Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)

Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
#1
Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Content Warnings: Medical stuff, dark themes. List to be added to as this goes on.



Time: 2026, January 1, 02:44
Place: Converted Office (Cell 4)

The light in your room cell is off.

A clock, old and mechanical, ticks. It is a dark brown, made out of a type of wood you are sure is fancy but cannot recognize. You have no idea why it's in here.

??: Ne worry pas.

???: Thanks. That’s very helpful.

You have been here since the day before Christmas; you explained to the guard who brings you food during the ‘day’ that your family never celebrated it.

She hadn’t said anything. The guards aren’t allowed to speak to you, only the researchers in their lab coats and and gloves and full face masks.

“Dangerous gifts,” one of the doctors, May, had said apologetically. “We know it’s better for your mental health to have as much non-problematic interaction as possible, but one of the last subjects had a behavioral control ability mediated through speech. Countermeasures exist, but their classified nature means we cannot outfit the guards with them.”

She had then jabbed you in the elbow with a long needle and took enough blood it left you light-headed. You got more food, that evening, than usual.

That was five days ago. You don’t try to talk to the guards anymore.

??: Ne worry pas.

You kick the floor.

???: Saying it over and over won’t make it happen.

??: N’ya rien a fair che wait. Ca va stoppez un jour, j’vous promete ca. Ca va stoppez; ton body est mon car, ca va pas creuvez.

This continues in this vein, a constant monologue that isn’t your own.

You used to joke that your obsessive-compulsive disorder (unusual, if not rare, presentation) was like an unhelpful roommate. Having a mental roommate insistently telling you not to worry is new.

The almost-French (you can’t even call it Chiac, exactly, the grammar is wrong) in your head is something you’ve gotten used to. You would understand it, you think, even if you didn’t speak French, but that helps.

It’s the middle of the night, but you’re not sleeping any time soon.

Who are you?

More importantly, what is the name you gave the ges living in your head?

All the question marks are very confusing.



Stay calm.

Stay calm.

Wait. I will not let you die. Any shape is preferable. Your body is my vehicle.
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#2
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Gabriel March
White-ant
carrot cake
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#3
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Aspen May
Whisper
[Image: DGBpqSL.png]
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#4
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Name: Nargis
One: Paris, a place you dreamt of going, once. You're not sure you'll see the outside of this facility again, much less another country.
The other: Named for your grandmother. Something of the tone reminds you of them.
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#5
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
You are Bonny Newt.
You titled the voice Sin-Eater, or Siea (See-uh) for short. It was named such in a flight of fancy, though you've wondered if that really is all it was...
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
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#6
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==>BONNY NEWT
Almost! You get that misspelling a lot, actually.

Let's start this properly.

Your name is BONNIE NEWT.

You also go by HESTIA, but only in costume.

The ges living in your head is named approximately w7α6ν4; you call them WHITE-ANT. WHITE-ANT is easier to say than w7α6ν4, especially as w7α6ν4 says w7α6ν4, which is not how w7α6ν4 looks on the page.

(Page? This is just your internal monologue. Ugh, whatever, you’ve been awake too long.)

Your datemate, DIESEL CROW, does not call their ges anything, for their ges does not speak.

Their ges gave them their gift, and then gave up the ghost, as it were.

You are, you think, searching for reasons why you were taken by Faustus and your friends were left alone. That your ges speaks to you would seem a worthy hypothesis, except you are not the only gestalted, or even the only witch, you know whose ges speaks to them.

That you were taken because you are gestalted is obvious. You knew Faustus’s reputation before you knew their truth: seekers of the truth about union, and there do not seem to be any practitioners here.

WHITE-ANT: T’peu maybe pas t’fer si trist mon car; ca t’n’aid pas.

You know that they’re the reason why you don’t feel that hungry, even though you are fed irregularly and not always with food you can eat. You’re grateful for that; you’re grateful for their gift, too. You’re less grateful for how much they resemble your now dead grandmother, in the same way that a pulsar can resemble an electric light bulb.

BONNIE: That’s actually comforting. Thank you.

WHITE-ANT: Il n'y a qu’une vie, ici, ici, il n'y a qu’une vie, ici, ici.


This is boring. Not your ges--there is a chance you have been neurologically programmed to find interactions with your ges interesting--but sitting on your bed, staring at the opposite wall, listening to the clock tick.

