The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round... Uh, Seven? The Oasis]

The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round... Uh, Seven? The Oasis]
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pick Yer Poison.

What luck! AMP was ecstatic that his attempt at alliance had gone so well. Not that he had expected any differently, of course; after all, his rate of failure when forming alliances before now had been 0%, and his rate of success was now 100%. It was logical to assume that there could have been no other outcome, and the very friendly and street-smart typewriter bobbing around in his magnetic field was proof that he was correct. Which of course he was. After all, he had always been correct so far, and he was correct this time, which only proved to show that he was correct. Which of course he was. Lightning lanced through the metal floating around AMP, from piece to piece to piece to typewriter, then backwards, then forwards again into Etiyr, then back into the previous piece, over and over. After all, he had always been correct so far, and he was correct this time, which only proved to show that he was correct. Which of course he was. After all, he had always been correct so far, and he was correct this time, which--RUNTIME ERROR.

The lightning stopped flashing, and all the metal floating in AMP's cloud was dumped unceremoniously to the ground, leaving a glowing red ball amidst a pile of scrap. This, unfortunately, included Etiyr, who was none too pleased about this new development. He began clacking away angrily, first at AMP, then, when he proved to be unresponsive, at Gaurinn, who was now moving onward into the building. The centipede paused, looked back, emitted a sound that Etiyr had no doubt stood for a nasty chuckle, and then continued in, leaving Etiyr clacking away more and more desperately.

ERROR IDENTIFIED FOREIGN CONTAMINANT INITIATING HARDWARE VIRUS SWEEP. AMP's core took on a purple glow, and pieces of metal quickly began picking themselves up again and fitting themselves to him. In a matter of moments AMP had his cloud back, sans Etiyr, who began clacking at him irritably. One of the cameras swung towards the paper, centering on it with minute precision.

"ccccccccccOh good, you're back. I didn't enjoy being dumped on the ground! I hope you don't plan on doing that very often." Surely this mess is over with now.

FOREIGN CONTAMINANT IDENTIFIED ODDS OF BEING INCORRECT LESS THAN ZERO POINT ZERO ZERO TWO PERCENT. The tinny voice came out of the speaker again, but this time it lacked the childlike inflection it had possessed before, sacrificing it for an almost disappointingly cliché monotone. "Do not move or I will wipe you." AMP slowly backed away from the typewriter, into the building, leaving Etiyr extremely confused and once again without a means of transport.
[Image: zjQ0y.gif][Image: vcGGy.gif]
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by Adenreagen.

What. The. Hell.

Just as I’m about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, I get pulled away to some other dimension, told I’m in a fight to the death and sent to a Denny’s of all places in the middle of heat-loving nowhere!

She hated Denny’s. No respectable place would be open at three in the morning. In her experience, the only places that were always open were some kind of front for criminals. Once attempting to prove it, she threw a manager out the window when he started talking like a mobster. That got her a lifetime ban from that particular restaurant, and the man was actually a laid off lawyer who sued her for pain and suffering. She’d had to pay for the window too. She gave a mental snort. Denny’s.

Looking around the parking lot at some of the other contestants, she had to admit that this would be a different sort of adventure, but it had been a long time since she had gone adventuring without Leader. At least she was prepared for this. She hefted her shoulder strap, readjusting the instrument more comfortably along her back, checked her pockets for her books and the collar, and felt her cat twining around her feet. If she wasn’t ready, she didn’t know what ready was.

She took another glance around her. Everyone, or at least every thing, seemed to be pairing up together. The man with the metal arm was talking to what the genie-thing said was a space colony, and the machines were by the giant bug. She then heard someone calling to what had to have been her, as she was the only “lass” here.

Looking over, she was startled by the man’s appearance. Besides his armor, his left side appeared to be covered in blood. Taking him for face value as a warrior she figured that he didn’t want to frighten her when he turned that side away from her. It was more surprise at hearing someone call her “lass” and seeing it be some warrior than the blood did. She’d seen more than that on a person. She was even once shoved into a puddle of it herself. She was surprised, however, when he told her it was paint to hide freckles.

She decided to answer his question first before addressing the issue though. “I got to be here same as you, I’d figure. Pulled away from life to be part of whatever this is. I have no idea what I’m doing here, but I figure it’ll be an adventure and that’s all I need.” She had reached where he was by then and shrugged as her cat started twining around both their legs. This seemed to bother the man, though he tried not to let it show. “As for the paint, you don’t have to lie to me. If it were to hide freckles, you could’ve just used some makeup and covered them. It’s not hard. War paint is for warriors, and if you were worried about scaring me, don’t.”

