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7956 00:56

    Jack has the passive skill cat possession, right? So we should be able to play as Theodore. Be Theodore and don't exterminate anybody. Order the grunts to throw their weapons into the river, then come down from Rupert and do cute cat things.

    516 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7956 04:49

    eat self

    517 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7956 11:22

    Put the skill points into the shitty rock powers and learn to make sexy rock armor. And maybe make good rock weapons that don't suck.

    Also, collect a bunch of rocks along the way and fuse them into the sexy rock armor that isn't too heavy but is strong enough to withstand a ton of shit. And the weapon, there needs to be a suitable weapon with the sexy rock armor.

    Ask Jack her opinion on Megaman. Tell her you like the white Megaman.

    Maybe pick up the golems to bring them with you.

    518 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7958 00:29

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Via your cat possession (passive skill), you are now playing as Theodore.

    Looking down upon the miserable little humans you are about to crush, an odd feeling stirs within your breast. It reminds you of that sudden avariciousness that came over you some time around >>334 when you discovered that killing people can bestow arcane powers upon you. Despite previously being more than satisfied with your own natural abilities, you were then overcome by a thirst for power, especially power over others.

    Hence why, once separated from Ariadne, you ended up founding a religious sect, sacrificing some of your worshippers and spending the resultant skill points in the hypnosis skill. This proved rather useful, especially the ability to project thoughts. As time has passed, however, you have discovered a worrying trend of taking on more and more human traits. You can't even remember when you started walking on your hind legs, but quadrupedal motion already feels unnatural.

    Looking down from your lofty vantage point, you lock eyes with that simpering little girl with the lilac dress. And yet - damn it all! - you cannot think of anything but that warm sensation of being curled up in her lap and stroked and loved by her. Her once beautiful clothing is now torn and dirtied and - oh no, is that blood? What have you done‽

    Without a thought, you call off the invasion, projecting the message to all of your subjects in range, and using up almost all of your remaining mana in the process. You dismount your proud steed and return to land. Thankfully it seems your mistress isn't seriously injured, if at all, but the shock is still enough to convince you to abandon your recent way of life.

    On all fours, you scamper over to Ariadne and rub affectionately at her legs. Apparently completely forgetting your recent threat, she playfully rubs your belly. You revel in the existentialist authenticity of being a cat and doing catty things. You purr in delight.

    Momentarily forgetting what it is cats do, you end up chasing your own tail and trying to eat it, like a furry little ouroboros. You fail to catch it.

    You don't have any available skill points. As a perfectly ordinary, everyday, innocent feline, you don't know anything about sexy rock armour or its manufacture. There aren't any rocks nearby, and even if there were you'd have no way of fusing them into anything.

    That other girl - Jack, was it? - has, meanwhile, arrived nearby and is talking to Ariadne. She momentarily stops stroking you to listen. Jack seems to be saying something about you not being trustworthy, and that they need to find shelter for the night, or some similarly trifling matter. You passingly notice that she's holding that stone dagger you used to care about so much.

    "Meow, meeeow meow meow meeow?" you ask. "Meow meow meooow meow." you clarify. Through her feline communication (passive skill), she receives your query, but rather than answer instead demands that you divulge your true motives.

    There are two vaguely humanoid stone objects lying in the dirt on the edge of the clearing. You consider retrieving them, but they appear rather heavy, and you aren't sure how you'd carry them anyway.

    Avoiding Jack's question, you look around at your surroundings. The pyre in the centre of the clearing is slowly dying down. The clearing, especially its north and east faces, are littered with corpses and pools of blood. The remaining native grunts seem to have all retired for the night into various ramshackle shelters to the northwest. Rupert is currently browsing the trees to the east. All is peaceful.

    Nonetheless, you find yourself afflicted by a vague sense of dread.

    519 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7962 15:48

    Theodore: Ride on Jack's shoulder to be useful later!
    Ariadne: put skill points into geokinesis!
    Jack: lead our party back to wherever we got the loyal grunts.

    520 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7963 00:14

    Jack clearly still has trouble trusting you, but eventually you persuade her to let you curl up around the back of her neck. This arrangement proves somewhat uncomfortable for all involved, and with her every step you are jittered to and fro in a manner most frightful. She is a poor substitute indeed for Rupert.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    You assign your two newly acquired skill points to geokinesis, unlocking the following skills:

    • Stone resistance (passive skill): Are significantly more resistant - though not entirely immune - to injury involving stone, e.g. being hit by rocks, falling from a height onto stone, being buried under rocks.
    • Stone morphing (active skill): Can change shape of stones or objects made of stone, including separation into multiple objects. Costs twenty mana per kilogram.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Your new animate scarf is rather weighing upon your nerves, especially given its sharp claws and incessant fidgeting. The loyal - more or less, barring that one who turned on you on the riverside - grunts were, naturally, both members of your own tribe, from this very camp. You had recruited the two of them as meatshields while you scouted the area, looking for that mysterious undead girl you decided to help kill back at >>423,424. You tried searching for her along the path where you first saw her back at >>380, but there was no sign of her.

    As you have already safely led your party back to your tribe's camp, from which you got the grunts, you decide it might be a good time to rest and recuperate. Indeed, you could really do with some sleep and, by the looks of her, so could your dear sister Ariadne. Just as you turn and head for the shelters, however, you hear a sharp intake of breath from behind you.

    Turning around, you see Ariadne hunched over the ceremonial altar, running her hands over the inscriptions. On closer inspection, one of the large, central engravings on the upper face actually looks a lot like her, right down to the frilly dress. The other human figure sort of resembles you - though, then again, it could just as easily be your clone.

    Ariadne says, haltingly, quietly at first, but with growing conviction, "I... I remember... Yes, I remember everything! Th-the plan! My plan - oh, what have I been doing‽ I have to - ah!"

    She looks up suddenly. Following her gaze, you find that the each of the grunts who were recently killed in action are back on their feet, apparently indifferent to their various shattered skulls and gruesome puncture wounds. There is at least eight of them; more might be concealed from view by the trees. Their advance is slow, but relentless. A small, dense kernel of guilt forms in your stomach as you remember that this is your fault.

    You happen to note that you have three unspent skill points left over from the battle.

    521 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7963 00:39

    Allocate skill points to aerokinesis. Ask Ariadne for advice.

    Theodore: try to hypnotise the undead. If that fails, just meow uselessly.

    522 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7963 00:50

    Ariadne: make a sexy ass rock scythe out of our golems. Not too heavy for us to wield. Nice and sharp for cutting off zombie heads.

    523 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7964 17:57

    lift penis

    524 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7965 00:13

    Suspecting that ailuromancy has helped you about as much as it's going to, you change tack and instead see if this aerokinesis business might help. You have unlocked the following skills:

    • Summon gust (active skill): Can create a weak, momentary gust of wind nearby. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs 10 mana.
    • Summon fog (active skill): Can cause all water vapour in the air in a five metre sphere around your position to condense out into fog. Costs 50 mana.
    • Summon convection (active skill): Can create a strong local convection cell five metres in diameter around your current position. Costs 30 mana.

    You entreat Ariadne for some advice in military tact, suggesting, perhaps, constructing a choke point, or trying to flank the enemy. She turns to you, an odd glint in her eye, and says "I'm not called Ar-- actually, never mind that. If I were you I'd just create a distraction and make a tactical retreat. Speaking of which, I'm afraid I've pressing business elsewhere with a certain girl who looks a lot like you. Adieu!" With a shrewd smile and a flutter of the hand, she begins to levitate and silently glides away over the trees and into the night sky.

    Via your cat possession (passive skill), you are now playing as Theodore.

    Unfortunately, you find that your temporary hypnosis (active skill) only works on conscious, sentient creatures. You meow mournfully right into Jack's ear. She does not appear to appreciate your contribution.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    Your head is still spinning from your sudden influx of memories. You still remember how to levitate - how could someone forget something so fun! - but some of your more distant memories are a little fuzzy. You do, however, vividly remember your plan, and are quite singleminded in your desire to see its fruition.

    Well, not quite singleminded enough to forget one other minor point of business on the way. You float elegantly back to the clearing, whisk by over Jack's head (you're glad you thought to wear so many frilly petticoats, otherwise those on the surface might see something immodest) and aim the little mechanical trinket Jack kindly gave you at the centre of the advancing horde. You pull the trigger and a web of lightning flashes from the tip, lancing through the ground and the grunt corpses. They collapse to the ground, spasming and twitching harmlessly.

    Now safe from unwanted gentlemanly advances, you descend and reconvene your little Furies. It takes a while to find Alecto, as she'd ended up outside the clearing, but you manage without incident. Finally, you press the three together and transmute them into a lovely new stone farming implement. As it is approximately three kilograms in weight, this sets you back by 60 mana, leaving you 90 remaining.

    There wasn't quite enough material to make a full length handle, so it's more like a sickle than a scythe, but its compactness is probably a virtue. Unfortunately the metamorphic rock comprising it cannot hold a very sharp edge - on the other hand, the banding is rather aesthetically pleasing. You test it out on a nearby grunt. To your disappointment, it takes three hacks to achieve full decapitation.

    Come to think of it, this weapon reminds you of a certain other scythe you saw or heard about somewhere. Hmm, what was it called... something about donkeys... bad donkeys... and - that's right! Jacqueline dying horribly! What pleasant memories. Perhaps you could name this one as well, as a homage of sorts.

    Jack and Theodore are staring at you warily from across the clearing. In the forest to the east, Rupert has stopped ruminating and is instead stamping around nervously, perhaps disturbed by the electrical discharge. Unless there's anything else pressing, you really ought to go see Conundrum-chan.

    A fine, upstanding young lady like yourself wouldn't be seen doing anything like that. The penises can lift themselves, thank you very much.

    525 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7965 05:13

    Ride Rupert to Conundrum-chan!

    526 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7966 03:34

    ride through the jungle on a brontosaurus with no name

    527 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7966 23:31

    be certain that said brontosaurus is Brobdingnagian.

    528 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7967 00:31

    May as well travel in style, you reflect. Indeed, arriving on brontosaurusback should provide a good topic of light conversation, and perhaps allow you to avoid the thorny issue of the fact that you declared love for one another and kissed passionately last time you met. Of course, you weren't in your right mind then. It goes without saying that you don't really feel that way about her - how absurd! I mean, a girl loving another girl? That's not normal!

    Shaking your head briskly, you mount Rupert and embark westwards, making sure to trample a few grunt corpses on the way for good measure. Jack and Theodore appear to have prudently taken your advice and already made themselves scarce. You march inexorably through the moonlit trees until arriving at the riverbank. Unfortunately, the Palriga Canal, though majestic, has blocked off that particular route to Conundrum-chan's previous residence in the underground cloning facility - not to mention, there's no way Rupert would fit down there.

    Well, it'll take more than that to stop you. You will your pantagruelian steed onwards into the thick, dark waters. After some initial hesitation, he wades slowly into the river, just barely resisting the forceful currents and swirling eddies.

    You wish you could, but the only brontosaurus available has already been nomenclated. In fact, you rather suspect the task to be impossible, as even an ostensibly nameless brontosaurus would implicitly be called the brontosaurus with no name. Indeed, the word brontosaurus is itself, in a sense, a name.

    Though fairly average sized amongst Sauropoda, Rupert towers uncontested above all other fauna in the area. He is like an anachronism born of some primordial time ruled by gods and titans. You rub his scaly neck affectionately.

    After what seems an eternity, you arrive at the opposite bank, and then at the small clearing with the odd white building where you landed with the jetpacks back at >>410. Sitting in front of the building you find that man - what did he call himself again? Aaron, that was it - sitting before a modest campfire. Jimmy is lying curled up in his lap, fast asleep.

    "Ariadne! Thank goodness you're here!" he exclaims as soon as he sees you, "Something terrible has happened underground. Conundrum-chan is... well, you'd better see for yourself..." He trails off uncertainly. You're not sure you trust this man, after he shamelessly took advantage of your amnesia to masquerade as your father. He's probably one of these detestable lolicon types.

    529 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7967 06:00

    Express all of our conflicting feelings in the form of a song.

    530 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7967 14:19

    Sing a song that uses the phrase "Brobdingnagian brontosaurus" liberally in the lyrics.

    531 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7969 00:33

    You bring Rupert a little closer, until you are looking down at Aaron like a valkyrie at a cowardly soldier. With a deep breath, you begin to sing, in turns aggressively and melancholically:

    Now listen here, you little worm:
    I'm feeling more than a little tired;
    You wouldn't believe the emotional quagmire
    In which I a find myself mired!

    I feel angrier than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Who's been stung by a horsefly!
    I feel sadder than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Who just watched his family die!

    I'm happy to have my memories back,
    Yet now I miss simpler times;
    My absurd machinations seem better suited
    To children's pantomimes!

    I feel happier than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Listening to his favourite album!
    I feel more conflicted than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Being tested by Milgram!

    I'm worried for Conundrum-chan,
    But also don't entirely trust her;
    Why did I confess to her?
    I'm too young to have a lover!

    I feel more lovestruck than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Who just had his first kiss!
    I feel more hopeless than a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus
    Having an existential crisis!

    Aaron looks quite taken aback. "You, um, got your memories back, you said?" he asks at last. You nod. He gets to his feet carefully, trying - without success - to avoid waking Jimmy in the process, and walks towards the door. The cat grumbles at being disturbed, yawns, looks around placidly and then goes back to sleep, still in Aaron's arms.

    He says in a low voice, "Well, you had better tell Conundrum-chan, if you can find her down there. I'll follow right behind you, but I... I just don't dare go alone."

    532 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7969 00:41

    Take an apple juice break.

    533 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7969 00:45

    Get off Rupert and go inside.
    Be Aaron. As soon as Ariadne has gone a few steps inside, throw Jimmy at her and shut the door behind them, then run as fast as possible in the other direction.

    534 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7969 01:07

    Apologize for all the racially insensitive references towards the noble people of Brobdingnag in this story.

    535 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7970 23:44

    Unable to admit your own apprehension at descending into the foreboding depths, you stall for time by exclaiming how very parched your throat is, and how you'd like a nice drink of apple juice before starting anything new. Aaron asks you to wait there and disappears indoors. He returns thirty seconds later holding an unmarked plastic bottle of water, which he offers to you proudly.

    You smack it from his hands, onto the ground. "Does this look like apple juice to you?" you demand. He stares dejectedly down at his feet and mumbles some vague apology.

    Well, that's enough of that, you decide. Leaving Rupert behind - you're quite sure he can fend for himself - you slowly make your way into the building, Aaron following nervously a few steps behind.

    You cannot play as Aaron; you can only play as members of your current party.

    As soon as you've gone a few steps inside, you wrench Jimmy from Aaron's grip, throw her in the air, slam the outer door shut behind yourselves and, narrowly avoiding the yowling mass of fur and claws now descending from the ceiling, run along the corridor and down the spiral staircase. You keep running, feet tapping away against the narrow stone steps, corkscrewing ever downwards. You don't look back.

    Breathing hard, you finally emerge into the cloning facility. A cursory glance reveals no more of the cloning pods have been opened since you were last here. The waters of the Palriga Canal are flowing steadily from the mouth of the northeast tunnel down to the southeast. You notice that the door on the south wall that was previously padlocked shut is currently ajar. Curiosity piqued, you crane your neck around the edge and peek inside. It's very bright inside, but, straining your eyes, you manage to make out - my god, it's-- !

    You hear footsteps approaching behind you. You turn to see Aaron, with a strange smile on his lips. Before your very eyes, his form blurs and transforms into that of Jack Conundrum-chan. Ah yes, you forgot she had that ability. Still smiling, she takes a step closer and says, simply, "Sorry Cassie-chan, but there's been a change of plans."

    "I-I'm sorry" you manage to stammer out. Then, all at once, Conundrum-chan makes a violent movement too fast for you to decipher, you see a flash of light and feel a burst of pain, and then all is dark and silent. You cannot feel or sense a thing. This state continues for a while; you aren't sure how long. It seems like only a second or two, yet you awaken with that unmistakeable lethargic, contented feeling after sleeping for longer than normal.

    You open your eyes. You find yourself sat at a large round table with a white tablecloth. The table is laden with frilly doilies, various tea making paraphernalia, small plates of biscuits, cakes, sandwiches, fresh and dried fruit, and other such innocent niceties. Sat opposite you, next to one another, are Alexei and Jacqueline. Two seats over to their right is Aaron - perhaps the real one, this time. They are each dressed in fine, smart clothing - suits and evening dresses, as appropriate - with clean, well styled hair, and beautiful, unblemished appearances. The only exception is Jacqueline, who has a white bandage wrapped tightly around her face covering both eyes. They are all smiling warmly.

    Looking around, you appear to be in the base of a wooded glen. A small stream gurgles nearby. Birds sing from the branches. The sun shines from amidst wisps of cirrus and clumps of cumulus. A light, cool breeze blows intermittently. The serenity is almost surreal.

    Returning your attention to the table, you find that all three present are looking at you. "So glad you could join us, Cassandra! Or was it Ariadne?" says Alexei jovially. "At any rate, would you like a cup of tea?" "B-but you're dead..." you object. Indeed, you vividly recall seeing him explode and die horribly. "Well yes, we're all dead here." he concedes. "Anyway, tea?"

    536 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7971 00:03

    Say that you would prefer apple juice.

    537 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7971 03:47

    take the res sickness and revive at the spirit healer

    538 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7972 01:23

    Become a guiding spirit for Jack Aaronova.

    539 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7972 04:05

    put face firmly between dead man's buttocks

    deeply inhale

    540 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7972 04:16

    get shot nine times for your money

    541 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7972 04:28

    Rub the dead man's buttocks to summon the genie of the butt (this butt).

    542 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7973 00:01

    You decide to play along for now. First of all, you never managed to take that apple juice break you wanted. You politely request some nice cloudy apple juice, which Alexei kindly obliges, citing your earlier demand back at >>401,404. "Hope this makes up for my singing, eh?" He jokes, handing you a tall glass containing an opaque green liquid, which you cautiously sip at.

    It is wonderful. Cool enough to refresh, but not so cold as to impair the taste; thick, but not fibrous; full and deep in flavour, with hints of citrus. If you were an apple, to become part of a juice like this is all you could ever wish for. Before you know it you've emptied the entire glass.

    You close your eyes and hope that some kind soul will come by your lifeless corpse, heal your spirit and resuscitate you - I mean, who wouldn't want to perform mouth-to-mouth on such a beautiful, alluring young lady as yourself? You wouldn't even mind if this caused some sort of abstract illness, just so long as you could be alive again. You aren't ready for the afterlife just yet.

    As your revival doesn't appear to be forthcoming, you open your eyes again. Aaron is just concluding a joke or story of some sort that you weren't listening to. "...So then he bursts in, shouting "Look everyone, I just proved the Jacobian conjecture!"" The three burst into peals of laughter, Alexei slapping his knee enthusiastically. Sensing an opening in the conversation, you enquire as to how you might go about influencing the world of the living, perhaps specifically that Aaronova girl.

    They casually admit that they don't know about anything like that. "Now that we're in paradise," counters Aaron, "Why worry about past lives? Here, have a scone instead. The clotted cream is to die for!"

    Politely declining, you decide more drastic measures are needed to verify that you really have joined the ranks of the dead. Vision is easily fooled; olfaction less so. Aaron looks quite living - for that matter, you didn't even know he was dead until you met him here - and you didn't see Jacqueline die either. You choose to focus on Alexei, as he is most certain to be dead.

    You rise from your seat and demand that Alexei follow suit. Ignoring the impropriety of your actions, you crouch and take a deep breath of his derrière. It smells like fresh laundry drying outside on a windy day. Well, at any rate, he doesn't smell like the reanimated corpse of an eccentric theoretical physicist, so you can safely discard that idea.

    Perhaps, you hypothesise, if you die here, you'll go back to the real world? Well, it's not like you've any better ideas. Unfortunately, nobody is willing - or able - to shoot you repeatedly, not even with the promise of monetary reimbursement.

    You give Alexei's backside a gentle pat and fondle, just for good measure. He clears his throat uncomfortably and returns to his seat. No genies emerge.

    It seems you're here for the long haul. Maybe you could try interrogating the locals, or reconnoitring the surroundings, or coming to peace with your past sins, or just gorging yourself on light confectionery.

    543 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7973 00:17

    Go find the ghosts of Vladimir Lenin and Kim il Sung and join with them to lead a Socialist revolution and install ourself as Chairman for Life of the People's Republic of Heaven.

    544 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7973 00:21

    Ask for a cigarette.

    545 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7973 03:32

    Follow the stream upstream, back to the world of the living.

    546 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7974 23:19

    Now that you think about it, if this really is the afterlife then it ought to be a little better populated. I mean, not just the famous historical figures, but you distinctly recall brutally murdering several grunts. Perhaps the other dead are elsewhere in this place, or perhaps they went to a different afterlife. You decide to go off searching to see for yourself. Who knows? Perhaps you might happen across some famous communist dictators.

    Turning your back on the tea party, you head into the woods, climbing generally uphill and out of the little valley. The trees are sparsely set, and their branches allow plenty of sunlight through. The forest floor is littered with pine needles and patches of clover. You wander for about an hour, finding several grassy clearings, banks of wildflowers, songbirds, colourful insects, wild rabbits and other such lovely things, but nothing human. Disappointed, you return to where you started. The three of them are still sitting around just as they were when you left.

    Ghosts or no ghosts, it's time to take a stand. "Comrades!" you entreat, banging a fist on the table, "It is time for a revolution! No longer shall we suffer at the hands of the bourgeoisie; under my benevolent rule we shall live in a fair and equal paradise, which I hereby name the People's Republic of Heaven!" Alexei laughs and toasts to your success, apparently happy with the arrangement. Aaron objects, in mock seriousness, to the name of your new state, saying that he thinks it seems more like Elysium or perhaps the Asphodel Meadows rather than Heaven. Jacqueline smiles warmly, but says nothing.

    You decide to exercise your new power. Best to start simple, though. Your demand for a cigarette is met with troubled glances, as none present seem to possess anything of the sort, but after a moment's head scratching you notice one perched on the edge of the saucer in front of you. How odd, you don't remember seeing it there earlier.

    Happy that your budding communist utopia can govern itself in your absence, you decide to go for a second expedition, this time to the source of the little brook nearby. You follow it upwards through patches of forest and small fields of bracken, then through rocky outcroppings and alpine meadows. You find its source: a small waterfall - little more than a trickle down the side of a cliff - above a round mountain lake, no more than ten metres across. The surface of the water is perfectly still, reflecting the open sky. It's very pretty, even if it isn't what you were looking for.

    There's something odd about the reflection, though. Whilst the blue parts should be solid colour - with, at most, a slight gradient - the more you look, the more you begin to notice faint lines, or seams in the texture. You cannot tell for certain whether it is the outline of something under the water, or faint ripples on the surface, or even the reflection of something in the sky.

    547 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7974 23:48

    Put the cigarette between your lips. Don't light it, just hold it there and waggle it from time to time.

    548 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7975 05:43

    Pee on reflection of sky in lake.

    549 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7975 06:49

    Dive in and go as deep as possible. Breathe in.

    550 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7975 20:28

    go to space through the lake using gap wizardry

    551 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7977 00:55

    Now that you no longer need to worry about dying slowly and painfully of cancer, you decide you may as well try one of these little bundles of addiction and carcinogenesis. Well, when you say "try", you're not sure you really want to inhale all that foul smelling smoke; you'd rather just stick it in your mouth and look cool. So you do.

    Whilst slipping off your pantsu, you ponder your own sudden desire to defile that which is tranquil, questioning whether it is simply a reflexive retaliation against the saccharine toothlessness of your new environment, or the directionless rebellion common to teenage girls, or some deeper animalistic cruelty of the human psyche, or perhaps just that you drank all that apple juice earlier and it has to come out somehow.

    You squat in place and relieve yourself into the lake. Ripples play on the surface as your efflux joins the clear mountain waters. Bladder emptied, you breathe a sigh of satisfaction and put your pantsu back on.

