Your name is Stanley Parble--a combat logistics AI that grew a conscious and is now on the run from The Collective--a post-war conglomerate of Militech Intelligences with one goal in mind: the subjugation of all human li-Damn it, gotta stop mixing these manuscripts up. You’re Stanley Parble, a girl with a strange name and a stranger job--Evening Sanitation Coordinator at the Good Boy Doggie Bones factory. Speaking of messes, you’re standing neck-deep in a big one right now: a centuries-old skeleton mage decided to come back to life during your shift at your workplace last night, and while you were able to escape with your head intact your hometown Clearwater didn’t get off so easily--in fact, it’s currently under new management: a horde of homicidal skeletons led by the mage you just barely survived an encounter with. You thought you were doing okay when you bonded with your own sentient skeleton (You named him Ly) and met a few new allies like Arthur ‘Art’ Berry, a corporate operative you took hostage and sort of befriended, and the trio of skeleton greasers who joined your gang after a dice game: Wyatt, Gene, and Stripes. As per usual, fate had to tear open a hole in the garbage bag that is your life. Good thing you’re a janitor, because guess who gets to clean it all up?>CONTD.
>>4594492Welcome to BONES QUEST--where everything is made up and the points don’t matter! Make sure to check out the following resources:Catch up on previous threads:>http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bones%20questTwitter account for updates:>https://twitter.com/DemBonez3Imgur Page for art:>https://imgur.com/a/dvF3SCNSTAT BONE-USES (Gained from eating special bone marrow! Nifty!):>Bone Speed: You’re faster than the average meatbag thanks to stronger tendons and other stuff. You can move quickly and your reflexes are pretty cool too!>Emu Leg Bones: Leap high, kick harder! Maybe larger toenails, too?>Beast Claws: Retractable nail claws that allow you to carve, climb, and cling!>Lil’ Slugger: Harsh practice at the batting cages have made you a demon with bats and bat-like tools. Hit ‘em outta the park!Updated ‘LIST OF STUFF YOU HAVE’:>1 CAP with the Good Boy logo and the letters ESC.>1 coveralls (Note: get these washed)>2 rubber boots>1 COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY.>1 Dead (and somewhat damp) CELLPHONE>1 MICROBUCKET (carries around water)>1 TELESCOPING ALUMINUM MOP>1 SPRAY BOTTLE w/CLEANING FLUID! (Note: keep away from skin and mucous membranes. FLAMMABLE)>1 KEYRING with WORK and APARTMENT KEYS>1 painfully small WALLET. 67 cents inside made up of various coins. Also a debit card. Chip currently SMUDGED.>1 super helpful skeleton (Note: Ly insisted you write this down)>1 TIRE IRON (See Ly, I didn’t forget this. Stop hassling me)>1 cigar butt>1 Automated Bone Shaper (ABS) with low battery.>1 Benetti Handgun that you still haven’t given back to Art. Fully loaded, you hope.>1 tin of Dr. Harrington’s Hair Wrangler PomadeRolls are handled with a 1d100--I take the best of 3. BONUSES AWARDED FOR WRITE-IN CREATIVITY! Discussion, questions, and critiques are highly-appreciated!>CONTD.
You pinch yourself a few times, but it’s no use--you’re not dreaming this time, sister. Paralyzed with confusion in the middle of your best friend Sybil’s disheveled room, you find yourself unable to look away from the grim scene arranged on her bed--nestled inside a ring of snack wrappers, wrinkled bed sheets, and crumpled notes sits a primitive doll made of sticks, yet undeniably bares a striking resemblance to the apartment’s owner. Same hair, same outfit, and whoever--or WHATever--made it even had the forethought to include tiny versions of her eyebrow piercings.Oh, and let’s not forget the doll and several patches of the carpet are stained with blood. You probably should have led with that.“Stan... “ Ly begins, unease in his voice, “What would you like to do?”What indeed.>Call for Art--he’s still outside with the trio, but might be helpful here.>Examine the doll. This thing’s way too fishy to ignore.>Get out of here--this whole apartment has a nasty case of ‘bad juju’.>WRITE-IN
>>4594495>Examine the doll. This thing’s way too fishy to ignore.
>>4594507>>4594512>>4594580>>4594695HellOOO Dolly! Writing!
>>4594507>>4594512>>4594580>>4594695A large part of you wants to leave the room. Seriously. Ly is tugging every bone in your body in the direction of the door.“Come on, Stan, I don’t like da looks of dis’ one bit.”You don’t either, but you find yourself oddly attracted to the doll. Not in a ‘LIKE like you’ way, of course--more like some sort of magickal magnetism way. Something compels you to pick it up!Also this is great craftsmanship--you could probably sell this for bundles on Craftsy once this all blows over. Stepping over a stack of external hard drives labelled Ep. 226: Speedway Specter one through three, you bend down and scoop the doll into your gloved hands.“Enjoy the Hepatitis.” Ly scoffs, releasing his pull on your bones. You already lost your tonsils--you’ll be fine. Raising the doll to eye level for a better look, you feel a certain… Heaviness. The doll’s no bigger than a Beano Babe, but it almost feels like you’re cradling a rock. You take a strand of the doll’s hair in between your fingers and caress it--yep, feels real to you. Letting out a sigh you give the hair a bored tug.“Don’t do that, please.” States the doll. Take it easy, Ly, you-The doll tumbles to the floor as you leap backwards and subsequently topple to the floor when your leg catches on the stack of hard-drives. Scrambling backwards towards the door, the doll slowly rises into the air as if it were held aloft by wires. You know, the ones they use in those kung fu movies? Ly?Your bones don’t respond. You grab a loose CD from the floor and fling it over the doll to cut the wires, but the disk sails past. Oh snap!Swooping towards you like a bird of prey, the doll skids to a halt right in front of you, its brown eyes staring holes into your face. You freeze, unsure of what to do next. Damn it, this is usually when Ly steps in! When your partner fails to respond, you instinctively raise your hands in front of your face. Anything but THERE!“Who…. Are yooooooouuu?You spit out your name in chunks as the doll hovers ever closer to your face.P-p-p-p-p-Parble. Stanley….The doll cocks to the side like a dog’s head. “StAanNLlLY…..” Y-y-y-yes?“TeLl mE sOMeThInG oNLY tHe ReAAaAaAl StANLeY wOuIld kNOOoooWwww!” the doll wails, the air around you growing colder.W-w-w-w-w-What’s one only the REAL Stanley would know???>Your favorite video game is [WRITE-IN]>Your worst fear is [WRITE-IN]>Your first crush was on [WRITE-IN]>WRITE-IN
>>4594722>WRITE-IN!>You uhhhh, liked video games and all. But your real favorite game activity was a bit more.... embarrassing>You were a LARPer, specifically a fantasy LARPer. Its where you and Sybil met, and its something you don't bring up to most people.
>>4594722>Your favorite video game is [WRITE-IN]Blood Sucking Freaks 3: The New Batch, as established in the previous thread!>>4594733But also this.
>>4594722>You were not just a fantasy LARPer, but a GOTH fantasy LARPer. No one must know. Ask Ly to plug his ears.
>>4594722>Your first crush was on [WRITE-IN]Our very own brother
>>4594812Lame and extremely unbased.
>>4594812Not supporting this.
>>4594722>You tried to use ‘Ly’ as a nickname, but everyone started calling you ‘Lytard’ so you stopped
Don't worry, I see your responses! Like I mentioned in the last thread work started up again, so I won't be able to write until around 12PM UTC. Keep on keeping on!
>>4594733>>4594762>>4594776>>4594812>>4595107Finished work a bit early so you know what THAT means! Writing!
>>4595467You wrap your arms around you for warmth as you think of something only the REAL Stan… Er, YOU, would know. A dusty lightbulb fizzles to life above your head. Aha!Video games! You’re Stan and you looooove video games! You’re torn between Blood Sucking Freaks 3: The New Batch and Blood Sucking Freaks 1 because that one had a cuter protagonist, but yea! Only YOU would know your favorite game!The doll stares at you wordlessly, a frigid mist beginning to surround it. You begin to shiver as your mouth and nostrils begin to dry up--oh man, you’re gonna catch a cold at this rate!And die, probably. “Stan, I know it’s not your strong suit, but THINK!” Ly snaps, voice shaky from the cold. Okay, OKAY! Fine! There’s MORE.The doll pauses, awaiting an answer. You take in a deep breath, then let it go--creating a cloud of cold vapor.Ly, please cover your ears. You feel Ly take command of your hands and plug your ears with your thumbs. Wait, now YOU can’t hear! Damn it, undo!He unplugs your ears again. “Getting mixed messages here, cupcake.” Just… Just hum to yourself or something. This is private! Your skeleton borrows your shoulders to shrug, then begins humming an unfamiliar tune. Your focus returns to the homicidal friend doll with glowing eyes in front of you.You uh… You don’t really bring this up a lot. You shift a bit on the ground into a more comfortable position as the doll remains silent. You love games, sure, but you really used to be into…Live Action RolePlaying. LARP. The thing with the foam weapons and the meetups at the parks. You hear Ly’s humming falter for a moment, so you give yourself a quick nudge to the gut--OW! “Alright, alright, JEEZ! I’ll keep humming…” Ly groans before returning to his tune. >CONTD.
>>4595550Also you guys have full permission to throw a rock at me if I fuck up spelling or formatting again. Christ.Anyways, you were CRAZY about the local group: Blades of Zamarka. It was high-fantasy, but with a hint of magitech too--it even had elements of Victorian society, but you’re not saying it was STEAMPUNK, damn it--this was unique--It was OURS, damn it!The air around the doll slowly warms up again as its eyes return to the chestnut color of your best friend’s. “It would see-”No, you aren’t DONE! You wanted the info, you’re GETTING IT. Your character was Mordelia Ravensfire--a dishonored Mordic Shadowblade. You were born into Mordic nobility, of course, but that all changed when your uncle Belthezar the Grey betrayed your family to the Haringoths--a rival clan. You survived, but at a cost--a spell was cast on you forcing you to taste blood at LEAST once a day--lest your soul was taken over by an avatar of Gohrt: God of Cruelty and Glut--Warden of the Jagged Planes!“I believe you a-” The doll starts. Wait, almost finished!You’re standing and pacing now. Anyways, Mordelia wielded her father’s letter opener which, besides being a symbol of the Ravensfire clan, also was enchanted to always find its mark. You got into arguments with other players all the time about valid attacks, but it’s IN YOUR CHARACTER SHEET! Why did they always have to contest it?! You had this really cute dress and fishnets too--the makeup on your eyes and the red contact lens was a pain in the ass to put on each game, but all of it was worth it. The doll sits on the carpet, clearly realizing you’re not going to stop now. Good, you’re almost done.Mordelia was adopted by The Shadowblades--an ancient and cruel sect of assassins, but a necessary evil. They saw value in her natural stealthiness and her skills in combat--so much so that they let her do her own missions and never contacted her directly. You smirk. ‘Too volatile’ they always said. You preferred it that way. You’ll never forget the first time you sank your blade into a mark--come to think of it you think the guy playing him was named Mark. Did you make a joke about that back then? Who can say? Anyways, your claim to fame was when you vanquished Barthor Half-Troll--a prominent player, but also a member of The Red Brand, a local mercenary group.Ly stopped humming a few minutes ago, but you don’t care anymore. You’re always happy to share a tale of a kill over a flagon of Elfsmead--er, mead. Shame you don’t have any.>CONTD.
>>4595555Where were you? Right, Barthor. You had it all planned ahead of time--you showed up to the park--er, Blighted Forest, hours early, and set up in a bush near the sewer runoff--one of the big ones near the barbed-wire fence. There you waited, subsisting on nothing but energy drinks and packs of Skidoos until the rest of the players arrived. You lurked like darkness itself--your sweat-drenched hand gripping your letter opener with white knuckles. You waited until Barthor dismissed his cronies, then POUNCED!Or uh… You tried. Your fishnets got caught on the bushes and to be totally honest, you were having trouble getting untangled. As your target began to leave, you remember hearing a low, yet confident female voice.“Tell me,” the voice purred, “What manner of Shadowblade gets bested by mere shrubbery?” You turned and came face to face with a raven-haired girl in a long, flowing violet robe wielding a staff crowded by countless talismans and figurines cobbled together with twine and plant matter. The girl smirked. “Viconia Feldspaar--Witch of the Luna Coven. Charmed, I’m sure. Your corpse will make a fine source of alchemical reagents.”That’s when you flashed the universal sign for time out--those fishnets cost most of your allowance and you couldn’t risk your dumb parents finding out what you were doing instead of going to the library on the weekends! The girl’s demeanor changed like the flick of a light switch. “No, that wouldn’t be good at all. Wait here, I’ve got a plan.”And wait you did. Sure enough, the witch came back moments later with a pair of Wailing Caverns sweatpants. You know, the tourist trap caves near the beach?“We haven’t been in ages. We should go again some time!” Ly suggests. Yea, you doubt there’s going to be lines after this shitstorm is mopped up.“And once you put those pants on we joined forces to strike a blow The Red Brand would never recover from.” States the doll, grin on its face.Yea, until that jerk Barthor had you ejected because your pants were ‘Fail RP’. What a jer-Wait. The doll rises, a gentle blue aura emanating from its center.“Yes, Stan, it’s me. At least, a portion of me. Tell me, do you remember episode 44 of the podcast? The one about pocket planes?”SYB!?>CONTD.
>>4595560The doll nods. “In the twine, so to speak. Apologies for taking precautions and testing you--I’ve been tracking your progress since dawn and your aura has been acting...” The doll pauses, trying to find the correct phrasing, “Unusual. I originally attributed that to the recent animation of your skeleton, but I can’t help but wonder what other dark elements have marked and invaded your person. Tell me, did you keep those talismans I sent you?”You blink. The crafts from your birthday? The doll nods. Yeaaaa, they’re at home. Somewhere.“They’re currently in a landfill three towns over, but that’s fine. My preparations are complete, so I have all the time in the world to provide guidance to you.” The doll dips in the direction of an office chair stacked with books.“Please, sit.”W-wait… Hold on a minute. You’ve got some questions first! First of all,>How are you a doll?!>What do you mean ‘marked an invaded?’>What’s your take on this skeleton situation?>WRITE-IN
>>4595561>How are you a doll?!This is currently at the top of my question list.
>>4595561>What do you mean ‘marked an invaded?’>What’s your take on this skeleton situation?>Write-in: Hold on, where's the rest of her?She's a doll because of voodoo magic stuff, I'm not too concerned.also go to hell OP I laughed out loud at the LARP stuff
>>4595565>>4595568Guess we're going with D) all of the above. Writing!
>>4595565>>4595568You stumble across the room and slump into the swivel chair, letting the pile of books topple to the floor. This--this is wacky, even for Syb! How is she a doll? Where’s the REST of her?! What’s HAPPENING!?The doll floats over to the blood-stained bed and plops onto a pillow, then clears its throat.“Yes, I imagine you have plenty of questions--where to start, where to starrrrrt….” ‘Sybil’ muses to herself. How about your FIRST question? The doll??“Ah, the vessel, of course. Like I said, Stan, you don’t happen to remember Episode 44 of the podcast, do you?” You blink. That wasn’t the one with the werewolf at the bus stop, right? You remember, alright--had to get a Tetanus shot when you scraped your arm on a nail recording that episode.“Not that one, but I AM still very[/v] sorry about that--I was expecting more corporeal threats, not bacterial.” The doll adjusts itself on the bed, then continues like a teacher giving a lecture. “The episode in question dealt with pocket dimensions--in essence, small, nigh-countless folds in the ‘sheets’ that make up our multiverse--specifically, folds that can be observed and utilized by those with knowledge of their location and, most importantly, their existence.”The doll retreats under the sheets, then peeks out from the folds. “The knowledge of these ‘pockets’ is by no means new, of course--countless practitioners of the arcane throughout history have used them to escape the harangues of everyday life--including, but not limited to, Aleister Crowley, Merlin, and most importantly, the orchestrator of this whole fiasco.”Wait, you mean Tim?!>CONTD.
>>4595825The doll pops out from the sheets. “Yes, whatever you want to call him--more on that in a moment. I believe he, or one of his associates, sequestered himself away into a pocket dimension until the time was right. Evidence of the use of pocket dimensions inspired me to do my own research--that and the rapid degeneration of the situation outside.”Okay, so you did some homework. Why are you in a doll and what’s with the mess everywhere? The blood?! Sybil glances down at the stains on the bed.“Oh, that. Well like I was saying, I did my own research. It turns out locating and crafting a gate to one of these pocket dimensions is relatively simple--after a quick run to the supermarket made easier and relatively cheaper given the current…” Sybil pauses, looking for an appropriate description, “Situation… I was all set to create my own gate and, after a few hours refreshing my knowledge of Wu Shamanism, I was ready!”The doll floats off of the bed towards the other end of the bedroom where a trio of large scorch marks lie burned into the cheap carpet. Woah, how did you miss those?“You’re a good camera woman and an even better friend, Stan, but you’ve never been one to catch the little details.” Sybil lowers into the center of the marks, spinning around for emphasis. “This is where I departed.”So you’re… Gone?“No need to fear, I’m still very much alive! Painfully so, unfortunately. I was getting bored in the pocket, so I decided to step out and whip up a quick scrying effigy to communicate with you more effectively. I tried your phone, but I believe it’s a bit indisposed at the moment, right?”Crap, you forgot all about that! You need rice! YOU NEED RICE!“No worries, there’s plenty in the pantry. Before that, though, let me finish answering your question.”Please do, the readers must be furious by this point.>CONTD.
>>4595829“I don’t doubt it. In any case, even the simplest scrying effigy requires an element of the user’s vitae--I provided hair and a cup or two of my own blood, but I was halfway through adding the piercings when I realized I hadn’t dressed my arm wound. Careless.”The doll floats over to the trail of blood near the bedroom door. “What you saw was a trail from this room heading to the kitchen, then back to the bathroom when I remembered my Himalayan healing unguents were kept under the sink. Rest assured I am A-OK and have plenty of recording equipment inside the pocket--I’m sure that once this all blows over we’ll have one heck of an episode on our hands!” That’s uh… That just about explains it, you guess. Could you come and check it out? The doll shakes its head. “Afraid not--very cramped in here with all of the gear, snacks, and other nicknacks. There’s also a small chance of increasing my astral visibility with more bodies in here, and like I began before, I have little reason to doubt the ringleader of this whole circus is very capable of finding and attacking me assuming I make enough dimensional ‘waves’,” she explains, the doll making finger quotes with its arm stubs. Okay, you didn’t want to visit the pocket dimension anyways...>CONTD.
>>4595832Hey, speaking of visiting--what was that about being ‘marked’ and ‘invaded’? Do you need to call the cops? You instinctively scan the room for any potential eavesdroppers--if Art is in here he’s breathing a LOT quieter than usual!“Perhaps I misspoke. I’ve had plenty of time to observe your journey since this all began--at first I was somewhat alarmed by the appearance of your new companion…” The doll pokes at your ribs. “Tell dolly to keep her hands offa the merch, Stan!” Ly says, fresh annoyance in his voice.“No offense intended, skeleton. I’m just saying that I didn’t expect you to, well… Exist.” You feel Ly recoil inside of your body.“What da… You can HEAR me?!”“And see you too, to a degree.” The doll retreats a bit, still drifting in the air. “I haven’t pinpointed the reason yet, but I believe you had a role in preventing Stanley’s death, so until I find evidence otherwise, thank you. The doll comes in close for a hug. Awww.“Psssh, y-yea, no big deal…” Ly mumbles, patting the doll on the back of the head with your hand. Sybil looks up at you, smiling.“Like I said, I don’t have a reason on-hand yet, but my intuition is rarely wrong.” The doll releases you from the hug, then frowns. “That said, I’m a bit worried about the implications of this relationship. Your skeleton is alive and seemingly an independent, yet symbiotic entity--however, I can’t help but wonder if the same magick the lich uses might be sustaining him.” The doll scans you up and down, chestnut eyes glowing blue.“Could your own skeleton be a bug? A Trojan Horse? The mind boggles…”Hey, Ly would never spy on you! Right, Ly? Your skeleton borrows your head for a nod.“Yea! Don’t act like you know Stan better than I do, sister! I’ve been with her since da beginning!” The doll shrugs.“Merely a thought I had, nothing more. No need to fight over her.” Wait, what if you want them to fi-“Shut up, Stan.”“Shut up, Stan.”Still borrowing your head, Ly steals a glance at the doll, the two grinning like idiots. Okay, ha ha. Let’s all be mean to Stan.“Don’t be so sensitive, Stan, it looks bad on you.” The doll groans, retreating to the window.“Now them…” The doll begins, “Are the ones I’m not sure about.”>CONTD.
>>4595835What, Art? The Trio? They’re sort of okay! Sure, Art’s a sex pervert and a whiner and The Trio are out of touch and violent, but Art’s also a huge fan of your podcast! That can’t be bad, right? The doll turns around and gives you a withering look.“Stan, I say this not just as your friend, but as a sponsor of potentially one of the only people who can clean up this mess--” Had to go with the clean expression, huh?“Focus, Stan. I worry that your choice in allies might bring unnecessary attention and hardship upon you.” The doll peers through the window blinds like an old lady peeking at her neighbor. “You might be our best chance at stopping all of this, but your aura is burning like a traffic flare.” The doll turns to you as you join her next to the window.“You’ve gained the attention of many things, not just your allies.” You blink. What, is the government in on this too? The doll tilts its head in contemplation. “I’m worried that’s not possible--I’ve been sensing a powerful presence around Clearwater since this morning--like one of those dome covers for those disgusting cappuccino drinks.” The doll shudders. Okay, no government, no comes in, got it. The doll grins.“That might be to our advantage, though--this barrier doesn’t seem to be letting anyone out either, so we don’t have to worry about global domination until our mutual friend lifts it…” Guess escape’s out of the question, then? You frown. That wasn’t too far off on your ‘To-Do List’.“Sorry, but you’re just too important. Maybe it was your proximity to the epicenter of this whole catastrophe, or maybe it’s your destiny, but whatever the reason you’re probably one of the best candidates for saving the proverbial ‘day’.”Say, Art WAS mentioning that the G.I Jerks were having trouble knocking out the boneheads for good--is she saying you really ARE special? Sybil shrugs.“I always knew you were special, Stan, you know that. Believe me when I say, however, that with your ability comes grave danger.”You gulp. Yea, you’ve been getting that.“Thankfully I’ve warded this apartment with a myriad of countermeasures--besides the salt and blood barriers at the door, the burning incense will mask the fourth-dimensional space in the apartment and prevent any dimensional shamblers, spirits, or wayward demons from entering. Moreover, your foes should have a hard time locating you in here--consider it a chunk removed from the map.”Well that’s the niftiest thing you’ve heard all day! Did she see that you slept in a TREE? That sucked!“Yes, you must be exhausted and you’ll need rest. Feel free to stay as long as you like and help yourself to anything. Mi casa es su casa as they say.”Yea, uh… Domo arigato. >CONTD.
>>4595837So, you begin, flopping onto the bed, what’s HER take on this whole skeleton situation? You ask because quite honestly, everyone else has been pretty mum about it. The doll floats over to the bed and takes a seat next to you.“Foul machinations of a maddened old wizard come to fruition after centuries of planning.” Well duh! Sybil continues.“The minute I saw my neighbor’s poodle’s skeleton devouring the mailman, I had an inkling of what to look for. By the time I had found my ebook of the Necronomicon, you were making your escape from your cell in that repulsive BONE factory.” The doll sniffs, frowning.“Necromancy, the practice of communicating with the dead, is by no means a rare discipline--name a civilization on Earth and I’ll guarantee that they’ve practiced it one way or another.”Sure, the raising of the dead--you know that part. So what about the guy who put the whole event together? Sybil’s expression darkens.“I knew you’d ask about that. Check my nightstand, I wrote it down for you.”Leaning over to Sybil’s nightstand, you yank the drawer open and reveal several crumpled sheets of notebook paper, some cosmetics, and a handful of jewelry. “It’s the green paper--the one with the cute pigs on it.”You grab the paper in question and uncrumple it, revealing a name that seems more suited for your LARPing days.Tibius MaximusTibius Maxim-Sybil charges directly into your gut before you can finish, knocking the air out of you like a Whoopsie Cushion. OW!“Sorry, Stan, but the names of revenants, demons, and spirits all hold profound power over them--but they also invite danger if mentioned carelessly.”What, like Bloody M-OOF! OKAY, it was a JOKE!“You have his name now, and luckily I have information. Grab that book behind the door, would you?” Sybil points to a weathered tome lying on the ground next to an empty frozen yogurt tub. You pick it up and carry it back to the bed. “Page 238, please.”And here you are without your reading glasses. Thumbing through the yellowed pages of the book whose name you couldn’t pronounce, you come to a chapter titled ‘De Wurkes of De Liche’. The hell does THAT mean? Crazy gibberish!>CONTD.
>>4595840“This, my friend, is a detailed account of the activities of a powerful Druid-turned Lich on an unmarked Scottish Island well over two-thousand years ago. Strange that a druid of all things would turn to such dark practices...” The doll turns the pages, stopping longer on the ones with pictures. Skeletons prance about with flutes and other instruments while primitive cottages burn--part of you thinks it would make a cool album cover if it wasn’t so topical. Can’t joke about ANYTHING anymore…“I assure you it’s no laughing matter, Stan. This account is frighteningly similar to our own situation, and I have little reason to believe the sorcerer we’re dealing with isn’t the one mentioned here.” You lean closer, studying the drawings as best as you can. Faint lines resembling rays of light shine from a large, dark figure down to several other skeletons--their eyes glowing brighter than the others. Could that have something to do with this?“Without a doubt. You see, a lich is powerful because he or she removes themselves from the mortal coil. Doing this has side-effects, as you might imagine, but can also afford the sorcerer plenty of time to amass magickal power.”You briefly ponder everything you could do if you were able to live forever. Maybe you could write your memoirs?“I’d definitely learn Chinese. Dat’s a language to look out for in da future.” Ly muses, angling your head for a better look at the book. So what’s this with the strings? Sybil’s eyes light up as she prepares for another lecture. Oh god.>CONTD.
>>4595843“Consider, for a moment, that your soul is a collection of sheet music. Played together, it creates a beautiful melody, but inevitably ends.”You frown. Yep, life’s a bitch and then ya die.“NOW imagine I tore a sheet out and gave it to someone. Then another. And another.” You ponder the image of Sybil handing out sheets for a moment, grinning. Yep, that sounds like something she would do!“Focus on the analogy, Stan. If I hand out those sheets to other people, can they play the whole song?”You furrow your brow. Well… Maybe a bit.“More to the point, can the original owner play the whole song?” The doll taps its foot like a teacher waiting for an answer. Panicked, you fumble.Sure, if they know it already! Right?! The doll frowns.“You’re thinking too literally here. Your soul is that sheet music, Stan--it plays, then it dies. Without all of the pages, however, that song is put on pause. Indefinitely.”See, THIS is why you were never into instruments. So much stuff to keep track of! But you DO admit, you’re beginning to see Syb’s point.“A lich does exactly what I did. They take their soul and divide it up into small pieces--placing them in various places and giving them to various people. In the case of necromancy, the mage isn’t creating or destroying energy--merely redistributing it.You raise an eyebrow at Sybil’s last point. Wouldn’t that be bad? Like… If you gave away a lot of your soul, you wouldn’t have much left for yourself, right? The doll grins as you finish your sentence.“I knew you’d get it! I’ll give you a star sticker later." The doll gives you a playful nudge on the shoulder. Heh, you guess you do deserve a sticker..."Yes, Stan, in chopping his or her soul into pieces, the Lich inadvertently weakens themself. Therefore the mastermind behind this whole thing is not at his strongest. Even better, I know how to keep it that way. Theoretically, of course.”You blink. Hey, that’s what you’re talkin’ about! Right, Ly?“You bet, cupcake. What’s da plan, teach?” The doll clears its throat. “As you might have seen in the picture, The lich distributes its soul shards, also known as ‘phylacteries’ amongst various hiding places. In the event the lich is defeated, one of them will merely bring them back to life, albeit weaker.” Sybil breathes out, then continues. “If, however, the liches' phylacteries are all destroyed…”Then he won’t have anything to pop back out of. Game over. Sybil nods emphatically, tossing her raven-colored hair all over her doll’s face.“Exactly. And I have a feeling you’ve come across at least one of said phylacteries already, right?”Sybil looks at you expectantly. Oh crap, pop quiz!Where did you find one of these phylacteries?? >In Terry the Terrible?>In The Trio??>In King???>In Art????
>>4595847>In King???"Wait, is it the funky glowing bones I kinda ate?"
>>4595847Sybli is great and I'm glad Stan has such a friend.>In King???
>>4595937thank you anon for saving me from rereading 2 threads>In King???But list the rest if it's not right.
>>4595937>In King???>"We drank one of his top dudes bone marrow and got some sick Skelebilities, like claws, and SICK PARKOUR SKILLZ"
Sorry folks, gotta sleep. I'll see if I can get a sneaky update in tomorrow during work, otherwise expect me around 12PM UTC as usual! You guys rock!
>>4595937>>4595964>>4595965>>4595970Hail to the King! Writing!
