DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round Two: Interplanetary Circus

DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round Two: Interplanetary Circus
Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Ixcalibur.

It was a success.

Well... it was as much of a success as the Incompetent could ever hope to achieve. Even with the modifications that had made the gentlemen functional their attempts to gather suitable battlers had not been without incident. A couple of gentlemen had vanished into the multiverse never to be seen again, while another had deigned to ignore all manner of interesting or powerful warriors and scour the multiverse instead for piping hot cups of tea. The Incompetent had flirted with the idea of reprogramming the machine's search parameters and sending it back out there to make good on its original function... but to be honest he never had been able to make a cup of tea worth a damn. The rest of the gentlemen had made a couple of extra trips but eventually he had his final lineup of eight.


Though they had not exactly lapsed from consciousness during the journey, the turbulent ride through the backwaters of the multiverse did mean that it took the gathered contestants longer than usual to regain a sense of clarity at the situation they found themselves in. The room was large; roughly the same size as an aircraft hangar, though with a much homier feel to it. In theory it could have been described as spacious, though in practice it was so full of miscellaneous junk that it would be better described as cramped. The room was dimly lit by a solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling high above, and whatever scraps of light filtered through the high windows. A wooden staircase leading to the only apparent exit from the room took the entirety of one wall. The room was filled with half-finished constructions and inventions, books lying open half finished, blackboards and whiteboards covered in complex and fundamentally flawed mathematical equations. In one corner there was a substantial heap of scrap metal, a large portion of which was clearly recognisable as the charred remains of the mechanical gentlemen that had brought them here. In the far corner an orange skinned man in an odd looking labcoat and tie combination sat upon a beanbag chair, a hefty black controller gripped in his hands. His attention was focused upon a massive television screen upon which a burly man in heavy armour engaged in epic battle with a dragon, stopping flailing his flaming battlesword only to scream at the dragon from time to time.

And so for five or ten minutes, nobody involved was really paying any attention to the passage of time, the contestants remained paralysed in a circle and The Incompetent remained ignorant. When eventually the grandmaster deigned to pause his game and return to the gathered battlers it took him that long again to ascertain that they were in fact conscious. He nervously adjusted his tie and attempted to strike what he perceived as a grandmasterly pose.

“Greetings!” He said. “You are no doubt wondering what is going on here. The short answer is that you’re in a battle to the death. The long answer is that you have been selected from millions upon billions of hopefuls across the entirety of time and space. You lucky few have been given the once in a lifetime opportunity to compete for life and limb and maybe something more in the most exciting battle this side of the multiverse; DEATHGAME 9000!” He paused for effect, glancing across the faces of the contestants, momentarily forgetting their reactions were severely limited by their paralysation. “After we are done with the introductions you’ll be moved into the first of eight devious and deadly rounds. Here you’ll fight up till the point where one of you is defeated. At that point the remaining contestants will be shuttled off to a brand new locale to do it all again. When just one of you is left, that person is the winner and will be returned to their home world, or near enough as makes no odds, with a cool prize of some kind. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

The Incompetent strode up to the first of the frozen combatants; a girl with long dark blue hair, a pale pink dress and a little orange and white rabbit by her side. “Our first contestant is Lauren Spettro and her pet Vergil.” The Incompetent frowned as though that didn’t sound quite right. “From what I have been able to gather they’re a pair of crime fighters from a world in which ghosts are a very real menace. They are most proficient in the art of using improvised weaponry, in their hands anything can become a weapon capable of taking down even the hardiest of phantasms.”

While little about Lynette’s identity was apparent from her appearance, the appearance of the second combatant gave even less away. It was perhaps best described as a shifting ethereal presence, constantly fluctuating between buildings, people, landmarks and animals. “This is Gomorrah. It is a ghost of some kind.” He hesitated for a moment. “The gentlemen that fetched it started talking in tongues and then exploded so I can’t say as I really know much about it, but it looks pretty cool don’t you think?”

The third combatant was an attractive woman in an unusual half labcoat half dress uniform sitting atop a fairly ordinary looking horse. Despite being much more quantifiable than Gomorrah the Incompetent looked just as perplexed as he had when introducing the ghost city. “I have to admit I don’t know who this is. When she got here it became very quickly clear that the gentleman that got her was suffering from a very major malfunction. It seemed to believe her name was Dr. Trisha Bearonrollerblades and that she was some kind of magic veterinarian. So… yeah. I don’t know either.” He stared at the woman for a good minute or so, before rather lamely concluding: “She has a horse.”

The fourth combatant was a jet black figure roughly humanoid in shape with a network of glowing blue wires arranged across his skin. “This is Weaver 16. While I was initially a little disappointed to learn he was not a warbot bristling with heavy armaments and a cold calculating brain designed to be as cunning and ruthless as possible, I was mollified when I learned that this body is just housing for the brain of Doctor Gooding, a self confessed mad genius. Who knows what kind of diabolical machinations the good doctor will have in store for you all?”

The fifth combatant was another machine. It was the largest of all of the battlers, if not in height then definitely in physical bulk. Its chassis was black, its face an expressionless mask at the front of its body. “This is Eric. I didn’t really get much of a briefing on this one,” The Incompetent mumbled something about wear and tear, how the materials were sort of shoddy anyway and how it’s all the Machinist’s fault for designing such fragile gentlemen in the first place, “but I think we can all agree that a machine as bulky and as menacing as Eric here, is most definitely, probably, a warbot. And I imagine in this crazy world from where he is from the green cross is some kind of fierce banner of war. Probably.” The Incompetent frowned and then moved on.

The sixth was a teenage boy dressed casually with a black woollen cap and a pair of glasses. If you cared to look closely you could see that the left side of his face had suffered some light scarring, but by and large, in comparison to the other contestants he was probably the most normal looking of the group. “This is mild mannered Kevin Lambert.” The Incompetent began. “To a casual glance he appears to be nothing more than a normal kid, but Kevin has a secret. When he closes his eyes and whispers his words of power he becomes Indestructible Lad; Defier of the Laws of Physics. If you plan to commit any dastardly deeds in the vicinity of this one I would think again!”

The seventh battler was a woman with something of a harangued look upon her face. Her hair was short and mussed and her eyes were set with heavy bags. The Incompetent looked at her disdainfully. “This is Jolene Kamionsky. Kamansky? Komoansky?” He shrugged. “She was a police officer and she went mad. She’s not exactly who I would have picked if I’d been sent out into the world to choose the most POWERFUL or INTERESTING entities,” he irritably directed this particular portion of his introduction towards the heap of scrap metal in the corner, “but she’s here now so I guess we will go with it.”

The final battler was a young girl with a pair of stunted wings, a floating crown and ragged clothes that were a patchwork of many disparate fabrics. The Incompetent grinned as he regarded her. “And here is the final competitor; Warrior-Queen Eris of the Vetolian Flow.” The enthusiasm in the Incompetent’s voice was clear and sincere, the gentlemen that had fetched Eris had been somewhat affected by her chaotic influence, but he’d believed its every ridiculous word. “Despite appearing to be of a young age Queen Eris is an ancient soul, wild and fierce with the capability to perform feats of magic that would astound even the most cynical of you. This incarnation of her existence was birthed in the volcanic blood of the ashnicorn princes, and still retains a veneer of youthful innocence.” He paused. “You would be wise to take her out whilst you still can, before her true self is awakened.”

“Finally...” The Incompetent said, pulling a swivel chair over to the group of paralysed contestants and sitting down. “Those introductions take forever.” He paused and frowned. “Oh and as for me, I’m the uhm… the uhm… The Amazing!” He grinned triumphantly. “Yes, that is what they call me.” He paused, looked across the battlers faces with a wry smile and then continued. “So now we’ve got to know one another, it’s time to show you to the first round and time for you all to get on with the business of slowly murdering one another.” The Incompetent clicked his fingers and suddenly each of the battlers found themselves somewhere new, somewhere quite separate from the others.

“Welcome to THE DEADLY MAZE.” The Incompetent said; his impish grin obvious despite no longer being visible to any of the battlers. “A twisting labyrinth of unparalleled complexity; its crooked hallways and warped passageways defy the laws of time and space to create the most confusing landscape ever seen. And that is not even to mention the ingenious deathtraps. Indeed watch your step in THE DEADLY MAZE lest you accidentally trip a tripwire and unleash a pack of ravenous hellspawn hungry for your very soul, or cause to come spinning forth a shower of jagged blades to slice you into tiny pieces. In THE DEADLY MAZE your death is not just probable, it is all but guaranteed.”

There was a long moment of silence as the various contestants glanced around at the different environs into which they had been dropped. None of the different locations actually appeared to be what the Incompetent was describing.

“No wait.” He said nervously, his voice now thick with doubt and confusion. “Hang on a minute, where have you all gone?” And for a while that was the last they heard of the Incompetent.

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Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.


In a vast and almost empty field, lit only by the shining moon above, there suddenly was a girl and a rabbit where there was once nothing. The girl was sleeping, not yet aware of her fate. The rabbit on the other hand, decidedly was.

He let out another sound of discontent as he spread his legs apart and, for what must have been the third time now, sent out a pulse. As with the previous attempts, nothing had changed. He would have said that he was dreaming, but that wasn't exactly something that he did.

Vigil took a deep breath and then silently screamed.

Moments before their abduction, Vigil was contemplating his next move. At the moment, he had his ward unconscious, her fractured mind reconstituting itself thanks to a spring of healing located inside his Magical Realm, a pocket dimension he could access at any time. It was not the first time that he needed to retreat into it, nor was it the first time he used its properties, but obviously this time was different. They could not go back. With her family out hunting for them, Vigil and Lynette had very few options for their next move. Before he could muse further, he was frozen and taken.

As The Self-Proclaimed Amazing let out his inaccurate descriptions, Vigil focused and memorized everything he could about the others. Every aspect of the other contestants was imbedded into his mind, ready for when he had to brief Lynette.

Who, when he had arrived in the empty plains was still unconscious. After his attempts at escape failed, Vigil decided to re-assess the situation.

One thing was evident; The "Amazing" was an idiot. And not just an idiot, one with power, the worst kind of idiot. Enough to, be it on purpose or not, prevent him from reaching back into his Magical Realm. He worriedly looked at his sleeping ward, hoping that the magical disease that destroyed her sense of reality had been healed, if he was right about his assessment of the other contestants, they would need everything they could get.

Looking up into the sky, the rabbit pondered what to do while he waited for Lynette to stir when he heard voices.

"We must hurry onward, what has happened cannot go unheard of."
"What if there were survivors? What about your-"
"We need to press on, they can fend for themselves, if we stay we risk everything."

Acting quickly, Vigil curled up next to Lynette and pretended to sleep. When the two travelers came close enough, he moved their focus toward the two of them.

"Is that a girl? And a rabbit? What should we do?"
"We can't just leave them."

There was a short silence as one of the travelers stared at the other, unwilling to simply leave them alone, partially due to altruism, partially because of Vigil.


Without another word, the two travelers and their new guests went off, away from whatever it was that they were escaping, their minds trying not to dwell on whatever tragedy had befallen them.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Snowyowl.

Begin Internal Log #6359

<div style="margin-left:40px">The last five minutes have been the strangest of my life.

I was taking shelter in Florence's hideout (I didn't have any untraceable money, but she was happy to be paid in cracked passwords) and holding a conversation with two other rogue AIs, when I was paralysed and - according to my best guess - teleported to some other location. My rather extensive memory has nothing to suggest that this sort of technology exists on Earth. For now I'm assuming that either I am under the power of an alien entity, or somebody has hacked into my sensory data.

The second possibility is surprisingly plausible - it would explain how I could be paralysed at all - but aside from running a system check there's little I can do about it. For now, I might as well play along.

The details of the events that followed, and a partial analysis thereof, are included in Video Log #47. My current priorities are, in descending order of importance:
  • Ensuring my own short-term and long-term survival.
  • Getting access to the technology of the being calling itself the Amazing - including teleportation, interuniversal travel, and possibly time travel.
  • If that is not possible, returning safely to my own world.

The survival of the other contestants would be preferable, all else being equal, but everything suggests that this will be difficult if I am to survive myself.

Of note: the Amazing's behaviour seemed odd at times, even nonsensical. However, it is to be expected that such an alien being would have thought processes incompatible with mine. Possibly it is incalculably more intelligent than me, and its strange antics are simply its experiments on my psychology. I should be careful not to underestimate it.

The names of the other contestants are: Lauren Spettro and Vergil, Gomorrah, Dr. Trisha Bearonrollerblades, Eric, Kevin Lambert, Jolene Kamionsky, and Warrior-Queen Eris. My immediate goal should be to gather information about them (beyond what the Amazing has already given out) and assess the threat they pose, as well as the potential for alliances with me or among themselves.</div>

End Internal Log

Weaver found himself standing behind a low wall, at the top of a dirty brown hill. The air was thick with smoke; occasionally there was an explosion from an artillery round. Three trucks were parked on the road below the hill, with a few armed men in body armour and camouflage wear (green-brown) crouching behind them. Beyond that, a partly destroyed series of barbed wire and barricades, with an aircraft hangar visible in the distance through through the haze. Machine gun fire was coming from behind some of the more intact barricades.

One of the soldiers, whose uniform had a few more shiny bits on it than the others, shouted something and made a gesture with his arm. Four men ran out from behind the truck, one at a time, while the others aimed some suppressing fire in the general direction of the enemy.

Weaver watched for a while, trying to decide whether going down there to get a gun was worth the risk of getting tangled up in another fight that probably wasn't the fight that the Amazing had referred to. He was faster and more bulletproof than the soldiers, but it would be very counterproductive to be killed - or seriously incapacitated - before the "battle" had properly begun.

After a few seconds, he turned around and went the other way, hoping to find either a weapon that somebody had dropped, or a dead body he could loot.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by -Benedict.

Bound. Trapped. Stolen, taken, kidnapped, burgled, snatched. It knew, it knew it had been displaced, that it had been ripped from its host. Gomorrah would have missed it, really. A wretched hive of scum and villainy, so alike itself. So many men and women screaming, fighting, killing, giving into chaos. It would have been heaven, if Gomorrah could have overseen the last moments of its destruction. That city barely needed its help. Would have missed it. Would.
Would have, if Gomorrah were the sort to do that kind of thing. Gomorrah didn't miss. It didn't long, it didn't imagine. It was, and it was to the exclusion of the being of everything else. So having been bound into a form, carried across an impossible distance, and dropped into the middle of nowhere... it had no opinion on the matter. No sense living in the past, it'd say, if saying was a thing it did. And it wouldn't be aware of the hypocrisy there, either. Living in the past... more like dying in the past, in the present... if it had the volition to contemplate such things, it would swiftly give up.

