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You’re STANLEY PARBLE: a girl with a weird name and an even weirder tale: after a centuries-old lich woke up during your graveyard shift at the GOOD BOY DOGGIE BONE/i] factory, your simple life of janitorial work became a bit more… Complicated.

Sure, you became pals with your now-sentient skeleton (you named him LY) AND gained some nifty super powers from eating magical bone marrow, but that doesn’t change the fact that your hometown of Clearwater, California is overrun by homicidal skeletons! Even worse, the guy in charge is dead-set on taking over the rest of the world while he’s at it. Not cool.

Thankfully you’re not alone! Besides your skeleton you also gained some unlikely allies including OFFICER ARTHUR ‘ART’ BERRY, a GOOD BOY Corporate Security goon you took hostage, and your best pal SYBIL--occult podcaster and resident magical goth chick. There’s also MITZI, the newest edition to the gang: an exceptionally aloof GOOD BOY Security Guard who turned out to be pretty cool, all things considered!

With TWO out of the SIX SKELETON BOSSES deader than disco, you and your pals left the remaining skeleton greasers in the capable hands of THE TRIO--a group of skeletons you made friends with, one of whom just happened to be the original leader, CLIFF! After narrowly escaping an encounter with TALBOT--a homicidal juggernaut with the express purpose of HUNTING YOU DOWN, you and your pals changed tack and set your sights on a faction that’s been unusually present since the beginning: your employer, GOOD BOY DOGGIE BONES.

Your investigation paid off, but now how you expected! Captured and interrogated by Chief of Security BLUMENKRANTZ, you were let off the hook when a weapon of yours tested positive for EXCEPTIONALLY MAGICAL MARROW--a trait that even got the attention of GOOD BOY’S CEO--SONNY BRUCKMANN JR. Awaiting a summons via intercom, you and your pals (including your newest: an extremely aloof Rent-A-Cop named MITZI) have free reign of the city-spanning DOOMSDAY BUNKER made with company money. Originally heading to grab a drink at the saloon, your impromptu celebration was cut short by an unexpected encounter with an old coworker. THIS is where your story continues...

>CONTD.
>>
>>4722989
Welcome to BONES QUEST--a quest SO CHILL I messed up the formatting in the first post--that's just how relaxed we are here! Make sure to check out the following resources:
Catch up on previous threads!
>http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bones%20quest
Twitter account for updates!
>https://twitter.com/DemBonez3
Imgur Page for quest and FAN ART!
>https://imgur.com/a/dvF3SCN

STAT 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!
>Rockabilly Ribs: Your ribs and the rest of your skeleton are built to last--you can take hits and damage that would prove fatal to a normal meatbag!
>Lil’ Slugger: Harsh practice at the batting cages have made you a demon with bats and bat-like tools. Hit ‘em outta the park!
>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!
>Off The Lysh--There’s a skeleton on the loose--yours! Ly is no longer tethered to your body in his astral form and can scout a few feet away through walls and other obstacles.

Rolls are handled by a 1d100--I take the BEST OF THREE! Certain boosts and maluses will be applied based on the situation and existing skills. Describing your actions, write-ins, and GENERAL CREATIVITY are all APPRECIATED AND REWARDED--we like to keep things LIGHT and COOL here, so come on in and have some fun!
>>
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>>4722992
You’re pinching yourself, but you aren’t waking up. Silently watching the spectacle in front of you, your mind is having trouble coming up with the right questions. Settling on an effective and old favorite, you unceremoniously blurt out “WHAT THE FUCK?!” as the crowd continues to fawn over Boris Ponderosa: dickbag coworker, Highschool Tormentor, and now, apparently, THE CHOSEN ONE.

“He doesn’t seem so bad.” Art shrugs, fiddling with a pouch on his armor. “Some people need someone to look up to in times like this--guess he fits the part!”

Resisting the urge to punch him, you shake your head vigorously as Boris continues to work the growing mass of people in front of the entrance to the COMMONS. HE’S supposed to be The Chosen One that everyone’s talking about? HIM!?

“Yea, I was gonna mention that.” Mitzi sighs, idly swinging her STUN BATON around. “You called yourself The Chosen One in the interrogation room earlier, but you seemed so proud of yourself that I didn’t want to burst your bubble.”

That’s FANTASTIC, you spit, frowning with all of your might, she didn’t expect that you’d want to know that LATER? Mitzi raises her hands defensively and backs up a bit.

“Hey, I thought you were gonna be EXECUTED, then I got tossed through a WINDOW. I had other stuff going on!”

Alright, she has a point there. Sybil, what are YOUR thoughts? Your goth pal runs one of her hands through her black and purple locks, her eyes locked not on Boris, but on the two other figures flanking him.

“Curt Blacquiere.” She mutters, pointing at a tall, taciturn man wearing a trenchcoat. Looking closer you notice thin tattoos all over his body moving around like SNAKES! EEEW!

“He’s the one they mentioned earlier, Stan.” Sybil explains, a grin slowly forming on her pale face. “He’s the supposed EXPERT whose people erected the barrier around this place!”

Uh oh, she’s getting that competitive look in her eyes!

“While we’re on the subject,” Art muses, pointing to the other side of Boris, “Who’s THAT?”

On Boris’ left stands a GOOD BOY Security Guard even taller than HIM wearing one of those exoskeletons you saw earlier and hefting a STUN BATON almost as tall as you! Mitzi lets out a low whistle and crosses her arms.

“They don’t just give those out to anyone, boss.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4722995
Your entourage idles awkwardly in the COMMONS entrance as more and more people come to pay their respects.

“Errr, Stan!” Art interjects, bringing you and Syb back from your trances, “How about that drink, huh? Let’s just ignore them!”

“We can’t afford to do that and you know it.” Syb replies, her gaze still transfixed on Boris’ pal Curt. “They might have access to knowledge we haven’t gathered--we don’t have to like it, but we can at least use it to our advantage.”

“Hey, why don’t we invite them to the saloon WITH us?” Mitzi adds, glancing between you and Syb.

But… But you HATE THEMMMMMM.... You reply, stomping the floor with your rubber boot. Syb responds with a sympathetic head pat.

“I know you do, Stan, but it might help us out…”

“Unless they bring their GROUPIES with them.” Art mutters. The conversation reaches an awkward lull as all of your pals look to YOU for the decision. Oh man… Sometimes it really SUCKS being the leader….

“Glad I’m just along for da’ ride, cupcake.” Whispers Ly. Glad Mr. FENCESITTER’S enjoying himself!

“... Who are you shouting at?” Mitzi asks, cocking her head to the side.

…. Long story. What’s your PLAN?
>Ignore BORIS and his GROUPIES, go to the SALOON!
>TALK to BORIS. It can’t be THAT bad, right?
>Invite BORIS and CO to the SALOON.
>WRITE-IN
>>
And lastly because it doesn't fit on the first post anymore, here's...

The Updated ‘LIST OF STUFF YOU HAVE’:
>1 SKULL HOODIE
>1 Pair of BLACK JEANS
>2 SPIKED GOTH BOOTS
>1 PAIR OF SWEET SHADES
>1 CAP with the Good Boy logo and the letters ESC.
>1 JANITOR COVERALLS (Note:CLEAN)
>2 RUBBER BOOTS
>1 COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY.
>1 Dead (and somewhat damp) CELLPHONE
>1 MICROBUCKET (carries around water)
>1 TELESCOPING ALUMINUM MOP (LOANED TO ART)
>1 KEYRING with WORK, APARTMENT, and SCOOTER 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 (Trophy from King)
>1 AUTOMATED BONE SHAPER (ABS) <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 BENETTI HANDGUN <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 TIN of Dr. Harrington’s Hair Wrangler Pomade
>1 SYBIL DOLL (She communicates through it)
>1 TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT
>1 PAINTER'S RESPIRATOR MASK
>1 ZIPPO LIGHTER
>1 TELESCOPING BLUE STEEL MOP (The Kaiser)
>1 FADED BOTTLE OF PILLS
>1 CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION SHOTGUN (ABOUT 8 SHOTS) <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 .38 REVOLVER (12 Shots) <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 STRANGE AMULET (Found in principal’s office)
>1 RADIO (CHANNEL 3 FOR GOOD BOY, 9 FOR TRIO, 10 FOR HAULIE PAULIE)
>1 STETHOSCOPE
>1 BOTTLE OF ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
>1 ROLL OF BANDAGES
>1 BOTTLE OF ‘PAIN-PUFFZ: PAINKILLERS FOR KIDS!’
>1 BOX OF ALL-OCCASION STICKERS: OVER 6 MILLION SITUATIONAL STICKERS!
>1 ADDRESS (Given by ART)
>1 PACK OF TISSUES
>1 MENU FOR ANDRE’S STEAKHOUSE
>1 SCOOTER KEY (GIVEN TO PAULIE)
>1 KITTY BIKE HELMET
>1 CLEARWATER MAP
>1 EMPTY SPRAY BOTTLE
>3 GRENADES (1 with ART) <<CONFISCATED>>
>NEWSPAPERS AND NOTE FROM CORPSE-ART KILLER
>BOOK ON CARVING (UNREAD)
>KNIFE SHARPENER
>3 PACKS OF MYSTERY MEAT
>1 PEACH GUM WRAPPER
>1 GREASER SHOPPING LIST
>1 PONGOS POUCH (12 PONGOS)
>1 VAN KEY
>1 N4 RIFLE (4 Magazines) <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 STUN BATON <<CONFISCATED>>
>1 GOOD BOY STAMP
>3 JARS OF BERRY JAM
>>
>>4722997
>Invite BORIS and CO to the SALOON.
Make a point NOT to speak directly to Boris and to use his name as little as possible, referring to them as a group and keeping our eyes on the other two so we don't LOSE OUR MIND!
>>
>>4722997
>Invite CURT BLACQUIERE to the SALOON
He's the one who has useful info, right? We don't need Boris. Maybe he won't come along. Let's hope.
>>
>>4723001
>>4723017
>Invite them to the SALOON
>Focus on CURT
Writing!
>>
>>4722998
>Invite CURT BLACQUIERE to the SALOON
>>
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WARNING: PIC CONTAINS FLASHING LIGHTS!

You take a long, deep breath, then forcefully let it all out so that your pals are all PAINFULLY aware of how peeved you are. You’re gonna invite them to the saloon, you explain, avoiding your comrade’s eyes.

“... Okay, can someone PLEASE explain to me what’s happening?” Mitzi asks. “I feel like I walked in on the middle of a movie or something.”

“Search me.” Art replies with a shrug. “I only have the short version so-”

“Tell you what!” Sybil interjects, “You go and set things up, Stan. I’ll fill these two in on how you know Boris!”

You stop and stare at your friends for a moment as they all none-too-subtly glance between you and Boris’ entourage.

You know what? Forget what you said in the first post--your friends SUCK!

“You’re the best, Stan!” Sybil replies with a wink! Leaving them with one last disgusted sigh, you march yourself towards Boris and Co. like a prisoner going to the gallows.

“We’re not actually gonna DRINK wit’ him, are we?” Ly asks incredulously. No, you reply, shaking your head, you’re gonna try and isolate that Blackberry guy--he seems like the one with all of the magical know-how. How’s your hair?

Ly borrows your shoulders for a shrug. “Does it matter?”

No. No it doesn’t.

It takes some doing pushing through the crowd, mostly due to your own reluctance, but you manage. It’s when you reach Boris’ COLOGNE AURA that you start to get second thoughts…

https://youtu.be/mHjH3DyKChU?list=RDmHjH3DyKChU

How can anyone else STAND THAT RACKET?!? Covering your ears and holding your breath, you push through towards Curt, the man standing like a statue while the other too bask in the crowd’s embrace. Squeezing between two large and VERY SWEATY women, you emerge on the other side of the crowd, eliciting a raised eyebrow from Blacquiere.

Hey PAL, you begin in the friendliest tone you can manage, let’s cha-

“Is THAT who I THINK IT IS?!” Shouts a voice you’re painfully familiar with. Swallowing the bile rising in your throat, you repeat your words to Curt, who responds by looking at you as if you just spoke to him in Martian.

“Cuz’ there’s NO WAY she’s avoiding a HUG from The BOAR!”

“ALERT! ALERT!” Ly screams as your body stops responding to input! “Stan, your Nervous System’s shot! We’re gonna try ta’ flick it off an’ back on again!”

You hear the crowd react as you feel someone approaching from your side--the music from the headphones now bashing your eardrums! You know what’s coming, but you’re FROZEN, DAMN IT! You’ve gotta MOVE!

>Roll 1d100 for EVASIVE MANEUVERS! I’ll take the BEST OF 3! Don’t forget to include any description of HOW YOU DODGE!
>>
>>4723094
>Elegantly vault over the TWO LARGE AND VERY SWEATY WOMEN.
>>
>>4723125
Good tactis, but don't forget that roll, buddy!
>>
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Rolled 39 (1d100)

>>4723094

Let's dodge with an expertly-timed backflip.

Also this post gave me epilepsy.
>>
>>4723132

Someone compensate for my terrible roll.
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>4723094
aaaaaaah doing what >>4723125 said!
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>4723128
Oops
>>
>>4723146
DICE MESSIAH MOMENT
>>
>>4723132
Please don't sue me--I'm a QM--all I have is my WRITING!

>>4723132
>>4723142
>>4723146
>Highest Roll: 98
Fuck yea. Writing!
>>
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The scent of cologne burns your nostrils as the muffled bass from the headphones becomes even MORE loud and unbearable somehow! Whatever Ly’s gonna do he’d better do it FAST!

“Hang on ta’ somethin’!” Your skeleton howls! For a moment everything goes dark and limp, but as quickly as all sensation leaves you it returns! Hey you actually feel pretty goo-

“DODGE!” Ly shrieks! Oh, right. Using your handy-dandy BONE SPEED you deftly vault over the aforementioned SWEATY WOMEN just in time for Boris to tackle them both in a bear hug!

Landing with a dull ‘squeak’ on your RUBBER BOOTS, you turn back to Curt, who now observes you with an intrigued look behind his bifocals.

YOU guys are the real heroes!” Boris laughs, clapping the two women on the back and subtly wiping off some of the sweat! DAMN HE’S GOOD! As the two giggle and scamper away, your coworker approaches with a trademark shit-eating grin.

“Bumblebee!” He chuckles, motioning for Curt and his other friend over, “I was sendin’ all the positive vibes I could when I heard what happened over at the factory--but I shoulda’ known you’d get out safe and sound!”

Yea, whatever, you spit, not sparing him a glance. Curt, buddy, we gotta talk.

“... Indeed.” He responds in a cold and almost robotic drone. “Boris has told me much about you--but there appears to be more to you than meets the e-”

A gust of air next to you signals the approach of Syb, who quickly appraises Curt with a smug grin.

“Curt Blacquiere, I presume?” She asks, a bemused tone in her voice. “It’s good to finally meet a-”

“Curtis, please.” The man responds, waving Syb’s words away. “Only those close to me can use the name ‘Curt’.”

“Oooooooooooh” Ly murmurs as Syb brushes it off.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4723183
“Mr. Blacquiere…” Sybil continues, grinning through the slight, “I’ve heard a great deal about your work and-”

“Sybil Castellanos. You make amusing videos for initiates to the occult arts.” He shoots back, not waiting for a response. “Keep at it--it’s a good start. For a novice.”

You feel the air get a bit colder for a second before the giant behind Boris approaches.

“Yep YEP!” Squeaks a girly voice through the mask’s respirator, “Curt’s got a whooooole school of wizards and witches under his belt--he’s soooo good with the kids!” The colossus gushes, hugging the mage from behind! Deftly breaking free, Curt adjusts his bifocals and huffs. “... The Order of the Wandering Eye is a collection of people devoted to unraveling the secrets of the multiverse…” He murmurs. “It is not a Daycare...”

“Man oh man, where the heck are my manners?” Boris laughs, slapping his companions on the back! “You two know Stannie, of course,” He explains, motioning to your quietly-simmering form, “and it looks like you know Sybil, Curt…”

“... All that needs to be known…” He purrs, a stoic look on his face.

“And kick me if I’m mistaken, bumblebee, but you didn’t pick up a few new pals on the way over, did ya?” Boris grins, pointing at Art and Mitzi awkwardly standing a few feet away. “Come on over, guys--we’re all on the same team here!”

Your two security guards approach like kids asked to stand up and answer a question in the classroom. “Heya. I’m uh… I’m Art.” Art mumbles, raising a hand and lowering it.

“Mitzi.” The other grunts, extending a gloved hand for a shake.

“Is that any way to greet a fellow Security Guard?” Asks the ogre as she stomps over on her exoskeleton and SNARES THEM BOTH in a hug!

YOW, that’s gotta hurt!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4723188
“Can’t breathe.” Art hisses, tapping the monster’s back as Mitzi goes limp. With a polite “whoops”, the giant drops them both into a groaning heap.

“Ha ha ha! How could I forget BEA?” Boris asks, suppressing more laughter! “She’s what you’d call the heart of the team!” He explains, patting her on the shoulder.

“D’awwww shucks...” Bea replies, bashfully rubbing the back of her helmet. “I get carried away, that’s all~”

Looking to Syb for guidance, you quickly reconsider when you see a red hue rising in her face behind a forced smile. Guess it’s up to you again…

Directing your attention towards the least annoying of the three, you begin to ask Curt your question once more.

“Hold on a sec!” Boris interrupts, “What the hell are we doing? Me and the team were on our way to the SALOON--why don’t we all grab a drink or two and catch up a bit? My treat, won’t take no for an answer!”

You son of a-

“SURE!” Art replies, straightening his back out. “We’d love to talk about what you guys have been up to, RIGHT GUYS??”

Receiving a growl from you, silence from Syb, and a pained “Sure…” From Mitzi, Art shrugs. “Lead the way, Mr. Ponderosa!”

“Hey now!” He chuckles, wrapping an arm around Art’s shoulder, “Call me Boris--all of my pals do!”

Mitzi shoots you a concerned glance, then silently drags Syb along as you all follow Boris.

“Dat’ went pretty well!” Ly muses.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4723191
“And she BOWLED the skull straight into them! Talk about a STRIKE, huh?” Boris chuckles, elbowing Bea in the ribs! Art politely laughs along as you extend and retract your BONE CLAWS under the table while Syb’s smile finally begins to crumble.

“So…” Mitzi begins, tapping her fingers on the plywood table you’re sitting around, “How did you guys meet up, anyways?”

“Funny you should mention,” Boris grins, “When all of this crazy stuff started I was at home--but when I saw the news I knew what had to be done!”

“You uh… You went into work?” Art asks, glancing at his EVENING SANITATION COORDINATOR COVERALLS.

“Of course!” Boris replies, “But only after the hospital!”

“Turns out we all thought the same thing!” Bea adds with a shrug. “All of those poor people in the hospital--they needed help!”

“With my network of magic practitioners and Beatrix’ knowledge of The Lodge,” Curt explains, “The evacuation went off without a hitch.”

“And that’s how TEAM CBB was formed!” Boris concludes, patting his teammates on the back! “We’ve been stuck together like Bacon, Eggs, and Hashbrowns ever since!”

“How about you guys?” Bea asks, leaning forward with interest. “Did you all meet up rescuing people too?”

“No, uh…” Art mumbles, looking to you for support. “She erm… Saved me. Yea.”

“Me too.” Mitzi chimes in, glancing your way. “There was uh… Skeletons. And she beat ‘em.”

“That’s sooooooo awesome!” Bea replies, satisfied. “You guys seem really good together. Did you all come up with a team name?”

“...No.” Art replies, a hint of disappointment in his voice. “We came up with rules, though.”

“Woooooow.” Bea nods.

“Hey I hope no one’s on Step 12 here or anything, because I’m about to get started on Step DRINK!” Boris chuckles, waving down a server.

“Can I get ya’ something?” The server grumbles, pulling out a small notepad.

“Two--ah hell with it, THREE pitchers of whatever’s on tap and a large plate of Monster Fries--don’t spare the sauce!”

“Oh… R-right away, Mr. Chosen One!” The server mutters, finally looking up from the notepad. With a quick bow of her head she scampers off to the bare bones bar and kitchen area leaving you guys alone to chat.

Goody.

What’s your next topic?
>Since when are you the CHOSEN ONE?
>CURT, what’s the deal with the BARRIER?
>What have you guys been UP TO?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4723194
>WRITE-IN
Let's brag about taking down 2 of the lieutenants. That'll shut that asshole up! Also
>CURT, what’s the deal with the BARRIER?
>>
>>4723194
>CURT, what’s the deal with the BARRIER?
Gather up all of our willpower, feel the power of friendship, have a short but profound flashback to our training, and IGNORE Boris.
>>
>>4723209
>>4723194

>>CURT, what’s the deal with the BARRIER?
>>
>>4723209
>>4723213
>>4723244
>Curt, what's with the BARRIER?
>Brag about your two victories
>Ignore fuggin' Boris

Writing!
>>
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Rapping your knuckles against the table, you divert your attention to Curt--he’s the mastermind behind the barrier here, right? Curt raises his eyebrow slightly.

“... Indeed. We at the Order agreed that physical defenses weren’t nearly enough when dealing with a lich, so after bringing the idea forward to your employer, we erected a Class 5 Hermetic Barrier around The Lodge.”

“Multi-layered, I assume? Sybil asks, breaking her silence for the first time in minutes. Curt lets out a singular ‘heh’ under his breath.

Tri-layered, to be precise. Taking the concept of Pyramid Power into account, it’s really the only proper way to ensure complete and stable protection-”

“If you’re still lingering in Ancient Egypt, that is!” Sybil cuts in with a smirk. “If you’ve read Bover you’d recall that Pyramid Power loses energy between the points--thus creating an inherent weakness in other sections of the shelt-”

“Citing BOVER of all people is akin to asking a plumber how to calculate the trajectory of a space probe-”Curt snaps back!

“Woah, woah, WOAH!” Boris interjects, placing his hand on Curt’s shoulder. “Call a time-out, folks--we’re on the same TEAM, remember?”

Syb and Curt sit back in their seats, quietly simmering.

“...In any case,” Curt sighs, “The barrier is solid for now--I have brothers and sisters devoted to its upkeep 24/7.” The occultist gives you a strange look. “... Quite an interesting reaction you had to it: when I was told there was a disturbance around your arrival, I wasn’t quite expecting you, Ms. Parble.”

You shrug--you felt a little dizzy, that’s all! A wry grin forms on Curt’s face. “No need to be humble--I was merely observing your natural affinity for magic. I would have assumed someone would have told you by now…” He briefly glances in Syb’s direction, “... If they had detected it.”

Syb opens her mouth to say something, but you cover it with your hand and grin--your magic came from a good ole’ fashioned ASS-KICKING, nothing too complex!

“Ooh, I know a story when I see one!” Chuckles Boris as he and Bea lean forward. Not much to tell, you grin, leaning back in your seat! You just happened to grab some new abilities from KING and Rocky!

“... Remind me again, who are they?” Boris asks, raising an eyebrow. No one IMPORTANT, you reply, really piling on the SMUG, just two of the big bad’s PHILANDERIES!

“... Phylacteries?” Curt replies, his interest piqued. “That explains quite a bit.”

“I was WONDERING where all of that came from!” Boris exclaims, slapping the table! “And here everyone is thinkin’ I did it!”

….What?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4723351
“Simple mix-up, you know how it goes!” Boris laughs with a good-natured shrug! “Couple of the security guys made a few more expeditions to the factory and around greaser hangouts--couldn’t help but notice that the remaining boneheads seemed a little… Unsure of themselves!”

Boris pauses as the waitress returns with THREE pitchers of beer, six glasses, and TWO steaming baskets of french fries covered in chili, cheese, grilled onions, and what appears to be Thousand-Island Dressing!

“Chef whipped up a little extra when I told him The Chosen One was here!” The waitress winks. “Don’t even think of paying, now!”

“Too late!” Boris smirks, scooting a wad of bills her way! “I’m nowhere near special enough to forget how to pay for honest work!”

The waitress takes the bills, eyes wide as she counts them. “Err, Mr. Chosen One--you do know you don’t have to pay with paper, right? With the state of things it’s all--”

“All comin’ outta the next few paychecks, I know!” Boris replies, raising his arms in mock surrender! “But I’m sure you and the chef won’t get in trouble for finding a few loose bills lying around, right?” He whispers, shooting her a conspiratorial wink!

“I… Well… Thank you!” The waitress gives your table one last smile before practically SKIPPING away! Hey, you can give her money too! You have a few quarters, damn it!

“Dig in, folks!” Boris chuckles, gesturing to the food and drink! “I figure we’ve all been putting in overtime, haven’t we?”

“As you were saying, Ms. Parble,” Curt continues as Bea cheerfully fills everyone’s glass, “You say you acquired power from the lich’s phylacteries?”

You respond with a smug “MHM!” Wasn’t an easy feat, either! You can even heal by eating marrow and your skeleton tal-”

“OOH, TRY THIS, STAN!” Sybil interrupts, stuffing her glass into your mouth! “So good, right? It almost takes your VOICE away!”

No it doesn’t, you respond, though with the beer you’re being forced to chug it comes out as “Ngghhfblbbburb!”

“Let’s not talk about me yet, ey, cupcake?” Ly whispers. “Gotta keep some cards close!”

Ignoring the strange look from Curt, you nod--yep, those are all of your powers! No wonder you felt so weird in the elevator!

“... Quite. I’m sure my brothers and sisters would be eager to do a thorough analysis.” Curt continues. “If you’re interested, that is.”

Regaining your voice from Syb’s gracious donation of her drink, you nod--that doesn’t sound bad at a-

“STANTRYIT” Syb yelps, snagging Art’s beer out of his hand and stuffing it down your mouth as well!

“Hey, I was drinking th-” Art whines.

“Dr. Devon already took a sample of her marrow!” Syb explains, chuckling to herself. “Maybe you can talk to him!”

“... Perhaps I will.” Curt replies, studying you.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4723353
“Hate to interrupt again,” Boris interrupts. AGAIN. “But it looks like you guys got a head start on the drinking--I was thinking we could make a quick toast first!”

Bea politely refills Syb and Art’s glasses once more as Boris raises his above the table. “Here’s to everyone doing their best!” He exclaims, causing patrons at the other tables to raise their glasses as well, “Cause we all know life’s a TEAM SPORT!”

Eliciting a few chuckles, everyone in the saloon moves to clink their glasses! Oh no, he’s becoming the COOL GUY AT THE BAR!

QUICK! Do YOU have a better, COOLER toast?

>Here’s to people DOING THEIR JOBS!
>Here’s to the REAL HEROES!
>Here’s to GOOD FOOD and BETTER DRINKS!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4723358
>Here’s to the REAL HEROES!

Syb can see Ly but Curt can't, so she's got that on him! unless I'm misremembering
>>
>>4723358
>>Here’s to the REAL HEROES!
>>
>>4723382
>>4723403
Whoops, sorry all--that was NOT the huge decision it felt like--life just got super busy for the past few hours! Writing!
>>
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>>4723382
>Of course he can't see him... Right?

Not missing a beat, you raise your own glass high and even STAND ON YOUR CHAIR for good measure!

Here’s to the REAL HEROES you cheer with only a TINY crack in your voice! Your entourage echoes you enthusiastically (with the exception of Mitzi, who kinda half-asses it if you’re being totally honest) and manages to draw in a few other confused patrons too!

“Hey, yea!” Grins Boris, unphased as always, “To the REAL HEROES!”

Clinking your glasses, you all take a deep swig or three of some of the coldest and most refreshing beer you’ve drank in the past few hours. It almost helps you forget that you’re at the pub with your arch-nemesis!

“Great toast, bumblebee! Wish I thought of it!”

… Almost.

Looks like another lull in the conversation’s brewing again, and you know this dick well enough to know that if you give him time he’ll start asking you shit you don’t wanna answer! You’ll probably be here for a little while longer too judging by how good those FRIES are. Hot Damn!

What do you bring up next?
>What’s this about you being the CHOSEN ONE?
>What have you guys been UP TO?
>Did you mention you met the BOSS?
>Stay silent and let one of THESE dicks ask a question
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4723870
>>What’s this about you being the CHOSEN ONE?
>>What have you guys been UP TO?
>>
>>4723870
>What’s this about you being the CHOSEN ONE?
>What have you guys been UP TO?

Also not fond of the way Curt's been ragging on our BEST FRIEND. Next time he says some mean shit about her we should jump in to defend her or play up how awesome she's been- like how thanks to her we were able to listen in on the big bad lich's plans DIRECTLY!
>>
Feeling kinda out of it, so I think I'll check in TOMORROW and write an update around 9-10AM and write an update then. Thanks for checkin' out Part 6 and I hope to see you again tomorrow!

>>4723914
Don't you worry, we gonna back her up!
>>
>>4723870
>What’s this about you being the CHOSEN ONE?
>What have you guys been UP TO?
God I just know Boris is gonna find some way to make this shit about him. Also +1 on the verbally beat the shit outta Curt (Not Curtis, we aren't giving him that respect). This is our emotional support goth damnit.
>>
>>4722989
Wild.
>>
>>4723887
>>4723914
>>4724344
>CHOSEN ONE and CURRENT EVENTS!
>Also backin' Syb up if Curt talks shit again
Writing!

>>4724344
That's our Boris, right?

>>4724350
Ha ha yea we try to have a good time around here.
>>
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Sorry again for the wait--eyes were acting up for a while...

Snagging another handful of fries, you relish some of the best chow you’ve had in.... Hours? Days? However long it’s been, you take your time chewing before asking another question--one that you really didn’t want to ask.

Sooooo, you begin, what’s the deal with that CHOSEN ONE stuff? You toss a chuckle and a shrug in for extra good measure--FLAWLESS. Boris responds by pulling out that GOLDEN SKULL MASK you saw him wear earlier--DAMN that thing looks cool....

“Nothin’ much to say, really!” Boris explains, casual as always, “Team CBB went tracking down survivors in the ole’ Redwood Preserve--never did track ‘em down, did we?” He shrugs, glancing at his companions.

“...What we did find, however, was a mostly-intact set of ruins…” Curt adds, telekinetically lifting a fry into his mouth. “Druidic to be exact.”

“Here in Clearwater?” Sybil asks, dumbfounded. Team CBB nods!

“My theory is that it was always there.” Curt explains, adjusting his bifocals. “Hidden from public eye until recently due to recent circumstances…”

“An illusion, then?” Syb asks, sipping her beer.

“Possibly.” Curt relents with a shrug. “Or the result of a temporal anomaly. The Order will study it later when things are less… Hectic.”

“Can you believe it?” Boris laughs, spinning the mask on a finger. “I’ve hiked out there all my life and never woulda’ imagined! Guess I was just CHOSEN, huh?”

“Is it still out there?” Art asks, removing his mask to grab some FRIES.

“It’s a bit of a walk, but it should be!” Bea answers! “It was pretty scary, though! I wouldn’t wanna go back!”

Curt nods in assent. “Indeed--there was certainly something ‘off’... Moreover, the ruins were more or less barren save for the MASK...”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4724998
You were getting to that, you say, downing your glass and motioning for a refill. Can you try it on? What’s it do?

“Lotta things, actually!” Boris grins as Bea graciously refills your glass. “Pretty sure I mentioned it a while ago, but I tore my ACL playin’ ball back in the day--made it harder to get around too quickly.”

Yea, yea, everyone’s got a SOB STORY, you reply, motioning for him to continue!

“Anyways, check it--I put this bad boy on and I feel like I could bench FIFTY LINEBACKERS! Outrun ‘em, too!”

You let yourself be impressed for a moment, then chuckle--hey, that’s not bad--now if he could get power from BONE MARROW, well--

“You know what, Bumblebee? I might just try that!” Boris replies, rubbing his chin in thought. “I’ve seen boneheads glow after we thrash ‘em before, but it never occurred to me to try EATING that stuff! You always were creative!”

Resisting the urge to stab your claws through the table (think of the FRIES), you take a few deep breaths and smile--he’s certainly welcome to try!

“Guess we’ve got some homework to do, huh gang?” Boris chuckles, nudging Curt and Bea in the ribs!

“Awwww jeeeez~” Bea giggles. “What a pain!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4725000
“So,” Mitzi interjects, wiping fry stains off of her mask filter. Wait, how-

“You guys keep mentioning survivors--is that what you’ve been doing?”

Boris and Bea look at your group like you just turned green.

“Well… yea...” Boris answers in an almost confused tone, “We’ve been heading in and out the last few days bringing people back here. Sure, we get into scraps, but at the end of the day it’s about savin’ lives first!”

What about taking down TIM, you counter, isn’t that kinda important too?

“...Tim?” Boris replies, raising an immaculately-kept eyebrow.

“You’re referring to the lich, yes?” Curt cuts in. “The Order is currently devising a plan that will--”

Here’s a PLAN for you, you grin, puffing out your chest: You and YOUR TEAM, whose name has yet to be decided, are gonna go around and keep whackin’ PHILACTOMIES until there’s no one left! Pencil that in!

Team CBB stares at you for a second along with a few other bar patrons. Art starts a slow clap, but it dies almost immediately.

“You know what, bumblebee? You’re RIGHT!” Boris exclaims, pounding a fist on the table! “We’ve been goin’ about this all wrong! You can’t win a game when the team is split down the middle!”

Your coworker stares at you with determination in his eyes. “It’s settled then. We’ll JOIN YOU!”

Your body goes into freefall as the color begins to drain from the world around you.

No! NO!! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!

“OR,” Sybil interjects, stuffing Mitzi’s beer down your throat this time, “Why don’t we just divide and conquer? It might be easier to manage if we put pressure on multiple lieutenants!”

“Hey, it was just a suggestion!” Boris chuckles, leaning back in his seat! “Stannie’s right, though--we really oughta’ put more pressure on the head honchos!”

Bea scribbles something down on a napkin and slides it over to you--wait, where the hell did she get a PINK GEL PEN?

“Always be prepared~!” She replies with a giggle. Looking down at the napkin, you see the words CHANNEL 1 written in perfect girly handwriting.

“You can give us a call if you ever wanna chat!” She explains, cocking her helmeted head with what you assume is a smile.

“Hey, good thinkin’!” Boris laughs, “You give us a holler if you ever need help and we’ll come to your rescue!” He adds with a wink!

“Like a superhero hotline!” Art chuckles, eliciting a good-natured ‘eeeeyyyy’ from Boris.

Don’t encourage him!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4725004
That settled, your conversation is put on hold as the lights dim and a set of floodlights with colored plastic in front of them shine in the corner of the saloon revealing a squirrely-looking man holding a microphone. With a thumbs up to the bartender, a prerecorded track starts playing and the man starts singing a familiar 80’s song…

https://youtu.be/8YpPjYkjKPE

Mitzi groans and dumps the remainder of her beer into her mask’s filter. “Forgot they did KARAOKE here…”

“Hey, that sounds like fun!” Boris grins. “We oughta do something together while we’re still alive, yea?”

“I’m always at the gym if you’d like to get in a few sparring rounds~” Bea chirps. “Gotta stay active if you wanna, well… stay active!”

“... Count me out.” Curt mutters, glancing towards the door. “I have important business to attend to while we’re here.”

Yea, well… You’ve got important shit to do too! You’re supposed to meet with the boss soon!

“The CATERING thing, right? Pretty sure they announced that half an hour ago…” Boris muses.

Wait, WHA?! You shriek, leaping up from your seat!

“...Just a joke, bumblebee!” Boris snickers, slapping the table a few times. “Met the boss earlier, though--don’t worry, got ‘em all warmed up for ya!”

BASTARD.

Looks like things are winding down here--and so are the FRIES. Anything else while you have these guys here?