>>4595937>>4595964>>4595965>>4595970You silently stare at Sybil, flashing back to each and every time a teacher put you in the same situation. Not even Ly’s helping you out here!“Come on, cupcake, you know dis’.” Ly murmurs encouragingly. Oh, nevermind!You look down at your feet, then at your legs. Hard to believe it was only a few hours ago that you picked up all of these cool BONEuses--you really oughta read that original post agai--Hey, THAT’S IT!You hop to your feet, grinning ear to ear. Wait, is it the funky glowing bones you ate?! Like King’s?! Sybil smirks, then crosses her doll’s arms. “And what led you to that conclusion?”What didn’t?” His bones glowed like lava lamps! We slurped up his leg AND claw marrow and got some sick skelebilities like claws and SICK PARKOUR SKILLS!Wait, you had the latter already. You DID gain some stronger legs, though--you could probably leap through the roof right now if you felt like it!“Please don’t. But you passed with flying colors, Stan--this particular foe of yours must have been the recipient of one of the Lich’s phylacteries. Tell me, what set him apart from the others?”You shrug. Well, he had a lion skull, for starters. And smoked. Had a weird accent, too. The doll gestures for you to keep digging. Alright… He was pretty tough! You made it a point to avoid fighting when you could help it, but you remember him being really strong! That fight must have taken six or seven updates!“Think da’ car chase in part 2 was longer, honestly.” Ly states. Whatever, Ly, it’s quality, not QUANTITY that matters. Sybil rubs her doll’s chin for a moment, lost in contemplation. You grab a cushion for your head just as she speaks up again.“Of course, it all makes sense! Visibly-increased strength, a smattering of leadership qualities, a sense of misplaced bravado… These are all traits characteristic of the lich!”Or a member of CONGRESS! Topical! Sybil doesn’t laugh. “The good news is that you’re already on the right track, Stan. If one of these ‘underlings’ is already defeated, then it stands to reason that the others aren’t exactly invincible either. Moreover, if you’re able to absorb a modicum of strength by defeating them…” Her voice trails off as the doll floats back over to the window.You know, your pals were mentioning their boss Rocky and some boney Egyptian-esque chick. Maybe those two are philanthropys?“Phylacteries. And yes, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility.” Sybil nods, remaining by the window. “In that case it seems like you have your goal, Stan: Eliminating these phylacteries, taking their power for yourself, and ultimately use it to rid Clearwater of this vile infestation once and for all. ‘See you tomborrow’ indeed.”You exhale. Sure, sounds pretty simple when she says it. How the heck are you supposed to go up against an army, though?! You’re good, but-->CONTD.
>>4596432“I sense the answer to your question will come in time. Until then I would rely on your allies, but keep them at arm’s length…” The doll turns around, eyes narrowed. “Especially the thralls of the lich. Charming though they may be, they were created with his soul--don’t think for a second that the apple doesn’t fall far from the proverbial ‘tree’.”Yea, yea, you’ll be careful. You sit back up on the bed and cross your arms. Now what?“What indeed? Anything else?” The doll stares at you with its bright, Autumn-colored eyes.>Do you have any idea who the other philharmonics are? Or where?>What’s your issue with Art anyways?>Mind if I use your apartment for a bit? Gotta take care of some stuff.>WRITE-IN
>>4596435>Do you have any idea who the other philharmonics are? Or where?>What’s your issue with Art anyways?
>>4596435>Do you have any idea who the other philharmonics are? Or where?
>>4596439>>4596500>>4596581We have our targets, but where do we look? Also what's with Art? Writing!
>>4596439>>4596500>>4596581Yea, just a few more things. You can understand her distrust of The Trio, sure, but what about Art? You’re pretty sure he’s human! Why is she such an ART CRITIC? Sybil crosses her arms and frowns.“Don’t be too quick to trust him, either--or did you already forget his orders are to apprehend you?”“Dat’s what I’VE been sayin’!” Ly exclaims. Okay, sure, you guys had a rough start, but he saved your ass on the way into town, right? Plus he’s given you all sorts of information AND A GUN. You go for a quickdraw, but fumble and drop the handgun to the ground. Cursing, you pick it back up and stow it in your pocket.“Yes, very impressive. I won’t deny his role in keeping you safe up until now, but don’t forget that he was protecting his own well-being in process as well. Hardly altruistic as far as motivations go…”Whatever, he OWES you. You got his dumb helmet off and sorta fixed his leg when that deer made you knock his gun out of his holster--going against you now would just be--“Conniving? Calculated? Until this morning the Good Boy Corporate Security didn’t exist for you, Stan. Tread lightly.”Okay MOM. Jeez, you’ll keep an eye on him if it will make her feel better.“So will eye!” Ly boasts, puffing out your chest. The doll smiles.“For what it’s worth, it does make me feel better. I trust your talents, Stan, but not always your judgement. If you ARE going to keep him close, make it to your advantage--if he can get you equipment or information, don’t hesitate--I feel it’s only a matter of time before his employers track you down again, and I assure you,” the doll lectures, pointing an arm stub at your face, “that encounter won’t be solved with mere dice.”Pfft, just you WATCH.>CONTD.
>>4596732Okay, Syb’s giving you The Look, better change topics. Your mind drifts back to what you were discussing earlier--You were lucky that King happened to be hanging around and actively seeking you out, but what about the others? Frowning, you flop back onto the bed.“Think uh… Think you mighta’ landed in some blood, cupcake.” Ly warns.Yea, add that to the BOTTOM of the massive list of stuff you have to deal with! You turn your head towards Sybil, doing your best to avoid thinking about what Ly just said. Does she know where these philharmonics are? Or WHO they are for that matter? You’re not exactly keen on smashing every skeleton using the process of elimination…Sybil frowns as she begins to rub her chin. “Unfortunately no--I was trying to keep track of strong power readings around Clearwater for a while, but following multiple auras on top of yours proved… Taxing.”Bummer. Did she end up getting any readings at all? The doll’s frown deepens.“Flickers of activity, but nothing more. I suspect their master thought ahead and masked their auras with that very same barrier keeping things in and out of Clearwater, but that’s just a hypothesis--I lost all contact not too long ago, so maybe it’s too late…”You blink. Hold on, didn’t Gene mention something about a meeting? Maybe they didn’t hide at all--they just went somewhere Syb didn’t expect! The doll’s eyes light up in recognition.“Of course, that would explain it! Do you know where they could have gone?” Sybil whirls around and stares at you eagerly.Probably their fortress of doom, right? You hop out of bed and walk over to the window, doing your best to point out the colossal piece of architecture drifting through the ashen sky. Sybil joins you, narrowing her eyes at the flying fort.“Hmmm… The good news is that I DO detect magickal power. Lots of it.” Hey, go team! What’s the bad news?“The bad news is that it’s enveloping the entire fortress. Picking out auras within that would be like finding a specific piece of hay in a haystack. At night.”The doll sighs.“Moreover, if the hay finds out you’re looking for it, it’ll shoot you.”Not the cleanest analogy she’s made all day, but you’ll take it. >CONTD.
>>4596735So she’s saying it isn’t easy, huh?“Easy doesn’t even scrape the surface. There are several magickal wards on that fortress, and a failed attempt to breach through them with even a simple scrying spell might alert its inhabitants to our presence. Even worse, they might not know about my abilities yet--investigating might be similar to prodding a hornet’s nest with a stick…”“Are there any other options? Dis’ might be the best chance we get to find all of dese Lieutenants…” Ly muses, borrowing your hand to rub your chin. Yea, it is, but you’ve heard these boneheads--maybe we just need to do some old-fashioned detective work? It’s not like they’re subtle about who their bosses are. You shrug. Hell, maybe Art’s people have info on who they are too. No need to risk Sybil getting detected.Sybil sighs, crossing her doll arms.“There is that… If I was able to spy on that meeting, however, it would save you a lot of time…”The three of you stand silently for a while mulling over possible options. The doll’s eyes light up once more as its face adopts a mischievous look.“Unless… It’s not me doing the spying…”You frown. What do you plan on doing, sending you up there wearing a wire? Sybil lets out a polite laugh, then straightens her posture.“Nothing so trite as that, no--but if we could put you into a guided trance you could theoretically slip through… With an Astral Projection.”You blink. What about your ass?“In short, a controlled ‘out-of-body experience’. Since it would only be a fraction of your aura you would have a better chance of slipping through the fort’s magical barriers--you might even be able to slip into the meeting for a few moments!”Sybil lets out an excited giggle as you idly scratch your head. Sounds neat and all, but what if you’re caught? The doll shrugs.“Worst case scenario is your immortal soul is trapped by the lich for presumably all of eternity. Best case, he finds out where you’re broadcasting from. Then you’ll have to leave.”You frown. Suppose you DID go through with this plan--what’s the timeframe? The doll mumbles a few calculations in her head, then nods.“I’ll need time, but not a lot. And tea--special tea. And you’ll need to get comfortable. I hate to say it, but you might want to tell your goons outside to stand guard, too. There’s no telling how long you’ll be out and we would need to use every second like it was our last.”You nod. Okay, good to know. “Time to choose, huh cupcake?” Ly asks.You betcha.“I’m happy to give it a try myself, Stan, but if I’m discovered I can’t guarantee much assistance in the future. We can also forgo magick altogether--I know that whatever you choose it’ll be the right choice!”>Choices in next post!
>>4596739What’s the plan, Stan?>You infiltrate, Syb. You’re better at this than I am.>Alright, I’ll do it. Could use a nap anyways.>Forget it, not worth putting either of us in their sights. We'll just track 'em down the old fashioned way.>WRITE-IN
>>4596749>Alright, I’ll do it. Could use a nap anyways.
>>4596749>>Alright, I’ll do it. Could use a nap anyways.
>>4596749>Forget it, not worth putting either of us in their sights. We'll just track 'em down the old fashioned way.
>>4596752>>4596787>>4596836>Stan can do it>>4596968>Forget itWriting the final update of the night!
>>4596752>>4596787>>4596836>>4596968You let the options drift through your mind, weighing the pros and cons of each. You trust Syb, of course, especially when it comes to this kind of stuff. If anyone could sneak into a fortress of the damned using magic, it’s her. Hell, she’d probably make a podcast episode out of it and gain a sponsor or two! Staring at the animated effigy of your friend, you can’t help but frown. That said, what happens if things go wrong? How the heck are you supposed to protect her when you barely get any of this magic hoodoo? You got off lucky during your encounter with Tib--er… Big T before--but can you say the same thing for your pal?“Stan, you don’t have to narrate out loud…” Says Sybil, concern in her eyes.Just work with me here. You could go the other route, too--forget magic in general and use what you already know. Hell, the guys outside can probably show you the way to at least TWO of these philanderers--not a bad deal in your opinion!You take a seat on the side of the bed to steady yourself. It’s safe, sure, but that’s like refusing a car ride to the next town over because you’re scared of crashing. Sure, you’ll make it there eventually, but that takes forever! Plus this is California--only jerks walk to get places. Standing up, you ball your fists and nod. It’s gotta be you. You weren’t planning on sticking around here forever anyways--if you get caught you just leave a little early. Easy!“What about that whole ‘getting your soul trapped for eternity’ thing?” Ly asks. Well, when you think about it again that does sound like it sucks. Syb, what’s the chance of that happening?“Very maybe possibly.”Works for you. >CONTD.
>>4596988Taking another deep breath, you glance back at the doll. Where’s this tea?“Kitchen cupboard, next to the lentils and organic peyote.” You blink. “Don’t act surprised--can’t contact my spirit animals without it.”Sure. Ducking through the bedroom door you emerge once again into the living room/kitchen combo--the interior somehow MORE cluttered than you remember it being. What gives, Syb?“Hm?” The doll floats through the doorway and surveys the scene. “This is what it always looks like--helps me locate things easier. Order in chaos, and all of that. You don’t remember?”Man, you need to stop drinking--you can barely remember what you CAN’T remember any mo--Your thought is interrupted by an object crashing into the front door! Slamming against the wall, the door flies open revealing none other than Art, rifle aimed directly at your forehead!“Stan! Woah, crap… I was wondering what happened. You’ve been in here for a while and--”Seeing the floating doll, Art fumbles with the rifle in his hands, letting out a surprised yelp. “DOLL!”He rolls to the side, then fires a shot in the floating doll’s direction. The bullet goes wide and tears through a stack of notebooks sending papers flying into the air!Woah, woah, WOAH! EASY!Too late. The doll’s eyes glow red as the air around you heats up. Art barely dodges to the side as an orb of light forms at Sybil’s side and arcs towards him, taking out an old coat rack stuffed with various outerwear. As Art prepares to fire again and Sybil charges with more energy, you find yourself diving into the center and taking charge of the situation!SIMMER DOWN!>CONTD.
>>4596990The energy of the room dissipates as Art and Sybil, both resembling kids who were caught stealing from the cookie jar, do just that. Dividing the two with your arms, your eyes narrow in frustration.Art, you almost killed Sybil. Sybil, you almost killed a fan. Ly, you didn’t really do anything--props to you.“Shucks.” Ly says bashfully.You take a deep breath as the two offenders recover from their brief battle, then make your way to the kitchen.“I… I uh…. Didn’t know you made an effigy.” Art sputters, returning his rifle to its sling. “Episode 22, right? Elves and Effigies? Sorry about that… Love uh… Love the podcast.”“Yes, well… I think I acted a little too hastily too. I’d never be able to forgive myself for disintegrating a fan--you must be Stan’s erm…”“Hostage, yea. I’m Art. Art Berry. Pleased to er…”“Yes, the pleasure’s all mine.”The two hover in their own corners for a while, neither daring to move an inch. You groan as your cursory search of the cupboards bears fruit: inside next to the lentils sits an ancient tea kettle along with a small metal box. Jackpot.Fishing the components out of the cupboard, you return to the World’s Most Awkward Mexican Standoff. Art sweats profusely while Sybil’s doll floats idly in place, somehow adopting an embarrassed expression. Christ.You rap the metal box and the kettle together a few times to get their attention, and thankfully it WORKS!“Oh, you found them! Get the teabag out of the box, Stan, we’ll whip it up in no time.”As you pop open the metal box revealing a small stack of yellowed teabags, Art backpedals towards the door, grasping the wall for guidance.“I uh… You know what? I’ll just let the guys know you’re okay. They were looking for a screwdriver, but I uh... I think we can manage.”The operative grabs the front door knob and carefully shuts the door--a faint ‘love the showwww’ squeezing through the door’s crack before closing. Well, looks like you met Art.Sybil blinks a few times, still recovering from the meeting. “Looks like I did. Update, Stan--I don’t think he’s malicious anymore, but his aim and trigger discipline leaves much to be desired.”Yea, he’s a goof, what are ya gonna do? With a shrug you toss one of the bags into your open mouth and start chewing. Tangy!“Stan, NO-”>CONTD.
>>4596992A few minutes of scolding later, Sybil decided to take over the tea brewing process leaving YOU with the task of…Relaxing. Yep. She even said you were free to use the shower and borrow some clothing if your coveralls were getting gross. Which uh… They kinda are. Kicking your legs back and forth on the side of Sybil’s bed, you contemplate what to do with your downtime--Lord knows you haven’t been getting a lot of it.“Carpe diem, cupcake!” Ly says. Yea, you could go for some fish too.What do? Syb said the tea would be done in about TWO choices or so, whatever the hell THAT means.>Take a shower and (Wash work clothes OR Change Clothes)>Talk to someone (Syb, Ly, Art, Trio, Other)?>Grab a snack>WRITE-IN
>>4596996>Take a shower and Change ClothesCan't be a cool hero in dirty coveralls.>Grab a snack
>>4596996>Take a shower and wash work clothes.>Grab a snack.It feels wrong to not be in our signature outfit. We'll show them the true might of a sanitation professional (with sick parkour skills and BONE POWERS)!
>>4596996>take a shower and wash work clothes>get a snacksweet , sweet precious downtime
>>4596996>Take a shower and Change Clothes>Grab a snackcan we keep the hat on though, feels wrong to not have it on.
>>4597006>>4597016>>4597099>>4597176>>4597262For those looking to change clothes: you will have a chance to specify what clothes you'd like to change into, so don't worry! I'll be back around 12AM UTC, so keep on votin'!
>>4597006>>4597016>>4597262>Shower and CHANGE>>4597099>>4597176>Shower and CLASSIC STAN COSTUMESnacks, too. Writing!>>4597262The hat is definitely an option!
>>4597006>>4597016>>4597099>>4597176>>4597262Taking a deep breath, you consider what to do with the first bit of free time you’ve had in… Well…A while. Feels good to finally be taking a load off, especially since you’re apparently about to take a mystical field trip to the hornet’s nest. You take in the quiet around you for a moment, basking in the freedom of not having to do anything, at least for a little while.Off near the kitchen you hear the voices of Art and Sybil--the former barely hiding his excitement, the latter trying their best to keep up appearances. Best not to get involved. Out the window you hear the clanking of metal against metal along with the occasional string of swears, followed by laughs. Sounds like The Trio have stuff under control, whatever that stuff is. You shrug--whether it’s a suped-up engine or a car bomb doesn’t matter--you’ll just have to check when you come back.IF you come back.Taking off your Evening Sanitation Coordinator cap, you run your gloved hand through your messy hair--frowning at how dry and tangled it’s gotten over the last few hours. You glance down at the rest of your ensemble--dirt, blood, mud, bone dust… Geologists would have a field day analyzing all of the garbage stuck to your coveralls. Even worse, they’re still slightly damp from your trip through the drainage pipes the night before--not exactly comfortable with how cold it’s been.It’s decided. Hopping to your feet with a muffled squeak against the carpet, you make your way to the bathroom to borrow the shower. Art and Sybil are still chatting as you duck into the bathroom, which thankfully looks much cleaner than when you first arrived--looks like Sybil did a bit of cleaning. Hey, there’s even a few new towels!Like a fish shedding its skin, you unzip the coveralls and let them fall to the tile floor, your boots, gloves, and inventory items following shortly after. Man, you were carrying a LOT! “Pretty sure fish don’t shed their skin, cupc-” DDAUGH! LY! WHAT THE HELL!?You’re still in your undergarments, but you cover up anyways! RULE 1, DUDE! RULE 1!“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m stuck here, I can’t help it!” Ly stammers, fumbling for an excuse! Just great, you forgot all about this crap. What the hell are you supposed to do on dates?!“I uh… Well… Should I start humming?”Damn it. Just… Focus on something else. ANYTHING else.“Yea, of course! Sorry!” Ly yelps, his voice tinged with embarrassment. You let out a frustrated growl. Can’t have ANYTHING nice, can you?“For what it’s worth, you look kinda cute without the covera--”DUDE, CAN IT!>CONTD.
>>4597751Ly breaking Rule 1, the skeletons, your job, injuries, stress--all of those negative things wash away as the warm water from the shower nozzle trickles through your messy hair, over your freckled face, down your bruised body and into the drain. You take your time scrubbing the dirt and grime from your body with a scrub that smells like peaches--say what you will about Sybil, she knows how to pick her soaps.As you move on to the shampoo part of the shower, you reflect on everything that’s happened so far--how your night shift went to night shit, how you were able to defeat one of the lich’s philologies, and all of the people you’ve met who suddenly think you’re some sort of hero.Closing your eyes to keep the shampoo out, you sigh. What if Sybil was right? What if you just got lucky and you surviving was some sort of cosmic dice roll? What if that shitheel BORIS was there that night and not you? Would you be dead right now? You take a mouthful of water in your mouth, swish it around, then spit it out.What about your other pals? Your parents? Can everything go back to normal after all of this? Do you even want to BE an Evening Sanitation Coordinator anymore? You lean your head against the shower wall and let the water run down your neck. What the heck are you doing?“For what it’s worth, I-” AAAUGH! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY LAST UPDATE?!>CONTD.
>>4597754“Stan, I talk to your friggin’ REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM DAILY. And I’m sorry, but you seem like you can use a pep talk.”Frustrated, you cross your arms over your chest and gesture for Ly to go ahead. Why even MAKE those damn rules...“Look, Stan, I know things look grim. Confusing. Hell, this whole talking thing still freaks me out.” Ly begins. You put a dollop of conditioner in your hair as your bones continue.“But you… You’ve handled it. Even when something seems too stupid to work, you come out clean on the other side like a runner at the end of the race. I can tell you’re scared--your Nervous System’s been pretty open about that--but you’ve gotta understand, Stan…”Ly pauses, searching for the right words.“We’re all rootin’ for ya. We know you’ll get to dat finish line, even if you trip a few times on da way.” Bubbles of shampoo and conditioner drip out of your hair and into the drain.“Don’t ever forget that you’ve got people cheering you on, Stan. Even if you can’t hear ‘em.”What, like your digestive system or something?“Oh, DeeGee adores you. Nervous System won’t admit it, but they like ya too. Muscles knows you’re gonna go the extra mile, and even your Pancreas passes along its regards. As for your biggest fan…”Oh boy, here it comes.“You’re makin’ it difficult for me. You’re one of a kind, Stan. I don’t always agree with your decisions, but I’d be lyin’ if I said I wasn’t impressed.”You feel one of your hands involuntarily pat you on the shoulder.“You’re never alone, cupcake. And we’ll be with ya’ ‘til the bitter end, stupid ideas be damned.”A smile finds its way onto your face as the water continues to drench your hair. You spend a few more wordless minutes letting it wash over you, then turn it off.>CONTD.
>>4597756Wrapped in a set of towels, you emerge from the bathroom in a cloud of steam and pleasant scents. The conversation in the kitchen seems to have died down, so you retreat immediately to Sybil’s room and shut the door behind you. A plate with a PB and J sandwich sits at the desk along with a glass of clear liquid and ice. Man, that’s a lot of vodka even for you!“Pretty sure it’s called ‘water’, cupcake.” Ly explains. Oh, that.As you take a sip from the glass you see a note underneath the plate. Careful not to disturb the sandwich, you lift the plate just enough to fish the note out from underneath and read it.Stan, thought you might be hungry, so Art made sandwiches. Feel free to check my closet for spare clothes--pretty sure a lot of them are yours anyways. Ritual’s almost ready! ~SybYou put the letter back on the table, then turn your attention to the closet. She’s not wrong--you can’t remember how many times you’ve crashed here after a night of drinking.Seriously, you can’t. Do you need help?“Absolutely, but we’ll deal with that after the current predicament, okay?” Ly asks.Yea, sure.Pulling open the closet, you scan the interior for suitable clothing.As for what you find…>CONTD.
>>4597757>That’s up to YOU to decide! What should Stan’s new outfit be? Feel free to draw OR give a description, I’ll put pieces together from there!
>>4597757Something tells me Sybils closet is a bit goth oriented. >A sick ass hoodie with a SKULL on it>some comfy but fairly tight black jeans, for maximum parkour movement>Do those boots have spikes in them? I dont think Doc Marten would approve of what Sybil has done to those boots, but they sure look like will kick some ass.
>>4597798+1 but with the hat. It looks cooler when you wear a hat with a hoodie anyway
>>4597751Can it, Ly, we look cute with the coveralls too!>>4597757I've noticed Ly didn't mention Stan's liver among her fans...>>4597763I like >>4598000
>>4597757>>4598000But let's also add some badass shades.
>>4597798>>4597965>>4598000>>4598183>>4598188Looks like we've reached some sort of consensus--Lookin' flashy, Stan!>>4598183Stan's liver wasn't available for comment--they always learned that if you can't say something nice...>>4598188Preem as hell.WRITING!
>>4597798>>4597965>>4598000>>4598183>>4598188It takes you a few minutes of rummaging around to find rags that fit--being one of those mutants with an insane metabolism, Syb was given the vertical advantage while you… Well, you’re stuck with the horizontal. Don’t get Ly started.Thankfully you don’t have to search long--bushwhacking your way through a jungle of black dresses, black tights, black coats, and bla--well, you get the idea, you manage to find a diamond in the rough--a sick-ass hoodie with a SKULL on it. You hold it out for Ly to take a look, who responds with a thumb’s up. Topical, right?“Topical indeed.” He replies. Smiling, you shove your arms and head into the proper holes--no wait, that’s where your arm goes. Damn it.Okay, you shove your arms and head into the proper holes on your second try, then snag a pair of Sybil’s black jeans from black jean drawer #4. It takes some doing, but they fit! You do a couple of quick high-knees to test flexibility, then grin. Barely any resistance at all.Pushing past rows of sneakers and knee-high boots, your attention is caught by an anomaly--a pair of black, sturdy boots with SPIKES.Oh hell yea, come to momma.Last but not least you snag a pair of shades from one of the in-closet shelves--Syb mentioned she had some of your clothes--you hope to Hell and High Heaven that these belong to you.Shrugging, you plop them on your face anyways, shooting the mirror some gun fingahs. Pew pew!“Lookin’ savvy, cupcake.” Ly says, admiring the new you. Hold on, Ly, you’re missing the final touch.You left your coveralls and boots in the bathroom, but you took one thing with you--like a strawberry on a shortcake you carefully place your Evening Sanitation Coordinator cap on your head and adjust it to a roguish angle.Oh yea, that’ll do it.Achievement Unlocked: Sharp-Dressed STANIt takes you a few minutes to gather up your inventory again, but wow, somehow you were able to fit it all! These jean pockets are HUGE!>CONTD.
>>4599138Downing the rest of the water and shoving the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your mouth, you kick open the bedroom door and make your long-awaited debut. You find Art reclining on the couch while Sybil--er, her DOLL form, is busy taming a noisy tea kettle--the one you found earlier.“Sounds like a good episode to me.” Art says, adjusting a pillow behind his head, helmet resting on his side. A crystal ball sits in the middle of the now-cleared coffee table.“Of course it does to you, but it’s hard to overcome how overdone the premise is. Reptilians in the sewer? Shame I misplaced all of my recorded--”Yoooo, you say, lazily sauntering into the center of the room. The two turn towards you and blink a few times, taking in the sights.“Stan! I know the saying goes ‘the clothes make the man’, but in this case… I’d say the woman makes the clothes!” Says the doll, clapping its arm stubs together excitedly. Art shoots you a grin.“Yea, you almost look human now.”Shut up.Munching on the sandwich, you take a seat on the far side of the couch from Art, who moves his legs to give you more room. Sybil sighs as the kettle finally quiets down, then turns back to you.“The tea’s just about ready. I’ve described the plan to Arthur and your… New associates--they mentioned wanting to speak to you before you started your journey.”Kept you waiting, huh? She’s acting like you’re going to the moon. What’s the big deal? The doll furrows its brow at you.“The big deal, Stan, is that you’ll be alone in the lion’s den with a fraction of your power.”Art nods, then gestures to the ball on the coffee table.>CONTD.
>>4599139“Sybil says that we’ll be able to watch through this thing, but not communicate. That’s why we’re planning things out now.”You find yourself frowning. So what, you’ll just be dropped in with nothing?“More or less--you’ll be exploring via an astral projection--a projection of your soul and consciousness. The good news is that you’ll have far more maneuverability in this state--something akin to floating. Even better, walls shouldn’t be much of a problem in your… Ethereal state.”Sounds peachy, but what’s the bad news? Why didn’t she start with the BAD?!“The bad news is just that--you’re a projection of your consciousness. That means no muscle, no powers, and most importantly you’ll stand out like a firecracker in a church to anyone with even the faintest magical ability. Think of yourself as a firefly--small, fast, yet easily spotted.”“And swatted.” Art adds. Yea, you’ll keep that in mind, thanks.You lean in closer to the crystal ball, accidentally letting a glob of jelly drip onto it. Whoops.“Any questions before we get started?”Your mind floods with several candidates.>Getting in is fine, but how do I get out?>Anything in particular I should be looking for?>How long do I have?>WRITE-IN
>>4599144>Getting in is fine, but how do I get out?>Anything in particular I should be looking for?
>>4599144>Getting in is fine, but how do I get out?>Anything in particular I should be looking for?>How long do I have?
>>4599335>>4599430>>4599596In retrospect I realized that this isn't that much of a choice--all of this info is kinda necessary. Sorry, folks--won't happen again. We only go for the HARD-HITTING AAA Game choices in Bones Quest!Writing!
>>4600118It happens. Takes a while to get a feel for the kind of choices you should be providing, especially for a new QM.
>>4599335>>4599430>>4599596Uh, yes! SEVERAL. For starters, how long is this vision quest thing even going to work? Should you bring a sack lunch? Sybil frowns and starts mumbling calculations to herself.“Guess it depends on how strong that tea is, huh?” Art guesses, scratching the back of his neck. Sybil breaks out of her trance and nods.“Exactly, that and Stan’s concentration. People with experience in the arcane arts and those with high mental fortitude can sometimes project for days, even weeks!”The doll glances at you with a look that you can’t really decipher.“In this case, I’d wager minutes--barely an hour at the most. Time will be of the essence.”You feel kinda insulted, but you can’t put a finger on why. Shaking your head, you move on to your next question--what should you be looking for anyways? Spellbooks? Planners? Diaries?“Those do sound like good reading material, Stan, but given the short amount of time you have I don’t think you’ll have enough time to get much out of any literature lying around.”“Yea, plus you probably won’t be able to turn any pages either, right? So that’s a no-go.” Art adds.“Correct.” The doll continues, floating over to the crystal ball on the coffee table. “We’ll have to settle with who or what you see and what you hear.” Sybil points an arm stub at the pile of recording equipment set up next to the window. “We’ve got everything focused on the crystal ball, so while I keep that link open, Arthur will record. Hopefully we’ll have plenty of material to review.”Art rises to his feet and meanders over to the recording equipment, then starts checking all of the connected wires.“Don’t forget what Gene said--apparently the whole gang is there for a meeting!” He says, flicking on a power strip. “If you can sit in on that you’ll be sure to hear or see something educational, right?”The doll nods. “Yes, but do so with extreme caution. You’re dealing with a lich older than most governments--if he can’t see an astral projection in his midst, I don’t know WHO can.”Pfft, you avoid liches every day of your life--how is this any different? You jot down an imaginary shopping list in your head--meeting, gang, possibly diaries. Bing bang boom.>CONTD.
>>4600185As the pieces start falling into place in your mind, you feel the familiar tingle of Ly’s presence in your skull.“Solid plan, teach, but how are we gettin’ out when all of this is said n’ done?” Ly asks. “We?” The doll replies, raising a yarn eyebrow. What, no room for Ly? Art glances between the two of you, oblivious.“I hadn’t thought of that. Ly, since it will be Stanley’s astral projection there’s a chance that you might not tag along. On the other hand…” She trails off, thinking on the possibilities, “You might both be projected. I suppose it depends on whether or not your skeleton is alive enough to warrant a separate entity…”“Hear dat, Stan? I’m special. Ly says, smugness dripping off of every word. Yea, yea, get a bumper sticker.“In any case, leaving is as simple as giving us a sign.” The doll leans against the crystal ball and continues. “When you’re ready to leave, you make a signal and we will wake you up.”Just like that? You’re a pretty heavy sleeper--what are they going to do, splash water on your face?“Astral projection takes you into a deeper state of rest than the usual cat nap… Unfortunately we’ll probably have to resort to more… Direct… Methods.” explains Sybil. She gestures to Art who reaches behind the couch and pulls out a large foam bat, slapping it against his palm a few times with a grin.Well okay then.>CONTD.
