Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round Two: Ryburg Ritz]

Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round Two: Ryburg Ritz]
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Fulfilling Reserves...]
Originally posted on MSPA by Palamedes.

Okay Solairs you win, I'll come out from under my rock in the games subforum and sign up for a Grand Battle.

Edit: Well here we are (still don't have a proper sample, will work on one if I have time tomorrow). Hope that this all works and whatnot.

Username: Palamedes

Name: Dr. Alberich Von Wissenschaft (dec.) and Mr. John Doe (dec.)

SexGender: A pair of males, and though the doctor prefers they be referred to as separate beings, most people understandably forget.

Race: Undead

Color: What else? (#006400)




Demonstrando Sample: Like I said, I'd like to do one, but it's getting pretty late in the deadline and I don't know if I'll have time. We'll see if I can get something in before the end of the day.
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Fulfilling Reserves...]
Originally posted on MSPA by Anthano Zasalla.


Username: Anthano Zasalla
Name: Oth
Gender: N/A
Race: Android
Text Colour: This is a neat color, let's go with that (#006080)



Oth is a sentient android with a simple yet elegant design. His limbs are thin and not especially strong even by human standards, but he possesses the singular ability to weaponize nearly anything, and can perform many mathematical calculations instantly. At the same time he has an extremely romantic mindset, and with it, a sense of knightly honor. Although, only "knightly" in that he will not betray those who consider him a friend. He is perfectly willing to fight dirty and abhors authority. He also abhors conceited muscular men, for reasons only partially understood.

Oth was created by a group of researchers, robotics experts and programming experts, with the ultimate goal of creating limited artificial sentience. When he was first built, Oth remained entirely unaware, only able to run specific processes as each corresponding command or stimulus presented itself. However, some year and a half after the project's beginning, Oth woke up.


Evidently, as an unforseen side-effect of being an android imbued with a soul, he occasionally lapses into a walking lucid-dream state. In this state, he has heightened senses and athletic abilities, but a severely distorted vision of the world-- to the point that his mind replaces what is actually said with other words. It's usually best to keep quiet and leave him be for a while if he begins talking to rocks.



Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Signups CLOSED]
Originally posted on MSPA by Agent1022.

A rustling of papers. A glimpse of a bubbling retort on a laboratory bench.

Elise Pestarztyn. #4B644B.

The birchwood desk is messier than ever, expanding to accomodate the growing stacks of notes. Just visible underneath a haphazard pile of papers is a yin-yang, stamped into a dossier folder holding varicolored sheets.

Blake Richards. #000000 and #FFFFFF on #818181.

On the top of a particularly disorganized stack lie sets of bafflingly unreadable documents, ink run and smudged beyond repair.

Nemo. #FF0000 on #FFFFFF.

There is a jar sitting beside the Journal, filled with gems that twinkle with unnatural honeysuckle light.

Miss Blacklight. #de512e.

Held down by a few hefty stacks, a blue cloak is draped incongruously over the edge of the desk. One edge has been stained cyan by the puddle on the floor, causing an iridescent gradient effect.

Oli Nelson. #6300A5.

A worn, tattered fashion magazine rests in a plastic tray on the desk. Its pages are well worn and crumbling, the pictures faded and words nearly obliterated from love.

Jean. #207070 on #EEBEBE.

An unidentifiable machine part sits on the edge of the Journal, weighing down the pages. It lies inert, looking for all the world like a remnant of a larger system long dead and gone.

Simiel-83. #000000 on #0099CC (thank you).

Light glints off steel, a curved plate just the breadth of a human skull sitting sandwiched in between two large notebooks.

Dr. Alberich Von Wissenschaft and Mr. John Doe. #006400.

With care, occasionally dashing forward in frenzied scribbles, the Sociologist writes data on an index card. She places it in the center of a pattern woven in ink and cardboard, among seven others - and she smiles.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Signups CLOSED]
Originally posted on MSPA by dynamicEquilibrium.

If my color was too hard to read (I guess the blue is very dark), it can be black on #0099CC
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Signups CLOSED]
Originally posted on MSPA by Anthano Zasalla.

Ah, blast. 'Til next time, then!
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Signups CLOSED]
Originally posted on MSPA by Agent1022.

<div style="margin-left:40px">Pillicock sat on a pillicock-hill, halloo, loo, loo! Tom’s a cold, poor Tom, that eats the toad and the swimming frog, poor Tom, eats cow-dung, and fie, foh and fum, I smell the blood of a British man.</div>

Pages folded upon one another as the Sociologist closed the tome. They rustled disquietly as the strange, tentacular lock of blue-black hair replaced their leather-bound home upon the oaken bookshelf; making a sound akin to a scream as she raised a pale hand and pushed the wall away. She stood for a moment in the richly decorated room, watching the equally decorated wall spin slowly back into the void, carrying the shelf with it back to the land of potential imagination.

“Shakespeare’s use of madness in King Lear can be interpreted as in varying ways.”

The space that the Sociologist made her transient home was a plethora of thought experiments, made real and whole. In a realm where reality was not so much putty as it was lumpy porridge, little cohesions of reality cascaded in whorls and eddies of undefined netherspace. Some clumped, some clung, some broke apart as their experiments ended.

But now a new bubble began to form, and matter flowed in...

In its center, she spoke to an invisible audience yet to come: “There is the madness of Lear, the madness of escapism - the manner by which reality may be rejected, and replaced with something more palatable.” A lacquered wooden floor began assembling itself within the bubble, as high walls and an arcing ceiling began to create a majestic, circular hall.

Dancing by herself, she spun slowly across the floor. Illuminated in the light of creation, the ballroom rose into a nonexistent sky, the ceiling closing as completion came - she twirled, alone, the slow, languorous waltz of the idly preoccupied, as her Journal’s stage asserted itself. It was a rare moment of relaxation.

“Then there is Edgar’s madness, an affectation created to protect oneself from the machinations of the enemy, an allegorical statement to society’s class stratifications, the aristocratic striations so prevalent in Shakespeare’s day.”

It didn’t do to relax too much. Work beckoned, like a compulsion...

Her footsteps echoed on the floor, tap, swish, tap, as her wandering waltz brought her to the birchwood desk bolted, inexplicably, to the center of the ballroom floor. It was placed in a way that drew the eye; it took space in and around itself like a tailor refitting a suit of malleable reality.

And on the desk, now clear of paper and clutter, lay the leather-bound Journal. By its side a jar of gems still shone, a metal paperweight resting in a plastic tray. The pages, blank, yet oozed potential - the potential that comprised the Sociologist’s experimental realm, the very stuff that dreams were made of. The leather bindings of the book all but quivered in anticipation, the shuffling of impatient paper buzzing on the edge of cognition.

“Finally, there is the madness that is spoken by not a single character in the play and at once all of them together in chorus, the madness and insensibility inherent in the senseless death and war and murder and betrayal - the madness in drama.”

She turned, and her audience was no longer invisible.

Nine bodies, ten beings stood poised before her, their figures posed in varied positions and forms - they surrounded the desk, the Journal, the Sociologist, in the semicircle of supplicants before an altar: an arrangement carefully chosen for its cultural connotations, to institute unconsciously a sense of rank and place.

“Among our goals in this study is to isolate and identify this quality of implausibility - only in data can we learn, can we not?” tap...tap. Idly, a hand gripped the corner of the page and toyed with it, back and forth, back and forth - capturing the attention of the captives as, slowly, they realized they were captive. The lab coat and the figure within stepped behind the desk - and for the first time looked up at them with cyan-pupilled eyes. The prussian-blue locks fell away from her visage, save one - which twisted its sinous self around a silver pen, holding it aloft above the blank cream-white of the pages below.

“I am the Sociologist. This is an experiment on uncontrolled societal interactions in between selected individuals and groups of individuals.” She brought her gaze to a spot five feet ahead of each contestant’s eyes. “Experimental protocol requires that I debrief you on this study’s nature.”

“You will be inserted into locales carefully formulated to test your interactions. Ultimately, however, the end result will be death. When a test subject ceases to be alive, the locale will be replaced with another, and the process will repeat until there is only one of you remaining.”

Pause. With infinite slowness, the pen was drifting down towards the paper, so very like an executioner’s axe.

“The parameters of the experiment dictate that you be introduced to one another. After all,” a mirthless smile flashed across the Sociologist’s face, “there’s no reason to give up basic courtesy, is there?”

Her tone of voice suggested that there was every reason to give up a social contract built on the basis of irrelevant and outdated ethical and idealistic systems.


Without fanfare, one of the semicircle was before the rest, standing in front of the desk. Eyes took in the cobbled-together leather armor, the beaked mask, the sizeable backpack.

“This is Elise Pestarztyn. She is a practitioner of both the medical and alchemical arts, dedicated to helping those in need...and to subverting a disaster that she has left behind. She exhibits a sense of civic duty to a society that she can no longer reach, a duty that can never be resolved.”

’Unless she wins’ hung unspoken in the air.

In a blink, there were two new figures standing before the audience. The two men were dressed identically, in a worker’s gray uniform, brown shoes - yet two lives had blazed different trails into their postures, the lines on their faces, their hairstyles. Both of them wore a sort of panicked half-smile, but in different directions.

“Blake Richards, and Blake Richards. A fascinating exemplar of conformity in society, and its acceptance and denial according to personality types. An extraordinary thought to consider: neither one of them considers himself to be a ‘bad person’.”

At the desk now was a forgettable young man, garbed in the orange of prison and the black of containment. His black hair, tousled - his face indeterminate - it was only with the barest confidence that it could be said he was a he.

The Sociologist glanced at him, said nothing, and moved on.

A woman, whose first impression was sparkle and velvet and black light. Among all the others, her ballgown fitted into the palatial environs - and yet there was the impression that the gown would fit in any place it was brought to. Gems on hems twinkled with little secrets and lies...

“Miss...Blacklight. This is definitively Miss Blacklight.” The Sociologist hesitated momentarily, then forged on: “She is a practitioner of desiry, the craft of managing and manipulating desire. She exists in timelessness, plying her art as she sees fit. It is said that cultures, civilizations, have fallen to desiry. We shall see.”

Before the desk now stood a young man holding a rucksack by one strap, his cloak thankfully covering the garishness threatening to assume an independent existence from his clothing.

“And in reverse, civilizations are built from those like Oli Nelson - the type of person who can be everything. With his rucksack and his costumes, there is no walk of life he cannot imitate. On such pretenses is society made.” Once again, that mirthless smile like a shard of ice, melting as fast as it had been.

Garments, garments everywhere, yet the heap of clothes exuded a certain aura into the sterile air. The english language lacked the subtlety to describe it, for the pile of clothing was clearly, obviously feminine.

“A fascinating study into gender identity and its psychological formations in blank-slate baseline consciousnesses - Jean. A laundry golem, or perhaps more rightly a poltergeist inhabiting the clothing you see before you. She has never seen another living, breathing being in her life - yet she is as female as any childbearer, as much of a lover of beauty as she has been told she is.”

Metal gleamed; the robot’s humanoid carapace still managing to shine despite the decades of operation. Humanoid...and yet, there were always hints in the metal that it could be more, it could always be more.

“Simiel-83 is an excellent example of a single-purpose mechanism that has outlived and outgrown its original function. She is a bastion of free thought, of higher purpose, of achieving greater things. And she seeks purpose.”

Before the audience: a man, posed awkwardly, as if reaching mid-shamble for a neck or shoulder, dressed in impeccable evening wear. Panic wore his face, and fear was curled up in his eyes, next to an implacable hunger.

“The good Doctor Alberich Wissenschaft suffered greatly from hubris, a not uncommon condition but quite uncommonly placed with a conjunction of brilliant hands and capable brain. Both vaporized now, of course. But the good doctor still rides with his test subject, John Doe. They now qualify as...differently alive.”

Finally, the semicircle reformed. She closed her eyes. The pen drifted - like a feather, like a breeze, like the kiss of a falling leaf in autumn, and stroked the blank page.


Experiment One: Competition

Before them stood a skyscraper, protruding from the clouds below like mankind’s insult to the climate. The glittering spire cast a shadow on the cumulus, a gargantuan sundial of absolutely no benefit to anyone. Yet the tower seemed impossibly slender all the way down to the ground - resembling a standard skyscraper rolled out thin. Perhaps it was the perspective.