>The RUINS. WHERE ARE THEY?
>KARAOKE sounds pretty fun, actually!
>What’s the BOSS like?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4725007
>The RUINS. WHERE ARE THEY?
I think we read about these in the files back at the school too. Maybe we'll get something out of it.
>>
>>4725017
also nominating 'Boneheads' as our team name
>>
>>4725007
>The RUINS. WHERE ARE THEY?
>>
>>4725007
>KARAOKE sounds pretty fun, actually!
I wanna dance!
>>
>>4725007
>>The RUINS. WHERE ARE THEY?
>>KARAOKE sounds pretty fun, actually!

Let's do some interrogation over KARAOKE!

Also OP how do you have such perfect music tracks to go with every post? It's freaking amazing how well you execute the comedic effects with them.
>>
>>4725017
>>4725041
>>4725087
>RUINS

>>4725059
>>4725087
>...AND KARAOKE

>>4725087
Thanks, anon, that means a lot to me that you're enjoying it! I guess I just get lucky? I listen to a lot of music when I write and sometimes something pops on that makes me laugh--others I've just had in my head for a while for certain characters!

In any case we're gonna get DAT' RUIN and probably sing too! WRITING!
>>
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Too late--the seed has been planted. Doesn’t matter if it’s 8am on a Sunday morning or 2am on a Friday Night--once you’ve spotted a karaoke mic it’s all over. The disgusted glare that’s been deepening ever since you realized Boris was A)The Chosen One and B)Still Alive is slowly replaced by a smug grin--if there’s one thing you can excel at in this cold, unloving world, it’s BUZZED KARAOKE!

“I know what you’re thinkin’!” Boris smirks, glancing in the direction of the adhoc stage, “A DUET, right?”

You choke on your beer--hell no!

“You’re right--it’d be like mixin’ steak sauce and chocolate syrup, huh?” Boris chuckles, deflecting your response like a pro! “Good on their own, but together? Hard pass!”

“You have fun with that.” Mitzi mutters, refilling her glass. “Call me when there’s a dance competition.”

“Yea,” Adds Art, finishing his beer. “Feels a little early in the day for a karaoke contest…”

“...I might give it a try!” Syb giggles. “I’m a bit rusty, though.”

“You TOTALLY should!” Art blurts, finally being supportive!

“... Enjoy yourselves.” Curt mutters, rising to his feet. “Consider my offer, Ms. Parble--our organizations could learn much from one another.” The occultist gives you the tiniest smirk you’ve ever seen before disappearing into the sea of bar patrons and off-key singing.

“High praise comin’ from ole’ Curt!” Boris chuckles. “Guy’s a tough nut to crack, but he’s damn good at what he does!”

“Humble too!” Sybil adds before finishing her drink. “Shall we get things started?”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4725206
Hold on, you hiss, finishing your beer--before you forget you want the location of those RUINS they were talking about! Boris and Bea stare at you for a moment, then shrug.

“Sure--maybe you’ll find something we missed!” Boris says, grinning as he borrows Bea’s pen. “Y’all don’t happen to have a map lyin’ around, do ya?”

Glancing at Syb, your BFF promptly produces the map from earlier--the rip from the knife hastily taped up. Observing it closely, Boris circles an admittedly pretty VAGUE bit of the EASTERN REDWOOD PRESERVE. Wow, very helpful.

“Sorry, bumblebee!” He chuckles to himself, “Didn’t have the forethought to take GPS coordinates or whatever! If you follow the river and then head WEST, though, you should come across it no problemo!”

“Just keep an eye out!” Bea adds, her tone more serious than usual, “The woods can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing!”

The hell does THAT mean? You’ve been out there before!

“Stan, you erm…” Sybil mutters, “You wandered out there. You were drunk, remember?”

Obviously NOT! Explains why your parents got that ticket from the rangers, though.

“Anyways,” Bea continues, “It’s a difficult hike--we would have driven there if we could, but it was just too overgrown!”

“Aaah, quit worryin’, Bea!” Boris grins. “Stannie’s capable of anything!”

Damn STRAIGHT you are.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4725209
Speaking of, you’re pretty sure you’re capable of blowing the roof off of this SALOON now. What’s a girl gotta do to get a mic around here? Like a magician waving a wand, Boris raises his hand and instantly makes the waitress from before appear!

“H-hi again!” She mutters, running her hand through her hair. “Anything else I can do for you, Mr. Chosen One?”

“Me and my pals here wanna take a shot at the stage next!” He explains, gesturing to the table. “Any chance we could get a mic or two?”

“O-Of course!” She replies, nodding enthusiastically! “Coming right up!” Scampering off to the bar, Boris gives the table a good-natured shrug. “No idea where it all comes from--I picked up a mask, save a few people, suddenly everyone’s thinkin’ I’m gonna end this whole thing!”

“If anyone could do it, it’s US!” Cheers Bea, gently shaking Boris by the shoulder! “You guys included too, of course!”

“Still quite a few skeletons to go…” Art nods. “No reason why we can’t work together!”

You and Syb combine forces and send the most WITHERING GLARE you can muster at Art. When he just looks at you with his classic ‘Whuuh? Whuh I Dooo?’ face, you sigh--clearly you’re gonna have to explain everything later on in PAINFUL detail.

“Here you go!” chirps the waitress, scuttling back to your table with a LARGE BINDER and [GREEN]TWO HANDHELD MICS! “Just give Ruby a ring when you want to start!”

“Lemme guess, you’re Ruby.” Boris purrs, eliciting a sheepish giggle from the waitress. “Pretty name--’specially for a gem like you.”

Okay you’re ACTUALLY gonna VOM if this keeps up and you REALLY liked those fries--quick, who should go FIRST?! Something tells you there might be time for THREE PERFORMANCES, but you’re not sure why...

>SYB, blow ‘em away!
>BORIS, try not to embarrass yourself!
>BEA, let’s hear you.
>ART, no anime shit!
>I’LL show you how it’s done!
>MITZI, come oooooon!
>>
>>4725213
>>I’LL show you how it’s done!
>>
You know what, folks? Better idea--pick THREE CHARACTERS you want to sing. If it includes STAN, feel free to link a specific song as well!
>>
>>4725213
>>4725273
>I’LL show you how it’s done!
>SYB, blow ‘em away!
>ART, no anime shit!

Stan's song: I'm thinking either https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GPZDX9_2oE or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YdQBkxf4kU
>>
>>4725325

Support
>>
>>4725325
+1 and support Holding Out For a Hero for our song.
>>
>>4725268
>>4725325
>>4725345
>>4725361
>STAN, SYB, and ART!
>Stan's doin' "Holding Out For a Hero"
>The rest.... WILL BE REVEALED!
WRITING!
>>
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Sensing that you might not have much time left, you TAKE CHARGE! Syb’s goin’ first, then Art, and then YOU!

“Alright!” Syb replies, a smile on her face! “I’m warning you, though, I haven’t sang in a while…”

“You’re gonna do GREAT!” Art exclaims a little too loudly. Boris gestures towards the stage with a smile.

“Dazzle us, sweetheart!”

Scampering up to the stage, your pal gets the attention of Ruby the waitress and whispers a few things in her ear. A dimming of the lights signals the beginning of her song as several bar patrons cheer politely!

https://youtu.be/wsOHvP1XnRg

Tapping her boot through the intro, Syb belts into the microphone like she was born with one in her hands! Your table cheers her on as she shoots you guys a wink every now and then, oozing with natural charisma!

“YEEEAAAA!” Howls Art as he claps along!

“Call a witch doctor, cuz’ I’m SPELLBOUND!” Whistles Boris as Bea claps to the beat excitedly! You grin--Syb’s one of a kind, that’s for sure! Even MITZI’s tapping her foot!

The crowd bursts to life with cheers and applause long before the lyrics trail off! With a quick bow, Syb scampers back to your table and takes a sip from her drink.

“Hope it wasn’t too long!” She exhales, glancing around the table sheepishly.

“It was just right, Syb.” Boris chuckles, giving her a thumbs up. “Tough act to follow, that’s for sure!”

“Seconded.” Mitzi mutters, pouring some more beer.

“Thirded!” Agrees Bea!

“Y-yea!” Art stammers, “You were great!”

“And I bet you’re going to be even better!” Winks Syb, passing Art the mic!

“I uh… Well I…” Art mumbles, sweat dripping from his mask, “D-do you think they’ll let me keep the mask o-”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4725482
Just go, dork! You joke, gently shoving him in the direction of the stage. And NO ANIME SHIT!

“Shut UP!” Art groans, stumbling towards the stage. Testing the mic a few times, Art turns around and mentions something to Ruby, prompting the stage lights to dim once more…

https://youtu.be/mLDo-jHcvAQ

“Oh my GODS.” Sybil breathes, “That… That can’t be HISvoice, can it?”

“No room for voice-changers in these!” Bea explains, tapping the side of her mask.

AAAAAAANIME! You drone as you drink straight from one of the pitchers. AAAAAAANIMEEEEE!!! The guard waits for a break in the vocals and turns to you, annoyance in his lenses!

“It’s NOT ANIME!” Art shouts in his normal, reedy voice! “It’s N-SHUT UP, STAN! SHUT UP!”

Despite being in another language, the song takes the cake! As the lights return to normal, the bar cheers as Art returns to his seat--even a few other Security Guards slap him on the back!

“Fuck you, Stan.” He mutters, a touch of laughter in his voice as he gently punches you in the shoulder. “It’s a LANGUAGE.”

“AMAZING!” Shouts Syb, giving the sweaty guard an ACTUAL HUG! “You didn’t tell us you could speak Japanese!”

“I uh…” Art mutters, his face flushed under his mask, “Just learned the song. From an anime opening…”

HAH! You fucking KNEW IT!

“Looks like it’s our fearless leader’s turn.” Mitzi mutters, looking at you expectantly. “You gonna knock us dead or what?”

“Yea, Stannie!” Boris chuckles, “Let’s see what you can do!”

Cracking your knuckles, you hop up from your seat as Art passes you the mic. All eyes are on you as you approach the stage--time to give the crowd what they want!

...And if your performance convinces Boris to give up on life then that’s okay too!

“Got a song in mind?” Ruby asks, her tone completely different.

You BET you do! Whispering your choice to her, you take your stand on the stage and take a deep breath as the lights fall on your face!

>Roll 1d100 to DAZZLE THE BAR! I’ll take the BEST OF THREE ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4725483
Actually laughed out loud at Art's fucking song choice- absolute banger!

Let's hope Stan can follow up on her friends' performances!
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>4725483
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>4725483
>>
>>4725567
You were the hero we needed at the end of the night
>>
>>4725567
Good thing we held out for you!

>>4725493
>>4725539
>>4725567
>Highest Roll: 92!
Writing!
>>
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https://youtu.be/3GPZDX9_2oE

Your pals set up the pins--time to knock ‘em DOWN! Tapping your foot to the beat, you spend the opening piano keys scanning the crowd--judging by the looks and the body language of the refugees and guards it’s clear they know who you are. Looking over at your tables nets you a bouquet of thumbs--time to show ‘em what you can do!

“From da’ diaphragm, cupcake!” Ly whispers! “Break a leg!”

You’ll break more than THAT! Practically eating the mic, you dive into the opening lyrics masterfully--so much so that you even catch a bit of surprise from Boris’ stupid face! Dancing around the stage like you own it, you belt the lyrics like you’ve practiced them your entire life--so much so that everyone, even the bartender, pauses whipping up drinks to clap along!

“You got ‘em eatin’ outta’ your palm, Stan!” Ly cheers as the second verse begins! Mixing in a few new dance moves, your gaze returns to your table where you find your pals chatting excitedly, clapping in time with the beat! Even Mitzi, charmingly nonplussed for the last two songs, is clapping along! Goaded on by the cheers of your pals and the bar patrons, you come to the finale--time to end with a BANG!
You end the song like you did your dance-off with Nico--taking several deep steps back, you explode forward in a rush of energy and flip--landing into a powerslide that takes you all the way to the center of the saloon!

A hush falls over the crowd as the music trails off and the lights return to normal, and after a moment of complete and utter silence, the whole place ERUPTS with cheers and applause!

Rising to your feet, you bask in the attention and smile--not bad at all!

“Anything else?” Ly asks as the applause dies down.

>That shit was dedicated to (WRITE-IN)!
>The name’s PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE.
>Try the FRIES, they’re great!
>Just bask in the feelings of superiority. Fuck yea.
>WRITE-IN
Sorry if that seemed rushed--gonna play some tabletop stuff with some pals, so I probably won’t be back for the rest of the night. I should be able to pop out an update around 9-10AM PST on SUNDAY, though! Thank you guys so much for the song suggestion--fucking LOVE me some Bonnie Tyler!
>>
>>4725605
>That shit was dedicated to (WRITE-IN)!
"Sybil, who's MY hero!"

Sue is also a good option if we don't wanna embarrass our buddy
>>
>>4725605
>>The name’s PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE.
>>Just bask in the feelings of superiority. Fuck yea.
>>
>>4725605
>The name’s PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE.
>Just bask in the feelings of superiority. Fuck yea.
>>
>>4725605
>The name’s PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE.
>Just bask in the feelings of superiority. Fuck yea.
>>
>>4725605
>The name’s PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE.
>Just bask in the feelings of superiority. Fuck yea.
>Try the FRIES, they’re great!
>>
>>4725609
>For my BEST FRIEND SYB

>>4725624
>>4725888
>>4725901
>>4725975
>The name's PARBLE. FUCK YEAAAA

Writing!
>>
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For a second you consider dedicating the song to Syb… Or your brother, wherever he is, but you decide against it--Looks like Art already scored some points with her and while you aren’t exactly the authority on dating, you’re smart enough to know that it would be a dick move to one-up him.

“The name,” You say into the mic, “Is PARBLE. STANLEY PARBLE!”

Yea, that’ll do! Returning to your table with confident strides, you feel the rest of the bar’s eyes on you as they chatter--sounds like you made an impression!

“BumbleBEE!” Boris cheers, giving you a few more claps, “Gotta say, not bad at all!”

“You killed it up there!” Bea adds! “You’ve gotta give me a few tips!”

“That was…” Mitzi drones, her eye lenses transfixed on you, “That was…”

“AMAZING!” Art shouts, handing you a full cup of beer! “Seriously, Stan--I knew you had moves from the diner, but I didn’t know you could do Karaoke too!”

“She’s one of a kind!” Sybil giggles, giving you a hug. “Really though, you did great!”

Heh--just going with the FLOW, you grin, downing the contents of the glass! Taking your seat once more, you lean back and sigh--not too shabby!
“Alrighty then, time for someone else!” Boris cheers, drumming his knuckles on the table! “Who’s it gonna b-”

Mitzi’s hand raises slowly like she was held at gunpoint. “...I mi-”

The saloon’s drunken revelry is put on hold as a sequence of chimes rings through the saloon!

https://youtu.be/zXhb596PlgI

”ATTENTION: WILL THE CATERING COMMITTEE PLEASE REPORT TO THE SECURITY WING. REPEAT: WILL THE CATERING COMMITTEE PLEASE REPORT TO THE SECURITY WING.”

And with that the intercom goes dead.

“FUCKERS WORRYIN’ ABOUT CATERING?!” Shouts a patron, prompting the rest of the saloon to share their own opinions. As the energy returns to the establishment, everyone at the table stares at you.

“Guess that’s the signal, huh?” Art asks, gesturing towards the intercom speaker. “Better hurry!”

“Awwww, really?” Boris groans, “Ducking out before Bea and I can show you what we’ve got? Come on, Parble--one more song! They’ll wait!”

“No, we should go.” Mitzi mutters, rising from her feet. “Don’t want to be late.”

“Coulda swore you wanted to sing just now…” Boris muses, shooting Mitzi a sideways glance. “Weren’t you inspired by Stan?”

“Y-yea, but-” Mitzi shoots back.

“Aaah, just messing with ya.” Boris chuckles. “Do what you gotta do, Stan--I won’t mind either way!”

Like you care about what HE thinks! What do?

>Okay, ONE more song! (BORIS, BEA, or MITZI?)
>Nope, gotta GO.
>I’ve gotta GO, but YOU guys can STAY!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4726361
>I’ve gotta GO, but YOU guys can STAY!
>>
>>4726361
>I’ve gotta GO, but YOU guys can STAY!

>write-in
Whisper to Sybil asking if she'll record the other performances. You know, just to scout out the competition!
>>
>>4726367
>>4726382
>I gotta go, but you stay! Also Syb record some shit

WRITING
>>
>>4726367
>>4726382

Support
>>
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Rising from your seat, you crack your neck and shrug--They’re free to continue having fun, but you’re not gonna be late to a meeting with the BIG CHEESE.

“Probably a good idea.” Syb nods. “It’s bound to be a good opportunity to get some answers.”

“Figures you’d run off before I got a turn at the mic…” Boris sighs, raising his arms in an ‘oh well’ gesture!

You’re meeting with THE BOSS, jerk--you’ll have plenty of time to school him in Karaoke later!

“Jussst messin’ with ya, amigo!” Boris grins. “Hey, tell ‘em I said ‘hey’ when you meet with them!”

“You gonna be okay without an escort?” Mitzi asks, drumming her fingers on her empty glass. You’ve gotten this far without one. Besides, it’s just a meeting--not like anyone’s gonna get hurt, right?

“Unless Mr. B is there…” Art shudders. Yea, well… An escort wouldn’t exactly save you from whatever that guy wants to dish out.

Giving your table a friendly wave, you pause as Boris and Bea peruse the songbook. Turning back to Syb, you idly tap your eyebrow--she should really watch those next performances CAREFULLY, if she gets your drift!

“Of course!” She agrees, shooting you a conspiratorial grin, “It’ll be like you NEVER LEFT!”

“Good luck, Stan!” Art adds as you leave the table. A few patrons raise their glasses as you pass, many offering you a smile or something along the lines of ‘good singing!’. Leaving through the painfully normal non-swinging saloon doors, you emerge once again into the cramped tunnels of the COMMONS.

“Didn’t get a chance back there,” Ly whispers, “But what a PERFORMANCE, cupcake! Couldn’ta’ done it better myself!”

Of course he couldn’t--he doesn’t have vocal chords, you joke, making your way down the corridor.

“So, meetin’ wit’ da’ bossman, huh?” Ly continues as you pass a group of figures with an EYEBALL MOTIF on their longcoats. “What an honor...”

Yep. If you can even call him ‘bossman’. You’ve never even met them before. Or seen them, for that matter.

“Kinda weird for the CEO of a Dog Bone company.” Ly muses as you approach the COMMONS ENTRY HALL. “...Then again, so’s having a doomsday bunker da’ size of a small town…”

Oh yea, you agree as security guards wave you through the COMMONS CHECKPOINT, they’ll have a lotta’ questions to answer, that’s for sure!

“Still,” Ly mutters as you emerge in the CENTRAL ELEVATOR SHAFT, “You think it’s a good idea to show up after drinkin'?”

A few guards interrupt your inspection of the elevator map and motion you onto a lift. This ain’t the first meeting you’ve gone to under the influence and it sure as HELL won't be the LAST! The guards on the elevator give you space as the lift begins to take you downwards.

SECURITY. Can’t wait...
>>
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>>4726511
https://youtu.be/_bIiXPPEm4A
You can already make out Blumenkrantz’ mountainous figure as the lift approaches its destination. As the shutters open you’re greeted by several more guards--these ones wearing EXOSUITS. Flanking them are two figures wearing HOODED LONGCOATS--that same EYEBALL design embroidered on the hood.

“PARBLE….” Blumenkrantz growls, glaring at the three different watches straining to encompass his impossibly hairy and beefy forearm, “Your ass is officially TWO MINUTES BEHIND SCHEDULE.” One of his nostrils lifts for a second, taking a whiff of the bunker air. “... And you’re DRINKING on the clock, you MISERABLE DEGENERATE.”

Nah, that’s just your uh… It’s a skin product, you explain. For GIRLS. A vein throbs in Blumenkrantz’ forehead, but he remains quiet.

“... Follow my ass into SECURITY and keep close!” He barks!

Like you could miss it...

“Save the jokes and follow CLOSE, FREAK--unless you wanna MAKE MY DAY...”

Spinning on his heels with practiced form, the chief leads the way into the SECURITY WING. One of the EXOGUARDS gives you a friendly smack on your back with the butt of his rifle inspiring you to get moving.

Still just as crazy as you left it, the SECURITY HUB and the people darting to and fro barely notice your procession as you head forwards through a series of bigger and BADDER bulkheads. A few guards spare you a passing glance, but quickly reconsider when prompted by Blumenkrantz’ growls. As you head deeper you notice even more EYE COATS standing guard.

“Must be Curt’s pals.” Ly whispers. Well they certainly aren’t the cleaning staff, you reply, stepping over a pile of spilled documents.

“LIPS SHUT, PARBLE!” Blumenkrantz roars! “You’re on THIN ICE right now--and I’M the pack of ORCAS waiting underneath!”

… The hell is he talking about ORCS for? Another smack to your back discourages that line of thinking, and before long you reach another elevator--this one much fancier than the cargo lifts in the main shaft!

“BACK AGAINST THE WALL, PARBLE!” Blumenkrantz shouts, prompting your escorts to give you incentive by aiming their guns at your face. Given the circumstances you decide to comply, and once the chief is certain you’re at a safe distance, he flips open a panel underneath the elevator buttons, taps a few keys on a small keypad, then bends down just in time for a series of faint red beams of light to shine through his sunglasses.

GRANTED, drones a robotic voice.

With a ‘DING’ the elevator doors close, taking everyone even deeper into the facility. A strange song filters in through the lift’s speakers as you descend:

https://youtu.be/V7dg8vRDM68

The he-

“CAN IT, PARBLE!” The chief growls! “... I happen to ENJOY this song...”

>CONT.
>>
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>>4726513
Everyone’s foot is tapping to the beat by the time the elevator reaches its final destination--unlike the rest of the facility, the floor you’re on resembles some sort of bank vault--metal walls and all! Leading you forward, Blumenkrantz presses a few keys on the blast door in front of you causing it to rise into the ceiling. Up ahead sits a security checkpoint manned by several EXOGUARDS, an EYE COAT, and even a GUARD DOG wearing a modified Good Boy Corporate Security mask!

“Please deposit ALL items into the bin.” commands one of the guards as he points to a slot in the security desk. Okay, you reply, but it’s gonna be a LOT of stuff!

FOUR MINUTES LATER…

You can almost TASTE Blumenkrantz’ growing anger behind you as you struggle to fit your KITTY HELMET in through the slot. The rest of the guards watch you wordlessly--whether they’re impressed, sympathetic, or something else is hard to tell.

Trying it again from another angle, your plan is cut short as the DOG snatches the helmet out of your hands and places it through the slot!

“Good girl, Daisy!” Praises one of the guards, scratching the dog’s back. The creature glances at you, smugness emanating through its eye lenses. Okay, no fair--the dog had lots of time to practi-

You feel a set of mammoth fingers clasp around your throat in a sensation you’re starting to get used to.

“Quit wasting TIME, PARBLE!” Blumenkrantz hisses through clenched teeth! Chucking you through like a javelin, you land in a heap in front of the EYE COAT. Unphased by your flight, the figure quietly observes you, then speaks with a soft, yet commanding voice.

“For the time being, all magical energy and enchantments on your person will be temporarily NULLIFIED. They will return after the meeting--do you comply?”

Do you?
>YES
>N-

“Let me help you decide!” Blumenkrantz growls, picking you up again and SLAMMING YOUR FACE AGAINST THE WALL! Ignoring the taste of blood in your mouth, you check your options again.

>YES
>YES
>YES

… Okay, you’ll pick YES.

“Good CHOICE.” The chief growls, nodding to the mage. With a quick wave of their hands and a soft muttering under their breath, you suddenly feel WEAKER! As you plunge towards the ground, you’re once again grabbed by Blumenkrantz who carries you like luggage through another series of blast doors!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4726515
By the time the dizziness leaves you, your group reaches what you ASSUME to be your destination--a pure-white room barren of any design or features save for a BOLTED-DOWN DESK with SHACKLES ATTACHED and a CHAIR similar to what you were in back in your INTERROGATION ROOM. Another DOOR sits flush against the wall across from you, barely noticeable unless you squint! Oh BOY...

“Can the ATTITUDE, you GREMLIN!” Blumenkrantz growls, slamming your form into the chair. Before you can react, the other members of your entourage lock your legs against the bottom of the chair. In place of cuffs, however, your arms are locked in CHAINS. They’re still pretty uncomfortable, of course, but you can’t help but grin appreciatively when you’re able to move your arms around!

As you test your articulation, you notice a small, white camera in the corner--its surface bereft of any lights or indication that it’s active. As you peer into its lens, you hear your escorts quietly file out of the room.

“We’ll be outside until the meeting’s over.” Blumenkrantz hisses. “Remember, Parble--ONE reason…”

Waving him away, you crack your neck--you’re gonna fall asleep at this rate! Giving you one last growl for good measure, the security chief crouches through the entrance you came in through leaving you alone save for the camera.

Whistling the tune of a song whose name you can’t quite remember, you’re promptly interrupted by the hiss of the door across from you opening! Squinting into the darkness behind the door, your patience is rewarded by revealing a familiar figure….

The tiny form of CHRISTY emerges from the shadows, her expression hidden behind her large glasses and her hands folded behind her back. Entering as quietly as a mouse, she observes you as if waiting for you to make the first move.

What do you say?
>I fucking KNEW IT.
>Is this some kind of JOKE?
>NOPE, bullshit. Get the real boss out here.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4726517
>Is this some kind of JOKE?
Her name's not Sonny!
>>
>>4726517
>>Is this some kind of JOKE?
>>
>>4726517
>I fucking KNEW IT, NO WAY could a bit character have a PORTRAIT and a NAME!
>>
>>4726529
>>4726535
>Is this a JOOOOOOKE?

>>4726552
>I fuckin' knew it

Writing!
>>
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You regard the freaky little personal assistant thing for a while before letting out an exaggerated “PSSSSSSHHHHH!!!!” causing her to recoil a little. Is this some kind of JOKE, you shout at the camera as you poke a thumb towards the girl! This HAS to be a joke! No friggin’ way!

This creep’s name is CHRISTY, for cryin’ out loud, you continue! Cocking her head in confusion, Christy approaches the desk and removes her hands from behind her back--cradled between them is an old-fashioned red telephone complete with a rotary dial and everything--kinda like the one in that fairy’s office!

Wordlessly hooking it up under the desk, Christy reaches into her shirt pocket and pulls out a sticky note. Before you can react, she promptly stamps it on the phone and exits the room, the door hissing shut as though she was never there! Peering down at the phone, you take a moment to decipher the immaculate handwriting on the attached note:

Pic related!

Three times, huh? Before you can contemplate it further, the room is filled with the classic sound of a phone ringing!

https://youtu.be/xfxGYKG9_QA?list=LL

Oh SHIT! What do you do!?

>ANSWER THAT SHIT NOW!
>Wait for TWO rings before answering--that’ll show ‘em.
>Wait for THREE rings. Follow the instructions!
>Don’t even pick up. Power play time.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4726577
>Wait for THREE rings. Follow the instructions!
>>
>>4726577
>Wait for THREE rings. Follow the instructions!
>>
>>4726577
>Wait for THREE rings. Follow the instructions!
Probably a good idea.
>>
>>4726577
>Wait for THREE rings. Follow the instructions!
>>
>>4726585
>>4726607
>>4726615
>>4726635
>Following instructions! Writing!
>>
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The message on the note still fresh in your memory (and why wouldn’t it be--you read that shit like a second ago), you let the phone ring THREE times, filling the room with an eerie echo.

You’re gonna have to see if you can get a guitar in here later--you’d get some KILLER ACOUSTICS going on!

Whoops, the phone, right. Clearing your throat and raising the receiver to your ear, you politely answer with an “Ahoy-hoy!”

https://youtu.be/_bIiXPPEm4A

“Following instructions to the letter! Very interesting coming from someone like you, Stanley.” Purrs a cordial, yet almost androgynous voice on the other end of the line. “Glad to finally make your acquaintance--you probably already know who I am…”

Sonny Bruckmann Jr. you recite, staring directly into the camera.

“My reputation precedes me!” The voice chuckles! “Call me SUNNY. Or SONNY! Or Jr. if you prefer--I don't really mind either way. In any case, please accept my HUMBLEST apologies for the setup--appearances are everything in business and, well, I just don’t see much of a reason to make one most of the time. Rest assured, however, that you have my full undivided attention for the time being--especially after that show you put on in the saloon earlier! You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”

You shrug.

“How EXCITING. Now I’m sure you’re a very busy girl so I’ll try not to waste too much of your time--but before we get down to brass tacks, do you have any questions for ME floating around in that cute little head of yours?”

You twirl the receiver cord around your finger as you think of all the questions you have--shit, they couldn’t have given you a PEN?!

What say you?
>WHO are you, exactly?
>Why is GOOD BOY prepared for the APOCALYPSE?
>What do you know about THE LICH?
>What do you know about ME?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4726681
>Why is GOOD BOY prepared for the APOCALYPSE?
>WHO are you, exactly?
>>
>>4726681
>WHO are you, exactly?
>Why is GOOD BOY prepared for the APOCALYPSE?
>What do you know about THE LICH?
>What do you know about ME?

I feel bad picking them all but I really wanna know. For the sake of sanity if it helps, I'll +1 >>4726686 instead if that's easier.
>>
>>4726681
>>WHO are you, exactly?
>>Why is GOOD BOY prepared for the APOCALYPSE?
>>
>>4726686
>>4726754
>>4726759
>Apoc Prep
>WHO are you really?

>>4726754
No sweat--I realize a lot of the prompts tend to sound pretty important. I mostly put them up in case there's something people DON'T want me to write about. I'll check in after writing these two and see if we need further clarification.

Writing!
>>
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Several other questions float through your mind like fish in a pond, but one in particular stands out:

Who the heck are they anyway?!

You’re rewarded with a light chuckle. “Why, the CEO of Good Boy Doggie Bones, of course--at least after my father passed away, rest his soul…”

The voice pauses as though remembering something.

“As for who I am, well, that’s another question entirely, isn’t it? How does one define themselves? By their actions? Their legacy?”

Nope--that right there? Cut it out! You growl into the receiver. You didn’t ask for a philosophy lesson!

“You’re right--we’re both quite busy.” The voice replies, a hint of disappointment in their voice. “Let me cut to the chase, then--I’m your employer, as well as the employer of countless other people in Clearwater--and beyond.”

A mischievous chuckle.

“Or maybe I’m just filling in? The best part of limiting appearances is that no one really gets a ‘bead’ on who you are… Almost as if you’re wearing a mask.”

No way. No friggin way, you hiss, smacking your head with your chained fist!

“I’ll give you this one freebie--I’m not Ponderosa. I can admire his work ethic, of course, but while we share a few similarities, we’re about as alike as a cat and a lamprey.”

A pause.

“Care to guess which one I am?”

You shrug--not really…

“Bother. I don’t mean to GUSH, Stanley, but hiding away like this isn’t all fun and games--to be perfectly blunt it leaves me rather lonely at times. I went to a boarding school when I was younger, you see, so contact was rather limited even then. Yes, yes, I know--’the burden of the wealthy’. I don’t mean to sound so trite, but money really isn’t everything if you’re constantly being targeted for it…”

Hold on a second, you frown--boarding school? What kind?

“Why the one that’s very far away…” Laughs the voice. “The one with small classes, tutors, mischief in the dorms, the cute skirts we used to wear…” Another pause. “Or were they slacks? My memory’s gone a bit hazy…”

So wait a minute, you interrupt, Sonny’s a… Sunny?

“Whatever you PREFER, Stanley.” The voice replies with a chuckle. “Or maybe I’m a ghost. Or some vile creature from another dimension! Maybe I’m an ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE designed to run a company? Oh, your mind must be quivering from the possibilities!”

It’s… A lot to take in, you reply. You get a feeling you aren’t going to get many answers here.

“Oh don’t look so glum,” Pouts the voice. “How about this, then: Did you know the Bruckmanns were a part of a SECRET SOCIETY?”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4726845
Your eyes light up at those last words!

“Ah, I knew that would put a smile on your face.” Croons the voice through the receiver. “It’s a good look on you, if you don’t mind my saying so… Anyways, yes--my family, along with several others, were a part of a select few who, for lack of a better term, put this town on the proverbial ‘map’. Historical accounts are misleading, of course, but as an insider I can tell you without a doubt that it involved a great deal of money as well as… Unorthodox means of acquiring it.”

You mean… CRIMES? You whisper into the receiver!

“Nothing so boring as that, I’m afraid.” The voice sighs. “No, more of the paranormal variety--rituals in the night, cloaks and capes, peculiar medallions--that kind of thing.”

Puzzle pieces fall into place in your brain. Does that have anything to do with Good Boy being WAY TOO PREPARED for this whole shitfest?

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” The voice laughs. “The Lodge used to be a SALT MINE once upon a time--my father bought it for a song from the original owner--stockholders didn’t approve, of course, but we Bruckmanns rarely let a potential opportunity slip by, however slim it may seem…”

And years later it’s a doomsday shelter.

“You can wipe that look off of your face--where’d that smile run off to?” The voice chastises. “Father intended for it to be a shelter in the event Nuclear War broke out--needless to say it didn’t, but Mr. Blumenkrantz and I both agree it turned out rather useful, didn’t it?”

A little too useful, you reply. Almost as if they knew this was going to happen!

“Come now, Stanley, if I was orchestrating this entire thing why would I be meeting with you in the first place?” The voice purrs. “The company is merely utilizing one of its oldest assets--nothing new! Why WOULDN’T we open our doors to the Police and National Guard? Did you know that the majority of municipal buildings in Clearwater were built using Good Boy donations? There’s a factoid you can share at the dinner table!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4726849
Okay, you respond, your mind buzzing already from this conversation, what about the corporate DEATH SQUADS? Why does a dog bone company need hardware that rivals the military?

“To combat the Undead, of course!” The voice responds. “Or maybe we’ve always had them. To think--all of those donut-eaters napping in the lobby… What if every FOURTH one was a highly-trained killer? Chilling, isn’t it? Wouldn’t want to make them angry--won’t find ME reading their emails, that’s for sure!”

The voice chuckles, but you don’t join in--who the hell are you even working with?

“Is it the work of our dearly devoted Chief of Security? Did post-war paranoia lead him to create a crack team of operators to combat corporate espionage? Or did we need them for something else?”

Another pause, followed by a chuckle. “You know what’s interesting about running a dog bone company, Stanley? Even though you’re creating a pet novelty, you’re still experimenting with an essential part of the body… Kind of like a butcher, wouldn’t you agree? On the surface he cuts meat, but underneath is a man with an encyclopedic knowledge of tendons, ligaments--all of the shortcuts for CUTTING something apart… I imagine those skills could be quite useful to the right organizations...”

The voice lets their words sink in a bit before continuing. The right organizations, huh?

“UGH! Kills my appetite just THINKING about it! By the way, Stanley--do you like LOBSTER?”

D-do you?
>Heck yea
>Never tried it
>Not really…
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4726851
>Never tried it
Do we look rich?

Also maybe we should show him that medallion we found at some point- if we get the opportunity
>>
>>4726851
>Never tried it
>>
>>4726936
>>4726963
>Never tried it!
Writing!
>>
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Tried it?! Of course you have--what idiot hasn’t had LOBSTER before?

Wait a minute… That’s the one with the SPIKES, right?

“Snapping claws, curled tail, lives in the ocean.” The voice responds in an amused tone.

Oh snap, guess you haven’t then! What animal have you been eating, then? In any case, do you LOOK rich? You barely have enough cash to know what ‘Lobs-Tuur’ even is!

“Overrated, if you ask me.” Scoffs the voice. “Some people treat it like ambrosia, but once you’ve eaten it for a week it tends to lose its lustre… I find myself more drawn to ceviche, myself--more of a bite to it!”

You blink--is there a point to this, or are they trying to torture you with hunger?

“The lobster is a curious creature, Stanley, not unlike yourself--the latter, of course, is far more appealing on the eyes, if you don’t mind my saying so.”