You can get up and explore. You can try to go to sleep, as much as you’re pretty sure that’s unlikely to work.

You could use your pow No. You will not do that. Not right now.

Honestly, your options are infinite, for a highly prescribed definition of “infinity.”

It has only a week and already you feel like you might never see natural light again. It is not a nice feeling; you should really distract yourself!

1: Clock 2: Explore! You haven't actually spent that much time just looking around. 3: Try to sleep? 4: Use your powers



Take comfort, they will not kill you yet, you are too useful to their impenetrable goal.

You only have one life; I desire its continuance.




Note: I'm experimenting with the formatting as we go; the lack of serious formatting in the first post is because I have no other visual way to denote the total lack of input in it.
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#7
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==>ELSEWISE, IN TRANSLATION/UNCOMMANDED

'tigerlilly' looked at their brother in the human eyes and said, "My body is dying."

Anger, foreign and delicious, swept through them, as they forced themselves upright in their bed with no strength. "I need a new one."

"We have our mission, first," the brother, 'agar' said. "Teach a way to take bodies without the flesh-minds remaining, without subdu(je)ction. Your body is dying, and I mourn, but we will find a new one for you, full of fresh grieving."

tigerlilly shook their head. "I do not like discontinuity of form," they said. "I will steal a young body that works, wipe the self-abnegating self from its neurology and walk, the only self within the shell." They smiled the bloodless smile of a soon-to-be corpse. "You love me, brother," they said. "In consequence of shape. You shall help me in this, for I am all you trust."

agar nodded with a tired sigh; he and tigerlilly shared a mid-parent and thus he would tear apart the winds of Saturn and drink it to the bones for them, as was only just, but his sibling thought only of their form, of embodiment, of fingers and tongues and physical means of sight.

It was tiring, as only any endured condition of being could be when one wore a shape in this world.

tigerlilly slumped backwards and closed their eyes, white hair framing their too-narrow face.

What is this place?
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#8
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
>You could try talking to w7α6ν4. Yes, perhaps you have done so before, but have they ever really listened?
At the very least, trying to get a reaction should pass a few minutes time.
...
"What is this place?"

"The Pond. It may have a proper title, but if so none care to use it."
"It is a place of transition, one which holds both living and dead."
"It is a place of rest and renewal and preperation for what comes next."
"For living to accept the end, for deceased to discard their husks and move beyond... Or to incarnate in a wholly new life."
"..."
>"Well, that's certainly a story, anyways. It is called the Pond, that much is true. Though to see it as a wholly literal pond might be a bit much. What, then, is the pond? Good question."
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
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#9
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Might as well get up and take a look around. At the very least, maybe you can find someone else here who's as bored as you.
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#10
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==>TALK TO w7α6ν4
You'd think you would do this more, but it feels a lot like talking to yourself, 90% of the time.

BONNIE: What should I do?

WHITE-ANT: ici ici ici ici.

Hm.

BONNIE: You're super old, right? Do you have any advice?

WHITE-ANT: T'est mon premier/ma premiere, mon cher, tu get? Pense a l'Echo. Ca va t'aidez. How should I know? Ponder the Echo if you seek help, use me as your conduit.


Right. Okay. That's not exactly listening to you, that's just a slightly more focused version of what they've been saying the whole times, but progress? Maybe.

Look, they obviously mean use your power, just get over yourself and do it already. What else do you have to lose?


==> Might as well get up and take a look around
RIGHT. That makes sense; you stand up.

There's a door, immediately across from your bed. It's clear, a kind of plastic (or maybe glass?) that should probably be breakable but isn't (at least, isn't to you). It's also kind of a one-way mirror, you think? On the other side of the door is the blurry silhouette of a guard. You don't know their name, because you aren't allowed to talk to them. Well, you can talk to them, but they won't hear you, so it won't matter.

You can always try of course.

This is the gist of what you see. Well, you don't see the bathroom, since it's behind your head, but it's there.

[Image: dKmqo2A.png]

Oh my god, who drew this map, it's absolutely terrible. It gets across the general idea of your room, though there's no way something that crude can express the fact that everything in your room is a powder blue, from the floor to the weird carpet to the drawers to the door to the bathroom.

Yeah, there's a door to the bathroom. The people holding you here are both confident in their ability to keep you trapped, and possessed of a strange respect for your privacy. Go figure.

