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..."

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 (*߁[)

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 gpresenth 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 five metres of your position. Costs ten mana per cubic metre per second.
  • Summon wind (active skill): Can produce a strong, sustained flow of wind in any direction. Must originate within five metres of your position. Costs ten mana per second.

You hear a loud grinding, scraping noise of metal against stone from within the building. All of you turn to face the entrance. Continue-chan shrieks and struggles to free herself with even greater desperation than before. She almost makes it free, before a vast torrent of metal implements tears up the stairs and out of the doorway, through her and the Jacks restraining her, and into the centre of the clearing in front of you all. It morphs into a vaguely humanoid shape and comes to a halt. You can see it is composed almost entirely of blades, weapons and general implements of murder and destruction. Barring some bloodstained surfaces near the head, the whole mass gleams brilliantly in the sunlight.

You feel a tug at your pockets. The torch you picked up at >>737,738 along with the screws and butterfly hinges from >>745,748 tear free from you and join the mass. They are quickly joined by a pen from Conundrum-chan's pocket, a nail file from behind Aaron's ear and the antimatter railgun from Alexei's grasp.

Just as suddenly as it appeared, the metallic humanoid disassembles and flows away into the jungle, leaving behind a trail of torn down trees and a shocked silence. Looking in its wake, all that remains of Continue-chan and the Jacks around her is a smear of finely cut pieces of flesh and gore, none more than a few centimetres across. They are quite obviously and irrevocably dead.

825 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8157 04:34

Follow the trail of torn down trees

826 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8161 21:14

Eat the dead pieces of Jack.

827 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8162 01:10

Without a word, you straighten your shoulders and begin walking after the monstrosity, seeking answers no matter the cost. You make it only a few steps before Ariadne appears in front of you, arms crossed, with an expression on her face somewhere between concern and anger.

"Jack, stop. Just stop. I know what you want to do, but this isn't the way. You've played the lone wolf long enough. We... we need you, Jack; we need everyone we can get. We will get that... thing that killed Continue-chan, somehow, but not until we're properly prepared. So please, Jack, come back to us?" She extends a hand in sororal comradeship. Reluctantly, realising that she'll just follow you and bother you the whole way otherwise, you take her hand and turn back. "They don't call you The Pontiff for nothing!" Conundrum-chan says to Ariadne with a smug smirk.

Well, you may comply for now, but you don't have to be civil about it. That Jack Conundrum-chan really is quite insufferable, and the overly intimate way she addresses your sister makes you want to grind your teeth. Well, you'll show her! You take her head in both hands and begin to lick her face and neck, lapping up all the dead bits of skin and dust on her. She accepts this turn of events with impressive calm and coolness.

Meanwhile, you, Conundrum-chan, Ariadne, the androgynous person, Stove Stove, Jacqueline and Alexei form a circle, while Aaron heads inside, and the remaining Jacks play amongst themselves. Alexei stands and speaks. "Aaron and I just arrived here from the Control Tower. Jacqueline brought us there a few days ago, and it's full of supplies, tools, weapons and everything else we could possibly need. We should all regroup there. Aaron is just going inside to check on the teletransporter; hopefully it's still all right. Even if it is, however, there's only substrates prepared at the other end for Aaron, Jacqueline and I, so the rest of you would have to take the long way around."

Ariadne helpfully observes that the giant moth should be able to take at least some of you - but you certainly can't bring all the Jacks that way. Alternatively, you could try trekking over the ridge (which would be slow, and you might not make it before nightfall) or going via the underground service tunnels (which would be quicker, but possibly dangerous). If you really want to go to the Control Tower at all, that is.

Aaron calls from the upstairs window that the teletransporter is working fine, and Alexei begins to head inside. Jacqueline hangs back, shoots you a meaningful glance, then follows. For whatever reason, it seems that she has not told Alexei what you did to her. You are grateful, but apprehensive. A few seconds later there is a blue flash from upstairs and they are gone.

You notice smoke rising from the horizon to the north.

828 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8162 05:41

Form a party with Conundrum, Ariadne and a Jack-clone (for later sacrifice, if needed.) Fly on TiMothy to the Control Tower. If we're too heavy, use wind powers to assist its flight.

829 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8163 01:22

Ask the androgynous person what sex is.
Play as the androgynous person.

830 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8165 01:25

You and a few other cute girls form a loose granfalloon and, with some difficulty, persuade TiMothy to leave his perch on the shaded side of the building. He lazily makes a few stabs at your spinal fluids, but seems generally quite lethargic. Well, he's probably not diurnal, after all. A little aerokinesis eventually convinces him to relocate to the ground, let you board him, and reluctantly take flight again.