Uhhh, cool! You reply, adjusting your seat a bit.

“Some believe that lobsters are essentially immortal--that assuming they aren’t eaten, poisoned, or harmed to the point of death, they can live forever.” Explains the voice. “Indeed, many lobsters can survive up to 100 years if fate permits--but that’s a rarity in the wild.”

This is pretty informative, but it still doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on…

“Doesn’t it? My point, Stanley, is that given the right circumstances, some things can survive for ages! You, me, this company--we can’t truly be immortal, but we CAN be LOBSTERS! For better or worse, Good Boy has secured a future--I only hope that YOU will be there by my side when the ashes fall...”

Kinda grim, but okay!

“And remind me to treat you to lobster--I’ll have to invite you for dinner some time…”

Sound great--this whole ‘Lha-b’sturr’ thing is gonna keep you up at night…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727105
Speaking of keeping you up at night, you found a FUNNY-LOOKING AMULET at your old High School--in the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE to be exact! Do they know anything about that?

“Let me guess--resembles an amulet, strange runes carved on the front, possibly DRUIDIC in nature?”

You feel your eyes almost leap from their sockets! That’s… That’s TOO good to be a guess, you reply in a hushed tone.

“I can’t get anything by you, can I?” The voice laughs. “I’m not one to kiss and tell, Stanley, but for you I’ll gladly make an exception--you’ve come across an amulet signifying membership in The Order of Tibius.”

It’s a good thing you’re strapped in, because HOLY SHIT!

“Indeed--the very same secret society my father and several other prominent members of the Clearwater gentry were a part of! Don’t worry--I was an observer, at best. What reason would I have to withhold that information from you?”

A secret society devoted to TIM?! Here in CLEARWATER??!

“It’s true.” The voice reports in a mournful tone. “I’m afraid Good Boy isn’t the only thing going for this flyover town….”

Wh-bu-HUH?!!?

>How did this all start?!
>Who were the MEMBERS?
>Why would they worship TIM?!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4727108
>How did this all start?!
>Why would they worship TIM?!

If the CEO wants to flirt with us so bad, I'm down to dig for some gold- assuming they ever grow the balls to meet with us in person.

Worshipping Tim though might be kind of a dealbreaker!
>>
>>4727112

+1
>>
>>4727108
>How did this all start?!
>Who were the MEMBERS?
>>
>>4727112
>>4727137
>>4727139
>How did it START?
>Why worship TIM?
>Who are the MEMBERS?
>>
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Struggling to regain your mental balance (an experience not wholly unfamiliar to you), you begin by asking what you feel is the most IMPORTANT question: WHY!?! Why the hell would anyone worship a homicidal pile of bones bent on world domination?!

“... You clearly don’t follow modern politics.” The voice replies. “In all seriousness, however, it’s hard to imagine what’s happening now would, well… Happen, especially given a historical context.”

Then how about they help you imagine? You snarl, glaring at the camera.

“Settle down--I’m telling you, aren’t I? Anyways, it all began with my Great Grandfather, Ludwig R. Bruckmann--a naturalist at heart, he was enamored with taking long trips into the forest--sometimes he would be gone for days at a time with nothing but a rucksack, a rifle, and a notebook, or so I’ve been told.”

He was a Hike Nerd. Incredible. What’s that have to do wit-

“I was getting to that! It was on one of these sojourns that he noticed something peculiar--a strange glow in the woods!”

Aliens?

“If only! No, he discovered a formation of rocks and masonry surrounded by a charred crater--their shape unlike anything he had ever seen living in California! The closest comparison he could make was to Rockhenge in the United Kingdom. Marking the spot in his notebook, he would spend the next few months of his life studying any druidic text he could get his hands on in order to decipher the meaning behind the strange ruins.”

Sounds like it would have gone a lot faster if he had just asked a buddy or something, you muse, drumming your fingers on the table.

“Indeed, but my grandfather was nothing if not paranoid--he feared that he might attract the attention of someone, or something unsavory, so he toiled alone. One fateful day he brought his notes to the ruins and, upon following instructions found there, was visited by a PRESENCE.”

TIM...

“Precisely.” The voice agrees. “It talked to my grandfather--asked for things. Information, trinkets, simple items! In return the entity gave him gifts in return--wealth, luck, insight into the future! In time the entity directed Ludwig to his wife-to-be! Talk about a Match Made In Heaven, hm?”

Yep, very romantic. So what happened next?

“The secret came out, as they tend to do.” The voice answers as though it were a moral to a story. “He couldn’t hide the ruins from his wife or the town--how could he explain his unnatural luck and wealth? So he welcomed a select few into the fold--members of the community who to this day are regarded as high members of Clearwater society. I believe you’ve already come to a conclusion or two about Principal Leonard Teach...”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727282
Of COURSE, you exhale, eyes wide in realization! The school funding, those weird banquets, your poor grades--it all points to Principal Teach being in a CULT!

“That’s not all, of course.” The voice chuckles. “The chief of police, the mayor, MY family--that’s only a taste of the people whose names grew in power due to the lich’s influence. Many meetings were done in secret and members were forbidden from using names or attending without a disguise--it was supposed to protect our identities in case someone talked, but I suspect it had a hand in what happened next as well…”

Which was? You ask, sitting on the edge of your seat!

“Pandemonium. The entity, according to the surviving members of the group, reached out to several members and pitted them against one-another. Promising wealth beyond measure, all the entity requested was blood, and lots of it. Those who died would be reborn, those who served would be rewarded. You can imagine how that message was received.”

That’s uh… That’s not groovy.

“Couldn’t have said it better myself. By the time the group realized what was happening, most of the original organization was eliminated. The Chief of Police squelched many of the cases, of course, but the surviving members of the Order agreed--enough was enough.”

Soooo, you mutter, trying to think back to when it all happened, how did it all end?

“With a wimper.” the voice replies. “All records of the ruins were destroyed and the surviving members agreed to never heed the entity again--simple rules, yes, but easy to enforce when the Order controlled the town…”

And that’s it, huh? You frown. Everyone just used the friggin’ honor system?

“Cynicism is not a good look on you, Stanley!” The voice chuckles, “But your suspicions are correct--the entity’s temptations never truly left Clearwater, and the promise of power is hard to avoid. That’s why I have you here today in a room where we can’t be monitored--I know you weren’t responsible for what happened in the factory a few nights ago, but I’m afraid I can’t say the same about my peers…”

So wait, you frown, you were never in any danger of being executed?

“I would sooner cut off my own fingers before I harmed a hair on your pretty head, Stanley,” The voice croons. “Though I will admit your interactions with security in the last few days have been… Troublesome. It’s good you came quietly.”

Well sheesh! That’s a brainful! Any other questions?
>NO MORE QUESTIONS--What did YOU want to talk about?
>Any SUSPECTS for who brought back TIM?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about the LICH?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about ME?
>WHERE are YOU during all of this?
>>
>>4727283
>Any SUSPECTS for who brought back TIM?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about the LICH?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about ME?
>>
Gonna hit the hay for tonight, folks, so expect more crap tomorrow around 9-10AM PST! For those of you trying out the quest--apologies if it seems like one large info dump--it gets better, I swear! As per usual, thanks for giving BONES QUEST a shot and feel free to toss any critiques or questions my way if you have any! Otherwise I'll see you tomorrow, hopefully!
>>
>>4727283
>Any SUSPECTS for who brought back TIM?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about the LICH?
>WHAT do YOU KNOW about ME?
>WHERE are YOU during all of this?
>>
>>4727305
>>4727451
>SUSPECTS
>LICH
>ME
>WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU

WRITING!
>>
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On that note, you sigh, switching the receiver to your other hand, do they have any ideas as to who MIGHT be responsible for all of this? Any leads?

“Of course, but all of them are tenuous at best…” The voice purrs. “Like I mentioned before, most of Clearwater’s creme de la creme were clearly involved with the Order--regrettably many of them were killed shortly after this fiasco began including, but not limited to, the Chief of Police, the Commander of the local National Guard Depot, quite a few surgeons, and several members of City Council. What do you say to that, Stanley?”

That’s… Pretty unlucky, you reply. You would’ve assumed a few of those people would survive!

“Exactly MY line of thinking.” The voice agrees. “I’ve been called many things--paranoid among the top ten, but I think you can agree with me when I argue my fear is rational.”

Okay, so who exactly does that LEAVE? Any actual suspects?

“My guess would be someone with ties to my company.” The voice sighs. “It’s too convenient that it all happened there--though no one too high up on the ladder, otherwise I’d assume they would conduct their deeds here in The Lodge rather than on the ground.”

Close ties to Good Boy, but not that high up, huh? Someone grab you a pipe to smoke because you’ve CRACKED IT.

“Do tell!” The voice replies excitedly!

BORIS-FUCKING-PONDEROSA, you exclaim!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727919
“...Oh.” The voice mutters, clearly disappointed. What? You cracked it! Have Blumenkrantz pop his head off--you wanna watch!

“You’re correct about one thing--Mr. Ponderosa’s family did have ties to the Order.” The voice explains.

As you EXPECTED!

“But Boris and his father cut ties with the group quite publicly--if I recall correctly his father threatened to become a whistleblower if any actions were taken against him. Boris himself met with me like you’re doing now to remind me of that--if anyone despises the Order more than Mr. Ponderosa, I’ve yet to meet them!”

Still, you muse, pretty convenient, him being this Chosen One and all…

“Jealous, are we?” The voice titters. “Truth be told I think it’s all hooey. However, I can appreciate the benefits of having a ‘hero’ at my disposal. The refugees adore him and, by association, Good Boy. I really must look into merchandising after all of this…”

Fighting the urge to puke after thinking about Boris Merch, you frown--so they don’t think it’s odd at all that he found those Ruins in the middle of all this?

“Not at all--I asked him to investigate.” The voice explains. “With everything going on I felt it was prudent to check up on my great grandfather’s little secret for any changes--thankfully there was nothing new to report. Whispers and old masonry--nothing more. You’re more than welcome to see for yourself, too, though I’d advise you to be prepared for a journey--it’s quite the distance in the woods. Care for directions?”

You uh… You got some already, but thanks.

“I’ll have some written down for you just in case.”

So who else, you ask tapping your fingers on the receiver.

“Anyone connected to this company, Stanley, and I mean anyone.”

Anyone, huh?

>CONTD.
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>>4727920
Bringing things back to the BIG PICTURE, what do they know about TIM? You hear a slight chuckle on the other end of the line.

“Very wise of you to avoid using true names! Very well, let’s talk about TIM. What would you like to know?”

What IS he? They were part of his fan club, right? Don’t they know anything?

“To begin, we believe whoever the lich once was was a member of a Druidic Circle in Ancient Europe. As for how he wound up here, well, that’s a different mystery. The entity was, as you might expect, a bit different than his current manifestation.” The voice explains. “His voice was like a song you couldn’t get out of your head--that’s what drove many to do whatever he requested. In retrospect I wouldn’t be surprised if it was some form of hypnosis…”

The voice trails off, considering their own words.

“In any case, the entity became popular because it delivered. It brought my family, among many others, to prosperity through luck, advice, and outright wealth. If my family’s villa is still standing I’m sure there’s still quite a bit of gold lying around…”

G-G-G-GOLD!? You sputter!

“Yes--a rather useless metal chemistry-wise, but quite pretty, wouldn’t you agree?”

Yes, you say, wiping a drop of drool off of the side of your mouth, yes you would.

“Good to know indeed! Anyways, unlike the entity, the lich is far more…”

Wacky?

“... Human.” The voice replies. “Their power is second to none, of course, but looking at the past few days I can’t help but wonder what they’re waiting for. If it were me I would have moved on to the rest of the state by now, but regrettably I’m just a human with a dream.... Or AM I?”

Uh… You are?

“Joking, of course! I do worry about the amount of people being rounded up, however--reports from security tell me that the lich isn’t just eliminating people, but gathering their corpses for some nefarious purpose. Mr. Blacquiere’s group is currently hypothesizing what they might be planning, but I’m sure you can agree with me that it probably won’t be good!”

You shake your head--you certainly didn’t see anything nice during your Astral Projection visit.

“Regardless of what his intentions are, I still believe time is of the essence.” The voice explains. “You mentioned before that you’ve eliminated some of his lieutenants--I believe this is the only way to bring him down to a level where he could be destroyed.”

Glad you’re on the same page!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727921
They clearly know a lot about Tim, but… What do they know about you?

“Ah yes, one of my favorite current topics!” The voice replies with glee! “How does one describe a raging inferno? A blast of lightning? A tsunami?”

Uh… Disastrous?

“Powerful, mysterious, and oddly compelling.” Purrs the voice. “You, my dear, are one of a kind--a true diamond in the rough.”

Did it just get warm in here? You mutter, tugging at your collar a bit.

“I’ve always had an eye for talent, Stanley--that’s one of the reasons I’ve kept you on for so long. Now during all of this I see my judgement was sound! We’ve never truly met, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been observing you…”

In the healthy employer way, right? Like for performance reviews?

“Of course--like for performance reviews...” The voice chuckles. “Speaking of, you’re a bit of a squeaky nail, aren’t you? Quite a few conduct meetings on record here, my dear…”

What can you say? You’re born to rebel!

“Exactly what I ADORE about you, Stanley--you follow your own rules!” The voice exclaims excitedly. “None of this capering, sycophantic SWILL given to me by my other employees--we can just talk! Absolutely delightful.”

Yea, you’ve gotta admit it’s kinda refreshing, if a bit unexpected.

“I’d never try to make you uncomfortable, my dear.” The voice purrs. “Quite the opposite, actually--tell me, have you ever heard of Bali?”

That’s the shampoo brand, right? You’re rewarded with a raucous laugh on the other end.

“Oh Stanley, where have you BEEN all of my life… No, it’s an Island, my dear--one with lots of secluded beaches just perfect for getting rid of tan-lines...”

...Cool!

“Indeed. Perhaps I’ll take you once all of this is over--believe it or not this business takes me all over the world! You’ll have to limit your intake on the fruity drinks, though--given your… Past.”

You feel an invisible stake drive itself through the levity of the conversation--Okay, hold the phone--what past?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727922
“Did I say something wrong?” The voice asks, a hint of sadness in their voice. “I assumed you knew about your Fugue States...”

Uh… Of course you do, but why not explain what they know anyways?

“Of course. Your application to Good Boy, Stanley, included a medical checkup. Remember?”

MMM… Yea, you think so.

“No you don’t. The physician reported to us that you exhibited the symptoms of someone suffering from Dissociative Fugue, albeit different from the norm. In short, Stanley, you tend to forget things.”

So what? Everyone forgets crap, especially when they drink!

“...True, but yours is… How do I put this… A bit different. You can forget days of activity and have no recollection of what happened. It’s not always serious, of course, but it CAN create… Confusion.”

You blink. Yea, no--you’re not buying it. You’ve blacked out more times than you can count, sure, but it’s hardly medical--

“Do you remember last year’s Company Christmas Party?” The voice probes. You chuckle--did anyone? That eggnog was insa--

“Security had to take you home, Stanley.” The voice interjects, all mirth gone from their voice. “You attacked a guest--almost crushed their windpipe.”

The words echo around the room as you take them in. No, you frown, you just stumbled home!

“We elected to let the whole thing slide due to your condition, but that guest was seriously hurt.”

It can’t be true, right? You don’t remember anything--so maybe…

Who was the guest?

“...They elected to remain anonymous for their own protection.” The voice responds somberly. “I’m sorry to break it to you like this, Stanley, but I thought you could use at least one honest person in your life… Forgive me.”

You don’t respond, instead electing to squeeze the receiver in your hand until you hear the cheap plastic start to crack.

Where the HELL are you, Sonny? Sunny? Whatever your name is?!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4727923
The voice is quiet for a moment.

“In the next room.”

You glance at the room Christy left through--really?

“... Not really. I can’t give you that information, Stanley--not yet. I’ve told you why I’m paranoid already--but also…” The voice trails off. “It’s not time. You wouldn’t…”

Wouldn’t what, exactly? You growl, They get to drop truth bombs on you from over the phone and you can’t even look them in the eye?

“I’m… Embarrassed.” Replies the voice, quieter than before. “I’ve already told you my family essentially formed the Order of Tibius--they were the ones who perfected the rituals.

You get that, but what does that have to do with-

“There was no book written on how to properly appease the entity, Stanley.” the voice interrupts. “So my father did whatever the entity told him to do.” A pause. “I’m... disfigured.” The voice shakily continues, “I wouldn’t want you or anyone else to see what I really look like.”

You frown. No joke?

“No…” the voice responds, “No joke.”

You let the phone hang limply in your fingers as you feel a wave of exhaustion roll through you. This… This wasn’t exactly the conversation you expected.

“I understand.” The voice replies, “But it’s imperative that you trust me if we’re going to work together--I can’t trust anyone, Stanley, so please…”

How do you respond?
>I TRUST you.
>I DON’T TRUST you.
>I’M UNSURE…
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4727924
>I TRUST you
If there's one thing we're good at, it's blindly believing in ourself. Why not share that with another person?

Also I'd almost bet money that Sue cutting contact with us has to do with these supposed fugue states. We should confront Syb about it in private later
>>
>>4727924
>I TRUST you (lie)
>>
>>4727924
>I TRUST you.
>>
>>4727931
>>4728013
>TRUST

>>4727966
>TRUST(But LIE)
Fret not, anon--going forward we can certainly take it this way if we decide on it!

Writing!
>>
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You shift in your seat a bit, rousing the room from silence. Bringing the receiver up to you your mouth again, you sigh--yea, you’ll trust them.

“I know it’s a lot to ask given what’s happened,” Replies the voice, its shakiness slowly dissipating, “But I appreciate it, Stanley.”

You nod idly--yea… How much have you missed? You think to yourself. How many people have you hurt?

“There’s a saying we have in the business world, my dear,” the voice continues, its confidence returning, “When you’re against the cliff, all you can do is keep climbing!

Sounds like something you’d see on a motivational poster--what’s it mean exactly?

“It means Keep going.” The voice explains, conviction in their voice. “And don’t look back.”

Kinda hard considering what you’ve just learned, but you’ve gotta admit… There’s some merit to it.

“I’m afraid there’s no cure for regret on any pharmacy shelf,” the voice reports, “But is it better to continue in ignorance, lost on the mountain that is our life? Or is it better to follow the burr-laden path, however painful it may be?

You’re not much of a hiker, but you’d rather pick the fastest and easiest route if possible! The voice chuckles.

“If you ever find one, be sure to let me know…”

That’s that, you suppose. Ignoring the pit in your stomach, you focus on the NOW--anything else you need to bring up?

>NOPE, let’s talk about that BUSINESS.
>ONE MORE QUESTION… (WRITE-IN)
>>
>>4728053
>NOPE, let’s talk about that BUSINESS.
>>
>>4728053
>NOPE, let’s talk about that BUSINESS.
>>
>>4728053
>NOPE, let’s talk about that BUSINESS.
>>
>>4728062
>>4728074
>>4728127
>BUSINESS!

WRITING!
>>
Nope, you’ve had enough unsettling revelations for one conversation, thanks. Loosening your vise-grip on the receiver, you raise an eyebrow in the direction of the camera--Jr. mentioned business before--what was it, exactly?

“Right, I had almost forgotten… I could chat with you for days and never get bored, Stanley…” The voice says in a wistful tone. “We’ve covered some of it in your previous questions, but I wanted to make it official: I want you and your associates to eliminate the lich.”

Psssh, you grin, is that all? You were planning on doing that no matter what!

“Naturally.” The voice replies, a faint hint of pride mixed in. “I merely wanted it to become official--misinformation is the most common killer of movements. The fact is, Stanley, Good Boy is spread thin enough dealing with refugees and possible infiltration--you and your associates will lead the OFFENSIVE CHARGE against the Undead. That said, I have some Conditions... Open for negotiation, of course--wouldn’t want to give my knight in shining armor a raw deal, would I?”

No siree, you think to yourself, good thing you’ve had practice negotiating with Cliff and the others!

“[green[Number One: You and your entourage are not to disclose information related to this location to ANYONE. If you find survivors, you direct them to a SECURITY STATION. If you’re captured and interrogated, please die quietly.”

Number Two: You are expected to report DAILY with updates on the situation. An appropriate liaison will reach out to you.

Number Three: You and your associates have FREE REIGN of any and all mission resources you procure--you will not be expected to RETURN any items, but you will also be forbidden from this facility’s supplies. On paper, you and your team are FREE AGENTS.

“And this one is more personal than the rest…” Hisses the voice. “Number Four: The contents of our conversations are to be kept between US and US ALONE, given the possibility of a MOLE in the organization.

You can’t help but frown a bit at the last one--not even with your pals?

“Not even with your pals.” Replies the voice. “I ask it out of concern for YOUR safety, Stanley--as it stands I can barely trust my own employees--I would hate for your mission to end prematurely due to you speaking to the wrong person.”

Hm… You’ll consider it.

“That’s all I ask!” Chuckles the voice! “You’re free to take Berry and Muldoon with you, of course--I saw their ‘doctor’s notes’” The voice laughs. “Those are my terms, Stanley--I’m sure you’re eager to get to yours, yes?”

You BET! Let’s lay ‘em out! What are YOUR TERMS? List about 3-4!

>HOLD UP! I want to change Term #(INSERT NUMBER HERE)
>I want something AFTER this is all over! (WRITE-IN)
>I want something NOW (WRITE-IN)
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4728216
>HOLD UP! I want to change Term #1
No matter what I'm gonna preserve my life- I won't let myself die. I won't spill your secrets, no matter what they do to us, if we ever get captured. You asked me to trust you, so you should trust me with at least that much.

>I want something AFTER this is all over!
When the lich is dead and all is done, you won't have anything to hide from anymore- so I want to meet you in person. Also, a raise wouldn't hurt.
>>
>>4728216
>HOLD UP! I want to change Term #2!
DAILY reports? Good boy doesn't get to keep us on a leash like that, we report when we have something to say. End of story.
>>
>>4728253
>>4728280
>CHANGE RULE #1: NOT GONNA SPILL SECRETS!
>CHANGE RULE #2: REPORTS WHEN SHIT'S DONE
>AFTER ALL THIS: MEETUP IN PERSONNNNNN ALSO A RAISE PLS

WRITING
>>
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You mull over Jr.’s terms a few times in your head, nodding as you go. Yes… This is a good start…You’re still gonna change a few things, though.

“Oh?” The voice responds, surprise in its tone. “Well of course--what should we change?”

First of all, Term #1? That’s gotta change.

“I think I’ve made my point clear-” The voice mutters, but you quickly interject! Here’s the deal--you don’t plan on dying. Not today, not tomorrow, hopefully not for a few years. That being said, if you get caught, tortured, or coerced into telling secrets, you won’t. Plain and simple.

“... You just won’t, hm?” The voice replies, sounding somewhat unimpressed. Hey, this is all about TRUST, right? They’re just gonna have to trust you and your pals!

“Trust is a two-way street, Stanley.” The voice responds with a slightly stern tone, “You’ve got nothing to hide from me if you stay in your lane…”

So we’re cool, then?

“Very well,” The voice chuckles, “I can’t say no to you, can I?”

Oh they don’t even know the half of it! Next up is Term #2.

“Let me guess--I’m just supposed to trust you?” The voice jokes. Not quite, but you’re not going to waste anyone’s time with DAILY reports, are they KIDDING? No, you’ll report when things change. That way no one’s time is wasted.

“I see!” the voice responds, impressed! “You win, Stanley--you and your team will report as the situation changes.”

Hey, this is EASY! You oughta become a HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR with all the crap you’re getting here!

“Any more amendments to be made? I’m eager to hear what you want…”

One thing for now--once the lich is gone Jr. won’t have to hide anymore, right?

“Well… Perhaps. But-”

No butts--once this is all over you wanna meet them FACE TO FACE! You wanna meet the REAL Sonny Bruckmann Jr! Or Sunny--however it’s pronounced. Also a raise--that would be nice too.

You’re rewarded with a low chuckle that slowly grows into a fit of raucous laughter! Barely recovering from the fit, the sound of your boss struggling to regain their breath approaches the receiver once more.

“Oooooh Stanley... If only I had met you before all of this… Rest assured you will get your meeting along with any raise you desire…”

You pump your fist as best as you can while chained up. YOU KEEP HITTIN’ THOSE HOME RUNS, STAAAAAN!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4728405
It’s a small comfort after everything you’ve learned, but at least you’ve got some recognition waiting for you once this crap is all over!

“In that case I’ll be happy to finalize the terms and send them to you. Is there anything else you’d like to add? I’m rather busy and would prefer to iron things out now while we’re talking… Never a dull moment on my end!”

>Is everything GOOD!? It’ll be hard to change these terms and rewards in the future!

>YES, they’re FINE. STOP BOTHERING ME.
>WAIT! I want to ADD or REMOVE something! (WRITE-IN)
>>
>>4728407
>YES, they’re FINE. STOP BOTHERING ME.
>>
>>4728407
>YES, they’re FINE. STOP BOTHERING ME
>>
>>4728410
>>4728426
>CONFIRM!

WRITING!
>>
>>4728405
>>YES, they’re FINE. STOP BOTHERING ME
>>
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You run through the agreement in your head one last time just in case--finding it to be satisfactory, you give the camera a nod--yes, that’ll do just nicely.

“Marvelous--apologies for the trouble, but in my line of work it pays to be thorough--if I could just get your signature on these documents…”

The voice trails off as the far door hisses open again, revealing Christy carrying a PEN and a stack of papers.

“...Then you’ll be all set!” Continues the voice with a smile in their tone! “Stay on the line while you sign, if you please--just a moment longer!”

Shrugging, you watch the ghostly personal assistant approach and wordlessly place the documents and pen on the table. Her task completed, she turns around and faces the camera, arms folded behind her back.

Taking the pen in hand, you quickly read through the documents before signing--after all, that’s how they got you LAST time! Seeing that it more or less mirrors what you just said, you shrug--it’s not like you’re gonna get a lawyer down here, right?

Your pen glides across the highlighted spaces in the documents in a shape that you’d best describe as ‘your signature’. Laying your pen flat on the desk, you scarcely have time to move your arms before Christy snatches up the items you borrowed and retreats through the open door.

“The work ethic on that one.” The voice croons,punctuating the statement with a low whistle. “If I had ten of her… Anyways, Stanley, that will be all for now…”

You feel the circulation return to your wrists as the shackles unlock by themselves.

“One last thing, my dear--check the drawer, would you?”

Feeling your leg shackles unlock as well, you stumble to your feet and stretch your back a bit before complying with the voice’s command. Stooping down to open the desk drawer, you find nothing but a solitary cheque with a Good Boy Mascot design--blank except for the money value: $500.

“...Good Boy’s been a great place to work, hasn’t it?” The voice asks as you begin to drool!

What do?
>TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT!
>Mmmm, NAH.
>”Is this a BRIBE?”
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4728667
"Damn, I don't even get a raise? I know I've worked about 55 hours in the last two weeks. But I thought doing this skeleton hunting stuff would at least get me a bonus"
Cool, they want to give us our bimonthly paycheck.
>>
>>4728667
>>TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT!
>>
Getting a little late on my end, so I'll keep this vote open until tomorrow. Expect an update around 9-10AM PST! Thanks for playing and don't worry--we're gettin' back into the meat and potatoes of EVENING SANITATION ACTION very soon!
>>
>>4728667
>TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT!
>>
>>4728667
>TAKE IT TAKE IT TAKE IT!
>>
>>4728676
>>4728684
>>4728838
>>4728869
>FAT STACKS

WRITING
>>
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Snapping up the cheque with two fingers, you stare wordlessly at the mascot design for a moment.

“...Well?” The voice asks with anticipation. You shrug--I mean… It’s a start. You kinda expected a raise right now, honestly. Or at least more of a bonus with all of the skeleton hunting you’ve been doing. You assume this is the first installment or whatever?

“The tip of the iceberg, baby!” The voice laughs. “Good luck cashing it now, but I assumed you would need a bit of motivation, so there it is. Rest assured there will be much more than that waiting for you when all’s said and done.”

You sigh. They DO have a point about the banks probably being closed--even if it wasn’t SKEL HELL out there right now you just know it’s probably a bank holiday or some crap. One of your gang’s MAIN TENETS is COLLECTING FAT STACKZ, though, so you’re not gonna say no to some DEAD PRESIDENTS. Unceremoniously stuffing the cheque into your pocket, you nod--much obliged.

“The pleasure is all MINE, Stanley.” The voice chuckles. “And if there’s nothing else then I’ll let you get back to doing what you do. Careful of the door! Ciao for now!”

You mutter a quick ‘you too’ into the receiver before the line goes dead. Plopping the receiver back onto the cradle, you take one last look towards the security camera before heading for the exit. Wait, what did they say about the do-

https://youtu.be/FyHT_Ia0Cyc

The door CATAPULTS OPEN, sending you soaring through the air like a ragdoll into a heap. Lowering his MASSIVE BOOT from where the door once was, Blumenkrantz squeezes through the tiny door frame and snarls!

PARBLE! If you want to REST ON COMPANY TIME so much I’ll be glad to put you to rest PERMANENTLY! Pick your ass up and follow close--I get to make sure you don’t get LOST on the way back!”

Stumbling to your feet and ignoring the weird high-pitched noise in your ears, you shrug--you answer to the BIG CHEESE now--what’s HE gonna do about it? OBSERVE and REPORT?

Grinning smugly up at Blumenkrantz’ increasingly reddening face, you wait for a response. Yea, that’s ri
>>
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>>4729388
“You’re crazy.”

“Show me a law. Show me a LAW.”

The two guards at the elevator security checkpoint idle next to the contraband case, one of them scratching DAISY’S neck. The EYE COAT stands in the corner, unimpressed.

“There’s no law, it’s just-”

“There ya go! I’m absolutely gonna make a giant ant farm in my backyard and there’s NOTHING you can do about i-”

The conversation is cut short by your curled up form rocketing through the blast doors like a bowling ball! Collapsing like a sack of potatoes in front of the elevator, you lay there for a second waiting for the dizziness to go away.

“MORONS!” Growls Blumenkrantz as he shoves the non-wrecked bits of the blast doors out of his way, “Give Parble her CRAP back and FIX THESE DAMN DOORS!
As you regain your footing once more, you feel Blumenkrantz’ massive hand wrap around the back of your neck as he carries you over to the now-sweating occultist.

“NERD! REMOVE THE SPELL!”

As the mage hastily intones a few words, you see the two guards approach with a duffel bag of stuff--presumably yours.

“DOG!” Blumenkrantz barks, turning to Daisy the guard dog, her tail tucked between her legs, “... Keep up the good work.”

Daisy shoots the guards a smug… Dog look… While you begin the painstaking process of stuffing everything back into your pockets. This better not become a recurring thing!

“Don’t get too comfy, FREAK.” Blumenkrantz hisses through clenched teeth as he gently pats the dog. “You’re still with the COMPANY--that means OUR RULES are YOUR TEN-FUCKING-COMMANDMENTS.”

As you finish up the rest of your packing, you flinch as Blumenkrantz’ hand shoots your way! When you realize you haven’t died yet, you open your eyes and lower your hands to find that he’s holding a small slip of paper.

“I was instructed to give you THIS CHANNEL. You’ll be making your reports there--use it for crank calls and I’ll make a house call you’ll NEVER FORGET.”

Hastily snatching the paper from his open palm, you take a look at what’s written--CHANNEL 2 to REPORT. CODE PHRASE: The Tower is Falling.. You frown--can’t anyone figure this out?

“Unlike YOU, we don’t have a degenerate desire to invade privacy and READ PEOPLE’S PRIVATE INFORMATION.” Blumenkrantz hisses. “NERD! Are we DONE HERE?”

The occultist nods their head as you feel a familiar sensation return to your bones.

“Christ…” Ly hisses, “THAT was quite da’ meetin’...”

“PARBLE!” Blumenkrantz roars, picking you up again, “GET MOVING!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4729391
Several doors, yells, and security precautions later, you emerge from the security hub no worse for wear than you arrived. Your merry band of misfits awaits by the entrance--their faces lighting up as Blumenkrantz escorts you over to them.

“THERE you are!” Sybil smiles, snatching you away from the BEAST. “We were wondering when you’d be finished.”

“They mentioned catering again so we figured you were done.” Mitzi shrugs. “Turns out there actually was some catering happening, so we brought you some leftovers.” She explains, pointing to the bag in Art’s hands. Come to think of it…

“Yea, I think I drank a bit too much-” Art mutters, but freezes as he feels Blumenkrantz’ gaze fall upon him, “SODA! Yea, that’s it! Stomach’s all messed up from that SODA I DRANK!”

Giving your group one last sneer, Blumenkrantz adjusts his cap and raises a beefy finger towards you and your team.

“You’ve got a job to do--don’t FUCK IT UP. Not even DEATH will save you from me…”

With that the living mountain returns to the Security Hub, shouting at people as he goes. As you regain your bearings, you feel Syb’s sleeves wrap around you!

“Glad to see you’re alright!” She grins, “You missed the show.”

“Oh jeez...” Mitzi mutters, staring into the distance. “L-look, B is right--don’t we have a job to do?”

Don’t you?

>Hey SYB, can you come with me to the BATHROOM?
>WHERE did BORIS and co go?
>Let’s head to THE GYM: I wanna see those FIGHTS!
>Let’s TALK about our NEXT MOVE.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4729399
>Hey SYB, can you come with me to the BATHROOM?
Need to inquire about these fugue states and if she knows why Sue isn't talking to us
>>
>>4729399
>Hey SYB, can you come with me to the BATHROOM?
>>
>>4729399
>Hey SYB, can you come with me to the BATHROOM?
>>
>>4729401
>>4729451
>>4729467
>Bathroom Break

WRITING!
>>
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You do, but the things you learned from your chat with your boss can’t be ignored. Grabbing Syb’s arm, you put on your best ‘nonchalant voice’ and spring the trap!

Hey Syb, you say, shrugging to UP THE CASUAL, can you come with me to the bathroom?

“Bathroom?” Your pal repeats, immediately understanding GIRL CODE, “Yes, of course! I think I saw one down that way…” She continues, pointing into the SECURITY HUB. NO, you snarl, that one’s too PUBLIC! You don’t want security listening in!

“...On what?” Mitzi asks, clearly somewhat peeved that she wasn’t invited.

The… The PEEING! You exclaim! That’s right--you’re EXTREMELY SELF-CONSCIOUS when peeing! Can’t help it!

“It’s true!” Sybil chuckles, throwing her arms in the air. “Can’t take this one anywhere. Let’s head back to the COMMONS then, Stan--I’m sure there’s a better place there!”

“Gotta admit, cupcake,” Ly whispers, “You sure know how ta’ pick em’!”

Damn straight!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4729562
One painfully uneventful elevator ride and trip through the COMMONS SECURITY CHECKPOINT later, you and your crew find yourselves once again in the COMMONS LOBBY THING.

“I think the correct term is plaza...” Art mutters. Yea, and you think the correct term is WHO CARES?!

“Follow me, Stan!” Syb interjects, tugging on your arm. “I think I remember one over this way.”

“Yep, just leave me with Lenny Lightweight over here…” Mitzi groans, jabbing a thumb in Art’s direction.

“It’s NORMAL to get tired after drinking in the afternoon!” Growls Art as you and Syb scamper away.

“And you call yourself a College Student...”

Sure enough, you manage to find a secluded restroom area not too far from where the saloon was--a quick peek around tells you that it’s probably for staff.

“Technically we do work for these bozos.” Ly explains. Works for you! Yanking Syb in and barricading the door with a trash can, you shove your pal into the furthest stall and get in with her, latching the door shut behind you!

“Erm, Stan?” Syb mutters, slightly flushed. “We don’t need this much privacy, do we?”

That DEPENDS! Can you TRUST her? The goth’s eyebrows dip as the words sink in.

