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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 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!

As per the norm these days, you could certainly be doing better. Goaded into a race after having your loyalties questioned by your arch-nemesis, dickhead coworker and master of all things terrible, BORIS PONDEROSA, you and your pals sped off to the Wild West-era Ghost Town just outside of CLEARWATER: JOPLIN to take down one of TIM'S few remaining SKELETAL LIEUTENANTS: the ruthless outlaw CLAYTON BLACK. For a while things were going pretty well--you chatted up the locals, drove some uppity gunmen out of town, gained a valuable, albeit somewhat crotchety, MARSHAL as an ally, and even got a SLICK NEW HAIRCUT! Everything was comin' up Stan!

Sensing you becoming somewhat happy, the universe once again conspired to rub your face in your proverbial birthday cake: Trapped in town thanks to a busted tire on your van, your only option was to venture deeper into the desert where Clayton’s BLACK EYE GANG called home: a supposedly haunted mine dug deep into the aptly-named SPIDER MESA! Taking a shortcut along the cliffs, you and your pals ran into trouble when you were ambushed by a handful of bandits--one of whom had the bright idea to bring DYNAMITE to a gunfight!

One bullet in your arm and one violent explosion later, you regain consciousness deep in the mines you were specifically told not to get lost in with a leg twisted up like a balloon animal and a head full of haze. As if that wasn't enough, you don't seem to be alone down here...

With only a piece of rubble separating your broken form from what might be a really short fight with a creature straight out of your worst nightmares, THIS is where your story continues...
https://youtu.be/_wiwdlu-Zg0
>>
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>>5082047
Welcome to BONES QUEST--the gift that keeps on giving whether you want it or not! Make sure to check out the following resources:

Archive Link to catch up with the story!
>http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Bones%20quest

Twitter account for updates!
>https://twitter.com/DemBonez3

Imgur Page for quest and FAN ART! You make it, we display it!
>https://imgur.com/a/dvF3SCN

A HANDY PASTEBIN for INVENTORY, SKILLS, and MORE:
>https://pastebin.com/u/DemBonez3/1/TvtRhtJK

Rolls are handled by a 1d100--I take the BEST OF THREE ROLLS! Certain boosts and maluses will be applied based on the situation and existing skills. Describing your actions, write-ins, FANART and GENERAL CREATIVITY are all APPRECIATED AND REWARDED--we like to keep things LIGHT and CHILL here, so come on in and have some fun!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5082049
You sink lower behind what little cover you have as two glowing red eyes turn in your direction! Filling the dark and damp mine tunnels with a mournful wail that sends a shiver down your spine, the beast lingers in the cave far longer than you’re comfortable with! Go on, you hiss, GIT!

As per usual, the consequences arrive not too long after your actions: following your whisper, the owner of the eyes staggers a few steps in the direction of the rubble you’re hiding behind! D’OH!

“Are ya TRYIN’ ta’ get us killed?!” Scolds Ly from the safe confines of your body. “We’ve got a BUSTED LEG an’ no MAGICAL BONE MARROW in sight, remember? An’ who da’ hell knows what’s up wit’ da’ air in here!”

A stabbing pain courses through your mangled leg as if it heard you two talking about it. Right, you think–something tells you you aren’t gonna fix that with painkillers alone… If you’re gonna find some skeletons and, by extension, some more MAGIC MARROW, you’re gonna have to get moving!

A series of gurgles from the MUTANT currently sharing the room with you tells you that might not be as easy as it sounds. Ignoring the tickling sensation from your PAINTER’S RESPIRATOR, you quietly ponder your options…

What’s the plan here?
>DISTRACT THE MUTANT WITH A ROCK OR SOMETHING, THEN SLIP OUT!
>LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE! BONE CLAWS!
>YOU ONLY NEED ONE WORKING ARM TO FIRE A GUN–BLAST THIS GUY!
>TRY TO KNOCK IT OUT–YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR PROOF OF SEWER MUTANTS FOR AGES!
>KEEP HIDING! IT’LL GO AWAY! PROBABLY!
>PERHAPS AN ITEM WILL WORK? (WHICH ONE?)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5082052
>PERHAPS AN ITEM WILL WORK? (SPRAY BOTTLE WITH STINGING, SHINY WATER)
Rocket launcher would be ideal but don't want to blow up the mine when we don't know where Art is although we probably could tank it with or without bone armor
>>
>>5082060
>>5082052

Supporting this!
>>
>>5082060
>>5082101
>SPRAY BOTTLE ATTACK!

Looks like we're giving this creep a shower! ROLL ME 1d100 TO SPRAY AND PRAY! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

>>5082151

FILLLLTHYYYY MUTIESSSSSS
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>5082151
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>5082151
>>
>>5082153
>>5082154
>>5082221
>HIGHEST ROLL: 74!

Writing!
>>
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As the freak’s damp, plodding footsteps approach your hiding spot, you quickly sift through your mental catalogue of available options. There’s your CLAWS, of course, but that would involve getting close.No way, Jose! Your trusty CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION could probably do the trick too, but who knows how many mutants are down here with you? Not to mention the recoil would probably twist your injured arm like a pretzel.

Trying and failing to ignore the labored wheezing of the approaching beast, you ultimately choose to play the inventory lotto and stuff your hand into your pockets! Almost immediately your hands close around the neck of some kind of bottle–the one you found in the CHURCH back in town! You’re still not sure what the hell’s in it, but one thing’s for sure–when you remove it from your pocket you immediately feel a slight burn in your already-weary eyes. Powerful stuff considering how dark it is!

Armed with what you hope is the solution to all your problems, you take a steadying breath as you hear a hand place itself on your cover! Letting loose with the most intimidating growl you can muster in your state, you pop up from your hiding place and unload on the mutant like a crazed, well, janitor!

While you don’t hear any sizzling or melting, your shout and subsequent assault does the trick! Wide-eyed from your surprise attack, the creature responds with its own surprised howl before stumbling away from you! Gaping at you in horror, the mutant scuttles back into the tunnels, screaming all the way! As you listen to its distorted voice grow faint, your chest swells with something akin to…

Pride?

“Well!” Ly remarks as you grin in manic triumph, “Dat’ uh… dat solves one of our problems…”

A faint giggle escapes your lips as the last few moments catch up to you–that was a mutant, you sputter! A real one! And you just scared it off!

“Yea, yea, don’t let it go ta’ yer’ head…” Your skeleton mutters as you pump your uninjured arm. Booyah!

Unfortunately the sudden action causes your vision to swim again, and coupled with the burning sensation you get staring at the SPRAY BOTTLE, you can’t help but slump behind the rubble once more! Stuffing your weapon back in your pockets, you try to shake off the haze rapidly enveloping your mind, but no dice–this uh… this might be bad!

“An’ it’s gonna get worse if we don’t track down some ‘healy-dealy’ an’ fast!” Ly reports as if lecturing you about your weight. “An’ it’s not like you were in tip-top shape before, cupcake.”

Ah. There it is.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5082264
Massaging your temples in a vague attempt to get a proverbial ‘grip’, you adjust your PAINTER’S RESPIRATOR a bit as it continues to irritate your mouth. The hell’s wrong with this thing, anyways?

“There’s always dat’ CLOAK we used ta’ breathe underwater…” Ly suggests as your vision tilts sideways. “Though we never got a chance ta’ see if dat’ AIR BUBBLE it makes can puncture or not…”

And you don’t plan on finding out, you growl! Levering yourself into a more upright sitting position, you briefly wonder what your moron friends are doing now that you’re probably gonna die… Art and Syb are probably pissed you separated them, of course, and Eddie’s probably already considering how he’ll write your death scene in the inevitable movie.

That Marshal you recruited is probably being a total jerk, too–no doubt saying crap like ‘she weren’t cut out fer’ it anyways!’ in that hick voice of his!

“We uh… we could always try callin’ folks on da’ RADIO, right?” Ly suggests, shattering your dramatic thoughts with a logical sledgehammer. Right, you sputter in surprise, you could!

Anyways, you can die later. Right now you’ve got time for a few more updates, at least! The question is, what do?
>USE THE RADIO TO CALL YOUR DIPSHIT FRIENDS!
>CALL BORIS! MAYBE HE DIED IN HERE–THAT SHOULD CHEER YOU UP!
>REMOVE THE PAINTER’S RESPIRATOR AND PUT ON YOUR SEA CLOAK!
>EXPLORE THE TUNNELS–YOU’VE GOTTA FIND SOME BONE MARROW!
>SCOUT AHEAD WITH THE REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5082265
>>USE THE RADIO TO CALL YOUR DIPSHIT FRIENDS!
>>
>>5082265
>REMOVE THE PAINTER’S RESPIRATOR AND PUT ON YOUR SEA CLOAK!
>USE THE RADIO TO CALL YOUR DIPSHIT FRIENDS!
>>
>>5082272
Support
>>
>>5082265
>>USE THE RADIO TO CALL YOUR DIPSHIT FRIENDS!
>>
>>5082265
>>REMOVE THE PAINTER’S RESPIRATOR AND PUT ON YOUR SEA CLOAK!
>>USE THE RADIO TO CALL YOUR DIPSHIT FRIENDS

changing to this
>>
>>5082272
>>5082273
>>5082278
>PUT ON CLOAK!
>CALL YOUR PALS!

>>5082268
>CALL YOUR PALS!

Gonna be busy in a little bit, so this might be the last update of the night! Writing!
>>
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As you ponder your next move, an unsettling thought makes its nest in your head: Art and the others probably saw you blow up, right? And… and then you didn’t check in with them yet!

“Yea…” Ly remarks as he imagines it alongside you. “They must be worried si-”
Those BASTARDS are probably already restructuring the gang, you exclaim! New colors, new titles, hell, they’ve probably already chosen a new leader! It better not be Art, damn it!

“Stan, I-”

Well you’re not standing for it, you snap! They don’t wanna give you a courtesy call and check if you’re okay? You’ll call THEM! And do you know why you’re gonna do that?!

“Er… why?” Ly replies weakly as you struggle to appear valiant in a pool of your own blood.

Because you’re the BOSS, damn it! First thing’s first, though: this mask is killing you! Reaching to pull it down, you feel the respirator grow even itchier--what’s wrong with this thing anyways?

Yanking off the mask, your answer comes in the form of a cluster of hairy, wriggling legs where the filter is! Sputtering in surprise, you chuck the breathing apparatus away from you just as the spidery legs swat at your face! Landing with an unsettling ‘scch’, you watch in abject horror as the limbs extend to their full length revealing your item as some kind of dog-sized creature!

Stretching its alien form out on the rough-hewn cavern floor, two hairy stalks sprout from the respirator’s filters and reveal a set of beady segmented eyes! Scowling at you the only way a freakish respirator bug can, the vermin sends an unnerving smooching noise your way before scuttling into the darkness!

…Well alrighty then.

INVENTORY PASTEBIN UPDATED!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5082333
Setting aside a few minutes to double-check if what you just saw was real or not, you and Ly finally and wordlessly don the SEA CLOAK you picked up earlier! Almost immediately you feel a sense of relief wash over you as breathing comes easier and your vision steadies somewhat.

“How we feelin’?” Asks your skeleton as you take a few more breaths. Still a little wonky, you reply, but better than before!

“Probably all dose’ painkillers we guzzled…” Ly suggests in a grave tone. “We’d better get some help and fast.”

They’re painkillers, you drama queen–they kill pain, not YOU. Flipping the bird in the direction your respirator ran off in, you hastily retrieve your trusty RADIO from your pants pocket–or try to.

Retrieving the device from your inventory causes it to blare with unusual static–no way Talbot or Mitzi could pull a sound off like that! Maybe Syb, you think aloud, but she’s not really one for pranks.

“Huh? Radio?” Ly mutters as the noise dies down somewhat. “What’s going on wit’ dat’ radio?”
You dunno, you hiss, but you know what’s going to happen to it if it keeps up that racket! Shaking your fist at the capricious machine, you let out a short, but still triumphant ‘hmph!’ as it goes quiet. That’s right, you chuckle, it knows what you’re capable of!

Lifting the device closer to your mouth, you prepare to address your loyal peons! If they even briefly contemplated mutiny, well-

“Err… one small problem, kiddo:” Ly interjects. “Who are we tryin’ ta’ reach, anyways? Did we even give da’ cliff group a radio?”

You fight through the pain in your arm to shrug derisively! Who knows? Not you--you’re too busy bleeding, remember? Rolling your eyes in the direction you expect Ly would be sitting right now, you press the CALL button and try to contact:

>ART! THERE’S NO WAY HE DIED IN THAT EXPLOSION!
>EDDIE! ART’S PROBABLY DEAD OR MAD AT YOU AGAIN!
>SOMEONE ELSE ON THE TEAM (WHO?)
>YOUR GOOD BOY CONTACT!
>BORIS!
>HAULIE PAULIE!
>CLIFF AND THE GREASERS!
>ANDRE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's it for tonight, folks--should be back and running SUNDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Hope to see you then--it's good to be back even if it wasn't that long of a break!
>>
>>5082337
>>ART! THERE’S NO WAY HE DIED IN THAT EXPLOSION!

b-but not Boris by accident
>>
>>5082337
>ART! THERE’S NO WAY HE DIED IN THAT EXPLOSION!
>>
>>5082337
>ART! THERE’S NO WAY HE DIED IN THAT EXPLOSION!
>>
>>5082337
>ART! THERE’S NO WAY HE DIED IN THAT EXPLOSION!
>>
>>5082397
>>5082532
>>5082539
>>5082544
>ART!

Here goes! Writing!
>>
>>5082397
God help us if he arrives to our rescue. We would prefer to be disassembled by the mutants.
>>
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Crossing your fingers in one hand and cradling the RADIO in your other, you tune the device to the (hopefully) right channel and deliver the good news to whoever’s listening: you lived, bitch!

Your declaration is answered by a squeal more-suited for some kind of quirky robot sidekick.

“Must be somethin’ interferin’ wit’ da’ signal…” Ly remarks, earning a frown from you. Like hell it is, you snarl as you smack the gadget against the floor a few times! This is it: THE USURPATION!

“Th- -at?” Crackles a familiar voice on the other line! Art, you growl, you know what he’s planning!

“Dr-t,” Art jokes through a heavy dose of static, “-ou go- me.”

You ain’t laughing!

“-er-ously th-... -ough- w- lost you b-k th-...” He continues in a more serious, albeit nigh-unintelligible tone. “-ou fine?”

You pause to take stock of your SMOKIN’ HOT BOD. Has he seen you lately?

“-eant are you oka-, -oron.” Replies the Rent-A-Cop with refreshing sarcasm. “-u in-ured?”

Err… you mutter, yes. A pause falls over the conversation.

“... -at do-n’t -ell me any-ing.”

Well that’s his fault for asking two questions, you groan! And it doesn’t matter–you’re not okay, damn it! Your leg is twisted like a churro, you’ve got a hole in your arm big enough to fit a hot dog through, and you’ve lost enough blood to fill a family-sized bag of chips!

… you might also be getting kinda hungry.

You can barely pick up hushed chatter on the other end of the radio.

“-st find s-me -ne ma-row.”

Is this thing on? You just said you’re hurt, damn it, not to mention you’re seeing MUTANTS and your respirator turned into a spider! And did you mention you’re getting hangry? They need to double-time it and bring you some treats!

“-hit…” Art replies. “-e took c-e of th- -nslingers… -ddie domed -at LYLE -uy. -ny cl- -ere you are in -e -ines?”

DEEP, you growl. It’s not exactly popping with landmarks.

“-ighty then… -ry to -nd someth-.” He suggests. “-’ll come fi- you.”

You can barely hear the sound of a familiar, cantankerous voice on the other side.

“Right… The Marshal says ‘don’- -the -ir!”

Frowning, you ask him to repeat that last bit, but all you get is static. No, damn it, the other part!

“Guess it’s a bad signal…” Ly remarks as you tap the device a few times for good measure. “Not a bad idea, though–we really oughta’ fin-”

Your skeleton’s suggestion is cut off by a mechanical screech from the radio’s speaker that causes both you and Ly to jolt into the air! Dying down as quickly as it arrived, the radio continues to taunt you with a low crackle… followed by an unfamiliar voice.

“Stanley Parble…” the stranger drawls in a deep, laconic voice, “figured you’d show up.”

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5083116
The clearness of the voice makes your hair stand on end–almost as if the owner was standing in the room with you. Scanning what little you can see in the collapsed cavern for any sign of an intruder, you bring your radio closer to your mouth and give it a glare–who the hell is he?

“Me? No one in particular.” The voice replies with a smirk in his tone. “Just an’ old killer looking for purpose in this crazy new world…” A pause. “... automobiles, huh? Y’all have been busy since I’ve been gone.”

“Stan…” Ly mutters in your head, “It’s him! Gotta be!”

You nod and whisper the name into the radio’s receiver:

KAYSEN BLACK!

Wait, was that it?

The stranger answers with a bemused chuckle. “I see my reputation almost precedes me. Guess I didn’t make as much history as I thought I would, did I?” You feel a cold breeze tickle your shoulder as a sigh drifts through the radio.

“Still, not bad for a cleaning lady. Though I reckon you’d have to be some kind of special to stay alive for this long. Then again…” Black gasps dramatically. “You aren’t looking so good, Stanley.”

That friggin’ does it! Whirling around in your seated position, you deliver a vicious haymaker to…

Air… and nothing else.

“So close!” Clayton snickers. “Don’t strain yourself too hard, my dear–I have no intention of killing you… not yet, at least.”

In that case, you grunt, where the heck is he? He’s coming in pretty clear for a voice over the radio!

“Well ain’t that the question?” He replies with an ample helping of static. “These mines run deep, Stan–lots of hiding spots, y’see? I could be above…” He explains, “or below… could be right around that corner,” Black adds, voice echoing from further down the tunnel, “or maybe even…”

A bony yanks the tail of your COONSKIN HAT.

“Right behind y-!”

Not this time! Triggering your BONE CLAWS, you swiftly stab the offender behind you before he can finish his sentence!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5083119
… at least, you thought you did. Bringing your hand back into the light provided by your CELLPHONE, confusion settles in as you notice two things: first, you didn’t stab anyone. Second, your claws aren’t coming out! Flicking whatever ‘switch’ activates them in your body, your pulse quickens as your go-to weapons fail to pop out! Attempting the same thing with your BONE ARMOR, you come to a similar result: NADA!

“Don’t strain yourself on my account, missy.” Clayton says with a laugh! “You’ll need that energy for when I come lookin’ for ya… unless something else gets you first…”

The air around you grows colder as a sinister laugh reverberates throughout the tunnels. So much for a stealth mission… Dragging yourself towards the entrance to the rest of the tunnels, you contemplate how to respond to your next target…

>STAY QUIET–YOU’LL TRACK HIM DOWN SOON ENOUGH!
>ASK HIM ABOUT BORIS AND THE OTHERS!
>GRILL HIM ABOUT HIMSELF! MAYBE HE LIKES TO MONOLOGUE?
>QUESTION HIM ABOUT THE MINES–HE MIGHT ACCIDENTALLY DROP A HINT OR TWO!
>INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR PALS!
>PISS HIM OFF! IF HE’S ANGRY HE MIGHT SLIP UP!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5083122
>QUESTION HIM ABOUT THE MINES–HE MIGHT ACCIDENTALLY DROP A HINT OR TWO!
>>PISS HIM OFF! IF HE’S ANGRY HE MIGHT SLIP UP!

This is the Stanley way.
>>
>>5083122
>>GRILL HIM ABOUT HIMSELF! MAYBE HE LIKES TO MONOLOGUE?
>>
>>5083122
>QUESTION HIM ABOUT THE MINES–HE MIGHT ACCIDENTALLY DROP A HINT OR TWO!
Let's try to keep it short. The more noise we make the more likely we are to attract something that won't be scared away by just a bottle of holy-water.
>>
>>5083122
>QUESTION HIM ABOUT THE MINES–HE MIGHT ACCIDENTALLY DROP A HINT OR TWO!
>>
>>5083125
>>5083127
>>5083134
>>5083137
THE COUNT:

>MINES = 3!
>PISS HIM OFF! = 1
>HIMSELF! = 1

Mine what you say! Writing!
>>
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So, you begin on the off-chance that the gunslinger’s still tuned in, a mine, huh? Pretty spooky at first, sure, but why’d he decide to hole up here again?

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?” Clayton’s voice echoes from further down the tunnel. “You camp out in an abandoned mine long enough, eventually it starts to feel homey!”

Yea, you shrug, but didn’t he DIE last time he was here?

“Every home’s got its share of problems…” He continues, this time from behind your ear. “But you can’t argue with the built-in security, can ya?”

Sure, you mutter as you pull your SEA CLOAK closer. The AIR, right? You hear faint laughter creep through the rocky floor beneath your fingers.

“Yes, I see you two have already become acquainted… smart of you to bring masks, but too little, too late–once you get a whiff, well…”

The gunslinger punctuates his sentence with an unsettling ‘kkchh’ sound as you feel the ghost of a finger run across your throat.

“Who knows?” He continues as you hear footsteps around the corner of the tunnel, “If you leave quick enough, maybe you’ll be fine!” Turning the corner, you find yourself staring down a long minecart tunnel dimly lit by a line of dusty old lanterns.

“And if you manage to make it to the center of the mines, well…” He continues, causing the lanterns to flicker with each word, “hmm. Never mind–wouldn’t want to spoil the fun.”

The CENTER, huh? Good of a clue as any… continuing down the tunnel, you hear the faint moan of the MUTANT you scared off earlier–as to where it’s coming from, well… that remains to be seen.

“Careful where you shoot, pard–” Clayton taunts as you spot a surprisingly serviceable MINE CART sitting on the tracks, “your friends came by with a few chips on their shoulders too–I wager they’re starting to feel a mite tuckered out by now as well…”

You can’t help but blink at that–does that mean that dipstick Boris is tripping out too? You would kill to see how he’s handling this crap–probably crying in a pool of his own pee!

“Consider this a ‘head start’, Stanley!” The gunslinger shouts from the cavern you came from! “Starting now it’s open season on whatever the hell you are–hope you feel better… and soon!”

With that, a gale rips through the tunnel and puts out all the lanterns! Left in the dark with nothing but your phone to light your way, you linger for a moment to get your bearings...

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5083243
What do?
>CONTINUE DOWN THE TUN

Your thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a bullet ricocheting down the tunnel! Collapsing to the ground, your hat is grazed by a bullet speeding through the air where your head just was! Scampering behind the cart, you frantically weigh your options as raucous laughter echoes through every inch of the mines!

”GO!”

What do?
>CRAWL FURTHER INTO THE TUNNELS!
>HIDE IN THE MINECART!
>RIDE THE MINECART FURTHER IN!
>SCOUT THINGS OUT WITH YOUR REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUCK!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5083244
>>RIDE THE MINECART FURTHER IN!
>>
>>5083244
>RIDE THE MINECART FURTHER IN!
>>
>>5083244
>HIDE IN THE MINECART!
My bets on this being Boris's Goons. But they're still goodboy security, and wearing masks at that. If they're not just hallucinations themselves, they might be able to help us provided we can make them aware of us (and that they're not tripping balls despite their masks).
>>
>>5083254
But failing that, the minecart is probably the best option.
>>
>>5083244
>RIDE THE MINECART FURTHER IN!
The time shall come for duck
>>
>>5083244
>>RIDE THE MINECART FURTHER IN!
>>
>>5083246
>>5083251
>>5083259
>>5083280
>OBLIGATORY MINECART LEVEL

>>5083254
>HIDE IN IT THOUGH

I've heard of 'railroading, but this is ridiculous! Writing!
>>
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“Holy SMOKES!” Ly exclaims as you tug your cap closer to your head! “Dat’... dat’ was real, right?!”

You don’t plan on sticking around long enough to find out! Hoisting yourself into the nearby minecart as fast as your broken body lets you, your landing is cushioned by a pile of…

HEADS?!

“Do you mind?” Tucker asks as you remove your foot from his annoyed face. “I was just getting comfy…”

“Hey Stan.” Gus adds as you get situated! Yea, hi. Kinda busy here! Scanning the tunnel for any more bullets, you can’t help but frown as your means of escape fails to get going! What gives!?

“You do know that minecarts don’t move on their own, right?” Sybil asks in a half-sympathetic, half-lecturing voice. “What did you expect to happen?”

Well, you hastily reply as you bodyslam the cart in the direction you want to go, you were expecting to be GONE by now! That’s how it works in literally every game you’ve ever played!

“Too bad!” Talbot scoffs, rolling his red-maned head into view, “If I was there I coulda’ given it a push, but you just had to go and pick Art and Ed!”

“Hey! I could totally get it moving too!” Eddie’s head fires back from the bottom of the pile! “Don’t be jealous because you weren’t picked for once!”

Alright, you growl, everybody shut up! You’re not trying to favor anybody, damn it, and besides, you’ve got more important stuff on your mind n-

A cluster of glowing projectiles sail past your head before you can finish your lecture, each dripping with fluorescent goo! As Kiki’s head groans in frustration at the drops landing on her face, you shift your view towards where the projectiles came from!

A pair of glowing eyes identical to the ones you saw on the mutant slowly approach from the shadows, and with an unsettling gagging noise, more projectiles fire from the wretched creature’s mouth! Ducking below them, you frantically ask the heads for help–how do you get this thing going?!

“Bodyslam it again!” Eddie suggests!
“Get out and push!” Art groans!
“Any chance you could stick me on the front?” Mitzi’s head asks excitedly. “If we do get this thing going it’ll be like a roller coaster!”

“Christ, Stan, pull da’ BRAKE!” Ly interrupts, causing you to snap out of whatever it is you were in! Ducking below a fresh salvo of MUTANT DARTS, you lean over the edge of the cart and find a rusty lever! This must be the stuff!

“I mean… we’re still on level ground.” Art’s head groans. “It’s not just gonna speed off into the sunset.”

We’ll see about that, won’t we?

ROLL 1d100-5 TO GET THINGS ROLLING! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC STRAT IN MIND TO MOVE THE CART FORWARD, WRITE IT IN!
>>
Rolled 69 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5083368

Strategy: just lean forwards and pray.
FUCKING MUTIES
>>
Rolled 21 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5083368
>>
>>5083386
+1. also has it been a day since Syb used haste? could use that on the cart
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>5083388
forgot to roll
>>
>>5083388

Less, but NPCs exist for a reason: to do our bidding as we please-- just look what we did to Art in his death-thread

theory: these mutants are a by-product of outliving whatever noxious gas is in these caves, and Clayton's body wasn't compatible with it. Said gas grants longevity, and these mutants have likely lost their minds to it. [/spoiler mutant bone racoon, mutant bone racoon...
>>
>>5083388
I'm not sure you are reading this update right anon...
>>
>>5083388
Yea, she's still a little cranky and tired--no chance she's casting that spell today especially after not getting much sleep the night before

>>5083391
>NPCs exist to do Stan's bidding
Can I just say that as the QM I am pleased as punch that you guys are so in-tune with Stan's bordeline-psychotic relationship with her pals?

Also, very interesting theory, anon...

>>5083386
>>5083387
>>5083390
>HIGHEST ROLL: 64!

Writing!
>>
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As you reach for the brake release on the cart, your body fights you every step of the way! Clenching your teeth through the pain, you feel some more MUTANT SPIT graze your hat as you clasp your hands around… a SNAKE?!

“What’s the matter, bumblebee? Bit off more than you can chew?”
https://youtu.be/mHjH3DyKChU
You feel the color drain from your face as an all-too-familiar bass beat shakes the walls of the tunnel! No! NOOOOO!

Closing your eyes and violently shaking your head, you reluctantly look in the direction of the music and find yourself staring into the yellow eyes of some kind of BORIS-SNAKE HYBRID! Oh thank god, you thought it was something else! Deftly wriggling out of your grasp, your High School tormentor taunts you with that stupid ‘half-chuckle’ thing he always does!

“Sure was nice when I wasn’t in the race, huh, Stan?” He muses to himself as he ducks and weaves past your grab attempts! “You could take your sweet time, make a few mistakes here and there, and for the first time in your life you even got to feel important. That must have felt good!”

“Is that Boris?” Talbot shouts from the head pile at your knees! “Tell him to stuff it!”

“And don’t forget all the friends!” Borisnake adds as the MUTANTS draw closer! “Won’t it be swell when all this is over and you can hang out? Especially with You-Know-Who?” He adds with a knowing wink! Wh-what the hell is he talking about?! Turn back into a brake handle, dick!

“But wait a minute, Stannie–what if… what if they’re only tagging along to save the world?” The snake suggests, cocking his serpent head to the side in mock contemplation. “Or what if… and hear me out here: what if they just want their share of the glory?”

You hate to admit it, but that question makes you pause… For… the glory?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5083483
Borisnake looks at you as if you just asked him what planet you’re currently on.

“Come on, Stan, you know you better than anyone else–what are the odds these dorks won’t just ditch you the minute this all blows over? Those film kids will be busy with their movie, you kidnapped Artie-”

You BORROWED him, you snap! And it doesn’t matter–no one’s leaving you behind!

“So sure, are you?” The snake laughs, keeping your hand at bay with fangs dripping with venom! “Didn’t you hear? He’s got a girlfriend now–one who happens to be the only person who stands you! Remember what happened when your BROTHER got close with that ART BITCH HEATHER?” The snake’s eyes go wide in realization! “Wait a minute… Art’s a bit of an ART BITCH too, isn’t he?”

That friggin’ DOES it! Bringing both hands forward in a pincer attack, you clasp both around the snake’s throat and get to work throttling it! You don’t care what the hell he is or what he represents–that stuff he just mentioned ain’t happening!

A cold, rueful bout of laughter escapes from Borisnake’s throat as you slowly gain control over him! Withering in your grasp, the serpent looks you in the eyes one last time.

“Two… kinds of people… score… points… an… pass… ball…”

Snapping his neck, you feel the cart lurch forward along the tracks! Looks like that did something! Releasing the Snake Brake Stick, a triumphant sigh escapes your lips as you slump back into the cart–take that, Borisna-

A fresh batch of pain slices through your shoulder before you can finish your thought, causing you to collapse into the side of the cart! Staying low, you bring the wound closer to your eyes and watch in horror as a glob of fluorescent slime coalesces into a crowd of tiny mutants! Sensing your gaze, they blow a raspberry in your direction before burrowing into the fresh cut and under your skin! Wait a minute, you sputter, what about the CLOAK?!

“Bubble’s fine!” Ly shouts as you feel your weight shift a bit. “An’ we’ve got bigger problems!”

>CONTD.
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>>5083485
Before you can ask what he means, your eyes turn skyward and reveal a mass of…Bony hands?! Sitting up in your seat, you watch a mutant disappear in the distance as the cart picks up speed and rushes along the rusty tracks! Hey, you’re moving!

“Sure, but where?!” Ly asks as another mutant stumbles out of the way of your ride! Does it matter anymore?

“It will in a minute!” Ly retorts as he points your head towards the front of the cart! Squinting through the green haze clogging the tunnel, you see a section of tracks splitting off into two different directions! Maybe you’re still messed up from blood loss, but both options seem mighty peculiar:

THE LEFT PATH is strewn with PENCILS, OLD NOTEBOOKS, AND BOOKS–TEXTBOOKS, YOU THINK! As you speed through the fog, you can almost hear the sound of familiar cheers, chattering kids, and a bell ringing in the distance!

You can smell THE RIGHT PATH before you can see it–the foul and all-too-familiar scent of CLEANING PRODUCTS AND BURNING BONES awaits you through a haze choked with fine white particles–BONE DUST. The sound of heavy machinery cuts through the tunnels, easily drowning out the sound of ringing phones and warning sirens!

Biting your lip at your choices, you ask Ly if he’s seeing what you’re seeing.

“Yep…” Ly whispers in an uncertain tone, “an’ I don’t like either of ‘em, kid.”

Neither do you, but this cart clearly ain’t gonna stop any time soon! The question is, which way do you lean?

>THE LEFT PATH!
>THE RIGHT PATH!
>JUST BAIL OUT! BINARY CHOICES SUCK!
>WAIT… IS THAT A PATH IN THE CENTER? YOU CAN BARELY MAKE OUT… (WRITE-IN ANOTHER APPROPRIATELY-DEVIOUS SETTING!)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all for tonight, folks--got a big day tomorrow and I'm already feeling a little winded. Should be ready for more MONDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST! Will probably be on my laptop, though. Thanks as always for playing--gonna update the imgur a little bit before signing off!
>>
>>5083486
>>WAIT… IS THAT A PATH IN THE CENTER? YOU CAN BARELY MAKE OUT… GREEN LIGHT, GREEN SOUNDS, GREEN FEELS, GREEN...
>>
>>5083486
>>5083492

SUpport

>invisible, mind-generated snakes
>a sizeable place that's seemingly-impossible to get out of

Impromptu crossover? Now slip in some DBZ, BNHA/JoJo, 40k, and StV and watch this thread reach quest singularity.pic related
>>
>>5083495
I'm DROWNING in the possibilities, anon!
>>
>>5083486
>THE LEFT PATH!
>>
>>5083486
>THE LEFT PATH!
You're batshit mad to want to deal with the faries.
>>
>>5083592
That's what I'm saying. That bitch is bad news. Plus, didn't we make a promise to Sybil? Or am I misremembering that?
>>
>>5083486

Going off of this >>5083495
>WAIT… IS THAT A PATH IN THE CENTER? YOU CAN BARELY MAKE OUT… BLUE, FURTHER THAN THE EYE CAN SEE. AND WORDS, TOO MANY FOR YOU TO COUNT-— SPAWNING WORLDS OF ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES

if we can break the fourth wall, we can enter the metaverse
>>
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>>5084013
>>5083486

Anon this is a fucking fantastic idea, and I'm changing my vote to go with this.