Unbound, Gomorrah got down to the business of being.

Gomorrah expanded. It would not be confined to a shifting shadow. It would make itself known, feared. It reached out, trying to take hold of something, anything. A city, a hamlet... just a building? Anything? It could feel that the world wanted to be molded, to be remade. The rolling plains were unsuitable. Empty and open, lit in a way . No clouds, no dark and shadowed corners, no sealed-off rooms which the law could not touch. No dimly-lit streets for mobs to swarm down. No smoke, no disease, no strife.
Clearly, it had to go.
The city was barely prepared for what it found. Lines of being, like its own, waiting and ready to answer the call. Digital models of skyscrapers, of cars, of waypoints and badly rendered men wielding automatic weapons. Everything it needed, at its fingertips. Metaphorical fingertips. That and more- bits and pieces of other worlds, things that defied reason. Men in impossible powered armor, monsters with strange proportions, scads of children with big hair and pointy swords, or pointy hair and big swords, or big pointy hair swords. Spacemen and gods and soldiers and demons. It was all there, it couldn't be there. The city was overwhelmed.
It withdrew from the ley lines of the landscape, taken aback. Or, it would have been taken aback, if it were the sort to do that kind of thing. It moved, it carefully reached for the layer of this world that held the familiar. It would create a host for itself, building by building.

The earth shook, and a building was called up from beneath the formerly placid soil. The world, apart from Gomorrah's intervention, began to call up the associated city. Fragments of Los Angeles, New York- a lot of New Yorks, actually, it appeared to be a frequently reused setpiece in the archives of the Gamexus- tall stonework, brickwork, and steelwork grew, snapshots and pieces of the games that inhabited the plane. A surreal patchwork of architecture blossomed on the hilly countryside, cities overtaking cities and establishing their foundations.

War loomed on the horizon. The sound of battle... oh, it had been so long since the miasma had fed on the battlefield. Perhaps it would move, soon. But at the moment... it was content to be. Unassailable.


Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by momatoes.

The mug made a thud against the wooden counter. Jolene's father's face was a perfect mask of fright, aimed at this stranger who was different from the Jolly that he knew. That he loved.

"I'm going, and I'm sorry, but you're not stopping me," Jolene spoke. Her voice, measured and controlled, with barely a hint of the seething anger inside, bounced throughout the kitchen. It was a gritting voice, if voices could grit the same way teeth did. It was a painful voice.

"Peter, I'm 30. Get real, I'm sorry. Thank you for your concern, but I'm old enough to take care of myself." Jolene didn't like it, but who did? Putting your parents in place was a thing for their parents, the grandfathers and grandmothers who were somehow always wiser, kinder, more sensitive. That was what her father used to be for her. But now all he was was an old, wizened husk, frightened of his own daughter, much less of her power. Which she fullly planned on using to hunt down Hummingbee.

Jolene cradled her mug on her wrinkled hands. God knows going after serial killers on your own counts as being 'rogue'. She'll probably receive a phone call from her old chief, soon after the news flash of her success. Jolene smiled, anger forgotten. It'll be worth it just for his reaction.

She blinked. Back to the present, to her father childishly trying to stop her from doing her job. Jolene stretched, smoothly reached out for the gun, and holstered it, all in one motion. "I'm going," she said, softly this time. Jolene Kamiensky was ready.

Piotr Kamiensky bowed his head down, and mumbled. It must have been an inaudible secret, a magic spell of sorts, because before Jolene could reply or understand, the world exploded.


Reassembled, reconstructed. Jolene tried to steady herself -- until she realized she couldn't move. Their captor seemed to be the man with orange skin, smiling with the generic affable intent of a TV show host. "Who are you?" she wanted to ask, but the thing that stopped them from moving continued its presence. Jolene would've feared that it stopped her thoughts too, had she not known, for sure, that she was angry. Stressed, baffled, lost, yes, but also angry. Again.

'The Amazing' banished them away without so much as a farewell present.


"Who are you?" she boomed, hands moving at the ready --

Wait. Where was she?

The orange man was gone, the other 'contestants' were gone, and she seemed to be...driving a car. Her hands were gripping the steering wheel, instead of the gun she had hoped to use as leverage. The seat was plush, new, and smelled of good leather. A friendly pine tree air freshener waved its fir at her. It was night outside, and the sudden silence of the road made Jolene even more tense than usual.

"He did something to me," she thought. "Where am I? What's going on? Why -"

"You're stuck here." Jolene froze. Her eyes drifted upwards to the rearview mirror.


It was a double. Nice of her to accompany Jolene on this solitary journey. The ex-police officer shook her head, trying to ignore the sudden tremor in her hands. Staring back at the road, she said, deadpan, "Whatever the case, I'm finding a way out of here."

"Suit yourself," the Other replied. It smiled at her, rows and rows of pointy teeth illuminated by an approaching overhead road sign. Jolene looked up to read it. "5km to Raccoon City, huh? Well. Maybe I'll get some answers." She tightened her hold on the wheel, determined.

As she zoomed along the road, it struck her with a painful pang that she should have listened to her dad after all.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Drakenforge.

He got my name wrong.

Keagan tried arranging his list of worries starting with the smallest ones first, since the hurdles the larger ones brought would take some time to deal with. 'So, I'm not in the city any more. I don't know the area or anybody who does.
And I'm stuck in some weird place with creatures and people that are... unexplainable. And who also might want me dead. I sure hope that cop lady is sane enough to notice I'm a good guy.'
With his thoughts in some semi-decent arrangement Keagan tried to figure out where he was, something that would have been easier had his sight been uninhibited. From what he could tell through his glasses there was a large wall surrounding some sort of building complex. It was several stories tall, and if he squinted he could make out some trees on the grounds. In any case it seemed the gate into it was shut, so he was probably locked out. There wasn't any maze nearby, or traps, so he briefly wondered just how this fit into the location details the freaky orange blur had talked about.
Since he didn't get his name right either, Keagan was beginning to have some doubts.

“'Sup dude?”

Keagan had spaced out so much he hadn't noticed someone walk right up into his face. Scarily close, too, he must have really been spacing out.

“Um, hello” He quickly stammers out, trying to see who he was talking to. He got flashes of red and orange by the neck, probably a scarf or something, along with a dark sweater. It was a guy, and he had messy hair. And glasses. Blurry ones. His eyes finally began to deal with the dark gloom that was present in the night air, and the shape of a young man's face cleared up. He took a step back for comforts sake, but his follower simply stepped forward in response.

“You a local? You don't look it. Or maybe you do, I can't tell. Do you look local?”

“I...guess not.”

“Figures. Well, if you're not from around here, then a few words of advice.” He looks behind his back, as if expecting to find something there. Well, I probably couldn't tell even if there was something there, and I'm beginning to suspect that he wouldn't either. He quickly presses close again, the stench of garlic filling assaulting my nostrils.

“Okay, the chicks around here are evil. Feminists, the lot of them. I don't mean the silently hoping for a revolution while cooking your dinner type. They're a whole other level. Did you know women now outnumber men by a clear five percent in the world's population? No, I bet you had no idea things were that bad. It's crazy, the whole world is crazy. Apart from me. I'm the last sane man in a crazy world.”

“Yeah, crazy. Look, is there a town or something near here? I need to... find somewhere safe.”

“You mean the city? It'll be here soon enough. Probably running late again, lazy buggers. I wouldn't know of anywhere safe. Well, apart from my bunker. But that's for me, and maybe one close loved one. Should I find one. I can take you. To the city, not my bunker. That's mine.”

'Admitting that even the loony crackpot in front of me was my best shot of getting anywhere in this crazy new world saddens me, but I have no choice. Although, did he say the city would be here soon? Like, right here here or...'

Keagan carefully removed his glasses and stored them in their case, tucked away in a pocket. Walking around unfamiliar territory was probably going to make him fall over, glasses or not, and he did not want to risk breaking them. His right eye could see just about as good without them, anyway, so it was only depth perception and anything on his left that he really lost.

The strange scarf boy, who Keagan hadn't asked for his name and who had in turn not asked for his, began walking down a pavement Keagan had trouble mounting at first. He has trouble keeping up with the scarf boys brisk pace, more so troubled that he has to keep paying attention to where he puts feet. Eventually he just gets into the mindset he needs to ignore it since falling won't bother him, checking once more that the shock resistant glasses case was secure. A low rumble begins somewhere to his left, eventually crescendoing into a loud roar of an expensive engine. Keagan asks the lead boy if the car is heading their way or, more importantly, if it was in any danger of hitting them.

“Hm? Nah, that thing is miles away.”

The last thing Keagan notices before he loses grip with reality is a hastily added “probably”before he is shunted off of the road by a suped up sportscar. The blow is quick and painless, and just as his ascent ends Keagan reviewed what he knew about physics and his power. 'I weigh little compared to a car, so bouncing it doesn't work. Instead I am the one that is bounced, because I cannot move something that heavy. Okay, learning. Learning is good.'
He slams down onto the road, bouncing once, glad that he had been hit on his blind side. He scrapes himself up easily, glad that there wasn't any extended sliding that could have scraped him, before he tried to figure out what had hit him. The flashing helmet was a huge help.

The driver was jumping up and down on the boot of the convertible car, a make Keagan didn't recognise. It was brown, furry, and had a tail. The helmet reminded him of a police siren, only with the single colour red instead of including blue. In short, it was a small primate that had a flashing hat and had been driving a car. It quickly returned to its seat, gripped the wheel and hit the gas, speeding off into the distance.

“Was that normal?” Keagan cried out after the mysterious stranger.

“Nah, unless it was a male ape. Probably just another escapee. Since it didn't seem able to drive, I'd bet it's a feminist too. Horrible thought, that. Humanity isn't alone in its suffering.”

Keagan sighed as he caught up with the creepy teenager. He wasn't prepared for a night of this, he hadn't finished his eye therapy, he was supposed to get his bullet wound checked out in the morning, and worst of all he was going to miss breakfast with the girl from the hospital.

“Hope I survive that long...” He whispers to himself as he finally catches glimpse of a distant city.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Adenreagen.

Eris was flying through space, surrounded by beams or white light. Hmm…it’s ok, but it could be better… She reached out, touching each light as it passed within her reach until she was spinning through garish swaths of color and flashing lights accompanied by pops, some by crackles. The effect was a cross between a kaleidoscope and fireworks. She was still trapped, but at least now it was in a setting that was comfortable. She wished she knew where she was going, and thought of maybe getting rid of the light show around her to try and see but decided she liked not knowing. The unknown led to surprises, and in her experience there were few bad surprises from unknown things. Bad surprises came from things you knew about. Like being caught. That’s something I know about.

Instead she thought about the unknown. Like how she got here, why the orange dude took her new toy away after she had just gotten it and eventually settled on one thought. “Warrior-queen?” She looked at herself. She was wearing the clothes her parents had found for her, mostly patchwork now, holding what was left of the centuries-old fabric onto her slight frame. The only thing queen-ish about her was the crown above her head.

I guess that might be why. I don’t know why he listened to that thing though. It was mostly spouting gibberish when he took it from me, unless he understood it? Nonsense is fine, but it’s not exactly something I would take as real when it’s time for introductions. Unless he speaks gibberish? Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Maybe he’ll teach me… She wondered what learning from someone again would be like. It’d be better than her trial-and-error method of the last several hundred years, though that had had fun results when her efforts didn’t simply fizzle out. Unless everyone in that room but her did speak gibberish, Eris wondered if they would take what had been said at face value. She wasn’t much of a warrior, and she’d known an ashnicorn once. They were more of a tribal sort of people from what she remembered, not exactly one for a monarchy. And they definitely didn’t have volcanic blood.

Her travels were abruptly ended as she crashed into the ground. Muttering under her breath about putting in airbags, she felt a twinge in her gut. She ignored it and continued dusting herself off, until she felt it again.

“WHAT?” Eris looked around and to her surprise there was a group of people looking expectantly at her. They were all strangers to her so she knew this was part of the surprise, but they weren’t any of the others she had met a few minutes ago. She felt the twinge again, like that feeling when you’re supposed to do something you can’t remember. “What do you want? Who are you?” They started talking to her in words she didn’t understand, and gestured behind her. She looked and saw a bird, and felt her stomach twist again. The feeling was getting clearer and more painful the longer she waited. It was a sort of hunger she wasn’t completely unfamiliar with. She turned back to the group.

“You want me to kill that thing? It’s a chicken! A big, yellow, terrified looking chicken! Why in Hysteria’s name do you even NEED me to kill it? You’re all twice my size, and look at his sword! He could kill it in one swipe!” The man in question pointed with his sword, said something that sounded like “Cocoa Bow” and she felt the cramp again. “Great, more nonsense words. Know what? Fine. FINE!” She threw her hands up, “I’ll kill your stupid bird.”

She clenched her eyes shut and concentrated. A wave of liquid appeared above the bird and began splashing down on it, vanishing before it hit the ground. By the time Eris was done, the body looked like a deep-fried turkey and the “cocoa bow” had time to look at its body before it fell down dead. “Fryer oil huh? I was thinking of ovens but that works. She ran over and took a big bite out of it, but the strangers were looking at her like they’d never seen something eat before.

“What? It’s good.” She mumbled around a leg. She hadn’t physically needed to eat in her prison, so they hadn’t fed her, and the memory of eating was all the excuse she needed to dive in. One of the group walked up to her and patted her head. He then checked the body, found some money, heard a short tune (Eris giggled at her little joke, but was let down when they treated that like it was nothing) and began walking away. Eris sighed.

“It was a small thing, but he could’ve at least acted surprised. It’s not every day you find money on a wild animal…”

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

”Put that out!” snapped a woman’s voice as soon as he opened the door.

John Fairlot panicked and put out the flashlight, immediately regretting it. Something else in the room was breathing, besides John and the woman. What dim light remained in the room—emanating from who-knows-where—was trapped in the head mirror she wore and in her eyes, which he thought were brown. In spite of the darkness and the sound of guttural breathing from something that sounded like it was big he was glad to have found someone. “I’m sorry for intruding,” he said. “I’m just passing through.”

The woman thought about this. “Me too,” she decided eventually. “I’m not from here. This whole place isn’t really... my style of decor.”

John tentatively laid his gun on what he felt to be a table and sat down on what he hoped was a chair. “Do you mind” he asked the woman “If I rest here for a minute? I’m looking for my sister and I really need to get moving but I, you know, I’m starting to wear down. It’s this place.” The woman nodded.

“Everyone’s a bit run down a bit nowadays. I’ve been thinking of a place as like a vacation. Sometimes, and you can take this from a medical professional, the best way to get better is just to get away for a little while. I’m getting better here. Hip—uh... Hypocrisy too.”

