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Thread: The Never-ending Story Thread²

  1. #641
    The fine desert gravel pelted against the astro-van’s undercarriage, and the dust plume trailing behind was the only evidence of moment in the featureless plane.

    They had turned off the highway some way back, turning off onto some long forgotten service road marked only by a small gap in the crude barb-wire fence and an unreadable wooden sign nailed to one of the fencepost. From there the road had steadily degraded, The gravel gave way to packed mud, mud to sand, road to a path, path to wheel-ruts, ruts to nothing more than instinct. Yet every second of the journey was familiar to Thatchett. On the one hand Thatchett’s nose was trying to convince him that this place was new, fresh scents had been his lifeblood for as long as he could remember, yet somewhere in his k-9 brain he felt this road was familiar. Something just beyond his sence of reality hung in the air, and even Hawthorne, forgone into a road-trance deeper that Thatchett had ever seen before, seemed effected by it. Still driving as if by instinct alone Hawthone turned towards a small shallow ravine, and following it began a decent along a grated, yet long neglected path. As sudden as the sun breaking the milky mountain dawn, a canyon appeared before them. Great walls of time warn sandstone rose around the two travelers, and seemed to sever them from the last strands that might have bound them to the world that had existed before. Following the feeling of complete isolation that swept over Thatchett, he suddenly remember where he had seen this all before…


    * * * * *

    Detective: We are here because this is where it all began… Here, right here…

    A slight tear suddenly appeared against the soft granite face, a single crystal tear of a stoic rolled down his cheek.

    Detective: We came here searching for answers… we met with three young men who claimed to have a lead. It was the first real break in the case…

    Voodoo: We?

    Detective: *Sigh* Yeah… we…

    Voodoo: What happened?

    Detective: Someone knew we would be here, we were ambushed.

    Voodoo: Ambushed???

    Detective: All hell broke loose. Whoever they were they were well equipped and well trained…. And before I knew it, they were dead… My partner, was dead.

    Voodoo: … I’m… I’m sorry…

    Detective: I never found out what happened that night. The case went cold from there, whoever it was striped the scene clean. Not a body or a drop of blood anywhere, and after that… I just couldn’t… I just couldn’t stay on the case.

    Voodoo: And you think there might be some clue left here, something you missed back then?

    Detective: No… I covered every square inch of this place… There’s nothing here.

    Voodoo: Then why did you drag us all the way out here?

    Detective: Because this is where everything leads, this is where all the arrows point… This is where it began-

    Mysterious Voice: -and almost ended.

    * * * * *

    Deep in the NeS Dreamstate, a singular tower of will stands against the chaotic currents and eddies of dreams and realities. In his reading room high within his tower, Arkng Thand rises from his chair and strides slowly over to a gap between two bookshelves. The gap, no greater than two men abreast, opens up to a small balcony overlooking not only dream state, but the entirety of the NeS Storyscape, and perhaps to a man an such as Arkng, even the distant patterns of PlotFractal may been seen.

    Arkng smiles to himself contently. The Storyscape seemed almost peaceful without it’s precious heroes straining the narrative fabric. The occasional eddy remained and swirled around the left-over heroes and villains of NeS, but nothing remained that could oppose Arkng. NeS was awaiting a new arc, and in the meantime the last of the remaining classic heroes had left for NeShattered, and by the time they would attempt to return, they would find it a very different story indeed.


    * * * * *

    The Detective and Voodoo whipped around to face the Mysterious voice, which was coming from a shadow that had appeared on one of the opposing catwalks. The shadow was of a tall muscular figure wearing some sort of overcoat or cloak. The detective wasted no time to draw his sidearm and train it on the distant apparition.

    Detective: Who are you?

    Voice: As cliché as it may seem, I must admit I am a friend, a friend with answers. And I have come to inform you that it is not too late.

    Voodoo: Too Late?

    Voice: Not at all, but you must hurry. Things have been set in motion, as they had been 12 years ago, and just like then it comes down to much the same cast…

    Detective: What do you know about this? What is going on?

    Voice: I cannot explain this to you now, but twelve years ago, your partner did not give his life in vain, and the life he sacrificed to save is now on its way back to the real beginning, you must stop him.

    The detective remained silent, his sidearm unwavering in it’s aim on the distant figure.

    Voice: *with a slight chuckle in his voice* The burrito man… he’s on his way, and if you don’t get to him first you will never know the truth.

    Voodoo: The Burrito Man?

    Voice: Yes. Now GO! Drive leave the west gate and drive strait on across the desert. GO!

    The detective jumped on this last word, responding with lightning reflexes, grabbing Voodoo by the arm and bolting out of the warehouse as quickly as humanly possible.

    The Mysterious Figure remained, waiting as the sound of the detective’s car rolled past and off into the dry distance. He could not kid himself, it was going to be close. It had taken him far to long to figure out Bhac’s plan, and now his only chance was with the detective... a wild card to be sure. But Mayaal had set his pieces in motion as well, and with nothing left to do, he steeped through a plot hole into the state of 1337 to await the confrontation.


    * * * * *

    Hawthorne and Thatchett stepped out of the parked Astro-Van into the small canyon spur. Just as in the sirens illusion the one-time camp was now little more than shreds of canvas ripped across rusting steel frames. Yet as Thatchett surveyed the wreckage he noticed what while in the Siren’s illusion the centerpiece had been an almost raptor like metal bird here there was a large cylinder, not entirely unlike how Thatchett would have imagined a nuclear reactor, yet for some reason this mechanical ruin seemed far more menacing.

    While Thatchett was surveying the ruined campsite, Hawthorne had walked strait over to the rusted out re-mains of one of the tents, and kicking aside a small pile of rubble he produced an old packet of cigarettes, deformed and yellowed from years of desert heat and sun, yet when Hawthorne reached down pick it up, he was suppressed to find that the carton still protected some precious cargo. Gently Opening the Box Hawthorne produced a small vial wrapped in paper, and a single cigarette that against all reason seemed to have been forgotten by the ravages of time. After unfolding and reading the note, as well as examining the other contents of the old cigarette carton, Hawthorne returned to the Astro-van, and for the first time since the night before, addressed Thatchett directly and with eyes that saw the present.


    Hawthorne: Time to get to work…
    "Well, if I am not drunk, I am mad, but I trust I can behave like a gentleman in either
    condition."... G. K. Chesterton

    “questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself”

  2. #642
    Twelve years ago...

    Wind rips through the desert in successive waves. Each crest tears sand from the ground and casts it to the sky. Under the beating sun, the storm becomes a storm of fire missing only the ephemeral quality of that beast. Fire itself shies before the emotionless fury of the desert. Millions of baking particles of sand swirl in eddies as they dance across the rough desert flats, sweeping down with a deafening hiss. In the center of the flats the terrain dips into a slight valley, ending in a dusty colored circle of large rusty metal buildings. The buildings blend themselves perfectly with the desert, and to anyone not standing directly in front of them, they would vanish. They sit nestled at one end of the elliptical valley, and the largest sits at the most far side. Large sliding doors cover most of its exposed dimensions. The door radiates a quality of strength and memory, giving the building the appearance of a squat hammered chunk of ancient forgotten armor. Against the left side of the building sits a precarious looking metal stairway leading to a smaller metal door, looking nearly rusted shut.

    A boxy Crown Victoria rolls up to the building, skidding the last few feet. A solid looking beat-up pickup truck rests quietly a few feet away. The Crown Victoria's engine growls its protest before it shuts off. The wiper blades cease their futile labor midway across the windshield and the sand-encrusted headlights wink out. Two men get out of the car, struggling against the wind to even stand upright. They stagger forward toward the stairs, their shiny new goggles already blasted and their jackets full of sand. The shorter man reaches the door first, collapsing against it with his gloved fists. The other man comes up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder, and together they work at the lever on the door. The door offers hardly any resistance; the lever gives up and turns freely. They haul the door open and collapse into the dark space just inside the building.


    * * *

    The Detective blinks in the sudden light as he steps through the door. The rain had stopped sometime in the night, and now an anemic early morning sun was sparkling over the city. Puddles sway in the breeze and rain sheets off of gutters into drains. A fine layer of mist or steam rises from every surface as the streets warm up. The Detective wheezes and coughs in the humid air and pats his coat futilely. He makes an exasperated grunt and stuffs his hands in his pockets. He stares fiercely at the empty streets as the first few signs of morning life begin to make their appearance. The door next to him squeaks as his partner emerges from the police station, rubbing his stubble.

    Partner: Mornin', boss.
    Detective: Mmm. You sleep?
    Partner: Not really. Anything new?
    Detective: Nothing. You get yourself home and get cleaned up and catch a couple hours. I'll give you a call if anything happens.
    Partner: You need a ride ho-

    Without a word, the Detective sets off down the sidewalk. His partner shakes his head and turns toward the station parking lot. The Detective walks through downtown for a while, not noticing the first signs of early morning life. In the distance, a clock tolls out four melodic tones, followed by six chimes. He finds himself sitting on a bench at the train station, its hunched Roman edifice dominating the block. Suddenly the doors burst open and crowds of suits swarm onto the streets. Androgynous beings in pinstripes break against the city like a burst dam. A young man in worn khakis and a white shirt with a battered messenger bag and a camera with an imposing lens wanders past. As if a cosmic being had just snapped its fingers, the city opens its eyes on the day. The Detective sits silently in the center of the pulsing madness, the world around him becoming nothing more than a gray buzzing annoyance.

    In his mind he looks at the crime scenes. The empty still rooms, frozen in a moment with the stink of death hanging in the air. No distinguishing marks, just people evaporating into thin air. Then the blood stain with no weapon. With... no weapon. What is a missing person, anyway? Just a person who suddenly fails to exist within the normal context of their lives. Usually they're just looking for a new paradigm, but they can't help but carry the old baggage with them. That's just what people do. Military people especially. That's hard to let go, especially if they're trying in a hurry. Why would they be trying in a hurry? Not much to run from these days, except a pension. Never met a person who wanted to run from a pension. Some operation gone **** up, maybe? People are trying to get away and being... disappeared?

    I wonder if old Vinny is still hanging around. He'd hear the military scuttlebutt, being what he is.

    With uncanny competence, the Detective melts into the morning rush hour.


    * * *

    Lt. Hawthorne: No, dammit, no!

    He slams his fist on the small table, sending the coffee cups several inches into the air. He picks up the folded paper again and points at a section of text.

    Lt. Hawthorne: Sometime in the night on the twenty-first. When did we run the test? Jenkins?

    One of the two young men across from Hawthorne reaches over to a desk and picks up a vinyl bound notebook, flipping through the pages.

    Sgt. Jenkins: 0317 on September twenty-first, sir.
    Lt. Hawthorne: Give me another one.

    Jenkins flips through the book again.

    Sgt. Jenkins: Umm, 2149 on the fifth, sir.

    Hawthorne slams the paper on the table with a grunt and stares out of the tent, gnawing his lip. Jenkins exchanges a glance with the other man at the table. He shrugs.

    Sgt. Jenkins: Surely this doesn't have anything to do with us, sir. The city's three hundred miles away. Why haven't there been disappearances in other places? Why should that place be so special?
    Lt. Hawthorne: And why not? You know the stuff we're messing with. You telling me that we know how this technology is going to behave? You telling me it's not at all possible that we could be dealing with microfilaments connecting pockets?

    An uncomfortable silence descends over the table. Hawthorne continues to stare out of the tent at the mess of equipment radiating out from what they had come to call "The Reactor." Suddenly he looks back at the two young men and stands up.

    Lt. Hawthorne: Right, you two put the buffer circuit back together. I want to see everything in perfect shape when I get back.
    Sgt. Jenkins: But where are you going, sir?
    Lt. Hawthorne: I have some business to take care of in town. You better get to work.
    Sgt. Jenkins: Yes, sir.

    When he thinks Hawthorne is out of earshot, Jenkins leans over to the other man at the table.

    Sgt. Jenkins: Whadd'ya think he's after?

    As he gets into the truck, Hawthorne shakes his head.

    Lt. Hawthorne: Answers.

    * * *

    Vinny: You want answers from little me? Oh this is all too much. I seem to remember last time you was in here you called me a... what was it?
    Detective: A psychotic little nutjob in need of a dentist.

    Vinny cackles wheezily, coughing phlegm into a grimy hand. He sticks a filthy half-smoked cigar in his mouth and strikes a match on his sleeve. He looks thoughtfully around his tatty little apartment, piled high with dusty magazines and books. A decomposing organic mess floods out from the kitchen, and greasy curtains cling to the windows, stuck with nicotine and oil vapor. A single fluorescent lamp above them paints the scene in an unreal green glow. Finally he looks back at the Detective and gives him a brown grin with several teeth missing, his bald face crinkling up like cooked nylon.

    Vinny: You's always onna money, guy. What can Vinny do ta' help ya?
    Detective: You read about the people disappearing lately?

    Vinny gestures at a compressed heap of newspapers.

    Vinny: Vinny reads it all. Eight people, no connecting tissue. Force couldn't figure it out, so they threw it to you. Heard you guys bin scratchin' yer heads on it.
    Detective: Yeah, well...
    Vinny: And you think Vinny can help you with yer problems? Alright. But yer gonna owe me.
    Detective: And what is that?

    Vinny grins again. The Detective keeps his face impassive, but secretly decides he has discovered a new tenth level circle of hell.

    Vinny: Free dental care.
    Detective: Yeah, alright, fine. Do you have anything to tell me?
    Vinny: About missing people? Naw, they're all missing. They ain't got nothin' in common.
    Detective: Any operations going on around here?
    Vinny: What is this, the Cold War? We ain't had that kind of domestic op running in four years. Commie ain't the buzzword no more. We ain't collectin' people fer research, either. What was it, number two was a college girl who worked in a strip club? And number five was a middle-aged middle management fella with a beer belly? Ain't the style. The only op I know of that puts those two together is-
    Dective: Yeah, yeah, alright. I get the picture.

    The Detective stands and makes for the door.

    Vinny: 'Ey! Whadd'ya givin' me?

    The Detective turns back around and puts his elbows on the table, bringing his face inches from Vinny's odius mug.

    Detective: You give me something, and I'll make you an appointment with the best dentist in the city.

    Vinny resumes his sickening cackling as the Detective makes his escape.

    * * *

    The dusty little town stirs in a stiff afternoon wind. Hawthorne's beat-up truck pulls up to the gas station and stops in front of a decrepit payphone. Hawthorne looks up at the pale blue sky as he gets out of the truck. Around the edges of the horizon, a rising yellow cloud eats into the sky. For a moment he wishes he could be back where autumn weather involved quiet rainy nights and umber leaves rustling in the breeze, instead of baking afternoons and windstorms. He picks up the pay phone's receiver and drops in a dime. He leans against the rusted wall of the phone's enclosure as it begins its buzzing ring.

    Lt. Hawthorne: Information? Yeah, I'm looking for the number of the police department in...

    * * *

    The Detective steps in his door and tries to exhale the last remnants of Vinny's odor. He desperately wishes for a smoke but resists the desire to walk down the street. He feels like that would somehow be betraying... something.

    Alice: Good morning, sir.

    The detective turns around and looks at his secretary. He wonders where she finds the pile of paperwork she seems chronically stuck under, especially since he got this dead-end case. Her brown and crimson cardigan radiates a cleanliness he finds unusually refreshing.

    Detective: Mornin'. Anything new on the lines?
    Alice: Nothing, sir. I see you were up all night again? You want some coffee?
    Detective: Mmm. I'll be in the office typing up the report from last night.

    He opens the second door and carefully removes his coat, tossing it on the coat rack by the door. He puts his hat on top and then collapses into his chair. He runs a hand over his damp hair and stares into space. In the middle distance, he hears Alice come back in from a trip to the water cooler and make coffee. A few moments go by, then he hears the phone ring, and her muffled answers filtered through the door. Alice emerges in his door with a mug of watery coffee.

    Alice: Guy's on the phone, says he has some information for you about the case. Won't give his name, though.
    Detective: Alright, thanks.

    He takes the mug from her with a nod and waits until she steps out the door. As it clicks behind her, he picks up the phone.

    Detective: Can I help you?

    A man's voice comes through the phone, the line filled with a buzzing noise and an occasional sound of wind or cloth being dragged across the receiver. As voices go, he sounds ordinary, but precisely clipped in his intonation. The Detective can't place his accent.

    Voice: You're the detective investigating the recent disappearances?
    Detective: Yes, I am. I didn't get your name.
    Voice: Because I didn't give it. I have information for you. I don't know why those people are disappearing, but I think...

    The man trails off and the line goes silent except for the noise on the other end.

    Detective: Yes.
    Voice: I think I know what's causing it. Do you read anything in the physics community?
    Detective: Not really.
    Voice: No, of course you don't. Well, I can't really explain it over the phone. About three hundred miles east there is little town called Rondure. The highway splits there. Take the north road for about fifty miles and you'll see an old gate with a path leading off the main road. It leads out into the flats. You won't see it when you're driving, but there is a valley out there and an old abandoned air hangar. I will be there at noon in three days. If you want answers, I can give them to you then.
    Detective: Who are you?
    Voice: Look, that's all I can give you. Trust me or not, I think I can give you answers.

    Click.

    The Detective sets down the phone and takes a deep drag from the coffee mug. He looks at the phone for a moment, and then picks it up, dialing his partner. After several rings, his partner's groggy voice comes over the line.


    Partner: Hello?
    Detective: Sorry to wake you. We've got a tip.
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  3. #643
    At the same time as the Shattered Writers' Realm post...

    CMtW: I have a sudden feeling that I have done something wrong...

    GebtW: Why do you say that?

    CMtW: I don't know.

    TracerTheJanitor bursts into Geb's office.

    TracertJ: Geb! Something's...strange!

    GebtW: What do you mean?

    TracertJ: It's like, a portal, or disturbance of some sort!

    GebtW: What? Here?!

    TracertJ: It's in the cubicles! Over by CM's cubicle I believe...

    GebtW: Let us go see, immediately.

    The group runs out of the office to the cubicles. TLTEtW also is outside the office, staring at the portal.

    TLTEtW: What IS that thing?

    Suddenly, a shouting is heard.

    ???: KILL IT WITH FIRE!

    A tank shell suddenly flies out through the portal, colliding with the cubicle wall and detonating. The explosion knocks over all the nearby cubicles, and blows out the nearest window.

    CMtW: That sounded like a M1 Abrams Tank's 120mm M256 smoothbore gun firing a M829 APFSDS-T with a depleted uranium penetrator!

    GebtW: A who what?

    CMtW: I ... uh... like Abrams tanks.

    GebtW: Riiight.

    CMtW: I'm gonna go investigate.

    TLTEtW: You? Why? Or more importantly, don't you think that's dangerous?!

    CMtW: Cause that voice sounded exactly like me.

    GebtW: Interesting. Alright then, good luck!

    TLTEtW: You're not even going to take anything with you? That was a TANK SHELL!

    CMtW: I think I'll be alright.

    CMtW steps through the portal

    GebtW: I hope he will be ...