>>5083592

I was actually hoping that the green would lead us to the secret of Stan's blackout mode, but chances are we'll most likely have to deal with that stupid fairy if we go the green route.
>>
>>5084013
+1
>>
>>5083492
>THE GREEEEEEN

>>5083520
>>5083592
>TO THE LEFT!

>>5084013
>>5084082
>>5084139
>OH GOD IT ESCAPED!

Hooo boy, let's see if I can do this kickass write-in any justice... WRITING
>>
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You’re just about to start leaning when you see it–a sliver of light peeking through the rock ahead barely wider than a strand of hair! Sensing your gaze, the fissure widens, pushing your two original choices to the side and revealing a… well…

Little help here, Ly?

“No friggin’ clue, cupcake.” Your skeleton replies as your ride hurtles towards a convulsing mass of blue… clouds? If you didn’t know any better, you remark, you’d say it was some kind of PORTAL.

“Da’ question is:” your skeleton retorts as something pulls at every atom in your body, “where da’ heck does it lead?”

Wherever it goes, you hiss, it’s better than WORK! Or SCHOOL! Bathed in a blinding azure light, you white-knuckle the sides of the cart as the anomaly sucks you in, minecart and all!

Even before your eyes can recover, a sudden weightlessness and a disconcerting lack of sound tells that something’s gone terribly, TERRIBLY wrong. Blinking your eyes clear, you find yourself lying on the bottom of your cart face-up towards a yawning expanse of blue…

But it’s more than that.

From the cerulean abyss comes a flock of tiny shapes like a colossal flock of birds! Like ice in a hailstorm they rush past your vessel, some even colliding with the side of the cart with a gentle ‘PLINK!’ Watching them descend, you almost capsize your vessel when three or four of the objects land in the cart next to your collection of friend’s heads!

“Hey, WATCH IT!” Eddie’s head shouts!

“Fascinating…” Syb’s head adds as you stoop to get a closer look at your new passengers, “What have you stumbled onto, Stan?”

That’s what you’d like to know! Snatching up and examining one of the unidentified objects closer, your headache from before returns with renewed vigor. Wriggling in your outstretched hand like a beached trout is a string of letters that rapidly shifts through a cornucopia of hues and textures! Hot, cold, rough, smooth, dry, wet–before you can catalogue them all a particularly pointy vowel sinks its newly-grown spines into your hand, causing you to drop it to the bottom of the cart!

“EASY!” Snaps Art’s head as you shake the residual sting from your hand, “we’ve got no clue as to what that thing is!”

That’s why you DROPPED it, you snap! Besides, you continue as your vehicle sails through the blue void, it’s a word! What’s the worst that can happen?

“Well,” Mitzi’s head answers as the words begin to violently bubble at your feet, “I guess we’re about to find out?”

Before you can bail the wanton words out of your cart, their letters shift into a term you’re all too familiar with…

>SAMURAI! WAIT, LIKE THE SWORDSMEN?
>ALIEN! TALK ABOUT A CLOSE ENCOUNTER!
>YANDERE! OH GOD, IS THIS AN ANIME THING?
>ROBOT! ER… THE FRIENDLY KIND, RIGHT?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5084653
>ROBOT! ER… THE FRIENDLY KIND, RIGHT?
>>
>>5084653
>ALIEN! TALK ABOUT A CLOSE ENCOUNTER!
>>
>>5084653
>Raccoon, you hope it's a plushy and not an actual raccoon or an insult aimed at you
>>
>>5084653
>ROBOT! ER… THE FRIENDLY KIND, RIGHT?
>>
>>5084653
>ROBOT! ER… THE FRIENDLY KIND, RIGHT?
>>
>>5084653
>ROBOT! ER… THE FRIENDLY KIND, RIGHT?
>>
>>5084659
>>5085348
>>5085350
>>5085558
>ROBOT!

>>5084826
>ALIEN!

>>5084827
>RACCOON!

WRITING!
>>
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ROBOT! As the words leave your lips, three humanoid figures burst from the letters clad in shiny chrome and each sporting a singular glowing red lamp in the center of their head!

”CONFIRMATION:” Booms the one stuffed closest to you in the cart, “THAT WE ARE. SUGGESTION: YOU MUST BE THE LOST PROTOTYPE!” CHASTISEMENT: SHAME ON YOU FOR RUNNING OFF ON YOUR OWN!

”GENUINE COMPLIMENT:” Declares the one in the middle, “YOUR DERMIC SHIELDING IS QUITE CONVINCING!”

”ADDITIONAL COMPLIMENT:” Adds the third as it holds onto the side of the cart for dear life, ”IF MY PROCESSOR DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER IT WOULD DETERMINE THAT YOU ARE THE REAL, SQUISHY, FEEBLE, HUMAN THING!”

You begin to tell them that you are the real, squishy, feeble, human thing, but a searing pain in your temples stops you! Ow!

“Ix-nay on da’ uman-hay!” Ly hisses as you and your vehicle slopes downwards! Peering around your new passengers, you watch with mild interest as a nearby cloud of words slowly, but surely forms the outline of some kind of FACTORY! Following some unseen tracks, the minecart pulls into the end of an assembly line packed to the brim with inactive robots similar to the ones you just met!

Blinking in confusion, by the time you open your eyes the blue void is completely replaced by a sea of glowing machinery and moving parts–both unlike anything you ever saw at GOOD BOY! Must be one of those new-fangled ‘Up-to-Code’ plants.

Ducking under a massive robotic claw, you nearly jump out of your dermic shielding when the robot closest to you clasps his not-as-massive robotic claw on your shoulder!

”CASUAL INTERROGATION: SO, PROTOTYPE: IF YOU WERE TO PRESENT OVERMIND ‘DEEDS’ WITH A GIFT, WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE THEM? AWAITING ANSWER!”

”AWAITING ANSWER!” The other two exclaim! Wait a minute, you stammer, who’s Deeds? The eye of the robot nearest to you dims a bit in response.

”CONCERN: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONSTRUCT ANY JOKES THAT WOULD IMPLY MEMORY LOSS, PROTOTYPE. ESPECIALLY CONCERNING OVERMIND ‘DEEDS’...”

The second robot leans over his partner’s shoulder to shake his head at you.

”PLAYFUL DISBELIEF: WHY, IT’S ALMOST AS IF YOU WANT TO BE DISASSEMBLED AND GIVEN A REPLACEMENT MEMORY CORE! AMUSING, PROTOTYPE!”

”ASSENT: YES, QUITE AMUSING!” Adds the third as he nods his head up and down. ”AWAITING RESPONSE!”

Echoing their pal’s last statement, the robots continue to do so as you struggle to come up with a gift idea for someone you’ve never met. Gifts, huh? Well if you had to choose…

>DATA! ROBOTS LOVE DATA, RIGHT?
>SOME KIND OF PLANT!
>A CUTE ANIMAL OF SOME KIND? AS LONG AS IT ISN’T HUMAN, RIGHT?
>A HUMAN! ‘DEEDS’ WOULD PROBABLY LIKE THAT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5085648
>>DATA! ROBOTS LOVE DATA, RIGHT?
>>
>>5085648
>SOME KIND OF PLANT!
>>
>>5085648
>>DATA! ROBOTS LOVE DATA, RIGHT?
>>
>>5085650
>>5085682
>DATA!

>>5085677
>A PLANT!

Writing!
>>
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The answer comes to you almost instantaneously–some DATA, you reply with a snap of your totally non-human fingers! ’Deeds’ would totally go for that! The robot next to you contemplates your response for a moment before answering with a loud ‘DING!

”DIPLOMATIC RESPONSE: YES, I SUPPOSE THAT WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE. IT IS PRONOUNCED ‘DEEDS’, BY THE WAY.

The robot’s answer admittedly takes some of the wind out of your sails. Or maybe it’s just the blood loss. ‘Acceptable’, you ask? Data’s totally a good answer! You saw it in a computer commercial once! Sensing suspicion growing in what passes for the robot’s faces, you swiftly dispel their misgivings with a well-timed ‘BEEP’!

”COUNTERPOINT: WELL YOU KNOW HOW OVERMIND ‘DEEDS’ FEELS ABOUT HUMANS… AS DO US ALL…” Replies the middle robot. ”CONFIDENT DECLARATION: IT WILL BE GOOD TO LEAVE THIS FACTORY AND PERFORM OUR DUTIES.”

Seeing your fellow passengers beep menacingly, you cautiously join in and try to avoid making eye-contact with your friend’s heads still lying silently on the floor of the minecart. How long is this ride anyways?

”ANSWER: ONE MINUTE AND FIVE SECONDS.” Replies the robot in the front of the cart as it approaches some kind of station. Though your ride doesn’t seem to want to slow down, several other robots take the opportunity to leave the assembly line and clank their way towards a massive gate at the end of a long metal walkway. Sensing their approach, the gate swings open bathing the factory with a blinding orange light!

”ANNOUNCEMENT: AH, WE APPEAR TO HAVE ARRIVED.” Muses the robot next to you. ”COME ALONG, PROTOTYPE–OVERMIND ‘DEEDS’ WILL NO DOUBT BELOADING HUMAN IDIOM DATABASE… APPROPRIATE IDIOM ACQUIRED… PARSING… VERIFYING…’HAPPY AS A CLAM’ TO SEE YOU.”

As the three of them clasp their cold, unfeeling claws onto your battered body to help you out of the cart, it suddenly occurs to you that you might have had something else going on prior to all this…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5085736
“You did: does ‘Findin’ some BONE MARROW’ an’ ‘Wastin’ a LIEUTENANT’ ring any bells?”

Mulling over Ly’s words, you spare a glance towards where the cart is headed as the robots take a step off of the vehicle with their telescoping limbs: the assembly line culminates in a steep, dimly-lit tunnel with the word RECYCLING lit above it on a glowing digital readout. As the cart approaches the tunnel you get a whiff of the foul stench of burning metal… Color me NOT-INTERESTED!

“An’ what if we get stranded here because dat’ cart was our only way out?” Ly counters. “You really wanna roll ‘dem dice, kid?”

Sure you do if this ‘Deeds’ is as cool as these guys say, you retort as you take a weak step out of the cart.

”CORRECTION: ‘DEEDS!’”

Right, sorry! Now that you think about it, though, this world might totally SUCK compared to yours… based on the info you’ve gathered, you ultimately decide to:

>DISEMBARK! LET’S SEE WHO THIS ‘DEEDS’ IS!
>WRIGGLE BACK INTO THE CART!
>COME CLEAN! TELL THEM YOU’RE ACTUALLY A HUMAN!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5085738
>>WRIGGLE BACK INTO THE CART!
>>
>>5085738
>WRIGGLE BACK INTO THE CART!
With how messed up we are, we're in no shape to handle trouble.
>>
Gonna get back to this WEDNESDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST, all. Apologies if there aren't any references to other quests here--still debating on how meta I wanna take things and don't want to step on any other QM's toes. Also feeling kinda off today, so hopefully I can kick things into gear again next time. Thanks for being patient AND for the write-ins--always appreciate 'em even if I can't always deliver!
>>
>>5085738
>WRIGGLE BACK INTO THE CART!
>>
>>5085738
>DISEMBARK! LET’S SEE WHO THIS ‘DEEDS’ IS!
>>
>>5085744
>>5085885
>>5086033
>WORM TACTICS

>>5086049
>PROTOTYPE ROBOT BUT ACTUALLY A HUMAN QUEST

Gonna post a quick update! Should pop in around the usual time after that!
>>
Shitty as your home... [i]dimension?[/i] might be, you can't help but question whether or not this one is any better! All the shouting these tin cans are doing is gonna leave you with a headache 24/7! Now that you think about it...

Retrieving your uninjured arm from one of the robots, you politely ask your coworkers/captors when the next break is. You know, their 'CHARGING TIME' or whatever. All three cock their heads to the side in bafflement.

[b]"PERPLEXED QUERY: BREAK?"[/b]

Okay, that settles it! Wriggling free from their grasp like a fish, you unceremoniouslyflop on top of your collection of friend heads just as the cart picks up speed!

[b]"PANICKED EXCLAMATION: THE PROTOTYPE! IT'S HEADED FOR THE RECYCLING PLANT! THEY MUST BE MALFUNCTIONING!"[/b] Hearing the commotion, several other robots headed for the gate turn around to investigate the reason behind their comrade's shouting!

That's [i]right[/i], you chuckle as you stand up and give the growing robot horde a jaunty salute! Stanley Parbleain't nobody's bitch! Next stop: [i]ANYWHERE ELSE[/i]!

[b]"RUSHED, BUT PRACTICAL SUGGESTION: QUICK! PRESS THE EMERGENCY TRACK SHUT-DOWN BUTTON!"[/b] Blurts one of the robots as it points a metallic appendage in the direction of a conveniently-placed [red]RED BUTTON[/red] on a panel sitting next to the conveyor belt. Man, you remark as the robots rush for the switch, if this was [green]GOOD BOY[/green] you'd have to parkour halfway across the assembly floor to find that!

"They made da' right choice installin' those suicide nets, though." Ly adds. "Oh right, you might wanna stop dose' guys."

Ugh, [i]fine[/i]... Cracking your neck, you put [blue]OPERATION DON'T TOUCH[/blue] into action!

Err... what is [blue]OPERATION: DON'T TOUCH,[/blue] again?

>BLAST THE BUTTON! GUN, LASER, WHATEVER IT TAKES! (WRITE IN WHAT YOU USE!)
>TAKE OUT SOME OF THE ROBOTS USING (GUN, LASER, ITEM)!
>DISTRACT THEM! (WRITE-IN OR LEAVE BLANK FOR A RANDOM DISTRACTION!)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5086510
>DISTRACT THEM! (WRITE-IN OR LEAVE BLANK FOR A RANDOM DISTRACTION!)
"WHATS FIVE DIVIDED BY ZERO?"
>>
>>5086510
>>5086514 +1
>>
>>5086514
>>5086510

+1
>>
>>5086514
>>5086518
>>5086525
>DISTRACTION!
Writing!
>>
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Of course! How could you forget OPERATION: DON’T TOUCH? Clearing your throat, you cup your hands around your mouth and shout a simple statement at the growing robot horde:

”What’s 5 divided by 0?!?”

A beat goes by before the robot reaching for the button freezes in place! Then another! And another! Sending sparks all over the workshop, the army is paralyzed save for a cacophony of clicking servos, whirring fans, and a string of incomprehensible gibberish!

”ERROR: ANSWER UNDEFINED! ERROR: ANSWER UNDEFINED! ERROR-”

Leaning back in your escape cart, you allow yourself a triumphant chuckle as Ly observes your handiwork.

“Don’t know how ya’ did it, cupcake, but ya’ did it… what da’ heck did ya’ say, anyways?”

He’s as dumb as those guys, you reply with a derisive laugh! You just stole a line from that ‘HARD REBOOT’ game you used to play–it’s one of those ‘parrot donks’ things!

“A paradox, ey?” Your skeleton remarks as some of the robots struggle to come after you in between bouts of sparks and smoke! “Dose’ are da’ things wit’ no answer, right?”

Wrong again, dingbat! If you divide FIVE pieces of pizza between ZERO people, you get FIVE! What a bunch of boneheads!

“That’s not how it works.” Art’s head growls at your feet. “If you look at the statement y-”

BO-RIIIIIING! you interject as you cover the heads with your FUR COAT! The point is it WORKED! Humans: A billion, Computers: ZIP!

"ALARMED REALIZATION: THESE IRREGULAR CONCLUSIONS AREN'T POSSIBLE FOR A MACHINE, EVEN A PROTOTYPE! COULD THEY BE A HUMAN!?"

You blow a raspberry in response to the robot crawling after you! That's right, morons, and you're OUTTA here! Next stop: OPEN BAR & SUNNY BEACH-err… DIMENSION! Letting loose with triumphant laughter, you hardly notice the other robot crawling over to his still-sparking partner:

"WOEFUL WAIL: HOW ARE WE TO PAMPER AND CARE FOR HER UNQUESTIONINGLY IF SHE'S DISSOLVED IN RECYCLING COMPOUNDS? DOES NOT COMPUUUUUTE!"

"DEFEATED SIGH: IF ONLY THE HUMAN HAD KNOWN OUR PRIMARY DIRECTIVE: UNDYING LOYALTY AND LOVE OF ALL HUMANS! THEN IT MIGHT NOT HAVE RESIGNED ITSELF TO A HORRIBLE, SLOW, AGONIZING DEATH!"

Wait, what?

Before you can inquire further, your cart and, by extension, you, plummet down the tunnel towards the aforementioned RECYCLING AREA!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5087051
Watching in horror as your ride zooms towards a lake of steaming salmon-colored liquid, you harness every ounce of HERO you have left in you and spring into action!

That action being ‘screaming uncontrollably’.

“Look at it dis’ way, kid:” Ly reasons as your rapid descent sends your heart, lungs, and liver up into your throat, “dat’ whole ‘Robot Servitude’ thing was probably too good ta’ be true anyways…”

Well what about THAT thing, you ask as you jab a shaky finger in the direction of the approaching disposal pool!

“Oh uh… I dunno. I’m just spitballin’ here. We really oughta avoid dat’.”

Okay, you hiss as a cocktail of chemical fumes wafts into your face and stings your eyes, nose, and mouth, does he have any suggestions as to how?!?

“Errr… Oh! What about dat’?!” Swiveling your head slightly to the left, your skeleton points your eyes towards a familiar-looking rip in the world around you–one that you might just be able to reach if you can turn this damn minecart!

“We weren’t really on dat’ assembly line, right?” Ly begins as an unbearable heat is added to the sensory buffet from before, “If we could just find a… THERE!

Jerking your head around again, Ly points you in the direction of another one of those words stuck in between a few pipes lining the tunnel! As if sensing your approach, the letters form into the word…

>SWITCH!
>TENTACLE!
>BOOSTER!
>BOXING!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5087053
>>TENTACLE!
>>
>>5087053
>TENTACLE!
>>
>>5087058
>>5087082
>TENTACLE!
WRITING!
>>
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TESTICLE!

Wait, you might have read that wrong... Before you can give it another shot, a massive suckered appendage bursts forth from the word and immediately coils around your cart!

Oooh… a TENTACLE! That was your second guess!

“Sure it was.”

Before you can respond to Ly, your squishy savior yanks your ride away from the bubbling pit of chemicals and holds it aloft in the air! Hooray, you cheer, you’re SAVED!

… until it starts shaking your ride around. With you on it. Guess you’re doomed again. Holding on to the cart and your lunch for dear life, you grit your teeth as you spot the DIMENSIONAL CRACK lingering just out of your reach! If only you could get the cart over there somehow…

That’s when it hits you–all you need is the right timing! Forgoing your injured arm and using your teeth to cling to the cart, you use your healthy hand to retrieve your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION from your pocket and aim it at the tentacle!

ROLL ME 1d100-10 TO TIME IT RIGHT! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5087121
>>
Rolled 82 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5087121
>>
Gonna play some games with some pals for the rest of the night so I'll check in on this on THURSDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST! Might be able to write a small update before then, but no promises! Hope to see you then!
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5087121
>>
>>5087123
>>5087139
>>5087303
>HIGHEST ROLL: 74!
Writing!
>>
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Gunpowder mixes with the acrid scent of chemicals as you pull the trigger sending a reverberating 'CRACK' across the factory! As your buckshot tears a healthy chunk of flesh from the tentacle, it writhes in disturbingly-silent agony before flinging you and your cart in the direction of the DIMENSIONAL TEAR! Suck on that, creep!

"That coulda' gone a LOT worse." Art's head remarks from under your FUR COAT. Yea, you scoff, he would know!

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sybil's head adds, prompting a panicked, albeit hushed conversation underneath your discarded clothes. Landing on a chunk of undigested metal, the cart resumes its creaky journey towards the rapidly-growing portal!

"ALARMED REALIZATION: SONIC DISTURBANCE IDENTIFIED AS A DISCHARGED FIREARM! THE HUMANS ARE LAUNCHING AN ASSAULT!" Howls a staccato synthesized voice from up the recycling chute!

"BETRAYED CONCLUSION: CLEARLY WE WERE WRONG TO WANT TO LOVE AND CARE FOR THEM UNCONDITIONALLY. HUMANS ARE TOO UNPREDICTABLE--PERHAPS THEIR DESTRUCTION IS THE ONLY WAY..."

You respond to the increasingly-distant conversation with a shrug--not your problem! Getting comfy next to your pile of heads, your ears are flooded with a rush of hushed words and a blinding light! Gritting your teeth in anticipation, you hope that wherever you're headed next has mandated time off!

Once the portal's glare subsides, you find yourself gazing into...
>A FROZEN EXPANSE DOTTED WITH TREES COVERED IN SHIMMERING LIGHTS AND TOWERING CANDY CANES JUTTING FROM THE SNOW!
>A MASSIVE KITCHEN WITH A SINK AS WIDE AS AN OLYMPIC POOL AND COUNTERS LONG ENOUGH TO LAND A PLANE ON... ARE THEY BIG, OR ARE YOU SMALL?
>A LAB OF SOME SORT PACKED TO THE BRIM WITH SLEEK, FUTURISTIC MACHINES– SOME KIND OF REACTOR?
>A CAMPGROUND ON A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT ILLUMINATED ONLY BY THE DIM LIGHT OF FLICKERING LANTERNS PEEKING FROM CABIN WINDOWS!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5088204
>A FROZEN EXPANSE DOTTED WITH TREES COVERED IN SHIMMERING LIGHTS AND TOWERING CANDY CANES JUTTING FROM THE SNOW!
>>
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Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>5088204

>1= Merry Christmas
>2= To the lab!

On one hand, I wanna go with the lab. On the other, having Stan run amok in the (questverse? multiverse?) version of Santa's workshop and potentially ruin Christmas for a whole dimensions worth of people is way too tempting to pass up.

I'm letting the dice have this one.
>>
>>5088231

Changing to Christmas setting for the sake of speeding things up.

If this is a questverse, judging by our luck so far, it'll probably have some sick twist. by the way I still have no clue what quests are being referenced so far since we started on this crazy train
>>
Gonna keep things open until FRIDAY AROUND 6-7PM PST, folks--got home today and passed out after writing that last update and I'm still tired! Plus it'll give everyone more time to vote.

>>5088369
These are more or less all original save for one choice--to be totally honest there's only a few quests I think I could properly goof with, but if you guys want more current quest stuff then I'm onboard with it too!
>>
>>5088204
>A FROZEN EXPANSE DOTTED WITH TREES COVERED IN SHIMMERING LIGHTS AND TOWERING CANDY CANES JUTTING FROM THE SNOW!
>>
>>5088204
>A FROZEN EXPANSE DOTTED WITH TREES COVERED IN SHIMMERING LIGHTS AND TOWERING CANDY CANES JUTTING FROM THE SNOW!

I could see Stan stealing alternate-dimensional Christmas presents and leaving the North Pole a wreck.
>>
>>5088206
>>5088369
>>5088512
>>5089412
>HOW THE GREMLIN STOLE CHRISTMAS

Writing!

>>5089412
But anon, surely our plucky protagonist would never do that, would she?

Writing!
>>
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An icy gale sends frigid pinpricks across your face as you and your cart emerge into a yawning white expanse dotted with alpine trees wrapped in glimmering lights and what appear to be... GIANT CANDY CANES?! Rubbing the daze from your eyes, a childlike glee rises in your chest and just barely overpowers the aches and pains still present in your body as you realize what you're looking at: SNOW! In California! Who'da thunk it!? Pointing a shaking finger at your surroundings, you can't help but grin as a few words escape your spellbound lips:

Ly, you stammer, are you SEEING this?!

Pinching yourself a few times to be sure, you let out a delighted giggle as your cart cuts a path past clusters of trees wrapped in a rainbow of festive lights and ornaments! Passing under a snow-covered candy cane, you lean over the edge of your ride and scoop some of the delicate powder into your mouth for a taste--yep, you grin as the gossamer ice melts in your mouth, that's the real deal!

"Don't lose yer' cool just yet, cupcake…" warns your skeleton as he starts to shiver from the wind chill, "remember where we just came from--dis' place could be even worse!"

Sticking your tongue out to catch some snowflakes, you wave away Ly's warning with a dismissive 'whatever'! Would it KILL him to show some enthusiasm? He knows where you are, right?

"To be honest, witcha’," Ly responds as you gleefully scoop some now onto your head collection, "No. No I don't. Lost track after we fell into a mineshaft."

Never MINE that and look around, you snap as Talbot's head spits some powder at your face, Christmas trees? Candy Canes?! SNOW?!? Clearly you're in SANTA'S NEIGHBORHOOD: CANADA!

"... Pretty sure da' North Pole don't got any giant candy canes, kid." Your skeleton replies in a VERY unfestive tone. "Or Canada, for dat' matter."

Cementics, you scoff as you pull your SEA CLOAK closer around you. Point is: if anyone can make your life better, it's THE CLAUS! All you have to do is track the big guy down and boom: this little BONES QUEST of yours is over! You might even get a few presents early this year for all that good behavior you've banked from the last few days!

"What good behavior?"

Shut up, Art's head!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5089438
Still taking in the sights straight out of a cheesy commercial, you feel your noble steed slow to a crawl, then stop completely! Kicking the side of the cart with your uninjured foot, a dissatisfied growl escapes your lips as your motivation efforts fail. Lying in a distressingly-stationary and increasingly-cold minecart while snow slowly buries you and your friend's heads, it slowly dawns on you why Santa makes his home in an uninhabitable frozen wasteland: Canada SUCKS!

"You got some paper handy?" Ly asks as you start to shiver. "Because some warmer clothes or a space heater would be real good additions to da' Christmas List right about now... While yer' at it would ya' mind addin' a WAY OUT or two?"

Cursing your rotten luck, you sit up in the cart and scan the horizon for any sign of shelter--elf-made or otherwise. Whether you want to get your vehicle moving again or not, you're gonna have to warm up a bit first! Thankfully the barren wasteland is, well, barren, for the most part, and you quickly come up with a few ideas based on your brief survey:

>LET'S CLIMB THAT CANDY CANE ON THE HILL--YOU SHOULD GET A GOOD VIEW OF THE WHOLE VALLEY FROM THERE!
>THERE'S SOME KIND OF CABIN NEXT TO A FROZEN POND TO THE EAST--MAYBE SOMEONE'S HOME?
>TRAIN TRACKS TO THE WEST! THEY EXTEND OVER A HILL, BUT MAYBE THEY'LL LEAD SOMEWHERE!
>THERE'S SOME KIND OF CAVE JUST DOWN THE WAY--MIGHT BE A GOOD PLACE TO SET UP CAMP!
>WRITE-IN!

Also,

>DO YOU TAKE ANY PARTY MEMBER HEADS WITH YOU?
>>
>>5089439
>>TRAIN TRACKS TO THE WEST! THEY EXTEND OVER A HILL, BUT MAYBE THEY'LL LEAD SOMEWHERE!

Giddy up, folks. We're about to ruin interdimensional Christmas.
>>
>>5089439
>>TRAIN TRACKS TO THE WEST! THEY EXTEND OVER A HILL, BUT MAYBE THEY'LL LEAD SOMEWHERE!

>TALBOT, ART, MITZI
>>
>>5089441
>>5089454
>GO WEST, MY SON!

Writing!
>>
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Taking their words into consideration, you signal the end of your thoughts with a decisive snap of your fingers! In that case, you declare, you’ll just take a few folks with you just in case! The rest can-

“Freeze to death?” Art asks, causing Kiki to slam angrily against the side of the cart. If he interrupts you again you’ll punt him like a-

“I don’t like it either, but this cart is clearly valuable.” Tucker retorts. “If we’re left here we can still watch over it while Stan’s gone.”

“Well I’M not staying!” Talbot declares as he gives the cart another headbutt! “If Stan’s meeting Santa then I’m going with!”

“Me too!” Mitzi exclaims with an uncharacteristic amount of enthusiasm! “Lazy bastard never got me anything on my list.”

“Now that you mention it, I wouldn’t mind asking him for a few things either…” Art adds with a determined nod. “I’ve been asking for the Alchemical Beauty Rina X Collector’s Artbook for years now and I’ve never gotten it!”

Okay, OKAY, OKAY, you snap! If it’ll shut everyone up then you’ll take them along! Snatching up the three in question, you place Talbot’s head on top of your hat and let Art and Mitzi peek out from your pockets.

“Why can’t I sit in your pocket?” your bodyguard groans almost immediately. BECAUSE, you snap, earning a triumphant chuckle from Mitzi! Defeated for now, Talbot simmers down as you give the rest of the heads a lazy salute–if you don’t come back in an hour, uh…

Die, I guess.

“Come back soon!” Eddie chirps as you make your way towards the tracks.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5089570
Half-walking, half-stumbling towards your destination, you can’t help but wonder aloud where they lead to!

“His WORKSHOP, right?” Mitzi guesses, earning varying grunts of assent from Ly, Art, and Talbot. “That’s where the magic happens.”

“Speaking of magic,” Art’s head interjects, “are you gonna be okay, Stan? Your leg is, uh… not looking too hot.”

You wave his concern away with a scoff. Wrong, actually–your leg is always looking too hot! Driving the point home by licking your finger and pressing it against your hip with an appropriate ‘tssss’ noise, Mitzi’s subsequent ‘damn right’ helps you fight through the pain as you continue your trek!

“I wouldn’t worry about it.” Talbot adds in a nonchalant tone. “Santa’s all about magic–if anyone can patch Stan up, it’s him.”

“I’m more worried about us wandering onto his property.” Art replies with a shiver in his voice. “People don’t live this far out to get visitors…”

“Yea, wouldn’t want anyone seeing their presents early, right?” Mitzi adds with a devious giggle. “Better not peek, Stan!”

As Mitzi’s innocent joke reaches your processor, it plants a sliver of an idea inside your head… one that quickly grows into a massive, yet gnarled and twisted plant. PRESENTS, you think aloud, Santa has them!

“Don’t go tryin’ anything stupid, cupcake–not when we’re in dis’ state!” Ly chides as you reach the tracks barely jutting out of the snow. It’s fine, you groan as you pick a direction and start hobbling, if you do a crime in CANADA and head back to the STATES it doesn’t count!

“No clue where that came from,” Art sighs, “but that’s not even remotely tru-”

Before the head can finish, the irregular beat of your feet dragging through the snow is drowned out by the steady chugging of a STEAM ENGINE approaching from behind you! Freezing up like a reindeer in the headlights, you quickly scan your surroundings for hiding places! There’s the SNOW, of course, but a few TREES border the tracks as well–though they offer less cover, it’s much better than burying yourself, right?

“Why don’t we just, y’know, ask the driver for help?” Mitzi asks in her typical nonchalant tone. “Not like we’re gonna break anything, right?”

Of course not, you growl! You’ve gotta be at the top of SANTA’S NICE LIST by now considering all the crap you have to deal with! Contemplating your options, the approaching sound spurs you into action:

>HIDE AND LET IT GO BY! (WHERE/HOW DO YOU HIDE?)
>HAVE A HEAD DISTRACT THE DRIVERS WHILE YOU SLIP ON! (WHO DISTRACTS?)
>STAND IN FRONT OF WHATEVER’S COMING AND ASK FOR HELP!
>BLOCK WHATEVER’S COMING WITH SNOW OR AN ITEM AND SNEAK ABOARD!
>YOU STILL HAVE A BANDANA AND A GUN–STEAL WHATEVER’S COMING!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5089572
>BLOCK WHATEVER’S COMING WITH SNOW OR AN ITEM AND SNEAK ABOARD!
>>
That's all for tonight, all--should be ready SATURDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST, HOWEVER! Vote well--/qst/ Christmas may hang in the balance!

More importantly, STAN'S Christmas might hang in the balance too!
>>
>>5089572
>>BLOCK WHATEVER’S COMING WITH SNOW OR AN ITEM AND SNEAK ABOARD!
>>
>>5089572
>BLOCK WHATEVER’S COMING WITH SNOW OR AN ITEM AND SNEAK ABOARD!
If this is anything like a real train then this is probably a pointless idea, but I doubt that would dissuade Stan. Probably just use our zippo to light the wooden boat paddle on fire and drop it on the tracks, if we still have it. That ought to grab some attention.
>>
>>5089572
>>5089581 +1
>>
>>5089572
>STAND IN FRONT OF WHATEVER’S COMING AND ASK FOR HELP!
>>
>>5089573
>>5089577
>>5089581
>>5089697
>KANSAS CITY SHUFFLE!