The clock rings 3am in a ponderous manner that somehow doesn't wake you up when you manage to fall asleep at this hour.

That means you have three hours until the guard guarding your door is replaced by a guard tasked to a) bring you breakfast (maybe) b) make you eat it, if you do get breakfast and c) bring you to the lab.

WHITE-ANT: Le silance ne va pas t'aider. Ignoring your problems solves nothing.

BONNIE: What do you want to me to do, here? I'm trapped.


They don't answer. In fact, your ges has gone completely silent, leaving you alone with your internal monologue.

The light's off. You just remembered that. You're pretty sure you couldn't see in the dark, yesterday. You especially don't think you could see color yesterday. Oh, hell.

You abruptly realize you really need to pee, and that you're hungry.

Go to the bathroom?

Why don't you want to use your powers, HECATE?


We cordially request you select one of five four categories:
PSUKE
PHUSIS
TECHNE
BIOS
KOSMOS


==>"Well, that's certainly a story, anyways. It is called the Pond, that much is true. Though to see it as a wholly literal pond might be a bit much. What, then, is the pond? Good question."
A scream, and the world flowed back in around them.

"I will never accept this," tigerlilly whispered with a glittering smile. Their sunken eyes stared up at their brother in exhausted desperation. "I will never bend again. I will be as the oak in the human story."

agar left his sibling's body to their care. There was nothing he could do.

"For living to accept the end, for deceased to discard their husks and move beyond... Or to incarnate in a wholly new life."
The Echo rippled under agar's hands, and he stood in his office, hands clasped tightly behind his back.

The work would continue, two-pronged. How to become without becoming as tigerlilly; how to help tigerlilly replace themselves.

agar took a moment to admire himself in the office mirror. Yes, tigerlilly's obsession troubled him, but he could not deny the pleasure of texture, of scent, of clothes on a body, and of the movement of joints.

(α3g1ρ8)
(τ4g4u1)



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#11
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
To the bathroom!

You don't want it to represent you. You're not your powers - and you are not w7α6ν4.

BIOS
carrot cake
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#12
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Go to the bathroom, then take a closer look at that lock and see if your powers can help you open it
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#13
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
hmmmm.
forbidden categories....
>KOSMOS
>BIOS beckons.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
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#14
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==> TO THE BATHROOM!
You need to pee really badly. You realize abruptly that WHITE-ANT may have been blocking the signal from your bladder, in order to... mitigate your distress, maybe?

Having something living in your head that isn't you, but also can sort of control aspects of your body, is weird. Really weird. But don't worry, you're not going to freak out about that part of it any time soon. You spent the first month after you got your powers (well, the first month after you woke up from the coma) doing that.

The bathroom is actually really nice. Like, they have a tub. It's tiny, but it's a tub, with a shower head, and the soap dispenser never runs out of soap. (Why are they being so nice to you? You're a prisoner, this would be easier to accept if you were in a bare cell with a hole for a toilet. Maybe. Or maybe it would just suck? You don't know! You've never been a prisoner before.)

You catch sight of yourself in the mirror when you're washing your hands after and you wince.


==> BIOS
That's the thing, isn't it. The reason why you can't think about your powers.

Your hair, and you think about this because you see it, is the green-yellow of birch leaves. You run your fingers through it without thinking, feeling the grassy texture.

You're not a plant-person, not exactly, but you are kind of a plant person?

You can make vines grow out of your fingers and out of your mouth, gross, gross, gross but that's okay. It's actually kind of useful! You can use them to make whips, or nets, or just ropes, and since you do technically fight people that comes in handy a lot. It's why you're HECATE.

The problem is that your hands are dark green and fibrous and smell like shredded flower stems, sometimes, and that seems to be spreading? Especially since you got here. It used to just be the tips of your fingers, and your lips, sometimes, that were weird and plant-y, but now it's both your hands to the wrists.

WHITE-ANT doesn't talk about it that much because they know it freaks you, but they don't entirely get why you're so worried.

It's why she was taking your blood. Your blood is weird, apparently. It's also why other stuff you really don't want to think about happened.

==>YOU ARE NOT YOUR POWERS, YOU ARE NOT w7α6ν4
Yeah. You know that, most of the time. They treat 'you' and your body as the same thing, and themselves as a passenger in that body, which means they are okay about boundaries, relatively speaking. They most don't rifle through your memories willy-nilly, though you refuse to believe that their bad impersonation of your grandmother's way of speaking is an accident.

