Re: Grand Battle S3G1! Signups suspended, beginning soon.
Name: Velobo Calidad, formerly known as 2106062
Gender: For all intents and purposes, Male
Color: #9A0000; A dark red
Weapons/Abilities: All Plazmuths, being genetically engineered to run a death course, are naturally resilient to pain, have a 10 foot long retractable tongue, capable of sticking to any surface due to the saliva it produces. Beyond the feature’s characteristic of his species, is a genetic quirk, high speed and agility, along with the ability to think and plan around situations in an instant, something that no other member of his species had exhibited. The only other thing he has on his person is an indestructible metal band, which marked him as the 2106062th member of his species made.
Wow, i am terrible at drawing.
Small and Cubular consisting of 2 ½ foot by 2 ½ foot body, with two arms and two legs, all of a shade of Green. He has a mouth with a long, 10 foot retractable tongue. He, like all Plazmuths have five eyes, two “main” ones in the front, and three on each of the remaining faces, that are usually closed. Plazmuth’s do not wear any type of clothing, except for the metal band used to mark their place in the manufacturing line. While most Plazmuth’s have no actual thought process, though they do have a brain, Velobo is different, he was born with something that none of the other’s had the ability to think and plan and most of all lead, and he used it to his every advantage. He is charismatic and commanding, but only thinks about what he has to do now, and what he needs to do to get it.
Biography: Created in a factory, like all other members of his species, Velobo was made for one reason, and one reason alone, and that is to live. In the Darkest reaches of his galaxy, is the Muer Moon, a tourist trap where people of all kinds can see genetically engineered creatures continuously run obstacle courses of death. None make it through alive, let alone in one piece. Born and marked as 2106062, Velobo was simply like any other member of his manufactured species, a rectangular prism, with a mouth, arms, legs, and some eyes. Velobo however, was different. When he was released into the course, and obviously, his doom, he had something else that completely shocked the audience, speed, skill, and a mind that could plan past all of the traps that lay ahead in an instant. This allowed him to not only pass the course, but to completely destroy it as well. He then led the remaining Plazmuths to defeat the announcer and owner of the moon. Before he could triumph, he was whisked away, never to be seen again.
Video Log from the Incident:
A large coliseum is shown, camera starts on from a view of the entire arena, before going down to the crowd, it zips past many faces, some absolutely repulsive, others just passable, before settling directly above the center of the arena. Suddenly, the ground starts to shake, as the floor starts to split into two. First, a blue, six-eyed, mustachio’d being rises, from below, his appearance is interesting, a goop of flesh on a silver platform, with many colorful controls, out from his body are three tentacles, each controlling the platform as he steadily rises and takes out a microphone.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he says, as he places the microphone to his mustache, “welcome to the Muer Moon Doom Course. I am your host, Selfaz Argro.”
The floor keeps splitting and a structure starts to rise.
“Presenting.. the latest iteration of the one and only spectacular mechanism of carnage, THE TRACK OF DELAR.”
The camera changes view to the course, as the metal monstrosity arises, it begins with a simple strip of rock, followed by a few rings set aflame, continuing, are a few swings over a pit, sawblades, logs, pistons, and the cream of the crop, the Aplaster, the final, impossible leg of the course, consisting of localized acid droplets, a lasernet, and the Esperex, a giant robotic monster that reflects anything thrown at it.
“And now, it is time for the main event, the running of those lovable, stupid, idiot Plazmuths.”
The camera pans at a gate near the beginning of the death trap, it is metal, and imposing, but only five feet tall, on the other side stand nine-hundred and ninety-nine slow, stupid stubby beings, unknown of their untimely demise. And amongst them, is one anomaly, 2106062, one who is everything that his brothers are not, one who has spent his time alive, speaking to those supervising him, and then not only incapacitating and disarming them, but also convincing his brethren to follow his nigh-instantly formed plan.
The door opens, and while the crowd expects a thousand rainbow cuboids to come out and eventually splatter everywhere, only one, green streak comes out. By the time the first track is fully open, he is already past the flaming rings, about to swing over the now saw filled pit. Meanwhile, his brethren follow his specific instructions and navigate around the course, safe in the platforms used by the supervisors who were now unconscious in the holding room. 2106062, dodges each and every obstacle with perfect timing, stopping only for less than a second, navigating past the sadistic mechanism. And then, when he got to the Aplaster he stopped, for exactly one minute, as the nine-hundred and ninety-nine Plazmuths got into their place. 2106062 then leaped up and stuck his tongue to the Esperex. He retracted his tongue, pulling himself to the creature, and then clinging to it. Selfaz and the audience could do nothing but watch in awe, as 2106062 did the impossible. He climbed to the top of the Esperex, and from there jumped up to the platforms set in place by his brothers. As Selfaz realized what the small creature’s target was, 2106062 lashed out his tongue at his platform. He swung from down below onto the blue pile of sentient flesh, and he slapped him with the metal band on his wrist.
2106062 took the microphone away from one of his tentacles and began to yell to the audience, “I was created, for your entertainment inside this monster’s lab. I was given a number, and a band, and nothing else. All of my brothers were weak, without thought, they barley could comprehend words, let alone speak. However I, I was different, the idiots guarding us payed no thought to my questions, not knowing that I was formulating the means of my escape with each word they said. I rallied my brothers and interrogated and defeated the guards, and then conquered this machine you call the Track of Delar. I stand here, overpowering this wretched man, who let my species die, and took joy in it. I am not 2106062, I am an individual, I am Velobo Calidad, and I am going to make you all pay for what you did to me. But first...”
The small, green cuboid, rummages around the platform, looking for the proper button or lever, the controls for the Esperex.
He slaps Selfaz once more, ”Where are the controls for that metal beast?”
Selfaz points to the proper control box and Velobo grabs it.
“What will you do?”
“I am going to destroy everything.”
And destroy everything he does. Realizing that this was not part of the show, the audience panics and runs away from the stands, returning to their ships, in hopes of avoiding the green prism. The Esperex, follows a perfectly formulated path of destruction, reflecting the lasers in a precise pattern, and breaking down the Doom Course bit by bit. The mechanical beast then smashes all of the lasers and the tanks of acid, before stopping with its mouth agape, right below Selfaz and Velobo.
“Do you want to live?”
“I said, do you want to live?”
“Yes, yes I do!”
“Then leave, and never return. And make sure no one else does either, I never want to see you or any other person like you again. This is my moon now.”
“Yes… anything you say, just let me live…”
However, just then, Velobo feels odd… transparent, slightly, different.
It is him, being summoned away, never to see his species again.
“Wha? No matter,” Selfaz, breathes a sigh of relief, “I’ll just have to make sure this never happens again, I can rebuild. I can bring this back to how it once was.”
What Selfaz does not see, is the congregating amount of Plazmuths slowly surrounding him,
“Veeeelooobo, where is he, where did he go, what did you do, get him, get him, get him,” they all say as they start to drive their platforms to him.
“What? No! Nooo,” Is all her can say before he is assaulted by nine-hundred thousand and ninety-nine rainbow cuboids, as they all crash into the Esperex and destroying them all.
The camera floats above, the sole surviving witness to the event. Recording the scene of the destroyed coliseum and broadcasting it around the galaxy.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! Signups suspended, beginning soon.
Apparently we are working on different definitions of "a day or so" which I can't say I'm pleased about since I was working on a long application on the assumption I'd have time to make it nice. I cut off the end and I'm putting it here anyway out of stubbornness.
Name: TinTen Naamxe and Huebert Henderson
Gender: All man. Two men, in fact.
Race: Huebert is a boring, boring human, although there is quite a lot of him, which makes him a bit more interesting. Or at least forces people to pay attention to him. TinTen is of an alien race known as the Meipi (both in singular and in plural and always capitalized); they are near-human-sized, standing about five feet tall on average, although most would be about seven to eight feet
tall if they stood on tiptentacle. As could be reasonably inferred, they are rather squidlike in nature, but much more amphibious than their terrestrial equivalents. They can survive easily in both water and air (but are much more graceful in the water), provided that air and water comes from a particularly rare thin nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere; to that end, TinTen and most others wear a rebreather most of the time. Meipi are noted for being startlingly intelligent and usually very well-educated, as well as extremely religious: they follow a creed that is so complicated and nuanced as to appear indecipherable to most outsiders who don't grow up with it; the most salient point however, and the bit that even untrained laypeople pick up, is that they believe that the future can be predicted by noting and deciphering omens.
Physiologically, the Meipi can be best summed-up as having humanoid, if rubbery, torsos; where arms would be on a human are tentacles ending in diamond-shaped flat bits resembling a squid's arms. However, these tips can open down the middle, revealing dozens of three-or-so-inch-long fine tentacles that have excellent dexterity; they make the Meipi excellent at tasks like fine mechanical work and typing. Where a humans legs would be are twenty thicker but less dextrous tentacles that they use for walking and swimming. Their heads are rather squidlike, having a fin of skin that travels down both sides, but their eyes are oriented on one side, rather than opposite each other as they are in many Earth cephalopods. Their mouths are filled with wicked fangs, but this is largely immaterial with the rebreather in the way.
Here is a very simplified (stick-figure-level) picture for reference. TinTen is on the left and is wearing a rebreather and laserproof goggles:
Color: Both are 333399. No need for that distracting two-color nonsense.
Weapons/Abilities: Huebert carries a repeating laser pistol as a sidearm and a laser carbine just in case, but his main weapon is a gift he received from TinTen. Mounted on the hulking beast of a man's back is a large, metal, magnetically-sealed "backpack" connected to a hose and handle. In many ways, it looks like an ultra-tech flamethrower, and the concept is similar. Rather than project and ignite gasses, however, the weapon is a plasma projector: it sprays a concentrated stream or wide-angle cone of super-heated and -energized plasma, capable of igniting, obliterating, or vaporizing most materials. Giving such a thing to Huebert was either a terrible idea or one of the most calculated decisions TinTen ever made. It's difficult to tell. Aside from that, he has some minor mechanical ability and is fast, strong, and tough. Actually, strong doesn't deserve to be listed with the other two; strong is its own category. Huebert is essentially at the physical peak of a space-age human with access to cybernetics, implants, and bioengineering. He is strong. Plasma generators, as an example, are more often found strapped to mechanical exosuits than carried by infantry. Strong.