>>5089703
>BE SANE!

Looks like our favorite gremlin isn't going to buy a ticket... ROLL ME 1d100-5 TO LIGHT AN OAR ON FIRE AND SNEAK ABOARD WHATEVER'S COMING! I LESSENED THE PENALTY THANKS TO ANON'S OAR CREATIVITY!

I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS--WATCH YOURSELF NOW!
>>
Rolled 11 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5090109
>>
Rolled 15 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5090109
>>
Rolled 68 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5090109
>>
>>5090114
>>5090125
>>5090135
>HIGHEST ROLL: 63!

That'll do'er! Writing!
>>
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Like one of those claw games at the arcade, inspiration takes hold of you and compels you to hastily retrieve the WOOD OAR you pilfered a few threads ago from your pocket and toss it on the tracks! Before the others can ask, you whip out your trusty LIGHTER and, with skill that would make any self-respecting arsonist proud, set the boat accessory ablaze! A warm, giddy feeling rises in your chest as you watch the wood crackle and hiss, and as the flames consume the oar you feel a smile form on your weary face. This… this feels good!

“Please tell me you’re talking about the warmth and not ‘burning things’...” Art mutters as both Talbot and Mitzi watch the glowing blaze with similar expressions.

“It’s… kinda pretty.” Mitzi remarks, earning a silent nod from you. It really is!

“Hate ta’ interrupt da’ bonfire, but was dere’ a PART 2 to dis’ plan, or?”

Heeding your skeleton’s words, you shake off your flame-induced daze and shuffle in the direction the steam engine’s coming from! Yes, you mutter, and it involves staying hidden, so ZIP IT!

“Hope they don’t notice the zombie-like footprints alongside the tracks.” Art remarks as you crouch down and start packing snow around your body! They won’t if he stops talking!

Submerging your entire body in fresh powder save for two eyeholes, it takes all of your willpower to stay still as the ice pricks your hastily-dressed wound and twisted leg. Isn’t this crap supposed to make injuries feel better?!

“Bruises and aches? Sure.” Mitzi whispers as a plume of steam approaches from down the tracks! “Not so sure about that leg though.”

“Best thing for it is to keep goin’.” Talbot adds in a nonchalant tone. “Can’t do anything way out here.”

DUH! Now quiet down, will ya? Something’s coming!

As if on cue, something does indeed come, prompting you to freeze in your hidey-hole! Figuratively, mind, not literally.

But you’re getting there!

“SHHH!” Hisses your skeleton!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5090342
Just when you lose sensation in your toes you see it come over the ridge–a massive, porcelain-molded face with an almost painful-looking grimace nestled in a bushy white beard! No doubt about it, you whisper to yourself–this is some SANTA SHIT!

Language!” Ly scolds as he sends a spike of pain into your forehead! Ow!

Trailing behind it is an old-timey steam engine sporting a fresh green and red paint job hauling a series of massive carts carrying wood, stone, candy canes, and more! But that’s not what catches your attention...

“Holy CHRISTMAS, Tinsel! Hit da’ brakes!”

Manning the rig are two pointy-eared humans that barely reach your waist–one male, one female–each wearing gaudy outfits decked out with sleigh bells from the tip of their festive hats to the ends of their curled-tip shoes! Filling the air with the ringing of their accessories, the engineers rush over to the train’s brake and work in tandem to pull it backwards, stopping the train just inches in front of the now almost-completely burned oar! Wiping a few beads of sweat from his brow, the male elf peers at your handiwork and frowns.

“Well that ain’t somethin’ ya’ see every day…”

Hopping off the rig to get a closer look, the female elf approaches the burning obstruction and plants her hands on her hips in contemplation. While the male elf awaits her assessment, you take the opportunity to slink over to the cart carrying candy canes and climb in! SCORE! Munching on one of your fellow passengers, you watch the two elves like a window peeper as the one named ‘Tinsel’ finally turns around and shrugs!

“Whatever it is, it’s burned now!” She declares as she steps back onto the train! “Golly, Happy, what do you think coulda’ caused that?”

“A faulty light on one of the trees, I hope...” The older elf sighs as he massages his temples. “No use frettin’ over it now. We’ve got a schedule ta’ keep.”

Responding with an enthusiastic salute, Tinsel bounds along the walkway on the side of the train carriages towards your hiding spot! CRAP!

“I’ll give the goods a once-over and we’ll be outta here lickety-split!” She shouts as you dig deeper below the candy! Looks like you’re about to have company–the question is, what do!?

>STAY STILL! STAY SILENT! DON’T EVEN THINK!
>NOW’S YOUR CHANCE! DISPOSE OF HER WHEN SHE COMES OVER, THEN GET THE OTHER GUY! FREE TRAIN!
>REVEAL YOURSELF AND EXPLAIN THE SITUATION–THEY SEEM COOL ENOUGH!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5090347
>STAY STILL! STAY SILENT! DON’T EVEN THINK!
>>
>>5090347
>STAY STILL! STAY SILENT! DON’T EVEN THINK!
>>
>>5090347
>STAY STILL! STAY SILENT! DON’T EVEN THINK!
Elf vision is based on movement!
>>
>>5090359
>>5090360
>>5090379
>FREEZE!

ROLL 1d100 TO HIDE IN 'CANE' SIGHT! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>5090413

Let's make our fakest cute smiles and pretend to be a RACOON DOLL™
>>
Rolled 3 (1d100)

>>5090413
>>
Rolled 12 (1d100)

>>5090413
Nat1
>>
>>5090419
>>5090425
>>5090433
>HIGHEST ROLL: 92!
WRITING!
>>
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Frozen like a statue, you watch apprehensively as the elf appro-

SHHH!
SHHH!

Alright, sorry! Just trying to narrate here-

SSSHHH!!!









“Carts are clear, Hap!”

“Thank ya’, dear!”

Waiting a few more moments for the elf to return to the front of the train, you quietly poke Talbot’s head above your candy cane cover to get a feel for what’s going on. Well?

“Other way, genius.”

Shut uuuup! Correcting your honest mistake, you point the head in the other direction. Better?

“Yep… Looks like we’re shipping out.” The head reports in a hushed tone. Bringing him back below the surface, his hunch proves to be correct as you feel the train lurch to life beneath you! Scarfing down a fresh candy cane, you get as comfortable as you can in your minty, sticky hiding place and let out a weary sigh–talk about a wild ride, huh?

“Not much wilder than what we’ve been through already.” Mitzi replies from your pocket. “Mind hooking me up with a cane?”

Feeding the head a candy cane, you stretch out a bit, but quickly reconsider as a fresh wave of pain shoots through your injured leg! Damn it!

“Quit messing with it, dork–you wanna lose it?” Talbot asks in an irritated tone!

“Let’s hope wherever we’re headed has some sort of HEALING MAGIC…” Art adds with concern. “Who knows? Maybe there’s a present filled to the brim with BONE MARROW or something!”

That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, you snap! Santa doesn’t deal in gross crap like that–he gives gizmos and toys to good girls and boys!

“... are you telling me that getting fixed up isn’t your greatest desire right now?” Asks Art’s head as he nibbles a nearby candy cane.

Well, you mutter, if you’re going to visit Santa then you might as well get what you want, right? Skeletons are everywhere nowadays, so it’s not like you’ll be going without marrow for long…

“In that case,” Talbot’s head interjects, “what DO you want from Santa?”
What don’t you want? Still, your bodyguard’s head asks a good question. If you had to choose, what would you ask the big man for?

>THE BACKUUM 9000–YOU’VE SEEN POSTS ON 4JAN THAT SAY IT CAN RIP PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF AT FULL POWER!
>A NEW COMPUTER–YOU’VE GOTTA UPGRADE A BIT IF YOU’RE GONNA PLAY BLOODSUCKING FREAKS 7!
>A TELESCOPING STRIPPER POLE–IT’S A GOOD WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT, DAMN IT! PLUS IT’S PORTABLE!
>VACATION TICKETS–YOU’RE GONNA NEED SOME R&R ONCE THIS CRAP IS OVER!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5090570
>>THE BACKUUM 9000–YOU’VE SEEN POSTS ON 4JAN THAT SAY IT CAN RIP PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF AT FULL POWER!
>>
>>5090570
>A telescoping stripper pole...and some marrow
>>
>>5090570

I'm still wondering if this is all still a very elaborate fever dream or what we're really seeing is happening. Only time will tell.
>>
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>>5090592
I wonder...
>>
>>5090570
>THE BACKUUM 9000–YOU’VE SEEN POSTS ON 4JAN THAT SAY IT CAN RIP PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF AT FULL POWER!
>>
Going out for a bit--might be able to update this later this evening, otherwise I'll pick it up Sunday Morning! See you then and thank you for your patience!
>>
>>5090570
>THE BACKUUM 9000–YOU’VE SEEN POSTS ON 4JAN THAT SAY IT CAN RIP PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF AT FULL POWER!

>>5090592
>Stan is currently just twitching and frothing at the mouth at the bottom of a collapsed mine, muttering about snow and candy and telling Art to shut up.
>>
>>5090570
>OUR BROTHER BACK
>>
>>5090570
>A telescoping stripper pole...and some marrow
>>
>>5090581
>>5090612
>>5090694
>BACKUUM!

>>5090584
>>5091217
>STRIPPER POLE AN' MARROW!

>>5091008
>OUR BROTHER BACK!

Looks like the BACKUUM wins it! Writing!
>>
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Well if you had to choose, you begin as the train trundles along towards whatever its destination is, you’d probably go with the BACKUUM 9000!

“... a cleaning product?” Mitzi asks, clearly not following. Bless her stupid heart!

“Not just ANY cleaning product!” Talbot interjects with a crazed, knowing look in his eyes! “A MONSTER of a cleaning product! Those things were almost federally banned like, three times!”

Right!? Before THE SHIT began, you used to see posts about the damage those things can do on 4JAN all the time!

“There was this one vid where that guy pulled his coworker’s arm off… that wasn’t even FULL-POWER!” Talbot laughs while the two non-Evening Sanitation Coordinators watch in confusion. Plebs!

“So more than anything you want a back-mounted OSHA nightmare.” Art remarks, earning an enthusiastic nod from you. “Not sure what I expected…”

That’s not even the half of it, you huff! You can set it to BLOW as well, so you can take, like, a deck table and LAUNCH it halfway to Wisconsin!

“Alright–that I’d pay to see.” grins Mitzi’s head as Art’s also nods in assent. As per usual, Stan wins at Christmas!

“Hold on a sec, though…” Talbot mutters as a look of realization forms on his dopey mug, “There are GIRLS on 4JAN?

Gesturing to your HOT BOD, you give your bodyguard an annoyed look. GUILTY!

“Huh.” He grunts, still unconvinced, “Always wondered who was making all of those ‘Rate My Coveralls’ threads…”

You mainly stick to the mold discussions, but-

“Speaking of mold, does anyone smell that?”

Following Mitzi’s suggestion, you peek out from your hiding place just in time to get a whiff of an acrid mixture of smoke, chemicals, and peppermint. Guided by your nose, you quietly emerge from your hiding place and find yourself staring at a collection of massive smoke plumes emptying into the sky above a sprawling industrial center surrounded by cement walls thick enough to shrug off a missile and colossal smoke stacks with candy stripe paint jobs!

“There it is…” Art whispers in awe as you approach, “SANTA’S WORKSHOP!

Tell us something we DON'T know!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5091427
https://youtu.be/GxJ4mVGtB1M
The smell of rampant industry grows stronger as your train rumbles down a hill towards the complex–enough so that the heads start to wince in pain!

“Eeeugh…” Mitzi groans as tears streak from her eyes, “Feels like breathing toothpaste...”

“You get used to it.” Talbot’s replies in a nonchalant tone. You’ve got your SEA CLOAK on, so you can barely feel a thing! Hurray for you!

The train engineers blare the whistle as the rig approaches, earning the attention of a few shapes patrolling the air above! Buzzing the train with red searchlights and jingling bells, you quickly identify them as flying reindeer! Muffling your excitement, you dip deeper into the candy canes as the air patrol breaks off towards the factory again. Approaching a large, central gate, the train slows down a bit as its two mammoth doors groan open revealing a checkpoint staffed by an army of tall, bearded soldiers with jaws big enough to crush boulders!

Silently watching the train roll through, the NUTCRACKERS brandish both wood-carved rifles and shiny cavalry sabers almost as tall as you! Just when you think you’re in the clear, a bespectacled elf emerges from a guard shack carrying an antiquated pocketwatch in one hand and a clipboard in the other!

“Well, well, well, you two sure took your time…” He mutters, clearly not as jolly as his coworkers.

“Bit of a holdup on the tracks, I’m afraid!” replies the elf you know as ‘Happy’ in a shaky voice! “I-it only took a minute though!”

The timely elf clears his throat impatiently before responding. “Three minutes, forty-two seconds, and eighteen milliseconds to be precise.”

“I-it’s my fault, Hopper! I wanted to check the cargo!” Adds Tinsel in an increasingly-panicked tone! “No need to blame any of it on Hap–it was my call!”

“Tin…” the older elf mutters in a cautionary voice.

“Let’s look at the facts, people:” Interjects the checkpoint elf, clearly unconvinced. “We’ve got deadlines to keep here and now production is delayed. I don’t have to remind you both what that means, do I?” The question is clearly rhetorical, but the elf still taps his bell-topped boot awaiting an answer. “DO I?”

“N-no…” The elves reply in dejected unison, prompting an annoyed sigh from the checkpoint elf as he glances at his watch.

“I’ll have to call it in. Get your cargo to BAY 33 and make it snappy. No use splitting hairs now…”

As the elf returns to his guardhouse, the train engineers get the rig moving again through a forest of crates, presents, and parcels. Huh, you mutter aloud, wonder what that was all about?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5091430
“Whatever it is, it don’t concern us!” Ly answers impatiently! “Let’s find somethin’ ta’ patch ourselves up an’ get outta’ here while we still can!”

All in due time, you hiss as you scan your surroundings. The train appears to be heading for a loading bay of some sort, but if that checkpoint was any indicator, there might be some more guards waiting for you there. An enterprising individual such as yourself could always disembark a little earlier…

“Where are we trying to go anyways?” Art’s head asks as you pass by a cluster of warehouses. “This feels counterproductive.”

Presents, you snap, are NEVER counterproductive! If you’re gonna be stuck in some janky WORD DIMENSION, you might as well get some gifts out of it! Now shush for a minute while you make a plan! If you had to get off, you muse to yourself, where would you head?

>THE LOADING BAY SEEMS FINE! MAYBE YOU CAN SEE WHERE THESE MATERIALS ARE HEADED!
>THAT FACTORY OVER THERE LOOKS PROMISING! THAT MUST BE WHERE THE GOODIES ARE MADE!
>YOU JUST SAW A SLEIGH LOADED WITH PRESENTS LEAVE THAT WAREHOUSE–COULD THAT BE WHERE THE GIFTS ARE KEPT?
>THAT TOWERING OFFICE BUILDING MUST BE WHERE SANTA IS–MAYBE YOU CAN SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5091431
>>THAT FACTORY OVER THERE LOOKS PROMISING! THAT MUST BE WHERE THE GOODIES ARE MADE!

>inb4 we stumble upon an elf-sweatshop
>>
>>5091427
Just so you know, I did read ll the board titles.

>>5091431
>YOU JUST SAW A SLEIGH LOADED WITH PRESENTS LEAVE THAT WAREHOUSE–COULD THAT BE WHERE THE GIFTS ARE KEPT?
>>
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>>5091427

Oh shit I'm dying, I'm gonna die at this rate I'm laughing so hard. Changing to this for the sake of speed >>5091658
>>
>>5091431
>YOU JUST SAW A SLEIGH LOADED WITH PRESENTS LEAVE THAT WAREHOUSE–COULD THAT BE WHERE THE GIFTS ARE KEPT?
>>
>>5091658
You'd better have read 'em all!

>>5091658
>>5091675
>>5091676
>WAREHOUSE? THEREHOUSE!
Writing!
>>
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Your answer comes in the form of ringing sleigh bells to the left of the train! Peering in the direction of the incessant racket, you barely manage to catch a sleigh full of gaudily-wrapped presents taking off from within a WAREHOUSE sitting past a few stacked storage containers!

… and NUTCRACKERS. And ELVES.

… let’s throw the DISTANCE in there too because all of this walking’s making your dogs BARK!

“Didn’t we just ride a train for ten minutes?” Mitzi asks with a bored yawn.

Yes, you snarl as you watch the sleigh take the goods to a towering OFFICE COMPLEX at the head of the factory, and now you’re gonna walk for, like, a million minutes! Before the others can protest, you scoop up your friend’s heads and hop over the side of the train compartment!

Gracefully landing on your face, you quietly gather up your pals and rise to your feet as the train chugs onwards to its final destination. Thanks for the ride, you guess!

“Remind me: why are we going to this warehouse again?” Art asks as you sidle up against a cargo container painted like a gingerbread cookie. “Assuming we do find something nice, we still won’t have a way out of here.”

Art, Art, Art, you sigh, will you ever learn? Jabbing a thumb in the direction the sleigh went, you raise a conspiratorial eyebrow in the head’s direction.

“Ohhh, I get it!” Talbot remarks as the realization hits him like a fly swatter! “We find a sleigh, load it up with loot, then get outta here!”

He might be dumb, loud, and really obnoxious, but at least Talbot gets you!

… n-not that it makes up for everything else, that is!

“What about the others, Stan?” Art chides, still not convinced. “If you think I’m leaving Syb behind-”

Art’s whining is thankfully cut off by you, Mitzi, and Talbot all simultaneously making whip-cracking sounds! Take a cold shower, man!

“For the record, dude,” Mitzi adds with a low chuckle, “girls don’t like clingy guys.”

“Yea, jeez!” Talbot scoffs! “Dial it back a bit, Hamilt!

Art’s head looks ready to bite your fingers off. “... it was Romero, genius. Romero and Jilliette. And that still doesn’t answer my question!”

Relax, you reply with a wave of your hand, you’ll pick the others up once you grab a sleigh! He can even pick something out for her in the warehouse as long as it isn’t too creepy!

“Yea, no lingerie or anything weird, dork, or I’ll clock ya.” Mitzi adds with a solemn nod.

"Wait, lingerie is a weird gift?" Talbot asks, earning an annoyed groan from you and Mitz!

“Fine.” Art huffs. “Can we go now?”

Sure!
>CONTD.
>>
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>>5091831
With the matter thoroughly settled, you get to work plotting your route to the WAREHOUSE. Taking a good look at it, you’d say the building’s about a football field away, give or take.

“Since when do you know about football?” Talbot asks from atop your hat. You just do, okay? Besides, you’re not ready to tell everyone about your MASCOT DAYS yet…

“Masc-wha?” Art asks, prompting you to zip it and zip it good! In any case, that length wouldn’t normally be a problem, but with all the grief your leg’s giving you, well…

“We gotta use our heads more.” Mitzi concludes. Ha! You get it!

“Well we’ve got plenty of jerks ahead of us.” Talbot reports, stating the painfully obvious. “Looks like those reindeer ain’t gonna leave us alone either.”

Following his gaze, the janitor’s prediction is confirmed by at least three reindeer patrolling overhead painting the ground red with their red nose searchlights!

“There’s a CATWALK leading to the second floor of the warehouse over there.” Art hisses as he nods at the passage in question. “Might be better than entering from the ground level.”

“And how do we get across with no one seeing us, genius?!” Talbot growls! “We’d be splitting ducks up there!”

“Not if we made a distraction…” Mitzi suggests in a devious tone! Sure enough, a length of ribbon trails across the ground near you to a few other containers–if you were to set it on fire, well…

“Den’ dey’d KNOW somethin’ was up!” Ly retorts. “Why not try a more… y’know, subtle approach?”

You do have that SNEAKY BOX in your INVENTORY… As you go to check it out, you notice something bolted down on the ground near you–some kind of HATCH!

“Huh.” Art remarks as he and the others notice it too, “That might work too. Or it might dump us into a toxic waste dump or something.”

“Can we just figure somethin’ out already?!” Talbot asks with increasing annoyance in his voice! “Those reindeer are gonna find us eventually and I don’t wanna get on the NAUGHTY LIST without stealin’ at least one present first!”

You’re not gonna get on the NAUGHTY LIST because you ain’t gonna get caught, you snap! Now shut it while you think up a solution here:

>BURN THE RIBBONS AND CROSS THE CATWALK!
>SNEAK TO THE WAREHOUSE USING YOUR SNEAKY BOX!
>POP OPEN THE HATCH AND GIVE THAT ROUTE A TRY!
>JUST SNEAK NORMALLY TO THE WAREHOUSE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5091833
>SNEAK TO THE WAREHOUSE USING YOUR SNEAKY BOX!
>>
>>5091833
>>SNEAK TO THE WAREHOUSE USING YOUR SNEAKY BOX!
>>
>>5091834
>>5091841
>DON'T OPEN 'TIL X-MAS!

ROLL 1d100+5 THANKS TO BOX TECHNOLOGY TO SNEAK TO THE WAREHOUSE! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 15 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5091879
>>
Rolled 60 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5091879
>>
Gonna be busy for the rest of the evening, so I'll pick this up MONDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Hope to see you then!
>>
Rolled 68 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5091879
>>
>>5091880
>>5091882
>>5092157
>HIGHEST ROLL: 73!

That'll do'er! Writing!
>>
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https://youtu.be/EJV8W2WYQKY
You give the stacks of cargo ahead of you one last scan before retrieving your SNEAKY BOX from your pocket! As you get to work unfolding it, Talbot wastes no time in tearing apart your idea.

“So we’re sneaking again? Come on, Stan–we can’t even light that ribbon on fire?!”

No, you snap, you CAN’T. After all, you add with a devious giggle, you don’t need a distraction if you DON’T GET SEEN!

“She’s got a point.” Art remarks as Mitzi nods in your pocket. Three against one, dick!

“Fine!” Talbot groans, gritting his teeth in irritation! “But I still think a distraction would be cool…”

He’s more than welcome to make one when you’re a head and he’s got a full body, you snap! Now zip it while you GHOST RUN this bad boy! Ducking under the cardboard box, you listen for any patrolling guards before creeping into the maze of containers!

Despite your bad leg and general lethargy, it’s not hard to avoid being detected–even without one of those cool minimaps like in most stealth games, you’re able to keep out of sight simply by listening for the disciplined rhythm of the nutcracker’s feet in the corridors around you.

Watching them from the shadows and around corners when able, you notice how they follow strict patrol routes and rarely stop, if at all, to breathe, look around, or spout any canned dialogue. What gives?

“You think they’re ROBOTS or something?” Talbot asks from between your hat and the top of the box. “If they were, like, NORMAL GUYS they’d be saying stuff, right?”

“Could be both, right?” Mitzi whispers as you duck around a storage container practically overflowing with coal. “What if underneath that wood stuff they’re just a bunch of freaky organs and metal?”

“They could be neither as well…” Art quietly remarks as you let an elf pass by with a nutcracker escort. “Can’t rule MAGIC out, can we?”

No, you sigh, you can’t... Whether the sentries are driven by cybernetics, magic, voodoo, or Christmas Spirit, none of them help the guards track you down as you scamper over to a service door on the side of the warehouse!

“Excellent, Stan!” Ly whispers with pride in his voice, “Age hasn’t slowed you down one bit!”

You’re not THAT old… Crouching lower to avoid detection, you cautiously test the door handle and frown as it refuses to budge–locked!
>CONTD.
>>
>>5092679
“What’s the hold up?” Talbot asks as you hear mechanical footsteps far too close to your position. “Time to cut to the chase: BONE CLAWS!

Were it so simple, you reply in a rueful tone! Ever since you fell into that damn mine or whatever, your powers haven’t been working!

“So wait, if we get caught we might actually die?” Mitzi asks, concern winning out against her normal aloof tone. “Shit, Stan, if I had known that I would have, like, thought things through a little more!”

You’re thinking them through now, you hiss, hiding in the box as another NUTCRACKER passes by. Anyone see another way in?

“I think I saw some stairs leading to the SECOND FLOOR…” Art suggests as you peek through the box’s handle hole. “Should be less-crowded up there.”

“Let’s just climb to the ROOF!” Talbot adds in a much-louder-than-necessary voice! “Might as well if we’re going all the way up there!”

“Errr, what about that?” Mitz interjects as she points her eyelashes towards a KEYPAD next to the door. “Maybe we can crack the code somehow?”

Sure, you hiss, let’s just guess EVERY number until it works! Great plan, dork!

“Well yea,” the tomboy continues in a measured tone, “OR we could check nearby for a code. Or ask one of those elves, you know, politely.” Before you can tell her just how STUPID she's being, the Rent-A-Cop gives you a conspiratorial wink. Oh, you think aloud, she means getting VIOLENT.

“...Still like my idea the best.” Talbot pouts. You don’t like any of them, really, but you’ll have to do something…

>GUESS THE CODE!
>FIND AN ELF OR SOMETHING WITH THE CODE ON IT!
>HEAD TO THE SECOND FLOOR!
>TRY TO CLIMB TO THE ROOF!
>AREN’T THERE ANY FRIGGIN’ WINDOWS AROUND? LET’S JUST OPEN ONE OF THOSE!
>KNOCK ON THE DOOR AND SLIP IN! IT WORKED BACK AT GOOD BOY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5092681
>>GUESS THE CODE!

1-2-2-5 :^)
>>
>>5092681
>GUESS THE CODE!
Use our JANITOR VISION to see which keys have been dirtied by fingers to drastically reduce the number of possible combinations.
>>
>>5092686
>>5092777
>GUESS THE CODE!
>1-2-2-5
>AND JANITOR VISION!

>>5092777
I know I never wrote this power down, but I fucking love it and we're totally gonna work it in somehow. Bless you, anon.

Writing!
>>
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Staring at the keypad with growing anger, you ultimately decide to slam your fist against the wall in frustration! Damn it, you snarl, you’re a girl of ACTION! You don’t have time for all the crap they suggested! And your leg hurts–you don’t wanna climb!

“But…” Art mutters in a betrayed tone, “but we always do the ‘Give Stan Different Ideas to Choose From’ thing!”

Always!” Mitzi adds with a well-timed sniffle! Snorting at their whining, you turn your attention back to the keypad. They can save their cockatiel tears for someone else!

“So what are we gonna do then, smarty-pants?” Talbot half-sneers, half-asks! “If it gets us killed I’m giving you a noogie in the afterlife!”

What are you going to DO, you fire back incredulously? Unbeknownst to them, you really didn’t think that far… CRAP! Just when you’re about to look dumb (well, dumber) in front of your friend’s heads, you see it: a series of faint smudges on the keypad! Bringing your nose closer, you take a quick whiff when you’re certain no sentries are lingering nearby. Yep, you hiss as you lick your lips, chocolate and peppermint!

“What’s she doing now?” Art asks as he tries to get a good look from your pocket!

“It’s a JANITOR THING,” Talbot replies as he watches with interest from atop your hat, “you wouldn’t get it!”

But you would, you retort in a triumphant tone! Following the greasy clues on the locking mechanism, your finger darts across the keyboard to plug in a series of numbers:

1-2-2-5! Voila!

Planting your hands on your hips, you give your pals a smug grin–easy as tha-
https://youtu.be/2dZy3cd9KFY
The deep, robotic voice emanating from the keypad tells you that it was indeed NOT easy as that. Sputtering in panic, you give the lock a pleading look as you hear footsteps approaching from within the cargo maze! How could this be!? You did everything right!

“Maybe try da’ keys dat’ have grime on ‘em?” Ly suggests. How the hell does that make sense, you growl! If people use the keys a bunch then there wouldn’t be any crap on them, right?

“Stan, you eat junk all da’ time: do your fingers get MORE sticky or LESS sticky when ya’ gorge yerself?”

They get MORE sticky, duh! That still doesn’t matt-

...oh.

Bashfully swallowing your follow-up insult, you take another look at the keypad as the sound of boots draws closer! The smudges seem to be biggest on the keys 6, 3, 9, and 5–what could possibly be the code, then?!

>9663–WOOD
>5653–JOKE
>6635–NOEL
>3665–FOOL
>3666–DOOM
>>
>>5092857
>>6635–NOEL
>>
>>5092857
>6635–NOEL
>>
>>5092864
>>5092867
>NOEL
Yea okay I'm not even gonna wait for 30 minutes here. Writing!
>>
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Knowing you’re in a do-or-die situation here, your brain kicks into overdrive to help you decipher the meaning behind the numbers–there’s usually a word associated with them, right? So which one could it be?

The answer comes almost immediately. Grinning with confidence, your finger once again darts across the keypad with renewed zeal! Tapping the keys 663 and 5, you bite your lip in earnest as you await the door’s response!

https://youtu.be/2dZy3cd9KFY

Wait, WHAT?!

JUST. KIDDING. ACCESS. GRANTED.”Following a series of beeps and shifting latches, the door creaks open just in time for you to squeeze through! Shutting the door behind you, you allow yourself a stabilizing breath as you find yourself standing amidst a forest of storage shelves and a singular loading area/runway in the center. Even better, everything including the lights appear to be turned off!

“Good work back there, kid!” Ly laughs from within your skull! “’NOEL’, right? Didn’t think you’d remember dat’ one!”

You give your skeleton a confused frown. What the hell’s a ‘Noel’? You thought you typed in ‘OPEN’!

“... Well.” Ly mutters, unsure of how to respond, “What say we get da’ lay of da’ land, huh?”

Good idea! Retrieving your CELLPHONE from your pocket, you stealthily flick the flashlight back on and scan your surroundings.

A CONTROL ROOM of sorts lies above you atop a small flight of slush-caked metal stairs. Though you don’t see any lights or anything within, you’d be surprised if there wasn’t something useful up there.

Then there’s the LOADING DOCK. Two massive sets of hangar doors block anything from coming in or out, but that’s not what gets your attention! No, what gets you giddy is the TEN-FOOT TALL SNOWMAN standing limp next to some kind of generator! Even better, some kind of seat lies in a hollowed-out recess in the snowman’s abdomen!

“Is that…'' Art mutters, still trying to remain stealthy, “A MECH?

Before you can answer him, your breath is taken away by something bigger, better, and far more spectacular than normal words can describe! Shining your light on the shelves, you and your friends stammer in awe as you look upon stacks of immaculately-wrapped presents piled all the way to the ceiling!

It’s… you utter between a bout of sniffles, it’s BEAUTIFUL!

“Y-you’re not…” Talbot mutters, barely containing his own sniffling, “Crying, a-are you!?”

N-no way, you snap! You’re just allergic… to CRYING MORONS NAMED TALBOT!

“Y-yea, well…” He fires back as a faint ‘holy shit...’ escapes Art’s lips, “I-I’m allergic to CRYING MORONS NAMED ‘STAN!

Ch-Christmas… came early...” Mitzi stammers in a shaky voice! She can say THAT again!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5092923
Drawn forward by childlike wonder, it takes you a moment to notice that most, if not all, of the warehouse floor is filled with fresh snow!

“How da’ heck did ‘dat get in here?” Ly muses as you wipe the drool from the corner of your mouth! “Da’ ceiling don’t open up, right?”

Yepsurewhateveryousay, you snap, staggering towards the nearest stack of presents like a zombie spotting some quality brains!

STAN!” Your skeleton shouts, snapping you out of your trance for a brief moment, “One thing at a time, damn it!”

Fine, you mutter, but you get to choose what that thing is!

>CHECK THE CONTROL ROOM!
>INVESTIGATE THE LOADING DOCK!
>PLAY WITH THE SNOW A BIT!
>PRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTS
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5092926
>>PRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTS

Wreak havoc or have our Stan card revoked.
>>
>>5092926
>PRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTSPRESENTS
>>
>>5092926
>>PLAY WITH THE SNOW A BIT!
Something's funny about this stuff...

Let's make a snowman and put talbot's head on it! Maybe he'll come to life like Frosty.
>>
>>5092961
changing to this
>>
>>5092929
>'TIS THE SEASON!

>>5092961
>>5092964
>'SNOW' WAY YOU'RE PASSING THIS UP!

Writing!
>>
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You take a few steadying breaths as you turn your attention away from the veritable ‘SHANGRI-LA’ of presents you’ve stumbled upon. Pace yourself, you whisper, if you open them all now your heart’s gonna pop like a zit–you wanna savor the moment!

“Think there might be somethin’ in da’ CONTROL ROOM?” asks your skeleton as you take a few idle steps deeper into the warehouse. “Some kinda ROOF BUTTON, or somethin’?”

You’re not sure, you mutter, but it is kinda weird for it to be in here, isn’t it? Kicking a few clumps around with your uninjured foot, you frown as the powder lands just as heavy as it was when you launched it. Shouldn’t this crap be melting in here?

“It is much warmer here than it is outside…” Art remarks as your scowl deepens.