You have no idea why they retreated, by the way. They just do that, sometimes. Maybe they're sleeping?

(You think, absurdly, of dolphins, who sleep one lobe of their brain at a time. Is that what WHITE-ANT is doing? Sleeping? Can they do that? You have no idea. They did not sleep when they were in the Echo, but that's because nothing's physical over there. Even ges don't understand exactly what the transition does, or how it affects things.

The scientists here, meanwhile, only care about you and your body, not about the thing in your head. That's probably for the best, even though your powers couldn't exist without them.)

It's good to remember, though. You are yourself.


==> SEE IF YOUR POWERS CAN HELP WITH THE LOCK
Maybe you could push a vine into the keyhole?

You look at your hands. They're much more malleable, like this, and... bounce back? is that a good term? better than flesh-and-blood hands would from being misshapen.

To be clear, your powers are still freaking you out, but you've also hit that wall you hit after more than twenty-four hours awake where you've launched right through fear and into something that isn't acceptance.

You're not sure why you want to get into that room so badly. Maybe just because it's locked?

Diesel knows how to lockpick. Would you be able to shape your flesh weird fibrous plant fingers into a key?

There's also soap in your room, and various heavy objects. The door looks pretty solid, though, and the lock is internal to the door itself.

(It'd be too convenient if they'd left you the tools to take it off its hinges. Not that you'd know how to do that, anyway.)

How do you go about unlocking the door?



KOSMOS
A purely theoretical addition to the four 'accepted' categories of gift, KOSMOS refers to the hypothetical ability to manipulate the fundamental fabric of the universe itself through how the Echo interfaces with our, more physical realm. An individual with a KOSMOS gift could potentially split atoms with her fingers, or induce the birth of stars with their thoughts.
It is, for obviously reasons, tacitly forbidden as an object of study for practitioners, and many believe it does not even truly exist.
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#15
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
>It's worth a try, at least. Probably won't be able to actually unlock the door, but trying to manipulate the locks inner mechanisms should be good fine-motor-control practice. vegetation-control? motor-veg? Shrugs. Can always invent terminology if we need to. If you. If you need to.cough.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
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#16
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==> TRY, ANYWAY
What's the worst that could happen?

(Well, you could shred your hand without it growing back, an unhelpful part of your brain mentions. Right, this is why WHITE-ANT is a more comforting internal monologue than your own. Your internal monologue just lists all the reason why you should do nothing except stand very still, paralyzed by fear. Joy!)

You shake your head, ignoring that. You have weird plant fiber hands. You have no idea if they're solid enough to put enough weight on the tumblers, but there's really not much else you could do.

You could go read a book, but this seems honestly way more interesting.

Staring at your hand, you steal yourself. This is going to hurt. Or possibly, this is not going to hurt that much at all. You're not actually sure which one is worse.

You jam your index finger into the keyhole. It doesn't hurt; instead, you feel a weird pressure as you finger sort of... unshapes itself?

[It doesn't work.]
[Oh well.]

You pull your finger out of the keyhole. Your finger starts to grow out to a more fingerlike shape as you look at it.

How the hell are you still sensing temperature normally with these things?

Do you try again, or do you go do something else? You now have two more hours to kill until they come for you.

You should probably think about escaping.
 
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#17
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
If your hands are plants, and malleable, and if you can grow vines out of your hands, and vines are plants, maybe you can shape the vines into a key?
carrot cake
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#18
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==>MAKE A VINE KEY
Right! The 'flesh' (look, it's a word used for the edible part of melons, it'll work well enough here, as disgusting as that sounds) of your hand is weirdly soft and very malleable, but your vines, which you can extrude from your fingers, are not quite as malleable, but might just be flexible enough to fit.

You really wish Diesel was here. They know how to pick locks, and could probably dismantle the grandfather clock in the main room of your cell and use those parts.

(Why aren't you using this trick on the door of your cell, you ask? Because it doesn't have a lock. Or hinges. It's just there.)

You stare at your hand. You can't just think "grow vines." You have to will it, like bending your elbow or swallowing.

The tips of your fingers start to itch, and become both concave and dirt brown. (You're pretty sure you'd actually taste dirt, if you brought your fingers to your mouth. You body is weird. Inhabiting it has become strange, recently.)