“Are you seriously asking me that? Of COURSE you can! Stan, what’s this all about? You’re acting weirder than usual.”

Maybe you are… Maybe you are! You’ve got some stuff to go over, though, and you NEED 100% truthfulness!

“Of course…” Syb replies, concern growing on her face. “Ask away. Or… Tell away. Whichever.”

What do you START with?
>So what happened when I LEFT?
>We might have a SPY.
>You and ART--deets!
>SYB, do I… FORGET THINGS?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4729569
>SYB, do I… FORGET THINGS?
>>
>>4729569
>SYB, do I… FORGET THINGS?

I AM curious about ART deets, but serious shit first
>>
>>4729569
>SYB, do I… FORGET THINGS?
>>
>>4729570
>>4729576
>>4729579
Seeing a pattern here--starting with the HEAVY SHIT! Writing!
>>
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You take a deep breath as you unlatch the stall door and step out--no sense in beating around the bush…

“It’s just you and me, Stan--don’t worry.”

Taking a seat on the sink counter, you look your friend in the eyes and ask it outright--do you FORGET things? Like… A lot?

“Well, yea...” Sybil responds, a hint of confusion in her voice. “That’s nothing new though.”

You stare at the ceiling and search for the right phrasing--you know you’re forgetful, yea, but has she ever heard of you having… FEUD STATES?

“You mean Fugue-Oh…” Syb pauses mid-correction as realization dawns on her pale face. “I… Look, Stan, I don’t want to sound insensitive, but do you really want to talk about this no-”

YES, you roar with volume that even surprises you! You’ve got HALF of your life missing from your memory and apparently it’s gotten people HURT!

“Stan, listen..” Syb interjects, shakiness in her voice, “Y-”
No, SHE can listen, you snap! It took a meeting with your BOSS of all people for you to finally find out that apparently you’re some kind of WEREWOLF--one second you’re getting lost in the woods, the next you’re apparently CRUSHING SOMEONE’S THROAT?! Why WOULDN’T you want to talk about it now!? You shout, stabbing your BONE CLAWS through the sink! What’s stopping you from checking out when you finally go after TIM? Who’s next on your fucking CHOPPING BLOCK--HER?! ART?!!?

You stare Syb in the eyes for a moment waiting for her explanation--her textbook definition of what’s wrong with your head.

All you get is a sympathetic look.

Go on, you mutter, eyes itching, EXPLAIN it! She’s got the answer to everything, right?

“I’m…” Syb whispers, eyes drooping to the tile floor, “I’m sorry, Stan.”

You both remain motionless like statues--the room silent save for the dull hum of the cheap fluorescent lights flickering above you. Rubbing the sting from your eyes, you bite your lip to distract yourself from… Well, everything.

Trudging forward in her knee-high boots, Syb wraps her sleeves around you and pulls you in for a hug. It takes you a few moments, but with a deep exhale you return it, wrapping your arms around her as well.

It’s funny--you always forget how small she is..

“I only know a few things.” She whispers, keeping you in her arms. “Yes, you do have your… Episodes. Yes, you’ve hurt people before.. And NO--none of it is your fault, okay?”

She leans back to look you firmly in the eyes. “NONE of it.”

You don’t meet her glance--you just want to know what she knows.

“... Alright.”

>CONTD.
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>>4729746
“I first started to suspect something around when we met.” Sybil begins, taking a seat next to you on the counter. “I already knew you had your… Quirks. I’d seen them in full force at Blades of Zamarka.”

You let out a rueful chuckle. Yep, that shoulda tipped her off, huh? Sybil doesn’t return the laugh.

“I think it was around… I don’t know--a year into our friendship. You were always a bit flakey, but I never took it personally. Until Episode 32, that is.”

You search your memories for which podcast episode that was, but you come up blank. Go figure.

Viva la Vampir,” She reminds you, “The one with the vampire sightings in SANTA MARTA down south. We were going to make a weekend of it. I still remember taping a note to your pillow reminding you when to be at the train station--I even asked Sue to tell you as well!” She giggles softly. “I’m not sure if he did or not.”

You’re uh… You mutter under your breath, you’re not sure you’re able to answer that.

“I know. I called you an hour before--left you maybe twenty messages. I waited until our train came, went, and disappeared into the distance. Didn’t even bother buying another ticket.”

That’s erm… You’re sorry..

“I was furious,” Syb chuckles, shaking her head. “All of my plans out the window. I remember going to your house and practically CRUSHING the doorbell--imagine my surprise when Sue answered and told me you had left for my place an hour before!”

You feel a faint sense of recollection coming back now--you brought over that new Night Creeper game--so that’s why she-

“Why I slammed the door in your face, yes.” Sybil nods. “I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to say it--you seemed so natural just standing on the porch like that…” Your friend sighs. “It was Sue who filled me in on the whole story--he called me that night and told me you’d spent the whole day sobbing, I told him what had happened, and then he explained it to me. Everything.”

>CONTD.
>>
>>4729748
“You’d been doing it since you were little.” Sybil explains, crossing her legs. “Bits and pieces would be… Cut from your mind--like someone with scissors.”

You nod--and you’d just go on, business as usual.

“Exactly. The school counselor was baffled, your parents tried specialists all over the state--nothing stuck. All we could do, your brother told me, was just let it go for now. So I did.”

Your mind flashes back to several hospital and doctor visits--those weren’t just check-ups?!

“I’m afraid not, but I want you to know that your family tried, Stan.” Sybil answers, staring you in the eye. “They all love you very much--remember that.”

You nod, unsure of how to respond.

“It wasn’t until later that I made a breakthrough.” Sybil continues, her voice growing quiet. “... On that day.”

Your eyes widen. She’s talking about-

“Yep.” Syb nods, “The day my parents died.”

Oh no, you mutter as pieces start to fall into place in your head.

“It wasn’t you, Stan.” Sybil adds quickly. “They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time--you never plan for someone to corner you at night and mug you!” She chuckles ruefully. “I got a call from the police, they told me where to go, I called you to come with me.”

You remember that much--you were all that she had at the time.

“And so I waited. And waited. And waited.” Syb continues, staring down at the floor. “You never showed up, so I went by myself.”

Y-

“It’s fine, Stan.” She interrupts, clasping your shoulder in her hand, “At that point I knew better. Besides, there were… Other things... On my mind.”

You frown, counting the number of tiles on the floor. If you had kno-

“Stan, you couldn’t have.” Sybil states as though it were a fact. “But enough was enough. I remember meeting you the next day…”

You do too--no makeup, hair disheveled, old, smeared eyeshadow under bloodshot eyes… It was the first time you’d ever seen Syb so… Human.

“Maybe the sleep deprivation helped. Maybe I needed to lose my head a bit to notice…” Sybil muses, drumming her fingers against the counter. “But that’s when I noticed it, Stan--your aura. It was like taking off a BLINDFOLD!”

Your friend blinks a few times, grinning towards the ceiling.

“That’s when it all started to make sense--your memory loss, your unpredictable nature, your… YOUness.”

Your friend pokes the middle of your chest. “You, Stan, are a beautiful conduit of chaotic, primeval energy--WILD MAGIC.”

>CONTD.
>>
>>4729751
The bathroom goes silent save for the idle drip from a faucet. She’s… She’s gonna have to explain a bit more.

“I don’t think I need to explain to you that magic is real given our situation.” Sybil begins, gesturing around you. “But what if I told you there were currents of roving magical energy constantly moving around us? Invisible to the naked eye, of course, but constant. Unending.”

Like wind? You guess, prompting a pleased nod from Syb.

“Very close, but think more abstract--light, radiation, waves of energy that affect us in a multitude of ways, but nigh-undetectable without the proper tools.”

Drawing a circle in the air with her pointer finger, she continues. “Everything on Earth is constantly coming into contact with this magic--in spurts it does nothing, but prolonged exposure, well…”

It leads to you, huh?

“Yes and no.” Sybil responds, cocking her head to the side. “The one thing experts DO know about wild magic is that they DON’T KNOW about wild magic. Like the name suggests it’s untameable--unpredictable. And yet… Limitless in possibilities.”

Okay, you mutter, trying to wrap your mind around this sci-fi crap, what does that have to do with your memory loss?

“I was getting to that.” Sybil replies, giving you a wry smile. “On that day I noticed something about you, Stan--your body draws that magic close like a magnet--you’re probably not even aware of it. Every second of your life you’re constantly being bathed in wild magic. I think you can guess what that means.”

Yea, you sigh, prodding your head with a finger, you get this fucking moron.

“And,” Sybil adds, pulling your finger away from your head, “You get Ly. And your miracle that helped you escape from the lich. And your powers from marrow. I’m not 100% sure, of course, but…”

But now that she mentions it, you respond, gripping her hand in your own, it’s actually kind of… You pause, looking for the right word…

Incredible.” Sybil answers, squeezing your hand. “I’m not going to tell you how to feel, Stan,” Sybil pauses, “But I want you to realize that you’re not a monster, so please…” She pauses, biting a quivering lip, “Please don’t start treating yourself like one.”

The two of you sit there for a while, the air around you charged with…

You’re not sure. But whatever it is, it feels good in a way.

How do you RESPOND?
>Tell me more about WILD MAGIC.
>Do you know anything about the WEDDING?
>THANKS for telling me, Syb.
>Let’s talk about something ELSE.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4729755
>Do you know anything about the WEDDING?
That's right, didn't we black out during Sue's wedding? Oh God oh fuck
>>
>>4729757
>Wedding
Moment of truth! Writing!
>>
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Feeling your spirits rise again, they’re interrupted as a familiar pit forms in your stomach and a handful of wires reconnects inside of your head.

Your brother’s wedding. You blacked out there too, didn’t you?

Looking to Syb, her sympathetic expression tells you all you need to know.

“... You didn’t hurt anyone, Stan.” She quickly adds. “Not physically, anyways.”

You let out a sigh as you feel your head sink low--thank GOD...

“I don’t know all the details, myself.” Sybil continues, rubbing you on the back. “Sue never told me. As for your parents, well…” Her hand pauses. “...They told me he never wanted to speak to you again.”

Something in your chest snaps and you suddenly feel heavy. Very heavy.

“I know, Stanley. I know...” She continues to caress your back, but you can barely feel it--whatever happened at that wedding, whether it was something you said or did, was enough for your brother to cut all ties with you.

And you’ll never even know what you did.

You sit there for a while silently, the pressure building against your petite frame--you fucked up. You fucked everything up.

“That’s not true, Stan… You couldn’t have helped it. Sue knows too, wherever he is.” Sybil explains in a soft voice.

Yep, you sigh, and it’s not like you’ll be able to ask any time soon…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4729948
You and Syb fall back into silence. As you almost finish counting the floor tiles, the sound of a deep breath next to you rouses you from your tally.

“Why not?”

You raise an eyebrow at Syb, her eyes glaring holes into you. What?

“I said,” Syb growls, “Why NOT?!”

Taken aback by her sudden anger, you can’t help but recoil a bit! Because-

“Because WHAT?!” She asks, not taking her eyes off of you! “Because you CAN’T? Or because you WON’T?!”

Well, you mutter, scratching the back of your head, yo-

“Where’s the Stanley I know?!” Syb shouts! “The one who once SPENT A WHOLE NIGHT IN A PARK BUSH because her LARP character ‘Never misses an opportunity for a kill’?”

Well, you huff, that was just her backstory, it-

“It WHAT?!?” Sybil interjects! “It’s YOU, Stan--always has been! Ly, quit eavesdropping and Sit her upright. NOW!

“Woah, cripes...” Ly mutters, promptly improving your posture!

“The Stan I know doesn’t give up!” Sybil shouts, grabbing your shoulders! Ow, she’s pinching you!

“The Stan I know keeps going no matter what--no matter how hard it gets, no matter how CRAZY it sounds, and no matter WHO she’s dealing with, whether it’s a DOUCHEBAG COWORKER, A LICH, OR EVEN HER BROTHER! STAN DOESN’T QUIT!

You feel your frown rise up a bit. She talks a bit game, bu-

“But NOTHING!” Syb exclaims, shaking you in her arms! “You always talk about ‘Going With the Flow’, Stan, so how about THIS ONE: You’ve beaten TWO Lieutenants so far--AND TERRY THE TERRIBLE!

Holy SHIT! You mutter under your breath… So THAT’S how that feels!

“That’s more than any of your other DIPSHIT coworkers can say, especially BORIS!” She continues, not taking her eyes off of yours! “And you’re not stopping there, oh no! You’re going to take down the rest of those BONEY BASTARDS! Maybe not TODAY, maybe not TOMORROW, but SOON! And once you’re done mopping the floor with that megalomaniacal PRICK’S skull, you’re going to MARCH over to whatever East Coast Hellhole your brother lives in, you’re going to LOOK HIM IN THE EYE, and WHAT are you gonna say?!

Erm… ‘Heeeeey, bro!’? Sybil transfers her hands from your shoulders to the side of your head and brings you close!

“You’re gonna say ‘I’M YOUR SISTER, DAMN IT, AND I LOVE YOU!’” Your pal stares you dead in the eyes, her eyelid twitching! “SAY IT, STAN!”

I’m you-

LOUDER, DAMN YOU!

I’M YOUR SISTER, DAMN IT! You shout! “AND I LOVE YOU!”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4729950
And like a dam breaking, you, Syb, and even LY explode with laughter! Even after tumbling off of the sink counter you continue until your sides hurt, but as you slowly recover from your fit, you feel the pit in your chest slowly fade away.

“That’s…” Sybil wheezes, struggling to regain her breath, “That’s a promise, Stan… And if you break it I’ll be there to smack you back to reality…”

Thanks, Syb.

"Any time."

You both lie there on the floor, grinning like idiots.

“Feelin’ better?” Ly whispers, adjusting your back a bit. You shrug--it’s not perfect, but it’s better... And that’s fine by you...

“Atta’ girl.” Ly praises, borrowing your hand to pat yourself on the back.

“Now,” Syb chuckles, “Anything else I need to shed light on? Arthur and Mitzi have probably killed each other by now…”

Good question--anything else?
>So what happened when I LEFT?
>We might have a SPY.
>You and ART--deets!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4729952
>So what happened when I LEFT?
>You and ART--deets!

Syb is 3000% the GOAT. We still need to get Art a birthday present and the doc some jam stuff, but we have GOT to do something cool for Sybil when an opportunity arises.
>>
>>4729952
>So what happened when I LEFT?
>You and ART--deets!
>>
Sorry folks, got hit with a wave of tired after din--will continue this tomorrow around 9-10AM PST. Thanks for playing and hope to see you then!
>>
>>4729952
>So what happened when I LEFT?
>You and ART--deets!
>We might have a SPY.
We must protect Sybil's smile.
>>
Hey folks, posting from my phone--car's acting up so the update today will be delayed a bit. Will try to toss something up in the afternoon--thanks for your patience!
>>
>>4730813
Take all the time you need man. Hope your car problems get better!
>>
Status Update: Still on my phone-- stuck without reliable wifi or computer today without a car, so I'm afraid I'll have to postpone until tomorrow. Sorry about the confusion and see you then!
>>
I LIVE.... AGAIN!! I think I owe you guys an update--WRITING
>>
>>4733521
Based! Hope your car stuff got fixed!
>>
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>>4733533
Car's fine, but repairs took a lot longer than I thought so I was stranded without wifi, phone, or place to stay for a night. Thanks for the concern, though--all good now!

Sooooo, you begin, still recovering from the laughing fit, now that you’re breaching all kinds of heavy subjects…

“... Let me guess, you want to ask about Arthur.” Sybil groans as you nod emphatically! With a weary smile, she sighs. “He’s… Charming, I guess.”

You frown--come on, she can do better than that! You can smell chemistry like a bloodhound! Spill the beAAAAAANns! you whine, elbowing her in the side repeatedly!

“Okay, he-OW! Stan, stop i-OW!! Stan, you know I bruise easily!” She snaps, swatting your elbow away! Raising your hands in surrender, you hastily apologize--still, you wanna know!

“To tell you the truth,” Syb replies, glancing upward at the ceiling, “I’m… Not 100% sure about him yet.”

You frown--you’re never gonna be the COOL AUNT with THAT attitude!

“Come on, Stan…” Sybil groans, “Is now really the time?” She asks, glancing back your way. “He’s kind, yes, and he’s somewhat attractive, but…”

BUT? You ask, leaning forward.

“But I don’t want to lead anyone on.” Sybil sighs. “I appreciate all he’s done for us and we did have a scintillating conversation or two about skinwalkers, but I suppose it’s too early to tell. Does that make sense?”

Yea, you pout, you GUESS it does… Syb grins and pats your head. Art DOES like her, though--it’s the truth!

“She ain’t kiddin’, teach.” Ly adds, letting his “Team Art” colors fly.

“Let me ask you this, then.” Syb huffs, a wry smile on her face. “Let’s say someone liked YOU during the SKELETON APOCALYPSE. How would YOU handle it?”

Uh… Well...

“She’s got ya there, cupcake!” Ly chuckles. Elbowing yourself in the ribs you frown--you weren’t expecting another choice so soon--weren’t there like… Three other topics you wanted to bring up?

“We’ll get to them.” Sybil replies in a placating voice, “But for now I want to hear YOUR answer--I’m willing to bet that will make this easier to comprehend.”

“So let’s see…” Ly muses, “Teach asked: If someone was inta’ YOU durin’ alla’ dis’, How would you handle it?”

>Hell yea, bring on the ROMANCE!
>Depends on the PERSON.
>NOPE, got too much on my mind.
>NOPE, too dangerous!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4733663
>Depends on the PERSON
If they can hold their own and help out? Hell yeah. If they need protecting? Too dangerous- it'd have to wait til the Apocalypse is over
>>
>>4733663
>Hell yea, bring on the ROMANCE!
>>
>>4733680
>>4733743
>DEPENDS ON THE PERSON: HELL YEA

Writing!
>>
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You stand flat-footed as Syb chucks your own question back at you! This bitch. This bitch right here!

Come to think of it, though, it’s not a bad question! You’ve spent so much time kicking ass and getting into small adventures--what are those called again? Microadventures?

“Antics?” Ly adds helpfully. No… How about misadventures?

“Sounds like it describes our M.O, yea!” Ly nods. Okay, so yea--your misadventures tend to take up a lot of your time--a lot of those emotions were overshadowed by other things like ADRENALINE, FEAR, SURPRISE, CONFUSION, and HUNGER... Truth be told a lot of that romantic stuff kinda washed off of you like water off a dog!

“Pretty sure you mean a Duck.” Ly whispers. Okay, whatever animal it is!

“So no then?” Syb asks, the beginning of a SMUG GRIN forming on her face! Oh crap--you’re proving her point!

Good thing you weren’t done with your thought! The way you see it, things are pretty dangerous right now, right? Sybil nods.

“We have almost died a few times now, yes.”

So here’s the thing--if the person you were interested in was capable of DEFENDING THEMSELVES and could HELP OUT, then sure--you might be interested! If they needed protecting, though… Maybe after the whole ’Apocalypse’ thing blew over. Life’s hard enough without some freak with a grudge absconding with your beau into the sewer or something!

“You’re right--dat’ don’t sound too romantic!” Ly agrees.

“So what you’re saying is,” Sybil echoes, “You would be interested in pursuing something romantic if they were able to assist in your quest, yes?”

Yea, you nod--sounds less complicated that way! As you finish your sentence a smug grin forms on Syb’s pale face.

In-ter-es-tiiiing~

What? Wait, NO! She’s getting the wrong idea, dammit! You don’t mean you like anyone in the team! YOU DON’T! STOP IT!!

“I’m just teasing, Stan!” Syb giggles, ruffling your hair as she avoids your punches. “In any case, I feel that you understand my case better now--try not to tell Art, okay? I’ll explain it myself when the time is right.”

Good, you nod, the warmth slowly draining from your cheeks, now you can talk about other stuff! Stuff that Syb won’t TOTALLY MISUNDERSTAND!

GOSH!

>CONTD.
>>
>>4733923
BESIDES, you huff, staring at the ceiling again, you’re not even sure you can TRUST everyone in your group… Aside from Syb and Ly, that is!

“What makes ya’ say dat’?” Ly asks. “I came around on Artie--what’s gotten inta’ ya?”

“I take it this has to do with your meeting?” Sybil asks, her face becoming serious once more. You nod--Junior asked you to avoid sharing what you learned from your meeting, but surely Syb is okay?

“You know me, Stan,” Your pal whispers, “I’ll take it to the grave!”

“Me too!” Ly hisses!

Yea, that’s what you’re worried about...

“Listen, if your boss wants us to succeed, they have to put their faith in you a little bit, right? Now tell me--what did you learn?”

With a deep breath and a quick scan of the bathroom for cameras, you nod--okay, she’ll hear everything!

It takes you a few minutes to cover it all--Junior’s Great Grandfather, the entity, the offer to go to Bal-actually you leave that part out. By the time you’re done explaining, you can practically SEE the gears spinning in Syb’s head!

“This just became much more complicated than I had originally anticipated…” She murmurs, pacing back and forth. “I had long suspected that Clearwater was played like a fiddle by a shadowy organization--yet never in all my wildest ponderings did I imagine they’d be capable of something like THIS!”

You nod--it’s a bummer, that’s for sure. Explains a lot, though.

“Indeed. Education, Law Enforcement, Legislation--with these cornerstones of government cornered, it’s no surprise they were able to remain undetected for so long. The question is, who stands to gain the MOST from this madness?” Sybil mutters, shaking her head.

You shrug--that’s the scary part: Junior suggested that it could be anyone connected to Good Boy--even the grunts.

“Meanin’ it could be anyone!” Ly gasps. “Blumenkrantz, Bea, Mitzi--even ART!

Yes, you nod mournfully, even them. Letting out an exasperated breath, Syb shrugs. “This… This changes things, Stan. We might as well be carrying around a big red arrow above our heads if what your employer says is true…” She pauses for a minute absorbed in thought. “... This might change a few things with Arthur as well. And your new friend Mitzi.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4733926
Yea, exactly, you shout! What are we gonna do?!?

“We can’t leave them behind.” Sybil replies solemnly. “The minute they assume we’re on to them they’ll just be replaced. We need to carry on as usual, but be extremely careful in the information we share.”

You nod--it’s not like you have any better ideas… Apart from taking them both behind the shed and interrogating them Blumenkrantz Style…

“No need for that, hopefully.” Sybil replies, shaking her head. “With luck we can use a bit more finesse to be sure.” She gulps, then continues: “I’ll see if I can get anything out of Arthur--with luck my position might make him more candid towards me.”

Say, you interrupt, did she notice anything weird when you left for your meeting? Anything that might help out?

“Maybe…” Sybil muses, glancing towards her eyebrows. “I can’t think of anything off of the top of my head, but with this new knowledge there might have been something I missed!” Yanking the piercing off, you blink as you fail to see any blood drop to the ground below!

“... It’s a clip-on.” Sybil chuckles, twirling it in her hand. Snapping off one of the ends, her hand retrieves a small cable from a recess inside. Rummaging around inside her shirt pocket, she pulls out a PURPLE CELL PHONE WITH BATS FLOATING AROUND INSIDE THE COVER! Neato!

“I can’t use it to call anyone, but we can replay the footage on here if you’d like.” Syb explains, plugging the other end of the cord into her phone. “Or I can give you the SHORT version. Which would you prefer?”

Which indeed! Art and Mitzi are probably readying a search party by now!

>Gimme the SHORT version--we can probably figure it out.
>Let’s WATCH IT ALL!
>WRITE-IN
Last post of the night--kinda wiped from the last 24 hours. I'll try to make another update on FRIDAY from 9-10AM PST, but tomorrow will be busy so the BULK of the updates will happen around 2-3PM PST. Thanks again for playing and see you then!
>>
>>4733933
>Let’s WATCH IT ALL!
>>
>>4733933
>Let’s WATCH IT ALL!
>>
>>4733933
>Let’s WATCH IT ALL!
>>
>>4733945
>>4734215
>>4734566
Roll the footage! Writing!
>>
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You’re not sure how much longer Art and Mitzi will abide you and Syb hanging out in the bathroom, but you know one thing for sure: SEEING IS BELIEVING! You’ll have a much better time watching what happened vs. just talking about it. What are you, CAVEMEN?

“Let’s go to the clip…” Sybil mutters, rapidly swiping a pale finger on her phone! D’awww, her background is a pic of you guys at that haunted school! You still have nightmares about that episode…

The screen flickers to life with a surprisingly-detailed feed of the saloon shortly after you got up! The group watches you head for the door--crap, is that what your ass looks like now?

“Focus, Stan.” Sybil hisses, prompting you to be quiet.

”Wild kid, ain’t she?” Boris chuckles, poking a thumb behind him. “Been that way ever since High School--oddball, for sure, but every now and again she’d do something that would get everyone’s attention for a month!”

“She seems cute!” Bea agrees, resting her masked chin on her hand. “Hard to believe she actually defeated TWO boss skeletons already!”

“For real.” Boris nods. “You guys uh....” He pauses, looking to his companion for support and receives none, “Okay with that? Cuz’ I’m gonna warn ya’ as one of the resident Stan experts at the table--she can be… Unpredictable.”

“Meaning?” Mitzi drones, not looking up from her drink.

“Meaning, and no offense intended, of course,” He continues, glancing towards Syb, “That you guys are totally welcome joining TEAM CBB if that’s more your style--no sense in going down with the captain, dig?”

Syb opens her mouth to say something, but is interrupted by Art--”No offense intended, but we’ve been doing okay so far.” Taking another sip from his glass, the guard leans back and sighs. “Won’t be long before we take out the others, too--I’d rather be there when it happens, you know?”

“Course!” Boris chuckles! “Hey, someone passes the ball to ya, you run with it, right?”

“We should talk to Curt about looking into that too, though! It’s been a while since I crushed some skulls!” Bea adds cheerfully!

“I figure we’ll get to it after our little break here.” Boris nods. “And hey, maybe we’ll all catch eachother out on the field!”

“I don’t doubt it.” Sybil mutters, taking a long swig from her glass.

“Excuse the interruption,” Ruby the waitress interrupts, “But did you guys still want to do some Karaoke?”

“Oh, DEFINITELY!” Boris laughs. “How about you guys--you still in?”


The video pauses as Syb glances your way.

“You wanna watch some Karaoke, or are we good?”

>Hell yea, I wanna see (CHOOSE ONE OR MORE: BEA/BORIS/MITZI)’s Performance!
>Nah, that’s all I needed to see.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4734705
>Hell yea, I wanna see (CHOOSE ONE OR MORE: BEA/BORIS/MITZI)’s Performance!
Mitzi for sure

Also that motherfucker Boris trying to lead our posse away!
>>
>>4734705
BORIS! *shakes fist*

>Hell yea, I wanna see MITZI’s Performance!
>>
>>4734705
>Hell yea, I wanna see (CHOOSE ONE OR MORE: BEA/BORIS/MITZI)’s Performance!
At some point in the future, we are going to hold Boris's life in our hands. And when that moment arrives, I want to bring up moments like that. Or his constant refusal to use our name, our the constant presumption that he knows us so damn well. And we will make sure that he know that if he ever does that shit in the future afterwards, that we can take his life right back.
>>
>>4734835
Retribution will be swift like a mop to a spill! Did you have a specific character in mind for your vote?
>>
>>4734835
God lets see Mitzi's
>>
>>4734853
You got it--no need to call me God! :^)

>>4734712
>>4734853
>>4734821
>MITZI

Writing!
>>
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You don’t even hear Syb’s question--you’re too busy shaking your fist in the air angrily! BORIS! Trying to steal your PALS?! That’s a new low, even for HIM! That bastard will get his, that’s for damn sure!

“...Stan?” Syb asks, raising an eyebrow. “Did you wanna watch any of this? My battery won’t last forever…”

Oh yea, right. Put on uh… Put on MITZI’S. If she even sang, that is.

“Oh she sang!” Sybil replies, chuckling under her breath! “See for yourself!”

After fast-forwarding through what you assume to be that fucknut BORIS singing a power ballad and a few solid minutes of applause and high-fiving, Syb finally pauses when the tool makes it back to the table!

”Phew! Kinda rusty, but I guess I did okay!” Boris chuckles, pocketing a wad of numbers written on cocktail napkins.

PAST BORIS! you hiss, shaking your fist even harder!

“Sshhh!” Sybil hushes, pointing at the screen, “Just wait for it!”

“Who’s next?” Bea asks cheerfully! “Were YOU going next, Mitzarella~?”

“Eeh.” Mitzi groans, looking up from her Water Polo Monthly magazine. “I’m good.”

“Awwwww, come OOoOOooOOoN!” Bea pouts! “Guys, help me convince her!”

“Real talk: It’s gonna bug me for hours if everyone but you sings.” Art mutters, draining the rest of his glass.

“Come on!” Syb goads, leaning in towards Mitzi, “Stan would want you to!”

“...Didn’t they vote for you guys?” She shoots back, not looking up from her magazine. “Besides, Stan ain’t here now, so what’s the po-”

“No problem, Mit!” Boris chuckles, “I get it--tough act to follow! It’s alright to be a little intimidat-”

Boris is quickly interrupted by a blurry glove snatching the mic away from him.

“....Fine.” She growls, stomping over to the stage and snapping for the waitress to approach. A moment of mumbling later, she taps the mic a few times. “I got peer-pressured into doing this by those jerks over there, so here it goes, I guess. Dedicated to Stan and the Gang.”


Fumbling with the clasps on her mask, you watch as her helmet tumbles to the floor revealing--!

Syb, what the HELL? You grumble, tapping your finger on the screen! What’s with the GLARE?!

“Oops!” Sybil replies, cringing a bit. “Yea, the camera isn’t exactly high-tech--guess there was a glare!”

You frown. Maybe you can just order her to take her helmet off later or something. Though the lights dim in preparation for the song, the glare still shines on her face as the song begins!

You’ve gotta admit--you did NOT expect Mitzi to have a voice like that!

https://youtu.be/udK1V1zq-wc

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4734976
As the final notes of the song trail off, Mitzi is treated to a polite amount of applause from the crowd--some of them still clearly perturbed by the lyrics. After one last encouraging ‘WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!’ from Art, your other guard places the mic back on the stand and shrugs.

“Yea so… Get a dance floor in here next time or something.”

Popping her helmet back on, Mitzi trudges back over to the table and takes her seat once more, opening her magazine back to the page she was on.

“...Dedicated to STAN and the gang, huh?” Sybil asks, a smile in her voice.

“...Screw you.” Mitzi replies, still reading.

“That means it’s MY TURN!!!!” Bea squeals, nearly flipping the table over!


Syb pauses the video once more before you’re treated to that spectacle.

“Sooo,” she muses, “That’s basically what you missed. Triple Trouble, at least the two remaining members, left shortly after--I believe they said they were going to rest up before going on another rescue mission...”

“I liked dat’ song!” Ly reports, never one to be ignored.

Typical BORIS! Always thinking about OTHER PEOPLE instead of getting the damn job done! If those goofballs were in charge Tim would never get his skull caved in!

“Agreed. Speaking of, was there anything else to discuss, or should we make sure our two guards haven’t killed each other yet?”

Good question!
>ONE MORE THING! (WRITE-IN)
>NAH, let’s BOUNCE.
>>
>>4734980
>NAH, let’s BOUNCE.
>>
>>4734980
>NAH, let’s BOUNCE.
We got lieutenants to kill!
>>
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>>4734988
>>4734998
>Pic related

WRITING!
>>
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Shaking your head, you motion for Syb to wrap it up--you’ve got some SKELLIES TO STOMP! Placing the piercing back on her eyebrow, she nods.

“Indeed--let’s get going, then.”

You and Syb leave the way you came in, ignoring the piercing glare of a cross-looking maintenance worker watching you leave. You tap your hat a few times as you return the glare, but too late--just no pleasing some people…

“Let’s hope they didn’t wander off,” Sybil mutters, “We really need to start planning our next… Move...” The girl’s voice trails off as she stares into the distance. Following her gaze, you feel your face contort into a frown as your bruises start to ache again.

Not far down the tunnel, Art lies in a heap clutching his gut while Mitzi shouts at a familiar group of five Good Boy Security Goons. Nodding to each other, you and Syb scamper over, attracting the attention of Mitzi and the leader!

“Where WERE you guys?!” She shouts, not taking her eyes off of the group of chuckling Rent-A-Cops.

“There they are!” Chuckles the leader with an unmistakable Southern drawl. “The Karaoke Queens!”

THIS prick again, you snarl, lowering into a defensive stance.

“You KNOW this guy?” Sybil asks, her gaze shifting between you, Art, and the group.

“Me and the guys know YOU!” He answers, pointing a gloved finger your way. “You both have quite a set of pipes on ya--we were just talking about our little rendezvous near the entrance elevator…”

“Stan… Don’t list-” Art hisses before a boot to the stomach silences him!

“Shut it, Escape Artist!” Snickers one of the guards! “Adults are talkin’!”

“Much obliged, Theo.” The leader says before turning his attention back your way. “Don’t think we’ve been properly introduced, little lady--name’s Teddy--kinda like the bear--I look big an’ nasty, but I’m real friendly once ya’ get to know me!”

“They’re cleared, asswipe!” Mitzi growls, standing guard in front of Art. “You had your fun, now piss off!

“Hmmm, let me discuss it with the guys.” Teddy answers with mock consideration. “We done yet, fellas?”

A chorus of negative responses says all that needs to be said. Shaking his masked head, Teddy shrugs.

“Sorry gals, we tend to do things democratic around here--we didn’t even get to chat up our new friend yet!”

Turning to Syb, you watch as her eyes slowly light up with faint blue flames.

“Friends, is it? I’m afraid the feeling’s not mutual.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4735251
“Sorry to hear it.” Replies Teddy, taking a few steps forward. “But ya see, we didn’t get a chance to introduce ourselves after karaoke… And we didn’t get nearly enough time with this peach before we had to drag her ass to INTERROGATION.” He adds, glancing your way. “Didn’t mean to bruise you, kiddo, just got a little carried away I guess…”

You grit your teeth--and putting Art in the HOSPITAL was just fun and games too, huh? The group of guards laugh.

“Artie here knew what he was getting into when he DESERTED.” Teddy responds, malice in his voice. “Knew a lot of good guys in those teams--woulda’ been nice if their DRIVER was around to pull ‘em out of the fire…”

Trotting over in Art’s direction, Teddy stops in front of Mitzi.

“Though from what he just told me, it sounds like you had a hand in that little circus act as well!” Faking her out with a mock lunge, Teddy returns to his group when she barely flinches. “So here’s what I’m thinkin--me and the guys are pretty heavy-hearted after all of that and we figure we’re due recompense. What say you two come with us and help out?”

The guard briefly turns back towards Mitzi and Art.

“...Screw it, Diles can take Muldoon. Always had a thing for her, didn’t you?” He chuckles, turning to face one of the guards.

“Stan.” Sybil growls, quickly gaining your attention, “I’d prefer we don’t kill any of them.”

Wh-wha?! You whisper back incredulously! Look at Ar-

“That’d be too quick.” You friend hisses as you feel static electricity form in her palms. “So please, do something appropriate before I lose my cool.”

How do you address the situation?
>EXPLAIN your role--they really wanna tango with the boss’ favorite?
>INTIMIDATE--you’ve whacked two lieutenants now, after all.
>MAKE THINGS SIMPLE: You vs. Teddy!
>SUCKER PUNCH!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4735253
>WRITE-IN
Let's show em how a Janitor cleans out the trash with our MOP-FU

Just start wailing on em!
>>
>>4735277
>Just wail on 'em

Writing!
>>
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Part of you tells you to slow down--to just breathe and think things through. That part’s quickly drowned out by the sight of Art writhing on the ground and your friends being dealt out like cheese samples at a supermarket.

“Ready when you are, cupcake.” Ly snarls as your whole body coils for a strike! Idly tapping the outline of the TELESCOPING MOP they forgot to confiscate in your pocket, you hear an almost silent grunt from Syb. Guess you’re doin’ this!