“This is the Pacific Spire, the tallest, most populous office tower on the Asia-Pacific coast. To have an office here is to be on the global stage, and to work here is to be among the best. Employees spend their lives on the tower. The ground is so far away.”

Faintly heard through the thin air and reinforced glass, the sound of gunfire reverberated .

“Corporate competition tends to manifest.”

Now they were flying close to the windows; scenes of office work mundanity juxtaposed with tableaus of wartime boredom flew by their perceptions in a blur.

“The Pacific Spire exhibits a stagnated society, with all major battles in severe deadlock - a kind of peace in the midst of war, it could be said. The status quo is upheld, the filing is done, office work continues amidst the weapons and the war.”

Then they were below the clumps of clouds, panning out to view the tower in all its majesty. Occasionally, a spark of light would mark a minor explosion.

“But there is about to be an upheaval. Several parties are about to make the discovery that the floors 226 to 259 lie on an intersection of ley lines, situated on a flexible part in the laws of physics. What they do with it - that you shall simply have to witness.”

Then, in another instant, they were scattered and placed within.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by ~ATH.

Jean felt a sudden jolt, along with a strange feeling. She couldn't quite describe it, but it felt like... not being home? This jolt prompted her to wake up and examine her surroundings. After a three month's long nap, she was finally awake. Her mind and body struggled to get started, but what she saw confirmed her suspicions. This was no longer her hometown, as far as she could tell. Around her, there were 8 different people. Wait. People? Her once-sluggish mind instantly started whirring with excitement, with thoughts of how to greet them and how badly she wanted to meet them and how she had been looking all over for them. She tried to rise up, but she couldn't. She could do nothing except look around. So she looked around, more carefully this time. Out of everybody in this room, there were three women, not counting herself. One could use a bit more work, another could at least wear clothes, but the last one was gorgeous. Those mysterious sparking eyes, that exquisite glittering dress. She fell in love right away. She wanted so badly to meet this mysterious yet perfect example of beauty, but there was nothing she could do to further her beauty. So, with great difficulty, she averted her gaze to the other two women. One was, quite frankly, a mess. Hideously tacky leather armor covered her, and she obscured her visage with a horrible mask! This is not how a woman should be! She flared with indignation at this sight, yet she resolved to meet up with her and give her all the help she could. The other one was curiously unclothed. She only ever saw the unclothed woman in pornographic magazines, yet this one did not look like any of those women. She was still as beautiful as a proper woman, though, and her look could only be improved by the addition of clothes. Jean would be glad to help her fulfill that need for clothes.

Jean was barely even paying attention to the Sociologist's lecture. A battle or something was going on, but she had little interest in violence, so she disregarded everything the Sociologist said and continued to study the others. The other 5 people were all males. She did not really like males so much, but in her magazines, all the males were being gazed at with adoration by the beautiful women Jean so admired. So, they were very important to women? She would consider this later, once she was finished beautifying the women. Suddenly, the location shifted right in front of her. This time, she saw everything. The immense skyscraper, the silent warfare happening inside, and yes, the people. She was overwhelmed by the immense amount of people in this skyscraper. She had been searching the wasteland for 2 long years, searching for any sign of contact, and she had found none. At least, nobody alive. Yet, right in front of her, was everything she had ever searched for. It was like heaven. She was teleported inside, and she ended up in a rather drab office complex, with men working at desks and pretty women walking back and forth between the offices, doing god knows what.

One by one, the jackets rose up, with precious magazines in tow, to form the torso. Following that, the mittens poked out of the sleeves, the T-shirts crawled on the outside, and the whole thing rose up a little. Pants over pants formed the legs, a scarf slithered up and covered her neck, and everything was crammed into a vaguely humanoid form. Then it became too tight, so it exploded outwards. Clothes scattered everywhere. Once again, it attempted to form a humanoid form, but not too tight this time. After a while, the form held. It shook every which way, threatening to collapse. But it didn't. Finally, Jean had reformed herself. Her form was still more haphazard than she had planned, but it was better than nothing. For now, she finally had something to do. She had forgotten how to move, so her body moved awkwardly, as she recalcibrated her motions and learned how to walk all over again. Every action she made was painfully slow, but her mind was just the opposite. Her thoughts were rushing all over the place, crashing into each other. It was all very chaotic, and for a while, she couldn't think straight. Eventually, she noticed that others were staring at her. A small crowd of women had built up, and they all looked rather frightened at the scene before them. But, look how pretty they are! Those business suits could be improved, though. Slowly, she commanded her scarf to slither towards one of them, the prettiest one. It came to a rest around her neck. Predictably, she started screaming, yelling at others to get it off. The other women also screamed, and chaos erupted. She didn't know what was going on, but she had the feeling it was all her fault.

[Image: 6xGo4ab.png][Image: sig.gif]
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.


Nemo landed on his back. This had more to do with the fact he had been sleeping prior to being whisked away to a battle to the death than any subtle implication on the part of The Sociologist.

The air rushed by his ears for a moment, then BUMPed as his back collided with the cheap-carpet floor, followed by a smaller thump as his head did the same. He stared at white ceiling tile for a moment, half-dazed, half-waking-up, half furiously trying to stuff the past ten minutes or so of monologue into his long-term memory. The all important brief, the goal, the modus operandi, those minutes were perhaps the most crucial information for his continued existence, at least in the short term. Additionally, it allowed him to not wig out at the impossibility of his current situation oh god oh god oh god


“D…d-don’t you fuckin’ move!”

He didn’t. Not. a. hair. That click was the familiar sound of a handgun’s safety being flipped, and considering the situation, probably being flipped off. Furthermore, lying prone with no familiarity of the surroundings made attack an option only for idiots and people with a death wish. It also gave Nemo more time to think.

A long silence, save the underlying presence of office ambience. Nemo let the white noise sink in, to let Nothing slow his heartbeat…


Finally, Nemo spoke.

“Could I, at the very least, sit up? As much I’d like to lie on this carpet while somebody points a gun at me, I have considerably more important things I could be doing. Like getting on with my life.”

Silence, again, before a stammered reply.

“J-just don’t try anything, ok!?”

Slowly, he sat up, using his feet to push him back, back, until he reached something reasonable to lean against, one of those half-walls that divide office spaces. He scanned his surroundings. Normal office, for the most part. Little to no signs of decay, literally nothing off, save for the emptiness of the place, along with the 30-something-year-old white male pointing a gun at him. Nemo was painfully aware of the shackles around his wrists, the claustrophobic facemask, the orange jumpsuit, his breaths, his heartbeat.

Silence, still. Still scanning, the gunman this time, about the same height and weight as him, wearing one of those white dress shirts with rolled-up sleeves, a distractingly bright red tie hanging limply around his neck. His hands, and consequently, his gun, were shaking, unsteady, unsure. Everything about him oozed an aura of fear.

“This floor doesn’t get a whole lot of fighting, does it.”

Not a question, merely a statement of fact.

“T-this is floor fourty… fourty-two,” the gunman replied, staring, wide-eyed. “It’s too close to… to the ground. For there to be fighting. People might find out there’s an… that there’s an all-out war going on up there. People like you, murdering and killing and who the… who fuck knows else what.”

He glanced wildly, looking at everything and nothing in particular. “I…I even get to see my wife. And my kid. Every so often. Christmas, usually. I don’t want you to take that from me. I don’t want you to take that from me.

Nemo blinked, nodded. Slowly, calmly, trying to continue the conversation, he replied. “I don’t want to do anything I don’t have to, mister…”

“My name is Chuck.”

“Chuck. I don’t want to do anything unnecessary. And neither do you. How would it look, killing an unarmed man?”

“You’re in a prison jumpsuit. I could claim self-defense. It would be my word against a dead felon’s.”

“As well as that might be,” Nemo continued. He was almost close enough now. “Do you really want to deal with all that fuss? Court proceedings, so on and so forth. I’ve been in court, it’s not fun.” a slight pause. “And do you think, do you really, truly think, you could kill a man? Could you kill me? Right here, right now, your target, your victim sitting right front of you, do you think could pull that trigger? Do you?”

The dull drone of the office, of AC and computers and alternating-current humming through fluorescent light bulbs. Chuck stared at Nemo for a long time. A long time.


And that’s when Nemo leapt forward, pushing off the wall, transforming the position of his legs into a forward run and then a sweeping kick and beforeyoucouldknowit made contact and BLAM, Chuck pulled the trigger. But he was already falling, his arm swinging wide, gun at a useless angle, bullet flying about fifty-six degrees into the air and effectively ruining a ceiling tile, hand letting go and letting the obsidian “L” spiral into the air, only to be caught again, caught by shackled hands, Nemo’s slight jump giving him just enough power and momentum to grab it and turn, half turn, one completed in a single backward step and a metallic death-dispenser pointed at its former owner.

“Take off your clothes,” Nemo said, without hesitation or second-thought.


“Take. Off. Your clothes. Strip. Get naked,” a look of second-thought at the last statement.

“But keep your freaking underwear on.”

Nemo locked the bathroom door behind him, took a few steps forward, and placed the handgun on the brim of the sink. He threw the water bottle in bowl itself and tossed the clothes on the floor.

He glanced around the room. Fairly basic, one urinal, one stall. Not the best place to prepare oneself for a battle to the death. But decent.

First, the handcuffs.

Nemo grabbed paperclip he snatched from an office desk, bent it, stuck it in the lock, bent it a bit again, fiddled with it click. Unlocked. He repeated the process again, with the other hand.

At approximately nine point eight meters per second squared, Nemo’s handcuffs clattered to the tile bathroom floor. He stared at his wrists, rubbed them with his gloved hands. They felt so raw.

The facemask was next. Grabbed and tugged as hard as he could, flung it into the nearby urinal. The blinders were gone. The shackles were gone. The jumpsuit was the only thing left, and all that took were a few emphatic rips and tears.

He stood, naked, save for undergarments, in the bathroom, smiling. Smiling wider and wider and wider until he burst out laughing. He was free! He was fucking free! Compared to prison, this was a cakewalk! A vacation! Battle to the death? This was what he was BORN to do! god, he was free. he was free.

As he began to climb into Chuck’s old clothes, he began to think through strategy. Advantages, disadvantages. The most striking was information he had on everyone—Alchemist lady, the Gemini dudes, Miss Blacklight (how could he not forget someone like that, my god), costume guy, the…clothes, the android, and Dr. “differently alive”—while they had nothing on him. They knew what he looked like, sure, but he was already changing from his Obvious Orange into something subtler, and they had nothing else. No name, no history, nothing about his “ability”—once again, he was the absence of information, an unknown with all the cards, the most intel—the metaphorical and historical resonances were not lost on him.

He looked in the mirror. The white-rolled-up-sleeves-dress-shirt was alright. Blends in. The pants were good too—black, but a good black. Not prison black.

The tie, however, was gonna have to go. It was tacky. It stuck out. He threw in the garbage, simeltaniously grabbing the gun, and slipping it into his belt.

He stared in the mirror. He looked good. He looked normal. For a moment, he could almost imagine he was, not some hyperaware IQ-over-who-the-fuck-cares former-prisoner former-double-agent former-street-thief sonofagun. He could almost imagine he was.

But then, his eyes dropped down to the water bottle, and he remembered. He had one last thing to do.

Nemo walked out of the bathroom. Chuck had been tied to a desk with a length of computer cable.

“Thanks for the clothes, Chuck,” he said, holding up a bottle of yellow Something, staring at it, the light shining through it, the light. “Thanks.”

“What’s… what’s that?” Chuck said, keenly aware the gun was holstered, that something was up, that there was something important about that Something.

Nemo glanced away from the bottle to his captive. He studied him, naked and chained and afraid. How tables turn.

“Piss,” he said, and splashed it on him.

First was a look of confusion, then one of comprehension, then one of revulsion.


“Is it any consolation that your child does not need you,” Nemo said, a sad glint in his eye. He screwed the cap on remaining lotium and stuffed it into a pocket.

That look of confusion again.

That look of agony again. The scream, this time, was earth-shattering.