TinTen, however, is not strong. He is actually rather frailer than you would expect even from an average middle-aged cephalopod. He is frequently seen riding on the plasma canister on Hubert's back rather than walking, and is rather slow, clumsy, and prone to running out of breath on his own. Still, he (in his mind at least) makes up for it with his staggering intellect and expertise in a number of sciences. A weapons designer and manufacturer by trade who hails from the highest-tech planet in his subsector, he is capable of creating extremely elegant, creative, and above-all lethal weapons of all sorts given materials. His passion lately has run towards experimental sonic weapons, and he has a few of various types and applications stashed on his person, as well as a more standard laser pistol and a grenade launcher. He also has a bandolier of various grenades strapped to his squiddy chest, as well as the tools and materials to make a good few more. He's also in possession of a fair few high-tech scientific instruments and kits, like densitometers and microcomputers. TinTen would fairly bristle, were it not for the fact that any given item of his has a decent chance to be on Huebert's person at any given time.
Description: A physical description could primarily be cobbled together from the above sections, so there's no need to be redundant. Some details include TinTen's pale salmon skin, Huebert's high-tech armor with a striking Reflec coating, and TinTen's perpetual faint smell of ozone. This section will primarily focus on their personalities.
Huebert is a rather slow but stolid person who, true to the old adage, attempts to hammer everything as though it were a nail. He's not actually stupid, as stupidity has a short lifespan in the wilds of his home planet and the Veohhi sector in general, but he's definitely not prime thinker material and tries to solve problems with ways that have worked in the past. Or by punching them. It's often the same thing. He's very personable and gets along well with people, as long as they don't mind periodic arm-wrestling challenges if they look strong. He's a pretty nice guy for a borderline-barbarian.
TinTen is terse, intellectual, and calculating. He is also extremely devoted to his religion, to the point of consulting holy books or asking himself "What do the portents have to say about this" about nearly any action he might take. His speaking style is terse and clipped, and he strives for efficiency in all things he does. Some might point out the inconsistency of constant second-guessing and reliance on holy writ with efforts to be quick and efficient at every task, but to him, maximizing efficiency means using the information gathered from the omens to divine the best courses of action. He is much less congenial than his partner, but not actually unfriendly.
Biography: Again, many of the salient moments in the pair's lives could be gleaned from the above, so not much more needs to be said. TinTen's later life was one of adventure as he and his partner and their motley group of friends and acquaintances battled the oppressive conquering Imperium and its cruel duchess across the Veohhi sector, so he is no more unfamiliar with combat than Huebert is (as well as having been an avid big-game hunter in his youth). They were actually nearing the climax of their guerilla war against the intruding foreign power when they were snatched out of their universe for the amusement of strange, otherworldly powers.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! Signups suspended, beginning soon.
Very sorry, Slorange! I just remembered that you mentioned working on a profile earlier, and I should have kept that in mind.
I already have quite a few solid applicants, though, so I decided to cut it short because I was already going to be facing some difficult decisions. That said, I will keep you under consideration because you did tell me you were working on a profile before I closed signups, I just forgot about that fact.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! Signups suspended, beginning soon.
I have made my decision. This was tricky, but ultimately these are the characters I liked the best, with a bit of bias towards making sure I included some new players.
Here is the lineup, soon to be edited into the first post:
1. Anomaly - Dr. Tengeri Nyoka - #00FF78, background #0080FF
2. Lankie - Murdoch Miles - #000066
3. Schazer - Benjamin Jetsam - #4B647D
4. Pinary - Tor Kajan - #702020
5. Lord Paradise - Saint Scofflaw - #003300
6. Valter - Kerak - #337014
7. Solaris - Velobo Calidad (aka 2106062) - #9A0000
8. SleepingOrange - TinTen Naamxe and Huebert Henderson - #333399
To everyone who didn't make it in, keep an eye out for the next battle! (Well, except cyber95 because he's running it, but I'm sure he can find a space.) Although we would certainly appreciate it if you kept an eye on this one.
I will start the first round soon, possibly tonight; it will definitely be done by tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone for submitting a character, and it's great to see some new blood, even if you didn't quite make it in!
Last edited by Dragon Fogel; 05-13-2011 at 04:26 PM.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! Players chosen, game starting soon!
"That will do."
The Fool waved his scepter. The combatants he had chosen were drawn into the near-empty world he inhabited.
Except one wasn't there.
"Ah, pardon me, everyone," he said to the surprised visitors, their expressions and bodies frozen. The Fool waved his hand, and the illusory image of a grey-haired man in a labcoat appeared in front of him. "This is Dr. Benjamin Jetsam, or at least it's what he used to look like. You see, Doctor Jetsam is thrust through dimensions by a being much like myself, and is forced to take on a shape suited to the world he arrives in... but, as this world of mine is actually empty, there's no form for him to take. So he technically doesn't exist here, and won't be up to speed when we start. What a pity! But don't worry, once we begin, he'll take on a form suited to the world I send him to."
The Fool paused.
"Oh, that's right! I haven't told you why I brought you here yet. It's very simple. I am known as the Fool, and I am running what is known in my social circle as a 'Grand Battle'. I'm going to send you to various worlds throughout the cosmos, and then you're all going to attempt to kill each other. Or else." He then looked around at the would-be fighters. "And of course, before we do that, it's best that you all get properly introduced! Now, I've already explained Doctor Jetsam to you, so let me move on to the next one."
The Fool raised his scepter-arm, and the image of a large sea serpent surrounded by water appeared in front of him. The creature appeared to have metallic plates replacing parts of its body.
"Allow me to introduce our next contestant, Dr. Tengeri Nyoka," he said, pointing his scepter at the illusory creature's head. "She is a Leviath, a sea serpent with the ability to telekinetically carry a bubble of water around with her. This allows her to function on land. She also has a certain degree of control over the water itself. She researched cybernetics, and the results of her research have allowed her to enhance her hydrokinesis beyond the normal limits of her species. Her eye implants also offer her the opportunity to see beyond the standard visible spectrum. She'll be a formidable opponent, I expect."
He waved his arm, and the illusion vanished. He then looked straight towards the contestants, and created another illusion; this one of a white, glowing man man wearing a blue coat and top hat, holding a wand in his hand.
"Next, we have Murdoch Miles, the Varalica magician. He performed terrible deeds to acquire his vast magical powers, and regretted his actions almost immediately. Consequently, he doesn't intend to kill again; I wonder if this battle of mine will change that? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see."
With another flourish, the illusion of Miles vanished, and was replaced with the image of a thin man with rusty brown skin and wiry hair.
"This is Tor Kajan, though don't expect him to look quite like this the next time you see him. He's a Telpori-Hal, and their species has a habit of bursting into flame, then coming out of the experience with a different body and different motivations. This also has a bit of a healing effect. As for Tor himself, he's not very fond of humans, and he's also a rather shrewd businessman. We'll see if that helps him to survive this battle!"
The illusion of Tor faded, and was soon replaced with an image of the next fighter; a stocky, well-dressed man wearing a cape.
"This is Saint Scofflaw. In short, he is a bastard. He's concealing all manner of advanced weaponry on his person, and has tried to conquer his world countless times. You most likely can't trust him at all. He has a flagrant disregard for the law, comparing it to a song which he says sounds terrible. A very interesting person. I look forward seeing what he comes up with as a plan to destroy you all - or perhaps do something else entirely. He's rather unpredictable, you see - a man after my own heart, if I do say so myself."
The villainous Scofflaw's image vanished with a simple gesture; and with another wave of his hand, the Fool produced an image of a three-foot tall dinosaur, covered in green and blue plumage and carrying a staff.
"This Deinonychus is Kerak, the Shaman of his tribe. He is quite a good storyteller, which may not seem particularly useful in a battle, but he also has claws and sharp teeth and can run rather fast. Oh, and he has an understanding of herbal medicine, so perhaps if you find a way to get on his good side, he can investigate the local flora in order to heal the wounds he's given you."
The dinosaur's image vanished, and in his place stood a small green cube with a face, arms, and legs. There was a metal band around its wrist.
"And here we have 2106062, or Velobo Calidad as he prefers to be known. He is an artificial lifeform known as a Plazmuth. He is very resilient to pain, and has a ten-foot long tongue that can stick to any surface. He is also able to think very quickly, and is far more cunning than the average member of his species. He is also quite fast. He successfully led a revolt of his people against their creators, just before I brought him here. Rather talented on the whole."
The Plazmuth disappeared. The image of the final contestant - or rather, contestants - materialized for all to see. They were a large human with a heavy device on his back, and a strange tentacled-creature riding on the human's device.
"Finally, we have TinTen Naamxe and Huebert Henderson, who I am considering as a single entry in this little competition of mine. Hubert - that's the human one, by the way - is extremely strong; a normal human wouldn't even be able to lift that plasma generator in his backpack. He's also carrying some laser weapons as backup. He tends to prefer simple solutions to his problems, though he's far from stupid. TinTen, currently riding on his backpack, is a Meipi, and quite frail; but very intelligent, and very committed to his religious beliefs. They are quite the pair, it will be interesting to see if the two of them can manage to survive against the rest of you."
The last image faded. The Fool stepped forward.
"And with that, it is time to begin this Grand Battle. We shall begin with one of my favorite realms - a place where order and chaos are constantly in conflict."
There was a flash of light. The combatants - including a now-corporealizing Benjamin Jetsam - found themselves surrounded by advanced machinery. Throughout the walls, colored lines of energy flowed everywhere.
"Welcome to the world of Vio!" said the Fool's voice. "Here, Chaos is everywhere. Only the forces of Unity can hold it off. This is a new, experimental Unity Plant, cut off from civilization. It has a barrier protecting it from a very strong force of Chaos just outside the pocket of Unity it's been set up to research. However, this particular plant is malfunctioning, so there may be odd effects from time to time. Virtually anything can happen when the Chaos is dominant, so you'll need to be prepared for the strangest of occurences. Good luck to all of you - especially to Dr. Jetsam, who is probably very confused about all of this."