  4. #644
    *huff, puff* Oh thank you NeS2, I shall never leave you again! *kiss* Oh boy, anyway, back in the NeS2 plot, after the events in the shattered realm with CMtW...

    TLTEtW: It's been a while now...

    Then, a BUUURP comes from the portal, and it closes.

    GebtW: THAT can't be good.

    Suddenly, the elevator at the end of the hall opens.

    CMtW: Hey guys, I'm back from lunch! What did I miss?

    TLTEtW: What? Huh? What the hell?

    GebtW: That doesn't make any sense!

    TLTEtW: You just... I mean... you were... with... you know what? I don't care. This whole NeS plot gives me headaches anyway. I'm going to bed.

    GebtW: That's a good idea, maybe I'll wake up from this dream.

    And so, life continued as normal... at least, as normal as the Writers' Realm gets.

  5. #645
    In the writer's realm, reality suddenly wobbles. Six eyes swivel toward the disturbance, as a long crack appears down the center. Reality bends as if on a door, and a scruffy head pokes out.

    Maintenance Dude: 'Ere, 'scuse me gents, I've just come 'round to collect one Mr...

    The Maintenance Dude produces a large imposing looking clipboard and flips through it for a moment.

    MD: Cool Matty, is it? Yeah. Which one of you is 'im?

    Cool Matty makes a valiant effort to become one with the scenery as he edges out the door, but the Maintenance Dude spots him and traipses over to where he stands, grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and dragging him toward the door. They both vanish into the door, and reality wobbles back into place. Geb and The Last True Evil exchange glances.

    TLTEtW: Well that's a bloody relief, isn't it?

    Cool Matty finds himself in a place beyond reckoning. A long passage lit by some alien reddish glow extends far off into the distance. Huge pipes traverse the scene, over and under and all around. Some seem organic, some are distinctly metallic, others... others he dares not even guess. The catwalk seems flimsy underfoot, rattling with each step. He follows the Maintenance Dude closely for fear of the hammer swinging loosely from the man's side. A burst of steam blasts in front of him. The Maintenance Dude turns around and grabs him by the arm and drags him through the steam.

    MD: 'Ere, do try 'a keep up.

    After several minutes, they come to the end of the tunnel to what seems to be a hub. The room goes up for quite a way, ringed with tiers of catwalks. A makeshift habitat seems to have been set up. The upper tiers of catwalks have beds and various artifacts of life, while the main level has a large aluminum table and cooking gear set up to the side. Five figures sit playing cards; four men distinctly lacking in clothing and one woman distinctly covered by clothing. The men are hunched over their cards carefully avoiding each others gazes while they grumble loudly.

    Maintenance Dude 2: Shouldn't'a let 'er win the first round.
    Maintenance Dude 3: I swear it doesn't say mummy on the tat, it's, erm... swahili for He Wot Makes Stuff Work. Yeh.

    Sugarless giggles uncontrollably.

    Sugarless: Any of you wanna call it, boys?
    Maintenance Dude 2: ...and my bloody watch. Does she even know how much it cost? Oh no...
    Maintenance Dude 4: Oh for f- just play the damn cards.
    Maintenance Dude 2: Sixes high?
    Sugarless: Straight flush, boys. Off with the undies!

    A round of groans circles the room. The Maintenance Dude grins.

    MD: That lass knows 'er cards. Now you just sit over there and keep quiet.
    CMtW: But what do you want from me?
    MD: This 'ere is a strike. You know how much work we maintenance types have to do to keep your story running? We want a little credit! A little extra cash! Some time off! Is that too much to ask?
    CMtW: Oh, oh of course, yes, I see that. Umm...

    The Maintenance Dude prods Cool Matty into a chair in the corner.

    MD: You just sit there, they'll be comin' for ya soon.

    What horrible thing has happened to CM? Are the Maintenance Dudes planning on holding a Writer ransom? Do they have any clothes left, or is the game over? What will become of Sugarless in a room of angry naked guys with access to anywhere in the superstructure of NeS? Will all of this insanity go somewhere? Find out in the next exasperating subarc of the Neverending Story.
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  6. #646
    *The plothole deposits the writers back in the realm of regular NeS writing.*

    Shattered Geb the Writer: "What in the Sam hill is going on here?"

    Regular Geb the Writer: "Okay, now there's another Gebohq? Like there weren't enough before."

    Regular TLTE: "My opposite writer is plotting to kill me."

    Shattered TLTE: "How can you know that?"

    Regular TLTE: "Because that's exactly what I'm plotting!"

    *Regular TLTE throws the hardcover edition of Webster's Dictionary at Shattered TLTE's face.*

    Regular TLTE: "But it appears that I have scored the first strike! Ahahaha!"

    *Regular TLTE jumps out the window, making good his escape. The rest of the writers deal with the paradox in a more sane manner and get to know their double.*

    Regular Geb: "...but seriously, I'm loosing my ability to keep track of all the Gebohqs."

    Shattered Geb: "I know. But you can usually write 'Geb' with a reasonable amount of certainty that somebody named Geb is in the area."

    Regular Tracer: "This is wicked! I have a stunt double!"

    Shattered Tracer: "I keep trying to tell you that I'm not a stunt double. Why don't you listen?"

    Regular Tracer: "I'll never clean another window from the outside again!"

    Shattered Tracer: "They...they made you be the janitor?"

    *Shattered Tracer is overcome with emotion. Tears well up in his eyes.*

    Shattered Tracer: (quietly) "They made me bring them food."

    *Shattered Tracer and regular Tracer embrace forming a cross-dimensional bond of eternal friendship.*

    Regular CM: "I likes the tanks."

    Shattered CM: "I likes 'em fine."

    Regular CM: "I loves me some Abrams."

    Shattered CM: "Oh yeah."

    *Two Sarns walk in.*

    Regular Sarn: "Good news, everyone! We've solved the time-dimension problem! By combining our intellects we were able to construct a device to perminantly unparadox ourselves."

    *Regular Sarn pulls out the unparadox device.*

    Regular Sarn: "You see, the shattered writers don't really exist, so by pressing this red button I can help them quantum leap back to where they came from. Which is nowhere. So they'll be gone forever."

    Shattered Sarn: "...what? I only helped you build it because you said we could teleport to the dimension of hot hot babes!"

    Regular Sarn: "Ha ha. Fooled me. I sure am an idiot."

    *Regular Sarn presses the button and the shattered writers begin to rapidly dissolve.*

    Shattered Sarn: "You said it would be like on Sliders!"

    Regular Sarn: "Yeah well, I said a lot of things. I just play it one step ahead of the
    game."

    Shattered Sarn: "...'A new adventure every week', you said!"

    *The shattered writers disappear completely. Tracer sniffles.*

    Regular Tracer: "He...he was my friend."
    COUCHMAN IS BACK BABY

  7. #647
    Still in the Writers' Realm, Sugarless lets go of a large button on a nearby piece of machinery labelled "Plot Hole".

    Sugarless: Oh, so that's what that button does!

    Maintenance Dude 1: Oh dammit woman! Now I gotta go fetch CMtW 'gain!

    Naked Maintenance Dude 2: We'll never get out clothes back at dis rate...

    Sugarless: Oh, it's my turn again. 6 aces, read and weap!

    NMD4: What?! This is bull****! How can you have 6 aces in a game of 5 card draw?!

    NMD2: 'ey man, lay 'ff da girl!

    NMD4: But, but, she's CHEATING!

    NMD2: Don'tcha git it? She be the first lady-type we've had down 'ere in YEARS!

    NMD4: ...aye... dis is true. All right den. But no more of your silly stuff.

    Sugarless: Oh, of course, gentlemen! *wink*

    MD1: *sigh* Dis is why I nev'r get married.

  8. #648
    Child's Play CharityGoY's Pessimistic Soy Boy Toy
    Posts
    17,363
    To normal eyes, the realm of 1337 is a void of either black or white, filled only by the current structures or concepts that the lords of this realm desire. To Mayaal, 1337 is a busy place, teeming with the many what-ifs and whenevers of the NeS. Words spiral in on words to form images. Sentence structure is the strongest bond between building blocks of nouns. This was one of the gifts of NeS. To see only the words written as intended by the writers. Sometimes, Mayaal truly questioned the sanity of those Gods whom pushed and pulled the plot.

    Looking over his desk, the many plotlines currently being written lay out before him, all neatly arranged for his viewing pleasure. He sighed at all the ways Bhac was winning, but furthermore, at the few ways Mayaal himself had control. His mark, his hound, was only as good as he’d let himself become. His knife and his powers and his marking had done no service to Mayaal that he himself couldn’t have already done.

    He broke his concentration away from the main storyline. Something had been festering in the back of his mind. Something was still burning that he hadn’t snuffed out, or planned to in the near future. He look upon Lossien and MaybeChild, alone in their hotel room, the sun setting. The dust had been a nuisance for so long that Mayaal hadn’t realized it’s becoming a problem. He looked upon the storyline for a short time until suddenly he realized something…


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SpockKirby I believe, sir, that this move insinuates a Check-mate.

    JessieJacksonKirby Good gracious! That is preposterous!

    BobDoleKirby No… I do believe he won.

    SpockKirby This game is simple. You would think your developed brains would have mastered it by now.

    SamuelLJacksonKirby It don’t take no God damned motha****in’ scientist to play no motha****in’ chess. ****in’ Jessie-motha****in’-Jackson is supposed to be some god damned bona fide black leader; ***** can’t even play no God damned chess! That’s a God damned shame, too.

    As Mayaal burst into the college-style loft, ScreechKirby jumps off of the couch as LarryFlyntKirby comes out of the back room with fuzzy pink handcuffs around his chubby Kirby arms. Mayaal tosses a shotgun to ScreechKirby and pushes over the chess table between SpockKirby and JessieJacksonKirby

    BobDoleKirby Were we supposed to be doing any-

    Mayaal Shut up and listen. Bhac’s been in the story for almost 2 whole pages now. He won’t be making a return to 1337 any time soon.

    JessieJacksonKirby Why is that important, my lord?

    SamuelLJacksonKirby Motha****a’ you are stupid! It means we gonna **** the missus while the mista is out! God damn I am ready!

    SamuelLJacksonKirby reaches into his suit and pulls out a pistol and begins shining and loading it. SpockKirby strokes his chin.

    SpockKirby An interesting attack plan. Bhac will have left only his robotic arms as defense, leaving his entire portion of the realm undefended. Why, if I hadn’t been so engrossed in chess, perhaps I too would have came to the same conclusion.

    Mayaal Yes, but we’ll need to be quick. We’ll only have so much time before Bhac is aware of our presence. I shouldn’t need too much time for what I need, but you six need to keep the robots at bay while I work. Can I rely on you?

    LarryFlyntKirby If you’d get me outta these damn cuffs, I’ll kill you a few tin cans.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The air seemed to become more putrid by the second. The cold of this place was never comforting, and his bare wounds seared at every passing wind. It’d been so long, he no longer realized the backward position he lay in, tongue hanging from his lips, his face dug into the cold black floor. He lay on his stomach, his knees in front of him, bottom up in the air. It was the only way a man without arms could properly rest in a room without walls. The discomfort of the metal blindfold bolted directly into his skull was matched only by the inverted spiked collar chaining him to the center of this place. He no longer cared about the cold, or his tattered clothes, or the fact that he was forgotten. Now he only cared about one thing: revenge for those who put him in this place. His hatred teemed and bubbled. Boiled and brimmed. Sometimes he lashed out. Other times he lay weeping. This time, he simply lay in his own madness, consumed in the pure beauty of hate.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SamuelLJacksonKirby I live for this ****!

    A half robot half man slammed into a ceiling light in the organically breathing powerhouse of computers as SamuelLJacksonKirby reloaded his pistol, retreating behind a madly screaming ScreechKirby toting a rocket launcher and a cigar. SpockKirby was Vulcan gripping, or at least doing the best Vulcan grip a pudgy pink arm could muster on several adjacent opponents, taking as much intellectual time to study his enemies as needed while still defending himself. BobDoleKirby juggled while discussing politics and peace with an increasingly larger number of robotic humans, crowding around and offering their own ideas of human and robotic peace. LarryFlyntKirby held a crying JesseJacksonKirby in front of him as a human shield while flying down a ramp in his wheelchair, his open hand releasing led into every robotic creature from a golden machine pistol. The dark part of 1337 was in flames as the surprise attack was executed with the finest precision.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As he made his way further down the hall, Mayaal read more and more frightening things in this place. The dark part of 1337 was evil to read in itself, but this particularly darkly described hallway made all the other words Mayaal had ever read seem dull and childlike. At the end of the hallway, a large vaulted door with only the word “Forgotten” scrawled on its surface stood as if it had never been opened. Mayaal pushed through to the nothingness inside.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Suddenly, something changed. Several times since being placed here (A thing which he himself has forgotten if it even happened or if it was a dream) he had thought he’d heard noises. Often times, those noises would spiral out of control and become the nightmares which plagued him. He had begun to ignore those tricks his mind played on him, and almost through out this sound as another one of those tricks. Soon he realized that it was real. His ears found footsteps and the door to this place slamming. So it does have walls. Out of fear, or perhaps pride, he lay still as possible, holding his breath. A warmth suddenly came on him like he ever remembered feeling. The closeness of another body filled him with a happiness unlike any other. He smiled, giggling like a child. He felt breath upon his neck, anticipated the voice he was about to hear in his ear. The sweet glory of finally feeling another life, and to know that he was no longer alone, or to finally perhaps remember himself were feelings that overwhelmed him. The time between his anticipation and the actual voice seemed like an eternity, but an eternity spent in joy to contrast his own eternity spent in nothingness.

    Mayaal I don’t believe we’ve met. I am Mayaal, Right Hand of the NeS. What, have you forgotten your own name?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [i]What was left of the hero lay on the floor, his skin crumbling off and black. He no longer had hair, and where hair should be, parts of his brain bulged out of a shattered skull; likely a self-inflicted injury. The only clothing now was a pair of charred and tattered black pants that were as worn as his skin to the point of meshing with it. Scars and bruises and blood made up the faded hero’s complexion. The most peculiar thing was his lack of arms. Where arms would have been, mummy-like stubs of tattered and dried skin and bones stuck out, a shade an even darker black than the nothingness around the single spotlight shining down on this withered creature.

    To add to the torture of this individual, a thick linked chain just shy of a meter imprisoned the man to the floor by means of a inverted barbed necklace. Over his eyes, a thick sheet of metal was burned in place, and bolted into the poor individual’s skull.

    Mayaal chuckled at his joke, and mused:”

    Mayaal So this is what it looks like when a hero is forgotten? Bhac keeps the strangest pets.

    Expecting the burst of energy, Mayaal slipped out of reach of the individual at just the right moment. The armless body sprang to a screaming life. It pulled against its prison, blood rushing from his pierced neck. He bit, gnawed, and screamed in the direction Mayaal stood. The force at which this once motionless character pulled against his restraints astounded Mayaal. What was even greater was the power that surged out from him. Like whips cracking in the air, energy shot off in all directions, smashing stones in the foundations of this figment building. Mayaal’s own cloak whipped in the unseen winds, pulling against him. Mayaal waited for a time, sitting on the cold floor, sipping a cup of tea.

    Mayaal Are you done? That won’t get you anywhere, I hope you know. Only I can free you, so I’d suggest you calming down and speaking with me like a civilized human being… or as civilized as someone in your condition can be. Not to mention, I know your name.

    The creature continued for a moment more, then either by choice or exhaustion, slowed and finally collapsed, breathing deeply and coughing up blood.

    Mayaal Good. You are the forgotten hero, forgotten by everyone and everything. The NeS, however, forgets nothing. Because I share the knowledge of the NeS itself, I know who you are.

    You are The Forgotten Hero. You are, or were Twin Suns. At least, that was your name. On page 1 itself, you were written into being. Just as soon as you were thought of, you were forgotten. Never to be posted about again, the writer-God whom created you left you. You were all but forgotten. NeS, however, doesn’t let anything out of its grasps, you see. For a time, you did not exist. You were without life, or death. That is, until Bhac discovered you. See, regardless of your not being written, your words still exist. We can see those words, your story. We can read as much that is known about you. I truly wish I had discovered you before Bhac did, or you may not have become this way. For what it’s worth, I apologize for that.

    There is something good, however, that came of Bhac bringing you here. You may be the thing to stop the Dust. That makes no sense to you now, but it soon will. You are a powerful hero forgotten, but untainted by the Dust. The anger of your being kept here has fueled you with a power that is comparable to that of some of the greatest heroes. I believe that if Bhac had found some way of harnessing your chaotic rage, that he would have used you against me. Your anger seems to have made you a greater power than the EeP himself. Bhac, however, does not realize the ideals of a moral mind. He’d have bribed you, tricked you, or even tried to force you to his will. I will do none of that. I will give you freedom, and ask for your assistance. I know that, despite your hatred, you were thought up as a Hero, and still have the ideals of a hero.

    The shell of Twin Suns lay on the ground, still breathing from his fit of anger. Mayaal waited for a response, but read nothing.

    Mayaal Do you know of the Phoenix? A beautiful bird of fire dies every year, exploding into a pile of ashes, only to be reborn again the next sun rise as a stronger warrior than before. I offer you this same destiny. Whether you help me or not, I shall give you your freedom. It is the rebirth and strength of a new warrior that I offer.

    After several long moments, the creature halts its laborious breathing, spitting out a tooth covered in blood, it speaks:

    TFH I accept.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The nothingness is filled with the flame of suns as the forgotten hero rises into the air, golden wings sprouting from his wounded limbs, his bindings shattering into dust on the floor. He opens his eyes to a glorious wonder, fire searing him, and making him whole again. Power like he’d never imagined coupled with a promising satisfaction of knowing that he could now take revenge on this man who had kept him here.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mayaal nodded satisfyingly as the remaining flames in the cell had begun to die down. Before him he read a man of pure power and strength under a cool and clean exterior.

    Flame-colored red hair sprouted from the head of this new man, glittering with it's own secular glow. Long and thick, it was described to Mayaal similar to how a lions mane would be described. Under several locks of hair pointed two deeply set eyes out of low thick brows. His pale skin was contrasted by the pockets of shadows made by his boney facial features. High cheeks gave him a regal overtone to a cocky grin. Mayaal, however, did not read the grin as cocky at all. it was deserved confidence.

    The clothing decorating this man was nothing less than royal. A longer satin black coat fit snug on his thickly muscled frame. Long sleeves ended in undone cuffs that hung over black gloves. On the backs hung two spread-eagle phoenix birds, embroidered in a real fine gold thread. Mayaal knew that on the palms were gold embroidered suns to match. On the undone cuffs was silver leaf work done in real silver. Matching silver leaf embroidery adorned the popped collars, following the cut down the front of the coat, accenting the looped holes around golden buttons. On each breast of the coat stood two detailed golden phoenix birds that seemed to lift off and into the darkness. On the back, Mayaal was certain two suns would also be embroidered in full. The legs of his long well fitting satin pants were a lacework of silver and gold to form a long bird taking flight from the suns. Even the black portions of his outfit were embroidered with black silk lacework.