Before leaving earshot, you feel a slight prick at your conscience at leaving behind Stove Stove, the androgynous person and the remaining Jacks. Just to give them something to ruminate over in your absence, you ask them a controversial philosophical/linguistic conundrum. The androgynous person perks up and begins enthusiastically pontificating on the biological role of sex, the XY, X0 and ZW sex determination systems, sexual reproduction as it relates to genetic recombination, before changing tack and discussing the difficulties in defining sex and gender, and how the terms fit into the physical and psychological phenotypes of human sexual dimorphism. By the time they get on to sex in anglerfish, however, you are long since gone, fluttering away westwards.

You are now playing as the androgynous person.

You are standing in a clearing in front of a somewhat damaged building, next to a large brontosaurus corpse. The remains of your former mistress, Continue Masturbation, are smeared unceremoniously across the ground at your feet. Stove Stove is nearby, being stroked lovingly by one of the cloned girls under your protection. Lacking any particular instructions to follow, you are just about to settle down and calculate Mersenne primes for a few millennia, when you notice another human emerge from the building. It appears to be the one referred to as Jacqueline. How odd; you had thought she had teleported away.

831 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8165 04:46

Enthusiastically discuss science with Jacqueline.

832 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8165 05:16

Kill Jacqueline.

833 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8166 11:53

Eat Jacqueline.

834 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8169 16:55

Board Stove Stove

835 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8169 23:22

Completely ignoring the piece of paper she presents to you, you tell Jacqueline about the entire glorious spectrum of the natural sciences from first principles. You start with particle physics, moving on to nuclear physics, then quantum physics, valence bond theory, molecular orbital theory, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, genetics, evolution, ecology, neuroscience, computer science, electromagnetism, classical mechanics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, atmospheric physics, astronomy, cosmology, and relativity.

Though you intended it to be a discussion, your partner contributes little other than insistently waving some silly piece of paper in your face, so it turns out to be more of a lecture. Or set of lectures. When you get to a minor digression on quantum chaos, she apparently gives up and wanders away back indoors. You continue talking, raising your voice to make sure she doesn't miss anything. After almost an hour she returns, tries to distract you with more paper, gives up again, tries to show her paper to Stove Stove and nearby clones (without success), paces back and forth in a line, and finally curls up in a ball against one of the walls of the building, pressing her hands over her ears as hard as she can. Well, you hope she enjoyed the discussion as much as you did!

Your preliminary diagnostic procedure indicates that she is already dead. That is to say, when you tackle her to the ground and begin throttling her with all your might, you cannot feel any pulse and note that she does not seem to be choking or having any problems with not breathing. Reflecting that your murder was complete before it even started, you bathe in the warm glow of a job well done.

You begin gently gnawing on Jacqueline's hair. Unfortunately, you lack any pharynx, oesophagus, stomach or digestive system in general, so you are forced to stop when your mouth is full. You admit that you aren't particularly good at recognising human emotions, but you notice that she does seem somewhat distressed about something.

Spitting out your mouthful of hair and leaving the rest of Jacqueline as a snack for later, you flick the concealed switch on Stove Stove's underside and climb inside. The inner walls conform to fit your shape, and an automated voice recognises you as the pilot. A visual display appears, overlaying a view outside, reading:


Stove Stove stands tall; a monolithic, gleaming obsidian humanoid, bristling with advanced weaponry, with all power at your fingertips. Jacqueline and the nearby clones look up at you with expressions of silent appreciation. Or possibly abject terror, you aren't quite sure.

836 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8279 17:06

Make Stove Stove disco dance, then destroy everything and everyone in sight.

837 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8281 02:21

Set course for the Palriga Canal!

838 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8384 02:47

Confrim Ao Oni's Facebook friend request.

839 Name: (*゚ー゚) : 1993-09-8563 00:51


840 This post sucked.

841 This post sucked.

842 Name: ((●)トェェェイ(●)) : 1993-09-10356 13:03

Find out if the computerized systems are only running free open-source software that respects the freedoms of its users.

P.S. Relatively speaking, this thread is a beefer at "1046 kb".

843 Name: Yvette Soriano : 1993-09-10597 03:27

Where are you located?

844 Name: ( ゚ ヮ゚) : 1993-09-10597 19:37

>>843 Right now we're inside Stove Stove, in a clearing in front of a somewhat damaged building, next to a large brontosaurus corpse.

845 This post sucked.

846 This post sucked.

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