The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round Six: Eddelin City]

The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round Six: Eddelin City]
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

The Ovoid sits quietly in the darkness. There are voices.

"... is it unconscious?"
"I dunno, hit it."



"What the hell was that?!"
"Oh Red Lennon, there was a box balanced on top of it."
"So... is it unconscious now?"
"Well, it's not moving... we may as well try to drag it off."

Grunting is heard.

"Where are you supposed to grab this thing..."

More grunting.

"Comrade Ivan, let the others know we'll need some help."
"Da, Comrade Andrei!"

Footsteps march off, and after a time, return, accompanied by others. Hands press against the Ovoid's surface, pushing and pulling fruitlessly.

It is at this point which light returns to the corridor, revealing an assortment of humans straining against an implacable Ovoid. Down the corridor a ways, Xadrez begins moving towards a nearby terminal. The sounds of exertion blossom briefly into startled cries before vanishing completely, along with the would-be abductors. Any observing party would have seen curiously undefinable shapes bloom into existence around the clones, and then shrink back to nothingness. The clones, however, fell in a direction which should never have existed and vanish along with the shapes.

For a moment, nothing happens.

Then, as if to punctuate the anticlimax, the Ovoid's surface ripples, bits and pieces simply disappearing, colors appearing in patches, before finalizing on an oddly recognizable shape: a clone, sharing features of the ones surrounding the Ovoid not moments before. It... "he" is wearing tie-die coveralls, splattered with orange, green, yellow, red, and even black. "He" is also still floating a couple of inches above the floor, at a slightly awkward angle, features and body alike completely wooden. "His" posture brings to mind a toy soldier; arms locked to his sides, legs straight, feet forming perfect-right angles. Just barely visible in one pocket is a picture of Groucho Marx.

The whole thing is extremely odd.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

"PURGE?" Arkal grunted, still groggy. "What's that?"

"We are the bringers of destruction. And you are now one of us." The man in blue reached into a pouch and pulled out a small device. Arkal stared at it with the eye of a craftsman.

"Nice materials in there," he said. "But what does it do?"

"It's a bomb. We want you to help us make a stronger one. And then you'll help us plant it where it will do the most damage."

Arkal's face turned red. He stood up, effortlessly tearing through his restraints, and grabbed the surprised man by the throat.

"A bomb? All those perfectly good materials, and you waste them on something that's only going to be used once?"

Arkal took the bomb and tossed the man aside.

"I've got no interest in helping you. I'm going to put this thing to better use." He glared at the man. "Now where did you put my hammer, anvil, and forge?"

The clone sputtered nervously. "Um... the hammer's over there." He pointed to a small locked crate. "We unchained the other things and left them where they were. Too heavy to carry..."

"You WHAT?" the blacksmith screamed, picking up his uncomfortable captor once more. "Then you're going to tell me how to get back there! RIGHT NOW!"

The clone fell unconscious from fright. Arkal grunted in annoyance and went over to the crate. He grabbed the lock, breaking it off the box, and pulled his hammer out. He noticed that the equipment pack the Computer had given him was in there as well, and grabbed it.

"Guess I'd better find one of those terminal things," he sighed. He walked out the door, placing the bomb in a pouch. He'd have to disassemble it later and put the parts to better use.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Wojjan.

Seeing the others disappear into dark alleyways one after another, Kracht soon remained without companions. He took extreme care to not leave any clues about his team members' treasonous disappearance. For instance, he took the liberty of carrying around Arkal's anvil, for when he was done with his current task. He would go deliver it on whatever place he would encounter him in this cycle. He spoke to Xadrez. "If this keeps up, we'll be the only ones left. No backstabbing with that knife of yours, okay?" He forced what could have been a smile.
The tactician didn't respond in the slightest, he just let out a hiss and moved a piece on his chessboard forward. If it could talk, it would have said "You are this close to getting yourself a well-deserved jab in the chest." As his eyes turned away, Kracht took up a noticeably slower pace.
With only possibly Friend Computer watching - if the glorious AI had time for his little shenanigans - he slid into a room, dubiously marked as "EQUIP STORAGE". This was his stop.
"Hi. I'm here to ensign in the Corpore Metal society."

There wasn't a response. All CorpMet members gazed in awe at the man who had just entered, his body entirely made of the most majestic metal they had ever seen. The way the halogen light reflected dimly upon his lightly emerald outer layer - it was a wonderful sight for the people of this society, although nothing special anymore for any of the participants in this grand battle.
An INDIGO clearance member stepped forward and hesitantly stretched out his cybernetic arm.
"Welcome… to the group?"
"Oh please, I've been part of this society longer than you could hope to remember. Now, could you hand me that box of scraps over there you deal out to newcomers? I'm going to make a certain blacksmith a present."
Confused as to how exactly this conversation was going to develop, the INDIGO clearance clone redirected himself to more rational tasks. "Um, Emi, could you handle the paperwork for this member?" "It seems he did so himself already, sir." Kracht wafted a registration form in the synthetically scented air, waiting for the members to regain their senses from yet another blow to their comprehension.
He decided to take the box and his leave, and proceed to wherever PURGE resided.

quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

"Hey, Kracht!" called out Jen, cheerily. "Let me try something."

Kracht groaned and stretched out his hand. Jen's new sword made a disappointed fizzling noise upon contact with his wrist, and then decided to go in a different direction, flashing with irritation.

"Thought so," lamented Jen. "Useless piece of shit isn't even properly sentient. I'm calling it Clive."

Eighty per cent of the time, she had called it Owen. It's awful how easy some things are to remember.

"You wanna know a secret, Clive?" Jen told Clive, walking off and leaving Kracht to pursue his quest in silence. "As soon as I shank a couple of terrorists with you I'm going to try and trade up. Maybe I'll talk to the, uh, the anvil guy. Erkel." Clive largely ignored her, humming in a radioactive monotone. Jen fell silent as well, reminiscing about one of her favorite swords, a dirk named Dirk carved from a wish by Republican gnomes. After using Dirk to rend the All-Curtain (bringing much-needed shade and privacy to the people of the Place) and pierce the cotton hearts of eleven of the High Council of Pedophiles (the other two made a suicide pact), Jen had referred Dirk to a psychiatrist who had helped him confront his latent bisexuality. She hadn't heard from him in years.

Jen pointed Clive in front of her eyes and squinted. It didn't make anything any less gray. When she got back to R&D only the chess guy was there, and she was too morose to try and strike up a conversation with him.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lisawags.

As the lights shut off, Keleth let out a little yelp. He was afraid. Anyone who has been taken from his home and thrown into a completely different world would be scared, bewildered. Then, he heard footsteps - lots of them. He backed away from the noise into a wall, not even thinking about using his magic to light up the room from the frenzy.

As he heard people struggling, the speed of his heartbeat increased from the excitement. Faster, faster, and faster it went, until... WHACK! THUD.

Minutes later, he woke up, unsure of what had happened, barely cognizant of the fact that he was unconscious, as if he was an insomniac drifting in and out of sleep. Keleth looked around. He saw light emanating from a thin crack.

There were couple, few, no, *several* silhouettes looming over him... a bad omen. He felt a throbbing pain in his head. As he tentatively touched the bump on his head, he felt a twinge of pain, but it was nothing. His head wasn't moist; it was dry. That meant no blood... or was there blood? Maybe the blood had dried. Was he knocked out? If so, how long?

A barrage of questions buzzed incessantly through his mind. After what seemed like an eternity of unanswered questions and bound-less curiosity, one of the figures kicked him. It smart - a lot... but at least it stopped his questions.

Following another powerful kick, Keleth groaned as he grabbed his leg.

One of the silhouettes questioned doubtfully, "Is he-"

"Yes, he's awake," one of them responded icily. It was a female voice. A sharp tongue she had, yes... razor sha-

Another kick. And another. They must have been from the cold voice. Why? Keleth inhaled sharply from each blow. Finally, the kicking ceased.