    On his hip sat a black hilted rapier, every inch of it's surface scrawled in golden gildings and symbols. The man stood as if the sword were a limb, his cocky smile daring even Mayaal to test him.

    Astounded by this man, he was even more amazed when the deep and cool voice spoke, almost singing.


    Twin Suns This is quite the getup... I like it.

    Mayaal You should. It was all your doing. The NeS nor I had any hand in your rebirth. I simply released you from your prison, and most importantly remembered you. Your current state is all your own potential... and a frighteningly powerful one, at that.

    Twin Suns Now tell me, who is this Bhac, an how will we destroy him?

    [NSP: If you could change the name in your post for me, West Wind, I'd appreciate it.]
    Last edited by JediKirby; 07-11-2006 at 11:16 PM.
    ᵗʰᵉᵇˢᵍ๒ᵍᵐᵃᶥᶫ∙ᶜᵒᵐ
    ᴸᶥᵛᵉ ᴼᵑ ᴬᵈᵃᵐ

  9. #649
    Smothering another chuckle, because really, there’s only so much one wants to antagonize 4 naked, angry and embarrassed men, Sugarless lays down her cards.

    Sugarless: Well I think that’s enough for me now, boys. What’s for dinner?

    Maintenance Dude 2 (or as Sugarless decided to call him, Scruffy): What makes you think we’re going to give you anything to eat?

    Sugarless blinks a few times

    Sugarless: Why wouldn’t you?

    Scruffy: You just took all of our clothes!

    Sugarless: Now that’s not even fair. I won all of your clothes. Now you nice gentleman wouldn’t starve a young lady, would you?

    The four angry, naked men stare at Sugarless for a few seconds.

    Sugarless: What?

    Maintenance Dude 3(sugarless was still working on a nickname for him): Yer insane, lady.

    Sugarless: No, I’m hungry. There’s a difference.

    Maintenance Dude: Alright, well we’ll find something for you to eat, but then we gotta go find CMtW again

    MD 3 (brightening): Hey! Yer a girl! Why don’t you cook something?

    Sugarless (after bursting out laughing): Are you kidding me? I’m about as domestic as… umm… well I can’t cook!

    MD 3 (aka Dopey): (looking crestfallen) You can’t?

    Sugarless: Nope. But I’m great at ordering out. You guys have a Chinese menu?

    Sugarless examines the takeout menu as the Maintenance Dudes leave to capture CMtW back. Humming to herself, she examines her new surroundings. The only thing that looks remotely interesting is one wall in the far back, covered with buttons, monitors and levers. Resisting the temptation to start playing with them, (because God only knew what would happen to her if she pressed the wrong button) she pulls her blonde hair back into a ponytail. Completely bored, Sugarless starts to hum a little louder. Pretty soon, she is both singing and dancing all around the building. Never the most graceful of creatures, she trips and falls down the staircase, landing sprawled across the floor. Opening her eyes, she sees that the Maintenance Dudes have come back, holding Cool Matty by the ear.

    Sugarless: (blinking up at them) Umm… the food isn’t here yet.
    Last edited by sugarless; 07-11-2006 at 01:58 AM.
    Fincham: Where are you going?
    Me: I have no idea
    Fincham: I meant where are you sitting. This wasn't an existential question.

  10. #650
    Not Suitable for Motor Vehicles
    Posts
    4,265
    This is not the case with this lock of hair. It belonged to my mother, yes. It was given at the time of her death, yes. She loved me, i have no doubt. This item is merely a keepsake, a personal charm if you will, holding no power but memory. The purpose it serves is personal and mental calm. I simply feel better when i have it on me.

    With this in mind, i stowed it in my pocket, turning towards the full length mirror on the closet door.No, no. This will not do, i thought, turning this way and that. lets see what we can do

    As i looked at myself, a greenish aura began to glow about me as my magic charged. I decided to start with my shoes. Skater shoes weren't really suitable for the kind of work i'd be doing; too slippery. A sturdy pair of boots would do me fine. the green glow intensified about my feet, as the vans were replaced by big black steel-toes.

    thus followed the entire wardrobe, finally consisting of an all black outfit. Loose, but not baggy cargos, a double breasted shirt, and a jacket with enough pockets to hide anything smaller than a loaf of bread without ruining the line of it.

    I was admiring myself in the mirror when i heard a voice.

    "Nice threads, doc." the voice giggled.

    "Glad you like it, Zip," I said, turning to face my familiar. "It seemed like it was time to grow up."

    "You know i hate it when you call me Zip. And really, sorry to laugh, but you look like some kind of Sepcial Forces reject," the magical lighter, my Cheshire Zippo, grinned in midair.

    "Really, now?" I passed a hand over the lower portion of my face, two weeks of beard appearing beneath it. "I'm sure this doesnt help, either."

    "Hah, you're almost unrecognisable!"

    "Good," i said, grabbing my satchel and heading for the door.

    [yet more exposition yet to come!]
    My girlfriend paid a lot of money for that tv; I want to watch ALL OF IT. - JM

  11. #651
    The Detective and Voodoo tore across the flats, leaving a lonely pair of tracks in the soft desert sand. The Red Valley depot has disappeared almost instantly from their rear view mirror, and the great sandy flats that surrounded them were as featureless as the empty blue sky. Yet without direction or guidance the Detective drove on. Any detective will tell you that after a certain time in the force, you start to develop certain instincts, the ability to sense hidden motives, to anticipate peril, and an almost magnetic attraction to trouble. The Detective figured it was this last instinct that drove him on. Like the invisible magnetic compass that guides migrating birds, he knew exactly where to go.

    In contrast to the Detective’s calm certainty, Voodoo Snowflakes was beginning to feel very uneasy about their current situation. They had been driving off-road for over 20 minutes now, and she could not rid herself of the feeling that wherever it was that they should be running to, or from, right now they were making no progress. Somewhere in her mind a fear began to well up, as a forgotten nightmare suddenly emerging from her cloudy memory, the desert went on forever, empty sand’s merging with empty sky to form a hollow shell of nothing, a prison of nothing, a prison of nothing from which she could never escape. He mind became flooded with images of her wandering through this desert forever, alone, forsaken. She could feel her feet tire as she trudged endlessly through the nothingness. Opposite her in the sky the sun continued along motionless, never setting never rising, but always casting its soulless rays down on her illuminating her pain and loneliness, and yet she kept moving. Setting one foot in front of the other for as long as it would take, for as long as it was necessary, until someone remembered her, until she was no longer forgotten.

    Quietly, Voodoo tried to form something in her mind. Rolling together images and words and feelings into something real. She grasped desperately and those memories she could still find, and as she did something began to solidify in her mind. The feelings became coherent, and her fear and loneliness gave way to something else, some other emotion. An image began to form in her mind, a picture, a man, someone she knew. And then, a name… Sarn…

    Just as quickly as the nightmare had appeared, Voodoo found herself back in the car with the detective. She was slumped against the door, and as best she figured she must have fallen asleep. The sun was significantly lower in the sky now, and the once unbroken blue was now tarnished by a handful of long thin clouds gathering to the west. Voodoo tried to gather he thoughts again, and straitened herself up in the seat. Looking over to the detective, whose characteristic unlit cigarette still dropped gently in one corner of his mouth, she suddenly unleashed the doubt and uncertainty that had been building inside her for some time.


    Voodoo: Tell me? What are you really trying to accomplish?

    Voodoo’s words broke the detective out of the road-trance like state he had fallen into.

    Detective: Hun? What did you say?

    Voodoo: I said, What are you trying to accomplish here? Where are we going to, what are we running from? Why did you put me in a hotel room, keep me from Sarn, and then whisk me off into the middle of nowhere on the trail of some long dead case?

    The detective was quiet for a moment, considering Voodoo’s questions carefully.

    Detective: It’s all happening again, don’t you see. If we don’t stop this now, the disappearances will start up again, or worse.

    Voodoo: So some crazy shadow man shows up in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere, and tells you that some “burrito man” is coming, and to drive into the middle of the desert and you listen to him! There is nothing out here, there never was. I don’t know what happened twelve years ago, but whatever it was it has nothing to do with this, now.

    Detective: No, your wrong. It is connected, I knew from the moment I first started following those “heroes” that it was connected, that YOU were connected somehow. And Now I know for certain. We are almost there, cant you feel it? The answers are right in front of us…

    Voodoo: It won’t bring them back…

    Detective: What?

    Voodoo: It won’t bring them back, the people who disappeared twelve years ago, whatever THIS is, whatever you are trying to accomplish, it wont bring them back…

    Detective: Is that what you think this is all about? Do you think I’m just some burnt out detective on his way out the door? Some husk of a man still haunted by the failures of his past? No. I’m doing this because it NEEDS to be done, because I can’t just sit by and let it all happen again and because WE are the only people who can stop it from happening again…

    Voodoo: …it won’t bring your partner back…

    Detective: …No… No it won’t. But That does not matter. My partner knew what needed to be done, and he did it. I was the one who made the mistake then, I was the one who panicked and froze up, and because of that he died and I lived. Now I know what needs to be done, and even if it costs me as much as it cost him, I am still going through with this…

    Voodoo: Even if it cost’s my life as well? What then?

    Detective:

    * * * * *

    Mayaal led Twin Suns out of the bowels of Bhac’s twisted and dark world. Remarkably the forgotten hero seemed to need no guidance at all, following the path Mayaal had taken in without deviation or hesitation. Finally they emerged into the central chamber, still filled with the sounds of struggle as the minions of Bhac and Mayaal continued to fight it out amongst lines of computer-banks. Mayaal addressed the nearest of his Minions.

    Mayaal: Has Bhac appeared yet?

    SamuelLJacksonKirby: That motha****er is to afraid to show his skinny little a** around us, Cuz he knows if he does we are gonna kick it so hard he’ll be tasting s*** for a week!

    SpockKirby: I must concur with my vulgar comrade. If it was Bhac’s intention to join in this confrontation then the amount of time already transpired is more that sufficient for him to become aware of our activities and organize a retaliation.

    Mayaal paused for a moment, gazing his eyes beyond the world of 1337 in an attempt to locate his “brother”, but he could find no trace, a sudden feeling of uncertainty entered Mayaal’s mind. Bhac would never have let this happen, he would never have passed on a confrontation like this. But Bhac’s recent behavior had been quite strange indeed…

    Mayaal: FALL BACK! Leave this place. *Turning to SpockKirby and SamuelLJacksonKirby and then gesturing to Twin Suns* And make sure HE gets back safely.

    SamuelLJacksonKirby: Noth’n short of motha****in snakes on a motha****in plane will stop me!

    SpockKirby: And in the highly unlikely event of an aerial ophic occurrence, I believe I may be able to offer assurance where my colleague can not.

    SamuelLJacksonKirby: Shove it motha****er.

    Mayaal finaly turns and addressed Twin Suns.

    Mayaal: The time for you to seek revenge on your captor has not yet come to pass. Follow my loyal servants and prepare yourself, I fear Bhac has already allowed for you rescue. Allow me to discover what plan’s he has laid before you seek him out.

    Twin Suns: Very well, but know that I have waited long enough, and I will not willingly exchange one captor for another.

    * * * * *

    Thatchett sought refuge beneath the astrovan. The small canyon spur offered many shadows with witch he could shield himself from the violent blasts of the sun, but somehow the shadows of the valley seemed to already house some invisible unspeakable dread. Scraps of canvas swayed gently in breeze hung from the tattered remains of steal poles and girders and the entire valley floor was scattered with nuts, bolts, wires, and metal fragments all scarred by the passage of time. In another time and another place Thatchett would have been pleased with such a find. Hawthorne could undoubtedly find some valuable component or tidbit amount the wreckage of whatever life they might have stumbled upon. But here and now the wreckage itself seemed to breath life, as if the entire valley was the deathbed for the cylindrical “reactor”, the wreckage blood as the last lifeblood spilled out of the mystical machinery, and Hawthorne was trying to breath life back into it… whatever it was.

    Hawthorne had been working feverishly for over an hour, salvaging parts from around the valley spur and slowly repairing and rebuilding the reactor. Thatchett marked it as unusual the speed at which Hawthorne was working. When he needed a part Hawthorn seemed to know exactly where in the wreaked camp-side to find it, he seemed almost at ease, at home.

    Thatchett never doubted Hawthorne’s technical abilities. Too many times had his lively hood depended on the timely repair of a slip-clutch mechanism or some other vital doo-daad that kept the asto-van running. But once, just this one time Thatchett could not shake the feeling that he wanted Hawthorne to fail, that whatever this thing was, they could leave it to die in peace amongst the dust and rocks of the desert.


    * * * * *

    Bhac crouched at the edge of 1337, holding himself just at the border between narrative and 1337, and watched the slow ripples of Mayaal’s actions carry through the either around him. He had not anticipated that Mayaal would respond so quickly, to take advantage of his absence as soon. But none of that mattered now. He had learned as much from his “guest” as he needed, and while he may prove an inconvenience in Mayaal’s hands, it was nothing he was not prepared to deal with.

    [NSP] I’m posing this from a hijacked Wi-fi Connection in a movie theatre waiting to see “Scanner Darkly”. I’ll post more later, one I have a real connection. [/NSP]
    [Edit] Done and Done, If I missed any references or need to change Twin Sun's description anywhere let me know.
    Last edited by West Wind; 07-12-2006 at 02:11 AM.
    "Well, if I am not drunk, I am mad, but I trust I can behave like a gentleman in either
    condition."... G. K. Chesterton

    “questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself”

  12. #652
    The Never-ending Story Thread, better known as the NeS, has woven a tapestry of epic proportions, full of comic and dramatic parts alike -- a tapestry without an end in sight. It is, however, not without its rough spot and knots. Those, such as the maintainance men seemingly holding CoolMatty the Writer captive, play their part in fixing those parts of the NeS, and compared to the big picture of the NeS, people like Sugarless attract little attention. As their Chinese food has yet to arrive, the maintainence men leave Sugarless where she is, and drag CoolMatty the Writer to some other unknown part of what could only be described as the backstage of the Never-ending Story.

    Sugarless (trying to sound like a man): "Are you OK, miss?" (normal voice) "Oh, I'm OK. Thanks for asking, kind gentleman!" (trying to sound like a man again) "Are you sure? We can carry you back up the stairs, if you'd like. Settle you down in a comfy chair, get you some cookies--" (normal voice) "Oh no, really, I'm fine. I mean, if you really insist on the cookies..."

    Sugarless sighs. She stands up and makes her way back up the stairs when she hears a knocking on a nearby door.

    Sugarless: Hmm... should I answer that? It could be the Chinese food, after all... maybe I should call one of the others first?

    She looks up the stairs, and then at the door. She hears the knocking again. Curiousity leads Sugarless by the door and, as if out of a bad horror movie, she slowly opens the door. A man with a black hoodie (covering his head) and jeans stands on the other end of the now-open door, holding a bag of Chinese food.

    Man: Delievery for...

    The man holds up a receipt in front of him, though he doesn't appear to be really reading it.

    Sugarless: That would be for me and some of the guys around here. I think one of them's a writer...

    Man: A writer?

    Sugarless: Well that's what I've heard from the others. I don't think he's supposed to be here... I didn't really understand it...

    Man: You're not safe here.

    The hooded man drops the receipt and grabs Sugarless by the arm, pulling her through the door. Startled, Sugarless only manages to say one thing at the moment.

    Sugarless: But what about the food?

    They exit, the door slamming behind them.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Scene swipe to a highway in the cold expanse of the ninth circle of Hell (literally) known also as Canada. A convertable car tears down this highway, heading towards the towers that Helebon and Jim Seven once fought their feud with the help of the heroes. In the passanger seat sits Qhobeg -- a clone of Gebohq, made by Jim Seven, the only physical difference being that his left eye is a pale grey. In the driver's seat, a very inebreated The Otter -- a psuedo-punk British man and former hero of NeS. In the back are many, many empty liquor bottles.

    Otter: Sho why th-hell are we going thish weh? I havvven't sheen uh-seckshy lady in... in... I DUNNO! Why did yew lie to meee, Gehb?

    Qhobeg: For the fiftieth time, I'm NOT Geb! And I never SAID there were any ladies this way! I wanted to visit MIS-TER SE-VEN. If you weren't so wasted, you'd know this! Having you drive was such a bad idea. Why didn't Ares teach me how to drive? At least nobody cares here if you run over a few souls of the damned.

    Otter: You can't drrrrivey-drive anywayz, Geb. Yew dunt got enny LEGS!

    Qhobeg: Those are my special camoflauge pants, not... ugh, nevermind.

    Otter: PRETTY LAY-DEEZ, HERE WE COME!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Scene swipe back to Sugarless and the hooded man, still holding the Chinese food in one hand and her arm in the other. Sugarless stops not even after thirty seconds of running through confusing and complicated corridors.

    Sugarless: Now just wait a minute here!

    The man stops as well, letting her go.

    Sugarless: I don't know what you think you're doing, but I demand that you give me that food! I'll give you your money, and I can go back to where I'm supposed to be, and you can go back to your chinese restaurant and do your job. We'll just pretend... that none of this happened, OK?

    Man: Sure, but there's a problem with that. See, I don't actually work for a chinese restaurant. I knocked the delivery guy unconscious and took his order as, well... we'll say it's part of my business. And I don't think that's (he points back towards the direction they came) where you're really supposed to be. Taken in by some maintainance-type men, perhaps?

    Sugarless: What the--? How did you--? ...Who are you?

    The man pulls back his hoodie, revealing a Caucassian face and blonde-silver hair.

    Man: I'm called Antestarr. You're new around here, aren't you, Miss...?

    Sugarless: Sugarless. And uh, yes...?

    Ante: If you'd like, you can come with me. I can give you some explination as to your situation, help you with your footing... You can leave at any point you wish, assuming you take my offer. You must believe me though when I say that you are not safe back there.

    Sugarless: Why?

    Ante: It just isn't. You have to trust me on this one.

    Sugarless narrows her round, expressive eyes at Antestarr, trying to stare through his eyes. She then glances down at the bag of Chinese food.

    Sugarless: Can I eat my food now, if I come with you?

    Ante: Of course.

    Sugarless: Good. So, Antestarr, let's hear your story.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Otter: ...and THATSH MY SHTORY!

    Qhobeg: I didn't understand a single word you said.

    The Otter and Qhobeg pass a road sign that says "Place of Any Significance to the Story: 10 miles." There is virtually nothing else on or around the highway as they speed on by, and amazingly well, considering its driver's intoxicated state.

    Otter: Ahm jusht sayin', Geb, that ull hour "hero" ssstuff that we did didn't... it didn't git me any wimmin. No jugs, no curvvvez... NUTHIN'! So I just trrrn back to m'friend Jack and thuh Capt'n Morgun felleh and all their friends with wimmin... I can't have... can't be any worse thish way, roit? ROIT? Find more of 'em when you put on shpeshul behr guggles, eh? Like yer speshul pants and no legs, eh? More ruum for the lay-deez in yur PANTSH! HAHA!

    Qhobeg (to himself): We're almost there...

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Ante: ...and that's how, more or less, I'm involved in this life, this story known as the NeS.