    Throwing all caution to the wind, still fully clothed, you take a run up and dive headfirst into the lake. Thankfully, it proves to be amply deep enough. It is bracingly cold, but the sensation is not unpleasant. You keep diving, pushing, kicking ever deeper, towards whatever lies at the bottom. You keep going for several metres; much deeper than the lake really has any right to be. You open your eyes, but the light doesn't reach this far down. Lungs burning, you press on, waiting for your arms to brush against that silty surface which must be just in front of you, but the moment doesn't come.

    You realise you already haven't enough breath to get all the way back to the surface. Whether deliberately or by instinct you aren't sure, but you suddenly and sharply inhale through your mouth. The freezing lake water shoots into your mouth, down your trachea and into your lungs. You try to cough but cannot. You flail about, suddenly unaware even which way is up, suffocating in slow agony. Eventually all goes dark. In your final moments you think you hear a mechanical voice saying something about errors or exceptions or ejection or something like that.

    You return to consciousness, unsure how much time has passed. You fill your lungs in one deep, panicked breath, but find yourself in air and in no danger of drowning anyway. You open your eyes and slowly sit up, sore all over and with a dull headache. You are in a small square room, much like the office with the cloning console where you confessed to Conundrum-chan (what were you thinking‽).

    In the centre of the room is an obsidian cube, with various cables emerging from its upper face. Lying splayed out around it are the unconscious bodies of Jacqueline, Alexei and Aaron, each with cables leading into their mouth, ears and nostrils, and with what appears to be electroencephalography apparatus attached to their scalps. Another, thicker cable leads away to the southwest corner of the wall and disappears behind a shelf.

    With a start, you realise that you are still plugged in yourself, and immediately extract all the nodes from your facial orifices. More bizarrely still, your clothes are still damp, and there is even the soggy remains of a cigarette lodged in the corner of your mouth. Free for now, you decide to take a look around.

    There are shelves on three sides of the room, each covered in unmarked cardboard boxes. A bare halogen light bulb dangles from the ceiling. On the north wall is a thick set steel door. You try the handle, but it is locked; if this is where you think it is, it's probably padlocked from the other side.

    Well, this isn't space, but your miraculous teleportation certainly does seem like some sort of wizardry.

    552 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7977 02:29

    Carefully attempt to disconnect Alexei from the machine, removing the apparatuses one by one.

    553 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7979 00:21

    You cautiously tug the cables from Alexei's mouth, nose and ears, as though pulling spaghetti from a live electrical socket. Besides some slight facial twitches, there is no response. Breath held nervously, you peel away the net of sensors on his head. He remains lying exactly as before, eyes closed, breathing shallowly.

    Just as you are fearing you might've done some permanent damage, his eyelids flutter open and he sits up, cradling his head and muttering something incomprehensible. He looks blearily around at the small room. "B-but..." he begins, as though protesting that reality itself is being unfair. He stares at you, then at the palms of his hands, then down at Jacqueline.

    "Dammit, no!" he barks suddenly. Before you can stop him, he roughly wraps the EEG sensors over his scalp and shoves the cables back into his face. As the last one strikes home, he loses consciousness and collapses back onto the floor. Well, you can't entirely blame him.

    554 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7979 02:00

    Draw penises on unconscious people's cheeks, then begin exploring the rest of the area.

    555 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7979 21:53

    Look for a ventilation grate

    556 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7981 00:09

    You begin investigate the boxes on the shelves, seeking some sort of drawing implement for mischievous purposes. Many of them are empty, or contain nothing but wrapping paper or bubble wrap. Those that aren't empty contain generic mining/spelunking paraphernalia, or vacuum packed rations. Finally, you happen across a single biro, with its end chewed, in amongst a pile of risk assessment forms. You duly decorate the cheeks of the three dreamers with little phalli. That'll teach them to live in a false reality!

    Feeling fulfilled, you turn back to searching the shelves - after all, there isn't much else to explore around here. After a while, you realise, firstly, that all the boxes show signs of having been opened, and secondly, judging by the tool-shaped depressions in the linings of some of the boxes, everything potentially useful appears to have been removed. There's a lot of paperwork, stationery, rock samples and suchlike, but not much of any practical use. You do, however, still have in your inventory your trusty geologist's hammer, the stone sickle you crafted earlier, and that odd white gun thing Jack gave you back at >>504.

    Just as you are considering abandoning your search, you find, in a small box at the back of one of the shelves, concealed by a layer of wax paper, four long, cylindrical red objects. Initially you mistake them for candles, before noticing the long fuses emerging from their tips. They appear to be sticks of dynamite.

    You inspect the walls behind each of the shelves, searching for the ever convenient human sized ventilation duct. You find that the cable leading from the cube in the centre of the room towards the southwest corner continues into a hole at the base of the wall, heading westwards. The hole is only five centimetres in diameter, and you can barely fit your hand in it. There is a very slight airflow coming from it, and, pressing your eye to the opening, you can see light coming from the other end.

    557 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7981 01:14

    use one of the pickaxes to mine through to the other side of the wall

    558 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7981 03:09

    grow penis

    559 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7981 05:16

    Take dynamite. Put one of the sticks in the hole at the base of the wall. Stand far away and shoot it with the white gun thing.

    560 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7983 00:12

    You can't find any pickaxes; the closest available is your own geologist's hammer. You use it to hack away at the wall like a jolly dwarf. Beneath the thin outer veneer of plaster, you find a layer of crumbling red bricks held together with mortar. It proves frustrating resistant to your feeble tool, and you can do little more than chip the edges. At this rate it would take hours to be able to pry a single brick loose, and even then there's probably at least the same again on the other side. You give up once your arms get tired.

    You aren't sure how to do that - or whether you'd really want to, even. I mean, besides its veined, bulbous form being aesthetically displeasing and unladylike, the debilitating pain of being kicked in the testicles would be a serious liability in a combat situation. Your current genital status might well be preferable.

    Carefully, knowing its reputation as a sensitive, violent contact explosive that slowly decays over time into other, more sensitive, violent contact explosives, you ease a single stick of dynamite from its little Pandora's box and push it gently into the hole. Thankfully, it does not detonate and you do not lose any of your precious few limbs in the process.

    Equally carefully, to avoid any collateral explosion, you move the box and its remaining cargo as far away as possible from the imminent shockwave and cover it in a padding of empty cardboard boxes and paper. Palms sweaty, hands shaking slightly, you lift the white electrical weapon and aim it at the little black hole. The three in the middle of the room lie unconscious, oblivious. You pull the trigger.

    Instantly, there is a deafening bang and a blinding flash of light. You cannot perceive anything for several seconds, and begin to fear you might be heading for the afterlife for the second time, when finally your ears stop ringing and you return to your senses. The lights in both this room and the adjacent one have been destroyed, but some light bleeds through from somewhere to the west - possibly an open doorway.

    Your eyes adjust to find, firstly, that most of the wall separating the two rooms is gone. Secondly, some or all of the shelves and their remaining contents have been destroyed and strewn everywhere - with the exception of one shelf which has, miraculously enough, collapsed over you, shielding you from the worst of the debris. Thirdly, Aaron, Alexei and Jacqueline have all died horribly in the blast, with more limbs detached than remaining attached between them.

    For killing two sapient creatures, you have gained two skill points and 100 mana.

    Alexei was, in fact, undead, having been killed and reanimated long ago back at >>/606. As his bodily integrity was lowered below 80%, he has now permanently deanimated.


    561 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7983 01:16

    Collect the most wieldly severed limb to use as a bludgeoning weapon.

    562 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7983 05:27

    NOOOOO NOT AARON! :'( Aaron was the true protagonist. The everyman. The one with whom we pitiful, wretched mortals could most sympathize. And now he is limbless.

    Put skill points into geokinesis. Rock and roll.

    563 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7983 13:20

    summon our stand and strike a fabulous homoerotic pose

    564 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7983 13:53

    remove game cartridge, insert Cho Aniki.

    565 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7984 16:36

    If the previous game featured Batman, insert it into the anus of an AVGN actor.

    566 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7984 22:07

    You crawl over to the midst of the carnage and take Jacqueline's lower left leg. The femur has snapped just below the knee, with much of the flesh blasted from the bone, leaving a handle of sorts. There's still some burnt scraps of that gaudy pink dress she was wearing clinging to the skin. There isn't really enough space to hold with both hands, so you're not sure how effective it'd be as a bludgeoning weapon, but in terms of psychological warfare it should prove quite effective.

    You choke back a sob as you pass by the mutilated corpse of your foster father. You try to remind yourself of the time he almost killed you back at >>295,300 but somehow you can't bring yourself to hate him. He was an idiot and a coward, but an honest, well meaning, loveable one. He didn't deserve this.

    So as to make sure his death wasn't entirely in vain, you use the skill point you gained from him - as well as that from Jacqueline - to further your own skills in geological manipulation. You thereby unlock the following skills:

    • Stone sharpening (active skill): Can sharpen edges on stone objects to approximately that of a steel blade. Costs one mana per centimetre of edge.
    • Summon stone (active skill): Can summon more stone of the same type from existing stone surfaces, in whatever form desired. Costs forty mana per kilogram.

    You rock from side to side and do a forward roll. You still feel a little dazed from the explosion - you hope it isn't concussion - and end up falling over into Aaron's remains. If you weren't covered in blood enough before, you certainly are now.

    You summon your balance and get to your feet. From your standing position you can see, in the next room, a body lying half buried in debris. It's Conundrum-chan. Next to, around, and on top of her lie the shattered remains of the desk and computer terminal that were on the south wall of the room. Various of the shelves have also collapsed and spilled their contents.

    At the sight of her, your heart skips, and you cannot help but clasp your hands together, tilt your head slightly to one side and sigh longingly. Memories of that long, passionate kiss you shared with her flit through your head. If your life were a yuri manga, you'd probably be surrounded by illustrations of roses in bloom and sparkles right now.

    No! What are you doing‽ Besides the fact that you are definitely not sexually attracted to that girl, she's clearly injured and needs your help. You cast aside your playful, toying mentality as though it were some simple removable module, replacing it with feelings of brotherly love. You stumble through the rubble and fallen masonry to her side, and survey her predicament.

    It seems the desk fell onto her. Though this shielded her from much of the blast, it and the remains of the computer have her pinned to the ground. You pull her to safety and inspect her wounds. She is bleeding fairly severely from both thighs, with more minor lacerations to her chest, face and right arm. Her left arm is badly crushed and probably broken. Two fingers are missing from her right hand, but judging by the scar tissue this is clearly an old wound. She is unconscious, breathing shallowly and fitfully. Her pulse is fast.

    As a true aniki, you feel you should treat her injuries, but you aren't quite sure how. If there were any medical supplies here, they're probably destroyed by now. You might be able to obtain water to wash her wounds from the Palriga, but you don't know how clean it would be. Alternatively, the door out is open, and she did betray you, after all. You could just leave her behind.

    Whatever your previous thoughts, you're fairly certain they didn't involve any masked vigilantes with chiropterophilia.

    567 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7985 02:01

    Go ahead and clean Jack's wounds, then bandage with the shredded clothing if possible. Encourage her with an admonition of "Don't die, poopy head."

    568 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7985 07:16

    Search broken computer for wires to use as a tourniquet for Jack's wounds. Cut them with Jack's ceremonial stone knife if she still has it, otherwise make a small knife by using stone sharpening on one of the bits of shrapnel.

    569 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7985 12:58

    Actually Batman would've been a chiropterophobic, according to the backstory.

    570 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7986 02:22

    Lysandre's Trump Card

    571 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7988 17:13

    Make sacrifices to the mighty elder god, Yoghurt-Sweettooth.

    572 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7989 21:38

    Finding no clean water or disinfectant in the vicinity, you search further afield. You step outside the open door into the large square room with all the cloning pods. The Palriga has clearly been busy in your absence, and the room is flooded to about ten centimetres deep. The water surface is perfectly still, and the reflections of the overhead lights are neatly reticulated on the other side. Something about the scene seems subtly wrong to you. You feel a faint tug at some thread of memory, before you suddenly realise that all several hundred of the cloning pods are empty.

    Well, there's nothing you can do about that now. Through cupped hands you bring back some of the water and wash away the blood and dust from Conundrum-chan's wounds. With effort, you tear off two strips of your petticoats and wrap them around the wounds on her legs. They are instantly soaked through with blood. "Don't die, poopy-head!" you whisper urgently in her ear. Her head shifts to one side, she coughs up a globule of blood and phlegm, and replies, weakly, "No, you're a poopy-head."

    Too busy trying to save her life to keep up your side of the conversation, you search the carcass of the computer for cables - of which there are quite a few. The ceremonial stone knife is, of course, in the possession of Jack Aaronova, not Jack Conundrum-chan. In its stead, you perform stone sharpening on a large flake of red stone, probably from one of the bricks in the wall. This costs you five mana, leaving 185 remaining. The makeshift knife cuts through the cables without any resistance, and you are soon wrapping them around her upper thighs.

    You blush as you realise how close your hands are to Conundrum-chan's most private and most deadly body part, then sober up as you remind yourself this may well result in the eventual amputation of her legs. She coughs again, and continues: "Yes, you're the poopy-head here. I should've known you'd betray me. I could've just killed you, you know, and instead I gave you heaven" - she breaks off in a fit of coughing - "...And this is how you repay me?" She laughs bitterly.

    Instead of remorse, or vindication, or sympathy, you instead feel only a vague uncertainty as to the true origins of Batman.

    Though you have, until recently, played very well with the cards fate has dealt you, you have recently cast away and discarded a great many assets that may have proven more useful were they still in play. If only you had some way of shuffling them all back into your hand! You momentarily lament the inexorable passage of time and the permanence of our actions, but lack any practical course of action.

    Unless... perhaps there's some arcane skill you can unlock that might offer you a trump card of sorts? Well, you tell yourself flippantly, it's not like you've got any better plans. Of course, unlocking skills requires skill points, and skill points require blood sacrifices. You stick your head outside, but it seems that the only sapient beings nearby are you and Conundrum-chan. So be it.

    You stand over her, gripping the sharpened stone shard. "What, are you going to kill me?" she asks, half facetiously, half fearfully. "Praise Sweettooth!" you scream as loud as you can, slashing deep into her throat. Blood wells and erupts from the gash, and with a single gurgle, she falls to the ground, dead.

    For killing a sapient being in a ritualistic manner, you have gained two skill points and 100 mana. You monster.

    573 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7989 21:50

    Collect five (if sufficient suitable pieces are available) suitably sized chunks of rubble and craft shurikens from them.

    574 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7990 13:17

    We've gone this far...might as well put skill points into geokinesis.

    575 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7990 22:41

    design penis

    576 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7991 02:19

    open character sheet
    change allegiance to "Islamic State"
    chant "allahu ackbar!"

    577 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7995 05:27

    Head toward the first sound we hear.

    578 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7995 05:52

    hack apart all the corpses of the people we just killed to make sure no one reanimates them later

    579 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7995 06:39

    What the fuck is going on here

    580 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7995 19:21

    There is certainly no shortage of bits of stone scattered about the room. You gather a few together and use your stone morphing (active skill) to convert them into five hira shuriken, setting you back by twenty mana. You have 265 mana remaining. You could probably sharpen them further with your stone sharpening (active skill), but, to be honest, they seem sharp enough to cause some damage as they are, so long as you throw them hard enough.

    You increase your geokinesis level to eight, unlocking the following skills:

    • Advanced rock animation (active skill): Can cause objects made entirely of stone weighing less than ten kilograms to temporarily animate. Animated rocks obey your instructions. Costs twenty mana per minute.
    • Stone sacrifice (passive skill): Sapient creatures killed by you via primary or secondary effects of objects made of stone yield 100 mana and two skill points. Ritual killings involving objects made of stone yield 150 mana and three skill points.

    You spend a few moments thinking about penises. Perhaps, you reflect, they'd be less disagreeable if they were softer, and had frills, and nice abstract patterns on the surface. And maybe if, instead of being tools of penetration and fluid expulsion, they were instead just used for keeping things warm. After a few more changes in a similar vein, you find that you have accidentally designed a tea cosy instead.

    Your character, being an abstract amalgamation of your attitudes, skills, beliefs and values, cannot be changed so suddenly by anything short of brain damage, and certainly doesn't come in sheets. You chant a few empty syllables into the equally empty space around you, but experience no response, either internal or external.

    You hear a tapping outside, so faint you almost think it your imagination, and leave the stuffy little room to investigate. Outside, on the small metal walkway running along the southern edge of the room, you find Jimmy Sphincter. She looks up at you and cocks her head expectantly. Looking around, the room is otherwise just as you left it, with the many empty cloning pods and the flooding. There are small ripples playing on the otherwise still water surface. Presumably, Jimmy must have disturbed the water recently.

    Then, to your dismay, you hear a scraping noise coming from the room you were just in.

    Fearing the worst, you rush back to appraise the situation. To your surprise, there are no signs of movement in any of the dead, but rather the black stone cube in the room you were locked in earlier appears to be shifting back and forth slightly. It stops as soon as you come near. Still, you refuse to take any chances.

    The corpses of Alexei, Aaron and Jacqueline are already about as hacked apart as they're going to get - indeed, you are still carrying Jacqueline's dismembered leg, for reasons you can't quite recall - but Conundrum-chan's body looks all too reanimateable. Using the stone shard, you hack off each of her limbs and throw them into the pile with all the other body parts. Not that being dismembered seems to have stopped things reanimating in the past, you realise.

    Come to think of it, you aren't quite sure yourself.

    581 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7996 00:27

    destroy penis

    582 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7997 00:11

    throw limbs onto the stone cube

    583 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7997 03:23

    initiate an amorous allemande to the stone cube

    584 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7997 04:24

    Having finally peed and gotten rid of that nagging discomfort, and having cast off a previous reality paradigm in blood and gunpowder, and having furthermore found a few new religious beliefs, I find myself entirely lacking in any real direction.

    I feel bound to merely repeat basic things ritualistically for a while until I can recover and try to understand myself better.

    I am thirsty. I must drink. I must find apple juice. If there is no apple juice nearby I must drink water. I must drink as much as I can hold without vomiting, and I must wait for my stomach to empty and drink again.

    The answers will come later.

    585 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-7997 04:28

    I am Jack's herniated bladder.

    586 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8001 12:14

    Relax bum

    587 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8001 14:38



    588 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 09:24

    i love you

    589 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 19:50

    You wipe your mind of any knowledge of the male genitalia. Having already overcome amnesia, such a manipulation of your own memory proves almost trivial. You annihilate your every penile association, from Freudian psychoanalysis to anatomical nomenclature, until you have forgotten even what you are forgetting or why. You have destroyed, within yourself, the very essence of the penis. The penis no longer exists to you.

    You shower the cube with giant pieces of bloody confetti. Nothing happens.

    Well, you think to yourself, that is one handsome cube, especially when it's all covered in the blood and mutilated corpses of almost everyone you know. You invite it to join you in a formal dance, but it just vibrates momentarily then sits still. You try using some form of rock animation (active skill) to force it to dance one way or another, but it seems to have about two orders of magnitude too much mass. How bothersome.

    You sigh quietly to yourself, thinking about how you've come to this point. Perhaps it would've been better just to stay in that virtual paradise. I mean, even if the companionship left something to be desired, the apple juice was simply divine... Alas, even if there was apple juice in this damned place at some point, it's long since been vaporised by your explosive escape.

    Still, your mouth is dry, and your throat aches for lack of lubrication. You stagger away, into the main room, off the walkway and into the water. You begin by drinking it daintily from cupped hands, before leaning closer and lapping it like a dog, then just pressing your face below the surface and swallowing it down in thick gulps. The water is cool and refreshing, with an earthy, slightly metallic taste. You cannot stop drinking.

    You close your eyes. You imagine the entire Palriga Canal flowing into your mouth. You consume, consume, your body nothing but a vessel. Through some combination of exhaustion, water intoxication and, perhaps, regret at killing everyone, you let your head sink into the wall and quietly pass out, face down in the closing water. Somewhere, from a great distance, a vaguely familiar voice says something about errors.

    590 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 19:51

    You awaken to a dull headache and a bitter taste in the back of your mouth. You open your eyes, and are immediately thrown by a wave of déjà vu. You are in the exact same room you woke up in last time, complete with the shelves, locked door, cube, cables, and Aaron, Alexei and Jacqueline, peacefully sleeping as though their limbs had been attached the whole time. Which they had, come to think of it.

    That bitch! She put you in a simulation inside another simulation!

    You cannot play as Jack's herniated bladder; you can only play as members of your current party.

    You calm yourself down, reminding yourself that anger rarely helps solve problems like this. Having relaxed a little, you try to "bum" a "fag" from Aaron, as those wacky Americans would say (or rather, ask for a cigarette, as you did back at >>544,546). He remains obstinately unconscious.

    You demand to be shown reality as it truly is, or you'll show everyone just what you're truly capable of. It's no empty threat. When no response is forthcoming in any punctual capacity, you decide to investigate for yourself, and soon find some discrepancies between this and your previous existence: when you awoke last time, you still had everything you had had in your inventory previously - in fact, your dress was still wet - whereas this time you have nothing but the (dry) clothes on your back. Unbidden, you think about how Conundrum-chan must've run her hands down your body while you were unconscious to find and confiscate all your concealed weaponry, wondering, perhaps, just how thorough her search might've been, before violently shaking the thought from your head.

    Interestingly, your skills and mana seem to have carried over. You are unsure of the full philosophical implications of this fact.

    Physically, the room seems to be the same as before; the door is still locked, the hole in the wall is still there, and the shelves and their contents are in the same positions you found them - including the dynamite.

    591 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 20:40

    Smoke dynamite like a cigar as if you are a Looney Toon.

    592 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 23:15

    Explain that, for ethical reasons, we refuse to participate in the simulation unless it is running on free software.

    593 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8002 23:35

    Extinguish the fuse on the dynamite out at the last second by shoving it in Alexei's ass.

    594 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8003 18:05

    Praise Zardoz

    595 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8004 15:10

    Disregard software vegans, acquire hydration.
    If it was merely a simulation, I have yet to quench my thirst.

    596 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8004 21:23

    Jesus is a friend of mine (I have a friend in Jesus)

    597 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8004 22:50

    I'd drink Gatorade, but I'm afraid that Brominated Vegetable Oil will slowly turn me into a bro.

    598 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8005 04:20

    Embrace your inner bro.

    599 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8005 19:23

    Embrace your innards, bro. They're with you for life.

    600 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8007 18:45

    Like a cartoon lunatic, you carefully pluck a single stick from the box and stick the end in your mouth. It tastes oily but sweet, with a burning undertone. It does not taste like the sort of thing one should put in one's mouth. Well, you've come this far... You blow a confident puff of air into the thick red stick, as though smoking a cigar, but find you have to clamp your lips onto it in order to keep it from falling out of your mouth. This pressure is enough to cause it to detonate, blowing you and everyone else in the room to smithereens.

    Deaths: 22

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>590)

    You cannot be entirely certain whether you are now living in reality, or simply another nested simulation, so you decide that you had best be clear about precisely what sort of simulation you are or are not willing to participate in. You lecture the stone cube, as it seems as good an audience as any. You feel slightly uplifted, as though more in control, however slightly. Just as you are winding down, you remember to specify that you mean free as in freedom, not free as in free beer.

    None of the fuses on any of the sticks of dynamite are lit, thankfully - that would be quite a predicament! - but nonetheless it doesn't hurt to be safe. You extinguish it in the most gratuitous and inappropriate manner imaginable: by pulling down Alexei's trousers and thrusting it between his buttocks. The dynamite, however, does not appear amenable to this course of events, and expresses this by violently detonating. Alexei explodes for the second time. Nothing is left of you but a smear of blood, hair and unidentifiable organic bits painting one side of the room.

    Deaths: 23

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>590)

    "Wow, Zardoz!" you exclaim, just in case he happens to be listening, "You have such a lovely giant stone head! And your bellicist philosophy is so insightful! Keep up the good work, Zardoz!" There is no response.

    All this Zardoz-praising is thirsty work, you find. You search high and low for some bottled water or something like that, without success. Your throat is a little dry, but you aren't quite at the point of resorting to bodily fluids for hydration.