"W-why are you doing this," Keleth managed to cough.

"Maybe that's enough..." It was the doubtful voice again. He seemed as if he was the naive type. Maybe he was... He probably was.

Another voice shot out, a stronger voice, "That's enough. He hasn't retaliated."

"Well, what are we going to do with him now?" This voice... it seemed somewhat apathetic. She didn't seem as if she cared about the well-being of Keleth at all.

The icy one snapped, "Does it really matter? We could just leave him here. It's not like he knows anything."

"He could be one of us... maybe."

"Maybe, maybe not."

"We could bring him back, let them decide..."

"Is another member really worth the risk?"

"Might as well. He's just a red, anyways."

"He probably knows. He's trying to hide his power; I just know it."

"Oh, there's no use being paranoid. Let's just bring him back."

After that, there was nothing. Time passed quickly, but Keleth didn't notice.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Before he returned to R&D, Xadrez found himself a terminal, in a sunny shade of yellow. The human form slid forward, to save the tactician from leaning all the way across his board to reach the keys. After a moment of staring in confusion at the array of letters, the black plate nudged forward a little as Xadrez wrapped his fingers around the terminal and dragged himself closer. Influence trickled through the machine, as the tactician went questing for the node he could possess to bypass the pesky keyboard. His investigations did not go unnoticed by the terminal, who chirped at the spirit:

"Greetings, citizen! Please desist from sticking your influence in my personality modulator, or you will rack up the treason points, yes indeezgh-aaaand it's my pleasure to fine you five milliurghghghghohgod please, I'm begging you, stop THAT YOU INSTANT, YOU FILTHY MAGGrrrrrrrror regrettably I will be forced to shatter that infrared support device of yours."

Purely by coincidence, at this point Xadrez had finished fossicking about in the terminal's circuitry, with his thoughts settled comfortably around the input field.

"Excellent. Now, how may I assist you today, you filthy mutant?"

Considering the formalities he knew about with responding to this device, Xadrez paused for a moment, glancing down at the PDC in the dark, before replying, requesting connection to Bill|G|888|5.

"Request confirmed. Sending request to Internal Communications Clearance Queue... Your request to connect to a higher-clearance officer has been added to the queue. Your request is number sixty-four in the queue. Thank you for your patience. Friend Computer wishes you a pleasant, untreasonous daycycle and recommends all Communists, mutants, and other treasonous scum fuck off and die."

For about half a minute, nothing happened other than a desultory flicker of the still-extinguished lights. Xadrez requested an update on his current position.

"Your request to connect to a higher-clearance officer is number sixty-five in thethethethethethe number one in the queue. Your request has been processed and denied. Further information about your request is above your clearanssssssssssssss-" the terminal's pleasant tones disintegrated into a rush of static as whatever program which was installed on the illicit PDC launched, Xadrez having unceremoniously jammed it into a side port around 'sixty-five' as per his mysterious teleporting benefactor's instructions. The glitchy text of the pair's recent conversation was wiped, replaced with a blinking cursor, which shortly fled from a growing string of letters.


How may I assist you, officer hazarded Xadrez. His thoughts bypassed the keyboard, appearing onscreen in a neat and orderly fashion beneath Bill's.

Oh, excellent. I'm pleased you're to the point. My friends and I trade in-
a pause -information. You could, however, say our alternative currency is acclaim - something you've accrued quite a bit of with your latest exploits, Clone Xadrez.

That idly apathetic curiosity of his finally mustered in defence, Xadrez queried, how did you find out

We have our ways. And we believe it is worth our while to teach them to you.

But first we must know - how did you learn the moveset?

Of the Computer's Chesslike


Xadrez considered explaining everything to the Phreak, but reconsidered. Familiarity. After what was probably an incredulous moment on Bill's end, the tactician added I studied the Computer's moves and theorised my own

But what do you want from me

If I understand this correctly, Clone Xadrez, you were decanted only recently, and you "theorised" the most sophisticated movesets in Chesslike?

Xadrez paused for a moment on the phrase 'decanted'. Yes

Did you not hack the database instead? Do not be concerned, Xadrez, I would never charge you with treason. We don't do that to our own.

The new terminology was finally confounding the tactician as he tried to figure out exactly what he had or hadn't done. On-screen, this manifested as a mess of question marks with several words of a technological nature drowning amongst the quandary.

Ah, yes. As you said, decanted recently. Allow me to explain for a Red like yourself. Friend Computer is omnipotent throughout the Complex.

Xadrez nodded - it was good to know, but unlikely considering the fact the two of them were having a conversation right here, right now. Yes

Friend Computer knows all, but His memories and secrets are scattered and concealed across Alpha Complex. The Computer Phreaks make a hobby of finding those secrets - the more protected and harder to access, the more /fun/.

Now this was finally interesting. The spirit was even begrudgingly grateful to Kracht. You can find out anything

That is partially correct. We can do so much more, Xadrez.

Teach me

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Let's talk about Weo, for a minute.

Weo's mommy was a bit of a slut, which is about as disconcerting for a Rillian child as for a human child. Her extracurricular activities with the neighbors and general unwillingness to talk out her issues reduced Daddy from the badass alien samurai you read about in the photologues to something that gets dragged out of the sewer a week after Birth Night and summarily cremacycled by the Decency Authority. One night when Mommy was off "getting her sports equipment washed" as was her regular excuse, Daddy got eaten off of some cheap carnaholic quesadillas and took a knife and carved something in an old language into the small of Weo's back, and it wasn't until both Mommy and Daddy were furnace food that Weo went to a tattoo cathedral to have the scar checked out and it turned out to be a proverb that roughly translates into "Bitches, man." He'd had it buffed away immediately.

Weo hadn't been fond of his parents but he had learned a valuable lesson from his childhood. He summed it up as follows. Three things can cut short a Rillian's lifespan: self-enjoyment, self-deception, and a blade to the jugular bladder. The poor men and women at Death Leopard should have done their research before trying to recruit him, or at least should have left the scythe back at R&D.

The only disco ball that Death Leopard could obtain only reflected in shades of red and infra-red, so the obsidian man covered in blood would have appeared as a performer in some sort of high-class sadistic cabaret show had any living beings been present to watch. Weo was upset by the behavior he had seen in what had seemed to be a reasonably orderly society. "Things ain't ne'er gon' be like they was," he quoted from the traditional Rillian ballad, "Ode to them Dolla Bills," thinking upon his childhood. Like most truly sad people, Weo thought of his childhood both as a time of bliss and nostalgia, and as the source of all his problems. By the time he had decided to permanently ruin the noble arts of war and science by ramming them together like Barbie and Ken on their wedding night, causing a minor unwar and the undignified death of basically everyone he knew, he was far beyond blaming himself. Weo cast himself as a victim of circumstance, sure to one day redeem himself through some miraculous confluence of luck and scytheplay and emerge as some sort of sexy toyetic hero.

The Death Leopards hadn't put up much of a fight. Weo sighed, stabbed the disco ball until it stopped serving a purpose and headed back to meet the others, maybe kill one of them. A team leader's work is never done.

* * * * *
Jen waved at the scythe-guy upon his arrival but didn't offer up any sort of verbal greeting because she had completely forgotten his name or what his deal was.

Weo waved back, looking defeated. Warriors he could handle. This was… perverse.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.

As it would turn out, the Alpha complex wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs at the best of times, at least not in the perspective of the contestants, who lack the mind of a more traditional trouble shooter. The place was a maze of grey corridors, occasionally broken up with small robot or a clone passing by, or in Sikarius' case, another meat sack passing by. One such corridor contained a panic fuelled clone, dressed in red overalls, clumsily running through monochrome labyrinth. Alas, his attempts of some form or escape were for naught, as a gruesome tentacle, topped with a boney blade pierced his chest and dragged him all the way back down. His screams do not last long, concluding in a cringe worthy splat. Maxwell emerge from corridor, his body unnervingly normal, he cleaned his face with a blood red rag.