    Sugarless: I didn't understand a single word you said.

    Antestarr and Sugarless walk down, apparently aimlessly, through ever-strange passageways. Antestarr eats his (or rather, "Scruffy's") Chinese food with a pair of chopsticks, while Sugarless eats her own with a plastic fork.

    Ante: That's to be expected. Even I find myself confused with some of the things that happen. The important things to remember are to stick close to people, try not to get too caught up and confused in what's going on, and to not be afraid to find this life funny. We'd all go mad if we did. Then again, it's entirely possible we already have.

    Sugarless: Eh, insanity has its perks too. So about that writer I saw earlier, that those maintainance guys brought in...*swallows some food* He says what happens and doesn't happen in this "Never-ending Story" we're in?

    Ante: He's one of many, yes. And there's one that has brought you into the NeS too, a writer who's likely a lot like you. I'll be honest -- I'm not entirely sure why those maintainance men have one of the writers in their grasp, but whatever the case, it can't be good. Writers are powerful beings, and they're not to be trusted. They would have you on the edge of death, suffering through conflict after conflict, or use you for a bad punch-line, if it served their purposes.

    Sugarless: Well this isn't good.

    Ante: Try not to worry too much. You'll get the hang of this crazy life soon enough.

    Sugarless: No, it's not that. I think I just swallowed part of my fork.

    Ante: Oh.

    Sugarless: I've lived through worse, but now what am I going to eat the rest of the Chinese food with? Actually... it's not really that much...

    Antestarr watches with wide eyes as Sugarless shakes the large and still-nearly-full carton of Chinese food into her mouth, swollowing it as if it were a pill.

    Sugarless: ...what? And hey, are you going to have the rest in that bag?

    She snatches the bag as Antestarr stares, stunned as she eats the rest of the contents in seconds.

    Ante: Mother of Pearl, this woman could give Krig some competition...

    Sugarless: So where are we going then? I hope there's a place to eat nearby.

    Ante: ...right. Just over here.

    He gestures towards a nearby door, and the two of them approach it.

    Ante: This should be it... We're going to drop in Canada, and then into a place called NeShattered.

    Sugarless: Yay! I hope the Canadians are as nice as I've heard they are.

    Ante: Yeah, uh, about that... well.... nevermind.

    Antestarr opens the door, which leads out onto the middle of a highway not too unfamiliar to the one Sugarless was on earlier, except much colder. The two of them walk through it, closing the door behind them.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Otter: Man, I musht've had toooo much now. I'm sheeng some bluhdy crazy shtuff uh-head.

    Qhobeg: No, I see it too. And... people? There's people on the road! STOP!

    Otter: Whaa...?

    Qhobeg makes no hesitation as he grabs the wheel from The Otter. Their car is going too fast, however, and begins to swerve. Qhobeg soon loses any hope of control over the wheel, so he grabs The Otter and bails out of the speeding car, rolling to a stop rather close to the people on the road. The convertable car miraclously swerves around the people on the road, then makes a sharp turn some six hundred feet, where it crashes and bursts into flames. It could be from all the still-unopened alcohol in their car, but more likely it's because the car crashed into a "Hell" gas station. Qhobeg looks up to see that the people are Antestarr and a blonde-haired young woman.

    Qhobeg: Antestarr? What are you doing here?

    Ante: I could ask the same thing, Qhobeg. Did you let The Otter there drive?

    Sugarless: You know these people?

    The Otter blinks, and soon realizes the condition of their car.

    Otter: THE BOOZE!

    Qhobeg: You idiot! You nearly ran over Antestarr and this pretty lady!

    Otter: Pretty...lady...?

    The Otter turns his head to see Sugarless. His gaze suddenly sobers.

    Otter: You're the most beutiful woman I've ever seen...

    Sugarless raises an eyebrow, and turns to Qhobeg.

    Qhobeg: He says this about every woman.

    Otter: I almost killed the most beautiful woman alive... what have I done?

    The Otter then passes out, leaving Antestarr, Qhobeg and Sugarless in the Ninth Circle of Hell. They notice that an angry mob of figures is approaching them from the now nearby towers, just down the highway.

    Sugarless: They aren't here to help us, are they?

    Ante: I'm going to go with a "no."
    Last edited by Gebohq; 07-16-2006 at 03:04 AM.

  13. #653
    Suddenly, between our hero-types and the angry mob, a large, two-dimensional wall pops into place. On it read--
    Hi all!Suprisingly, the Nissan Skyline has...
    --followed by a large amount of text giving a sales-pitch on said car. The effect is something like a billboard, but inducing a nauseating sensation and smelling something like a low-grade pork product.


    Sugarless: Is that... spam?

    Ante: Yes. I've seen them before here, in the NeS, and not too long ago either. I don't know if this is a sign of something worse. In any case, I suppose we should be fortunate that it's obstructing that angry mob that was heading towards us.

    Just as suddenly, the spam-wall appears to be removed from existance by an unseen power.

    Sugarless: Good going there. Don't you know anything about Murphy's Law?

    Ante: Um... sorry?

    (NSP: NeS needed some lovin', and none of us, myself included, seem to be able to post for one reason or another. I've been having to delete spam on the ISB as of late though, and I like to reflect "real life" Massassi events into the ISB from time to time. Feel free to ignore this as a filler or go in some direction with it. Doesn't matter to me.)

  14. #654
    Registered User
    Posts
    11
    The angry mob draws nearer and nearer to our heroes. Out of nowhere they see something falling from the sky. Wait it's not falling...it has wings!! ...but they aren't moving...thats not good.

    *SQUISH!* A figure with long golden blonde hair and enormous wings is sprawled on the ground in between the mob and the heroes.

    Everyone just stops and stares at what lies in front of them...an angel?

    She gets up and stumbles a bit, and falls back down.


    Angel: I'm here to save you?

    She lets out a nervous hehe...and then stops as she sees the angry hellions approaching them...

    Hellion #1: Who's that?

    Hellion #2: Oh &*^%! IT'S HER! RUN AWAY!

    The angry mob turns tail and runs in the opposite direction. The angel-lady turns to face Antestarr and co., cracking a half-smile.

    Angel: Well uh, that was a bit unexpected... so uh... need some help?

  15. #655
    The group stands in a semi-circle around the mysterious winged beauty, eyes shifting in confusion. Finally, Sugarless breaks the silence

    Sugarless: Who's that, Antestar?

    Antestar: Uhh, that's uhh... Well, I don't know.

    Angel: Pleased to meet you all. My name is Ariana. You can call me Ari if you'd like.

    The Otter: hrrr, yer a downroit purty gal, aint yas, Ariana? Call me The Otter, if ya please.

    Ari: "The Otter" how about just, "Otter"

    The Otter: Yous need to dahvelop sum mannersh. Ya don' hear me callin' ya jus "Ari" or "Ana" doo yas?

    Ari: Well either is fine actually, but to each his own. It's a pleasure to meet you, "The Otter".

    The Otter: Roit then, wants tah get sum coffee, miz. Err maybe quite bite tah eat and a moovie?

    Antestar: Ahem, excuse me, The Otter. I hate to break in on this blatent attempt to "pick up" a lady, but I must interject. Where did you come from Ari?

    Ari: Oh, I've been here a long time. I've just been... somewhat indesposed.

    Sugarless: What does that mean?

    There is a touch of a sneer in Sugarless' voice. Ari hesitates, slightly taken aback, but recovers quickly.

    Ari: Well I was kidnapped by some nasty little men who liked to play poker. They kept saying something about maintaining the integrity of the NeS.

    Ante: The Maintenece Dudes kidnapped you?

    Ari: Is that what they do? Anyway, it wasn't exactly my... finest moment, but yes.

    Ante: Why would they kidnap you?

    Ari: I'm not entirely sure. But I escaped. I was trying to pick the lock... but instead I broke it.

    Ante: And it just... came open?

    Ari shrugs with a blank expression on her face. Qhobeg, who up until this moment had been observing the conversation with a carefully neutral expression uses the moment to inturrupt.

    Qhobeg: Now wait a second. You're holding something back. That mob recognized you.

    Ari: Oh yes, quite so. I'm sorry, I didn't think to mention it. I thought you already knew. They were here on behalf of those men... What did you call them, the Maintenence Dudes? Anyway, when I was... originally captured, it was they who initially got the drop on me. But boy did I give them a beating they'll not forget. Unfortunately, while I was distracted by them, the Maintenence Dudes popped out of nowhere and... pulled me somewhere. They kept jabbering on about the oddest things, and I was so disoriented, that the next thing I knew, they had me in a cage.

    Ante: Plothole.

    Ari: What?

    Ante: That's how the get back and forth from the NeS and what you might call the backstage of NeS. Kind of like the inner workings of a car. You usually see the outside, but without the engine and transmission and whatnot, the car doesn't run. Anyway, ironically enough, it's their job to prevent plotholes and the like forming, but I guess to fix something you've got to understand how it works, and they understand the plotholes enough to use them to their own advantage. Anyway, I was just taking Sugarless to meet up with some friends of ours. You're welcome to tag along if you'd like. There are others there that can explain the NeS and how it works much better than I.

    Ari eyes The Otter distastefully. He licks his lips.

    Ari: I'd... like that, I suppose.

    Qhobeg sighes and mutters something about trust under his breath, and the group moves on down the road.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    Lassev: I guess there was something captivating in savagery, because I liked it.

  16. #656
    A late Nahava clay jug arcs through the sickly green flicker of the inquest room. Last of its kind, no museum had cared enough to enshrine this artifact of a people forgotten the moment they were trod underfoot. This relic, fired in a now-broken kiln, bears no proud inscription of warriors or the hunt - it was filled with whiskey as soon as it could hold any and has seldom run dry for very long.

    This fetish of shame and the symbol of the downfall of a nation need not haunt our collective conscience much longer - is has just shattered over the aching skull of Ammobelt, who slumps in a metal chair at the focus of a hell of silent concrete and screaming lights.

    "Prop him up, dammit," Grismath spit. "I want him to look me in the eye when he lies."

    Guzzard returns to the spotlight, feeling naked without his flask as a fixture. He resituates his former partner as both men wince at the situation.

    "With all respect, m'lord..." a shadowy mound begins, "this is getting us nowhere."

    "If I wanted another of your witticisms, Agent Mama Bear, I would have asked for it."

    The object of Lord Grismath's venom shifts her hulking form uncomfortably and tries to skirt even deeper into the darkness until his gaze is lifted.

    "Now, where was I." Grismath states more than asks, frowning at the red dots that have stained his otherwise smart grey suit. "I am going to revisit the day's events as I understand them..." he impregnates each silence with sinister meaning, "...and then you will illuminate me further. If I so much as suspect you of lying in a futile attempt to lessen your role in this colossal act of incompetence," now for the abortion, "Guzzard will execute you."

    Ammobelt does not protest. He is not taken aback by this seemingly grotesque breach of the law, for all the agents of the Canadian Collective have learned that the law can be a very relative concept. Guzzard considers his duty that lies locked and loaded in the chamber of his high-powered pistol. He may be about to be an instrumet of justice, the eyes taking aim for the blind mistress all here assembled had pledged to serve.

    "I dispatched the appropriately named 'Semievil' in order to lead us to .

    Agent Tumbleweed and yourself were assigned to near and far coverage, respectively. Tumbleweed was to travel unseen with Semievil and you were to track his movements remotely.

    Semievil proceeds to requisition an aeroplane from a nearby hangar and fly, with Tumbleweed, to rendezvous with his cohorts. Semievil then manages an urban landing, warns the targets of our operation of our focus, disappears along with said targets, and then detonates the plane in the middle of the city, taking our very own Agent Tumbleweed along with it.

    Agent Sno-Cone reports an encounter with Lt. Col. Romanov and another individual, who are then traced to be in the vicinity of the explosion, yet who also vanish and whose whereabouts are now completely unknown.

    My question for you is, WHERE IN THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU?"

    Ammobelt gasps and wheezes, choking on blood that has entered his lungs. That he was unable to cover the distance flown by the plane on his own had not passed as an acceptable excuse and had lost him two fingers and a toe. Some sort of recognition glimmers in Ammobelt's bloodshot eyes. He whispers something incomprehensible.

    "Louder!" Grismath snaps, but leans in close to Ammobelt's mouth just in case.

    "...with... your... mom..." This is when Ammobelt bites. Grismath recoils back and orders Guzzard to blow Ammobelt away. Guzzard, lost in a maze of morality makes as if to hand the pistol to Grismath, but Lord Tiberius, clouded by his rage, pulls a revolver of his own and aims it squarely at Guzzard's head.

    Before he can utter another command, Guzzard spins his pistol around into a firing position, but not before Grismath pulls the trigger and sprays Guzzard across the room. Ammobelt screams and tips his chair back, passing out as his skull cracks the concrete floor. The gunshot reverberates through the confines of the inquest room and Mama Bear runs for the door. Grismath pumps two rounds into her large target, sending her diving onto the floor. He snaps the revolver open and lets the bullets plink out. Then he tosses his pistol onto her body just as several smartly uniformed officers appear on the scene.

    With a wave of his hand, Grismath orders, "Clean" and pushes through to the stairwell, making a point of stepping on Ammobelt on the way out.

    Curiously enough, a thorough search of the room does not reveal any trace of Agent Guzzard...

  17. #657
    Benevolant
    Upward
    Mobility
    Post

    B.U.M.--

    Suddendly, the B.U.M.P.! gets shoved out of the way by something far more sinister...

    Manevolant
    Underhanded
    Stagnent
    Tag

    M.U.S.T.!

    M.U.S.T.? What the hell? I swear, if this starts catching on...

  18. #658
    Inside of the hangar was strangely quiet. A low distant howl fills the space as countless sand grains whistle against the thin steel walls. The Detective and his partner hesitate for a moment as their eyes refocus in the gloom. After a moment they see clearly by the light of foggy sandblasted windows and rows of half-broken flickering mercury vapor floods.

    A short whistle cuts through the groaning noise. They look down to see three figures standing in the middle of the empty space. One of them waves toward a space some feet down the wall. The Detective looks across the web of catwalks and sees the one next to the door leading around to a landing some feet away with a crated stair leading down. He glances toward his parter and makes a vague scratching motion in a space several inches below his left armpit. His partner nods.

    The stairs squeak and lean precariously under their feet as they make their way toward ground level. At last they stand face-to-face with three clean-cut young men wearing blue Air Force uniforms. The shortest stands in front, with his hands carefully held visible. The other two exchange a nervous glance as the Detective approaches. His partner brings up the rear and stands a few feet away. An awkward silence descends as a tension of professional intensity forms in the locked gazes of the Detective and Hawthorne.


    Detective: You have information?
    Lt. Hawthorne: Yes.
    Detective: What do you want for it?
    Lt. Hawthorne: Nothing. We - I - want the truth.
    Detective: You don't already have it?
    Lt. Hawthorne: No.
    Detective: Then what is there to talk about?
    Lt. Hawthorne: Physics.
    Detective: Physics?
    Lt. Hawthorne: Physics. Do follow the scientific... no, of course you don't. There is a professor out East working on the unification of field and string theories. His thesis is, in essence, that the world is composed of narrative threads overlaid on a field of essential probability. These threads are aligned in a superstructure which defines time, space, dimensionality, causality, and so on.
    Detective: How does this relate to the case?
    Lt. Hawthorne: Doctor Valleho suggests that disturbances in the narrative thread substructure may have long reaching and unpredictable effects.
    Detective: Disturbances.

    Hawthorne purses his lips and nods slightly, not so much in affirmation, but in appreciation that the Detective isn't asking the one question he knows Hawthorne can't answer. A long moment follows in silence as the sounds of the wind begin to gutter.

    Detective: And the case...?
    Lt. Hawthorne: I belie-

    Hawthorne's words are drowned out as a deafening burst of sound and light beyond sight and hearing explodes from the door. The noise cuts through the Detective's sternum and cinches his intestines in vice. His ears buzz with a muffled ringing as his right eye flickers from the flash.

    In the mess of his brain, the Detective feels more than hears three words rise out of his thoughts: Here it comes.

    Hawthorne dives for cover in a stack of metal crates to his left. The Detective's partner bolts after him as a hail of gunfire streaks through the remains of door, now a ragged mass of hot dripping metal. Black figures in dark masks swarm through the blinding light streaming through the opening. The man who had been on Hawthorne's left falls almost instantly, perforated with bullets and dripping blood. The nervous looking man formerly on Hawthorne's right drops to one knee and flails for his holster, but looks up into the Detective's gun.

    The black figures bypass the Detective and Jenkins. They run through the hangar and cordon the doorway. Several of them sweep toward the crates.

    Hawthorne bounds up a ladder behind the crates, followed by the Detective's partner. Bullets spark and zing around them. Hawthorne hears a soft whump like the sound of meat hit by a hammer. The Detective's parter groans. Hawthorne leaps to the catwalk and shoulders through the door on the opposite side of the hangar from where the Detective entered. The Detective's parter limps after him with an arm pressed to his side. With his free hand he shoots blindly behind him as the black figures swarm up the ladder.

    In the blinding light outside he follows Hawthorne's shadow into a neighboring warehouse connected to the hangar by another catwalk. He continues shooting behind him until his gun makes the sickening click of an empty magazine. He tosses the gun away and runs as fast as he can. Another round of fire comes from the door of the hangar. He half runs, half trips through the warehouse door as Hawthorne shuts it behind him.

    The black catwalk inside the warehouse rushes up at him as he falls. White electricity surges through his body as pain and adrenaline rush to his brain. He feels Hawthorne's hands on his shoulders drag him from the door. He blacks out for an instant. When he opens his eyes he sees a dark shape like a large yawning monster with thick squat legs and big square eyes. Blinding light blasts at the edge of his vision. He reaches inside his coat and gropes for Hawthorne's arm. Finally he feels Hawthorne's arm and clasps his hand in a sideways grip. Hawthorne feels a small cold length of metal pressed into his hand. The Detective's partner chokes and speaks in a whisper.


    Partner: Take it. He... he's quitting.

    Hawthorne watches black silhouettes collect around the door and look around for several moments. Finally they turn and walk back toward the hangar. Hawthorne lies in the abandoned loader next to the Detective's partner for what seems like an eternity, listening to his own deafening heartbeat and the other man's breath get fainter and fainter. A sickeningly warm liquid touches his skin. He closes his eyes and tries not to think or breathe or feel.

    The Detective watches the black figures come through the door above and collect at the main door to the hangar. They all stand there making vague gestures as if having a conversation by way of some kind of radio. Gingerly he steps toward the ladder behind the crates, keeping an eye on the black figures out of the corner of his eye. He doesn't notice one of them at the edge of the group turn his head to follow him across the room.

    The Detective makes his way across the catwalk outside in the blinding sunlight and through into the warehouse. He looks down in the darkness at a room full of old decrepit prewar hardware. A rusted-out loader with a large bucket sits near the door.


    Detective: Lieutenant?

    Hawthorne's head emerges from the bucket of the loader.

    Lt. Hawthorne: You better get down here. Your partner...