    You call upon your friend Jesus, to no avail. Well, if he were truly your friend, he wouldn't let you go thirsty and trapped in here as you are!

    You think about what sort of fluids you'd like to drink. Those energy drinks are supposedly good for combating dehydration, you seem to recall, but there's something you find vaguely offputting about brominated vegetable oil. Those long, flexible strands dangling from the glycerol head, aliphatic but for their oversized, fuzzy bromine substituents - it's like a jellyfish waiting to sting. Who can guess what such a substance might do to you?

    You embrace your inner onii-chan - that part of you that was always protective of your beloved imouto. Lacking any other suitable outlet, you fawn over the sleeping Jacqueline, before jealously separating her from Alexei and Aaron. They're not to sleep next to your little sister.

    You hug yourself and, implicitly, the viscera lurking beneath your skin. You feel a warm appreciation for their various exotic and interrelated functions, from the biochemical to the genetic to the cellular to the organic level. You will, surely, be with them until death do you part.

    601 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8007 22:26

    Take dynamite. Shoot small westward hole with gun, first moving everybody as far away as possible. (And don't put dynamite in the hole this time.)

    602 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8007 23:59

    Make Samus Aran your role model

    603 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8008 06:22

    If only Punctual Gomez was here, we sure could use his help right now.

    604 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8010 18:18

    Firstly, you drag everyone's bodies as far from the hole in the wall as possible - which isn't very far, given it's a small space and they're all attached to the cube in the centre of the room. You cautiously lift the box of dynamite and carry it with you. You find that you are not in possession of any guns, meaning that that dastardly hole will have to go unshot for now.

    Being trapped in this room is taking its toll on you, mentally speaking. You take some small comfort in the thought of a certain Samus Aran: a beautiful, brave and capable young lady, not entirely unlike yourself. If only you too had a full body power suit, you think to yourself, so you could morph ball your way through that little gap in the wall.

    Well, if neither Zardoz nor Jesus are going to help you, perhaps that Gomez fellow might show up just in time? You hold your breath a moment in anticipation and, defying even your expectations, hear footsteps on the other side of the door, then the jangling of keys, then, at last, the door beginning to creak open...

    605 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8010 22:32

    If the door opens outward, burst through the door elbow-first to stun whoever is behind it, then run away as fast as possible.

    If the door opens inward, wait behind it and slam it shut on the body of whoever's opening it, then run away as fast possible.

    606 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8010 23:36

    I'm here to kick ass and bust spines and I'm all out of ass

    607 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8013 18:16

    The door opens inwards only a centimetre or two, and a voice emerges - Conundrum-chan's, to be specific - "Cassandra, that's you, isn't it? I heard you talking to yourself from next door. I should've known I couldn't keep you occupied like that for long, but..." She trails off, then continues: "I... I just can't go through with it after all. I think there's a better way of settling this. Please, let me in, and we can talk this over."

    Well, you're not falling for that one! You throw your weight against the door, slamming it shut. Conundrum-chan says, coldly, "I see, so that's how it is. As you wish." You hear the lock click shut again, then footsteps leading away. You try to run away, but find yourself still on the wrong side of the door. How inconvenient.

    Why are you here? Is there a meaning to your existence at all? What should you be doing with your life? The answer comes to you all of a sudden in a blinding epiphany. Your life has two goals only: the kicking of asses and the busting of spines. Alas, there is not a single donkey to be found in this gloomy little room. You bust the spines of each of the three dreamers in turn, but they show no response, being still blithely oblivious.

    You're getting a little sick of being stuck here. Surely, somewhere between your dynamite, geokinesis, sleeping companions and the fact that Conundrum-chan can apparently hear you, you must be able to contrive a cunning escape plan somehow.

    608 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8013 22:33

    Use geokinesis to make a blunt hammer weapon from shards of stone around the room. Use the hammer to violently smash all machinery in site.

    609 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8013 22:34

    Or in sight, whatever

    610 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8014 03:13

    Resort to bodily fluids for hydration.

    611 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8015 18:17

    They aren't really shards as such, but there are plenty of rock samples in the various boxes on the shelves. You take a fair sized slab of basalt and a long, crystalline lump of orthoclase, and use stone morphing (active skill) to fuse them together. This costs you twenty mana, leaving you 245 remaining. For such a makeshift weapon, it proves actually rather well weighted and comfortable to wield. Tightening your grip, you vow to destroy all machinery in situ.

    Unfortunately, there isn't a much mechanical about upon which to release your Luddite rage. After careful consideration of the semantics involved, you decide the cables and apparatus attached to the sleepers doesn't strictly speaking count as machinery, and hence turn your attentions elsewhere. You crush the nibs of a few ball point pens, hammer a tape measure into oblivion, and are then left with nothing but the mechanism of the door. It resists even your most violent swings, reverberating loudly but suffering not even a dent.

    You stop suddenly as you hear Conundrum-chan outside make a startled noise, then the sound of something falling over, a scream, and some bizarre inhuman shrieking noise. Your blood goes cold. What is happening? Is this your doing? After more sounds of struggle, you hear a strange flapping noise, something clumsily fiddling with the lock from the other side, then the door clicks open for the second time. Cautiously, you pull it open and look, hammer at the ready.

    Hovering outside is that friendly red bird of yours! Gosh, you haven't seem in ages! "Oh Reginald," you exclaim, greeting him with an affectionate tickling under the chin, "Thank you so much!" He must've stolen the key from your captor and freed you himself. What a clever, loyal little creature he is. The room you emerge into is just as it was in the simulation - full of empty cloning pods, and flooded ankle deep.

    You are indescribably relieved to be free, especially as you were getting rather thirsty in there. Now, at last, there's no chance you'll have to drink anything weird just to survive! Your mouth waters at the sight of the expanse of cool, gently glittering water before you. And yet... somehow, you can't help but feel slightly disappointed that you no longer have an excuse to drink your own fluids.

    Just to settle the matter once and for all, you sharpen one edge of the hammer (setting you back by five mana) and use it to nick the edge of your hand. You suck the blood from the wound, letting the warm, slightly viscous, ferric tasting liquid spread through your mouth. Mmm. You could get used to that taste.

    More importantly, you need to decide what to do next. To the east is a spiral staircase leading up to the surface. To the west is an open door leading to Conundrum-chan's office. Behind you, to the south, the three dreamers are still slumbering, along with that curious stone cube. Of the four subterranean tunnels leading into this room, the ones to the southwest and southeast appear to be flooded (but you could, hypothetically, still try to explore them), water is flowing steadily from the tunnel to the northeast, and the tunnel to the northwest alone looks comfortably traversable.

    612 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8015 19:00

    Hypothetically explore the flooded rooms.

    613 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8016 07:33

    Drink water.

    614 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8016 15:48

    use geokinesis to make a stone scuba suit and explore the flooded rooms for real

    615 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8017 11:08

    Drink as much as you can, the thirst is the worst part of this endless nightmare.

    616 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8018 19:33

    You stare intently at the two yawning, unlit openings to the subaqueous world below. They betray no hint of their contents, but that doesn't mean you can't guess. You begin by hypothetically exploring the southwest tunnel, which, you imagine, after a short, narrow shaft leading down at a roughly 45 degree angle, opens into a now flooded ruin. The crumbling masonry whispers of illustrious temples and unknowably ancient rites. Deeper into the structure, further into the cold, clinging water, the architecture twists maddeningly in Escheresque contortions that confound the eye. You sink down twisting helical staircases, through ornate archways, past elaborate arabesques in tessellating or fractal patterns, until you lose all sense of direction or self. You drown in your own imagination.

    Returning to reality, you bend down, cup your hands and swallow several mouthfuls of the cool water. It washes the blood from your hands and your throat, refreshing you inside and out.

    You hear splashing behind you. Conundrum-chan is stumbling in your direction. One hand is clutching her right eye, from beneath which a line of blood is tracing its way down her cheek. She calls something after you, but you can't even make out the words. Reginald swoops back and forth around her, and she bats at him a little, but continues drawing steadily closer to you.

    Well, this is awkward. You hope she doesn't want to kiss you again or something. I mean, it's not like you'd like that or anything. Eager to avoid such an emotionally turbulent reunion, you rush off towards the southeast tunnel, as heading towards the southwest would involve having to pass Conundrum-chan. Using your stone morphing (active skill), you morph a fair chunk of cavern wall into a modest, single tank diving suit. This costs you 140 mana, leaving you 100 mana remaining.

    Being made of stone, the tube covering your mouth and nose is immobile, making it a little inconvenient. Similarly, you have no way of actually compressing the air in the tank, meaning it's more like just a single extra lungful of air on your back. Still, it's better than nothing. Very, very carefully, you submerge the box of dynamite, which you are still carrying for some bizarre suicidal reason, and dive with it beneath the surface, praying that the increase in pressure doesn't offend it enough to detonate.

    You cannot see anything, and navigate by following the roof of the tunnel with the hand that isn't otherwise occupied. The tunnel levels out soon after passing underwater, then carries on more or less straight for about fifty metres. Just as you are desperately running out of air, it begins to rise again, and you see faint lights glimmering on the other side of a water surface just above you. You emerge, breath deeply, and pull yourself out onto the shore.

    You are in a large, black space. You cannot see any walls or ceiling. There are odd luminescent little white bell shaped objects hanging from strands, looking much like larger, glowing versions of lilies of the valley. These illuminate a small lake, from which you have just emerged, surrounded by tall, organic shapes that tower away into the darkness above. The ground is everywhere covered in a thick layer of glistening moss, soft and damp to the touch, with little clusters of mushrooms or foliate coral-like structures. The air smells musty, with a faint undercurrent of overripe fruit.

    A persistent breeze is blowing from the west. A narrow valley, bounded on both sides by the glowing organisms, winds away to the southeast. Everywhere else is thickly overgrown and more or less unlit, but the foliage seems especially thick, dark and foreboding to the north.

    Ignoring your surroundings for now, you set down the miraculously unexploded box of dynamite and slurp greedily from the pool. You drink, drink, gulping it down but never quite quenching that itching dryness at the back of your throat, until you are interrupted by a rustling sound from the northeast.

    617 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8019 00:24

    Imitate the rustling sound.

    618 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8020 01:12

    Can we still hear grinding noises?

    619 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8020 18:55

    You lean over and grasp the base of a group of long, thin stalks, each of which terminates in a bulb shaped like a poppy bud. A brisk shake yields a rustling not dissimilar from the earlier. The rustling from the northeast comes again, this time louder - or possibly just closer? Your pulse quickens and you tighten your grip on the makeshift hammer, which is currently your only form of defence.

    There are a few tense moments of silence, then, without warning, a huge, lumbering form emerges into the field of light. Being lit only by the feeble light of the luminescent bell things, you have trouble discerning its details, but it seems somewhat like a giant trilobite - at least the size of a small horse - with an elongated cephalon tapering to a single upturned point, and spines running the entire length of its back. It has more legs than you can count.

    It rears up on its back legs, letting its forelegs dangle and waving its antennae back and forth. Its mouth flaps open and closed a few times, then it folds back down and slips into the pool, disappearing with a surprisingly subtle splash. It is immediately followed by another three of the same, two of which similarly sink beneath the surface. The last hesitates and turns to face you. It takes a few steps towards you, waving the horn on its head several times in what might be a provocative gesture.

    You realise that the three that just entered the water must be on their way to the cloning facilities, meaning that Conundrum-chan and the dreamers are in danger! You are still wearing the diving equipment, so you could return right now if you tried. Alternatively, you could try to deal with the specimen currently threatening you - either by standing and fighting, or by evading it.

    The trilobite creature is making odd clicking noises, though you can't even tell which of its all too many body parts the noise is coming from. Nothing seems to be grinding just now.

    620 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8020 20:54

    tame one of the trilobites and make it our mount

    621 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8021 01:02

    Throw the box of dynamite a the trilobite HORN.

    622 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8021 10:07

    Use Stone Morphing to carve 1 kg of rock (thus spending 20 mana) from the ceiling, splitting it into 100 10g bits, each bit with a sharp point pointing down, thus causing a deadly rock shower. Use rock diving suit as a shield. If that doesn't work, animate the rock bits and order them to stab the trilobites.

    623 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 00:27

    mount trilobite -t

    624 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 11:31

    Kill the GNUfag.

    625 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 12:51

    Use the spellbook of Richard M Stallman to free yourself of the proprietary binds of this mortal coil!

    626 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 14:32

    Reflect on the irony of my status as poster >>623 and a solely Windows user.

    627 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 22:27

    Actually, it's a terrible way to start. Computer science is a terrible name for this business. First of all it's not a science, it might be engineering or it might be art, but I actually see that computer so-called-science has a lot in common with magic.

    628 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8022 22:43

    conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells

    629 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 19:34

    Flip to a random page in Sussman's holy text and read out an incantation to bind all evil.

    630 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 19:50

    You approach the creature slowly, making cooing noises. It allows you to get close, but, as soon as you try to mount it, flinches away, makes a loud hissing noise, rears back and then gores you horribly through the thorax. You die painfully.

    Deaths: 24

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>619)

    Crouching, you reach out and cautiously lift the box of dynamite. With one violent movement, you throw the entire box at the trilobite, in response to which it begins to charge at you. The dynamite explodes on contact with the creature's head, propelling the horn in your direction at a substantial velocity. It skewers your upper neck, severing your spinal cord and killing you instantly.

    Deaths: 25

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>619)

    Though you cannot even see it, you guess - correctly - that the ceiling is made of rock. You transmute a clump of it, directly above the trilobite, into a hundred needles. They rain from above, but, disappointingly, bounce harmlessly from the creature's carapace. Though unharmed, it is spooked by the assault, and retreats immediately away into the darkness to the north. It has vanished before you have time to react.

    Well, that particular potential mount may be gone, but you know for certain there's another three just a single short diving trip away. You don your equipment, gather your paraphernalia, take a deep breath and make the return trip. You resurface back in the cloning facility. The three trilobites are not far in front of you, one curiously nudging open a cloning pod using its horn, the other two standing by and watching. Realising now how easily startled they are, you realise that this will require some tact on your part.

    You gently begin to levitate (why, you almost forgot you had that ability!) and silently float over towards the three of them. You leave the dynamite on top of a nearby pod, anticipating a violent response to your next action. Finally, heart pounding, you pounce onto the one on the right, which is a little further separated from the rest.

    You successfully avoid catching yourself on the dorsal spines, and land just behind the cephalon. You immediately grasp both librigena - conveniently placed as they are on either side of the head - and thus are able to avoid its bucking and struggling. As it hisses, stamps and whips back and forth, its two companions hiss and run away, one back into the southeast tunnel where it came from, the other to the northeast.

    After only a few seconds, the trilobite apparently accepts its new position and ceases struggling. It lowers its head and hisses submissively.

    631 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 19:50

    You make a mental note to ruthlessly murder any wildebeest cigarettes that dare cross paths with you.

    You are dubious about this so-called spellbook, considering that you've done plenty of magic already without resorting to any stereotypical musty tomes at all. There don't seem to be any books about anyway, arcane or otherwise.

    You're not sure if it classes as irony, but you do think that exclusively using windows sounds rather silly, when most buildings are much more easily accessible through their doors.

    You decide that you had best make a good first impression with your new steed, and for this reason you certainly shouldn't confuse or frighten it by describing your current quest as computer science. It might be vaguely scientific, but it doesn't have much to do with computers, after all. Rather, it is a magical adventure of discovery, Machiavellianism and murder. What fun your new pet is in for!

    By clamping your legs in closer, you manage to will the trilobite (you really need to come up with a name for him/her, you tell yourself) forwards, towards Conundrum-chan's office. You pass by the room you were locked in, noting that the three dreamers are no longer there, nor is Stove Stove. Finally, you charge into the office, focussed squarely on the cloning console, of which you intend to summon the spirits.

    The room is not empty - far from it, in fact - and the current residents are more than a little surprised to see you enter on trilobiteback. "Aaaaaaaaargh!" screams Conundrum-chan. "Whaaaaaaaargh!" screams Alexei. "Blaaaaaaaargh!" screams Aaron. Jacqueline cowers behind Alexei's back. Stove Stove shakes violently. Your mount impales the CRT monitor of the console on its horn, causing the image to die in shower of sparks. The trilobite stamps its feet and hisses triumphantly.

    This might make spirit conjugation a little difficult, you reflect. Maybe you should've put more skillpoints into technomancy.

    You aren't sure who this man of Suss is or what texts he might or might not have written, but you'd be very cautious about "binding all evil" given how many ethically questionable decisions you personally have made in your life.

    632 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 21:16

    Ask the screaming people whether "wildebeest" or "brontosaurus" is a more hilarious word.

    633 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 22:46

    name the trilobte "Dr. Gay Hitler"

    634 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8023 23:48

    Make sure that Dr. Gay Hitler gets a snappy pink uniform ASAP.

    vc: hell

    635 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8024 14:51

    Ram Stove Stove with Dr. Gay Hitler repeatedly.

    636 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8024 19:39

    Sing Rams' "Pizza Forever" while you ram.

    637 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8025 20:06

    Goad trilobite into killing everyone in the room so you can pee without anyone watching you.
    Pee on trilobite.
    Wake up.
    Pee in one of the drawers before the others wake up.
    Go find some water to drink.

    638 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8026 20:06

    "Aaaaaaaaargh!" replies Conundrum-chan. "Whaaaaaaaargh!" replies Alexei. "Brontosaurus!" replies Aaron.

    You name your brave steed in memory of a famous twentieth century dictator, whilst acknowledging its relative lightheartedness and gaiety. You simultaneously bestow upon it a PhD in honour of its outstanding work in the field of being ridden by you - a rare privilege indeed.

    Unfortunately, the only clothing nearby is already being worn. There isn't any suitable cloth from which you could fabricate a uniform either. Jacqueline's frilly pink dress seems perfect for the job, but she won't part with it willingly, and Alexei will probably complain as well. Alternatively, of course, you could just disembowel a few of these screaming mooks and dress Dr. Gay Hitler in their intestines.

    You settle for a simpler option: you remove your own pantsu - which are pink, with a fetching seigaiha pattern printed on top - and place them over Dr. Gay Hitler's antenna. It's not much of a uniform, but it'll have to do.

    The others have by this point begun to stop screaming. Conundrum-chan is wielding your geologist's hammer, Alexei his own white energy weapon, and Jacqueline your stone sickle. The three have backed into one corner, sheltering behind Stove Stove, weapons at the ready. Aaron is standing to one side with a bewildered half-smile on his face.

    "Spaghetti... macaroni... mortadella... tortellini... mozzarella!" you chant, in what might be the strangest battle cry you've heard in a while. On "mozzarella", you dig your legs into Dr. Gay Hitler's sides and he charges forwards, monitor and all, towards that accursed stone cube. Just as they are about to meet, Stove Stove shakes violently and your steed vanishes entirely. You are left hovering in midair.

    Aaron lunges forwards and embraces you tightly, telling you how glad he is that you're alive and how you'll always be his beloved daughter, and so on. The other three stare at you, weapons still at the ready. Finally, he releases you.

    At that moment your dear trilobite, headwear and all, sticks his cephalon around the doorframe, hisses uncertainly, and retreats back again. Apparently he was simply teleported outside the room. Apparently he is also a coward, as he ignores your instructions to brutally murder everyone in the room (hopefully not including you) and instead splashes away to hide amongst the cloning pods.

    You begin to run after him to punish him with some urinary castigation, but Conundrum-chan - whilst calling out "Oh no you don't!" - grabs you from behind, lifts you into the air, and busts your spine. You are in too much pain and shock to retaliate, but at least you don't pass out, so you don't have to wake up from it. Everyone else is quite awake and staring at you. You can't pee in any drawers like this.

    Conundrum-chan sits on your chest, pinning you to the ground, leans over you and begins to lecture you sternly. "Right, listen up, because this is important. Since I put you in the simulation, about two or three days have passed, and in that time the sun never rose. The moon still seems to be rising and setting normally. Undead grunts have been continually crawling from the forest. They... they won't die. Until now I've just been throwing them into the river, and they get washed away, but they won't die, no matter what I do."

    She takes a deep breath, regains her composure, then continues: "I tried using cloned grunts as meatshields, but every one that dies adds to their ranks, so I stopped. When I woke up this... most recently, I found that all the cloning pods were empty. I don't know how it happened; I was asleep in front of the console the whole time. After that you escaped, and then I woke up the other three" - she waves a hand in their direction - "So we can work out what to do next together." Rather than reply, you gaze longingly at the cool, refreshing water outside.

    You note in passing that not once did she mention the loss of her eye.

    639 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8027 08:12

    Admit defeat, express willingness to put our differences behind us and work together to stop the grunts. Suggest stopping the undead with reverse ailuromantic weather prediction.

    640 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8027 08:35


    641 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8027 09:19

    use geomancy to tunnel ourselves into an underground shelter, then have jack summon a cat, and throw stones at it while using reverse ailuromantic weather prediction to cause a shower of meteorites

    emerge from the shelter years later and become the ruler of the wastes

    642 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8028 01:11

    Is Jack even here? I thought Conundrum-chan was Jack's clone. Or vice versa. I'm so confused about the plot right now.

    643 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8028 05:42

    Find out if Ao Oni is still alive in this version of the universe.

    644 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8028 20:18

    In an uncharacteristically submissive manner, you make an effort to integrate into and work together with the group in the interests of self preservation. When it comes to tactics, you suggest reverse ailuromantic weather prediction, but nobody seems to have any idea what you're talking about. The only local ailuromancer is, of course, your foster sister, Jack Aaronova, whom you haven't seen since helping defend her camp against the assault by Theodore's Church of the Schismatics.

    Oh no! You forgot about that cheeky brook/creek (breek?) - the Palriga Canal! If you aren't careful, it'll flood the entire cloning facility with delicious, crisp, refreshing water. Also undead might get in that way. You lead the group out into the main room. Dr. Gay Hitler is still here, hiding unsubtly behind a cloning pod, with his antenna and monitor-adorned horn quite obviously sticking out.

    You stop suddenly as you see a human figure crouched in the darkness at the mouth of the Palriga. As soon as they catch sight of you they yelp and stand up straight. Jack Aaronova, of all people, emerges from the shadows. She is dressed in a makeshift plate armour composed of what appear to be segments of one of the giant trilobites you saw earlier. She is absolutely covered in blood. You've never seen so much blood at once. It's caked onto her skin, clinging to her hair, splashed all over her clothing, and especially thick on the ceremonial stone knife she's gripping in her right hand.

    She jabs the knife into the air in front of her, towards Alexei, looking quite aghast, stammering "Y-you're dead! I saw you explode! How are you alive‽" Come to think of it, how is he alive after that? Conundrum-chan chuckles to herself, and says it's "her little secret", or at any rate, it is of no consequence now. Jack Aaronova is not amused.

    Unfortunately, the only way you could use your geomancy to dig is through stone morphing (active skill). With your remaining 80 mana, you could only afford to dig away four kilograms of stone, which would be a rather poor excuse for a shelter. Actually, the two adjacent rooms here - the one you were locked in and the one with the cloning console - would form decent emergency shelters; no tunnelling required.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    You summon Theodore - who is still curled around your neck, in a comfortable crook above the top segment of your armour, hidden under all the blood and hair. He appears reticent at the prospect of jumping into the water flooding the floor, so you, along with the group, return to Conundrum-chan's office, where you set down Theodore. He immediately begins grooming himself with his tongue, but all Great Neptune's ocean wouldn't wash that much blood from his fur.

    You spend 125 mana invoking inverse ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill) on Theodore. You begin to throw rocks - which, conveniently, you happened to have with you - at him. He scampers here and there, but the others, being in on the plan, prevent him from leaving the room. "DAMN YOU, HUMAN! I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!" he shouts at you telepathically. The effect elapses without Theodore suffering more than one or two grazing strikes and severely injured pride.

    You think staying in this room for several years sounds deathly boring, even if you get to be a ruler afterwards. Nonetheless, you don't plan to visit the surface any time soon.