She reached up quickly to wipe a line along his face, but her finger came away clean. “It’s not even PAINT. Is it inked on? Or maybe a giant birthmark?” She saw that he was uncomfortable, blushing on the side that wasn’t red. She felt bad for talking so brazenly about what was apparently a tender subject, but she couldn’t help it. “It doesn’t matter. You seem decent enough. I’m Elli.” She put her hand out to shake his.

“Cailean.” He was surprised at the lass’s boldness. She even shook his left hand as if to say ‘look, I’m not put off by anything’. “So, you want to join me in trying to get out of this alive? I’m sure we could use each other’s help, and we’d be stronger as a team.”

“It’s a deal, for now. But you’re not my leader and I’m not your sidekick. We’re partners and we’re equal.” Nodding over his shoulder, she added “And if what happened to the bug tells me anything, we can’t leave here even if we wanted.”

She picked up her cat, which was now rubbing itself exclusively on Cailean’s feet, and turned it so its "face" was looking at her. “And you! You faceless fluff, you’re scaring him. Go on inside and let me know if you find anything interesting.” The cat evaporated in a cloud of smoke, but she could sense that he was moving past the group in front of the door and into the building.

She wanted to get in the building without passing the others, particularly the guard on the ground, but apparently Cailean had other plans. As soon as the guard began clutching his hand in agony, Cailean did the same. The look on his face that flashed through pain, anger, terror and determination scared her more than the blood did. Running over to the guard, Cailean screamed something about mercy and herons that she didn't catch, pulled out a white dagger and stabbed it into the guard's heart with the accuracy of long practice. When the guard's death throes stopped, Cailean finally relaxed and slumped down next to the guard.

She started walking towards her newfound ally, thinking about what her captor said about his "blessing". Figuring this was something to do with it, she shrugged. She didn't even know the guard, and he was dying from blood loss anyway. In a way, he didn't kill the guard, just ended his suffering.

"Well," she muttered, “adventure is out there, let’s see where it goes from here.”

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by Anomaly.

Gaurinn watched the guards with a sort of odd fascination, vaguely intrigued by the armored man's haste to kill the injured one. Not intrigued enough to actually do anything besides watch, of course, but he was getting a good idea of who his enemies might be in this "battle to the death", if that's what it really was. The big mass of floating metal bits and pieces could be a threat to him, but then again, it was electronic. Nothing a massive blast of electricity couldn't fry in an instant. Not wanting to deal with possibly-insane-knight-guy, Gaurinn headed into the oddly-decorated military base.

Despite the odd exterior, the inside of the base seemed perfectly normal. A dull, gray corridor with a couple of sliding metal doors on one wall. Metal-shrapnel-cloud had in the brief interim taken on an odd purple glow and abandoned its previous cheery demeanor. A camera quickly shifted focus to Gaurinn, but the cloud said nothing to him. The centipede stared for a few moments, then scuttled to the leftmost door, directly behind the metal cloud. The door slid open on its own on Gaurinn's approach, leading into a small, barely-decorated room. The only items of note were a small, wooden chair, a potted plant in the corner, and a Landscapes of Colorado wall calendar. Oh, and a half-naked human with an animal skin over his head flipping out while waving a staff around. That was potentially noteworthy.

"Hey, you. Staff guy. What the hell are you doing?"

The man made no verbal response, but gradually stopped bouncing around the room, coming to rest in front of the centipede. He looked rather pissed-off at the centipede's intrusion, and reached into some sort of bag strapped to his waist. Gaurinn couldn't be sure of it, but he decided that the man probably wasn't friendly.

The next moment, a jolt of electricity erupted from Gaurinn's body with a blinding flash, striking the possibly insane man head-on. He fell to the ground smoking - not dead, but definitely unconscious. Gaurinn didn't want to waste excess energy when there were probably bigger threats around - even the relatively small jolt was rather draining. The centipede rested for a few moments, then turned around and left through the door. The cloud of debris and the typewriter were still there, engaged in the same argument. Gaurinn ignored them once more and entered the second door.

The next room was much larger, holding several more furnishings - a decent-sized bookshelf, a table and some chairs, a water cooler, and three more doors, one of which had a large bloodstain under it. Gaurinn first took a cursory glance at the titles on the bookshelf. After all, maybe they held some information on what was going on, or what the place even was.