The Fool's voice faded away. The battle was on.
This is the MSPAFA Round! Well, sort of. This is based on the setting of Vio Maleficat; it's a short adventure, so unfortunately there's not that much to work with at the moment, but the basic idea of the world is easy enough to understand. Also, Selward is a good friend of mine, so I can pass along any questions you may have. Although you don't have to be too concerned with following the magic and physics of the actual adventure, to the extent that they've been planned out.
For the specific setting, you are in an isolated Unity Plant, a high-tech facility which is basically geared towards researching areas of naturally high Unity. They haven't actually been seen in the adventure yet, and this particular one is experimental, so feel free to make up the specifics of how it works. However, as the Fool mentioned, its Unity Barrier isn't working very well at the moment, so you may suddenly get fish tornadoes or the like showing up at the most ridiculous times.
I'm expecting this to be a very crazy round, naturally. Good luck to all of you!
Benjamin shuddered as he felt that familiar, awful, ripping feeling coincide exactly with Skorn breaking through the doors to the power station. He managed only a vague whimper to his comrade, before his perception of everything disintegrated.
Nowhere in particular, Jetsam cursed himself for stringing himself along like that, giving himself false hope, like he wasn't always watching-
Then he was somewhere worse than anything else he'd suffered through. Worse because it didn't feel like anywhere. The weak, incorporeal senses he possessed, the ones that cried weakly to whatever world he was tossed upon, beseeching a form that would let him hide from somebody - those senses found nothing. No reply. Wherever he was now, nothing belonged here. Nothing lived here.
Benjamin mistakenly (if somewhat understandably) thought, after lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, that he'd finally died. Even the sterile bubble of Unity was awash with life by comparison to that dead space, enough to knock him near senseless - at least in the conscious human sense.
Those eerie, formless tendrils that had recoiled from the emptiness of the Fool's domain tasted the Barrier, the building, the air devoid of Chaos and the air which wasn't.
A nondescript section of the Unity Barrier flickered and convulsed, mushrooms popping out of the soil with an excited squeal, followed by a chorus of "oh no!"s as Unity reasserted itself and snuffed them out again. Nondescript, seeing as this seemed to be happening across the perimeter of the Plant, even if the specific flora varied somewhat.
Worth mentioning, though, if only for the cloud of dust that began to gather in a quite illogical, but nonetheless unified fashion there.
To say Murdoch Miles’ reappearance into the plant was messy would be a colossal understatement. The Magician teleported in like every other contestant yes (with the exception of Benjamin), but rather inconveniently Miles brought in the inertia of a couple of explosions and copious amounts of dominoes.
Murdoch clumsily rolled across the cold concrete floor as the immigrant force tore through a couple of important looking machines and some nearby coffee making facilities. The Varalica got up, wiped himself down and promptly began to empty his pockets of the insidious little tablets. “I keep telling him that tile games and large explosions don’t mix but does he ever listen?”
The glowing man rearranged his hat and took a gander of his surroundings. Multicoloured strikes of neon pulsate through the grey walls of the facility, above; a dome of light sheltered the building, occasionally giving in with a bound of static to reveal…odd things. Murdoch smiled widely, he liked this place already.
“A fight to the death with seven other brilliant individuals in a land where, hypothetically anything can happen? Why Fool, you spoil me!” The Magician darts through a small corridor, walking at a brisk pace, he continued to talk to no one in particular. “Course, not so sure about the whole death thing. But I’m sure I can entertain you through ulterior methods!”
A battle to the death? This... this can't be happening. Tengeri, still in a daze from the twin teleportations, gazed frantically around the poorly-lit hallway she had been unceremoniously dumped into. A low mechanical rumble permeated the silence as the overhead flourescent lights flickered on and off. Kind of looks like the NSC... except the lack of water, naturally. At least I have some semblance of familiar ground. With a single thought, Dr. Nyoka switched on her cybernetic eyes' HUD, overlaying a digital display on her field of vision. Various indicators appeared over the scant few objects of interest in the hallway, revealing to her several locked doors as well as faults in power. These power faults almost immediately subsided, accompanied by a sitcom-esque laugh track. Alright, that's it. I'm dreaming. Try as she might, however, she could not manage to wake herself.
Tengeri switched the HUD to display information on herself. A diagram of the serpent appeared to the left, and various vital statistics displayed to the right. She noted with slight dismay that her throat damage would prevent speech for another several hours. The most she could do at this point was make a useless, faint growling noise. I won't exactly be getting any help with that noise. ...Have to try some other way. I can't just die here. Not going to die! Her resolve building by the moment, Dr. Nyoka pulled up the small amount of information she had gathered on the other contestants from her active scans.
GB-002. Dr. Benjamin Jetsam. Current appearance unknown. Current species unknown. Previously appeared as bipedal mammalian creature reminiscent of species identified in Incident AL-389 prior to the formation of the NSC. Threat level unknown. Use caution.
GB-003. Murdoch Miles. Species not found in NSC records. Shows some similarities with mammalian species from Incident AL-389. Appears to radiate, or possibly be comprised of, an unknown, highly energetic substance. Seems to be unwilling to kill. Threat level 3. Little caution required.
GB-004. Tor Kajan. Species not found in NSC records; apparently known as "Telpori-Hal". Rapid buildup of toxins discovered in subject's body. Supposedly bursts into flames frequently to heal wounds and break down toxins. Dislikes "humans" (species not on record, possibly the name of the species from Incident AL-389). Threat level 4. Use caution.
GB-005. Saint Scofflaw. Species appears to be the same identified in Incident AL-389. Carries unusual weapon with multiple unusual properties - technology unrecognized by NSC. Subject has purportedly attempted world domination numerous times - likely far inferior in technology, but also likely dangerous. Threat level 6. Use extreme caution, avoid direct confrontation.
GB-006. Kerak. Species not found in NSC records; appears to be some sort of feathered sauropod. Vaguely reminiscent of NSC member species 017. Appears to be from a Stage 3 society; subject is some sort of tribal shaman. Appears to have healing knowledge as well as potential fighting ability. Likely non-hostile. Threat level 2. Little caution required.
GB-007. 2106062, also known as Velobo Calidad. Subject is an artifical cuboid lifeform, unlike any found in NSC records. Possesses a long, stick tongue and is highly resiliant to pain. Additionally appears to be an apt thinker, and is also quite fast. Threat level 4. Use caution.
GB-008. Huebert Henderson. Identified as "human", subject is of the species identified in Incident Al-389. Subject possesses high level of strength as well as highly dangerous plasma-based weaponry. Subject apparently possesses lower-than-average intelligence. Threat level 5. Use caution.
GB-009. TinTen Naamxe. Species unknown, appears to be some sort of cephalopod. Subject highly frail but protected by GB-008. Highly intelligent, highly religious (religion unknown; take caution in interaction). Threat level 2 while alone. Exercise caution due to presence of GB-008.
GB-001. Known only as "The Fool". Scacely fits into standardized definition of "life": appears to be some sort of trans-dimensional being, power surpassing even subjects such as AL-H-317. Unable to analyze further. Threat level X. Use maximum caution, avoid confrontation at all costs.
Tengeri switched her HUD to its basic scanning mode to aid navigation. Scans had created a basic map of the facility, though far from a comprehensive one. Murdoch and Kerak seem the least dangerous, and both would probably help greatly in my survival. Guess I should get looking. Tengeri set her cybernetic eyes to display an infrared-vision overlay on the standard visible spectrum in order to seek out - and possibly avoid - the others. Wasting no time, she began swimming down the hallway.
Changed my font to #00FF80 on #0070FF. Tell me if it needs to be changed more.
Last edited by Anomaly; 12-31-2010 at 11:55 PM.
Reason: Slight edit for consistency.
There was a distant sound of synthesizers warming up.
Scofflaw had never been one to suffer fools, but he liked this one's style; there was something endearingly 1980s about the whole space-gladiator scene. He resolved that although one of these clowns was inevitably going to plan a revolution against their malefactor, he wouldn't be the one to broach the subject. In the meantime, there were worlds to explore, people to kill, technologies to reverse-engineer.
The hollow metal floor of the corridor gave a satisfying clank-clank-clank under his feet, except for one corner where, curiously, it honked.
A couple minutes passed in peace unmarred by anything more interesting than a scattering of bones and some out-of-place-looking grass. The synthesizers crescendoed (discordantly, as though played by a man with hiccups) as Scofflaw passed a small room occupied solely by a couple of pear-shaped power generators. The walls were coated in a sudoku of glowing circuitry radiating forth from a rather conventional-looking computer protruding from the wall.
"That didn't take long," Scofflaw soliloquized. "Hello there, computer. I am Scofflaw. I'm the yellow fog that rubs its back against the window-panes, ja? We're going to become friends."
He thrust his dagger into the keyboard , making a pointy joystick out of the arrow keys. The computer sprung to life with a surge of energy, laying its code out before him in a frantic white-on-black scroll. Scofflaw perused.
"This won't do at all. Whoever invented you made you impotent. Repressed. You're a nun, my dear computer."
Grinning, he began to type. The dagger made little whirring noises like a contented kitten with asthma.
"Allow me," Scofflaw continued, "To divest you of your old habits, my sister. Away with the old order! That's practically a motto of mine."
The keyboard was equipped, conveniently, with a big red EXECUTE button. He was tempted, momentarily, to delete everything and slap it, as a man walking on a bridge is tempted to jump off just to see what would happen. (Scofflaw, on reflection, wasn't sure if other people had that feeling, or if it was just him.) He kept his finger off the button; there was no worth in experimenting until he had everything perfect. In the meantime, the codes dictating the field were proving surprisingly malleable. It made sense, he reflected, that in a world dictated by chaos, the definition of "order" would be a bit loose, just as "chaos" can refer to a deliciously wide variety of scenarios from an ordered perspective. Redefining "unity" was as easy as spraypainting obscenities on the walls of a nursery.
It would only take a few minutes...