“Let’s see now…” Chuckles Teddy as he slowly approaches you, “Where were we?”

Just when Teddy comes into range, his gloved hand hovering over his STUN BATON, time slows to a crawl as your mind drifts back to a note on that CORKBOARD in the GOOD BOY Security Office…

When working with a PARTY, you can either JUST ROLL OR ROLL WITH SPECIFIC ATTACK INSTRUCTIONS! Good planning and creativity may result in BONE-USES!~Mgmt.

>Roll 3d100+10 (For the element of surprise)! Each 1d100 is for You, Syb, and Mitzi! I’ll take the BEST OF THREE ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 63, 8, 30 + 10 = 111 (3d100 + 10)

>>4735504

Alright here's what I'm thinking:

1. Syb opens with a 'Cone of Cold' for the encounter
2. We do a big sweep of their asses with the mop to knock em over
3. Us with the mop and Mitzi with her stun baton wail on them while they're on the ground
>>
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Here's SYB'S SPELL LIST again if you need a refresher! Got two more rolls to go and I'll count the HIGHEST FOR EACH CHARACTER!
>>
Rolled 51, 100, 30 + 10 = 191 (3d100 + 10)

>>4735504
Have Sybil use cone of cold on them. Then we and Mitzi can beat them down.
>>
>>4735550
>rolling a 100 for Syb
God bless you, anon
>>
Gonna hold out a little longer for our third roller just in case--will check back in in about 20 mins!

>>4735550
Though this nasty sumbitch might've won it for ya. Don't piss off Syb!
>>
>>4735623
would you mind one of us rerolling in 20 minutes if there isn't a third one?
>>
>>4735632
You know what, SURE. But only because I like you guys!
>>
Rolled 73, 8, 10 + 10 = 101 (3d100 + 10)

>>4735635
Based and Bonepilled. Rerolling!
>>
>>4735524
>>4735550
>>4735652
The final results:
>STAN HIGHEST: 73
>SYB HIGHEST: 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
>MITZI HIGHEST: 30

Writing!
>>
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As you reach to draw your TELESCOPING MOP, a faint chill in the air sends a simple, but clear message: Get the FUCK down! Distracted by the wisps of frozen water vapor escaping Sybil’s eyes and mouth, the guards hardly notice as you tackle Mitzi out of the way.

You feel a faint pop in your ears, and then it hits.

With a tunnel-shaking shriek, Syb lets loose a raging torrent of ice crystals from her mouth and hands, engulfing your would-be assailants in a cloud of frigid death!

“Holy shit.” Whispers Mitzi as you help her and Art to their feet! By the time Sybil’s shriek dies down, the harassing guards stand like statues in various positions--some fleeing, some raising their hands to defend themselves, and one of them, Diles, you believe his name was, is even using one of his fellows as a shield.

Teddy, the leader of the gang, stands like a sculpture in a museum--his hands frozen to his hips in a confident pose. As Sybil regains her breath, your entourage manages to pick up the faint sound of breathing coming from the attackers--looks like they’re still alive, if not mobile.
“Are you okay?” Sybil wheezes, hurrying over to Art.

“Yea…” He groans, still clutching his side, “Bastards ambushed me…”

Check it out, Art, you grin, knocking lightly on one of the guard’s arms, Rent-A-Copsicles! Art chuckles for a moment before entering a coughing fit.

As you and Syb admire her handiwork, Mitzi offers a shoulder to Art. “Come on, let’s go make sure no one comes this way.”

“YOU go…” Art growls, stumbling over to the cluster of frozen guards, “I want to stick around.”

For? You ask, raising an eyebrow.

“Their due recompense.” Syb answers grimly.

“Whatever, just make it FAST.” Mitzi groans before scampering down the ice-caked tunnel. As the three of you approach Teddy, the faint breathing you heard before quickens--he’s alive, alright.

“What do you think?” Sybil whispers, letting Art steady himself on her shoulder.

“I think we teach them a LESSON.” Art growls in a tone you’ve never heard from him before.

Syb, Art, and (you suspect) the guards all glance your way--guess it’s up to you…

>SMASH them into ICE CUBES.
>CHISEL A FEW PIECES. Give ‘em something to remember.
>WARN THEM. They get to live another day.
>WRITE-IN
FIRST 100 of the game! Sorry for the anticlimax, but come on... Cone of Cold in a tunnel? Nasty stuff!
>>
>>4735714
Teddy was the guy who implied he was going to sexually assault us, yeah?

>CHISEL A FEW PIECES. Give ‘em something to remember.
He's getting his weiner bone clawed off.
>>
Feelin' tired, so I'll call it here for tonight. Tomorrow's gonna be a busy one, so I'll try to whip up an update for your guys around 4-5PM PST. Thanks for playing and as always feel free to chime in with any questions, critiques, or concerns you might have!
>>
>>4735714
Let's not resort to murder and grievous injury, okay?
>Cut off their pants abd leave them standing like that, but make it very clear their wieners could suffer the same fate.
>>
>>4735762
>>4735714
Kind of likin this, we slash up clothes and maybe leave a cutesie lil heart scar on his face. But nothing that would qualify as grievous bodily harm. Maybe have art play a drum solo on their heads before putting them in funny positions.
>>
>>4735762
>>4735793
Fair points, but I definitely like leavin a warning what they'll lose if they continue bein chucklefucks. I'll change to the pants idea
>>
>>4735762
>>4735793
>>4735980
>CUT OFF PANTS, HEART SCARS, FUNNY POSING, GENERAL TOMFOOLERY
Writing a quick update then I'll be back around 5pm PST!
>>
A lesson, huh? You circle the frozen goons as you quietly observe Syb’s handiwork--yea, you can whip up a lesson really quick! Extending a BONE CLAW, you approach Teddy as slowly and methodically as he approached you mere moments before, making sure to stay within view of his cronies. You can almost catch a faint whimper as you squat towards his lower torso.

“Arthur.” Sybil murmurs, getting his attention, “don’t get too close.”

The guard looks her way. “Okay… Why?”

“Well, Syb continues, a devilish grin forming on her face, “Frozen things tend to be very fragile. I wouldn’t want to accidentally bump into Stan and cause a mess…”

“Yea, hope I don’t LOSE MY BALANCE.” Growls Art. Chuckling idly to yourself, you trace your claw along Teddy’s belt, quietly slicing through it like a knife through hot butter. Your claw hovers over… Well, that, for a second, and with a quick FLICK of a claw you leave a small cut in Teddy’s frozen trousers.

Giggling like an idiot, you dart between the others performing the same ritual--once they thaw they’re gonna have a long walk back to the locker room! Your GRIM TASK nearly complete, you find yourself circling back to Teddy as Art finishes up a bongo solo on Diles’ frosty helmet.

“OOH! OOH!” Ly grunts! “I got an idea!”

Lending him your arm, you watch as Ly cuts THROUGH Teddy’s mask revealing a pale, frostbitten mass of stubble. Whistling while he works, Ly carves a small, yet deep heart shaped smiley face into Teddy’s cheek.

“Not my best work, but it’ll do.” Ly chuckles, relinquishing control of your arm.

“Think that’ll do the trick?” Art whispers, admiring your handiwork. Almost, you shrug, but there’s one more thing that needs to be done…

It takes a bit of doing to avoid snapping off any important bits, but by the time Mitzi returns your team is grinning like idiots.

“Okay, are you guys do-”

Your impromptu watchmen pauses mid-sentence as she takes in the view: your would-be attackers lie on top of each other in various risque positions--time for the icing on the cake.

Signaling to Syb, your pal dutifully pulls out her phone and snaps a few pictures for the road.

“You’re right, Stan,” Art chuckles, patting you on the shoulder, “This was much better than just killing them.”

Oh, there’s still time for that, you respond loud enough for the pile to hear, after all, you’ll definitely be seeing them again soon!

Leaving the goon pile to their souvenirs, Sybil glances your way.

“Right, with that done, where can we plan our next move?”

You know JUST the place!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4736316
Kicking the door open dramatically, you and your entourage gain the full attention of the SALOON--Including several patrons who never left.

RUDY!” You bark, “DRINKS and TOTS, CHOP CHOP!”

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t go to Mitzi’s bunk thing or whatever.” Art grumbles as your group eases into an empty table.

“Sorry,” Mitzi replies, her magazine already open, “No boys allowed.”

“Figures…” Art groans. “Listen, I’m sorry you guys had to come to my res-”

Can it, Art, you interrupt, you’re a TEAM. No apologies necessary.

“Still, it-” He continues before Syb covers his mouth with her hand.

“Arthur, it won’t be the last time we’re taken by surprise--the important thing is that we look out for one another.”

The guard stares at Syb for a second before nodding.

“You’re right… Just wish it wasn’t me getting waylaid first. Woulda preferred Mitzi or something.”

The other Rent-A-Cop flips Art the bird, not looking up from her reading material. As the waitress from before approaches with a pitcher of beer, she eyes you suspiciously.

“Weren’t you here like an hour ago?”

Yes, you growl, drumming your fingers on the table, and then you had to LEAVE. And now you’re BACK.

“You’re not going to sing again, are you?” She asks, placing some glasses on the table.

You might!

“Let’s focus on the plan for now.” Sybil interrupts, prompting Ruby to flee the scene. “Good Boy is, for better or worse, taken care of. What’s our next target?”

Syb unfurls the MAP OF CLEARWATER in front of you as Art preemptively confiscates everyone’s knives. Oh COME ON, it was forDRAMATIC EFFECT!

“As far as remaining lieutenants go,” Sybil continues, “There’s the Sea Witch, the Cowboy, the Pirate, and the General. There’s also those Ruins Boris mentioned as well as that Secret Lab somewhere in the woods…”

https://youtu.be/sgl_HrxlUH4
Who or WHAT should you discuss?
>The SEA WITCH. Her people made a field trip to the museum, yea?
>The COWBOY. His guys were patrolling near JOPLIN...
>The PIRATE. Those scallywags have been terrorising the coast!
>The GENERAL. They’ve got a hold of Central Clearwater and the DAM, right?
>Those RUINS are bugging me…
>We should track down THAT LAB…
>WRITE-IN
Big decisions: perfect for when I'll be gone most of the day! I'll leave this open until around 5PM PST--vote away!
>>
>>4736320
>We should track down THAT LAB…
Forgive my memory, but if this is the lab that belongs to scientist lady who made Talbot- or if we just don't know what lab it is- I say we go here.

If we do know what it is and it isn't Talbot lady, then I vote
>Those RUINS are bugging me…
>>
>>4736325
You know that yes, the scientist from your Astral spying presumably operates out of a secret lab in the Wilderness Preserve. The only issue that you don't really know where in the preserve it is, per info I snagged from the last thread or so.
>>
>>4736331
Right- we gotta track it down proper. I'll go with lab then!
>>
>>4736320
>We should track down THAT LAB…
>>
>We should track down THAT LAB…
>>
>>4736320
>The PIRATE. Those scallywags have been terrorising the coast!
I just really want to have a ship battle, and I think we should do the pirate before the sea witch. Or maybe the other way around?
>>
>>4736320
>We should track down THAT LAB…
>>
>>4736325
>>4736354
>>4736424
>>4737083
>LAB ADVENTURE

>>4736450
PIRATE ADVENTURE

Writing!
>>
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One thing’s for certain--things are gonna be really dicey as long as that fifty-foot freak Tugboat is hounding you. Pointing to the RED SKIES REDWOOD PRESERVE, you-

“Gimme your glass, Stan.” Mitzi interrupts, shaking the pitcher for emphasis. Oh, thank you! Hey, isn’t Mitzi an ANGEL, guys?

“What were you gonna say about RED SKIES?” Art fires back, ignoring your question. “Pretty sure Clearwater U had a few wildlife observation posts out there.”

Very neat, Art, you growl as you down half of your glass, but what’s that got to do with THE MISSION?

“I just figured we could check a few of ‘em out. See if there’s any clues regarding the TOP SECRET LAB that’s supposedly out there.”

You frown--that sounded a little skeptical to you.

“Me too.” Ly hisses. “I think it’s a good move, Stan--we’ll be much bettah’ off without dat’ goomba constantly stompin’ on our parade!”

“We’ll have to find the lab first.” Sybil mutters, studying the map with her arms crossed. “I don’t relish the idea of trudging off into the woods in the middle of the day, but I suppose we don’t have the luxury of time…”

“Yep, those trails are brutal even during the day.” Mitzi adds, raising her glass to her mask’s filter. “Worst comes to worst, I know a place we can crash for the night!”

“I’m guessing it’s not a lakeside cabin, is it?” Art sighs.

“Close--there’s a camp out there--Camp Wampanoag. Folks used to send me there every Summer.” Mitzi explains, staring wistfully into the distance. “Worked as a counselor there a few times, too--lots of good memories. AND I happen to know where they keep the EMERGENCY KEYS.”

“It’s a good fallback plan!” Sybil nods as Ruby returns with a piping-hot plate of TATER-TOTS! “I can try to zero-in on that researcher too as long as I get some time!”

“You guys talking about Camp Wampanoag?” Ruby interrupts, wiping her hands on her apron. You were, but please, hop RIGHTinto the conversation, you growl, stuffing a handful of TOTS into your mouth! OW, HOT!

“Yea, be careful with those. Anyways, I’d be careful up there if I was you--HELLA Mountain Lions.”

Shit, you KNEW it! They’ll tear you to ribbons!

“We can take the van to the Nature Preserve Entrance, at least.” Art shrugs, fruitlessly trying to stuff some TOTS through his filter. “But do we wanna prepare a bit first?”

What say you?
>WAIT, I have a question! (WRITE-IN)
>Let’s just GO--time’s of the essence!
>Maybe we can GRAB some HIKING GEAR from the QUARTERMASTER.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4737202
>Maybe we can GRAB some HIKING GEAR from the QUARTERMASTER.
>>
>>4737202
>Maybe we can GRAB some HIKING GEAR from the QUARTERMASTER.
>>
Sorry folks, but I'm wiped out from today--I'm gonna take the rest of the night off, but I should be able to whip up an update around 9-10AM PST tomorrow and 12PM onward. Sorry for the tease--been tired since I got back home!
>>
>>4737202
>Maybe we can GRAB some HIKING GEAR from the QUARTERMASTER.
>>
>>4737202
>Maybe we can GRAB some HIKING GEAR from the QUARTERMASTER.
>>
>>4737233
>>4737250
>>4737421
>>4737434
>GLORY TO CARGONIA
WRITING
>>
Pointing at your glass for a refill, you drum your fingers on the table.... It won’t pay to be HASTY here… The team will most likely need some supplies!

“Good idea.” Syb nods, telekinetically tossing a TOT into her open mouth. “It might take me a while to home in on Professor Venaas’ signal…”

“That’s…” Art replies, surprise evident in his voice, “Not a bad idea, Stan. Didn’t expect this more forethought from you.”

“Is that unnatural?” Mitzi asks, wiping TOTS crumbs from her filter.

“It’s definitely not normal for her.” Art fires back, sipping his beer. “Here I was expecting to just trudge off into the nearest hill until we found the lab…”

Hey, you’re a lot of things, but you’re not that stupid! You’ll be taking a trip to that QUARTERBACK’S OFFICE after this for the BEAR NECESSITIES!

“Can’t wait.” Mutters Mitzi as she wipes her mask off with a napkin.
“You erm…” Ruby intrudes, shifting from foot to foot uneasily, “You guys alright over here, then?”

No, you growl, shaking the half-empty pitcher her way! You’ll need another one of these... For the ROAD!

>CONTD.
>>
>>4738125
“No.” Replies the masked guard behind the bulletproof window. Ignoring the expectant gazes of your pals behind you, you pace a few steps then slam your hands on the counter again--he CAN’T or he WON’T?!

“... Yes.” Grunts the quartermaster, not bothering to uncross his arms from his chest.

“Come on, Paolo, be a Pal...O.” Mitzi adds from the one chair in the room, not bothering to look up from her magazine. Paolo shakes his head and sighs in exasperation.

“Look, my orders are clear--you guys are given FREE REIGN to loot ANY house, store, or other source of resources in Clearwater, but I can’t just toss supplies willy-nilly at you!”

He takes a moment to really center his glare on your face.

“And I’m certainly not letting you requisition a FLAMETHROWER for a mission to the NATURE PRESERVE! That’s a national treasure!”

Pally, you begin, leaning on the counter as you shoot your friends an ‘I got this’ look, have you ever seen a mountain lion?

“... Once. On a field trip.”

See, that’s the thing right there, you respond, your tone taking a turn for the GRAVE. You CAN’T see them--not until it’s too late, that is!

“All the same, not about to give a FLAMETHROWER to Unstable Mable here.”

Letting your face drop onto the counter, you let out an annoyed sigh--can he give you ANYTHING? Anything at all?

“I mean, I can look...” Paolo responds, scratching his side as he glances in the direction of the warehouse door behind him. “Can’t give you everything, though--probably 3 Items Total depending on the size…”

“Do you have a GPS TRACKER?” Art chimes in, leaning on the counter with you. “Could be useful.”

“Don’t forget Provisions!” Syb adds. “It would be unfortunate if it was dehydration that finally did us in…”

“Look,” Paolo sighs, raising his hands in a placating manner, “Why don’t I just check the system here and show you a list?”

Perfect! Why didn’t he just do that before?

“... You didn’t ask nicely.” He replies, haughtily tapping away at the keyboard.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4738130
A few minutes of typing and printing later, Paolo slides you an INVENTORY LIST[/i] through the slot in the window.

“Remember,” he warns, “Only 3 Items. Want more, go raid a camping store.”

HIKING SUPPLY LIST:
-Water Purification Tablets
-Large Canteens
-Extra-Strength Flashlights
-Water-proof matches
-Scent-Remover
-Duck call
-Sleeping bags
-Compass
-Walking Sticks
-GPS Tracker
-Pack of CORN BARS
-Trail First Aid Kit (w/disinfectant)
-Rope Ladder w/fasteners
-Rope and Piton Climbing Kit
-Ghillie Suits
-Remote-Controlled Duck
-Geiger Counter
-Glowsticks (Pack of 20)
-Trail Guide (Plants and Animals)
-Shovel
-Extra Rifle Ammo (4 Mags for each person)
-Quik-Tent


You frown. That’s it?

“I mean, we’ve probably got some other stuff too.” Paolo replies, slightly offended. “Just ask and I’ll go check.”

“You uh… You want us to take the lead here, Stan?” Art whispers.

“Yes, we know you’re not exactly ’Outdoorsy’...” Syb adds in a diplomatic tone.

Hey, you’re the leader for a reason! Turning back to Paolo, you prepare to make a deal!

>Can I get (INSERT 3 ITEMS HERE)
>Do you have (WRITE-IN)
>Can I pleeeeeeeaaaasseee have more items!?
>What sounds useful to you guys?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4738133
>Can I get (INSERT 3 ITEMS HERE)
>-GPS Tracker
>-Rope Ladder w/fasteners
>-Remote-Controlled Duck
We can loot provisions from a store.
>>
>>4738133
>Can I get (INSERT 3 ITEMS HERE)
>GPS Tracker
>Rope Ladder w/fasteners
>Trail Guide (Plants and Animals)

>WRITE-IN
"Do you know where a girl can cash a check around here?"

If we can get the check cashed, maybe we can buy some food and water from the saloon or somewhere else in here. This is probably the only place money can really be spent right now.

If there's no way to cash it/purchasing those isn't an option, then we can loot them from store along the way like >>4738147 suggested
>>
>>4738192
Just to save you some time: Ruby at the Saloon mentioned to Boris that everything bought is taken out of that employee's paycheck once this crap is all over--non-employees gotta put down card information. It's a stupid system, but I'm pretty sure that's what I mentioned earlier in the thread so yea--you might be holding onto that check for a while.

That said,
>>4738147
>>4738192
What's it gonna be, gang?
>TRAIL GUIDE
or
>DUCK

Remember, you can always try to get more items! I'll keep this vote open a little while longer--check back in about 30 mins!
>>
>>4738427
Ah my bad, nvm on the check thing then.

In that case, still keeping my vote with
>TRAIL GUIDE
>>
>>4738427
>Duck
You just know it's in the list for a reason.
>>
>>4738475
You know what? You've got a point.

For the sake of simplicity I'll switch my vote to duck
>>
>>4738475
>>4738477
>GPS TRACKER
>ROPE LADDER W/FASTENERS
>REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK

Writing!
>>
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Reading through the list one more time you can easily separate the WHEAT from the CHAFF. You’ll take the GPS TRACKER, the ROPE LADDER, and the REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK!

“You got it.” Paolo nods before disappearing into the warehouse behind the counter. Satisfied, you cross your arms and grin at your chums--you can just hit a ZOOM MART for the ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS!

“... Not gonna touch that last bit, Mitzi?” Art asks, glancing at the other guard reading the magazine.

“Why would I?” She replies, turning the page. “Remote-Controlled Duck. Could come in handy.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Ly agrees. Yea, what’s the issue THIS time? It’s a forest--you never know when you’re gonna need a duck!

“What if we run out of water?” Art asks, crossing his arms. “Sure you wouldn’t rather take some of those WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS?”

Don’t even start, you scoff, waving the question away with your hand. If it comes to that you’ll just drink water you find--that purification crap is just a buzzword the water companies came up with!

“... Tell ya what--I’ll just find a large bottle of water on the way.” Art responds, abandoning the conversation.

“Order up!” Paolo announces, returning from the back with a large box! “Lemme just confirm that you’re checking these out…” The quartermaster places the box on his side of the counter and taps away at the keyboard for a moment as you stand eagerly awaiting your new toys.

“Let’s see…” Paolo muses, peeking into the box, “Satellite-Bounced GPS Tracker... Manual’s in the box, but essentially you can use that to keep track of where you are--don’t drop it, thing’s fragile.”

You nod, prompting him to continue the explanation.

Rope Ladder with Fasteners--pretty self-explanatory. Just make sure whatever you’re fastening it to is stable--you only learn that lesson once...”

Art and Syb approach the counter as Paolo pulls out a life-sized model of a duck, webbed feet and all!

Remote-Controlled Duck. Can walk, run, flap its wings, swim, and even has a little ‘quack’ button. Don’t try it in here, please.”

You’re gonna have to give him a NAME! Shoving the box into the ‘transfer’ area of the window, Paolo leans against the wall as you hastily snap up the items!

“Futile, I know, but please try to bring those back in one piece if you can.”

No promises!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4738732
Stuffing your new goodies into your inventory (and silently thanking the powers that be for blessing your coveralls with such large pockets), you grin at your stalwart allies and cock your head to the side--they ready for a ROAD TRIP!?!

“Always!” Grins Syb.

“You bet I am!” Art adds, nodding his head.

“Can’t wait.” Mitzi sighs, pocketing her magazine.

“It’ll be nice ta’ get outside for a while!” Ly chuckles! “Not lookin’ forward ta’ runnin’ inta’ dat’ Talbot guy again, though.”

That’s why we’re going on this dumb field trip in the first place, you hiss, prompting Art and Mitzi to shoot you a concerned look! Waving it away, you gesture for your pals to follow--shooting Paolo a quick ‘thanks’ as you leave!

“Take care of yourselves,” He warns, waving at your departing group through the glass, “Road’s been pretty crazy lately.”

“So next stop is a convenience store, huh?” Mitzi asks, taking a spot by your side. “Eager to see what kinda wheels you guys have.”

“You don’t need to grab anything before you leave, do you Mitzi?” Syb asks.

“I mean, I can check...” She shrugs. “But I get it if we’re in a hurry. Not much of value there anyways.”

“We could also see if the Saloon has anything TO-GO!” Art suggests, catching up to your side. “Might be easier than looting.”

Did you go to the bathroom? Grab all of your things? You should receive your weapons again upon leaving… You ready to hit the road?
>Let’s RIDE, people.
>MITZI, go check your BUNK.
>ART’S right--let’s go to the SALOON for TAKE-OUT.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4738735
>ART’S right--let’s go to the SALOON for TAKE-OUT.
I'm feeling Curry or something.
>>
>>4738735
>ART’S right--let’s go to the SALOON for TAKE-OUT.
>>
>>4738735
>MITZI, go check your BUNK.
>ART’S right--let’s go to the SALOON for TAKE-OUT.
>>
>>4738784
>>4738792
>>4738815
>SALOON TAKE-OUT
>MITZI GET YOUR SHIT

Writing!
>>
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Art’s right--why break into the cow when the milk’s free?

“...Not the idiom I would use, but sure.” Art shrugs. “What are you in the mood for? Pretty sure they’re out of TOTS by now…”

“I would prefer something less greasy for the road…” Sybil adds. “Especially if we’re going for a hike...”

You close your eyes and think for a bit--Ly, what’s Stomach in the mood for?

“Lemme ask.” Ly whispers. “... Curry. Japanese, Indian, Thai, don’t matter.”

Curry, you repeat, opening your eyes. That’s what you’re jonesin’ for.

“Don’t think they had that at the saloon, but hey--maybe I can track it down somewhere else in this rat maze.” Art replies.

“Pretty sure I left some protein shakes in my bunk.” Mitzi interjects. “Want me to go check?”

Yes, you reply, and she can snag anything else she thinks she’ll need too--chances are this is gonna be a long trip!

“I’ll go with Arthur.” Syb says, taking position next to him. “Two heads are better than one, as they say!”

“I don’t need an escort,” Art chuckles ruefully, “I won’t get the crap kicked out of me again…”

“You know that’s not what I meant...” Syb sighs, crossing her arms. “In any case, are you coming with, Stan?”

“You can come with me, too--the other guards won’t bite ya. Probably.” Mitzi shrugs.

>Join MITZI
>Join ART and SYB
>Go it ALONE--you wanna check out (WRITE-IN)
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4738940
>Join MITZI
>>
>>4738940
>Join MITZI
>>
>>4738949
>>4738988
>MITZI

WRITING
>>
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You turn to Mitzi and grin--sure, you’ll be her bodyguard!

“My hero.” Mitzi replies, a smile hiding behind her voice. Turning to Art and Syb, you start an explanation, but don’t get that far...

“No worries, we’ll meet you guys at the main elevator to go topside!” Art explains, raising a thumb.

“We won’t be long, but if we find anything worthwhile we’ll pick it up!” Syb adds. With that your two groups split--you and Mitzi in the direction of what you assume to be barracks, Syb and Art in the direction of the COMMONS.

“Pretty excited to be getting out of here, to be honest.” Mitzi mentions as she takes you through another maze of corridors in the SECURITY wing. “Never liked having roommates.”

So what, you begin, sidestepping a squad of Good Boy guards coming your way, everyone’s just clumped together? What if you’ve gotta change or something?!

“Hasn’t been happening long enough to be a problem--plus we’ve got bathrooms.” A few turns later and you find yourself outside of a room marked BUNK 18 in faded stenciled paint above the door.

“This is it. Do me a favor, will ya: some of them might hassle ya. Just let it go.”

You frown and place your hands on your hips--you can handle yourself!

Mitzi shrugs in response, then pops the door open with a keycard. Despite the rows of simple bunk beds, only a few guards seem to be here! A few sit in the corner around a small table playing cards while a few others lie motionless on one of the many beds--heavy sleepers!

“Shh.”

The card players spare you an uninterested glance as you follow your new pal to her bunk--a bed that appears almost new!

“Gotta keep your stuff packed away, otherwise it goes ‘missing’.” Mitzi explains with a pair of ‘air quotations’. “Already lost a bag of chips and a dumbbell.”

You grin--ooh, a bodybuilder, are we? You’ve been toning up yourself, lately…

Mitzi stares at your arms for a moment and quietly assesses your triceps.

“... It’s a start.

You let out a PSSSSH--like she’s one to tal-

Your train of thought is interrupted for a brief second as Mitzi quickly raises her security jacket and the tank-top underneath revealing a TONED STOMACH with the GOLDILOCKS level of abs--not too much, not too little! WOW!

“I don’t read that magazine just for the pretty pictures, you know.” Mitzi explains, turning her attention to the footlocker at the base of her bed.

If you had blinked you woulda’ missed it!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4739320
Recovering from what you just witnessed, you lean against the closest wall you can find as Mitzi begins rummaging through her footlocker.

“Juuuuust a second,” She mumbles, tossing you a pack of TRAIL MIX. “Won’t take but a moment.”

Looking over her shoulder, you manage to get a peek at a few items--a photo, a set of dumbbells, and even a small notebook with a fish on it! As if sensing your curiosity, Mitzi turns around and locks eyes with you! Well… Eye lens things...

“You look like you wanna play Question For a Question.”

Caught in the act, you spring into defensive action! Qu-you...-Wha? You ask, an incredulous look on your face.

“We used to play it up at camp--One person starts, the other one asks a question with the same, er…” She pauses for a second to chase a thought. “Magnitude. There ya go. Wanna play, or do you wanna keep creepin’ on me?”

>Let’s PLAY! MITZI can go first.
>Let’s PLAY! YOU’LL ask a question!
>Nah, you’re comfortable creepin’.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4739324
>Let’s PLAY! MITZI can go first.
>>
>>4739324
>Let’s PLAY! MITZI can go first.
>>
>>4739329
>>4739339
>MITZI BEGINS
Writing!
>>
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Camp games, huh? You crack your knuckles and grin--you’re game! Hell, you just realized this is the first time you and her actually really chatted!

“Yea, shame I misplaced the champagne.” Mitzi replies, stuffing a few PRO-TEIN SHAKES into her rig’s pouches. “So will you be diving into my dark backstory first, or do I get to ask you something?”

You shrug--she can go if she wants! Lord knows she’s probably pretty curious about everything so far.

“Your funeral.” She mutters, her gloved hand hovering over the photo in the footlocker. Deciding on taking it, she shoves the picture into her pocket and faces you once more.

“Alright then, Stan--care to explain who Ly is?”

YIPES! You can’t help but recoil a bit--she couldn’t have started with something simple like your age or something? Favorite color?!

“I already know you’re twenty, Stan.” Mitzi fires back, crossing her arms. “I read your file, remember? That makes me your ELDER.” She adds, a smirk behind her mask. “One year elder, but still.”

Weird--she seemed older! In a good way, that is!

“... You still haven’t answered my question. Not thinking of cheating, are you, Stan?”

No way! You just… Well…

“I know, I know.” Ly mutters, “How do you even begin to describe me? It’s like explainin’ music to a deaf guy.”

Yea, totally. Seriously though, how do you describe Ly?

>He’s my IMAGINARY FRIEND! Since birth, of course.
>He’s my SKELETON. He can float around and talk--magical as SHIT.
>I wasn’t saying LY! I was saying ‘WE’!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4739444
>He’s my SKELETON. He can float around and talk--magical as SHIT.
"It's Tim's fault- I think"
>>
>>4739444
>He’s my SKELETON. He can float around and talk--magical as SHIT.
>>
>>4739451
>>4739463
>The TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE!
Writing!
>>
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You sigh--maybe your boss is right. Maybe there is someone close to you hellbent on serving your head to Tim on a silver platter. Maybe it’s even one of your CLOSE PALS! The idea sends a cold shiver down your spine, but you steady yourself--you’ll never get anywhere without trust, right? That’s what they always said in that wedding ring commercial…

Ly is… Your skeleton, you begin, trying to find the best explanation for whatever the hell Ly even is. He can talk, laugh, sing, and even float around and scout crap out if need be--he’s probably TIM’S FAULT, but you can’t really prove it yet. All in all, however, he’s been a really decent partner so far!

“Just DECENT?” Ly snaps, leaning down to look you in the eye! Okay, OKAY, he’s STUPENDOUS.

“... I’ll allow it.” Your skeleton mutters before stuffing his Astral Projection back into you. The card players in the corner of the bunk stare at you for a moment, then quickly return to their game. Mitzi, on the other hand, continues to bore holes in you with her eye lenses.

“... Hold on a sec’.” Mitzi commands before putting her hands behind her back. “Can Ly see what I’m doing?”

“... Tappin’ her middle fingers together to da’ beat of dat’ song ya’ sang earlier.” Ly whispers as he peers behind Mitzi’s back.

Relaying Ly’s report to her, the guard freezes in place for a moment, then shifts back to her default ‘aloof’ factory setting.

That’s when the chuckling starts.

“Wow!” She giggles, leaning back against her bunk, “The rules never said you had to tell the truth, Stan!”

Wait, WHA? Do over! DO-OVER! You shout, eliciting a few annoyed sighs from the card players. How were you supposed to know that?!

“It’s fine. It’s fine!” Mitzi reassures you, her laughter quickly dying down! “I’m just…” She continues, clearing her throat, “I’m just surprised, I guess. Didn’t expect you to tell the truth to a complete stranger like me… That's really cool, though--nice to meet you, Ly...”

"Charmed, I'm sure!" Ly laughs, shaking the air next to her outstretched hand.

Yea, well buckle up Ms. ‘Complete Stranger’, because now she has to answer one of YOUR questions! TRUTHFULLY!

“Okay, okay!” She laughs, raising her hands placatingly. “I’m an open book, Stan…”

JACKPOT. Now you’ve got her! What should you ask?

>The PHOTO. Who’s in it?
>How was she able to INTERROGATE YOU?
>Why is she so attached to that MASK of hers?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4739576
>Why is she so attached to that MASK of hers?
>>
>>4739576
>Why is she so attached to that MASK of hers?
>>
>>4739588
>>4739609
>WHY DOES SHE WEAR THE MAAAASK
Writing!
>>
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You chuckle to yourself and grin as an idea forms in your head--this shit’s been bugging you since you met!

You jab a finger towards her face! The MASK! Why is she so damn ATTACHED to it?! If you pulled it off would she DIE?!

“... Going for the big one, huh?” Mitzi mutters, returning your stare with one of her own. “You SURE you wanna know? Seriously?”

You falter a bit--y-yea! No going back! ‘Go With the Flow’, remember?! Letting out a defeated sigh, Mitzi’s head droops.

“Alright then… I guess I have no choice but to tell you.” With that she fiddles with the straps on her mask, pulling one off and holding it in between her fingers.

“This.”

You blink. Wh…What?

“These straps.” The guard responds, shaking the clasp in her hand. “You asked why I’m so attached to it.”



Oh FUCK OFF.

The guard bursts into uncharacteristically-emotive laughter--so much so that she almost falls over. Crossing your arms and turning away from her, you can’t help but pout angrily--that shit doesn’t COUNT!

“SHE GOT YA’ GOOD, CUPCAKE!” Ly howls, unable to control HIS laughter either! Great, even your own BODY is laughing! You wish you were DEAD!

“Okay, okay, let’s…” Mitzi wheezes, shaking her head, “Let’s take it easy....”

Your frown intensifies as she pats your shoulder a few times. WhatEVER!

“Really though,” The guard breathes, finally regaining control over herself, “It’s boring. I leave it on because I get allergies. If it’s REALLY that important I can take it off, okay?”

...Too late, you pout. Ship’s sailed.

“Yea, I guess you’re right.” She responds, sitting back on her bunk. “Besides, I wouldn’t want to ruin your image of me in your head--can’t go ruining the myth, now, can we?”

Rolling your eyes in the most DRAMATIC way possible, you groan--FINE, you’ll take a peek!

“... You asked for it.”

Your tenacity is rewarded with the methodical snapping of several clips prompting you to turn around!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4739708
Waiting for you is the face of a girl similar to your age albeit with slightly tanned skin and a chin-length head of cinnamon-colored hair and messy bangs.

“... Well?” She asks, a hint of apprehension in her now much-clearer voice. Taking in the sight a little longer, you finally respond with a thumb’s up. Neat!

“Jerk.” She chuckles, giving you a playful shove. “Real talk, though--pollen and I are arch-enemies, so I’m putting this back on now.”

Raising the mask back towards her face, she pauses and glances your way with a wry grin.