Instrumental Engineering... Some kind of boring technical book, probably, Gaurinn flung it haphazardly across the room.

The History of Denny's... That looked more promising. Gaurinn flipped through a few pages, but unfortunately, the entire book was about some sort of food service. He quickly discarded this one as well.

How to Romance the Arizona Wench... How to Train the Arizona Wench for Battle... Gaurinn briefly wondered what an "Arizona" was, then shrugged and discarded a few more books into the ever-growing pile.

Kazoo Frontier... Kazoo Engineering for Dummies... Scientific American: Kazoo Edition... As best as Gaurinn could tell, a "Kazoo" wasn't a weapon but instead an odd musical instrument. Into the pile they went.

Potched Kumquat... This book had atrocious spelling and grammar. Gaurinn tried to decipher it, but became bored after about a sentence and discarded it.

Security Guard Reference (1984 Edition)... Wait, 1984? This book was over 170 years old. It looked remarkably well-kept considering its age. Too bad its contents were essentially worthless. Gaurinn threw the book aside.

Gaurinn sighed deeply and turned away, but immediately noticed that a folded piece of paper had fallen out of one of the books in mid-air. He rapidly unfolded it, revealing it to be a basic map of the facility. Very basic - the rooms were only labeled with letters, and held no means of identification. Still, it was something. Gaurinn fumbled with the map to fold it back up, his difficulty compounded further by his lack of thumbs. He turned around again and immediately found himself faced with the crazy bloodstained guy who had killed the guard and the woman with the shadow-cat thing. Fantastic.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by engineclock.

Cailean’s hands were still twinging with the pain of the recently deceased guard’s wounds. Lately he’d begun to develop a habit of cataloguing the injuries his victims were dying of, and he couldn’t help but be impressed by this particular one. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever dealt with any like it. Maybe the man who’d been trampled by that plow horse a few months back? The crushing was somewhat similar, but this was cleaner, much cleaner. He hadn’t felt anything past his wrists, though he knew enough by now to tell that both arteries had been opened and the man would have been dead in a few minutes even without his intervention.

The girl, Elli, hadn’t bothered to mention the whole your-spirit-goes-on-the-wings-of-the-taccha-maowyn’s-herons-know-her-mercy-and-leave-this-world bit, which Cailean was grateful for. In his experience explaining Maowyn’s blessing never led to any worthwhile conversations. Not unless you counted drunken exclamations of disbelief as worthwhile, anyways, though he expected that this new crowd might not react quite the same as the other soldiers had. No one had tried to stab him yet to see if he’d do anything about it, for instance. Then again, all of these new folk were sober, and were deliberately out to kill him. Likely they were planning to gut him later, after they’d taken care of the fighters who could actually defend themselves.

Like the giant centipede that he and Elli had just come across, for one. It reared up at their appearance and spat a few sparks, either in surprise or anger. Cailean had seen it talking earlier, so he assumed it was at least somewhat intelligent, but couldn’t shake the feeling that it was anything more than an oversized insect. It certainly didn’t look much smarter than he’d expect the average centipede to be. Still, he figured he should try and put it as ease, if only to get away from it faster.

Taking a step back towards Elli, Cail held up his hands and said, “Easy, beast. We’re not of any mind to harm you.”

The centipede’s head turned towards him, its eyes glittering.
“Oh, really? Didn’t seem to be your plan back there with the guard. Could’ve sworn I saw you stab him in the heart, but hey. I only have seven eyes. I could be wrong.”

Cailean sighed dully. “The Taccha Maowyn would have me end the agony of the dying and the dying alone. It’s not my place to refuse her. Should you ever befall a similar fate, know that I’ll offer you the same privilege. Maowyn’s mercy knows no limits.”

Elli coughed. “I think what Cailean here means is that the guard in question was done for anyways… Gaurinn, right? Though it seems obvious, killing people in a battle. It’s what we’re here for, isn’t it?” She smiled at Gaurinn, adjusting her trombone pointedly. “But we’ve got nothing against you if you’ve got nothing against us.”

Gaurinn’s mouthparts made a noise vaguely comparable to a snort.
“Well, since you two seem like such trustworthy people, I suppose I’d better tell you that there was a man back in a room over there who tried to throw something at me and looked like he was wearing a dead animal. Funny guy. I took care of him for now, but if there’s more like him then I think you and your boyfriend there should watch your backs.” He paused for just a second, then continued, “Might as well watch mine while you’re at it. How about it?”