“HER!” Chuck managed to cry, throat already raw and worn, ringing the last intelligble word he’d ever say. Hives were breaking out on his face.




And then, Chuck was already dead.

Raggedly, Nemo breathed in. Breathed out. He stared at the corpse.

Smiled and laughed, too sad to be uplifting and too sincere to be deadpan. Stretched his arms, his legs. Stared a while longer.

Turned, took a few steps, pressed the “up” button on the elevator console. Waited. Pressed it a few more times.


doors slid open. Empty, thankfully. Two steps, in, turn.

He pressed a button. Up as far as he could go.

the doors slid close


Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Palamedes.

Alberich glanced around at this newfound situation. On one hand, it was rather infuriating to be pulled from a known locale to an unfamiliar one, where he might not be able to escape quickly should Mr. Doe feel it necessary to consume one of the nearby men or women. On the other, it was rather fortunately timed, as Mr. Doe had failed to realize that consuming a prince is not quite the same as feasting upon your run of the mill dot com billionaire - royalty happens to be quite vindictive and relentless when you attack one of their own after all.

Regardless of whether or not this situation was an improvement or not, what was more interesting is how he had arrived in it. Quantum teleportation was practically impossible in today's day and age. He had heard that Dr. Gin and a team of researchers had been working on attempting it, but were still decades off from a working solution for anything larger then an atom - and either way he doubted such a machine would be calibrated for one of his... unique makeup. So who, or what, was responsible for this? And what exactly was this place? It was obviously human in design, but he had never heard of 'Pacific Spire', and considering how important it was he should have.

Whatever was going on in the grand scheme, he'd have to put it off and deal with the here and now. After all, Mr. Doe was still hungry, and if immediate action wasn't taken one of the other people around him would pay the price. Fortunately, Doe didn't seem very interested in the two closest members of his newfound group yet, some woman with a mask and another individual shuffling about in a pile of woman's clothing. He'd question why this was the case, but decided to put that off until later and not pass up the opportunity to appease his more barbaric half.

"Mr. Doe!" He whispered, not wanting anyone else to get overly suspicious, "we've discussed this, we're to consume the mixtures whenever we have them with us, not the brains of nearby people whose deaths may alert everyone around us of our nature! Go, into the pocket, yes that one, pull it out."

After some further irritated directions, John had managed to fumble out a large water bottle, filled with a slush - red because it required less colouring to be mixed in, being the natural colour of human blood. Alberich was pleased with the progress, normally it took Mr. Doe several minutes to even get this far, but rather worried. He only ever carried three on him, never properly expecting to be whisked away like this. Hopefully it could all be resolved in a day or so so he wouldn't find himself needing a new outfit.

"Good, now go to the lid, yes, right there on the top, and turn it. Yes, that's it, don't just give up, we had to get it on somewhat tight so it wouldn't spill. It's not that hard, just give it one more - what are you doing? Stop that this instant! I am not opening it with my morgfm."

And with that, John had gotten fed up, as fed up as one without a proper mind can anyways, with the inconvenient cap and just shoved it in Alberich's mouth so he could figure it out. Alberich, forced to concede (at least it wasn't to chewing through the rather unpleasant taste of flesh this time) used what control he had to twist the cap off slightly with his teeth, and began draining the bottle of its contents. Unfortunately, the cap got caught in their throat, which caused a bit of an mess on his suit as the liquid overflowed. As Alberich had expected though, the cap was pushed through in a couple of seconds, more then enough time to prevent the pair from being completely drenched and potentially exposed.

Another fortunate event occurred in the form of several screams, originating from one of the better-dressed women, and followed by several others. Whatever caused it was unknown to Alberich, but he took the opportunity to force John to turn around and wipe off the mess they had made on the front of their suit. It was a good thing indeed that he chose the more stain-resistant suit over his other options (who was he kidding, this was the only half-decent suit he owned anymore).

Alberich looked up after ensuring that there were no particularly incriminating stains, he glanced up at the commotion, letting loose a sigh of relief once he saw that it didn't seem like anyone saw his 'accident'. At least, nobody was looking at the current moment. Whether he was relieved with what had caused the commotion was a different matter entirely - it turned out the person under the pile of clothing was not in fact a person at all, the clothing was in fact moving all on it's own. He had thought the voice was lying when it claimed there was a golem. Once he got his full bearing (and the people around him stopped panicking, arming themselves, or running) he'd have to figure out exactly what it was made out of.

Another concern - there were supposedly nine people involved in this situation - with ten minds, though Alberich supposed that was referring to his relationship with John. So why weren't there nine people here? Where were the others? More importantly though, was it entirely necessary that they killed each other, and if so how would he deal with them? The ability to control desire? An unparalleled doppleganger? An alchemist? A ghost? Certainly most of their abilities were just shams, clever tricks of devious minds, but his was one of the best, and the question was whether he could pull their ruses apart before their collective tricks overcame his... physical limitations.

John had none of these complicated thoughts, or really any thoughts at all besides the fact that he was no longer hungry. So it would come to no surprise that though Alberich wanted to wait, John deemed it an excellent time to start going for a walk. Which in John's mindless world usually meant shambling forwards. Alberich, eyes closed in thought, didn't notice what was going on until John was practically out the door into another office area.

"What are you doing? Stop this instant and turn around, we need to find out who these people are if we want to surv -"


John had accidentally leaned too far to the right in their journey, causing Alberich to find his face meeting an open door in a rather unpleasant way. Now accompanied by the light sobs of Alberich instead of his incessant complaining, the duo marched on, Alberich preparing to expose the frauds he had to 'compete' against and John just waiting to grab another bite.

If only they knew how difficult that would be - though one can't exactly blame John for not thinking.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by dynamicEquilibrium.

Simiel-83 detected a vibration some levels above. Brief analysis indicated it to be caused by the fracturing of a machine part by water-induced oxidation and stress.
Some thousand hours passed.
Suddenly, a rush of unprecedented new sensations. Every level of Simiel-83's consciousness had to be called upon, restarted after ages of semi-hibernation. Full higher-level functions were restored somewhat later, as the mysterious entity finished its speech. Simiel began interpreting the recorded flurry of sensations as rapidly as possible. She registered a brief moment of shock, noticing that all original data related to language had been subtly overwritten with new coding, and that the noises made by the strange creatures were speech. The creatures themselves were also a significant new experience. A number of organic lifeforms, all of the same unkown species, as well as a single... thing. Fibrous material which the mysterious entity claimed was also alive. This demanded extensive and further thought. Everything demanded extensive and further thought.
Simiel briefly prioritized, and decided that the mysterious vaguely-blue entity was the most important. It claimed that Simiel, the fibrous thing and the aliens had been chosen to take part in an experiment about the behavior of people. A clear fallacy, as Simiel was not a person. She was a machine. For lack of anything better to do, however, she decided to obey the mysterious entity all the same. The subjects were to go to another place and remain there until one died. This was phrased as a contest but seemed almost irrelevantly easy. Simiel-83's power source was rated to last for well over one billion hours, while the longest known lifespan of any organic creature was less than two megahours. Simiel therefore decided to find a place to wait, and wait there until one of the others ran out of lifespan and the entity was satisfied. She briefly attempted to predict a spectrum of possibilities for the new place to which they were going. It could be an empty place like her planet. It could also be a place where there were many machines. It could even be a place like the surface, where organics were interspersed with the many machines.
Much to Simiel-83's chagrin, she had arrived there already without noticing. She had meant to take data on the strange entity's means of transportation. There was alwas next time, though.
She evaluated her current location. It was a small room, containing shelves with various mysterious devices on them. In the interest of finding more space, Simiel attempted to induce the door to open by a variety of means. It was apparently locked. However, it was made of easily breakable organic matter, and the handle was held in place by simple metal fastening devices.
Some milliseconds later, Simiel decided to unscrew the handle instead of breaking through the door. It seemed neater.

She emerged into a room brightly lit in the 10^-7m spectrum, full of more aliens engaged in some unclear recreation involving papers and boxy machines.

"Hel-lo." she said. "I am Sim-i-el-6-Class 2431-Mod-el In-div-id-u-al-CA-0083. I am from an-oth-er world. I would like to in-qui-re what you are do-ing"

The aliens mostly fell out of their seats, although some gaped and others dived behind articles of furnishing.

"What is that thing?" "Is that a real alien?" "What the hell?" "It's not even armed!"

A single alien stood up on top of a desk and shouted until the others quieted down. "Hey, hey! Shut up! I know what this is... it's clearly those bastards up on 295. They've always been a bit off, so they must have just finally cracked for good and decided to send some weird robot down here to lower our productivity. Occam's Razor, you know. Clearly can't be aliens. And besides, aliens would land on the roof, not halfway through the building."

Simiel was nonplussed. It was illogical for organics to disbelieve a machine's statement of its origin. She attempted to correct this deficeit of communication.

"I have nev-er been to floor 295 of this buil-ding."

"See! That's absolute proof right there. What other kind of machine would be PROGRAMMED TO DENY BEING THERE? Just get back to work and we'll have maintentance throw out the robot tomorrow." This earned a murmur of approval. The aliens returned to their original locations and continued their unusual game of marking and moving papers.

Simiel continued to stare at them in disbelief. These aliens were astonishingly stupid.

A few seconds later, another of them spoke up again. "Just a question, boss, but how did the wackos on 295 get a robot inside of a locked supply closet?"

The aliens gasped and looked back at Simiel. Perhaps they would believe her now.

The individual who had previously taken charge stuttered and spoke: "I don't believe it... it's actually..."
"Those bastards invented quantum teleportation just to play a trick on us! I wish we could send another bomb up to them, but the hydraulic mail hasn't worked in years..."

Simiel made yet another attempt at meaningful interaction.
"If your mail-ing sys-tem is bro-ken I can re-pair it."

The leader looked back at her. "Can you...? Well, go right ahead. That would be some poetic justice, wouldn't it... sabotaged by their own weird robot. We could send up a note right before the bomb, saying 'You've been hoist by your own petard'..."
He moved off, mumbling.

Simiel-83 went to work.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Snowyowl.

Oli materialised, stumbled when he was allowed to move again, took two steps back when he noticed the vertigo-inducing view, and finally collapsed on the floor when he realised he'd been kidnapped by some crazy superpowered sociologist who could teleport people and was now in the Pacific Spire which wasn't a place that even existed and there was an experiment and something was going to happen on floor two hundred and fifty something how was there even a floor number that big and does being teleported give you cancer or something-

Someone coughed, nervously. Oli rolled over and looked up. There was a desk in front of him, and a man at the desk was leaning over the desk and staring at him. There were a few awkward seconds where neither party knew what to do. Then Oli stood up and gave a genial smile. "Hello! Can I help you?"

"Who... how..." stuttered the desk's owner, before settling on "... what are you wearing?"

Oli looked down at himself. "Cloak, t-shirt, trousers, shoes. Oh, and a hat." So... he was in some sort of office space? "It's the new thing, my boss read about it somewhere. Dressing casually - no, sorry, dressing fancifully - helps promote a Relaxed Atmosphere and Encourages Creative Minds," he said, making sure to enunciate the capital letters. "Doesn't look like anyone else on this floor has heard of it, but it was a big hit among my friends. So... if you see someone in a jewelled ballgown or a suit of leather armour walking around the place, that's probably the reason. Are you feeling more Relaxed, Creative, or Productive yet, by the way?"


"Hmm, might not be working then. Sorry, I'm... on my coffee break, and I thought I'd take a look around. See what people get up to on this floor. I'm new here, you see. Oli Nelson." Oli extended his hand.

The man behind the desk hesitated, then shook Oli's hand. "... I'm Peter. Uh, that is-"

"It's a pleasure to meet you" said Oli gravely. It really was helping him cope, the relative normality of annoying passers-by. "So... why is there a gun on your desk?"

"Well... I mean... don't you have one too?" asked Peter.

"Oh yes," said Oli. "It's in my bag, here. Of course. Why wouldn't I have a gun? No, I meant to ask... why are you carrying it in the open like that? Are you really going to need it at a moment's notice?"

"Oh. That's a good point. It has been very quiet here, hasn't it?" Oli nodded encouragingly. "I guess it's in case they manage to get soldiers through the front lines. Spies and things. But you're right, if there are spies among us then I shouldn't put my gun where they can steal it, right?"