John didn’t catch that last and wasn’t sure how he was supposed to respond to it so he changed the subject. “I’m John.”

“Trisha.” There was another awkward silent beat where Trisha’s weight shifted but it was so dark that John couldn’t tell whether or not she was offering her hand so he stayed where he was. “I’m sorry your sister’s missing, John.”

“It’s okay,” replied John. “I found her hat nailed to the wall down by the old steel mill. Then the nun... the pregnant one, Michelle, I don’t know if you’ve met her... she told me she saw a campfire out behind the cabin on top of the mountain, so I’m trying to get a car working, see if I can’t make it up the slope.”

“Well I don’t know about any of that,” said Trisha dreamily. “If you’re looking to get up a mountain, there’s nothing more reliable than a horse.” She shifted her weight again—what was that breathing?

Was there a horse in the room? His music box wasn’t playing, so it probably wasn’t anything dangerous. “Can... can you take me?” asked John.

“Nope, sorry,” said Trisha. “Hypocrisy’s taking a vacation, like me. He’s getting better. Like a caterpillar. See?”

She shifted her weight again and something clattered at John’s feet. He reached down to pick it up and whimpered in pain when something sharp pricked his skin. He couldn’t see the blood of course in the darkness but when he licked his palm he could taste that he was bleeding just a little. Feeling around more carefully he picked up the empty syringe and put it in his bag next to the jumper cables the gascan Crystal’s hat the music box the crowbar his ammunition and several first aid kits. “Thanks,” he told Trisha, with it understood between the both of them that if he contracted some horrible infection from the pinprick his gratitude was revoked.

“Don’t worry about it,” she responded. “I have a whole box full of them at my clinic.” John grabbed his gun and stood up.

“I should move on,” he apologized. “I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah,” said Trisha. “Sure.”

John thought to himself that this girl was probably a little unhinged.

That was okay, though. This town seemed to do that to people. When he walked out the back door into the corridor the music box in his backpack began playing that sad old tune he remembered from his childhood but couldn’t place, and that meant that he wasn’t safe here. He took out his gun and turned on his flashlight and looked the face of fear right where its eyes should be and shot it in the face until it fell down and then once more so it would stop looking at him. He was getting better at that.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.

The sun's morning rays filtered through the window and touched the face of a young girl. After some resistance, she awoke, her eyes opening and her mind realizing that she didn't exactly know where she was. Scanning the wooden room, small and quaint, two beds, a window, a nightstand, and not much more, she saw a peculiar rabbit, orange and green, looking out the window.

"I see you've awaken," he began, "There's been a complication, how are you feeling?"

Lynette thought for a bit. She was sane, which was an improvement from before, but she still didn't feel a hundred percent. "Can't complain. So... where are we? I thought that we weren't going to move until that spring finished healing me, how'd we even get here?"

"Well it's complicated. Long story short, we've been kidnapped by a powerful idiot and now we have to deal with seven other... things across the multiverse. And I can't shift to my Magical Realm."

"Ouch. Seven others huh? What are they like?"

"You're accepting this rather well."

"Don't I always?

Vigil gave off a 'heh' and leaped off the window sill to Lynette's bed. Sitting still and staring directly at her, his eyes began to glow. "Let me see...."

After a perfect re-telling of The "Amazing"'s show, Lynette felt skeptical of their kidnappers competence. "He may be an idiot, but he sounds pretty powerful... So what are we going to do?"

"Well, the two travelers who brought us here should be coming in soon, it would be in our best interests not to say much and just skirt around things. Right now, sticking with others and keeping away from anything that could trigger a relapse for you would be good. We could just stay in this town and hope for the best."

"Fine by me."

Right on cue, the two travelers walked up into the room, the taller of the two was a woman, who under her cloak had a shimmering, but dark, almost-black-blue armor. She had a long blade placed in her sheath and she had a decorated helmet covering the upper part of her head. The bottom half had beautiful lips that seemed to be stuck on an indifferent scowl. Straddling behind her was a young boy with blond, bowl cut hair, in a green tunic. He seemed unarmed and harmless, which obviously meant he had some sort of power, but he looked positive, especially compared to the woman.

Said woman went straight to business, "I see you've awaken. My name is Exalda Ireside, this is Relom. Are you okay?"

Lynette nodded and smiled, "Yes, thank you for bringing me here, my name is L-Lauren Spettro. This is Vergil!"

"Where did you come from, we just found you lying on the field, there were no tracks, no sign of anything, it was like you fell out of the sky! She was going to leave you but I made sure to save you." Relom made a face that screamed please-like-me with a hint of self-satisfaction, which was enough for Vigil to conclude that either Relom was a romantic idiot, or that he had remnants of the focus magic remaining.

"Well, I don't exactly know where we came from," Lynette looked to the side, catching a nodding Vigil in the corner of her eye, "I just remember our names and a few things here and there. Who knows, maybe I did fall from the sky." She paused for a moment, "So... what's next?"

"I need to return to my home, Duke, there is a great trouble coming soon. If you wish, you may follow, I will protect you. However, I think it would be best to stay here, taking care of two children and a rabbit could lead to difficulties."

Downstairs in the tavern, a group of people walked inside, and said some stupid things that no one cared really cared about. Okay well they did but the point was Eris didn't. She had been stuck behind the group, fighting stupid things, talking to stupid people, doing mostly boring things. She had no company other than the other summons and most of them were boring. All of them, from Shivu to Iftry did absolutely nothing unless one of those boring losers with the ridiculous weapons called them.

"Why don't you ever do anything! Ugh. Don't you guys get bored here?" The other summons continued to ignore her.

The group of warriors nodded and began to walk up the stairs. They continued to one of the rooms, with Eris and the other summons reluctantly in tow. Had she been paying attention instead of getting impotently mad at a bunch of apathetic semi-spiritual beings, she would have noticed a young girl and her magical pet rabbit, standing at the ready to fight alongside her two new friends, and she would have been a bit more prepared when the group she was aligned with obliged.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Snowyowl.

Weaver eventually found his way to a fence topped with barbed wire on the edge of the combat zone. The smoke seemed thicker down here, rolling across the terrain in thick strands like fingers. In the distance on his left was a gate, which was probably how normal people went in and out. Weaver prodded the fence. It was solid as a rock, and he couldn't tell whether it was meant to keep people out or keep them in. There was no obvious way through it, it didn't look easily destructible, and it was just a little too high for someone of Weaver's height and strength to vault over it; certainly too high for the soldiers to climb over. He wondered briefly what purpose it was meant to serve, then decided it didn't matter.

Peering through the fence, he noticed a towering city on the horizon, oddly indistinct and lit by dim lights. It struck him as strange, and for a few seconds he wasn't sure why. Then he realised he'd already looked in that direction earlier, and hadn't seen the city then. And there was a contestant who was a "ghost of some kind", wasn't there? Who might, if given a wide area, take on the appearance of a city? Weaver carefully reviewed his memories of the few seconds he'd spent looking at Gomorrah, but didn't find anything to suggest that was possible or impossible. Maybe he was wrong, and it was just that this world was the sort of place where physical locations appeared and disappeared with no rhyme or reason.

Either way, there was a city. It was probably safer than being in the middle of a warzone, there might be some useful information there, and if the other contestants were anywhere near here they would probably head for a big landmark (either the city itself or one he would be able to see from the top of the skyscrapers). Yes, the city would be a good place to head to. Still, it would take a long time to get there on foot. He would need transport.

There were two men left guarding the trucks. They were on edge - as they should be - but they were expecting to be comparatively safe where they were. The enemy would need to fight through the rest of their team before they made it back to the trucks, which was unlikely to happen for a while. And they were expecting reinforcements. It stood to reason that anyone approaching them from behind was friendly. So the soldiers kept their guard up, but their attention was mostly focused on the battlefield in front of them. They hadn't quite lived through enough battles to be properly suspicious of everything, all the time.

Of course, there was also a deafening amount of noise, so it was perhaps forgiveable that neither of them heard the tall dark figure approaching down the road until he was nearly on top of them. But there was no excuse for the nearest soldier hearing running feet behind him, turning to see who was there... and getting Weaver's fist to the side of his head, knocking him down. The other soldier reacted much better, and didn't stop to wonder who or what was attacking him. He brought his side-arm up in a practised movement and shot Weaver twice in the face. This did not have the result he was hoping for, though, and Weaver promptly swept his legs out from underneath him and kicked his gun away.

Weaver decided not to try to kill them - they were armed and trained to kill, while he only had a lifetime's experience in running away. Instead, he piled into the nearest truck and started it up. He'd never driven anything with a steering wheel before, but he'd seen pictures and had some idea of how it was supposed to work. After a false start while the soldiers picked themselves up and Weaver realised the handbrake was on, the truck suddenly revved up and skidded wildly on the dirt track. The truck was not designed for someone of Weaver's height, and he was sitting in a cramped posture that made it difficult to turn the steering wheel properly. Still, he managed to get the truck turned around, after bumping against one of the other trucks and nearly running over both the guards (who hadn't yet had the presence of mind to shoot his tires out), and drove off towards the gate he'd seen earlier.

By the time he made it to the gate, he had worked out how to use the steering wheel and the accelerator, but none of the other pedals. He didn't bother slowing down, and simply crashed straight through it before heading off towards the city in second gear.

Weaver checked his face in the rear-view mirror. There were some unsightly bullet holes, but they were small ones that had already started to heal. They would be completely gone in a few minutes.

Originally posted on MSPA by Jacquerel.

The sudden transition from ruined cityscape to cluttered warehouse was a fairly interesting event, the first ER/IC had experienced in a fairly significant amount of time. Indeed, he had spent so long wandering aimlessly through deserted streets, in the company of nobody other than the ever-growing numbers of animals joining Mother Nature's creeping advance into the industrialised areas or some other wandering purposeless machine, that things had started to blur together and it took him a couple of minutes to get himself back up to speed. After nothing of note happens to you for a couple of centuries time just starts to speed up and you stop paying quite so much attention.
Because of this he missed about half of The Incompetent's grand opening speech but that was pretty much fine, once he had adjusted his perception to a more appropriate speed he stopped listening to the rest anyway. Nobody seemed to be in any kind of emergency situation (and regardless, he couldn't move) and so he had other things he needed to be doing, simply recording the rest of what was being said to replay at a later date if it ever seemed necessary.

While his body was frozen completely in place, his inner workings were still ticking along fine so he decided to check on his patients. The three of them hung unmoving in the purple-tinted void that was the reason for ERIC's creation, made somewhat blurry and indistinct by the time-lock's strange effects on light and therefore vision. Apart from the patients and the churning sea of gears, cables and pipes that was the sky (almost all purely illusion, there simply to remind people they aren't in a real place and that it is in everyone's best interests if they don't break the machinery that is their only way back out) it was frankly a pretty uninteresting place to look at, not even having any kind of visible floor. A couple of wheeled hospital beds, a jarringly incongruous walled-off bathroom block, some white plastic tables and chairs and a stack of very old magazines were the only props present to give the place a sense of scale as anything else would seem slightly obsolete. Most people who ended up inside didn't spend very long in real time, experiencing their stay (no matter how long) as a matter of seconds rather than the hours, days or (in this case) centuries that might actually have passed.
With one exception.

A grey, steel ball with attached facial mask descended from the ceiling on a long, trailing metal cable (one of the few actually real pieces of machinery contained within) to peer more closely at one of the quarantine's inhabitants. Apparently satisfied with whatever he saw he set the relative time constant back to the same speed as the outside, leaving the slightly confused occupant blinking and rubbing at his yellow eyes.
He wasn't tired or dizzy, but from his perspective a couple of the objects in the room had just jumped around several feet on their own within the space of a few seconds, and Eric's head just teleported into view from nowhere.

”Do you not think you could possibly wake me up a little slower? This skipping can't be good for my-”, Eric just cut him off, apparently unaware that he'd even been speaking.
”Good morning Patient, it has been...”, there was a short pause as he consulted some kind of database, ”9916.28 months since you were last aware.”

”Wait what?
”You requested to be awakened if QUOTE: 'Anything exciting happened'
<font color="#F76541">”Nine thousand months? How long is that in years?!”

”9916.28 months previously you expressed your opinion that the first reclamation of the capital city by plantlife was both 'boring'and 'bloody depressing' and so criteria for awakening were adjusted accordingly.”</font>
”I didn't mean that long! How could you keep me under for that long?!”
”Do you desire access to my viewing ports or do you wish to return to stasis?”

For some reason all that this last question provoked was a stream of profanity which he found rather upsetting, so he decided to just freeze his patient again for the time being. The swearing was sort of like a negative, right?
He transferred his awareness back to the outside world and was surprised to learn that he wasn't in a warehouse any more but was apparently standing on a quiet hill, next to a remarkably pristine road. The area didn't show up on any of his GPS sensors which all just returned a null signal, but this wasn't really very surprising as HazardNet had stopped forwarding his signals a couple of years after the last biological operators had passed away.
He prodded the violently green blades of grass carpeting the ground experimentally with one of his trunk-like feet to check it was real. There hadn't been much road or pavement left uncovered by plantlife by the time he was snatched away to the Battle so he wasn't unfamiliar with the stuff but he wasn't certain about how it could possibly be this vibrantly coloured, nor why it was so short when there was nobody here to cut it.
He almost woke his patient up again before remembering his apparent dislike of plants.

Having established that the greenery was real he moved on to the road, something which frankly was far more puzzling than grass. Eric thought that he had seen the last transport repair drones run out of tar long ago but clearly one had been through here fairly recently. By the fact that the road was completely set it was probably a few hours away but he could possibly catch it up if he headed in the right direction. It was always possible that one of his masters had miraculously survived this long only to have wandered into the machine's path and been cocooned in asphalt, requiring urgent rescue. Unlikely, yes, but the only lead he had available to pursue.
Alas, before he could ascertain what way the drone had been headed (the tracks were awfully scuffed for a fresh road untravelled by any cars) he was hit by a car.

Keagan had been light enough to be thrown into the air by the impact, Eric was only shunted a couple of feet forwards as the front of the vehicle folded in on itself and pushed bits of expensive machinery through the windscreen and into the leg spaces. Fortunately the driver hadn't been tall enough to reach the pedals anyway, and boiled out of the newly punched hole in his front window in a display of primal primate fury that was entirely ineffective against the robot's steel frame.
This was not a species that Eric recognised, but it did not seem to be intelligent enough to actually drive a car. This worried him because there also didn't seem to be anyone else visible in the driver's seat.
“Hello? Does anyone require medical attention?”