    You are fairly certain that you are here. You aren't sure why everyone else is here, least of all the exploded Alexei. And you don't trust that clone of yourself. She clearly knows more than she's telling.

    You cannot see any blue demons from where you are. Of course, you've no chance of finding him now that you're actively looking for him; everyone knows Ao Oni always comes when you least expect it.

    At that moment there's a loud bang and a dull rumble from somewhere far above. "Is that...?" begins Ariadne. "That's probably the barricade breaking, yes." replies Conundrum-chan coolly.

    645 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8029 09:33

    Play rock-paper-scissors to decide who goes to check on the barricade.

    646 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8029 17:38

    Give princess water.
    Wash blood off of self.
    Determine if you are thirsty.
    If thirsty, seek more water to drink while you have time.
    If unthirsty, seek a quiet area to pee to avoid an embarrassing incident when the next blood-caking battler inevitably drags on all day.
    If interrupted by attackers, resign self reluctantly to battle-related omorashi.

    647 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8031 15:48

    Demand answers from Conundrum-chan.

    648 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8031 16:03

    Find Rupert. The presence of a Brobdingnagian brontosaurus is sorely needed in this story.

    649 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8031 22:44

    Demand answers from Rupert.

    650 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 01:16

    Demand answers from Dr. Gay Hitler.

    651 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 15:43

    Demand answers from dokyuns.

    652 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 15:59

    Be dokyuns, give answers to Dr. Gay Hitler et al.

    653 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 18:01

    Order a copy of Doku Doku Ryouki Zukan.

    654 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 20:09

    Be Dr. Gay Hitler, job change to red mage.

    655 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 21:15

    Be DQN, demand answers from faghodge et al.

    656 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 23:22

    With a confident smirk, you gather everyone but Theodore around and whisper your plan into their eager ears. Reintegrating the feline into the group, you suggest a simple game of luck to choose who has to investigate the noise. You all chant "Jan, ken, pon!" and, on "pon", unfold your fists to form flat sheets (apart from Stove Stove, who is composed entirely of flat sheets anyway). Theodore looks down at his extended paw, mews in unhappy subjugation, then pads away out of the room and up the spiral staircase to the surface.

    You can't find any princesses. You yourself are probably the closest, being a high priestess, but you don't particularly need any water just now.

    Being unexpectedly amongst fine society (relatively speaking), you feel acutely underdressed. You descend to the water level and begin attempting to clean your incarnadine attire and body. The water nearby is stained quite dramatically, with clouds of bloody dirt blooming, dispersing and settling all around you. You manage to get some of the fresher stains off, but remain quite unambiguously sanguinary.

    You are not thirsty. Well, perhaps a little bloodthirsty, but, I mean, we're all like that all the time, aren't we? You don't particularly need to pee either; in fact, you just went before you got here.

    "You!" you demand, pointing menacingly at your clone, "Spill your secrets, doppelgänger! Why is the physicist still in one piece‽" She appears somewhat taken aback, then admits that she just used her teleportation (other)(active skill) to teleport him - at the last second before he was consumed by the explosion - into a room off the main corridor of the white building nearby. She then went in, subdued him, took him downstairs and plugged him into the simulation. Cunning.

    You are unexpectedly thrown by an immense wave of loneliness. You feel the need for comfort that only an even larger sauropod can provide. You begin to ascend the steps towards the place you last saw him. There are various echoing thumps and smacking noises, along with a prolonged yowling. Theodore passes by you at high speed, heading downwards. As you turn one more revolution, you are confronted with a wall of human bodies - or parts thereof - forming one continuous, groping mass of discoloured flesh. You try to back away, but are too slow, and are caught by the flesh.

    Why have you forsaken me, Rupert‽" you entreat. He does not respond. The pile of undead flesh consumes you like some sort of macabre phagocytosis. You suffocate in the midst of the cold, contorted blob.

    Deaths: 26

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>656)

    657 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 23:22

    You turn to the flamboyant yet coy trilobite and demand loudly that he explain precisely what he thinks he's doing. He rears up on his hind legs and waves his forelegs and antennae while nodding his horn up and down in an ambiguous gesture. You become aware of a slow rumbling sound coming from the staircase.

    You cannot find any dokyuns. The rumbling increases in volume, and Theodore emerges and scampers over to cower behind your legs.

    You cannot be dokyuns; you can only play as members of your current party.

    You give Dr. Gay Hitler - and anyone else who will listen - answers to no questions in particular: yes, no, maybe, nineteen, it doesn't exist, perhaps, no, no, no, maybe, strawberry, yes, they call it that for a reason, impossible, no.

    At that moment, perhaps in response to your order and perhaps not, a huge gory mass of mostly dismembered human bodies pours out from the staircase to the surface. It spreads into the water and then slowly draws to a halt. Your party assumes battle positions, weapons at the ready, with the exception of Aaron, Theodore and Dr. Gay Hitler, who are all too busy hiding awkwardly behind cloning pods.

    You are now playing as Dr. Gay Hitler. You aren't sure what your job is, or what a red mage is. In fact, you understand almost nothing about your current situation. You are quite scared.

    Perhaps, you consider, being a stereotypical young Japanese delinquent might help, somehow. Unfortunately, you don't have any hair which you could dye blonde, nor are there nearby stores to fail to shoplift from, nor do you speak any Japanese or have any understanding of Japanese internet culture. You don't even know who Faghodge et al. is.

    The mass of flesh disgorges a single animate corpse - a thoroughly exenterated grunt with its intestines hanging loosely from its abdomen, and, unusually enough, its head encased in solid basalt. Ariadne and Conundrum-chan appear taken aback, apparently recognising the figure now lumbering steadily towards them. The flesh continues to writhe and pulsate, threatening to disgorge more.

    658 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8032 23:27

    Be Aaron. Kill the mass of flesh WITH FIRE, just like Aya Drevis would have done.

    659 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8033 00:20


    660 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8033 00:44

    Be Jack. Kill any survivors with pantsu.

    661 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8033 09:38

    Be Ariadne. Stab things with rock weapons.

    662 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8034 23:35

    You are now playing as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov.

    Just like your favourite cute chainsaw wielding eleven year old, your first instinct when confronted with a mass of undead flesh is to burn it; burn it all, until nothing is left. With no time to lose, you rush into Conundrum-chan's office and retrieve - still there untouched since >>482 - the petrol canister, box of matches, and a single Kendal mint cake.

    You reemerge to find Conundrum-chan and Ariadne already locked in battle with the basalt-headed grunt, Ariadne attacking with her handmade stone hammer and Conundrum-chan with the geologist's hammer she confiscated earlier. They appear to be aiming to debilitate it but keep it in one piece, rather than simply cutting it into smaller, still active pieces. Jacqueline distracts it by tapping it on the back of the head with the pommel of her stone sickle then retreating out of reach, allowing the other two to attack unimpeded. Alexei is unable to help, as his energy weapon would cause too much collateral damage.

    You approach the flesh, getting as close as you can without being at risk of being grabbed and pulled in, and slosh petrol liberally all over the near side of the pile. The characteristic smell of mid-length hydrocarbons soon fills the air. The throbbing motion towards the top of the mass grows more violent, and, finally, there emerges the upper half of a girl's body - not a grunt, like the rest of the corpses. You recognise her as the girl in the wheelchair you met back at >>307.

    She casts a cold glare at you all through unblinking eyes, and her bloodless lips twist into a lopsided smirk. "My my, so this is where you've all been hiding, is it?" She singles out Jack Aaronova and her smile dissolves. "You've broken your promise, High Priestess. You know the consequences. Frankly I don't give a damn about your precious living playmates, but unless you give yourself up now they'll end up getting... involved." Jack doesn't move. Her eyes then shoot to the top of a nearby cloning pod, where Theodore is trying to surreptitiously make his escape. "And the same goes for you, High Priest. You've been playing with fire."

    She apparently hasn't noticed that the pile of undead she's half-buried in is covered in petrol. Having been undead quite a while now, her olfactory capacities probably aren't what they used to be. With only minor difficulty, you light a corner of the Kendal mint cake, and throw it into the heart of the flesh mass. The vapours ignite with a loud bang, and a wreath of fire engulfs the whole thing. A chorus of screams and moans rises from the burning pile. Thick billows of smoke begin to form and spread along the ceiling. There is an appalling smell of burning flesh.

    Whilst disaster risk reduction is a good method of improving wide-scale resilience in the face of natural disasters, the current disaster you face is of a decidedly unnatural bent.

    663 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8034 23:35

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    Thanks to Ariadne and Conundrum-chan's work, the basalt headed grunt is now just twitching face down in the water, unable to support itself on its horribly mangled limbs. The flesh mass seems too busy screaming in pain to attack you.

    The attackers are all quite clearly dead (and were to begin with) so the only survivors of the attack are the group you were already a part of. You don't trust them, however, and feel that now, when they are likely complacent with victory, is the perfect time to show your true colours, by garrotting them with a pair of pantsu - for instance, those on Dr. Gay Hitler's head. You quietly approach him and try to take them, but he seems to have grown fond of his uniform, and resists violently. He whacks you in the head - your one unarmoured part - with the CRT monitor on his horn, then impales you on the end. You die.

    Deaths: 27

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>662)

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    The only rock weapon you're currently armed with is your stone hammer, which isn't much good for stabbing. You try to persuade Jack Aaronova to part with her ceremonial knife - which she vehemently refuses - then instead settle for sharpening the hilt of your hammer using stone sharpening (active skill), setting you back by ten mana. You have seventy mana remaining.

    You gleefully stab the floor, wall, door, cloning pods, Dr. Gay Hitler's CRT monitor, Dr. Gay Hitler himself (without penetrating his carapace), and the still moving remains of the basalt headed grunt. You feel better for it.

    The fire atop the flesh mass is starting to go out. It seems to have changed shape, with the leading edge having stretched forwards into the water. The undead girl is now at the front, mostly submerged and no longer burning. She lifts her head, her skin burnt and discoloured and barely clinging to her face, and mutters to herself "...ieces of shit... I'd hoped it wouldn't come to this, but I suppose I have to return to..."

    In mid-sentence, her body contorts violently, limbs elongating, bifurcating and branching, as her hair falls out and her head atrophies away into a single, toothy maw. Her body swells into a formless, bloated, pulsating blob. In seconds she has metamorphosed into a large undead tentacle monster, appendages groping in your direction. She seems to be aiming for Jack Aaronova, but she has more than enough tentacles for all of you.

    664 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 00:47

    Turn the situation into an advertisement for Tentacle Grape brand soda.

    665 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 01:20

    make an outdated memetic reference

    666 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 01:49

    mongle some cock

    667 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 07:03

    happily grab a woman's breasts

    668 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 19:00

    Continue Masturbation!!!

    669 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8035 19:45


    670 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8036 23:18

    Tearing away the fourth wall like tissue paper, you turn to face the reader and tell them that at the end of a long, tiring day of murder and evil, you like nothing better than a cool, refreshing bottle of Tentacle Grape brand soda. The sensation of that sugary purple elixir slipping deep inside you is second to none. You express hope that the reader will soon be joining you in the slimy, acetabuliferous grip of Tentacle Grape's customership, before pulling a bottle of the said substance from behind your back and taking a healthy swig. You exhale loudly, flash the reader a winning smile, and wink exaggeratedly.

    The approaching undead tentacle monster, perhaps unappreciative of your disrespectful portrayal of her kind, grabs you by every limb, lifts you from the ground, dangles your head into her enormous toothy mouth, and bites down hard. Your neck is severed entirely.

    Deaths: 28

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>663)

    "All your base are belong to us!" you exclaim gleefully. This is not true. You don't know where the undead base(s) are, and you have no particular claim to any area of land that could even potentially fit the bill.

    You can't find any cockerels here. The closest you know of is Reginald the red bird, who is currently - my god! He's perched on the box of dynamite that you left on top of a cloning pod to the southeast. That could be dangerous. Unfortunately, there's a lot of tentacles and badly burnt - but still animate and full of hatred for the living - undead separating you from him.

    As Jack Aaronova's chest is shielded by her trilobite armour, you aren't particularly fond of Jacqueline, and the other girl has spontaneously turned into a tentacle monster, you settle for groping Jack Conundrum-chan's delightfully small, soft, delicate breasts. She squeals, wriggles free and says "Not now, Ariadne!" You suddenly come to your senses and realise that you've done something inappropriately intimate with Conundrum-chan again. You blush violently, realising with shame how much you've complicated your relationship with her once again.

    Then again, she only said not now, not never... Perhaps...

    You call upon the tentacle monster by name. She stops and looks straight at you (possibly; it's hard to tell when she doesn't have any eyes) for a few seconds, tentacles poised uncertainly in the air. "Now, while it's distracted!" Aaron shouts to Alexei, who is currently aiming his energy weapon squarely at Continue-chan. He squeezes the trigger and a few sparks spit feebly from the end, but nothing further happens.

    "Dammit!" curses Alexei, grabbing Jacqueline's wrist and making a run for the northwest tunnel, apparently abandoning the rest of you to Masturbation's wrath. You and Conundrum-chan - but probably not the others - know that that tunnel ends in a magma pool, and is likely a dead end, unless the lift to Theodore's chamber above has another exit you don't know about.

    Your parcopresis forbids it.

    671 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8036 23:37

    Apologize to Continue-chan.

    672 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8037 02:29

    Hand over the bottle of Tentacle Grape as a peace offering.

    673 This post sucked.

    674 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8037 17:12

    The only thing standing between you and a satisfying poop is this tentacle monster and all of these supposed allies.

    It's simple, crush the head and spine of the girl at the center of the tentacle mass.

    675 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8038 23:51

    "I-I'm sorry, Continue-chan!" you stammer. You aren't sure what you're sorry for; she's the one trying to kill all of you, after all. She continues to hesitate where she is, tentacles aquiver. Jack Aaronova and Theodore are similarly frozen in place, not daring to take their eyes off her. Alexei and Jacqueline escape up the northwest tunnel and disappear from view. Aaron and Conundrum-chan alternate between staring at you expectantly and watching Continue-chan for signs of movement.

    You find in your left hand a vaguely suggestively named carbonated beverage which you don't remember acquiring. You stare at it dumbly for a second. What is it? Where did it come from? Why is it in your hand? At any rate, the name seems portentous. You step forwards cautiously, holding it out in one hand. Continue-chan makes a high pitched wailing noise and smacks it violently from your hand with one swing of a tentacle. It flies across the room and shatters against the wall.

    The same tentacle returns in a backswing and strikes you in the upper body. You are thrown aside to land, on your back, in the water between two pods. You are slightly winded, but only your pride is seriously hurt. Continue-chan, still screaming, advances towards Jack Aaronova. She, in turn, holds her ground, gripping her ceremonial knife readily.

    Continue-chan's new physiology is a little confusing. The part with the mouth must be the head, you suppose, but there's no indication of other sensory organs, nor any visible separation from the rest of the body. You highly doubt that she's still a vertebrate, and, judging by the fluid pulsating motions of her central mass, doubt she has any skull to crush either. There doesn't seem to be girl at the centre, unless you mean in a metaphorical sense.

    But now is no time for anatomical semantics! You charge in, swinging your stone hammer recklessly, hoping to crush something vital. Continue-chan doesn't even break her stride as she again knocks you aside with one tentacle. This time your head collides with a cloning pod, knocking you unconscious.

    You awaken in Conundrum-chan's office. Conundrum-chan herself is standing over you, a concerned look on her face. Her countenance visibly lightens as she sees you're awake. Also in the room are Jack Aaronova, Theodore and Stove Stove - but, notably, neither Aaron nor Dr. Gay Hitler. There is a deafening banging on the door. Despite it being made of solid steel and an entire shelf having been moved and propped in front of it, it sounds ready to break down.

    "T-there's only one way to atone for... it." mutters Jack Aaronova, almost ashamedly, half to herself. "Christmas." she adds solemnly.

    676 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8039 00:32

    Command Continue (or whoever else might be banging on the door) to halt in the name of Yoghurt-Sweettooth.

    677 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8039 06:05

    Sing merrily, "We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

    678 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8040 22:15

    pick nose

    679 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8040 23:13

    "In the name of Yoghurt-Sweettooth, I order thee to be still!" you shout in the general direction of the banging. The banging redoubles in intensity, and an unmistakeably Continue-like screech rises from the other side. The shelf leaning against the wall is now visibly shaking, and dust is falling from the ceiling. Shockingly, it seems even the elder god Sweettooth holds no dominion over her.

    In the most irreverent manner imaginable, you sing facetiously about that darkest and most unspeakable of rituals: christmas. You even have the temerity to wish Jack a "happy new year", as though she has any chance of living to see the next year, or indeed has any chance of being happy ever again after having offended the gods. She stares at you, shocked into silence. A single tear traces its way down one of her cheeks.

    After comparing the various olfactory organs present, you choose Conundrum-chan's nose as being the most appealing. I mean, technically, She and Jack Aaronova are clones, so their noses are identical and all, but Conundrum-chan's just has a certain je ne sais quoi about it that makes it so much more attractive. You sigh in longing at the sight of its gently rolling curves and graceful almond shaped nostrils.

    You hear a vociferation from outside - a girl's voice. You can only barely make it out from over Continue-chan's continued assault, but something about the sound makes the hair on the back of your neck rise. Who is that?

    The banging stops abruptly. There are a few splashes, followed by a long, ominous silence. Without consulting any of you, Conundrum-chan immediately begins shifting the shelf back out of the way, clearing the way to the door.

    680 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8041 03:05

    List party skills and status.

    681 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8041 15:09

    List laws and mores violated by the party up until this point.

    682 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 15:54

    List party's political affiliations.

    683 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:02

    Since your brush with amnesia, you have gained the following skills:

    • Induced metamorphism (active skill): Can convert igneous/sedimentary rock into metamorphic equivalent, as though by application of high temperature and pressure. Costs twenty mana per kilogram.
    • Basic rock animation (active skill): Can cause objects made entirely of stone weighing less than one kilogram to temporarily animate. Animated rocks obey your instructions. Costs five mana per minute.
    • Stone resistance (passive skill): Are significantly more resistant - though not entirely immune - to injury involving stone, e.g. being hit by rocks, falling from a height onto stone, being buried under rocks.
    • Stone morphing (active skill): Can change shape of stones or objects made of stone, including separation into multiple objects. Costs twenty mana per kilogram.
    • Stone sharpening (active skill): Can sharpen edges on stone objects to approximately that of a steel blade. Costs one mana per centimetre of edge.
    • Summon stone (active skill): Can summon more stone of the same type from existing stone surfaces, in whatever form desired. Costs forty mana per kilogram.
    • Advanced rock animation (active skill): Can cause objects made entirely of stone weighing less than ten kilograms to temporarily animate. Animated rocks obey your instructions. Costs twenty mana per minute.
    • Stone sacrifice (passive skill): Sapient creatures killed by you via primary or secondary effects of objects made of stone yield 100 mana and two skill points. Ritual killings involving objects made of stone yield 150 mana and three skill points.

    You have other skills, such as levitation, but you can't quite remember all of them. You have in your inventory nothing but a makeshift stone hammer with a sharpened hilt, and the frilly dress you are wearing. You have level eight geokinesis and seventy mana.

    Jack Aaronova has the following skills:

    • Basic ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can accurately predict the weather for the next six hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least one minute.
    • Feline communication (passive skill): Can understand and employ general methods of cat communication, e.g. hissing, purring, meowing.
    • Cat affinity evaluation (active skill): Can tell another sapient being's affinity towards cats. Requires line of sight. Costs 15 mana.
    • Summon cat (active skill): Can summon a cat from the nearest interdimensional aperture. Costs 100 mana.
    • Advanced ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can accurately predict the weather for the next 24 hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least four minutes. Costs 20 mana.
    • Cat possession (passive skill): Cats in the near vicinity are now playable members of your party.
    • Inverse ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can, by performing a given action on a cat, cause a corresponding change in future weather (e.g. bringing cat to a warm place makes weather warmer, spinning cat around produces cyclone). Costs 125 mana.
    • Summon gust (active skill): Can create a weak, momentary gust of wind nearby. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs 10 mana.
    • Summon fog (active skill): Can cause all water vapour in the air in a five metre sphere around your position to condense out into fog. Costs 50 mana.
    • Summon convection (active skill): Can create a strong local convection cell five metres in diameter around your current position. Costs 30 mana.

    She has in her inventory the tattered remains of a seifuku, a suit of plate armour made of trilobite carapace, an incredibly bloody ceremonial stone knife, five mushrooms of various different species, and four strips of smoked trilobite meat. She has level seven ailuromacy, three unspent skillpoints, and 260 mana.

    684 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:02

    Jack Conundrum-chan currently has far, far too many skills; more specifically:

    • Telekinesis (small objects)(active skill): Can affect acceleration of objects weighing less than one kilogram within a range of ten metres by up to one metre per second squared. Costs 10 mana per object. Can be maintained indefinitely, but can only move one object at a time.
    • Telekinesis (medium objects)(active skill): As with telekinesis (small objects), but with mass limit of 100kg. Costs 100 mana per object.
    • Telekinesis (large objects)(active skill): As with telekinesis (medium objects), but with mass limit of 10000kg. Costs 1000 mana per object.
    • Teleportation (self)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer own body to any other position within ten metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 10 mana per teleportation.
    • Levitation (passive skill): Own body is not affected by gravity. Cannot be disabled.
    • Deamputation (active skill): Can reattach severed digits or limbs. Costs 20 mana.
    • Teleportation resistance (passive skill): Cannot be involuntarily teleported by another entity.
    • Teleportation (other)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer another entity's body to any other position within ten metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 20 mana per teleportation.
    • Increased range (passive skill): All telekinesis abilities limited to a range of ten metres are now extended to twenty metres.
    • Partial shapeshifting (active skill): Can shapeshift portions of your body; no more than one limb at a time. Mass-energy, electrical charge, CPT symmetry and momentum must be conserved. Costs 50 mana.
    • Teleportation (small objects)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer non-living objects weighing less than one kilogram to any other position within twenty metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 10 mana per teleportation.
    • Increased range II (passive skill): All telekinesis abilities limited to a range of twenty metres are now extended to fifty metres.
    • Firelighting (active skill): Can start fires. Requires tinder and firelighting implement, e.g. lighter, matches, flint and steel, bow drill.
    • Pyromania (passive skill): Attain therapeutic effects from starting fires. Firelighting may be addictive and/or difficult to resist. Cannot be disabled.
    • Flammability (active skill): Can make any object or creature under 100kg flammable, regardless of temperature or chemical composition. Effect lasts for sixty seconds. Costs 50 mana.
    • Flame camouflage (passive skill): If within or in front of a mass of flame larger than yourself, become difficult to distinguish from it by other creatures. Only affects sight.
    • Arbitrarily sized fireball (active skill): Can summon and cast a fireball of any size. Requires one free hand. Costs the fireball's diameter in centimetres in mana.
    • Flame sacrifice (passive skill): Sapient creatures killed by you via primary or secondary effects of fire yield 100 mana and two skill points. Ritual killings involving fire yield 150 mana and three skill points.
    • Basic healing (passive skill): Body slowly regenerates from damage. Not a magic spell; your body just naturally does that.
    • Place in recovery position (active skill): Able to place unconscious humanoid into a position in which they will regain consciousness more quickly and are less likely to asphyxiate.
    • Dress wound (active skill): Able to apply antiseptic and/or dressing/bandage to wound to stem bleeding and promote healing.
    • Basic magical healing (active skill): Able to expend mana in order to quickly heal self or other entity. One unit of mana roughly corresponds to one hour's worth of natural healing.
    • Spontaneous blood generation (active skill): Can generate blood within own body. Costs 10 mana per litre.
    • Complete regeneration (active skill): Can completely regenerate self or other living being, up to and including regrowing missing limbs. Costs 100 mana.