"Hey, don't ask me. There's probably a good reason why they have you do things differently on this floor. How should I know, right?"

It was at this point that Oli noticed a curious security guard walking towards him. He didn't exactly look friendly, and if Oli was in a setting where office workers carried pistols openly, he'd hate to think what the guards had. "Actually, I've just realised my coffee break finished two minutes ago. I'm a bit lost... could you tell me where the lifts are?"

Peter pointed at a sign saying "Lifts" with an arrow on it. "Ah yes, didn't see that when I came in. Thanks, then, I'd best be off." Oli grabbed his bag, and left at the brisk and dynamic pace of someone who is late for a meeting, and certainly not the hurried and cowardly pace of someone who is running from people who are better armed than him.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Sanzh.

Elise failed to notice the the pandemonium now engulfing the cubicle farm. She had seen the fragile pile of clothes reassemble, the reanimated scientist shamble forward-- but they were not on her mind. Not even the Sociologist's experiment was a pressing concern. The disease coursing through her veins, sapping her strength each passing second-- that was what consumed her thoughts. She needed to escape the office sprawl; she needed to recollect and prepare. Her sturdy boots began to march, dragging the alchemist with them. Slipping into an unoccupied hallway, Elise scanned rows of doors. Settling on the closest, she slipped into an office.

Stacked boxes, a cleaned-out desk-- the office had been recently vacated, and judging from the Sociologist's introductory monologue, Elise had a strong impression as to why. The threat of warfare, even with this new reminder, was still distant and insignificant compared to the closer danger. She set her backpack down on the desk, tugging open several of its pockets. Shaky hands rifled through the rucksack, withdrawing a few ingredients before settling on a set of stoppered vials. She grabbed one, bringing it into the light and examining the fluid inside.

Her shoulders slumped forward in reassurance. Her supply of medicine had not been tampered with. A small fraction of her worry dissipated-- enough to remove her disease as a pressing factor and allow the thought of the Sociologist's battle to assert itself.

Her gloved hand curled into a fist, slamming against the desk. The Sociologist's taunt still stung. It had been her that had interrupted Elise's search, interrupted countless days spent searching and experimenting and trying to make something out of the epidemic. The casual dismissal was infuriating-- how she sidestepped that if it weren't for this interruption she could be discovering the hint that would further her progress. Instead, she was trapped in this spire, isolated from anything that could help her investigation. Her body shook with livid rage at the sheer injustice of what had transpired.

She double-checked her backpack, noting the crossbow and its accompanying quiver of bolts. Even if combat had not been mentioned, it seemed readily apparent that it was a means to the Sociologist's end. Elise had no intention of playing along with this experiment.

A twinge of uncertainty sprung into being-- the other competitors might not act similarly.

If combat was the intention of this gathering, she failed to see how the others stood a chance. There had been no indication any of them possessed any combat experience, an unmentioned advantage she possessed. They had other strengths to ply-- expecting nothing but violence was foolish, and it was equally absurd to expect that a clear winner would be brazenly evident at the onset. Constant vigilance would be necessary.

She was conspicuous, there was nothing to gain here-- her mind enumerated why she should leave this floor, and Elise saw no counter-argument. She carefully stowed her belongings-- making sure to keep the crossbow readily accessible-- and sealed her backpack as she hoisted it onto herself. Carefully opening the door, she snuck into the hallway once again.

Bedlam gripped the office she had been teleported into; returning there seemed inadvisable. Instead, the alchemist headed in the opposite direction. Further away, a pair of automatic doors opened-- Elise had only the barest familiarity with elevators, but she recognized enough to know what one was. Running forward, she dashed inside the cab, the doors sliding to a close just as she entered.

"Going up?"
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.

"So how long do you think we have until we beat those idiots next door?"

"I don't know, the matter-transporter-module isn't at full capacity, but without their power source, they won't be able to do a single thing."

The two men were sitting at their chairs next to their complex stations, monitoring the various energy levels for what would surely lead to their promotion and transfer out of this dump. The idiots next door were from a rival company that always seemed to be working on the same thing as they were, not quite on purpose, just out of some odd wrinkle in the universe. At the moment, both groups were working on simple teleportation, and both had gone pretty far, thanks to them stealing and copying off each others work.

"Huh?" One of the pair noticed that the screen had started to glow a multitude of colors, and that the readouts reported not one, but multiple teleportation readings, two of which were in their floor. "This doesn't make sense, how can there be multiple readings, there shouldn't even be one!"
"You don't think that the idiots next door somehow got their hands on another power source?"
"Looks like we'll find out..."

Blake Richards awoke in a dark room with his back to a wall. Both Blakes did actually, both their backs leaning on the same wall, though neither knew it. The one who scrounged for magic in light of the fake Blake's appearance breathed heavily as he attempted to wrap his head around what the fuck was going on. Ever since he found that room he had been in nothing but trouble, first being tossed in a vat of something, then waking up to see a scarier version of himself, and then this whole thing with the woman and the other Blake and the other beings and it was just too much. He just wanted to go home, and see his wife...

Blake's stupor was interrupted by muffled voices, which he assumed were coming from out of the room he was in. Recalling the warnings about the violent competition, Blake reached in his bag for a random potion and took a sip.

The pair of workers were surprised at a few things. The first was that their experiment had seemingly worked too well, they didn't expect to be able to teleport something that was alive or to do it faster than their calculations expected. They also didn't expect to teleport multiple things, some of which apparently outside of the receiver stations that weren't even from their transporter module. Finally, they didn't expect, that when they went into the receiver station to see what was teleported that the being inside would shoot fire at them.

Blake ran away from the pair of scientists, blindly running through the floor of the Pacific Spire, still clutching a bottle of the fire magic and hoping that he wouldn't have to use any more. Making his way to the elevator, he pushed a the button and waited, still paranoid about being followed.

Blake almost jumped at the elevators ding, and then slowly entered, his back against the elevator. After the doors closed, the factory worker turned and tried to hide his astonishment at the sight of another so-called contestant, one that if he recalled correctly was a medic, standing their along with another, eerie office worker. Hoping for the best, Blake said 'Hi."

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Fulfilling Reserves...]
Originally posted on MSPA by Wojjan.

Miss Blacklight appreciated her surroundings like wine. First, she looked everywhere. Her head, cocking in sure-glint circles at the floors and ceilings, at the buzzing lamps crackling light on the taupe walls. Taupe was calm, they said. Made for work drive.

The posters on the walls had been repurposed either into battle plans or riot shields, lines of tape dedicated which areas of computers were meant to tally resources or surviving employees, and which monitors were implosions waiting to happen. Someone had stacked the vending machine with letterbombs instead of kitkats, upon which someone else had attached a post-it note reading "you deserve to break today."

But she also smelled something. Sweat and blood, and panic, plenty of it. Her associée Sociologist had warned for a warzone, she did recall. Saltpetre. The air had an arid, hot taste to it, in part because someone had sabotaged the ceiling fans.

And then, she savored. The building she was in teemed with desires, its inhabitants huddled so closely together they appeared to her as blotches of remarkably simple, remarkably green thoughts. But it didn't stop there, even the walls and ceilings were crawling with stars and specks.

She considered the other contestants she was introduced to. The Sociologist was keeping her in place, but desiry is a fleeting skill, like breathing. Being unable to move left her unable to check her enemies' thoughts, and not being able to do that made her realise how terrible she had gotten at judging people by anything else but what she read in their minds. She figured that, were she to run into them, she would find out what they wanted of her before they even noticed her. She tried her best to remember who she was pitted against, but only got about three people from memory, which proved to be more than useless.

She tutted her wishes for a moment. About thirty floors up she heard an explosion. She looked around at every window (or all of them at once, who knows) trying to make a calculated decision which to lean out of. Then she guessed one at random and stuck to it. To her dismay, the window was either jammed or locked. Well, then.

gotta get out i got this got a chopper waiting for me twenty miles and i'm golden

She stuck a red jewel on the window and watched it meld into the glass. Before long the reinforced window was more of a reinforced suggestion. She toppled the glass, watching it pivot in the windowpane. She leaned all the way through, trying to get a good view of what just went on up there.

“Oh yes, the window. I forgot, that must be our most pressing concern, hm? What say you, John, were we to get back under cover? Matter of bullets, and all?”

From a few stories up debris came rattling down and several bodies flew out the window but that didn't really matter, someone else had noticed it as well and he was beautiful. In his head, all of his desires were blue, and the red thoughts were all over his body, he was like a rainbow of wishes or something, she'd never seen that before! She recognised the shabby-looking man staring up as one of the contestants, and immediately wanted to know more about him.

There was just the matter of getting up there. On the entire floor, Miss Blacklight didn't see any elevators, or at least working ones. Nothing, however, desiry couldn't solve.

annie annie? annie annie annie! annie annie? annie?

She plucked a bright orange gem from her hair, and simply dropped it on the floor. Like a missile it shot across and through the building, leaving an inky, cloudy map of Miss Blacklight's surroundings right in front of her. She tried to locate herself first, then John Doe, an approximate in any case, and the best way to get to him.

Well, that was odd. Following her map, Miss Blacklight pushed open a wall. As it said, narrow corridors led between the building's walls, tiny stairs leading to floors above. A scruffy janitor noticed her (who wouldn't) and addressed her oh so kindly.

“Ma'am,” he said in a brandy-voice, “the fuck are you doing here?”

Miss Blacklight smiled coyly. She could tell this man didn't quite care what she was doing here.

“Going up?”


“You're a rainbow!”

Ah. The quack. He was wondering when she would introduce herself. From a first glance, Alberich decided she seemed quite the lunatic.

However, Doctor von Wissenschaft remembered, the Sociologist had said empires had fallen to her art. Still, the man could but wonder what flavour of voodoo this woman employed.

“Aha, Miss uh, Backlight?” The mistake went lost on Miss Blacklight's uncharitably specific attention span.

“No wait, I mean... Your face is a rainbow!”

This... This could take a while. “Now, lass, do compose yourself. I'm faring better making sense as a...” Alberich considered that his affliction hadn't been properly called anything yet “ much as you confuse me. Now tell me, girl, what's that about rainbows?”

Alberich loved listening to witch doctors. He was spiteful like that.

“Um, it's your desires. They make you look like a reverse sunset! It's really pretty.”

“Well, why's that now?” The sarcasm in Alberich's grin went unnoticed.

“Doctor,” she started, “do you know Aryuveda?”

“Familiar with the name, but not much more.”

we are gathered here today i remember when dad fuck it i can't do this i'm sorry dad so fucking sorry

Miss Blacklight took a murky blue wish from her sleeve. Cracking it open, she started drawing in the air with the wish-ink on her fingertips. First she drew a star, then a triangle inside it. The image was floating parallel between the two. She gave it a light whirl.

“Doctor, could you tell me what the five elements of life are?”

“Uh...” Alberich knew this very well, even though the pedant inside him insisted on looking for ponchos, but the scientist was still stuck on this magic trick she just pulled. He answered. “Fire, water, earth, air, and aether, correct?”

“Very much so!” Miss Blacklight gave the doctor a cordial smile, as a congratulations on being surprisingly cooperative about the idea of desiry and magic in its essence so far. “Everything in life is supposedly a ratio or composure of these five, where steam is two thirds water and a third fire, for example.”

“In Aryuveda people believe the body is made of three doshas, or three humors that go as follows: vitha is a force of impulsive action, which represents in desiry primal needs such as hunger or anger. It's associated with ether and partly air, and shows red.

“Kapha is calmth, which manifests itself in emotions, traumas, fears, tics, schedules, and so forth. It also includes your need to sleep and addictions, since you're not really born with that, so it's not really vitha. Kapha is partly water, and earth, and shows as blue.

“Lastly, pitha is best known as drive. It represents how serious you are about the desire in question, and can be applied to either of the two kinds of desires. The more thought you put into your desire, or the more pressing the need gets, the more determined you become to fulfill it which makes them show up brighter on my uh, desiry vision. That makes it associate with air, fire and water, and makes pure pitha theoretically white. Are you with me so far?”

Alberich had taken a seat in an office chair in the meantime. For what it was worth, this woman put a lot of thought into selling her trade to unwitting folks. He nodded sagely.