“Take a mental snapshot while you can.”

As you try to suss out how to do that with your brain, she dutifully puts the mask back on. With a few tentative breaths through the filter, she nods.

“All systems nominal. Now then, I believe that makes us square, Stan.” Mitzi pauses to rest her cheek on an outstretched palm. “Unless you want to go for another round.”

What do? Who knows how long Syb and Art are gonna take! Oh crap--what if they’re SMOOCHING!?!

>NOPE, curiosity killed!
>MITZI can ASK another one!
>YOU wanna ask another one (WRITE-IN)!
>WRITE-IN
Last update of the evening--got work tomorrow so I'll be checking in to write a new update around 3-4PM PST! Thanks again for playing along and hope to see you next time!
>>
>>4739712
>MITZI can ASK another one!
She can do it on the way back- I don't mind giving her a free question
>>
>>4739712
>MITZI can ASK another one!
>>
>>4739712
>MITZI can ASK another one!
>>
>>4739720
>>4739961
>>4739977
>You goddamn lunatics want another round! WRITING
>>
Pushing THAT particular image out of your head, you give Mitzi a nod--she can ask another! Hell, she can even ask it on the way to the elevator if she wants! Stuffing a few more snack baggies into her kit, the guard turns to you and holds out a bag of PICKLE CHIPS.

“Go on. Take it. Your reward for being honest back there.”

Taking the bag in your two trembling hands, all you can do is grin--you… You don’t know what to sa-

“Let’s do a fun one this time--what was the WORST date you’ve ever been on?”

Oof, that’s a toughie! You weigh the possible options in your mind as Mitzi finishes locking up her trunk and leads you out of the bunks.

>You totally almost accidentally killed your date at the beach!
>Your date was actually a cult recruiter!
>You puked when things were getting hot and heavy.
>Dates? Yea, you’ve totally been on one before! Yup!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4741366
>Your date was actually a cult recruiter!
"I thought he was in the same LARP as me!"
>>
>>4741366
>Your date was actually a cult recruiter!
>>
>>4741368
>>4741405
>Cult Recruiter
WRITING
>>
Strolling down one of many halls with your snacks and plunder in tow, you hearken back to what you’d consider the WORST date you ever had.

“It’s not like ya’ got a lotta’ options ta’ pick from!” Ly chuckles as Mitzi leads the way to the elevator. Shut up, dick!

“Huh?” Mitzi asks, presumably raising an eyebrow behind her mask. You were talking to Ly, don’t worry about it!

“Wasn’t planning on it.” Mitzi replies, returning a wave to a group of security guards gathered around a water cooler. “So what happened?”

Well, you begin, rubbing your chin, the worst one had to be TREVOR.

“Oooh boy.” Your pal responds, gesturing for you to follow her up a flight of stairs.

You met him at Blades of Zamarka--he had this really cool red cloak on with a lot of detail put into the hood--you had just defeated Thorstein Eyegouger, a.k.a Martin when-

“This another one of those video games?” Mitzi asks, yanking you out of the way of a forklift. No, you frown, this was… Wait, did you tell her about your LARP?

“... Oh christ.” The guard sighs, recognition in her eye-lenses. “You were those guys at the park on the weekends, weren’t you?”

Yes, you growl, what of it?

“My cousin was really into that.” Mitzi explains, rubbing the back of her helmet. “Dragged me along a few times, but it got kinda weird. Hitting people with a club was pretty fun, though.”

See? She totally gets it! Anyways, you had this character named Mordelia Ravensfire…

”Heya kids! It’s me, Ly! You’ve already heard ‘dis bullshit before so why don’t ya’ go outside or do some push-ups? Maybe grab a glass a’ warm milk afterwards! Remember--regular exercise doesn’t just help your muscles grow, but ya’ bones too! An’ remember: you can BONE UP on health tips at ya’ local library! Whoops, looks like she’s wrappin’ up!”

-and that was the fourth time you were banned. Anyways, that’s Blades of Zamarka in a nutshell! Recovering from explaining your LARP character’s backstory, you turn to find Mitzi standing still in the corridor silently staring at you. Does… Does she need you to go over the different factions again? You can go over the factions again…

“No, it’s not that!” Mitzi replies, shaking out of her stupor. “I just… To be honest, well…”

Well WHAT?! You growl, tapping your foot on the floor impatiently!

“That backstory and all? The outfit description? It was pretty cute, not gonna lie.”

You try to say “Hey, thanks Mitzi!”, but end up blubbering like an idiot instead as you try to regain your composure.

“You can’t keep doin’ dat’ every time someone calls ya’ cute, cupcake.” Ly whispers, shaking his Astral skull disapprovingly!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4741644
Several deep breaths later you regain your equilibrium and find yourself in the MAIN ELEVATOR SHAFT! Nifty!

“Okay, so now that that’s settled,” Mitzi continues, dragging you onto one of the main elevators, “What’s the deal with this Trevor guy?”

Oh right, you’d almost forgotten! Like you were saying before, Trevor was this guy who had a killer robe--cool backstory too! He was a messenger of the DROWNED GOD sent to gather humans to join him and his pals in their watery paradise. He came on pretty strong at the game, but you’ve always been a sucker for people with rich backstories, so when he invited you to learn more you took him up on the offer, DUH!

“So then what happened?” Mitzi asks as your elevator begins its slow ascent towards ARRIVALS. You played your usual strat, obviously--you told your brother that you were going to the boardwalk. On a daaaaaaate! That way if things worked out they worked out, but if things took a left down SKETCHVILLE ROAD your brother would cruise on down and kick their ass--Sue was cool like that.

“Seems like it.” Mitzi agrees, nodding her head sagely.

Anyways, Trevor showed up wearing the same cloak--TOTAL yellow flag! Even worse, the guy said you looked ‘delicious’. What the hell, right?

“Not the compliment I would have chosen, no.”

See, she gets you! Then the guy didn’t even want to play any games or even get TREATS--he just wanted to take you under the boardwalk!

“Yeesh.” Mitzi replies, leaning against the side of the elevator.

Seriously! On the first date, too--totally premature! You were in a bit of a dry spell, though, so you took him up on his offer--dude was totally loaded given the detail put into his cloak, sometimes you gotta roll the dice, you know?

“Absolutely.”

So you got down there and you started adjusting your top and your hair and all while he looked around for bums, other couples, that sort of thing. Just when you were about to pop a breath mint, the guy TACKLED you!

“YOW.”

EXACTLY! Didn’t even offer to buy dinner or anything! So you thought ‘alright, guess this is happening’, but then Trevor pulled out this GNARLY BLADE and cut some of your hair off! Dick even had the gall to say “This will suffice!” NOT HOT!

“So what did you do?!” Mitzi continues!

Your tried-and-true under-the-boardwalk strat, of course: Sand to the Eyes, Knee to the Groin! You haven’t thought up a good name for the technique yet, but it worked pretty well on Trevor!

“Did your brother ever show up?

Yep, turns out he was on a date at the pier too! He showed up just in time to impress… You’re pretty sure her name was Dina or something… But by then Trevor had hopped into the water and sorta disappeared.

“... Wow.”

Dude never called you back, either--total rascal.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4741650
Almost on cue, the elevator arrives in front of a large tunnel marked with the word ARRIVALS. You never really got a chance to look around here, now that you think about it!

“Not much to see.” Mitzi replies, leading you off of the elevator. “It’s basically the line for a roller coaster, only the carneys have automatics.”

If you had a nickel for every time you’ve seen that… As the two of you approach the tunnel, you’re charged by a familiar duo--one in a guard outfit, the other with purple highlights!

“There you two are!” Sybil exclaims, an impatient look on her face! “We thought some more goons accosted you!”

“Food’s gonna get cold.” Art reports, waving a large takeout bag. Taking a whiff, you find yourself grinning--that’s curry alright!

“Yup!” Art replies, a smile behind his masked face! “Turns out those guys from that Izakaya near the college set up shop here!”

Reaching for the bag, you hiss as Art pulls it away!

“We’re saving it for later, remember? We’ve gotta head to the forest.”

“Gonna be a long ride.” Mitzi adds. “We sure we’ve got everything?”

ARE YOU READY TO DEPART???

>Yep, let’s make tracks!
>Wait, I wanna ask you guys something (WRITE-IN)!
>Hold on, I wanna see if there’s any (WRITE-IN)s here!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4741655
>Yep, let’s make tracks!

I love how surprisingly patient and nice Mitzi is with Stan. Glad we recruited her!
>>
>>4741655
>Yep, let’s make tracks!
Lets skediddle
>>
>>4741655
>Yep, let’s make tracks!
>>
>>4741670
>>4741677
>>4741716
>HITTIN' THE ROAD!
WRITING!
>>
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You nod--you’ve burned enough daylight--at this rate you’ll end up arriving after SUNDOWN!

“Stan’s right--we should mosey.” Art agrees, prompting your retinue to approach the ARRIVALS CHECKPOINT. Mitzi’s prior statement describing the checkpoint as a roller coaster line with armed guards proves to be surprisingly accurate--though you and your group are waved through easily enough, the line extends down the tunnel and towards what you can only presume to be the elevator you arrived on. Ignoring the terse stares you receive from the guards and the ceiling-mounted machines pointing your way that conspicuously look like turrets, your trek eventually takes you to a checkpoint not unlike the one Mitzi was manning earlier.

“Parble, yea?” Grunts the guard behind the reinforced glass window. You nod. Inspecting you for a moment, the guard reaches below the counter and retrieves a set of long duffel bags.

“Got your toys right here--I don’t gotta remind you to wait until yer’ outside to use ‘em, right?” You follow the guard’s gaze as it briefly shifts from you to the ceiling turrets and back again. Yea, you smirk, you think you get the picture.

“Outstanding. They’re all yours.” With that the guard pushes the bags into the transfer window allowing you, Art, and Mitzi to divvy up the spoils. Art retrieves his GRENADE, BENETTI HANDGUN, and N4 RIFLE, of course, while you are finally reunited with your trusty CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION, the .38 Revolver you snagged from the principal’s office, and 2 Grenades.

“Aren’t we missin’ a few things?” Ly whines, prompting you to go over your haul once more. Hey, yea, you growl, this isn’t everything!

“Problem?” Asks the guard behind the window, nonplussed. Yea DOOFUS, you exclaim, poking the window with your gloved finger, where’s the rest of your LOOT?

“Lessee here…” The guard mutters, rummaging through a pile of documents before coming across what you assume to be the one he’s looking for, “Ah, here we go. Your ARMOR, N4 RIFLE and STUN BATON were all stolen--had to take those back, princess.”

“Sorry!” Mitzi interjects with a shrug, “Alfonzo needed his stuff back.”

“Looks like your BONE SHAPER’S gonna be stuck in the lab for a while too.” Adds the guard as he finishes reading. “Guess they wanted to analyze it a bit further. I tossed in some more ammo for the stuff you DO have, though--that CHINCHILL’S one hell of a collector’s item, kid.”

What can you say? You appreciate the finer things! With a polite ‘happy hunting’, the guard motions you through the checkpoint and towards the elevator you and Art arrived on--this time the guards behind the barricades are on your side…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4741891
Crowding into the elevator, you and your team quietly take a position in each corner as the doors close. As you begin to ascend, Syb braces herself against the wall of the elevator, a slightly worried expression on her pale face.

“You cool?” Mitzi asks, her water polo magazine already in her hands.

“Yes, it’s just…” Syb begins, glancing upwards, “I didn’t exactly take this route, so I’m a bit worried about that barrier…”

It’s not that bad, you chuckle! You feel a little nausea, then you’re done!

“I’d feel much better if it wasn’t set up by that fossil BLACQUIERE.” Sybil spits. “From what I gleaned from our meeting I wouldn’t be surprised if we started growing antennae after this…”

D’awww, Syb has a nemesis, you croon, massaging her shoulder.

“I dunno--those guys seemed pretty nice to me!” Art shrugs, earning a tag-team DEATH GLARE from you and Syb.

“Who cares?” Mitzi adds, turning a page. “We’re going after the big guy, right? Who’s gonna care about those creeps once we pull that off?”

“That’s not a bad way to put it, actually!” Syb smirks. “And the first thing I’m going to do is smear it in the collective face of those eye-obsessed cavemen!”

“Oh boy, here we go…” Ly mutters, and then you feel it--a sensation like someone just tossed your brain into a washing machine! You and Syb topple to the ground like apples out of a grocery bag as Art fails to catch Syb mid-fall and Mitzi continues reading.

Feeling your equilibrium slowly returning, you faintly hear Art asking if you’re both okay--finding that your extremities have sensation again, you shoot him a thumb’s up--just peachy.

“WOW.” Sybil groans, picking herself off of the ground with Art’s assistance, “He wasn’t lying--that’s a Class 5 for sure! No way the specialist would sense you through that!”

Oh MAN, why’d she have to mention that geek!? Her interest piqued, Mitzi looks up from her magazine.

“Which geek?”

“Like we mentioned before,” Syb begins, “We’re looking for a SECRET LAB in the woods--we have reason to believe a particularly-persistent skeleton was manufactured there by a researcher known as ‘Venaas’.”

“Apparently she’s working with the big cheese.” Art adds. “As for whether or not she’s doing it willingly, well… Jury’s still out.”

“Cripes, that thing’s after you?” Mitzi winces, turning her gaze in your direction. “Wouldn’t want to be ya, Stan.”

You shrug--that’s the way it is: janitors don’t run away from messes, they clean em’. You’re rewarded with a chorus of groans--what? That didn’t sound lame! It was COOL!

You guys SUCK!

>CONTD.
>>
>>4741895
A cheerful ‘DING’ announces your arrival topside. Trading the dim fluorescent lights below for the headache-inducing bright fluorescent lights of the Security Station, you can’t help but rub your eyes--feels like you spent a lifetime down there!

“We almost did...” Art grunts, holding the door open for everyone to file out. Passing through Mitzi’s checkpoint, you’re surprised to find a new guard there to replace her! Looking up from the computer, the guard’s eye lenses narrow upon noticing you!

“You’ve gotta be fucking KIDDING ME.” Whines Derek. “Tell me you won’t be gone long, Mitz--I was supposed to get off hours ago!”

“Just keep my desktop the way it is,” Mitzi answers, not stopping to chat. “I’ve got a system in place, ya’ know.”

“Yea, fantastic.” Derek replies, shooting your group a nasty look. “I bust my ass 25/7 and look at what I get. Have a nice trip, JERKS.”

“Take care, man!” Art responds in a friendly tone! The new desk clerk fails to respond as you march outdoors.

“Don’t worry, ladies,” Art grins, ignoring the two guards eating from a charred bag of chips near the entrance, “I’ve got a route in mind and everything! There’s even a ZOOM MART on the way if we wanna pick up anything else!

“I’m more worried about what’s waiting for us in the woods.” Syb shivers, “We’ll have to tread lightly.”

“Don’t worry, me and Art will cover ya.” Mitzi grunts, unholstering an NB5 SUBMACHINE GUN from her back, “Or try to, at least…”

“When did you grab that?” Art asks, appraising Mitzi’s firearm.

“Had it the whole time--I was the one doing the interrogating, remember?” She chuckles, shooting you a knowing glance. How the hell could you forget?

“Syb’s worried about da’ woods, but what about da’ road?” Ly adds, shaking inside of you! “We just barely avoided dat’ tank last time…”

Relaying Ly’s thoughts to your pals, you succeed in plastering a worried look on everyone’s face.

“You erm..” Sybil stammers, forcing a grin, “You’re talking to your imaginary friend again, Sta-”

“No worries, I got the whole story earlier.” Mitzi shrugs, trading her gun for the STUN BATON. “Stan’s magical--figured as much.”

“Oh! That’s good, then!” Sybil replies, her gaze lingering a little too long on Mitzi. “Ly’s right, though--we’d best prepare for anything on the way over.”

“What say you, Stan?” Art asks as you approach the van’s parking space, “You want me to drive again?”

>CONTD.
>>
>>4741900
What do?
>ART can drive!
>No way--YOU’RE taking the wheel!
>Hey SYB, you feel like driving?
>MITZI, you know your way around a van?
>WRITE-IN
Last update of the night, sorry--work was a bitch and a half today. Should be able to resume TOMORROW around 3-4PM PST! Thank you all so much for playing and hope to see you then!

Here's the UPDATED ITEM LIST while I'm signing off!

Updated ‘LIST OF STUFF YOU HAVE’:
>1 SKULL HOODIE
>1 Pair of BLACK JEANS
>2 SPIKED GOTH BOOTS
>1 PAIR OF SWEET SHADES
>1 CAP with the Good Boy logo and the letters ESC.
>1 JANITOR COVERALLS (Note:CLEAN)
>2 RUBBER BOOTS
>1 COMPANY-ISSUED BLACKBERRY.
>1 Dead (and somewhat damp) CELLPHONE
>1 MICROBUCKET (carries around water)
>1 TELESCOPING ALUMINUM MOP (LOANED TO ART)
>1 KEYRING with WORK, APARTMENT, and SCOOTER 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 (Trophy from King)
>1 AUTOMATED BONE SHAPER (ABS)
>1 BENETTI HANDGUN <<ART>>
>1 TIN of Dr. Harrington’s Hair Wrangler Pomade
>1 SYBIL DOLL (She communicates through it)
>1 TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT
>1 PAINTER'S RESPIRATOR MASK
>1 ZIPPO LIGHTER
>1 TELESCOPING BLUE STEEL MOP (The Kaiser)
>1 FADED BOTTLE OF PILLS
>1 CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION SHOTGUN (ABOUT 8 SHOTS)
>1 .38 REVOLVER (12 Shots)
>1 STRANGE AMULET (Found in principal’s office)
>1 RADIO (CHANNEL 1 FOR TEAM CBB, CHANNEL 2 FOR REPORT, CHANNEL 3 FOR GOOD BOY, 9 FOR TRIO, 10 FOR HAULIE PAULIE)
>1 STETHOSCOPE
>1 BOTTLE OF ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
>1 ROLL OF BANDAGES
>1 BOTTLE OF ‘PAIN-PUFFZ: PAINKILLERS FOR KIDS!’
>1 BOX OF ALL-OCCASION STICKERS: OVER 6 MILLION SITUATIONAL STICKERS!
>1 ADDRESS (Given by ART)
>1 PACK OF TISSUES
>1 MENU FOR ANDRE’S STEAKHOUSE
>1 SCOOTER KEY (GIVEN TO PAULIE)
>1 KITTY BIKE HELMET
>1 CLEARWATER MAP
>1 EMPTY SPRAY BOTTLE
>3 GRENADES (1 with ART)
>NEWSPAPERS AND NOTE FROM CORPSE-ART KILLER
>BOOK ON CARVING (UNREAD)
>KNIFE SHARPENER
>3 PACKS OF MYSTERY MEAT
>1 PEACH GUM WRAPPER
>1 GREASER SHOPPING LIST
>1 PONGOS POUCH (12 PONGOS)
>1 VAN KEY
>1 GOOD BOY STAMP
>3 JARS OF BERRY JAM
>1 $500 CHEQUE
>1 BAG OF PICKLE CHIPS
>1 GPS TRACKER
>1 ROPE LADDER W/FASTENERS
>1 REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK
>>
>>4741905
>ART can drive!
>>
>>4741905
>ART can drive!
>>
>>4741900
>ART can drive!
I'd forgotten about the skeleton greaser list, thats got some potential for favor calling. We also have some pongos saved up, might be worth using them after this sortie.
>>
>>4742980
Don't worry--for the sake of making things MAXIMUM CHILL I'll be sure to point sidequest items and progression stuff in the updates in case you guys don't want to keep a spreadsheet of all the stupid crap that goes on in BONES QUEST!

>>4742123
>>4742447
>>4742980
>Art Your Engines!
WRITING!
>>
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You betcha, you respond, sending the VAN KEYS Art’s way with an underhand toss! The guard whiffs the catch by a few inches, but you gotta give him credit--those helmets are hard to see through!

As Art heads over to unlock the van, you grin mischievously at Syb and Mitzi before darting towards the van--if they think they’re gonna beat you to the prized SHOTGUN SEAT they’ve got another thing comin’!

Slamming into the passenger side of the van you’re painfully reminded of how damn fast you are! You almost forgot about your BONE SPEED and EMU LEGS BONE-USES you obtained from earlier!

“To be fair we haven’t gotten a chance ta’ run around outside in ages!” Ly replies, helping you stretch your legs a bit. Hey, yea! Remember that time you swung from those trees? Radical.

“You’re good, Stan!” Syb reports as she and Mitzi head for the back of the van. “We’ll be back here.”

“Anyone who tries to get behind us is gonna get a surprise, that’s for sure.” Mitzi chuckles, opening the back door for Syb. Rubbing away the pain where your face impacted with the passenger door, you open ‘er up and take a seat next to Art who’s already placed his helmet in the middle seat.

“That place was cool and all, but I’m glad we’re getting outta there.” He mutters as he adjusts the mirrors. You nod--he can say that again. At least you don’t have to hide from Good Boy anymore.

“You sure about that?” Art replies, shooting you a curious glance. All you can do is shrug in response--the only thing you’re sure of is how damn delicious that Take-Out is gonna be!

“Save it for the trip.” Art grunts, cranking the ignition. “I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna need our strength.”

You chuckle to yourself--look at him being all mysterious all of a sudden! Your driver barely contains a smirk as he gives you a light shove. “Yep, get a load of the new Art: Rider of the Apocalypse.”

Slayer of the Undead!” Sybil giggles, peeking through the slot between the driver’s cabin and the back. Raising his eyebrows up and down, Art takes the van out of its impromptu parking place and down the road, the Security Station quickly vanishing in the distance behind you.

>CONTD.
>>
>>4743737
“So they weren’t burglars at all--they were her COUSINS!” Art finishes, causing the van to erupt in raucous laughter! Man, and you thought your family reunions were weird…

“Are you going to be alright?” Sybil asks, shooting Mitzi a concerned look. The guard looks up from her issue of Water Polo Monthly and nods her helmeted head.

“Yup.”

“I don’t know how you manage,” Sybil shudders. “Whether it’s a book or a chocolate bar label--the minute I read it in a car I become nauseous immediately!”

Drumming your fingers on the armrest, your gaze returns to the road ahead--you assume it’s around midday based on how bright it is, but the orange hue from the ash-obscured sun doesn’t make it easy!

“So,” Art interrupts, “I know we just got set out, but did we wanna stop at that ZOOM MART? It’s on the way!”

“Couldn’t hurt.” Mitzi replies, still reading.

“It could if we end up in the woods at night.” Sybil retorts. “With luck we won’t be there long enough to justify more supplies, but if Stan thinks it’s a good idea…”

The question is, DO YOU??

>A CONVENIENCE STORE sounds pretty convenient. Let’s GO!
>It’s getting LATE--let’s just hit the WOODS.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4743743
>It’s getting LATE--let’s just hit the WOODS.
"Wait, you guys read?"
>>
>>4743743
>A CONVENIENCE STORE sounds pretty convenient. Let’s GO!
I love Convenience!
>>
>>4743743
>A CONVENIENCE STORE sounds pretty convenient. Let’s GO!
>>
>>4743748
>NOPE! HOLD IT IN TIL WE GET THERE!

>>4743758
>>4743847
>Road SNAX

Writing
>>
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Planting your feet on the dashboard, you lean back in your seat and nod--of COURSE it’s a good idea! Chances are some dumb bullshit will leave you stranded in the woods anyways--might as well loot a Quik-Stop along the way!

“Might not be a bad idea to fill up the van, too.” Art agrees, hanging a left at a fork. “Won’t be long before we have to pay for our gas again…”

Yea, ew, you spit, following it up with an exaggerated EEECH!

“Alright then, let’s see what we can scrounge up.” Sybil sighs, leaning back in her seat. “Better to have and not need, right?”

Listen, you begin, your employer, A.K.A the de facto ”Runner of the Shit” right now gave you free reign to loot and steal anything you want with no legal repercussions--why wouldn’t you knock over a Liquor Store or two?
“We oughta hit the mall next.” Mitzi mutters, not looking up from her magazine. See? SHE gets it!

“I’m still finding it hard to believe that the police and the national guard just rolled over for a dog bone company.” Syb mutters.

“A dog bone company with access to hardware like this.” Art counters, patting the wheel. “I don’t like it either, but it kinda works in our favor, right?”

Can’t argue with that, you reply, a devilish grin forming on your face.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4744002
After an encounter with one HELL of a pothole, your gang arrives at an abandoned gas station bathed in the telltale green and red lights of the ZOOM MART next to it, the store lifeless save for the eerie glow of the refrigerators near the back. Pulling the van in next to the closest pump, Art kills the engine and nods.

“Anyone who’s gotta use the restroom better go now.”

Rolling your eyes, you move to open your door, but are startled by the glow of Ly’s ASTRAL FORM! Woah, been a while since he really popped out, hasn’t it?

“Hold up, cupcake--lemme case da’ joint first!” Before you can stop him, the ghostly form of your skeleton soars through the cabin ceiling and drifts silently into the store. Relaying Ly’s plan to your pals, they stop and wait eagerly.

“Talk about useful.” Mitzi remarks, putting her magazine away.

“Indeed.” Sybil agrees. “I wasn’t aware he could journey so far away from you, Stan.”

Well, you mutter, looking at your toes, you might’ve gotten a power boost. Your pal blinks.

“... From where?”

You do your best to swallow the lump forming in your throat. The erm… The fairy...

“Dear gods…” Sybil hisses, placing a hand on her forehead. “Stan, what did I tell you about dealing with the FAE?”

Um… Don’t?

“Hold on a sec.” Mitzi interjects, “Are you saying Stan made a deal with a fairy? Like a real one?”

Sybil shrugs. “You’ll find that Stan attracts a great deal of extradimensional ne’er-do-wells. She’s like sugar to them.”

What can you say? Can’t help being irresistible, you retort with a smug grin on your face!

“Just please try not to become indebted to them…” Sybil groans, looking at you with genuine concern. “You’re toying with forces you can’t possibly comprehend!”

Comprehend this, you reply, poking your eyes through the viewslot, you’re FINE.

“Alright then.” Syb huffs, crossing her arms. Before you can continue further, you notice Ly’s head rise from below your feet! Well, you begin, did he find any Chew-Chews? He knows how much you love those.

“We got somethin’ bigger!” Ly reports, a concerned look on his skull, “Looters! And they totally saw us!”

>CONTD.
>>
>>4744005
After politely thanking Ly for scoping things out, you pause--Wait, you interject, like normal looters?

“Yes, Stan, the ones who steal and hurt people why try ta’ stop ‘em!” Ly explains, frowning.

No, you growl, like are they SKELETON LOOTERS? Your tense conversation with your skeleton prompts the others to sink a little lower in their seats.

“Human!” Ly whispers! “They’ve got guns, too!”

Near gas pumps?! You ask incredulously, That’s just careless! Readying your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION, you turn to your other pals--they have any ideas on what to do?

“We could just leave.” Art mutters. “They don’t think we’ve seen them yet--let’s just go!”

“Or we can take ‘em by surprise.” Mitzi adds, twirling her STUN BATON. “The van can distract ‘em while we go around the back.”

“Maybe we can just cooperate?” Syb asks. “They might not be hostile if we have skin, right?”

All eyes, as per usual, fall upon you. Damn it, it sucks being this reliable!

>Let’s LEAVE. Not worth the headache.
>Let’s SNEAK AROUND THE BACK and get ‘em!
>Let’s try TALKING! We can work something out!
>Screw it, let's just LIGHT ‘EM UP right NOW!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4744007
>Let’s try TALKING! We can work something out!
No need to hurt people just trying to survive. If they get all violent on us, we simply bust out the fireball or cone of cold
>>
>>4744007
>Let’s try TALKING! We can work something out!
Lets at least draw em out a little before we strike, make sure we are well away from anything explosive. Although shooting a tank of gasoline doesn't actually make it explode.
>>
>>4744012
>>4744066
>Diplomancing
Writing!
>>
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Here’s the thing, you start, keeping Art’s head in between yours and the ZOOM MART, these guys are probably just trying to survive! Why not talk it out?

“... And if they shoot at us?” Mitzi asks, cocking her head to the side.

Then you have magic. And automatics. And BONE CLAWS. Frankly they’re the ones who should be worried!

“Can’t argue with that.” Mitzi replies, cracking her knuckles. Art, it seems, is a bit harder to convince.

“Just… Try to keep them from doing anything nasty to the pumps, yea? And no fireballs or anything, Syb.”

“No promises.” Sybil responds, a flash of blue in her eyes. “We’ll follow your lead, Stan.”

Gripping the door handle, you nod--it’s cool, you’re a people-person after all! The only thing these guys will want to loot after this is your heart!

“... Look, if you’re gonna say stuff like that just make sure to do it far from the van.” Art huffs. Yea, yea--thanks for the vote of confidence! Opening the door, your feet hit the ground with a muffled squeak.

“We’ll cover you--just give a signal if things are going bad!” Art adds before rolling up his window. Shaking your head, you peer around the van at the convenience store interior--no sign of your new pals…

“They’re there, alright.” Ly hisses, poking a phalange towards the register area. “Probably hiding behind da’ counter. There’s only three of em’, but they looked jumpy!”

FanTASTIC. Taking a deep breath, you plumb your mind for something to say that’ll put their minds at ease--how the hell do you convince them you’re friendly?

>”We don’t want to hurt you! Come on out!”
>”We know you’re in there! We don’t want any trouble!”
>”Any of you guys watch ‘That’s the Spirit’?”
>”Whattup, jerks?”
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4744135
>”Whattup, jerks?”
>>
Sorry folks, feeling a bit tired--here's the good news, though: I should be able to put out an update around 9-10am PST tomorrow! Thanks again for your patience!
>>
>>4744135
>”Any of you guys watch ‘That’s the Spirit’?”
>>
>>4744135
>”Any of you guys watch ‘That’s the Spirit’?”
>>
>>4744142
>Whattup Jerks

>>4744186
>>4744704
>Milk dat' podcast!

Writing!
>>
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It’s a long shot, but you might as well take it--what better way to cool things down than by engaging in a simple conversation? Peering around the front of the van, you cup your hands around your mouth for volume and ask if any of the guys in there watch the podcast That’s the Spirit!

“[/i]Stan!” Syb hisses, scaring the hell outta you, “Do the slogan. The SLOGAN!”

You will, but how the hell did she get over to you so fast? It’s like she teleported or s-oh.

Turning your attention back to the ZOOM MART, you do as Syb asks and add the slogan under the podcast description: ‘So Good it’s SCARY’.

Silence.

“...It got a little stale in the second season!” Replies a voice from inside, followed by a few muffled curses.

“Bingo!” Syb grins, pumping a fist. “Reel them in, Stan.”

Well, you continue, what if you told them that the HOST was here? Along with other friendly survivors?!

Another pause.

“...Prove it!”

Clearing her throat, Syb says the words forever tattooed onto your brain: ”UNTIL ‘TOMB’ORROW!”

Like a switch being flicked, the doors swing open as a figure wearing a face-obstructing hoodie charges through them!

“IT IS HER! TUCKER, COME SEE!”

Another figure in a grey hoodie appears as well, their finger hovering over a shotgun’s trigger.

“Take ‘er easy, Eddie--could be a recording.”

“No it isn’t!” Sybil responds! “I’m going to stand up--please don’t try to shoot us!”

Your pal stands up, hands raised before you can stop her. As you raise your arms in front of your face to shield yourself from the impending rain of viscera, you hear an excited chuckle from the one named Eddie.

“Ho-lee SHIT! It’s her! It’s Sybil-friggin-Castellanos! I don’t believe it!”

“No shit?” Adds his counterpart, “We’d almost given up on seeing anyone out here. Much less celebrities.”

Feeling the mood lighten a bit, you slowly rise up as well. Hey, you’re here to-

RACCOON DEMON!!!” The looters shout before opening fire!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4745116
“... You feeling better?” Sybil asks, holding a cold-pack to your elbow. You nod slowly, still pouting. Yea. You guess....

“... You want another pack of cookies?”

...Yea.

Syb hands you a packet of DOUGH-DOUGHS before turning her attention back to the three looters sitting on the counter.

“Listen, Ms. Castellanos, we’re real sorry!” Eddie pleads, genuine regret in his obscured face.

“You know how it is.” Tucker adds, backing up his blue-hoodied counterpart. “Ever since the shit hit the fan it seems like anything’s possible…”

The smaller looter in the grey hoodie leans over to whisper something to Tucker, barely holding on to what appears to be a LIGHT MACHINE GUN almost as big as them!

“... Kiki says she’s sorry for bein’ paranoid too. And that she’s a big fan.”

“That’s very nice to hear, but perhaps I’m not the one you should be apologizing to?” Syb replies, gesturing towards you. Yea, you growl, messily devouring the cookies, do you LOOK like a RACCOON DEMON to them?!

Your question is met with awkward silence.

“It was rhetorical!” Syb interrupts, patting you on the head! “I’m just glad no one was seriously hurt!”

“Yea.” Mitzi chimes in, browsing the magazine rack. “Wally Wheelman here was set to turn the store into a Drive-Thru.”

“Hm?” Art responds, looking up from an issue of BLOOD BATH N’ BEYOND: GUNS MONTHLY with a mouthful of jalapeno chips.

Looks like things are settled down now--what’s your next move?
>What’s their STORY, anyways?
>Try to get ‘em to leave before they take the GOOD SHIT.
>Start gathering crap, let SYB talk.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4745121
>What’s their STORY, anyways?

I see a fellow Wailing Caverns enjoyer!
>>
>>4745121
>What’s their STORY, anyways?
We need ourselves some new goonz
>>
>>4745121
>Start gathering crap, let SYB talk.
>>
Got a meeting in a little bit, but will post afterwards! Keep on votin' while ya can!
>>
>>4745121
>What’s their STORY, anyways?
>>
>>4745136
>>4745150
>>4745504
>What's the story, morning glory?

>>4745322
>Gathering!

Thanks for the patience--meeting went a little longer than expected. Say, why don't we do both? Writing!
>>
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You’ve learned one thing in your many years on this island Earth--it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission! Letting the cold pack drop from the elbow you bruised while dodging your new pals’ bullets onto the floor, you begin an assessment of the ZOOM MART inventory. Seems like you guys aren’t the first ones to get the idea to rob the store--several displays sit empty save for bits and pieces of candy wrappers.

So, you begin, meandering over to where they keep the VEHICLE ACCESSORIES AND OTHER CRAP, what got them to take the LOOTER PILL?

Eddie shoots a glance towards Tucker, who responds with a nod. “We were holed up at CLEARWATER UNIVERSITY before--we figured if we stayed in the dorms things wouldn’t get too dicey.”

“Which building?” Art asks as you stuff some prospective treasure into your pockets.

“Carpenter.” Tucker replies, his gaze softening a bit. “You a Corsair too?”

Art nods--”Art department, yea. Well… Was.”

Tucker and Eddie exchange glances. “Yea, we're FILM MAJORS. Lots of inspiration now, that’s for damn sure.” Tucker replies mournfully.

“We held out with the food in our dorm for a while, but some students were followed back up to campus by some skeleton pirates--things got kinda crazy after that.” Eddie explains, glancing at the floor.

“So here we are.” Tucker cuts in, shaking his backpack. “We’ve really only capped boneheads so far--though your van kinda threw us for a loop there.”

Ignoring the unyielding gaze of their grey-hoodied counterpart burning into your side, you snag a FORTY from the cooler and grin--yep, it’s pretty badass!

“So are you guys with the government or something?” Eddie asks, letting his firearm hang at his side. “Because uh… We’ll put everything we took back once this all blows ove-”

“What he means to say,” Tucker cuts in, “Is that we’re not the bad guys here! We were on our way out, actually!”