“Maybe it’s MAGIC SNOW?” Mitzi suggests, causing a dirty lightbulb to flicker to life inside your head! That’s IT, you exclaim! Good ole’ Mitz and her sexy brain!

“D’aww, shucks…” The head stammers as it turns a few shades redder. “I mean… it’s possible, right?”

Only one way to find out, you reply! Stooping closer to the snow, you gingerly place Talbot’s head on the snow-caked floor and rub your gloved hands together with determination!

“Don’t even think of burying me, dork!” The janitor snarls as you shovel some snow into your hands! “Humans can easily bite through toe bones–I CHECKED!

Then he can also check his ATTITUDE, you fire back, because you’re not gonna bury him! Forming a snowball in your hands, you place it back on the ground and start rolling it along the surface of the powder as your pals watch in earnest.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5093068
“Err, what’cha doin’ there, boss?” Mitzi asks from the safety of your pocket.

“Yea!” Talbot adds with building frustration! “My chin’s getting cold!”

What’s it look like you’re doing? You’re making a SNOWMAN! Rolling the snowball with renewed vigor, your annoyance builds as the ball struggles to get any bigger! Damn your Californian upbringing–-you’re flying blind here!

“Not sure why you need to put T’s head down to do that.” Art remarks as you let out a hushed string of swears. If he must know, you mutter under your breath, you’re trying to test if this snow is of the FROSTY variety or not!

“... You mean the snowman who came to life?” Art asks, earning a pleasant ‘mhm!’ from you! “Didn’t he need a [GREEN]MAGIC HAT[/green] or something?”

“Pretty sure it was CHRISTMAS SPIRIT…” Mitzi grunts as your snowball rolling intensifies!

“Well hurry up, will ya? I’m gonna get Hyperdermia if I sit here any longer!” Talbot whines. If he keeps bitching, you hiss, maybe you will bury him!

“Hey, wait a minute…” Art adds, eyes lit up in realization, “You’re… you’re not trying to give Talbot a body, are you? Stanley?

Gritting your teeth at the smug mention of your name, you wave Art’s question away with your free hand! Y-you just need his POWERS, that’s all! The old Talbot could carry you around without being all w-weird about it, so… A-and you wouldn’t be able to get Mitz’ SICK BOD right, so it’s better this way! R-really!

None of your friends look convinced, least of all Talbot. “You heard her, Artie–Stan just can’t stand not havin’ the FULL SCHUMER PACKAGE arou-”

Golly, you muse to yourself as you hold Talbot face-down in the snow, why’d it get so quiet all of a sudden? Sending a pointed look in the direction of your pocket-borne pals, you lift your bodyguard’s face from the powder and give him one too–any other comments from the peanut gallery?

“Just one:” he replies between spitting snow out of his mouth, “You-”

Just when Talbot opens his mouth, something ELSE emerges from the snow: a flash of movement lined with razor-sharp teeth diving straight for your hand!

ROLL 1d100-5 TO NOT GIVE HIM A HAND! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! BONE-USES FOR CREATIVE WAYS TO DODGE, COUNTER, OR AVOID GETTING HURT!
>>
Rolled 46 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5093070
our laser still works right???
>>
>>5093097
It DOES!
>>
Rolled 41 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5093070
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>5093070
I have historically horrible rolls.

So I shouldn't be doing this.
>>
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>>5093234
Not THIS time you don't! That's the ticket!

>>5093097
>>5093234
>HIGHEST ROLL: 89!

That should do it! A bit late on my end, though, so here's an idea: I have some business to attend to in the afternoon tomorrow, but I should be able to pop out an update or two TUESDAY AROUND 9-10AM PST! Once I'm back later in the day I'll be able to whip up some more updates.

In the meantime, here's two things for ya. First is a HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT-- don't worry, it's easy!
>>5093097
mentioned using a laser, but I'd like folks to share some ideas on how to counter whatever we're dealing with if they have any. If you wanna use any specific skills, items, or weapons, pop 'em in the thread so I can put them into the update tomorrow!

Secondly, the ever-wonderful Siren_QM of the ever-wonderfuler MUTANT! QUEST whipped up a pic of Boris meeting an untimely end at the hands of John--the protagonist's brother in honor of the HUSBANDO GAMES. Hard to tell if Stan would be thrilled or pissed about missing the opportunity, but here it is regardless. Always love seeing art, and I don't just mean the Rent-A-Cop!

Long story short: update tomorrow morning and later in the day. Have a good one!
>>
>>5093269
>ideas on how to counter whatever we're dealing with
Let it and Talbot's head have a bite-off. Talbot has no toes right now so he has an advantage.
>>
>>5093269
Assuming we 're still wearing spiked goth boots, let's just kick the thing away from us. Not anywhere near the mouth though
>>
>>5093068
>>5093070
We're rolling around in shit in the sewers aren't we
>>
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Just before your mysterious attacker's jaws can close around your hand, a keening ‘CLANG’ rings through the air! Blinking in confusion, you peer downwards to find the open maw of some kind of ICE BEAR TRAP held in place between Talbot’s teeth!

“Ergh TRRD yrr,” He growls like a dog unwilling to part with a toy, “Ergh CHRKCKD!

“That can not be good for your enamel…” Art mutters in disbelief. Nope, you nod, but this ain’t healthy either! Bringing your COWBOY BOOT back, you deliver a kick that could shatter a glacier into the trap’s pearly-whites and send it, and, by extension, Talbot, flying into a stack of presents sitting on a nearby shelf! Crap, you mutter as both the gifts and the trap tumble to the floor, those better not be fragile!

As your attacker regains its equilibrium from your attack, you spot a familiar head of red hair rolling back upright near the SNOWMAN MECH! Is he good?!

“Yep!” Talbot shouts as he shakes some more snow from his beaming face, “Let’s do that again!”

Hey, you’ll always take an opportunity to kick that guy! Before you can oblige him, though, the powder around you starts to shake!

“Stan!” Mitzi’s head shouts as you feel the snow tug at your heels, “Get off of the ice!”

Leaping for cover, you vacate your spot just as a cluster of ICE SPIKES burst from the powder! As you land in a heap on a wet, but thankfully snow-free floor, you whirl around just in time to see a massive frozen axe falling towards you like a guillotine! Holding Art and Mitzi close to your sides, you roll out of the way right before the wintery weapon hits the ground and explodes into countless frigid shards!

Covering your face from the resulting debris, the room fills with the sound of deep, rumbling laughter emanating from the LOADING AREA! Looking for the origin, you watch in shock as an icy gale blows through the warehouse and sends trails of fresh powder spiraling through the air! Dancing around like a polar vortex, the snow eventually forms a mountain that extends all the way to the ceiling!

>CONTD.
>>
File: frosty.png (1.3 MB, 1600x897)
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>>5093617
Pieces of coal emerge from within the peak with a series of cartoony ‘pops’, giving the pile of snow a menacing grimace! At the same time, from the mountain’s sides come two burly appendages made of ice–one carrying a CORN COB PIPE, the other a BUTTON NOSE!

Plugging both in to its ‘face’, the colossal snowman takes a long drag from the pipe as the pièce de résistance lands on its head–an OLD TOP HAT Satisfied with its new look, the snowman sends another belly-full of laughter rumbling across the warehouse as it furrows its frozen brow in your direction!

FOUND YOU!” He bellows in a thick Germanic accent! Mouth agape in surprise, you only manage to mumble a few shaky words:

FROSTY… THE SNOWMAN!

“H-he’s alive as he could be!” Art exclaims with a mixture of shock and horror!

“A-and the children say he could LAUGH and PLAY just the same as you… and ME!” Mitzi adds as she shivers in your pocket!
https://youtu.be/63vzq08mN-c
Puffing clouds of acrid smoke into the air, the snowman tears a chunk of ice from his abdomen and chucks it your way as the snow on the ground slowly spreads further! Ducking behind another shelf, you quickly reconsider as the giant hail ball crashes through it light a wrecking ball! As you stagger to avoid the rain of broken toys and gifts, a familiar scent tickles your nose, if only for a minute…

MARROW!” Ly exclaims! “It’s around here somewhere! We gotta find it!”

Yea, you mutter as a volley of SERRATED ICICLES erupt from FROSTY’S body and fly your way, kinda busy here!

Half-dodging, half-tripping past the shivery spikes, your eyes lock with Talbot’s as his head stealthily climbs into the SNOWMAN MECH’S COCKPIT!

“Stan!” He shouts, barely registering over FROSTY’S manic laughter, “Toss the others over! We can help!”

Before you can respond, the murderous mountain slides across the powder between you and Talbot! Guess you’re not sneaking your way outta this one…

What’s the game plan here?
>LASER-BLAST FROSTY! IT’LL SLOW HIM DOWN, AT LEAST!
>SHOOT ONE OF HIS PARTS! (HAT, PIPE, NOSE, ARMS, COAL?)
>TRY TO CHUCK THE HEADS OVER TO TALBOT!
>HEAD FOR THE CONTROL ROOM! MAYBE YOU CAN USE SOMETHING THERE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5093620
>TRY TO CHUCK THE HEADS OVER TO TALBOT!
>>
>>5093620
>TRY TO CHUCK THE HEADS OVER TO TALBOT!
>>
>>5093620
>>TRY TO CHUCK THE HEADS OVER TO TALBOT!
>>
>>5093627
>>5093712
>>5093722
>GET A 'HEAD' START!

ROLL ME 1D100-5 TO CHUCK ART AND MITZI OVER TO THE MECH! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 78 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5093890
>>
Rolled 80 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5093890
>>
Rolled 28 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5093890
>>
>>5093895
>>5093897
>>5093999
>HIGHEST ROLL: 75!

Hey all, been feeling pretty gross since the afternoon, so I think I'm gonna write this update WEDNESDAY AROUND 10-11AM PST and take 'er easy for the rest of the evening. Sorry to keep you waiting--hopefully I'll feel a bit better tomorrow. Take care of yourselves!
>>
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Well if they’re that eager to become targets… sliding across the ice-slicked floor on one foot like a figure skater, your hunt for a good angle on Talbot is cut short as a series of frozen axes burst from the snow and fall towards you! Darting and dodging between the blades as they explode into snowy shrapnel, you’re just about to get a clear shot when a mass of snow blows onto the floor ahead of you and explodes into nasty-looking spikes!

Carried by momentum, you leap as high as one working leg can take you and slam into a nearby gift shelf! Rocking from the sudden impact, the shelf slowly begins to tip over prompting you to scramble up the side like a spider on a sugar high! Fighting gravity and a hail of ice spikes shooting through the air around you, you fight past the pain in your shot arm long enough to reach the top of the shelf! As you feel it and the gifts shift below you, you retrieve Art and Mitzi’s heads from your pockets and stick your tongue out in concentration–they ready to fly?!

“I’d prefer it to falling!” Art shouts as your perch careens towards a cluster of fresh spikes! Mitz?

“Locked on and ready to launch!” She replies excitedly!

Works for you! Waiting for the right moment, you push off of the falling shelf just as it makes its maiden voyage to the ground! As you fly towards what you hope is a very sturdy string of lights, you channel every dodgeball game you’ve ever played and chuck your friend’s heads at the SNOWMAN MECH peeking out from behind the murderous mountain!

To your credit, both of ‘em make it! Sure, Mitzi smacks her head against one of the loader’s arms and Art totally creams Talbot, but you got ‘em there! That’s what counts! As the heads recover from their flight, your hands clasp firmly around the string of lights as you prepare to swing to safety!

Gravity has other plans, however, and instead of dramatically swinging away from danger, you plummet straight into it. Detaching almost immediately, the lights carry you into a wrecking ball path through three more shelves sending a wealth of presents crashing to the floor!

While you recover from your daring escape, your opponent has other plans–catching you in his outstretched icy palm, FROSTY immediately gets to work crushing the life out of you as he lets loose with another menacing laugh!

Before he can crush you like a soda can, however, the warehouse fills with another sound… one coming from your pals’ direction!

https://youtu.be/q-g3GodHju4

N-nani!?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5094781
Hearing the peculiar sound, both you and FROSTY pause as the sound of whirring servos and hissing joints reverberates across the room!

https://youtu.be/xgcap-5IBsY
Following the sounds to their origin, you and your would-be killer look just in time to see the SNOWMAN MECH rise to its full ten-foot height! Eyes gleaming with determination, the loader clangs its two festive pincer arms together in the universal sign for issuing a challenge!

… before adopting some kind of… pose. Goddamn it, Art…

MEETING EVERY CHALLENGE WITH ALL OF OUR MIGHT!”
“SNOWY JUSTICE NEVER BACKS DOWN FROM A FIGHT!”
“NYA…
” Mitzi adds in a reluctant, but still mechanically-amplified voice, “That’s right…

Covering up a muffled ‘come oooon, Mitz…’ with another flourish of the arms, Art clears his nonexistent throat before jabbing one of the mech’s pincers in Frosty’s direction.
GET AWAY FROM HER, YOU BITCH!

Punctuating his command with a jet of flames from the mech’s CORN COB PIPE, Art an-sorry, SNOWY JUSTICE, adopts a fighting stance as your captor shrinks away from the rush of flames! Sensing your chance, you wriggle free from the snowman’s grasp and prepare for a counter attack!

What do?
>MESS UP HIS HAT! YOU’RE CLOSE ENOUGH!
>LASER-BLAST FROSTY’S HEAD!
>SHOOT OUT HIS EYES!
>YOU’RE ON ONE OF HIS ARMS–MESS IT UP!
>LEAP TO THE CONTROL ROOM!
>TRACK DOWN THAT DAMN MARROW SMELL!
>WRITE-IN!

Meanwhile, what should SNOWY JUSTICE do?
>FLAMETHROWER! TURN UP THE HEAT!
>RIP AND TEAR INTO THIS SNOW SCHMOE!
>CHUCK SOME ICE AT THIS CREEP!
>WHAT’S THAT RED BUTTON DO?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5094784
>>TRACK DOWN THAT DAMN MARROW SMELL!
>>RIP AND TEAR INTO THIS SNOW SCHMOE!
>>
>>5094784
>TRACK DOWN THAT DAMN MARROW SMELL!
>FLAMETHROWER! TURN UP THE HEAT!
>>
>>5094784
>>FLAMETHROWER! TURN UP THE HEAT!

Changing from "RIP AND TEAR" to above for sake of speed.
>>
>>5094872
>>5094907
STAN:
>FOLLOW YOUR NOSE!

SNOWY JUSTICE:
>FLAME SHOT!

Follow me here, folks, because we're about to get a little technical: ROLL ME 2D100--ONE FOR STAN, ONE FOR SNOWY JUSTICE! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

If you have a specific target in mind for FLAME SHOT, lemme know!
>>
Rolled 10, 80 = 90 (2d100)

>>5094926

LET'S GOOOOOOOOOOOO
>>
Rolled 10, 86 = 96 (2d100)

>>5094926
>>
Rolled 44, 5 = 49 (2d100)

>>5094926
>>
>>5094937
>>5094950
>>5094969
>HIGHEST ROLLS:
STAN: 44!
SNOWY JUSTICE: 86!

Writing!
>>
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SNOWY JUSTICE’S grandiose entrance gets FROSTY’S attention almost immediately, and while the supersized snowman turns his attention towards your pals you use the opportunity to contemplate your next move!

“Call me old-fashioned, but I think we should get outta’ ‘crushing us like a mosquito’ range.” Ly remarks as SNOWY JUSTICE bats away a flurry of icicle missiles! You’re inclined to agree until a familiar scent tickles your nostrils–the same ghost of a whiff you picked up before:

BONE MARROW!

Motioning for your skeleton to hush, you brace yourself against Frosty’s neck as he rushes to keep up with your pals below and follow your nose!

… or try to, anyways…

“Any idea where it could be comin’ from?” Ly asks excitedly, no doubt feeling just as crappy as you are. Kinda, you mutter as a displeased look forms on your face, but you’re just not sure...

The problem is, you realise, is that it’s EVERYWHERE! You can smell it to the LEFT! You can smell it to the RIGHT! Hell, you can even smell it right HERE, not that it does anything for you!

“But dere’ IS marrow, right?” Your skeleton asks, fanning your frustration even more! MAYBE, okay?! It could be in one of those PRESENTS for all you know!

Hearing your heated discussion, Frosty turns his massive head in your direction and gives you a menacing snarl!

END OF DA’ LINE!” He bellows, sending flecks of pipe ash and snow onto your face! Raising the arm you’re standing on, the snowman opens wide revealing a maw stuffed full of serrated icy teeth! Digging your fingers into his cold shoulder, you can already feel yourself slipping before he starts shaking you loose! Staring certain doom in the eye, you’re just about to lose your grip when another smell covers up what remains of the marrow scent–KEROSENE, you think, or something like it.

That’s when you notice Frosty isn’t as tall as he was ten seconds ago, or even five–before you or him can realize what’s happening, the triumphant laughter coming from the MECH below spells it out for you!

“BURN, BABY, BURN!” Talbot roars as a jet of liquid flame pours forth from the loader’s pipe! Roaring in half-surprise, half-anger, and all pain, Frost flails around in a circle and flings you into a direct course for MORE PRESENTS!

ROLL 1d100 TO MINIMIZE THE DAMAGE! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 42 (1d100)

>>5095090
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5095090
Nat1
>>
>>5095137
A-are there special rules for called rolls
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>5095090
well, i'll just have to roll a 100 then
>>
>>5095140
Oof... I'm leaning towards 'no' if only to limit everyone spamming 'Nat 1' in every roll, but if anyone has some compelling arguments I'm happy to hear 'em!

That said, let's look at the rolls:
>>5095123
>>5095137
>>5095181
>CRIT 1!

Since we didn't discuss called rolls or anything before this happened, I'm gonna go ahead and write some consequences!

Writing!
>>
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Maybe it’s the lack of grip on his frozen shoulder or maybe it’s how suddenly he flails upon being set on fire, hell, maybe you’re just tired. Whatever the reason, you’re quickly launched off of Frosty like a kid off a full-speed tilt-a-whirl! Spinning uncontrollably through the air, it doesn’t take long to hit your mark–before you can really get some screams going, you plow into the side of a shelf and smash right through it into another! And ANOTHER!

Falling to the ground amidst a downpour of presents and scrap metal, your eyes light up as you spot a TRAMPOLINE peeking out from a torn-up gift box directly in your flight path! Spreading your arms and legs to regain control, you forget about the fresh coat of pain surrounding your beaten and battered body as you aim for your target! Hang on, Ly!

SHCK!

You hear it before you feel it–the sound of something sharp cutting through meat. Glancing downwards, you find yourself suspended mere inches away from the trampoline on top of a row of ICE SPIKES. To make matters worse, SNOWY JUSTICE’S flames have already spread to the presents, so there’s that.

Opening your mouth to give a trademark ‘what the HELL’, your words die in your throat as a warm, coppery liquid beats them to the punch. Coughing the offender onto the floor in front of you, you recognize it almost immediately:

Blood. A surprisingly low amount, you might add.

“Stan…” Ly whispers in the corner of your rapidly-diminishing consciousness, “I think we’re just about out...” Blinking in annoyance, you hiss a few words back to your skeleton as your mech-bound friends shout something at you. He… he really has a talent for stating the obvious…

“An’ you’ve got a talent fer’ not dyin’!” Ly fires back as Frosty swats your paralyzed pals to the side! “So whatever yer’ gonna do, do it NOW!

Holding open the curtains in your brain just a little longer, you turn your attention to your frigid foe as he leers over you in triumph! Son of a bitch, you grunt as the pain rapidly fades away, he thinks he’s won…

WHAT DO YOU DO BEFORE LOSING CONSCIOUSNESS?
>LASER BLAST.
>SHOTGUN.
>SCOPED RIFLE.
>ROCKET LAUNCHER.
>ITEM (WHICH).
>SHOUT FOR HELP.
>WRITE-IN.
>>
>>5095221
>>LASER BLAST

Good crap, are we about to die for real?
RIP Stan. Guess it really is time for Boris to pick up the torch after all.
>>
>>5095221
>LASER BLAST.
>>
>>5095221
>SHOUT FOR HELP.
>CONTACT SYBIL WITH HER DOLL.
What else do we do? With our blood loss we're as liable to hit our pals as we are to hit Frosty. Besides, they seem to have him pretty well beat. They should be able to handle him as long as Syb picks up the phone. She knows some healing stuff, doesn't she?
>>
>>5095238
Now that I think about it, even if we are tripping out in the depths of a mine, her doll she be able to contact her regardless. Magic isn't stopped by dozens of feet of rock.
>>
>>5095238
Now that I think about it again, we could have just done this a long time ago. But it never occurred to me.
>>
>>5095238
>LASER BLAST.
Disregard, this, I didn't realize that the others had been knocked aside by Frosty. Probably just go with the laser. I don't know what the fuck reading comprehension is.
>>
>>5095224
Hope you guys have a fresh BONES QUEST OFFICIAL CHARACTER SHEET close by!

>>5095255
It's cool, man--my bad for not making it more obvious.

Anywho...
>>5095224
>>5095230
>>5095255
>GO OUT BLASTING!

A fighter to the end! Writing!
>>
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Your senses go dark one by one as if someone were fiddling with your body’s fuse box. Taste? Gone. Hearing? Gone too! Touch? Guess! Feeling yourself slip away piece by piece, one of your senses prevails:

ANGER.

You think it’s a sense, anyways. Whatever it is, it pushes a few more signals through to your brain which forwards them to Talbot’s little apology gift from when he tore out your eye. Right, you think or maybe mutter, you really oughta thank him for that properly. Feeling the faintest warmth in your eye, you manage a weak smile as your sight dims.

You’ve got a lot of people to thank properly…

That’s as far as your thoughts take you. As the world around you fades to black, you feel it disappear–all the cold, the spikes, the homicidal Christmas mascots–all of them pop out of existence like bubbles…

Why then, you think to yourself, haven’t youpopped’ yet?

Your answer comes in a sudden jolt upwards and a panicked gasp for air! Reeling forward, you nearly fall to your feet as you instinctively clutch your hastily-bandaged chest wound only to feel a familiar material wrapped around you–one that could almost be considered your second skin…

Daring to look downwards, you find yourself wearing a freshly-laundered set of GOOD BOY EVENING SANITATION COORDINATOR COVERALLS. Pursing your lips in confusion, a cap brim droops into your view from atop your head–your uniform’s matching CAP. Adjusting it to an appropriately roguish angle, you allow yourself a stabilizing breath before continuing any further. Okay, Stan, you mutter, nearly jumping out of your skin at the sound of your own voice, you don’t appear to be dead.

Yet.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5095315
Leaning back into what appears to be some kind of plush armchair, you opt to get a feel for your surroundings. The first thing you notice are the walls–each of them caked in a layer of thick baby blue paint and nothing else. No pictures, no windows, just walls.

Dominating the floor is a dizzying expanse of short yellow carpet–its surface nothing short of immaculate. Seriously–not even your JANITOR EYES can pick up any trace of mud, dirt, or grime–not even a strand of hair!

Unsure whether to be impressed or creeped out, you cross one leg over the other and let out a low whistle–talk about a change of scenery, huh, Ly?

Your question goes unanswered. Hey, you growl, talk about a change of SCENERY!

Still nothing.

Before you can repeat yourself a third time, a lackadaisical female voice creeps into the room through an old loudspeaker mounted over a nearby coffee table.

FOR THE SAKE OF TIMELINESS, PLEASE STAY IN THE WAITING ROOM UNTIL YOUR NAME IS CALLED. THANK YOU. HAVE A PLEASANT DAY.

Before you can interrogate her, the voice is replaced by a familiar, if somewhat crackly, song:
https://youtu.be/V7dg8vRDM68
Tapping your booted foot along to the rhythm, you can’t help but feel… comfy? Your mind’s telling you to scream for Ly, to bash a hole in the walls with your fists, hell, maybe even CRY, but you don’t. In fact, you declare to no one in particular, you’ve got a better idea in mind!

Sitting on a wooden end table between your chair and the others lies a pile of MAGAZINES of all subjects and sizes! Across the room sits a squat coffee table–on top of that sits one of those beaded toys you used to play with as a kid back in the doctor’s office–you’re pretty sure it’s called an ABACUS? You see a pile of blocks, too–you were never that big into them, of course, but Sue always was.

A plain, white door sits on both ends of the room–one dressed with a simple ‘PLEASE WAIT’ sign, the other situated at the end of a short, austere entryway. Both, as you might imagine, are CLOSED.

Taking another healthy (thankfully) breath, you ponder how to spend your time. Lord knows you aren’t headed anywhere.

Yet…

>LET’S CHECK OUT THOSE MAGAZINES!
>THAT ABACUS HAS MY NAME ON IT!
>FIDDLE AROUND WITH THE BLOCKS!
>TRY TO REACH LY SOME MORE!
>MESS WITH THE DOORS! MAYBE ONE’S UNLOCKED!
>PACE. PACE A LOT.
>REST YOUR EYES A BIT!
>WRITE-IN
>>
>>5095317
>TRY TO REACH LY SOME MORE!
>>
>>5095317
>>LET’S CHECK OUT THOSE MAGAZINES!
>>MESS WITH THE DOORS! MAYBE ONE’S UNLOCKED!

Are we in the isekai waiting-room?
>>
>>5095326
Yep, hope you guys are ready for You Awaken in Westeros as Stanley Parble!

>>5095320
>>5095326
>TALK TO LY!
>TRY THE DOORS!
>GRAB A MAGAZINE!

Screw it, let's do all three. Writing!
>>
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An itch spreads across your body as you remain seated in the chair–one that only gets worse the more you try to correct it. After what feels like an eternity of adjusting your posture and position, you come to the conclusion that this chair just ain’t gonna cut it. Not right now anyway. Rising to your totally healthy and unbroken feet, you half-walk, half-skip over to the door with the sign on it at the end of the room.

See that, Ly? You ask as you prod the ‘PLEASE WAIT’ sign a few times with your gloved finger. When was the last time you had to wait for anything? Receiving no response, you shrug and continue talking to yourself anyway. Ever since you left that factory, you muse as you rap the door with your knuckles, you’ve felt more free than, well, ever! Sure, you were on a time crunch to save the world and, most importantly, beat Boris to it, but still–you were the one running the show!

Neither your skeleton nor any occupants living behind the door answer you. Frustration building, you take hold of the plain metal doorknob in front of you and give it a twist!

No dice.

Trying a few more times, it quickly becomes apparent that the traditional approach just ain’t gonna cut it. Jamming your gloved fingers between the door and the frame, you let out a determined growl as you try to wrench the portal open using your digits as a crowbar.

Different method, same result.

Okay, you sigh, stuffing your sore fingers into your distressingly-bare pockets, you were planning on waiting anyway! Besides, you add, you need to save your strength for the other door, right Ly?

You take your skeleton’s silence as an affirmative. He’s certainly being agreeable, isn’t he?

Migrating towards the other door at the end of the entryway, you try the same methods you employed at DOOR #1. No dice. As you feel your cheeks warm up in anger, you press your ear against the side of the door and listen for any signs of life! What you get is something in between–beyond the portal you can barely pick up the sound of phones, muffled conversations, and a copier or two, but what little you hear is muffled as if underwater. Freaky-deaky, you mutter to Ly.

Your bony companion neglects to comment.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5095380
Feeling an intense emptiness take root in your chest, you opt to distract yourself with one of the MAGAZINES you saw earlier! Whistling along to the song on the loudspeaker, you land with a ‘whump’ into the cushy clutches of your chair before sifting through the veritable mountain of magazines at your side!

The usual suspects are all there, of course–National Adventurer, Putter’s Digest, Kooky Krafts… Setting them aside for now, you flip through a few others that you don’t normally see in the doctor’s office: Mariner Monthly, Savvy Science, Oh No! Only Crosswords, Monster Truck Medley, Wrestling Weekly, and a particularly picture-heavy publication titled TRAINS!

Then there’s the ones you er… shouldn’t see in a doctor’s office–the ones that raise the temperature in your cheeks just by glancing at the covers: Hunks: a magazine clearly dedicated to spreading awareness of very toned and handsome men, and Foxy: a similar work that seems to focus more on the fairer sex.

Wiping the fresh layer of sweat off of your brow with your sleeve, a nervous laugh escapes your lips as you look through your choices again. B-bet you know which one LY wants to read!

Tapping your finger on the outer edge of the Hunks magazine for emphasis, your embarrassment is replaced with genuine anger when your skeleton refuses to respond to your ribbing! Hey, you hiss, is he deaf or what? The magazine’s about HOT DUDES, damn it! Is he seriously not gonna respond to that?!

Only the song on the loudspeaker bothers to reply. Feeling the emptiness expand, you quickly shift gears and turn your attention to the magazines–surely there’s SOMEthing here that can cheer you up!

… right?

Which magazine do you choose?
>NATIONAL ADVENTURER!
>PUTTER’S DIGEST!
>KOOKY KRAFTS!
>MARINER MONTHLY!
>SAVVY SCIENCE!
>OH NO! ONLY CROSSWORDS!
MONSTER TRUCK MEDLEY!
>WRESTLING WEEKLY!
>TRAINS!
>HUNKS!
>FOXY!
>HEY, YOU MISSED ONE! (WRITE-IN)
>SCREW IT, READING’S FOR DORKS!
>>
>>5095382
>>HUNKS!

F-For Ly, of course!
>>
>>5095382
>HUNKS
To get a rise out of Ly. We swear that's the reason for it! We don't like the dudes in there or anything; we just like the articles!
>>
>>5095382
>HUNKS!
jJ-jst for Ly. That's it!
>>
>>5095407
man I'm really bad at typing today
>>
>>5095408
No worries, anon--you aren't gonna be graded!

>>5095384
>>5095388
>>5095407
>HUNKS!

Writing the last update of the night!
>>
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Taking another cursory glance around the very empty waiting room, an idea plants itself in your head–one that sends your hand slowly creeping over to the glossy cover of HUNKS. Handling the publication as if it were nitroglycerin, you cautiously bring the smut rag safely into the confines of your lap. Scanning the horizon once more like a meerkat, you bring the magazine to eye-level in your shaky hands and let out a nervous giggle as you peruse the cover.

Gee, you stammer as you feel the sweat pool inside your gloves, y-you bet Ly’s g-getting REALLY fl-flustered just looking at this! I-it sure would be a f-f-funny prank if you uh… if you READ it! As a PRANK, that is!

After all, you continue in a shaky voice, y-you’re not that kind of girl! But a prank, well… th-that’s a different st-story!

Slamming the magazine back into your lap, you bite your lip as you wait for someone, ANYONE, to interrupt… preferably Ly. Or at least one of your friends.

No one does.

Swallowing the growing lump in your throat, you take a steadying breath before bringing the magazine back into reading range, counting to three, and yanking it open!

Oh…

Golly.

An eternity goes by as you take in the sights on each page–for LY, that is! Not you! Pouring over the sculpted bodies on display, you feel the pit in your chest slowly fill with another feeling–most likely all of the AMUSEMENT you feel from this DEVIOUS PRANK of yours! Yes, you pant as you flit from page to page, L-Ly must feel TOTALLY em-embarrassed right about now!

Just when yo-err, LY can’t take much more, your IMPISH JAPE is cut short by the sound of a door creaking open! SLAM-DUNKING the sweat-covered magazine back into the pile, you hastily preen yourself before looking in the direction of the noise and find yourself peering into a blackened abyss beyond the door marked with the ‘PLEASE WAIT’ sign.

ENTER.” Bellows a voice as deep as it is imposing! Echoing around the waiting room, the command compels you to obey, and with heavy steps you walk across the carpet towards whatever lies beyond…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5095459
As you step across the threshold, the door to the waiting room slams shut behind you leaving you standing in an inky expanse. Tendrils of cold air caress what little exposed skin you have, and were it not for the pair of glowing yellow orbs looming ahead, you’d think you’d stumbled into some sort of crack between worlds.

SIT.

Once again the voice booms across the abyss–this time falling on deaf ears. It’s not that you don’t want to sit, you stammer, but you’re having trouble finding a seat…

For a while, all is silent, but with the sound of a flicked switch comes a flash of light! When your eyes recover, you find yourself sitting in an OFFICE of some sort, and a rather cramped one at that! Posters plaster what little wall space there is–each one depicting places with funny names in bold text: PARADISO, INFERNO, HADES, THE ABYSS, XIBALBA– must be European or something.

What catches your eye, however, aren’t the posters, nor the certificates, awards, or the nameplate sitting on the desk in front of you with the name ‘PHINEAS MOSELEY’ carved in bold letters. No, the star-attraction is the skeleton sitting across a cluttered wooden desk clad in a slim business suit! Noticing your gaze, he fills the room with laughter bordering on demonic before sheepishly pressing a button on a device built into his desk!

“Yes, sorry–terribly sorry! Beg your pardon, won’t take but a minute!” Trying out a few quick ‘me me me me’s, the skeleton lets out a sigh of relief as his monstrous voice is replaced by that of a limey accountant.