“Are you asking to join us?”

The centipede snickered.
“I think ‘offering’ is a better word choice here. Besides, are you really going to trust armor guy, there? You’re gonna buy his cute little story about mercy and whatever? What’s gonna stop him from doing to you what he did to that guard? Worst case scenario, I’ll fry him for you and the two of us can go on our merry way. I’m probably more fun to talk to than he is, anyways.”

Centipedes can’t grin smugly, not really, but Elli had a distinct feeling that that’s what this one was doing. She turned to Cailean dubiously. “What do you think?”

He shrugged, his armor clanking against itself.
“Can’t say I like the looks of it, but it’s your call, lass. You’re the one it’s asking. Personally I’d rather have the damn thing where I can see it.”

Elli turned back to Gaurinn, who spat out another spark. “Alright. The three of us are a team, for now at least. Like I told this guy here, no one’s the leader and no one’s following. And if either of you tries anything, I’ll have your head stuck on my trombone faster than you can blink. Now, where do we go from here?”

The tiny claws on Gaurinn’s foremost limbs unfolded to reveal the map he’d been holding.
“I found this just now. It’s not very detailed but at least we’ll have a chance at knowing where we are. This room here-” He tapped a spot on the map awkwardly. “I haven’t checked out yet. There might be something worth taking, or something that’ll try to kill all three of us. I vote we have a look at it.” He gestured down the corridor to a door on the right-hand side. “Watch out for crazy men wearing furry corpses.” He settled back down, quite clearly indicating that whoever was going to open the door wouldn’t be him.

Cailean wasn’t ecstatic that the centipede had decided to stay with him and Elli, but there wasn’t much he could do about it now, and he supposed it was at least somewhat better than having to fight it. The thing that had brought him here had mentioned that the beast was fragile, hadn’t he? Not that Cailean would be able to do anything about it, of course. Although… it had seemed clear to him at the time that when Maowyn blessed him she meant he only couldn’t harm humans. “Living beings”…no, he supposed Guarinn still counted. Possibly. It was something to keep in mind, at any rate.

Approaching the door, he noticed that it lacked a handle or anything else that might provide a way to open it. For a moment he considered using Maowyn’s dagger to slice his way through and mentally shuddered at how the Taccha would react to him using her weapon in such a mundane way; fortunately, the door slid open of its own accord as soon as he got close enough. Unfortunately, what came through the door was a colossal surge of pancakes that instantly flattened Cailean with a blow that felt rather like being hit in the chest by a collapsing horse.

“Maowyn’s tits!” He screamed in surprise as the pancakes knocked him over and started to pile up on his body. Frantically he began to shove them off in heaps, crawling backwards and relaxing only slightly as he saw that they weren’t anything dangerous. The pancakes continued to pour out of the door like sand through an hourglass, slipping over each other and covering the floor of the hallway in a carpet of soft, squishy cake. Cailean scrambled to his feet, panting. Of all the things that had attacked him at one point or other, he had to admit that pancakes were fairly unique. Not to mention embarrassing. “What in the five hells is this?”

Behind him, Gaurinn was snickering and Elli was picking up one of the cakes to examine it. She sniffed it cautiously, then gingerly nibbled at it.
“Pancakes, apparently. Freshly made and still warm. This…” She raised her eyebrows and took another bite. “This is a surprisingly good pancake. I guess our captor wasn’t kidding about breakfast, huh?”

Picking a few last crumbs off his armor, Cailean narrowly resisted the temptation to swear a little more eloquently. Didn’t really seem to be a couth thing to do in front of the lass. “Have all you like, then. Can’t say I much fancy eating anything that just tried to bury me.” He spotted Gaurinn beginning to climb the enormous pile of pancakes, which by now had mostly stopped flowing with the exception of a few stray cakes that flopped sadly down the heap. “Beast, where’re you headed?”

Gaurinn turned back, his mandibles clicking disdainfully.
Gaurinn. You don’t look too bright but you can at least remember that, can’t you?” The centipede’s legs impaled countless pancakes as he climbed the pile and squeezed through the door frame. “I want to see what else is in this room.”

Elli nodded, grabbing a few pancakes for later. “Anything interesting?”