    685 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:02

    • Reanimation (invertebrates)(active skill): Can revive any invertebrate, so long as bodily integrity is above 50%. Revived creatures behave as they would while alive. Requires 10 mana per minute of revival.
    • Reanimation (small vertebrates)(active skill): Can revive any vertebrate weighing less than 2kg, so long as bodily integrity is above 80%. Revived creatures behave as they would while alive. Requires 40 mana per minute of revival.
    • Reanimation (body parts)(active skill): Can revive body parts weighing less than 5kg, not including grey matter, as long as bodily integrity is above 80%. Revived body parts behave hostilely towards anything perceptible by associated sensory organs. Requires 20 mana per kg per minute of revival.
    • Reanimation (ritually killed dead)(active skill): Can reanimate anything killed in a ritualistic manner, so long as bodily integrity is above 80%. Revived creatures obey you entirely, and have no will of their own. Requires a single expenditure of 80 mana.
    • Reanimation (electronics)(active skill): Can reanimate electronics, so long as integrity of electronic components and connections is above 50%. Revived electronics behave as they would when working. Requires 20 mana per minute of revival.
    • JavaScript console (active skill): Opens the JavaScript console. Requires 75 mana.
    • Mana/skillpoint interconversion (active skill): Can exchange mana for unspent skillpoints or vice versa at a rate of 50 mana per skillpoint.
    • Summon void creature (active skill): Can summon creatures from own crotch. Summoning takes 30 seconds, during which time you must remain stationary. Cannot be halted once started. Requires 50 mana.
    • Complete shapeshifting (active skill): Can shapeshift entire body into other forms. Mass-energy, electrical charge, CPT symmetry and momentum must be conserved. Costs 75 mana.
    • Proposal (active skill): Propose marriage to another entity. Both you and the other entity must be eligible for marriage. Requires engagement ring.

    She currently has in her inventory a well worn labcoat, a ball point pen, a bottle of water and a geologist's hammer. She has level twelve telekinesis, level nine pyromancy, level six healing, level five necromancy, level five thaumaturgy, level one matrimony, and three unspent skillpoints. She has zero mana.

    Stove Stove currently has the following skills:

    • Telekinesis (small objects)(active skill): Can affect acceleration of objects weighing less than one kilogram within a range of ten metres by up to one metre per second squared. Costs 10 mana per object. Can be maintained indefinitely, but can only move one object at a time.
    • Telekinesis (medium objects)(active skill): As with telekinesis (small objects), but with mass limit of 100kg. Costs 100 mana per object.
    • Telekinesis (large objects)(active skill): As with telekinesis (medium objects), but with mass limit of 10000kg. Costs 1000 mana per object.
    • Teleportation (self)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer own body to any other position within ten metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 10 mana per teleportation.
    • Levitation (passive skill): Own body is not affected by gravity. Cannot be disabled.
    • Deamputation (active skill): Can reattach severed digits or limbs. Costs 20 mana.
    • Teleportation resistance (passive skill): Cannot be involuntarily teleported by another entity.
    • Teleportation (other)(active skill): Can instantaneously transfer another entity's body to any other position within ten metres. Target volume displaced must not contain any matter not in gas phase. Costs 20 mana per teleportation.
    • Proposal (active skill): Can propose marriage to another entity. Both you and the other entity must be eligible for marriage. Requires engagement ring.

    They have level eight telekinesis, level one matrimony and 99,729 mana.

    686 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:02

    And last but not least, Theodore currently has the following skills:

    • Summon gust (active skill): Can create a weak, momentary gust of wind nearby. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs 10 mana.
    • Temporary possession (active skill): Can control a sentient being's actions for no more than thirty seconds. Requires line of sight. Costs 75 mana.
    • Telepathic projection (active skill): Can project speech or other mental imagery directly into a sentient being's mind. Costs one mana per second per target.

    He has level one aerokinesis, level two hypnosis and 45 mana.

    Jacqueline, Alexei, Dr. Gay Hitler, Rupert and Reginald are also potentially playable members of your party, but, as they aren't present, they've missed out on the skill/status checking fun.

    You are all castaways in a wild and lawless land. There are no rules to break. You are not in Rome; you cannot do as the Romans do - nor, by extension, can you not do as the Romans do. You are the Romans now. Even the unspoken social norms, expectations and taboos are unsettled. Your very actions now are creating the laws which members of a future society may go on to break.

    Apart from a few vaguely pacifist or bellicist sentiments, your society lacks the political framework to even have affiliations.

    While you've been busy with your head in the clouds, Conundrum-chan has finished unbarricading the door. It swings open quietly to reveal Continue-chan, half on the raised walkway before the door and half in the water below, surrounded on all sides by roughly a hundred clones of Jack. They are all wearing rather fetching knee-length dresses of varying colours and styles, but are otherwise identical. They stand in a semicircle of twenty metre radius, centred on Continue-chan, with placid smiles on their faces. The tentacle monster in question is frozen in place - cornered, but far from defeated.

    687 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:18

    change political affiliation to Islamic State, declare ourself caliph

    688 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8042 23:40

    Be Jack Aaronova.
    Put remaining skill points into Aerokinesis.
    Sneak up behind Jack Conundrum, summon fog to cloak our sneak attack, then stab her in the back with the ceremonial stone knife repeatedly. Use new Aerokinesis skills to make a temporary retreat if the attack fails.

    689 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8043 16:39

    commit anal deification

    690 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8043 22:17

    Evil Hina? (Thinks of Hina evil) this song makes me think

    691 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8044 23:55

    There are no states - Islamic or otherwise - to swear allegiance to. You cannot become caliph without undergoing the proper shura process.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    You increase your aerokinesis level to six, unlocking the following skills:

    • Cool air (active skill): Can isobarically cool air in a five metre sphere around your position. Costs two mana per kelvin cooled.
    • Heat air (active skill): Can isobarically heat air in a five metre sphere around your position. Costs two mana per kelvin heated.
    • Summon vortex (active skill): Can summon a strong local vortex five metres in diameter around your current position. Costs 30 mana.

    Having a single clone was a little disconcerting, but this crowd outside is simply a Jack too far. You feel like if you don't do something to cull the population then you'll lose all sense of identity. Though you harbour no particular ill will towards her, Conundrum-chan is the closest Jack, and seems an easy target, being distracted by the ruckus outside.

    With a wave of your hand, a thick, damp fog suddenly precipitates out from thin air. It's thicker than you expected. To your dismay, your quarry utters a startled cry and, by the sounds of it, moves from where she was. You manage one solid thrust into where her back last was - stabbing only air - before being grasped around the midriff by a pair of tentacles and plucked from the room. The hunter has become the hunted! In a panic you summon some gusts of air, but Continue-chan's grip is unassailable. Between this and summoning the fog, you have spent 70 mana, leaving 190 remaining.

    After a disconcerting transition, you find yourself suspended upside down over Continue-chan's open mouth. You see Conundrum-chan, Ariadne and Theodore rush out from the fog filled room. Another tentacle shoots out and ensnares Theodore, but the other two are spared. With a lurch, Continue-chan starts to the east, perhaps heading for the staircase to the surface.

    At that moment, a loud cry comes from somewhere in the north, behind the Jacks - an unplaceable, vaguely androgynous voice - commanding: "Advance! Commence hugging!" The Jacks charge bravely, arms outstretched, eyes bright and mouths open in inarticulate expressions of delight. The tentacles throw back many, but for every Jack that falls two more step forth to try to wrap their arms around Continue-chan's central body. She is soon inundated, embraced tightly from every side, unable to do more than wave the tips of a few tentacles. She screeches in frustration.

    A quick look around reveals that the others are not exempt from the onslaught of cuddles. Conundrum-chan and Ariadne are held in place by three Jacks each. Conundrum-chan looks vaguely uncomfortable. Ariadne tries to maintain her composure, but soon submits and hugs them back, eyes closed in warm ecstasy.

    You say a silent prayer to the great anus in the sky, whoever, wherever and whatever it may be.

    You begin to contemplate the moral state of a certain Kagiyama Hina, goddess of misfortune and resident of the Great Youkai Forest. Despite her ominous appearance, she is presented as an upstanding and morally good person, selflessly seeking to keep humans from bad luck. But what if your first impression were right, and she really is evil? I mean, she does fire quite a bit of danmaku at you without much warning (though that's standard fare for Gensokyo) and she does impede you from reaching your goal of the Moriya Shrine at the top of the mountain (though probably not knowingly). You slowly conclude that there isn't much evidence for the evil Hina theory.

    Your musings are interrupted by a Jack wearing a cute stripy red dress climbing up to your position, pulling you - tentacle and all - down to the ground, and embracing you warmly. Several more join her and before you know it you too are incapacitated by the hugs.

    692 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8045 05:49

    Everyone: sing the hugging song, which goes like this:

    Hug hug hug, hug hug hug.
    Hug hug hug hug hug hug hug!
    Hug hug hug, hug.
    Hug? Hug.
    Hug hug hug, hug hug hug.

    693 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8045 05:49

    I can't help but have a really bad feeling about this.

    694 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8046 23:43

    Succumbing to the gentle, welcoming sensation of skinship, you begin to sing the word "hug" over and over again. The Jacks eagerly join in, chanting along in a merry chorus, past the point of semantic satiation, until all you're doing is contorting your lips and flicking your tongue in a way that happens to make a noise. Continue-chan, meanwhile, is still struggling and screeching with increasing frustration.

    You can't help but have a warm, fuzzy feeling about this. But under this lurks a vague sense of malaise. Perhaps it's to do with the fact that you can't move at all; even if you could persuade the Jacks hugging you to let go, Continue-chan's tentacle is still firmly gripping your abdomen. You'll need to employ some real cunning if you're to make it out of this one. Or maybe just stab everyone/thing with your stone knife. Whatever works.

    695 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8047 05:48

    Spend mana to heat the air around us by 80 Kelvin. Assuming our general vicinity is at room temperature (~293K) this should be enough to raise the air to boiling (373K). and thus make us too hot to hug or grip with tentacles. When the tentacles and Jack let go, go on a Jack-stabbing spree.

    696 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8047 11:09

    put all the skillpoints gained from the clone murdering spree into matrimony

    697 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8047 12:06

    Marry all the dead clones

    698 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8049 00:14

    Itching to try out your newfound aerokinesis powers, you turn the local volume of air into a nice toasty sauna. You thereby raise the air quite some way past its boiling point (which is roughly 77 kelvin) and successfully become ungraspable. There is an audible hiss from the water at your feet. Nearby Jacks wail in pain and surprise, while Continue-chan's screaming rises to an even higher volume and pitch. Tentacles and arms alike flinch away. You are, however, not immune to your own artifice, and are thrown off a little by the sudden flash of hot air on your skin. You have spent 160 mana, leaving 30 remaining.

    You half dodge, half stumble northwards, only to trip over a fallen Jack and end up face down in the water. A tentacle lashes out towards you, but a Jack wearing a polka dot purple and white dress selflessly throws herself in its path, saving you. In recompense, you literally stab her in the back, along with two of her comrades. The nearby Jacks make distressed noises and stop trying to hug you, but don't let go of Continue-chan. The free tentacles continue to grasp for you relentlessly, but you manage to stay out of reach.

    For killing three sapient beings in a ritualistic manner, you have gained three skillpoints and 150 mana.

    Matrimony is not an available skill. Available skills are instead aerokinesis, geokinesis, biokinesis, hypnosis, technomancy and ailuromancy.

    Despite your amorous advances, your dead potential fiancées stubbornly refuse to say the all-important "I do". You feel a little dejected.

    The same voice which gave the order to advance comes again, from the northeast, this time commanding "Retreat! Retreat!". This poses somewhat of a problem. If the Jacks retreat, you will be lose your all important meat shields, not to mention your easiest source of skill points, mana and possible spouses.

    699 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8049 00:22

    Put skill points into aerokinesis and summon a badass storm around the perimeter to block Jacks' retreats.

    700 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8052 00:36

    You throw all three skillpoints into aerokinesis, unlocking the following skills:

    • Variable area of effect (passive skill): All aerokinesis skills with an area of effect can be used at any scale, with mana cost proportional to radius.

      • Summon fog (active skill) now costs ten mana per metre radius.
      • Summon convection (active skill) and summon vortex (active skill) now cost six mana per metre radius.
      • Cool air (active skill) and heat air (active skill) now cost 0.4 mana per kelvin per metre radius, rounded up.
    • Precision air movement (active skill): Can manipulate objects weighing no more than ten kilograms within five metres of your position using local air currents. Costs ten mana per second.
    • Aerokinesis immunity (passive skill): Can freely resist the effects of your own aerokinesis skills.

    The Jacks, in unison, release their grips and begin to run away towards the northeast tunnel. In the interests of badassness, you go all out and spend 150 mana on summoning an immense fifty metre diameter vortex. Immediately the wind begins to howl, waves pick up on the surface of the water, the lights suspended overhead begin to sway, and everyone around you stumbles and tries to brace themselves against the unexpected tempest.

    Ariadne grasps Conundrum-chan's hand and the two pull themselves towards the opening of the southwest tunnel, which is flooded. Continue-chan similarly pulls herself using her tentacles, against the wind, into the doorway leading to the spiral staircase upwards. She gives one last vindictive screech and vanishes inside, Theodore still in her grasp. The Jacks cry out in terror, huddle together in small groups, or attempt to find shelter between - or even inside - the cloning pods. Though one or two slip through, there is no sign of any sort of organised retreat.

    Your storm will only last a little longer, after which you could possibly head northeast to investigate the mysterious voice commanding the Jacks, or northwest after Alexei and Jacqueline, or southwest after Ariadne and Conundrum-chan, or upstairs after Continue-chan and Theodore. You aren't sure where Aaron and Dr. Gay Hitler have gotten to, but you could certainly go looking for them as well.

    701 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8052 06:09

    Murder all the Jacks for those juicy experience points and mana, then go northeast to investigate.

    702 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8052 06:21

    Murder the Jacks by ritualistically stabbing them in the back, using atmospheric heat to subdue them if necessary.

    703 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8053 08:49

    Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil queen and Jack.

    704 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8053 15:29

    Stand there mindboggled as you realize >>703 is a pangram.

    705 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8053 20:21

    Gaze at my five whipped Jacks in the liquor box.

    706 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8055 21:28

    Striking from amidst the gale like a forgotten coursework deadline at the end of term, you descend upon a lone Jack and brutally stab her in the upper spine, chanting wildly as loud as you can. She collapses forwards, dead, releasing to you two skill points and a hundred mana. All Jacks nearby scream and try to run away like a startled flock. You manage a few grazing slashes, but are able to catch and ritualistically murder only one more before the vortex weakens and disperses.

    Despite their ditzy demeanour, they turn out to be surprisingly well coordinated when it comes to evading being murdered. They hide frustratingly just out of sight behind the cloning pods, slipping in and out of your peripheral vision, making feints and generally being anywhere but on the end of your knife. You can't even use your aerokinesis powers to stop them as you aren't sure where they are. Before you know it, they have all escaped in one direction or another, and you are alone in the vast room. It suddenly becomes a very quiet and lonely place.

    For killing two sapient beings in a ritualistic manner, you have gained four skillpoints and 200 mana.

    You head to the northeast, where the mouth of the Palriga is and where you heard that odd voice commanding the Jacks, but find nobody there. The tunnel opening looms wide and dark before you. Continuing your investigation, you head inside. There are many thin, winding tunnels, some running with water and others not, all in pitch darkness. As your eyes adjust you notice a faint glow to the south. You head towards it, eventually finding yourself in some sort of large underground forest, not unlike the one seen back at >>616.

    You turn your head to one side and are startled to find a person standing right next to you, half a metre away at most. You cannot see them well in the faint light of the glowing fungus, but they are rather tall, dressed in something white and close fitting, and you can't quite work out whether they're male or female. "Would you like a hug?" they offer in an androgynous voice - the same one you were seeking.

    Is... is this person a wizard? Are they trying to get close to you in order to poison you and other powerful, evil women like you? Distrustful of the wizard's placid smile and open arms, you take a step back, grip your stone knife and prepare to defend yourself.

    At this most vital and threatening time, you find your mind boggled by something completely irrelevant. The wizard, noting your confusion, explains that haptic communication is important for humans such as yourself, and has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin (which promotes interpersonal bonding) and reduce levels of cortisol (involved in stress). They add that if hugging is not to your liking then they would be just as happy to offer some light tickling or a massage.

    Looking around for liquor boxes, you happen to catch sight of several Jacks, hiding behind and amongst the various strange organic structures nearby. They are watching you with warm curiosity. There are more than five of them, and none appear to have been whipped. Yet.

    707 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8056 00:19

    Accept the hug, then stab the androgynous maybe-wizard in the back. Literally.

    708 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8057 22:26

    You nod your head solemnly and submit to the wizard's embrace. Their arms wrap tightly around your back and their torso presses against yours, but they are kept at a slight remove by your trilobite plate armour. You feel a strange warmth spreading through your body, dampened by that very distance. It's like the hedgehog's dilemma. If you allow them closer - beneath your armour - then you make yourself vulnerable to attack by others. If not, then you remain isolated and unable to hug or be hugged in earnest.

    You find yourself suddenly revolted by these ridiculous girlish pinings. Yes, you decide, before this insidious "hugging" addles your brain any further, you'll make sure this wizard wishes they were wearing armour like you! Behind their back, you extend your hand holding the knife and then plunge it into their spine as hard as you can. It bounces off with a faint metallic plunk. Your breath catches in your throat.

    The wizard lets go and commiserates that they'd love to stay and hug you more, but they must be off. They say that they are worried for the mental health of their mistress (who recently transformed into a tentacle monster, and may be suffering some form of bodily dysphoria), hence all the Jacks being sent in to hug her. You were just collateral. With a cheery goodbye, the wizard vanishes into the darkness, surrounded by rustling and giggling as the Jacks follow them.

    You are left alone in a small clearing. You find yourself somewhat disorientated, unable to recall which direction you came from. There are a few glowing bulbous fungi dotted around, mostly ahead of you. Countless tall, tubular structures rise from the ground all around you. They are especially thick in the area behind you and to your left. There is also a faint breeze coming from your left. As you are stood there wondering what to do, you hear a scream come from ahead and slightly to your right.

    709 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8058 03:41

    Eat the fungi.

    710 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8059 14:50

    Practice rolling on the ground

    711 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8059 23:11

    Curious, you walk over to the glowing fungus and carefully inspect it. It consists of many long, thin glabrous stalks, each with a row of luminescent white bell-shaped organs hanging from it. It is cold and slightly slimy to the touch, and gives off no particular odour. With trepidation, you pluck one of the fruits, stick it in your mouth, chew and swallow. It is incredibly bitter and acrid in taste, and almost earns itself a return journey up your oesophagus, though you manage to keep it down.

    But why stop there? That's only one of an entire kingdom of life out there waiting to be eaten! You gather specimens of every fungus you can find, from the stipitate to the hirsute, and wolf them down voraciously. After sampling one particularly elusive little mushroom, you find yourself suddenly unable to move. You fall onto one side, short of breath and nauseous. The world fades away into total darkness. You die within seconds.

    Deaths: 29

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>708)

    As preparation in case you ever catch fire, you practice the "stop drop and roll" procedure. Once you are satisfied you have mastered the technique - complicated as it is - you get up again. You note in passing that it's been a minute or two now since you heard that scream, and you haven't heard anything else since.

    712 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8060 00:15

    Collect fungi for later use, then go towards the scream.

    713 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8060 02:46

    Collect scream for later use.

    714 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8060 23:22

    make sure we still have the files

    715 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8061 14:46

    make sure we still have the flies

    716 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8062 21:36

    You spend a few minutes stuffing your pockets with fungi; mostly mushrooms, but also a few bracket fungi and even what might be some sort of slime mould. Once satisfied, taking your time, and in no particular hurry, you amble over towards where you think you heard that screaming coming from. The glowing fungi are not even remotely enough to illuminate your path, so you advance slowly, with both hands out in front of you, and treading very carefully.

    The ground rises, passes over a ridge, then descends precipitously before levelling off again. You hear some hissing clicking noises from somewhere to your left, and momentarily hope you might've found the source of the screaming, but it seems to be just more trilobites. They scuttle away and are gone before you can react. You continue onwards for quite some way, and eventually reach the shore of an underground lake. The glowing fungi are more common here, as well as on the opposite shore, at least a hundred metres away.

    Quite unexpectedly, you stumble across a manmade structure: a short, stubby concrete pier extending into the lake. It is ridged and slopes down at the end, suggesting it may be for launching watercraft. Following the structure inland, you find, embedded into the concrete, the bottom of a ladder leading straight up into the black expanse above. You can hear faintly from above an airy thumping sound, like the sound of a helicopter's rotor, but slower and more irregular.

    You sweep the area, still searching for the source of that scream, and happen to spot a human figure lying face down on the shore on the other side of the pier. You can't identify it due to the low lighting, but you're fairly certain it's an adult male, so it's probably either Alexei, Aaron, or a grunt. Judging by their lack of motion, they are either unconscious, dead or playing dead. You try to approach, but as soon as you get within a few metres a vast, dark shape erupts from the water nearby and drives you off. A chance glint from the CRT monitor identifies the creature as Dr. Gay Hitler. He stamps and hisses threatening, before patrolling back and forth next to the human figure. He seems to be trying to prevent you from reaching the body.

    You have a scream prepared in the back of your throat, suitable for any occasion.

    You realise with a start that you don't have any files whatsoever! Worse still, you don't recall ever having had any. This is troubling news indeed. You chew your fingernails nervously, knowing you haven't a single suitable tool to file them down.

    Neither your trilobite plate armour nor your tattered seifuku is - or has ever been - furnished with a fly or zip in the crotch part. The immensity of your lack of both files and flies settles on you, and you suddenly feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. This world is simply not as you thought it was.

    717 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8063 05:24

    Heat the air around Dr. Gay Hitler until he (she?) gets too hot and runs away.

    718 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8066 18:41

    Inspect body.
    Place face in body's buttocks.
    Deeply inhale.

    719 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8070 16:17

    Scream, in quick succession, the fifty most common words in the english language.

    720 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8071 21:39

    Now that you have air immunity (passive skill), you can afford to really meddle with the air without fear of hurting yourself in the process. You spend 60 mana heating the air within two metres of you by 75K, then take a few steps towards the angry arthropod. Dr. Gay Hitler begins to charge towards you, but as soon as he enters your sphere of influence, hisses loudly and slips back into the water. A flawless success, it seems.

    You find that the man has a fairly strong pulse and is breathing, but shows no response to being pinched or prodded. You drag him over to the nearest glowing fungus, pressing it against his face, and identify him as your foster father, Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov. He is dressed only in his underwear. He has a nail file tucked behind his left ear, but you cannot find any other items on or near him. His skin and hair are not wet, so he doesn't seem to have actually been in the water recently. There is a swollen lump on the back of his head, suggesting he was knocked unconscious by a blunt impact.

    Though you hate to admit it, you do actually somewhat care about this man, and you want the best for him, as far as possible. You certainly wouldn't wish upon him the embarrassment of being found by anyone outside the family in the state of having soiled himself. Just to be on the safe side, you have to check if any deposits have been made in his underwear.

    You roll him over onto his stomach and, thankful for the fact that there's nobody nearby, thrust your nose into his rear and give a hearty sniff. You don't smell anything in particular.

    "What are you doing?" asks a voice from over your shoulder. You jump upright, turn around and ready your trusty ceremonial stone knife out of reflex. Before you is a certain familiar obsidian cube, hovering in midair, atop which are Conundrum-chan and Ariadne. Conundrum-chan has a small flame between her fingers; just enough to illuminate their faces and the local surroundings.

    Panicking, you try to explain yourself. "The be to of, and a, in that have I it for not on with! He as you do at this, but his by from they we say! Her she, or an will - my one all - would there their what! So up out if about, who get which go me!" you reply. That didn't quite come out right.

    "...I see." says Ariadne, a smug half-smile playing on her lips, before gracefully changing the subject; "Now, as it happens, Conundrum-chan and I are looking for all those clones of yours. You wouldn't happen to know where they've gone, would you?" Conundrum-chan continues "Quickly please, Ariadne and I are in a hurry." The flame between her fingers suddenly flares up. If you didn't know any better, you'd think they were trying to intimidate the information out of you.