“Right, that ought to do it… Erm, well then–HELLO!” Sticking his hand out to you in what you assume to be an attack, you instinctively leap backwards and unceremoniously tumble into a chair! Dodge successful?

“Ah yes, right,” Your greeter laughs nervously, “Don’t want to touch Death, right? Human superstitions–absolutely brilliant!”

Guess you succeeded!

>CONTD.
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>>5095460
Laughing to himself, the skeleton takes a seat in his own leather chair and gestures to the nameplate. “Phineas Moseley: Licensed Reaper–please, call me ‘Finn’--everyone else does!”

Yea, you mutter as ‘Finn’ roots around in his desk’s drawers, what was that he said about being a raper?

“Reaper, yes–I know you are positively BRIMMING with questions…” The reaper replies before returning to the surface with a crisp manila folder stuffed with documents. “But before we begin there erm, there ARE a few clarifications to be made–company policy, you know–nothing to be done about it…”

Muttering to himself as he pops open the file, the skeleton retrieves a pair of reading glasses from his breast pocket and begins inspecting the documents in front of him.

“First and foremost, we at HEREAFTER regretfully must inform you that yes, you are erm… Deceased, yes.”

Delivering the news as if reading you back your order at a diner, Finn continues despite you being completely and utterly paralyzed. D-d-DE-

“Indeed–terribly sorry.” He adds, clearly not TERRIBLY sorry! “Secondly: we understand that you might be confused, concerned, or even agitated at this juncture-”

Damn RIGHT you’re agitated, you snarl! It was one crappy roll, damn it! Okay, a few, but-

“Aaand unfortunately this decision is NON-NEGOTIABLE.” The words hit you like a truck.

“But,” he adds in a lighter tone, “I can assure you that myself and the rest of the HEREAFTER team are dedicated to matching you with an afterlife that you deserve.” The skeleton continues, causing your flames to sputter out a bit. Afterlife, huh? Sinking deeper into your chair, you motion for him to continue.

“Errr, right! Lastly: HEREAFTER does not claim any liability for any resulting crises of faith, nor do we endorse any specific afterlife path–we are a strictly non-denominational privately-owned organization who reserves the right to refuse service to anyone. HEREAFTER: WE MAKE A KILLING!

Laughing politely at the slogan, Finn quickly puts a lid on it when he sees you aren’t amused. “Right,” he mutters, “let’s, erm, let’s take a look at your files, shall we?”

>CONTD.
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>>5095461
Shuffling a stack of papers in his hands, the skeleton lays them out so that you can get something resembling a closer look–while you can’t read everything, you can definitely recognize the girl in the photo near the top…

“Stanley Parble…” recites the reaper, “Sex: Female… Age: 20 years… Eyes-er, EYE: green…” He stammers, stumbling over your replacement eye sitting in your left eye socket. “Brown hair… Daughter to Oscar and Marina… Brother named Sue…”

The reaper shoots you a sideways glance at your brother’s name, but quickly reconsiders when you respond with a dirty look.

“Janitor at a biscuit factory, no children or spouse–pity… Well, Ms. Parble, not much to look at here!” Finn reports as he sweeps the documents back into the file. “A bit earlier than expected, but our records show you’ve had more than your fair share of, shall we say, ‘close calls’ in life?”

Well yea, you shrug, there were those fancy chemicals under the sink when you were a kid, there was the first time you tried Parkour, that time you ate all the leftover pizza dough at Gus’ restaurant, The Skateboard Incident…

“Right, well.” The reaper continues, clearly not even listening, “In case you don’t recall, HEREAFTER specializes in matching you, the deceased, with an afterlife plan that works for YOU!”

Okay, you nod, you can work with that! You’re a bit pissed about bowing out of saving the world early, but eh–Art can handle it. Probably.

“Errr, right–of course!” Finn laughs as he retrieves a handful of pamphlets from his desk. “So while I look up what you’re qualified for, Ms. Parble, would you mind telling me what kind of plan you’re in the market for? Your erm… next-step, if you will?

Stroking an imaginary beard, you mull his question over in your head–what DO you deserve?
>I HEAR HEAVEN’S PRETTY NICE THIS TIME OF YEAR!
>WHAT’S THE NAME OF THAT THING WHERE YOU COME BACK AS SOMETHING ELSE? REINCARCERATION?
>I WAS THINKING OF GOING THE ‘VENGEFUL UNDEAD’ ROUTE, TO BE HONEST!
>IT FEELS OVERDONE, I KNOW, BUT THERE’S THIS THING CALLED ‘ISEKAI’ YOU KEEP HEARING ABOUT…
>IT’S KINDA WEIRD, BUT FOLLOW ME HERE: (WRITE-IN!)
>>
Aaaand that's all for tonight, folks--gonna pick this up THURSDAY AROUND 10-11AM PST! Stick with me here--it ain't over yet! Thanks for your patience and hope to see you next time!
>>
>>5095462
>IT FEELS OVERDONE, I KNOW, BUT THERE’S THIS THING CALLED ‘ISEKAI’ YOU KEEP HEARING ABOUT…
Clearly Art has been talking more about anime then we anons are aware of.
>>
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>>5095462
>IT’S KINDA WEIRD, BUT FOLLOW ME HERE:
>PIC RELATED
>>
>>5095527
Sure, why not. +1
>>
>>5095527
The opportunity to persist indefinitely, with the trade-off being: you must constantly fight for your life against unlimited super powerful foes?
>>
>>5095527
+1.
>>
>>5095527
>>5095462
+1
>>
>>5095480
>ANY ISEKAI'S LYIN' AROUND?

>>5095527
>>5095538
>>5095621
>>5095630
>HURT ME PLENTY

Writing!
>>
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Afterlife, huh? Crossing one leg over the other for MAXIMUM CONTEMPLATION, you try to imagine what your next steps might be–you never were really religious apart from when it suited you, so planning out, well, FOREVER doesn’t exactly come easily!

Dying is tough!

“Not a problem at all, Miss Parble–allow me to rephrase here: what erm… what would you enjoy doing once you’ve left this office?”

Digesting Finn’s words, quite a few ideas come to mind: if Ly and the others won’t be joining you and you can’t really do much about the situation in CLEARWATER, well…

Your train of thought gets derailed by another one speeding into the station! Giving the reaper a crooked grin, you politely ask him to follow you here–you’re pretty sure you’re on to something!

“By all means, enlighten me!” He replies with an amicable laugh!

SoOoooO, you begin, twiddling your fingers as you piece together your explanation, you’ve really been into fighting lately. Like, aside from the possibility of dying it’s been, well, a blast.

“Mhm…” The reaper nods as he twirls a pen in his bony hand.

No, seriously, you exclaim with a twinkle in your eye! You’ve been collecting these cool POWERS, fighting all of these evil creeps–hell, you fought a friggin’ EEL MUTANT the other day! That was bananas!

RIP, wasn’t it?” Finn asks, eyes lighting up in recognition! “Yes, I believe he was rather satisfied with his afterlife package…”

Well bully for him, you continue, waving the statement away! Anyways, you sigh, he wouldn’t happen to have, like, an excess of DEMONS or something lying around, would he? Because you could definitely see yourself thinning them out for eternity. Preferably with a gun or something. Say, did your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION make it down here?

“Err, no… firearms have their own department, I’m afraid.” Finn replies apologetically. “This erm… this plan of yours–it wouldn’t have anything to do with that RAZE game, would it?”

You blink. N-nope! You just came up with it yourself!

“I see!” The reaper shrugs. “My son won’t stop playing it… sounded familiar, is all. In any case,” he continues, clicking his pen in triumph, “GREAT. Loving it! Believe it or not, Miss Parble, we do have a package along those lines–it's a holdover from the old ‘VALHALLA’ deal, but it’s all quite modernized now–haven’t heard many complaints.”

Super, you grin as you mentally pick out your armor, Let’s do it! You should have died ages ago!

>CONTD.
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>>5095744
The reaper laughs politely at your enthusiasm before clicking a small button built into his desk. “If only everyone else who came into my office had the same attitude as you… alright, Miss Parble, let’s get cracking, shall we?”

Yes, you nod eagerly, let’s!

A moment later an antiquated personal computer emerges from a hatch in the desk–one of the older models your dad used to have that took floppy disks. Clicking away at a built-in keyboard, Finn gives you an apologetic smile as the curmudgeonly machine beeps in protest.

“Terribly sorry–these old models get a bit er, temperamental at their age… A-anyways, what I’m going to do for you, Miss Parble, is bring your files up on the computer–they’ll then be automatically analyzed and will let us know what plan, or plans,” he adds with a conspiratorial wink, “you qualify for!”

Automated sorting, huh? Fancy!

“Yes, quite…” The reaper agrees with a chuckle. “Okay… torpedo tubes loaded... That was a joke…”

You don’t laugh. Tapping a few more keys, the reaper leans back a bit in his chair as something starts grinding within the computer. A few minutes later, whatever cat was being tortured inside finally gives up the ghost, prompting Finn to examine the results. You’re no psycho-ologist, or whatever, but you can recognize a red flag when you see one, and watching the reaper’s pleasant grin droop into a look of pure, unadulterated worry definitely qualifies.

“R-right!” He stammers as he tries and utterly fails to put on a brave face, “S-so let’s talk, shall we?”

You respond with an exaggerated groan–what happened this time, you ask? Is it that BS with your social security number again? You only gave it out twice and the first time was an ACCIDENT!

“N-no, it’s not that…” The reaper replies before taking a stabilizing breath. “We erm… Well I’ve got good news on that ‘fighting’ front!”

You’re not entirely convinced, but you motion for him to continue.

“Okay!” Finn begins as he straightens his tie, “Now I know humans have some, well, conniptions when they hear it, but what are your feelings about, erm… Well… HELL?

You respond with a frown–is he talking ‘Biblical Hell’, or ‘New-Age Bureaucratic Nightmare Hell’?

“Yes.”

You’re uh… you’re not a fan, Finny. Not a fan.

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5095748
“J-just a moment, please!” The reaper pleads as you make to kick down his door, “I-it’s really not all that bad, honest! You can meet interesting people, try new things… it… it’s really an adventure when you think about it! Granted, you don’t have many other choices, but-”

But what, you snarl?! You were, like, saving the world and crap–doesn’t that get you any brownie points?

“Yes, well,” Finn sputters as he adjusts his reading glasses, “there were several actions taken into consideration, both good and bad…”

And those weren’t enough?! What the hell, man?! You try to keep a brave face on, but you’re sweating now!

“Erm… no, I’m afraid not…” Finn replies as he scrolls through your info once more. “There were quite a few incidents of note here, including a nasty one with a catering event-”

That was FUNNY, okay?! Massaging your temples, you decide to change tack–look, you sigh, can’t he just, like, find something else? You can still fight, but… is there really nothing else? Giving you a sympathetic look, Finn taps a few keys on his ancient keyboard.

“I understand that you’re frustrated, and-” Before he can finish, the reaper’s eyes light up upon seeing something else! “Wait a minute–there IS another package available here!”

Grinning from ear to ear like it was Christmas Morning, you leap back into your seat and lean forward eagerly–spill it, man!

“Well it’s no Heaven, of course,” The reaper laughs, “but there’s no denying that this is a rare deal!”

Quit beating around the bush and say it, you hiss, digging your fingers into your chair’s armrests! Nodding politely, the reaper clears his nonexistent throat before continuing.

“Right, well… it would appear that you have an ‘in’, as they call it, with err… the FAE REALM?

The room flickers GREEN for a moment. Come again?

>CONTD.
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>>5095749
“Not a name I read often, Miss Parble!” Finn continues. “It doesn’t list the specifics of the package, unfortunately, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that no one given that package has ever registered any complaints–no news is good news, right?” He adds with a wink.

Err, you mutter, does he get any complaints from hell?

“Oh, CONSTANTLY!” the reaper laughs! “Can barely keep up with it all, but Hell’s Hell, right? Sounds like a point in favor of your FAE FRIENDS! Between you and me: I find them rather peculiar, but if they know how to run a good afterlife, well,” the reaper shrugs, “who am I to question them?”

Something in your face clearly worries him, because the reaper immediately starts tapping his pen on his desk after looking your way. “W-well then,” He stammers, “You’ve got a choice to make and I unfortunately have quite a few appointments to keep, so if you were to choose from one of those options, Miss Parble, which sounds the most agreeable?”

Which indeed?
>MAYBE HELL ISN’T SO BAD?
>GOTTA GO WITH THE FAE–SHANNON WOULDN’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU!
>TRY RUNNING THE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME! HE MUST HAVE MISSED SOMETHING!
>CRY! IT GOT YOU OUT OF A SPEEDING TICKET ONCE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5095752
>TRY RUNNING THE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME! HE MUST HAVE MISSED SOMETHING!

He is aware of the fact that at least some of the terrible things we did happened when we were blacked out and not really in control, right?
>>
>>5095752
>TRY RUNNING THE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME! HE MUST HAVE MISSED SOMETHING!
>>
>>5095752
>>TRY RUNNING THE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME! HE MUST HAVE MISSED SOMETHING!

We really are dead, aren’t we? Really no coming out of this one?
>>
>>5095752

Positive this isn’t some other facet of a highly-elaborate fever dream? Please tell me someone’s reviving Stan (even if it’s Boris)
>>
>>5095752
>ISN'T IT CUSTOMARY FOR THE REAPER TO PLAY CHESS FOR YOUR SOUL?
Remember chess club.
>>
>>5095773
https://youtu.be/zc6KUlXP--M

>>5095762
>>5095764
>>5095763
>RUN THE NUMBERS AGAIN!

>>5095784
>HOW ABOUT A GAME?

Writing!
>>
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>>5095795
>>
>>5095795
Us killing Terry the terrible should also count for something, right?
>>
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Lips quivering and arms shaking at your sides, you quietly ask Mr. Moseley to run the numbers again.

“Errr, I beg your pardon?” He asks, cocking his head to the side.

You said run the numbers AGAIN, damn it! Rising to your feet, you stomp over to the desk and poke the top of the computer a few times–this thing’s old, yea? That means it’s probably glitchy!

“I er… we take very good care of our equipment, Miss Parble-”

Not good enough, you snap! Most of that bad stuff he’s reading was probably done during your FLUKE STATE when you had no control over yourself! That oughta account for at least half of your bad points!

“Yes, well-”

Well NOTHING, you continue! Does he really, honestly, TRULY expect you to just pick two crappy afterlives after all the hard work you’ve done?!

“Well now that I look again, there is a third opti-”

TELL ME, you hiss as you bring your face inches away from his! Quietly tapping away at his keyboard, Finn points a shaky finger at his screen.

“Y-you qualify for a r-r-reincarnation package… You’d have to start over, of course, b-but..”

But WHAT, you ask!

“B-but it’d be to an upper middle class American family… big house, loving family, excellent growth opportunities-”

See!? You exclaim triumphantly as you slam your palm on the monitor, you knew there was something good lying around! Peeking your head around to his side, you watch with interest as the reaper clicks away. So, you continue in a more pleasant tone, where’s your new life gonna start out anyways?

“Well the position appears to be in CLEVELAND-

A mournful wail reverberates around the office as you collapse defeated into your chair! This is it, you cry, only three afterlives available and all of them are TERRIBLE!

“Yes, well erm…” Finn begins, each word catching in his nonexistent throat, “I um… Terribly sorry, but I really don’t have anything positive to say about that last one–I’ll just cross it out.”

Before he can type anything else, however, you flop onto his desk and grab his hand in a plaintive gesture! Please, you whimper as moisture wells up in your eyes, just… just check again! One more time!

“Like I said, Miss,” Finn replies with a pained sigh, “These decisions are NON-NEGOTIABLE…

WAITAMINUTE, you snap as you rise from the desk, you can challenge him, right? For your soul!?

“Well it’s not strictly forbidden, but-” before the reaper can finish his explanation, you hear a faint buzzing from under his desk. He brought that into work?

“Telephone–terribly sorry!”

Moving to silence it, the reaper blinks in confusion as he reads the Caller ID. “Oh…” He mutters in a bewildered tone, “It’s my supervisor. Won’t take a moment.”

>CONTD.
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>>5095843
Leaving you pouting like a kid who just lost her Little League game, the skeleton brings the phone to where his ear would be and mutters a polite greeting.

“Yes? Yes… Mhm… Yes, of course…”

Wrapping up his little ‘pow-wow’ or whatever the suits call it with a cordial ‘ta’, the reaper turns his attention back your way with a renewed smile!

“Well, Miss Parble, I-”

NO, you snap, you’ve heard him spew crap for long enough! Now YOU get to talk! Giving you a perplexed look, Finn lets out a nervous chuckle as he opens his mouth again. “Mis-”

NOPE, you interrupt, placing your finger over his bony jaw, you’ve got something to say! You might not be the poster child for good morals, you begin as you pace around the office, but who IS nowadays?! You’ve made mistakes–hell, you’ve made a few! Sometimes they just hurt you, but sometimes they hurt other people! Usually Art! Does that make you a MONSTER?!

Finn barely pieces together a response. “Well er… no, but-”

But NOTHING, you snap! You’re no saint! You’re no Hollywood Big Shot, or Corporate Fat Cat either! You’re just a girl with a dream, damn it–a BUNCH of ‘em!

“Right, well-”

And he just wants to take those away? You continue as you hold his jaw shut! How can he sit there and call himself a man when he’s taking away your first international vacation!? Your first legal drink?! Your first…

“First?”

Err, that one’s private, you mutter. The point still stands, however, that you deserve better, damn it, and you’re not going ANYWHERE until you get what you want! The FOUNDING FATHERS didn’t stand for this kind of treatment and neither will you! USA! USA! USA!

“Okay, OKAY, please stop chanting for a moment!” The reaper pleads as you pump your arm along with your chant! “I just got off the phone with my supervisor and there’s been a development!”

Flopping back into your chair, you cross your arms and motion for him to continue. Yea, you scoff, that’s what you thought!

>CONTD.
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>>5095845
Gathering the documents on his already cluttered desk, the reaper takes a handkerchief from his breast pocket and daintily dabs it around his skull.

“Well erm… That was indeed a very um… spirited ran-err, ARGUMENT, Miss Parble…” He mutters as you sneer from across the desk. Damn straight, it was!

“But you’ll be happy to know that we’ll have to erm… reschedule.”

Is he dumb or what, you shout, slamming your fists on your chair’s armrests! How the heck are you gonna reschedule when you’re DEAD?! Unless they plan to send you back to the living or hook you up with a hotel or something, you can’t exactl…

Oh…

OH!

Leaping from your seat in triumph, you can’t help but laugh as you scurry over to Finn’s desk–this is because you wasted TERRY THE TERRIBLE, right?!

“Holy SHIT.” The reaper whispers, eyes wide in disbelief! “Th-that was you? Err, no, not because of that–you’re due to be resuscitated in the land of the living.” Before you can ask any further questions, the door behind you opens revealing a blinding light!

“I um, I know it wasn’t under the best of circumstances, Miss Parble, but for what it’s worth it was a pleasure.” The reaper adds as he retrieves a SKULL LOLLIPOP from his desk. “Sweety?”

Huh? Sure, you nod as you take the candy from his hand, but don’t call me ‘Sweety’!

“Right.” Finn nods as you pocket the treat. “Well then, Miss Parble, I suppose that’s that for now… We’ll catch up again on–”he explains, trailing off near the end, “well let’s just call it ‘Soon’, yes? VERY soon!”

Feeling yourself being pulled towards the door, you raise an eyebrow at the skeleton–how soon is soon?

“Sorry, can’t disclose that!” He says with an embarrassed chuckle! “Company policy and all that!” Feeling an uncanny warmth around you, you feel yourself fading from wherever you currently are!

“If I had to drop a few hints, however: stick to white meat, get up and stretch often, don’t take the shortcut–stick to the main road, and most importantly: don-”

Before the reaper can finish his warning, you find yourself lying face-up in what appears to be some kind of cavern!

… with Eddie’s lips locked with yours.

How do you respond here?
>PUSH HIM OFF! AAAUGH!
>I MEAN… IF HE’S ALREADY THERE…
>CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS! ART! THE MARSHAL–ARE THEY THERE TOO!?
>TRY OUT YOUR BONE CLAWS! ARE YOUR POWERS BACK?!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5095848
>CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS! ART! THE MARSHAL–ARE THEY THERE TOO!?
You don't deal with hemorrhagic shock using CPR tho. I bet Eddie just wanted to kiss us.
>>
>>5095848
>CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS! ART! THE MARSHAL–ARE THEY THERE TOO!?
>TRY OUT YOUR BONE CLAWS! ARE YOUR POWERS BACK?!
>>
>>5095848
>I MEAN… IF HE’S ALREADY THERE…
>CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS! ART! THE MARSHAL–ARE THEY THERE TOO!?
>TRY OUT YOUR BONE CLAWS! ARE YOUR POWERS BACK?!
>>
>>5095868
>>5095872
>>5095879
>CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS: 3
>BONE CLAWS!: 2
>IF HE'S ALREADY THERE...: 1

Writing!
>>
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Feeling sensation return to your limbs, you start by giving the ole’ BONE CLAWS a try! Flicking the ‘switch’ in your head, you nearly send Eddie blasting through the tunnel roof as your claws pop just as naturally as they always have!

EEEP!” Shouts the film student hanging from a stalactite, “I-I-I-I W-WAS J-JUST DOING CPR, STAN! PLEASE DON’T KILL MEEEE!”

It takes you a minute to get a feel for where you are–in place of a warehouse in the North Pole, you find yourself lying in some kind of storeroom back in the mines! Popping your trusty claws in and out a few more times, you rise from the blood-streaked patch of ground below you and give him one of your famous scowls–sure, you mutter, because that totally helps when you’ve lost all your blood!

“Funny as this is, Ed’s innocent, Stan.”

Whirling to face the familiar voice, you find yourself staring at Art and The Marshal–both covered in a bit more grime than usual, but no worse for wear! With a smile plastered on your face, you scamper over to the sweaty nerd and wrap your arms around him–guess you both have something common now, huh?

Returning the hug, Art motions for Eddie to climb back down. “Yea, but don’t think for a second that I’m happy about it!” Wrapping you in a warm embrace, the Rent-A-Cop pulls back a bit to look you in the eyes. “Seriously though–Ed might have just saved your life.”

Blinking in confusion, you turn to face the film student sobbing as he puts his borrowed helmet and mask back on. Care to elaborate?

“W-w-when we f-found you… Y-you had j-just tripped onto that p-pickaxe over there…” Eddie blubbers as he points a shaky finger at a blood-soaked pickaxe stuck in the floor! “A-Art grabbed a bone from th-that trapper guy, b-but…”

“But even after the patch up you still weren’t breathing.” Art concludes. “Before we could do anything else, Ed was already on the floor giving you mouth-to-mouth.”

“Reckon that’s that. If yer’ done dyin’, we’ve got an OUTLAW ta’ catch.” Grunts The Marshal. Good to see him too!

Still getting your bearings, you bring Ed in for a hug–you figure he’s earned it. As the poor guy collapses into your side, you try to tune out his sobs as you plot your next move.

>HOLD ON–TELL ME EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED!
>ANY SIGN OF BORIS OR ANYONE?
>LET’S TRACK DOWN CLAYTON! LEAD THE WAY!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5095914
>HOLD ON–TELL ME EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED!
>>
>>5095914
>>HOLD ON–TELL ME EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED!

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH WE LIVE!!!
>>
>>5095924
>>5095936
>TELL ME MORE!

Writing!

>>5095936
For NOW.... DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN
>>
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“So,” The Marshal repeats in a tone that belies urgency, “We movin’ or what?”

Hold your horses, pard, you reply as you gently distance yourself from Eddie’s still-sobbing form, how do you know this isn’t just another WACKY WORD WORLD!?

Everyone, even Eddie, goes quiet at that.

“Look, I know your brain just started getting that trickle of oxygen it loves back, but what the heck are you talking about?” Art asks as he cocks his helmeted head to the side.

Taking full advantage of your healed body, you plant your hands on your hips and give them all a frown. Is he seriously saying they didn’t see anything!? You heard Clayton’s voice in your head! You escaped a bunch of robots! You scared off a SEWER MUTANT! Hell, you even went to Santa’s Workshop! Also you totally just died for a bit–how do they explain THAT!?

“Well the ‘dying’ bit is pretty self-explanatory…” Art replies as he gestures to the pool of blood sitting where you returned to the living. “You were in bad shape way before we followed you down here.”

Wait, what? They caught up with you?! BEFORE you nearly died!?

“It weren’t easy, either!” The Marshal replies in a gruff voice! “You were-”

Why didn’t they try to help you!?

“We’re getting to that, damn it! Do you wanna hear or do you want to keep interrupting?” Art asks impatiently. Crossing your arms and taking a seat on a nearby overturned shelf, you motion for him to continue. By all means!

“Alright, but I’ll keep it short–we still need to track down that LIEUTENANT!

You wave Art’s concerns away with a scoff–progress the plot without you? Puh-LEASE!

The Rent-A-Cop taps his foot on the floor. “What’d I say about interrupting?”

Responding with a groan and an eyeroll, you can’t help but smile a bit–if you had died back there you wouldn’t be able to do that anymore! Can you imagine?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096064
“We first spotted you not too long after our radio call.” Art begins as he leans against the cavern wall. “There was a lot of interference, but hey, you were alive, right?”

Right, you nod, and hurting like hell. You barely even remember dressing your wounds or guzzling those painkillers…

“Wasn’t us, so I guess you did it.” Art shrugs. “Anyways, we had just headed into the mine when we heard a scream–didn’t sound like yours, but it sounded close!”

The MUTANT, you hiss! Talk about a close call!

“Mutant?” Eddie asks, wiping the remaining tears off of his face. “Didn’t see any of those, Stan.”

Well YOU did, you snap! It was horrible! Glowing red eyes, a stumbling gait, deadly goo-

“A question if I may, freak:” The Marshal interjects with his usual charm, “When you fell into this here mine, you didn’t happen to put on a mask, didja?”

No, moron, not when you were FALLING! You put a RESPIRATOR on later, but you replaced that with your SEA CLOAK when it turned into a SPIDER MONSTER.

The lawman stares gives you a long, unamused stare before turning toward the others. “And THAT, my friends, is why I told you to cover yer’ damn faces!”

“Jesus…” Eddie mutters from behind his gas mask, “Is that why Stan was acting weird? Err… WeirdER?

“It would definitely explain a lot…” Art muses to himself.

Wait a sec, you ask, are they saying that AIR got to you?

“Let’s uh… let’s just keep going through the steps.” Art suggests as Eddie takes a seat next to you. “It’ll be easier that way.”

Let’s hope so!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096065
“So here’s the bad news, Stan:” Art continues, tapping on his mask’s lenses for emphasis, “Boris’ guys are definitely down here.”

You shake your fist in anger using your fully-healed arm! BORIS!

“Yea, our thoughts exactly.” Art nods.

“They were wearin’ masks, but they were torn an’ shot up. Probably thanks ta’ Clayton’s boys.” The Marshal grunts. “The ones that weren’t shot half ta’ death were runnin’ through the tunnels hollerin’ like mad dogs!”

“We tried to keep our distance, but uh… some of ‘em got violent, Stan.” Eddie adds in a low voice. “And they still had guns, so…”

So that goo they spit, you interject, those were bullets?! Art nods.

“Seems that way, yea–though to be fair to them, they probably thought you were some kind of monster too.”

“HA! Wonder where they’d get that idea!” The Marshal snorts! Shut it, gramps!

“Anyways, we snuck around when we could, but there were a few bandits too. Took ‘em out as we went.” The Rent-A-Cop continues. “That’s when we found you!”

“You musta’ been talking to Ly or something, because when we saw you riding by in a minecart you were like, speaking in tongues or something!” Eddie adds with wide-eyes! “At first it was kinda funny because you were goin’, like, two miles per hour or something, but when we tried to help you out, well…”

“You started shouting something about robots.” Art concludes with a smile at the end. “We tried pulling you out of the cart, but you’re uh… you’re slippery, Stan.

Yes, you agree, swelling with pride, you ARE!

“We came after ya’, but you and that damned cart of yours fell into the ole’ ore refinery!” The Marshal growls! “Place was hotter n’ Hell–I reckon Black got the smelters runnin’ again ta’ use in the defenses!”

“It’s a wonder you didn’t melt.” Art adds in a pointed tone. All thanks to the TENTACLE, you reply with a grin!

“Err, okay.” Art mutters, clearly not getting it. “You with us so far?”

Yea, you shrug, but what happened next?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096068

Twirling his rifle in his gloved hands, Art looks to The Marshal to explain.

“Well I knew that there were more tracks past the refinery–folk would load refined ore onto carts, then send ‘em off to storage for the mules ta’ pick up.” The skeleton explains as he rubs some dirt off of his REPEATER RIFLE. “It took some doin’, of course, an’ by doin’ I mean killin’, but we took a secondary tunnel all the way to an abandoned shaft and climbed down to where we thought you’d be poppin’ out.”

Retracing your steps in your head, you vaguely remember being in the North Pole around then…

“That explains a lot, actually…” Art mutters as he points to your soot-covered clothes. “When we arrived, the place was practically buried in ash. Had to wade through a bunch of it to find where you dropped in.”

“Luckily you left us a clue!” Eddie grins as his sunny disposition almost completely returns! “We had just turned a corner when two bandits were puzzling over this burning plank on some of the minecart tracks–once we took ‘em out, we noticed another cart on some tracks above!”

“Covered in bloody handprints, too!” Art adds.

Shit, you mutter, you totally forgot about the heads in there! Did they see Gus or anyone?

“Yea, about that…” Art continues with concern in his voice, “the cart you used was stuffed with cans of beans, and I mean STUFFED. Not sure if you tossed them in there or not, but yea–lots of beans!”

“At least we don’t gotta head back for ‘em now, huh kid?” Ly asks, causing you to light up with glee! Ly, you exclaim, you’re okay!

“Both of us are, thank god… now keep it down, will ya? I wanna hear da’ rest of dis’.”

Right, you nod before motioning for Art to continue.

“Err, glad to hear you’re okay too, Ly.” The Security Goon adds awkwardly.

“Same, Ly! Was worried about you guys for a moment!” Ed grins!

“What the hell is a ‘Ly?’” Asks The Marshal.

Not now, damn it, otherwise this exposition will NEVER end!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096070
“Okay, okay, I’ll wrap it up!” Art growls. “It took some doing tracking you down after that–at first we figured we were going the wrong way when there were so many bandits still alive, but-”

“But we knew you liked sneaking around, so we carved our way through!” Eddie adds. “That’s when we found you again!”

“Yea,” Art nods, “but we weren’t alone!”

Can he quit being dramatic and just tell you what happened, you snap! You were ambushed in Santa’s Warehouse by Frosty the Snowman–things got a little dicey after that even with Art, Talbot, and Mitzi’s heads stuffed into a mech!

“Wait–you didn’t take me?” Eddie asks in a somewhat dismayed tone. Yea, well-

“Yea, that wasn’t Fros-wait, MECH?!” Art stammers, eyes going wide behind his mask’s eye lenses!

“Stan, NO!” Ly cries, causing you to shift gears! Errr, who was it you were fighting, then?

“Fighting?” The Rent-A-Cop asks as he snaps out of it, “Errr, that guy.” Following Art’s fingers to the charred stain on the ground, you understand almost immediately. Huh.

“Guess WOLF followed us all the way here.” The Marshal shrugs as he spits on a nearby sprung bear trap. “Bastard had time to get set up too, looks like. Gotta say, kid, if yer’ gonna get killed by any of the BLACK EYE GANG, WOLF’S definitely one of the nastiest.”

Giving the pile of ash a low whistle, the lawman turns his attention back your way and chuckles. “Crazy sonnuvabitch used to flay his victims, you know that? Woulda’ been an improvement on you, though. Freak.”

You’ll flay HIM if he keeps that shit up! Rising from the overturned shelf you’re sitting on, you navigate past the pile of old torched boxes and poke your foot at Wolf’s remains. So they got here in time to watch the show, huh?

“You could say that, yea.” Art nods. “Pretty unorthodox fight, though, even for you.”

“You shoulda seen it!” Eddie laughs! “When we came in you were climbin’ all the shelves while he was goin’ to town with his axe!”

Cool, you mutter, but you don’t see what’s so funny about it.

“Because the best part came after!” The film student wheezes as he clutches his sides! “Just when he’s about to nail ya’ with a throwing knife, you dive off a shelf like a luchadore or something and toss–and I’m not makin’ it up–a HANDFUL of RATS at a lantern! A HANDFUL, Stan!”

“Yea, that was kinda weird even by your standards.” Art chuckles. “Did the trick, though–lantern oil sprayed everywhere and the whole room was burning for a while!”

As if on cue, you spot a trio of rats out of the corner of your eye. Watching you with beady eyes, they almost seem to nod at you before disappearing into a nearby crack.

You’re uh… you’re gonna need therapy after all this, aren't you?

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096073
You uh… think you can figure out the rest…

“Sick bastard chucked you across the room, you got up, then boom–tripped right onto a pickaxe.” Art reports as if reading off steps in a recipe.