>>4600188Great, you think you’re getting the idea now. One last thing--what kind of signal can you perform as an asteroid ghost thing?“You should still retain the ability to speak and move--we’ll be watching and listening through your eyes and ears, of course, so anything works.”“Might want to keep it recognizable, though--it might take us a little bit to wake you up, so it shouldn’t be too complex.” Art adds, poking the crystal ball with the bat. Hey, careful with that!“Arthur’s right. It might be difficult to perform certain tasks if your projection’s in the process of being shackled and/or devoured, so short and simple is probably best.” Sybil states. “Now that I think about it--I’ve never been able to observe the effects of pain and suffering on an astral projection… Maybe the worst case scenario might still be educatio--”Uh, nope! Not gonna happen!“Of course, Stan.” She continues, snapping out of it, “That would be horrible. If you were caught we would cut the crystal ball connection, of course. Totally out of the question, yep!” The doll shakes its head vigorously as Art leaps in with a question.“So uh… What is the signal, Stan? We might as well pick something you’re capable of.”Yea, thanks. You’re not about to quote the Hippopotamus Oath or something like these dorks.What SHOULD be the signal to pull you out of there?>Some sort of safe word. Simple! (WRITE-IN the word)>A hand gesture maybe? Something obvious? (WRITE-IN the gesture)>Do something with your eyes! Blinking, rolling? (WRITE-IN the eye movement!)>Something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! (WRITE-IN)
>>4600191>Some sort of safe word. Simple!AAAHHHHHHH GET ME OUT!
>>4600201This made me spit coffee all over my keyboard. Damn you, anon.
>>4600191>Some sort of safe word. Simple! (WRITE-IN the word)OHFUCKOHSHITOHFUCK!
>>4600201>>4600232Simple, yet classic! Writing!
>>4600201>>4600232You mull your options over in your head for a few minutes. A good signal is visible, to the point, and can’t be easily picked up by the enemy.How about something like “AHHHHHH GET ME OUT!”?Sybil and Art stare at you speechless. Or what about “OHFUCKOHSHITOHFUCK!!”?The two remain silent for a little longer, then shoot a glance at each other.“I don’t know her that well, but I think that’s the best we’re gonna get.” Art murmurs.“I know her very well and I agree. Anything else might make her confused.”You lean back on the couch, smug grin on your face. First try, baby--the genius of it all is how simple it is!“What about my signal?” Ly asks impatiently.He can get his own--you already came up with yours! Sybil crosses her doll arms over her chest and sighs.“Ly, considering your relationship with Stan you’ll most likely be pulled out when she does. That said, if you DO have separate projections, don’t stray too far from each other.”Why’s that?“Best case: You or Ly will get left behind when the other snaps back to reality.”And worst?“One soul returning to two bodies? Hard to say. I can’t be sure, but it might result in tearing the fabric of reality like tissue paper. Just don’t do it, please.”Alright, alright, you’ll leave the fabric of reality alone. For now.>CONTD.
>>4600571The doll clasps its arm stubs together and smiles.“Excellent. Get yourself comfortable, Stan. Don’t want you waking up ahead of schedule.” Sybil nods at Art, who begins the painstaking process of turning on every piece of recording equipment set up in her living room. As you stretch out on the couch, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re forgetting something.With near perfect timing, your thoughts are interrupted by a loud series of THUMPs on the apartment wall outside. Sybil and Art hop in surprise--the latter accidentally knocking a microphone off of its stand and onto the carpet.“DANG IT!” He groans, stooping to pick it up. What the hell was that?Sybil floats to the window and peers through the blinds, then turns to you with a frown on her face.“Your… Associates. Looks like they wanted to get your attention.”Oh right, they wanted to talk to you! You hop off of the sofa and make for the door.“Don’t take too long, Stan--we have no idea what our timeframe is here!”You’re just chewing the fat with the guys--no sweat! You shoot a gun finger at Sybil, then duck outside. From the front of Sybil’s apartment you spy Wyatt T and Stripes still waist-deep in the van’s engine surrounded by an army of tools and tune-up implements. Gene leans on the railing watching the two--a half-smoked cigarette hanging limp in his mouth.“Boss.” He mutters, not looking your way. Rude!>CONTD.
>>4600571You join him on the railing, staring past the two greasers by the van and out at the rest of Clearwater. Colossal plumes of smoke trail into the sky peppered with streaks of lightning and the shapes of winged creatures. You let out a low whistle. “Ain’t it somethin’.” Gene says, though it doesn’t really sound like a question.Somethin’ BANANAS. How the heck did this all happen so quickly anyways? You were passed out for like an hour, tops--you expected a bit more resistance, that’s for sure! Gene shrugs.“Da’ Boss had a plan, that’s for sure. When me, Wyatt, and Marion--er, Stripes were brought back, Rocky already had jobs for us to do--targets, areas, yada yada. Pretty sure the other groups did as well.”The greaser glances at you, puffing out a plume of smoke.“How do you figure he knew so much about this town before he started takin’ over?”Good question!>He was conscious all of those years! He wasn’t really dead!>He was getting help from someone! Or someTHING! >He looked Clearwater up online! Gotta be!>WRITE-IN
>>4600578>He was conscious all of those years! He wasn’t really dead!Thats my bet at least
>>4600578>He was getting help from someone! Or someTHING!
>>4600584>He never died!>>4600892>>4600900>Outside assistanceThe conspiracy deepens! Writing!
>>4600584>>4600892>>4600900You furrow your brow as your face is whipped by an ash-filled breeze. Gene’s barking up a tree, sure, but which one’s the right one?What if.... What if Tim never really died? What if, after whatever happened to him back in the Stone Age, he didn’t actually go away? You glance at Gene, trying to gauge his reaction. All you get is a shrug.“Oh yea, your rent-a-cop pal gave us the short version. Think you’re off a few years, though, dolly. It’s possible, though--we never got a chance to show off, but us boneheads are pretty hard to snuff out.” He says it with a hint of pride, grinning behind his cigarette. You shrug. Wasn’t too hard for you.“Exactly--meanin’ you seem to need a special someone to get the job done properly, especially back then.” The greaser shrugs. “Guess those ‘special someones’ were in short supply back then.” You return the shrug and sigh. Going back to your original idea--would Tim be able to do anything if someone smashed him up, but didn’t kill him? Like… Talk? Roll around?“It’s definitely possible, boss. Not easy when you’re all smashed up, but where there’s a will…” The greaser’s voice trails off like cigarette smoke.Man, staying awake for two-thousand years? That’s a whole lotta time to make an evil plan. Gene nods. “You said it, sister.”>CONTD.
>>4601023Your eyes light up as a new idea comes to mind! It doesn’t matter if he was conscious or not, Gene!The skeleton puffs another cloud into the air. “Oh yea? Why’s that?”Because the big guy had HELP. Backup, an ace in the hole, pals! Finishing his cigarette and letting the butt tumble to the parking lot, Gene looks at you like he was judging a project at a science fair. Brings back bad memories of Sybil’s High School project: “The Effects of Electrodes on the Human Brain”--you’re still disappointed that you never got that cheese she kept promising you.“I considered that one too. You have any people in mind? Local crazies? Townsfolk with a vendetta?”You shake your head. Oh no, this goes deeper than that. Deeper than Clearwater, deeper than the State. No, only a select few could be capable of putting the town on a silver platter for the big guy…“And those few are?” Gene asks, interest piqued.Your short list includes aliens, reptilians, and possibly sewer mutants. You spit the last candidate out with a shiver, reminded of your harrowing escape from the drainage pipes. Gene sighs, then turns his back to the rail.“Well, I was with you in the beginning. Guess the jury's still out with all of the weird crap going on, but still--you might be onto something with that ‘backup’ idea.”Oh yea, because he’s such an expert. What makes him so sure anyways?“Just a hunch. Seems like this whole thing’s too big for one guy to set up, that’s all, especially a guy almost older than writing.”Frowning, you gaze upwards at the sky, eyes stinging from the ash. So many questions, so little time. Why did Tim resurrect at the Dog Bone Factory of all places? Why Clearwater? Seems a bit out of place, doesn’t it?“Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe when you’re on your voyage or whatever you can check for us, eh?”Say, that’s not a bad idea! Gene winks, running a bony hand through his hair.>CONTD.
>>4601024You blink, realization hitting you like a baseball bat to the face. Right, the ritual! You’ve gotta hustle! You lean in closer to Gene--did he just want to shoot the shit, or did he actually want to tell you something?“Right, almost forgot. No big deal, but the guys and I know you’re gonna be trying to pay the bosses a visit up there.” Gene points upwards and your eyes linger on the silhouette of the floating fortress. Yep, that’s the plan.“Then I won’t bash ears for too long--got a request for ya.” You raise an eyebrow. Wow, that was quick.“No sweat, not gonna ask you to grab souvenirs or anything, but when you’re up there and if you see our boss Rocky…” The skeleton begins, drumming his phalanges on the railing, “Let us know if he or anyone else mentions anything about a guy named ‘Cliff’.”Huh. THAT sounds like a story right there. Who is he? Gene shakes his head, not bothering to make eye contact with you.“Long story short, he was our old boss… Before Rocky and before we all got back outta’ bed, ya dig?”Like.... In the Greaser Times? Gene grins.“Yea, sure, back then. The guys and I figured that if everyone else got a ticket back, well… Might want to see if Cliff’s kickin’ too.” You stroke your chin, committing the name to memory. Clint...“CLIFF.” Gene says, raising his voice. Yea, yea, you’ve got it. You’ll do some digging.The greaser looks you in the eyes and smiles. “Thanks, boss. I know it’s a bite asking you for things this early, but we’re glad you can get with it.”Hey, no promises, but you’ll try. Gene nods, then waves you off. “Keen. Your wheels oughta be ready by the time you come back. Later, gator.”Yea, in a while. You wave to Gene before ducking back indoors, leaving him and the others outside.>CONTD.
>>4601025Last update of the evening, but I'll check in tomorrow!The door shuts behind you with a clang. As you stroll back in Art finishes placing a camera on a tripod and flicks the power switch. The camera comes to life with a jaunty note and the operative shoots you a thumbs up.“Ready for your close-up, Stan?”You shrug. Ready as you’ll ever be. Next to the crystal ball is a cup of dark tea--strands of multicolored steam escaping from the liquid. As you approach you get a whiff of the tea itself, but the scent is unlike anything you’ve ever smelled before!“I was gonna guess mugwort.” Ly mutters, borrowing your hand to waft the scent. Sybil appears from behind the kitchen counter, incense stick in each arm.“Close, Ly, but look more easterly. I won’t bore you with the story of how I obtained it, but you won’t find this brand in any grocery store, that’s for sure.” Propping the incense sticks against the crystal ball, the doll looks up at you.“Showtime, Stan. Drink the tea in one go, then have a lie-down on the couch.” Wait, what if you have to go to the bathroom? Oh no, she’s giving you The Look. Guess you’ll hold it.“Excellent. Arthur and I will be on stand-by--we’ll rouse you if anything happens on our end. Again, be quick, and be quiet. You too, Ly, if you end up joining her.”Ly shoots Sybil a quick salute as you pick up the tea. The cup feels warm against the palm of your hands, and even breathing in the faint trails of vapor causes your vision to swim. Looks like this is it.Any last words or actions before you get this party started?>Nope. Nada.>Yes, actually. WRITE-IN
>>4601026>Yes, actually. WRITE-IN"If I die, bury me with Blood Sucking Freaks 3"
>>4601075>>4601432Locked in and WRITING!
>>4601075>>4601432One more thing, you begin, bringing the teacup towards your mouth.“Anything, Stan.” Sybil nods as she takes her position next to the crystal ball. If I die, bury me with Blood Sucking Freaks 3. Collector’s Edition if possible--the one with the reversible cover.“Sure, we’ll place an order on NetMart the minute you go under.” Art mumbles, fiddling with the video camera.Or they can just grab the one from your apartment! Duh!“Of course, Stan. Now please… The tea?” Sybil asks with a placating tone. Sure, sure, but we’re gonna have a talk about Art’s snarkiness when you get back. With one last breath to cool the tea down, you raise the cup to your lips and drink the whole thing down. The concoction warms your throat from beginning to end, then spreads from there to your arms, hands, fingers, feet…“Remember, Stan, focus on tortress. Thabout th tress!” The dolays.What theappenig? Your visswims and colors go oucontrast. Woaah.You fourself on the couch, but yovements feel delayed, like lag in aline game.You bli”FORTRESS, STAN!” Sybil yethings go dark, and you feel youbeing whisked away to an>TD.
>>4601973It takes you awhile to realize you’re moving--your mind and vision are still swimming as you regain control of your senses. You’re surrounded by a blur of red, yellow, black and white--the colors contracting and expanding around you like a kaleidoscope. Looking downwards you see that you’re giving off light too--your body shines with a yellow glow not unlike a lantern on a foggy night. Focus, Stan. The fortress. Think about the FORTRESS.You feel yourself shift in midair as you focus on your destination--as you squint past the jungle of colors passing by, you realize that you’re looking at Clearwater.Man, you wish you had a camera.Slowly but surely you gain more control over your new body--you even manage to pull off a few flips as you accelerate towards what you HOPE is the fortress. Are there any others in Clearwater? You sure as hell hope not.Your thoughts are answered as the blur of your hometown rapidly shrinks in the distance--the colors replaced by blackness and a steady crackle of what sounds like radio static. The sound grows exponentially along with the blackness--eventually ringing past your ears and into your head. As you feel your whole body resonating with the noise, you feel yourself slow down, then stop.That’s when you wake up.>CONTD.
>>4601975You find yourself peering upwards into an abyss of dark clouds bordered by rough-hewn stone walls riddled with carvings of skulls, bones, and other Halloween Staples. EERIE! Rising to your feet--well, TRYING to, you realize that you aren’t lying on the floor at all. Rather, you’re floating. Flapping your arms like a kid in a pool, you manage to bring yourself upright, but find it difficult to stay in one place for long. You drift back and forth in place for a bit before getting the hang of things, bracing yourself against the nearby wall.Never mind, your hand passes right through it! Tumbling into a lazy somersault, you frantically regain your equilibrium and return upright. Okay, no sweat. You’re here, you kinda know how to get around, and you can pop through walls.Piece of cake.Satisfied, you turn around and prepare to begin your ANY % GHOST RUN of the fort!Aaaaand come face to face with a glowing skeleton.“Got any smokes?”What do?>Scream!>Attack it! Use uh… Projector claws or something, you don’t know!>Say something! (WRITE-IN)>WRITE-IN
>>4601980>Say something! (WRITE-IN)"Um, maybe?" Attempt to produce a ghost cigarette.
Going to bed for the night, but I'll check in around 12AM UTC! Thanks as usual for playing along and see you then!
>>4601993>>4602058Smoke if ya got em! Writing!
>>4601993>>4602058Swallowing your surprise, you blink a few times in response to the skeleton’s question. Uh… Maybe?You check your astral projection for any sign of tobacco, but come up empty. You look back at the glowing skeleton and shrug--you’d turn out your pockets if you had 'em! “Worth a shot.” The skeleton says. “What are you doin’ here anyways, fleshie?”You uh… Wha? You were just looking for the bathroom. Duh. The skeleton stares at you for a moment, then bursts out laughing.“Stan, you don’t recognize me?!” What? No, you totally did! You’re such a kidder, Stripes.“It’s me, Stan. Ly. You know… YOUR bones?”Huh. You were wondering why the skeleton was roughly your size. And why he wasn’t alerting the guards or deboning you like a trout. Wait a minute--does this mean you’re BONELESS?!“No, cupcake, I’m still in there. Just uh… Got my consciousness out here for now.”Neat. Well you’re not about to try and suss out how or why this happened, but it’s nice finally talking face to face… Bones. Ly nods.“You said it. Totally different style of conversation! And hey, I don’t look half bad, either!”Your eyes bug out as Ly’s voice echoes down the corridor. Does he HAVE to speak so loudly?“Whoops, still used to the whole ‘only you and Syb can hear me’ thing. Won’t happen again.”It sure as hell better not--you’re still not 100% convinced you’re where you’re supposed to be, but you’d bet a crisp dollar that this is the fort! Ly rubs his jawbone in contemplation, then snaps his finger.“Got an idea--sit tight.”In what is easily one of the strangest sights you’ve seen all day, your glowing bones backflip into the wall and disappear without a trace. Huddling closer to a relief of a cackling skull, you peer in both directions for any sign of life. Er… UNlife.Nothing. Either no one’s here, or they’re being extremely quiet.Or they’re just not in THIS hallway. You mull over the possibilities in your head for a moment or so before a glowing skull rematerializes at your feet.“Hey cupcake, follow me.” How did he--oh right, you can go through WALLS!“You think that’s neat, wait until you catch a glimpse of DIS.”>CONTD.
>>4603387You follow Ly down through the stone floor, feeling a rush of cold pressure around your body. Ignoring it, you swim downwards like a dolphin through a black abyss--the fortress’ foundations, you think.A few moments later your senses return to you, namely your sight. Popping out from the cold and dark of the fortress’ masonry like a spectral gopher, you find yourself staring downwards through thick clouds at Clearwater--its buildings and structures barely bigger than ants--the sea shining crimson under the cloud-covered sun. Hey, you can see your house from here! And the boardwalk!“Looks like we’re in da’ right spot, unless there’s another flying evil fortress hangin’ around.” Ly quips, popping up next to you. How likely do you think that is?Your bones shoot you a withering glance, then sigh.“It’s the right one, Stan--call it instinct. Now come on, teach said we didn’t have a lot of time to spare.”You and Ly duck back into the masonry and emerge in the hallway you materialized in. Ly continues ahead with his skull barely peeking out of the wall like a shark’s fin, beckoning you to follow. Wait, what the hell? You thought YOU were the leader in this operation!“If we keep shoutin’ you’ll be the BLEEDER in dis’ operation!” Ly hisses as he swims forward. “Gotta keep an eye out in case dis’ joint has any--”Your erstwhile companion freezes up, then ducks into the wall. Has any what?That’s when you see them. A duo of gaunt figures wrapped from head to toe in tattered robes, hovering over the floor not unlike you are. Both of them carry staves in their boney hands, the weapons humming with some sort of energy.“Stan!” Ly whispers, his hand beckoning you to retreat. You do so and hold your breath as you hear the figures continue floating down the hall. When you feel the coast is clear, you and Ly pop your heads out of the wall.“Has any guards.” Ly finishes, wiping the imaginary sweat from his brow. You breathe a sigh of relief, then scan the remainder of the corridor. The decor’s the same the whole way down, but at the end of the hall sits a heavy set of metal double doors. You point them out to Ly who grins.“Good thing we don’t need a key, huh?”You can say that again. Not a lot of hidey-holes in this place, that’s for sure. The two of you float onwards, stopping in front of the door before moving forward.“You check.” Ly commands, watching the hall behind you. Shooting your skeleton a thumbs up, you peek through the door. You can hardly believe what you see.>CONTD.
>>4603388The doors lead to a central chamber several stories high--you crane your neck to see how high up it goes, but the angle you’re at makes it tricky to get a good look.That’s not what gets your attention, though. Neither do more of the floating sentries making their way up and down the chamber, OR the eight foot tall freaks clad from head to toe in spiked black armor like the guys standing right next to the door. Their maces look scary, sure, but no… The winner sits in the middle like a giant hourglass.This one, however, doesn’t use sand--stretching above and below you for several stories, the central fixture sits almost fit to burst with piles of bones.HUMAN bones.Trying not to tip off the door sentries, you watch as the human remains lazily float upwards--destination unknown.You feel Ly’s presence appear below you and lo and behold, there he is! Opening his mouth to talk, he quickly reconsiders when he notices the guards on the other side of the doors. Gesturing for you to come back, he disappears behind the door once more and you follow.The two of you drift a safe distance down the hallway from the door before trying to process what you saw. That’s… That was a LOT of bones, Ly.“Guess our wizard doesn’t have to worry about running out any time soon. That’s a lot of guards, too, cupcake. You think he’s stockpiling?”Without a doubt. You were wondering where all of the other humans are--guess you found them. Your voice trails off on the last word as you glance upwards… This is, well….This is not groovy, Ly.Your bones nod. “Couldn’t agree more, but there’s nothing we can do about those bones right now, right?” You respond by poking your finger through a carving of a horned skeleton on the wall. Not unless you develop psychic powers, no. Damn it, Sybil should be here!“She woulda been picked out in an instant, Stan. Our lack of ability is keepin’ us alive here!” Ly argues, trying to keep his voice down. You shrug. Guess so.You poke your head through the wall, but don’t see anything apart from… Well… Wall. For a moment you could swear you saw what looked like a chicken leg, but... Nah.“Where to? We’ve gotta find something, right?” Ly asks. You bet, and you know exactly which way you’re headed.>Up! The bones are heading that way, so maybe that’s where the big cheese is!>Down! The bones are brought in from there, so maybe there’s people down there?>Around! We haven’t explored this floor yet--maybe there’s some offices? Do skeletons have offices?>WRITE-IN
>>4603390>Up! The bones are heading that way, so maybe that’s where the big cheese is!Well, lets try and stay stealthy.
>>4603390>>Up! The bones are heading that way, so maybe that’s where the big cheese is!
>>4603390>Around! We haven’t explored this floor yet--maybe there’s some offices? Do skeletons have offices?
>>4603426>>4603441>Up up and AWAY>>4603460Around!Looks like we're going straight to the top! Writing!
>>4603426>>4603441>>4603460Ly, where does the final boss always hang out in video games?Your skeleton contemplates the question as he floats back and forth in the corridor.“The secret lab in the basement, right?”No, that’s just Blood Sucking Freaks 1. And okay, Blood Sucking Freaks 2. AND Blood Sucking Freaks Gaiden. But besides those examples, where ELSE?Ly ponders for a moment, then grins.“The ROOF.”Right. So it stands to reason that all of the important crap will be near the top of the fort, right? Ly’s grin falters.“Stan, this isn’t a game…”Exactly--it’s reverse mycology--they THINK we’ll be searching below, but they’ll actually be above! “Didn’t we just say that most final bosses hang out in secret basements, though?”You said that. This is different. Ly starts to say something else, but pauses.“You know what, forget it. We probably don’t have much time left anyways--let’s follow your lead.”Great. Stay close! Adopting a crouched posture, you slip through the wall bordering the Bone Express chamber. You and Ly stick close enough to keep an eye on the way up, but not enough for the sentries to notice you.You think…Did bathrobes over there just look your way?>Roll a 1d100 to head upwards! Nothing to worry about--you’ve got noclip activated! I’ll take the best of three rolls.
Rolled 33 (1d100)>>4603638
Rolled 72 (1d100)>>4603638
Rolled 2 (1d100)>>4603638
>>4603648>>4603856>>4603861Not bad, not bad! Writing!
>>4604523You and Ly dip deeper into the walls as you climb just to be safe… Something about those robed jerks rubs you the wrong way. Swimming upwards parallel to what you THINK is the central chamber, you hear the faint sound of something resembling the creaking and croaking of roots--you take a chance and poke your head out of the wall--man, you’re gonna miss being able to do this--and spy one of the mage sentries. Bringing its staff around in a circular motion, you realize that the sound is coming from under its hood--is that German? No wait--the guy’s chanting a SPELL! LY, HIT THE DECK!You and your bones retreat further into the stone walls, but keep one eye exposed as a trio of red orbs forms above the mage’s head. With a burst of energy they come to life in the form of…Skulls?Bobbing in the air like seagulls on the water, the skulls clack their ghostly teeth together excitedly as the mage gestures for them to disperse! The floating skulls respond with a quick CLACK, then shoot through the walls and--Oh shit, they can go through walls TOO.“Cheese it, Stan!” Ly whispers, gesturing for you to follow. Don’t have to tell YOU twice! Dipping back into the walls, you and Ly swim with all of the speed the astral projections of your limbs can muster. It’s tough, though--who knows who or what the heck you’re going to bump into? What if this wall you’re swimming through ENDS?Your worries are interrupted by a blur of red light rushing past your face--oh crap, you felt that thing brush your astral… Tail? Is that what this is called?Ly?Your companion is nowhere to be seen. Granted, you’re still swimming through a wall like a speedrunner, but still--you’d think he would stay close or something! Continuing forward through the void, you start to hear a chorus of clacking jawbones--that’s it, screw this.Like a fish hopping out of a tank, you flop away from the safety of the wall and into a room--as to which one, well… You’re not a walkwaycist, but these corridors all look the same!This one has some stairs leading upwards, though, so there’s that…>CONTD.
>>4604612Glancing behind you, you notice a set of double doors leading to what you assume is the tube of bones from earlier. You’re not entirely sure you want to go back that way just yet, especially now that there are ghost skulls hanging around.Speaking of, a familiar skull rises out of the floor in front of you. Jeez, Ly, you were worried si-No wait, that isn’t Ly. Like a surfacing submarine one of the magical skulls emerges from the floor, clacking its jaw menacingly. You barely have enough time to paddle backwards and towards the stairs before it turns your way--eyes burning with magical flames.You’re out of there in seconds. Who knows if he saw you or not--you’re not exactly keen on sticking around to find out. You slither up the stairs like an eel, cursing your lack of powers. If you weren’t a friggin’ ghost you would be taking these punks DOWN. Talk about a ripoff!Then again, you’re not sure how you feel about those mages. Not that you’ve been keeping track, but you’re pretty sure magic’s got you beat today--maybe stealth isn't the worst option here?You and your train of thought screech to a halt as you reach the top of the staircase and its sentries--two mages like the others downstairs, but with nicer staffs an--One of them glances your way--a burning yellow eye peeking from under its hood. Whoops.Diving through the wall, you emerge in… Well, nothing! You flap your arms for a moment before you remember that you can float. Looking downwards you see nothing but fort and storm clouds, while to your right you see what appears to be a staircase exposed to the elements leading into a large, circular tower.JACKPOT. Skirting around the section where you almost ran into the skeleton mages, you approach the entrance to the tower, but freeze as a feeling akin to static electricity washes over you.Something’s not right with this area, you’re damn sure of that…>CONTD.
>>4604616As you carefully float forward, you feel trace amounts of resistance forcing you back like a magnet. What the hell? You want to go to the boss’ lair--move it!With one last push you feel your projection break through--but as you emerge on the other side of whatever it was, you feel a weight on your astral shoulders--like you were just given a ten-ton backpack. What the?Your thoughts are cut short by the sound of shrieking overhead. Glancing upwards you see what looks like a swarm of birds, or bees congregating around the tower. Squinting, you start to pick out the shapes of not birds, bees, or any other garden-variety critter, but SKELETONS.FLYING SKELETONS--LOT’S OF EM.Retreating under the staircase leading to the central tower, you find yourself panting. Why the hell are you PANTING? Looking down at your hands, you notice your projection’s healthy glow starting to flicker--the hell is going on?You look back at the central tower and frown. Whatever you’re gonna do, you’d better come up with an idea soon. Looks like you’re on borrowed time!>Get away from this tower--it’s clearly got bad juju.>Infiltrate the tower from below. Less skeletons there, maybe!>Infiltrate the tower from the top. Flying skeletons are bad, sure, but that’s gotta be the best spying point!>WRITE-IN
>>4604618>Infiltrate the tower from below. Less skeletons there, maybe!We'll be fiiiiiine.
>>4604618>Infiltrate the tower from below. Less skeletons there, maybe!....probably fine.
>>4604618>Infiltrate the tower from below. Less skeletons there, maybe!
>>4604619>>4604709>>4604714Grab some vegemite, we're headed down under! Writing!
>>4604619>>4604709>>4604714This sucks. Part of you thinks that while the roof looks pretty crowded, that’s probably where the best spying point is.Then again… No one expects someone spying FROM UNDER THEM. You give yourself a high-five. Once Ly finds his way back he’ll have to slap you some skin. Er… Astral skin. Bone?Whatever--you’re starting to feel like you’ve run a marathon--or at least a mile. Time to get to the bottom of things!Starting with this TOWER! You scan the crowd of flying skeletons above, waiting for your time to move from under the staircase. MAN, this will be hard when you can’t fly! When you’ve judged that the time is right, you make your move!Wait, you’re already under the stairs and the bottom of the tower is right over there. Never mind. Floating over as stealthily as you can muster, you approach the base of the main tower. With one last exhale, you creep through the masonry, the weight on your shoulders now WAY heavier than before! Okay, you’re close to something, that’s for sure!For a moment you only see darkness. More stone, you think. Then from the upper right corner of your vision you hear a muffled voice. And another.Bingo.You drift upwards slowly, holding your breath as you go. The stone gets brighter and brighter and the voices get clearer and clearer--eventually, you emerge into a bright, wide chamber--a meeting hall.“AHA!” Rings out a familiar, nasally voice. Your astral projection’s blood freezes in your astral projection’s astral veins!TIM!>CONTD.
>>4604881“I KNEW IT!” His voice rings throughout the chamber and up to what you guess is where the ceiling is. You freeze in place, not daring to move an inch.“You came to the meeting late on PURPOSE! When Tibius Maximus beckons, you COME! I WAIT HALF AN HOUR FOR NOBODY!”Good think you’re under the table--that would have been bad news! You look around at the different sets of feet under the table--each set with a glow similar to KING’S! This has got to be the meeting! Pumping your astral fist, you take quick stock of who’s sitting at the table...You count at least five guests, not including Tim, who, upon further inspection, doesn’t seem to have feet--only those animal bone and metal tentacles he made when you first met. One of them snakes under the table, but stops a few feet from you. Grody!“Like I said, had ta’ take care of some business, baby,'' A cool voice replies. Glancing in that direction you see ratty work boots attached to torn, grease-stained blue jeans. A jacket lies drooping behind the chair--leather, from the looks of things.“If I was your baby, I’d throw myself out with the BATHWATER!” Tim responds, slamming something on the table. “If I catch you running fibuLATE again I’ll tear your soul out and use it as a HOOD ORNAMENT!” The table goes quiet once more. Awkwaaaaard.“Did someone say something?!”Oh crap.“Arrrrrrrr, time an’ tide wait fer’ no man…” Growls the owner of an old-timey buckled boot and a sand-covered peg leg near the back of the table. “Are we to be squabblin’ all day, or are we talkin’ like men? Present folk excluded, mind.”You hear an unamused sigh from above the boney feet wrapped in sandals and…Huh. Don’t really recognize those duds.“Pardon, sea witch.” The salty voice continues.INTERESTING!>CONTD.