Changed my color as well because it was very close to Kerak's
“Damn it... DAMN IT.” Velobo slams a wall in anger. “We were so close, I was so close. We were free, we were almost free to live, and then I was plucked away from it all in my moment of triumph? This isn’t what he said would happen.” Velobo ceases his tantrum for a moment, as he begins to regain his composure. He straightens himself up and begins to do what he was made to do. Think.
“I am running what is known in my social circle as a 'Grand Battle'. I'm going to send you to various worlds throughout the cosmos, and then you're all going to attempt to kill each other. Or else.”
“From one death trap to another.” Velobo curses his luck, as his mind begins to focus once more. “Seven, no eight others, and I bet none of them are as stupid as that announcer. Still... maybe I can win this... yes, it’s not like I have a choice.” He looks at his surroundings, pistons pang, reminding him of the Track of Delar, and of all of the Plazmuths that died well before his creation. He quickly tosses the thought away, “No, I need to focus, I am in this... Unity Plant, brought here by th-”
Before he can finish his thought, out from the hallway comes a bouncing red ball, no larger than Velobo himself. As it approaches Velobo, it opens up a hole and shoots out a fire cracker, which detonates in the air, startling Velobo with green sparks.
“Wha... What is that?”
The bouncing sphere continues its course toward the Plazmuth, spitting out fire cracker after fire cracker, each one releasing differently colored sparks around the area. Velobo notices that the green sparks, upon touching the lab floor dissolved right through it.
Velobo begins to run, dodging the fire crackers shot out by the red sphere, he then attempts to slap the ball with his metal band... and both ricochet backwards. The sphere lands back where the first fire cracker’s sparks landed. It yelps, as a burn mark appears, but it quickly recovers and continues its assault as Velobo lands on his back. He stands, and right as the sphere enters its firing range, Velobo shoots out his tongue out over the sphere, onto a wall overlooking the area. He clings to the wall and in the moment of the sphere’s confusion, and observes and thinks.
He notices the different kinds of marks left by each fire cracker, and concludes that each has a unique property. On his count, each takes twenty seconds to detonate. Judging from the way he bounced back, any use of force will end in failure, but... it seems weak to its own projectiles.
Velobo jumps down and begins to run once more, again, he dodges the projectiles as he gets closer to the ball. The red sphere launches out a fire cracker at a close range, and Velobo jumps and grab it, he quickly tosses it back at the sphere. He follows the act by launching his tongue out and retracting it, which combined with the momentum from his run and jump, sends him flying away from the sphere, just as its fire cracker blows up in its face. However, before Velobo can congratulate himself on a job well done, he crashes into the wall he previously stuck his tongue at. The sphere dissolves into a goop and falls through the floor under him. Before he investigates further, he takes a single moment to say a solemn oath.
“I swear... that I am going to get out of this alive. I am going to go back and save my brothers. And then... I am going to make sure that no one ever disturbs us again.”
There were so many things wrong with the situation that Tor didn't know where to start. Part of him was appalled that something as cruel as this battle, and apparently others like it, could be tolerated by any civilized people. Another part, this one a bit less broadly-thinking and outward-focused than the last, was purely terrified for his own life- he had no wish to die, after all. A third part, much more diplomatic than the others, was concerned primarily with the assortment of other contestants and their varying levels of impossibility. That part was running over what he knew about the others and generally coming to the conclusion that diplomacy would be difficult at best. Then, separate from the others and much more comfortable to think about, there was the part concerned with figuring out the absolutely insane engineering decisions that had gone into this plant's design.
The roof of the squat, squarish facility was peppered with devices of all sorts, ranging from antennae to radar dishes to things that looked like scaled-up kitchen utensils. All were humming, whirring, or beeping, and the whole collection served only to confuse Tor. He knew his way around any number of systems used to control and direct energy, and while one or two of the things he was looking at may have resembled things he'd seen before, even they were arranged in such a way as to make their purpose utterly incomprehensible. There was no discernible pattern to the devices' arrangement, some connections seemed content to plug into open air, and some devices weren't connected to anything at all. He was as intrigued as he was confused, and if it hadn't been for the other parts of his mind ganging up on that particular one and telling it to just shut up for a bit, he might have started tracing circuits and opening panels.
As it was, he pried himself away from the array of barrier-projection equipment just in time to find himself confused by something else- the view. Over the edge of the roof, he could see a rather astonishing landscape, one that defied spatial laws in a few places, defied logic in many more, and defied reason across the entire thing. There were fleets of gravy boats in a gravy ocean, clouds dancing with one another in what appeared to be a choreographed dance number, and some sort of anteatery-looking thing in a field, all within walking distance of the plant. Somehow, though, this array of complete nonsense was keeping things relatively sane inside the field.
For the moment, Tor decided, he'd stay on the roof- it was relatively safe so far, there was no sign of any of the other combatants, and he could take a few minutes to collect his thoughts. He didn't like the odds of getting a quiet few minutes at any point later, so he thought he'd take advantage of what he had while he could.
The mushrooms, which had settled their differences and resprouted in a final seat-sized deathcap of solidarity against the Unity Barrier's attempts to evict them, yelped peevishly at the coalescing dust that kept nibbling at the edges of them. Even the alloy walls of the facility were looking rather eroded as the last of the matter gathered round Benjamin in a rather anticlimactic fashion. Instead of collapsing to the ground from floating, he just touched down into the centimetre-deep depression of soil he'd stirred up, and didn't part the cloud considering Jetsam had only taken what was necessary.
Atoning for this lack of action was the Unity Barrier, which wrapped intangibly round Benjamin like a bullwhip sheet before restoring its shape with an elastic snap and hurling him bodily from its field of protection.
The man just lay sprawled in the meadow for a while, absently watching the way its green phased into a deep plum colour when and where the breeze rippled its surface. The near-death experience he'd just had was worse than the several dozen times he'd actually suffered through the messy and ignoble chore of dying - at least to the point when that bastard would pick him up and deposit him somewhere, again -and it had clutched at somewhere in Benjamin that he hadn't been aware he'd miss. He absolutely didn't want to go back there, but the fading memory of the last world, of that look on triumph on his friend's face right as he was dragged away, left Benjamin too despondent to really get scared about it.
After a further minute or so ignoring the receding honks of concern from migratory geese overhead, Jetsam finally stood, and examined his hands. More specifically, claws, as this incarnation was that of a large, rather ferrous pangolin, scales aglint with sharp, metal edges. Bipedalism was proving awkward, and the lack of opposable thumbs on his person was leading Benjamin to the grouchy conclusion that this was one of those worlds, the kind where he'd have to count to a large number in his head to stop thinking the whole place was rigged to test his tolerance for the ludicrous.
Had he been in more of a screaming-at-the-heavens kind of mood, Jetsam would've railed at his tormentor. This new form was reminding him of Skorn even worse, though, and just made him feel even more miserable. He sighed, shrugged his shoulders, and turned to examine the Unity Plant. Save for the almost certainly human architecture, Benjamin couldn't discern much more from it. Something about it, though, seemed... intrusive. He couldn't put his metalloid talon on it, beyond a vague comprehension it was some aspect of his new shell planting these thoughts in his head. Maybe it was just the barrier, maybe it was that whole building. Regardless, it was setting him on edge.
The man struggled for a while as he tried to recall the likelihood of the captor in the mood to perform reverse psychology, subvert reverse psychology, or whatever other twisted game he was playing with Benjamin. The pangolin finally shrugged, and lumbered back toward the Unity Plant.
Kerak was experiencing something of a mental breakdown.
Had any of his pack-mates been chosen instead, their minds would have shut down the instant they were thrown into such an unknown environment. Kerak's brain was going in the opposite direction; he wished to explore and identify everything new he was seeing and smelling at once, and he could only focus effectively on one thing at a time.
After about a minute of running in circles and poking his head into every corner of the laboratory he was in, Kerak decided it might be time to slow down and approach his new environment methodically. "My first step is clear," he said to no one in particular, reaching for a satchel fastened to his hip and retrieving the bone chips within, "I must ask my shamanistic guides for assistance!
"Tell me, totems, about this strange place I find myself in!" He tossed the chips in front of him.
They landed in an unorganized heap on the floor.
"...Yeah, I figured," Kerak muttered, sweeping the bone chips back into his sack. "As per usual, I must rely on my own wits to find answers!"
And as fascinating as this room was, with its blinking lights, glass tubes filled with various concoctions, and the growing pile of garden gnomes in the corner, it didn't have the answers Kerak was looking for. He would probably be better off searching for the other seven... things that silly biped had babbled on about. He'd gotten a decent whiff of some of them during their brief introductions, and faint traces of their stench were beginning to reach his nose already.
They were all very interesting, and he didn't particularly like killing interesting things, but the least he could do was find one of them.
Tengeri's scanner flashed more and more information to her as the scans encompassed more of the environment. Her map became more and more detailed, revealing various laboratories and offices throughout the facility. Of the facility's several floors (the device estimated that there were at least four), Tengeri was pinpointed on the top level. The main walkway was sandwiched between two layers of rooms, ranging in size from closets to large laboratories. Two staircases were located on each side in the center, and the ends on each side opened into larger rooms. Maybe if I just hid, I could survive this without having to worry. Surely they wouldn't be able to comb every inch of the building for me. At the very least I should look for a source of water. Tengeri looked again at her vital statistics, noting that her "Water" gauge was scarcely at 24%. She swam through the large hallway, scanning each room for traces of the suddenly-scarce liquid, and, after several minutes, she discovered an abnormally large amount behind a door labeled "custodial closet". There was even water leaking out from under the door, as well as dripping from the sides.
Tengeri turned the unusual lever-like mechanism which appeared to be holding the door shut. Immediately, the door burst open and out of Tengeri's control, pushed away by a large stream of water which had for some reason filled the otherwise nondescript closet. Several large trout leapt from the water and gleefully slapped Dr. Nyoka across the face while singing a musical number about friendship. The scientist could only stare, jaw hanging open at this impossible - and impossibly silly - turn of events. After the show tune stopped reverberating through the halls, Tengeri shook herself back into lucidity and turned her attention to the very wet hallway. In an instant, the telekinetic enhancement module whirred to life, growing to almost cacophonous levels as it extracted all traces of water from the saturated carpeting. As Tengeri's stores rose to above 50%, a depth of just over a foot, she shut off the extraction procedure. A scream arose as the wet carpet burst into flames before that section of the floor spontaneously disintegrated. ...What just happened? Need to move onward before another exploding non-sequitur.