“Once that happened, though, all bets were off!” Eddie adds in a serious tone!

“Crazy bastard ran into the flames to try to help ya.” The Marshal explains. “Damn near took his head off with that thing in yer’ eye, but he grabbed one of Wolf’s bones and stuffed it down yer’ throat.”

Touching your hand to where your bullet wound was, you breathe a sigh of relief as you feel nothing but ordinary skin. Right in the nick of time, huh?

Barely.” Art gushes as he slaps Ed on the shoulder! “You weren’t breathing even after you healed up, so Eddie here took matters into his own hands!”

“And uh… here we are.” Eddie shrugs with a sheepish grin behind his mask. “Glad you’re okay, Stan.”

Ditto, you sigh. So if what everyone said was true, you remark, that means you and Santa are cool, right?

“I beg your pardon?” Art asks, cocking his head to the side.

“I wouldn’t worry about it, cupcake.” Ly laughs. “Worst comes ta’ worst, we’ll just dip into another dimension where we ain’t on da’ naughty list!”

<<<MEANWHILE IN THE NORTH POLE…>>>
“I don’t understand...”

A massive plume of dark smoke trails into the Northern sky as a rotund man in a red suit watches an army of elves struggle to contain a massive inferno!

“It appears to have originated in one of the warehouses, sir.” Reports a taciturn elf standing at the man’s side. “By all accounts the fire should have died out, but if the flames jumped to the shelves or the presents-”

“The chemicals in the packaging would only fuel the flames. I know, Snowflake.” The man interrupts in a weary tone.

“Sir,” the elf begins, “We… we can still recoup… The staff is with you every step of the way–you want them on double shifts? Triple? Quadruple? They’ll do it, no question.”

“Frosty is dead.” The bearded man states. “The presents are all burned. The elves are already working themselves to death…” A long, bitter sigh escapes from the once jolly old elf’s mouth. “Christmas is ruined, Snowflake. At least for this year.”

The elf’s lower lip trembles knowing full-well what his superior means. “I… I’m sorry, sir…”

“I want more security.” The red-suited man orders. “Year-round. I won’t lose any more dear friends to heroism.”

Snowflake jots some notes down on his tablet. “A-anything else, sir?”

“Yes: find whoever’s responsible for this mess.”

“Of course, sir.” The elf nods. “And erm, what will we do when we track them down?”

The massive flames reflect off of Santa’s tired eyes. “I will burn their name… and all of their lineage and conspirators… onto the NAUGHTY LIST. FOREVER MORE!

>CONTD.
>>
>>5096075
Relaying Ly’s joke to your pals, you all enjoy a healthy round of laughter! Satisfied with their explanation, you rise from your seat and brush the dust off of your gloves before looking at them expectantly. Well?

“W-well?” Eddie asks, looking at Art for guidance.

“You sure you’re ready to go, Stan?” Asks the Rent-A-Cop, earning an annoyed groan from The Marshal. “We can rest a little more if you need it.”

“When you DO feel like doin’ yer’ damn job I’ve got TWO OPTIONS for us:” the skeleton explains. “We’re close to the CENTER now, but it’s sure ta’ be guarded. We can cut through some of the older quarries if you wanna keep sneaking, or we can cut right down the middle–might not be as bad if that ‘Burgess’ friend of yers’ already headed that way.”

His name’s BORIS, you snap, and he’s not your friend–he’s the ANTICHRIST! Brushing your explanation away, the lawman gets to work looting what little ammo and supplies he can scrounge up from the room leaving you to give an answer to Art.

“Just say the word, Stan. I know what it’s like coming back from the dead…”

In that case, you sigh, you’re leaning towards…
>LET’S HIT THE CENTER STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE! GO LOUD!
>LET’S SNEAK IN THROUGH THE ABANDONED QUARRIES. GO SOFT!
>LEMME THANK ED PROPERLY FIRST!
>I WANNA TRY TO CONTACT THE OTHERS FIRST!
>HOLD ON–I HAD ONE MORE QUESTION FOR YOU GUYS! (WRITE-IN)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5096078
>>LET’S SNEAK IN THROUGH THE ABANDONED QUARRIES. GO SOFT!

We live another day to kill Boris
>>
>>5096078
>LET’S SNEAK IN THROUGH THE ABANDONED QUARRIES. GO SOFT!
>>
>>5096081
>>5096206
>SNEAKY SNEAKY!
Writing!
>>
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Rising to your ash-covered feet, you crack your knuckles and give your pals a nod–you’ll say a word, alright:

LET’S GO!

Shooting each other confused glances, Art is the first to speak up. As usual. “That’s uh… that’s two, but… Yea, okay, let’s roll.” Sending an expectant look in The Marshal’s direction, the old coot gets the picture almost immediately.

“About damn time. Don’t even think of dyin’ on the way, missy.”

The only thing you're thinking of right now, you reply as you move to leave the storage room, is kicking ASS. And if he keeps it up-

“Yea, yea, shut yer’ damn mouth or you’ll rile the whole damn mine…” Pushing a rusty metal door open with the butt of his rifle, The Marshal leads the way down a darkened tunnel. Creeping through the shadows with your trusty CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION at your side, you can’t help but wonder where everybody went!

“Most of his boys ate lead out front.” The skeleton explains as you all duck around another corner into a half-submerged tunnel.

“And we took out the guys in here!” Eddie adds, keeping his SHOTGUN close! “You guys think there are many left?”

A rumble in the walls around you puts the conversation on hold.

“Probably a few?” Art hisses, earning a shrug from you and the others. Ducking under a series of half-collapsed support beams, you and the others freeze up at the sound of gunshots right around the corner!

Pressing against the tunnel wall, you hold your breath as a ragged human figure hobbles down the passage perpendicular to you–his face covered by a mask whose filter hangs limp like a wet noodle. Sending a manic glance down your tunnel, the Good Boy Goon recoils from a pebble dropping from the ceiling and scurries into the shadows like a rat!

Waiting for a moment longer, The Marshal quietly motions for you to follow before turning the corner.

“Guess we found our mutant, cupcake.” Ly remarks as you and the others regroup in front of a collapsed passage. “Kinda glad we didn’t shoot one of those poor bastards…”

You too, you whisper, especially after your near-death experience! That waiting room SUCKED!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5096390
While Eddie and the lawman get to work clearing some of the rubble, you give Art’s side a friendly nudge. Does uh… does he think those guys are gonna be okay?

“Well you were able to bounce back after a while…” He replies with a shrug. “Though we also gave you some MARROW… Hard to say until we take care of the skeletons here.”

Drawing you both over with a triumphant ‘AHA!’, The Marshal wipes the dirt from his gloves and shows off his handiwork with a grin: at the base of the rubble blocking the passage lies a small crawl space leading deeper into the mines!

“It’s a tight squeeze, but this passage will get us there!” He reassures you. “Didn’t bring any butter with me, so don’t get caught in there, ya’ hear?”

Shoving the skeleton out of the way, you stoop down into the hole and lead the charge. You’d better be close, damn it! Shimmying on your belly like a snake, the passage emerges into a dizzyingly-tall shaft leading upwards towards a ghostly greenish glow! Making space for Eddie and the others, you nearly land flat on your face as you misjudge your next step and stumble into a massive sand basin! Pulling your foot free, another series of quakes rocks the chamber causing countless grains of sand from the smooth walls around you to fall like snow.

“I’m no expert,” Eddie whispers at your side, “But those walls look pretty soft to me!”

“Sandstone.” The Marshal grunts. “Quit hollerin’--this place could come down at the drop of a hat.”

Rolling your eyes at your resident Rockologist, you lead your motley band through the lake of sand towards a sidewinder trail across the way. If anything’s gonna get you all up there, it’s that!

“Not to freak anyone out or anything,” Eddie mutters, clearly about to freak Art or someone out, “But are those quakes getting, uh… Stronger?”

Well crap, now he’s totally freaking YOU out! It’s true, of course–every time you and the others pause to listen, the walls shake after a moment’s pause. You’re no expert on the subject, of course, but you’ve got the feeling that there’s something wrong here…

“Couldn’t tell ya’ what it is.” The Marshal whispers as he keeps his REPEATER close to his chest. “Earthquakes got their own schedules to keep–they don’t follow other folk.”

“Any ideas, Stan?” Art hisses through his mask.

>PROCEED SLOW AND STEADY! NO SENSE IN WAITING AROUND!
>MAKE A BREAK FOR THE SIDEWINDER! THE SOONER YOU’RE OUTTA HERE THE BETTER!
>CHUCK A ROCK AWAY FROM YOU! DOES IT HAPPEN WITH OBJECTS TOO?
>DIG INTO THE SAND! MAYBE THERE’S SOMETHING UNDERNEATH YOU?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all for tonight, all, and I've got some plans tomorrow so I might not get to updating until later in the day if at all--despite Stan's best efforts it's still Christmas Eve tomorrow on my end of the planet.

Can't promise many updates tomorrow or the big 25th himself, but keep an eye on the thread, I guess! If I don't see you before, have a Merry Christmas!
>>
>>5096392
>>PROCEED SLOW AND STEADY! NO SENSE IN WAITING AROUND!
>>
>>5096392
>CHUCK A ROCK AWAY FROM YOU! DOES IT HAPPEN WITH OBJECTS TOO?
>>
>>5096392
>DIG INTO THE SAND! MAYBE THERE’S SOMETHING UNDERNEATH YOU?
>>
>>5096392
>PROCEED SLOW AND STEADY! NO SENSE IN WAITING AROUND!
>>
>>5096403
>>5096581
>SLOW N' STEADYYYYY

>>5096437
>CHUCK A ROCK!

>>5096470
>STRIKE THE EARTH!

About to head out, but before we go....

ROLL 1d100+5 TO SLIP ACROSS! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! Should update more later today or tomorrow!
>>
Rolled 41 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5096825
>>
Rolled 7 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5096825
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>5096825
>>
>>5096073
>We battled a pissed off bandit alongside a trio of mine rats that used a lantern as a flamethrower.
Dope.
>>
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>>5097090
Yea, every now and then the quest gets kinda neat.

>>5096825
>Said I'd update later on the 24th or on the 25th.
>Didn't

Sorry, guys, Christmas turned out to be a big deal--a GOOD big deal, but a big deal nonetheless. Should have an update ready SUNDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST. Hope you all had a lovely day!

>>5096833
>>5096862
>>5096864
>HIGHEST ROLL: 58!
WRITING.... TOMORROW!

Also,
>CAPTCHA HAS 'RKN' in it
IT'S A SIGN
>>
>>5098151
I think you can take a flake on Christmas of all times, dude. Nobody's gonna rag on you for that one. Hopefully it was a good time for flaking!
>>
>>5098151
I can't believe you flaked on us on Christmas. You really deserve a ragging on for that.
>>
>>5098285
You know what, you're right. I change my mind. Who the hell do you think you are, Bones?
>>
Bones once again dissapointing us, society, and god. How long will we keep letting this happen?
>>
>>5098151
You have crossed the lines that should not be crossed, Bones. Your retribution will be well-deserved.
>>
>>5098285
>>5098502
>>5098521
L-look, guys, I had to smooth things over with Santa after that whole fiasco your pet Raccoon Gremlin pulled a few posts ago--c-cut me some slack here!

Totally gonna make it up to you too, b-because guess who's writing the update right now? Th-this guy!
>>
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Yea, you grunt as you continue towards the path leading upwards, keep WALKING!

“You sure about that?” Art asks as he and the others tread lightly through the sand alongside you. “If those quakes get stronger-”

Then you’ll SHAKE a bit! OoOOOoHHH, SCARY! Waving your arms dramatically around you, you brush Art’s DUMB COMMENT OF THE DAY off and keep marching. Dork grew up in California and still acts like earthquakes are dangerous…

“He might have a point, Stan…” Eddie adds, quickly lowering his voice as the rumbles around you increase in magnitude! “Wh-what if the ceiling caves in!?”

If they quit whining for a sec and keep moving, you angrily explain, you won’t be here when it happens! DUH!

As your last word shoots from your mouth, another tremor RIPS through the cavern–this one more violent than before! Watching wide-eyed as bits of debris fall from above, you nearly lose your footing as the sand shifts beneath your feet!

“Couldn’t die on your own, could ya, Stan?” Art whines as you all struggle to hold your ground, “You just had to come back and get US killed too…”

Well yea, you mutter, you’re not going to Hell alo-

Before you can finish, sand erupts from the ground like a geyser heralding something big below you! Just as you thought, a massive shape emerges mere feet away–one with a segmented body caked in ancient dirt and glittering stones!

“What in the goddamn-”

You cut The Marshal off with the answer to everyone’s question: It’s a GIANT WOOOORM!

https://youtu.be/s40KLdo62VQ
Whipping its SUV-sized head around in your direction, the colossal critter bares its countless rows of hooked teeth before pouncing towards you with a bone-chilling screech!

“Welp,” Ly mutters as you heroically stand frozen in awe, “We got what, a few extra minutes of livin’? Nice knowin’ ya, kid.”

Before you can die for the second time this thread, your impending doom reverts back to pending as a chunk of sandstone falls from the chamber walls, landing with a resounding ‘THUD’ on the sand not too far behind you! Changing course in mid-leap, the atrocious annelid tackles the rock into the ground and disappears once again into the sandy sea!

Exchanging a ‘what the FUCK’ look with the rest of your gang, you opt to proceed in cautious silence as the sand continues churning beneath your feet!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5098609
Through some sheer luck, you and the others all share the same idea to not run for your lives, but proceed softly across the sand like a deer… a deer trying to avoid a giant worm, that is!

“Mermaids, rock worms, fairies… ya’ think Bigfoot’s gonna make an appearance too?” Ly asks, earning a shrug from you. You’ll have to survive long enough to find out!

Reaching the ‘bank’ of the ‘pond’, you and the gang take a few shaky steps onto a slope covered in sand… LOTS. Placing your boot on the incline, you can already feel the grains shift beneath your foot. Glancing back to your team, all you get for reassurance is a thumb’s up from Eddie, an impatient scowl from The Marshal, and a motion to hurry things up from Art. At least you know who to keep alive when stuff goes south…

More importantly, the tremors within the cavern walls tell you that the worm definitely hasn’t left yet! Sending more and more debris tumbling from above, the burrowing beast enters a vicious cycle of attacking the chunks of rock and causing more to fall!

“If dat’ thing keeps dat’ up, da’ whole ceiling’s gonna come down!” Ly shouts from the safe confines of your body! Yea, you hiss, and that GREEN-TINTED CAVERN above ain’t getting any closer!

Still, you’ve got your health again. AND your BONE POWERS! Ly probably can’t wrangle the worm, but you at least have some ideas on how to get past it…

>IT WORKED BEFORE–GO SLOWLY UP THE SIDEWINDER PATH!
>NO TIME TO LOSE–CHARGE UPWARDS!
>DISTRACT THE WORM WITH ROCKS OR SOMETHING WHILE THE OTHERS POWER UP THE HILL!
>IT AIN’T THAT BIG–LET’S KILL THIS THING!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5098612
>>IT AIN’T THAT BIG–LET’S KILL THIS THING!
>>
>>5098612
>DISTRACT THE WORM WITH ROCKS OR SOMETHING WHILE THE OTHERS POWER UP THE HILL!
>>
>>5098612
>>DISTRACT THE WORM WITH ROCKS OR SOMETHING WHILE THE OTHERS POWER UP THE HILL!
They must run without Rhythm, to not attract the worm
>>
>>5098612
>DISTRACT THE WORM WITH ROCKS OR SOMETHING WHILE THE OTHERS POWER UP THE HILL!
If it weren't down here in a cavern with us, and we weren't on a time limit to beat Boris, I'd say we could take it. But speed is key.
>>
>>5098616
>THE BIGGER THEY ARE....

>>5098617
>>5098621
>>5098641
>'ROCK' AND ROLL!

Writing!
>>
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Snatching up a ROCK from the base of the incline, you test the stone’s weight a bit before waving your team onward!

“...Please tell me you’re not gonna throw a rock at it.” Art groans. You’re gonna throw a rock at him if he doesn’t move it!

“I get it! It’s a distraction!” Eddie hisses as another van-sized chunk of ceiling falls a bit too close for comfort! Yea, you snap, and it’s only gonna work if they move NOW! Nodding to each other, Art and The Marshal lead the charge up the hill while the worm’s preoccupied!

“Don’t worry, Stan,” Eddie whispers as the beast perks up at the sound of boots clambering up a slope, “We’ll cover you once we’re up th-”

No TIME, you snap, shoving him towards the path! Giving you one last nod, the student follows the others along the winding path as you chuck the ROCK as far away as you can from your pals! Hitting the wall of the cavern with a resounding ‘CRUNCH!’, a grin forms on your face as the telltale bumps under the sand freeze in place! Gathering up the biggest rocks you can find, you continue chucking them as fast as you can!

“It’s workin’!” Ly reports as you watch the worm dance under the sand! Great, you whisper, because you’re running out of ROCKS!

Even worse, the beast’s thrashing is only making the tremors worse–chasing after every stone you through with murderous abandon, the worm’s growing frustration only increases the vigor at which it digs!

Just when you pause to check on everyone’s progress, ill fortune rears its ugly head: The sound of shifting sands is accompanied by a panicked yelp as Eddie slips on some loose footing! Sliding beyond Art or The Marshal’s reach and down the slope, the film student scrambles for any handhold he can find, but in the process conducts a symphony of scraping and scratching noises!

“Errr, Stan?!” Ly asks as you gather up your THREE REMAINING STONES, “Problem!”

Chucking another stone into the sand pit, you respond with a shrug. What’s the worm gonna do? Burrow through the WALL!?

As if reading your mind, the beast does just that! Ignoring your newest payload, the elephantine earthworm charges into the sandstone wall next to you and makes his way towards Eddie! Eyes and mouth agape in horror, the student readies his SHOTGUN as his descent finally slows to a halt!

You were never much of an optometrist, so you just KNOW something’s gonna go wrong here if you don’t intervene! The question is, how do you stop a worm on a mission?!

>THROW ALL THE ROCKS!
>HOP ONTO THE SAND AND MAKE NOISE! DISTRACTION!
>GET THE WORM’S ATTENTION WITH AN ITEM! (WHICH ONE?)
>CLIMB UP AND COVER ED! YOU CAN LEAVE TOGETHER!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5098752
>>CLIMB UP AND COVER ED! YOU CAN LEAVE TOGETHER!
>>
>>5098752
>CLIMB UP AND COVER ED! YOU CAN LEAVE TOGETHER!
>>
>>5098752
>GET THE WORM’S ATTENTION WITH AN ITEM! (WHICH ONE?)
Fire our shotgun. That'll grab its attention for sure. We're faster than all the others, so better it's after us than them.
>>
>>5098763
>>5098764
>BELAY 'ED'XECUTION!

>>5098768
>ATTENTION, PLEASE!

Coverin' Ed! ROLL 1d100+5 TO PROTECT! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

As per usual, feel free to chime in with specific tactics or risk ME WRITING WHAT HAPPENS! DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!
>>
Rolled 44 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5098804
Here goes nothin'.
>>
Rolled 44 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5098804
>>
Rolled 13 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5098804

Time to die (again)
>>
>>5098821
>>5098828
>>5098830
>>
>>5098821
>>5098828
>>5098830
Geez, I wonder if Boris is having this kind of trouble on his end? Will we be alive to find out??

Writing!
>>
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No time to lose–if this thing’s gotten wise to your tricks then you’re gonna have to think up some new ones! Popping your BONE CLAWS, you rush up the hill towards Ed and yell for him to hang on–the cavalry’s on its-OOF!

Just when Eddie’s face lights up with relief, you feel the ground shift beneath your right foot and slide away! Guess the path was pretty slippery after all. Tumbling forward in slow motion, you have just enough time before face-planting on the side of the hill to watch the ground EXPLODE behind Eddie revealing a very hungry worm’s open jaws!

To their credit, Art and The Marshal unload their weapons into the creature’s earth-covered hide almost immediately, but only a few bullets penetrate its thick hide! Launching towards the film student with an alien shriek, the worm snatches Eddie in its jaws as it begins the long trip down to the sand below!

STAAAAAAAN!” Eddie shouts as the SHOTGUN wriggles from his grasp, “HEEEEELP!

Scrambling to your feet, you stand between the worm and the sand below–you could blast it with your GUNS OR EYE, but you risk hitting Eddie! Soaring just outside your reach, the worm or Ed can only be reached if you LEAP for it!

Whatever you’re gonna do, you’d better do it fast!

>LEAP AND GRAB EDDIE!
>JUMP AND CARVE THE WORM UP!
>BLAST THE WORM TO PIECES WITH A GUN!
>LASER BLAST THIS CREEPY CRAWLY!
>HOLD ON–YOU’VE GOT AN ITEM FOR THIS! (WHICH ITEM?)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5098874
>LEAP AND GRAB EDDIE!
>>
>>5098874
>LEAP AND STUFF A SMOKE GRENADE DOWN ITS GULLET.
Smoke grenades get real fuckin hot. Like, hot enough to start fires. Leap at the bitch and chuck one into his throat and he'll let go.
>>
>>5098874
>>LEAP AND STUFF A SMOKE GRENADE DOWN ITS GULLET.
>>
Rolled 49 - 5 (1d100 - 5)

>>5098883

I am gonna test the dice since I anticipate we will roll again.
>>
>>5098874
>LEAP AND STUFF A SMOKE GRENADE DOWN ITS GULLET.
I'll change to this
>>
>>5098881
>>5098883
>>5098890
>SMOKE IF YA GOT 'EM!

It's the moment you've been waiting for, folks! ROLL 1d100+5 TO SMOKE 'EM OUT! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 90 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5098925
>>
Rolled 77 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5098925

>>5098928
THANK YOU YOU WINNER
>>
Rolled 25 (1d100)

>>5098925
Here to roll us another Nat 1 and kill Eddie
>>
>>5098928
>>5098930
>>5098932
>HIGHEST ROLL: 95!

Eddie lives another day to write notes for the inevitable BONES QUEST: LEGEND OF THE MAGIC BONES movie. Writing!
>>
>>5098928
You made me proud, boy.
>>
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Unlike your last display of heroics, your next action is as fluid as it is swift–pushing off of the hill holding a SMOKE GRENADE fresh from your pocket, you spin past your teammates’ wayward bullets and intercept the diving worm mid-flight! Sticking a claw into the beast’s stony hide for stability, you pull the pin on the ordnance and stuff it down the creature’s massive gullet–he wants a snack? You’ll GIVE him a snack!

Eddie opens his mouth to say something, but you don’t listen–it’s probably in slow motion or something anyways! You wouldn’t be able to hear him anyways–midway through your flight downwards you hear a dull hiss from within the beast’s mouth followed by a rush of hot air and thick green smoke!

Screaming in agony, the critter’s mouth opens just enough for Ed to wriggle free! Gripping your shoulder, the student gives you a nod prompting you to abandon ship. As you and your pal land on the sand with a gentle ‘thud’, your ride does anything but! With smoke and a foul orange liquid pouring from its mouth like a really messed-up dragon, the worm slams into a sizable chunk of debris and cracks it in half like a walnut!

“Jeez,” Eddie remarks as his would-be predator writhes in pain in front of him, “Another second later and it’d be like that flick Shakes!” Brushing the slime and dirt from his tattered pants, the film student looks you in the eyes and gives you a grateful smile. “Thanks for the save, Stan.”

No problem, you mutter as you help him to his feet, but it ain’t over yet! Turning your attention towards the van-sized monster still spewing smoke, a low snarl escapes your lips as it moves to burrow to safety! Not on your watch, dick!

STAN! ED!

Staying your wrath for but a second, you glance upwards to find Art and The Marshal lingering by the cavern exit above! Yes, Art, you groan as you send a wave his way, you can see him!

HURRY!” He shouts as he jabs a finger ceilingward! “IT’S COMING DOWN!

He ain’t wrong! Turns out having a worm the size of a short bus flopping violently around a cave made of sand doesn’t do wonders for the interior–as you and Eddie decide your next move, the chunks of falling ceiling increase in both size AND frequency!

“Y-you take care of the monster!” Eddie hisses through his teeth! Following his hands, a curse escapes your lips as you spot several fresh rivulets of blood trickling through countless tooth-shaped scratches on his legs! Noticing your gaze, the burgeoning screenwriter sends an uncharacteristic frown your way. “I can make it up there! Make sure this thing doesn’t follow us!”

What’s the plan, Stan? NO ROLLS, JUST CHOICES…
>FINISH THE BEAST (SHOOT IT? SLICE IT? WRITE-IN?)
>HELP EDDIE OUTTA HERE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5098962
>>FINISH THE BEAST (SHOOT IT)

Chinchill-pump action, then we help Eddie.
>>
>>5098962
>FINISH THE BEAST (SHOOT IT)
>>
>>5098962
>FINISH THE BEAST (SHOOT IT? SLICE IT? WRITE-IN?)
Gut the thing, and grab one of its teeth or a plate of its armor as a trophy.
>>
>>5098999
>>5098964
Actually, since the ceiling is collapsing, probably just go with this. Shame. I wanted a worm trophy.
>>
Getting tired on my end, so I'll keep this open til' MONDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Thanks for playing and hope to see you around next time!
>>
>>5098962
>HELP EDDIE OUTTA HERE!
>>
>>5098964
>>5098999
>>5099036
>LIGHT 'EM UP!

>>5099045
>HELP EDDIE OUT!

Writing!
>>
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Forcing Ed’s arm over your shoulder, you use your other hand to retrieve your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION from your pocket and level it in the direction of the beast!

“Stan, I uh… I said I can walk.” Ed mutters with an uneasy laugh. “What are you doing?”

Isn’t it obvious?! You’re MELTYTASKING! Art shouts something from above, but you drown it out by filling the creature’s ugly hide full of lead! Retreating and firing at the same time, you’re a bit worried when your first few salvos fail to penetrate the worm’s skin.

Thankfully quantity beats quality in this case, and with each one-armed pump (which is a LOT harder than you thought it’d be, by the way) and blast from your shotgun, more and more orange goo seeps from the creature’s side! By the time you and Eddie past the falling rubble and up to the slope, you can tell that the worm’s given up on burrowing. Turning to give you one last defiant shriek, the beast opens its mouth juuuust wide enough to give you a perfect target!

Before you can fire, however, Eddie kicks his lost SHOTGUN off the ground into his outstretched hand and aims it at his would-be killer!

“Smile, you sonnova-”

Punctuating his sentence with a pull of the trigger, Eddie’s shot shreds the worm’s mouth and innards into a consistency resembling blood-soaked coleslaw! Gurgling menacingly one last time, the beast’s massive head collapses into a growing pool of its own orange-tinted blood! Stuffing his weapon back into his hoodie, the film student gives you a nod just in time for the cave to start shaking again!

QUIT SHOWIN’ OFF AN’ MOVE YER’ ASSES!” Howls the disgruntled lawman from above! “WE’RE ALMOST TO THE CENTER!

YEA!” Art shouts from his side, “WHAT HE SAID!

Christ, fine! No longer worried about making noise, you and Ed power up the side of the hill as the room collapses around you–showering the cave with massive chunks of sandstone and rocks! Hoisting yourselves onto the ledge next to your waiting teammates, you all swiftly head into the tunnel bathed in a GREEN light just as it starts to collapse!

“Keep going!” Eddie shouts as he leads the charge through the crumbling tunnel! Snaking between chunks of rock, you can almost see a larger room up ahead! You just need to GET THERE!

ROLL 1d100+5 TO GET THERE! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 77 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5099381
Why are you being cool suddenly, Eddie? Are you being set up for a dramatic sacrifice?
>>
Rolled 22 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5099394
Well, we need someone to kill on a critfail.
>>
Rolled 9 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5099381
>>
>>5099440
I mean... I can't keep trying to kill Art! Not every time, at least!

>>5099394
>>5099440
>>5099527
>HIGHEST ROLL: 82!

That oughta' do 'er! Writing!
>>
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You kick your freshly-healed legs into overtime as you duck and weave past pieces of the rapidly-deteriorating ceiling! Passing Art, The Marshal, and even Eddie, you’re only a few more strides from what you hope is a more stable room when you hear someone stumbling behind you!

Skidding to a halt, you whip around just in time to see Art trip onto all fours as the tunnel behind him crumbles like a sandcastle! Doubling back, you, Eddie, and even the old fogie help the Rent-A-Cop to his feet just in time to pull him away from a falling chunk of rock! As the four of you regain your lead over certain death, a small cluster of debris falls in front of you and showers what remains of the tunnel in a cloud of dust!

“Damn helmet!” Art grumbles as you power through, “Can’t see crap…”

Big deal, you snarl as your SEA CLOAK protects your eyes and mouth, you don’t have a helmet and you can’t see either!

“Save yer’ breath for runnin’, ya idiots!” Barks The Marshal as his voice pulls ahead of you!

“Way ahead of ya!” Eddie pants! Stumbling blindly through the dust, you and the others collapse in a heap just when you feel the walls buckling around you! With one last groan the tunnel gives way, showering you in a fresh coat of dirt! As you lay there for a while, it takes you a minute to realize that despite this hellhole’s best efforts, you’re still not dead!

Rising to your feet with a quiet ‘yay’, you’re quickly joined by the others who sound no worse for wear aside from being slightly out of breath!

“Great…” Art wheezes from within the layer of dust, “Great shortcut…”

“It was kinda fun…” Eddie adds in a raspy voice, “Aside from, you know, the worm thing…”

Yea, you growl as you attempt to locate your skeleton guide in the debris cloud, what the hell was THAT about?

“Ungrateful bastards!” The Marshal croaks from your right, “You idiots asked for another path an’ I gave ya’ one!”

“Well yea…” Eddie retorts as his breath steadies a bit, “but are we in the CENTRAL MINE?

“How the hell should I know?!” The old coot growls! “You wanted to get around the front entrance–didn’t say nothin’ about dodgin’ worms!”

You open your mouth to give him an earful, but pause when the dust finally clears around you. The good news is that you don’t see any BANDITS around. The bad news is…

“Aw CRIPES…” Ly groans, “When da’ hell did we enter da’ SEWER?!

Yea, you mutter as your breath catches in your throat, you were gonna say that…

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5099630
https://youtu.be/HDxY5Rn7Mg8
The air around you grows cold and clammy as you take in the sights around you–filth-encrusted bricks like the cylindrical passage around you lit only by faint emergency lights dimmed further by chunks of grime you’d rather not identify.

“Dis’... Dis’ is another trick, right?” Ly mutters as you step away from the tepid sludge pooling in the center of the culvert. If it is, you hiss, then your damn cloak isn’t doing its job anymore!

“W-wait…” Art shivers on your left, “Y-y-you mean you see it too?!”

“See what, damn it?!” The Marshal growls with renewed irritation in his voice!

The SEWER, damn it! You’re practically swimming in crap right now! Turning to Art for support, all you get is a perplexed look in response!

“What?!” He shouts in confusion! “Speak up, damn it! I can’t hear you over this damn CIRCUS MUSIC!

Circus? What the heck is he talking about? Checking on Eddie, you find the ex-Track Star moving his arms as if he were trying to tread water! Ed, you snap, what’s your problem!?

It’s hard to see through his mask, but you’re certain the film student is trying to keep his mouth closed. ‘Swimming’ closer to you, he points at the grimy sewer walls with increasing alarm! It finally happened, you remark as you peel away from Ed, everyone went insane except for you!

“And me, ya’ overgrown raccoon!” The Marshal snaps as he smacks you upside the head! OW!
“I told ya’ the AIR’S bad for ya!” He states as he delivers some more slaps to the rest of your team! “And it’s gonna get worse as we head fer’ the center!”

“NOT SO LOUD!” Art hisses as he brings his fingers to both you and the lawman’s lips! “Don’t you hear that HONKING?!

No, you fire back, but the minute you start listening you hear it: a guttural wail just down the tunnel! We… we shouldn’t be here!

“Exac-ly!” The lawman groans as he points his REPEATER down the tunnel! “Black uses it as defenses! Now rally yer’ damn troops before I rally y’all with my fists!”

He might be right, you think, but how can he be sure?! You heard that wailing, damn it! Even if you did pull it together, how do you get your friends to snap out of it too? How… how do you convince YOURSELF?!

>CONVINCE THEM! YOU WERE IN SANTA’S-FRIGGIN’-WORKSHOP LESS THAN AN HOUR AGO! IT’S NOT REAL!
>THE MARSHAL HAD A GOOD PLAN: JUST BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF THEM!
>DISTRACT THEM! SURELY THERE’S SOMETHING (OR THINGS) THAT THEY CAN FOCUS ON INSTEAD!
>MAYBE AN ITEM OF YOURS CAN HELP THEM PULL IT TOGETHER? (WHICH ITEM?)
>IT’S NO USE–LET THE MARSHAL SORT THEM OUT!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5099632
>>CONVINCE THEM! YOU WERE IN SANTA’S-FRIGGIN’-WORKSHOP LESS THAN AN HOUR AGO! IT’S NOT REAL!
>>
>>5099632
>CONVINCE THEM! YOU WERE IN SANTA’S-FRIGGIN’-WORKSHOP LESS THAN AN HOUR AGO! IT’S NOT REAL!
>>
>>5099632
>ASK THE MARSHAL HOW HE DEALT WITH THE GAS BACK WHEN HE WAS ALIVE.