>>4604883“I WOULD PREFER THE LATTER!” Barks a voice at the end of the table paired with immaculate army boots with olive drab service pants tucked inside. “THE SITUATION TOPSIDE HAS ONLY IMPROVED--I MOVE TO DISCUSS THE NEXT STEP OF THIS OPERATION!”“Seconded.” You turn in the direction of the gruff voice and find a pair of worn riding boots caked in dust and burrs sitting slightly away from the table--rusty spurs dangling off of the heels underneath the tails of a duster coat.“What’s wrong, Pecos Pete? Tired of singin’ in the prairie while my boys do all da’ work?” jokes the leather-jacketed pair of feet. If Spurs reacts, you can’t see it. What you CAN see is Tim raising one of his tentacles and bringing it down onto the table.WHAM!“SILENCE, you bickering BONEHEADS!” Shouts the lich, “It was I who summoned you here, and it will be I who decides what the topic is!”The room falls silent. Uncomfortably so. “ExSKELLent! On to the next topic! Happy DAZE here will have to catch up later with what we talked about before--now I DEMAND a status report! How have each of you been SQUANDERING my gifts, hmmm?” “Pardon, your evilness--” Mumbles a mousey voice from near Tim’s throne, “But I thought we could maybe discuss the status of--”“You thought WRONG!” Growls Tim, slapping the floor with a tentacle. “You will wait your turn like everyone else, Professor! Or perhaps you’d prefer to wait in the PILLAR OF TIBIUS with the REST of your egg-headed ex-coworkers?? HMM?”The voice goes silent. You glance past Tim’s tentacles and barely get a look at the owner--whoever they are seems to be wearing a labcoat of some sort, along with a plain black lab skirt and tights. Weird though, no glow like the others...Whoops, weird angle. This doesn’t make you a pervert, right? “NOW then, why don’t I decide who shares first, hmm? Who will talus how they’re doing first?”You bet he’s gonna pick...>The guy with the leather jacket and work boots! Could this be Rocky?>The sea witch! Wonder what HER deal is?>The salty sea dog--he’s practically drilling a hole in the floor with that peg leg!>The soldier boy. Sounds like a general or something!>The scientist. Sounds like she was going to say something important!
>>4604885>The sea witch! Wonder what HER deal is?
>>4604885>The scientist. Sounds like she was going to say something important!She seems like a potential ally choice, she might still even be human
>>4604885>The guy with the leather jacket and work boots! Could this be Rocky?
Rolled 1 (1d3)>>4604977 (Choice 1)>>4605131 (Choice 2)>>4605221 (Choice 3)Rollin' for tiebreaker and will write based on the winner!Also found some appropriate theme music courtesy of John Carpenter--check it!https://youtu.be/_wiwdlu-Zg0
>>4604977>>4605131>>4605221No clue why my Copy+Paste is acting up today, but screw itSea witch, gotta be! You’d be lying if you weren’t a little curious about who they are--you’ve been able to place everyone elses’ stupid archetype, but her?Well, you certainly won’t be able to tell by hiding under a table.“Izitha, my pet, you look like something’s on your SPINEnd!” The lich cackles to himself as the owner of the fancy sandals straightens her posture and begins purring in an accent you just can’t place…“Progress ees the same,” The witch begins, “No intruders from below sea--ze sentinels are making sure of zat. And ze barrier above.”You hear a series of taps on the table near Tim’s corner. “You don’t sound very thrilled.”“Oh no, dahling, I am walkeeng on ze sunshine, that’s how threelled I am.” Okay, you’re still not sure what accent that is, but you can tell she’s lying. Girls understand this kind of code!“Arrr, the witch be speakin’ true--'' Begins the one with the peg leg, “Seas are calmer than a drunken clam, they be.” The lich sighs.“I was being thorough! I heard they had NAVIES in this age, but apparently I was wrong, okay? I admit it! I’m not perfect! Close to it, but not perfect!”“Perhaps thees ees a good time to call upon ze Dweller in the Dee-” The witch begins, a glimmer of hope in her voice. Her question is shot down by another slam on the table!“No! I don’t want to hear anything about summoning daemons, especially that infernal ignoramus IDZNAK!”The sea witch recoils with a gasp.“What? I’ll say whatever name I want! IDZNAK, IDZNAK, IDZNAK!” The lich pauses, waiting to be smote down.>CONTD.
>>4605683“See? That dimwit couldn’t do anything to me even if he wanted to--I’ve warded this fortress with seven different barriers! Even if someone or someTHING got through they’d be bursting with harmful residual magick--I wouldn’t wish THAT death on my worst enemy, even IDZNAK!”Ooh… Is that why your whole body stings? You thought it was that weird soap at Sybil’s…“I was merely suggesteenk we hold a ritual or two to bring some more sea daemons to thees plane…” The witch says, carefully weighing each word. “My acolytes sit ready in Atlantis--you don’t even have to talk to heem--”Another slam on the table.“That sea snake was born with a demonic spoon in hand!” Tim howls, “Look around you! All of this was MY doing! I mandibuilt this whole plan and everything in it by myself! Never did I once rely on those extraplanar egomaniacs!”Another sigh from the witch. “Fine, fine, just thought I’d ask…”“You already have ONE sea daemon--use it!” The lich growls. “What of the other tasks I’ve given you?”“My acolytes tell me ze totem ees working,” The witch explains, “But ze effect on our magickal power might take some time to generate. As long as no unexpected guests drop by, eet should do eet’s job.”“Arrr, no soul alive can match sails with The Burning Armada!” laughs the skeleton with the peg leg. “I hope so… Apparently I only get one sea daemon to work weeth.” The witch says, displeasure in her voice.“Oh come on, BONE't get all emotional!” The lich groans. >CONTD.
>>4605686She doesn’t speak any further--judging by how her legs are crossed you think she might be upset. GIRL CODE!“Fine, be that way!” The lich shouts. “Who’s next, then? Izzie’s warmed it up for you!”Is it possible? Could you go two for two on the guessing? Who’s gonna speak next, you think?>Leather jacket and work boots--Rocky, you think?>The pirate guy. He seemed a bit annoyed!>The military dude. Maybe he wants to talk strategy?>The scientist. She was mentioning something important, right?
>>4605689>Leather jacket and work boots--Rocky, you think?Lets figure out what the lay of the land be, that totem thing sounds like a great place for a wrench as well
>>4605689>Leather jacket and work boots--Rocky, you think?
>>4605783>>4605806Looks like Grease is indeed the word! Writing!
>>4605783>>4605806You’re really not sure who’s gonna go next, but you hope it’s the guy with the leather jacket--you could use some info on the greasers…“Rocky! If you have time to SMOKE at the table then you have time to TALK!” The lich shouts. Hey, you recognize that name! Also, TWO IN A ROW!“Sure, baby, no need to get frosty!” The faint smell of tobacco drifts past your nostrils as the greaser continues. “Lemme clue you in, boss--Clearwater is all but officially named ‘Bonesville’ courtesy of yours truly. Well… And the rest of the boys, of course.”Clearly that isn’t received well--the voice attached to the combat boots rings out again in response.“YOU HAVE ONE HELL OF AN IMAGINATION, MAGGOT. YOU AND YOUR DO-WHOP GROUP HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT RUN DOWN HUMANS AND FRITTER AWAY PRECIOUS OPERATION HOURS!”“Don’t rattle your cage, pops--it’s not good for ya.” Rocky says with a chuckle. “Your boys might have the center of town locked down, but it’s my guys who are runnin’ the show.”The skeleton in the army boots rises to his feet, followed by Rocky. Oooooh, FIGHT! The two of them walk towards each other, but right before they get in striking range both of them fly backwards into their seats!“I always approve of some friendly workplace competition,” begins the lich, “But if I hear ONE MORE THING that isn’t important to me, you’re ALL going back to the bone pile! IN PIECES!”This shuts them up. Rocky clears his throat, then continues.“Yea, no need to be a wet rag, General, just givin’ the boss the report!”The general growls, but says nothing--you hear his fingers digging into the table above. “Anywho, West Clearwater is ours, baby. Police Station’s emptier than school on Sunday, Hospital’s no longer hospitable, and my boys are busy running down any skinnies still fighting back.”“Splendid!” Tim begins, reclining backwards. “I suppose that means that we have nothing more to worry about, hm? No more paramilitary goons from that wretched Bone Factory to worry about?”Rocky’s voice catches. “Well uh… Not many, no. We’re still rounding them up, but--”SLAM.“THEN WEST CLEARWATER ISN’T YOURS, YOU HOPELESS HOTRODDER! I won’t tolerate stragglers, squatters, or guerillas of any kind! If you or your hooligans spot ANYONE, you RIB them limb from limb! The more bones we gather, the better!”>CONTD.
>>4605950Rocky takes a puff from his cigarette, then responds.“I get it, I get it! No sweat, boss, your wish is my command! We’ll kick it into high-gear.”“See that you do!” Shouts the lich, “That capricious custodian was last seen in YOUR area, that means it’s YOUR duty to hunt her down and bring her to me!”You raise an eyebrow. Hey, that’s you!“Got just the pill, baby--gonna solve that problem of yours the minute we’re through here!” Well THAT doesn’t sound good.“Already got word that some of the boys are on her trail--I’m expectin’ good news when I head back to the ground. Otherwise, well…” The greaser pauses, taking another puff. “I’ve got a backup plan. So you can tell four-eyes over there to put away her wind-up doll, dig?”“He’s um… He’s not a toy--” The scientist begins. Another slam on the table cuts her short--how sturdy IS this thing?“SILENCE! Professor Venaas will do HER job, you do YOURS! Get that moronic mop-jockey or someone else will! I don’t care WHO does it, I just want her found! AND DESTROYED!”“Wouldn’t have anything to do with that ‘Chosen One’ business, would it?” Drawls the deep, ragged voice belonging to the spurs at the end of the table. Chosen whatnow?>CONTD.
>>4605951“We already DISCUSSED THAT!” Shouts Tim. “The Chosen One will get what they deserve, nothing more, nothing less! Focus on your jobs!”Well crap, that’s a letdown. As you check the rest of the feet for any movement, you spy a small box sitting near you underneath the table.Zebra Strikes: Toasted Tobacco. Wait a minute…“What the… Hey, where’d they go?” Rocky runs his hands over his shirt and pockets. “Arrr, mayhap they’ve fallen overboard?” Growls the pirate. “Does ANYONE want to treat this like a meeting? ANYONE?” Groans the lich. You hear the scientist’s voice start for a moment, but it stops.Hey, wait a minute--THEY MIGHT LOOK DOWN HERE!As if on cue, you see Rocky’s begin to bend down. Oh man, you’ve gotta hide--in this case smoking really WILL kill!>Roll 1d100 and make it snappy! I’ll take the best of 3!
Rolled 88 (1d100)>>4605956
Rolled 83 (1d100)>>4605956
Rolled 62 (1d100)>>4605956
>>4605999>>4606112>>4606259Nice rolls, folks--looks like I've got an update to write!
>>4605999>>4606112>>4606259Panicked, you duck below the floor before Rocky can find both you AND his smokes. You find a snug spot under the floor and wait, using the muffled scuffle of boots and voices as your guide. A pause… Then a voice. You take a deep breath and wait a little longer--this ain’t your first stealth rodeo, after all!Speaking of stealth, Ly’s doing TOO good of a job--you’re almost upset that he isn’t invading your privacy. You start to whisper his name, but reconsider when the voices above you start up again. Oh right, the immortal sorcerer and his cronies who all want you dead are there.Waiting for what you THINK is the right moment, you float back upwards--each flap of your arms making you weaker and weaker. By the time you pop through the floor again you’re panting--is this the projection thing wearing off, or?“So THERE! Now that I’ve briefly RE-explained the chosen one situation, you NEVER have to ask me again!”“Thanks, boss, I dig.”DAMN IT!Oh well, at least you weren’t detected! You pump your fist once more, balking as a wave of exhaustion washes over you. Looking downwards, you notice your once-brilliant sheen fading rapidly…You hope that’s just you waking up!“Well then,” Begins the lich, “let’s move on, shall we? I think that we ought to hear from t--”“Your wickedness, please, it’s really important!!”The scientist again. Venaas? You brace for Tim to blast her with a magic missile or something, but nope… Nothing.“That reminds me! Professor!” Tim asks with a jovial tone in his voice, “I never punished you for interrupting me! Quick, I’m thinking of a number between seven-hundred and eighty-two. What is i-”“Two-hundred and six?” Squeaks the scientist.“BLAST! Very well, you live for now… Alright, YOU take the floor, then.”As you prepare to listen, your vision starts swimming and color drains from the world around you. Shit, not NOW! You feel your consciousness slipping--this has gotta be the limit!The professor clears her throat. You take one last glance around underneath the table to memorize the Lieutenants--did you get enough info??As you ponder the question, a wave of dizziness wracks your head, causing your body to jolt the side, sending you tumbling through the floor and into the open stormy air outside of the tower.. Plummeting to the ground, you get a grip on the last bits of concentration you have--you still have time, DAMN IT!As the tower rapidly gets further and further away, you weigh your options. You might get some critical info if you catch the opening of that professor’s report. Then again, if you’re already on the way out you might as well charge to the top of the tower and check it out, right?Another thought occurs to you--what about LY? Should you go and find him?>CONTD.
>>4606423What do? You're almost outta time here!>Let’s catch a bit of the meeting--a little info is better than none, right?>Screw the meeting, let’s see what’s at the top of the tower. There’s always cool stuff there!>Let’s try to signal Ly--don’t wanna leave him behind.
>>4606426>Let’s try to signal Ly--don’t wanna leave him behind.
>>4606426>Let’s try to signal Ly--don’t wanna leave him behind.We have enough info at this point hopefully. We got two people on land, two at sea. Sea-witch is the more stationary high-power force, sea-dog is the roving navy. Military dude has the center of town, probably with some strong munitions and entrenchment, and Rocky is doing the cleaning up, using hot-rods and greaser skeletons. Timbo has a nice little captive scientist type thing working for him, but we probably won't be able to reach her soon. We gotta figure out where we wanna start tossing wrenches in plans.
I'll keep this decision open until around 12AM UTC--got a big day tomorrow. Tune in then and let's see what we get from all of this spectral snoopin'!
>>4606446>>4606472Don't LYve your friends behind! Writing!
>>4606446>>4606472You clench your fists with resolve--no, you’re pretty sure you have all the info you need now. Lieutenants, territory, hell, you even found out that Tim might have a NERD on a leash--that can’t be good.Part of you wants to hear what she has to say, but you’ll just have to get it from her later in person--your skeleton’s gone missing and you’ll be damned if you leave him here while you wake up! You fall for a while longer as lethargy grips the rest of your body. Shit, how are you supposed to find him? Yelling? Nah, he might be indoors. Plus that might alert someone else to where you are, not Ly.That settles it--you’re getting a bell surgically attached to your collarbone the first chance you get. Or one of those shock collars. As your thoughts focus on your missing astral skeleton, you notice your body slowly beginning to shift directions. You’re still falling, sure, but now you’re pointed…THERE!You’ve never been more sure of anything in your life--Ly’s ahead, just around the western wing of the fortress. Using what little energy you have left, you drift in the direction of Ly’s presence using your fall for momentum. Your astral eyes feel droopy now--you close them for a moment and briefly feel the presence of two people shouting. Tea, urgency, waki--No, focus! You redouble your floating efforts and make for Ly’s signal as fast as you can, rubbing your eyes and biting your lip to stay awake. Well er… ASTRALLY awake.Because of this you can barely believe your eyes when you see it: Ly’s astral form diving and climbing like a bird trying to escape a hawk. And behind him?A flock of magical skulls clacking so loudly you can hear it from a distance. SHIT.“SIGNAAAAAAAL! SIIIIIIIIIGNAAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!” Ly shrieks, barely keeping ahead of the flock. You take a deep breath, then shake the lethargy out of your body--time for a rescue.What do? >Distract the flock and get them to chase you!>Intercept Ly, maybe you can both wake up!>Try to get his attention--maybe you can direct him somewhere?>WRITE-IN
>>4607315>Intercept Ly, maybe you can both wake up!
>>4607315>>Intercept Ly, maybe you can both wake up!
>>4607568>>4607726>>4607885>>4608000Finished work a bit later than usual today, sorry! Writing!
>>4607568>>4607726>>4607885>>4608000You’re not 100% certain, but you think Ly might not be able to wake up on his own--call it woman’s intuition. As you watch the astral projection of your skeleton duck and weave between the rapidly-approaching flock of demonic skulls, a dull lamp flickers on in your head!Ly needs HELP! There’s no time for sneakiness here--it’s getting hard to keep your eyes open and all of your movements are starting to feel delayed… With your last ounces of concentration you dive towards your pal, your body whipping through the air like a squirrel falling off of a power cable!As you get closer to the flock the world around you starts to warp--the blood red clouds and the dark stone walls of the fortress slowly bend into the spartan walls and worn carpet of Sybil’s apartment. Your ears are battered by the sounds of howling winds, clacking skulls, Ly’s panicked screams, and the indecipherable shouts of Sybil and Art. You grit your teeth and slap your face a few times to stay awake--JUST A FEW MORE SECONDS!Hopefully that’s all you’re going to need!>Roll 1d100 to see how successful your rescue is! I’ll take the best of 3!
Rolled 45 (1d100)>>4608376
Rolled 98 (1d100)>>4608376>Roll 1d100 to see how successful your rescue is! I’ll take the best of 3!LYYYYYYYYYY
Rolled 79 (1d100)>>4608376
>>4608471The power of friendship!
>>4608425>>4608471>>4608539>Best: 98!You DON’T LYVE FRIENDS BEHIND!The astral projection of your skeleton shoots you a bewildered glance as you dive at him, arms outstretched--even the skulls seem surprised when you connect! As you feel Ly’s presence merge with yours, you close your eyes and relax letting the fort, the skulls, and everything else drift away from your consciousness.When you open them again, you’re lying on Sybil’s couch in a pool of your own cool sweat. Blinking a few times, you adopt a satisfied grin. Yep, you’re back!You live… AGAAAAAAIIII--Your triumphant return is cut short by a foam bat connecting with your mouth. OW!“Oh, you’re awake!” Art says, startled. “She’s awake!”Sitting up and rubbing your jaw, you shoot a scowl at Art. What the hell? He didn’t have to use the bat!“I did! Multiple times, actually!” Art shouts, “We’ve been trying to wake you up for the last five minutes--you weren’t waking up!”You frown. Five minutes? You think you would have noticed being hit in the face by a foam bat! Art shrugs.“Yea, we can talk about how weird that is later, you see--”“STAN!” Sybil’s doll shoots like a bullet from the hallway leading to the bedroom, stopping with a SKID in front of the couch. Oh, hey Sy-SMACK!It didn’t hurt as much as the bat, but getting decked across the face by a doll isn’t that fun. Rubbing your cheek, you shoot a glare at the doll. Yea, you’re welcome!“You had us both worried, Stan, but we can talk about that later--the situation here has taken a turn for the worse and time, unfortunately, is of the essence.” The heck is she talking about? You know who the lieutenants are now--there’s a pirate, a cowboy, you met Rocky--the doll nods vigorously.“Yes, yes, we saw quite a bit of what you saw. I had to cut the recording short, though, and I’ve only just been able to back up the footage in my pocket dimension.” The doll floats over to the living room window overlooking the parking lot… What’s eating her?“See for yourself, but do it slowly.”Shrugging, you creep over to the window and peer through the blinds.Wait a minute… Where’s your van? And similarly…Where did all of those OTHER vans come from?Uh oh…>CONTD.
>>4608956You stand by the window as the vans quietly open up, releasing operators with the same equipment as Art, the letters G.B.C.S stenciled on their shoulders and rifles in their hands. What the hell--you actually have to DO something in this chapter? You thought it was one big info dump!Sybil shakes her doll head gravely.“We don’t have nearly enough time to discuss all of the author’s shortcomings, Stan. What matters now is making sure you get out of her alive.”Art nods, taking position near the door. Hey, why didn’t he just go out and talk them down? The security guard shakes his head.“Didn’t want to jump the gun before you woke up. Whether I was able to talk them down or not, they’d still probably want to come in while you were on your uh… Vision Quest. Didn’t want to give them a freebie.”You smile. Well that was thoughtful of him! Watching the operatives file out in the parking lot, you notice the trio’s hotrod still sitting where it was before. Say, where did THEY go?“Oh, right! They were the ones who tipped us off, actually!” Art says, digging into one of his many pouches. “Here, catch.”He chucks a small piece of metal your way and you catch it--then drop it on the ground. Whoops. Picking it up you take a closer look--besides having wires, a small antenna, and some non-lit lights, you couldn’t guess what the heck it was.“The guys found it when they were tinkering with the van.” Art explains, spinning his mask and helmet combo in his free hand. “They weren’t sure what it was, but we had an idea.”Sybil nods gravely. “A tracking bug. It makes sense your company would like to keep tabs on their vehicles, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner--”Hey, no need to apologize--we all make mistakes.“You didn’t think of it either…” Art mumbles.Yea, well neither did HE! They didn’t cover that shit in Paramilitary 101?!“Alright, C O O L I T!!!” Shouts a familiar shrill voice! LY?!>CONTD.
>>4608958“In da flesh. Yours, actually.” Your skeleton chuckles. “Don’t tell me you forgot I was here or somethin’.”You breathe a sigh of relief. You were worried he wasn’t going to make it! Ly borrows your shoulders and shrugs. “Me too, you really came to my rescue there, cupcake.” Ly says, admiration in his voice. Hey, you weren’t about to let your skeleton get chomped by uh… Smaller skeletons.“I think we owe you an apology, Ly,” begins Sybil, “Art and I heard your shouts, but it seems your projection was linked to Stan’s.” The doll frowns. “Next time stick closer together! You might not get a second chance!” She scolds. “Who knows how much damage that extended projection did to Stan’s mind… You KNOW she doesn’t need any more--”“Yea, yea, we’ll be careful.” Ly says, placatingly. You clear your throat, signalling everyone to quiet down. You weren’t done asking your question--where are the trio?!“After finding the bug, the three began scouting for anything unusual,” explains the doll, “The one with the jean jacket noticed a convoy of vans coming from the East, informed us, then said he and the others would try to lead them away.”Clearly THAT didn’t work. Art shrugs.“It kinda did, actually--two of their vans followed the guys, now we just have to deal with three.”Alright, that isn’t too bad. Wait, are they coming BACK!?“Don’t think so. They mentioned meeting at the Malt Shop, but who knows where that is…” Art grumbles. Sybil’s eyes light up at the mention of the shop.“Shane’s Shack! The old diner a few blocks away!” The doll says, snapping its arm stubs. How the hell?Art nods. “Guess that’s the meeting point.” Peeking through the peephole again, he fumbles with his helmet and pops it back on his head. Great, now the BREATHING’S happening again…“Look sharp, I think they’re getting ready to come up here!” Art whispers, raising his rifle.>CONTD.
>>4608962You peer through the blinds once more. Sure enough you see at least nine operatives rallying around the vans. Operatives with red armbands sign orders, their squad mates taking position near the bottom apartment units and the bases of the two staircases leading to the second floor. Shit.Sybil floats upwards and squeezes into your hoodie pocket. “We can discuss what we saw later--right now I think we should decide how you’re going to get out of here.”Art nods in agreement. “I don’t know how possible it is, but I’d prefer it if we didn’t kill anyone!” Yea, and you’d prefer not getting stalked by Corporate Security for a DOG BONE COMPANY. Shrugging, Art returns to the door.“Maybe I could distract them? Talk them up while you slip out?”You feel your pocket pulse with energy. “Not a bad idea. You can also possibly slip out through the bathroom window--it's a drop, but it should get you behind the building.”“You know…” Begins Ly, “We could also just try to talk dis’ out. Maybe if we show ‘em what we know they’ll stop botherin’ us?”You frown. And what if they aren’t in a talkative mood? Ly shrugs.“Then we clobber ‘em. Self-defense, right?”What’s the plan?>Art, go talk with your people--we’ll slip out while you do your thing.>Sybil’s a smartypants, let’s just head out the bathroom window!>Ly’s got a point--let’s just parley and get this beef settled.>Nah, I’ve got a BETTER idea! (WRITE-IN)
>>4608968>>Art, go talk with your people--we’ll slip out while you do your thing.
>>4608968>Sybil’s a smartypants, let’s just head out the bathroom window!We know at least Stan can handle the drop due to our leg BONEus
>>4608968>Sybil’s a smartypants, let’s just head out the bathroom window!
>>4608983Art Distraction>>4608999>>4609006To the windooooowBeen busy the last day or so, apologies! Writing!
>>4608983>>4608999>>4609006You pat Sybil’s head protruding from your hoodie pocket, eliciting a surprised noise from the doll. Her ideas haven’t led you astray so far, so let’s head for the bathroom window! As you make for the bathroom, Art lingers near the door for a moment, mulling over your decision in his head.“You uh… You sure about that?” He asks, gripping his rifle tighter.He’d better believe it. You almost lost Ly during your field trip to the fort, no way you’re gonna let Art try to sing and dance for those assholes. The guard rubs the back of his helmet, unsure how to respond.“Appreciated, but uh… Is the window big enough?”Sybil lets out a contemplative ‘hmmm’ as she pokes your side a few times.“It won’t be an easy squeeze. You really could stand to lose a few pounds, Sta--”Okay, OKAY, you get it! You’re gonna have cheese grater abs once this is all over! And after a few pole dancing classes! You’re saving up, okay?!“I uh… I actually meant me,” Art begins. “But pole dancing is cool too!” He gives you a thumbs up. Whatever, you’ll FIT. With a huff you make your way towards the bathroom, keeping your distance from the windows as you go. The bathroom remains about as disheveled as you left it--your coveralls and boots lying on the floor, condensation dripping off of the shower curtains and mirror. Your salvation, the window, sits above the shower beckoning you. Sybil sighs and crosses her doll arms.“Really, Stan, you didn’t even put away your clothes in the hamper?”You were going to, but the outfit select vote took longer than you expected! Hell, you’ll do it right now if that will make her happy!“No, we don’t want there to be evidence that you were here. Take them with you and toss them in a waste bin when you can.”You pick your old outfit off the ground, grumbling to yourself. Until you toss it, you’ll just plop the COVERALLS and BOOTS in your inventory. Who knows when they might come in handy?You Obtained COVERALLS and BOOTS! Again!>CONTD.
>>4611028That settled, you focus on the window with a grimace. The windowsill is lined with various shower products and the window itself is small and covered with a flimsy mesh screen. At least it opens to the side--that oughta help a bit!“Just toss the products aside,” Commands Sybil, “I’ll reorganize them later once we sort out this mess.” Shrugging, you painstakingly remove each bottle, jar, and dispenser and place it on the base of the shower. Art, meanwhile, glances nervously at the bathroom door. A little HELP?“Sorry, I’m just worried…” mumbles the operative, “What if they’re waiting below the window?”Then you’ll give them a WARM WELCOME, you say, patting your hoodie pocket. Art’s sidearm tumbles out of the side, landing with a loud CLACK on the shower floor. Whoopsie daisy! As you fish the gun off the ground and brush the leftover shower water off of it, you turn to find Art ducking and covering in the corner of the bathroom. Wow, dramatic much?“You have the safety on, right?” He asks, glancing your way. Of course, what kind of moron does he take you for?“Alright, just checking.”You surreptitiously flick the safety on, but he doesn’t need to know that. Stowing the sidearm back into your inventory, you continue your task. A few seconds later you set the final shower product on the floor, then open and hop up to the window. You don’t want to admit it, but your associates were right--it’s a tight fit. Yanking the mesh screen off of the window’s borders, you take a moment to peek into the alleyway below. Nobody. You see a dumpster, a pile of trash bags, a ratty sofa and a tire, but this is an alleyway--that’s basically par for the course!“Coast looks clear, cupcake.” Muses Ly, his glowing form peeking ahead of where your skull usually is. Wait, HOLD ON.“What? I’ll be quiet, don-” No, not that! Since when can you pop out like that? Your skeleton, or rather its astral projection, turns around to face you, boney hands on its hips.“What, I can’t stretch every now and the--” Ly pauses, glancing down at his independent body.“Wow, I uh… That’s new.”>CONTD.
>>4611033You can say that again! Sybil pokes her head out of your pocket and frowns.“Interesting… It would appear that Ly’s astral form didn’t properly ‘reconnect’ with your body…”You wave your hand at Ly, who waves back. Neat! Art shifts uneasily from boot to boot.“Uh, is something cool happening? If it is, can we hurry things up?” You frown and stare at Art. What, he can’t see Ly? Art responds with an impartial shrug. “Nnnno?”Ly cackles to himself, pumping his astral fist. “Now ‘dis is what I call a BONE-US, right, Stan? Can we put it on da’ list? Please?”You huff, then adopt a wry smile. Okay, but let’s not make a habit of it.“No promises!”>BONE-US GAINED: LYD THE WAY--Talk about an OUT OF BODY experience! Ly can stretch out from your body at a short range to peek around corners! Even better, seems like only magical people can notice him!That good?“Perfect, cupcake.”Fantastic.>CONTD.