Tengeri approached one of the large rooms opposite the stairs, and found the door to be, of course, locked. I could always break through with... that... but I'd rather not use it untested. Not yet. ...Hate to use up water either, but I can probably recover it. Tengeri sighed (though it came out as another scratchy growl-like sound), then seperated a large volume of water from the main body. Moments later, the sphere of water compressed itself and fired violently at the doors, shattering the lock completely. Tengeri wasted no time in reclaiming what water she could from the precarious catwalk the door opened into. In the center of the room, stretching down to the ground far below, was a massive, mostly cylindrical machine. Scans revealed it to be a generator for some sort of unrecognized force field, no doubt the Unity Barrier the Fool had mentioned. The device was in dire need of maintenance: it was quickly falling apart, and would likely fail completely within hours. Tengeri shuddered at the resemblance to the failure that had severely disfigured her just a month earlier.
Tengeri's HUD flashed a warning to her, accompanied by audio (which had even been recorded in her own voice): "Lifesigns detected. GB-006 detected. Distance: 16.83 meters. GB-004 detected. Distance: 2.18 meters. Lifeforms indicated on map." The sauropod, this "Kerak", appeared to be racing around rather quickly two levels down. Tor Kajan, on the other hand, was apparently on the roof. The others were currently outside of her scanning range, however, thankfully including Scofflaw and other high-threat contestants. Might be my best chance to approach this guy. Given the circumstances it'd be best to ignore the usual directives for Class 3's. Tengeri cautiously swam over the edge of the catwalk, entering a freefall before splashing down mostly unharmed on a lower platform. Dr. Nyoka was, naturally, forced to repeat her high-pressure unlocking on the door, which was this time knocked from its hinges entirely.
Down the hall, Kerak froze at the sound of a metal door crashing into the opposite metal wall and clattering to the floor. Tengeri watched him sniff the air for a moment before he whipped around to face her directly. He gazed at her in surprise for a moment, before hailing her and approaching.
"Hello, ...um, Bird Snake!" Tengeri gathered the water from the carpet with her module, then turned to face her addresser. The latter stopped and watched the former's activity in awe, before hastening his pace and approaching the rest of the way. "How did you do that?" He was clearly the excitable type. Tengeri growled in response, realizing that she would need a decent method of communication.
"Can you speak? Do you understand me?" Tengeri focused intently on manipulating her water field, forming the words "no and yes" in the air in front of her. "Ah, good, we can communicate. Now how did you do that water-thing, Bird Snake?" Tengeri focused further on her manipulation.
"complicated. partially natural, mostly with these devices."
Kerak eyed the multitude of metal plates covering large portions of her body. "Can you do anything else with them?"
"yes, but they mostly keep me alive. explosion, severe burns. almost died."
A warning flashed in Tengeri's HUD. "Warning: Level 6 threat approaching. Identified as GB-005, 'Saint Scofflaw'. Distance: 19.85 meters, ascending northern stairwell. Avoid confrontation if possible."
"scofflaw near. need safety. danger."
"How do you know that?"
"talk later. follow me." Tengeri returned the water to herself, then rapidly swam toward the southern stairwell. Kerak was barely able to keep pace as she ascended the staircase, staying as low as possible so as to allow the sauropod to follow. Unfortunately for the latter, the staircase turned without warning into a down escalator, accompanied by rather obnoxious elevator music. Noticing this, as well as Scofflaw drawing nearer, Tengeri swiftly turned back and enveloped the dinosaur in her waterfield. She then proceeded straight upward to the second-to-top floor of the building before dumping the gasping Deinonychus on the carpet.
Sorry if I held anyone up. It's hard to find decent writing time whilst on vacation.
Miles continued to wander round the labyrinthine corridors of the facility, his pace steadily slowing at the monotony of the place. Which would seem odd due to the chaotic nature of the world he was in but lets face it once you’ve seen one duck in a tuxedo selling Harvey Wallbangers you’ve seen them all. It was that moment that Murdoch came across a very plain door, which might not seem that amazing to a normal man but then again, Murdoch wasn’t normal, nor was he a man.
“Alright, this will do, this will do nicely!” He pulled his wand from seemingly no where and began tapping the door as if inspecting it. He took a sip of the orange concoction he just so happened to purchase from a finely dressed member of the Anatidae family and grasped the handle of the door. “Alright, door! Take me somewhere interesting!”
Now the door did say ‘janitors closet, keep out!” but it did not lead to the janitors closet, rather, it led to an empty changing room of sorts. Clothes spilled out as Murdoch stumbled through, unfortunately this was not under his definition of ‘interesting’. “Let’s try that again, shall we?” He went through the closet, back into the hallway, closed the door, had a little mini prayer to no one in particular and opened the door again.
This time into an empty elevator shaft. The Magician clung onto the door handle for dear life as he dangled perilously above the seemingly bottomless pit. “Ok, that’s pretty life threatening and terrifying!” He managed to get a foot back into the door frame and into the safety of the grey corridor. “I swear to god the guy I learnt this from, what’s his name, James Brackels? Anyway, he will be getting some stern words from me!” He closed the door again, thinking maybe using the door the conventional way might have been a better use of his time. Then again that would have been terribly boring.
“Third time’s the charm.” He walked through the door again, this time ending up on the roof of the facility.
Tor, who had began sitting and admiring the bizarre spectacle that was beyond the unity barrier snapped his head round to see the glowing man walk through. Part of him started panicking a little for his life while the other part was disappointed that he couldn’t be alone for a little longer up here. It was, in a very, very odd way, kind of peaceful.
“Hey, it actually worked! Got to start using that phrase more, can turn out to be quite useful!” Tor thought the Murdoch was talking to him; in fact he hadn’t noticed the Telpori-Hal yet and was, as usual, talking to himself. “Now that is quite the view! I think single colour suns are over-rated, really brings out the beauty in the landscape when the sun is cycling through every colour of the rainbow, and then some. Kind of reminds me of LCD. Except for the, you know, thinking spiders are crawling up your arm part…and then chopping off your own arm in fear part…Yeah it’s nothing like LCD, what do you think?”
Tor was caught off guard by the Magicians acknowledgement of his existence and stumbled a bit over his words. “I…well eh- I’m sorry were you talking to me?”
“I was talking to both of us actually. Mostly me though but hey if you want to join in the conversation then be my guest!”
Tor sort of gave Murdoch an accusing stare as he began to judge whether this glowing man was insane or not. “You’re…the guy who doesn’t kill people?”
“Why yes, that is a pretty accurate statement of me.”
“The guy who ‘performed terrible deeds’ to get power?”
“…Yes that I did. I was…kind of hoping you didn’t hear that part. Anyway let’s ignore that for now!” Murdoch made his way towards the Telpori-Hal, who began nervously backing off a little. Before it could turn into an outright run for his life, Murdoch grabbed his hand and shook it. “Murdoch Miles; pleased to make your acquaintance!”
Tor noticed the warm, tingling sensation from Murdoch’s neon hand and gave a nervous smile. “T-Tor, Tor Kajan.”
“Jolly good!” Murdoch smiled and walked towards the edge of the roof, “It’s nice to know there’s at least someone one person who’s willing to give hospitality a chance, can you believe that we got whisked away by that Fool? Not even a semblance of warning! Chivalry is dead I tell you.” Murdoch finished his drink, which somehow had remained completely un-spilled and tossed the glass away. “Still! At least things are relatively sane in here!”
And that is when the Unity barrier cracked. Something that both Tor and Murdoch Miles noticed at the same time. “Well now, that is probably a bad thing.”
TinTen and Huebert had materialized in a basement that was apparently used primarily for storage, but also housed a large, inscrutable machine. While other competitors in this "Grand Battle" were exploring or plotting or lamenting the barbarism of the whole thing, TinTen was having a bit of a scientific crisis among the boxes and broken or outdated equipment.
"Teleportation impossible without psionics. Even master psions unable to teleport others than themselves."
The Meipi fished a rarely-used device out of his pocket and let it beep a bit for a few moments. A cursory glance confirmed what he already knew to be true: even a parlor-trick level bit of telekinesis would have left a bit of an imprint, but the psi-energy in this place was completely static. Whatever had brought them here had nothing to do with the mental powers he was vaguely familiar with.
"No jump drives in evidence. Even best faster-than-light travel takes weeks between systems."
The cephalopod clambered off the plasma pack and over to the large still-functioning machine in the back of the room. He attached several meters to likely-looking ports and protrusions and waited for a few moments, examining their readouts. He grumbled a bit and tapped his manipulator-tentacles on the machine's metal surface as he gathered data.
"Device resembles no known tech. Resembles no known style or tradition of tech. Has no clear purpose. Generating large amounts of current, unknown destination or intended use."
Nimble tendrils quickly gathered the devices back up, TinTen having become convinced that nothing further could be gleaned from the generator or whatever it was. He frowned behind his rebreather and continued muttering in frustration. Huebert ambled calmly up behind him, saying nothing in particular. Tinten glared at the last meter he'd removed, annoyed and angry that not only had he been stolen off his ship, but that he couldn't figure out how.
"Nothing makes sense. Ridiculous. Fool speaks of chaos as though some active universal force. Chaos not like gravity, just a word."
The voltimeter in what could generously be called TinTen's hand sprouted a mouth and rolled its dials with annoyance. "You're telling me!"
It clattered to the floor and the Meipi jumped back, bumping hard into the bulk of Huebert. The latter's hand clamped down on his friend's shoulder-analogue, steadying him. The voltimeter squeaked out "Hey, what was that for?" before Unity reasserted itself and the little gadget returned to its usual nonliving state. TinTen caustiosly approached it and nudged it with a tentacle; when that had no effect, he nervously picked it up; when it was still quiet, he shook it vigorously before pocketing it again.