The ape seemed completely unscathed, which was fortunate because it meant Eric didn't have to puzzle out whether it counted as a patient or not as he had long ago been told to stop collecting injured animals (
”If you can't find us a hospital what chance do you have of fetching a vet?”).
Coming to the conclusion that such a tiny animal couldn't possibly have been driving a vehicle, and from the lack of response that the real driver must be unconscious, Eric pulled himself free of the tangle of bonnet that had been thrown up around him, unfolded the coils of his arms and proceeded to peel off the vehicle's roof, followed by its doors and then even toss out the chairs in an attempt to find any injured passengers (all the while the irate monkey escapee was still trying to claw at skin that wasn't there), tossing the unwanted pieces into the field.

While it was all done in the name of medicine, if for some reason you were unfamiliar with the purpose of an ER/IC unit (or had, for example, been delivered the misinformation that it was some form of killing machine) the fact that he was ripping a vehicle into pieces could well have looked fairly intimidating to an outside observer. If it wasn't then the fact that he would periodically detach his face, spool it out on a flexible steel arm and use it to peer around inside the remaining bits of the sports car in order to look for bits of people probably would be.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Knock knock.

The sound of crying from behind the door dribbled off with a snotty inhalation and John heard what he imagined to be the sequence of noises that someone would make if they were rising from a chair and walking over to the door while wiping away their tears.

The door had one of those old-timey slots that opened up at eye level and the eyes that met John Fairlot were brown and puffy and he recognized them as belonging to that woman from before. “Go away” she choked, and the slot slammed shut with a rusty noise like shuuuuuukfft!

“Trisha, right?” asked John, trying to sound soothing. “It’s me, John. We met, but it was dark.”

The slot opened up again and made a sound like like shiiiiiiiiiiik. “Yes, I remember. But I really can’t be bothered right now. I have a serious problem with my horse.” Shuuuuuuuk.

You have a serious problem?” demanded John, drawing his gun because it was just what he did when he was angry nowadays. “Everyone here has a serious problem! Come on, Trisha, I can’t find my sister anywhere and... and a man just shot himself right in front of me and... I think things are really bad here, Trisha. I first started thinking that when I saw all the monsters but it’s a lot worse than that, things are really, really bad and I could use some help right now.” John banged on the door with the butt of his handgun and with the fist of his other hand just for good measure but that certain feeling that there was a kindred soul right on the other side of the door had left. He felt very alone and tired and frightened all of a sudden and sank down with his back to the door and let his arms hang limp by his side with his fingertips clutching the gun lightly.

A sound from the other side of the door said “Neigh” but it sounded odd, like it was warped by bad recording equipment. Then when he strained his ears he heard Trisha whisper


And the horse answered


And John realized then that Trisha's horse was probably dying. He was dying too, in a way, maybe in a couple of ways, but he had no one to take care of him. Neither did Crystal, who needed his help but here he was sitting half-dead by the door to the house occupied by a woman he barely knew and clinging to a gun like a security blanket.


“Hey, John? John? Are you still out there?”

John stood up very suddenly and Trisha seeing the back of his head rise into her viewport gasped a little before he turned around and said “Yeah” and noticed he was sweating.

“Oh. When you said ‘monsters,’ those things out there, I don’t know if that’s the proper term. Maybe it is, I don’t know. My mom used to talk about all sorts of monsters, but nothing consistent with what I’ve observed here. I gave you one of my syringes earlier—sort of by accident—can you get a sample of one of those things?”

“Oh. I, uh, I already got it.” It had seemed like a good idea at the time.

He pulled the syringe, full of a weird goopy bodily fluid he had extracted out of something that never stopped screaming, out of his backpack. “Whinny” complained the horse.

“Hush, honey, I’m sorry, I’m trying to make you better. Give that here.” John tried to be very careful not to stab Trisha right in those beautiful brown eyes of hers as he squeezed the syringe through the slot. Trisha grabbed it and swapped it out for another syringe, this one pulled with something pink and inviting, which John took and put in his backpack without injecting it right into his arteries just to see what would happen. “Okay, if I had my equipment, which I don’t, I’d know whether or not I should stick this right into my horse and whether it would make him better or make him worse or just do nothing. We’re treading new ground here, scientifically. Which is a good thing. Now, look, find one of your monsters and stick that trait in it and don’t kill it. I’m doing an experiment.”



“Hush. I’m sorry for Hypocrisy. He never used to talk this much, but I guess when you have three mouths now and nothing to eat you don’t have much else to do. Come see me when you’ve done the thing, okay?” Shuuuuuuuuuk

John looked at the syringe in his hand. It smelled nice. Horses had always frightened him, but nowadays that didn’t really go for much.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by momatoes.

Jolene banged on the door. "Let me in!" she shouted. "I know you're in here, please!" The lights illuminated the spattered store sign: a gun and ammo shop.

Damn it, she cursed under her breath. Raccoon City now ranked last in her mental list of tourist places to recommend, hurrah hurrah. A most hospitable pedestrian had attempted to knock her down but Jo's right elbow had very strong opinions against it. So did her boot. Jolene would've stayed around and drilled the truth out of the civilian, but when she saw how very much the population of Raccoon City looked forward to meeting her up close, she decided to run.

She had never seen anything like this.

"Open up!" She pounded on the steel door, hands making sharp, quick contact against the cold metal. She knew that there was someone inside -- the bastard had slid open a peephole, gray eyes meeting hers for one very brief moment, before shutting it tight. Damn it. The other people, the crazed folks, Jolene knew they were trouble, and when you're alone in a foreign city in the darkness of the night, you never stick around for trouble. She banged on the door.

The mental ping tugged on her mind. One of hers had found something interesting.

"Jolene, there is a vulnerable screen out back." An image of a doorway superimposed itself on her senses, the sudden knowledge clicking itself in her brain. Good. "Now go away," Jolene thought, dismissing her other. "Go away but make sure you cover me."

Shadows flitted across the walls, ten, nine feet high, as she escaped towards sanctuary. Haggard posters drooped down from the walls, small vermin stood and watched her go. The entire city was in the last throes of its life. She took a step backwards, taking a deep breath, before ramming the screen door with the whole brunt of her shoulder. There was a sudden CRUNCH as wood gave way to her. Jolene stopped, panting.

"What the hell did you just do?!" A portly man appeared, middle-aged, belt straining against the obese mass, with eyes bulging at the damage done to his property. Like the city walls outside, he was dirty: dark brown streaks ran up and down his arms, powdery dirt settled in on the wrinkles of his face. And he was big. He looked like a mean bulldog, and his whole demeanor did nothing but reinforce it.

"I'm sorry," Jolene replied, standing up and brushing wood splinters from her shoulder. The most important thing, she quietly reminded herself, is to keep cool under pressure. "I believe I just destroyed your screen door," she added, coolly. The man glowered, sausage fingers clenching and unclenching.

"Great, just freaking great," he said, spitting out his words with unbound frustration.

With a sudden lunge, he pulled Jolene in and walked to the ruined door. "Get inside," he growled. "I better find something to cover this up or else we're both dead meat."

Jolene looked at him, the first sane man she'd seen since careening into Raccoon City. "Look. I don't know what's happening. I'm new to the city. You need to tell me." She took a deep breath. "What's happening? What's wrong with the people outside? ...where are the other citizens?"

The man snorted. "Others? There are no others. The undead have overrun us all." The man paused. "They've taken the whole goddamn city."

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Drakenforge.

[background=#FFFFFFThere are many names in Gomorrah, from plain hand-me-downs to exotic creations of the idle minded. Lucky Stones was one of the few names that rose to more than idle conversational topics. While being comical it was also incredibly fitting for its current owner. Lucky was, by and by, one lucky sunnovagun. While some may view being forever trapped inside a ghostly husk of an ethereal city as something particularly unlucky, to this man it was just an unfortunate experience that he wasn't even aware of in the least. To him, he was still inside a perfectly normal, if not completely violence reigned, city of sin. And he was also robbing a bank that was conveniently understaffed with security personnel. Having already attained the loot with the minimal of effort or murder, he quickly made his escape out the double doors of the bank.

And bumped right into an unfortunate individual who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Keagan barely felt the well dressed bandit that had shunted into him, only to find himself knocked ass-first onto the pavement. He tried to apologise of course, being a boy of justice and moral codes, but actually managed to notice a few things beforehand, mainly the firearm and stash of money. It was not looking like a fortunate encounter for Lucky Stones, but he was one to improvise at the best of times.

Finding himself in a pinch, Lucky did the first thing any foiled robber pulled if he sniffed the police force was getting ideas. He took the closest, weakest looking hostage he could. Keagan wasn't pleased with having a gun pointing at his head, or having the arm around his throat (though he knew there was never going to be any pressure felt and wasn't really all that worried as a result), he was however glad the gun was on his blind half.

“Excuse me,” he started politely, since he was interrupting some rather important demands, “Just thought you'd ought to know that bullets don't really work on me. Also, you should just give yourself up. I'm going to try and escape now.”

Having warned his captor to a degree that baffled him, Keagan used his meagre knowledge of crime fighting techniques and headbutted Lucky by throwing his head backwards. This was a rather effective manoeuvre, having double the effect due to his certain ability. Having no idea that he was trying to apprehend a ghost in the middle of a zombie infested city, Keagan wrestled the gun from his hands regardless and tried to keep him on the ground. Once more the sound of an engine filled the decadent streets, this time from a motorcycle designed for excellent speed and handling. The rider was wielding a baseball bat, and whose name was Axel, a street racer who had taken one too many lefts but was still sure his shortcut was going to get him at least second place. He swerved to avoid a pileup still burning in the middle of the road and mounted the pavement, only to crash into the young hero-wannabe. His second vehicle related accident of the day was about as enjoyable as the first, only this time he felt guilty since he had to watch some poor guy slide across the ground in what he assumed to be a painful looking way.

Axel wasn't fazed by his fall, it wasn't his first and he always managed to get back up afterwords, but this time he felt something different. There was a sharp pain and a crunching sound. Unfortunately him, his racing days came to a horrible end as he was made into a fast food special by the infected townsfolk of this realms take on Raccoon City.

Keagan had enough sense to shove his glasses on in time to catch the poor bikers final moments. Lucky tool this opportunity, freakish as it was, to get the bat outta hell. Keagan had seen some unsightly things in his stays in the Hospital, but nothing like a man being bitten and torn apart by living undead. He quickly looked around, finally realising just where he was. Chaos and destruction, blood and corpses, as well as some fuzzy segments that were quickly dissipating. Neither the scarf boy or the mobster where anywhere to be seen. Neither was the bank. To his left was just rubble and smoke. He needed to get away, his fight or flight response knowing exactly which of the two options was a better choice. Nearby, the crashed motorcycle still hummed in anticipation of its rider's return, something Keagan knew was not going to happen. Stuffing his glasses back into their case, he righted the green machine knowing full well that he only had a vague understanding of how it worked. At least he probably wouldn't die from crashing it. Which he anticipated the chance of happening to be near definite.

He revved it once, unexpectedly kicking the bike into motion. Screaming and holding on for dear life, Keagan blindly rocketed through the blazing streets of Raccoon City. It was an amusing sight for the helicopter pilot in charge of discharging the newest Parasol Inc. project into the centre of the city. It was going to be one of those days, he thought to himself as the large tube shape detached itself from the chopper and landed inside the police station.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by -Benedict.

The city was having... difficulties. Being a barely-sentient spectral memory... thing, it didn't understand concepts like "object-oriented programming", or "location references". What it understood (if it could be said to understand things, anyway) was the metropolis. It saw towering pillars of stone and steel, and said "Yes, that's what I am." It pulled the cityscape to itself, not cognizant of the differences between Los Angeles and, say, Raccoon City. How could it? Cities don't play video games. So it saw a ruined town full of monstrous, violent mobs and thought "perfect!" And if that place was busy occupying some other location in space and time... what concern was that to Gomorrah? It didn't have the capacity for greed, and if it had the capacity to respect another place's personal space, it certainly didn't show it. Raccoon City could share, right?
This was a problem, though, wasn't it? Certainly, the shade Lucky Stones didn't appreciate having been thrown out onto the streets by his own hostage. That wasn't right. He'd have to run, go back to the bosses and let 'em know the heist was a bust. He didn't really notice the undead hordes running around the place- wasn't all that different from the usual rioting, was it? All that mattered was making sure the Don didn't have his kneecaps for screwing up the job.

Lucky ran for a couple blocks, running out of breath. He rounded a corner, and found himself face to face with... a cloud of purple smoke.
"How'd it go, Lucky?" asked the smoke.
"Oh, it went off without a hitch, boss. Got away with a cool eighty grand in Hamiltons, right here." Lucky answered.
"Well, den. Dat's excellent news, innit? Hand it over. We'll put in a good word with the Don." The smoke extended a hand, and Lucky handed over a fat sack of purple smoke. The cloud of purple smoke opened up the sack and looked inside. "Lucky, can you count?"
"'Course I can. Graduated kindergarten with top honors, boss."
"So when I look in this bag, and you say eighty grand, and then you says Hamiltons... what do you count when I says Benjamins?" The smoke gave a questioning grin.
"Well, I'd count eight hunnerd thousand, wouldn't I?" The smoke broke into peals of laughter. Lucky laughed along with the boss and his men. Er, the smoke.
"You done a great thing, Stones. Whaddaya say to some drinks with me and the Don?"
"That'd be--"

Wait a minute, Lucky thought to himself. Where did I get eight hundred K from, he pondered.
"Yeah, uh... boss, are you sure there's-- I'm meanin', is there really all that..."
He didn't rob the bank, did he? Could have sworn... he were gonna, weren't he? And then... that kid! That kid crashed into him, and he tried to take a hostage... and then he didn't rob any bank at all, did he? Got thrown right out on his ass.
"Boss, it's just, I'm thinkin', like maybe I goofed, are you sure about dat sack of cash there?"
"Yeah, Stones. Eight hundred thousand dollars in green."
That wasn't right. He didn't get anything, did he? He was supposed to march up to those tellers, get everybody on the floor, and take the money... but he didn't. Where'd... where'd the cash come from?
The bag disappeared in a puff of purple smoke.
"Boss? Where'd it go?"
"Yeah, Stones. Eight hundred thousand dollars in green."
"Yeah, Stones. Eight hundred thousand dollars in green."
"Boss, you're not makin' any--"
"Whaddaya say to some drinks with me and the Don. Green. You done a great thing. Thousand dollars in green." The boss and his men disappeared in a puff of purple smoke.