"We are lost, again!" Sikarius screamed into Maxwell's mind, who unflinchingly carried on his stride. "Oh please. I'm giving you bodies to kill aren't I?" Sik wriggled uncomfortably round Maxwell's neck, "They are too easy! They may as well be dead to begin with!" Maxwell chuckled, something that would look twisted to some one else's eyes. He spotted another clone in the distance, nonchalantly walking, unaware of Maxwell's presence. "I bet I can take his head off from here." The thought synched with Sik perfectly and as if on command, Maxwell's right arm grew in length substantially, replacing his hand with a disgusting mess of tumour and sharp bone. Maxwell twirled his new arm as if casting a fishing rod into the ocean, he then launched it clonewards.

The blade throw was perfect, in timing and accuracy, the mass of flesh and bone cleanly removed the clones head before he could turn in direction, leaving nothing but a body spewing blood like some sick fountain. The arm embedded itself in the now claret stained concrete wall. As if by some twisted fate, the arm happened to show itself near an intersection passing R&D, Weo and Jen glanced at the line of pulsating rotten flesh with some amount of interest.

More so in Weo, who saw this opportunity to kill something more challenging than such pitifully fragile clones, he took his War Scythe and cleanly cleaved the arm in two.

Maxwell yelped in pain, he was used to the removal of limbs but he wasn't exactly expecting such a thing to happen now, Sikarius writhed and screamed loudly, mostly in anger than in pain. The remainder of Maxwell's arm retracted back to his body, while the section removed quickly began crumbling into a fine powder. Weo, glided into the subsection to see Maxwell, clutching his arm in pain. The boy looked up and panic began flooding in. "Ah! Err, hi! Umm, Weo was it? How's...things?"Weo didn't respond, he merely raised his Scythe in preparation. "Y-you wouldn't kill one of your own team-mates would you?"
"I am the leader." Weo said, his grip tightened. "I can do what I want."
Maxwell's gaze hardened on the Rillian. "Finally! Someone who could offer up a challenge!" Sikarius dug itself back into Maxwell's body. "You better not pussy out on me now boy!" Maxwell rose his damaged arm, exploding in a complex mess of bones, cartilage and tumours. "Alright, have it your way!" Maxwell charged at the Rillian, who readied his stance to counter efficiently, Maxwell dropped his arm down with such a force it shattered the stone floor effortlessly. Weo easily dashed away and swung with his huge Scythe, meeting with Maxwell's arm with a mixture of a metallic clang and a fleshy squelch.

Meanwhile, Jen watched on, her hand idly on the hilt of 'Clive'.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Now, hold on for a moment, Clone Xadrez. First we must know if you can be trusted with this knowledge.

It took considerable will on Xadrez's part to stop his frustrations flowing into the terminal and sending something along the lines of asghlkb;n h to Bill. Through the mental equivalent of gritted teeth, he finally replied, what do you need

One of our agents traced a data packet with an inordinate amount of security as originating from your sector. We are unable to glean any information on it - its access lists, its origins, its contents.

And you want let me guess some physical aspect of this closeted conundrum tampered with to allow you to infiltrate it more easily

Clever. But your intelligence has little bearing on whether the Phreaks trust you.

Xadrez couldn't care less. The task

Prevent the computer which controls Seasoning Distribution in the Foodlyk Vats of Sector BSV from receiving any more incoming data.

Why would something monitoring Seasoning Distribution need this data packet

There was a long pause on the other end. Xadrez didn't know it, but the hacker was laughing loud enough to startle the timid Blue at the desk next to him.

Xadrez, I've heard some refer to Friend Computer's data management as chaotic, disreputable, /disgraceful/ even. /I/ find that chaos beautiful, if only because I am one of the elite few capable of locating the beauty tangled within it.

At this inopportune moment, Scarm's recently promoted friend (and, with the reduced libido-suppressant uptake that came with said promotion, jealous lover) decided to alert IntSec to Bill's illicitly garnished income, far beyond what a Green would earn. He was taken forcibly in the middle of his spiel for questioning; that is to say, shot in the hallway.

Xadrez knew none of this, and waited until a map of the sector finally cleared and replaced the curtailed discussion. The tactician studied it for a moment, removed his pendrive, and took the prescribed path back to R&D. The room was deserted, so Xadrez idled in the corner trying to send a message to Arkal on his PDC, informing him his anvil was with Kracht.

The spirit had just given up on trying to make the message anonymous and hit send as Weo walked in, and was examining a rather nice hunk of some kind of greenish stone (extracted from his box of equipment) as Weo hacked apart Maxwell's arm. Drifting across to better observe proceedings, Xadrez laid a finger on one of the shapeless hunks of metal on his board, before deftly switching it with the fresh stone. Flicking away the discarded piece of wall with a clang, the chessmaster pulled out his knife as he stared past Jen.

Her scarf, now emblazoned with red like the rest of her clothes, had been green before the mandatory paint job. Xadrez raised the piece of igneous rock and and began carving.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Arkal soon found a terminal. As he worked out how to access the map, he heard a beep coming from his pocket, and checked the PDC he had been provided with. He made a mental note to disassemble it for parts later, but in the meantime, checking the message the message seemed more productive.

Kracht has your anvil. - Xadrez

Arkal grumbled. That was good to know, but where was Kracht? And where was his forge? After finally figuring out how to display the map on the terminal, he decided to head back to R&D and try to find his forge. Kracht would hopefully turn up on his own. He started walking down the corridors.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Wojjan.

After sending that message to Arkal, Xadrez's face froze for a moment in an expression of clear malice, grinning and murmuring to himself about his tactic. Indeed, the best move to make. Arkal's anvil is precious to him, and he is unlikely to be grateful to that anomaly for absconding with his anvil, no matter what its intentions...
In all those iterations, there was always one certainity that no matter how many oddities could nullify: Something was always happening in Alpha Complex. It was certainly a view to behold, watching red-clearance troubleshooters oblitterate in front of your very eyes, for the suspicion of not taking drug this and that. As long as you weren't paying mind to the fact you yourself could end up the same way, it was rather humorous at times.
Kracht sat down for a while in the hallway leading towards R&D, checking the time of daycycle. By now, Xadrez must have surely already sent that message of his, in an attempt to play out that grudge he bore against Kracht. Perhaps Arkal would soon come this way. He sometimes ran into Jen on the way there, and if that was the case, he wouldn't show up for another hour. He decided, after a while of waiting, he'd not have it get that far this time. He headed off towards the sound of a blacksmith's fury.

"Hey, limeface! Where do you get off stealing my anvil?" "Oh, hello Arkal. You should know, I only took them because those goons from PURGE left it there in plain sight, for anyone to nab! It's a little heavy, though. Would you care to take it over?" Kracht dropped the anvil on the ground, with much too little precision for the forger's taste. "What the hell are you trying to pull?! It ain't made of rubber, you know! Treat her with a little care!" It soon became clear there wasn't a way to satisfy him on the matter. "Sorry, I should've known better. I hope the damage isn't all too great, and I won't take... her with me in the future." "You bet! If future me catches you running off with her again, I can't promise what I'd do to you!"
Still enraged, but not looking for another impossible fight, Arkal headed off towards R&D at a quicker pace than before. Kracht wisely chose a different route.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Arkal finally arrived back at R&D. He found Weo and Maxwell fighting, and noticed Jenn and Xadrez staying back. Judging by the fact that they both had weapons ready, he reasoned that they were probably trying to decide which side of the fight to join in on. Well, he didn't have time for this.

Arkal cleared his throat. The combatants and observers ignored it. Annoyed, he decided to take a more direct approach, and stepped between Weo and Maxwell, grabbing them and holding them apart.