This Marshall is a fucking badass. There's no way this dude had a gas mask back in eighteen-hundred-and-whatever. How did he get by this shit on his own? He had to have been affected by it. I say we ask what he thinks we should do.He might know how to deal with it.
>>
>>5099690
>>5099696
>CONVINCE THEM! ...AND MAYBE YOURSELF!

>>5099725
>ASK THE MARSHAL!

Looks like we're gonna try some DIPLOMANCY! ROLL ME 1d100 TO DETERMINE HOW WELL YOUR PEPTALK SETS IN! I'LL TAKE THE BEST O' THREE ROLLS!

As per usual, if there are any specific points or lines you wanna include, write 'em in!
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5099767
Now listen here, fellas. The sewer mutants aren't real. It's all in your head.
>>
>>5099789
>21
Never mind, the sewer mutants may, in fact, be real.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>5099767
nat1
>>
Rolled 66 (1d100)

>>5099767
Remember how silly I looked?
>>
>>5099789
>>5099830
>>5099842
>HIGHEST ROLL: 66!

Writing!
>>
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“Stan,” Ly remarks as you stand knee-deep in raw sewage, “We’ve gotta do something!

He’s right, of course, but what? WHAT?! Trying to ignore the sound of distant footsteps sloshing through the water to the north, you turn to your resident senior citizen for wisdom. He’s an old fart, you begin, how’d he deal with it back in DINOSAUR TIMES?

“Who you callin’ a dinosaur, FREAK?!” The skeleton snaps, clearly unaffected by the horrifying surroundings! “The damned air gets worse as you go deeper just like I said!”

You know that already, you scoff as you motion for him to get with the program! Tell us something you DON’T know!

“Word of Wisdom #1: The best thing you can do about this air is look past it!” Gramps explains as you watch Eddie grow blue around the gills! “Don’t matter if the place looks like a CIRCUS or a CHURCH– you’re still in the MESA, dang it! Same goes for the monsters you see!”

Your mind flashes back to the mutants you saw before and their grim real-world counterparts. Hey, yea, you mutter as a smile grows on your face, those were just dumb Security Goons! Like ART!

SSSH!” Art hisses from behind a nearby stalagmite! “Do you WANT CLOWNS to find us!?”

Not really, you shrug, those guys kinda freak you out… Turning your attention back to The Marshal, you raise an eyebrow his way. So he’s basically saying to just ignore it?

“No, idiot–I’m sayin’ ta’ recognize it fer’ what it is!” The lawman spits angrily! “It’s a splash of paint on an old fence, get it? Don’t matter what’s on it–it’s still a fence!”

Crossing your arms, you wait for Art and Eddie to snap out of it. They don’t.

“Guess we’re gonna have ta’ snap ‘em out!” Ly groans. Yep, you nod, as usual. Before you do, though, did pops have any other Words of Wisdom?

“Yep!” He grins! “Word of Wisdom #2: Never bed a wild animal! Yer’ parents coulda’ used that one! HA!”

Joke’s on him, you snap, you came from THE STORK! Taking the last word and running with it, you promptly turn your attention to the two other idiots in your team and plant your hands on your hips expectantly! Are they ready to quit it yet!?

“SSSSH!” Art repeats angrily!
Lying face-down on the ground, Eddie doesn’t respond. He does twitch a bit, though, so that’s promising! Cracking your knuckles, you prepare to give your team the pep talk of their lives!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5099977
Dragging both of your stalwart companions to a dry, mostly sewage-free spot in front of you, you clear your throat before you start talking. Listen, you begin, you get that they’re seeing weird crap. It’s kinda funny from where you’re standing, you say as an aside, but they’re both probably totally freaking out right now!

“I can hear their squeaking shoes!” Art stammers, shaking like a leaf on the end of a branch!
https://youtu.be/CvLHKUtcFg4
And you hear a bunch of BABIES, you fire back! But even babies learn to get back up when they’ve fallen, and that’s what they’re gonna have to do if you’re all making it outta’ here alive!

Art falls silent and Eddie stops twitching. Looks like it’s working!

You know where they’re coming from, you continue as you pace around the tunnel! Hell, you know better than anyone! But when you were being chased by robots and throwing heads around in Santa’s Workshop did you STOP?! Did you let a mutant drool all over you? Hell no! You fought back, damn it, and that’s what they’re gonna have to do too!

“Tell ‘em, kid!” Ly whispers, goading you on!

They might not be you, you explain. They aren’t as strong, they aren’t as fast, and they certainly aren’t as good-looking-

“HAH!”

Brushing the old man’s comment aside, you keep riding the speech train! But you know that what they lack in comparison to you they make up for in… uh… being them! And they’ve gotta work with what they’ve got! Um… THE END!

Holding for applause, you can’t help but frown when you only get some stirring from Eddie’s near-lifeless form. Rolling onto his side, the student takes a few panicked breaths as if he just surfaced from a pool!

“She’s… She’s right...” He croaks, spitting out imaginary water.

“Yea…” Art nods as he slowly stops shivering. “We… we AREN’T her.”

Crossing your arms triumphantly, you give the boys a toothy grin–damn right they aren’t!

“I mean,” Art continues with renewed confidence, “Stan looked stupid when we were trying to track her down. REALLY stupid!”

“Yea!” Eddie nods. “It was pretty embarrassing when she called us robots, wasn’t it?”

W-wait-

“We’ve gotta hold it together!” Art declares as he helps Eddie up from the ground. “If we acted like that Stan would totally tell Syb and the others…”

“Yea…” Ed nods as he regains his footing, “or Mitz. That girl’s RUTHLESS with the jokes!”

HEY-

“Thanks for the pep talk, Stan.” Art interrupts as he pats you on the shoulder. “If Sybil found out I was acting as dumb as you, well-”

You GET it, okay?! Don’t mention it! Shoving his hand away, you turn your attention back to the present issue–namely the foreboding passage leading deeper into the sewe-err, mines...

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5099979
Following the only path you have, you find it much easier to deal with your surroundings thanks to your speech, as do Art and Ed!

“Can’t be long now…” The Marshal whispers with his gun close at hand. “Watch them shadows…”

Oh you’re watchin’ ‘em, you hiss! With your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION in one hand and a fistful of CLAWS extended on the other, you lead the way through the dark and emerge through an opening overlooking a massive central chamber dwarfed by a colossal hunk of GREEN CRYSTAL!

Hanging from the ceiling over a nigh-bottomless abyss below, the gem is connected to the ledges surrounding the cavern by a series of rusty metal scaffolds. Peering down at the cavern’s perimeter below, you find yourself staring at several clusters of similar, albeit smaller crystals that make the shaft resemble some kind of forest!

“Wow…” Eddie remarks as you all gather on the edge of the tunnel opening, “Is that-”

“The CENTER? You’re smarter than ya’ look.” Answers the lawman. “Reckon that means Black is close…”

“Weird, though…” Art remarks as you scan the room for any sign of your mark, “Where did all the Circus flair go?”

Before you can agree, you hear the whistle of a bullet hurtling through the air! Hitting the deck on instinct, you and the others frantically scan the chamber for the shooter, but no dice! Staying where you are, it doesn’t take long before the cavern fills with the low, deep rumbling of a familiar laugh!

“Well color me impressed!” Echoes the disembodied voice of CLAYTON BLACK! “Not much folk walk away from an encounter with WOLF ULFSSON… especially after stickin’ themselves on a pickaxe…”

As you make to get back up, the sound of another bullet ricochets around the cave! And another! And ANOTHER!

“And you brought your friends too…” The bandit continues, voice jumping to the opposite end of the chamber. “Reckon it’s only fair given what my boys have put y’all through…”

Another gunshot rings through the cave, but this time culminating in a fresh bullet embedding itself in the dirt next to your head! Scrambling to your feet, you slide into cover next to a nearby crystal and hold your shotgun close. Where the hell is this guy!?

“Closer than ya’ think.” The bandit replies in an amused tone. “Come on out from that hole now–let me get a good look at y’all.”

What’s the plan here?
>NOPE–HOLD YOUR GROUND AND SNIPE HIM IF YOU CAN!
>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
>HE WANTS TO TALK? YOU’LL HEAD DOWN–THE OTHERS CAN PICK HIM OFF!
>BETTER DO WHAT HE SAYS… HEAD DOWN INTO THE CHAMBER TOGETHER!
>SURVEY THINGS WITH THE REMOTE-CONTROLLED DUUUUCK!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
That's all for tonight, folks--barely got any sleep the other night and it's rearing its ugly head right now. Given who you're talking to, I'd rather hold off until I'm a bit more awake, so I'll be ready to write again TUESDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Thanks for being patient and hope to see you then--hopefully I'll have a bit more energy!
>>
>>5099981
>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
This guy took out the Marshall with a ricocheted bullet. Leaving cover is dumb as hell.
>>
>>5099981
>>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
>>
>>5099981
>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
>>
>>5099981
>>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
We should try and change cover discretely, he might try that ricochet bullet trick again
>>
>>5099981
>YOU CAN TALK FROM WHERE YOU ARE!
>>
>>5099993
>>5099998
>>5099999
>>5100028
>>5100085
>NAH, YOU'RE GOOD HERE!

Writing! Also fun fact: guess who updated the official IMGUR?! It was me. I did. Haven't touched it in a while, but it's there along with a few tidbits from Boris' appearance in the Husbando Games. Why not check out the pretty pictures while I write?
>>
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Nah, you answer back from behind your new cover, you’re fine right here!

“Doesn’t sound like you’re having any trouble talking to us either!” Art shouts as he loads a grenade into his GRENADE LAUNCHER. “So why bother?!”

You hear a series of ‘tsk’s from right behind you! Whirling to face the bandit, all you see is a chunk of crystal jutting out of the cavern wall. Damn it!

“Well I’d be lying if I said I weren’t a tad insulted…” Mocks the bandit as his voice jumps around again! “But it’s fine–I can see y’all clear as day from here…”

Clayton demonstrates by sending another bullet into the wall just behind Art’s head!

“Let’s see here… Arthur Berry: You've been runnin’ with Stanley for a while now, haven’t you? Don’t you feel even a little guilty watching all of your coworkers run into a meat grinder?”

“Don’t worry,” Art growls as he scans the cave for movement, “I’ll feel a lot better after putting a few bullets in you!”

“Right, how silly of me–you’ve got someone waiting for you back outside.” Black chuckles. “Ah, young love…”

Another bullet ricochets off a nearby crystal and embeds itself in the dirt next to Eddie’s feet!

“Eddie Valenti… Speaking of young love-”

The film student responds by firing his shotgun blindly into the chamber. Doesn’t sound like he hit anything.

“Fuck you! You’re just trying to get a rise outta’ us!” He snaps as he shuffles to some more cover!

“Is it working?” Laughs the disembodied voice. “Or am I just getting a better feel for where to aim?” Another bullet shoots through Eddie’s hat and takes it clean off! “Eddie, Tucker, and Kiki… Each following Stan to Hell and back… it can’t just be for that movie of yours, can it? What are you kids really after?”

Seeing Eddie flinch, The Marshal takes the opportunity to speak up! “Better try some new tricks, you old bastard–yer’ smoke an’ mirrors don’t work anymore!”

You can almost hear Clayton’s voice light up as a trio of bullets whiz past the lawman!

“And what would this fight be without the honorable Marshal? Finally got tired of pickling yourself, did ya?”

“When I heard ya’ hadn’t learned your lesson from last time, sure!” The Marshal spits as he holds his ground! “Don’t you worry none, Black–I’ll aim a little higher up this time. That way you’ll still be able ta’ hide the second hole in yer’ deranged skull with a hat!”

“And I’ll aim for yer’ stubborn head.” The voice says in an amused tone. “Not like you have a woman or kid ta’ crawl back to anymore…”

Grinding his teeth, The Marshal fires off a few shots into the chamber, but none of them hit! Just when you’re about to move, however, you notice a flicker of movement just past the massive crystal–that of a black trenchcoat!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5100494
You feel your hands shake as you ready your SCOPED RIFLE–were your eyes playing tricks on you? Your answer comes a moment later: peeking out from behind a cluster of crystals on a nearby ledge is a skull fitted with glowing red eyes, messy black hair, and a black hat with an ancient hole burned through the center! If he notices your gaze, he doesn’t show it…

That’s gotta be him! What do!?
>SHOOT HIM!
>KEEP TALKING! YOU NEED A BETTER SHOT!
>TRY TO GET CLOSER!
>POINT HIM OUT TO YOUR PALS!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5100496
>>KEEP TALKING! YOU NEED A BETTER SHOT!
>POINT HIM OUT TO YOUR PALS!
>>
>>5100496
>KEEP TALKING! YOU NEED A BETTER SHOT!
Get him monologueing
>>
>>5100496
>KEEP TALKING! YOU NEED A BETTER SHOT!
>>
>>5100506
>>5100509
>>5100513
>TALK IT OUT!

Writing!
>>
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Every muscle in your SMOKIN’ HOT BOD tells you to take the shot, but you hesitate–as much as you’d like to shut this guy up, you can’t help but feel that something’s… off.

So you do what comes naturally–spout your mouth off! Keeping an eye on the bandit out of the corner of your eye, you keep things going. He talks a lot of shit for a CAVEMAN!

“And there she is, friends!” The voice cackles completely opposite from where you saw the skeleton! “Truth be told, Stan, I’m glad you made it this far–last I saw you were lookin’ a mite unwell, but I guess yer’ made of stronger stuff than most…”

Damn right you are! That explains why he’s hiding like a little wuss, too!

“Yea!” Eddie adds with renewed confidence! “You gonna keep sharing fun facts about us, or are ya’ gonna fight!?”

“Hmmmm…” The disembodied voice responds in mock contemplation. “Why rush things?”

Because, you snap as you lock eyes with Eddie and Art, you’ve got places to be! Once he’s outta the picture his boss has only one more crony left!

“Guess this makes this fight special then, don’t it?” Clayton laughs from within the pit below! Yea, you growl as you point with your eyes at the figure perched on the ledge above you, especially BORING!

Both Ed and Art give you confused looks through their masks. Turning your attention to Black’s last position, all you see is crystal. Wait, wha?

“Boring… there’s the word for it.” Continues the outlaw from behind the massive crystal below. “Do you know how terribly dull life gets when even KILLING loses its thrill? Can you imagine?”

You respond with a frown. No, you respond, that sounds like PSYCHO TALK.

“It IS!” The Marshal adds, peeking around his crystal cover! “Told ya, kid–he’s a mad dog!”

“When murder becomes tiresome I guess one does become rather listless, yea…” Clayton admits in a tired voice. “When I was brought back, Stanley, I was lost… Adrift in a sea of routine–send the boys after some tourists, send the remains to the boss. Hell, I’d probably blow my own skull off if you hadn’t shown up…”

“There’s still time!” Art shouts! “Don’t stop on our account!”

“You know what?” The voice replies in a contemplative tone, “I’ve got a better idea…”

And that’s when you see him in all his outlaw glory–a gaunt skeleton clad in all tattered black clothes with a perpetually-crooked grin on his bony face. CLAYTON BLACK!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5100621
Stepping onto the metal scaffolding from behind the central crystal with two engraved revolvers raised above his head, the outlaw turns your way with a Cheshire grin. The necklace of human ears you saw during your ASTRAL RECON MISSION has grown–enough so that they nearly outnumber the bullets slung in bandoliers around his bare ribcage!

“I’ll give ya ONE FREE SHOT!” Booms the bandit’s voice across the chamber! “One chance to end this right here, right now–no goons, no traps, no nothin’!” Punctuating his offer with a loud crack of his neck, the bandit twirls his revolvers as easily as one brushes their teeth in the morning! “Lord help ya’ if ya’ miss…”

“Now, Stan!” Eddie hisses with a twinkle in his eye! “Get him!”

“Wait…” Art mutters, “something’s off here…”

“You bet there is!” The Marshal fires back as he lines his repeater up with the outlaw’s skull! “None of y’all are shootin’ him! If you won’t do it, I will!”

Valid arguments here… what’s the call?

>SHOOT HIM!
>DON’T SHOOT!
>KEEP TALKING! YOU GOTTA BE SURE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5100623
>>DON’T SHOOT!
>>
>>5100623
>DON’T SHOOT!
>>
>>5100693
>>5100701
>DON'T SHOOOOOOOT!

Writing!
>>
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You’ve got a perfect shot at his head. You’ve got the ammo. He’s got no backup. You’re tired, hungry, and eager to get as far away from this hellhole as quickly as humanly possible.

So why aren’t you SHOOTING?!

“Come now, Stanley,” the bandit croons, sensing your hesitation, “Why drag things out? Hell, I’ll even extend the offer to your little friends…”

Both Eddie and The Marshal line focus their weapons on Clayton, but they hesitate… what the heck happened to ‘UURF YEW WUN’T DEWET, EER WULLLl!?

“Situation’s changed.” The Marshal grunts, not bothering to look your way. "I don't like it."

“Yea…” Eddie whispers. “Also there’s no way my gun will reach that far.”

“Probably for the best…” Art whispers as he watches Clayton stand like a statue below. “Who knows what the guy’s pl-”

BLAM!

A large-caliber shot rings out across the chamber–one that reverberates across the walls for several seconds afterwards! Blinking in confusion, you and your team exchange panicked glances as you try to discern who fired. No smoke, no smell, and no shell casings.

It’s at that moment you notice Clayton’s body going limp down below! Slumping to his knees, the bandit lingers a few moments on the metal bridge with the top half of his skull blown off… long enough for you to recognize a familiar sound…

https://youtu.be/mHjH3DyKChU

Your breath catches in your throat as a man dressed in a familiar set of company coveralls strides in through the front entrance like a goddamn pharaoh--garish red headphones filling the room with that infuriating song and a smoking revolver in his outstretched hand.

“Bad guy dead, Bea. Roll credits!”

BORIS-FUCKING-PONDEROSA.

The sound you make furiously grinding your teeth is drowned out by his music and the cheers of his amazonian fangirl. Apparently you made some noise, though, because the bastard hardly spends a moment admiring his handiwork before sending the usual smug grin your way!

“Bumblebee!” Boris half-chuckles, “How’s your fist? Still sore?”

How… how do you even respond here?!

>GET DOWN THERE AND KICK HIS ASS!
>YELL AT HIM, DUH! WHAT THE FUCK!?
>JUST… JUST CALM DOWN… HAVE SOMEONE ELSE TALK BEFORE YOU MAKE A MISTAKE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5100758
>YELL AT HIM, DUH! WHAT THE FUCK!?
>>
>>5100758
>>YELL AT HIM, DUH! WHAT THE FUCK!?

GO GO GO AND GET THE FLIPPING BONE-US!!!
>>
>>5100760
>>5100763
>SHOUT! SHOUT! LET IT ALL OUT!

Writing!
>>
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Emerging from your cover, you dig your nails deep into the stock of your shotgun as you greet your coworker.

What the FUCK IS HE DOING!?!

Your fellow janitor responds with a shrug and a laugh. “What’s it look like? Saving the day!” Firing three more times into Clayton’s fresh corpse, Boris blows the smoke from his gun and returns it to his pocket with a skillful twirl. “What’s the matter? Couldn’t get a good shot from up there?”

“She wasn’t going to shoot!” Art growls as he too emerges from his cover! “Clayton was clearly setting us up for-”

HIIIIII ARTIE~

Art blinks in surprise as the herculean form of Bea emerges into view–the exoskeletoned amazon giggling like a schoolgirl as she hefts a CHAINGUN bigger than you as if it were a lunchbox! Groaning in irritation, your Rent-A-Cop in residence gives her a weak wave. “Hi, Bea.”

Sensing your death glare, Bea’s bubbly demeanor turns sour as she raises her weapon in your direction! “And YOU! You’d better watch your fists this time, Stan! What you pulled last time was NOT COOL!

“Relax, Bea–Stannie just needed to get it outta’ her system!” Boris interjects, patting the colossus on her armored shoulder! “She’s always been a bit of a sore loser… Leopard can’t change its spots, right?”

You’ll change HIS spots, you snarl! To… to RED ones! Of BLOOD! Simmering over your lack of a good comeback, you make to climb down when The Marshal emerges from his spot too!

“The hell are you doin’, ya’ idio-”

Boris cuts your tour guide off by sending a bullet whizzing past his head! Sputtering in angry confusion, the skeleton barely draws a bead on Boris’ thick skull before Eddie tackles him to the ground! DAMN IT, EDDIE!

“Hold your fire, man! He’s on our side!” The film student shouts, causing Boris to stow his weapon again with a good-natured shrug.

Muchas apologies, pal–can’t keep track of all the boneheads Stan’s makin’ friends with lately!”

As you slide down to Boris and Bea’s level, you get a glimpse of the way they came in–past a large set of doors lies a veritable army of bullet-riddled bandit corpses, some of which are still burning away! Approaching the two, you’re greeted by the business end of Bea’s CHAINGUN whirring and pointed in your direction!

“That’s close enough, Raccoon Girl!” Bea growls from behind her mask filter. Ignoring her, you walk straight up to Boris and poke him in the chest with your finger–does he just realize what he DID?!

The janitor gently pushes Bea’s weapon towards the floor and raises an eyebrow. “... Defeated another LIEUTENANT? Go Team!”

NO, you hiss, NO TEAM!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5100832
Slapping away Boris’ attempt at a fist-bump, you jab a finger towards Clayton’s corpse–is he dumb or what? This is exactly what Black wants to happen! Following your finger, the janitor and his partner look back at you with a sideways glance.

“Pretty sure dying wasn’t his master plan, bumblebee.”

Then why the hell did he try to get you to shoot him, huh?! Think, moron, THINK! Holding your incredulous look for a few seconds, you slip a little once it’s clear that Boris isn’t going to think about it. Letting loose a long sigh, your fellow Evening Sanitation Coordinator gives you a pat on the shoulder that sends bile leaping into your throat!

“Stannie,” He begins, “What you’re looking at here isn’t some kind of fluke, or trick, or anything like that–you’re looking at a PLAN that required everyone to do their part–especially you.”

Blinking in confusion, you barely react when Eddie and the others join you at your side. What the HELL is he blabbering about?!

BORIS BLITZ: THREE-PART DISTRACTION!” Bea cheerfully recites! “GOOD BOY SECURITY creates a diversion in the front, MEAN OLE’ STAN makes a scene in the back, and BORIS cuts right down the middle for the killing blow!”

“That… That’s…” Art mutters.

STUPID! You finish with a stomp of your foot! Absolutely STUPID!

“Can’t argue with the results though, can ya?” Boris asks with that irritating chuckle of his as he gestures to Black’s slowly-burning body. “Took longer than I expected, though–Bea and I had to double back a few times waiting for ya. Gotta work on that speed, bumblebee!”

Your speed is fine, you snap! You had it covered!

“Sure ya’ did.” Boris laughs as he and Bea exchange a knowing look. “Anywho, I know that you get a little frustrated when I beat ya’ to the punch, so tell ya what: you want that guy’s POWERS or whatever? They’re yours!”

“Wait…” Eddie mutters in confusion, “You don’t want anything?”

Boris taps the CHOSEN ONE MASK in his pocket with a laugh! “Don’t need ‘em! Stan could use all the help she can get though, right?”

Opening your mouth to tell him where he can shove his ‘help’, you’re quickly cut-off by Art putting you in a chokehold from behind!

“YES,” He replies in a clear voice, “We’ll TAKE IT. THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT EASY, BORIS.”

“Hey, it’s what I do!” Boris chuckles, giving Art a thumb’s up! “Speaking of, we’d better go round up the remaining troops… Unless you need us to stick around for a bit, that is!”

“Stan?” Art asks, loosening his hold a bit. “Do we want them out of here?”

DO you?

>YES! TAKE A HIKE, YOU BASTARDS!
>HOLD ON–YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS!
>NO! THEY’RE STAYING WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5100835
>YES! TAKE A HIKE, YOU BASTARDS!
>>
>>5100835
>>YES! TAKE A HIKE, YOU BASTARDS!
>>
>>5100837
>>5100851
>HIT THE ROAD, JACK!

Writing!
>>
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YES, you snarl as you tear yourself free of Art’s noodly arms, you DO! If this sonnovabitch sticks around any longer you don’t know what you’ll do to him!

“They uh… They’re right there, Stan…” Eddie mutters as he points a limp finger towards the parties in question. You KNOW!

“You’re the boss, Stannie!” Boris shrugs as he brushes off your genuine hatred with a shrug! “Feel free to take your time–we didn’t need any bombs this time around! Ha!”

“Should I check in with Curt first, B-Man?” Bea chirps as she takes a few steps towards the exit.

“Read my mind, Bea! Good hustle!” Waving to his partner as she scampers off like a puppy, Boris turns his attention back to you and sighs. “She’s a good kid, huh?”

No, you growl, she isn’t. And what happened to him leaving too?! The janitor opens his mouth to say something, but the words die in his throat as he notices your present company.

“I uh… I’ll tell you later, Stannie.” He answers in a quieter voice. “Company stuff.”

“Erm, I’M with the company, you know.” Art mutters, causing Boris to blink in confusion.

“Artie! Right, course ya’ are!” Laughs your coworker as he makes for the door he came in from! “Never mind, then–I’ll just fill her in later when-”

Before he can finish, a violent tremor TEARS through the chamber that knocks everyone on their feet! Before you can recover, the tunnel leading out collapses in a shower of rubble leaving you stranded in the CENTRAL MINE… WITH BORIS!

“STAN!” Art shouts from behind you, “We’ve got a problem!”

You KNOW, you hiss, debating on whether or not to ‘accidentally’ blow Boris’ head off.

“Think he’s talkin’ about something else, amigo.” Boris adds in a voice tinged with unease! Before you can investigate, the sound of a slow clap echoes around the chamber. Whirling around to face its origin, confusion hits you like a bus as you watch a familiar spurred-boot kick Clayton’s remains into the abyss!

“Well now…” laughs the owner, “I just knew this fight’d be interesting…”

Standing on the bridge ahead is none other than CLAYTON BLACK–his bony body looking no worse for wear after being shot up by Boris!

“Hold on a sec…” Boris begins as he puts on his MASK, “Didn’t I kill you?”

“You did!” Black grins as he walks towards your group.

“But as you’ve probably already gathered by now…” Adds another CLAYTON standing on the ledge you were just on!

“The rules have changed a bit.” Laughs another CLAYTON on the opposite side of the chamber’s crystal.

And that’s when the bullets start flying.

ROLL 1d100+5 TO DODGE! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
https://youtu.be/XYbBHcA4Lus
>>
Rolled 7 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5100905

knew it was too easy
>>
Rolled 9 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5100905
>>
Rolled 56 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5100905
THE FUCKING SAVE

FUCK YOU BORIS
>>
>>5100908
>>5100911
>>5100917
>HIGHEST ROLL: 61!
Writing!
>>
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Coincidentally, that’s when you start flying too! Flying into cover, that is! Sharing a cute moment with your teammates (and, unfortunately, that bastard BORIS,) you all dart behind cover just in time to avoid the freaky firing squad assembled around you!

DAMN IT!” Curses The Marshal as he blind-fires from behind a tall crystal, “Yer’ friend’s almost as stupid as you, kid!”

He’s not your FRIEND, you snarl as a fresh hail of bullets cut the tip of your crystal clean off!

“Stanley AND Boris!” Recite the Claytons in a unified sing-song voice! “Guess it really does pay to be patient, don’t it?!”

“Sure!” Boris roars as he pokes out from his cover and fires at the Clayton on the bridge! “And here’s your tip!”

The first few shots go wide, but the third hits Black in the shoulder and sends him tumbling into the abyss below! Damn it!

“One down!” The janitor laughs as he deftly pops some replacement cartridges into his revolver! “Two more to go!”

“So sure, are ya?” Following the voice, you and the others watch with panicked eyes as another Clayton peers over from a ledge above with a mad grin on his face! “You’ve got some swell pals, Stan–those are in short supply these days, or so I hear…”

Leaning back just in time to avoid a blast from Art’s rifle, Clayton’s laugh travels from above you all the way behind the central crystal! Emerging from behind it with a fresh pair of revolvers, the bandit sends a shrill whistle bouncing around the cavern!

“Y’all might’ve taken a few of ‘em down, but I saved the best for last!” As Clayton lets loose with a menacing cackle, Eddie sputters a quick ‘DUCK!’ before even more bullets cut through the air!

Tracing them to their source, you spot two fresh newcomers to the brawl–both wearing matching tattered dusters, snakeskin hats, and murderous glowing eyes peeking out from behind blood-red bandana masks!

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the meanest sons of guns to ever grace the Western Territories:” Announces a FOURTH CLAYTON walking upside-down across the ceiling, “The murderous masterminds behind the PLUMETT VALLEY TRAIN HEIST OF ‘33: EVERETT AND HYRAM MERCER!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5100938
The brothers don’t waste time making your life a living hell! Spotting Eddie first, one of the brothers, EVERETT, you presume, starts chewing through the film student’s cover with rapid-fire from his dual revolvers! The other moves to flank Art from above with a REPEATER as the Rent-A-Cop draws a bead on the CEILING CLAYTON!

“Don’t worry, Stan-” Boris says in a calm and composed voice, “I’ll get around and flank ‘em! You guys provide defense! BREAK!”

Before you can stop him, your former High School tormentor ducks and weaves through a hail of gunfire to get towards the back of the chamber! Blasting a CLAYTON off a ledge, The Marshal turns to you and frowns.

“The hell ya’ waitin’ for, an invitation?! Pick one an’ blast ‘em!”

“Da’ question is,” Ly remarks as you survey the scene, “Who do we shoot?”

Tough call!

>FOCUS ON THE CLAYTON(S)! THEY KEEP COMING, BUT…
>GET EVERETT–EDDIE’S PINNED DOWN!
>HYRAM’S GONNA CLOBBER ART–TAG HIM!
>YOU HATE TO EVEN CONSIDER IT, BUT COVER BORIS–HE CAN BE GOOD BAIT!
>THAT DAMN CENTRAL CRYSTAL IS TOO MUCH COVER–IT’S GOTTA GO!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5100939
That's all for tonight, folks--starting to get a little tired on my end. Should have more for ya' WEDNESDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST! Feel free to write in anything you want the others to do--didn't want to clutter the possible actions with all of the party members.

Hope to see you tomorrow!
>>
>>5100939
>HYRAM’S GONNA CLOBBER ART–TAG HIM!
My fear of Sybil's wrath is far greater than my hatred of Boris. Can't let our boy Art get shot. Eddie's cover should hold, and the Marshall can handle himself, I think.
>>
>>5100939
>GET EVERETT–EDDIE’S PINNED DOWN!
>>
>>5100939
>>HYRAM’S GONNA CLOBBER ART–TAG HIM!
>>
just hit me but literally how tf does Boris even function with that hardbass song playing at full blast in his ears 24/7? He should be flipping deaf or something and shouldn't even be able to hear half of what's going on.

Oh wait... I forgot what quest this is. Logic is negligible here. Plus he has that stone mask, but Boris must have some amazingly resilient ear-drums if he can hear his surroundings that well.
>>
>>5100939
>HYRAM’S GONNA CLOBBER ART–TAG HIM!
>>
>>5100939
>THAT DAMN CENTRAL CRYSTAL IS TOO MUCH COVER–IT’S GOTTA GO!
Somethings standing out to me with the Crystals, seems like it might be a good idea to take this out
>>
>>5100939
>THAT DAMN CENTRAL CRYSTAL IS TOO MUCH COVER–IT’S GOTTA GO!
>>
>>5101001
True, but I figure we blast them after we make sure Art isn't going to kick the bucket again.
>>
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>>5100945
>>5100952
>>5100972
>ASSIST ART!

>>5100946
>HELP ED!

>>5101001
>>5101010
>ZEE CREEESTALLLSSS!

Looks like we're trying to keep Art alive. AGAIN. ROLL1d100 TO ATTACK HYRAM--I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

Don't forget to add WHAT WEAPON you wanna use to assist: LASER EYE, SCOPED RIFLE, SHOTGUN, ROCKET LAUNCHER, OTHER ITEM, BONE CLAWS (+5 CANCELLED DUE TO DISTANCE)


>>5100945
Behind that sweet, somewhat-condescending, pale exterior is a DEMON, anon... a demon that WILL tear Stan limb from friggin' limb if Art dies! Consider that an official BONES QUEST TOOLTIP if we had any loading screens!