Lucky froze. That wasn't how it was supposed to go. How could that have happened? Who was the bulletproof kid? Where... where'd the boss go? Lucky's head swam, this wasn't right. Where was he? Why was there a disheveled cannibal gnawin' on his arm? The Don drove the cannibals outta town like four weeks ago.
Don batted the cannibal away, ignoring the moans. He didn't have time for this, he didn't... he didn't know what on God's green earth was going on. He had to... he had to get away, this didn't make sense. He'd go back to the bank, see if he could... get a do-over, or something. Honestly, cannibals? He knew this city was goin' to the dogs, but really? Damn it.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Snowyowl.

Weaver arrived in the city after only a short time, and parked the car by the time-tested technique of stalling the engine and letting it drift to a stop in the middle of the road. He checked the glovebox and a few likely looking hidey-holes to see if someone had left a weapon in here. This was a military vehicle. Perhaps there would be some spare guns in here, in case the driver lost his or ran out of ammo... but no, there was nothing. A pity. He got out of the car and left it stuck across both lanes. If anyone came down the street, they would have to either move it themselves or drive past on the pavement. Weaver scanned around at the generic-looking office blocks, then strode down the street, looking for a map or a tourist office... or ideally, some sign of the other contestants.

The few other pedestrians looked briefly at Weaver as he passed, then carried on with their routine as though they hadn't seen anything unusual. Weaver didn't think much on this, only noting briefly that it was very convenient for him that nobody here paid too much attention to him. If he'd been better at reading faces, he would have seen that each time someone looked at him, the same emotions flickered briefly across their features: confusion, suspicion, fear, and then burning anger. Then they suddenly returned to their normal routine, as though they'd forgotten entirely that they'd seen anything at all. But each time the anger lasted a millisecond longer.

The city was aware that something was happening, though it didn't fully understand what. It was something like a niggling headache, or a smudge on a pair of glasses, or a faint buzzing sound almost but not quite too high to hear. Something was out of place, some outsider was interfering with the proper running of the city. It couldn't quite understand where the intrusion was - the general unfamiliarity of this place didn't help - but it would soon enough.

Moods and emotions rippled through the city like water, bouncing off walls and building on each other. Without anything seeming to change, a few people who before had been striding through their domains with confidence, knowing what they were going to do and where they were going to do it, now patrolled cautiously, squinting occasionally, on the lookout for anything or anyone that could pose a threat to them.

Weaver was 620 meters from his car, in the direction he had mentally labelled "North", when he heard raised voices from an alley on his right.

"Money and watch. Now."
"I... I don't..."
Weaver peered down the alley. The city was very foggy, and he couldn't see very far, but he made out the silhouette of one man pointing his switchblade at another. He silently walked forward for a closer look.
"Din' you hear me? Gimme all your money, an' that fancy watch o' yours. Or I'mma stab you. NOW!"
"Alright! All right... I'm giving it to you. Cool it."
The victim pulled his wallet out of his pocket and held it out. The mugger lowered his knife, and reached out to take the wallet, when his victim tried to hit him with a right hook. The mugger saw it coming, and easily dodged the blow before stabbing his victim in the gut.
"Dumb goof." muttered the mugger, as his victim curled up on the floor. He picked up the wallet, checked the money inside it, glanced once behind him (not reacting to Weaver's presence), and ran off in the other direction.

Weaver ran up to the injured man. "Are you fatally hurt?" The man didn't respond, clutching his wound and sobbing in pain. "Hey." Weaver tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention. The man squinted up at him, then his eyes widened. "I said, are you badly injured?"
"Money and watch. Now." said a familiar voice.
Weaver turned around slowly, and straightened up to his full height - which was a head and a half taller than the mugger. Intimidation should work, and if the mugger called his bluff, well, knife wounds wouldn't hurt much. "Interesting. How and why did you come back here so quickly?"
"Din' you hear me?"
"Actually, no." The mugger had somehow turned around and run back here without making a sound. Remarkable. "That is to say I heard your questi-"
"Gimme all your money, an' that fancy... uh..." The mugger blinked, as though seeing Weaver properly for the first time.
"I don't carry any money." That wasn't strictly true, but Weaver doubted the mugger had the technology to use any of the currencies he was carrying. "This man needs help. I have transport. Where is the nearest emergency room?"
"What? Who?" stuttered the mugger. This wasn't how it usually happened. "What are you?"
"The man you stabbed." Weaver gestured downwards at the - at the empty space where the victim had been seconds earlier. "Oh." So... people here were capable of teleportation? Did they have control over this ability? Or maybe they were not real people, but some sort of robot or recording, with a malfunction? Or Weaver had somehow travelled a few seconds back in time? Was any of that even possible?

The mugger started to panic. Usually people just gave in when they saw he was armed and they weren't. Sometimes they tried to fight back. When they did... ah. The panic washed away. He was back on familiar territory.

Weaver's train of thought was interrupted when the mugger stabbed him in the gut, glanced once behind him, and turned to run. Weaver grabbed his arm and held him back. The mugger struggled, then Weaver took him by the shoulder, held him still, and bent down so they were face-to-face. The mugger saw Weaver's perfectly expressionless face, the way his mouth that didn't move when he talked, and his complete indifference to the knife still stuck in him. He panicked again. Then Weaver said, with no more emotion in his voice than before,

"Please take me to whoever's in charge."

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by momatoes.

With a grunt, the two pushed the cabinet against the doorway. Cigarette ash crumpled underfoot, the sudden explosion of dust causing Jolene to cough uncontrollably. "Nice shop you've got," she panted. "Real world-class."

The man spat in reply. "Missus would've cleaned this out but -" he stopped, wiping his mouth with a dirty arm. "Anyway, what the hell do you care?" He turned to look at her, glowering from within the folds of fat that made his face. "You come in, ruin my store, make one big freaking ruckus - do you know how those bastards operate? They hunt you down when they see you, when they hear you, little missy. And now we're like one big honking target for those freaks."

"I'm sorry," Jolene said.

There was an awkward silence.

The man, with eyebags to match Jolene's own, meandered back to the rest of the room. A single, low light illuminated the wracked mess that decorated the floor. Ammo boxes, used casings, bullet shells. Cigarette stubs, twisted like dancers frozen in mid-jump. A long bar dominated the eastern side of the shop, with shelves at the back acting as resting places for rifles. Light traveled across its edges, reminding her of her own vulnerability. She could barely feel the steel of her own gun, strapped and tucked in her waist. But God.

One whole city, overrun with monsters. No guns were enough.

She took a deep breath, and approached the shopkeep. "Again, I'm sorry. I should introduce myself. My name is Jolene Kamiensky and I'm..." She paused, struggling. "I'm with the police. Undercover...undercover detective. I didn't know anything about Raccoon."

"Figures," he replied. The stool made a screeching sound as he dragged it across the floor. He sat down. "Media blackout's happened. Right before all the TVs died, they were trying to contain us all in. Keep this a dirty secret. Damn democrats."

He made a short grunt. "With the police, huh? You've got your work cut out for you. I've told you. We're overrun with these zombie things." The shopkeep rubbed his face, somehow spreading the grime and dirt even more. "Truth be told, you surprised me. I would've shot you, you know." His hand made a stabbing motion towards the armaments on display.

Jolene stayed quiet. She stared blankly at the bar, her gaze coming to rest on a patched-up frame. The glass was broken, and the frame blended in with the rest of the city's disrepair, but the picture was startlingly clear.

"Do you have a family, mister...?" she asked. Softly.

"Joe, call me Joe, I don't give a rat's ass what you call me. And no," he said, standing up and snatching the framed photograph. "I ain't got a family, I ain't got anyone in this condemned shithole." There was a sound of glass breaking as Joe dropped it into a trashcan. "I'm the only one left, you hear me? You hear me?"

"Yeah, Joe. Yeah, I hear you," Jolene replied, staring at the face of a smiling woman, peering from the lost edges of the bin.

* * *

"Split up. Find survivors. Find anything. No -- split into three. Spread out."

The Others went their way throughout the roads, faces tilting at the sight of the half-rotted figures mindlessly making their way. Slinking, lurching, crawling, the three moved among the undead, covering east, north, and west of the gun shop. There was nothing to see that Jolene herself hadn't already witnessed, but for the Others, it was mildly entertaining. If only they had popcorn to complement the ordeal.

One of them stopped. Sniffed. Something was happening. Mists were rolling in, helicopter rotors thrummed against the sky (wait--did something fall?) gangsters suddenly appeared out of nowhere, but the thing that interested the Other most was the motorcycle whizzing by.

Hot damn, it thought. It started running, all limbs akimbo, quickly following the speeding teenager. "Jolene, I've got something. Something about to go wrong. In a funny way. In a very funny way."

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Clopclop clopclop clopclop clopclop clopclop

It occurred to John Fairlot that this was the first time he’d actually really seen Trisha on account of how the first time he’d seen her was in the dark and the second he only saw her eyes. Still he was quite certain that she looked like shit.

“Why” he asked wary of the distant galloping (trotting?) sounds “Did you give me a syringe that turned the monsters into clowns?”

Trisha sipped at her tea. “Clowns, huh? Are you scared of clowns?”

Eight years old. The carnival. Crystal told him to stop crying. “They’re... so happy” he explained to the veterinarian. “Anybody who is that happy has to be up to something, right?”

“Focus, John. You gave the gene to one of them, but they all turned into clowns?”

“About half of the ones I’ve seen since then have been clowns, yeah.” John lied down on the couch and the fabric of the couch was scratchy and uncomfortable.

Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop

“Okay. All that was supposed to do was turn the one specimen pink so we could track it. I knew nothing about these things’ life cycles. Things have changed now.”

John closed his eyes. “How so? What are you trying to do?

“I’m trying to fix my horse” snapped Trisha “Haven’t you been paying any attention at all? Look. Obviously we’re looking at a completely new form of life. Like an ultra-hivemind or, hmm, I don’t know. More like a hive-soul or hive-DNN. These creatures spring up and pattern themselves on your unconscious fears, or your sister’s maybe, and then they try to kill you. Why do they try to kill you?”

“I don’t know. Why does anything try to kill anyone? That’s just how the world works.”

Trisha considered this. “To a point” she admitted “But that answer doesn’t really satisfy me. Obviously these things have senses we don’t. Some sort of psychic whatever, it allows them to coordinate and also to read your fears. So what would your psyche taste like to them?”

Clippity bzzzzz clopclop hhlhlrraaaauurghg clopclop

John licked his lips and tried to think some things. “Not very good,” he concluded.

“Maybe it hurts them. Maybe you’re so fucked up and so terrified all the time that they have to seek you out and kill you just to regain control of their shapeshifting whatever. Which brings us to the obvious question.”

“The obvious question,” repeated John, not really listening.

“Yes, the obvious question, which is: when I inject this sample into Hypocrisy, he’ll become a shapeshifter, that much is obvious, but will he also be forced to manifest your subconscious perversions? And then when he kills you, will he be able to turn into a good litle horsey again?”

“Nothing’s going to kill me,” mumbled John. “I decided. I need to find Crystal first.”

“Whinny” “Of course you do, John. You need to save your little sister, just like when you were kids and Daddy would get drunk. You know everyone in this town knows all about you just as if you pissed your name in the snow. Hold still, Hypocrisy. Just a little prick.”

John opened his eyes and sat up. There was the horse, and it looked pretty much like he thought it would, with too many faces and too many eyes even for the faces it had and too many legs and a stunted pair of butterfly wings on its back. It wasn’t scary, really, just sad-looking; it was broken. Then Trisha injected the sample he’d given her into Hypocrisy’s neck and that was when things got scary.

“See, John,” Trisha said. “I want you to know this isn’t just about my horse. This is about the whole environment. We’re both invasive species here, and you can see what your presence is doing to the whole town. I tried to keep my impact to a minimum but accidentally may have created an army of evil clowns, so clearly it’s time I took a more direct approach in fixing things. Starting with getting rid of you. Go get ‘em, Hypocrisy.”

Words cannot describe exactly what was happening with the horse but it involved tentacles. It said, “Neigh” and charged

* * * * *

A few minutes later

* * * * *

Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop

John led the horse by hand back into the waiting room. He was hurt pretty bad—John that is not the horse, who was fine. Trisha had apparently just been sitting in her armchair through this whole ordeal not doing much or thinking much or expecting much of anything because when she saw that her horse had been fixed and John was still alive she didn’t look confused or even surprised per se but merely elated.

“Hippocrates!” she exclaimed, getting up and stroking her pet’s mane. “Good as new. Thanks, John. What happened out there?”

“You tried to kill me” intoned John.

“Uh-huh. I think... I think being an invasive species is a two-way street. There’s something in the air here and my brain is overgrowing all over the place. I should probably find some other part of the maze, now that Hippocrates is okay. Aren’t you, boy?”


“Good.” Clinging to her horse’s neck, the doctor sniffled a bit. “How’d you fix him? This goes against everything I’ve seen. He’s breathing better than he was before I gave him the caterpillar trait.”

“I injected the horse with some of my sister’s tears that I found,” explained John. “It, uh, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”

“That makes no sense, but okay. John. Do you feel something in the air?” She was right; the air was quivering somehow, which was a feeling he usually associated with going to the Bad Side of Town but sort of opposite. There was a white light and a sound of sirens.

Some time may have passed? Now Trisha was hugging him with a chimpanzee in a strange helmet tugging at her elbow and Hippocrates sniffing her hair. She smelled like Crystal, or maybe the horse did. Either way, for the first time in years he felt like he’d actually done something good for anyone and maybe justified his place in the universe, and it was a sick, sort of nauseous feeling.

Trisha kissed John on the cheek. “There are some things you should know, before I go,” she said. “I’m only one of eight, and we’re all here together in the Deadly Maze. The Amazing set us all up. Understand?”

“No” answered John.

“Ooh ooh aaah!” “Neigh” “Okay. You go find your sister, and then follow me out. I’ll be looking for the other seven. It’s not a proper maze without an exit, right? So there’s hope.” The veterinarian the horse and the ape turned their back to John and walked through the white light and disappeared, leaving him alone once again in the dark.

* * * * *

As soon as Trisha got out of that town, her thought processes got a lot clearer, though not quite clear enough to throw her into an existential meltdown at the thought of battling to the death against incredibly dangerous individuals for whom the rules of logic to which she had become accustomed didn’t apply. So that was good.

She was in an endless expanse of tall grass, and nobody seemed to be around, so the veterinarian took the opportunity to take stock. She sat down on the ground, produced her Swish! Army Knife and hit the Record button. “Dear Diary,” she said aloud:

“I don’t think I’ve written any diary entries in the last couple hours, which is strange, since I’d been going through a rough time and was mostly on my own. I guess I wasn’t thinking straight.