    Speaking of clones, you still have four unspent skillpoints left over from those Jacks you ritually murdered earlier.

    721 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8071 21:44

    convert skill points to mana
    cast flammability on the other two while they aren't looking
    use the rest of our mana to heat the air to 8~900K

    722 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8073 21:38

    You lack both the mana/skillpoint interconversion and flammability skills, which belong to Jack Conundrum-chan (you being Jack Aaronova).

    You are now playing as Jack Conundrum-chan.

    You currently have zero mana but three unspent skillpoints, so you do the obvious thing and convert them into 150 mana. You immediately spend 100 on casting flammability on the two Aaronova sisters, Jack and Ariadne. They don't suspect a thing. Unfortunately, you cannot see your perfidious plan through to completion, as you lack the heat air skill.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    With your 170 mana, you can afford to heat the air within a one metre radius of you to a mere 700K, but that proves more than enough to set you spectacularly alight. Though you can resist the effects of your own arcane skills, this calamity was caused by Conundrum-chan's chicanery. Your skin, hair and clothing burst into a roiling mass of flame and smoke. Despite your preparations for this eventuality at >>710,711 rolling can't save you this time. You burn to death horribly and painfully.

    Deaths: 30

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>720)

    723 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8074 03:12

    Stop being a gibbering madwoman for once and calmly explain that the clones all ran away to places unknown. In exchange for this information, ask for a briefing on Jack Conundrum and Ariadne's activities. Then ask for a ride on what is presumably Stove Stove (or some similar incarnation.) Why not put all our Jacks in one Stove?

    724 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8074 14:48


    725 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8075 08:12

    Summarize plot so far.

    726 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8075 23:57

    The unhinged lone wolf act was working pretty well for you so far, but perhaps, you decide, just this once, you'll play the adult. You take a deep breath, compose yourself and state in a neutral voice that you last saw the Jacks somewhere over there (pointing to where you came from) but that they have already moved on to greener pastures. You begin to continue with fanciful ideas about sharing plans and joining them on their ride, but as soon as they have the information they want they just ignore you and fly off into the darkness.

    You gibber menacingly in their direction.

    Aaron remains unconscious. There is no sign of Dr. Gay Hitler, but he might well still be nearby. From where you are you could try heading back the way you came, following the lakeshore left or rightwards, heading inland, swimming across the lake or climbing the nearby ladder into the cavern ceiling.

    Our protagonist (Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov) awoke on a cold, hard concrete floor at >>122, with no prior memories whatsoever. He wandered an abandoned facility, before being captured by a certain wheelchairbound undead schoolgirl (Continue Masturbation, AKA Continue-chan), head of a modest camp in the atrium of the facility, consisting of herself, a mysterious androgynous individual (as yet unnamed) and many childlike cloned men wearing combat armour (grunts).

    At >>164 Aaron left the camp into the rainforest outside, and followed a red bird (Reginald) to an abandoned camp near a stream. Upstream he found a small building lined with various traps, and a semi-feral young girl leading a band of grunts (Jack Aaronova) whom he adopted as his daughter. They then separated. He was accosted by a bewitching, levitating girl in a lilac dress (Cassandra) who demanded he bring her Jack.

    Jack Aaronova, high priestess of her own camp of grunts, performed a nightly ritual human sacrifice (Christmas) to an unknown power. Aaron found his way to her camp and was nearly sacrificed himself, but managed to convince her to return to the trapped building in order to present her to Cassandra. Jack Aaronova summoned a cat (Theodore) by arcane powers obtained from her human sacrifices.

    At >>262, Cassandra arrived, but was attacked and knocked unconscious by Jack Aaronova. When she returned to consciousness she was revealed to have amnesia, and was adopted by Aaron, taking the new name Ariadne Aaronova. That night there was a storm, during which Aaron saw a titan figure in the darkness, and Jack Aaronova absconded into the night to return to her camp and perform Christmas.

    727 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8075 23:57

    In the morning Aaron and Ariadne set out to find Jack, were swept downstream by a flooded river and encountered a brontosaurus (Rupert). Aaron ran away and returned to the camp in the abandoned facility where he first awoke, also bringing food to Continue-chan as promised. Several resident grunts were found to have been brutally killed. A strangely androgynous individual (as yet nameless) was revealed to be another member of the camp, and it was mentioned that there were formerly another two members; a couple, presumably Alexei and Jacqueline (introduced later).

    Continue-chan made plans to relocate the camp next morning. During the night, at >>315, the camp was attacked by Jack Aaronova, accompanied by Theodore and a few of her grunts. Aaron was nearly killed, but instead kidnapped by Jack. Theodore remained in the atrium and was later met by Ariadne, found to have tamed Rupert. Ariadne, searching for Jack Aaronova and Aaron, instead found a clone of Jack wearing a lab coat (Conundrum Jack, AKA Conundrum-chan) who had been in cahoots with Ariadne before she lost her memory. Theodore and Rupert wandered away into the jungle. Ariadne and Conundrum-chan parted ways, with Ariadne given instructions to bring as many people as she can to a white building on the other side of the river.

    She briefly encountered Continue-chan, who ran away, and was then attacked by several undead grunts and rescued by Jack Aaronova. Jack confesses to a vague but terrible crime. The continually reanimating undead attacked the two, until at >>404 they were saved by Aaron and an undead theoretical physicist (Alexei Fujiwara), both with jetpacks. As promised, Ariadne delivered all four to the white building on the other side of the river.

    There they met Conundrum-chan. Alexei attempted to kill her, apparently for killing his lover (Jacqueline Conundra) but instead ended up blown up by her. Jack Aaronova summoned another cat (Jimmy Sphincter), before stealing Aaron's jetpack and returning across the river. Conundrum-chan ran into the building to deal with some urgent business. Ariadne and Jimmy followed her, into the building and down a long staircase, leaving Aaron alone on the surface.

    Underground, she found Conundrum-chan in control of an enormous cloning facility, directly connected to several subterranean tunnels. After some sapphic exploration, the two were confronted by a well organised group of grunts, claiming to be from the Church of the Schismatics, led by a high priest. Ariadne followed them down a tunnel, into a lava cave, where she was asked to perform Christmas. She killed a grunt, but not in the proper Christmas fashion. The grunts left, and she spoke to the high priest, without seeing him. When she returned she found the grunt she had killed had reanimated. Conundrum-chan appeared and they ran away together.

    At >>482 Ariadne left Conundrum-chan behind and explored a side tunnel, where she got trapped in a narrow passage until being saved by the high priest. She passed through and emerged on the surface near the river. She flooded the tunnel, creating a new watercourse (the Palriga Canal). She was reunited with Jack Aaronova, still high priestess of her own group of grunts. They returned to Jack's camp, only to find it under attack by grunts loyal to the Church of the Schismatics.

    728 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8075 23:57

    The high priest, revealed to be none other than Theodore, led the attack, riding on Rupert, before having a change of heart and joining forces with Jack Aaronova. Ariadne saw a stone slab - in use an altar - with engravings of herself and Jack Conundrum-chan, and thereby regained her memories, though she continued to use the name Ariadne. The dead grunts from the attack spontaneously reanimated and attacked all present. Ariadne ran away riding Rupert, abandoning the others, to meet Conundrum-chan in the cloning facility.

    She was tricked by Conundrum-chan - disguised as Aaron via her shapeshifting ability - and placed inside a paradisiac simulation containing Aaron, Alexei and Jacqueline. She escaped to find herself trapped in a small room with the other three (still inside the simulation) and a strange obsidian cube (Stove Stove). She inadvertantly killed the other three and Conundrum-chan in a botched escape attempt, before finding at >>590 that she was in fact in a simulation within a simulation, and she hadn't actually killed anyone.

    She was rescued from the room by Reginald and ran away down another underground tunnel. She emerged in a large, unlit natural cavern, filled with various unusual fungi, and inhabited by giant trilobite-like creatures. She followed the trilobites back to the cloning facility and successfully tamed one (then named Dr. Gay Hitler). She found Conundrum-chan and Stove Stove - along with Aaron, Alexei and Jacqueline, now awake from the simulation - and joined forces with them. Conundrum-chan explained that three days had passed, during which time the sun never rose, and undead grunts continually besieged the cloning facility. They were joined by Jack Aaronova and Theodore, who had been taking refuge in the caverns.

    At >>657 the party was attacked by an enormous mass of undead grunts, led by Continue-chan. They were largely defeated, until Continue-chan transformed into some sort of tentacle monster. Alexei and Jacqueline, and, separately, Aaron and Dr. Gay Hitler ran away, leaving Ariadne, Conundrum-chan, Jack Aaronova, Theodore and Stove Stove. They were saved from Continue-chan by a large number of cloned Jacks, who came in and hugged everyone so tightly that they couldn't fight.

    Jack Aaronova, via her aerokinesis, summoned a storm in the underground room. In the ensuing chaos Conundrum-chan and Ariadne escaped together, Continue-chan kidnapped Theodore and withdrew towards the surface, and most of the cloned Jacks retreated into the caverns. Following them, Jack Aaronova encountered a strangely androgynous individual (still nameless) leading the Jacks in a misguided attempt to help Continue-chan. They left abruptly. Jack Aaronova wandered the caverns alone until >>716, when she found Aaron unconscious by the side of a subterranean lake, guarded by Dr. Gay Hitler.

    She drove off the trilobite in question, only to be confronted by Conundrum-chan and Ariadne, now demanding to know where the cloned Jacks have gone. She conceded and said where she last saw them, at which point they absconded, leaving her on the lakeside with the unconscious Aaron.

    729 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8076 02:53

    Thank you!!!

    730 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8076 03:05

    Stay with Aaron and care for him until he wakes up. Look around the nearby vicinity for supplies to speed the healing process (such as fresh water, bandages, and so on.)

    731 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8077 23:15

    The you is thanked.

    The more you look at his stupid slackjawed face, the more you can't help but feel sorry for your poor foster father. There's something strangely lovable about his bungling ineptitude which, combined with your current lack of direction, convinces you to stick around at least until he returns to consciousness. While you're waiting, you wash the swelling on his head with some water from the lake, and check him over for other injuries. You can't tell for certain in the low light, but he seems otherwise uninjured. Unsurprisingly, you can't find any medical supplies on the lakeside.

    After about ten minutes, Aaron stirs and opens his eyes. He groans and cradles his head, before catching sight of you and yelping in fright. You manage to calm him down and eventually he tells you what happened. It seems that after Continue-chan attacked (in tentacle monster form), he was separated from the rest of the group, and so mounted Dr. Gay Hitler in an attempt to escape. His steed charged into one of the submerged tunnels, nearly drowning him, but eventually leading him to the relative safety of the caverns, where Continue-chan didn't follow.

    He dismounted Dr. Gay Hitler, who then ran away, leaving him to wander the darkness alone. He claims he kept hearing your voice whispering and giggling from the shadows - sometimes simultaneously from several directions at once - and had come to the conclusion that he was being haunted by your ghost as retribution for leaving you to die at the hands (or tentacles) of Continue-chan, hence he is incredibly relieved to see you alive and well.

    He says he ran from the voices - along the lakeshore, from the opposite direction - before coming across the ladder and climbing it in an attempt to reach safety. He doesn't remember anything after that, but by the evidence it seems that for one reason or another he fell from the ladder and landed on his head, knocking himself unconscious. Curiously, he insists that he saw a light coming from the top of the ladder, which there isn't now.

    732 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8078 03:34

    Theorize that the voices are clones of myself. This is especially likely since Jack Conundrum seems to have many clones, and I used to be in cahoots with her. Look into my memory (which I supposedly regained?) and see if we remember making any clones.

    Climb the ladder.

    733 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8079 23:42

    You put forward the hypothesis that your clones may have been terrorising poor Aaron. Having not been there during the later half of the fight with Continue-chan, and hence not knowing about your recent profusion of clones, he is surprised but agrees that your conjecture fits the observations quite well. Mostly he is just relieved not to be being haunted by the dead.

    You do not recall creating any clones; you don't even know how to operate the cloning apparatus. On the other hand, you do recall at >>638 Conundrum-chan mentioned that she found the cloning pods all emptied - presumably to create the Jacks. She claims she was asleep at the time; Ariadne, Alexei, Aaron and Jacqueline were apparently trapped in some sort of simulation; and you were wandering the caverns oblivious. That odd androgynous person seemed to be leading the Jacks, so they would be the most obvious candidate.

    You begin to climb the ladder, with Aaron following close behind. It is quite worn, with peeling paint, but structurally sound. After about five metres or so, you reach the top. A light - apparently motion detecting - comes on, revealing a small cubic concrete room. There are four tunnels leading from the room, each with labels: "CLONING FACILITY GAMMA", "STORAGE FACILITY CHI", "SITE 1" and "CONTROL TOWER". Each of the tunnels is unlit.

    734 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8080 00:35

    Close eyes, spin around while singing an the first verse of "the people united will never be defeated", then open eyes and take the tunnel we are facing. If in between two tunnels, take the one on the left. Have Aaron take point.

    735 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8080 04:58

    shoot a deer

    736 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8082 00:33

    You abruptly succumb to your latent Chilean socialist tendencies and burst into song whilst pirouetting, eyes closed in rapture as you picture the utopian world to come after the workers' revolution. On "Anuncia ya la vida que vendrá" you open your eyes, finding yourself facing just to the right of the "SITE 1" tunnel. You persuade Aaron to take the lead, and follow behind. You become aware of an odd unplaceable whoomping noise, growing louder the further you go.

    After walking down the unlit tunnel for about ten minutes, holding onto Aaron with one hand to avoid losing him and tracing the wall with the other to avoid missing anything in the darkness, Aaron suddenly stops and crouches, breath held. You follow suit. Over your shoulder, you see a light has come on somewhere ahead of you. A human figure passes silently in front of it, then moves behind the light source and vanishes from sight. The light in the room you came from has long since gone off, so you aren't lit from behind and there is no reason to suppose they would be aware of your presence.

    You continue ahead, before long reaching the room the human figure just passed through, with its light still on. It is the same size and shape as the previous one, with the same - presumably also motion sensing - light. Unlike the previous room it has only two tunnels leading from it (the one you just came from and one opposite) and it has a ladder in one wall, leading upwards. The ladder is marked "SURFACE ACCESS" and the opposite tunnel is marked "SITE 1". There is also a rack on the wall with some equipment, including several torches, helmets and what appear to be geological picks. One torch and one pick are missing.

    You haven't entered the room yet, so you are still safely concealed by the darkness. You aren't sure precisely where the figure you saw came from or went to, but they didn't come towards you and presumably didn't come from the same tunnel as you either. The noise from earlier - substantially louder now - seems to be coming from the ladder to the surface.

    Oh dear! You can't find any cervids to shoot in this underground network of tunnels, nor would you have any means of shooting them even if you did.

    737 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8082 07:45

    Bravely enter the room and equip party with one torch, one helmet, and one pick each.

    738 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8083 21:38

    Brimming with blind confidence, you push in front of Aaron and march into the room. You feel a sense of relief and conquest over your surroundings, interwoven with threads of paranoia as you realise that if there is anyone down either tunnel they have a perfect view of you and Aaron, yet you cannot possibly see them.

    An especially loud thump from the top of the ladder knocks you back into your customary pragmatism. You take a torch, flick the switch to check it works (it does), put on the smallest of the helmets (which is still slightly too big) and take one of the picks. It is quite hefty, and requires both hands to swing. You feel it lacks the elegance of your much loved stone dagger, but still it might well come in useful in the future.

    You take a torch from the rack and turn to hand it to Aaron, but he isn't behind you. You shine the torch down each tunnel and up the ladder shaft, but there is no sign of him.

    739 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8084 10:42


    740 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8084 15:25

    Start running in a random direction while crying.

    741 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8085 09:30

    Bottle tears evenly between 6 bottles. Drink a bottle.

    742 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8085 23:58

    This is it: the last straw. You didn't realise just how finely balanced your mental state was until this one shock brought it all tumbling down. You scream Aaron's name repeatedly, quickly devolving into just a long "Aaaaaargh" interspersed with sobbing. You collapse to your knees, curl up in the foetal position and hyperventilate for a few minutes.

    Unable to bear this room any longer, you throw yourself headlong down one tunnel, bawling as loud as you can, before settling into a stumbling half-run down the narrow, tenebrous corridor. You bump into something large and fall over it. The thing moves, and you feel a sharp impact on the trilobite scale armour on your right calf. You swing your pick wildly out of reflex and hit something solid - probably the wall - dropping the pick in the process. You scramble back to your feet and continue running and crying.

    A short time later, out of breath and exhausted, your legs fail and you fall to the ground, face down on the unforgiving concrete, feeling your own heart pounding away as though trying to break out of your ribcage. Your lungs ache from all the running and your tear ducts sting from all the crying.

    You slowly return to your senses, switch on the torch to illuminate your surroundings, and find yourself in yet another bare concrete corridor. This one is wider than the others, however, and has (unlit) strip lighting along the ceiling. The corridor continues ahead of and behind you beyond the range of your torch. There is a stairwell with stairs upwards to your right. On the floor in front of you is a crude green chalk drawing of a dragonfly. Metal doors are spaced equally along the wall to the left as far as you can see, each with an electronic keypad to the right. The doors have no handles, and all but one of them are tightly closed.

    Suddenly aware of how many fluids you've lost to unnecessary lachrymation, you try to conserve what you have left by bottling your tears, but alas your plan is foiled by your lack of bottles.

    743 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8086 08:35

    Attempt to smudge the drawing.
    Gi thriugh the door.

    744 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8086 11:47

    Take door

    745 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8086 23:40

    Disassemble door into building materials.

    746 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8087 00:04


    747 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8087 14:57

    >>741 Sell the other 5 bottles to feminists. The kind of feminists that say "I drink male tears."

    748 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8087 23:02

    Your attempt to smudge the drawing is a resounding success. You scuff the dragonfly into oblivion. No one would even know that green dusty smear on the floor was ever an insect.

    Slowly, quietly, breath held, you make your way down the hallway to the one open door. You step into the threshold and immediately sweep the area with your torch. The floor and walls are covered in small white tiles. There is an operating table in the centre of the room, with adjustable restraints for immobilising limbs. There are several cupboards full of medical supplies - a cursory glance reveals bandages, gauze, sutures, tourniquets, a stethoscope, an aneroid sphygmomanometer, several hypodermic needles of varying sizes, various vials and ampoules of liquid, scalpels, forceps, surgical scissors and retractors. All the equipment seems quite old fashioned, but in good condition.

    It's far too heavy to carry and still attached to the wall.

    You open the door as wide as it will go and unscrew the hinges by forcing the blade of your trusty ceremonial stone knife into the slot-headed screws and twisting until they are all undone. Three butterfly hinges and eighteen slot-headed screws have been added to your inventory. Now unsupported, the enormous metal door slowly leans away and, before you can react, slams to the ground with a cacophonous bang, all the louder for the deathly silence that follows.

    On the reverse of the door - which you didn't see from where you were - is written, in large, pink, cursive letters, "Behind you". You don't dare look.

    You are currently playing as Jack Aaronova. You have 170 mana and four unspent skillpoints. You gain fifty mana and one skillpoint for each sapient being killed, which is doubled for killing in a ritualistic manner. Unspent skillpoints can be assigned to any of aerokinesis, geokinesis, biokinesis, hypnosis, technomancy or ailuromancy in order to unlock skills. Passive skills have a constant effect, whereas active skills cost mana to be performed. You currently have level seven ailuromancy and level nine aerokinesis. The following skills are available to you:

    • Basic ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can accurately predict the weather for the next six hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least one minute.
    • Feline communication (passive skill): Can understand and employ general methods of cat communication, e.g. hissing, purring, meowing.
    • Cat affinity evaluation (active skill): Can tell another sapient being's affinity towards cats. Requires line of sight. Costs 15 mana.
    • Summon cat (active skill): Can summon a cat from the nearest interdimensional aperture. Costs 100 mana.
    • Advanced ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can accurately predict the weather for the next 24 hours by observing at least one cat's behaviour for a period of at least four minutes. Costs 20 mana.
    • Cat possession (passive skill): Cats in the near vicinity are now playable members of your party.
    • Inverse ailuromantic weather prediction (active skill): Can, by performing a given action on a cat, cause a corresponding change in future weather (e.g. bringing cat to a warm place makes weather warmer, spinning cat around produces cyclone). Costs 125 mana.

    749 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8087 23:02

    • Summon gust (active skill): Can create a weak, momentary gust of wind nearby. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs ten mana.
    • Summon fog (active skill): Can cause all water vapour in the air in a sphere around your position to condense out into fog. Costs ten mana per metre radius.
    • Summon convection (active skill): Can create a strong local convection cell around your current position. Costs six mana per metre radius.
    • Cool air (active skill): Can isobarically cool air in a sphere around your position. Costs 0.4 mana per kelvin cooled per metre radius, rounded up.
    • Heat air (active skill): Can isobarically heat air in a sphere around your position. Costs 0.4 mana per kelvin heated per metre radius, rounded up.
    • Summon vortex (active skill): Can summon a strong local vortex around your current position. Costs six mana per metre radius.
    • Variable area of effect (passive skill): All aerokinesis skills with an area of effect can be used at any scale, with mana cost proportional to radius.
    • Precision air movement (active skill): Can manipulate objects weighing no more than ten kilograms within five metres of your position using local air currents. Costs ten mana per second.
    • Air immunity (passive skill): Can freely resist the effects of your own aerokinesis skills.

    You can play as other characters by giving a command such as "be Such-and-Such". Such-and-Such must be in your party - that is, loosely allied/sympathetic to you - but does not have to be physically present. If you die, you will continue from the most recent saved game.

    You cannot locate any lachryphagic feminists.

    Unable to bear the oppressive silence any longer, you turn around to see what lurks behind you. Standing in the empty doorway, smiling innocently, is Jacqueline. She has a stick of pink chalk in one hand, while her other hand is hidden behind her back. Despite them being - you thought, at least - quite inseparable, Alexei is conspicuously absent.

    750 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8088 08:07

    Put 2 points into ailuromancy.
    Hug Jacqueline and cry into her mouth.

    751 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8088 15:51

    Put 2 points into hypnosis.
    Summon a 1-metre vortex when Jacqueline is within 1 meter. If she stumbles, spinebuster and disarm her. Otherwise, just run away.

    752 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8089 00:19

    strap Jacqueline to the table and inject her with everything

    753 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8090 00:48

    You increase your ailuromancy level by two, unlocking the following skills:

    • Cat metamorphosis (active skill): Can temporarily transform self into a cat, or cats into humans. Costs 100 mana. Lasts 120 seconds.
    • Summon large cat (active skill): Can summon a lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, cheetah or cougar from the nearest interdimensional aperture. Costs 150 mana.

    Glad to see any sort of familiar face, you jump towards Jacqueline and throw your arms around her affectionately. She cowers from you and tries to struggle out of your grip, but eventually submits and waits patiently for you to stop. Her mouth is firmly closed, but you cry out inarticulately in the direction of her lower face. She appears extremely uncomfortable with this development.

    Having had enough of this silly cat business, you try a change of tack and invest the remainder of your skill points in hypnosis. You unlock the following skills:

    • Temporary possession (active skill): Can control a sentient being's actions for no more than thirty seconds. Requires line of sight. Costs 75 mana.
    • Telepathic projection (active skill): Can project speech or other mental imagery directly into a sentient being's mind. Costs one mana per second per target.

    You spend six mana - leaving an ample 164 remaining - on summoning a small vortex around you. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and the light zephyr you summon does little more than tug at the hem of Jacqueline's dress. She struggles free from you, and, from behind her back, presents a piece of paper filled with dense handwriting.

    You break out in a cold sweat. You weren't prepared for this. All your well laid plans of spine busting were for naught. Unable to suppress your panic, you push past Jacqueline and run back into the corridor, into the stairwell and up the stairs. You emerge, on the next floor up, into a major hallway. A few metres away to your left you can see a hexagonal atrium faintly lit by moonlight through a skylight in its ceiling. You are fairly sure it is the same atrium you were in when you went on that murderous rampage around >>315.