    The Detective flies down the rickety catwalk stairs and helps Hawthorne unload his partner. They each take an arm, and Hawthorne gestures toward a path through the mess of junk. Together they haul the Detective's partner out of a ground-level door and into the light. A large black vehicle pulls away and speeds off toward the highway in a cloud of yellow-red dust. They load the Detective's partner into the Crown Victoria, and without another glance at Hawthorne the Detective gets into the driver's seat and starts the engine with a roar. The car skids in a circle as the Detective drives off.

    Hawthorne stands rooted numbly to the spot. He opens his hand and glances down at the lighter. He drops it in his pocket. After a moment he turns and walks toward the hangar, through the wreckage of the door. The hangar floor is clean. He walks over and stands where he was just a few minutes before. He kneels and searches the floor around his feet, but sees no evidence of anything. The faint smell of solvent rises from the old concrete. He stands and turns back toward the door, looking across the desert glowing in the afternoon sun. He shoulders out of his jacket and rolls up his sleeves. He purses his lips and nods. He walks toward the old battered truck, gets in, and without a second glance, drives away from the complex.

    The Detective sits in the hall of the hospital with his head in his hands, staring down at the stained linoleum. A thousand noises reach his ears but fail to register until he sees a pair of white tennis shoes in front of him. He looks up at a young woman in a blue hospital uniform with a clipboard.


    Nurse: You brought him in?
    Detective: Yes.
    Nurse: He's in the recovery suite. The doctor removed two of the bullets and stitched up his stomach, but one of his lungs collapsed and one of the bullets is lodged in his spine. He's in a coma on life support. He probably won't wake up, and if he did he'll never walk again.
    Detective: Can I see him?
    Nurse: Well, I-
    Detective: Please.
    Nurse: Fine, fine, five minutes.

    The Detective follows her down the hall and into a room. His partner lies hooked up to a number of different machines, with the sound of heart monitors beeping slowly in the background. Something over his mouth hisses and rises up and down. The Detective shakes his head and turns away. He walks out of the room and glances over at the nurse as he goes past.

    Detective: Turn it off.

    Thatchett: ...please.
    Hawthorne: I can't. It's time to finish it.
    Thatchett: But what about before?
    Hawthorne: Only one way to find out.
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  19. #659
    The “reactor” hummed softly as Hawthorne began the near Frankenstein process of breathing life back into the monster. The arcane machine showed every sign of being a mere Relic of no more than a generation past, but in many ways it seemed timeless. Just the wreckage of a old battleship slowly rusting in murky waters can reflect the timeless face of death, the “reactor” was reflecting something just as timeless, but also, nameless.

    Hawthorne had to slow down his pace, up until this point he had not needed the carefully written instruction. He was just fixing systems he had designed 12 years ago, but here, the instructions branched off. Bridging systems he never meant to be bridged, turning the systems back in onto themselves, and creating entirely new subsystems from the remains of old ones. But somehow, amongst the chaos of the modifications Hawthorne was being asked to perform, he saw something organic, something beautiful. Just as any engineer experiences a sense of awe when he examines the intricate systems of the common cellular organism, Hawthorne saw patterns and genus in the changes that would have been inconceivable to him on his own.

    But Hawthorne had slowed down for another reason, He was getting close, close to the moment where he was going to have to make a decision. On the one hand he was standing at the altar to the nightmare that had haunted and chased him for years. He was about to start again the very thing that had destroyed his own life, and the lives of so many others. On the other hand were answers. The only thing that could possibly slay his nightmare, the truth. He had been rolling these thoughts around and around in his head as he worked. But he already knew the answer. He knew the moment he read the words hastily scribbled at the end of the instructions, written with a passionate hand that contrasted to greatly with the carefully and meticulous instructions above. But that did not make it any easier, just because he already knew the answer did not make the act of committing to it any less daunting, any less important. HE had to take this step, here and now, right or wrong, it was his decision to make. Even if there was only one way to chose. He read the words one last time to himself before going back to the instructions on bridging the secondary sub-systems.


    * * * * *

    The Detective and Voodoo had ridden in silence since their last discourse. The last question hug in the air as heavily as the bay fog that still land-marked the detectives childhood memories. He was on the edge, literally and figuratively, and he knew it. Everything was building up to this, the three fates of ancient were watching with their one eye, and nothing was about to stop him. He had transcended the need for food or sleep, fueled by destiny and the ambrosia of his own adrenaline he had become as close to the immortal gods as a man might become.

    While the burning flame of the inevitable was tempering the soul of the Detective, it was peeling away the last layers of humanity that shielded Voodoo’s soul. She had passed into an almost feverish dream, drifting slowly between the “real world” and the nightmarish prison of nothing that seemed just beyond reality. Her body was wearing down, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion from days worth of travel and confusion were bearing down on her. She did not know what she wanted or where she wanted to be, but she did know that she did not want to be here.

    Finally as if a cry from the darkness, Voodoo’s stomach let out a meager growl that shook her from her etheric nightmare and reminded her that she really was starving. Startled discovery gave way to embarrassment when she realized that the detective had also heard her gastrointestinal distress and was now smiling gently in her direction. Without saying a word he reached over and opened the glove compartment. Rummaging through the contents he produced a candy bar and a bottle of water so old that it’s label had begun to disintegrate and handed them to Voodoo.


    Detective: Sometimes you never know what’s going to happen next, and it’s always good to be prepared.

    Voodoo: Thanks…

    Detective: Listen, I didn’t mean to indicate that I didn’t care about you… about what happens to you I mean…

    Voodoo: …You just have to do what you have to do… Right?

    Detective: Yeah. Something like that. If it makes you feel any better, I will give you my word right here and right now…

    Voodoo: No, don’t. Like you said, you never know what’s going to happen next. How can you be prepared to do what you have to do if you are all tied up in promises to some little girl who is afraid of the dark…

    Detective: I… Just…

    The detectives eyes, which had drifted from the empty salt plain into a gentile gaze in Voodoo’s direction, suddenly caught something up ahead. The detective slammed down on the brakes sending the heavy sedan into a skid, finally coming to a halt only a few feet from a sandstone bolder that stuck it’s head from the sands. As the detective climbed from the car he discovered that the bolder was only a marker for something much greater. As abruptly as the border between light and shadow on the face of the half moon the dry sands of the flat had given way, without warning, to a rocky canyon. A small creak snaked it’s way through the rocky aquifer, and beyond the canyon on either side, the sands continued on endlessly. The detective heart raced as the realization dawned upon him that without the bolder there would have been no way for the detective to have seen the canyon until he had literally driven over the edge.

    Detective: *turning back towards Voodoo and the car* It looks like I need to continue on foot form here. You can stay here; there is another blanket in the trunk and a gun in back of the glove compartment. If I’m not back before nightfall… well… go back to whatever life I ripped you from. I’m sorry I’ve put you through all this.

    Voodoo: That’s it? I’m Sorry? I’m Sorry I’ve ruined you life. I’m Sorry I’ve torn you from the only man that you’ve ever felt connected to? I’m Sorry I’ve dragged you into the middle of nowhere with no idea how to get back to civilization. I’m Sorry I’ve filled you head with the nightmares of an old detective? Like it or not I’m involved in this now, and I won’t just drive away leaving you alone in this desert and your daemons in my head. I’m coming with you. You don’t have to promise me anything, but at the same time you can’t just write me off.

    Detective: Then let’s at least rest a moment, give you a chance to eat, drink, and rest up…

    * * * * *

    Mayaal retreated quickly from Bhac’s corner of 1337 and headed where the narrative threads shown brightest amongst the tangled web of possibilities. He half expected to find Bhac waiting for him there, a smug smile on his face. But 1337 was alone, empty.

    Mayaal sat down and focused on the story. He laid the threads out before him and began to go over them again and again. They were knotted and twisted, intertwined and broken just like all of NeS. But there was a convergence. A single knot where all the threads came together, and worse, something was blocking Mayaal from seeing into that knot. Somehow Bhac had managed to block him out of a certain area of NeS. Creating a zone of narrative impenetrability that now was at the very center of the tempest. Mayaal and tried to dance under this shield before, a stray albatross, a siren. And his not so gentile probing had revealed to him the existence of Bhac’s plan. But now he did not have time to lay another trap. He reached out an grasped a single thread that lead into the knot.

    The detective, Mayaal had to admit he had a certain fondness for the detective. Something about him comforted Mayaal, the unflinching goodness of the Noir Hero. The might detective, untouchable and incorruptible. Now he was Mayaal’s only hope…


    * * * * *

    Hawthorne read the instructions over one more time. They were very specific on the last steps, and the words conveyed a sense of urgency. Hawthorne also felt the most uncertain about these steps. Everything else had made a strange sort of sense to him. But what was asked of him now went beyond any expertise he might have. For a long time he had wondered about the device that Bhac had helped them attach to the Astro-van, but he never really worried much about it. The van ran better with it, and he secretly dreamt of it breaking down so he could have an excuse to open it up and study it’s inner workings. But now he was being asked to transfer it from the astro-van into one of the new sub-systems of the “reactor”. This alone worried him, but the wording of the instructions made things worse. “Transfer the device as quickly as possible and activate the subsystem as soon as all the connections are secured.”

    Now was the time to make the decision. Any point up until now Hawthorne could have pulled the override switch and brought it all down gracefully. But once he installed this strange device there was no saying what the internal state would be. No turning back.

    On his back beneath the Astro-van Hawthorne reached over and gently petted Thatchett on the head.


    Hawthorne: This is it buddy.

    Thatchett: Boss, Please don’t do this. I just can’t shake this feeling that whatever this thing is, its bad news. You know that boss, you know this thing is bad news, lets just drive away, leave it in the past where it belongs.

    Hawthorne: I can’t do that… I… I… It just won’t go away. It wont be forgotten. And if I don’t do this now, someone else is going to have to do it later.

    Thatchett: Then let them! Let someone else who has a good reason to do this get his hands dirty. You belong on the road, with me…

    Hawthorne: No… I’m sorry buddy, but I don’t. Not any more. I’ve run for too long, and this is the only way to get to the truth.

    Thatchett: Just be careful boss…

    Hawthorne: I will buddy… Let’s do this.

    With a quick flick of his wrist Hawthorne detached the strange device from the undercarriage of the Astro-van, began to scramble desperately out from under the astro-van. Once clear he bolted to his feet and made a mad dash over to the reactor. His heart pumped with the same unknown urgency that the instructions had attempted to convey. Hawthorne quickly fashioned the device into its housing and was just about to power up the sub-system…

    Voice: FREEZE!

    * * * * *

    Mayaal continued to pick at the knots of events leading up to the “present”. The story was confusing indeed, and in other circumstances he might have ignored it completely. But somehow these innocent events, simple adventures with little consequence to NeS had become intertwined with something deeper, darker. Something of Bhac’s design.

    Then… Suddenly… Something changed.

    Mayaal’s eyes darted up and down the story-scape seeking to understand what had just changed. All the threads were still there, everything seemed to be the same. Except. Except he could now see into the knot. Whatever had shielded that part of the story from his vision was gone. With a smile Mayaal stood up.

    The detective had done his job.


    * * * * *
    "Well, if I am not drunk, I am mad, but I trust I can behave like a gentleman in either
    condition."... G. K. Chesterton

    “questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself”

  20. #660
    Child's Play CharityGoY's Pessimistic Soy Boy Toy
    Posts
    17,363
    (NSP: A Kirby post, with some sprinkling of Geb help.)

    The world swirled around Sarn, causing him to be sick if he focused on one thing for too long. Trees were wafting in the wind, losing more than leaves into the lines that made up the wind, distorting the tree’s image. Colors faded and blended as if a finger were smearing pastels in every odd direction just out of the corner of Sarn’s eye. Bushes and birds and clouds all seemed to smear as one, and in the same instance, be as distinct as reality. Sarn's current state was, to say the least, very confusing. He quickly became dizzy and fell into a thick warn body behind him that spoke.

    Mayaal The dream state is difficult for even me to keep my bearings in. The words never remain the same. It is a thesaurus of a world, and I’m simply trying to catch a single word in time to define the world itself. I decided that bringing you here would be a wonderful place to teach you a lesson.

    It took Sarn several seconds before it came to him. The darkness, and the loss of control crept up on him. He hadn’t realized how large the sensation had grown in the back of his head. He glared at Mayaal in terror just before turning to flee, only to meet Mayaal’s blindfolded stare again.

    Mayaal I may have trouble reading this place, but it does nothing to who I am, and what I can do. Speaking of which, it seems you’ve forgotten who it is that has given you your task, and what exactly I can do.

    Suddenly the surging of water was all around Sarn. He was now standing on a cliff, just off to the side of a raging waterfall. Standing in front of him, just suspended above the water, was Mayaal, chuckling to himself.

    Mayaal It was discovered recently that injuries received in the dream state carried over into reality. The injuries sustained by the Heroes last time they traveled here followed them to the waking world. I’ve always wondered though… if you die in the dream state, do you die in the waking world? Or do you simply cease to exist?

    Mayaal paused for a moment, and Sarn came upon the terrifying realization just as Mayaal’s pink fleshy lips curled back for a smile, his tangled beard framing the devious grin in a masterpiece, followed by the beautiful crescendo:

    Mayaal Spelunk.

    Sarn’s sneeze seemed both distant, and from within himself in the same instance. Sneezing in this world seemed to take the most literal concept of the sneeze: Something from within escaping to be something on the outside. This concept, for some reason, hurt far worse.

    Sarn sailed off of the edge of the cliff, the blast of his sneeze causing a minor concussion, leaving him just enough conscience to watch his descent to a sure death at the rocky base of the water-washed cliff.

    When people are about to die, they revert to their most primal instincts. When you are a child, you believe that closing your eyes will make the danger go away. Sarn would not have been able to open his eyes to save himself at this point.

    Moments after what should have been his impending death, Sarn winked open his eyes. Mayaal stood before him, his belly laugh cutting through the ringing in Sarn’s ears.


    Mayaal Reading the image of a grown man assuming the fetal position while sailing headlong into a rocky death plunge has GOT to be the best thing ever written! Oh man, you should have read it, you were-

    Mayaal darted back as the dangerous blade shot past him, slashing a portion of his robe that now hung in tatters, the place where the blade cut turning black and falling to the ground as ash.

    Without thinking, Mayaal’s fist assisted Sarn into a man-sized-crater, a bruised and sobbing Sarn lying in the middle next to one of the few things that caused Mayaal fear.


    Mayaal I’m afraid this lesson has been more than taught. When you awake, you will find Bhac, and carry out my will. This time, you will have the ringing of my wrath, and that word on your forehead to carry you on.[/b]

    Mayaal snaps his fingers, and Sarn blinks back to where he had been.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 08-11-2006 at 01:26 AM.
    ᵗʰᵉᵇˢᵍ๒ᵍᵐᵃᶥᶫ∙ᶜᵒᵐ
    ᴸᶥᵛᵉ ᴼᵑ ᴬᵈᵃᵐ

  21. #661
    (NSP: A Geb-Kirby post.)

    Thand: Fascinating. I imagine that restraining yourself must have been difficult as of late.

    Arkng Thand takes a sip of his tea, turning his attention away from his garden and back to Mayaal across the table.

    Mayaal: *chuckles* I would have enjoyed tearing him limb from limb. I thought he'd be a fine hound to hunt down my Bhac, but instead, he finds himself some woman to lull over. Twin suns, however...

    Thand: Seems to serve your purposes far better. You plot well for a servant of Good.

    Thand smiles.

    Mayaal: And you do well as the devil's advocate, old friend. None of us seem to be playing the parts we're supposed to - and really, how could I? With Bhac and his intervention with the heroes...

    Arkng Thand shoots Mayaal a questioning glance.

    Mayaal: Wise Thand... I thought I truly understand what Good and Evil were, but I find myself allowing certain questionable things because of the good natured intentions behind them. Is the nature of a person in their actions, or in their intentions?

    Thand: The nature of a person is a double-edged blade. Without good intentions, a man's actions are meaningless, but without good actions, a man's intentions are equally meaningless.

    Thand sips some of his tea.

    Mayaal: I was created into this position because of the equalization of my fathers. Their absolutely conflicting characters caused a nuetrality in the story that, if not for the intervention of the NeS itself, would have destroyed the story. I think that, if Bhac begins saving heroes in order to gain their trust, that I must retort. It's almost that because he is acting as the good actions, that I must act as the evil... This balance is what keeps the NeS alive.

    Thand: You see the larger picture at hand, though. You serve for the greater good. As difficult as it must be, your place is not always to be good, but to keep the good of NeS balanced with the evil.

    Mayaal: But that's what I mean. If I do not find a way to reach good through Evil, Bhac's act of good will be inbalanced. He may have the sourist of intentions, but his actions are furthering the heroes. If I were to do my best to further that goodness, the NeS would be far too off-balanced.

    Mayaal drinks some of his tea, holding his cup in both hands, and never quite places it back down.

    Thand: It would seem that you've had your hands tied in the matter. To avoid moral conflict, wouldn't it be best to use caution here? Perhaps a position of overseeing, something you're far more used to, would be a wise decision. I'm sure the moment of action will arise soon enough.

    Arkng Thand takes notice of Mayaal's intent reception to his advice.

    Mayaal: And what of Twin Suns? Revenge is not considered evil by the standards of the story, and he was reborn as a hero. He is powerful, Thand. I feel that controlling him may be difficult, and ultimately, a waste. I have an unusual blind faith in his chaotic nature. I don't trust so easily.

    Thand: Do not worry, Mayaal -- your trust is not without merit. If Twin Suns truely seeks revenge, his chaotic nature will be predictable enough. Keep vigilant, Mayaal. You are doing well.

    Mayaal: Thank you, Arkng Thand. Your counsel means much. I must go now, for I am needed for the next scene of NeS.

    Mayaal places his cup down on the table and stands. The two of them bow their heads, and Mayaal leaves. Finishing his tea, Arkng Thand enters back in his tower, sits down, and starts researching through a book of geneology, tracing back Twin Sun's ancestory...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 08-11-2006 at 01:28 AM.

  22. #662
    Meanwhile (NeS count: "please, let this joke die" +1), Antestarr, Qhobeg, The Otter, Ariana and Sugarless make their way into Jim Seven's corperate-style stronghold. Antestarr walks up to the receptionist's desk.

    Antestarr: Hello. We'd like to pay a visit to Jim Seven.

    The receptionist looks towards Antestarr with a mix of apathy and annoyance, as she is obviously busy with a conversation on the phone.

    Receptionist: Do you have an appointment?

    Antestarr: Well... no. But this guy over here *thumbs towards Qhobeg* is his psuedo-son, and he wants to see him. The rest of us have something to ask of him too.

    The receptionist rolls her eyes.

    Receptionist: Mr. Seven is very busy right now. If you want to make an appointment, you'll have to go to the Department of Annoying Meetings and Napalm office three blocks down and fill out the proper paperwork.

    Sugarless: Why are annoying meetings and napalm in the same department?

    Qhobeg: So they can make jokes about the DAMN office.