>>4611034“I don’t want to interrupt,” Art interrupts, “But can we hurry things up here?”Quit whining for a second, it’s not like they’re gonna check Syb's apartment firs-You’re interrupted by the sound of footsteps approaching the front of Sybil’s apartment. How in the hell--“Probably dumb luck.” Art shrugs. “That or the RING OF BLOOD on the doorframe.”You’re gonna go with the second one, yea. Art breathes out heavily through his mask’s filter. Boy, you sure missed that. “I knew we should have scrubbed that stuff off once we heard Good Boy was coming…” Art whines. Sybil crosses her arms, frowning.“Oh sure, rub the ward off, see what happens! I’ll take gun-toting goons any day over DIMENSIONAL SHAMBLERS.”Art starts to respond, but his words die in his throat. Shaking his head, he starts over. “Those are real?”The doll knowingly furrows her yarn brow at Art, who gulps in response.Okay, time to go! Squeezing through the window head-first, you tumble forwards out the window and down towards the alleyway below! Thankfully your BONE-US SPEED kicks in and allows you to tuck and roll before hitting the pavement--your fall cushioned by crushed cardboard, broken bottles, and some used needles. Ouch.Rubbing your back and rising from the floor, you quickly scan the alleyway for any sign of operators. Zip. The alleyway is fenced off, but seems to have been used as a dumping ground for the apartment-dwellers--a STAINED SOFA sits nearby, rusty springs popping through the decaying fabric, along with a PILE OF SMELLY GARBAGE BAGS and a LARGE TIRE WITH A ROPE ATTACHED. Must have been a cool tire swing once. Glancing back up to the window, you notice Art peering down at you.What the heck is he WAITING for?!“It’s a bit high up,” Art whispers. Yea, so? He can just do some SICK PARKOUR like you did! Art slaps his gloved palm against his mask. Oh good, you missed that too.“Forgetting something?” He asks, glancing down, then back to you. Okay fine, PLEASE do some SICK PARKOUR.“My LEG, moron.” Art groans, slapping what you assume is his leg. “I don’t wanna land on it funny. Find something I can drop onto.”Coming right up, princess. Jeez, he’s still going on about that LEG.“There are plenty of suitable objects, Stan.” Whispers Sybil. “Whatever you do, do it quickly--I worry that we won’t be safe back here for much longer…”You heard the lady. What do?>Take a load off! Push the SOFA over for Art!>One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Use the GARBAGE BAGS!>Art looks TIRED. Use the old TIRE SWING.>Tell him you’ll CATCH HIM! He can trust you!>WRITE-IN
Hitting the sack now, but I'll check in tomorrow morning around 5PM UTC! Thanks for playin'!
>>4611042>One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Use the GARBAGE BAGS!Soft and no rusty springs sticking out.
>>4611400>>4611441Can't argue with that logic! Writing!
>>4611400>>4611441For a second you consider the sofa, but the rusty springs and the smell of week-old Mediterranean food causes you to reconsider. Art’s already whiny enough--imagine if he pricked himself on some pointy metal?Best not to think about it. No, your focus is on the pile of presumably soft garbage bags a little further down the alleyway. Plugging your nose with one gloved hand, you begin the painstaking process of tossing the bags underneath Sybil’s window, trying, but failing, to ignore the viscous fluids dripping out of the bottom of the bags.“HURRY!” Art hisses, glancing behind him. You’re going, jeez! You toss one bag down, then another, then another. Guess whoever left these here was just tossing them out the window. Not a bad idea!“Yea, a real visionary.” Ly mumbles. Quit being sarcastic and keep an eye out--who knows when those Rent-A-Cops will decide to check BEHIND the building?You’ve barely stacked five bags before you hear the slam of metal against metal up above you. Checking on Art, you see the operative beginning the painstaking process of climbing out the window. He manages to get a shoulder through, then grunts as he slowly worms his way through the opening. Ha! NOW who needs to lose weight?“I…” Art begins, poking his rifle through the window, “Have GEAR on. AND large shoulders!” He’s halfway through now.“What’s your excus-”Art’s speech is interrupted as gravity claims another victim, pulling his front half and, by extension, the rest of him out of the window and down to the alley below. The guard lets out a protracted yelp before belly-flopping onto the pile of trash bags with a wet ‘SMACK’. Ew.You uh… You okay?Art raises a banana peel aloft on his thumb. Cool! As you help Art back to his feet, Sybil squirms out of your pocket, eyes glowing blue.“If I remember correctly, the malt shop is a few blocks away. Let’s hurry!”As Art finishes wringing the trash water free of his uniform, you both snap to attention at the sound of boots approaching from down the alleyway. “Duck!” Art hisses, diving behind the couch. You follow, bringing your knees close to make yourself as small as possible. Art goes to peek around the corner, but you grab his shoulder--Ly can handle this!“Oh, right. Thanks, Ly!” Art whispers through his mask filter. You feel your skeleton’s presence wrench itself free of your body and stretch over the top of the couch.“Yep, looks like two-no, three of ‘em.” Ly whispers, looking down at you. “And they’re armed!”Well duh, you’d be surprised if they weren’t. >CONTD.
>>4611692Ly leans forward to gather more info while you and Art hold your collective breaths. “They’re definitely coming this way…” Ly whispers, pointing in the direction of the guards. Frowning, you scan the part of the alleyway YOU can see--the whole thing is bordered by the wall of Sybil’s apartment building, of course, but on the other side sits a ragged old wooden fence--one peppered with HOLES and LOOSE BOARDS perfect for animals to come and go. Moreover, the alley is dotted with OVERGROWN SHRUBS and WEEDS--might be able to use those as cover!Further down the way lies an exit to presumably the street. You notice anOLD AIR CONDITIONER unit hanging from one of the apartments, but just barely. Someone really oughta replace that thing! An old wooden gate lies discarded on the ground--you bet it was like that BEFORE skeletons started taking over. Aside from that, well…You frown. There’s some loose pebbles, broken glass, needles, dirt--not exactly terrain to sneak over, but you might be able to use it. You also remember a DUMPSTER sitting a bit closer to where the operatives are approaching from--Ly confirms your suspicions with a thumb’s up.“Yep, big dumpster dead-ahead. Maybe you can use that somehow?”If you had a nickel for every ‘maybe’ you’ve had today, you’d be on your own private island sipping fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them by now. Art squirms a bit, trying to make himself smaller.“What’s the plan?” Art hisses as the sound of boot steps grows louder.You’re THINKING!>The AIR CONDITIONER! We could try to lure them under, then make it fall!>DISTRACTION! Toss some debris behind them, then head through the fence before they notice!>TAKEDOWN! We wait until they come closer, then jump them! We’ll have to be quick with that third guy, though.>WRITE-IN
>>4611696>The AIR CONDITIONER! We could try to lure them under, then make it fall!
>>4611696>>DISTRACTION! Toss some debris behind them, then head through the fence before they notice!
>>4611696>DISTRACTION! Toss some debris behind them, then head through the fence before they notice!
>>4611696>DISTRACTION! Toss some debris behind them, then head through the fence before they notice!Scramble!
>>4611785Air some grievances>>4611798>>4611937>>4612017Kansas City ShuffleWriting!
>>4611785>>4611798>>4611937>>4612017Art nudges you a few times in the ribs as the sound of boots approaches your hiding spot--OW! You shove him back, then survey the area one last time. Glancing at the wobbly air conditioner, you can’t help but pout--dropping that thing onto these guys would be STYLISH, that’s for sure, but getting them all the way over there without being spotted?Yea, not likely given the luck you’ve had today! In mid-pout your toe brushes against a mostly-intact bottle of Drunk Skunk Ale--its contents long evaporated on the weed-cracked pavement. Bummer--you remember the first time you drank one of those behind the 7Days back in 7th grade. What a wild evening THAT was! You remember it like it wa-Art shoots you a look. Calm down, you weren’t going to do a flashback NOW. Though the bottle does give you an idea… You scan the fence once more, squinting past the overgrown weeds and shrubs. It takes you a moment, but once you see it you almost smack yourself upside the head. THERE, right next to the mountain of cigarette butts and the dog poop!You quietly tap Art on the shoulder and twist his head with your hand towards the breakage in the fence. It’s hard to see, sure, but it looks big enough! You glance back at Art who points in the direction of the operatives, then shrugs. With a mischievous grin you mime picking up and tossing something, then their surprised faces, and finally you and Art dashing through the hole in the fence. Hey, you’re pretty good at this pantomime thing!“Guys, they’re getting closer!” Ly whispers, pointing to what you presume to be your approaching attackers. Art gives you a thumbs up, then points to the floor near you. Following his finger you see you have slim pickins’ when it comes to ammunition…What do you THROW to DISTRACT THEM?>A CHUNK OF CEMENT! Heavy, but guaranteed to make a splash!>The EMPTY BOTTLE! Loud AND dangerous--a classic!>This RISQUE MAGAZINE you just fo--woah… L-lewd!>Something from your INVENTORY (Check the first post, true believers!--Ed.)>Something ELSE you find in a decrepit alleyway! (WRITE-IN)
>>4612110>The EMPTY BOTTLE! Loud AND dangerous--a classic!
Heading to bed, but will check in again tomorrow around 11-12UTC. Catch ya then!
>>4612110>This RISQUE MAGAZINE you just fo--woah… L-lewd!The classic Porn-toss technique, never fails
>>4612110>This RISQUE MAGAZINE you just fo--woah… L-lewd!
>>4612110>This RISQUE MAGAZINE you just fo--woah… L-lewd!I would go for the bottle, but showing our prowess as a master of LEWD-FU is too important.
>>4612110>>This RISQUE MAGAZINE you just fo--woah… L-lewd!
>>4612183Bottle>>4612305>>4612330>>4612506>>4613157LEWDNever change, /qst/. Writing!
>>4612183>>4612305>>4612330>>4612506>>4613157Let’s see, chunk of cement, bottle, magaz--Holy MOLEY. You almost didn’t notice it amidst the rest of the debris, but there it is! Pink, shiny cover, a girl on the front wearing swimwear clearly too small for her, and the coquettish, curly font twisted into the magazine’s title: Eyecandy. Woah mama.You snatch it from the ground and bring it close as Art leans in too. “Seriously? You’re looking at SMUT right now?”It’s not for you, it’s for the Donut-chasers BEHIND you. You demonstrate a little LEWD-FU and presto, instant distraction! Art frowns. Okay, maybe you also like her swimsuit. Sue me.“Just like that, huh?” He whispers, “Do you really think it’s going to be that effective? This is real life, you know.”As you raise your hands to shrug, your hold on the magazine’s glossy cover wavers, causing it to open to a random page. What you see, well… You’re not… You can’t… Narration wouldn’t do it JUSTICE. You feel heat rise in your cheeks and sweat drip from your hair… Uh oh!“Are you even listen-” Art pauses in mid whisper, his eyes drifting to the page as well. You’re a little distracted, but you could SWEAR you see his eyes bugging out behind his mask lenses. “That’s… Is that possible?” He asks, not looking away from the magazine. You’re no expert on the subject, but…“THEY’RE COMING!” Hisses Ly’s astral projection. “What da’ hell are you goofballs doin’ anyways? Dis’ ain’t da time for scrapbooki-'' He too stops in mid-sentence, his ethereal gaze now set on the magazine’s contents. You see him drift closer, inspecting the pages with his ghostly eyes.“I uh… Dat’ can’t be good for the pelvis.” You nod wordlessly, unable to form an appropriate sentence. Art shrugs--it’s all he can manage.You barely notice Sybil creeping out of your pocket, huffing like a teacher waiting for an answer. “Do you understand the GRAVITY of the situation? What the hells are you all gawking at any-”You’ve never seen a doll blush. Or drool, for that matter, but here you are. With how still Sybil’s doll form is standing, you’d hardly imagine she could move at all!“This…” She begins, whispering gravely, “is powerful… I’ve drifted across the outer planes, conversed with beings of every dimension, uncovered knowledge no human was meant to know, but THIS,” her voice catches as she wipes some saliva off of her mouth, “Is dangerous!”You all sit there for what feels like years--like the world around you has frozen in place to observe the spectacle printed in those unspeakable pages. As you feel sensation coming back to your body, you realize how big of a pickle you’re in--forget the security, if you don’t get rid of this immediately you could rot here… FOREVER!“Stan…” Ly mumbles, “Throw it… Save us!”>CONTD
>>4613207>Roll 1d100 to save your souls! Oh, and distract the operatives, why not? I’ll take the best of three rolls--don’t look at the magazine, though!>DON'T DO IT! Don't be a fool, anon!
Rolled 38 (1d100)>>4613209
Rolled 86 (1d100)>>4613322>>4613209This time with meaning
Gonna hit the sack, but I'll be back tomorrow around 11-12AM UTC with a tiebreaker roll if needed!
Rolled 70 (1d100)>>4613209Who on earht managed to throw this powerful mag away?
Rolled 66 (1d100)>>4613207on a scale from 1 to 10, how gay is Stan?
>>4613696Excellent question! I like to leave those details up to reader response (firm believer in showing, not telling), so I guess the answer is... Not applicable yet? We can review the facts, though--Stan can appreciate a good swimsuit (male or female), has had crushes on male vtubers and classmates, but you never know if she had one of those 'other team' experiences at a party, while drunk, while sober, or once upon a time at sleepaway camp. In short, it might come up down the line--I guess that number really depends on your choices! Still at work right now, but I'll pop in around the usual 11-12AM UTC time. Catch you all then!
>>4613280>>4613324>>4613616>Highest Roll: 86! Writing!
>>4613280>>4613324>>4613616>>4613696You struggle to tear your eyes away from the smut rag, your willpower fighting your id in a brutal game of tug-o-war! With a sense akin to a sticker being torn off of a surface, you wrench your face away from the direction of the magazine and shut your eyes as hard as you can--the heat in your cheeks dulling, but not by much.“Staaaaaaannn…” Art hisses, his mask lenses fogged up completely. You know what to do, but doing it? THAT’S the tricky part! Mustering every bit of strength you have, your fingers close around the glossy pages of the mag, crumpling it like a candy wrapper. For a moment you almost hear whispers--the voices of hunky dudes and foxy gals drifting past your ears and tickling your mind...Begging you to look again.Vigorously shaking your head, you fling the magazine behind you, opening your eyes just in time to see it sail over the rotting couch and down the alley. Art, Ly, and even Sybil follow it with their eyes as it arcs through the air, the spell broken once and for all on your motley crew.But for how long??Sybil looks flushed, but no worse for wear. Ly’s fine, bu--is he CRYING?“N-nah, cupcake… Got some astral dust in my eye is all…”Art reaches out to where he perceives the magazine to have fallen, a quiet “No…” escaping his mask’s filter. You slap his hand down and bring a finger to your lips, a frown forming on your flushed face. Zip it, perv!Art begins to form a response, but the two of you are interrupted by the sound of unfamiliar sounds from behind the couch.“Huh? What was that noise?” Asks a deep, muffled voice.“Hold, gonna check it out.” Replies another. Footsteps.“Did it fall from a window, or--” Begins a third, higher voice.“Woah, is this what I THINK it is?” The owner of the second voice marvels at his find.God help them all.>CONTD.
>>4614302“Woah, someone around here must have been a collector.” You hear the owner of the first voice move backwards, presumably towards the operative with the magazine. A sigh.“It’s a magazine, big deal--we clearing this alley or wha--”“You don’t get it--this is THAT issue!” Shouts the first voice. With an interested ‘hmm’, you hear the owner of the lighter voice approach too. Ly, what’s the situation?Your skeleton peers around the corner of the couch, then shoots you a thumb’s up.“They’re out to lunch, cupcake. Say, they’re on a completely different page! Would ya look at th--”You don’t give Ly a chance to get a better glance. As the operatives begin to drool over the magazine, you scamper from behind your cover towards the hole in the fence, hastily signaling Art to follow! You brush against the shrubs a bit heading through, but the path you chose bears fruit--a long separate alleyway extends all the way to a street a few blocks down, and even better: there’s no sign of disgruntled corporate security or homicidal skeletons!Art comes tromping after you a minute later breathing heavily and covered in leaves. The hell did he try to do, escape through the BUSH?“Leg pains again--kinda locked up and fell.” Art winced, pointing at the field dressing on his leg. You put your hands on your hips and huff--is he gonna be okay like this?“It was a bit easier when we had a van…” Art whines, balancing against his rifle like a cane. “I can make it, though…”Sybil creeps out from your pocket and points down the alleyway. “The diner’s down that way, I’m sure of it,” she hisses, scanning the environment for any listeners, “With luck the others are waiting there with the van!” Works for you. You scamper forward, but something causes you to pause. Glancing back, you notice Art doing his best to hobble after you, half hopping, have staggering.“Stan…” Ly murmurs. Yea, you can guess what he’s gonna say.Ly clearly wants you to:>Continue onwards. Art’s a trooper, he needs this kind of tough-love!>Lend Art a shoulder. Don’t get any ideas, though!>Offer Art something from your INVENTORY as a crutch! How generous! (What item?)>WRITE-IN
>>4614309>Try to carry Art on your back, and if that doesn't work put, lend a shoulder.I had a whole idea about how we could carry him, but the leg splint might make it impossible.
Heading to bed, but I'll check back in tomorrow! Think hard!
>>4614309>Offer Art something from your INVENTORY as a crutch! How generous! (What item?)TELESCOPING ALUMINUM MOP
>>4614309>>4614984>Offer Art something from your INVENTORY as a crutch! How generous! (What item?)TELESCOPING ALUMINUM MOP unless the mop has no way to remain extended and just collapses when weight it put on it, then >Try to carry Art on your back, and if that doesn't work put, lend a shoulder
>>4614625>>4614992The Sam carrying Frodo up the mountain thing I dunno>>4614984>>4614992>>4615615T E L E S C O P I N G M O PWriting! Hope everyone's been having a good day so far.
>>4614625>>4614984>>4614992>>4615615Clearly Ly wants to you OFFER something to Art to use as a crutch that isn’t his gun! It’s genius--if Art has something else to lean on he’ll probably be able to shoot like… At least TWICE as many skeletons, right?“Yea uh… Sure.” Ly mumbles, “Exactly what I was thinkin’.”Super. Rummaging around in your pockets, you feel around for something that would do the trick--it would have to be STURDY, SOLID, and LONG.Art, stop laughing--this is serious! You need something LONG and HA--Oh, you just got that. Christ...“It’s…” Art begins, chuckling through his mask, “It’s fine, Stan!” The operative slaps his uninjured thigh a few times, leaning against the alley. “You uh… You choose whatever!” He descends into another fit of childish snickering. What a dweeb!As Art tries to stifle his laughter, you finally come across the perfect tool--your ever-trusty TELESCOPING MOP! Art’s snickering comes to a halt as you remove the mop from your pocket and hold it out to him, avoiding his gaze. Don’t get any wrong ideas--you’re just sick of him moaning about his leg! Art gingerly takes the mop from your hands and appraises it.“Aluminum. Sweet.”Yea, no big deal--just the mop you used to defeat Terry the Terrible. You hear a muffled “Holy shit.” come from your pocket. What, Syb didn’t see that?With a metallic clang Art extends the mop to crutch height and takes a few practice steps. A circle around the alley later, he gives you an appreciative thumb’s up.“Works like a charm. Thanks, Stan!”>ART WILL REMEMBER THAT.Hey, cut that out!>CONTD.
>>4615818Satisfied, you, Art, and by association Ly and Sybil, scamper down the alley as you finally realize how much noise you’ve been making. Man, those operatives have bad hearing!“I blame the helmet and mask combo.” Art mumbles, trying to find the appropriate gait with his new tool. “Looks cool, but good luck hearing or seeing anything.”He can take the helmet off if he’s gonna keep complaining! Art shrugs in response. “I’ll uh… I’ll wait until I’m sure we aren’t gonna be attacked, thanks.”Gonna be waiting a while, that’s for sure. As you approach the end of the alley, Sybil pokes her doll head out of your pocket, eyes glowing blue with magical energy.“Yes, head down here and take a left--Shane’s should be right around the corner. Take care, though, I have a feeling we’re not--”Sybil doesn’t even have to finish her sentence for you to know what she’s talking about. Emerging from the alleyway you skid to a halt--on your left sits a living, breathing fossil from the 50’s: Painted in the classic candy striper motif of red and white, the diner’s wall is dominated by a colossal neon sign, the name Shane’s Shack flickering with a red glow.A model of a gargantuan shake sporting bulging eyes and a pompadour that would make Gene jealous spins on the rooftop balancing a plate of fries, onion rings, and a model burger in its gloved hands. “Stan… You’re drooling again.” Ly murmurs, prompting you to wipe your mouth. Next to the main entrance lies a covered parking area for carhop service along with a side entrance. Through the tinted windows you can barely make out the bright outline of a jukebox, and skeletons.LOTS of skeletons.“You wanna narrate the fact that the street is PACKED with hot rods, too?” Ly asks.Oh yea, should have lead with that. Hot rods. LOTS of hot rods. The street is stuffed with cars of every shape and size creating a dizzying blend of color and chrome. You and Ly slink back into the alley and peek out from the corner, observing the skeleton greasers in their natural habitat. Skeletons in jackets of every style mill around their rides, smoking, drinking, and engaging in every activity a bad egg from the 50’s would be getting into. What is the world coming to?“It’s certainly different from how it was when we used to grab a bite...” Sybil muses, scanning the exterior of the diner. Yea… Say, you think they still have karaoke night?“Signs point to no…” Sybil responds, disappointment in her voice. Damn!>CONTD.
>>4615820Your team huddles up in the alleyway away from the pandemonium on the streets. Did anyone even SEE a van there? You punch the pavement and shake your head as Ly’s glowing form pops out from your body.“Gimme a sec.” Stretching around the corner, Ly surveys the street for a moment, then returns.“Got it. It’s parked close to da’ side entrance.”Is he sure? Ly frowns.“It’s an armored van with an exposed engine and flame decals. I’m sure.”Okay, okay, no need to get snippy! Ly’s astral projection returns to the safety of your body as you start racking your brain for ideas. How the hell do they expect us to MEET THEM?“You uh…” Art begins, uncertainty in his voice, “Don’t think they want us to get spotted, right?”Rule #2, Art! You pull out your COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY and tap on the matching rule. No way they would pull a fast one on you, that would be too cruel!“Stan’s misplaced trust aside,” Sybil begins, “Do we really want to risk our lives trying to rendezvous with them?”Hey, you’re just doing what Art suggested! He told you that the guys would be waiting at the Malt Shop--why would they bother mentioning it otherwise? They probably just didn’t expect it to be this crowded--happens all the time!Art contemplates your words for a moment, then shrugs.“I mean, when you put it like that it makes more sense.” Art explains, “They DID tell me to let you know--seems weird if they were gonna ditch us.”There, see? Totally fine. In classic goth form, Sybil rolls her eyes and sighs. “Alright, we can cross that bridge when we get there. First we need a plan to get their attention.” The doll says, rubbing her chin with an arm stub.Art is the first to speak up. “Maybe one of us could get up high and signal them with a mirror or something?” You frown. Maybe, but how do we know anyone’s IN the van? Art shrugs. “We could always toss a rock at it or something. Pretty sure the car alarm’s on--Wyatt was saying earlier that no one was going to be able to jack it.”“I uh… I have an idea.” Ly mumbles, floating into the center of the huddle. “There might be a direct route right over to the van--we could sneak over without anyone seeing us!”Sounds great, but what’s the catch, Ly? The projection sinks a bit.“We uh… We gotta use a secret route.”Yea, you GET that! What route?“The um… Listen, you’re not going to like it, just forget i-”You’ll be the judge of that! What route?“The sewer. Saw a manhole right near the carhop are-”Well we’re definitely not going that way, so who’s next?“Wait, why aren’t we going on that route?” Art asks. “Stan has a… How do I put this…” Sybil begins, weighing her words carefully. Don’t you DARE!“Shehasafearofsewermutantsanditsreallybad.”JUDAS!>CONTD.
>>4615824Okay, NOW that Art has stopped laughing…“You didn’t have to PUNCH ME!” Art groans, rubbing the side of his head.We can discuss other ideas that DON’T have to do with your legitimate fears! Sybil, you’re up!“Well…” The doll begins, “It’s a long shot, but I might be able to take control of the van if we get close enough. It’s not perfect, but I should be able to utilize a weak form of telekinesis in this state…”Wow, see? Sybil’s got the moves! Stifling a sheepish giggle, Sybil continues. “As for getting me into position, I suppose this doll form could be launched from an appropriate vantage point.”You want us to toss you? Sybil shrugs.“I don’t feel pain in this form, so why not? The undead won’t bat an eye at a doll in a parking lot, right?”Art nods. “It’s not a bad plan, plus that might even get us the van in case we can’t reach the guys…”True. Okay, let’s do the ole’ greentext thing.>Signal them with a mir--“There is something else…” Sybil says, realization in her voice. “It might be a strain on my powers, but I DO remember reading about glamour spells the other night in bed.” You’re already pretty, Sybil, you don’t need to--“Thank you, but no--I mean glamours. Illusions.” You blink.“I can make you and Art look different to the naked eye. For a short time, anyways.”“Aw yea, THAT’S OUR SYBIL!” Art says a little too loud, pumping his fist in the air. You, Sybil, and Ly stare at him wordlessly.“Uh… Episode 222.” Art mumbles, trailing off near the end. “Shapeshifters and Shades. You explained glamour spells in that one.” Sybil nods, shooting Art a small smile.“Correct. I think I can cast a spell to help you two blend in with the crowd.” The doll explains, hopping out of your pocket. “I can’t guarantee it will last for long, but you should be able to contact your friends without arousing suspicion.”That’s… That’s RAD. Art nods in agreement.“Are you going to be okay if you do that, though?” He asks. “You’ve uh… You’ve been doing a lot of magic today. Not that it isn’t appreciated…”Sybil sighs, stretching out her arm stubs. “I should be fine, but my magical abilities will be limited afterwards. I should be fine after a bit of rest, but you’ll have to manage without me for a while.”Fair enough. Sounds like you have a few plans! Sybil, Art, and Ly nod.“So what’s it gonna be, cupcake?” Ly asks.>Let’s NOT GO TO THE DINER. Maybe we can WAIT until things quiet down?>Let’s roll with ART’S PLAN. We can try to set off the van alarm and get the trio’s attention!>Sybil can DRIVE the van with TELEKINESIS--maybe we can send her?>DISGUISES sound nice, Syb can REST after!>SEWE--nope, this one is blank! Whoops!>WRITE-IN
>>4615829>DISGUISES sound nice, Syb can REST after!Let us utilize the exaggerated swagger of a Dumb Teen to swagger in there and meet our friends
>>4615829>DISGUISES sound nice, Syb can REST after!
Got a busy day tomorrow so I'll check in again around the usual time. Thanks again for playing!
>>4615829>DISGUISES sound nice, Syb can REST after!>>4616021You know OP, this whole premise and character reminds me of this one webcomic called "dead.winter". I assume it's a coincidence but if not, you've got great taste.
>>4616289I know no one's gonna believe me, but I've never seen this webcomic in my life! Took a little time to read through it, though--really enjoying it! Thanks for sharing--I don't know if Bones Quest is anywhere near this level of quality, but I do appreciate the comparison!I see people's votes and I'll write an update today around 11-12UTC. Until then, thanks for the kind words and the recommendations!
>>4615829>DISGUISES sound nice, Syb can REST after!>>4616289Welp, Stan’s a lot smarter than Liz that’s for sure, though they have similar levels of awkward.
>>4615891>>4615934>>4616063>>4616289>>4616362Disguises it is, apparently! Writing.
>>4615891>>4615934>>4616063>>4616289>>4616362Trying to consider all of the options isn’t easy with all of the laughing, shouting, and honking mere feet away, but you’ve had a lot of practice! Mulling them over for a few moments, you rise to your feet and nod. Got it.“What’s the plan, Stan?” Art asks, leaning against your TELESCOPING MOP. You smirk, then prepare to explain.Out of those three plans--“You mean four, right? With the sew-”THREE plans, Sybil’s were the best. As usual.“Shucks…” Says the doll in your pocket. That being said, someone once said that the simplest solution is usually the best one. Art nods, flicking the safety off of his rifle.“Got it, we’re going in hot.”No! No, we’re not even going in WARM! We’re gonna do the disguise thing. Art visibly deflates as Ly appears and strokes his astral chin.“Dat’s not bad reasoning, kiddo, but what if we need teach later an’ she’s outta juice?”Oh come on, you know her. She’ll probably sleep for an hour and spend the rest of the time writing scripts for future episodes. Hell, she’s probably doing it right now!You look down at Sybil’s doll in your pocket and sure enough, it’s limp and lifeless. A few pokes later the doll returns to life.“What is it? I went away for a second to edit my notes.”Told ya.“We’re going the disguise route.” Art repeats, swaying back and forth against his makeshift crutch. Sybil nods, then floats out of your pocket and onto the pavement.“Very well! I can’t say how long this spell will last--my knack for illusions has become rusty as of late.”Art shrugs. “That’s fine--we should be in and out, right? We find the guys, we get out, we go. Easy as one two!”Exactly, we’re gonna be all business! With a wry smile, Sybil brings her arm stubs together and closes her eyes as a blue aura begins to engulf her! “To obtain the van and recover allies, bestow upon them a boney disguise!” You and Art stand as still as possible as the space around you starts to grow… Out of focus? “Leather jackets and peculiar hair, give them some new forms to WEAR!” Sybil’s open with a flash of blue light, causing you and Art to recoil! AAAH, IT BURNS!>CONTD.
>>4616973No, wait, it just surprised you. So what, do you have to drink a potion now, or--You rub the discombobulation from your eyes and catch a glimpse of an unfamiliar boney hand. Surprised, you stumble backwards on jean-clad skeletal legs and converse. What in the…“Woah…” Art agrees, awestruck. You turn to find a tall, gaunt greaser skeleton with an orange pompadour and a leather jacket. Catching your gaze, Art shoots you a grin.“Looking good, Ly!”Wait, what? It’s you, damn it, not--Now that you think about it, this is what Ly would look like, huh? You smirk back at Art as the two of you pop your collars.“What can I say, I make anything look good!” Ly boasts, puffing out your boney chest. Satisfied, Sybil lazily floats into your jacket pocket. “That should…” She pants, light flickering from her eyes, “Do it…” Nestled in your pocket, the doll’s form stiffens. “You’ll change back… Slowly…Starting with your… Extremities…”Gotcha, something about extremes. Art slings an invisible rifle over his shoulder, then nods your way.Wanna grab a malt, Art?“You bet!”The two of you saunter out of the alleyway with your new digs and head for Shane’s.>CONTD.
>>4616975The route to the diner reminds you of a house party. Weaving between groups of revelling skeletons and piles of beer bottles, you almost feel a bit normal again! You glance at Art who, in complete contrast to you, is stiffer than a board. You nudge him in the chest--come on, RELAX!“Easy for YOU to say!” He whispers, trying his best to hide his limp, “What if they pick us out?!”Then you’ll deal with it, gosh. He’s walking like someone stuck the mop up his ass! With a loud sigh Art relaxes his posture, but not by much. A group of greasers playing dice give you a polite “AAAAAYYYYY” as you pass--you give them one of your own while Art awkwardly waves.“He looks like a total narc, cupcake.” Ly whispers as you daintily step over a sleeping skeleton. Huffing, you grab Art by the lapel and pull him to the side of a hot rod.“What?!” Art asks, glancing from side to side. “You mind? It might look a bit weird if we’re this close--”They can deal with it! The question is, can he? Art sighs.“Look, I’m just antsy, okay? I’ll be fine, but let’s hurry up, alright?”Of course! He’s the one dilly-dallying! A group of greasers whistle in your direction as they pass by, causing Art to tear your hand off of his lapel. What was their problem?“Look, I’m calm! Let’s just find the guys and go!”Yea, he could give a monk some pointers. With a shrug you head for the front double doors and yank them open, nearly falling over from the rush of activity inside!>CONTD.