"Pardon the interruption, lads," he said. "Have either of you seen my forge?" He then noticed the stray bit of severed arm on the floor. "Oh, and is it a problem for either of you if I take that? Could be handy for a project I'm thinking about."

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Weo was once more overcome by frustration and awkward embarrassment as these insufferable people continued to fornicate all over the line between combat and diplomacy. Upon the smith's arrival, the smelly gross boy lost all interest in their perfectly engaging fight and stood silent for a moment, occasionally stealing a glance at the thing on his back, and then told the smith, "Sure, whatever. I dunno if it'll be much used to you once it's been detached." Then his tongue fell out and his leg exploded.

Weo looked at his scythe longingly, feeling the need to top off his bloodletting by stabbing anything, even himself. No one seemed interested. He was more of an outcast in this place than in his homeland, but here instead of being too little of a Rillian, he was too much of one.

Well, at least he could abuse his leadership position. "Alright, we're moving out, trouble... troublesomethings. Troublesolvers."

"Shouldn't we wait for that one guy and the thing that looks like a guy?"

Weo waved his hand dismissively at the girl. He considered killing her but felt it would ultimately be unsatisfying. "If they're troublefucker worth his salt, they'll catch up. Come along now, let's go." Scythe and box of equipment in hand, he stomped out of R&D, nearly bumping into Kracht on the way out. The others followed.

Weo smiled. One thing never changes, Rillian or no: the masses can't ignore a command by an authority figure, even one with so trite and useless a title as "team leader."

He took two turns and realized he had no idea where he was going. He stopped in front of a small, ominous-looking booth.
"We should probably look for a map," pointed out the obnoxious little boy-whore-priest-midget-whore-musician-whore-boy, "There's gotta be a concierge or whatever in this pod-thingy."

The boy walked over to the booth and knocked on the door, like an idiot who is also a whore and a boy. He was answered by a mechanical voice. "WHAT IS YOUR NAME, CITIZEN?"

"My name is Max--"



"WELL, MR. CLONE MAXWELL, WHY DON'T YOU COME IN AND HAVE YOURSELF A SEAT?" The door to the booth slid open. Maxwell took a step inside, and Weo pulled him out of the way, about to open up with some insults in the shamefully passive-aggressive manner of all his fellow contestants, when a robotic claw clamped over his face and yanked him into the booth.

The door closed behind him and the voice blared out of every corner in the room.

Weo balked. It had been a long time since he'd confessed. While this offputting little room was quite a sight different from the Absoluplex Dojos of his home, maybe it was the time. He took a deep breath. "Let's see. I subverted the laws of nature, war, and society, leading to a civil war and the deaths of everyone I know. I have lived as a nomad and some of my tax papers may have been lost in the shuffle. I routinely fill out two copies of the census forms so I have one set of identification for each sexuality because I never really decided. I killed a whore once but it was an honorable kill. Mostly. Once... no, twice I regretted a murder I committed. In my youth I often exceeded my fashion-forward quota. I once took two vitamin supplements in a single day. I have toyed with the idea of committing suicide, or commissioning an artist, or commissioning an artist to immortalize my suicide, which I had planned extensively. Sometimes I experience emotions for which there are no words."

Silence for a bit. A syringe poked out from the chair and jabbed itself into his arm, extracting a mixture of blood and warbile.


The door opened once again. An unpleasant smell which Weo had previously been unaware of began to dissipate, and he felt very clean. Weo stepped out and nodded to his fellow troublebusters, and a countdown began.



"I think I'm about to be killed," intoned Weo.




The laser shot through Maxwell's torso and brought him to his knees. "What the hell?" the boy demanded as soon as he grew new lungs.

"No idea," replied Weo, feeling a giddy sort of inward peace.

"NO NEED TO BE ALARMED, TROUBLESHOOTERS," came the voice. "YOUR BUDDY MAXWELL AND I JUST HAD A LITTLE TALK. WE'LL HAVE HIM ALIVE AND WELL AGAIN AND BACK TO YOU IN A JIPH liphesinerror liphesinerror reading reading reading decanterror decanterror decantanomaly WE'LL HAVE HIM BACK TO YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE."

Weo sighed. "I didn't get a map," he confessed.

Xadrez projected the map on his chessboard. "You had that the whole time, didn't you?" Xadrez nodded glumly. "Okay! How about you lead?"

Weo was getting the hang of this whole passive-aggression deal. He smiled a little.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Arkal grumbled. "How am I supposed to find my forge at this rate?"

Weo walked over to the blacksmith and stared him in the face.

"Oh, look at me! I'm the great Arkal, and I can't find my forge! Now I'm just an oversized dwarf who can't do anything except SMASH STUFF WITH MY FISTS!" he said, mockingly. "Suck it up and get on with the mission, Equipment Officer."

Arkal stared back at the Rillian. After a few minutes, he shrugged.

"Fine. But once this mission is over, you're helping me find my forge."

"Sure, sure. If it'll make you happy. Now let's get going."

The group followed Weo, with a general lack of enthusiasm.


Kracht had nearly caught up, knowing where the group would be at what time. He overheard the conversation, but it was nothing he hadn't heard before.

In countless iterations of this round, Arkal has never found that forge, he thought. I have grown so weary of his complaining about it. But, the strategic benefit of keeping him away from it outweighs this annoyance.

Kracht held a crystalline hand to where his chin would be if he possessed one. Of course, because I've been tagging along to keep him away from it, I've never really had a chance to investigate the disappearing forge myself. I wonder where it could have ended up.


In a barely-visited corridor of Alpha Complex, behind a rarely-opened door, a meeting took place.

"Let me get this straight. We have eight potential new recruits. We send you to get one of them. And you don't come back with any?" a clone in Green shouted at a nervous Red.

"Sorry, sir!" the Red said, saluting even though he wasn't sure exactly what the gesture meant. "But I didn't come back empty-handed!" He waved to the strange device behind him. It glowed a bright red due to the intense heat it generated.

"What is that?" the Green clone asked, still upset.

"Well... I'm not sure. But do we really need to know that in order to sell it?"

The Green clone looked thoughtful. "Good point. Maybe you've got what it takes to be in Free Enterprise after all."

The Red breathed a sigh of relief.

"But you've got to be the one to sell it. And don't let Friend Computer catch you."

The sigh suddenly faded.

"...yes, sir. I'll get on it right away."

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Hey guess what bitches you best be thinking about tipping me twice cause you just got REserved.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lisawags.

Reserved, I guess.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Xadrez decided not to make it a point of contention when Weo declared he should lead the way to BSV - not even when he punctuated the suggestion with the extraction of his red laser pistol from his box of equipment. Judging by the awkward angle his Rillian digits wrapped around the pistol, Weo appeared (to Xadrez's well-trained eye) to have little proficiency with the weapon.

Satisfying whatever petty need for revenge he had by running over the odds of winning a civil war you started without projectile weapons, the spirit drifted a good couple of metres ahead of the group as it unerringly navigated the monotonous corridors. An electronic sign was up ahead at a T-junction, intermittently flashing between informing the citizens of Alpha Complex that to the left were the GBS ABOVE YOUR CLEARANCE LEVEL, CITIZEN; to the right was the pedestrian route to Sector BSV; and Bouncy Bubble Beverage (Every RED's Favourite!) was on hold it.

A cognitive dissonance, two facts previously thought immutable, clashed in Xadrez's mind; there was a subsequent commotion back up the hallway as an unfamiliar Red charged into the laggards' midst. Spinning slowly, it took the tactician only one distracted second to inform Arkal (through the bishop in his pocket) that the Troubleshooter's clothes were the same as Keleth's, before scrutinising the sign again.