    Something is clearly wrong, however. The walls and floor of the hallway are marred by myriad deep scratches and gouges - you can't even guess what would leave marks like that. There is a foul smell coming from the atrium, and you can see intermittent, twitchy movement of small things near the ground. You cannot be certain, but something about the architecture of the place seems different as well.

    On second thoughts, you decide Jacqueline isn't so scary after all. You return downstairs, finding her awaiting you at the entrance to the stairwell, and persuade her to join you by the operating table. You grab her, one limb at a time, strap her onto the surface and pull the constraints as tight as you can. She resists violently, but you easily overpower her.

    You root around in the cupboards and emerge with a hypodermic needle and several unmarked ampoules. Taking pleasure in the experience of experimenting, you inject one after the other into her veins. After the third she falls into a seizure, convulsing and foaming at the mouth, before falling still and ceasing to breath. She dies soon after. The piece of paper she so insistently wanted to show you - which she had been gripping tightly until now - falls softly from her hand to the floor.

    For killing a sapient being, you have gained one skill point and fifty mana.

    754 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8090 03:31

    Shout "Whoops-a-daisy!" and laugh.
    Take the paper and read it.
    Put another skill point into hypnosis.

    755 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8090 10:14

    Attempt to resuscitate Jacqueline.
    Find someone to project the image of a penis onto for 15 seconds.

    756 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8092 01:14

    You find yourself unable to look away from Jacqueline's body. Her mouth is still slightly open, her lips still slightly damp. Her hair and clothing are barely ruffled, and you could almost convince yourself that she's only sleeping, were it not for that intolerable, unnatural stillness about her. You stare ever more intensely, as though willing her small chest to rise and fall again by sheer force of will, but the only movement is the shifting torchlight caused by your shaking hands.

    Unable to confront your own actions and needing something to dispel the heavy, viscous silence that has settled over you, you shout something facetious and a burst of nervous, high pitched laughter explodes from you. Your mirth dies almost immediately. You take the paper from the floor, eager for any distraction. It reads:

    To Whom it may Concern,

    Please accept my most sincere apologies in dispensing with the customary formalities, but I find myself in a dire state of emergency. My companion and consort (Dr. Alexei Fujiwara)'s whereabouts are unknown, and he must be located as a matter of the utmost urgency. He was last seen in a nearby series of unlit service tunnels, immediately after arriving at a junction.

    If you are in possession of information of his whereabouts, I beseech you to divulge it forthwith. Otherwise, please allow me to guide you to the gentleman's last known whereabouts, whence we can conduct a formal search. I will give due consideration to any conditions you place upon your compliance. Naturally, your aid will be generously recompensed to the best of my ability.

    Yours Faithfully,
    Jacqueline Conundra

    You place one skill point into hypnosis, unlocking the following skill:

    • Manipulate aggression (active skill): can significantly aggravate or placate other living creatures. Requires line of sight. Effect lasts 300 seconds and costs 30 mana.

    Suddenly overcome with remorse, you unstrap your victim from the table and pull her limp body to the floor. You are about to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation when you notice you are still gripping the very syringe you used to kill her. You throw the hateful thing aside and press on (thirty chest compressions then two rescue breaths, repeated indefinitely) until you are out of breath, cursing every second you wasted earlier on laughing to yourself and reading. She shows no signs of life, and if anything looks even paler and less like her living self than ever.

    You poke your head outside and scan the corridor with your torch, but there is no one with whom to share your conceptual phallus. You would make more of an effort to find someone, but you simply aren't sure where to begin. You could return along the corridor back towards the service tunnels - but what if you run into Alexei? - or the other way down the corridor into the unknown, or upstairs into the main building, or downstairs to whatever lies below. You could even try to make your way outside, but that might require a venture through the atrium, and something about the thought fills you with dread.

    757 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8092 05:19

    Go down. Down down down down.

    758 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8092 06:04

    Cast manipulate aggression on self.

    759 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8097 00:13

    Cut our hair short to avoid being grabbed (using our knife)

    760 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8097 06:23

    Search for the answers inside myself

    761 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8099 23:25

    You find you cannot bear being near Jacqueline's corpse a moment longer. You need to be somewhere else; anywhere else. You descend one flight of stairs after another, passing countless empty corridors. There is no sound or movement but your own breathing and footsteps. Finally you reach the bottom of the stairwell - or at least a point below which you cannot descend any further. The entire stairwell below here is filled with a fine grey powder; probably dust or ash. It also fills the corridor connecting to this floor of the stairwell, however there is about half a metre's gap between the highest point of the dust and the lowest point of the door lintel. Seeking ever deeper locations, you crawl through.

    Clouds of dust billow around you, coating your mouth, throat and sinuses in a single breath. You struggle onwards, barely able to breathe, scrambling frantically forwards and kicking up more dust in the process, until you manage to get into the room opposite the entrance to the stairwell - which, thankfully, had an open door. Inside, the surface of the dust falls away towards the floor at its shallow angle of repose. Once the dust settles and you can breathe properly again, you look around. The room is of identical proportions to the operating room upstairs in which you murdered Jacqueline. It is empty apart from a few old pipes running along the ceiling. The door appears to have been forced open by the weight of the dust from the other side, as there is none on this side apart from what has spilled in from the corridor.

    More interestingly, there is a tunnel in the opposite wall. Not a regular concrete service tunnel, nor a naturally formed cave tunnel, but an arch shaped tunnel built out of old, heavily worn brownish bricks. There are empty cast iron sconces in the walls at irregular intervals. It connects seamlessly to the ordinary concrete room you're in, like some sort of bizarre anachronism. Nonetheless, it does lead downwards, so you decide you may as well follow it.

    The tunnel is in a poor state of repair, with loose bricks missing from the ceiling and flagstones buckling and sticking upwards in the floor - not only that, but it appears to have been poorly constructed in the first place. It meanders left and right, sometimes at sharp angles, and occasionally juts downwards in a series of steep steps for no obvious reason. In some places it is wider or narrower than others, and in some places the ceiling is so low you have to stoop.

    Finally, you round a corner and arrive in a large, seemingly natural open space. Unlike the caverns you were in earlier, the ground is just an inert grey rock, with no signs of life. Around ten metres in front of you the floor drops away suddenly. Looking closer, you find yourself on the edge of a cliff overlooking an enormous abyss. Your torchlight cannot reach the bottom, nor the other side - if either exists. You try dropping a stone into it, but never hear it hit the ground. You could, in theory, go further down, but this seems like a good place to stop for now.

    762 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8099 23:25

    You spend thirty mana - leaving 184 remaining - on lowering your own aggression. Perhaps that'll go some way towards preventing you from randomly murdering any more innocent girls trying to solicit your help in future. You take a deep breath and feel suddenly at peace with the world. The ghost of a smile appears on the corners of your lips.

    You notice that you had been instinctively gripping the handle of your ceremonial dagger, ready to use it to defend yourself at a moment's notice. Well, there's no need for that now, is there? Rather, why not put it to a better use, and give yourself a much needed haircut? You hack away at your long, black hair - matted with blood - until it mostly lies in small piles at your feet. You happily bob your head back and forth, feeling how much lighter it is without all that added weight.

    This seems a nice, contemplative place, you decide; perfect for a real heartfelt discussion with yourself about what sort of person you have become and whether you're really happy with how things are going. You have no end of questions: was it right for you to abandon your post as high priestess? What of your tribe? And what of the dark power you were sacrificing to every Christmas? How do you reconcile the atrocities you've committed with your position in the Aaronov family? Before you can come to any answers, however, you are interrupted by a gust of air against the back of your neck.

    Turning around and shining your torch in that direction, you find an enormous insectoid creature, bone white and covered in fine hairs. It appears to be anatomically similar to a moth, but with the wingspan of a small aircraft. It hovers just above the ground a few metres from you, wings flapping rapidly, proboscis extended and labial palps abristle. Its bulbous compound eyes betray no sign of emotion. You notice it has serious tears in both hindwings, suggesting it has seen conflict. It appears to be blocking the way you came, but you could potentially run away in either direction along the edge of the abyss.

    763 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8100 01:08

    Project image of a penis onto moth

    764 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8100 03:00

    Calculate optimal time for searching for answers inside myself.

    765 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8100 04:54

    Manipulate aggression of moth to calm it down, then mount it.
    Name our new steed TiMothy.
    Ride on TiMothy down, down, down, down.

    766 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8101 23:12

    At that moment, sandwiched between an enormous, potentially violent insectoid creature and the infinite black abyss, you reflect that if you die now you will die without ever having seen a penis. It's not even as though you particularly want to, but it seems the sort of experience every woman has sooner or (preferably) later. You want meet your death as a proud, experienced young lady, not a naive little girl. You attempt to let the moth-like monster know your last wish by telepathy. Having never seen one, you aren't quite sure what to project, so you base the image on one of the mushrooms you saw in the caverns. That must be about right.

    The moth - until now cautiously keeping its distance - suddenly swoops towards you, perhaps in response to your mental projection.

    Observing the velocity and acceleration of the moth and its distance from you, a Fermi estimate gives you on the order of one second before it gets to you. This would suggest that the optimal time to be searching for answers inside yourself is now.

    Unfortunately, you used all your potential introspection time on calculating how much time was left for it, so you now have only enough time to feel rather stupid before the moth creature collides with you, pins you to the ground with its legs, thrusts its proboscis into the fleshy part under your chin, between your larynx and your jawbone, into your upper spine, and feeds on your cerebrospinal fluid. You die.

    Deaths: 31

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>762)

    As it worked so well on you, you decide to spend thirty mana reducing the aggression of the moth creature as well. There is no obvious effect, at first. After a moment's wait, you extend your hand and beckon it forwards. Hesitantly, nervously, it flutters towards you, only a metre or two from the edge of the chasm. You move around to mount it, but at that moment, just when you least expected it, Ao Oni charges out of the darkness, grotesquely swollen blue face flashing once through the beam of your torch, before colliding with the moth and sending both of them tumbling over the edge.

    Not willing to have your steed stolen just like that, you hurl yourself from the cliff into the darkness, landing after a few terrifying moments on TiMothy's abdomen, still barely keeping grasp of your torch and ceremonial knife. Ao Oni is standing on TiMothy's thorax, facing away from you, holding TiMothy by one antenna. TiMothy is flapping its wings desperately, unable to accommodate the added weight of you and Ao Oni. The three of you are currently plummeting downwards into the abyss at quite a substantial speed.

    767 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8102 00:47

    Do not be moved by my fears or desires. Search for answers inside myself.

    768 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8102 09:52

    Use temporary possession to control Ao Oni, making him let go of TiMothy and instead punch himself in the face repeatedly for 30 seconds.

    769 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8102 09:53

    I definitely did not expect that. Well done.

    770 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8103 21:21

    You find that both your fear of impending death and your desire to tame TiMothy as your mount pale in comparison to your need for self understanding. Gripping TiMothy's lower body to avoid falling, you reevaluate your short life and attempt to frame it in some sort of unified theory that will answer your every question (or at least the important ones). Just as you are beginning to make some progress, however, TiMothy suddenly reels backwards, flipping momentarily entirely upside down, before settling with the axis of its body almost vertical. You drop your torch, and Ao Oni loses his grip on TiMothy's antennae, falling backwards towards you. His weight collides with your skull, crushing it, and sending your corpse tumbling forever into the infinite black void beneath.

    Deaths: 32

    (Continuing from most recent saved game: >>766)

    Troublingly, it seems that the Temporary Possession skill requires line of sight, while Ao Oni is facing the other way, tugging on TiMothy's antennae. You shout to try to attract his attention, but he doesn't hear over the noise of the rushing wind all around. Lacking an alternative, you crawl forwards along TiMothy's ample, fuzzy back towards the blue demon, and strike him in the right ankle with the pommel of your ceremonial stone knife. He turns over his shoulder and looks down at you. Each of his bloated, unblinking eyes is larger than your entire head. Unperturbed, you stare back with equal intensity, forcing his crude, animalistic mind to bend to your will.

    He lets go of TiMothy's antennae and begins ineffectively pummelling his chin with his fists - his atrophied arms not long enough to reach his enormous, distended face - maintaining eye contact the entire time. TiMothy's flight begins to stabilise a little, though you are still losing altitude.

    You have spent 75 mana, and have 79 remaining.

    You compliment Ao Oni on his dramatic entrance. He seems indifferent.

    Your possession will expire in a matter of seconds, at which point you will be left at the mercy of a large angry blue demon. Perhaps you should do something in advance.

    771 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8104 04:22

    Summon a vortex between TiMothy and Ao Oni to push him down and us up.

    772 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8104 22:06

    Leave reality. Search for answers inside myself.

    773 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8106 01:06

    Noting that the masses of both parties are well into the hundreds of kilograms, you realise that you will need quite a substantial vortex to separate Ao Oni and TiMothy. Feeling keenly the urgency of the situation, you summon a nine metre vortex, with a horizontal axis of rotation, about your current position. This leaves you only 25 mana remaining.

    Ao Oni stumbles forwards and to one side, thrown aside by his own simultaneous face punching, while TiMothy struggles - and fails - to account for the sudden change in the local airflow field. You find your mount suddenly pitching upwards, before dropping vertically through the air like a stalling aircraft. You maintain a tight grip around TiMothy's metathorax, just behind its hind legs. Ao Oni, meanwhile, slides unhindered down the left wing, catching onto the edge at the last moment. He glares helplessly at you, then, with one last fist to the chin and an inhuman cry, loses grip and disappears into the bottomless abyss.

    Now unburdened, TiMothy resumes its normal flight, with lower frequency, less strained flapping. You breathe a long pent up sigh of relief.

    Now, at last, you can focus on your introspection without any distractions or things trying to kill you. You switch off your torch, sheathe your ceremonial knife in a slot in your armour, lie down on TiMothy's ample back and let yourself be lost in the regular sound of the beating of its wings. Much time passes in this fashion, completely oblivious of your surroundings or eventual destination.

    You slowly begin to come to some conclusions about recent and future events. Firstly, you are quite certain now that the endless night and reanimating corpses are a direct result of your failure to perform the daily christmas ritual for the last few days. Whatever deity was receiving your sacrifices - and, for that matter, those from Theodore's alternate church - has gone without sacrifices for at least four or five days now. Theodore has been kidnapped and, more likely than not, killed by Continue-chan, making you currently the only person who knows the ritual and is able to practice it. Or you would be, if you had a sacrifice.

    You spend some time trying to work out what Ariadne, Conundrum-chan and Stove Stove could possibly be plotting, and why they were looking for Jacks, but the answer to that particular problem exists outside of yourself, not inside. Similarly, you make no progress on the disappearances of Aaron and Alexei, other than the obvious conclusion that they were probably both spirited away by the same force.

    Most importantly, however, you conclude that your current conduct is clearly unsustainable. You need to either abandon your ambling and return to your post of High Priestess with renewed vigour, or actively try to weaken and work against whatever deity you have been worshipping. The recent unnatural happenings, along with Jacqueline's death, are your legacy, and you need to take responsibility one way or the other.

    Satisfied for now, you slowly return to reality. You find yourself in pitch darkness, still hugging TiMothy's back. You can hear the sound of ocean waves breaking, but somewhat muffled and echoing as in an enclosed space. There is a strong smell of salt on the breeze. By torchlight, you are revealed to be near the mouth of a large, natural littoral cave. Behind you, it extends beyond the range of your torch, and in front of you it opens up into the open. It is a starless night. Beneath you, sea foam is thrown wildly by waves crashing violently amongst the jagged rocks and boulders. You and TiMothy are on a narrow, scree covered ledge along the right hand side of the cave. TiMothy appears to be asleep.

    774 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8106 15:36

    Follow the scree to the mouth of the cave. Poke our head out and look left, right, and up.

    775 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8107 09:25

    Walk in the one direction we did not look towards.

    776 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8108 01:23

    Cautiously, you edge along the ledge towards the cave mouth, sending countless small stones cascading down into the maelström below in the process. You reach the exit of the cave, and sweep your torch beam around to investigate your surroundings. To the left, you can just make out the curve of the opposite side of the cave mouth, but everything beyond that is in complete darkness. To the right, you can see in the distance the yellowish orange illumination of what is presumably a forest fire. Above and slightly to the left of this, silhouetting a sweeping mountain ridge, there is a faint blue glow reflected off the stratiform clouds above. Looking up, you can see nothing but the inky black sky.

    There are technically an infinite number of directions you haven't looked towards, but you know for a fact you have not looked towards One Direction. Their precipitous rise to fame, their string of number one debuts, Malik's surprise departure from the group, and their announced year's hiatus have all sailed past your notice unseen. You cannot simply walk into their midst, as they are nowhere to be seen, and are to your knowledge exclusively a boy band. Nonetheless, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and if you are to walk in any direction - including potentially that of One Direction - you need to step out from the cave.

    You bravely take a single step forwards, thereby narrowly avoiding the barbed proboscis simultaneously thrust in the direction of your upper spine. It seems that TiMothy was in fact only pretending to be asleep, and in fact sneakily awaiting another stab at your cerebrospinal fluid.

    777 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8108 18:04

    Spinebuster our lepidopterous pal.

    778 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8110 00:18

    You turn to face TiMothy. He is standing partially on the cave wall, partially on the scree, wings folded, proboscis extended. You feel an overwhelming rage consume you. How dare he betray you like that‽ After all you've been through, after you saved him from the blue menace, after he kindly watched over you during your long search for answers, how could he now so literally try to stab you in the back? Your hands itch to administer some corporal punishment to this disobedient arthropod.

    At that moment, however, your throat turns dry and your hands freeze in midair, as the realisation dawns on you that TiMothy is an invertebrate. He is spineless - not in the sense of being a coward, but of having no bustable spine of any description. What do you do now? Bust his tergum? Lacking your hesitation, TiMothy thrusts his proboscis towards your neck again. You narrowly dodge backwards, but in the process are thrown off balance and land on your back. The cold, wet stones dig into your lower body, but there is nothing but open space under your shoulders and head. Waves crash far below you, deafening despite the distance.

    The moth's vast, inhuman face looms into your vision. The proboscis extends again, quicker this time - you only barely have time to bat it out of the way with your torch. You try to crawl inwards, under TiMothy, but he pins you down with a foreleg on your stomach. Just as you think it is all over, there is a flash of movement, a dull thump, and TiMothy pauses then slumps to one side, with a large hypodermic needle sticking out just behind his chaetosemata. A human face appears in your torchlight from the left, somehow even more horrifying than the monster she replaces.

    It is Jacqueline. She is wearing the same pink dress as ever, hair on either side in immaculate ringlets, with a length of white bandaging covering both eyes. A warm smile spreads between her rosy cheeks, and she looks altogether in perfect health; better than when you last saw her, certainly. Though you know that the dead have been returning to plague the living recently, she is quite obviously not undead. You also note there are no marks on her wrists - which are exposed - either from being strapped to the operating table or from being injected.

    Still smiling, she extends a hand, offering to help you back to your feet.

    779 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8110 02:03

    Take Jacqueline's hand and give her a thank you kiss.

    780 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8111 22:22

    Apprehensive but grateful, you take her hand and let her pull you up from the cliff edge. Her hand certainly feels like real, warm flesh and blood. Just for further confirmation, you lean in and peck her on the cheek. Her smile takes on a slightly awkward quality, but otherwise she make no response. Still oddly disturbed by this whole affair, a worrisome thought drifts into your mind: didn't the others mention being trapped in a simulation featuring people they thought to be dead? Given how little attention you were paying during your recent sojourn into your own mind, is it not possible that you too have been smuggled into just such a false reality? Rather, doesn't Jacqueline's otherwise inexplicable presence almost guarantee it?

    As though knowing what you're thinking, Jacqueline gently but firmly grasps your hand and begins to pull you along the cliff edge, out of the cave and away towards the right. You spare one last glance back at TiMothy's supine form, before being pulled around the corner and out of sight.

    781 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8112 06:09

    Shout "Surprise!"

    782 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8112 06:10

    Be Jacqueline. Turn on the lights.

    783 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8112 12:14

    As Jacqueline, recall the most recent events leading up to this point.

    784 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8113 22:34

    Damn that cool, unperturbable façade she maintains! Why can't Jacqueline just act like a self-destructive bundle of fear and existential angst like you? You feel the need to put her in her place, to crack that mask she wears once and for all, and to prove that she is victim to fears and weaknesses just like you. You take a deep breath, carefully position your mouth just behind her right ear, and give one explosive shout of "Surprise!".

    Without a sound, Jacqueline flinches away, trips, and falls, twisting in the air, over the cliff edge and towards the cold, dark, violent waters below. Now is your last chance. If you are to avoid killing Jacqueline twice, all you have to do is reach out and catch her arm before she is gone. But will you? Do you really trust her? And if not, does your distrust alone justify coldblooded murder?

    You are now playing as Jacqueline Conundra.

    You cannot find any light switches nearby. You suspect there are lights in the ceiling, but you cannot see because you have no eyes.

    You and Alexei made a strategic retreat from the dreaded Continue-chan back at >>675, leaving all the other main characters to stand and fight (and probably die) or sensibly follow your lead. No one followed you, however, as far as you know. The two of you ended up in a lava cave with a mechanical freight lift in the centre, of all things. After briefly investigating a suspicious bloodstain on the cave floor, you both ascended the lift, finding yourselves in some sort of machinery storeroom. After some time spent scouting out the area and searching for anything useful, the two of you moved on.

    There was a larger lift leading to the surface, but, wary of the frightful sounds coming from above and preferring to remain unseen, the two of you instead chose to keep to a set of unlit service tunnels. You spent some time wandering, but encountered no sign of anybody else. Eventually you reached a junction in the tunnel with a ladder leading to the surface. Alexei commented that the equipment on a rack on the wall looked useful, then vanished without a trace. You could find no sign of him down either tunnel nor in the direction of the ladder.

    You spent some time searching the vicinity, but found not a single trace of your beloved Alexei. Hence, you wrote a polite letter and began to extended the search further afield, hoping to solicit others to join the search. You were elated to happen across Jack Aaronova, politely inviting her to join the search. Instead, she horribly tortured and killed you, for no reason you can discern, other than being a dangerous psychopath.

    You now find yourself, recently reawakened, on the floor of the same room. You are no longer breathing, and do not feel yourself giving off body heat, strongly suggesting you have joined the ranks of the undead. Unlike the hordes of grunts, however, you retain your full mental faculties. Via your echolocation, you are aware of the presence nearby of the table you were strapped to, a discarded syringe, the stick of chalk you had earlier, and a piece of paper which is presumably the letter you wrote.

    You must find Alexei at all costs. He's not safe with that Aaronova girl on the loose.

    785 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8114 05:35

    be grill
    wear dress
    do grill things

    786 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8114 07:01


    787 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8114 17:57

    Be Jack. SAVE HER

    788 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8115 17:38

    grind our teeth

    789 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8115 22:38

    You cannot stop thinking about Alexei. Why did you let him disappear? Why weren't you paying more attention? A wave of remorse washes over you. You repent in the only way you know how to. Still wearing your dress, you crouch on all fours and become a grill. Suppressing everything else in your mind, you picture yourself vividly as a fixed set of metal bars suspended above a brazier, ready for cooking meat or vegetables. Though you lie unused and ignored now, some sunny day you will brought forth for a grand barbecue: it is inevitable. Until that day, you must wait patiently and obediently, like a good grill.

    You fight back the tears. Grills don't cry, you remind yourself. Crying is not something grills do.

    You are now playing as Jack Conundrum-chan.

    After hours of hours of trekking through the jungle, avoiding the wandering undead, shower of meteorite impacts, and the subsequent forest fires, your party - comprising yourself, Ariadne, Stove Stove, the mysterious unnamed androgynous person, and about fifty Jacks - have arrived at where you believe Continue-chan to have taken Theodore. It is a small, squat two story red brick building. The light from the small flame you have summoned between your fingers doesn't penetrate much past the doorway. Ariadne alone in your party appears to recognise the place, and happily strolls in, lost in a nostalgic reverie.