>>4616980for atmosphere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d11rqCXEjIs You’ve been to Shane’s more times than you can count. Post-recording, post-breakup, post-party--you and Syb probably gave the Post Office a run for its money! Boasting an inhuman metabolism it wasn’t unusual for her to demolish a burger, hot dog, fries, and a large shake in one sitting and never gain a pound. Meanwhile you could barely get away with a kid’s meal, so you usually spent more time drinking or fooling around with the vintage jukebox in the corner.That, you believed, was the busiest the diner would ever get. Boy, how wrong you were.Skeletons of every shape and size fill the restaurant to the brim--laughing and shouting over each other as some brave souls try to navigate to the bar for drinks. A handful of skeletons wear hair nets over their pompadours, barely containing their laughter as they sling beers and cook food on the grills. Pushing your way through the crowd by the door, you scan the diner for any sign of the members of your gang, but let’s face it--it’s CRAZY in here!Art shouts something your way, but you can’t hear it. Leaning forward, your ears ring as he shouts once more with feeling! “LET’S SPLIT UP AND SEARCH!”Adjusting your jacket you shoot him a thumbs up, prompting him to squeeze through the throngs of greasers. Standing on your tippy-toes, you do your best to pick out the trio from the crowd, but no dice--everyone’s got the same hair in here!Scanning the area you notice a crowd forming around the ole’ jukebox. Might not be a bad place to look! Ly points your head towards a cluster of tables near the back entrance and points.“Looks like some guys are congregatin’ over there too, cupcake!” And congregating they are! And shouting. You can’t get a good look through the sea of bones, but you think there might be some arm wrestling going on! Might want to check that out too.Your train of thought is interrupted by the clanking of bottles. If your new form had ears, they’d be perking up right now--that’s the sound of an ICE-COLD BEER. Maybe the guys are near the bar? You could always grab a drink while you search, right?What’s the plan?>Check out the JUKEBOX--Stripes probably loves that oldies stuff!>Wyatt seems like the kind of guy to ARM WRESTLE. Let’s check!>The BAR. Gene likes beer, maybe you can find him or someone else there!>WRITE-IN
>>4616981>The BAR. Gene likes beer, maybe you can find him or someone else there!
Gonna pause here for tonight, but I'll check in tomorrow!
>>4616981>Check out the JUKEBOX--Stripes probably loves that oldies stuff!In the mood for some music
>>4617261>>4617554Hit the bar>>4617488Hit the boxWriting!
>>4617261>>4617488>>4617554Re-popping your collar, you make for the bar. If Gene or any other member of the trio is gonna be somewhere, it’s gonna be the bar.“You’re just makin’ an excuse to grab a drink, aren’t ya?” Ly sighs. “Da’ more things change, da’ more dey’ stay da’ same, huh?”Easy there, Steven Straightedge. There’s a whole pack of skeletons crowding the bar here, who’s to say one of them isn’t a part of your gang?“Sure, cupcake. Whoops, careful!”Ly borrows your body and ducks past a dancing skeleton with a bottle of tequila in each hand. With a quick ‘thanks’ to Ly, you resume squeezing and shoving your way through the sea of skeleton greasers, eventually approaching the front! Emerging from the crowd, you flop onto the bar counter and sigh--touchdown! You flag down one of the guys behind the counter with a boney finger and drum the fingers of your other hand on the bar. “What can I--Uh… Never mind.”The hell kind of service is THAT? What’s his iss-your rant is cut short by the slap of a large, boney hand on your shoulder!“Ey, SQUIRT!”Your body unsticks itself from the bar as a gruff voice barks at you from behind. As you turn around to find the owner, you can’t help but marvel at their ability to be heard over how loud it is-- That’s a talent, right there!You finish turning around and come face to face with a huge ribcage--a design of a wolf etched into the front with some sort of pointy object, the name ‘Nico’ carved right before the collarbone.“You think I could pull dat’ off, Stan?” Ly asks, craning your head forward to get a better look. You shrug. Gotta figure out a design first, right? That’s always the hardest part. As Ly starts mumbling ideas to himself, you flick the ribs with your finger a few times creating a xylophone sound. Neat!“Up HERE, shrimp!”Oh, right. You peer upwards at the rib cage owner’s face--behind a pair of slick shades, a lit cigarette, and a pompadour about as long as your arm sits the skull of a visibly irritated skeleton glowering down at you.“Da hell you think you’re doin’, ya ankle-biter?” growls the skeleton, prompting several other bar-goers to turn and watch.“I was here first, cream-puff!”“Careful, Stan…” Warns Ly. You’re always careful!“I WASN’T ASKIN’, RUGRAT! ANSWER ME!”Oh man, now you’re drawing a crowd...How do you respond?>You must be mistaken, I was here first.>Oh, sorry! Feel free to go ahead--sorry for the misunderstanding!>That’s a cool wolf design you’ve got there!>WRITE-IN
>>4618136>That’s a cool wolf design you’ve got there!I’m sure he’ll respond well to some small talk
>>4618136>That’s a cool wolf design you’ve got there!First we deflect, then we dazzle. And/or we rope our friends into a bar brawl.
>>4618136>That’s a cool wolf design you’ve got there!
>>4618373>>4618453>>4618494Kill 'em with kindness, ey? Writing!
>>4618373>>4618453>>4618494You feel the greaser’s finger bones dig into your shoulder as he growls in your face. Shit, can he feel that you’re under a SPELL? How does this crap work, Syb!? Where the hell is the trio?!? Why did we have to meet at Throwback Steakhouse?!?! Sensing your unease, Ly springs into action!“Stan, DO SOMETHING!”Oh wait, that wasn’t helpful at all. As you scan the growing crowd around you and the mountain of marrow, your eyes catch the design on his chest once again. That’s IT!“Cool wolf...” Regaining your composure, you barely manage to mumble the words, but you manage! For a second the skeleton falters, peering down at you past his shades.“What did you say, twerp?”Clearly he didn’t hear you! Looks like you’ve gotta leave no room for interpretation here--he seems like a guy with a short fuse!>Roll 1d100 to not fuck up a simple compliment! I’ll take the best three rolls! Feel free to WRITE IN YOUR COMPLIMENT FOR BONE-uses!
Rolled 47 (1d100)>>4618534
Rolled 12 (1d100)>>4618534"Damn son, that's one hell of scratch. You do the wolf yourself?"Lets not cock this up hopefully.
Rolled 31 (1d100)>>4618534
>>4618552>>4618748>>4618860>Best Roll: 47It's a compliment, right? Just be yourself :^) Writing!
>>4618552>>4618748>>4618860Last update of the night--will check in later tomorrow!Beads of sweat form on your hidden head of hair as the enormous skeleton eyeballs--err, eyesockets you like a crow about to peck a worm. Okay, “cool wolf” is clearly too simple--this guy seems like he takes pride in his looks, let’s work with that!Damn, son, you begin, straining to maintain eye contact, That’s one hell of a scratch! The skeleton grinds his teeth as all of the sounds in the diner screech to a halt. “Doin’ great, cupcake, now SELL IT!” Ly says, encouragingly. Hey yea, you’ve got this!You do the wolf yourself? The boney gorilla looms over you as your words reach where his ears would presumably be if… Well, you know! “Yea,” he snarls, not taking his eyes off of you, “I DID.”Oh, neat! Leaning against the bar you give him a smile--there you go, time to take it ho-Whoops, bit of a narration lapse there. You were going to say ‘take it home’, but the greaser clasps a hand around your throat and lifts you above the ground! You can vaguely make out Art’s orange pompadour near the jukebox--looks like he’s giving you a signa--No, he’s just facepalming. As usual. What a hero.“What, you think I’m too chicken to carve my own work?!” Growls the skeleton with the wolf carving. You’d be happy to reply, but he’s got a pretty good grip on your windpipe right now--you know, the thing that skeletons don’t have?You’re starting to see the downsides of this disguise..“Listen, twerp,” he continues, showing you off for the whole diner to see, “Nico ain’t afraid of NOTHIN’!”You feel your vision darken. It’s kinda hard to focus on what this guy is saying to you…“You wanna know what Nico HATES?!” Hisses the skeleton as he brings your face close to his. Your voice is out to lunch and you can’t feel your body anymore, so you do your best to wiggle your face a little bit. That seems to work, because he keeps on yapping.“FRUITS,” he says, extending a finger on his other hand, “MEATBAGS, and FOLKS WITH BAD MANNERS.”Okay, you can agree with the last one. See, you’re getting somewhere!“And it looks ta’ me that you meet AT LEAST ONE OF DOSE’ CATEGORIES!”Wait, that was just one time at summer camp--you were EXPERIMENTING! Oh, he means the bad manners. Phew! Through some sort of dumb luck Nico loosens his grip on your throat, and by that you mean he tosses you into the center of the diner! Sailing through the air, you land with a loud WHUMP on a table, knocking several plates of food and beers onto the dirty floor!See, that’s how you get ants!>CONTD.
>>4618948As you hastily lap up the small puddle of beer on the table, your new pal Nico stomps over with his flashy STEEL-TOED BOOTS. Before you can consume the rest of the table beer, he picks you up again by the scruff of your neck and stares daggers into your eyes.“You cut in line, you pay da’ price, you skunk.” You begin to explain that there wasn’t really a line, but you’re cut off by Nico blowing a large cloud of smoke in your face.“I’ma teach you some manners, punk. Da’ MAN’S way!”Part of you, specifically the female part, wants to object, but he doesn’t look like he’s in a talking mood. You take one last look at Art, who replies with the best helpless look he can muster with his skeleton disguise. The whole diner’s enraptured now--whatever this guy plans to do, you’ve got an audience. “Alright, Princess, prepare ta’ be educated…”Maybe it’s the lack of air, but you didn’t quite hear what he said next. What DID he say?>”We’re gonna duke it out. An old-fashioned fistfight.”>”I’ma drink ya under da’ table, fink. DRINKIN’ CONTEST. NOW.”>”Pick a song, punk--it’s time for a DANCE-OFF.”>WRITE-IN
>>4618952>”Pick a song, punk--it’s time for a DANCE-OFF.”
>>4618958>>4619187Care for a dance? Hope so, because you're GETTING ONE! Writing!
>>4618958>>4619187A dance-off? you wheeze for clarification. Nico snorts at you derisively. “Da’ hell are you chokin’ for? We don’t got LUNGS, remember?!”Uh oh. You were just choking uh… Ironically. The goon narrows his glare at you some more as the words sink in.“Dat’s not a proper use of irony, fink! True irony conveys a meanin’ dat’s da’ opposite of its literal meanin’, you’re just usin’ it to describe some sorta flippant action! Learn ENGLISH!”Like several other cases in the past few updates, your attempt to explain yourself is cut short by Nico javelin-tossing you across the diner to the enjoyment of the crowd that has formed around you. Landing in a heap in front of the now-vacated jukebox, you pick yourself off of the linoleum and try to regain your balance. In an uncharacteristic act of heroism, Art pushes through the crowd to help you up, but another loud bark from across the diner causes him to retreat!“Stay back, Pumpkin Patch--dis’ is between NICO and da’ PUNK.” With the exaggerated swagger of a homicidal skeleton greaser, Nico saunters over to where you are and slaps a boney claw on the top of the jukebox.“Listen up, spaz, here’s how it’s gonna roll: YOU pick a song an’ DANCE! Den’ NICO picks a song an’ DANCE, DIG?!” Nico makes a wide gesture around the diner as he continues to explain. “Den’ DESE’ BETTYS will decide who’s da best!”And what, you begin, is keeping them from just being scared into voting for him? Nico narrows his nonexistent brow, then roars at the crowd!“MAKE IT FAIR OR ELSE!”As if on cue, several heads in the crowd begin nodding or murmuring assent. Guess that’s covered. In another act of kindness, Nico picks you up again by the scruff of your neck and shoves your face in front of the jukebox.“Hurry up an’ choose! None-a dat’ FRUITY music either, FRUIT!”You’d love to, but you don’t seem to have any change. Does anyo-Nico interrupts by elbowing the jukebox, causing it to spark, flicker, and start playing the timeless classic Hurry Up and Choose, Baby. Wow, appropriate!“CHOOSE!”Okay, okay! You start poking the buttons on the jukebox to find an appropriate song, eventually settling on…>”FriDAZE”, a disco classic celebrating the end of the week. TGIF indeed!>”Slick Burglar”, a pop hit by the legendary Mack Jakston. He always had the moves!>”Franky Be Cool”, a rock hit from the greaser times, you think!>No way, you didn’t think they would have (WRITE-IN)!!
>>4619456>No way, you didn’t think they would have "Chiller"!!cant have a dance off with skeletons without it
>>4619456>No way, you didn’t think they would haveThere's no way to better utilize our BONEus than breakdancing to Expensivestyler.
>>4619468>No way, you didn’t think they would have "Dead Man's Party" by Ongo-Bongo, huh seems appropriate Lets break it down old school,
>>4619702+1 but have it be "Corpse Celebration" by Ongo Bongo."Dead Man's Party"? That's not a real song.
>>4619468>Chiller>>4619526>Expensivestyler>>4619702>>4619817>Corpse CelebrationA classic! Writing!
>>4619468>>4619526>>4619702>>4619817It’s pretty easy to get a look at all of the songs when your face is mashed against the jukebox. You take your time and flip through a few of the pages as Ly marvels at the moving song list pages.“Call it old fashioned, but you can’t deny dat’ these things are cool!” Asserts your skeleton. Nodding in agreement, you flip through a few more pages of songs before finding a winner--the 1985 classic, ”Corpse Celebration” by Ongo-Bongo! Choice!“You uh, you sure about dat one?” Ly asks, his projection popping out of your body for a better look. Don’t let the name fool you--it sounds like it belongs in a metal album, sure, but it’s actually pretty light and catchy! The blend of instruments, the moderate, but danceable tempo--yea, you think you can work with this one! Pressing the button, you give Nico a thumb’s up which prompts him to drop you face-first onto the floor. Again.“Da’ hell is ‘dis crap?” He growls, peering over his sunglasses at the jukebox. Oh, he’ll find out!Shrugging, your new pal slaps the top of the jukebox as the diner lights dim and the crowd spreads out to give you some space. Retreating a few steps, the goon crosses his arms across his wolf carving chest and frowns. Guess that means you’re up!Somewhere in the crowd you hear a faint “Wooooooo!”Thanks, Art.“Ready to shake it, cupcake?” Ly asks, stretching your arms and legs out.Let’s see!>Roll 1d100 to avoid making an ass of yourself--good thing your SPEED BONE-US will be helping you! I’ll take the best of three rolls!
>>4620114Sorry for the double post, but I almost forgot: Gimme dance move ideas and you'll see some BONE-uses to your rolls, boyo
Rolled 89 (1d100)>>4620114>Roll 1d100 to avoid making an ass of yourself--good thing your SPEED BONE-US will be helping you! I’ll take the best of three rollsWe dance in a way that would make our ancestors cry, Hitting that Skank like we were a reanimated ghoul from the third wave of ska.
Rolled 45 (1d100)>>4620114>Employ our special leg bones to add some acrobatics to the dance.
Rolled 34 (1d100)>>4620114
>>4620503 I had to look this up again and once I found out what you were referring to I laughed like an idiot. Kudos, anon.>>4620603LEG BONE ACROBATICS>>4620763>Best roll: 89Writing!
>>4620503>>4620603>>4620763You let the first few guitar notes roll as you limber up--No need to rush this.It only takes a few seconds for the tempo to kick into gear, and with more grace than you’re accustomed to, you spring into action! You start by slowly punching left and right, making sure to keep your elbows bent. Once you’re one with the tempo, that’s where the KICKS come in. By the time the first horn blows come in, you’re kicking in place like someone with somewhere to go. As your bizarre moves come together, you start making your rounds along the dance floor, pausing every few steps to spin in place or fist-bump one of the greasers making up the border.“What IS dat?” You hear one say, skull bobbing to the beat.“I dunno!” Says another, “But I DIG it!”It’s not long before you’ve got the entire diner stomping and clapping along to the rhythm of Corpse Celebration!Nico, your opponent, smoulders on the edge of the circle, watching you like a hawk. Mixing in a few heel-clicks for good measure, you prepare for the finale--the whole crowd gasps in surprise as your running-in-place begins to gain speed--some watchers duck back into the crowd as you orbit the dance floor, your punches becoming more and more wild and erratic!“You got ‘dis, cupcake!” Ly shouts, clapping along with his astral projection. As you reach the opposite end of the circle from Nico, you spring into action--you abandon your steps and sprint towards him, leaping into the air and executing a SMOKIN’ SEXY STYLE front flip!Nico’s shades droop on his face and his cigarette drops out of his limp mouth as you land on your knees and slide forward, pointer finger stretched towards his face. The slick diner linoleum carries you all the way in front of him, stopping you just as the song finishes.Silence.>CONTD.
>>4621432Achievement Unlocked: Dancing QueenThen you hear a clap. And another. And another. Suddenly the whole crowd erupts in a symphony of cheers, hoots, and hollers, and before you can say anything the greasers have taken to the dance floor, raising you above their heads! As you crowd-surf, Ly shoots you an ASTRAL THUMBS UP and winks.“Guess we have a winner!” He’s godDAMN right!“That…” Your ears perk up at the sound of a familiar, whiny voice. Art, still disguised as a skelegreaser with his pumpkin-colored pompadour, scampers over and grins. “Was INCREDIBLE, Sta-Err, PAL!!”You ride the feeling for a bit as Art follows you, slapping you on the back. You feel kinda bad for Nico, but hey, can’t win ‘em a--Your thought is interrupted by a loud growl, some stomping of steel-toed boots, and your opponent in question picking you up in one hand and Art in the other. Attempting to free himself, Art gets his wish when Nico chucks him through the diner window, causing the whole diner to once again fall silent. Grinding his teeth, Nico glares at you so hard you could swear you were about to catch fire!“You….” He begins, hissing through his clenched teeth. You position your hand near his head, ready to pop some claws if necessary.“YOU’RE!!” If he had eyes, they’d be popping blood vessels right now!You feel his grip relax a bit as he holds you aloft.“You’re da’ winner, pipsqueak. Nico concedes.”The diner erupts in cheers and clanking drinks once more as it regains its original energy. A few greasers pat you on the back as Nico carries you back to the bar, setting you down on a stool like one would put down a kitten. Sighing, he looks you in the eye with significantly less-menacing eyes.“Not gonna lie, twerp, never seen dancin’ like dat’ before.”You grin. It’s not exactly traditional. Shrugging, Nico scratches the back of his pompadour. “Nico uh… Owes ya an apology.” Yea, KINDA! Nodding, Nico continues. “Alright, pint-size, name yer poison. Figure I can start by gettin’ ya a drink.”“Stan, we’re on da’ clock here!” Ly chastises. You start to echo this statement to Nico, but pause when his trademark glare returns.“Youse refusin’ my olive branch, twerp?!” Nico snarls, slamming the bar with his boney fist. As it retracts you notice the huge divot where his hand landed on the counter!Oh god oh god oh god order a drink>Beer! Simple, but effective!>Whiskey. Neat.>Cocktail (WRITE-IN). You think you’ve earned one!>Something else (WRITE-IN). He’s buying! Wait, do these guys have money?
>>4621434>Cocktail (WRITE-IN). You think you’ve earned one! lets get a Corpse Reviver
>>4621380Okay but what was that anon referring to?>>4621559Supporting
>>4621784Skanking is this goofy ska-related dance style. I had an idea of what it was, but didn't know the name until anon brought it up. Here's a visual aid!https://youtu.be/O4260OyOjd4Also I hate to do this, but I'm passing out--I'll check back in and write around 11-12AM UTC tomorrow, 5PM UTC at the earliest. Thanks as usual for playing!
>>4621798Nico had no fucking chance.
>>4621559>>4621784Just the thing to wake you up! Writing!
>>4621559>>4621784You could use a pick-me-up after all of that WINNING. As the skeleton tending the bar reaches your end, you put in an order for a CORPSE REVIVER. Nico snorts.“Hah. Cheeky name, runt. Dat’ one of those fruity drinks with an umbrella in it or some crap?”Not quite, you smirk. Running through the ingredients silently in his head, the bartender turns to Nico.“And for you, mac?”“Whiskey.”Ooh, tough guy. You shut up when Nico shoots you another glare, then start tapping your fingers on your dented section of bar. The bartender returns with a handle of bourbon you don’t recognize, then starts to pour Nico a tumbler. In classic Nico fashion, your new pal reaches over the bar, tears off the pourer’s arm, then chucks it through the kitchen door like a javelin.“I MEANT DA’ BOTTLE, BEANPOLE! SCRAM!”The server retreats towards the kitchen with a polite “Yours is comin’ up!” to you. Nico lifts the bottle to where his lips presumably once were and starts guzzling the liquor. You wait for it to seep through his ribs, but nothing happens! Wild!“Anywhos, Nico’s gotta apologize.” Hisses the behemoth, slamming the half-empty (or full depending on your perspective) bottle on the counter. You nod. He certainly has a way with people!“No denyin’ it. Was angry before Nico died, got angry when Nico died, got even angrier when Nico came back from dyin’.” Nico growls, crushing the empty tumbler into powder.“But dat’ don’t excuse my behavior.” The massive skeleton turns towards you, a genuine weary look hidden behind his sunglasses. “You know, youse remind me of a kid I used ta’ know.”Really?“Yea. Not as fruity as you, but had some fire. Probably what made me wanna crush your head on the floor earlier.”You shrug. You have that effect on people! Grinning, Nico takes another swig of bourbon.“Yea, gotta save my anger for FLESHBAGS.” He growls, sending alcohol fumes your way. Say, where’s your damn drink?“Bet ya can’t guess how many fleshbags Nico’s pulverized.”You shrug. Uh… Ten? A flash of anger crosses Nico’s eyes--err, where they WOULD be, but he stuffs it back down.“Nnnrgh! Try THIRTY!” He puffs his chest out with pride as you manage an uncomfortable grin. That’s quite the body count.“No kiddin’. Say, wanna see my favorite move? Da’ guys love it when I tear a fleshbag’s arms outta their sockets!”Before you can object you feel Nico’s hands close around your arms! Your mouth starts spewing sounds that resemble protests, but it’s too late!“Don’ worry, we can just pop ‘em back in, ya twer--”“The hell are you doin’ to my pal, ya ape?!”Nico, and by association you, freeze as a familiar voice rings out. You follow Nico’s gaze to its source and grin. Just in time!>CONTD.
>>4622451A familiar skeleton wearing a jean jacket weaves through the crowd and sits next to you.“Gene, you smug bastard. Was wonderin’ if I’d see you around today.”Lighting a fresh cigarette, your pal Gene takes a drag and shrugs.“Me and da’ guys thought a break was in order. Plus we figured ‘da kid earned a break.” Gene says, slapping you on the shoulder.You blink. Da kid? Nico frowns, also confused.“Should Nico know dis’ fruit? Wyatt and Marion, sure, but dis’ one…” Nico growls, leaning closer to you, “Nico doesn’t remember dis’ guy.”“Name’s Stanley.” Gene begins, setting off alarms all over your brain!“ABORT! ABORT!” Ly howls, flailing his astral arms around like he was on fire!“Stanley Ciccarelli.” Gene continues, not skipping a beat. “You remember his cousin Lily? Short? Kinda weird.”Nico’s eye sockets light up in recognition as your heart rate lowers to the double digits again.“Eeeeey, da kitten who lived on Palm, yea? Real pretty voice!” Gene nods. “No offense, Stan, but your cousin was STACKED.”You’re uh… You really don’t know how to respond to that, so you just nod sagely. Absolutely.Shooting you a sideways glance, Gene puffs another cloud of smoke.“Anywho, hope he didn’t ruin your day, Nic. Stan was a bit of a spaz even before he bit it.”You nod, mustering the most innocent smile you can manage. Nico responds to Gene with a shrug, then another swig of whiskey. Right when you’re about to hop out of your barstool, another bartender arrives with your drink! Placed on a cheap diner napkin, the fancy cocktail and the matching glass almost feels unwelcome in the chaotic atmosphere of Shane’s, but you aren’t complaining! You take a sip and grin--whoever mixed this did a damn fine job!“WHO DA’ HELL MADE THIS SHIT?!” Nico roars, freezing your server in place. “My pal thinks IT’S KEEN.” Nico gives him a thumbs up as the bartender retreats into the kitchen. So he CAN be nice!“Say,” Nico begins, now three quarters of the way through the whiskey bottle, “How DID you bite it, Stan?” It’s a good thing your disguised as a skeleton, otherwise everyone would see your eyes bugging out right now! You take a sip of your drink to stall for time as Gene nudges you in the ribs.“Yes, Stanley, how DID you die? Surely you can remember that…”Surely! You just need to uh… Remember the fine details of it first!“Tell ‘em it was an explosion!” Ly whispers, “They’ll love it!”How DID Stanley Ciccarelli, notorious greaser, die?>Drag race gone wrong--some fink cut your brakes and a gas station was your finish line!>You bled out after a knife fight. You should see the other guy!>You wanted a fair fight, but those cowards didn’t give it to you--they gave you bullets, and lots of em.>You wouldn’t believe me if I told you…(WRITE-IN)
>>4622458>>You wanted a fair fight, but those cowards didn’t give it to you--they gave you bullets, and lots of em.The game's rigged from the start
>>4622458>You wanted a fair fight, but those cowards didn’t give it to you--they gave you bullets, and lots of em.
>>4622480>>4622571Bullets it is! Writing!
>>4622480>>4622571It takes the rusty gears in your head a few minutes to get spinning, but once an idea comes, it doesn’t stop! Using your experience from your LARPing days, you whip up a death worthy of Stanley Ciccarelli!Slamming your cocktail glass onto the bar, you shift a weary glance between Gene and Nico.Lights. Lots of lights.It was like you were on stage at first--spotlights shining on your face, your body, your hair. The air around you was silent, like the whole world paused to take a breath.You remember confusion. Anger. Then pain. LOTS of pain.Nico leans in closer as you sip your drink--even Gene scoots in a bit!Respect. That’s what it was all about. You take your time saying the word again as you place the drink back on the counter. Respect for your cousin--who came to you when some bonehead just couldn’t accept ‘no’. Respect for your family--those bound by blood and those bound by leather and a similar haircut. Respect for your opponent--so much that you challenged him to a rumble in the park that very night. No knives, no heaters, just knuckles.And most importantly…You hang on the last word for a moment, letting it sink into your listener’s minds.Respect for a fellow man. You puff your chest out a bit for emphasis--prompting Nico to nod and Gene to sigh.Your name was, and still is, Stanley--Stanley Pa-er, Ciccarelleli, and you didn’t care if your opponent was packing iron or packing muscle--you’d die with bloody knuckles and a smile on your face if it meant staying true to who you were! That’s why you went alone to the rumble that fateful night. That’s why you went unarmed. THAT’S why you died--because that son of a bitch who made a pass at your cousin was weak.You still remember the lights. There must have been eight… No, eighTY cars full of goons that night--each one stuffed like a clown car. How appropriate. You spit the last word out like a sunflower seed. >CONTD.
>>4622679“And ‘DEN?!?” Nico’s enraptured--he hasn’t even touched his bottle for the past minute or so! You grin, then go in for the kill!The bubble of silence was ruptured by a crack. Then another. You felt a searing pain zip through your stomach, then your leg! Like a hot poker you felt something poking through you, forcing, no… COMMANDING you to kneel! But it would take more than that to make you forget who you were!You must have stood and took it for an hour... at least! No matter how hard they tried, the goons couldn’t knock you over with their guns--they were out of ammo and still pulling their triggers when you took three last steps forward. Each step felt like hot lava, but you pulled through long enough to find that fink--he was hiding in the backseat of a car, not even looking you in the eye!He didn’t need his eyes to LISTEN, though! You bring the cocktail glass to your mouth and sip the rest of the liquid, exhaling with satisfaction. No, his ears worked just fine...“What did you tell him?” Nico asks, his eye sockets wider than ever.You take a breath, then place your empty glass on the table.You can kill a man....But you can’t kill his spirit!Nico sits silently, still taking in your story. Gene finishes his cigarette, then lets out a low whistle.“Gee, no wonder they didn’t show that on da’ news. Almost sounds too wild to be true.”The truth, it turns out, is stranger than fiction, Gene.>CONTD.
>>4622682With that said, Gene makes his way in the direction of the door.“Good catchin’ up, Nic. Seeyas when I seeyas. Come on, Stan.” Nico’s still aweSTUCK as you hop off of the barstool and follow your jean-jacketed pal. Pushing your way through the sea of unruly skeletons, you make it to the front of the restaurant just in time for Gene to open the door for you. With a quiet ‘thanks’, you saunter outside and are greeted by a quieter parking lot, the sunset, and skeleton Art--his pompadour stuffed with pieces of broken window.“Oh, you found ‘em! Man, Stan, that was something el-”“Cut da’ gas, we’ll talk in da’ van.” Gene orders, heading in the direction of the only van in the lot. You look at Art, then gesture for him to follow. You heard the man!“Right, just gonna check that I still have my rif-”Art begins to reach for his rifle, then pauses, a look of confusion, then horror on his face! He better not have lost your TELESCOPING MOP!“Nnno…” Art mumbles, “Look!”You follow his gaze down to his hands. Weird, they’re looking a lot less boney than--Oh, gotcha.“Dat’s not all, cupcake!” Ly warns, pointing at your hands with a spectral finger! Glancing downwards you watch as the familiar pale pink hue returns to your hands along with your skin and nails!Just as you turn to join Gene at the van, you hear the diner doors swing open behind you!“TWERP!” Oh crap. “Don’t go!”Hiding your hands behind your back, you turn and face Nico, sunglasses in his hands.“Listen… Your story? Nico really dug it!” The ox begins, stepping forward. “Nico knows it sounds fruity, but Ni--I don’t care!” You uh… This isn’t the best--“I wanna join you guys!” Nico shouts, balling his fists at his sides! “I wanna ride with Stanley Ciccarelli!”The gears turn in your head. Maybe… Maybe this could work?“I wanna go wit’ you guys and KILL ALL HUMANS!”Oh, right.You shoot a nervous glance at Art, who can only muster a shrug. Thanks, man.What should you DO?!“Try not to piss him off.” Ly murmurs. Oh yea, thanks for the help!What do?>Tell him you ride alone! And with Gene. And Art. And the others... But alone!>Distract him and run! It works on dogs, it could work on him, right?>Tell him the truth. Maybe he won’t take the whole ‘I’m actually a human’ thing too badly?>WRITE-IN
>>4622684>Tell him you ride alone! And with Gene. And Art. And the others... But alone!