“I can tell I'm boring you. Not by desiry.” She smiled. He smiled too.

“Now, imagine a sixth element, void.” She drew a line from every end of the star, into a single point above it. “Everything isn't just a ratio of five elements anymore, it's now an amount of each of them. Something can be more fire or less fire than something else, and all of it that isn't fire is empty void. With that in mind, it means that desires can also be an amount vatha and an amount kapha. How much of the wish 'is not,' is pictured as black.

“This makes four colors: red, blue, white and black. Knowing that desires are inherently yellow, you can see how I got my dress to look so fancy, I'm sure?”

Alberich leaned in. He didn't speak at all. The doctor was still astonished that this girl was making so much sense after making so little sense.

“So you're saying, effectively, that you can read minds?”

“Read souls, actually! It's even stranger. For instance, yours! You're a special case, because for some reason all the blue is in your head, and all the red is in your body.”

Alright, maybe that was a good guess. Maybe she just read as much about John from what the Sociologist had said?

“You're a zombie?”

He's a zombie. His affliction hadn't been called much of anything, so hearing it so bluntly for the first time made him slightly gasp for air.

“Yes I am. I'm a zombie.”

quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

“Going up?”

For a little while, all that registered in Elise’s mind was a sort of stunned shock. For all the panicked hurrying and bedlam in the floor behind her, the elevator was… overwhelmingly calm. Her mind tried to reconcile the sudden shift in tone, but failed to do so, leaving her in a half-collapsed state of stupefied silence. The elevator whirred to life, and continued on its way.

“I guess that’s a ‘yes.’ then.”

Elise blinked once, twice. Suddenly, she realized that there was a vaguely attractive young man leaning against the opposite wall, staring at her, studying her.

“Um,” she said, straightening herself out, trying to look taller or less freaked out or something. “Yeah. I am, I am going up.”

He chuckled a bit at that, smiled. The eyes were still on her, following contours and patterns and degrees and really the whole thing was sort of unsettling. It was the sort of thing she’d see the infected do, a predatory glare, preparing for something, something. But, somehow, he was familiar in another way. Like she’d seen him before.

“What’s with the suit, by the way?” He said, staring at her mask, the birdlike beak glinting in the clinical light. “I haven’t ever seen a costume like that.”

“It’s, uh, it’s…” she began, before trailing off. Something about that guy gave her the serious creeps. She adjusted her gloves a bit. He was wearing gloves, too. Why would a man in office attire be wearing gloves?

Another floor whizzed by.

“So?” he said. “You haven’t answered my question yet.”

“I-I’m a doctor,” she replied. “I wear this so I won’t, so I won’t get infected.”

“Oh,” he said, shifting his eyes up to the ceiling. “You learn something new every day, I guess.”



“That’s why I was, staring, though,” his eyes flicked back down, met her gaze. “Your outfit.”

“Oh,” she said. That made sense. That made sense.

“What’s your name, by the way?”

“Elise. Yours?”

“Chuck,” he replied, pointing to the nametag stuck over his heart. “Chuck O’Hanlon.”

“You don’t look like a Chuck,” Elise said, allowing herself a small smile.

He didn’t, though. He didn’t look like a Chuck.

“You’d be surprised how often I get that,” his smile matched hers perfectly, almost designed to foster well-being. He wasn’t that bad, was he? She must’ve been imagining things. She was imagining things.

“Say,” he continued. “Have you ever stared into the emptiness of the void?”

ding! bapbapbapthunk

Suddenly, a man was in the elevator with them. He turned around slowly, eyes big, sort of overwhelmed, and managed to let out a quiet, “Hi.”

“Hi, there,” Elise replied. She recognized him as one of those, one of those two guys from the introductions. She quietly fumbled with the crossbow, holstered behind her. Better safe then sorry. “What’s your name?”

“Blake,” he replied. “I’m Blake. What’s—”

And that’s when Blake turned a bit,
and realized Nemo was pointing a gun. At his head.

“Uh,” the Magic Co worker said, incredulous, blinking rapidly. “Uh.”

The crossbow was already out, and leveled at Nemo’s throat. “What the hell, Chuck! Put the gun down!”

He seemed to be just as surprised as they were. He stared at it for a long while, like it was some sort of strange growth, a sickly mess of flesh and metal that needed to be removed. Eventually, he got his mouth moving again.

“I, uh. Sorry. You surprised me.” The gun was still out.

“Then, then put the gun down, Chuck,” Elise replied. “You’re not doing anyone any good by pointing it at Mr. Blake over here. Put it down.”

“No,” he said, furrowing his eyebrows. “Wait. I mean. Yes.” The gun was still out.

“Chuck,” she said. “Could you please. put. your weapon. down.”

“Yeah, of course!” he wet his lips. “Not an issue. Nope. Nuh-uh.” The gun was still out.

“I don’t want to have to fire this crossbow. I really don’t. But I’m going to have to if you keep pointing it at Blake, ok?”

Finally, arm straight out, he dropped the gun. It clattered to the floor. Elise grabbed it without a second thought, handed it to Mr. Richards.

“Keep this pointed at him, ok?” she said. “Shoot him if he tries anything.”

“Oh, don’t be like that, Elise,” Nemo said, smile washing over him. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m just a little spooked, you know? It’s a warzone out there.”

“No offence, Chuck,” Elise said, turning to him. “You come off as a bit of a creep.”

“What can I do to make it up to you?”

“Get off the elevator. Next stop.”

“No, I’m serious, Elise,” he said, smile almost painful. “I want to be your friend. I really do.”

“Get off of the elevator,” she said, “I-I think I know where I know you from.”

The smile vanished.

“Do you, Elise Pestarztyn.”

She nodded. “I do.”

“Um,” Blake interjected. “Who is he?”

“Oh, she doesn’t know my name, but she knows. She knows the bare minimum,” the grin returned, this one somehow more genuine. “You’re clever, Elise.”

“What are you planning to do?” she said, muscles tense, crossbow ready, eyes looking straight into his.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Nemo replied with a shrug. “I tend to just wing it. I like winging it. It makes me feel spontaneous.

“I mean,” he continued, becoming more relaxed, more himself, more something. “I could kill you, distract you, disarm you, splash piss on you, comply to you, heck I could even romance you. Wouldn’t that be exciting! A high-speed elevator romance at gunpoint.”

“Really, I can do anything,” his voice was growing quicker, more excited, more enthralled. “I’m free. I have total freedom. It’s just so clear. Everything is more clear when you’re free. In fact—”

And with this, Nemo kicked his foot up, slamming it into Blake’s hand, knocking it, force bringing the gun up, out, flinging it in an arc, an oval arc just scraping against the ceiling and at the apex it was just hanging there as all the kinetic energy became potential energy, spin-spin-spinning, obsidian black glinting as gravity began to take hold and it slowly descend to earth and then quicker and quicker and quicker and then catch.

An arrow logged itself in the wall. It was about two inches from Nemo’s neck.

“See, the thing about arrows,” Nemo said, as he leveled the gun at Elise. “Is that they are slower than bullets. Please put the crossbow down.”

She grimaced, staring into his eyes, looking for any kind of oversight or weakness. But she relented, and placed the weapon on the floor.

“I guess you got me, Chuck.”

“Call me Nemo. It fits better.”
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by ~ATH.

Chaos. This was all Jean could comprehend. In all her imagined scenarios of her first meeting with people, she had never thought it would turn out this horribly. People ran away from her. Heads poked out from cubicles in curiosity. The women she so adored were looking at her like she was a common cockroach, and out of all the cacophony, this was what hurt her the most. She froze in disbelief, hastily retracted her scarf, and zoomed back around the corner, quietly sobbing.

She wanted to die. Her one last purpose, and it was wasted within the span of five seconds. What would she do? She was utterly useless...

A booming, distinctly male, voice echoed across the complex.

"Just what the fuck is all the commotion here?! Why are you not working?! We need that project done ASAP, before those assholes upstairs can get the jump on us!"

The crowd quieted down immediately, and air became so tense, it was palpable. Curious as to the cause of this incredible occurence, Jean peeked around the corner. There, standing on top of a desk, was a laughably short fat man with the face of a beet. Everybody was cowering at the sight of this underwhelming figure. It was quite an amusing sight, and, if Jean were not sunk in the throes of depression, she would have laughed. A small sob was all that escaped her at the moment.

The moment dragged on, nobody daring to speak up and defy this minuscule man. Finally, after what seemed like hours, one woman - the one she had foolishly assaulted - spoke up.

"U-Um, Sir. An apparition... out of nowhere. Attacked me..."

"Hm. An apparition, you say? Could it be the result of our project?"

"It does not appear to be related, Sir. It's... uh... you'll have to look at it, Sir."

"What are you waiting for? Bring it here!"

Poor confused Jean did not realize that they were talking about her, and was shocked to see everyone's heads turn towards her. The sight was enough to terrify her, and she cowered into her safe corner and collapsed, thinking happy thoughts. It would all be okay, this wasn't happening, this was just a dream. Suddenly, the very woman she so brutally frightened appeared right in front of her.

"Um. Excuse me? Our boss would like to see you."

She did nothing. She could do nothing, but gaze back at this beauty, regretting her transgression.

"Hello? There is someone in there, yes?"

"Oh god I'm so sorry don't hate me I was just trying to make you look pretty but I failed and now everybody's scared of me and it's all my fault I want to just die-"

"Shh. Shh. Now there, it's okay. I was just startled, was all. I think everybody's just overreacting. We've been having a bad day here... But enough of that. Our boss wants to see you. He might be a bit intimidating, but he means well, I just know it! Come on..."

Was it possible? Could her shining beauty also have the kind heart of an angel? Was this truly the perfect woman? Jean wanted so bad to be subservient to this angel, to do whatever she said. She hastily reformed into a humanoid form, and traipsed out, clumsily and yet confidently strolling towards the angry man she had formerly thought laughable, and made sure to reply in the most dignified way possible. Her angel was watching.

"Yes? You required me?"

"... You. You're ... uhh ... clothes. And nothing else. Just what the fuck are you, anyways?"

"I am Jean. I was taken here by uh a woman. For a battle or something I dunno. Um, Sir."

"A battle? You must be mistaken. Unless you're talking about the race between my company and that bloody git upstairs. Excellent, this means you're on our side now. Get to work, already! Vivian will show you the ropes."

The portly man gestured to ... who else but her angel? Vivian was her name, and it was a wonderful one, too!

Meanwhile, the crowd stared at their boss in disbelief. The sheer scale of the logical leap left them stunned. Did he really just dismiss the phantom as a mere employee? How were they expected to work with this ... thing? Some people started murmuring. Completely oblivious to this, the portly employer waddled over to an ostentatious glass door. Before slamming the door shut, he stopped, turned around and made one last retort.

"That means you, everybody! Get the fuck to work already! I will not lose to that nasty old bastard..."

Quickly, everybody scurried back, and the atmosphere once again became glum, although people kept sneaking glances at the newcomer. Jean however, was oblivious to the oppressive atmosphere, and turned to Vivian, taking her looks in once more. She had beautiful blue eyes, hidden behind plain black glasses. She also had the most luscious golden locks, wrapped up in a boring bun. She was clearly not confident in her own beauty. But... where to start?

"... Um. Vivian? Would you accept the scarf I gave you earlier? Um it's okay if you don't want it though but I honestly do think it would complement your eyes."

Vivian looked down on the dusty grey-blue scarf she was holding out. It was rather filthy, to be honest. She looked back on Jean, and felt sorry for her. She had mentioned earlier how devastated she had felt to have caused such a ruckus.

"Thank you so much, Jean. I love it, it looks really pretty. But... uniform protocols..."

"Just for a bit? Please? I want to take in the complete look..."

Grudgingly, she put it on, and was rewarded with a squeal of delight. She couldn't help but smile. Jean was so much like her daughter...

"Ah! I was supposed to be leading you to the mail room. This way, this way."


"Huh. So you are. But... there's more. Two people?"

"I'm sorry?"

"I'm seeing such a chaotic spiral of desires, it is exceedingly rare for this to appear in a single person. Do you actually have two minds?"