Looks like this is a good time to change subjects--what’s next?
>FORGET IT, look over your LOOT.
>They think you’re the LAW--use that to your advantage!
>Tell them about THE LODGE.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4745868
>WRITE-IN
"Nah, we're actually kinda badasses that are gonna save this whole thing. If you just want a place to be safe, we can tell you where to go- but if you wanna be badass heroes, then you should totally join our crew!"

Show em the bone claws and have syb do a little magicky shit too. If they wanna be safe tell em how to get to the LODGE, otherwise yay for goons!
>>
>>4745868
>Tell them about THE LODGE.
>>
>>4745876
>>4745868
+1
We could use some extra friends.
>>
>>4745876
>>4745912
>COLLEGE RECRUITMENT DRIVE

>>4745896
>TELL THEM WHERE TO GO

Alright, folks, give me 1d100 to convince these jerks to join your merry band--I'll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS! Don't forget to include Things to say that will help convince them, good write-ins will only help your chances!
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>4746042
Going with the general vibe I said here >>4745876

Also maybe add in that we've already taken down two of the baddies, have acquired a bit of a gang, and also that they can all be guest stars on the inevitable podcast about this apocalypse when it's all over
>>
Rolled 70 (1d100)

>>4746042
>>
>>4746053
>>4746103
>Highest Roll: 95

Screw it, it's been long enough. Writing!
>>
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Finding it difficult to stuff a JERRY CAN into your pocket, a deliciously devious idea forms in your head as your mouth starts moving on its own!

You’re not the LAW, per se, but you’re the closest thing there is to cleaning this mess up, you explain, puffing out your chest!

“Really?” Eddie asks, clearly intrigued.

Really REALLY, you reply with a wink! In fact, you continue, raising your hand for everyone to see, you’ve already taken out TWO SKELETON BOSSES ALREADY! Extending your BONE CLAWS for the whole store to see, you grin--you’re on your way to the woods to take down a SECRET LAB!

“Back up a bit.” Tucker interrupts, pointing a finger at your blades, “How’d you get those anyways?”

“Yea,” Mitzi adds, presumably raising an eyebrow behind her mask, “First time I’ve really seen that either!”

“By defeating powerful lieutenants commanding the skeletons you see wandering the streets!” Sybil interjects, pointing to your claws for emphasis! “Stan has the power to devour MAGICAL BONE MARROW giving her AMAZING POWERS!

Yep, that’s basically what it says in the first post!

“There’s a safe haven not too far away if you guys don’t wanna dive into danger.” Art interrupts, stuffing the magazine into one of his pockets. “We can give you the directions if you’d like!”

“It… does sound pretty cool, Tuck…” Eddie whispers.

“Yea, but…” Tucker begins, then pauses. “Look, guys, you seem like one hell of a super team--that said, would you mind if us three discussed it privately?”

You nod--you may be the leader of the nastiest gang this side of Clearwater, but you’re nothing if not manganese! They can discuss it in the back, you explain, jerking your thumb towards the door behind the counter!

“She means magnanimous...” Sybil jumps in. “And of course--Take all the time you want!”

“Thanks!” Eddie nods before Tucker drags him past the counter. Their quiet companion Kiki follows suit, but not before giving your group one last fleeting look.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4746306
You take the time to glare at Syb--she’s seriously gonna undermind you in front of the fresh meat? Is she crazy?!

“Stan, we can’t just drag anyone into our mission!” Syb fires back! “I’m glad we’re giving them the choice, but we need to be careful--who knows if the lich has people working for him?”

“I kinda like ‘em.” Art chimes in, finishing his chips. “Plus they’re CU STUDENTS--maybe they can help us out.”

“You saw what Good Boy’s doin’.” Mitzi adds, stuffing a magazine into one of her pouches. “If they’re eager to fight they’ll be a lot more useful out here than watching Rat Fights underground.”

“You’re right…” Sybil answers, gently shaking her head. “We’ll need all the help we can get. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they decide on…”

Almost completely on cue, the looters return from the back room, resolve cemented on their obstructed faces. You think.

“Well it wasn’t easy, but I think we’ve come to an agreement.” Tucker reports. “And I’m afraid we’ll have to say NO.

Wait, wha?! Did they even look at your roll back there?! Tucker raises his arms in a calming motion and shakes his head.

“Look, you guys seem like you’ve got a good thing coming, but we’ve gotta take care of ourselves. We’re pissed, yea, but we aren’t suicidal...”

Bummer, you murmur, shrugging as you look to the ceiling. Guess Syb will have to find other guest stars for her podcast once this is all ove-

“Wait, WHAT!?” Eddie interrupts, nearly dropping his shotgun! “You never mentioned THAT!” Tucker joins in, an incredulous look on his shadowy face!

It slipped your mind, that’s all! You smirk, sharing a grin with Syb. If they’re not interested, though, well-

“Forget it! We’re IN!” Tucker and Eddie shout in unison as Kiki nods in assent! Appraising your new recruits, you cross your arms and smile--they bought it!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4746308
“So,” Tucker continues, “How does this work anyways? Do we have to sign anything?”

“Do we have a cool gang name?!” Eddie adds!

Initiation rituals?

Gang colors?!?

“Why don’t we start with introductions?” Syb interrupts. “You know me, of course, but this is Stan--she’s kind of a big deal.”

Damn straight, you agree, adjusting your cap.

“Name’s Art.” Art mumbles through another mouthful of chips. “I work at Good Boy like Stan does.”

“Name’s Mitzi.” Mitzi adds, giving the new recruits a lazy wave. “I can read minds, so keep things clean, you hear?”

“Wh-”Eddie sputters, “No way!”

“Trust me,” Mitzi continues, “You don’t want me to demonstrate.”

“YES M’AM!” Eddie replies, shooting her a quick salute! Shaking his head, Tucker gestures to his flustered companion.

“This is Eddie--he’s the scriptwriter. Got the gift of gab, as you can tell.”

Tucker then pokes a thumb towards himself. “I’m Tucker--editor.”

Last but not least, the two looters look towards their pal in the grey hoodie.

“And that’s Kiki--she’s all about the camera. Not really a chatterbox.”

She shoots your group a lazy wave, then turns her attention back to her pals.
“So,” Eddie butts in, “Do we have a COOL NAME?!”

Of course, you chuckle, what kind of group would we be if we didn’t?!

Art shifts awkwardly from one boot to another. “We never really settled on o-”

Cutting him off with an elbow to the side, Mitzi gestures for you to continue! Atta’ girl.

What’s your AMAZING, STUPENDOUS, HEAVENS-SHATTERING GANG NAME anyways?!

>The BONEHEADS
>The CLEANERS
>STAN’S SOLDIERS
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4746312
Okay I know I said bone heads before, but cleaners gave me a cool idea.

>WRITE-IN
Clearwater Sanitation Coordinators

Why?

BECAUSE WE TAKE OUT THE TRASH, BITCHES!
>>
>>4746312
>The CLEANERS
>>
>>4746349
>>4746312
We clean up these streets!
>>
>>4746349
>>4746421
>CLEARWATER SANITATION COORDINATORS

>>4746396
>THE CLEANERS

Writing! And not to worry, if you're not satisfied you can always change it later! After all, you are the BOSS!

Writing!
>>
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We are, you begin, pausing for dramatic effect, the CLEARWATER SANITATION COORDINATORS! Because WE....

As you christen the name of your roving band of divine punishers, you hurl your TELESCOPING MOP into the air like a baton! Following it upwards with a front flip, you snag the mop in mid flight and land into a quick flourish and spin!

Take out the TRASH!

You hold your position for a moment to let the awe settle in, glancing towards your new recruits with a challenging smirk!

Aaaaand they just stand there.

Yup.

Still standing there.

“Oh… Right.” Art speaks up. “That’s our name, alright.”

“Yep.” Syb agrees, a pained smile on her face!

Oh come ON, you whine, it’s COOL--it makes SENSE! You clean up the streets!

“It’s cool, Stan. Really.” Mitzi adds, scratching the back of her neck.

WOW!” Eddie laughs, pumping both of his fists in the air, “A REAL gang! AWESOME!

“Should be interesting!” Tucker grins, crossing his arms!

Kiki raises her LIGHT MACHINE GUN skyward and fires a salvo of lead through the roof!

“That uh…” Tucker mutters, “That means she likes it.”

You’re starting to like these guys already!

“So,” Tucker continues, “What’s next? Truth be told we really didn’t have any other plans apart from “LEAVE TOWN”...”

“Not possible, I’m afraid.” Sybil replies, shaking her head. “There’s a city-spanning barrier surrounding Clearwater, and from the info we’ve gathered we believe that people trying to flee are being hunted down by SKELETON BANDITS.”

“Told ya.” Eddie mutters out of the corner of his mouth. With an annoyed sigh, Tucker shrugs.

“Alright, guess there’s nowhere to run. What’s the next step, boss?”

You smirk--you haven’t been referred to as Boss since THE TRIO was around! Hey, weren’t they planning a shindig or something? Booze, cigarettes, music?

“Hey, we’ve got that!” Eddie exclaims, pointing behind the counter! “There was a whole shipment of CIGARETTE CARTONS in the back!”

Interesting! Making a mental note to let Paulie know later, you plant your hands on your hips… What IS the next step?

“We can join you guys in the woods or we can hang at that safe place you mentioned.” Tucker responds, “Our calendar just opened up. Only issue is that we don’t have any wheels.”

“Hope that van’s big enough!” Eddie grins.

What do you do?
>The NEWBIES can come with US.
>The NEWBIES can wait at THE LODGE.
>The NEWBIES can help out the GREASERS.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4746507
>The NEWBIES can come with US.
>>
>>4746507
>The NEWBIES can help out the GREASERS.
We don't have immediate need for them, lets set them up with the gang and get them primed and ready. They might come back with their own set of wheels as well. Let them borrow anything we got in storage if they need it.
>>
Gonna leave this vote open overnight and check back in Tomorrow around 3-4PM PST! Thanks as always for playing and congrats--starting to create quite an army here!
>>
>>4746507
>The NEWBIES can come with US.
Should be plenty of room in the van! If we can, we should radio the rest of the gang and check in.
>>
>>4746507
>The NEWBIES can wait at THE LODGE.
We're on a spec-ops mission, too many people make it harder.
>>
>>4746507
>The NEWBIES can help out the GREASERS

Prepare them ahead of time with the info and call over Paulie to see how the group interacts with him first before we leave them though.
>>
Sorry folks, work meeting's going MUCH LONGER than I expected--anticipate an update around 5ish! I'm still looking for consensus on the votes, so feel free to keep goin until then!
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>4746515
>>4746594
>Come with USSSS (1)

>>4746559
>>4747096
>Send 'em to the Greasers (2)

>>4746728
>Send 'em to the LODGE

Flipping a VIRTUAL COIN--will write the one that it lands on!
>>
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You nod reassuringly at your new SQUADMATES--there’s room, alright! Just one thing first, though--what talents do they bring to the Clearwater Sanitation Coordinators? Any cool talents?

“I’ve got this!” Eddie shouts, aiming his SHOTGUN in your direction in a shameful breach of gun safety. “I used to be on the TRACK TEAM in High School too, so if you need something done quickly, I’m your guy!”

You chuckle--how cute. Still, it’ll be nice to have a runner! With a satisfied nod, you turn to Tucker--he’s up!

“Used to do some MARTIAL ARTS before this all happened,” He explains, cracking his knuckles. “I carry this around, though--it’s been pretty handy so far.” Tucker continues, showing you all the telltale glint of a REVOLVER in his hoodie pocket. “It’s also not that big of a deal, but I’ve got some FIRST AID TRAINING too--haven’t really had to use it yet, but it’s there.”

“Coulda’ used you earlier.” Art grumbles, glancing your way. Responding with your middle finger, you shift your gaze to Kiki. Staring at you like a dog looking for scraps, she points her LIGHT MACHINE GUN at the ceiling again!

“NO NEED WE SAW THAT ONE!” Syb yells out in panic! A disappointed look in her eyes, Kiki sullenly shoulders the gun.

“Kiki’s a pretty good cook for what it’s worth!” Eddie chimes in, slapping her on the back with a grin! “Once she’s in a kitchen you just can’t stop her!”

Now THAT’S more like it! Content with the clearer picture your new recruits painted for you, you cock your head in the direction of their BACKPACKS--they plan on sharing the wealth?

“Oh, uh… Sure!” Eddie replies, a hint of surprise in his voice. Unzipping the bag as he approaches you, you’re treated to a TREASURE TROVE of snacks and food! Stocking up for Winter, huh?

“To be honest,” Tucker responds, scratching the back of his head sheepishly, “Yea, kinda.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4748942
“It’s a pleasure to meet you all.” Sybil adds, smiling at the newbies. “I hate to do this, but we really need to go if we’re going to reach the REDWOOD PRESERVE before dark…”

RED SKIES or BEECHER?” Eddie asks, raising an eyebrow.
The first one!

“Ooh, bummer. My uncle’s got a FISHING CABIN up near BEECHER if we ever head up that way!”

“Sounds cozy.” Mitzi adds, stowing a few more bags of chips on her person. “Would be a good staging area if it wasn’t so far East…”

“Well, it’s not goin’ anywhere.” Eddie shrugs.

Filing that info into one of the many crowded filing cabinets in your short-term memory, you rub your chin--Syb’s right, you’d better scoot.

“So what are we waiting for?” Art asks, eagerly making his way towards the door! “I’m drivin’!”

Yes, you nod, he is. But you’ve gotta make a quick call first. Chucking the JERRY CAN his way, you poke a finger towards the fuel pumps--he’s gonna wanna fill that thing up first.

“We’ll get our stuff added to the van, then.” Tucker grins, nodding to his two companions.

“And we’ll…” Sybil begins, but trails off… “Er… Provide MANAGERIAL SUPPORT!” She concludes, joining Mitzi over by the magazine rack!

“Yea. Chop chop.” Mitzi adds, idly perusing a LEWD MAG!

“What a team, huh?” Ly whistles as you whip out your RADIO. Take a good look, Ly, you hiss as you twist the radio knob to CHANNEL 10--this team’s gonna save the whole damn world!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4748945
Tossing a few “DO YOU COPY”’s into your RADIO, your efforts are rewarded by the boisterous voice of your good not-so-old pal HAULIE PAULIE!

https://youtu.be/JenMS9t4byE
“What’s groovin’, kid?!” His voice crackles over the sound of a roaring engine! “Was worried ya’ fell into a manhole or somethin’!”

Yea, time enough for that, you mutter, shaking your head.

“What can I do ya’ for? That van workin’ out?”

Like a bodybuilder before beach season, you reply, grinning at the work of art waiting for you by the gas pumps! That’s not why you’re calling, though--you think you might have tracked down something for the BIG BASH they were planning!

“Record timin’! What would I do without ya, Stan?” Paulie responds, practically dripping with excitement! “So what do I get ta’ cross off da’ list, huh? Tell me it’s BOOZE!

Not quite, you frown, watching in earnest as your new recruits debate taking a cardboard cutout of RIP KORD, the daredevil who conquered fear! You did find a whole shipment of SMOKES, though!

“I KNEW you’d come through!” Paulie chuckles! “Gimme da’ address--I’ll have some of the boys swing by and grab it later. Those G.I JERKS have been hasslin’ us off of the roads…”

Reciting the store address into the radio, you leap from one topic to the next--what did he say?

“Knew dat’ would get your attention.” Paulie begins, his voice turning uncharacteristically serious. “Da’ big guy had a talk wit’ Cliff--things are square for now, but Cliffy ain’t getting any slick new powers.”

You frown--if anyone could use powers, it’s Cliff. Guy’s earned ‘em.

“That ain’t even da’ worst of it!” Paulie adds, an incredulous tone in his voice! “The Head Honcho gave all of our turf to General Jockstrap himself, so now we can’t drive down da’ block without those Jackass Jarheads given’ us a hard time! The more things change, the more they… Well, you know da’ rest.”

You grunt a response, processing the news. Sounds like Tim’s not wasting much time…

“But enough about that!” Paulie laughs, his friendly tone returning, “Anything else I can do for ya?”

Is there?
>NOPE! Take care out there!
>Got a SPECIAL ORDER for ya: Do you have any (WRITE-IN)?
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4748947
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?
>>
Sorry, all, but I'm gonna have to take the rest of the night off--work's calling me back in from remote tomorrow so I need some rest.

On a similar and unfortunate note, I'm afraid updates are going to slow down starting tomorrow. Because I have to commute to and from work again, I'll probably have updates ready around 5-6PM PST at the earliest. Look for an update on here around then tomorrow.

Thanks again for sticking with me--I don't plan on stopping any time soon, but I do feel bad about sparser updates. Hope to see you all again next time.
>>
>>4748947
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?

>>4749028
No worries man, we just appreciate the work you've put in to get us this far. A quest that actually pans out and becomes a full narrative is a solid achievement.
>>
>>4748947
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?
>>
>>4748947
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?

>>4749028
No problem at all- basically gonna echo this anon's sentiment >>4749087. We appreciate you continuing to run for us at all, it's okay if updates slow down a little!
>>
>>4748947
>What have you heard about the REDWOOD PRESERVE?
>How’s the DRIVE-IN coming?
>>
>>4749087
>>4749345
Appreciate the words, guys. It's been a blast running this so far!

>>4749087
>>4749117
>>4749345
>>4750977
Writing!
>>
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A tiny gear starts spinning in the back of your head… Yea, you reply, giving a thumbs up to the newbies lifting the cutout, there is! The RED SKIES REDWOOD PRESERVE--what’s he heard?

“Yow, doll,” Paulie replies, “Nothin’ good.”

You frown--not the answer you were looking for.

“But you were expectin’ it, huh?” Paulie responds, his voice still barely registering over the engine revving behind him. “Lemme start with the appetizer--It’s DARK. CONFUSIN’. Labby-friggin’-rinthian. You’ve got cougars… Snakes… Poison ivy…”

You KNEW it! See, this is why you never got into hiking--this shit right here!

“Haven’t gotten to da’ main course, kid.” Paulie continues. “Lots of soldier boys headed up that way too--not enough to raise an eyebrow, but enough to make you think, dig?”

Oh yea, you dig, you reply! Tapping a little tune on the radio with your fingers, you keep the questions going--any clue on which part of the forest they were headed?

Deep.” Paulie responds without a hint of doubt. “We don’t exactly need food anymore, so they coulda’ marched through there for a few hours or a few days....”

Shit, you huff, there goes your clues!

“Maybe not! Da’ guys have seen a lot of jarheads head dat’ way, so maybe you’ve just gotta do it the ole’ fashioned way--track their footprints!”

Hey, yea, you exclaim, pumping your fist excitedly! Great idea!

“That one’s free!” Paulie chuckles. “One last thing, though, an’ this one’s da’ main course...”

You’re listening, you reply, drawing closer to the radio. “We’ve seen guys go in, but they don’t come out--da’ few that do are missin’ parts--physically AND mentally. I don’t know what you’re lookin’ for in there, but be on your tiptoes, dig?”

He can count on it, you reply, popping open your FORTY and taking a swig. For good luck, obviously!

Take it easy!” Ly hisses!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4751197
Sensing that that’s all of the info you’re gonna get out of Paulie on that subject, you strike at him with another question--the DRIVE-IN--how’s it coming along?

“Gotta say, it’s nice ta’ have a passion project!” Paulie laughs, his cheerful side returning once more. “Da’ one good thing about those soldier jerkoffs takin’ over is that we’ve been given free reign to AGGRESSIVELY FORTIFY. Rocky mighta’ talked back to da’ general, but Cliff? He’s got da’ guy thinkin’ we’re a pack of two-bit dopes!”

So, you continue, giving a thumbs up to Art as he silently presents a pair of FUZZY DICE, when’s the big bash gonna happen? You’ve got some pals who know how to party!

“Slow your roll, sweetheart,” Paulie chuckles, “Can’t throw a bash just yet--boss’ll think we’re a buncha’ slackers! Once da’ new place is up an’ running we’ll let you know--I’m sure Cliff’s got a plan cookin’ to win some favor back--hell, he’ll probably ring ya’ up when he’s plannin’ it.”

A sneaky scheme, he says? Sounds splendid!

“Don’t worry, doll, us guys never forget to call a gal! Listen, I’ve gotta run, but lemme know if you find any more PARTY FAVORS!

You nod--all that’s left is BOOZE, VINYL RECORDS, and HAIR POMADE, right?

“That’s all!” Paulie echoes. “Lots of ‘em, of course! Take care, kid!”

With that the line goes dead leaving you with a now thoroughly-fleeced convenience store!

“You ready?” Art asks with a hint of impatience in his tone! Yea, you shoot back, is HE?!

“YES! We’ve loaded the crap into the van--let’s roll! You’re riding shotgun.”

Why yes, you agree, quick-drawing your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION, you ARE! Taking another swig from your FORTY, you skip after Art towards the van where your new and old goons are politely waiting!

>CONTD.
>>
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“What’s the news?” Syb asks, cocking her head to the side. Relaying the info you received from your conversation, you’re met with a variety of reactions.

“Huh.” Tucker begins, “Didn’t think there were nice skeletons. Almost feel bad fighting a few now.”

“Eh, they probably woulda’ killed you guys anyways.” Mitzi shrugs. “Not a lotta’ chances in the Boneocalypse.”

You nod sagely. Boneocalypse... Why couldn’t you think of that?

“You can have it.” Mitzi replies, making for the back of the van. “Thanks for the heads up!”

“Yea!” Eddie adds, shouldering his SHOTGUN, “Wouldn’t wanna blast the wrong skeletons!”

As the newbies make for the back of the van, Syb motions for you to draw closer. “I don’t like what Paulie mentioned near the end, but don’t worry--nothing’s going to sneak up on us while I’m around!”

Yep, you reply as you wrap an arm around Syb’s shoulder, as long as she’s around you’ll have nothing to worry about!

The two of you idle in place for a moment. “Did uh… Did you just get an ominous feeling too?”

...Yep.

Walking her to the back of the van, your mouth goes agape as you survey the SWEET HAUL!

“We figured it would be smart to stock up now.” Tucker explains. “Let me give you the rundown.”

DA’ VAN NOW HOLDS:
>5 Boxes of Toaster Tarts
>20 Bags of Mixed Candies
>5 Bags of Coffee Mix
>1 Coffee Maker
>3 Cartons of Milk
>1 Tool Kit
>20 Bags of Chips
>5 Questionable Magazines (No one fessed up to bringing these. PERVERTS!)
>36 Beers
>5 Bottles of Hard Liquor
>20 Sandwiches
>4 Flashlights
>3 Packs of Batteries
>3 First Aid Kits
>2 Cans of Spray Cheese
>4 Tubs of Ice Cream

“And,” Eddie interrupts, “One MINT-CONDITION Cardboard Cutout of The Man Who Conquered Fear: RIP KORD!

You and Syb examine the life-sized cutout of the man with the salt-and-pepper beard wearing a patriotic jumpsuit.
“It’s… Very lifelike.” Sybil responds, rubbing her chin. “I haven’t seen much of his work myself, though.”

You have! He’s like… The one guy who phases Gus. Every time he sees this guy in a commercial you can almost swear you see Gus smile! You’ve gotta keep this!

“Figures the boss would be a lady of taste!” Eddie smirks, patting the cutout on his thin shoulder. “This guy holds the current world record for being ON FIRE! How long was it again, Tuck?”

“... Pretty sure he’s still burning.” Tucker replies with a shrug.

You look at the cutout admiringly--oh yea, this is gonna stay.

“Kinda looks like me if ya’ look at him closely!” Ly boasts! Yea RIGHT!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4751201
A bit more inventorying later and you’re back on the road--you, Art, and Ly in the front, the rest of the goofs in the back! As Syb regales your new recruits with stories of your travels and old podcast shoots, you lean back in your chair and turn towards Art--your first team member. How long does he think it’ll take to get to the woods?

“Less than an hour assuming the traffic is light.” He responds, pointing to an overturned postal truck with a chuckle. “Really though, as long as we don’t have to take any detours or dodge any more TANKS we’ll be fine.”

Satisfied, you take a moment to glance skyward and watch the blood-red sun slowly descending towards Earth. Looks like you’ll be cutting things close…

“The sheer size of the reserve will help us too.” Art replies. “If we have to spend the night we’ll just be careful with how much smoke and noise we make--there might be a lot of skeletons out there, but the forest is big--they’d have to get pretty lucky to track us down.”

You hope he’s right--you’re not exactly keen on roughing it if you have the choice.

“Oh right, you spent the night on a tree branch, didn’t you?” Art chuckles, flicking the SWEET NEW FUZZY DICE hanging above the dashboard. “Hopefully this little excursion will turn out better…”

You shrug as Art takes the van down another wreck-laden street. First time for everything!

>Roll 1d100 for absolutely no reason at all! I’ll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
Sorry folks, still totally wiped from today and I've got an early appointment tomorrow--should have an update ready around SATURDAY 12-1PM PST!
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>4751211
I'm sure nothing bad is happening :)
>>
Rolled 98 (1d100)

>>4751211
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>4751211
sure would be funny if we all rolled high for this situation where absolutely nothing at all is happening
>>
>>4751217
>>4751296
>>4751304
>Highest Roll: 98
I guess you're gonna find out ; )))

Writing!
>>
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Weaving through the graveyard of cars like a skier down a slalom, your van shudders a bit as it brushes past the abandoned vehicles. Hard to believe people just left all of this crap lying around!

“Maybe it was just easier to get around on foot.” Art volunteers, rolling over a displaced muffler. “Guess we got lucky with the van, huh?”

You begin to respond, but pause mid-sentence. Art replies with a joke most likely at your expense, but you aren’t listening. Something sitting inside the burned out SUV in front of you rubs you the wrong way, causing you to squint for a better look. You can’t quite make out the specifics, but even you can tell something’s up when you notice the box stuffed haphazardly with wires and a short antenna!

Panicking, you leap for the steering wheel and crank the van to the left as Art yells in surprise! Time slows to a crawl as you feel a change in the air--kinda like a switch being thrown.

That’s when it hits you: A wave of heat, debris, and force slamming against the side of the van with full force sending you and your pals tumbling to the side!

“What was THAT!?” Eddie howls as you feel the van teeter onto its two left wheels!

“Nothing good!” Mitzi replies, rising from her seat to bodyslam the right side of the van! As the other riders follow suit, you feel gravity return to relative normalcy again as the van slams back down onto all fours!

“Stan, was that what I think it was?” Art exclaims, steering the van past the car wrecks as fast as it’ll go!

Ly pokes his head through the van before you can respond, returning with an expression that can only mean BAD NEWS.

“We’ve got company, Stan!” Ly shouts, motioning for you to peek out the window. Sticking your head into the ash-filled breeze, your skeleton’s report is quickly proven to be true--zig-zagging through the wrecks are a pack of SKELETON SOLDIERS DRIVING MOTORCYCLES, each one with a sidecar carrying an extra gunner! Sensing your gaze, one of the soldiers aims what appears to be a GRENADE LAUNCHER your way!

Ooooooh boy!

Relaying what you saw to the rest of the van, your team springs into action! Moving the van in a serpentine pattern, Art hazards a glance towards the back of the vehicle!

“Get ready for a fight--I’m not sure I can outrun these guys!”

Stacking boxes in front of the back doors to create cover, your CRACK TEAM gets into position!

“How should we play this, Stan?” Syb asks as Mitzi and the others prepare to fire!

Choose your first move! Allies will work independently unless you give them instructions!

>OPEN UP and BLAST ‘EM!
>SYB, can you toss some MAGIC their way?
>ART, take us close and RAM ‘EM!
>Don’t OPEN YET--I’ll BULLSEYE a few first!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4752804
>OPEN UP and BLAST ‘EM!
>>
>>4752843
>LIGHT 'EM UP!

Roll me 5d100s for Stan, Kiki, Mitzi, Tucker, and Eddie! BLAST 'EM ALL! I'll take theBEST OF 3!!!
>>
Rolled 66, 70, 50, 68, 24 = 278 (5d100)

>>4753007
>>
Rolled 10, 90, 15, 89, 32 = 236 (5d100)

>>4753007
>>
Rolled 20, 87, 70, 51, 83 = 311 (5d100)

>>4753007
>>
>>4753028
>>4753083
>>4753170
>Highest rolls:
>Stan: 66
>Kiki: 90
>Mitzi: 70
>Tucker: 89
>Eddie: 83

WRITING
>>
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No time to waste, here--you’re pretty sure the van is bulletproof, but GRENADE PROOF? Not worth the risk! Arming yourself with your trusty CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION, you tell the gang in the back to give ‘em a WARM WELCOME on the count of three!

One….

Sybil takes cover behind Mitzi as the newbies steady their guns on the makeshift barricades...

Two…..

“Er, quick question!” Eddie interrupts, getting a round of groans from the rest of the gang, “Are we gonna start shooting ON three, or-”

A salvo of bullets plays a tune on the van doors, cutting Eddie’s question short.

“Nevermind, got it! Let’s do it!”

THREEEEEE!!!!

A rush of air sweeps through the van as the back doors open up revealing your attackers--FIVE MOTORCYCLE TEAMS keep pace with your van, their riders decked out with much more current hardware than the greaser skeletons were!

“TARGETS SPOTTE-” barks the cyclist closest to the van, quickly realizing the situation he’s in. You lean out the window to pick a target, but the symphony of weapons firing tells you you might be late to the party! Not expecting you to be packing artillery of your own, the motorcycle closest to the van and its riders are ripped into a fine POWDER by Kiki’s MACHINE GUN!

Tires squeal as the cyclists swerve to avoid the storm of lead, putting one of them right in your sights! Greeting them with a friendly wave you fire your weapon, blasting the arm off of the cycle’s sidecar rider! Shooting you a sore look, the sidecar rider plucks a sidearm out of a side holster and replies with a series of shots to the side--luckily your BONE SPEED gets you out of harm’s way!

You hear a series of bullets impact against the back of the cab--no one got hurt, right?

“We’re good!” Tucker shouts, punctuating his sentence with a few shots from his REVOLVER! The report of a shotgun tells you that Eddie’s joined in, and a duet of shouts followed by metal screeching on the ground tells you that they definitely hit someone! Peeking out the window again, you notice a significant change in the number of cycles tailing you--maybe three left!

A volley of shots from Mitzi’s SMG knocks that number down to two, one of which includes the rider whose arm you blew off. Before you can draw a bead on anyone, you hear the roar of TWO MORE CYCLES joining the chase, and it looks like they’re keen on getting a shot or two in themselves!

>Roll 1d100 to avoid retaliation! I’ll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>4753301
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>4753301
>>
Gonna leave this open until tomorrow, folks--feel free to roll again if you've already rolled! I might be able to whip up a quick update around 9-10AM PST tomorrow, otherwise I'll put something out around 2-3ish! Thanks again for playin'!
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>4753612
Thanks again for running!
>>
>>4753624
Our savior!
>>
>>4753529
>>4753544
>>4753624
>Highest Roll: 88

Writing!
>>
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Howling at Art to veer right, you take a quick breath to center yourself as a grenade launcher shot goes wide, missing the van by mere inches! The other bikers unload some more lead into the back of the van, their bullets rapping against the inside of your vehicle! Everyone cool?!

“We’re good!” Eddie shouts, firing his shotgun a few more times! “They almost hit RIP, but we’re fine!”

Wiping a few beads of sweat off of your brow, you’re taken from your moment of reverie as you hear the sound of several bike engines revving! Peering out the window, you notice that your pursuers, not keen on sticking around near the meat grinder in the back of the van, are rapidly approaching the sides of the van--two on the left, two on the right!

“I’ll bump the guys on the left, you blast the right!” Art orders, pulling his sidearm out! As you load a few more shells into your weapon, you blanch at the sight of another skeleton with a grenade launcher!

“Better do it quick, cupcake!” Ly hisses! Ya think?!

Roll 1d100 to blast ‘em! I’ll take the Best of 3 rolls!
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>4755106
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>4755106
>>
Holy shit. Tell you what, I'll give it a few more minutes in case anyone wants to gun for one hundo. Stan and car chases, man..
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>4755106
Incoming crit fail
>>
>>4755147
Better luck next time! ;^)

>>4755117
>>4755123
>>4755147
>Highest Roll: 99, baybeeeeee

Writing!
>>
The van screeches to the left rewarding you with two satisfying THUMPS, the screeching of tires, and a panicked shout of the words‘FRUIT CAAAAARRRT! Art nods at you expectantly, and like two cowboys at sunset you and the grenade launcher-totin’ skeleton draw your weapons! You’re fast, but he’s faster--your finger depresses the shotgun’s trigger just as you hear the trademark ‘THONK’ of a grenade being launched your way!

Jackpot. You whisper, a manic grin on your face! The grenade barely has time to leave the barrel before it meets your buckshot, erupting in a blast that sends the van reeling to the left and engulfs the two remaining bikes! Steadying yourself on the door, you smirk triumphantly as the remains of the motorcycles and their riders travel a few more feet, then crumble into road debris!

“THAT’S how you do it!” Art chuckles, extending an open palm your way! Slapping it, you turn towards the slot between the cabin and the back of the van and ask for a damage report!

“Some of the snacks got shot up, but we’re fine!” Tucker reports as you hear the doors shut. “You guys do this often?”

“More often than we should.” Art sighs, searching the mirrors for any more pursuers. “Good thing we’ve got a few extra guns--that could have been nasty!”

“He’s lost two lieutenants--it was only a matter of time before the lich raised the stakes a little.” Syb responds, falling back into her seat. “Still, it-”

“Hate ta’ interrupt,” Ly whispers, “But we still got a passenger on top!”

You frown--what’s he doing?

“Nothing good, probably!” Ly responds! “Something with wires!”

Oh man, you hate when they use wires! Quietly relaying the info to the rest of the van, your mind races--whatever you’re gonna do, you’d better do it quick!

>SYB, BLINK up there and kick his ass off!
>ART, SHAKE him off!
>Let ME CLIMB UP and deal with him!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4755164
>Let ME CLIMB UP and deal with him!
>>
>>4755164
>Let ME CLIMB UP and deal with him!
>>
>>4755166
>>4755272
Climbing up it is! Roll 1d100+10 (+10 for BONE SPEED) and feel free to add any particular STRATEGIES you have! I'll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 9 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4755291
>>
Rolled 30 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4755291
Swing our Kaiser 5000 upwards so the hook lodges onto the roof of the van. Dig it in tight, then get a running start and use it to swing ourselves upwards, using the momentum to kick whoever's up there.
>>
Rolled 82 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4755365
+1 . kick him off the van
>>
>>4755323
>>4755365
>>4755404
>Get some KICKS!
Writing!
>>
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Quietly opening your door, you grip THE KAISER tightly in your hands--no time for second guesses! Ignoring Art’s confused harping, you hook the handle-end of the mop on the roof of the van and give it a tug--solid, for now!

“Hurry, Stan!” Ly hisses, pointing upwards! “I don’t know what he’s doin’, bu-”

But he isn’t gonna finish, you grin. With a quick salute towards Art, you use the little room you have to get a few steps of a running start and swing upwards! Midway to the roof you spot the perpetrator--a solitary skeleton wearing military fatigues fiddling with what you can only assume to be some sort of TRACKING DEVICE!

“Or a bomb.” Ly retorts.

Or that. Doesn’t matter--by the time the soldier sees you rocketing towards him it’s already too late! You’re not sure what war he fought in when he was alive, but your rubber boots quickly and cleanly introduce him to the agony of deFEET! Hitting his jaw with a bone-shattering SQUEAK, you send the G.I JOKE tumbling overboard, taking his TRACKING DEVICE with him!

“I’m tellin’ ya: it’s a bomb!” Ly persists as you crouch atop the van admiring your handiwork. Oh yea? Twenty dollars says it’s no-

The flash of an explosion centered on the tumbling soldier interrupts your bet and knocks you onto your back! Clinging to one of the van’s lights, you look back and observe the fireworks--okay, maybe it was a bomb. Too bad you didn’t finish betting!