Right led to somewhere ABOVE XADREZ'S CLEARANCE LEVEL; left, to BSV. Just as purported on Bill's map. The other six had caught up. Weo looked prepared to test-run another snarky gem, while Kracht was watching Xadrez's deliberations with an inscrutable look as only mineral could.

Xadrez dithered for a moment longer, before a pack of clones sprinted out the same hallway Keleth had. The shapeshifter did his best not to look back at them, instead shooting the tactician a nervous glance. Nodding subtly, Xadrez raised a spectral hand, keeping an eye on Kracht.

A twitch right; no response. Xadrez waved his arm clearly leftward, relishing the barely-discernible spasm of the mineral's lime features. The tactician drifted out of the group's way, explaining to Arkal.
"He reckons this is as far as his map got him." Kracht was still glaring at the chessmaster, beneath the schizoid signage, waiting for the group to move away a little.

"I know you know the sign changed." Xadrez made no reply; he simply picked up the figurine of Jen and started etching it with his knife.

"You think you're being clever, but you're not. This junction here's been about fifty-fifty. And more times than not, that route got you killed, or got mighty close, in the third round."

Xadrez still didn't respond. Kracht opened his mouth again, at which point the tactician finally decided to throw him a bone. In his case, the tape deck of the decimated security camera. you are merely trying to scare me

"I'm merely trying to avoid unnecessary bloodshed." A hint of anger crept into the mineral's voice.

yours despite the idiom purporting such action would be redundant

Kracht was starting to look apoplectic. Before he could get a word in, Xadrez cut him off, gently placing the green token on the board and bringing forth the grey dagger.

I am but a tactician mired in his own board with nowt but a knife

You are but a deathless foe who can tell me what will happen

While I add and double-check and posit you smirk and dole out the what will be

You cheapen my art stride across the stage and as I dance despite your discordant steps you say

you say you made the journey in less steps, simpler steps, and laugh at my prancing

I am but an angered soul either of us could predict with ease my present irrationality-
The knife's whisper rose in pitch through the spirit's litany, terminating sharply as Xadrez stabbed it firmly in himself.

Kracht seemed calmer, as though these words ordained a smoother path. He made no move as Xadrez dug around in his box, removing his Troubleshooter-issue red pistol. The pair's eyes remained locked as the spirit pointed the gun up the corridor; the aim askew, ceiling-ward; Kracht's mouth twisting only slightly in displeasure as the gun emitted a crimson pulse; neither surprised when it ricocheted in three bouncing arcs and struck Weo clean in the back. Kracht slowly shook his head, but it wasn't with shock.

Xadrez lowered the pistol, looking, Kracht liked to envision, a little woebegone.


"That speech. Every damn time."
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lisawags.

Keleth woke up again. His head was throbbing, but he felt better than before when they- oh. Ohhhhh. This wasn't good. Not. At. All. He was buried under a pile of (clean) overalls. Breathing was difficult, but possible.

As the thing he was in (probably a cart) shook, he thought back to his encounter with the group of people. Muffled sounds were heard, as if a group of people were talking. Following several minutes of conjecture and recollection, he was absolutely sure that the same group as before were transporting him to a different place through the laundry cart. This may be a little complicated.

Instead of concocting a solid plan, he decided to act on impulse before it was too late. Keleth slammed into the side of the cart and sprang from the clothes as the handcart toppled over. When he judged that he ran far enough, he turned around and shot a fireball at his assailants. Crude, but effective. Before the fireball collided into the cart and exploded, firing fragments, he turned again and sprinted down a hall. As he did so, he changed his face into something else, although it probably wouldn't be of much help.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

There was a brief pause. Maxwell, Arkal, and Jenn silently stared at Weo's corpse, then back at Xadrez and Kracht.

The silence was soon broken by the Observer's voice speaking to them from nowhere, or perhaps everywhere.

"Honestly, people," it said, "I am disappointed. Now, my plan was to move you along when somebody died, but I didn't think you'd make his death so boring. You guys suck at this. So here's the deal - I'm leaving you here for now. Kill somebody else, and if you put on a good show, I'll move you along. Otherwise - enjoy spending the rest of your lives in Alpha Complex. You got that? Get me another kill, and make it a good one this time! No rush, though, I've got plenty of time here."

As the voice spoke, Arkal quietly pulled the bishop out of his pocket. When the Observer's voice stopped, he whispered to the chess piece, "What the hell was that for?"

There was no response. Evidently, Xadrez could talk to him through the relay, but not the other way around. That was annoying - the blacksmith would prefer to question the chessmaster without any onlookers.

Placing the bishop back in his pocket, he turned to look at the group and found Jenn staring at him.

"Why were you talking into your hand?" she asked.

He glared. "Don't know what you're talking about, young lady. Now, let's get a move on so I can find my forge."

"You know, we're supposed to kill somebody now," she commented, with the unspoken-yet-clearly-implied addendum "as if it were a big deal".

"And if we mess up on that, we stay in this maze of hallways forever. Now, there's plenty of nice materials here, not to mention my forge somewhere, so that's not so bad for me. But I don't think that's what any of the rest of you want."

There was an awkward silence.

"Didn't think so. Now let's do this mission and find my forge."

Kracht was pleased. It was always easier to keep Arkal distracted when Weo was dead - the old man was insistent on effectively stepping into the role of team leader, and the others were too disinterested to complain. And best of all, Kracht had the means to manipulate him quite easily.

"Ah - you know, I've been on this mission many times before. I can take us where we need to go."

Arkal eyed the living material suspiciously, then shrugged. "Fine. Which way?"

Kracht pointed to a nearby passage, marked by a sign reading "FOOD VATS". "That way, just keep following the signs. You can all go ahead; as Recording Officer, it's my responsibility to inform Friend Computer of the untimely death of our team leader. I'll find you in a moment - I know where we met up before, after all." He took out his PDC as the others advanced down the hallway, Arkal taking the lead.


The Officer of Things That Are Dumb had remained in the R&D hallway for some time, largely ignored by its fellow troubleshooters because it was keeping to itself.

But it suddenly decided to follow the path the rest of the group had taken, and began floating rapidly down the corridor. Perhaps it was drawn to the piece of itself Arkal carried; or perhaps it was simply growing impatient. To an onlooker in the third dimension, its motivations were inscrutable.

To Keleth, however, the Ovoid's motivations were less important at the moment than the fact that it was charging towards him at high speed.


Xadrez found it slightly odd that their mission would take them to the food supply. Granted, it was certainly a possibility - the Computer had hardly seemed willing to inform its agents of important details, and this damaged server might be crippling its competence.

The chessmaster, however, had been somewhat shaken by Kracht's calmness. Perhaps it had been a bluff, perhaps not, but it was now becoming clear - any scheme Xadrez devised, no matter how carefully, had almost certainly been devised on a previous iteration. Kracht would have seen its results already.

There was one evident solution. It seemed chance was fickle, and some details were different on each iteration. Perhaps the chances were fifty-fifty, perhaps more severe. Thus far, the most unpredictable element seemed to be the decisions of the contestants on trivial matters.

If more important decisions were made based on the trivial ones, however, there was a chance. Here, the choice was whether to follow Kracht's advice, or to deviate from the path at intersections. If Xadrez advised Arkal based on a series of random decisions that were incredibly weighted towards one path, then deviations were unlikely. Kracht would only have experienced a few possible paths, and so the first time down a new path, there would be an opportunity.

It was a plan that disgusted Xadrez, as it would mean using a sub-optimal plan millions of times before that one opportunity presented itself. And if the opportunity was squandered the first time, it might never work again. But what other option was there?

He spoke to Arkal through the bishop as they approached a T-intersection in the hall.

Think of a number. Any number at all. Now, remember it. There was a pause. If your number was precisely 3290593.36967, take the left path. Otherwise, take the right path, and continue the way Kracht has directed. I will repeat this procedure; it is very important that you only deviate from Kracht's suggested path if I have guessed your number exactly.