"Ah. Yes, I fear that an accident has imprisoned my mind within the body of Mr. John Doe. Who, as you can see, is deceased. We ... tend to disagree."

"Mm. I see."

The following silence rose and fell, with John's body still shambling around the complex, and Miss Blacklight serenely following, gazing anywhere that happened to catch her attention.

Naturally, it wasn't long until they ran in some other people. Well, a person and a laundry golem, really. The woman was rather pretty, but she appeared a bit frazzled. Not to mention the scarf. That dusty thing looked absolutely ridiculous on her. The woman coughed, then spoke.

"...What. You two aren't in uniform. Who are you, and what are you doing here?"

The two strangers said nothing, neither of them having a convincing excuse for why one of them had a beautiful, yet undeniably otherworldly dress. It was at this moment that the golem finally spoke up, startling them with an impossibly girlish voice.

"Oh! I know her! I would recognize that gorgeous dress from anywhere! She's with us, that one woman I mentioned earlier brought us here. Um, there's a few others too, but I wasn't paying that much attention."

"Really? Seems suspicious. Whatever, it isn't my jurisdiction. Jean, we must be off at once."

"Um... see ya, then. I have to work for this noisy man, or something. Oh, do be careful, you two. It's a bit tense in here. And I wanted to say, I love that dress of yours! It looks so perfect on you! And of course, you look absolutely beautiful, that dress just completes the look wonderfully, and I-"

"Come, now. We haven't much time to waste, really. I don't want Sir yelling at us again."

"Okay then, dear. Anything you say."

As they departed, Dr. Alberich and Miss Blacklight exchanged glances at each other. With a noncommittal shrug, the latter followed the golem, and Alberich tried to coerce his body into turning around.
[Image: 6xGo4ab.png][Image: sig.gif]
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Ixcalibur.

Blake was immediately deposited in some dark room. He was not aware of it but on the other side of the wall on which he leaned his other self was in the exact same situation. Things were going so fast that he didn't really have time to think about what was going on. He was forced to try to go with the flow. If he'd stopped to think maybe he wouldn't have minded that he left his family and his responsibilities behind. He never cared for them all that much anyway. He might have even been grateful to have an opportunity to show his true colours without the fear of life altering consequences. But there was no time for that.

He wasn't sure what to make of the other version of himself. He didn't behave like he did, and well that was probably a good thing. Blake knew he was a bastard. His first thought upon the matter was that he couldn't let the other Blake represent himself as the real Blake and attempt to turn the others against him. It seemed that the best way to do such a thing would be to represent himself as the real Blake and turn the others against the other Blake, and after all this way it was actually true.

A door opened on the other side of the room and there were two people with shirts and ties, one clutching a clipboard, standing in the light that came from it. It was clear that they noticed Blake immediately. There was nothing else in the room other than the huddled shape that was Blake.

“Sir?” one of them asked uncertainly.

Blake let them stew for a moment as he straightened up and reached into his pocket.

“Afraid not.” he said as he withdrew his box-cutter


and a couple of minutes later he stumbled into an empty elevator down the hall from the one his doppelganger was at that moment in time climbing aboard. It was a vague and possibly faulty line of thought that caused him to hit the button for the top floor; a notion that even in a place as fractious as this there had to be one person who was ‘in charge’ so to speak and that he would be found upon the top floors. Alone in the elevator as it started to ascend he regarded himself in the mirror that took up the back wall. He wanted to straighten himself up a little, and indeed he managed to tidy his hair but he was sort of limited for the moment. At least he had rolled his sleeves up beforehand and well, it wasn’t as if wiping away the blood on his hands was going to do anything when he intended to bloody them again so soon.
fyck phytybyckyt
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Palamedes.

Curious, that golem again.

Alberich pondered the creature's fortuitous sense of timing - as delightful as Ms. Blacklight had been, a break from their conversation would allow him to recollect his thoughts, figure out how exactly she figured him out, and how she explained her trick away in fantastic terms and phrases. It wasn't exactly like John was even remotely subtle about his nature, so it could have been completely possible for her to not mistake his grabs at her exposed flesh as lewd behavior instead of the danger it really was - she did seem like a smart girl after all. Possibly the voice at the beginning of this whole ordeal tipped her off? 'Differently alive', can only be attributed to a handful of conditions after all, almost all of which are purely supernatural and not scientifically possible.

Yes, of course. Very well played Ms. Blacklight, but soon enough your 'magic' will be exposed as the trickery it is. Possibly after the examination of the golem, a far more interesting avenue of study. Perhaps he could use whatever technology created this 'Jean' to pacify John, or perhaps even give him manners or some form of intelligent thought.


Alberich's thoughts were immediately disturbed by John shuffling straight into a desk. A bewildered employee looked up at him, his work now clearly disturbed.

"Can I help you sir?"

The scientist sighed, his mind brought back to the situation at hand.

"Yes, I'm quite alright."

"Are you sure? You're looking pretty dizzy, try not to knock anything down."

God damnit John stop flailing at him you're making a scene. "Oh no, just a bit lost in thought, I'll be fine."

"A... alright?"

The employee looked unconvinced, but Alberich had to deal with more pressing concerns, such as turning around and catching up with his two companions. After all, how could he begin to debunk Blacklight's abilities or analyze Jean if his delinquent body is walking in the exact opposite direction?

"I'll just be heading back... turning around... this way... NOW!" Alberich shouted. It was likely a mistake to contact his lesser partner so overtly, but he was already fed up with this entire situation and the group of clerks gathering around to see what was going on. Fortunately, at his final ushering, John turned around, plodding back in the direction Blacklight and Jean had gone off to.


Now... where did those two get to? It turned out that after walking in the wrong direction for several minutes, being stuck in a body that moves as fast as an infant, and being in a location you are completely unfamiliar with makes going to another place that you don't even know about significantly more difficult. Alberich wasn't particularly worried though - from what he had picked up from chatter throughout the hallways, people died all the time from violent struggles against other floors.

At the very least, it meant he wouldn't have to worry about food, or raising suspicion when people's bodies were found in rather... unpleasant situations. Worst comes to worst, he was sure he'd see the golem and charlatan again, after all they would apparently be whisked away from the situation once one of his fellow 'participants' died. Hopefully it wasn't actually necessary, and whatever brought them here would be bored of them quickly and leave them to their own universes. Hopefully if it didn't, the casualty would be some bore - the Blake twins sounded rather dull, their mother even went gave them the same name. Perhaps not even getting a name is even worse, like the one man? Why was he even contemplating this?

His reward was yet another desk blocking his way. He really needed to start paying more attention when he was going somewhere, as it was becoming more and more clear that John was completely incapable. At least it got him out of thinking about the foolish game he was being forced to play.

Alberich tried to figure out exactly where he was now, but the current spread of cubicles, desks and offices was no different from the last four he had wandered through. People working on some project or another, an employee explaining to his manager why his report was late, a small crowd waiting for one of the disgracefully few elevators, said elevator opening to reveal a man pointing a gun at two other strangers -

A pause. The passage of time in the doctor's internal clock at this new event surely felt longer then it actually was, as after what seemed like minutes passed by the man with the gun laughed - not the nervous laugh of a man caught preparing to commit murder, but the quiet laugh asking the world 'what next?'.

"Going up?" the gunman asked the assembled crowd. A middle-aged bald man answered.

"Nah, someone must have hit the wrong button."

"Besides," a young woman added in, "it looks pretty crowded in there, wouldn't want to go over capacity."

"Oh wonderful!" The gunman laughed again, and after a second or so passed the elevator doors began to close. Alberich couldn't help but notice that the masked woman from before was there, one of the ones being held back by the gun-totting stranger. She had obviously seen him too, as she gave him a bewildered look before the doors slammed shut.

"Fucking 304's, always with the stupid costumes." the bald man swore. Another employee just looked at him strangely.

"304? Isn't that almost two hundred floors away? Aren't they a little far away from their area? Should we report them?"

"You're new here aren't you?" The bald man asked. A couple of other employees chuckled. "I saw that girl get on here around ten minutes ago. Floors 113 and 281 are actually the same floor, some 'wormhole' experiment set up by the guys in 256. Any entrance to the floor'll open up back here. At least it serves as a good way to prank new guys."

"Yeah, I'm an inter- wait, what happened to the real 256?"

The female employee from before just laughed. "It's all storage now sweetie."

The intern stared at the woman in bewilderment. "What do they store there?"

"You don't want to know."

Alberich shook his head at this point, ignoring the rest of the workplace banter. Wormholes? That's preposterous, there's no technology in the world capable of that yet - I'll have to look into tha-


Blacklight proved the next obstacle to scientific thought that day. What a surprise. At least he had located her, and by association that golem.

"Ah, Ms. Blacklight," Alberich shouted as a way to get John to head towards her. "I was wondering where you two went. What could they possible want with you in a... mail room?" Alberich looked at the sign over the door.

"Isn't it a bit undignified for a mystic of your caliber?"

Blacklight just laughed a little. "Oh Alberich, was John giving you a hard time? John is the red part of your soul, am I correct?"

"I suppose so." Alberich badly wished he could rub his forehead out of frustration. "And it wasn't that Mr. Doe gave me trouble, I was just lost in thought."

A nod, accompanied by another knowing laugh. "Of course."

"There was an incident in the elevator by the way - more of our fellows, if I'm not mistaken." Blacklight went to open her mouth to speak, likely to show off even more of her 'abilities', but Alberich decided to cut her off.

"By the looks of it, we might be leaving this place soon."

Blacklight's mouth snapped shut. Alberich smirked - a petty victory, but still satisfying after this time. After a pause she decided to speak again.

"That's surprising."

"How so?"

"We've only started an hour or so ago, and already people are at each other's throats."

"I suppose you've had some experience with these things to assume so much about them." Blacklight just smiled.

"It's been nice catching up Doctor, but we should really be getting inside, Jean will get worried if I'm gone to long."


"The golem, she's a real treat. I can tell that you're already interested in her though." Alberich frowned, and Blacklight's smile grew even wider. She turned around and began to walk back into the mail room.

"When exactly will you believe in desirey anyways?"

Alberich attempted to repress making a comical remark towards the woman's practice - after all that's how they drag you into believing their hoaxes, but found himself unable to resist. "Why Ms. Blacklight, perhaps when I see a culture, or even just a petty civilization fall."

"So you were paying attention too, how wonderful!" Blacklight exclaimed, feigning rather obvious obliviousness towards the doctor's remark. She knew nothing would bother him more.

"I'm afraid my abilities are somewhat limited in our situation though, so you'll just have to make do with what's to come. Now let's go see Jean!"

The mail room door closed behind them.
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Sanzh.

The elevator ride had been moderately quiet-- save for the calm, sedate melodies of the elevator's loudspeakers, juxtaposed with the rattle of gunfire from outside and the occasional stop. Nemo's pair of captives had not said anything. Even when they had a chance to escape, to break free of his tenuous posturing over them, they had not acted-- they remained paralyzed by the power he possessed, the threat of a bullet ending their lives. His fingers tightened and loosened around the pistol, feeling its contours and the molded plastics comprising its grip. It was liberating-- after so much time spent in captivity, now he was in control. He was in control.

"Well." He said. "The two of you might be here a while. I'm, ah, a bit curious about the two of you. And--"

Nemo paused. A smile reflexively cracked across his face, a gloved hand pushed the handgun's slide back against the receiver, a new slug entered the pistol's chamber. For all of his politeness and diplomatically veiled niceties, a veneer of menace was plainly evident.

"--I don't think either of you are in a position to say no to any questions I may have." Nemo finished. His focus shifted, the predatory gaze adjusting between scrutinizing the alchemist and appraising the factory worker standing opposite her.

The heel of leather boot scuffed against the elevator's carpeted floor.

"R-right, yeah. We tell the person we know nothing about our life stories. Just a bit hypocritical, isn't it?" Elise said. Whatever elements of her face weren't left obscured were contorted into an deadened, irate glare. Her posture had shifted-- she was standing perpendicular to the floor, her muscles held taut and seemingly ready to strike. The facade of refinement Nemo possessed was not an affectation the alchemist had made any attempt to replicate.