“Cheapskate.” Ly mutters. “Good job, anywho. Let’s head back in before Artie hits a pothole!”

With one hand holding your cap, you scramble over to the passenger side of the van and slip in through the open door! Shutting it triumphantly behind you, you turn to your driver and shoot him a smug grin.

“What happened to him?” Art asks, not daring to slow down yet. You answer by jabbing your thumb behind you--He…

Shit.

“Well?” Art asks again, raising an eyebrow your way. No, he’s gone, you just…

Erm...

“... What, Stan?” He asks, a look of concern slowly forming on his face.

“Are you hurt?” Syb adds, peeking through the slot.

No, you’re fine, but… A frown forms as you struggle to think of something--ANYTHING!

“Stan?”

SHIT, you growl, smacking your forehead a few times in anger! You CAN’T THINK OF A ONE-LINER!

“I guess he… fell for you?” Mitzi shrugs.

DAMN IT!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>4755508
It’s not long before the burned-out cars and crumbling buildings are replaced with burned-out grass and crumbling trees. Scanning the treeline bordering the road, you sigh--this ain’t gonna be easy…

“I’ve got it all figured out, Stan.” Sybil reassures you. “First we’ll head to head to the RED SKIES VISITOR CENTER at the base of the forest, then I’ll use my CLAIRVOYANCE and see if I can get a bead on that researcher.”

“Man,” Eddie whistles, “A SORCERESS AND a MIND READER! Those skeletons won’t know what hit ‘em, huh?”

“No siree.” Mitzi responds, still nowhere closer to finishing her WATER POLO MONTHLY. “And quit thinking about Syb that way--she’s not that kinda girl.”

Eliciting a sharp “HUH?!” from Syb, Art, and Eddie, Mitzi chuckles and returns to her magazine. What a card!

“It’s a bit further of a drive,” Tucker interjects, “But there’s a small RESEARCH OUTPOST the university uses a bit further up in the park. It’s pretty small, but I’ll bet we won’t run into any skeletons up there.”

“Oh yea, there’s that too!” Art agrees, nodding his head. “You sure it’s quiet, though?”

“Positive.” Tucker replies as Kiki nods her head in support. “We used to go there all the time to shoot footage--place was dead even before all of this.”

“Don’t forget CAMP WAMPANOAG.” Mitzi murmurs, not looking up from her magazine. “Place is deserted during the off-season. Might be a good base camp or whatever.”

“All very good options!” Syb replies, rubbing her chin as she thinks. “Any of them sound like a good starting place, Stan?”

“Getting to the VISITOR’S CENTER won’t take long at all,” Art explains, “Plus there’s bound to be a map there for the entire park. The others are right, though--might be the first place those skeletons will stop…”

What say you?
>VISITOR’S CENTER. We can get our bearings and case the joint.
>RESEARCH OUTPOST. Rather not attract any attention.
>CAMP WAMPANOAG! You haven’t been to camp in ages!
>WRITE-IN
>>
Gonna leave this one open until tomorrow--getting a bit late on my end! Should be done with work around 3-4PM PST. Thanks for playing and hope to see you then!
>>
>>4755510
>VISITOR’S CENTER. We can get our bearings and case the joint.
>>
>>4755510
>RESEARCH OUTPOST. Rather not attract any attention
Visitors center is probably inhabited right now, and we don't wanna have to deal with the Jarheads and suddenly get jumped by the big Toblerone.
>>
>>4755510
>RESEARCH OUTPOST. Rather not attract any attention.
>>
>>4755788
>>4755814
>University Outpost

>>4755679
>Visitor's Center

Writing!
>>
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Crossing your arms as the van continues to climb deeper into the hills, you nod--the others are right: the VISITOR’S CENTER is probably swarming with soldiers! Time is of the essence, too--who knows when TABLOID is gonna come sniffing around?

“...You’re gonna have to explain that one.” Tucker interrupts, reloading his revolver.

“Stan’s being hounded by an exceptionally powerful skeleton.” Sybil explains, leaning back in her seat. “We have reason to believe the lab we’re searching more might have had a hand in its creation--with luck we’ll be able to track something, or someONE down that can help us.”

“... How powerful are we talking, here?” Eddie adds, his voice tinged with a hint of worry.

“Well it demolished Stan’s High School.” Art muses, keeping the van steady on the winding road, “And managed to take out a score of skeleton greasers without flinching, so… Pretty strong.”

Don’t forget the LASER EYES, you groan, your flight from the school still burned into your memories.

“Suffice it to say we don’t want to deal with it anymore.” Sybil concludes with a shrug. “And I don’t relish leaving Stan to draw that thing away every time it shows up. We’ve got lieutenants to eliminate, after all!”

“That being said,” Art cuts in once more, “I take it we’re not headed to the VISITOR’S CENTER?”

Nope, you reply, shaking your head, you’re thinking the RESEARCH OUTPOST will do just fine--no need to kick a hornet’s nest!

“Fine by me!” Eddie replies, cradling his shotgun eagerly! “Seriously though--the place is pretty bare.”

“That’s exactly why we should go.” Tucker asserts, looking to Kiki for support. “It has nothing of value to anyone right now, especially the undead--should be perfect as long as we don’t raise too much hell.”

Time enough for that, you mumble, shooting a nod to Art. Returning your gesture, your driver hangs a left at a fork in the road, ignoring the sign pointing towards the RED SKIES VISITOR’S CENTER.

>CONTD.
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>>4756667
“So.” Eddie pipes up as your van proceeds deeper into the woods, “You said you took out two lieutenants, right?”

You nod, letting a toothy smile form on your face. Yea, two and COUNTING!

“Neat!” Eddie hisses, looking to his companions to gauge their reactions. “So like… Have you thought of which ones you’re gonna go for next? If I were you I’d be freaking OUT right now!”

You shrug--the thought had crossed your mind once, yea, but you’ve learned to not get bogged down by that kind of crap! ‘Go With the Flow’, that’s what you say!

Go With the Flow’...” Eddie repeats. “I like it. How many of these lieutenants are there, anyways?”

“Take it easy, Ed--you’re gonna psych her out.” Tucker interjects with a sigh.

No, you respond, it’s cool! Eddie’s just preparing!

“Stan’s already defeated KING: Leader of the Beasts,” Sybil explains, “And ROCKY:The Greaser Leader.

“Not bad!” Tucker nods. “Two’s a lot better than we’ve managed.”

Don’t forget TERRY THE TERRIBLE, you add, ignoring the chill running down your spine. He was a piece of work too!

“Holy SHIT.”

The newbies rendered speechless, Syb clears her throat and continues. “Yes, well… That just leaves a few more: The SEA WITCH, GENERAL, PIRATE, and COWBOY.

“Not to mention the BIG GUY himself.” Art adds with a shiver. “I don’t even wanna think about dealing with him yet…”

“So?” Eddie starts up once again, “Which one are you gonna tackle next, Stan?”

Good question!

>The WITCH. They mentioned some sort of TOTEM and DEMONS.
>The GENERAL. We’re already messing around with his guys!
>The PIRATE. Something seems off about those guys.
>The COWBOY. You’ll admit you’re a bit curious!
>WHO CARES? Let’s focus on THIS CRAP.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4756669
>The GENERAL. We’re already messing around with his guys!
We take him out and Cliff's boys will have full run of the town, giving us some much needed support for the rest.
>>
>>4756669
>The GENERAL. We’re already messing around with his guys!
>>
>>4756678
+1ing this choice and line of thought
>>
>>4756669
>The GENERAL. We’re already messing around with his guys!
>>
>>4756669
>The GENERAL. We’re already messing around with his guys!
>>
>>4756678
>>4756704
>>4756709
>>4756764
>>4756772
>The GENERAL

WRITING!
>>
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Eddie’s got a decent point--for every moment you goof off, your enemies further their nefarious plans… Whatever the hell they are!

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried.” Art adds, his foot pressing the gas pedal more as the road gets steeper.

Not to worry, you reply as you rest your feet on the dashboard! You’ve already got a plan in mind! You’ll start with a question: WHO controls the city right now?

Your entourage considers the question for a moment before Straight-A Sybil raises her hand! Naturally you call on her first!

“The LICH!”

Well… Yea, you stammer, but-

“Are we talking the whole city?” Art jumps in, “Or just the largest segment?”

“Is this one of those rhetorical questions where you say something like “WE DO” and pump your fist, or something?” Mitzi asks, looking up from her magazine.

NO, you shout! You meant THE GENERAL! The GENERAL! G, E, N, U, H, R, E, A, L, L!

“And uh… Why The General, Stan?” Eddie asks, unphased by your frustration.

It’s simple, really--his goons have the town on lockdown. Once they’re taken care of, Cliff and the guys can swoop in while the other lieutenants keep doing their thing out by the sea and near the edge of town! It’s FULLPROOF!

“... Foolproof, honey.” Syb replies. “And one thing concerns me about your plan--what happens when the lich loses control of the town?”

Well, you shrug, you’ll deal with it. Chances are he’ll just send more bozos down for you to thrash--no sweat!

“Works for me.” Mitzi nods, returning to her magazine.

>CONTD.
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>>4756871
“I suppose we won’t know until it happens…” Sighs Syb. “How far are we from this OUTPOST? It’s definitely getting late…”

Now that she mentions it, she’s right! Peering out of the window towards the tree-obstructed sky, you notice a distinct change in the gloomy sky--one that tells you that most of the day is already gone!

“Worst comes to worst we can set up shop in the outpost.” Tucker shrugs. “It’s not exactly a Bed and Breakfast, but it’s better than roughing it.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Art nods, bringing the van around a corner. “Would hate to be driving around her at...Night…”

Art pumps the brakes, prompting you and the team to look up ahead. A huge tree lies felled across the road, prospective detours cut off by a thick barrier of redwoods on each side.

“... You think it made a sound when it fell?” Eddie asks, earning an elbow to the gut from Tucker.

“No way nature put that there.” Art whispers as he quietly rolls up the windows. “I dunno if the van’s gonna fit around that, guys.”

“We’ll have to risk it or move it.” Mitzi states, putting her magazine away. “We’re sitting ducks here.”

“I’m getting several faint readings of something...” Sybil whispers, eyes closed as a faint blue aura surrounds her. “Maybe some animals, maybe something else…”

Retrieving your feet from the dashboard, you frown at the thick vegetation through the tinted window--can LY see anything?

“Not without us goin’ for a walk…” Ly whispers, shaking his ASTRAL HEAD.

“What should we do, Stan?” Art whispers, ducking below his window.

>I can get out and SLICE IT!
>SYB, can you REMOVE IT?
>ART, try to TAKE US AROUND.
>Let’s PARK and SCOUT the AREA.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4756875
>I can get out and SLICE IT!
"Now I can finally get my 'lumberjacking' girl scout badge!"
>>
>>4756875
>Let’s PARK and SCOUT the AREA.
You ever been in a really bad neighborhood before? Like a reaaaaaally bad neighborhood. And theres a dumpster or a burning mattress in the street, basically trying to force you to stop? We call those traps. We are being ambushed.
>>
>>4756875
>Let’s PARK and SCOUT the AREA.
>>
>>4756886
>Slice N Dice

>>4756901
>>4756938
>Park n' Scout

Writing!
>>
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No buts about, you whisper, glaring at Mother Nature’s conveniently-placed roadblock, this is a trap!

“So should we move it? Back up?!?”
You shake your head. Chances are you’ve already been seen--the best thing to do is to get out and SCOUT for whoever put that tree there.

“Definitely sensing life on both sides, Stan.” Sybil reports, still engulfed in a blue light. “Be careful!”

As you prepare to slip out of the door, you feel a hand on your shoulder.

“Hold up, Stan--you’re not going alone, are you?” Art asks, raising an eyebrow your way.

You shrug--if anyone can get it done quick, it’s you!

“Yea, but…”

“He’s asking if you need backup.” Mitzi says, finishing his sentence. “Might be useful if there are people on both sides…”

“Why don’t we all just go out and light ‘em up?” Eddie asks, prompting an excited nod from Kiki!

“Because we wanna try to sneak up on ‘em.” Tucker replies with a frown. “They probably don’t know how many of us there are yet.”

“Your call, Stan.” Art concludes, popping his helmet on. “You wanna do it your way, I’ll trust you--just think of something fast!”

What’s the strategy here?
>You work better ALONE!
>You’ll head RIGHT, these people will head LEFT (WRITE IN CHARACTERS)
>Screw it, let’s just ALL PILE OUT.
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4757055
>WRITE-IN
Us and Eddie on the right, Syb and Mitzi on the left, Art, Tucker, and Kiki watch the van

Let's get to know the talkative guy a bit and give the other gals a chance to bond
>>
>>4757055
>>4757059
+1
We smash this ambush before they can spring it
>>
>>4757059
>>4757072
>Stan & Eddie RIGHT
>Syb & Mitz LEFT
>The rest on GUARD DUTY

Writing!
>>
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You don’t need to think--that’s what makes you such a good leader! Jabbing a finger towards Eddie and subsequently jabbing your thumb towards the door, you get the point across in seconds flat--he’s comin’ with you!

“I won’t let ya down!” Eddie grins, loading a few more shells into his shotgun! Nodding appreciatively, you shift your gaze towards Syb and then Mitzi--they’ll be covering the LEFT SIDE!

“Consider it done.” Mitzi replies, rising to her feet and checking her SMG.

“You can count on us!” Syb adds, shooting you a wink!

“What about us?” Tucker asks as he and Kiki ready their weapons! They, you respond in a matter-of-fact tone, will be charged with the safety of the van. Worst case scenario they can back up outta here to safety.

“I’m not leaving--” Art starts, glancing towards Syb, “I mean… We’re not leaving anyone behind… Just be careful, okay?” He pleads, genuine concern in his eyes.

Always are, you chuckle, motioning for the team to MOVE OUT! Slipping out the door like a cat, you meet Eddie, Syb, and Mitzi hunkered down behind the van.

“Listen,” Mitzi hisses, raising her weapon, “If one team gets spotted, the other should stay quiet--might be able to get a few preemptive shots off.”

“Mitzi’s right. Let’s try to do this quietly.” Sybil nods.

With that, you and your teams split off onto different sides of the road and into the thick underbrush. Your petite stature and BONE SPEED allow you to coast through the ferns and plants like a shark through water, but Eddie lags behind. As he catches up with you again, the two of you scan the forest like one of those ‘Spot the Differences pictures.

“Any tricks up your sleeve?” Eddie whispers, keeping his weapon trained on the trees. Nodding, you whisper for Ly to wake up and smell the roses!

“Won’t be a moment, kiddo.” He whispers before soaring off into the foliage. You gotta say, picking that magic potion from the fairy was a pretty good deal!

“...Sorry, wha?” Eddie asks, raising an eyebrow.

You’ll tell him later--right now all you can do is hope your pals can rustle up whatever the hell it is you’re looking for in here!

Roll 4 1d100’s to see how you fare--One for YOU/LY, EDDIE, MITZI, and SYB! I’ll take the BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 9, 11, 65, 6 = 91 (4d100)

>>4757208
>>
Rolled 19, 82, 23, 18 = 142 (4d100)

>>4757208
Less go
>>
Rolled 93, 9, 81, 19 = 202 (4d100)

>>4757208
>>
>>4757214
>>4757215
>>4757269
>STAN/LY HIGHEST: 93
>EDDIE HIGHEST: 82
>MITZI HIGHEST: 81
>SYB HIGHEST: 19

Writing!
>>
You don’t have to wait long. Ly returns like a hunting dog, rapidly ushering you through the brush. Motioning for Eddie to be cool, the two of you creep through the woods like deer… Heavily Armed deer.

It takes a few frantic pantomimes from Ly before you see them. Crouched below the plants and hidden beneath the light from the sun slowly making its way downwards for the day lie two skeletons in camouflage. Scanning the road with what appears to be a long-range rifle and an SMG, the shooter silently searches for prey near the van as his partner watches his back.

Ducking behind some trees, you and Eddie silently exchange instructions in the form of several quick hand gestures!

“... You don’t even know what those mean, do you?” Ly grumbles, taking you out of The Zone. Shaking your head, you motion for Eddie to take the shooter while you creep up on the partner. Your new recruit nods, squatting low near the edge of the tree. Like a dog taken off of a leash, you scamper through the leaves barely making a sound! Distracted by the sound of a crunching branch across the way, the spotter turns away from you and raises a pair of binoculars!

“Movement across the road--find it.”

The shooter gives their partner a quick thumbs up before said partner’s helmet and face is cleanly EVISCERATED by your BONE CLAWS! Sensing something amiss, the shooter barely has time to look up from his scope before Eddie comes barreling in, hastily smashing the sniper’s face into the dirt with the butt of his shotgun! As his face is swiftly reduced to a powder, you hear the report of an exchange of SMG fire across the way!

“Shit!” Eddie hisses, smashing the sniper’s head one more time for good measure! Your work completed, the two of you exchange nods before scampering from cover to cover down the hill towards the gunshots!

You stop hearing gunfire as you make it back to the road. Fearing the worst, you scamper upwards through the bush like a dog chasing a squirrel, ripping through plants like a weed whacker gone haywire!

“Slow down, kid!” Ly howls as Eddie struggles to keep up! Reaching where you last heard the gunshots, you tumble out of the underbrush with your shotgun drawn and BONE CLAWS ready to go!

No glowing marrow at all. The mind boggles...” Sybil muses, crouching low over the bullet-ridden corpses of two more snipers. Sensing your approach, Mitzi trains the end of her weapon on your face, then sheepishly lowers it.

“Nice work, killer.”

You take a breath as you brush the dust and burrs from your jumpsuit--you heard gunshots.

“That would be my fault.” Syb replies apologetically as she finishes prodding the bodies. “My shirt got caught on a branch--I think you made the right decision sending me with a partner!”

“Just doin’ my job…” Mitzi chuckles, scanning the rest of the forest.

>CONTD.
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>>4757615
“You shoulda seen it!” Eddie exclaims, resting his shotgun over his shoulders. “Stan POUNCED on the guy like a puma! Then I ran over and BASHED the other guy into jelly! It was like a movie or something!”

He’d better start taking notes, then, you grin--you’ll be giving him a LOT more material in the future!

“Way ahead of ya!” Eddie chuckles, fishing a small spiral notebook out of his pocket, a set of pens and pencils attached to the metal binding by a shoelace. “Forest encounter… Snipers... Running through the jungle...” As your new recruit starts mumbling incoherently and Syb returns to the bodies, Mitzi grabs the two by the shoulders and gently shoves them towards the van.

“We can play in the car, okay? I’ll handle this, Stan--you grab the loot.” Leaving Mitzi with your pals, you quickly pilfer some of the useful effects from your would-be ambusher’s bodies, eventually returning to the van with a SOLDIER ARM and the following trinkets:

>2 PAIRS OF BINOCULARS
>4 COMBAT KNIVES
>2 SMGS
>2 LONG-RANGE RIFLES
>4 PACKS OF SMOKES (JOHNNY PATRIOT REDS)

Art’s waiting for you by the time you reach the wheels. Handing over your ill-gotten gains to your pals in the back, you plant your hands on your hips and growl--what’s the hold-up?

“... The tree?” Art replies, jabbing a thumb behind him towards the still-toppled redwood. Oooooh yea…

“I’ll help, Stan!” Sybil volunteers with a beam of concentrated light poking out from her finger! Sure, why not?

“We’ll be waiting.” Art reminds you as he hoists himself into the driver’s seat. Approaching the obstacle, Syb glances at you out of the corner of her eye. “You didn’t mention LY to the others yet, did you?”

No, you respond, shaking your head. Not yet!

“Just keep your eyes open, Stan.” Syb replies as you stop in front of the tree, “Remember what your boss said about spies...”

Unsheathing your BONE CLAWS, you quickly go to town on the tree! Pausing for a break about halfway through, you turn to Syb and shrug--you haven’t had issues with anything so far--why worry now?

“Because,” Sybil whispers as she starts carving through the wood, “There’s no way we’re reaching this lab before sundown, Stan. And we’re in unfamiliar territory--if I wanted to set a trap, I’d do it here.”

Don’t worry, you’ll be careful, you sigh before dicing up the remaining tree. Wiping the sweat from your brow, you and Syb proudly observe your handiwork.

“Look at that thing.” Sybil muses, crossing her arms. “It must have taken ages to grow…”

And you guys reduced it to toothpicks in a few seconds.

“Dat’s kinda’ sad when ya’ think about it.” Ly remarks, prompting the two of you to return to the van in awkward silence.

>CONTD.
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>>4757616
Are we there YET?! You groan as you lean back in your seat and pout.

“Almost.” Art repeats for the fiftieth time, his eyes glued to the road.

“Should be soon as long as we don’t run into any more surprises.” Tucker explains as he, Kiki, and Eddie tinker with the rifles you picked up.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to zero-in on that researcher quickly…” Sybil sighs. “I wouldn’t want to lead everyone on a wild goose chase.”

“She’ll be there.” Mitzi grunts, idly loading a few more cartridges into her SMG magazines. “Kooky scientists never leave their labs.”

“Mitzi’s right!” Eddie nods. “It’s just like in the movies--they wait until the hero comes, then say something along the lines of ‘You walked right into my trap!’ Then they press a button and release their ULTIMATE CREATION!”

“Thanks, Eddie. We feel much better now.” Tucker groans, giving his pal a gentle shove. Peering upwards towards the canopy, you watch as the sun rapidly dips lower in the sky--is today really almost over?!

“To be fair we did a lot.” Art muses, taking a corner slowly. “We went to Good Boy, you almost got executed, I went to the hospital, you met your [gree]BOYFRIEND[/green] Boris--”

You know it’s rude to slug the driver, but the rules never said anything about elbowing them in the side! Struggling to regain his breath, Art shoves your shoulder muttering ‘dick!’ under his breath!

“Turn left here.” Tucker instructs, prompting Art to take the van onto a dirt road. Traveling down a hill, your van quickly arrives in front of an austere concrete building in the middle of the forest blocked off by a gate. Rolling closer, you and Art quietly read the fine print--”Property of Clearwater University. Trespassing is forbidden.

“Good thing we’re students, huh?” Tucker chuckles. “Let’s pop open the gate.”

You and Tucker hop out of the van and approach the large, rusty padlock holding the fence gate shut.

“Gotta say, I didn’t expect to be coming back up here this soon.” Tucker remarks, holding the chain out for you to slice. With a quick slash from your claws, the lock goes limp in his hands. “Glad we ran into you guys.”

The feeling’s mutual, you reply with a smile! The two of you open the gate wide enough for the van to drive through, then hop back onto the back after shutting the gate behind you.

>CONTD.
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>>4757619
Parking the van in an empty employee garage, your entourage approaches the front of the facility. Trying the front door, Art turns your way and shrugs.

“Locked.”

No problem, you chuckle, extending your claws once more! Before you can create your own doorway, however, Kiki appears at your side and holds out a small rock.

Err, no thanks, you don’t need to bust a window.

Shaking her head in exasperation, the girl flips the rock over revealing a plastic cover on the bottom hiding a weathered set of keys! Taking them from the Hide-A-Key, you fiddle with the lock for a minute before Art takes over. How the hell were you supposed to know you were turning it the wrong way? WHATEVER!

Filing into a lobby that seems more at home at an office building, you stop to marvel at the size of the place--must have been pretty impressive before all this!

“Not really, but it’s the closest plumbing in about a mile or so.” Tucker remarks, cracking his neck. “Shall we get settled in?”

“Depends--where’s the hot tub?” Mitzi asks, stretching her back.

“They’ve got a shower room for the researchers--otherwise you’re outta luck.” Eddie shrugs. “Coulda swore there was a hot spring around here, though...”

“I’m not sensing anyone nearby…” Sybil reports, a blue light fading from her eyes. “Looks like we have the place to ourselves for now.”

“In that case,” Art yawns, “I’m gonna rest for a little bit. All that driving took it outta me…”

Rolling your eyes, you turn to the rest of your merry band. What are they gonna do?

“Probably check out the kitchen.” Tucker answers, eliciting a nod from Kiki and Eddie. “Might be able to whip up a meal while we’re here.”

“My legs are all cramped up,” Mitzi reports. “Gonna explore a bit.”

“I’ll have to find the best room to concentrate in.” Syb muses, resting her cheek on her hand. “The minute I get a signal I’ll let you all know.”

With that your pals scatter about like ants leaving you and Ly to fend for yourselves in the foyer.

“Well, Ms. Popular,” Ly chuckles, “There’s a map over there if you wanna track someone down. Or we could just do our own thing!”

How do you pass the time?
>Let’s find ART--he seemed tired.
>Check on SYB--make sure things are going alright.
>Track down MITZI--she said she was gonna explore?
>Meet up with the newbies--who knows what they’ve got cookin?
>Who needs them? YOU and LY can find something FUN to do!
>WRITE-IN
>>
Last update of the night--got work EARLY tomorrow! Should have an update around 5-6PM PST, maybe earlier if I get home quick enough. As always thanks for playing--you guys are the real ones driving this shitcoaster!
>>
>>4757622
>Let’s find ART--he seemed tired.
Absolutely no reasons behind this vote, besides Art could use a good talk.
>>
>>4757622
>Who needs them? YOU and LY can find something FUN to do!
>>
>>4757622
>Let’s find ART--he seemed tired
Let's spend some quality time with our first team mate!

Also, what was the SOLDIER ARM in blue text we got?
>>
>>4757622
>Meet up with the newbies--who knows what they’ve got cookin?
Yeah lets see what they are up too
>>
>>4757736
>>4758741
>ART!

>>4757816
>SoLYtude!

>>4758778
>Newbies

Art it is! Writing!
>>
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>>4758741
A non-burning souvenir you got for Syb. She seemed interested, so you took it with! Don't worry--it ain't gonna come alive and strangle you! You think...

Not wanting to bother Syb, you briefly consider checking in on the new recruits. Who knows--you might be able to get some chow out of it!

Now that you think about it, though, Art seemed kinda out of it… And not in the ‘Stayed up ‘til 4am arguing on weeb message boards’ variety. You remember him retreating down the corridor to the left towards the INFIRMARY--might not be a bad place to kick one’s feet up.

Spectral fingers of light peer through the wide windows lining the hallway giving you a glimpse of the forest at sundown. Part of you balks at the idea of tromping around after dark, but from where you’re standing you can’t help but find it somewhat pretty…

Finding the door to the infirmary slightly ajar, a quick peek through the crack confirms what you already suspected--Lying on the hospital bed is Art, his attention completely absorbed by a RISQUE COMIC!

“... No it’s not.” Art mutters, reacting to your false narration with a drowsy frown. “What are you doing creeping around outside anyways?”

You shrug--just getting the lay of the land--gotta savor it before the twelve-foot gorilla with laser eyes comes tromping through it, right?

“Well... You’ve already made it awkward, so you might as well come in.” Art sighs, motioning you into the room. Making your way through the door, you find a small stool to rest on and post up there. Flicking the lights on, your oldest (second if you’re counting Ly) crew member appraises you with uncharacteristically-weary eyes, his helmet lying on the bed next to him.

“So,” He begins, eyes focused on the corner of the room, “What can I do for you, Stan?”

How do you start things off?
>How’s the whole SYB thing going?
>You really DROVE back there!
>Everything OKAY?
>Any thoughts on the OTHERS?
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4759842
>Everything OKAY?
How’s our boy doin
>>
>>4759880
>Everything okay?
Writing!
>>
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Leaning towards Art, you shake your head a few times--he’s got that backwards! What can you do for him?

“What are you talking about, Stan?” Art replies, sitting up against the wall. “I mean… We can’t really do much until Syb finds that researcher, so-”

No, you growl, you’re trying to be sympathetic here! Scooching closer on your doctor’s stool, you cock your head to the side--is everything okay with him? He seems different.

“Oh! Yea, of course I am…” Art fires back, nodding in the least-convincing way possible. “I’m just tired from the drive--that’s all.”

Uh-huh, you reply in the LEAST CONVINCED tone you can muster. Which, thanks to your many years of not being convinced by things, is pretty good! Crossing your arms, you narrow your eyes at him under the bill of your cap--is he gonna be real with you or isn’t he?

“Seriously, I’m just TIRED!” Art exclaims, rolling his eyes! “What do I have to do to convince you to drop it?”

You bare your fang at him. All he has to do… Is NOTHING. Because nothing’s gonna work when a friend is upset!

“...Christ… Fine.” Art sighs, shaking his head. “You’re right--it’s not just the driving, though that DID still make me tired!” He asserts, jabbing his finger at you!

Yea, yea, you groan, brushing his anger off. So what’s the real issue anyways?

“Well… It’s-” Art clams up before he can really start his sentence. Looking at you appraisingly, he narrows his ginger eyebrows your way.

“Hold on. Before I say anything, you’ve gotta promise not to tell anyone else in the group, okay? You AND LY.”

“Damn!” Ly hisses, “Was hopin’ for dat’ loophole!”

“I know he can hear me, Stan,” Art continues, crossing his arms. “And I know you can too--not one word to anyone else, I mean it. No Syb, No Mitzi, NO ONE.”

With a buildup like that there’s gotta be something big, right? How do you respond?
>CAN’T PROMISE until I HEAR what it is.
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art.
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art (Lie).
>SORRY, but I CAN’T keep that PROMISE…
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>4759978
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art.
We did kinda shoot him in the leg, we owe him this much.
>>
Sorry for the abrupt pause, but I'm still pretty wiped from work today--good news is that my schedule's a bit more open tomorrow, so I should be able to pop some updates up TOMORROW around 9-10AM PST and then 2PM ONWARD! Thanks for playing and apologies again--should be in better shape tomorrow to write!
>>
>>4760019
Weirdly curious, what do you even work in?
>>
>>4760025
Teaching. Place is still not 100% back in person every day yet, so...
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>>4760030
Nice! I bet your creativity here translates to the classroom as well. You have lucky students.
>>
>>4759978
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art (Lie).
>>
>>4759978
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art.
>>
>>4759978
>YOU can TRUST ME, Art.
>>
>>4759986
>>4760333
>>4760432
>He can TRUST YOU

>>4760098
>M A X I M U M G R E M L I N

WRITING
>>
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With the obvious answer, DUH! He can totally trust you--hell, you still owe him for the time you accidentally got him to shoot himself! Art stares at you for a moment longer, than releases a deep sigh.

“I believe you. Alright, Stan, here goes… You’re probably gonna think it’s stupid, though.”

You shrug. Probably! You won’t know until he friggin’ tells you, though!

“You’re right… I guess…” Art pauses, searching for the appropriate words, “I guess I’m just feeling disappointed in myself.”

You feel a pang of confusion, but you let him continue. Disappointed?

“I know it’s stupid, but my mind keeps drifting back to the last few days--the diner, the High School, those jackasses that jumped us in The Lodge... I keep looking back and thinking, ‘Did you really do anything to help in those situations?’”

You open your mouth to counter, but Art stops you.

“I know what you’re gonna say, but it’s still there. All of those situations were salvaged by people other than me--Cliff and the guys saved us at school, you somehow defused things at the diner by dancing, and then I got jumped twice in the same day, one less than an hour after getting out of the hospital. If Syb and you weren’t so tough, well…”

Art’s gaze droops to the floor.

“I’m not like your brother, Stan--never was. My sisters were always the ones who bailed me out when stuff got crazy, not the other way around… Still, though…” He looks back up to you, a tired look in his eyes, “I want to be someone to rely on, even if it’s just for one person.”

Using tact wholly uncharacteristic of you, you pause before responding--what about uh… What about Syb?

“What about her?” Art replies, forcing a smile. “Listen, Stan--I um… I still like her, that hasn’t changed. I’m just worried that…”

Worried that..?

“That maybe she’s not as interested in me as I am in her. I get it--we’ve got skeletons to deal with. I know we aren’t in the movies or anything.”

He shrugs, drumming his fingers on the top of his helmet.

“I just can’t help but wonder if I’m barking up the wrong tree, you know? And if it has anything to do with how little I’ve done.”

You wait for him to continue, but nothing happens. Looking at you again, Art takes a deep breath.

“So yea. Told you it’d be stupid.”

...How do you begin to respond to that?
>You ARE reliable!
>Do you REALLY feel that way?
>SYB’S… Different. It’s not you at all!
>MAYBE SYB'S the wrong person to chase?
>WRITE-IN
>>
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>>4760794
>You ARE reliable!
"I'll be honest, I was really lonely scared until you joined. It used to just be me, Ly, and the sewer mutants. You've been a rock for me man, and I'm supposed to be the chosen one! So if you think about it that way, you're one of *the* most important people in this apocalypse! So what if you can't shoot magic blasts or aren't the strongest? You're always there when we need you, no matter what"

Pic is me when Art's sad
>>
>>4760794
>Yeah pal, you're a comic relief character, but consider the following:
>1. Comic reliefs are always okay in the end.
>2. Romantic relationships of comic reliefs are either hilariosly bad or ridiculously sweet, and if it was the former we'd have seen it already.
>3. Comic reliefs commonly save the day in the critical moment.
>So perk up dude, you could've been an incurably sick little girl or something.
>>
>>4760828
>>4760833
>>4760794
>You ARE reliable!
He could have been the 'Snotty butt-monkey who everyone hates' comic relief, instead he's 'repeatably out of his depth but still trying his best' comic relief.
>>
>>4760828
>>4760833
>>4761073
I guess we're gonna try blending these three together! Writing!
>>
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You hear the faint sound of leaves brushing against the windows as you digest what Art said. You guys joke around, sure, but this time feels different--like he really needs someone to set him straight.

You’re gonna need some appropriate music here.

https://www.youtubetrimmer.com/view/?v=uZTHlOlif9U&start=1300&end=1414

Yea, that’ll do it. Rising from your stool, you walk over to the infirmary bed and take a seat next to the guard. Taking a deep breath, you turn and look him in the eyes--he’s not just reliable, he’s the COMIC RELIEF CHARACTER.

Art looks at you with a mixture of confusion and insult. “I… Wha?”

He heard you, you continue, not breaking eye contact. He knows exactly what you’re talking about--it’s just like in those animes he loves so much!

“... I don’t follow.”

Here’s the deal, you explain, adjusting your hat a little bit. MAYBE you’ve watched a bit of anime too, and MAYBE you don’t think it’s just for perverts. Point is, you know enough to know that every anime has the COMIC RELIEF CHARACTER--the one who’s always out of his depth, but still tries his best? The one who never does his homework? Always strikes out with girls? Fades into the background unless there’s a joke at his expense?

“I guess so…” Art replies, still not zeroing in on your point.

You frown--does this guy watch anime or NOT?! What’s wrong with him?!! Art’s gaze droops to the floor again, but you COUNTER by grabbing his head and twisting it towards you! ANSWER, DAMN YOU!

“Y-YEA!” Art mutters! “I WATCH ANIME!”

Then this BLOCKHEAD knows that the COMIC RELIEF CHARACTER ALWAYS comes out on top! Sure, he’s got a long, painful road ahead, but he always turns out okay, he always gets a cute girl, and when the going gets rough for the protagonist and his pals? COMIC RELIEF is there to piece it all back together!

“Yea, bu-”

Art coulda’ been the snotty BUTT-MONKEY the whole audience hates! He could have been one of those SICKLY LITTLE GIRLS Japan loves so much! Hell, he could have been a HAREM PROTAGONIST--fun, yea, but no personality whatsoever!

“That doesn’t sound so-”

SHUT IT! Truth is, you were really scared and lonely when this all started! Sure, you had Ly, but then Art showed up and everything changed! He might not be magical like Syb, cool like you, or annoyingly aloof like Mitzi, but Art’s the team’s ROCK, damn it! Most importantly, you continue, SHAKING HIM BY THE SHOULDERS, is that he’s YOUR PAL! And if you’re the one cleaning this mess up, what does that make him?

A dopey smile slowly forms on Art’s face.

“The comic relief?”

He’s GOD-DAMN RIGHT!

>CONTD.
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