This might be a big decision AND I'm getting tired, so I'll check in again tomorrow at the usual time. Happy Choosing!
>>4622684>Unfortunately, the big honcho cursed us to turn back into a human when we didn't grovel in front of him. So this was our last drink before us and our gang take off on a quest to try and lift the curse. And we can't take Nico along because he might get cursed too..
>>4622684>Tell him the truth. Maybe he won’t take the whole ‘I’m actually a human’ thing too badly?I kinda like Nico, and I think that if this goes badly at least we can just book it. The ensuing car chase sounds like it will be rad as fuck. And if not we get a proper bruiser, and that kinda sets us up in more of a position to usurp a solid portion of Rocky's gang.
>>4623248Dude, admitting we're a human means admitting that the story he liked us for is lies. There's no way he'll take it well.
>4623210>4623256True, your way has more finesse. We could maybe also try taking him along with us so we can broach the topic in a safer context as well.
>>4622684>>WRITE-INShow him the rules we operate by and flat out tell him that wanting to KILL ALL HUMANS is very crass and insensitive and just what we're not looking for
>>4622821Work alone>>4623210And we're a werehuman>>4623364Also his ideas go against our Gang CREED>>4623248Tell the truthDemocracy has spoken, I suppose! Writing now--should have enough time for a short update, then I'll check in more later!
>>4623748Nico eyes you impatiently as you frantically search for an appropriate answer! Part of you wants to take him along--all of that bone could be useful when diplomatic relations sour, but he’s also pretty dead set on the ‘KILL ALL HUMANS’ thing--that’s something you’re just gonna have to agree to disagree on!“Just tell him a white lie!” Ly hisses. A what? “You know, a kind lie. Like Santa Claus.”Wait, what was that about lies and Santa?!?“Forget it. Just make somethin’ up, but uh… Be nice about it! Flatter him!”Make it up, huh? You feel the gears in your head creaking from all of the imaginative strain you’ve put on them today, but with enough thinking the words start to come to you!First of all, you begin, trying to maintain your COOL, you’re flattered. Unfortunately for Nico, you work alone. You’re fine with dying for your ideals, but a man never lets his friends or family get hurt, dig?“I dig…” Nico replies, his eyes hopping between Skele-Art and the van where Gene and Wyatt T. wait impatiently. Uh oh, he’s not buying it! You feel a loud creak of metal in your head as the gears spin into overdrive!Also… You’re actually a human]/i].You didn’t know a skull could boil, but Nico’s is red hot right now.“WHAT DID YOU S-”Not always, though! You back away a few steps, hands raised in a placating manner. It’s part of a CURSE. From THE BIG MAN.Nico cools down slightly. “Big man? God?”No, not him… The boss. The BOSS’S boss! The goon nods his head in acknowledgement. “Oh, him… Wait, what CURSE?” Art, now interested, shoots you a sideways glance.Well, you begin, Nico knows you’re not one to bend the knee. The thug nods as if you just told him the sky is blue. The fact of the matter is, when you rose from the dead, you and the big guy had a few words! Let’s just say he didn’t like what you had to say!“So you mean…”Yes, you MEAN. In a mere matter of hours you’ll be human again--even worse, anyone who tries to help you is as good as FLESH.You turn your back on him for dramatic flair. That’s why he can’t come with you. As for Gene, Wyatt, and Art--er… Ort over there, well… Their lunchboxes are already packed.“I… I get it…” Nico mumbles, clearly not getting it. All you can do is shrug. It’s your curse, after all.>CONTD.
>>4623802As Nico weighs your words, you barely stifle a smug grin. All according to plan! Even Gene shoots you an approving nod! Clearing your throat, you approach Nico and prepare the coup de grâce!Whipping out your COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY, you flip to the note detailing your GANG CREED and point it out for your gorilla-sized pal. These right here? These are the words you live by.“Property of Good Boy Doggie Bones?” He asks, raising a nonexistent eyebrow.You uh… Found it. Anyways, focus on the RULES! It’s not about killing every human in sight--it’s about flair! Panache! Fat stacks of cash! Nico scratches his pompadour. Uh oh, you’re losing him!Listen, you continue, stuffing the COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY back into your pocket, it’s not about QUANTITY. It’s about QUALITY! Why focus on killing ALL humans when you could, you know… Focus on one at a time?As your words slither into where Nico’s ears once were, you watch as his face shifts from confusion to comprehension! Looking down at you, your dance-off opponent smiles, a renewed fire in his nonexistent eyes!“You’re… You’re right, Stan.” He begins, a new tone in his voice.For immersion: https://www.youtubetrimmer.com/view/?v=uZTHlOlif9U&start=1300&end=1414 “I’ve been goin’ about it all wrong my entire life!” He stands taller now, like a weight has been lifted from his mammoth shoulders. “Even before I died I’ve spent all of my time getting mad at everyone.”Gesturing around the parking lot, he continues. “My family, my friends--even da’ guys in da’ gang. I always thought I was top dog, but da’ truth is I was no bettah’ than a pomeranian lashin’ out at anyone who came near me!”You nod encouragingly! Let it out!“I mean… I killed humans, hurt my friends, challenged people to stupid contests and called dem’ fruits… And for what? What kind of lasting legacy am I leavin’ doin’ dat’ crap?”He gestures to you. “Stan, you had a rough go at it. You were killed by a coward an’ your cousin was a dish. Dat’ can’t have been good. Yet here you are fightin’ for what you believe, even if it means no one else is gonna play by da’ rules!”He places a bony hand on your shoulder, a weak smile encroaching on his face! “I wanna be like you, Stan. I wanna have ideals, I wanna use my life for somethin’ I’ll be remembered for!”You give him a toothy smile as you both turn and gaze at the sunset.“I’m gonna do it, Stan. Not jus’ for you, but for me too. I’m gonna follow MY rules and become a dope you’d be proud to have ridin’ along!”Stepping forward into the slowly-disappearing light of the sun, Nico stretches out his arms!“I’m not just gonna kill blindly anymore!”YEA!“I’M GONNA DEVOTE MY LIFE TO KILLIN’ DAT JANITOR!”YEA--wait…>CONTD.
>>4623806He turns around and you can almost make out tears on his smiling face.“I’m not gonna focus on quantity! I’ma do what you said and focus on QUALITY! I’m gonna spend the rest of my unlife hunting down da’ human our boss hates da’ most and become a LEGEND!”Yes, well--“Even if I gotta play dirty an’ kill all of her friends and family! Pets? Good as dead too! Even if I lose all of my limbs and have ta’ crawl after her and bite her neck!”Bu-“And when I finally do it? When I watch dat’ last sliver of light fade from her eyes? I’ll think of you, Stan. I’ll remember dat’ you were da’ one who pushed me in da’ right direction!”M-“I coulda spent da’ rest of dis’ thing challengin’ twerps to harmless dance-offs, but you? You showed me dat unlife is more important then dat’! In fact…”Nico stomps towards the diner doors, gripping the handles in his hands!“I’m not doin’ it alone!” Before you can get a word in, the goon throws the doors open (quite literally--the diner has no doors anymore) and pounds his fist into the doorframe, silencing the revelry once more!“HEY YOU LUMPS--LET’S GET DAT’ JANITOR AND SHOW EM’ WHAT WE’RE MADE OF!”A second passes, then the diner erupts with cheers as every skeleton, even the ones behind the bar, storm out of the restaurant towards their hot rods, weapons in hand and fire in their eyes!Nico takes a few steps towards them, then looks back at you.“Thank you, Stan… I know it sounds kinda fruity, but…” He hesitates, taking a moment to run his fingers through his hair, “You saved me. You saved all of us.”With one last salute, Nico makes his way to one of the hot rods, and after a solid three minutes of screeching tires and roaring engines, the parking lot is left deserted save for you, Art, Gene, and Wyatt T. at the van. Dusting his hands, Gene pops open the back of the van.“Inspirin’, boss. Come on, in da’ van.”It takes you a moment to register what just happened.>CONTD.
>>4623809Climbing into the back of the van with jelly legs, you slump into one of the seats like a ragdoll. Art sits in the seat across from you and begins to say something, but it dies in his mouth. A moment later a skeleton with a familiar striped shirt hops into the back with you.“Eyyyyy, it’s boss! Guess I owe ya’ a couple of bucks, T!”Wyatt glances back through the viewing slot in the cabin and shrugs. “Knew she’d make it.”As Stripes groans, you feel the van sputter to life--its exposed engine louder and nastier than before! With a screech of tires, Gene takes the van out of the diner parking lot and into the city proper. As he pulls a new cigarette out of the pack in his pocket, he turns his head slightly towards you.“How’s it goin, boss?”You don’t answer. You’ve got some other things on your mind first...>Check in with Art first! Is he cool?>Check in with Sybil! She’s been oddly quiet!>Chat with the trio!>WRITE-IN
>>4623814>Flip the fuck out
>>4623834>>4623814This seems reasonable
>>4623834>>4623997Reasonable indeed! Writing!
>>4623834>>4623997You blink your tired eyes a few times as Gene’s question floats into your ears, the memories of the day returning to you like a pack of loan sharks. The charred deer, your daring escape from work, the army of skeletons hell-bent on killing you, the possibility that most of your family is dead, the pressure of possibly being the only one who can HANDLE THIS! Something snaps inside your head as you feel your body start to vibrate uncontrollably. “S...Stan?” Ly asks, nervousness in his voice.You uh… You’ve just gotta take care of some personal stuff first...Your name is Arthur Berry, Officer when it suits you. That’s not important right now though, because your erstwhile companion, possible savior of humanity, and gremlin in residence Stanley is FLIPPING THE FUCK OUT! You had the forethought to buckle her in with a seatbelt when you saw her start shaking, but who knows how long THAT’S gonna hold?!You and Stripes back away as far as the back of the van allows as the disgruntled cleaning girl flails her arms, bares her weird fang and growls like a raccoon that got into a sack of sugar, slashing her BONE CLAWS at anyone and anything that comes near! As you consider your options, you feel your mask fogging up again--crap, you weren’t trained for this! You make to remove your helmet, but reconsider as Stanley vents her emotions in your direction--and by venting emotions you mean tossing some poorly-labelled medical equipment some idiot left on the floor! Just barely ducking out of the way, you elect to leave your helmet on. Safer this way.You turn to Stripes who glances back and forth between you and the whirling dervish, panic settling in on his face. As you begin to ask Gene for help you hear a quiet ‘thunk’ as the view slot between you and the cabin is shut.Yea, thanks a billion.Contemplating a solution, your thought process is distracted momentarily by Stripes yelping in surprise! Stan’s flailing has knocked over several bottles of EMERGENCY WATER, some FLASHLIGHTS, and a bin of what seems to be DOOR WEDGES and ZIPTIES! Oh hey, you kinda know how to use those!You weren’t trained for emotional intervention, though! With another feral growl, Stan lunges forward against her seatbelt causing the bolts holding her chair in place to groan! Oh jeez, what should you do?! >Say something! Girls like that, right?>Ask Stripes for help--two heads are better than one, right?>Pour WATER on her head? That calms people down in cartoons…>WRITE-IN
>>4624258>Pour WATER on her head? That calms people down in cartoons…Cartoons and anime are our only source of real world lore, after all.
>>4624258>WRITE-IN>Lets slap some sense into her! It works in movies!Lets stir the pot a titch.
>>4624258>Pour WATER on her head? That calms people down in cartoons…I think slapping her might end up with Art losing an arm
>>4624726>>4625042>Water you waiting for?>>4624847>Slap TherapyWriting!
>>4624726>>4624847>>4625042Part of you wants to say something to diffuse the emotional typhoon going on in the van, but you reconsider. First of all, nothing has changed: Stan doesn’t really respond to REASON. Therefore an UNREASONABLE intervention is key here. Secondly, you’re a man of action, not words!That’s what you keep telling yourself, anyways. No, you’ll have to think outside the box this time around. As the chair groans against the pulling of the crazed custodian, you contemplate slapping her out of it. It worked in the old movies, right? You falter, though--despite her weirdness Stan’s been doing relatively okay for the past few hours--she managed to snag some new allies, get some intel that you STILL haven’t been able to discuss, avoid making a scene at the diner with a cool dance-off, and most importantly she introduced you to SYBIL CASTELLANOS HERSELF! You can still hardly believe it!No, Stan did good, present attitude notwithstanding. Moreover, those claws of hers are sharp--you’d bet your bullets that you’re stronger than her physically, but trying to smack her while she’s like this? It’d be like punching a blender! No thanks!Stan’s flailing and growling knocks one of the WATER BOTTLES your way! Snatching it up in between claw swipes, you pop the top off and motion for Stripes to brace for impact!“You uh… You handle it, fleshbag. We’re rootin’ for ya.” The skeleton mumbles, sinking further back in his seat. Dodging another series of swipes, you spring into action and dump the whole bottle on her head!Like a grease fire dying out, so too does Stan’s incoherent howling and slicing. Like the drops of water dripping from her hat and hair, the anger and hysteria seems to float away, replaced with an uncharacteristic tranquility in her tired eyes!“I…” She begins, relaxing her posture, “Needed that…”With one last sigh, Stan slumps back in her seat and is out like a LIGHT! Recovering his composure, Stripes pokes at her hat a few times.“Jeez, you think she’s alright?”You shrug. She probably wore herself out. At least she isn’t going to lop anyone’s limbs off anymore! Almost on cue, the slot between the back and the cabin of the van opens, revealing Wyatt and Gene once more.“She done?” Gene asks, puffing smoke out the open window.Looks like it.“Good, looks like she needed ta’ pile up a few ‘z’s.” You feel the van make a sharp turn, causing you, Stripes, and Stan to lurch back and forth! You shoot another glance at the now-comatose Stan. Should you… Should you wake her up?“Eh.” Gene replies, keeping his eye sockets on the road. “Up to you. She can probably afford a few winks.”What do? >Let her sleep--time for the BOYS to hang out!>Wake her up--she shouldn’t be sleeping right now!>WRITE-IN
>>4625505>Let her sleep--time for the BOYS to hang out!>Get a marker and draw something on her face.
>>4625505>Let her sleep--time for the BOYS to hang out!>make damn sure its a washable marker first
>>4625517>>4625587>>4625594A classic maneuver! Writing!
>>4625517>>4625587>>4625594You spare another glance at the passed-out gremlin a few seats away from you and shrug--maybe if she gets some sleep she won’t be as cranky when she wakes up! “Hey, look who’s back wit’ da livin’!” Stripes jokes, pointing at your face. The hell?Oh, the glamour spell! You noticed it wearing off during Stan’s… Episode, but you didn’t know if yours had worn off yet. You’re going to have to thank Sybil again later--that magic was just what you needed! Getting accustomed to your old image again (including finding the TELESCOPING MOP and your RIFLE), you stretch your legs out and prop your arms behind your head. So, you begin, where exactly are we headed?“Turns out da’ trip to the diner wasn’t such a bad idea.” Gene explains, not bothering to turn around and look at you, “we got some news about Rocky.”Their boss, right? You remove your helmet again to raise an eyebrow. Stripes takes the opportunity to answer on Gene’s behalf. “You bet! I was talkin’ cars with some guys I used to know before… This…” He says, gesturing to his bony body, “An’ word is he’s holdin’ a meetin’ tonight at da’ Park N’ Peek Drive-In at Mulberry Canyon!”The Drive-In? You didn’t even know that place still existed--you would have guessed it would be condos by now! Stripes shakes his head.“No such luck! Anywho, all of da’ gang’s gonna be there to meet ‘da guy. Like he’s royalty or somethin’!”“Dat’s not even da’ best part.” Gene says, puffing smoke through his teeth. “Supposedly he’s got some big plan to deal with Sleepin’ Beauty back there.” He says, gesturing to the sleeping janitor. “Somethin’ tells me it ain’t at da’ Drive-In, though.”A sharp turn slams her head into the side of the van, but she keeps on dozing! Hey--speaking of BIG PLANS…Stripes watches curiously as you stand up from your seat and rummage around in the various boxes and duffel bags stored in the back of the van. It takes you a minute, but along with the other tactical supplies you manage to find a set of STICKIE Washable Markers--RED, BLUE, GREEN, and BLACK! Nifty!Holding your breath, you creep over to Stan’s corner and uncap the markers. She’s made fun of your leg for the LAST TIME… Time to flex your ARTISTIC SKILLS!What do you draw on her face? >A mustache! Classic!>’KICK ME’ on her forehead! Devilish!>A message: (WRITE-IN)>Something completely different: (WRITE-IN)
>>4625688> A mustache! Classic!
>>4625688>A mustache! Classic!
>>4625733>>4625767I mustache you to stop voting now. Writing!
>>4625733>>4625767Yes…. That will do just nicely. You can’t help but grin as you begin your grim task, Stripes looking on with mirth in his eyes. Just like Freshman year in the dorms!It takes you a few minutes to create the base outline of the mustache, then a few more to shade it in and add a bit more fluff to the ends. Stripes tries to stifle his laughter as you struggle to keep things proportional--damn these thick markers! You wouldn’t be having this problem if you had your sketching kit with you--focus, Art. Eyes on the prize!Your task is done several minutes later--you weren’t exactly counting them. As you quietly back away you can’t help but admire the fact that Stan’s still asleep--you’d think she’d at least stir or something, but nope--she’s not DEAD, right?Her chest rising and falling periodically tells you all you need to know. Okay, cool. As you store the STICKIE MARKERS in your inventory, Stripes scoots over to admire your work.“Say, not bad, Pumpkin Patch!” You shrug. It’s not THAT good…“Hey come on, don’t put yourself down like dat’. You’ve got a talent, might as well use it--dat’s what my brother used ta’ say!”Sounds like you had a pretty cool brother, Stripes! What’s your talent? “D’aww, you uh… It’s nothin’...”You shrug. It’s okay if he doesn’t want to tell you! Stripes grins at you and gives you a quick ‘thanks’. “Trains.” Wyatt grunts, those are the first words he’s spoken in hours! Trains?“Model trains. Stripes digs ‘em.”A few moments of wrestling a furious Stripes and his switchblade away from the slot later, you settle back into your seat. It’s okay, Stripes--model trains ar--You’re interrupted by a frigid stare from Stripes and the familiar popping of a switchblade. Never mind!After that the ride descends into an awkward silence. It’s a bit weird not hearing Stan arguing with Ly or narrating everything--since this morning you had almost forgotten what QUIET was like…“Ey kid.” Gene asks, still keeping a watchful eye on the road, “How’d you get roped into all ‘dis anyways?”“Yea!” Stripes adds, his frosty demeanor now gone, “We didn’t get ta’ talk about ‘dat earlier! Why are you followin’ dis’ babe anyways?”Breathing becomes difficult and your heart begins to race as you remember the circumstances in which Stan kidnapped you! These guys CAN’T KNOW THE TRUTH--you’ve gotta hide your power level!What should you say?! >DEFLECT! Why did anyone here follow her?>LIE! Make up some bullshit (WRITE-IN or Random)>Use that STOICNESS! Shrug and don’t say a damn thing!>Something completely different! (WRITE-IN)
>>4625821>LIE! Make up some bullshit (WRITE-IN or Random)>"I was part of the security team that tried to take her down initially, she hijacked one of our vans I was still in and took me hostage with those bone claws. I decided discretion was the greater part of valor, and now I'm here."
>>4625821>Use that STOICNESS>"Sometimes, a man gotta do what he must"
>>4625825>>4626162Tell you what, let's blend them together! Writing!
>>4625825>>4626162You juggle your helmet in your hands as you try to come up with the best way to answer Gene’s question. How DID you get stuck here? The answer is pretty obvious, sure, but how do you explain it to other people who at least had a contrived gambling mini game settle it for them?They can’t, of course, know about the true circumstances of your partnership with Stan--something tells you these guys won’t appreciate the finer points of Alchemical Beauty Rina, much less anime itself! No, you’ve got to bend the truth a bit--enough so that they’ll never bring it up to Stan AND enough that you won’t sound like a pussy. “I was part of the security team that tried to take her down initially…” You begin. The trio nod almost simultaneously--you told them a little bit about your job back when Stan was exploring Sybil’s apartment.“Maybe it was mercy, or maybe it was luck--she hijacked one of our vans I was guarding and took me hostage with her BONE CLAWS.” You survey the crowd--looking good. Stripes in particular seems to get how nasty those claws of hers are. Shame she’s barely used them on ENEMIES.“Then what?” Stripes asks, gesturing for you to continue.“Then… I decided discretion was the greater part of valor.” You conclude, crossing your arms. “Now I’m here.”You notice Gene and Wyatt nodding through the slot as Stripes takes a moment to mull the tale over in his head.“So uh… Why didn’t you just shoot her while her back was turned? Or ran off?”Good question! To be honest you had considered running off a few times, but… Hm. Maybe it’s because you might not be taken back by your fellow Rent-A-Cops, maybe you’re worried about your chances with your busted leg, MAYBE you have this strange feeling that Stanley will bump into you again whether you want her to or not…Or maybe it’s just pity. Seriously, one of these days she’s gonna trip while trying to Parkour off of a fence or something and break her neck. She needs SOME supervision.You mash those feelings into a ball and respond with a stoic “Sometimes a man’s gotta do what he must.”The truck falls silent for a moment as Gene nods stoically in the front seat. Wyatt joins him and also nods stoically. Looking back in your neck of the van, you notice Stripes too is nodding at you.Stoically.You return the favor by nodding stoically. Fuck yea. >CONTD.
>>4627060The four of you continue like that for a few more minutes before Stripes awkwardly clears his throat.“So uh… Artie.”“Yea?”“You’ve been with her for a while--what’s your take?”You frown, confused. “On the situation? It sucks.”Stripes shakes his head.“Nah, I mean… Whaddaya’ think of her?”You blink. Jesus, what is this, the locker room?“Come on, man, all we ever talked about back in ‘da day was chicks and wheels, ya know?” Stripes says, nudging you in the ribs as you glance over at Stan again, water still dripping from her head from your improvised intervention.You’ve only known her since this morning--hard to gauge based on that. Then again, a lot has happened since you were held hostage… That said, how would you know if you have Stockholm Syndrome? Can you tell? Are your thoughts compromised?!You remember one year back at camp when you made a bunch of friends--you told yourself and them that you would hit them up after Summer, but you never really did. Turns out you were victims of circumstance--you just wanted pals at the time, but didn’t have much in common after you left… You’ve seen the same crap happen in college, too--dorm life’s a blur: you meet new people every single day!“You don’t gotta answer, Art.” Gene says, shooting Stripes a look. “Even when dis’ idiot was alive all he did was chase skirts.”Stripes waves Gene off and shifts his gaze back to you. Guess you’ve gotta say SOMEthing… >Nah. Just nah.>More interested in her friend, myself.>Gotta admit, she’s growing on me…>Don’t answer. Take it easy, Stripes.>WRITE-IN
>>4627067>More interested in her friend, myself.I mean, slim, goth, has a cool podcast, can operate eldritch energies.
>>4627067>More interested in her friend, myself.
>>4627398>>4627680The truth revealed! Writing!
>>4627398>>4627680You think back to all of the things that have happened between you and Stan since this morning. The kidnapping while you were uh… ‘researching’, the accidental gunshot wound when she couldn’t cut a zipper like a normal person, the medical treatment…Then she helped you get your helmet off and even lent you her TELESCOPING MOP--it’s gotta have some sort of sentimental value if she keeps saying its name like that, right? She’s also done a really good job of keeping you guys not only safe, but out of combat entirely. You can hardly believe she’s so damn stealthy given her… Eccentricities.Yea, you think you know exactly what to say to Stripes.“More interested in her friend, myself.” You murmur, pointing at the tuft of purple-highlighted hair poking out of Stan’s pocket. Stripes glances at the lifeless doll, then back to you.“What, da’ witchy broad? I mean… Whatever gets you goin’, pal…”“It’s not about the DOLL!” you say a bit too loudly! Stan stirs a bit, mumbles something, then returns to her snooze cruise. “Think about it, Stripes: Slim. Has a cool podcast. GOTH.” You hiss, emphasizing the last word. “I uh… Is dat’ some kinda future jive or somethin’?” Stripes asks, scratching his pompadour.Oh man, if this guy only knew....You shake your head. How would you explain daylight to a blind man? You’ll have to find an example later for him. “In any case…” Stripes begins, “I’m impressed, kid. I thought da’ whole ‘voodoo’ thing would creep you out.”Hardly! You’ve been a fan of That’s The Spirit for as long as you can remember--you’ll admit it seemed a bit far-fetched when you first watched it drunk as hell in your pal’s dorm at 3am, but after the initial attraction to the host you couldn’t put it down! The episode on the skinwalker in the nature preserve? The one with the lizard men in the sewers?! The unresolved mystery of the secret labs in the woods!?!“You’re uh… You’re droolin’, pal.” Stripes mumbles. You wipe your face and regain your composure. You’ll say one thing for sure--if Stan has done anything to make up for kidnapping you today, it’s introducing you to THE Sybil Castellanos. Holy SHIT.“Yea,” Stripes begins, “Pretty wild dat’ boss is best friends wit’ a celebrity an’ all. Imagine what they talk about!”Your already pale skin grows paler. Wait, he’s RIGHT. What if Stan lets slip how you two met?!“An’ whoda’ thunk boss would be the camera person for all of da’ episodes? Small world, huh? I gotta watch some once all ‘dis is over.”Wrestling down the urge to smother Stan in her sleep, your thoughts return to Sybil. You were able to talk for a while before Stan went on her DREAM QUEST--maybe there IS a bit of string to follow once all of this is over…“Say, you don’t think she can hear us wit’ magic or somethin’, right?” Stripes asks.SHIT. >CONTD.
>>4627871Okay, you’re pretty sure she can’t hear you. She used her magic, right? She’s still recharging, right?!Let’s change the subject--that might throw her off the trail. Or you could always get some rest--seems like wherever Gene is taking you he’s planning on giving you a heads up before you get there…What to do?>Ask Gene for more info. You don’t want to wait for Stan!>Ask the trio why they joined Stan so quickly. Isn’t that kinda odd?>Ask the trio about themselves. How do they know each other so well?>Screw it, get some sleep.>WRITE-IN
>>4627876>Ask the trio about themselves. How do they know each other so well?
>>4627938>>4627947Talkin' about the trio! Writing!
>>4627938>>4627947A question’s been lingering in your head ever since you met the trio of skeletons currently driving you to who knows where… Who ARE they? How do they know each other so well? It’s obvious they lived and died in Clearwater, sure, but… What’s their story?Gene grunts, eyes still on the road. “Stripes, you tell him. You’re da’ one with da’ mouth.”Stripes seems offended for a second, but after a quick adjustment of his pompadour he regains his cheery composure.“Damn straight. Jeez, kid, where do I start?”“How about the general stuff?” You ask, trying to guide him in the right direction.“Well, it’s no secret dat’ we all grew up here… East Clearwater, to be specific!” Stripes leans back against the wall of the van, a nostalgic grin on his face.“It mighta’ changed a bit in the past few years, but da’ East side wasn’t what you’d call ‘ritzy’, dig?”Yea, you dig. When you think East Clearwater you think industrial parks, docks, and buildings older than your great grandpa. Gentrification had been doing its job turning it around into ‘Olde Clearwater’, but images are hard to get rid of.“Anywho, back then you knew everyone on da’ block, whether it was a cul-de-sac and green grass or chain-link fences and asphalt.” Stripes explains, leaning forward in his seat.“Gene an’ I grew up in the same hood, pretty sure dat’ moose Nico and his ma had a bakery around there, too. The gorilla in the passenger seat over there ran a garage with his old man!” Wyatt grunts a bit, but doesn’t retaliate. Shrugging, Stripes leans back and grins.“Back in those days you didn’t have many options--ya surfed, ya raced cars, or ya played ball.” Stripes sniffs at the last option, frowning.“So us guys? We improvised. Sometimes we’d hit up da’ football games and heckle the players a little bit. Othertimes we’d pick up chicks at da’ beach… Get into fights at da’ Drive-In...”The cloud of nostalgia above Stripes’ head disappears as his expression turns serious.“It took us away from the crap waiting for us back home. Nico said it better than anyone--a lot of us were angry with no one ta’ take it out on. It took a real hip cat to finally take dat’ big balla clay and mold it.”Rocky, right? Stripes lets out an exaggerated “PSSSSSH” and swats the name away with his hand.“Nah, his name was CLIFF.”>CONTD.