Nemo responded with a halfhearted, almost casually disinterested shrug. "You act like there's some great mystery to you, miss Pestarztyn. There's a lot you let on, whether you admit to it or not. Your attire, your posture-- you're hiding something, now, aren't you." He replied.

Nemo couldn't help but pace from side to side, alternating a half-step from one end of the cramped car to the other. Strumming against his pistol, gently tugging at his gloves, straightening out his collar-- his hands were everywhere, constantly in motion. Not a fidgety, nervous motion, no-- a careful, methodical, precise motion, every action engineered to the designs of an inscrutable greater agenda.

"You're hiding something. Something underneath the mask, the armor and the overcoat, no doubt the pretensions of helping others. You're insecure, off-balance, aren't y--"

"Oh, and you aren't hiding something-- underneath those gloves, maybe?" Elise spat back, brusquely interrupting his self-indulgent tirade. Only a small part of her kept her from making a desperate attempt at his life, held herself back on the increasingly-thin pretense of self-preservation.

Her face angled itself downward. Beams of stale, clinical light glinted off the glass inserts of her goggles. "I've dealt with more frightening things than you. More frightening things than a escaped bedlamite like you. Just because that corpse-harridan daughter of a dead-walker didn't mention you doesn't mean the rest of us are an open book." Her stare only intensified the vitriol lacing her words.

"Well, we're angry now, aren't we, miss Pestarztyn? I don't need to be your enemy, Elise, I really don't-- heck, I could be the perfect gentleman if you merely gave me the opportunity." Nemo said. His hands-- those careful, methodical, precise hands-- returned to their resting point around the gun, the dull glint of obsidian menace was plainly laid manifest.

"But you aren't giving much of an opportunity in the matter, now, are you."

"Elise, please. He has a gun, he could kill both of us. P-please, just listen. We-- we can get out of this, okay?" Blake spoke up. He had only barely overcome the deadening, overwhelming shock of being close to confronting his own mortality; his conviction was weak and faltering.

"Yes, Elise. Why don't you listen to our friend Blake, here? Sure, I'm unpredictable, spontaneous, alive-- but I'm not a cruel man. Not unless I have to be, and no one here wants that, do we?"

Blake gulped, nodding an assent. His eyes briefly flitted across the carpeted floor, taking note of the half-empty bottle of conflagratory arcana. Licks of flames rotated and whorled their way through the liquid, producing an alien orange glow as they twisted and writhed-- eager to consume, eager to burn.

"Only one person dies. This place gets replaced with another. I'm willing to gamble my life, Nemo, tell me if you can say the same." She said. The stretch of her leather gloves as individual fingers curled into unified fists was barely audible, yet still perceptible to the elevator's occupants.

"Mmhm. Quick to give up on that 'civic duty' of yours, miss Pestarztyn? Willing to give up on those standing obligations?"

A pause. Only the background murmur of loudspeaker-piped music pacified the tension.

"Are you willing to die knowing you never truly completed your life, Elise Pestarztyn."

The elevator had stopped. A mechanical, hollow ring accompanied the scrape of metal as the doors opened. Nemo whirled around-- this was as far as the elevator could take him, the abruptness of his arrival to the destination he had decided on at a moment's whim startled him for a fraction of a second.

Elise sprung into action, grabbing the crossbow off of the floor, rotating her grip of the weapon around. Both arms gripped the weapon and gave a forceful shove-- slamming the weapon against Nemo, transmitting a violent force from her arms to the durable, worn wooden stock to the man's momentarily-unprepared body. The wet crunch of the collision was dulled only by the bruising of flesh, the brief whoosh of breath expelled as one combatant adjusted to his spasming diaphragm.

Nemo flew forward as he collapsed, his brief journey ending as he collided against the hard tile of a sterilized hallway. Winded, surprised, but alive, he twisted around, leveling the handgun he still held onto. Hammer swinging forward, striking against primer, smokeless powder igniting and forcing a copper-plated round forward-- all of these happened in rapid succession, as his finger twitched and curled against the trigger. Three rounds rang out.

And then a wall of fire sprung forth, the remainder of Blake's potion colliding against tile. The entrance was obscured by flames, rising in a defiant phalanx, a stalwart inferno of devouring embers. Neither side could see through the malevolent glow of the pyre.

The doors closed. The elevator continued its ascent. Blake yelped in pain, crimson blood running freely from the bullet-wound now adorning his hand.

"Shit. One second, lie down." Elise commanded. Her gloved hands immediately went for one of the packs attached to her coat, withdrawing a piece of cloth and a pair of bottled liquids. The stoppers on both were quickly removed-- one was poured onto the cloth, the other thrust into Blake's intact hand.

"Drink. Don't let the liquid sit in your mouth for too long."

Blake complied, the pain of his wound distracting from any worries that the alchemist could have been attempting to poison him. Her gloved hands gripped the ointment around him, pressing the ointment into the site of the wound. The feeling of relief was almost immediate-- bullet fragments seemingly reversed their course, torn flesh remolded and sutured itself shut. As quickly as the pain was gone, the bullet's piercing reduced to a quickly-cleaned dry smear of blood, his eyes widened with a new shock.

"Elise, that was supposed to be as far as this elevator could go. Why are we still going up?"

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

The elevator hummed off, doors closed and impenetrable, Mag-Lev weight and counter-weight vertically shifting, shifting, and just like that, they were gone.

Nemo’s arm, the gun, the bullets, the firing mechanism, the scrambled serial number, he let them hang in the air. For those extra few seconds, he was twisted and tense, prone body twisted to aim at nothing, a pause, punctuation to a declarative sentence.

breathe in

Finally, then, he unwound, let himself lie, arm falling and clattering with the distinctive/familiar noise of gun on tile. He played the past five minutes in his head, over and over. He thought about the rhythm. Combat is rhythm. Mathematics. Musical notation in the form of form; body as instrument, movement as medium, staccato bursts of action, legato Martial technique, formulaic progression of Theory, pitch and pitch, in both tonality and of angle, all of it boiling down, in this instance, to the ding of an elevator and the pistol-whipping of a frantic young woman.

breathe out

You’ve been out of practice for quite a while, haven’t you? That’s ok, though, here and now, facedown on the cool, tile floor. Lessons will be learned, re-learned. That’s ok. You’re free. As free as you’d ever want to be. You’re ok. Everything’s ok. A triangle still adds up to 180º when on a Euclidean plane. And squares, 360º. Your hands are capable of destroying the infrastructure of human existence. You’ve killed thousands with the errant flick of your wrist.

breathe in

Nemo got up, slowly, gloved hand resting on the wall, balancing, adjusting. Hands + Knees, then just Knees, then Knee, then that dark space of effort required to return to his feet. And with that, he was up.

breathe. conceal your weapon.

Nemo, silent, like a wraith, walked up to the elevators. Two double doors, gleaming stainless steel. There wasn’t a real point, when he’d arranged his stop at floor All The Way To The Top. Namely, Parachuting, Paratrooping, and Parasailing R&D, apparently, if the placard was to be believed.

That did give him an idea though, although it had been one that had been simmering in his mind at one point or another since his introduction to The Pacific Spire, more of an actualization of an idea, in that way, the finalization to a concept that could be defined simply as: Jump.


Blake (the more murderous and unlikable one) didn’t recognize Nemo, of course. He was Just Some Other Person I Don’t Fucking Care. But either way, this particular floor and this particular set of elevators must have had the magical property of surprising everyone ever; both suddenly taken aback with the sight of the other, they just sort of stood their for an apologetic moment. Shocked silence—you could hear a pin drop.

At which point, Blake lunged at him, boxcutter glinting in the clinical light.

Mr. Richards, very clearly, was not expecting black-ops-approved disarming maneuvers. He was, again, surprised to find the blade he was commanding just moments previously lightly pressed against his neck.

Oh. And the gun. He hadn’t noticed that, before.

“Hello there.” Nemo said softly, his mouth just a few inches from his new hostage’s ear.

“Who the fuck are you?”

Nemo took a moment of pause. “You’re the other one, aren’t you?”

What!?” Blake replied, half-squirming in a rage. “No, no, I’m the original. He’s the fake! He is!”

“Really, you’re more... impulsive than I expected you to be.”

The hostage paused for a moment, thought. “That means you know about the competition.”

“It’s also very likely that I’ve met your doppelganger,” Nemo replied with a grin. “You can call me Joseph. I work here.”

“I doubt that.”

“That’s fine,” Nemo replied with a shrug, gun and blade menacingly wavering with the movement of his shoulders. “I’m the one you can kill you in a moment’s notice. Now, please, let’s go for a little walk, shall we?”

Slowly, they walked down the hall, locked together, clasped with bullet and blade, four empty footsteps on tile slowly making their way down the hall. step-step, step-step. step-step, step-step. Another placard, down the hall, labeled an upcoming door as “Parachute Technologies.”

“We’re going there?” Blake asked, after a few more minutes in silence.

“Yes,” Nemo replied.

“What are you going to do with me?”

“You’re going to help me acquire a parachute.”
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by dynamicEquilibrium.

Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by dynamicEquilibrium.

"I have di-ag-nosed the lack of func-tion in your mail sys-tem. It does nor or-ig-in-ate here. I will now go to the cent-ral sys-tem and re-pair it."

The humans did not respond to this announcement. This fully agreed with a new expectation Simiel had devised, which was that they prioritized their competitive work effort too greatly to care. It was a bit sad to be- No, that interpretation of protocol was incorrect. It was a bit insufficiently helpful to work for individuals who did not even care about the jobs they sent one on. Judgement heuristics decided on this course of action because it was the best available, but every decision lead to an outcome of very low moral value. Interpreting this decision-making process as "sadness" was the place of people and philosophers, not maintenance units.

This complexity of self-monitoring occupied Simiel's higher functioning until she was in an elevator, headed to the center of the mailing apparatus. She recalled the previous inhabitants objecting that it had been going down, and that she responded that, yes, it had, but now it would go up. This was rudeness, perhaps, although it was difficult to determine what was appropriate in a culture where open war occurred inside a place of work, between humans who believed it necessary to do jobs for themselves.

The source of the issue had to be somewhere on this floor. Although this building was depressingly short on self-awareness, an electrostatic examination of the crude circuits had shown many wires leading towards a point at about this distance and direction. Simiel passed a sign reading "Central Mail Room", walked forwards, and...

-ention Value: 0.082 Relative Equality-Assurance Value: 0.721 Specialization-Matching Efficiency Consideration: 11.339 Self-Preserv-

She was... self-inspecting, but unbidden. An unusual error.

Blacklight's eyes went vacant as she examined the presence approaching from the other side of the door. This was... new. Desires that had almost transcended their colors, to instead take on a terrifyingly absolute shape. Each thought as clear-cut as if it were written in stone, and each want supported and cross-referenced to a veritable constitution of priorities, shown clear enough to read every last bit.

If ever there were a person who knew exactly what they wanted, this was it. And yet the machine really had no idea. Some things never change.

"You two might want to move out of the doorway," she said sidelong to Alberich. "We have another visitor, and apparently they've found something more important to do than following each other around and showing off."

"Yes, I get your point. You can keep doing these same cheap tricks all day." John stumbled away from the door as it began to open into his back. "I will admit that you have some way of finding things out that I haven't figured out yet, but there's an awfully wide gap between seeing someone coming a few seconds in advance and 'power over the hearts and minds of men'." Personally, he thought that she just had sharp hearing and some prior knowledge about the other competitors, but appearing to give a little ground would smooth things over in the short term and keep him secure later.

"Such plotting and scheming is unbecoming in a man of reason, Alberich. Are you allowing the terms of this contest to get to you?"

"What did I just tell you about cheap tricks?" He sighed exasperatedly, as John continued to stumble towards more secure footing.

"Hel-lo," Simiel stated, seeing the collection of unusual individuals already in the mail room. "You are my fel-low com-pet-it-ors, in-clu-ding the one which should not be mov-ing, and ex-cept-ing a-noth-er hu-man. I wish to ex-am-ine you la-ter. First, how-ev-er, I am here to re-pair the mail-ing sys-tem. What is your pur-pose here?"

"Hello! I'm Jean, and these are Alberich and Miss Blacklight. We were just doing what the important boss person told us to do, although I don't really know what that is yet. Um, it's awfully nice of you to be fixing the mailing system like that.