The chance of picking any specific number out of an infinite range is, in theory, infinitely small. But this is not quite accurate, as a human mind tends to have preference for specific numbers, or at least specific kinds of numbers. Few humans would select a number with more than five digits, let alone a decimal point. It made the possibility of stumbling across Arkal's number much lower.

This time, that low chance was a success. Arkal turned left, to the slight confusion of the group; however, Jenn and Maxwell didn't raise much of a fuss. It wasn't as if they particularly trusted Kracht's advice either.



"Of course, Friend Computer," Kracht said, unconcerned. Little did he realize that as he spoke, the laws of probability were turning against him more than they ever had before.

Keleth soon raced down a hallway, with the Ovoid in apparent pursuit; though Kracht knew better by now. The green man stuck out a foot in the right place, and Keleth tripped. The Ovoid continued rushing forward, zooming over Keleth's head.

"Come with me," Kracht said nonchalantly, helping Keleth to his feet. "I know where we will meet up with them."


The probability of deviating from the favored path on one turn under Xadrez's method was almost impossibly low.

The probability of deviating on five consecutive turns was even lower.

But in theory, given enough trials, every possibility will eventually come to pass. And so, on this particular iteration of the time loop, this incredibly low probability came to pass.

Xadrez knew it wouldn't necessarily be enough to render Kracht's knowledge useless. Many a Xadrez had ultimately died as a result of following the most likely paths, and this time might be no different. But there were simply no other options, not until Kracht was clearly thrown off by deviations.


As Arkal completed a sixth incredibly improbable turn, elsewhere in the Complex, the Ovoid's path shifted to take into account the location of its missing piece.

It passed by a wall which, to an average drugged-up citizen of Alpha Complex, seemed like just another wall. To a knowledgeable citizen, however, it was an entrance to a place to find things the Computer didn't want you to have - for the right price.

The Ovoid suddenly stopped. For reasons beyond the grasp of the average three-dimensional being, it was no longer immediately concerned with finding itself.

An appendage materialized on the other side of the wall, in the Infrared Market. It appeared next to a nervous Red clone carrying a familiar forge.

He grew considerably more nervous at seeing a strange object appear out of thin air. His anxiety grew even more when it advanced towards him. Still carrying the forge, he ran out the main door - advancing in Free Enterprise hardly seemed worth dealing with this kind of problem.

The wall panel opened up, and he ran out. The appendage chasing the Red clone had vanished, though he hadn't noticed and would have only panicked more if he had. He did, however, notice the stationary Ovoid and decide that was a good reason to flee again.

For unknown reasons, it followed him.

Or rather, it resumed heading towards its missing piece. Not that the ex-Free Enterpriser had any way of knowing that.


Kracht was slightly annoyed, but he couldn't let that show.

After all, the group had been late in reaching this intersection a few times before. It was rare, but it had always turned out well for him before.

Elsewhere, Xadrez had stopped aiming for the random method, and decided to rejoin the path. He had reasoned that it would lower the probability of a particular path even more if he stopped the process after a randomly-chosen number of turns, and so had guided Arkal back with the aid of his own map.

Arkal was glad. Thinking up numbers was getting annoying, and it was starting to get rather disturbing how accurate Xadrez's guesses had been.

They soon met up with Kracht, who sighed and said, "You're nearly a minute late."

To Xadrez, this was a good sign. Kracht had been thrown off, and that might provide the advantage needed to produce a timeline he had never seen before.

Nonetheless, no plans could be formulated until it was clearer that they would work. A good plan which failed would be useless if the loop repeated, and so the best plans had to be carefully held in reserve.

Arkal hadn't grasped the exact nature of the plan, but he reasoned that there was little need to tell Kracht about Xadrez's involvement in the delay.

"We got lost. Happens sometimes"

Kracht didn't show it, but this was a significant enough difference to worry him. He'd considered following Arkal to avoid deviations, but the one time he had tried it... He still wasn't sure what Keleth had done on his own, but he was in no mood to repeat that scenario for the sake of investigating it.

It suddenly occurred to him that the Ovoid was currently unaccounted for. This was slightly worrying. However, his experience with the entity in previous cycles suggested it would catch up to the group soon enough regardless, and so he decided to press on without it.

"Follow me," he said, going past another sign indicating the way to the Food Vats. "We're close."

The group followed, as a whole even less sure of Kracht's leadership than they had been of Weo's.

Soon, they came to a red door. The sign on it suggested the Food Vats were here. Kracht opened it confidently, not wanting to show how much the deviations had worried him this time. They were most likely insignificant, he was sure. He could work with this.

As they entered the room, something seemed off. There was an unusual device in the center of the room, but it did not appear to contain food.

Arkal grumbled as he took a closer look. "Either they have strange eating habits around here, or somebody's been messing with the signs," he said, pointing at the inside of the six glass capsules.

Inside each of them was a Rillian.

And after a moment, one of the capsules opened and Weo stepped out, annoyed.

"Which of you weasels shot me in the back?" he yelled.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

The ex-Free Enterpriser ran for what he was pretty sure was his life. Pretty sure.

Generally, running through Alpha Complex with an impossibly heavy forge, and being chased by an off-kilter board-like floating rainbow-man would get one caught as an unregistered mutant, or harboring unregistered mutants. The strange floating man-thing behind him was simply too... weird, anyone they ran into would simply accuse him of being responsible for its existence.

And the damn thing wouldn't stop following him! He couldn't know, of course, that in multitudes of other realized and unrealized realities, he just happened to turn left instead of right at various intersections, avoiding the rainbow-man-thing entirely. But in this reality, he didn't.

And so the Ovoid continued to chase him.

The manner of the chase was... unlike anything he'd ever experienced. The man-thing quite often scratched up against walls for large distances, and at some times seemed to have difficulty navigating corners, while at others it had almost prescient knowledge of what was coming.

After a several minutes of running, the Red risked a glance behind him, and was surprised to see the man-thing's legs moving. Well, one of them. Sort of. There was less "movement" and more "instant-to-instant leg-teleportation". One leg would be stuck out in front, rigid, and then suddenly be stuck out behind, rigid. The other leg wasn't moving.

"Freeakyy..." the Red muttered, and attempted to redouble his pace, only to run smack into Arkal's back.

Arkal turned at the impact, and glared down the already quite shaken Red. Between the surprisingly fit-looking old man's glare and the... thing behind him, the Red decided he'd had enough, and dropped the Forge at Arkal's feet before turning on his heel and running the hell out of there.

"Ahh, my forge. I knew you'd find a way back to me."

With nary a grunt, the huge blacksmith hefted the forge onto its place on his back, and looked up at the floating crooked rainbow-man and its twitching leg.

It looked back. Maybe.

"I suppose you'll be wanting this back, then?" said as he produced the piece of the Ovoid gathered earlier.

The Ovoid remained inscrutable, though perhaps one of its startlingly blank eyes smoothed over, momentarily. It continued to float and twitch and be weird.

Kracht stepped in. "It's no use. It usually doesn't start to actually communicate until at least the end of round two. Not with words, anyways. Although, on occasion..."

Kracht moved closer to the floating man-thing, and looked directly at its chest. Something shifted inside of him, and he opened his mouth. A hollow, vibrating croon escaped his throat, and he looked expectantly at the Ovoid.

Nothing happened.

Kracht shrugged. "Nevermind."

"The hell was that?" a thoroughly confused Jennifer demanded.

"Nothing to concern yourself about," Kracht waved a dismissive hand in the girl's direction and turned away from the Ovoid.

The Ovoid had remained completely impassive throughout the exchange, and as Kracht turned away, its leg finally stopped twitching. It began to slant slightly into a horizontal position, face pointed directly at the ceiling, and began to float up.