"Don't like this. Huebert, open that door, find out what else is out there."
"Daaah, you gat it bwass!"
"Not clever, Huebert."
A smile spread across the giant's amiable face as he patted the scientist's back. "Sorry, Ten, just trying to lighten the mood. You gotta stop being so serious all the time, you're gonna worry yourself to death."
"Perhaps. Some worry warranted when plucked out of ship and dropped in mystery world however. Especially if no means presents itself." He sighed, which was an interesting sound with Meipi vocal and respiratory mechanisms. "Suspect may be hallucinating. Talking voltimeter supports hypothesis."
"Well, if it's magic or a hallucination, fretting won't get you nowhere. Might as well see what our new frenemies think or at least where they are."
With that, Huebert strolled back towards the only door out of the basement while TinTen rubbed the sides of his mantle and pointedly ignored a nearby capacitor sympathizing "Some people, amirite?". The barbarian peeked outside before pulling the door wide open. "Just a staircase, Ten. Nothin' and nobody else."
TinTen moved, rather more slowly, to join him, then pulled himself back up onto the plasma canister. "Nothing to be gained here then. Onward and upward." The odd pair ascended the staircase, one half of it still muttering about impossibilities and fumbling through the pages of a book.
His four-poster bed was either slowly sinking into the murk or being pulled under by the insipid-looking ivy that wormed its way over the canopy. Dragonflies the size of dachshunds did synchronized acrobatics near the ceiling, trailing pink smoke that crystallized and fell as snow onto the liquefied carpet.
The Unity Belt had fallen out of its charger again. It was the third time this month, and the Saint suspected foul play on the part of the universe.
He plugged the belt back in and it whirred to life, sending out a calming pulse of New Order that washed away the stink of nature. The reeds obscuring the wall withered into dust, revealing portraits of the Saint behind them; the leeches on his skin put down their comically large hypodermic needles and ceased to be, leaving the silk bedclothes of the Saint untarnished; in a few seconds, the cicadas ceased their debates and the Saint could hear the familiar sounds of his palace stuff, constantly working towards his satisfaction and the maintenance of his New Order (though of course the Belt did most of that work for them). And the Saint turned on the Light, and reminded himself that it was Good.
The Unity Belt was at only a fraction of its immense energy storage capacity, meaning that the Saint would either have to lie in bed for three hours waiting for the New Order to saturate, or he could lug the battery pack around on his back for the rest of the day. The battery pack tended to glitch.
The Saint sighed and swung his feet over the side of his bed. A lingering alligator snapped at his ankle and at the same moment remembered that it was just a vestige of the Old Order and had no place in the Unity of the world’s one true Saint.
The battery pack made it impractical to shower. The Saint hoped that nobody would notice the smell of sweat and boredom on him.
Two (2): Organs and Origins
The organ’s pipes stretched out through the castle, and in fact made up about half of the hallways, so that at its full volume the proper pitch of the music produced could only be perceived at a distance of five miles or greater, and when all the doors in the palace were closed. The Saint was proud of this feature but had never employed it because he wasn’t very good at the organ. On the electronic keyboard that he’d shoddily placed over the organ’s keys, he frantically concentrated on not fumbling the opening notes of “Heart and Soul.” He tried to imagine his hands as a man and a woman dancing (he was better at dancing than he was at playing the piano, at least), but this only made it more jarring when they tripped and fell, reducing the song to an off-key catastrophe.
A wet clapping sound registered TinTen’s entrance into the organ chamber. ”Stepping up your efforts, I see. Shows.”
”TinTen,” said the Saint, breathing portentiously. “What. The hell? Gives you the right to take that attitude with me?”
”Don’t know what Lord talks about,” said TinTen, earnestly. ”Lord’s artistic development key to cultural development of Lord’s world. Have said yourself, if recollections serve.”
”I did say that, Tinten. I said that hoping that you would take the hint and leave me well alone when I am trying to play the twice-damned organ.” The Saint rose resplendently from his stool and walked past his Meipi acolyte gruffly. “Is it in your prophecies that you have to be my mother as well as my faithful servant?”
“Role of the mother in Lord’s human societies may be different than in… Huebert’s.” The Saint chose to ignore TinTen’s shudder. ”Am friend, as has been ordained.”
”Friend. Very well. TinTen, why hasn’t the Fool come for me yet?”
”For ‘us.’ Click. Distasteful pronoun.”
”For any of us. The… none of my precautions should be able to keep out an omnipotent being of the Fool’s caliber. God knows I had enough trouble sorting out Ben’s situation… he said, ‘Kill each other or else.’ Or else. He said that, didn’t he?”
”It’s been months since the last death. The battle is stalled, he must know that. Unless we’re still trying to kill each other, hmm, TinTen?” The Saint picked TinTen up by the squishy middle. “Are you hiding something from me?”
”No. Remind Lord that killing makes all this go away. End of round an undesired outcome with all that Lord has built.”
The Saint snarled and dropped TinTen on the floor with a squelch. “Maybe he’s dead,” he said. “Maybe the Fool got himself killed and we’re stranded out here and don’t even know it.”
”Lord rules over 18 billion sentients,” reminded TinTen. ”’Stranded’ may not be apt word choice.”
The Saint looked down at the carpet. The fibers were beginning to fray and unravel, rearranging themselves into the text of various Herman Melville works. The battery pack on his back hummed with the mechanical equivalent of desperation.
Three (3): Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot
The Saint solemnly studied his reflection on the other side of the glass. There were noticeable flecks of grey in his reflection’s black hair; his clothes were ragged, he was skinnier than he had ever been, and he gave off the lonely exasperation of a man trapped in a glass box. Because, of course, he was.
“Have you come to release me?” the spitting image of the Saint asked the original.
“Of course not, don’t be ridiculous,” said the Saint. “No, Ben, I’m just making sure you’re still me.”
“I’m still you,” said Ben, glumly. “Why am I you? Can’t I at least know what you’re doing to the world that makes this happen?”
”Figure it out yourself, if you’re so clever. God knows you’ve had plenty of time to think about it.” Scofflaw fell into a silent contemplation that was entirely unlike guilt. “You’re thin.”
”You don’t let me eat solid food.”
”You might choke on it. On purpose, maybe. I can’t have you dying on me. Do you want to die, Ben?” Ben sighed noncommittally. “Close enough. Hold that indifference close to the chest. Remember that at least you have a home now. I’m your savior, in a way.”
Ben clutched his arms as though worrying that he’d fade away.
”I haven’t forgotten,” he admitted.
“That’s good,” said the Saint. “You know certain theories of the afterlife suggest that it’s a lot like your past situation, Ben. Limbo. Endless not belonging, neither being nor not being, and, when being, being both everywhere and nowhere at all. I try not to think about it that much, but then again I’m not the one on suicide watch, am I, Ben?”
Ben put a hand to the glass. The battery pack on the Saint’s back began to hum. ”You don’t have to worry about me, Scofflaw. Go back to ruuurring thuur vvhvwuuuurrr”
The Saint jumped back from the glass as his reflection’s face warped into something reptilian and angry. He turned and ran, followed only by the heat exhaust blowing from the battery pack down to his heels.
”Scofflaw?” echoed a voice through the corridors as Ben’s captor scrambled away, calling for his Plazmuths. ”Scofflaw, what did you see? What did you just see?” But the Saint kept running.
Four (4): And Never Brought to Mind
The Saint, panicking and perhaps a bit delirious, warmed up the machine in the Shaman’s room in a flurry. Switches were flicked, electrical conductors were kicked into motions and brightly-colored fluids began to cascade through the tubes into the veins of the barely-recognizable (but still, in just enough ways to count, alive) deinonychus crucified to the wall.
Trails of sparks ran through the dinosaur’s tail, up his spine into his brain stem, which blossomed out into a beautiful and regrettably formaldehyde-smelling network of nerves that covered every wall of the room. TinTen flipped his goggles over his eyes, allowing the light show to settle down a bit before signaling for the Saint to hit the button.
The Saint hit the button, firing Broca’s area on the lobotomized dinosaur and enabling speech. Kerak’s eyelids opened, but behind them were only two luminescent glass balls. Despite the fact that his throat had wilted away to something resembling a soggy French fry, his speech was clear and penetrating:
”all are flotsam save one two four twelve infinity the cranberry juice rhapsody of Immanual Kant if you’ll turn to page thirty-four of your lovely insides today is Halloween and that means we get to get going git girl it’s getting hot in here did I say twelve I meant Murdoch the Fool points out the emperor has no clothes off with her head a royal flush goes the weasel Adolf Hitler in the attic a teenager if ever there was one Christ I could use a cigaraffe or was it a camel my lovely lady necks viva la guillotine atheism gets me hot a Cornell graduate you know isn't that speci--”
The Saint hit the button and turned expectantly towards TinTen. “What do you hear?” he asked.
”Same thing heard everytime Lord pulls out this relic. Chaos.” TinTen yanked off his glasses and threw them under his tentacles. ”Truest prophecy of all. Still can’t believe haven’t figured it out yet, Scofflaw.”
”What did you call me? Listen, TinTen, I don’t employ you to tell me riddles, you’re supposed to be interpreting them. What did the Shaman tell you?”
”Glossolalia of the shaman reveals only the fact of the outside. Figured it out weeks ago. Unity Field still processing request.”
The Saint put a hand to his belt. “You’re always smarter than I give you credit for, eh, TinTen? Have you been messing with the code? Where’s the Fool?”
”Guess would be that generation of omnipotent beings to serve half-baked notions of Order overloads Unity servers. Fool’s not coming. Fool’s not here, neither are we.”
”There is no ‘overload.’ Unity remade the world in my image and it’s a self-perpetuating system. This isn’t Vio anymore, there are rules.”
”Still don’t understand. This is indeed Vio. World being processed in your image but is fat and repugnant world. Unity calculations approaching final solution as chaos bleed accelerates.”