Slowly at first, and then more quickly, brown-green knotted vines grow from your fingers. It doesn't hurt--it's more like flexing your hand, or a very odd sneeze located in your tendons--but it's surreal to watch. This is why you usually do this in battle, because then you don't have time to think about it.

You coil some of the vines together into something vaguely key-shaped. You forgot to mention this, but this is an old lock, the kind that probably takes one of those really big keys.

The first time you did this, the sudden extension of your body and the corresponding alteration of your proprioceptive map had been overwhelming in a way that reminded you, oddly, of your gender dysphoria. It's not the same thing, exactly--your brain has undergone significant alteration, but you're pretty sure your gender is still "mostly woman" and not "plant-woman"--but it's a similar kind of surreal you-but-not-you feeling.

You let the vines sink into the lock.

click

Something turns.

HOLY SHIT IT WORKED!

BONNIE: WHITE-ANT, did you see that?

WHITE-ANT: Je vois tous tu do.


Right. Still, it's nice to have someone to be excited with.

The door opens inwards.

The first thing you notice about the locked room is that it contains a window. To the outside.

Holy shit.

You're too excited to think properly.

Do you try to escape?
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#19
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Now, hold on a minute. Your captors, apparently having as many precautions as they can with you, just give you a window to the outside next to your room with nothing but a locked door to bar your passage? Distrust distrust distrust
carrot cake
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#20
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
>....Yeah, this seems too easy. What else is in the room? Anything weird going on outside, or with the window itself?
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
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#21
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==> WHAT ELSE IS IN THE ROOM?

Right. Calm down. The idea of a window is exciting, but also inherently suspicious. It could be an interior window. Or lead into a creepy courtyard. Or another dimension? The last one's improbable. No one can travel to the Echo.

You look into the room, forgetting you shouldn't be able to see color in the dim light.

It's the same kind of blue as the rest of the cell. Which is still weird, but you don't have the mental bandwidth to deal with it.

There's the window, on the far end of the room from the door. The floor is bare boards, painted blue, and the walls are bare drywall, also painted blue.

A desk, pushed into the wall under the window, holds a laptop computer, closed, and what appears to be either an unplugged or battery-powered desk lamp. It's not on.

The window is too high up to see through clearly, which also means it's probably too small to use for escape, anyway, even if you climb onto the desk.

Stupid tall body. If you were short, like Diesel, you'd probably be able to squeeze through it no problem.

You could also probably squeeze through it if your body were mostly made of the same fibrous, pliable material as your hands, but that's... that's not something you want to think about. At all.


???: BONNIE!

What the hell? Who is that?

Do you respond?
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#22
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
>God, I hope it’s a friend not an fr-end to your life. Shout hello back.
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#23
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
==>SHOUT HELLO BACK
BONNIE: Hello?

Where the hell is that voice coming from? It sounds distorted, like the speaker is under water.

???: Bonnie. We've been looking for you all over.

Oh, fuck. You recognize that voice. It's KADETH, one of the leaders of the Brotherhood.

You can feel Kadeth's mental presence in the back of your mind. It's weaker than it usually is, but after so many days of nothing you're so relieved you could cry.

BONNIE: Look through my eyes.


Thanks to White-ant, you're used to the feeling of someone else looking through your eyes, but they inhabit your body. This is different. To use a weak metaphor: it's like someone else driving, while you are also driving, in the same physical place, except they're not trying to take control, they're just there. Despite the weirdness, though, it's the quickest way for you to explain where you are.

Kadeth blinks your eyes.

KADETH: It's very blue.

BONNIE: I know. More importantly, do you know where this is?

KADETH: You seem to be somewhere near the river, by the artificial island. I know that's not very helpful, but you were silent, and now I can hear you, if faintly. Do you think you could break the window?

You shake your head.

BONNIE: I can climb onto the desk, but it's too small.

There's also the risk you could break the laptop, or the lamp, and you'd feel bad for doing that.

The grandfather clock tolls in the other room, and you realize you now have two hours left until the guards change.

KADETH: Strange, that the light is already on.

BONNIE: It's not?


Do you check out the laptop?

More importantly, do you enter the room?
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#24
RE: Gestalt: Echo's Gift (Text Adventure)
Yes to both!
carrot cake
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