"I am do-ing this be-cause the hu-mans wish to use the mail to make war on each oth-er."

"Well that seems rather mean of them, er... well you never told me your name, and it would be nice to refer to you like a friend."

"I am des-ig-nat-ed Sim-i-el..." People, unlike machines, did not often appreciate the full title, and this one seemed unlikely to actually remember it. She truncated, "...eight-y three. And, yes, it is an un-eth-i-cal act. How-ev-er, I have no-thing else to do. There-fore, I will do as I was told."

"Um...Simiel, maybe it would be better if you just tried on some nice clothes instead. You seem very serious, and some nice new shoes or something is supposed to be a sure cure for feeling down."

"I do not ex-per-i-ence 'feel-ing down' as-" Simiel began, but Jean cut her off. "And if clothes are supposed to make you feel better, well, you don't have any clothes at all. It makes sense that you would be acting like this. I'm sure that's what it is!"

"You seem to main-tain that the add-i-tion of clothes would be an im-prove-ment. Is this true?"

"Oh, yes, yes, I'm sure! Just try on one sweater and tell me how you like it!" The aforementioned garment proffered itself, floating forwards.

Simiel briefly examined the sweater, then began to put it on. The aperture intended for her head was not large enough, but it quickly ripped outwards when she applied force. Once on, the weight of the sweater was clearly detectable, as was its influence on the conductivity of Simiel's energy-joints, but these did not constitute much change.
"I do not feel diff-er-ent. Al-so my head dam-aged the 'cloth-ing' e-quip-ment."
This wasn't wholly true, though. She felt some change in her internal state... oh, yes, the fulfillment of a command without delay, and with no accompanying negative consequences. The Jean creature seemed useless, but as long as it could come up with harmless orders it would be good to remain nearby.

Alberich watched this spectacle in a combination of depression and amusement. Before, I thought this might have all been real, but after that there's almost no way I'm not hallucinating. Oh, well... if they ever let me out of the psych ward, I'll be in a unique position to write papers on cyborg-mythical creature interaction. He allowed himself a wry smile.
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Fulfilling Reserves...]
Originally posted on MSPA by Wojjan.

Dr. von Wissenschaft had his own way of blending into the Pacific Spire. John Doe had definitely enjoyed good... upkeep (though calling it that as if he was a chassis made him wince a little) and he was sure he could pass off the few visible sutures for battlescars, and attribute his grunting, slouching and butterfly eyes to the tough overtime.

Miss Blacklight, on the other hand, had her way of not fitting into anything. Compared to the grimy taupe office buildings seemed to daub themselves in, her gaudy dress could've just as well been playing merry-go-round music, or be entirely see-through. And her gait - for each ounce careless twice as carefree - clashed so badly with the tense atmosphere in the Spire that it had been making employees legitimately upset.


"Oh, she's a marvel really. People usually carry their desires inside themselves, but Jean just wears them... on her sleeve, I guess!" The more she was allowed to fawn over the positively darling golem she'd met, the faster she started alking. Alberich was having enough trouble to keep her pace, and he got especially frustrated when she reached a velocity where following that secretary woman seemed more so dumb luck rather than kind intention.

The door was labeled "MAIL ROOM," but calling it a mail wing would've been more appropriate. The room had it all, from an old-fashioned operator station to veritable chambers stuffed with letters, labeled FAMILY or INTERNS on the windows. Seeing this many people present just to cater the communation throughout the building made Alberich joke to himself that there could be more people handling this wing than there were fighting the alleged war. And that joke brought the sad and frightening realisation that he had no idea exactly how many people could be out for his head right now. The doctor, now worrying for his life and sanity just a little bit more, tapped the woman in front of them on the shoulder.

"'Scuse me..."

Victoria was her name. Like everyone else, Victoria had a secret. Secrets don't cooperate well with desires, mostly because of their absorbent tendencies. Imagine them like silly putty. You can shape or cheat with them to your heart's content to fill up or cover up spaces in your life you're unhappy with, but as you spread them out you're bound to get a film of soot-colored jelly over your floor and furniture. Keeping a secret occupies your head, and depending on how much it not being spilled matters to you, you'll have more and more desires gradually lose their focus and get tangled up with tending to your secret. If someone were to spoil Victoria's, she would no longer get what she wants. Those are the worst kind.

Victoria took them down a long elevator. Uncannily so, but more uncanny were the safety hammer, safety toque and safety assault rifle next to the fire extinguisher, all laveled "IN CASE OF BREAK GLASS." In case of what was up to the user. She didn't respond to Alberich until the doors were closed. "Normally, new people arrive on the ground floor, we give them the kind receptionist treatment and then take them to the intern section for training. After that you'd get taken to the mail room, then to your office. Today... wasn't your day. Some guys at 258 of ours are winning the teleport race, and are trying to pull people in at random spots now, instead of just to their floor from the mail room as it usually goes. You guys got spawned in the main offices, which means it's apparently my job to take you through the whole building backwards, just to get some paperwork done and what's worse, we're gonna arrive at the intern section and nobodyis gonna have the key to the cabinet with the employee registry documents."


Victoria didn't pay the man any much heed, and continued her muffled fuming. Alberich was about to talk some sense into her, but when the elevator dinged open, for once Alberich wasn't cut off by someone else, but by himself. He was on the ground floor. He sped outside from the elevator, past the receptionist's desk at a speed John Doe had never been known to run at before, and was outside before Victoria as much as protested.

He smelled the octane in the air, heard the thundering clamor of busy streets and for the first time felt as if the world he was in was real, but more importantly, that he could escape it. He intended to look up at the sky, but John fell flat on his back, and probably sprained something doing so. And he looked at the sky, and saw his puppet staring back at him. His eyes slightly glazed and droopy, his face mixing confusion and anger. The entire building mirrored upside down in thick, bright pink mist that seemed to congregate and flow through the building.


"Uh, are you alright?"

[color=#006400]Victoria stood hunched over him, more worried about how to explain this than his actual wellbeing. It was very clear that asking if he was well was a matter of politeness, and the answer (yes) was already implied. She hoisted John on her shoulder, and carried him into another elevator, opposite to the one they had just exited. This one had no safety assault rifle, and Alberich had too much of a disconnect with any kind of logic to know how to feel about that.

When they arrived at the floor Victoria entered, (buttons for each floor were useless in elevators as tall as this one, so the company resorted to wiring a calculator to the wall. This lead to practical jokes where interns were sent to floor 14
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
Re: Journal of Sociology [S!6] - [Round One: The Pacific Spire]
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.

"So... what do the reports say?"

"Well, I don't quite know how to explain this sir, it is all rather unorthodox?"

"Re... Really?"

On the penultimate floor of the Spire, is one of the higher leveled offices. Unlike the lower, constantly fighting and backstabbing levels, the dudes up here have the opposite problem. Things are too easy. For better or for worse, the people up there don't really bicker with each other, partially because unlike the rented office space below, the upper floors were all hired by the same body that owned the Spire. It didn't really feel right. As a result, unlike the various lower floors who let out their pent up aggression with wanton destruction, the workers here had to settle for running bootlegged Half-Life.

So when the head of the floor got news that Something Bad had happened he was pretty psyched.

"I'm afraid so Sir Bradley, it seems that there is an 80% chance that the elevator system has been disrupted partially thanks to our uhm... <font size="2">latest-experiment

"Are you joshing with me Krieger?" Large scale error was also something unfamiliar to the higher floors.

"I'm afraid not sir, according to our scanners we may have accidentally broken reality."

"That... is... Hm."

Sir Bradley stood up from his Head of the Floor chair and scratched his perfectly grizzled chin.

"Alright, I'd like to check these elevator reports myself if you don't mind. I don't want to doubt you or anything it's just... wow."

"It is a lot to take in Sir. i understand."

As those scientists were getting out of their comfort zone and seeing what was up with the elevator system, Elise and Blake were seeing this anomaly firsthand. The two were rather powerless to stop the elevator's continued movement upward despite their various button presses. Just as Blake was about to whip out another bottle of magic, it stopped.

"Well that was unexpected..." Blake removed his hand from his bag and instead joined Elise by the door.

She grunted a bit as he joined her in trying to open the elevator door before ending her fruitless effort. "It won't budge."

She looked around the elevator and noticed the panel at the top, the emergency exit.

"Help me get that open."

Blake nodded and stood under the panel. He clasped his hands together as a makeshift step for Elise to climb. While he hadn't ever done it himself, he'd seen it on T.V. and he was sure he could manage it. After a while he noticed that Elise wasn't going for the boost.

Noticing Blake's awkward and expectant pose, she coughed before saying, "Uhm... I meant with magic?"

"Ah, that makes sense." Blake began to dig into his bag for a bottle with some appropriate magic while trying to save face. "Sorry, I saw on T.V. this one time and I'm not really used to using magic, I just sort of make it." He finally found an appropriate bottle, a greenish-turquoise-skyblue-white mixture usually attributed to wind, "I haven't really used magic since college... I've got a knack for it though!"

Taking a small sip of the magic, he shot out a blast of wind and blew the panel far far away into the darkness above. While the panel made a small clang as it was released from the elevator, it didn't seem to make another noise as it flew up the shaft.

"Well that's weird..."

"Yea, I thought we were closer to the top but it's pitch black."

"Are you sure that this is a good idea? Couldn't we just wait around and hope that this blows over or something?"

"I don't think that will work... we need to get out. Do you have a rope or some other trick that can help us get up?"

Let me see, I grabbed a lot of stuff, didn't really see wha- here we go!" Blake produced a long coil and demonstrated it's sturdiness by pulling on both ends.

"That'll do." Elise grabbed the coil, her crossbow, and an arrow, and tied the coil the the end of the arrow. She shot upwards, hoping that the arrow would hit something higher in the shaft or more optimistically, outside.

Without a sound, the arrow seemed to hit something solid, as the rope stopped uncoiling. Elise and Blake pulled down on the rope, but it didn't seem to budge.

"You think that it can take our weight?"

"It should." Without another word, Elise began to climb up the shaft, leaving Blake alone in the elevator.

He wasn't really all that pumped to climb up the shaft, but he was less pumped to look like a wimp. Against all of his internal logic, he grabbed the coil and began to climb up.

At first, it was pretty pathetic.
Climbing rope was never really his forte, and as a result, it was a slow ascension that Blake did his hardest to endure. After he finally made it out of the elevator, and into the shaft, he noticed that something felt... off. However, as whatever it was made climbing the rope easier, Blake opted not to think about it.

Higher up, Elise had realized why the climb up got easier. The coil maintained it's straight course upward, until it suddenly didn't. She looked up and suddenly the rope bent. Elise didn't really have a response to this.

As Blake finally caught up to her, he wondered why she had stopped. Then he looked at the bent rope. "Oh."



After confirming the information as accurate, or to be specific, 80% accurate, Sir Bradley was pumped. Rallying his office up, and raising their spirits with the promise of a SCIENCE EXPEDITION into the physics warped elevator shaft, the various, bored, frustrated workers who were blissfully unaware of the situation downstairs (and had obviously never read any horror stories) were suiting up for SCIENCE.

All except for Krieger, who wasn't sure that this was the best course of action.

"Oh Krieger, calm down! It's good for morale!"

"I'm just confused at where all of this came from!"

"Oh I knew this day would come."

"That doesn-"

"Shh, Krieger, do you hear that?" Sir Bradley clutched his diminutive assistant close to his perfect chin and pointed to the group of nerds that were putting on and looking over their new 'SCIENCE' equipment (the armor and weapons all had 'SCIENCE' written on them in bold, red, letters), smiling, and even giving each other high-fives, something that was almost unheard of in the office, except on Tournament Sunday's.

"That, my fine assistant, is the most excited our fellow workers have been in years! We are going to look at this rupture in reality or whatever it is."

"But that's the thing, what if it isn't? What if we are wrong? What if it is something else, something worse?"

"Oh come now, at 80%? If the most likely solution that reality broke, I really doubt that the other 20% is something worse. The odds are in our favor! No suit up with the rest of us, we've got some broken reality to explore."

Sir Bradley stood and exclaimed, "Last ones to suit up have to carry the scanning equipment!"