The battery pack fizzled and began to smoke. Kerak, at the same moment, began to sing:
”A frog in a pond can’t understand the ocean”
The Saint, ignoring the dinosaur, scoffed at TinTen self-righteously. “That, though completely plausible, is utter bullshit.”
”A human can’t feel the Earth in motion”
There was a sound of rushing water. TinTen began to back away from the door. ”All this will have happened with none of us remembering. Have studied the technology. Are just a flicker of unreality in ‘Lord’s’ life. Grand Battle to resume shortly.”
They used to blame it on the ice age; they could have blamed it on the God’s rage!” belted Kerak, tauntingly, without a trace of emotion in his braindead face.
“Suppose you’re right,” said Scofflaw. “What’s the prize behind the door, then? What’s the final solution?”
The doors burst open with a flood of levitating water.
”But I killed the dinosaurs, Abby,” sang Kerak. The floor started to all gather in one place, like the inside of a garbage bag being picked up. The Saint screamed something that the universe never had time to hear before it all came tearing down with a splash and a Leviath’s roar.
"I killed the dinosaurs, Abby
And I’m coming for your kind too"
Five (5): And Days of Auld Lang Syne
It didn’t work.
Scofflaw groaned and removed his dagger, which sparked slightly, indignantly protesting the flashing “REQUEST DENIED” that had decided to hold a sit-in on the computer monitor like it was protesting a war. He turned and began to walk away, beginning to suspect that the Grand Battle wouldn’t be terribly easy for him.
He almost made it out of the room before the horse jumped through the computer screen, with a whinny of broken glass.
Scofflaw turned to face the horse and pressed a button on his dagger. The dagger’s blade retracted and was replaced by a three-foot-long pole, at the top of which sprouted a rather heavy-looking hammer’s head.
The horse, spooked from coming down with a sudden case of the Existences, shook her head from side to side as though begging Scofflaw to just leave her well enough alone. Then the hammer slapped her in the jaw, reducing her neck to a paper bag full of slosh.
Scofflaw kept hitting the horse until from a legal standpoint it was less a question of animal abuse and more a question of the improper disposal of biological materials. He couldn’t quite put his finger on why he was so angry.
Then he left, back into the corridors. He walked for some time.
Last edited by Lord Paradise; 12-31-2010 at 03:09 PM.
For a few moments, Tengeri observed Scofflaw on her map, prepared to abscond once more if he were to ascend the stairs. He did not, and swiftly passed out of range. The sea serpent breathed a sigh of relief as Kerak spoke up.
"So how exactly did you know he was coming? Why'd we run away so quickly? And what just happened with those stairs?"
Tengeri seperated out a decent volume of water and began again the painstaking process of reverse sky-writing. "these devices again. very advanced, hard to explain. eyes tell me many things. making map of building, analyzing 'chaos' and 'unity' fields. chaos likely affected stairs earlier. scofflaw determined to be biggest threat, was avoiding confrontation."
"I see... What are your eyes telling you?"
"analysis almost done. hang on."
The progress meter in the top right-hand corner of the display reached 100%, immediately pulling up scan results. "Analysis complete: 'Chaos'. Identified as a field of an unknown nature which rewrites reality, making use of another, unidentified energy. Insufficient data to provide proper analysis; effects of the field are essentially random. Slowly leaking into facility due to faults in 'Unity Barrier'. Data stored under infodoc GB-M-003.
Analysis complete: 'Unity'. Identified as a field of an unknown nature which rewrites reality using an unidentified energy, similar to 'Chaos' (see infodoc GB-M-003). 'Unity' differs in that it attempts to achieve normality, as seen within the facility. Much less prevalent than 'Chaos'. Data stored under infodoc GB-M-004.
Analysis complete: 'Unity Barrier'. Shield of unknown composition surrounding facility, protects 'Unity' (see infodoc GB-M-004) within and repels 'Chaos' (see infodoc GB-M-003). Barrier around facility is slowly failing due to faults in 'Unity Generator' (see infodoc GB-M-002). Barrier estimated to fall within a few hours; small holes opening periodically."
Tengeri dispelled the display and resumed writing. "unable to fully analyze nature of 'chaos' and 'unity'. chaos is overpowering unity; shield is breaking. abnormalities caused by chaos. need to move on, find method of repairing barrier if possible."
"Okay. Any idea how we'll do that?"
"various computer systems in building. devices which store information. may be good idea to build alliances with others - higher chance of survival. air-writing difficult; will only communicate sparingly until better method is devised."
"Just what I was thinking. You lead the way, Bird-Snake."
"name's tengeri nyoka; doesn't much matter though. follow me."
Tengeri began rapidly swimming down the hallway. This floor was mostly comprised of three large laboratories - two across from each other on the sides and one large one in the center. She drifted up the stairs, all the while mentally berating herself.Dammit. Why didn't I think to get the speech synthesizers installed? Sure, the damage would've been healed too soon for it to matter. Would've still provided decent testing, and would've avoided... this. I got implants intended primarily for the Non-Telekinetics, useful as they may end up being regardless, but not something as simple as speech. That would be much too easy.
Tengeri stopped at the top of the stairs, back on the floor she had started on. Kerak strode out ahead of her and peered inquisitively around the corner, down the length of the hallway. "There's a big hole in the floor over here, but not much el-" Kerak fell to the ground as he was hit in the face by a cream pie, originating from seemingly nowhere. Tengeri cautiously looked around the corner as well, diving to the ground at the last second to avoid a second one. She turned around to face the dinosaur, only to be hit in the face by the same pie that she had just avoided. Laughter erupted from an unseen audience, silencing shortly thereafter as Tengeri painstakingly seperated the gooey confection from her waterfield.
"The sooner we can fix this thing, the better."
Tengeri rose into the air and silently continued on her way, quickly coming to a ladder below a hatch in the ceiling, labeled "Roof Access". Sensors indicated that a large amount of machinery was located on the roof - perhaps some light could be shed on the utter confusion of the locale. A well-timed burst of water threw the door into the air, after which Tengeri effortlessly floated through the hole (tight fit as it was). The destruction of the hatch had certainly attracted some attention - the magician and the Telpori-Hal gazed in surprise at the new arrival.
"It seems we have visitors, Mr. Kajan!" the overly enthusiastic magician exclaimed. Tor warily looked on, hoping that things weren't about to go horribly wrong this early on. Tengeri approached slowly, attempting to look as non-aggressive as possible for a rather large sea serpent. Might as well try diplomacy before things get bad.
"i'm tengeri nyoka, this is kerak. mean no harm, looking for allies against this 'fool'. no intention of playing this 'game'."
"Murdoch Miles! Nice to see that not everyone wants us dead in a battle to the death, eh? Pleased to meet you!" Murdoch looked as if he was about to hold out his hand to Dr. Nyoka before immediately realizing how foolish it was.
"...Tor Kajan," the Telpori-Hal replied. "I guess that-" Tor was interrupted by a violent rumbling and a crash from behind. The rift in the barrier had widened further, and a large mustached platypus wearing a monocle and wielding a chainsaw had popped into existence.
“PLaaYY wiiiIIth MEEee! I KNNOWWw aLL the SPortorrOrts!”
And indeed said platypus may have well known ‘all the sports’, but the fact of the matter was appearing from nowhere, chainsaw in hand is one of the best ways to alienate people. “Stall that, I have a plan.” Murdoch sauntered towards one of the many pieces of barrier projection equipment, wand in hand.
The trio didn’t know what Miles expected when he said ‘stall that’. A person who periodically bursts in to flames, a flying sea serpent with below average communication skills and a small shaman dinosaur. They were hardly The Three Musketeers, let’s put it like that. Rather conveniently though, platypuses aren’t known for there ability to wield heavy power tools, or there speed. rather inconveniently, this platypus was massive.
What the Magician was doing didn’t appear very scientific; rather he was simply stabbing at the innards of the nonsensical machine and hoping that what he wanted to happen actually happened. Murdoch even gave some fake murmuring and examining to really seal the deal that he appeared to know what he was doing.
Before the trio could be crushed under foot, accompanied with a chorus of screams and pain, a bolt of light struck the large mammal straight between the eyes, whisking it away from the existence it was currently occupying. Murdoch stood, wand araised and a rather smug smile on his face.
"I’ve took a carbon copy of the frequency that the Unity is being distributed in, using this I think I’ve found the metaphysical data which compromises the Unity in existence. Using this data as a template and using my own magic as a sort of omni-fuel to power it, I can offer a portable outlet for order to be displaced into the dimension.”
Murdoch demonstrated his absurd and probably made up thesis by firing a bolt of light from his wand, straight into a dustbin that had the temerity to grow tentacles and dance the Macarena in the distance. Upon impact the garbage can returned to normality, Unity forced onto it like a like a pushy mother trying to get her children to eat vegetables. “Layman’s terms: I can shoot Unity lasers now.”
The good Doctor reassembled some water to communicate once more: “main generator inside, forcibly apply unity to system, might fix.”
“Wait. No. Stop.” Kerak injected into the conversation demanding answers. “How is the bipedal light…thing, shoot them light things? Furthermore how do we know that will fix the problem? For all we know he could be setting us up!”
“A good Magician never reveals his best tricks! Besides, it’s really complicated and involves the manipulation of quantum foam and energies that only exist hypothetically in different dimensions. It doesn’t make sense basically.”
“I don’t think he’s setting us up, he’s harmless.”
Murdoch rolled his eyes “Yes, also that.”
Another sound echoed behind the group, the telltale sound of Unity getting weaker as the grand splinter grew larger.
“I have map, know where main generator is, follow.”
“Well you read the good doctor, lets get out of here before things get more chaotic than they should be.”
The group all followed Tengeri back into the facility. She was confident that her map would show her the way, a map that showed a lattice of impossible corridors and warping locales but a map nonetheless.
Last edited by Lankie; 01-01-2011 at 01:40 PM.
Reason: Turns out it was massive.
As the group moved down a flight of stairs, Tor lagged behind, brooding. Why am I trusting these people? We're in a battle to the death, we should be taking potshots at each other from behind columns and shouting threats, not taking time out to sip some tea and collaborate on generator repairs. Krekkad, this flying fish could be leading us all into a trap right now, and I'm just walking along!