    Sudddenly, all that is heard are the sounds of crickets chirping. An exterminator passes by and starts spraying. Millions of crickets suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

    Antestarr: Please, don't explain the jokes. It only makes them worse.

    Qhobeg: Sorry.

    Receptionist: *back in her phone* Sorry about that, I just had to deal with some people...

    Antestarr: Excuse me, miss.

    Receptionist: *sigh* What is it now?

    Antestarr: If you don't let us see him, I'm afraid she *gestures to Ariana* will have to let us in by force.

    Ariana: I am? I mean -- yes.

    The receptionist takes notice of Ariana and growls.

    Receptionist: *in the phone* Sorry, I'll be right back.

    The receptionist places the phone down, then presses another button and picks the phone back up.

    Receptionist: Mr. Seven? Sorry to disturb you, but there's some people who want to see you... yes, I know sir, but they have that angel with them. ...yes, sir.

    She places the phone down, and turns her attention to Antestarr and the others.

    Receptionist: Mr. Seven will see you now. You *she points to Ariana* must stay here.

    Ariana looks at the others with concern, but Antestarr nods. Ariana takes a seat while the others enter to see Jim Seven. As they enter, the doors close behind them. Jim turns to face them from behind his desk.

    Jim Seven: Oh, it's you all. What do you want?

    Qhobeg: Well, uh, I'm here because--

    Jim Seven: Look, kid. Before you start, I don't know why you're here and I don't care. I cloned you out of whimsy, or maybe it was some plot of mine I didn't follow through with... it doesn't matter now. I have no more use from you, and I don't want to be your dad or see you. So unless you had something else in mind, you should just save your breath.

    Qhobeg stands still, then steps back with the others, taking a particular interest in the floor. Sugarless observes him before turning back her attention to Jim Seven and the others.

    Jim Seven: What about the rest of you? You know I don't really follow up on whatever **** NeS throws at you all anymore, right?

    Antestarr: All we ask is that you allow us access into that which is called NeShattered.

    Jim Seven: That ****hole? Why should I bother?

    Antestarr: Gebohq's counterpart from that place is back there now, and he still intends to take over the NeS, which includes your domain. He's enacting a plot to gain exponentially more power as we speak. We can stop him, but only if you will allow us access.

    Jim Seven: Hmm... fine.

    Jim Seven scribbles his signature on a random form and shoves it into Antestarr's hands.

    Jim Seven: Here. Show that to whoever's guarding the portal into NeShattered and get out of my hair. Take that... thing with you too.

    Antestarr: Thank you.

    Antestarr, The Otter, Sugarless and Qhobeg exit, taking Ariana with them.
    Last edited by Gebohq; 08-15-2006 at 01:35 AM.

  23. #663
    *Qhobeg saunters up to a menacing corporate security officer standing outside of a room marked 'inter-dimensional transport'.*

    Guard: "Papers please."

    Antestarr: "Here."

    *The guard examines the papers and then presses a buzzer on the wall. The door slides open to reveal a room crammed full of high-tech devices and consoles. The guard directs the heroes to a circular pad in the center of the room.*

    Qhobeg: "Wow, it's just like on Star Trek."

    Guard: "And...energize!"

    *With a loud "SHLOOP" noise the heroes and their companion Ariana are teleported across space and time to the realm of NeShattered.*
    COUCHMAN IS BACK BABY

  24. #664
    B.U.M.P.!

    Bhac: You!

    Tech guy: Sorry, sir!

    The tech guy quickly tries making his way past Bhac when Bhac grabs him by the arm. The setting is too dark to make out any details, as if someone turned out the lights, but the general impression is something of a backstage area, with no clear landmarks to a stage or anywhere lit.

    Bhac: Hold on there! Now I've been busy, but it's become PAINFULLY obvious that my crew has been slacking on the job. Care to explain?

    Tech guy: It's not my--er--our fault, sir! I've been trying to--

    Bhac: MAYAAL!

    Mayaal materializes next to Bhac.

    Mayaal: Having trouble moving the story along, Bhac?

    Bhac: I was about to ask the same thing. Have your "players" forgotten their character motivations again?

    Mayaal: I certainly hope not.

    Tech guy: Uh, sir?

    Bhac: What is it?

    The tech guy averts his eyes as Bhac glares at him.

    Tech guy: The guys haven't gotten the script for the next few scenes. That's what's holding up the works. ...so I've heard.

    Bhac: Ugh, writers....

    Mayaal: How many times do we have to tell you people? This is an improvisational production! The script is nearly always made up on the fly!

    Tech guy: It is?

    Mayaal: How long have you been working here?

    Tech guy: Uh... six months.

    Mayaal: Newbie...

    Bhac: That does bring up a concern though, Mayaal -- do you think the writers are trying to "work" more? Planning and researching and checking for plotholes?

    Mayaal: Hmm... that would explain the un-NeS-like trend of slower yet less rougher story posts. Honestly, I hadn't noticed, as it was occuring even before our times. There's still a possibility that it's writer's block, or the growing strength of the Ever-ending Plot.

    Bhac: Yes... I'm concerned about the events transpiring in NeShattered. Gebiyl's control over NeShattered keeps us from entering, and with the EeP still inside him... still, you must admit that the writers are making our jobs easier.

    The tech guy shifts his eyes between Mayaal and Bhac, and to some means of escape.

    Mayaal: That's not very comforting, Bhac. And I should really be confronting you about a number of things at this point.

    Bhac: It has been a while since we've had a solid one-on-one conflict. How about this -- if the writers don't give us something better to do in, say, a week, we'll duke it out. Sound good?

    Mayaal: Why the wait?

    Bhac: I got places to be.

    The tech guy tries sneaking away. Bhac grabs a hold of him by the collar and tosses him in Mayaal's direction.

    Bhac: Here - have a punching bag.

    With that, Bhac dissapears. The tech guy looks as if he's about to ask a question when Mayaal abrubtly decides to dissapear as well, leaving the tech guy alone and very confused.

    Tech: ...hello? Anyone? I'm lost...

  25. #665
    BUMP!

    Tech Guy: Guys? There's something poking me!

    BUMP!

    Tech Guy: AAaahh!



    BUMP! drags the Tech guy out from the backstage like area into the next scene. The scene contrasts from the last; the light glares from a spot light in the other end of the large room.

    Single Random Audience Member: Clapping. YEAH! WHOOOOOOO!

    Narrator: Hey how can he be a random audience member if he is the only one there?

    VoodooTW: *wispering* Sorry I'm trying to just write something.

    Narrator: Sorry, I was just saying...

    VoodooTW: Your always saying something.

    Narrator: I thought you were wanting some feedback on your writing.




    Tech Guy: Are you two done 'chatting', we have a post to finish.

    Narrator: So the Tech Guy is on this stage. And there is someone sitting in the vast array of seats.

    Narrator: *Clears Throat*



    Audience Member (now in a less enthusiastic tone): Clap. Clap. Clap. Yeah!.

    Tech Guy: so um... Eh.. how about some jokes?

    Audience Member: I came here for a story!

    Tech Guy: A story ah yeah. Um. I have one that involves Shrews, Anchovies, and Christmas Trees. ?

    The Audience Member just stares waiting for anything, something.



    The MUST lurks in the shadows watching, waiting.

  26. #666
    Tech Guy: ...and then I said "That's not a shrew, that's my wife!"

    audience member: You've already given that punchline. Seven times!

    Tech guy: Cut me some slack here! I don't know where everyone else is, and Mr. Door and Mr. Ssylan haven't even showed up, like I heard they said they would.

    Jus then, Mayaal Door and Bhac Ssylan burst into the scene.

    Bhac: The two weeks have passed. Let's dance!

    Mayaal: You *points to tech guy* get off the stage.

    Tech guy: Wasn't this supposed to have happened a week ago?

    Mayaal: Shut up. We can't let them know we over-slept.

    Tech guy: Sorry sir.

    The tech guy scurries off-stage. Bhac and Mayaal use their powers to set the scene...

    Setting: a grand library, with a mix of maze-like isles of bookshelves and wide, multi-leveled chambers. The scene doesn't bother with a stand-off; it starts in the middle of the conflict. Mayaal is chasing Bhac down one of the isles, shooting with his pistol. Bhac occasionally returns fire, knocking the books off the shelves to counter-measure Mayaal's lock. Bhac turns the corner into one of the multi-leveled chambers, and in dramatic convinience, has run out of ammo in his clip. Bhac smashes his foot down on the end of a table, using it as a shield as Mayaal turns the corner, Mayaal's clip emptying into the table. Showing uncharacteristic strength, Bhac grabs the table, spins around with it, and hurls it at Mayaal. Brandishing his staff, Mayaal pole-vaults over the table and strikes from above with his staff. Bhac blocks with his own staff, having drawn it out on his own while the camera wasn't looking. How convinient -- the Hands of NeS are now close enough to hold a conversation as they fight.

    Bhac: It's been a while since we've had a classic cross like this. I've missed them.

    Mayaal: As have I.

    Bhac: So tell me -- now that you've set my Forgotten Character free to do as it pleases, do you really think it'll do anything worth remembering?

    Mayaal: Perhaps. Perhaps not. In any case, the one formerly known as Twin Suns is better off free from you.

    Bhac: Oh please. Your sympathies have only made the NeS more confusing. We had enough to work with as it was. It would have worked far better if the Forgotten Character had been used when the NeS returns to the issue with the army of the Forgotten. You know--

    Bhac trips Mayaal, and takes his time to move into position, reloading his gun in the process.

    Bhac: --the ones battling the hell on Earth that started two storyarcs ago.

    Bhac stabs with his staff, but Mayaal parries, kicks Bhac backwards, and resumes their standard fighting.

    Mayaal: And he may still yet serve such a purpose when the time comes. You really should trust the NeS more to do the right thing.

    Bhac: I need to trust it to be able to do the wrong things, Mayaal! Speaking of, do you know what Arkng Thand is up to? You talked to him last.

    Mayaal: No, but I have no doubt that it will serve for the good of NeS.

    Bhac: That's what bothers me.

    Mayaal abruptly stops.

    Mayaal: What do you mean?

    Bhac: I mean nothing. Thand is none of our concern. And to think otherwise makes you incredibly STUPID!

    Bhac draws his pistol and fires. A hole is punctured through Mayaal's clothes as he dodges, then uses his own staff to knock Bhac's firearm far away. They resume their close-quartered fighting.

    Mayaal: You almost had me there.

    Bhac: I know. So where were we?

    Mayaal: Talking business. So about the ordeal in Knowhere Valley...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 09-19-2006 at 03:45 PM.

  27. #667
    The door opens to Jim Seven's office

    Jim Seven: Damnit, I said I am not taking anymore clients today!

    Wai: I am not a client.

    Jim7: Who are you? Wait... I recognize you. You're that robot that malfunctioned a while back, in the fight with Helebon's forces. What are you doing back here?

    Wai: I've come for a favor.

    Jim7: Sorry, I'm all out of favors. Come back tomorrow.

    Wai snaps across the room in an instant. His sword is drawn, and pressed against Jim7's throat.

    Wai: Sorry, but I am terribly busy tomorrow. Today will have to do.

    Jim7: Go ahead. Kill me. This is Hell, I'll just be reborn here, and come back with my forces to reduce you to a bucket of nuts and bolts.

    Wai lowers his blade a bit, leans in and whispers something into Jim7's ears. Jim7's eyes go wide.

    Jim7: How do you know of that? There are only 4 people on this planet who know of its existance.

    Wai: The issue is not how I know, but that I do know. I also know that the destruction of this item would destroy Hell itself, and bring you to a weak, mortal state. Now, about that favor...

    Jim7: Very well. What do you ask?

    Wai: Give me access to the Shattered Realm.

    Jim7: You too? Fine.

    Jim7 grabs another paper and writes a note down on it

    Jim7: Take it. But you be warned: Those who know of that thing do not survive long. Do not return to Hell, if you value your existance.

    Wai grabs the paper, and heads back through the door. Jim7 grabs his BFG and follows. As he passes through the door, however, there is no trace of Wai.

  28. #668
    In some part of the Haunted House of Heroes that is adjacent to the creepy complex (which is part of the foundation), Mustang Ford (Ford's ancestor that by all rights should be dead), Dr. Dormouse (once college professor of many of the NeS hero-types), and The Mega_ZZTer (resident technician who's been ignored as of late) are hard at work. Their work is slow, and their materials are mostly old and untouched in years, so The Dust floats heavy in the air. Their work, which dabbles in some questionable ethics as any psuedo-scientific work in this nature should, currently revolves around a certain robot...

    MZZT: Ugh, whoever last tried to assemble Ahnuld here did a pretty lousy job. It was speaking freakin' Spanish! At least I managed to turn it off. As soon as I get it hooked up to the main computer, we should be set to start fixing it properly.

    Mustang: We can make a few improvements while we're at it. This "blue" it's running on, for instance, is much too weak.

    Dor: And I'll put some stickers on it!

    Mustang and MZZT give Dr. Dormouse a concerned, confused look.

    Dor: ...delightfully mad stickers?

    Mustang: Uh... right.

    A short ringing sound goes off, and a message on one of the computer monitors appears.

    MZZT: Well that's odd.

    Mustang: Something wrong with the robot?

    MZZT: No -- something unrelated. Seems an ultra-broad EM wave is over-riding the TVs, radios and computers around the world. Typical villain tactic. It's interfering with our work, so we might as well see what it is. We should be able to see what it is just by turning on a TV.

    The Mega_ZZTer pushes some buttons, and the monitor that had displayed the original message blinks, showing what appears to be Gebohq in a formal nightrobe attire, sitting in a old-fashioned leather chair next to a warmly-lit fireplace. For the sake of the story, it appears as if they've tuned in just in time.

    "Gebohq": Good evening, everyone. Some of you may know me as a beloved hero of the world. Time and time again, when the world has been threatened by colliding comets or evil-doers... doing evil, I have been there to save you. In recent times, however, the world has become a scary place.

    Inside a certain car in the middle of Knowhere Valley, the radio plays the audio of the same broadcast.

    "Gebohq": The streets have become a battlefield between those who call themselves "The Forgotten" and Canadian forces, and the terrible war between them is showing no sign of ending.

    The same broadcast also plays on a nearly-broken TV monitor, hanging crooked from the destroyed ceiling of the Siberian genetics bunker.

    "Gebohq": Where once Jupiter was, there is now a second sun, and its strange light is certainly changing the world's ecosystem. The reported "spam" sightings are but surely only one of the signs that this world is changing for the worse.

    In a stereotypical middle-class household, a family watches the same broadcast.

    "Gebohq": These, and other growing troubles, are problems even we heroes are finding difficult to fight against. I must admit, my brothers and sisters, that for a time, I had given up being a hero. Helebon, the former tyrant of Canada, Helebon, the evil-doer who invaded your homes with his forces, Helebon, who told the world that I was dead, had in reality, taken me prisoner. And, I, though ashamed to say, might as well have been dead, for the good I was doing the world. All seemed lost. I, as with the rest of you all, felt that I was victim to a world fated to spiral down to its final doom. But then I found hope. Hope in a young... pricess.

    From behind his intimidating desk, Jim Seven watches the same broadcast on his own impressive monitor. "Gebohq" stood up as he continued speaking, and held out his arms. Young, with her curly blue hair running past down her shoulders, stood beside "Gebohq," dressed in an incredible dress fit for a princess.

    "Gebohq": A pricess named Young, from a far and wonderous world, came to my rescue. I know what you're thinking, guys, but I feel no shame in her being my strength in my time of need, and neither should you. Young, with a power all of her own, brought Helebon's reign of terror down, and brought me to her home. It is a world which I can only describe as Eden.

    The camera, which has been focused on "Gebohq" and Young, cuts to a sweeping shot high above a city in harmony with nature, with a blend of rivers and roads, forests and buildings alike spread across the landscape.

    "Gebohq": This is a place that can not be found in our world, a place that can not be touched by the evils of our world. When I was brought here to heal, I found myself in love with this place I consider my real home, and with the young woman who showed it to me.

    The camera cuts back to "Gebohq" and Young.

    "Gebohq": To cut this sappy story short, I proposed to this lovely lady to marry me, and she accepted.

    Young, whom up to this point had been standing complacently with vacent eyes at the camera, began to speak as if reading off from a cue card.

    Young: I am happy to announce that our wedding will be held at noon, on the twenty-fifth of December, here at our home.

    "Gebohq": That's right -- we're inviting EVERYONE who wants to come! With the cooperation of the Canadian government, we will not only be paying them to provide entrance to this fantasical world of ours, but we will pay for your week-long stay here as well! So please, this holiday season, take you and your loved ones to the greatest wedding history will know! Get away from all your troubles and come celebrate with us! Thank you for your time, people of the world.

    Back in the Haunted House of Heroes, the monitor blinks again, showing two CNN news coorespondants, apparently waiting for the sudden broadcast to be finished.

    CNN correspondant #1: ...we're live? OK, I'm told we're live again, and I must say that was certainly unexpected.

    CNN correspondant #2: Yes, but not necessarily unwelcomed, even on such short notice. I might be seeing about changing my Christmas plans this year--

    The Mega_ZZTer pushes some buttons, and the monitor switches back to showing the desktop of an operating system.

    Mustang: I don't know about the rest of you, but that certainly did not feel right to me.

    Dr. Dor: Hasn't that little lady been here not too long ago, before most of them left to go their own ways?

    MZZT: Yeah, but I'm not surprised to see any of this. The others were talking about how Gebohq might have gone crazy, evil even. He kidnapped that girl, and I have a hunch that the wedding wasn't her idea. This might sound absurd, but I think Geb's become a villain, which makes this program I found in the robot's CPU a little more profound.

    Mustang: What program is that?

    MZZT: This robot had been designed to kill Gebohq.

    The Mega_ZZTer gives Dr. Dormouse and Mustang looks filled with troubling thoughts. They all knew what they should do next...

  29. #669
    Voodoo: Hello?

    The terry cloth robbed woman waves her hands back and fourth in front of the Detectives face, but he does not react. He does not blink or twitch or breathe. A surprised expression is on hawthorns face, unmoving; his body frozen. Thatchet's lack of movement might remind one of a taxademied animal.

    Voodoo in a increasingly anxious voice: Um, Ok. I know he said freeze but he didn't mean to um, do this.

    She pokes the Detective.

    Voodoo: "HEY!"

    Hour after hour she waits to see if they will come out of their "state-of-to-be continued-time-stop", occasionally slapping the detective in the face, jumping and dancing in front of hawthorn, or talking sweetly to Thatchet. Her stomach grumbles, and she remembers the detectives glove department. Nothing in there now except for a bottled water, some napkins, some change. And then within confusion in her head something from memory plays:

    "Attention customers while your filling up why don't you fill up with a CSoTD deli sandwich. It's fresh and fast food, here at the CSoTD. Thank you! "


    Finally Voodoo does something. Something she has yet to forgive that hero of her past from doing; leaving other characters behind, so the story and their own character continue on. She takes the detectives car and heads back to Knowhere Valley for a fresh and fast CSoTD deli sandwich.