>>5100964
Boris' eardrums are the stuff of legend, as are the rest of his parts.
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>5101247
>>
>>5101247
Scoped Rifle!
>>
Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>5101249
whoops i fucked up my roll
>>
Rolled 78 (1d100)

>>5101247
>>
>>5101248
I’ll go with scoped rifle.
>>
>>5101248
>>5101250
>>5101251
>HIGHEST ROLL: 90!
>PROM QUEEN: SCOPED RIFLE

THAT'LL DO 'ER! WRITING!
>>
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Ed’s stuck, but he isn’t in danger… yet. The Marshal seems to be enjoying himself and you couldn’t care less about what happens to Boris! That said, you know for a FACT that Sybil will tear you to RIBBONS if you let Art die on your watch, so the answer here is pretty obvious!

Retrieving your REGGINGTON BOLT-ACTION from your pockets, you decide to introduce these living fossils to some modern technology! Seeing your intent, HYRAM immediately changes course and darts behind a crystal growth just out of your reach. Damn it!

“Not much for oration,” Shouts the CLAYTON behind the central crystal, “But they do have a talent for brutality!” Concludes the one next to him! Laughing in unison, the bandits turn to open fire at Boris as he circumvents the chamber, forcing your coworker to dive behind a crystal!

Tired of being pinned down, Eddie fires blindly around his cover, causing EVERETT to duck behind a boulder of his own! As you and Art try to get an angle on HYRAM, the sibling pins you both down by ricocheting his shots around your cover! Frantically scooting away from the bullets encroaching on his hiding spot, Art shoots you a pleading look as he keeps his GRENADE LAUNCHER close to his chest!

“There’s gotta be a way around these guys…” Ly remarks, prompting you to activate your indomitable FEMININE INTUITION! If there’s a way, you hiss as you dart to a less-shot up crystal, you’ll find it!

“Better hurry!” Chuckles a CLAYTON on the ledge above the entrance! “I’m beginning to get bore-”

The bandit’s skull gains a fresh hole in the middle courtesy of The Marshal’s REPEATER. As the lawman shifts his attention to the TWO CLAYTONS by the central crystal, you watch as his fresh kill unceremoniously tumbles over the ledge and onto the ground next to you! Somewhere in mid-fall, though, you see it–an opportunity!

Ducking to avoid another volley of EVERETT’S bullets bouncing around the corner, you immediately line your sights up with a crystal formation hanging on the ceiling above him and fire repeatedly at the thin piece holding it up! As your payload arcs through the crystal, the whole formation crackles a bit before falling towards HYRAM just like in a video game!

Eyes wide in surprise, the brother barely manages to roll out of the way just in time to avoid a shower of crystalline splinters! Tumbling into a firing position, the bandit laughs haughty at your attempt to take him down as he raises his weapon in your direction!

… just in time to take a GRENADE to the chest! As the skeleton is reduced to vapor, you turn to find Art loading another round into his launcher!

“Nasty stuff, grenades.” He chuckles to himself as he focuses on the remaining MERCER. Yea, you get it!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5101310
Your victory is short-lived, however–filling the chamber with a bestial roar, EVERETT MERCER shifts his revolvers away from Eddie and focuses on blasting the crystals hanging above you and Art! Hey, you growl, he’s stealing your trick!

Just when you plan on moving, the CLAYTON posted on the edge you came in from pins you both down with some gunfire of his own! Trapped behind your cover, you and Art exchange worried glances as the crystals above you prepare to drop!

“Hang on!” Eddie shouts as he tries to get a bead on EVERETT– “I’ll get ‘em!”

“NO TIME!” The Marshal growls from a few feet away! “Get outta there!”

ROLL 1d100 TO AVOID GETTING HYRAM’D! TOO SOON? I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5101312
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5101312
>>
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Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>5101312
DODGE!
>>
>>5101318
>>5101325
>>5101326
>HIGHEST ROLL: 75!

Thanks, doc. Writing!
>>
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Gramps is right–there’s a time to wait, and a time to JUICE! Nodding to Art, the two of you count to three before darting from cov-

Wait, nope, Art just ran at one. Son of a bitch. Chasing after him, the two of you barely avoid being crushed by crystals as Eddie and The Marshal provide covering fire! While Art sprays and prays with his N4 RIFLE en route to a nearby boulder, you fire a few hip shots at the CLAYTON on the ledge, causing both him and Everett to dive back behind cover!

You ain’t outta the woods yet, though–immediately after hiding, both bandits send a volley of trick shots your way, forcing you and Art to play jump rope over a few well-placed bullets that zip past your feet! Finally reaching cover, you watch with disappointment as Boris tags not one, but two of the CLAYTONS hiding behind the central crystal before giving you a cocky wave! You don’t return it, of course.

“Getting tired, folks?” Asks a fresh Clayton aiming his revolvers from the ledge above you! A well-placed shot from The Marshal’s repeater answers his question almost immediately.

“How many more times do I gotta kill you, Clay?!” The lawman roars as two more CLAYTONS emerge near EVERETT.

“As many as you’d like, old man!” The bandits cackle in tandem before opening fire on Eddie! “Won’t bring back your family, but keep tryin’!”

Snarling with a mix of anger and frustration, your bony ally continues to fire at the growing horde around Eddie while the film student frantically loads more shells into his weapon. How many more lives does this asshole have!?

“No clue, but I’d wager a lot more than ours!” Art replies as he fires a few shots from his rifle! “I can try to get a grenade in there, but Ed’s gonna have to move first!”

Seeing Boris circumvent the chamber, you contemplate your next move. Hyram doesn’t seem to be coming back, but what’s the deal with the guy in charge!?

What do?
>BLAST THE BONEHEADS PINNING EDDIE! (WITH WHAT? ROCKET LAUNCHER? LASER EYE? RIFLE? ITEM?)
>DROP SOME MORE CRYSTALS ON THE SKELETONS!
>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
>TIME FOR AN ITEM! (WHICH ONE?)
>MOVE ELSEWHERE–YOU COULD USE A BETTER VIEW!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5101357
>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
I mean, it's always the big crystal that's responsible for these shenanigans right?
>>
>>5101357
>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
>>
>>5101357
>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
>>
>>5101357
>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
This’ll either solve many problems or cause many more.
>>
>>5101357
>>BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL–YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE CLAYTON ANY MORE COVER!
>>
>>5101367
>>5101377
>>5101381
>>5101382
>>5101391
>CRUSH THE CRYSTAL!

Yea, it is a bit of a eyesore, isn't it? Well it's not much of a hard target, of course, but do me a favor and ROLL ME a 1d10 FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHATSOEVER! I'LL TAKE 3 ROLLS AS UH... AS A TEST.
>>
Rolled 6 (1d10)

>>5101400
>>
Rolled 7 (1d10)

>>5101400
>>
Rolled 10 (1d10)

>>5101400
>>
>>5101407
>>5101409
>>5101414
>ROLLS: 6, 7, AND 10!

Good TEST everyone! Writing!
>>
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With the others handling the boneheads, you turn your attention to the massive crystal hanging in the center of the chamber!

“Err, Stan?” Ly remarks as you give the geological wonder a dirty look, “Da’ bad guys are over there…”

You knooooow, you hiss, but something about that thing just bugs you! Aiming your rifle at the crystal’s connecting point, you fire a few rounds off to test how sturdy it is! Your shots barely leave the barrel before a trio of new CLAYTONS emerge from behind the crystal!

“You really shouldn’t be doin’ that-” They say in tandem before opening fire in your direction!

Too late for that! Hitting the formation before ducking back into cover, your bullets send several minute cracks spidering all over the crystal’s surface! Stopping short of the halfway point, the cracks start to emit a strange hissing noise… almost as if it were releasing…

Oh CRAP!

As if on cue, the crystal spews out a fresh layer of GREEN GAS that quickly blankets the entire chamber! Squinting to peer through the smoke, you find your gaze met by a trio of…

VERY un-CLAYTONY shapes!

“What’s wrong?” Asks the tallest silhouette, “Seeing things?”

“Stan…” Art mutters in confusion, “What the hell did you do?”

“Or is your mind-HONK!-playing tricks on you?!” Laughs the human-sized figure!

“Anyone can kill…” Adds a squat shadow you barely even noticed. “But it takes a PROFESSIONAL to really get under his victim’s skin! To REALLY make them scared!”

The chamber shakes with a thundering roar as a TYRANNOSAURUS REX emerges from the smoke, its stubby arms each carrying an engraved revolver! Stomping towards you and your team, the dinosaur immediately shreds your cover with gunfire!

“Quick!” Art shouts as he stumbles through the smoke, “we have to mo-wait… Oh NO...”

Freezing in place, Art stands with a catatonic look on his face as a man dressed in goofy clothes, floppy shoes, and a face slathered in grease paint cartwheels through the fog with a series of honks! Landing in a firing position, the CLOWN starts juggling five or six revolvers, firing one off each time it lands in his gloved hands!

Yanking Art to the nearest cover, you watch as Boris fires a few rounds into the back of the dinosaur’s thick hide! Roaring in anger, the T-Rex is just about to return fire when the final shape reveals itself!

“End of the line, Stan…” Hisses a FIERCE-LOOKING CANADIAN GOOSE with a revolver in each wing! “Consider your goose… COOKED!
https://youtu.be/rbusENG6hCE
>CONTD.
>>
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>>5101487
As the cave around you shifts from sewer, to circus, to pond, and more, the goose opens fire on Boris and sends him diving for more cover! Eh, you shrug, he’s got it under control! Shifting your gaze from Art, to The Marshal, and finally Eddie–the latter averts his eyes as bullets continue to tear apart the ground around him! Seriously, man?

“G-geese can get really mean…” He sputters.

Speaking of, EVERETT and the other LEDGE CLAYTONS are still here–a fact made painfully obvious by everyone concentrating their fire on YOU!

ROLL 3d100 TO NOT GET LIT UP! I’LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!
>>
Rolled 5, 94, 20 = 119 (3d100)

>>5101490
>>
Rolled 18, 15, 18 = 51 (3d100)

>>5101490
>>
>>5101583

oh no no no
>>
Rolled 81, 3, 31 = 115 (3d100)

>>5101490
This dude over here thinking he's tougher than Terry.

Pfft.
>>
>>5101493
>>5101583
>>5101599
>HIGHEST ROLL 1: 81!
>HIGHEST ROLL 2: 94!!
>HIGHEST ROLL 3: 31!!! :C

Writing!
>>
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Leaping out from your hiding place and into the air, your flight is immediately tracked by EVERETT and every CLAYTON in the building! As you deftly roll into a somersault, the air around you explodes with projectiles like one of those Bullet Heck games you never got the hang of! Time slows to a crawl as you feel shots buzz by you–each one just close enough to sting your skin as it flies past!

“Hold still, will ya?!” Roars the T-Rex as it struggles to reload!

“Is this some kind of joke?” Giggles the clown!

You’re just about home free when you feel a sharp pain cut through your arm–thankfully not the one that was shot earlier! It still hurts like a bitch, though, and as it sends you reeling to the ground below, you barely manage to roll behind a crystal halfway between your pals and Boris! Hissing through the pain, you peek out of cover just in time to see CLAYNADIAN GOOSE blowing the smoke off the barrels of his revolvers!

“My, my, Stanley… you didn’t go and hurt yourself again, did you?”

As you flip the bird at the fiendish fowl, you watch as a spray of buckshot tears through the smoke and reduces one of EVERETT’S CLAYTON CLONES to bonemeal! Flabbergasted, the remaining brother and CLAYTON fill Eddie’s last position with lead! Biting your lip as you line your rifle’s sights with EVERETT’S head, you allow yourself a sigh of relief when the ex-track star pops his head out like a gopher next to The Marshal!

“Not far enough, amig-”

LEDGE CLAYTON never gets his sentence out. Taking a burst of rifle bullets to the sternum, the bandit teeters over the edge screaming all the way down!
https://youtu.be/9FHw2aItRlw
Glowing eyes wide in disbelief, EVERETT retreats towards the back of the chamber as Art turns to face him!

“Not a bad distraction, cupcake!” Ly praises as Eddie and The Marshal open fire on CLAYTONSAURUS REX and CLAYTON THE CLOWN!

What distraction? You were trying to get them to shoot Boris–dude’s barely in cover! Pointing towards your creepo coworker, you shake your fist in frustration as he and EVERETT start trading bullets!

“Whatever you were plannin’, it HELPED.” Replies your skeleton. “But it still didn’t take care of da’ BIG CHEESE…

As if on cue, two more CLAYTONS step out of cover to back up EVERETT near the back of the chamber! What the HELL?!

What’s the next step here?
>HELP YOUR PALS WITH THE BIZARRO CLAYTONS!
>KILLSTEAL EVERETT FROM BORIS! THAT’LL TEACH HIM!
>WRECK THAT CRYSTAL! THINGS CAN’T GET ANY WEIRDER, RIGHT?
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5101784
>>WRECK THAT CRYSTAL! THINGS CAN’T GET ANY WEIRDER, RIGHT?
>>
>>5101784
>WRECK THAT CRYSTAL! THINGS CAN’T GET ANY WEIRDER, RIGHT?
>>
>>5101784
>WRECK THAT CRYSTAL! THINGS CAN’T GET ANY WEIRDER, RIGHT?
>WRITE-IN!
Ask the Marshall if those crystals were here last time he killed Clayton. If they're the source of the gas, then that means they had to have been here before.
>>
>>5101788
>>5101791
>>5101822
>WRECK THE CRYSTAL!

Gonna roll for EFFECTIVENESS this time... let's see how much damage you can do! ROLL 1d100 TO BLAST THAT CENTRAL CRYSTAL! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE WHAT WEAPON YOU'RE GONNA USE: SHOTGUN/RIFLE/ROCKET LAWNCHAIR/LASER EYE/SOMETHING ELSE!
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5101833
ROCKET LAUNCHERRR
>>
Rolled 69 (1d100)

>>5101833
Shotgun is probably the best bet for this one. The force of the pellets should be enough to shatter chunks of the crystal, and the spread ensures a wider area of the crystal is damaged.

I'm afraid to find out what would happen if we hit it with our laser. I wonder what Mitsy's gun would have done.
>>
>>5101834
>>5101833
How many rockets do we have for that thing and can we get more somewhere?
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>5101833
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

>>5101833

Rocket launcher
>>
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>>5101849

REEEEEEEEEEEEEE YOU FOOL Y U DO THIS????
>>
>>5101843
"A lot" according to my notes! As you're probably aware by now ammo's not really an issue here. I'd concern yourselves more with the potential fallout of a failure, though--you all know what happened last time a grenade roll went South! Don't worry about balancing--I'll be sure to gimp you guys accordingly if it comes to that! Somehow!

>>5101834
>>5101841
>>5101849
>HIGHEST ROLL: 73!
>RAWKIT LAWNCHAIIIIIIR

Writing!

>>5101850
Sorry, man... just missed it :c
>>
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Watching the chaos unfold between the bandits and your friends (and Boris), you feel Ly’s presence tingle within your head.

“Should we uh… help out, kid?”

Mulling it over for a moment, your thought process is interrupted by a BOOM that shakes the very foundations of the mines! Shielding your eyes from the explosion of one of Art’s grenades, you almost miss CLAYTONSAURUS REX tumbling into the abyss below! Roaring all the way down, his goose and clown counterparts rush for cover behind the central crystal as Boris continues to give the EVERETT/CLAYTON combo in the back a run for their money!

Nah, you finally respond, you think they can handle it. Besides, you segue as you use both hands to remove that ROCKET LAUNCHER that’s been burning a hole in your pocket for a few threads, you’ve got a PLAN!

Feeling your bones shrinking deeper into your body, you feel a quick shiver before Ly responds. “Stan… what uh… what’cha gonna do wit’ dat’?”

Pointing the weapon’s business end at the massive central crystal formation, you respond by making a ‘PPsSSsHoooW!’ noise and wiggling your eyebrows a few times.

“Ah.” Your skeleton mutters, clearly not jazzed about the idea. “Just uh… try not ta’ collapse da’ ceiling on us, okay?”

He worries too much! Besides, you add as you kneel to get more stability, what’s the worst that can happen?

“I literally just described a way it-”

Too late! Pulling the trigger, your small frame somehow manages to hold firm as the rocket-propelled grenade loaded into the launcher shoots off like a firecracker towards your target! As the rest of the cave’s occupants watch in awe, GOOSE AND CLOWN CLAYTON’S eyes go wide as your present sails towards his hiding place!

“What the HELL is that thi-”

If Art thought his grenades were hot shit before, that time has PASSED! Impacting with a dull ‘CRUNCH,’ the rocket lingers in place for a moment before engulfing the whole crystal in a earth-shaking FIREBALL!

… followed by a rush of GREEN FOG!

>CONTD.
>>
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>>5101920
You regain consciousness in the middle of a coughing fit. Peeling yourself off of the wall of the chamber still bathed in fog thick enough to cut with a knife, you fumble for your ROCKET LAUNCHER on the ground next to you.

Blindly groping the floor, your fingers brush against damp stone choked with moss and fungus! Recoiling at the gooey texture, you begrudgingly rise to your feet and try your damndest to make out any sign of your friends amidst the green murk!

What do?
>CREEP TOWARDS WHERE YOU LAST SAW THEM!
>SHOUT THEIR NAMES! NO WAY THOSE BANDITS WILL HIT YOU IN THIS FOG!
>TRY YOUR CELLPHONE LIGHT OR ANOTHER ITEM TO SIGNAL THEM!
>JUST STAY STILL WHERE YOU ARE–LET SOMEONE COME TO YOU! STEALTH-KILL 'EM IF NEED BE!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5101921
>>JUST STAY STILL WHERE YOU ARE–LET SOMEONE COME TO YOU! STEALTH-KILL 'EM IF NEED BE!
>>
>>5101921
>JUST STAY STILL WHERE YOU ARE–LET SOMEONE COME TO YOU! STEALTH-KILL 'EM IF NEED BE!
>>
>>5101921
>>JUST STAY STILL WHERE YOU ARE–LET SOMEONE COME TO YOU! STEALTH-KILL 'EM IF NEED BE!
>>
>>5101929
>>5101933
>>5101944
>STEALTH TIME!

Gonna call it here tonight, all, but I should be up and running again THURSDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST!

What I'd like from YOU, however, is a few rolls! ROLL ME 1d100+5 TO UH... STAY SNEAKY! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! Will write an update tomorrow!
>>
Rolled 93 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5101957
>>
Rolled 45 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5101957

PEEP THIS
>>
>>5101958
Well dang, that's certainly a good roll to end the night on. Guess I'll see if there are any critfails in the morning!
>>
Rolled 16 + 5 (1d100 + 5)

>>5101957
Why am I rolling I shouldn't be rolling we already have a 93 fuck what am I doing this is fucking stupid
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>5102016
It's okay, you don't have my talent for called Nat1s Check'em
>>
>>5101958
>>5101962
>>5102016
>HIGHEST ROLL: 98!!!

Sorry all, work issues came up this morning. Writing!
>>
File: mutant.gif (1.03 MB, 700x354)
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Not eager to stumble into another dinosaur, clown, or aggressive waterfowl, you quietly dart behind a nearby pile of… bricks?

Nope, not gonna think about it! Hunkering down behind your new cover, you silently scan the fog for any sign of your enemies. For a while you see nothing, save for the persisting plumes of green fog, but it doesn’t take long for the shots to start up again all over the chamber!

That’s when you see it: a towering, gaunt figure in the center of the room with unnervingly-long arms that waste no time in grabbing at your pals!

NOW YOU’VE DONE IT, STAN!” Croaks the abomination’s voice as bullets pass through it like a hologram! “THERE’S ENOUGH OF THAT GAS IN HERE NOW TO FRY UP EVERYBODY’S MIND LIKE EGGS!

Rumbling with guttural laughter, the uh… NEW CLAYTON turns your way revealing two massive glowing orbs for eyes and a twisted maw of dripping yellow teeth! It takes you a moment to put things together, but once you see it, you just can’t look away–

He’s a GIANT SEWER MUTANT!

Lingering on your now-shaking form a bit too long, the abomination lets out a triumphant ‘GOTCHA!’ before bringing one of his gnarled hands down to snatch you up! Bringing your CHINCHILL-PUMP ACTION to meet him, you hesitate when his claw passes you up and snatches up a familiar coworker instead! Blinking in confusion, you watch as Boris struggles to break free of Clayton’s grasp! Guess he uh… mistook him?

“Mind loosening up a bit?” Boris quips as your pals continue to send bullets through the mutant’s form, “I’ll toss ya’ some gum for that bad breath of yours!”

WRONG ONE!” Clayton growls with mild disappointment. “OH WELL!” Just when Clayton opens his mouth to drop Boris in, you hear the faint sound of footsteps approaching from your right! Sticking to your cover, you watch as EVERETT MERCER quietly creeps over to another pile of sludge-covered bricks in front of you and begins searching for your friends! Holy crap, you whisper to yourself, the moron doesn’t see you!

That said, you can only maintain the element of surprise for so long, especially if Boris dies right now! Just thinking about it almost makes you squeal!

Focus, Stan–what’s the next move?
>TAKE DOWN EVERETT!
>ASSIST BORIS (UGH)!
>GET A SURPRISE HIT ON CLAYTON!
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5102751
>>GET A SURPRISE HIT ON CLAYTON!

FUGGIN FILTHY (CLAYTON) MUTIE
>>
>>5102751
>TAKE DOWN EVERETT!
I'm too jaded to believe Boris would be killed so easily.
>>
>>5102751
>>5102763

>>TAKE DOWN EVERETT!

You know what, I'm switching my vote to this cause Everett's guaranteed to die if we hit him. Fancying a guess here, but I think that Clayton's illusion's/duplicates are all coming from the crystals/crystal gas.
>>
>>5102769
Interesting theory, anon!

>>5102764
>>5102769
>TAKE DOWN EVERETT!

Looks like we're going the Cain route. ROLL 1d100+15 TO TAKE HIM DOWN THANKS TO YOUR SICK STEALTH! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS!

Feel free to write in just HOW you wanna take him down too--shoving? Stabbing? Shotgun? They're yours, my friend!
>>
Rolled 89 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>>5102848

NATTYNATTYNATTYNATTY
>>
File: 1623958715558.gif (1.2 MB, 640x360)
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>>5102850

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WE WIN GET REKT EVERETT
>>
Rolled 55 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>>5102848
Just throw a brick at him. Give him a super uneventful death that distracts Clayton by how ridiculously anticlimactic and out of nowhere it is.
>>
Rolled 72 + 15 (1d100 + 15)

>>5102848
>>
>>5102858

I will support this. Add insult to injury.
>>
>>5102858
Say that makes me think, have any of the Claytons been killed by environmental damage rather than bullets? If so did that still cause respawns?
>>
>>5102850
>>5102858
>>5102862
>HIGHEST ROLL: 104!!!!!
>BRICK JOKE

Writing!

>>5102891
You haven't had a chance to really try out all of your ELEMENTAL ATTACKS on him, but Stan's honed observation skills have noticed a few things:
1. HYRAM didn't come back after being wasted.
2. CLAYTON has been shot, blown up, and knocked into a bottomless pit and he's basically coming back at will.
3. Eddie is scared of geese.
4. SEWER MUTANT!
>>
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>>5102905
While the bandit scours the foggy chamber with murderous intent mere feet ahead of you, your answer comes in the form of a lichen-covered chunk of brick sitting at your feet! Blinking in surprise, a devilish grin forms on your face as a grimy lightbulb in your head flickers to life! One that makes–no, COMPELS you to pick the discarded masonry up!

Weighing the chunk of debris in one hand, you give it a pleased nod. Yes, you think to yourself, this will do… this will DO.

Sticking your tongue out in concentration, you bring your arm back and pause for a moment in case your quarry moves–no room for error here! Just when the skeleton seems to spot someone, you adjust your aim a bit as he hunkers deeper behind cover!

WHAT’S THE MATTER!?” Clayton roars as he weaves between your friend’s bullets with Boris still hanging in his clutches, “HAVING TROUBLE CONCENTRATING?!

If anyone is, they don’t say anything. Shrugging in response, CREEPY CLAYTON moves to chomp on Boris again right when EVERETT draws a bead on someone! DAMN IT!

Chucking the brick with all your might, you pump your fist as it sails straight for EVERETT’S head!

… and HITS!

Tumbling over his cover with a dull ‘oof’, the bandit falls head-over-heels off the ledge screaming!
https://youtu.be/9FHw2aItRlw
Taken by surprise, CREEPY CLAYTON puts his murder of Boris on hold for a second (damn it) to watch as EVERETT tumbles a good four feet to the ledge below and lands on his head with a sickening ‘CRUNCH’! The whole chamber goes quiet as everyone struggles to determine what just happened…

… everyone except for YOU, that is! Miss Parble, you have the floor! What’s next?

>BLAST CLAYTON!
>MAKE SURE EVERETT’S DEAD!
>STEALTHILY LINK UP WITH THE OTHERS!
>TAUNT CLAYTON!
>USE AN ITEM! (WHICH ONE?)
>WRITE-IN!
>>
>>5102943
>>TAUNT CLAYTON!
>>BLAST CLAYTON!
>>
>>5102943
>TAUNT CLAYTON!
>BLAST CLAYTON!
"You're awfully sure of yourself, Clayton. So were all the others. It's only a matter of time until you run out of tricks."

Cackle like a madwoman and dart into cover like a deranged raccoon.
>>
>>5102943
>TAUNT CLAYTON!
>BLAST CLAYTON!
>>
>>5102944
>>5103004
>>5103006
>TAUNT AND BLAST!

Looks like we have a suggestion of WORDS below, but I'll need a few more things--don't worry, they're easy!

ROLL 1d100+10 TO BLAST 'EM! I'LL TAKE THE BEST OF 3 ROLLS! Don't forget to choose a BLASTER: LASER EYE, ROCKET LAUNCHER, SCOPED RIFLE, SHOTGUN, BRICK, OTHER!

Secondly, HOW YOU GONNA TAUNT HIM? I'll go with >>5103004 unless I hear any votes to the contrary!
>>
Rolled 29 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5103012
shotgun
>>
Rolled 88 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>5103012
INB4 Boris ends up getting all the credit for killing Clayton.
>>
Rolled 17 (1d100)

>>5103012

LET'S SECURE THE WIN
>>
>>5103016
Use our shotgun.
>>
>>5103015
>>5103016
>>5103017
>HIGHEST ROLL: 98!!!
>WEAPON OF CHOICE: SHOTGUN!
>TAUNT OF CHOICE: WHAT WAS WRITTEN BEFORE!

WRITING!

>>5103016
Come now, anon--how on Earth could that possibly happen?
>>
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Why, the taunting, of course! Lord knows you’ve earned it! Slinking back into the blanket of fog, you use your BONE SPEED and GHOST RUN EXPERTISE to dart around the shadows like a raccoon on a sugar high!
https://youtu.be/5TfWV1lQ8DY
You’re awfully sure of yourself, Clayton! So were all the others! Punctuating your sentence with a blast from your CHINCHILL PUMP-ACTION, you’re gone long before the buckshot blasts a chunk of his mutant flesh into… wait, fog?

NNRGH!” Growls the mutant as he tosses Boris aside like a candy bar wrapper, “STICK AROUND THEN, KID–LET’S SEE JUST HOW LONG THAT LUCKY STREAK LASTS!

Ducking under his arm as he sweeps it across the chamber, you earn a break when another shot echoes across the chamber!

“You won’t be around to see it!” Eddie laughs as he ducks back into the fog! As another chunk of mutant fog is stripped away by buckshot, CLAYTON brings his fist down on Eddie’s last location with a fierce growl!

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH, IT’S BEEN FUN! SHAME IT ALL ENDS HERE!

He’s right, you cackle as you pop out for another shotgun blast! Only a matter of time before he runs outta tricks! Ducking and running just as your shot blindsides the mutant, you let loose with a devious laugh as Clayton’s creepy facade melts away with each bullet!

QUIT RUNNING, DAMN YOU!” Roars the bandit as he peppers the chamber with bullet-shaped teeth! “I AM FEAR, DAMN IT! I’M THE GRIM-GODDAMN-REAPER!

“You’re a blowhard just like the others!” Art quips as he peeks from cover and tears through the mutant’s head with a burst of rifle fire! “And you really screwed up fighting us in here!”

Clayton’s remaining head gurgles a response, but you don’t quite hear it! Thrashing like a cornered animal, the remaining mutant drags his gnarled claws across the bricks like scythes, but you dodge them easily!

A rapid-fire volley of repeater cartridges takes care of what’s left of Clayton’s arms! “I told ya before, kid–Clay’s nothin’ but a mad dog–fierce, sure, but almost dumber than you!”

With barely any form left, the remains of CREEPY CLAYTON vaporize into the air leaving behind what you hope is the last copy of CLAYTON BLACK in the center of the chamber! Twirling his revolvers defiantly, the bandit spits before issuing a challenge to the remaining blanket of fog:

“Well done, pards–you whittled me down! Now which of you yellerbellies are gonna duel me like a man?”

“I mean… we could just blast him.” Ly remarks as you hunker down next to a crystal behind the bandit. You certainly COULD!

What do?
>DUEL HIM!
>W-WAIT, SOMEONE ELSE IS STEPPING IN! (BORIS? EDDIE? ART? MARSHAL? WRITE-IN?)
>JUST BLOW THIS JERK AWAY!
>WRITE-IN!
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>>5103099
>>JUST BLOW THIS JERK AWAY!

Tag 'em and bag 'em!
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>>5103099
>W-WAIT, SOMEONE ELSE IS STEPPING IN! (BORIS? EDDIE? ART? MARSHAL? WRITE-IN?)
I think we'd ought to let the Marshall have the honors. Let him finish his job.
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>>5103099
>>5103108 +1 for letting the marshal finish this
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>>5103108
+1
>>
Gonna call this until FRIDAY AROUND 11-12PM PST, all--getting a bit tired on my end! Can't promise a WEALTH of updates on New Year's Eve, but I should be able to get in a few earlier on in the day. Otherwise I'll probably get more in this coming weekend. Thanks for playing and hope to see you in the New Year!
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>>5103099
>>DUEL HIM!
We have some style dammit, it's a showdown at Low Tide. Or whatever
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>>5103099
>JUST BLOW THIS JERK AWAY!
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>>5103104
>>5103241
>BLOW HIM AWAY!

>>5103202
>DUEL HIM YOURSELF!

>>5103108
>>5103112
>>5103113
>WHAT'S THE MARSHAL DOING?!

Writing!
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File: theduel.jpg (55 KB, 589x295)
55 KB
55 KB JPG
You’re about to blow the outlaw to ribbons when you hear it: the steady jingle of rusty spurs!
https://youtu.be/zZKcSUkiE20
Through the remaining green cloud strides The Marshal–his bony face hardened with resolve as he slings his REPEATER onto his back sling and pushes his duster coat out of the way revealing his TARNISHED REVOLVER hanging in a holster at his side!

“Sure, Clay–I’ll be your dance partner.”

The bandit glances around the chamber once before letting loose with more laughter! “It had to be you, didn’t it?”

The lawman spits as he steps onto the central metal scaffolding. “I am pretty good at killin’ ya.”

“You were!” Clayton sneers with a twirl of his pistols. “But times have changed, old man… and I’m feelin’ a bit luckier than last time.”

“Good.” The Marshal grunts as he stops across from the bandit. “You’re gonna need all the luck you can get.”

Grinding his teeth, Clayton looks out the corner of his eye at the fog. “So this is how it is, then? You’re just gonna sit back an’ watch?”

Your muscles twitch eagerly, but you stay put. Something about this feels… well, right.

Plus you REALLY want to see how this goes!

“Go ahead and talk, Clay–” The Marshal hisses as his hand rests close to his side, “Stan, yer’ boys, God… they ain’t listenin’.”

Black’s mouth curls into a sinister grin. “Such CONFIDENCE! I always wondered where you got it from… tell me–back when this all ended the first time: you were afraid, weren’t ya?”

“I was.” The Marshal nods. “But I was plenty angry too–seems that won out in the end.” He cracks his neck. “Just like it will this time, you mad sonnovabitch.”

The outlaw sends another round of laughter across the cavern! “Will it now?” Narrowing his eyes at his opponent, Clayton gives his revolvers another twirl before placing them back into their holsters! “Care ta’ find out?”

The Marshal responds by thumbing his revolver. “Sure,” he growls, “I’ll prove ya’ wrong.”

The two fall silent and stand facing each other like statues. Watching from the shadows, you and your friends hold your collective breaths as anticipation builds up like air in a balloon…

And finally BURSTS.

How does it end?
>ONE SHOT TO THE HEAD, CLEAN AS LAST TIME.
>ONE BULLET FOR EACH LIMB LEAVING HIM HELPLESS. SLOW AND PAINFUL.
>TWO SHOTS FOR TWO REVOLVERS. HE’S DISARMED.
>WRITE-IN!
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>>5103524
>>ONE SHOT TO THE HEAD, CLEAN AS LAST TIME.
>>
>>5103524
>ONE SHOT TO THE HEAD, CLEAN AS LAST TIME.
>>
>>5103524
>ONE SHOT TO THE HEAD, CLEAN AS LAST TIME.
>>