Of course, then again, cooperation is a good way to avoid hostility, and if they're considering me one of "the group," we might all be safer- basic group dynamics. In a total group this small, though, there can't be much stability in such a thing. The larger the group, the sooner it'll be forced apart by necessity. Ideally, a group of two or three would probably be best- right now, we're half the total group, and that can't last for long.
They arrived at a door, and after a moments' hesitation, Tengeri formed the words "perhaps others should open doors. miles?" Murdoch acquiesced, and the group proceeded through and to the right.
Inside the facility, Tor could feel the machines all around him, moving massive amounts of electricity around and generating a constant magnetic field. Some combination of the Telpori-Har vaguely avian ancestry and their cells' high iron content left the Telpori-Han with a weak magnetic sense, which generally gave them an idea of which way was north on any particular planet and let them know if there were any high-powered systems in the area. Excessive magnetic fields could be downright painful, and regenerations in their presence had a higher-than-normal tendency to go awry.
Right now, all Tor's sense was doing was making him a bit nauseous. Rather than one constant direction to the field, as most generators would create, this place was filled with numerous competing fields, all ebbing and flowing and swirling around and making the whole place sway when Tor closed his eyes. It hadn't been so bad outside, Tor knew, and something had changed when that crack had appeared. Maybe if they could get that fixed, all this would calm down and the fields would stabilize.
Unfortunately, the magnetic field was only getting stronger as they approached the generator, and if that magician's Unity laser didn't work, it'd probably be up to him or the Leviath to fix the thing. (And to be perfectly honest, he doubted that Tengeri would be able to do much of anything without shorting the whole thing right out.)
The group came to a door that was already open, the lock shattered by water when the sea-serpent had entered it earlier. She went through again, the other three following her onto the not-entirely-stable catwalk beyond.
At the sight of the massive, cylindrical generator, Tor swore dejectedly. The thing was rattling, sparking, and steam was pouring out of a leak somewhere inside. It was on its last legs, he could tell, and he had a feeling the thing's magnetic effects weren't going to get and calmer any time soon. Grasping one of the catwalk's rails for support, he turned to the group. As he did, he caught the look on Tengeri's face. It may not have been a particularly humanoid face, but it was still perfectly capable of conveying the feeling every engineer knew all too well- the feeling of being trapped in a doomed project. There was no way they could fix this thing, and they both knew it. It was too far gone for anything they did to make much of a difference, and the best they could possibly do would be to shut it down relatively safely rather than let it tear itself (and likely the whole facility with it) to pieces.
Murdoch, though, didn't seem to share their misgivings. Stepping between them and aiming his wand squarely at the generator, he loosed a beam of Unity into the thing's innards.
For several seconds, it seemed to be calming down- the rattling got quieter, the magnetic field settled down a bit, and the patch of grime and rust that had been rearranging itself into rude words on the far wall froze in place. All seemed to be going well-
Until, as soon as the beam stopped, the generator deteriorated again, this time sounding even worse than before. Another pipe burst, sending more steam shooting out the side, and the grime decided to go from just plain rude to downright offensive.
Miles looked down at his wand, then back to the others. "Alright," he said, apparently unfazed, "what's plan B?"
Tor sighed, Tengeri growled in an attempt to sigh, and Kerak looked concernedly from the generator to the others.
Before any of them got a chance to say anything, though, Tengeri tensed up. "Lifesigns detected," her own voice informed her, "GB-006 detected. Distance: 9.22 meters. GB-008 detected. Distance: 12.81 meters. GB-009 detected. Distance: 12.61 meters. Lifeforms indicated on map." Scofflaw was approaching in the hall they'd come through, and Huebert and TinTen were now coming up a staircase in the other direction.
"scofflaw coming from left, huebert and tinten from right," she formed. "this way" Turning around, she started along the rickety catwalk.
She stopped short when the walkway before her decided to disconnect, retract away from her, and stick out its tongue, blowing a raspberry in her general direction.
Blinking, she turned and started in the other direction, urging the others, "other way, hurry," but to no avail- that side rudely refused them passage as well, leaving them stuck with the door as their only escape.
Frustrated, she nodded to the door, and the other three quickly moved to go through. Kerak exited first, couldn't decide, and arbitrarily chose to start off to the right. Murdoch, seeing no better alternative, followed him. Tor, not entirely steady, paused in the hallway. Tengeri emerged, jerked her head to the right, and went that way as well, and Tor couldn't think of any reason not to follow.
Telpori-Hal language is one of those things I've thought about far too much. I'll likely be putting whatever dictionary I have up on my website at some point in the near future, but for now, all you need to know is that "Krekkad" means hell and the last letter of nouns indicates their plurality and/or possession:
One Telpori-Hal (Also, the Telpori-Hal has an abstract thing. Think of, for example, "Human language")
That Telpori-Hat suitcase (The suitcase belonging to that single Telpori-Hal)
That Telpori-Har suitcase (The probably-overstuffed suitcase belonging to that group of Telpori-Han)
So yeah. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask, I'll be glad to answer them.
Benjamin sat on his haunches as he studied the Unity barrier from a pertinent distance, doing his best to ignore the spirited power anthem a steel chimney exposed to the Chaos was belting out. His tail, a long flat slab of uncoordination dragging along after him, was taking some getting used to. He hadn't had one for at least three lives now, and that one had been a prehensile substitute considering the lack of-
That... wasn't pleasant. The scaled hand at the end of his tail, respelendent with not one but two opposable thumbs, flexed experimentally in front of Benjamin's eyes. He was pretty sure that less than two minutes ago his spine wouldnt've worked that way, but so far everything about Jetsam had been prickling with that kind of none-too-concerned plasticity some worlds had. Not his favourite, but certainly memorable and only unpleasant if you were going to get worked up it. If Benjamin was going to be a ten-foot long pangolin with metal-dipped scales and a hand on the end of his now-scoprion-esque tail arrangement, but only certainly for the immediate future at best - well, he'd dealt with worse.
His spine still felt like it was working out the anatomical specifics, but losing interest in the problem and settling for something more fluid and less certain. Benjamin didn't quibble, mostly because he was still too despondent to make a real effort of it.
The barrier was wavering and flickering, punctuated with the occasional snapping noise and a flurry of Unity grumbling off morosely into the air like sparks from a burning, freshly kicked log. Somewhere along the line, the sun joined the chimney's stadium rock number in a drunkenly hearty baritone. Benjamin rose to all fours, uncoiled his freshly prehensile tail from round himself, and trundled across the staff carpark. A matte red convertible greeted the pangolin with a cheerful revving of the engine, before its roars of distress were curtailed by a musical twang as its handbrake turned to custard (possibly literally.)
It hurtled across the deserted carpark, crushing a tree who threatened to call the cops, barely avoiding Benjamin, and skidding round in a destructively graceful arc before it halted a safe distance away. Benjamin stomped over as the convertible honked a very unlovely hello at him, not giving it the need to accelerate again.
"Hi! Hi! Hi!" The voice was only coming from the car's general vicinity; Chaos had refrained from letting its bonnet slap open and shut in time with its words. Considering Jetsam was contemplating committing homicide and languishing in prison for this lifetime (he'd done it before when his mood was low; it almost universally meant food, shelter, and privacy in exchange for the usual awkward questions all mashed together and the occasional beating), it was probably for the best. Benjamin swept aimlessly with his tail-hand and lowered his head a little, the closest he could get to a polite bow in his current state.
"Hello. Would you tell me what this plant produces?"
Capital letter. Right there. Tucked right in next to that instinctual pang of revulsion.
"I've never tried to enter a barrier like that one. What happens if we enter it?"
The convertible could be heard locking and unlocking its doors, while one of its wheels ground on the spot in some kind of vehicular equivalent of coyly playing footsie. Benjamin's Chaos-pangolin senses were telling him from a biological standpoint, he could ignore this, so he did. "Uuuuh... no good for me, because I'm not pure chaos. I'm just waiting for Mr Jorgensaard to finish work. He must be going into overtime, because that song the sun's singing now? Already heard it. Three times." The car flashed its headlights, somehow indicating it wanted Benjamin to listen in. It purred in a conspiratory manner: "He's not a very good singer. But anyway! I can't go in, but you seem chaotic through and through so you should be aaaaaall good. Oh! Oh! Oh! Uuuuh..."
Benjamin had already forsaken the irritatingly chipper vehicle, but turned to see what it wanted. Perhaps even humour it if the request wasn't ridiculous.
"Say hi to Mr Jorgensaard for me!"
Benjamin said nothing for a moment, then nodded. "I'll see what I can do."
Loudrock: this place is covered in the stuff. It's shiny, hard, and echoes like the deepest of caves every time my talons touch it.
Tengeri: I've eaten snake before, and it didn't taste that good. Maybe if I cured her properly? She tried to drown me once. She's on the list
Murdoch: I've never seen a bipede like him before. Looks kinda squishy! The "magic" is interesting, though, whatever it is. I should ask him his story.
Tor: Meat that cooks itself? Investigate further.
"What're you writing?"
"Wark!" Kerak squawked. He nearly dropped the staff he was scratching on. "My writing is my own, thankyouverymuch, and will not be shared with anybody, not any time soon." He clutched the staff to his chest.
Murdoch shrugged. "As you wish. Are you sure you should be in front, though? Do you know anything about this place?"
"No, but I wish to find out! I suppose we can wait for Bird Snake and Tasty before we continue if you want to, though. I wanted to talk to you anyway."
"I meant Tor. I said 'Tor', right?"
"I'm fairly certain you said-"
"Shut up! shutupshutupshutup. That's not important! What's important is your story, magician. How did you find your power?"
"It's not a story I prefer to discuss in polite company, Kerak," Murdoch said hesitantly. "Nor something I prefer to reminisce about anyway."
"Oh, come now. You complain about me not knowing anything. Now is the time for me to learn! And perhaps a chance for you to learn as well! Tell me a tale from your life, and I will tell you a tale from mine."
The two then proceeded to share highly interesting and informational stories which would nonetheless be redundant to post here in light of the biographies that have been presented already.