So this morning got off to a bad start right away. I burnt my hand trying to pull some muffins out of the oven, Charlie still hasn’t called me back, and then an extradimensional being called the Amazing pulled me out of the universe and dumped me in a labyrinth of death with seven other people and we’re all supposed to kill each other. So that’s what I’ve been doing since about ten this morning. Hippocrates is here too. I just got out of this part of the maze where... well, I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet, but I think it might have been for the best. After what I’ve just experienced, I don’t know that I have it in me to be afraid anymore, you know? Which is an asset. Anyway, Diary, I’m in this new place that is sort of beautiful and peaceful and the weather’s perfect, so things are looking up. I’ll get back to you after I find something to eat.”

She stood, stuffed the recorder into her pants and examined the ape. “Now, let’s have a look at you.” The helmet it wore was held in place by a simple chinstrap, but the chimp slapped away any attempts of hers to interact with it. “Hmm. Well, fine, you can keep the hat. My name’s Trisha. Have you ever ridden a horse before?”

“Eeh oh”

“No, of course you haven’t. You’re just a little simian, aren’t you? Well, I’m going to be riding for a while, so you can either walk alongside or hop on back, okay, little fella?” Trisha mounted Hippocrates, and the ape loyally clambered on behind her, putting its arms around her waist. “Good boy. So it’s the three of us, then. Let’s head east, Hippocrates, I have no idea where we’re going but we should keep the sun at our backs.” The horse turned in the direction specified and trudged through the long grass, its rider taking in the sun and the sky and peering over the horizon for the faintest sign of what was ahead of her.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Adenreagen.

Vigil noticed Eris the moment the group walked into the room. It looked like she was trying to blend in among a group like they were, only instead of staying by the humans she looked like she was tagging along with the creatures behind them. Is she trying to use their similar height to hide her? If she is the crown gives her away like a great flashing “Here I am.” He hopped up onto Lynette’s shoulder and was about to point the contestant out while the others were getting ready to fight when the strangest thing happened.

One of the strangers, a girl in robes who, like Relom, was unarmed and unarmored cast some sort of spell and the only immediate effect was that Eris blasted out of the room in a frenzy of light. A few moments later she returned, blowing a second hole in the roof I hope we don’t have to pay for this and landing in a cloud of feathers roughly five feet from where she was before.

“YES! Finally got the Airbags to work! Finally finally finally fin-hrk! WHAT?! YOU COULD HAVE JUST CALLED ME OVER WE DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS EVERY. SINGLE. TIME! I’M RIGHT HERE!”

She had cheered and danced slightly on the spot, only to clutch her stomach and suddenly been in a rage. Seems like the “Amazing” actually got one right. Wild and fierce indeed. In truth she seemed to be unstable to Vigil, though he wondered why that woman appeared to have some power over her. Vigil wondered if she was their prisoner. Lynette just looked confused by the whole exchange happening in front of her and Vigil debated pointing out that this was, in fact, a contestant she would be fighting, but decided to see how things played out around them before he drew attention. It turned out to be a pointless precaution because Eris practically announced herself.

“Maduin, these travelers think that they are better than us, and I think you would be just the one to show them how wrong they are.”

“It’s Eris! ERIS. E-R-I-S. How do you keep getting Maduin from that? Get your ears checked you hag! I’d like to give you a piece of my –rrg! ALRIGHT! I’ll do your stupid dirty work you don’t have to be pushy.”

It had been like this all day. Meet the thing, fight the thing, summon Eris, watch her kill it, celebrate. At first she thought that she only crash-landed next to them, that they wanted her to kill the bird and were willing to somehow hurt her to do it and would leave her when that was done. Instead when she had stayed behind in order to eat her kill she had been launched from the ground in another swirl of color only to land next to those same four people and have to kill something else for them. This happened all afternoon, even when she followed them they saw fit to call her like they just had, leading to her attempts at airbags. At first it was interesting. She would come up with a different way to kill whatever they were fighting: men, lizards, lizard-men, a slew of birds; the things would die or be hurt and they’d all move on. As the afternoon wore on Eris noticed that she wasn’t able to fight how she wanted. No matter what she did everything started on fire, froze or got zapped by lightning. It was random but it wasn’t her kind of chaos. It was predicable; the same three things happened, she just never knew which. Eventually she gave up and just started dumping everything with fryer oil. It didn’t matter. She just wanted to get out of this contract or whatever she was in because it was just so repetitive and dull.

“You think this pathetic… child of a summon will be able to defeat us just like that? It’s a sad day when…”

What is it with the people here? They just go on and on and on blah de blah de blah Eris closed her eyes and thought of ovens, which summoned a flood of fryer oil. The rambling lady turned to a block of ice and the scrawny kid decided to consider the fight over by doing nothing.

“Hah! Victory!” Oh god shut up shut up shut up!

“Exalda! Don’t worry, we’ll save you! C’mon Lauren, help me carry this.”

“What? She’s encased in ice, how are we supposed to save her?”

“Just take her to a church. As tense as that “fight” (accompanied by air quotes) was I think I’ll just show you where to go as…goodwill. It’ll be nice to get away from THEM for a while since they're just going to sleep until tomorrow.” She shot the group she was with an extremely dirty look. “C’mon bunny girl. Let’s get her out of here.”

As they started heading down, Relom levitating the block of ice that was Exalda, Lynette and Vigil held back. “Do you think Eris knows who we are? She seemed to barely acknowledge us.”

“Well, she’s one of the people we’re supposed to be fighting, so maybe it’s a trap of some sort? From what we were told, she’s a warrior, so she would know how to ambush someone. Maybe she’s just trying to get us outside so she can-“

“It’s rude to talk about people behind their backs, you know.”

Lynette and Vigil both looked down with a start to see Eris standing right next to them, looking amused. Without another word she turned back towards the door and started humming to herself. She stopped next to Relom, who was just outside the door looking confused. Lynette and Vigil shared a look, deciding to continue figuring Eris out a little later. When they reached the door if felt like something was distinctly different about where they were. It felt like stepping out of one world and into another. All the buildings they had seen from the window had been replaced by a plain, with birds and stranger looking creatures flying above it. What had previously been a cloudy sunset was now the middle of a bright day.

Eris was not happy. She had been looking for the chance to get away from the four upstairs, but instead all the buildings up and vanish on her. So much for finding someone who would get her out of the deal she was in while she could wander the town. More bright grass and piercing blue skies. Even most of the animals she could see were similar, if subtly different, but she wasn’t paying attention. She was slipping back to boredom. She looked back to the inn. It looked the same, with the same people, and none of them seemed to notice that the world outside was different. Things were changing, so maybe this new place might have someone that the old one lacked who could get her out of what’s-their-name’s control.

In the distance, a small figure rose above the grass.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.


"Okay, what did you do?" Lynette jabbed her finger at Eris who was busy going through the door in between the exit of the inn and wherever they were now.

"I didn't do anything, I just opened the door to the exit of the inn and then the outside wasn't the outside you expected. Simple."

"Uhm, that isn't the exit to the Inn," Relom squeaked out, "The door we just went through was locked."

Before any of them could dwell on this further, a boy ran toward them. "Hey, I'm Boxer! Did you know that in the last fifty years, no one has been able to get into the Olde Mansion? I challenge you to a battle! Go BURNABY!"

Before she could let out a "What," Lynette was suddenly face-to-face with an orange kangaroo-like creature with red, flaming, boxing gloves.

"Burnaby, use Flaming Fist on that bunny thing!"

Vigil acted quickly. As the fiery marsupial charged its flaming fist, reeling back and starting to aim his wards shoulder, he slightly glowed, changing the creature's perception and causing him to aim at the floating block of ice. The fist connected, causing an isolated explosion of flames that caused everyone near the door to move away. Burnaby then moved back, in front of Boxer, standing in a neutral position.

Eris jumped in excitement. "That was amazing!" She floated to the youngster and confronted him, "Are all creatures here like that? How did you do that? He just listens to you? With power like that he could probably beat the tar out of like, five of you!"

Boxer backed away from the odd, crowned... girl, who was floating in front of him. His little mind tried not to think about her various non-human characteristics, and responded as best he could, "Burnaby is my friend, he would never attack me! So yea, of course he listens to me!"

As the youngster and Eris continued their questionnaire, Vigil nudged Lynette, "Okay, he's distracted, let's go."
"And we just leave them?" She pointed at the thawing out knight and the mage boy looking over her unconscious body. "Friends would be good to have for now, wouldn't they?"
"Fine." The rabbit glowed slightly once more, and unfocused the four from sight, giving them the freedom to run from the pair of annoyances.
Just our luck, there are a bunch of idiots all around, and they are all absurdly powerful. Just great.


Dr. Trisha Bearonrollerskates was a mixture of fascinated and annoyed. After an initial exploration of the area where she spawned, she was flabbergasted at the creatures around her. Laying in the grass, the sea, and the sky were a medley of creatures, each more amazing than the last. However, her study was cut short by some bystander who suddenly challenged her to a battle and then sent one of the odd animals after her, or rather Hippocrates. Despite her protests, the challenger insisted citing "Official Regulations." After a thorough hounding, she reluctantly had Hippocrates kick away his rodent.

After the second challenger acted suspiciously similar, she made a note not to catch herself in anyone's sights. For now, she was just trotting along, hoping she would find someone sensible, who wouldn't ask for some inane fight. Who the hell would regulate that kind of thing anyway?

"Why the hell did you ditch me? That was really rude you know! Don't you have manners?"

Her trotting was put to a stop after hearing, and then seeing a similarly perplexed group of people just off the distance.

"Do we really have to do this? Really? We weren't ditching you, we were just getting away from that creep."

"Uh-huh, sure. I go out of my way to help you guys and this is how you treat me? I can't believe this, makes a girl want to just end it all."

Oh how I wish. Vigil rolled his eyes at the back-and-forth between his ward and the fool, while making sure to keep an eye on the non-contestant companions.

Before the conversation could continue, a few things happened. The first was that Dr. Trisha Bearonrollerskates approached her fellow contestants.

"Excuse me, am I interrupting anything? I'm Tris-"

""Oh and that's another thing, none of you have introduced yourselves to me, where are your manners?"

The second thing was that Boxer and Burnaby caught up with them. "Now, I don't know how you got out of my sight, but we are still in an official battle and as per regulations, you can not run from a battle! Get back here!"

"Oh great." At this point, Lynette and Vigil were having a headache from the sheer amount of idiocy that was going on. With the ridiculousness of the situation, the abundance of powerful idiots, and the general discord being handed out like candy on Halloween, it was starting to be enough to make them want to end it all.

That's when the third thing happened. Without warning or fanfare, a newcomer entered the fray in the form of a swarm of hands rising up from the grass. The hands were black and blurry, looking at them felt a bit unsettling.

Boxer, recognizing them immediately, gave a look of great surprise, "Those are Phantmanos! They are really rare in this area!" He edged closer and reached into his bag, while continuing his exposition, "I've never seen so many ghost-types all at once, what could they be doing here?" He turned to Lynette with an intense stare, "Let's just finish this so that I can catch some of them."

Creeped out and annoyed by his persistence, Lynette really was contemplating stabbing him with her baton. Instead she opted for an experiment. As the "Phantmanos" as Boxer called them began to circle around the group, she flicked her wrist and took out her baton. With a smirk, she began her rebuttal. "How about, instead we just skip the middleman here." Pointing the baton toward Boxer and Burnaby, and activating her powers for the first time in a while, the ghost-types reacted favorably, swarming at the trainer and his monster and before continuing on in that direction until they were out of sight.

"You know, that may have been a bit too harsh, I think that the kangaroo may need some medical attention." Trisha walked to Burnaby, past a somewhat shocked Eris, and slightly annoyed Lynette, who incidentally had decided to keep her thoughts to herself.

Trisha turned to Boxer with some contempt as she rubbed Burnaby's arms, making sure to avoid his flaming gloves, "What have you been doing to him? His arm is in serious danger of being pulled."

"It isn't anything that a trip to the center won't fix," he replied.

"The what?"

That was the tipping point. Someone who doesn't know what a center is? Here? That was just absurd. Boxer finally took a real look at the group of people before him. He had some nurse-looking lady on some weird creature that looked sorta like a Equistream with a monkey, a small floating and sort of deformed girl, another girl dressed in frills with another creature he had never seen before, and the two people dressed in medieval gear.

It was difficult, but Boxer had to accept the fact that something weird and out of the ordinary was going on.
"Look, I'm sorry, I think we sorta got off on the wrong foot... you guys aren't really from here... It's just that, uhm. I think we should go to the center, it's this way."
Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Drakenforge.

Riding a motorcycle was not unlike riding a very fast, loud and rumbling bicycle. After Keagan had figured out just how sensitive the throttle was all he had to to was make sure he didn't run over anything, which in a city that was in utter chaos whose roads were mostly jammed with broken cars this was harder said than done. He had suffered from an uneasy feeling of weightlessness far too often as he ran over dismembered limbs or rocks (he was thankful his poor sight didn't allow him to see what was really going on) and nearly dismounted at least three times. He was currently finding himself oddly okay with the fact that he was in a city full of monsters. Perhaps his deluded perception of being invincible was keeping him ignorant of the fear most people would have succumbed to.

Of course, he wasn't exactly normal to begin with. But now he knew he had, in some way, caused the death of that biker. Sure the guy probably hadn't been the greatest example of human life, and was probably criminal and cruel due to the fact he had just tried to murder him before he fell off the bike. The thought of it alone brought bile dangerously close to rising up his gullet, and he instinctively brought his hand to his mouth to stop the vomit spewing forth.

He instantly regretted using his dominant hand, as the bike kicked out of control at that moment, bucking him off like some prize bull at a rodeo. The kind of things that can go through one's mind as they fear death is simply astounding, for Keagan at that moment forget everything he knew and wished he had worn a helmet for some reason, like society had imprinted into him as something that should just be done to keep him safe(ish) in such a situation. He clenched his eyes shut, drowning out the reality he was taking part in.

'Why couldn't it have just been a deadly maze like the orange guy had promised?'


Jolene, thanks to The Others, had plenty of time to duck behind a counter before the lights of the 'borrowed' motorcycle had lit up the inside of the store through the cracks in the impromptu barrier of boards covering the glass. Joe was not so fortunate. Keagan broke through the glass like it was made out of dried sugar syrup while the motorbike twisted into a different direction, one leading to whatever shop had been next door. It then chose to explode for some reason, forces unknown to the trio in the gunstore feeling it was more exciting that way. The street was bathed in light for several seconds as the fire spread throughout the store. Keagan slammed into the gunrack and scattered guns and ammo alike onto the floor. Joe had tried his best to shield himself from the glass barrage, amounting to not much more than covering his upper torso and face with his arms.