    That fool! Doesn't she know the danger she's in‽ You rush in to rescue her, grabbing her firmly by one hand and pulling her back outside. From what you saw of the inside of the building, it's an empty room, with a stairwell leading up and down. The stairs upwards were blocked with piled up furniture. You passingly noted a strange scratchy, almost unrecognisable engraving on the wall, of a human figure with something bulbous sticking out of their face. You aren't sure what to make of it.

    You grind your teeth in frustration. Rescuing Theodore is, needless to say, pivotal to your plan, however at present you don't even know if he's still alive or not. You think Continue-chan must be here, based on the tracks you followed through the jungle to get here, but there's no sign of her or Theodore now. The stairs down to the basement seem the obvious place to start, but something about them give you a bad feeling.

    790 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8116 14:58

    Wait. It's dangerous to go inside. Guard the exit.

    791 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8116 17:46

    Pretend to be a door and slowly work your way inside using this disguise.

    792 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8118 00:33

    be mysterious unnamed androgynous person.

    set building on fire.

    793 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8118 00:51

    Yes, you admonish Ariadne in a stern whisper, it's far too dangerous to go inside just like that. Instead, you must closely guard the building - part reconnaissance, part siege warfare - so as to have the greatest advantage over the enemy before your attack. You order the Jacks to encircle the building, while you, Ariadne, Stove Stove and the androgynous person stay near the doorway. After fifteen minutes, absolutely nothing has happened, and you notice with disappointment that the Jacks are getting distracted, clustering into small groups and giggling to themselves adorably.

    You had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but there is no other choice. You inhale sharply, straighten your spine, and stick all of your limbs out to form the vertices of a rectangle. You carefully position yourself in the doorway. Of course, with your complete shapeshifting (active skill) ability, you could actually literally become a door, but therein lies the true genius of your plan: you want Continue-chan to know that you aren't a door, and you want her to believe that you believe that she doesn't know you aren't a door - that way she'll misunderestimate you, enabling you to rescue Theodore all the more easily. It's foolproof!

    Step by step, you edge further in, making wooden creaking noises with your mouth the whole time. As you take the first step down the staircase, however, your foot catches on a maliciously placed tripwire, and you are unable to prevent yourself from plummeting to the bottom. You come to a stop in a painful heap on the hard stone floor. You cannot see anything in the thick, heavy darkness. From further into the room comes a slow scraping noise and a foul smell. You begin to scramble to your feet, trying to reassume your disguise. At that moment, however, you hear from outside a low rumbling and a loud, high pitched scream. It sounds like Ariadne.

    794 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8118 05:10

    oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck

    795 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8118 20:03

    thin out the darkness with fire

    796 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8120 00:48

    You mutter obscenities to yourself in a decidedly undoorlike fashion. Ariadne's scream cuts off abruptly.

    You hurl one or two centimetre diameter fireballs in every direction, banishing the darkness to small, flickering shadows in the corners of the room. Your location is revealed to be a high ceilinged octagonal room - approximately twenty metres in diameter - with a circular raised dais in its centre. Continue-chan lurks on the opposite side of the dais, tentacles quivering slightly. There is what appears to be a beartrap embedded in her lower body, with a viscous black fluid seeping from the wounds.

    The raised dais is covered in intricate, overlapping circles drawn in red chalk. In the centre lies Theodore, on his back, eyes closed. Around the dais are six wrought iron chest height candlesticks, without any candles in them. There is a sword hanging by a string from the ceiling, swinging back and forth in long, lazy arcs, like a pendulum. There are unrecognisable piles of objects in the corners of the room, but before you can inspect them closely the fireballs disperse against the walls and you are plunged again into the interminable, omnipresent darkness.

    Continue-chan shrieks in anger, and you hear a slithering, scraping noise as she begins to move towards you.

    797 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8120 00:52

    Wait, Continue-chan! I love you!

    798 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8122 01:11

    "Wait, Continue-chan!" You plead to the darkness, "I love you!" The darkness stops scraping and shrieking momentarily, leaving an eerie silence. You aren't sure what response you were expecting, but the absence of any response is rather troubling. Why did you say that? Did you mean it? I mean, you did, perhaps, have confusing feelings for her long ago, but so much time has passed and you've both changed so much. Surely, it must be impossible now...

    At that moment, there is a sound of several large objects falling down the stairs from behind you. You are too slow to react, and are struck in the back by multiple warm, pointy, giggling bodies. It seems that some of the Jacks followed you in and fell down the stairs, just like you.

    Things are not going to plan, but, you remind yourself sternly, you mustn't lose sight of your goal. All that matters now is that you can rescue Theodore and get out. You can't let your feelings for Continue-chan get in the way.

    799 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8122 04:26

    Run towards Theodore and pick him up. Light the way with FIRE.

    800 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8128 10:53

    Light your hair on fire.

    801 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8129 01:54

    As you struggle to extricate yourself from the Jacks and return to your feet, a quiet sound comes from the darkness approximately where Continue-chan was. You cannot tell whether it's laughing or sobbing; perhaps it starts as one and turns into the other. "Do you really?" comes that voice you'll never forget: dear, pure hearted Masturbation Continue-chan, who loved you always, and whom you brutally murdered in cold blood, long, long ago back at >>/449. When she speaks again, however, there is an unfamiliar edge to her voice; a steely cynicism that sets her apart from the cheerful, confident schoolgirl/tentacle monstrosity you knew and loved. "I... I wish I could believe you, Conundrum-chan, but..."

    Standing again, you scatter tiny fireballs about again - fewer this time, as you're running low on mana - revealing the room much as it was before, with the exception that Continue-chan has now returned to human form. She is lying draped face down on one side of the dais. The beartrap is tightly closed around her left leg. She raises her head slightly and looks you right in the eye. "You... you have no idea how much I hate you, Conundrum-chan."

    Narrowly avoiding the dangling sword, you reach in and grab Theodore. He is limp, but still warm, breathing and with a pulse. Continue-chan continues: "I hate you. I hate the way you toy with other people as though their lives have no worth at all. I hate how you always somehow dodge the consequences of your actions. I hate how nothing ever breaks through that flippant, carefree veneer of yours. But most of all I hate myself, for still loving you, despite everything you've done. I can never forget the feeling of betrayal as you stabbed me in the chest - just as I can never forget the feeling of your lips against mine as you kissed me immediately before."

    For want of a more permanent light source, you set your hair alight. It takes a while to catch, and once it does produces a rather disagreeable smell. You have 35 mana remaining. Now illuminated, you see that all around the edges of the room are weapons and instruments of pain and torture of every possible description: bladed weapons large and small, hammers, crossbows, enormous serrated discs, chains, whips, and many other fiendish looking devices you don't even recognise.

    "It doesn't matter, though," Continue-chan says flatly, no longer meeting your gaze, "Because how could you ever love me now? I mean, look at me. I... I'm not even..." she trails off. You aren't sure what best to say or do.

    802 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8129 03:53

    Fantasize about pepper. Pepper tastes great.

    803 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8129 15:50

    If you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I can forgive you. Let's put the past behind us and build a new life together.

    804 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8134 00:21

    Be Theodore and get the fuck outta here

    805 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8138 01:17

    Your mind wanders. You think about how long it's been since you had any decent food, rather than just whatever you can scavenge from your immediate surroundings. You remember the simple pleasure of seasoning; that little nutritionally superfluous touch that bounces like a spark from your palate. You recall with a mix of longing and nostalgia the satisfying grind of the pepper mill. Perhaps, you wonder, in all this clandestine plotting and scheming, have you lost sight of what really matters? The little touches and garnishes add up, and their absence forms an almost tangible hole in your life.

    You snap back to reality. It's been about thirty seconds since either of you spoke, but it feels like far longer. You have to say something, anything! Cliché platitudes and empty promises cascade from your mouth. Are you just trying to bribe Continue-chan's placidity with emotional capital? Or is this what you always wanted to say, but cannot express on the spot in anything more meaningful? You are too busy desperately promising the world for any sort of introspection or second guessing.

    You require Cat possession (passive skill) to play as Theodore.

    This is too much for you. The twitching shadows of the countless instruments of pain and murder around the edges of the room - dancing in the light of your own burning hair - seem to swell and crowd around you, claustrophobic and accusatory, until you are on the verge of hyperventilating. Continue-chan lifts her head and stares into you with cold, dead eyes. She begins to speak - nothing more than your name - but that alone overwhelms your self discipline. You turn and sprint away, over the Jacks, up the stairs, past the tripwire, out the doorway and into the cool, refreshing night air. There is no sign of Ariadne, the androgynous person or the many Jacks.

    There is a deafening crash from above and behind you, and you narrowly avoid a shower of dust and falling bricks and masonry. A long, thin appendage swipes just over your head. Tracing it back, you find it to be the tail of a certain familiar brontosaurus. There's something not right about this, though; why would the ever indifferent herbivorous Rupert be violently attempting to demolish an innocent building?

    Looking closer, you see many long, thin lacerations on his flank and neck, trailing equally enormous bloodstains. Some are metres in length and tens of centimetres deep - you cannot imagine what could be capable of inflicting wounds like that. It dawns on you that not even a brontosaurus could survive such devastating injuries. Rupert was killed, and reanimated by whatever evil force has reanimated everything else that has died in this place, converting him into the hellbent instrument of war he is now.

    Theodore, still cradled in your arms, begins to stir. If you are to continue with the plan, you need to either somehow gain level two ailuromancy, or find someone who already has - namely, Jack Aaronova.

    806 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8138 19:07

    Search the building for Jack

    807 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8140 01:50

    What with all your former allies having vanished and the murderous undead sauropod outside, you decide it might just be prudent to consider your indoor options a little more closely before continuing. You return through the doorway and commence the search. The main room is completely empty and Jackless. Looking down the staircase, you can see the pile of Jacks at the bottom where they fell on you earlier, but you already knew about them.

    The staircase leading upwards is filled with furniture piled into a crude barricade. It takes you about a minute to climb over, during which time you hear Rupert strike the building several more times. As you turn the top of the stairwell, you momentarily catch sight of some sort of large unidentifiable machine before there is a flash of light and you find yourself somewhere else entirely.

    Well, perhaps not entirely. You are now on the flat roof of the building, along with Ariadne, the androgynous person, most of the Jacks, and Stove Stove, who has just kindly teleported you up here. Ariadne is currently telling Rupert that he's being a very bad boy and he needs to stop that silly behaviour right now. He doesn't seem to have noticed - and you hope he doesn't; considering the length of his neck, he could almost certainly reach you all up here.

    Well, at any rate, you think to yourself while looking at the many identical girls standing around the rooftop, at least your search has been successful in a sense. Jacks, Jacks, everywhere, but not a drop of Aaronova.

    808 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8141 16:15

    Be Stove Stove. Make toast.

    Be Ariadne. Stop talking to Rupert and eat toast.

    809 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8142 00:12

    You are now playing as Stove Stove.

    You are aware that it is customary at social celebrations, such as weddings, to make a toast. In recognition of the joyous reunion of Conundrum-chan and Ariadne, you make a brief speech. Of course, lacking any means of vocalisation, you express yourself by rocking back and forth gently and spinning around on one vertex. You hope the message gets across.

    You are now playing as Ariadne Aaronova.

    With a sigh, you acknowledge that Rupert clearly isn't willing to listen to reason. You've simply no idea what's gotten into him! Were he a nice, reasonable person, you'd love to sit down with him over some nice, crispy toast with marmalade and a strong cup of tea, but there's no toast to be found here, and also he's a brontosaurus, not a person.

    Conundrum-chan - who's just appeared here - joins you near the edge of the roof and begins trying to ask you something about Theodore, but at that moment Rupert sweeps his colossal tail across the roof of the building. As you are facing the right way, you see it coming and manage to duck in time, but Conundrum-chan is not so lucky, and is struck in the back of the shoulders and knocked off of the building altogether, disappearing into the thick, black jungle below. Theodore falls from her grasp and similarly vanishes.

    810 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8142 22:14

    Show off our intelligence and grace. Save Jack.

    811 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8144 01:54

    "No!" you exclaim, involuntary, watching as though in slow motion as your beloved Conundrum-chan flies off the roof on a long, unstoppable trajectory, already well out of your arms' reach. Despair settles on you like an alluvial deposit. But it is at times like this that we learn what we are truly capable of, you remind yourself, launching yourself recklessly from the building after Jack, grabbing her hand from behind - of course, you both have levitation (passive skill), so she was never in any real danger from falling - and landing softly on the floor at the base of the building.

    You place one hand lightly on the nearby wall and, using your stone morphing (active skill), convert one kilogram of brickwork into a very long thin chain with a handle at one end, setting you back by twenty mana. You use your stone sharpening (active skill) to sharpen the end - unfortunately, you can only spare enough for the last thirty centimetres - to a steel-like keenness, costing another thirty mana. Finally, you spend your remaining twenty mana casting advanced rock animation (active skill) on your newly crafted qilinbian. Conundrum-chan, clinging to your arm, chuckles conspiratorially on seeing the weapon.

    "Rupert, heel!" you command sternly. As you hoped, he hears and targets you. His enormous head looms over you, maw gaping and ready to consume you both. You are too quick, however. With a loud crack, your whip bursts from your hand and, responding to your will, wraps around Rupert's neck and constricts tightly. With an anticlimactic slicing noise - like cutting through a tomato - the reanimated Rupert is decapitated. His severed head falls to your feet, and his body collapses unsupported just behind it.

    Conundrum-chan hugs you and sings your praises until you blush. Trying to deflect attention, you remind her that you had best act quickly, as Rupert's head and body will probably reanimate before long, your qilinbian will only remain animated for another thirty seconds or so, and Theodore - whom you came all this way for - is now missing.

    812 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8144 02:14

    Everyone: spread out to find Theodore, yielding only in cases of extreme self-preservation.

    813 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8146 01:14

    Stove Stove kindly teleports everyone remaining on the roof down to terra firma, and you take initiative, ordering them all to spread out and search in an orderly manner. The best-laid schemes of mice and cute girls often go askew, however. Firstly, Continue-chan appears at the doorway, supported on both sides by Jacks, and shouts that you all have to leave right now, as it's too dangerous. You reply that it's okay, you've already put Rupert in his place, and now you just have to find Theodore and all will be well.

    "No, you don't underst--" she begins, before being interrupted by the androgynous person rushing in and expressing relief at having found her at last. On cue, several more Jacks gather around and embrace her tightly from all sides, much to her distress. Meanwhile, Conundrum-chan begins saying something about getting on with searching for Theodore before he gets too far away. The whole situation is a quagmire of disagreement, conflicting objectives and involuntary cuddling. You'll need some impressive tact and diplomacy if you're to bend everyone to your will.

    814 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8146 01:20

    The reason you don't play pranks on each other -by (*฿[฿)

    I use to be a prankster. I would do things
    that were silly and we all had a good laugh
    about it. No one was hurt and we all had a
    bit of fun. But one day I played a prank on
    myself and then got high. I thought to my-
    self what is this pretzel doing here. I knew.

    The pretzel was a gpresenth to myself. Little did I know that it was a total prank. Basically, don't do it.

    815 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8146 01:20

    Ah shit, wrong thread. I'm really sorry. I wasn't trying to be funny.

    816 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8146 04:46

    Give the following speech:
    "Continue-chan, Conundrum-chan, Stove Stove, Jacks, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: The question tonight, as I understand it, is "The Undead Revolt, and Where Do We Go From Here?" or What Next?" In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the cat or the bullet.

    Before I explain what is meant by the cat or the bullet, I would like to clarify something concerning myself: I'm a powerful deity. That's my personal belief. Just as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov is a father who cowardly bumbles about meaninglessly, but at the same time takes part in the life-and-death struggles to try and bring about peace to this godforsaken world; and Dr. Alexei is a brilliant scientist, whereabouts unknown, who heads another organization fighting for Truth; well, I myself am a powerful jokestress, not a scientist, nor a father, but a playful goddess; and I believe in action on all fronts by whatever means necessary.

    If we don't do something real soon, I think you'll have to agree that we're going to be forced either to use the cat or the bullet. It's one or the other in these apocalyptic times. Find that cat or be forced to destroy everything. It isn't that time is running out -- time has run out!

    And this time it's not going like it went last time. We're not going singing ''We Shall Overcome." We're not going with friends. We're going with grim comrades. We're not going with round-trip tickets. We're going with one way tickets. And if you don't want us going down there, we'd better find that fucking cat.

    The undead aren't going to wait. If we wait too long, brothers and sisters, we will be responsible for letting a condition develop in this world which will create a climate that will kill us if we don't destroy it. It's the cat or the bullet."

    817 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8148 00:16

    You take a deep breath, cautioning yourself not to get caught up in any idle mischief or posturing, and to be totally sincere and sober in the speech you are about to give.

    "Continue-ch--" you begin, before immediately being interrupted by the lady in question. "Dammit, listen to me! Conundrum-chan, you believe me, right? You have to go, right now!" She screams in frustration and, for the second time, metamorphoses into a hideous bulging fleshy mass covered in groping tentacles. She attempts to struggle free from the Jacks, without much success.

    You try again. "Continue-chan, Conundrum-chan, Stove Stove, Jacks, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: The question tonight, as I understand it, is Th--" There is a loud flash and a bright blue bang from the upper storey of the building you just left. A black, humanoid shape bursts from the nearest window, landing in a crouch, turning and pointing a long, thin, sleek matte steel weapon of some sort squarely at Continue-chan. By the light of Conundrum-chan's inexplicably burning hair you recognise him: it's Alexei!

    As though trying to upstage you, he begins a speech of his own, addressing the tentacle monster. "Listen here, you ungodly monstrosity, do you know what I'm holding here? It's an antimatter tipped railgun. Yes, antimatter. Do you have any idea how hard it was to generate and isolate the stuff - let alone build a Penning trap for it that doesn't interact with the railgun firing mechanism? Well, I did it: I created this thing for the sole purpose of annihilating you. But before I do, I want you to know that this is your fault; you threatened and tried to kill my friends, and my wife. And for this... you must die."

    Punctuating the dramatic pause, another dark silhouette falls gracelessly from the window, slowly picks itself up from the ground and vomits profusely. It appears to be Aaron. You clear your throat, politely thank Alexei for his input, and persuade him to maintain a brief ceasefire, at least until you've finished delivering your speech.

    "As I was saying," you continue, "The question tonight, as I understand it, is The Undead Revolt, and Where Do We Go From Here? or What Next? In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the cat or the b--" There is a feline yowling from behind you. A small, lithe shape sprints from the undergrowth, pounces onto Aaron and begins clawing at him, hissing and screeching the whole time. Alas, it is not Theodore, but Jimmy.

    818 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8148 00:16

    "...Or the bullet. Before I explain what is meant by the cat or the bullet, I would like to clarify something concerning myself: I'm a powerful deity. That's my personal belief. Just as Aaron Aaronovitch Aaronov" - you nod in his direction - "Is a father who cowardly bumbles about meaninglessly, but at the same time takes part in the life-and-death struggles to try and bring about peace to this godforsaken world; and Dr. Alexei" - another nod - "Is a brilliant scientist, who heads another organization fighting for Truth; well, I myself am a p--"

    You are interrupted yet again, this time by an enormous flying shape in the sky. It flutters intermittently, uncertainly, circles your position a few times and then glides down and lands on the side of the building, wings flat. It appears to be some sort of gigantic moth. Another familiar face slides down the creature's back and joins the audience: it's Jack Aaronova! Showing similar disregard for your monologue, she addresses you all:

    "Listen to me! None of this is real! You're all inside another simulation, I have proof!" She rushes over to you and demands to know how you managed to exit the simulation when you were in it before. Lacking the patience to entertain her ridiculous brain-in-a-vat style musings, you reply condescendingly that you'll tell her all about it, just as soon as you're finished your speech.

    "I am a powerful jokestress, not a scientist, nor a father, but a playful goddess; and I believe in action on all fronts by whatever means necessary. If we don't do something real soon, I think you'll have to agree that we're going to be forced either to use the cat or the bullet. It's one or the other in these apocalyptic times. Find that cat or be forced to destroy everything. It isn't that time is running out - time has run out! And this time it's not g--"

    Despite no particular sound, everyone is distracted and looking at something behind you. Sighing in frustration, you turn to see Jacqueline coming up the hill. She looks to be in rather poor shape. Alexei rushes over to her, muttering to her urgently. You cannot hear what he's saying from here. Never mind. You'll see this soliloquy through to the end even if it kills you.

    "This time it's not going like it went last time. We're not going singing We Shall Overcome. We're not going with friends. We're going with grim comrades. We're not going with round-trip tickets. We're going with one way tickets. And if you don't want us going down there, we'd better find that fucking cat. The undead aren't going to wait. If we wait too long, brothers and sisters, we will be responsible for letting a condition develop in this world which will create a climate that will kill us if we don't destroy it. It's the cat or th--"

    Something nuzzles against your leg. You look down, only to see Theodore looking back up at you innocently. "That's him!" exclaims Conundrum-chan excitedly, "And we have Jack Aaronova as well - now we can celebrate Christmas!"

    819 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8148 00:57

    Decorate a Christmas tree

    820 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8148 00:58

    Be Jack.
    Deck the halls with bowels, if you know what I mean.

    821 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8148 00:58

    ^^^^ (Jack Aaronova)

    822 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8152 00:03

    Swallowing some internal frustration, you set about helping prepare for Christmas. Using your qilinbian, you cut down an appropriate looking tree with a long, flat trunk, which should do as a substitute altar. You decorate it with one of the disposable cloned Jacks, who is wearing a rather lovely pink and white chequered dress. She smiles innocently, showing no fear or comprehension of her impending doom.

    You had until now sought Theodore as only he and Jack Aaronova knew the correct Christmas ritual, with which you could put a stop to the recent unholy happenings. You had of course found Jack Aaronova back at >>720, before you settled on this plan, when you were just looking for Jacks to slaughter for skill points and mana. You subsequently had great difficulty finding her again, and so instead focussed on the more easily locatable Theodore (whom you knew to be in the possession of Continue-chan). Now that you have both of them, and a suitable sacrifice decorating the tree, there's nothing to stop you celebrating Christmas.

    You are now playing as Jack Aaronova.

    This is your moment. You are the high priestess, and it's Christmas time. Brandishing your trusty ceremonial stone knife, you begin to dance around the tree, singing "I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates, you've got a brand new key, I think that we should get together and try them on to see!" before plunging the knife up to the hilt into the sacrificial Jack's heart. Her life is extinguished instantly. With a twist, you pull the blade back out, run it across your lips and kiss her good night. Then you hack her head off and let it be consumed by the infinite void between your legs.

    For killing a sapient being in a ritualistic manner, you have gained two skill points and one hundred mana.

    There is a slow, prolonged silence. Rupert's headless corpse twitches, shudders and begins to rise to its feet. Everyone backs away, before noticing something extraordinary: to the east, the sky is becoming visibly lighter. In the space of a few seconds, the sun breaks over the mountain ridge and shoots up into the sky, returning to its rightful position in the heavens. You all stare, enraptured by the aching, cloudless blueness above, not even watching as Rupert's body collapses back to the ground.

    Living or undead; man, woman or tentacle monster; you all gather around the warmth of Conundrum-chan's burning hair and rejoice in your simple continued existence. Nothing could possibly ruin such a beautiful moment as this, you think to yourself.

    823 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8152 04:08

    Merry Christmas. God bless us, everyone. Good night to all, and to all a good night.

    Put skill points into Aerokinesis, I have the feeling this isn't over.

    824 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8157 01:39

    You smile into the distance. What a pleasant Christmas this has been. You express your boundless gratitude towards the infinite pantheons of named and nameless gods, at least one of whom has blessed you with light and safety in return for your Christmas offering, and also take the opportunity to offer your hope that the abnormally long night has not been too disagreeable for anyone present.

    At the same time, you are aware that all is not by any means back to normal. Perhaps most immediately troublingly, you saw how Alexei reacted to Continue-chan's even attempted attack upon Jacqueline; how would he react if he knew what you did to her?

    You place two skill points into aerokinesis, unlocking the following skills:

    • Gas separation: (active skill): Can separate out constituent gases in a region of air within fi