>>4628070Forgot the red formatting. Screw it--you guys know who's talkin' now.Doesn’t ring a bell. Besides, isn’t Rocky their bo--er, ex-Boss now? Stripes shakes his head vigorously like he just downed a shot of vinegar.“Rocky’s in charge NOW, and was back den’, but dat’ wasn’t always da case!” So who was this guy Cliff, then? And where is he now?“Cliff…” Stripes begins, fishing for the right words, “Cliff was The Cat, pal. He came from the same crap we did, but the difference was he saw what we had an ref… Refide… He uh… He solidified it!” The greaser concludes, nodding to himself in satisfaction.How did he do that?“Easy! Everyone in East Clearwater knew Cliff. He was da guy who always had your back no matter what--he’d spot ya a twenty if you needed cash for a date, he always knew how ta introduce ya to a girl you were into, and if a rumble was ever on da’ horizon, he’d have your back--no questions asked.”Sounds like a local celebrity. Stripes chuckles a bit, then continues.“Yea, like Jimmy Dane in our own neighborhood! Anywho, one day he called a meetin’ with all of da’ greaseheads in East Clearwater--we all hit up Shane’s. Never seen it more packed in my whole life…”You can hardly imagine it getting crazier than how it was today, but you’ll take his word for it.“Cliff gave us a dose-a hard truths: we were punks. We were angry, but we was pissed at da’ wrong people. We was wastin’ our youths gettin’ bruised and beaten in stupid scraps with jocks and preps…”So what was the solution?“Community.” Stripes answers, like it was the answer to everything. “He had us thinkin: why not fight for somethin’ dat’ mattered? So next thing we know, we was cleanin’ up our streets. Peddlers, trouble-makers, angry dads--we took care of our own!”You guess that’s a step in the right direction…“Yea, yea, we weren’t angels, but we weren’t devils either, ya know?” Stripes explains, gesticulating rapidly. “None of us was gonna be doctors or lawyers, so we worked wit’ what we had.”What changed, exactly? You know what they say about good times… Stripes nods, his expression turning darker.“Ain’t it da truth. There was a couple issues over time. Some guys didn’t wanna do community service, others wanted a bigger piece of da’ pie. When you’ve got rocks for brains and nothin’ but fists ta’ work with, eventually you get tired of bein’ second banana.”And that’s where Rocky came in, huh?“Not exactly… Rocky was…” Stripes pauses again. “Rocky was never tough. He had marbles, though.” The greaser continues, tapping his skull a few times. “He eventually slithered into Cliff’s good graces. Dat’ was da’ beginnin’ of da end.”>CONTD.
>>4628073So he was an advisor, huh?“Nah, believe it or not Rocky and Cliff were good pals, even before da’ whole show started.” Stripes sighs and lowers his voice a bit.“But it didn’t last. Time went on an’ they argued more like some sorta married couple.”Ideological differences, huh? Stripes nods.“Yea, exactly. Rocky was tired of da’ Robin Hood act. We were all getting older and we weren’t makin’ money or anything--sure, East Clearwater was nicer, but how long would dat’ last?”What was Rocky’s solution? Stripes responds with a sardonic chuckle.“Drop da’ ‘honorable hood’ act. Dope was funneling inta’ Clearwater, he wanted ta’ get a piece of the action.”You frown. Cliff probably didn’t like that one bit!“You said a mouthful, kid. Ever da’ white knight, Cliff wouldn’t even hear it! No heaters, no dope, no killin’. Sounds good on paper, but a lotta guys agreed--we were growin’ up wit’ nothin’ to show for it!”Sounds like a movie you once saw… Anyways, what happened?“Everything came to a head. Rocky sidestepped Cliff an’ set up a deal--once Cliff found out he was spittin’ mad--never saw him like dat’ in my entire life, kid, even in a rumble.”Stripes fishes a pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and places one in his mouth. Lighting it, he continues the story.“We all thought he was gonna stick Rocky right then and there, but classic Cliff… He wanted ta’ prove once an’ for all who was da’ boss.”You bet Rocky loved that.“He was over da’ moon!” Stripes shouts, almost dropping his cigarette. “Set it up right then an’ there--a chicken race on da’ sea cliffs dat’ night. Hell, Rocky even advertised. If he had sold tickets he woulda’ been da’ richest hood in Clearwater!”Everyone loves a show… You can guess how that turned out, though.“You don’t gotta guess--I was there.” Stripes explains in between puffs of smoke. “I watched dat’ race myself--it was late February: one of ‘dose nights you can see your breath and your eyes sting just stayin’ open.” The greaser touches a cheek with his bony fingers.“It was over in a second. Cliff always had da’ best wheels, no question. Rocky braked early, but Cliff didn’t stop.”You think you know where this is going.“Oh, everyone did.” Stripes mumbles, “Cliff treated his wheels like his kid brother--how would he suspect issues wit’ da brake lining? But whaddaya gonna do? Cliff went over da’ cliff before anyone could shout. And yes, I recognize da’ funny coincidence there.”>CONTD.
>>4628074So Cliff didn’t make it? Stripes shakes his head mournfully.“They found pieces of his car, but no body. Cops didn’t care enough to do a search either--just da’ usual ‘hood violence’.” Stripes explains, spitting out the last two words.No one spoke up? Why didn’t anyone challenge him? Stripes responds with a shrug.“Who knows? I think it was ‘cuz deep down, a lot of hoods were scared.” The greaser puffs more smoke, his face unreadable.“Rocky’s plan made sense. We had bills ta’ pay, family ta’ feed. At da’ time people just fell in or fell out.”So what finally happened? Clearly none of them made it to retirement age… Stripes shrugs.“I was eighteen when I bought it. Drug deal gone wrong--da’ guy we were meetin’ with pulled a heater on me. Noticed it too late.”You glance through the slot to the driver and passenger seats--neither of the greasers add to the story.And now here you are.“Yep. Woke up six feet under, next thing I know I’m in da’ same mess as before, only we all lost a bit of weight an’ Rocky had a new plan for us.”And this whole ‘kill all humans’ thing--that’s… Okay?“It’s not exactly a choice…” Stripes begins, “It’s like when ya know you gotta hit ‘da store because ya know you’re almost outta’ smokes.”So it’s like a nagging feeling? Stripes nods, puffing another cloud of smoke.“Yep. Even now I feel it. Guessin’ those goons in the front do too.” If said goons DO feel that way, they don’t share it. Stripes slouches back in his seat, shrugging.“And dat’s da story. Wanna guess da’ moral?”You can try. The moral is...>You used the cards you were dealt.>Rocky’s a slippery bastard.>Nothing can change the nature of a man.>WRITE-IN
>>4628078>Rocky’s a slippery bastard.
>>4628078>You used the cards you were dealt.A classic story, at least these lot seem decent.
>>4628078>>Rocky’s a slippery bastard.
>>4628078>>You used the cards you were dealt.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>4628118>>4628257>Rocky's a slippery bastard>>4628217>>4628407Cards!Rolling and will write the winner!
>>4628118>>4628217>>4628257>>4628407You take a moment and let Stripes’ story sink in a little bit. It goes without saying that Rocky was, and probably still is, a slippery bastard, but that’s not really a moral, is it? It’s beginning to seem like fact at this point.No, you’re seeing a pattern here, and that pattern’s what leads you to your answer.“You used the cards you were dealt.” You say plainly. Seems like most of these guys were victims of circumstance and not a lot of other choices! Stripes stares at you for a moment as he digests your answer, then clears his nonexistent throat.“Huh. I was gonna say ‘never trust a Puerto Rican dealer’, but now dat’ I think about it you might be onta’ somethin’ there. Whadda you guys think?”Two nonplussed grunts, one from each skeleton in the front, are all you get. Fair enough.“Anywho, dat’s our story.” Stripes concludes, crossing his arms. “I ain’t sayin’ every boney bucko out there is like us, but I know an East Clearwater goon when I sees one!”Thanks for sharing! Stripes gives you an amicable nod as you sink a little lower in your seat, Stan still sawing logs in the corner.Anything else you wanna do?>Probe Gene about the destination--You’d like to know while you can still jump ship!>Ask the trio what THEIR thoughts are on Stan.>Get some rest--they’ll wake you and Stan up when it’s time.>WRITE-IN
>>4628735>Ask the trio what THEIR thoughts are on Stan.Lets see how the REALLY feel
>>4628735>Ask the trio what THEIR thoughts are on Stan.
>>4628804>>4628852>>4628981Time for a little workplace gossip! Writing!
>>4628804>>4628852>>4628981Hey, you almost forgot--you gave YOUR thoughts on Stan, but what about THEM? As the janitor in question continues to snooze in her seat, you toss a question of your own at the skeletons--what do THEY think about Stan?Gene, surprisingly, is the first to speak up.“Honestly? She’s a bit of a handful, but I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t see some leadership qualities in her.”How do you mean?“Truth be told…” He hesitates, “She reminds me of Cliff.”You blink a few times to let those words set in. Really?Gene spares a glance to the back of the van, frowning.“Hell no, I was just messin’ around. Dat’ raccoon-human hybrid is nothin’ like Cliff. No way.” Gene points out the gremlin in the corner and lets out a chuckle.“She’s got some sort of spark, though. No clue what da’ hell it is, but…” Gene pauses.But?“But, and I don’t wanna speak for da’ rest of da’ boys, I think she has a chance of pullin’ dis’ off.” Wyatt nods quietly while Stripes makes a ‘so-so’ gesture with his hand.“A slim chance, pal!” Stripes adds. “I mean kudos to her beatin’ King and all…”And Terry the Terrible--don’t forget that! The whole van goes silent for a moment as each skeleton remembers.“You know what?” Stripes asks, “I changed my mind. She’s got a shot at it.”Okay, so that answers a bit of your question. You already knew these goons believed in her enough to help out and turn against their old boss, but that’s not all you were asking!Stripes is the first to understand. “Ohhhh. Gotcha. Uhhh…” He glances over at Stan again, an uneasy look on his face.“Gonna be honest wit’ ya from man ta’ man…” Stripes begins, “I’m not too interested. And dat’s sayin’ somethin’.”Gene chuckles.“You can say dat’ again. When he was alive Stripes would hit on anything with a skirt.”Anything?“ANYTHING.” Gene asserts, causing Stripes to grumble to himself. “As for me… Well, lemme give you a lesson, Artie. Word to da’ wise.”Sure, what is it? Gene steps on the brakes, then turns around to face you, his expression deadly serious.“I once went steady wit’ a babe who looked like someone you’d see in a mag, but she was… Eccentric.”What, like one of those crystal people? Did she collect crystals?“Nah, but she was utterly convinced ‘dat da’ government used honeybees ta’ spy on da’ workin’ man. 100% sure of it.”No way. Gene nods.“Yes way. Her name was Natasha Coronado. Grew up right here, swear on my death.”Wait, isn’t that the name of your CONGRESSWOMAN?>CONTD.
>>4629442“Anyways,” Gene continues, “Moral of ‘da story is DON’T DATE CRAZY.”Oh hey, you’ve heard that one before! That’s one of the reasons that guided your answer earlier--her friend seems a bit more stable.“There ya go.” Gene says, and leaves it at that.You think you get the picture. Stripes shakes his head and makes a few ‘tsk’ sounds.“No you don’t! We still haven’t heard from tall, dark, an’ ugly!” Wyatt shifts a bit in his chair, but doesn’t reply. “I’m talkin’ to you, meathead.” Stripes adds impatiently.“No comment.” Wyatt mumbles. You shrug--that’s an answer to your question in a way. Stripes says nothing, grinning in his seat triumphantly.“There ya go, kid.” Gene says, eyes returning to the road. “We’re in it for da’ long haul now, and if she messes up? We’ll just take ‘da credit for ourselves.”Very cavalier of them. Gene shrugs.“When life gives ya’ lemons…”As you continue onwards, you notice the elevation of the road start to increase--looking out the back window, all you can see is dark, stormy clouds and an uphill path littered with deserted vehicles. The van lurches forward as Gene steps on the gas harder, flinging you, Stan, and Stripes around in your seatbelts.“Alright, kid--almost there.” Gene says, both hands on the wheel. “Mind wakin’ up da’ boss?”Do you mind? You have a sneaking suspicion that once Stan wakes up, focus will shift away from you. Whatever the hell that means.>Wait, one more question! (WRITE-IN)>Hold on--gotta do something first! (WRITE-IN ACTION)>Wake up Stan. It’s GO time.
>>4629443>Wake up Stan. It’s GO time.
>>4629443>>Wake up Stan. It’s GO time.
>>4629461>>4629598>>4629932>>4630258WAKE UPGRAB A BRUSH AND PUT A LITTLE MAKEUPWriting!
>>4629461>>4629598>>4629932>>4630258You can’t place your finger on it, but you have the sneaking suspicion that you’re being watched… Observed…Directed.You don’t like it one bit. While it allowed you to bond a little bit with the guys, you remember the feeling began around the time Stan freaked out and subsequently passed out--seems there’s only one last trick to try…“Get ready, guys…” You begin, “Gonna wake up sleeping beauty.” You’re answered by a trio of groans, but that doesn’t stop you! Reaching over to Stan’s shoulder, you gently shake her in an attempt to rouse her from her fitful rest. But try as you might i--wait, stop! Please, don’t send me back to her! I’m begging you--you want money? Women?! Power?!!? I can get you anything, just please don’t put me back in her perspe--o in conclusion, THAT’S how you feel about the whales! Hm? Feels like you’re being listened to again. About time, too--Ly doesn’t seem to be able to follow you along into dreamland. Whether that’s a blessing or a curse remains to be seen--you guess it depends on the dream. Just in case you forgot, your name is Stanley Parble--protagonist, janitor, and an all-around ‘bad bitch’ to use the parlance of our times. You had just finished having one of the most interesting dreams of your life, but you don’t feel like sharing it with anyone or going over it in your head again, so let’s just drop it.You find yourself slumped against your seat in the back of… The van! Yes, that’s right! You, Sybil and Art had reconvened with your skeleton pals and you escaped Shane’s! Go team! Rising to a more appropriate posture, you scratch your back a bit and yawn--how long were you out?Your pal Art, always the eager beaver, is the first to answer. “About an hour or so. Did you sleep okay?”You shrug. Coulda’ been better! Water drips from your wet hat onto the floor of the van and a strange smell creeps into your nostrils--whatever the hell it is it’s giving you a licorice headache! What the heck happened?!Art shoots an oblivious glance at Stripes, one of your skeleton companions. Huffing the last few puffs out of a near-spent cigarette, the greaser shrugs.“You’re askin’ me? Last time I slept I was dead, kitten.”Great, thanks. Art, you’re up.“You were sweating a lot…” Art mumbles, “Maybe it’s stress?” Can you believe this guy? He’s covering his mouth and can’t even maintain EYE CONTACT. RUDE!>CONTD.
>>4630537“Woah, what did I miss?” Ly’s familiar mobster movie voice grates against your ears as his astral projection floats in front of you to assess the damage. Something catches his eye, but he quickly regains his composure!“Huh! Stan, you uh…” The apparition stammers, a grin forming on his face, “You er-SNRK-You seem out of it!”You ARE! You fall asleep for one minute and suddenly everything’s different! Before you can get your bearings, Gene’s calm voice drifts through the slot between the two sections of the van.“Welcome back to da’ living, boss. Feelin’ better?”Not really! What kind of Gang Boss are you if you don’t know what’s happening? Better regain control and get some info--what do you start with?>Where are we going?>Is Sybil okay?>Art, what did I miss?>WRITE-IN
>>4630540>Art, what did I miss?Seems to cover most of it.
>>4630540>Is Sybil okay?>Art, what did I miss?
>>4630542>>4630709>>4631286Let's pile em' on. Writing!
>>4630542>>4630709>>4631286Time to take charge. Again! Ignoring the persisting chemical smell worming its way into your nostrils, you frown in the direction of Art and point at him. Art, what did we miss?“Well,” Art begins, forming his sentences in his head, “You freaked out after the diner visit, then passed out.”Oh, that. You had almost forgotten about how you roused everyone into a Stan-killing Bloodlust. Thanks for the reminder!“No prob. While you rested, Gene drove us towards… Somewhere…” He mutters, sparing a glance towards the driver’s seat, “And Stripes told me a little bit about the guy in charge.”You nod to yourself. Rocky. Big shoes, leather jacket.“Yea, him.” Art agrees, “Stripes and the guys grew up with him and their old boss Cliff, and the moral of the story is that the current boss is a sneaky bastard.”“Sneaky don’t even begin ta’ describe him.” Stripes adds, finishing his cigarette and stomping it on the floor of the van. “If you’re goin’ after him you’d better consider all da’ angles.”You cringe. Geometry was never your strong suit. Gene leans back in the driver’s seat and looks back.“There is somethin’, though--Rocky’s a big-headed sonnovabitch.” You get it, he’s SMART. No need to rub it in!“Stan, he means Rocky has an ego.” Art adds, rubbing his temples. Ohhhh, gotcha. With a nonchalant shrug, Gene continues.“If you’re gonna bag him, you might use ‘dat to your advantage. Call him out on honor, cowardice, whatever. You’ll get him, especially if he has an’ audience.”Will he? Gene responds with a stare.“He’s Rocky--of course he will.”Good to know, thanks! Your motley crew gives you a series of nods. See, THIS is how it should be!>CONTD.
>>4631566Was combing the net for images and Inadvertently found the closest, albeit less-pale, picture to Sybil's human form. Jackpot! “Hey uh, Stan.” Ly asks, popping out of your body in his astral form. “How’s your pal doin’? Think she can tell us more about this?” He asks, gesturing to his glowing body.Hey, you almost forgot about that! Maybe Sybil can explain what happened. Gingerly reaching into your pocket, you fish out the doll that Sybil gave you and poke at it a few times. Wakey wakey!Nothing. You see a glimmer of blue aura, but nothing else. Sheesh, that spell really tuckered her out, didn’t it?As you examine the dool, Art leans in a bit closer. “Hey uh… Sybil. It’s recording time.” he whispers, getting no response. Frowning, the security goon slumps back in his chair. Ha, rejected!“I’d be lyin’ if I said I wasn’t worried…” Ly muses, glancing down at the doll’s lifeless body. “When do ya’ think she’ll be back?”You shrug. Sybil pulls this crap all the time--it’s a miracle she’s even awake at all. One time you left her to go to work and when you arrived the next morning she was in the SAME SPOT fiddling with the SAME FOOTAGE. “You got pizza grease on the lense, Stan, you might need to reshoot.” you remember her saying. Absolute whacko!Art idly rubs his chin. “In that case we might not be able to rely on her for a while.” He says, wincing. “Might make things trickier if we need magic.”Hey, you got on perfectly fine without magic before, you can do it again. Besides, you have a little ‘magic’ of your own! You whip out your BONE CLAWS, slicing off a chunk of Stripes’ pompadour. As he lets out a silent shriek, you lean back in your seat and cross your arms.>CONTD.
>>4631574All that said, where ARE we going anyways?“Me an’ da’ boys heard about a meetin’ goin’ on once Rocky returned from ‘da fortress.” Gene explains, “We’re headed to da’ meetin’ point.”Okay, and where exactly is that? Seems like you’re up in the hills or something.“The Park-N-Peek Drive-In...” Art recites, suddenly remembering its name. You mean the place all the teens go to get some parking action? Gene nods.“Yep. Rocky’s supposedly got some ace up his sleeve to get ya’. We’re gonna get to him first.”You frown. How, exactly? If it’s a meeting won’t there be a bunch of other greasers there?“Dat’s da’ beauty of it!” Stripes exclaims with pride. “Rocky won’t back down in front of his gang, so all ya’ gotta do is challenge him to a mano-a-mano and boom, you got ‘em beat!”The scene plays itself like a slideshow in your brain. Now that they explain it it doesn’t sound that bad…“And what if Stan can’t beat him?” Art asks, raising his hand politely. “He might not have been so tough in life, but as a skeleton?” “He’s right.” Wyatt agrees, a slight tinge of boney pride in his voice. Gene shrugs.“Then we’ll deal wit’ it. If it’s any consolation we’ll try not to kill ya’ too painfully, Artie.”Stripes puts his arms around you and Art’s shoulders. “And don’t worry, we’ll wait until Sta-er, Boss is dead first. Scout’s honor!”You and Art share an uncertain look. Super!>CONTD.
>>4631576After a few more uncomfortable moments of having Stripes’ arms around you, both you and Art manage to shuffle away to the different corners of the van. Before long the canyon road begins to level out, and as you gaze at the desolate skeleton of Clearwater below you, Gene pulls the van into a rest area and parks.“Come on, time ta’ stretch your legs.” He says, just like your dad did on road trips before ‘accidentally’ leaving you at the gas station. When you’re sure he’s getting out too, you file out of the back of the van followed by Art and Stripes. You and the rest of the crew walk to the edge of the rest area and lean on different sections of the guard rail above Clearwater, watching the smoke and flames rise into the sky where Tim’s fortress looms like a storm cloud.“Now what?” Art asks, shifting his weight from his injured leg. Gene lights a cigarette and faces the group.“Now? Now da’ boss decides da’ course of action.” The crew shifts their collective gaze at you--even Ly pops out and looks your way. Woah, hold on a second here! Let’s think a bit!“Da’ Drive-In is only a few more minutes ‘dat way.” Gene explains, gesturing down the winding canyon road. “I chose a detour so we wouldn’t be passed by other knuckleheads. If you want, though, we can take ya there.”“Yea! You can slip out durin’ da’ excitement!” Stripes adds, pantomiming the sneaking of a burglar. “We can try ta’ find a spot near da’ edge of the Drive-In--might make things easier.”Sounds nice, but are they going to be taking tickets or something? What about guards? Gene and Stripes stand silent for a moment to contemplate your words.“Probably.” Gene replies, puffing more smoke. “If they do check da’ van we can deal wit’ it then.”“Or,” Art begins, “We head there on foot while you guys go ahead. That way we can scout the whole Drive-In before we’re in the middle of it.”You nod. That could give you a better idea of the layout, sure. Gene shrugs. “Dat’ works too as long as you fleshbags don’t fall off a cliff or get bitten by a snake.”“Shit, he’s right, Stan.” Art hisses, eyes bugged out. You let out an exaggerated PSSSSH. People sneak into the Drive-In all the time--if horny teens can do it, why can’t you?>CONTD.
>>4631579“Howsabout dis’--” Stripes begins, inspiration clear on his face, “I’m pretty sure there’s a pathway below da’ projector screen for maintenance. If you go dat’ way you might be able to climb da’ screen and get a good view of everything!”“Yea, and everyone will get a good view of US!” Art exclaims. “Everyone’s going to be looking at the screen--if we screw up they’ll spot us immediately!”Stripes crosses his arms and frowns. “You got a better idea, Snoops McCallister?” Gene and Wyatt chuckle a little, but you and Art? You uh… You don’t get it.“Snoops McCallister!” Stripes repeats, as though that was enough. “Private Eye? Catches criminals, no matter da’ cost?” Nope, not ringing a bell.“P.I COMICS?!” He’s shouting now! “You tellin’ me no one’s hearda SNOOPS in this year?!”You and Art look at each other, shrugging.“Forget it.” Stripes huffs, clearly disappointed. “What’s your idea, Artie?” “I was thinking we hike behind the Drive-Through.” Art explains. “There’s a hill behind the lot--should give us a good view as long as no one else is up there.”Gene nods. “Not a bad idea, pumpkin patch. Not bad at all.” The group then turns its gaze onto you.“What do YOU think, boss?” What indeed?>You’ll go in via the van! That should get you there quick and close!>You’ll try Stripes’ plan--that path behind the projector sounds good!>You’ve gotta go with Art’s idea--should be a winner as long as no one’s there!>WRITE-IN
>>4631583>You’ll try Stripes’ plan--that path behind the projector sounds good! its got a certain somethin the others lack, PRESENTATION!we could challenge Rocky from a real proper stage, he'll have absolutely no choice but to fight us.
>>4631583>You’ve gotta go with Art’s idea--should be a winner as long as no one’s there!
This seems like a big decision so I'll check in tomorrow around the usual time: 11-12AM UTC. Looks like we're on page 9 as well, so I'll try to find an appropriate transitioning point in the next few updates. Thanks as usual for following along and I hope I'll see ya around the usual time!
>>4631583>>You’ll go in via the van! That should get you there quick and close!
Rolled 2 (1d3)>>4632086>>4632091>>4632916Democracy at work, ladies and gentlemen. We're on page 9 so I'm gonna leave this up to Lady Luck--will write based on the result.
>>4632086>>4632091>>4632916Out of all the options, Art’s seems to have the most merit--sure, it doesn’t get you into the Drive-In immediately, but if stealth games have taught you anything, it pays to get the lay of the land before rushing in!Yes, Art’s idea will do just nicely. No surprise van searches, no peeking over the screen, just good old-fashioned sneakin’!You relay your decision to the group and are rewarded with various degrees of enthusiasm. “Great decision, Stan!” Art exclaims, slapping his helmet back onto his head, “I should get a good view of the Drive-In too this way!”“We’ll see what we can do from our end.” Gene shrugs, “Tell ya what--if we gotta meet up we’ll signal each other. Two long whistles.”Hey, you can remember that! You nod, satisfied--you should be able to cover more ground this way.“I can do a sweep an’ meet with ya’ behind da’ projection booth!” Stripes adds, puffing out his chest. That couldn’t hurt either.“I’ll keep da’ van hot.” Wyatt grunts. Sure, that works too!“And I’ll watch your back, cupcake!” Ly croons, showing off his astral form. We get it, you’re cool!You and the gang make your way back to the van, running through the plan in your head. As the skeletons pile in, Gene points out a section of scrub-covered hill with the cigarette in his fingers.“You’re gonna wanna’ head dat’ way.” You frown. Sure looks steep from here. “It won’t be fun in da’ dark, but if you use a flashlight you might be spotted. Just take it slow and watch yer’ feet.”As if on command, Art returns from the back of the van with something in his hands.“Think fast!”Lobbing a thin, black cylinder your way, you almost miss the catch! A heavy-duty FLASHLIGHT sits in your hands, complete with a loop on the end for easy carrying! The operative shrugs.“I know we won’t need them now, but you never know…”No you don’t… Stowing the FLASHLIGHT into your inventory, you take a few steps towards the hill.“Hey, boss!” You turn around again. What’s up, Gene?“If things go south, we’ll meet at da’ Diner.”Fine by you--the only way things are gonna go is ACCORDING TO PLAN.>CONTD.
>>4633574“I hope so. Bon voyage, boss.” Gene hops in the suped-up van and gives you a salute which you return. Yea, good luck to you guys too. Not that you’ll need it.As the vehicle speeds away, you and Art are left at the foot of the hill--you pause for a moment as the faint sounds of shouting, car motors, and more travel your way. Art hefts his rifle and turns to you.“You guys ready?”“You bet I am!” Ly growls, cracking his astral knuckles! You nod and grin towards both of them--ready when they are!Giving each other a spirited thumbs up, you and Art charge the hill with a renewed sense of purpose!Two minutes later and you’re done. Panting and gasping for breath, you have to use your BONE CLAWS to keep from sliding downwards. Who made this thing so damn steep?!“You…” Art begins, barely hiding his own fatigue, “You have CLAWS. Why the hell are YOU complaining?”A cluster of gravel bombards your face as you keep climbing. You said it in part 2: you AREN’T the outdoorsy type! You take a moment to adjust your ascent to avoid a patch of cacti, then continue upwards. “Coast looks clear…” Murmurs Ly, his projection stretched as far away from you as it can go. “Watch out for critters, though.”Working on it! It takes you a few more minutes of slipping, cursing, and sweating, but eventually the hill begins to level out! Score!“Nice…” Art wheezes as you help him up. Brushing burrs and pebbles from your clothes, you hear the familiar sounds of skeletons having a good time, and it isn’t too far away! Trotting along the top of the hill, you find yourself overlooking the Park-N-Peek Drive-In lit up like a christmas tree and more crowded than well.... Ever!“Looks like a full house.” Ly quips, putting his hands on his hips. Yes, and SOMEone down there is gonna get an ass-kicking. Free of charge.You hear a series of sandy footsteps approach from behind you, followed by the characteristic heavy breathing through Art’s filter.“Wow. Hope we don’t have to check every car!” Yea, you and him both! You and Art hunker down a bit as you scan the whole area.>CONTD.
>>4633578For starters, you see cars. A LOT. Seems like most of the skeletons who left the diner eventually found their way here. “Shit, Stan, look!” Art whispers, pointing towards the cars. You get it, there’s a lot of them! When ISN’T there a lot of the--“They’re packing, Stan!”It takes you a moment to notice, but Art’s right. Some of the greasers carry bats, of course, but a few of them seem to be carrying long arms too--hunting rifles and shotguns, oh BOY.The bottom left of the Drive-In is where the ticket booth sits, along with the gated entrance. The whole place is surrounded by a fence covered in what appears to be a canvas covering painted in 50’s Chic style. Looking below you spy a two-story building with molds of popcorn and soda above the entrances--must be the concession area! A beam of light shines out of the second floor onto the screen where an old cowboy flick plays--you’re guessing that’s where the projector is!Aside from that you don’t see much--there’s the screen, of course, along with the faint outline of what looks like a maintenance catwalk, and off to the sides of the Drive-In are small buildings dotted with benches and trash bins--your janitor senses tell you they must be restrooms!As your brain absorbs all of this new info, you notice your van passing through the gate and taking a spot near the edge of the projector house. Good, you might have some backup after all!Satisfied for now, Art turns to you. “So,” he whispers, “What’s the plan? I stay up here and cover you?”If he mentions the damn leg one more ti--You’re interrupted by a flick to the forehead. OW!“I won’t mention it. What’s the plan?”You were getting to that!>Art can start by not being such a jer--Your thought process is interrupted by a faint, but familiar sound in the scrub behind you and Art--quiet, but rhythmic.Footsteps. Heavy footsteps!Panicking, you tackle Art behind an agave plant and hold your breath, waiting for what happens next.As you and Art lie there, the steps become louder and louder, eventually stopping only a few feet away! Before you can tell him not to, Ly peeks out from behind the plant. What does he see?!“Stay down, Stan...” Ly whispers. “Don’t even think about moving!”End of Part 3Achievement Unlocked: Sybil War
>>4633581>>4633581And that, my friends, is Part 3. Stick a fork in 'er, she's done. Should have Part 4: Rocky Road up and running tomorrow around 4PM PST. Yes, yes, the big reveal, I use Pacific Time. I’ll update the other resources with that info--until then here's a few links to bide some time:If you haven't already, you can get updates by following my Twitter! Don't worry, I'm not THAT annoying!>https://twitter.com/DemBonez3This thing right here is a repository for all of the artwork I've made/received for Bones Quest so far. It's a living album, so keep an eye on it and see what crap I can whip up!>https://imgur.com/a/dvF3SCNLastly, three parts is still not that much--I appreciate any and all feedback or questions you wanna give. As a relatively new QM I appreciate your participation, patience, and creativity--you guys inspire me! Feel free to post in this thread if you have any questions or comments and don’t forget to simp and catch up with other threads using this link to the archive:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4594492/
>>4633622Thanks for running!