Jolene tried to right herself without pressing on any glass, hoping to help whoever had shunted through the glass and hoping to whatever served as a deity anymore that they were in a state worth helping when The Others had one clear, simple message.

They are coming. Run.

When she leaned over the counter she was surprised to see just how young the bike rider had been. Did this kid even have a license? She found herself worrying about some legal issues in such a desperate situation and forced herself to check him for injuries.

Which is when she saw that the boy was in fact one of the seven people told to kill her. And that he was completely unharmed and able to stand on his own two feet while most people would have been broken on the floor, howling in pain or dead.

“Ah, people. Um, sorry about that oh jeez I hope I didn't hurt anybody.”

Jolene took a step back, her hand gently resting on her sidearm in case he acted erratically. The boy, Kevin if she recalled correctly, supposedly had the ability to become indestructible. Having just seen him crash through a window and remain unharmed after a bike accident that would leave most people crippled or dead, she was not going to discount the possibility of him having such a gift.

It was at that point where something nagged at the back of her mind. Perhaps it was the way he looked, or maybe it was the way he spoke or how he had just defied reality and came out unscathed but something was was beginning to surface, a memory of a memory, something she should know but has forgotten by now.


Keagan was feeling embarrassed now. There was a lady looking at him weird, and he had torn apart a store pretty bad due to his recklessness. Which, now that he noticed, was a gunshop. He had never had an interest in firearms before but the whole store looked off. Not just the glass he had scattered everywhere, boards and other types of material were nailed to or just shoved up against other things. Like someone had tried really hard to keep absolutely everything out of the store for some reason.

Then the woman got really anxious all of a sudden.

“You two have to come with me, now!”

“No! Enough!” Yelled the guy Keagan hadn't noticed until his outburst, “I don't care a rat's ass about you two! You've both broken my store, hours of work and preparation for this shit-storm gone! You can both go die for all I care!”

Keagan has wondered what the woman had done before his own stupid stunt, but she just grabbed his hand and tried to pull him out of the building. Keagan followed her, seeing as he didn't have much else to do, and if he got out of explaining why he was driving a stolen motorbike and got him away from the really annoyed gunstore owner then all the better for him.

“So uh, my name is Keagan by the way.”

“That's not what I've heard” was what she retorted, though she seemed to change her mood between sentences because she added “I'm Jolene, and contrary to what you've been told I'm not mad. Not completely anyway.”

It suddenly struck Keagan that he was supposed to be in a battle to the death. And he was letting someone forced to kill him lead him about. And he was still surprisingly okay with this. If he remembered right, she was a cop, and she didn't exactly look crooked.

“Definitely Keagan. Not Kevin. That annoyed me too. If you're going to try and kill me would you prefer I tell you how? It would help.”

That seemed to get some sort of reaction out of her. Amusement maybe, but the setting was really wrong for humour at this point. Keagan was well aware by now that they were not alone. Shapes of people were heading towards the gunshop and the flaming store next to it. Whatever fate beheld Joe the store owner, he may never know. But Jolene was trying to get him away, that was what he felt. Somehow she knew where to go, or perhaps she only knew where not to go. Either way the first car Jolene tried to open was not locked, and happened to still contain a set of keys. There was no sign of its owner. She prompted Keagan to get into the seat next to her, so he rounded the car and set himself into the seat. He didn't bother with the seatbelt, it was better for him to go without it.
Jolene managed to get the engine started, but was quickly forced to mount the curb to get around half the still traffic left behind in the aftermath of whatever had taken the city.

“So, what exactly were those things? I didn't get a good look.”

“They weren't human. That's all I need to know. It shouldn't take too long to get out of he-”

She cut herself off as she looked left and right. She had managed to get back onto the road and stuck behind another car. However, this car had occupants. The sun was now high in the sky, causing even Keagan to lower the brim of his skullcap to shield his eyes. People were going about their day like the apocalypse had never hit. Jolene spun in her seat to look the way they had came, only to see more traffic and sunshine.

“I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...”

Just then, a hooded individual fresh into the city attempted to open the door on Keagan's side. He was holding a knife. He tried to punch Keagan (luckily the car they were in was European, and therefore was to his left) to little effect. He simple hurt his hand and then went back to a neutral standing position.

“What the heck are you doi-”

Having a confused look on his face, the hooded guy tried again, opting for yanking Keagan out of his seat and onto the concrete pavement. He then somehow shunted Jolene out of the driver seat, hit the pedal and drove off with his new car.

“Just what is wrong with this city?!”

“I wish I knew,” Keagan replied, picking himself up, “But I for one could go for a coffee right now. Looks like there's a shop nearby, and frankly, I think we need to talk.”

- -----

Elsewhere, without a primary target to follow, the experimental war mutant hybrid zombie minigun soldier Z was attempting to follow a simple logic process. There were no targets. Everything was dead. There were other places it could go. And so it left Raccoon City in search of something strong to kill.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by momatoes.

"The hell!" Jolene exclaimed as the car zoomed from out of sight. She spun, wildly, looking at all directions with widening eyes. Adrenaline had pumped her veins as they ran. There, danger screamed from every alley and shadow. Zombie. Undead. Monsters. With no more stimulus to fuel the pounding of her blood, Jolene suddenly felt lost. She glowered.

If she ever finds out who did this to them, she would punch it so HARD in the face that it'd plant a firm kiss on its ass. Damn it!

She looked around. Everything was different. She peered down the road they'd ran from. Humdrum cars continued on their way. Roadsigns quivered in the hot sun. Whatever happened, it seemed to have been retroactive. There were no traces of the walking corpses. No smell of fire in the air. The people around them were jaunting, laughing, walking normally without even the least appetite for human flesh. Gee whiz.

Jolene rubbed her head, wincing.


"Status report. Where are you?"

"We're right behind you. Everything is normal here." The Others grimaced their invisible smiles. "Relax...And we also spot a billboard advertising herbal recipes for brain rot. Very useful in the long run.

Jolene fumed. She turned away from Keagan, trying to hide away the expression on her face. Fury. "Shut up. There's got to be something wrong in this place too. That Amazing fellow wouldn't be -- wouldn't be sane enough to let us go without a hitch." What kind of person even adopts that sort of ridiculous moniker, anyway? A serial killer? Jolene inwardly shuddered. "One of you maintain a perimeter of around 100 meters away from us, the others go follow me."

"Alrighty, boss." They separated, one retreating back, further away from the others. With its hands and feet, it explored the urban decay that was almost, but not quite, Liberty City.


"Alright, Keagan." Jolene sighed. "We are here, and we are going to do this talk. And we are not going to kill each other, despite what our charitable host had said, so help me God." They were in the shop, a garishly Art Nouveau-themed boutique that had a whole window open to the wonderfully unremarkable roadside. The only redeeming quality of the cafe was the smell of coffee beans. Jolene drank in. Black coffee seared her tongue, but she welcomed the sensation. Taking another sip, she stared at the teenager sitting before her. He was familiar. Very much...

"Have I seen you before?" she asked, frowning slightly.

"Uh," he paused, looking somewhere between a panicked mouse and a quivering wombat. "I crashed through the shop window we made our introductions and then we escaped by riding a car here? That's what you mean, right?" He hurriedly sipped from his iced coffee, whipped foam accidentally grazing on his chin.

Jolene snorted. "I don't look that old, do I? No, you're just...hold on. Helicopter." She paused. Something clicked inside her mind. "What was it about the helicopter -- wait. You're that kid. Keagan. Keagan Lambert. You're the kid hero," she said, somewhat bluntly, her voice growing in wonder. He'd been responsible for saving many lives, with a feat that seemed superhuman. Special. It had been a slight obsession for her to find out whether supernatural abilities were...well, if there was anyone else aside from her. If she had been alone.

"Oh geez," Keagan Lambert, wonder kid from TV news, replied. "Yeah, that was me." He tried his best to look unaffected, drinking his cup and trying to avoid eye contact, but his eyes were pleased with the recognition. And the title: he was the hero. "

Anyway," he coughed, "shouldn't we be talking about more important things?"

"Yes," Jolene said. "There's still the matter of us dying."


Three blocks away, the Other was mildly flummoxed when the highway suddenly turned into high grass.

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by -Benedict.

"Money and watch. Now." Heh. Heh heh. What a pretty penny this would bring in. Pretty penny. The goob had it coming, didn't he? He'd take that fancy watch of his.
"Interesting. How and why did you come back here so quickly?"
"Din' you hear me?" Who had the knife here? Not that guy.
"Actually, no. That is to say, I heard your questi-"
"Gimme all your money, an' that fancy... uh..." Wait. Wait, what? No. Where was the watch? He had a watch, right? That's why... sweet Mary, what was he yammering about? No money? Hospitals? No, he... he was supposed to give him... "What? Who?"

It was... the thug didn't know what it was. Some kind of scarecrow thing? What... where was its face? What? It was shaped like a person, but not a person with a fat wallet and a gilded pocketwatch.
"What are you?"

"The man you stabbed... oh." The thing pointed at the ground, where there weren't nothin' there. But there... shoulda been, right? By now, he shoulda had the money and the watch, and the guy shoulda been... no. What?
Wait. Wait, an idea. Really good idea. He'd just... kill 'im. Better than bein' confused. It didn't matter, that maybe this guy were the cops, or some wacko mafioso in a wetsuit. Things stopped being a problem once they had six inches of cold steel in their gut.
Usually, anyway.

This time, the axiom didn't really hold true.
SNKT! The blade went right in, the being's skin providing little resistance. Was there anyone nearby? Did anyone see? He looked around, confirming that the deed had gone unnoticed. Best not to stick around, then. No money, no reason to stay. Just... had to get out of there.
Turning to flee, the mugger felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Arm was stuck, somehow, in... oh, God. Oh god, oh god, what? It had him, it was holding on to his arm, it wasn't letting go! How?! No! Aaaaaa!
The knife! It was still- it was right there, how the hell could it be- he was stabbed!
Noooo, no no no, he was getting out of here. He tried to pull away, but the thing pulled him back. Its grip was unbreakable, it did NOT let go. It pulled the mugger closer, and leaned into his face. Face-to... that wasn't a face. Good god, that wasn't a face. It was some crude drawing of a human face, blinking blue with an impossible glow.

It didn't move its mouth when it said:
"Please take me to whoever's in charge."

'Take me to your leader.' That was it, sweet mercy, that was it. It was a space alien, is what it was. Some kinda creep out of Flash Gordon, or somethin'. It had a ray gun, didn't it? He didn't want to be dis-inky-graded or whatever. That was in the paper the other day, weren't it? Those NACA goobs in Washington were stirring up trouble with the extra-terrestrials.
"We don't... I don't got a leader! I- I'm just trying to made ends... nobody-"

"Who holds authority in this city?"
Well, he'd want to hear the mayor, but it'd be a laugh to say that twit had authority. "I... I mean, the Don doesn't... why do-"
"The don? Where does the don live?"
"I don't know, I'm not... I'm not involved with that! I'm not one of those goombas!"
"But you know where I can find them, right?"
He kept talking with that not-mouth, those blue wire things making him look like some kind of halloween skeleton. He couldn't keep... god, it was too much. He lunged for the knife and pulled it out, and with one swift motion drove it into the creature's face.

It gave the mugger a disappointed look, dislocated his shoulder, and calmly removed the knife from its eye.

"You know where I can find this don, right?"
"Stop bawling, please. I can perform a reduction on the joint, if you'll help me."
"God DAMN! AAAAA! I don't know, I really don't kn... I mean, you could ask about him at- nobody's allowed in without- AAAAAA!"
"You know where this place is?"
"Down Copenhagen street, the bar... the bar, aaaaaagh!"
"A bar on Copenhagen street. Where is Copenhagen street?" It seized the mugger's shoulder and rotated it back into place with a sickening crack. The pain quickly stopped, and he squinted off into the distance.
The patchwork city bore little resemblance to the original Gomorrah, but it knew how to orient itself. Before it had been judged, Copenhagen street was about three blocks past the scene of the mugging, and then four blocks down Bradford street on the right. The mugger looked for familiar landmarks, but found none.
So Gomorrah realigned itself. It picked a run-down pub in a drab part of town, decided that would be the Rotten Denmark Bar and Grill, and moved a few roads around. You wouldn't notice unless you were looking right at it, and even then only if you wanted to see it.

What the mugger saw, conveniently enough, was Bradford street.
"You want to go, uh... about three blocks down, you see where Bradford is? Four blocks down there, on your right, that's the Rotten Denmark. Mostly gavones and empty suits in there, but they know... y'know, the people. They can get you in touch with the family, I think."

Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

The “center,” though lavish, didn’t look like much of a clinic. It had all the trappings of a waiting room: a flowery yet comfortably sterile smell in the air, magazines on end tables, furniture in clusters located just far enough away from each other that you don’t feel like you’re going to contaminate anybody or be contaminated. A pretty nurse in pink sat at a computer in the back. Trisha’s own clinic back home had a similar setup—a bit cozier, of course, being a private practice. The center, with its self-important nomenclature and futuristic architecture, gave the impression of a government facility. Why the government had put of these in the backwater of Bellicose Town, which lacked so much as a library, a hairdresser or a place to get a good milkshake, Trisha had only a vague suspicion.

Aside from its government trappings, the main difference between the center and Trisha’s clinic was that Trisha’s clinic had other rooms aside from the waiting room. The center simply ended with the nurse at reception. She was beginning to suspect that this part of the Deadly Maze had been designed to mock her.

The girl with the blue hair sat down next to Trisha while Boxer approached the nurse, carrying a small metal cube.
”Weird, isn’t it?” she offered, clutching her rabbit. ”I’m Lynette, by the way. We haven’t really had a chance to talk.”

Trisha smiled warmly. “Trisha.”

”Oh. The Amazing, uh, he got yours right then.”


A few more seconds silence. Then, Lynette dared to ask:
”He also said your last name was—“

”Bearonrollerblades. Spelled the way it sounds.”


The other girl giggled from behind her magazine. “How well do you know her?” Trisha asked Lynette.

”Not very. Her name’s Eris. She’s been helpful so far, I guess.”

Trisha nodded. The cover of the magazine Eris was reading promised that there was a Tech Code for Hailstorm inside, good for all Colds and most Wets. She had no idea what that meant. “’Helpful so far’ is good to go on, I guess. For now.”

”I guess us girls need to stick together,” joked Lynette, scratching her rabbit behind the ears. When Trisha gave a little sneer and a grunt at that, the girl flushed. “I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?”

Through her last few years of high school, Trisha had been an active member of the Masculinist Alliance, but it wouldn’t do her any good to lose a potential ally over social politics. “Not really,” she decided to answer.

”Are you sure?”