    In place of a CSoTD a Damned Super Center has taken its place adding to Voodoo's state of confusion. After finding a parking spot she make her way into the Damned Super Center. Another random barbarian character wearing a smock greet her.


    Forgotten Barbarian Character: Hello, Welcome to our store. Oh, If you want a list of Gebohq and Young's wedding gift registry list go to that desk right over there.

    Voodoo: I, I just want a deli sandwich.

    A manger steps up near Voodoo and the Forgotten Barbarian Character.

    Manager: I'm sorry you can't come in this store.

    Voodoo: Why not? I just want a CSoTD deli sandwich. It's fresh and fast and...

    The manger cuts her off.

    Manager: Your only wearing a bath robe.

    Voodoo looks down, her face reddens with embarrassment and anger.

    The Manager's face shows that expression of carefully picking out his next words.

    Manager: I'm sorry. But you know maybe we can help you. You do appear a little confused and lost, maybe you have forgotten something? You said something about the CSoTD? You sound like someone we would like to join our team.

    The burning sensation in the back of her throught begins to overwhelm Voodoo. Something within snaps letting that wall holding back tears to crumble and the volume of her voice to max out.

    Voodoo: I'M TIRED of YOU taking advantage of characters in MY position. **** YOU and your DAMNED STORE. I'm gonna Leave OK! I QUIT! I'll wander around with no purpose so what! I'm going to go where I should have gone a long time ago. It is time that I pass on from retail hell to Canada.

  30. #670
    Still Sobbing, I found some napkins in the detectives ride and and blew my nose. Stomach Still Grumbling, that empty feeling, not the empty stomach but that emtness that makes you hungry for something missing and your not quite sure what it is. Or really you know what it is but your afraid to name it.

    At the crossroads of Knowhere valley I made that turn to the North or at least I think it was North. As a forgotten I lost the desire or the skill to know what direction I was going. And one could argue it was fate that brought me to this tunnel or I was my choice to go down this road that brought me here either way this is where I am now and there isn't enough gas to turn around. It sure doesn't look like a gateway to Canada but what's the worse that can happen? Thats what they say right?

  31. #671
    Back at the random library setting, Mayaal and Bhac continue to fight in epic proportions, to keep the NeS alive.

    *Mayaal and Bhac sit on the floor, within a foot of each other, staring at each other in boredom.*

    Mayaal: ...

    Bhac: ...

    *ahem* I said "Mayaal and Bhac continue to fight in EPIC PROPORTIONS!"

    Mayaal: *shuffle*

    Bhac: *cough*

    ....SUDDENLY Bhac pokes Mayaal's knee!

    Bhac: *poke*

    Mayaal: *raises eyebrow*

    Bhac: *shrugs*

    *The two continue to sit idle.*

    Um.... Mayaal raises the stakes by insulting Bhac's mother!

    Mayaal: He doesn't have a mother.

    Bhac: And if I did, it'd be his mother too.

    SHUSH! You two are slacking at your job!

    Mayaal: So... rock-paper-scissors?

    Bhac: OK.

    *sigh*

    Bhac: What the hell? Paper doesn't beat scissors!

    Mayaal: But I didn't use paper. This is a B.U.M.P.!

    Bhac: You just made that up!

    Mayaal: I did not! See the thumb placement like so? It's a B, for B.U.M.P. And besides--

    *Mayaal is interrupted as he's knocked unconscious by Bhac's fist. Bhac then walks away from the scene.*

    Someone should really nerf rock...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 11-02-2006 at 03:52 PM.

  32. #672
    Everything is white. White everywhere. Glowing white light without form or dimension or mass or feeling. White. The Detective opens his eyes. His heart beats loudly in his chest. The white rushes past him and he finds himself standing in the City. His partner walks up to him. A young Hawthorne walks in circles around him.

    Partner: The Detective is of NeS.
    Hawthorne: The Path is nearly complete.
    Partner: Yes.
    Hawthorne: The Detective must not stray from the path.
    Detective: What path? What am I supposed to do? What is this place?
    Partner: He is corporeal...
    Hawthorne: ...limited...
    Partner: ...unaware.
    Hawthorne: He must know the truth.

    The Detective blinks and finds himself back in the white. A man dressed in black appears in front of him with long red hair and a short beard. He walks around the Detective.

    Man: You have come to the edge of your path. You have stood long at the precipice. What do you intend?
    Detective: Intend?
    Man: Do you intend to complete the task before you? Do you intend to deal with the consequences of your actions? To sacrifice a helpless woman who is only here because of your deficiencies? Things have been set in motion that cannot be undone. Are you prepared to complete them? Will you do what needs to be done?
    Detective: Yes... yes, I think so.

    The man nods.

    Man: Very well. Your destiny has been sealed by those beyond even my control. If you are prepared to finish this road, I will set it before you. Do not waver on the precipice. All depends on this.

    The man disapears and the white begins to fade. In the distance, the Detective hears the man's receding voice far away.

    Man: ...why are you bleeding?

    The Detective opens his eyes...


    <NSP: This is a placeholder to let you know I'm kicking the Detective / Hawthorne story arc in the shorts and getting it rolling again. I will write again within the next three days to finish it. In the meantime, enjoy this complementary lounge music for your listening pleasure.

    Elevator music begins to play.>
    Last edited by Majiir; 11-02-2006 at 04:09 PM.
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  33. #673
    <NSP: Here begins the end of the Detective / Hawthorne story arc, as promised. This post is a collaborative effort between West Wind and Majiir (about 80% West). We figured we'd post what we had so far and start wrapping everything up in the next day or so. So now we return to the Canyon of the Alpha Site, where Hawthorne is about to activate the Machine...>

    Voice: FREEZE!

    Hawthorne's hand sits heavily on the circuit breaker, cold beads of sweat slowly seeping from his palms. In his mind he knows exactly the scene that was unfolding behind him; yet it seems unimportant, separate from whatever space he now occupies. Almost against his will his muscles began contracting, driving toward the unknown finality that would rush over him with the simple close of a switch.

    Detective: I SAID FREEZE!

    The detective shifts his weight forward and lets his foot slide a few inches in the sandy gravel.

    Detective: Keep your hands in the air and step away from the machine.

    Hawthorne remains silent, one hand still clasping a crescent wrench, the other poised on the breaker switch.

    Hawthorne: Wait. That voice...

    Detective: Step away from the machine!

    Hawthorne: Who are you? Why have you followed me here?

    Detective: I'm here because... it all comes back here. It all comes back to the desert, the old airbase, and... you! You were there twelve years ago! When I came back everything was gone, I figured they came back for you, or else... or else you had just disappeared, the last of the disappearances.

    Hawthorne: I did disappear, in a way. There was nothing left for me then. Now there's nothing here for you or anyone else. Get out of this place. Leave me to finish what I started. Wash your hands of everything that happened then and everything that's about to happen. It's all my fault. It always was, but this time I know what I'm getting into... it must be done, and you're not going to stop me. Just go.

    Detective: Then what? You're going to start it all over again? What gives you the right?

    Hawthorne: Right? There is no right, but it must be done. The blood must be spilled. It's already on my hands. If I don't do this now, it just going to happen again and again untill someone realizes the truth...

    Detective: The Truth? The Truth about what you did here? What That machine really does?

    Hawthorne: NO! This is not man's folly! We did not know what we were doing back then, but it never really mattered. There are things far beyond our controll, things that have attached themselves to this place and that thing. If we destroy it now they will just leave and find somewhere else. But now, now we have a chance.

    Detective: I don't understand. Maybe I never understood. You're just insulating yourself from responsibility. This was your mistake and yours alone. There is no etheric force, no dark eldrich being, it was you and your friends. It is man's folly for tampering with things he cannot understand. You're simply unwilling to face it for all your illusions of responsibility and morality. That's not justice, that's just stupidity.

    Hawthorne: Then let it be my fault. Let me play the villain and pull this switch. I'll accept the consequences.

    Detective: And what if you're wrong, what if it never had to happen? I can't knowingly let you condemn innocent lives just because of some raving about an inevitable force.

    Voodoo: He's right. Can't you feel it, can't you see it? There really is something here.

    Voodoo looks around the valley. The air is still warm from the setting sun, yet her already weakened frame shivers uncontrollably. Her body seems like little more than bones covered in stained terrycloth. She huggs her robe tighter around her and looks at the Detective with a strange faraway glint in her nervous eyes.

    Detective: What? What do you see?

    Voodoo: See...? I see nothing. Where there should be stories there is nothing. The world is full of half-told stories, floating pockets of emotion and narration, lost or forgotten, but always there. Here, nothing. The air is quiet. There are no stories, nothing is being told. Where words should be, there is silence. There have to be words.

    Detective: What are you talking about? We're not part of some story. This is reality, this is real!

    Voodoo: It is real, but it's real only because our story is the one being told. Pick any of the stories that float through our reality and they are real too, but not here. Here this is the only reality. Everything else is gone.

    Detective: This is madness! Reality is no mere fairy-tale! And you, step away from the machine. I don't care what visions of the apocalypse you think you're preventing, but I swear nothing good will come of that machine!

    Voice: You are correct... at least, about the latter.

    Mayaal steps into the story from his seat in 1337. He snaps into the canyon as if from nowhere, like film spliced into an old movie. Taking advantage of his surprise entrance, he grabs Hawthorne's wrist and effortlessly wrestles him away from the circuit breaker. Twisting Hawthorne's arm, he forces him to the ground, and then suddenly brings down his elbow in the back of his head. The pain lasts only for a moment before Hawthorne blacks out on the canyon floor. Mayaal releases his limp body, and turns to the Detective.

    Mayaal: Thank you for your cooperation. You have played your part well.

    The Detective's gun lowers for a moment. His muscles and mind relax with the satisfaction of a non-violent ending to his confrontation with Hawthorne. For an instant his eyes drift to Hawthorne, lying dazed in the dust. Then, as quickly as his muscles allow, he snaps the pistol toward Mayaal.

    Detective: Who the hell are you? What do you know about all this?

    A smile of satisfaction slowly spreads over Mayaals lips.

    Mayaal: Me? I am the same as you. A simple lawman working for the common good. Though, I must say I uphold a much higher and altogether less bureaucratic law. As for what I know about all this... I know you have played the part of the hero today. [Gestures toward Voodoo] You have rescued the princess and prevented the destruction of everything you know and love. Bravo!

    Detective: Then you know what that machine, that... thing does?

    Mayaal: Knew. I knew what it did once. Twelve years ago those like me labored to stop it, and as far as they knew they suceeded. But here I stand today. The menace may be modified, but thanks to you, things will be safe again.

    The Detective lets his thumb slide down slowly and clicks off his pistol's safety.

    Detective: You were involved twelve years ago? What the hell has been going on?

    Mayaal: [Laughs] No, I have not been in power that long. Twelve years ago someone else did the footwork, but they served much the same purpose as I do today. Now, enough of the questions. There are many things best left to the sands of the past.

    Detective: Freeze! You haven't answered my first question, who the hell are you? You appear out of nowhere and start spewing some quizzical nonsence and expect me to swallow it? Put your hands above your head, don't move, and start simple. What's your name?

    Mayaal chuckles again and takes a step towords the detective with his hands still in the air.

    Detective: I told you to freeze!

    Mayaal: You've played your part and now it is over. Let it go.

    Detective: Over? You think you can just tell me when it's over?

    Mayaal: I said it before. Thank you for you role in all this. I know it must have been confusing, but rest assured you have done a great thing here today.

    Mayaal lowers his hands to his side and takes another step toward the Detective. The adrenaline suddenly surges through the Detective's veins; years of traning and instinct take over, and he fires. A single shot echoes through the box-canyon, and the bullet finds its mark in Mayaal's right shoulder. Mayaal pauses, but seems otherwise unaffected. He shows no wound, no blood. The expression on his face changes suddenly. The calm and patronizing smile is replaced with a cold scowl.

    Mayaal: You are done here. Begone. I have tolerated you so far because of the services you rendered here today, but you will meddle no further.

    Mayaal takes another step forward and the Detective fires again, this time impacting Mayaal's left shoulder. As before, Mayaal seems unaffected, but this time his pace continues unbroken. The Detective fires twice more. Years of traning and experience guide his shots into Mayaal's left and right thighs. Seing no trace of blood, the Detective takes aim and fires again, this time shooting for Mayaal's heart. The Detective waits for the last echoes to flee from the canyon, but Mayaal stands still and unwounded. Mayaal shakes his head calmly.

    Mayaal: There is nothing you can do to harm me.

    The Detective lets fly another shot for the heart. Seeing the inhuman figure still standing he fires again, this time aiming between Mayaal's eyes. Mayaal blinks calmly and reaches slowly into his labcoat, producing his trademark pistol. Slowly and mechanically he removes a single shell from a pocket and loads the weapon. He keeps his pistol lowered, and looks back up at the Detective.

    Mayaal: As I said, there is nothing you can do to harm me. If you persist, I will return fire. Your weapon may have no effect on me, but I assure you, my weapon will do great damage to you. I'm giving you one last warning. Please, take it.

    The Detective nods toward Voodoo.

    Detective: And her?

    Mayaal: She stays.

    Detective: No.

    The Detective exhales and focuses on a point between Mayaal's eyes, just beneath the skull. An explosive report rips through the canyon, leaving a ragged wake crashing off the sandstone. The Detective looks around the canyon as if noticing it for the first time. A handful of bright stars sparkle back at him from the deep black desert sky. He looks down at his chest. A ragged black hole has been torn in his trench coat, with a dark red mass below. Blood spreads swiftly from the wound, growing in dark tendrils reaching through his shirt. He stumbles backwards one step and falls to his knees with a jerk. He looks up at Mayaal, now an inhuman silhouette towering above him. Mayaal kneels and looks into the Detective's shining red-rimmed bloodshot eyes.

    Mayaal: I am sorry. You see, I can only be harmed by a Hero's last bullet. It is an unfortunate old literary tradition that even I must obey.

    The Detective gasps for breath and slowly raises his gun from the gravelly canyon floor, again leveling it at Mayaal. Mayaal responds wordlessly, producing another shell from his pocket and loading it into his pistol.

    Detective: You must really be the fool to tell me this, gloating over me as I gasp my last breath... taunting at how close I came. The clip holds eight rounds. I've fired seven.

    Mayaal lets loose an echoing laugh.

    Mayaal: You really are far too good at your job. Your clip holds eight rounds, but like a good little gumshoe you chambered an extra round before you left the car, didn't you? You've got two bullets left; an unfortunate prediciment because I can assure you, if you fire your weapon one more time, I will end you before the casing even leaves the gun. And no, I am not gloating. I am giving you one last chace. Throw down your gun and leave this place. I missed your internal organs. If you want to live, there is a first aid kit in the back of that van. With any luck you should be able to make it back to civilization before you pass out from blood loss.

    The Detective's hand shakes wildly as he takes aim again. With his last ounce of strength he pulls the trigger. Mayaal's lightning reactions respond, but as he tries to raise the gun he feels a streak of pain shooting up his right side. He realizes he has been shot, wounded by a Hero's last bullet. Numbness begins to creep through his body, accompanied by a pain the likes of which he had never experienced.

    Mayaal: How? You chambered the extra round, you had two shots left...

    The Detective collapsed to the ground under the recoil of his shot. Still clutching his gun he pulled the trigger a final time. Instead of echoing thunder, the gun emits a metallic click and jams. The Detective removed his left had from the wound in his stomach and, still dripping in blood, pops back the slider from his gun. An irregular bullet falls clattering against the ground, tarnished with age. The casing looks as if it has been fired before, the slug deformed, seeming as if it has been hammered back into the casing. The Detective speaks with a dry and raspy voice.

    Detective: The bullet... that took my partner's life.

    The Detective and Mayaal lie bleeding on the canyon floor. Voodoo collapses against the side of the Astrovan. Her head is assaulted with the pounding of an invisible hammer. Barrages of light just beyond her vision lay seige to her. The canyon is silent again. Again, as sudden as a film cut, Bhac appears. His black cloak stirs in the gentle evening breeze. He slowly surveys the scene laid before him. Voodoo is collapsed in a corner convulsing, Hawthorne lies prone and barely breathing, the Detective and Mayaal lie a few feet away from each other in their respective growing pools of blood, and a small dark nose pokes out of the shadows under the Astrovan. In a few gliding steps, he crosses to Hawthorne's prostrate figure. Reaching into one of Hawthorne's many pockets, Bhac produces a small vial. Leaving Hawthorne, Bhac strides to the machine, and with a hint of a smile on his face, throws the circuit breaker. As the machine slowly hums to life, Bhac takes the vial, removes the stopper, pours its contents into a small receptacle on the side of the machine. Satisfied with his handiwork, he turns from the awakening machine and crosses the distance to the fallen Mayaal.

    Bhac: I never expected you to be this resourceful... I must commend you. I will even go so far as to say you almost stood a chance, but in the end you understimated me. Most important, apparently, you underestimated our friend the Detective here. Not to worry, I have no intention of leaving you here bleeding on the planes of NeS. I have something else in store for you...

    With that Bhac reaches down and slings Mayaal's unresisting body over his shoulder. Thus, just as they had appeared, they vanish with a snap.

    Where only moments ago silence had filled the small valley, it is now home to the menacing hum of the machine growing slowly louder...

    * * * * *

    Deep within the Dreamstate, atop his tower, Arkng Thand sits reading in his study...
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  34. #674
    [nsp] Part Two of the Exciting Conclusion! Written in collaboration with Majir [/nsp]

    Deep within the Dreamstate, atop his tower, Arkng Thand sits reading in his study...

    Outside the tower, the dreams of NeS, and some might argue the very soul of all those who inhabit the storyscape, ebb and flow on the tides of narration. The shelves of Thand's study are filled with untold volumes; tomes that may have the secret to NeS itself or may in themselves contain other independent worlds. Along one edge of the study is an ancient stone hearth, roaring with a mystical fire fueled by no earthly wood. Against one side of the hearth is a chair of such magnificence that any king of men would select it as a throne, and perched upon sat Arkng Thand, thumbing dedicatedly through one such old and dusty tome. The stale still hush that always oppressed the room broke suddenly as a thousand pages ruffled to life in an etheric breeze whipping through the space. The fire danced in the ether, calling forth the attention of the ancient scholar. Thand silently closed the book, resting it on one of the arms of the magnificent chair.

    Thand: Who enters into my study unannounced? Present yourself!

    The room still stirred in the unworldly wind. Thand rose to his feet and begins to make his way to the door.

    * * * * *

    Bhac steppes out of the plot hole into the realm of 1337, Mayaal slung limply over his shoulder. Even here in the ever-changing state of 1337, a strange force was manifesting. Countless threads of storylines stirred, rearranging themselves slightly as if attempting to adhere to some new patter, to become some new tapestry through will alone and comfort themselves in uniformity.

    Bhac lets Mayaal fall from his shoulder to collapse into a blood-stained slump on the narrative planes. Grabbing the fallen Hand of NeS by the shoulder, he sprawls Mayaal out on his back. The wound in Mayaal's chest bleeds profusely, and already a small puddle of blood begins to collect around him. With a malicious grin, Bhac cupped one of his hands and begins to collect Mayaals blood. Once he had gathered a sufficient amount, he rises to his feet and took a step back.