As the rest of the group dealt with the newly-resurrected and quite angry Weo, the Officer of Things that are Dumb laid down face-first on the ceiling, quite peacefully.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Some minutes earlier, Weo awoke.

There was a brief sensation of warmth that overwhelmed every ounce of him, and with it disorientation--everything on his outside seemed to be his insides, and so forth. Then he was whole again.

He was inside what he assumed to be the Crystal Blossom in which, according to the Holy Census, those who are murdered by cowards are given the opportunity to restore their dignity through a marathon of better-than-average sex before their ancestors and victims in the Afterdeath. It was more cramped than he imagined.

The Voice of Death came to him from the underside of his soul, but, dammit, it was only the Observer speaking from the infinitude between atoms.
"Hello, Weo. We're in something of an awkward situation here. You're dead."

Weo wished he was stupid enough not to have figured it out. "I'm not dead. I just got shunted to another part of this 'grand' battle. Heh. I've seen grander battles at my fourth-and-a-halfth birthday party."

"Yes, yes, Weo, I know you're a very very good warrior. I've observed it. And that's why you were chosen to be a contestant. Unfortunately you're also an idiot, which is why you got shot in the back."

"Yes, I probably should have seen that coming. Care to explain what's going to happen to me now?"

"Hmm. Well, we're still trying to work that out. This whole cloning situation puts something of a wrench in the works, especially since I'm going for two eliminations this round. Ideally I'd order Friend Computer to have all your clones vaporized instantly, but I have... less control over this Alpha Complex situation than I'd like to admit. And I can't very well teleport you back home as a reward for getting shot, can I? No, I think you're stuck here forever, Clone Weo."

Weo trembled a bit. He didn't like it here very much. Then again, he didn't like home very much either. He certainly would have been more shocked that he would never see another Rillian again, but something in this new body's bloodstream was suppressing his libido, which was the only part of him that ever wanted those fatherless lizard-droppings around anyway.

"Well, alright," he responded, not unhappy. "Who can I--"

The capsule slid open and out came the seven other "contestants." Weo remembered something about "two eliminations" and suppressed a smile. "Which of you weasels shot me in the back?" he demanded of them.

Weasels had castrated Weo's grandfather. Fuck weasels.

* * * * * *
Jen had been having a mediocre time.

Alpha Complex, she soon realized, was certainly complex but not very scenic. She felt that she was a few feet in any direction away from witnessing something truly amazing, but every corner just led to another corner. In the meantime she diverted herself by trying to figure out what Xadrez' game was, what with all the numbers and shooting that one guy, but it was all just a bit over her head.

Anyway, that one guy, let's call him Siren Noises, was alive again, and accosting Arkal.[/color] "Of course you took my scythe, you steroid-infused vulture! It was forged from the finest degree Rillian steel and it is every smith's masturbation fantasy. Surely you can't have just left it there!"

"Sorry," mumbled Arkal, somewhat earnestly, somewhat embarrassed that he'd forgotten to pick up the curious weapon. "We were moving pretty quickly, and there were all these numbers."

"Well, what am I supposed to do now? Punch you all to death?"

You could not

Weo turned on Xadrez. "Ha! I bet it was you, Mr. Gamemaster Gameguy Gamefucking Gamebro. You would absolutely shoot me in the back."

I haven't the slightest idea what purpose that would se--


So nobody except maybe Kracht had noticed the second Weo crawling its way out of the second pod until it rushed its way to join the first one. "I made it, father! The Afterdeath! Let's get wasted!"

Weo1 considered this development and decided to try for some deception. "Of course, son. But first comes an important journey of the spirit. There is an exact copy of your scythe somewhere in the halls of the Afterdeath. Find it and return it to your father. Oh, and also your corpse will be there. Just ignore that, it's all very complicated and theological."

"I won't fail you again, father," sad Weo2 solemnly, rushing out into the halls.

Luckily for everyone, he didn't hear Weo3 bursting out of his capsule and rushing after him, calling, "Wait! Father!" Dejected, the newcomer turned to Weo1 and said, "Grandfather! That was father, wasn't it? I have to go to him! I have to tell him--"

"He already knows, grandson," said Weo1.

Everyone else stood by, waiting for this to play out, hoping the Rillians would end up just killing each other. Jen sighed impatiently.

"Actually, your father ran out because he couldn't bear the shame of seeing you. He forgives you for absolutely everything and regrets absolutely everything he's ever done to you."

Weo3 started to cry. "Now now," growled Weo1, embarrassed for himself. "Stop it. There's an important spirit journey for you to... to do. Pretty much you have to help me kill the spirit image things of these bisexuals over here who caused your death."

Weo3 gave a quick nod of resolve. "I can do that," he said, turning to the group. "Unarmed?"

"Please, grandson," snickered Weo1. "After what you did, did you really think they were going to let you anywhere near weapons in the Afterdeath?"

"I suppose not. Well, it'll be a challenge this way, an--"

"DEATH LEOPARD, MOTHERFUCKERS!" came Weo's voice from within the fourth pod. A single Rillian claw punched its way through the door of the capsule.

"What the fuck?" Weo3 turned to Weo1, who shrugged comfortingly.

"The Afterdeath is very conf-- aaaaaaah!"

Rillian skin is tough and Clive is a pretty crappy sword, so Jen wasn't having much success sawing through Weo1's shoulder, but she seemed to be causing him a great deal of pain, so there was that. Weo3 shouted "Grampa!" and that was when things started to get chaotic.

Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Xadrez's first thought was, oh. Decanting. Right. Then he finally consciously processed the implications of the contents in the rows upon rows of tanks that loomed overhead, and hoped things had finally gotten screwy enough to upset Kracht.

Then Weo|3, confused but enthusiastic, swung a scaly claw at Xadrez's pieces.

The tactician whipped out his knife with frightening speed, jabbing at the Rillian's throat. Xadrez made no attempt to even chance stabbing him, lest his weapon's main flaw be revealed. The moment for sardonic replies was shattered by Maxwell's agonized snarl as Sikarius decided he'd had enough of playing nice and weaponized the boy's arm.

Kracht sighed as he heard a cloning tank pierced by the bone arm, followed by a "FUCK YEAH, WHOOOO! DEATH LEOPARD!" and Jen's barked warning as Sikarius burst out and tried to rip her to shreds. Things were about to get messy, and he was almost tempted to just sit it out here in the corridor and wait for Jen and Weo|1 to snuff it in the ensuing violence. That uptight ghoul could get really riled up if someone messed with his board, and it was astounding how much blunt-force trauma one could inflict with a dagger, even if it couldn't pierce flesh.

The dagger. Recalling one rather explosive iteration, Kracht saw a chance to sabotage Xadrez. Warning Arkal to "stay out here, things will get messy", the mineral snatched Arkal's laser gun from his box, strolled in with his own, and fired a casual shot above the doorway. There was a squeal, some smoke, and the automatic door ground to a three-quarters closed halt behind him.

"Weo, leave his board alone. It'll only make him angry, and even if his knife can only cut the inorganic he could probably bludgeon you to death with it." Kracht then trained his gun on Maxwell, a third sprouting arm extracting a disc which made Weo start with familiarity.

"By rights, Xadrez, with that mission you received you should be doing this," Kracht intoned as he logged into the Blue terminal with a well-practiced tempo rapping at the keys. His two original limbs still had the pistols pointing at Maxwell and Weo|1. "Keleth, are you about? Would you please open that bottle, read the note tucked in the cap nice and loudly so we can all hear it, and then quench your thirst with its delicious New! Improved! Flavour? Alright," chuckled the mineral, more to Xadrez's frozen figure than anyone else, "that last bit isn't necessary, I'll concede. Keleth?"

The shapeshifter had been trying to make himself inconspicuous behind a neon tank with another clone of Weo in it, but peeked out at Kracht's orders. Searching his pockets for the offending bottle, he unscrewed it with a ksssht and unfolded the sticky piece of paper.