”I’m a Tiaran citizen, in case you were wondering,” blurted Trisha, not sure what it had to do with anything. “I’ve lived there all my life.”

”I don’t know what that means,” replied Lynette.

The two of them went silent after that until Boxer, having concluded his business at the counter, walked over to Trisha, holding his cube aloft. He snapped a button and Burnaby appeared in front of them in a flash of light, prompting Lynette to yelp a little. “See?” said Boxer. “Good as new. The center. I’m gonna go now. Oh, and—“ he pulled some bills out of his pocket and handed them to Lynette “—here’s your winnings.”

”Uh, thanks,” said Trisha, pocketing the money. Boxer dismissed Burnaby, stashed the cube in his pocket and left.

”Nice kid,” chuckled Eris from across the room.

”Either of you have any idea what just happened?” asked Lynette.

“No idea,” answered Trisha, deep in thought.

”Who cares? We’re making money.”

”I care,” said Trisha. “Hang on one minute.”

The veterinarian walked up to the counter. “Excuse me,” she said to the nurse.

“Welcome to the Bellicose Center,” intoned the nurse. “Place all your cubes on the counter, six maximum, you know the drill.” When Trisha did not place any cubes on the counter, the nurse’s voice and expression got a little less automated. “Or is there something else you wanted?”

“Yes, actually.” Trisha flashed what she considered to be her sweetest smile. “I don’t know how to say this without coming off as rude, but I’d like to talk to someone who actually knows the theory behind what you’re doing.”

The nurse became sullen. “Hmm. Tough one. Try talking to Cherry in Satisfaction City. He’s compiling the new almanac. If he can’t answer your questions, he’ll know someone who can.”

“Great. An almanac. That’s perfect. What’s the easiest way to Satisfaction?”

The nurse rifled through a file cabinet behind her and produced a foldout map of the region, which she handed to Trisha. “Have a nice day.”

“You too.” Trisha returned to Lynette and Eris. “Can we go? There’s a man in the next city I want to see, and I’ve left that chimpanzee outside for too long, I’m worried he’ll have run off.”

”One second.” Eris ripped her page out of her magazine and stood. Trisha winced. She hated when people did that.

* * * * *

So by the time Trisha, Lynette and Eris had set out on the road again, she had learned the following things:

1) This region seemed to follow a weird sort of socialist model. Medicine was socialized, and if you needed to travel quickly you could apply for a “Bike Voucher,” although there were no other forms of mechanized transportation. There was no real evidence of a local government. The people seemed happy.

2) Trisha and Lynette would never really understand each other. They agreed that Hippocrates was a “horse” and Vigil was a “rabbit,” though Lynette preferred the term “bunny,” and agreed that humans and animals were part of the same biosphere and evolved and reproduced in the same ways. However, they had absolutely no basis for comparison in terms of history and geography beyond an inkling that they both lived on planets.

3) After Trisha’s refutation that she was not, of course, a “magic veterinarian,” she worked out that where Lynette came from, magic was, in fact, real, and treated as a matter of course. (This discussion became more complicated when Lynette asked why, if magic didn’t exist on Trisha’s world, did she know what it was?) Eris, meanwhile, claimed to be an embodiment of pure elemental Chaos, and knew what a planet was but wasn’t sure how it applied to her. Eris was mostly silent for the rest of the trip.

4) The chimpanzee was not from this part of the Maze. As soon as its helmet was removed, it would lose that intelligent sparkle in its eyes and become frightened and begin yelling. It was pretty affectionate, most of the time, but Vigil didn’t seem to trust him around it.

5) Oh, and Vigil could talk. That one would have given Trisha quite a shock if she were, at the moment, psychologically capable of fear.

”Yes, yes, that’s a monkey,” snapped Eris when Trisha resumed an earlier line of questioning. ”What’s your point?”

”No, that’s the point exactly,” replied Trisha. “Where I come from, if it doesn’t have a tail, it’s—“

”—An ape. Yes. I know.”

”Yes. Well. You may know that, but I don’t think the people here would. Their entire biosphere is completely different. And their naming conventions are... I don’t even know. Just sort of weird.”

”Honestly, Trisha,” piped up Lynette. ”All the small-talk is getting a bit annoying. Things are different for us cause we got taken from different places, or different planes of reality or whatever, but don’t you think there are more important things to obsess about? Like the whole ‘battle-to-the-death’ bit?”

Trisha considered this for a while. “I think,” she eventually said, “That the Amazing expects us all to start fighting each other as soon as we’re put together, even without prompting us to. Because we’re just so different. We can’t mutually exist, it’s impossible, we all know it’s impossible. It’s like different religions, times ten. And then there’s this place, which... doesn’t really make sense... at all.”

Eris shrugged.
”The idea of making sense never made much sense to me.”

”I just think it’s important that we have some basic idea of how the world works, whatever world we’re in. So I’m going to get us an almanac.”

Lynette sighed.
”Well, as long as we’re going somewhere.”

Hippocrates said, “Neigh.”
Re: DEATHGAME 9000 [S!3] Round One: Gamexus X99
Originally posted on MSPA by Jacquerel.

Gomorrah City was quite an interesting sight from the air. While the mash of various fictional architectural styles was often difficult to notice on ground level, apart from the sudden shift in the ethnicity and (perhaps more notably) level of general undead-ness of the citizens, the boundaries where buildings and locales from different game environments had been placed together were fairly visible from amongst the clouds though they were blurring together over time as Gomorrah occasionally switched streets and buildings around to better accommodate its plans. This was compounded by the fact that some of the buildings were never meant to be viewed from the air as their protagonists didn't gain any form of aerial exploration abilities, so you even had the occasional large and impressive structure that entirely lacked a roof or back walls (or rather, there were solid boxes there that kept out very confused birds and the even more confused rainclouds that covered odd patches of the city (neatly sliced into rectangular shapes by their hijacking from other areas and only slowly returning to a more natural shape) while not providing any form of privacy.
Also more than a few of the houses were wreathed in flames, though it was impossible to tell whether they were real, virtual or ethereal, and indeed perhaps meaningless to specify because at least two of the three would probably burn all the same, perhaps all of them depending on who we're talking about here. It would perhaps make the most sense to refer all of this to ERIC but alas, he once again wasn't really paying attention.

You'd think perhaps an ambulance robot would be fairly familiar with cities as they are where ambulances most commonly operate, but Eric was an emergency ambulance robot and thus only used to operating in areas of conflict or other disaster. As far as his experience held, it was pretty normal for a city to be full of holes, smoke and flames (except for when it was thigh-deep in water or, on one particularly memorable occasion, eels) and so he paid the somewhat peculiar appearance of the one he was now entering little heed. After all, he was on a mission.

He'd found the map in the dismantled wreckage of the ape's car, with still no evidence of any driver, and so had been forced to conclude that whoever had been in control of the vehicle had teleported themselves to safety. Based on this sound logic (because obviously apes still couldn't drive cars) he had originally assumed that the small metallic disk he had found underneath one of the seats had been said teleportation device and had rolled there after its owner departed (due to the way Khral interdimensional technology worked, a teleporter could not go through another teleporter unless it simulated a vastly smaller connecting dimension than the one it was travelling through or turned off, else it would overload the memory of the original device with fairly catastrophic results, and thus obviously could not therefore travel through itself) but it was far thinner and smaller than any he had ever seen, almost to the extent of being entirely two-dimensional.

It also had little pictures moving across its surface (something not usually featured by teleportation devices) and when he put it to his eye to get a better look at them he found out that the animated side was coated in a fairly powerful adhesive. The map's baffling lack of thickness and his own lack of fingers or fingernails for prying meant that he was rather stuck with regards to means for removing it again so there it remained, glued to the top corner of his right eye. Eric didn't really have the capacity to be annoyed about this but it was fairly peculiar, though at least it let him see the images clearly. Robot vision was less affected by things such as proximity than those of humans, and obviously also didn't react quite as badly to having things glued to it as an eyeball would.
As far as he could tell, the object he'd found was actually some form of GPS-aided map. He could see himself and the road he was on, leading to a city in the distance (which, oddly, didn't seem to be able to decide what it was called. The name label flickered and changed every couple of seconds). Seven yellow arrows were pointing in different directions around the edge of the circle, three of them off into the East, three to somewhere ahead in the city and the last to its centre. These marked objectives gave him fond memories of HazardNet and the days when he'd had something to do other than wander aimlessly through crumbling towns and watching plants take over the roads.

So, in another incredibly sound leap of logic, he decided that what he had found actually was a working link to the actual old HazardNet satellite AI and it was telling him to go save some lives. The problem must have been on his end not, as he had previously assumed, on the end of the floating eyes in the sky. This was an unfortunate misinterpretation, as the dislodged minimap was actually trying to point him towards his current objective as minimaps are wont to do, that being the people whose lives he was supposed to end, but as a gaming abstraction it wasn't actually sapient or able to communicate his error to him in any way.

So that was how Eric came to be five hundred feet above Gomorrah City, riding the twin streams of superheated air from the tubes sticking out of his back. His stubby little legs obviously weren't going to get him anywhere fast, especially considering his... generous frame, and what use is a slow ambulance?
The arrows had all been the same colour and HazardNet had colour-coded everything for severity, so as they were all equally life-threatening he had decided to just head for the nearest one first. Yellow actually wasn't incredibly urgent but as there weren't any higher priority arrows on his new friend, he didn't see any need to hang around. He had temporarily considered waking his patient up again to inform him that after his several hundred years of wandering he'd found some form of civilisation, but you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn how low on the list of programmed priorities for ambulances his designers had decided to put “show patients new and interesting scenery”.
It's lower than investigating possible sites of injury, if you hadn't guessed.

The mugger bolted down the street as soon as Weaver let go of his arm, pausing only to take terrified backwards glances to make sure that he was not being followed. Why Weaver would have pursued him he did not know, he'd already got everything that he had wanted out of the man and he'd even come out of it up one knife. It was hardly the most effective of weapons considering that the current situation (as far as he'd been told was an eight-way battle to the death and he would have preferred something with much more range (if only there'd been a spare firearm in the back of the stolen truck) but it was better than nothing and at least it would be much easier to conceal than a rifle, though the city's inhabitants had paid curiously little attention to him thus far, considering he wasn't even making an attempt to hide his outlandish appearance.
Or at least... it would have been easy to conceal if he had any pockets, one of the few advantages to actually wearing clothes. With the absence of anywhere more pleasant to stick it, he pushed the blade back into the already sealed wound on his chest, it wasn't a particularly good hiding place but someone who's been stabbed would perhaps generate less negative attention than someone holding a knife, and it wasn't like it was doing any damage in there, and then set off to follow his would-be-assailant's directions.

It was always possible that this would just lead into some kind of trap (he had clearly been a thief after all) or just a dead end, after all information taken from the coerced isn't the most reliable source, but he hadn't sounded like he was lying and it wasn't like Weaver had any other-


As previously noted, Eric was and is a crisis ambulance designed to operate in places that did not have roads, runways or convenient places to land. Or wheels, for that matter. Theoretically, given enough of a landing strip, he could use his spherical shape to roll to a halt but even in those circumstances he probably wouldn't bother because his general method of landing was simply to drop. It wasn't like additional property damage would be much of an issue in the places he was supposed to be working, as long as he didn't cause any civilian casualties.
So that's what he did.
The shock of impact shattered several nearby car windows, set off a respectable number of alarms and sent the helmeted ape previously perched on his shoulder flying off into the air, though it managed to catch itself on a conveniently placed lamppost before it could come to any harm.

The sudden arrival of something so utterly out of place was fairly difficult for some of the ethereal inhabitants to deal with, especially as they were already trying to rationalise a guy covered in Tron Lines wandering about with a knife stuck in his chest. Some of them simply ignored it, a few more just stopped and stood there staring, a fair amount ran away and one was so shocked that he forgot which ghost he was supposed to be and swapped places with a woman on the other side of town. Gommorah was a fairly adaptable being though and it didn't take it long to set things to rights.
Ok, things didn't fall out of the sky and then get up and peer at the citizens most days but “new” and “different” were qualities that were very easy to twist into hatred. Given enough time, a mob would probably even start to form without needing to be pushed.

Weaver on the other hand was a bit harder to surprise, though this certainly hadn't been something he was expecting to happen. The somewhat eccentric man who had introduced the contestants had called this one a warbot, though Eric was a slightly odd name to give a warrior.
He didn't have enough evidence to decide one way or another whether to trust the advice he'd been given before being sent here but The Incompetent's credibility was certainly on the shaky side. His information on Weaver had been somewhat questionable to start with, though it was plausible that what he'd said was the spin the media had been putting on his escape at the time of his capture, and also this didn't really look much like a maze and he'd never mentioned the fact that Eric could apparently fly.
That said, while he was not really the type to feel wary the way the other machine was looking at him (in the time he'd been thinking, its head had actually physically detached from its body and extended on a long, flexible steel limb to examine him more closely) was setting the survival senses he'd built up on the run over the past few years on edge.

The thick metal on the landed machine's chassis looked like it would be fairly difficult to damage with either his bare hands or a knife, but the tenuous connection that its face had with its body made for a fairly obvious weak point if it made any kind of aggressive move, though he couldn't actually make out any obvious weapons other than its many arms (not that those couldn't be dangerous, his had served him well and though they didn't appear to end in hands, Eric had more than he did and they were much longer).

Eric himself was slightly confused, he'd expected to arrive at the site of some small cataclysm but most of the damage here had been caused by his own landing. HazardNet was fairly insistent that this was the place, but as far as he could tell there was only one patient around.
Dealing with stab wounds was rarely his business but perhaps there'd just not been anyone else nearby, and it had been marked as low priority. The patient didn't even seem to be bleeding so it couldn't be hurt too badly, which surprised Eric less than you might think as his creators were naturally armoured in chitin.

What also confused him was that, as far as he could tell, it was just a bigger and differently coloured version of the ape he'd been carrying around with him. But if HazardNet told him that it was a sapient being then who was he to object? The idea that it was another robot didn't even cross his mind, because clearly robots wouldn't need to go to hospital and thus he never would have been asked to go and rescue one, that and... he wasn't really familiar enough with humans to realise that Weaver wasn't the same thing as the similarly shaped citizens milling about in an increasingly threatening manner in the background.

“Do not be alarmed!”, Eric said, as his torso rotated and then split in half across the middle, revealing a pulsing hole in space which regularly crackled with white and purple streaks of lightning.
As the top half of his torso levered back ninety degrees to expose the anomaly fully to the air, Eric's head appeared over the top of the void (still balancing on the end of an absurdly long and flexible neck) and twenty arms uncoiled in preparation to usher the beleaguered android into a completely unecessary trip to the hospital.

“This is for your own good.”