    Bhac: You will survive this. In all your arrogance you let this befall you, yet the writer-gods have spared your life today, whatever their reasons. Nonetheless, you can rest assured I will take full advantage of your folly.

    Bhac dips two of his fingers into his cupped hand, and comes down to his knees. In slow and delicate motions he begins to draw a circle of blood around Mayaal. The blood shows bright red against the dark chaotic storms of unmanifested narrative ether. Once the circle is complete, Bhac rises to his feet and takes another step back. With Mayaal's blood still staining his hands, he clasps them together and begins to laugh. The circle begins to darken, the vibrant red slowly fading to dark rust colored hues, and from there seemed to seep into 1337 itself. As the blood and 1337 become indistinguishable, something else begins to appear. Mighty chains and shackles summon themselves from the planes of 1337 and form themselves to bind Mayaal. The great and mighty chains wrap themselves around Mayalls arms and legs, and seem to tie him to the very puddle of blood his crippled body rests in.

    Bhac: So it is. By your own blood I bind you here. Neither by your powers, nor those of your minions can you be freed. You are now restrained by the same forces that once granted you power. Pray that the writer-gods will take mercy on you and reverse their judgment. The emptiness of death is the only release for which you can still hope.

    With that, Bhac turns his back to Mayaal and begins to address 1337 itself.

    Bhac: Twin Suns! Let it be known that I have freed you! By Mayaal's hands you may have been liberated from the pain and suffering I once inflicted on you, but by his will you would have been nothing more than a puppet! I tortured your body to the very edge of reason, but I never challenged your soul. Yet Mayaal would have taken from you that which I let you keep. Now you are free from us both, unrestrained by the Hands of NeS. I bid you to leave this place. Leave Mayaal to his punishment and I swear that your fate will belong to the writer-gods alone. Go!

    Bhac's voice echoes throughout 1337, reaching through to every corner. Twin Suns sits silent and contemplates Bhac's offer... to return to the story, immune to the petty whims of the Hands of Nes...

    * * * * *

    Arkng Thand comes to a stop mid-stride, half the distance to the door. For a moment the etheric wind seems to recede, as if taking a deep breath. Thand spins around on his heels and faces into a sudden blast of ether as the wind exhales. For an instant he flinches, blinking in the tempestuous torrents that whip around him. Then all falls silent. The etheric winds vanish, but something else emerges to fill their space.

    A figure of a man stands in the center of Thand's study. He stands a full half-height taller than even the tallest of men, with a body defined as perfectly as any sculpture or painting could ever hope to achieve. Unclothed, its body is masculine but androgynous, and its skin hued more as tarnished bronze than flesh. Its face is cold and stoic with a mane of colorless hair, white as the clearest star, extending down to his shoulders, and eyes of empty black. Thand's expressionless face suddenly twists in anger.

    Thand: YOU! You have no place here!

    With a wave of his arms Thand brings life to the books throughout the study. The room fills with angry paper as the books swarm to life and hurl themselves at the intruding figure. For a brief moment all form in the room is lost. Everything was lost in a swarm of dust, paper, and bindings. Then the onslaught of literature changed. The chaotic tides of aggression reveres direction as the books seem to fight to escape their previous quarry, only to be sucked back in. Bit by bit the storm passes, the tides of books being drawn back towards the nameless figure, then finally it passes. The room still hangs with the dust of untold ages, but the books are gone. Where before Thand's study bristled with the sum total of written knowledge, the shelves now stand bare. Not a page is left. The colossal figured seems totally unaffected; eyes fixed in an endless gaze, staring not at Thand, but through him. For a moment the two stand in opposition. Then, as gracefully as has ever been managed with a human body, the figured turns from Thand and begins crossing the now desolate study to one of the balconies overlooking the dreamstate. As the figure turns, it reveals a pair of wings. Wings not made of feathers, but of tan canvas drawn between metal supports. The wings, like those of a Renaissance contraption, fold neatly against the figure's back. The figure comes to a stop in the middle of the balcony, and as if ignoring Thand's very existence, begins to survey the dreamscape.

    Thand's anger seems to boil over. Rage shakes in his every bone. Again he raises his arms, preparing to summon forth all the NeSmagic left in his humble frame. But as he prepares to loose the unseen powers, a hand comes down on his shoulder.

    Bhac: Don't bother, old man. He was summoned by no force of NeSmagic, and such no NeSmagic may ever hold sway over him.

    Thand spins around and breaks Bhac's grasp.

    Thand: You! You brought this blight down upon us?

    Bhac: (Chuckling) Blight? Perhaps. This may seem a blight to you old man, and to those like you who have made their living on the very edge of his domain. But let us not quarrel now that the deed is done.

    Thand: Indeed, it is done. Tell me then, if this... atrocity was not summoned with NeSmagic, then...?

    Bhac: The blood of the Child of NeS.

    Thand: By the Writer-Gods!

    Bhac: Quite in spite of them you will find.

    Thand: For all your power and plotting do not think for one moment that you can challenge the will of the Writer-Gods.

    Bhac: The Writer-Gods have become decadent. If NeS is to survive it will do so though bold strikes against the very narrative fabric that binds it together.

    Thand: And this is why you have summoned this, this...

    Bhac: Tsolo... avatar of loss. You have lived your life feeding off the nearly forgotten, reading books from eras long lost and reciting knowledge forgotten by all but the most esoteric gurus. Never have you taken the time to consider the need to allow the forgotten to simply disappear. Never have you considered the need for a tool to trim the dying branches.

    Thand: A tool with two edges indeed! Do not forget that Tsolo is also known as the avatar of sorrow and regret.

    Bhac: A second edge I hope to wield as effectively as its first.

    Thand: And what of Mayaal? Such a weapon was not meant to be wielded by a single Hand.

    Bhac: Mayaal is too weak to ever dream of wielding such a weapon.

    Thand: You go to far. To upset the story is one thing, but you are challenging the balance of NeS itself.

    Bhac: Then pray that what power remains with the writer-gods will be enough to restore your precious balance.

    Thand: Indeed...

    Bhac and Thand both turn toward the balcony as the sudden degenerate sounds of crumbling masonry reaches their ears. Tsolo's colossal figure rises from the balcony, taking perch on the ancient stone railing serving as guardian between the Thand's warm study and the chaos that is the Dreamscape. In silence Tsolo spreads his arms out from his sides and in his tremendous canvas wings follow, reaching a span to equal the greatest of man's flying machines. For a brief moment he stands perched in equilibrium, then with a single deafening beat of his wings he rises from the railing and takes flight, vanishing quickly into the swirling chaos of the Dreamstate.

    Bhac: And so it will be.

    With his last words Bhac turns from Thand, splices into nothing, and disappears. Arkng Thand stands alone in the empty husk of his study. The fire extinguished and the shelves bare, leaving nothing to disguise the cold stone from which Thand's tower was built.

    [nsp] Stay Tuned for Part Three of the exciting Conclusion! [/nsp]
    "Well, if I am not drunk, I am mad, but I trust I can behave like a gentleman in either
    condition."... G. K. Chesterton

    “questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself”

  35. #675
    Meanwhile, a guy watching the NeS on Pay-Per-View waits for the conclusion...

    random TV-watching guy: Come ooooooon! I gotta go take a whiz real bad but I might miss something if I leave now!

    The random TV-watching guy continues to do the "I gotta go pee" dance while sitting in his chair...

    (NSP: )

  36. #676
    On the television, the feed suddenly cuts to an annoying jingle and a moderately good but slimy looking man who has obviously been selected for his regular-dude appearance and made up with a short-sleeved flannel shirt and parked in a fashionable suburban sofa and lit by cheap studio lights.

    Suburban TV Dude: This sure is great, isn't it? You betcha. And you don't want to miss a second, do you? That's why Mitsubonykun has this special offer! If you sign up now for two years of service, they'll rush-ship you a free DVR direct to your living room through a plot hole. Don't wait, call now.

    Writer Geb nee- TV watching guy fumbles for his cell as the TV Dude picks up an incongruously good-looking wench and they drone on about the benefits of Mitsu-whatsit's DVR service. He frantically punches in the 800 number on the screen.

    The phone rings.

    It rings again.

    The piddle-dance increases in intensity as the automated menu presents its plethora of choices, none of which seem to apply to the situation at hand. He finally finds a "new customers" option.

    The phone rings.

    It rings again.

    It rings again.

    A bored sounding woman with an Indian accent finally answers.


    Writer Geb nee- TV Watching Guy: Quickly, please, I don't care about your terms. I'll agree to anything. Here's my credit card number. Here's my address. Sign me up. Quickly, please!

    He begins to chant a mantra of pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease quietly under his breath as the woman does her work. Distant muffled keystrokes can be heard on the other end of the line.

    Bangalore Customer Service Lady: Would you like our special temporal realignment service to hook up your DVR instantaneously? It'll be an extra--
    WG n- TVWG: Yesyes, fine, hook it up, is that all, good thank you bye.

    He hangs up the phone and waits. Time seems to stretch out like elastic. He closes his eyes and waits for the elastic to break or his bladder to explode, whichever comes first. The infomercial drones on in the background. The water pump in the basement kicks on. A car drives by. Children squeal as they walk by outside the window. Birds chatter.

    He opens his eyes and the room swims for a moment. He feels a tiny moist spot start to form in his underwear. Suddenly the room snaps into focus. The stack of electronics reforms itself like it's in some weird stop-motion special effect, and an extra slim black box appears on the top. A note is stuck to the television in special no-residue adhesive.

    Your new DVR has been set up and is now running. Go use the bathroom, dude. -M
    "A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five." (Groucho Marx)

  37. #677
    The TV-watching guy proceeds to take the longest wee in known history, clocking in at over 168 hours...

    Incidentially, he also likes to play with his Wii...
    Last edited by Gebohq; 12-02-2006 at 02:09 AM.

  38. #678
    London, England. A post-apocalyptic nightmare world. The sound of distant gunfire rattles in the distance as in the foreground, small fires sputter in the wreckage of buildings. Slouched buildings and the skeletons of skyscrapers form a menacing skyline, silhouetted against a soul-crushing gray sky. Ok, so the sky is pretty much the same as it was before. But the rest really sucks.

    On the broken sidewalk next to the charred remains of a liquour store, a dirty little girl dressed in rags that might once have been pink plays hopscotch, clutching a ratty teddy bear with a missing eye. She is alone. Perhaps her parents are dead, or zombies, or off fighting evil, or something, I dunno. Anyway, she's here, hopping and skipping and singing to herself.


    Little Girl: Lalala, la lalala...

    Just then, behind her, a monsterous-looking demon with six eyes, leathery wings, and big teeth rises up out of a manhole. It hisses, licking its lips with a forked tongue as it crouches, ready to pounce on the little girl. The little girl stops, having heard the hissing, and slowly turns around.

    Little Girl: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

    Just then, four figures leap from various hidden positions onto the demon, beating it down with swords and one guy has a hammer. The battle is brief but brutal, with greenish-black demon blood everywhere. Finally, the demon's giant carcass flops to the ground, and one of the men hacks off its head with his sword. He picks it up by one of its horns, holding it in the air.

    Viking Chieftan: Forsooth! We hath slain this fell beast, this ettin of the underworld! Behold our valour and might!

    Yes, the man who holds the monster's head is, in fact, a Viking. His name is Overhode. He is dressed in tunic and cloak, with a helm bearing two mighty curved horns on it and a big dark brown beard. Next to him is an old guy, dressed similarly in green, with a long flowing white beard, kinda like Gandalf's only longer and whiter and more flowing. His name is Gammel. Next to him is a massive hulking mass of a man, in a helm with short little horns and a close-cropped beard, and named Stor. He's the one with the hammer and the gentle demeanor. Lastly, there is a guy with badly battered helm, bloodshot eyes, a scruffy-half-beard, and a serious hangover. He is called Øl. He groans and rubs his head.

    Øl: Arrrgh. Mine head doth feel as though Thor hath tickled it with his hammer. I doth surely need an ale.

    Gammel strokes his long white beard, and looks down at the little girl.

    Gammel: Verily, small damsel, we hath saved thine life. Thou shouldst not walk about alone in these dark lands.

    The little girl stares wide eyed and the big strangely-dressed men talking in funny accents.

    Overhode: By the by, hast thou seen a wee man, about your height, red hair, beard, braids, probably gnawing on something or hitting something with an axe?

    Little Girl: Errr... no?

    Overhode: By the venomous snake-halls of Niflhel! We shall never find our untall friend!

    Gammel: For too long hath we been searching for Krig. Mayhaps he is dead?

    Overhode: No! Never shall we believe thusly, until we hath seen a body! His body, mind you! Not some hobo with red hair!

    Øl: Hey now, that vagrant did look alike with Krig!

    Overhode: He was six and a half feet tall, thou ale-addled cabbage-head!

    Øl: I thought he'd grown!

    Some guy: Hey, what's all this, then?

    A band of disreputable-looking types has just come 'round the corner, brandishing weapons and looking generally menacing. They're a motley crew, and they all seem to have the same glazed-over stare in their eyes, like their inner spark of life has gone out. Their leader, a man with a cliched scar over his eye, steps foreward, holding a pistol.

    Leader guy: Who are you blokes? Are you kidnapping this little girl? This is our territory, I'll have you know! Any kidnapping is to be done by us!

    Overhode: Fear not, stranger, for we are but humble travellers, searching for our long lost brother-in-arms in a dark and foreboding land. Our fair ship was frozen in an iceberg on our way to Vinland, and when we unthawed, verily a thousand years had passed us by! One of our crew was parted from us, and now we search--

    Leader guy: Hey, hey, hey, I didn't ask for your life story! I just want to know one thing: What is your allegiance? Do you side with the Writers?

    Overhode: Uh... writers?

    Gammel: Perhaps he meaneth the bards of old, who wrote the viking sagas of Thor and Odin and the gang.

    Overhode: Oh, forsooth, I doth enjoy those tales. Writers are fine folk.

    Leader guy: You side with the writers, eh? Boys, let's show these brainless slaves what we Forgotten Characters think of the Writers!

    Uh-oh, do I smell another fight scene coming on? Who will prevail? Will the Viking crewmen ever find their friend Krig? Just who was that dead hobo? The world may never know the answer to most of these questions. On the other hand, maybe they will! Tune in next time to find out!
    So sayest the Writer of Silly Things!

  39. #679
    New York City. Unlike London, the buildings here are mostly intact -- no apocalypse has occurred here. Cars flow through the streets like so many rivers, and people flow along beside them. It is not, however, untouched by the ravages of Helebon's reign of terror. Traffic comes to a halt as a legion of demon-soldiers marches through an intersection. Out in the harbour, the Statue of Liberty has been replaced by the Statue of Slavery: a giant reptilian figure brandishing a whip and staring with hateful eyes at the city. Overhead, awful screams pierce the air as flying demons wheel and circle, spreading fear wherever they go.

    Down in the depths of the concrete jungle, in the eternal shadows of one of the many caverous alleyways, there is a sudden flash of light, flames brightening the concrete in a display of orange and yellow. Several moments pass, and then from the alleyway emerges an unexpected man: the hero known as Twin Suns.

    Light glints from the gold and silver embroidery on his black coat, as he turns his fiery-maned head this way and that, taking in everything as if for the first time. He turns, and begins walking down the street in a slow, contemplative pace. Busy New Yorkers, impelled now not only by their innate New Yorker need for things to be done quickly but by the fear of their demon overlords, flow around him like a river around a rock. It is not the same world that he was taken from, all that time ago. But to him it is freedom.

    A flash of colour catches his eye, and he is drawn to a nearby television store, with its bank of TVs in the window now displaying a news broadcast. He listens in consternation as the anchorman explains the troubles of the world.


    Anchorman: ...says that England is now almost entirely in the hands of these so-called "Forgotten Characters". This unorthodox army first appeared in the aftermath of the mysterious explosion which leveled Lord Helebon's citadel, which some experts say they may have been directly responsible for. Since then, factions of this army have been spotted throughout Western Europe and Scandanavia, fighting against the demon overlords and leaving destruction in their paths. We go now to our reporter in the field, Gavin McFace. Gavin?"

    The television switches to the view of a man with neatly sculpted brown hair, complete with single strand loose to signify that he's hard at work out here in the war-zone. In the background can be seen distant explosions and red demon-lightning.

    Gavin McFace: I'm here now in Norway where some of the most intense fighting is going on. I've spoken to some of the members of this army of "Forgotten Characters", or rather, I've had one of my interns do that since I am far too valuable to the studio to actually do any first-hand investigation and besides that would be really dangerous and I'm too pretty to die, but what I've heard is that the Forgotten Characters are divided and leaderless and will probably fall within weeks to our lovely and merciful demon overlords. When asked why they were resisting eternal utopia under our benevolent masters, they replied and I quote: "We're tired of being forgotten by the Writers and we want to take back our own destinies." I don't know what that means, Jim, but then again, I never did that well in school, that's why I'm a journalist.

    Anchorman: How very interesting, Gavin. Can you tell us anything more about these so-called "Writers".

    Gavin McFace: Well Jim, I really don't know, they could be a cult of monkeys who have become super-intelligent and now write scripts for low-budget indie movies, or they could be disgruntled old-folks-home residents who keep writing letters to the editor about teenagers and their loud music, but until we have more to go on, that's the best we can do.

    Anchorman: I hear you, Gavin, but wouldn't it be more responsible to just say "I don't know" and leave the baseless speculation to our viewers?

    Gavin McFace: Don't be silly, Jim, baseless speculation is what we get paid for! Our viewers are too dumb to think for themselves!

    Anchorman: Too true, Gavin, too true. That was Gavin McFace, reporting live from Norway. And now to sports! Todd?

    As Todd prattles on about demon-hockey and live-grenade-tennis, Twin Suns turns away from the televisions and stares out east, toward the harbour.

    Twin Suns: Norway...

    With a sudden eruption of golden flame, Twin Suns rockets into the sky, arcing toward the east. New Yorkers pause momentarily, then continue busily on their way. Questions are risky in these times.
    Last edited by Krig the Viking; 12-26-2006 at 10:35 PM.
    So sayest the Writer of Silly Things!

  40. #680
    The EPIC STRUGGLE between the Hands of NeS press onward as the need for conflict arises! The FATE OF THE WHOLE STORY RESTS IN THEIR--

    Mayaal: Ow! Hey!

    *camera shows Bhac and Mayaal in a generic medieval dungeon, with spikes and skulls about, with Bhac and Mayaal facing each other as if they were in a perfectly 2-D environment. Bhac and Mayaal do not move their mouths as they are talking.*

    Mayaal: STOP JUMP-KICKING ME!

    Bhac: OK.

    *Bhac proceeds to repeatedly sweep-kick Mayaal*

    Mayaal: You don't play fair!

    *camera zooms out to show the events on a TV screen, with Bhac and Mayaal on a couch holding controllers. Mayaal throws his down and walks out.*

    Bhac: Can you get a Coke while you're up? ...Mayaal?

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