"We of the Yes Verses Bore would like to assist you with escape and to restore order. Simply take this disc to your final location, insert it into the computer, and follow these instructions-"

"Yes, yes," Kracht interrupted, impatient. Firing a warning shot at Sikarius' scaly, marauding head, the mineral rapped away for a few more tense moments before finally whacking 'Enter' with a vicious satisfaction. He turned to Maxwell, who was doubled over with the effort of fighting his parasite's influence.

"As loyalty officer, I realise by rights you should report me as a RED for accessing this BLUE terminal. Still, what Friend Computer knows won't hurt him, will it?" A nasty smirk tainting his crystal voice, Kracht loosed another shot over the shoulder just as Weo|3 leapt at Xadrez. The tactician, still brutally dejected by his inability to throw off Kracht, didn't or couldn't move to divest his board of the dead Rillian.

"No," Kracht sighed, really enjoying the theatrics by this point as the terminal gave a delightful little beep indicating the program had completed, "I guess what the Computer knows, will hurt you, instead."


"The Team Leader takes full responsibility for entering this restricted area, after following the directions of Clone Xadrez, Officer of Stupid Ga-"


Kracht looked smug; Xadrez was seething so hard he was burning a hole in Arkal's pocket. The humans and Rillians quieted as a veritable spectrum of lasers descended and trained upon them, save for the gurgling of Weo|4 as he tried to screech his allegiance to Death Leopard while impaled on Maxwell's mutated arm.


Arkal's gruff voice was barely discernable over the hum of sentry turrets as he unsuccessfully tried to get his bulk through the half-closed door. "What the hell's going on in there?"

Arkal, find a device amongst your equipment that can distract the Computer's sight, and be ready to run.


"Excuse me?" Kracht asked pleasantly, completely unsurprised by this development.


Arkal snuck his brawny arm into the gap and tossed what he thought was a smoke bomb. All hell broke loose.
Re: The Grand Battle S2G1! [Round One: Alpha Complex!]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.


The bomb struck the ground and exploded in a shower of confetti.


The lasers blasted the confetti, setting it ablaze. Nonetheless, it still served its purpose as a distraction. Arkal had already followed Xadrez' instructions to run; the chessmaster, Maxwell, Jen, and the senior Weo clone soon made their way out after him. Keleth panicked and ran straight into the Ovoid, then collected himself and left the room. The Ovoid, seemingly oblivious, soon drifted out.

Kracht stayed. The lasers were not strong enough to heat his body, and he knew where they landed quite well. And at the moment, there were three Weo clones that had caused quite a bit of trouble the last time he had left them alone. Of course, the fact that Arkal had regained his forge for the first iteration ever was a concern, but that was a problem that could be dealt with later.

The unarmed Rillians were rather confused, but soon seemed to gain enough sense to surround the man of mineral. It didn't help. He snapped the neck of one while the other two ineffectively pounded him. He swiftly moved, and a laser blasted the spot where he had been before. The second clone had made the error of trying to tackle his foe, and was incinerated by the laser in the middle of his attempted strike.

The last tried to run, but Kracht anticipated it and tripped him. He then stepped on the final Weo's back, cracking his spine.

"Now I have other business to attend to," he commented, leaving the disabled clone to be blasted by another laser. Kracht simply walked out the door.


Weo-2 had just picked up the scythe when the alarms went off.

"Oh, great. Paradise has anti-theft systems," he grumbled, running back down the hall. "Why didn't Father tell me?"


Arkal, Xadrez, and Maxwell had found themselves running down the same corridor. They soon came across a group of clones in red.

"Halt, commie mutant scum!" one of them shouted. "The Computer has ordered all Troubleshooters in this sector to eliminate y--urk!"

His speech was interrupted by Maxwell's arm changing into a hard blade and chopping his head off. The rest of the team quickly made a mental calculation of Maxwell's wrath against Friend Computers, and decided the former was a greater concern at the moment. They dropped their weapons, as their loyalty officer promptly wrote all of their names down as traitors, except her own of course.

"Weaklings," Sikarius hissed. "I have half a mind to kill them, too."

"Yeah? Do you want us to get blasted by another team popping up around the corner or something?" Maxwell whispered back. "We don't have time!"

"Ridiculous! What are the odds of--"

Sikarius' train of thought was interrupted by Arkal pointing the flamethrower on his recently-made mace at a second team around the next corner. They ran around in a panic before their leader could even issue his warning. Maxwell smirked as Sikarius stewed in silence.


Jen, Keleth and Weo-1 had taken another route.

"I still think you're all a bunch of weasels," Weo-1 commented. "But if you get me out of this alive, maybe I'll change my mind."

Jen let out a sigh. "Clive," she said to her sword, "who do you blame more for this mess? The green nutcase who's all 'I know the future' and triggered the security system, this loser who's still tagging along with us, or the freaky chess guy who shot him?"

"Wait, it was Xadrez? Dammit, why'd I run off with you two?"

Keleth said nothing. He just wanted to get out right now. Maybe he could get them to kill Jen first and then they'd get sent someplace better.

Then the Troubleshooters appeared.

"Halt!" their Team Leader said, but Clive had a little chat with his chest and convinced him not to go past the first word.

The rest of the team wasn't as cowardly as on Arkal's side, and prepared to fire. Weo punched one and grabbed his gun, then shot two others. Keleth struck one with his dagger, and knocked out the disarmed Hygiene Officer with his arm.

"There's probably more. Bet the stupid computer's sent them all after us," Jen groaned.

"This is totally because of you weasels," Weo-1 muttered.

"Don'tletmediedon'tletmediedon'tletmedie," Keleth whispered to himself. "Ohgoddon'tletmedie."


Weo-2 somehow managed to avoid any run-ins with Troubleshooter teams - perhaps because he was running towards the cloning vats, and so the Troubleshooters were behind him.

He did not, however, escape a run-in with the Ovoid.

"Huh. What do you want?" he asked, not really expecting a response. He simply continued running.

And tripped on a small object that hadn't been there a moment before. It retreated into 4D space a moment later. As Weo-2 fell, his grip on the scythe loosened and it landed on the Ovoid, who took little notice.

Soon after, Arkal, Maxwell, and Xadrez arrived from one side of the corridor, while Weo-1, Jen, and Keleth arrived on the other.

"Father!" Weo-2 shouted as he picked himself up. "I found the scythe! Er, it's right over there..." He pointed to the Ovoid.

"Great work, kid. You've done your ancestors--gurk!" As he fell to the ground, it became apparent that a dagger was stuck in the clone's back; Keleth looked nervous, and Jen was looking back at him, angry.

"You tried to kill me!" Jen shouted. "And you're a lousy shot, too!"

"Uh... I... ohgodpleasedon'tkillme!" Keleth pleaded ineffectively.

"What do you think, Clive? Yeah, me neither. But, y'know, I just can't do it. Well, I guess I could, but man, he's just so pathetic. Killing him seems like giving him too much attention."

Weo-2 disagreed.

"Father!" he shouted, charging at Keleth. The dramatic gesture was interrupted when a laser from down the hallway blew his head off.

At that moment, Troubleshooters ran in down all three corridors, firing their pistols wildly.

"Well, this is a fine mess!" Arkal grumbled, as he dug through his equipment sack. "Gotta be something in here we can use..."

The Troubleshooters drew closer.

"Enough," Sikarius told Maxwell, filling him with pain. "Raise your arm and rid us of that coward. It would be better to destroy one of the others, but sadly, we have no time for someone who will put up an actual fight."

Maxwell groaned, but obeyed. He didn't have time to argue, not with the pain this great. He raised his bladed arm and sliced off Keleth's head.

The five still-living figures vanished, as did Kracht elsewhere. The Troubleshooters scratched their heads, wondering what they'd say in their debriefings.