The centipede called back, “I hope the two of you are hungry, cause there’s more than pancakes in here. A lot more. Big heap of sausages by the far wall, I think those might be eggs over there… pretty sure that’s a trough full of coffee. Jesus. Can’t even see the floor. You two deadweights better get in here, there’s a door at the other end that’s only half-blocked. Oh hell, I think I got a croissant stuck on one of my legs.”

Cailean turned to Elli, gesturing towards the pancakes. “After you, lass. At least this battle comes with food.”
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by veerserif.

Splitting headache, check.
Vague sense of disorientation, check.
Lost wallet, check.
The last time the trifecta was complete, it had been an... eventful night, to say the least. This was probably going to top that.

Quickly checking that all limbs and extremities were still fully functional, he scrambled to his feet on the hard asphalt carpark. Gabe looked around him. As far as he could tell, this was a perfectly ordinary Denny's, which made no sense at all. If I were an insane genie with the power to snatch people from their homes for a crazy fight to the death, he thought, Denny's would not be my first choice for location. Still, be thankful for little things. And speaking of Denny's, Gabe hadn't eaten yet. He looked forlornly at the lone, squashed and rather badly mistreated energy bar in his hand. It wilted, bits crumbling off.


As if his wishes/whining had been answered, the smell of bacon and pancakes drifted from the building. Coffee, he thought. Good, strong black coffee. Then maybe I could start pretending this is an ordinary day. He started heading for the restaurant, squinting at the offending sunlight and fervently wishing he could will his headache away.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The "Denny's"]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

It’s official: Everyone here is completely insane.

Etiyr had never seen so many irrational people in one place at once. Why couldn’t they just obey the evil manipulative typewriter? I mean seriously. First AMP spazzes on it, and then what’s-his-face went and stabbed that guard, and ran off without a second thought! Not even a hello! And although it appreciated shutting that guy up, Etiyr really hated being treated like an inanimate object. The typewriter supposed that was kind of ironic, considering everything.

If Etiyr could sigh, it would have then. The only reasonable course of action was to get someone’s attention. Again. Which meant typing more C’s. It had already written, what, 10 pages of C’s? But it had no choice. C’s it was.

CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC- Oh look someone’s finally found me again.”

Gabe looked down at the typewriter, stopped in his tracks by the strange sight of a typewriter typing itself. This… this was one of the contestants, right? Why was it typing the letter C over and over. Was it broken? Oh. It seemed to be talking to him. Um. How did he communicate with it? Gabe reached down to try to type on Etiyr-

“OK DON’T.” Etiyr quickly typed, <span style="font-family: Courier New">“You can just talk.”


“Oh, um, ok.” Gabe replied, almost jumping away from Etiyr in surprise. It was going to take a while to get used to this.

“Sooo,” he began, holding out the “o” for a while. “You’re a typewriter.”


“Who can think… and talk.”

“Yup, pretty much. Your name's Gabe, right?”

“Yeah, it’s Gabe. Your’s is Etiyr?”

“Yeah, that's my name.”

A long, awkward pause settled between the two, Gabe looking increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, glancing to the door of the Denny’s every so often.

At least he’s not crazy. Well, doesn’t seem crazy. Etiyr hoped it could use Gabe person to actually get somewhere instead of being tossed about like a piece of garbage. Honestly, though, Etiyr wasn’t really sure what to say to the guy. He was pretty reserved, really hard to read. Manipulation powers could only get you so far. A good manipulator played off of another’s psyche, their hopes, dreams, desires, fears. It was hard to do that with particularly stoic personalities, and Gabe seemed to be one of those, at least on the outside.

“Um, would you excuse me?” Gabe began finally breaking the silence, “I was wanting to go into the Denny’s to get some food. I have a really bad headache and stuff, and I’m starving.”

“Oh, sure,” Etiyr quickly replied. <span style="font-family: Courier New">“But would you be so kind as to help me into the Denny’s? I’m a typewriter, and therefore, cannot move.”
“Oh, yeah,” Gabe replied, picking up the typewriter with some effort. “I’ll put you on a table or something, is that ok with you?”

“Yeah, sure.”

They proceeded through the door, Gabe pushing the door open with one of his legs. Of course, neither one got very far, for as soon as he saw the military base interior of the building, Gabe dropped the typewriter in surprise. Directly on his foot.

Needless to say, both of them uttered an expletive or two.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

The Wolf awakened to the smell of ruined meat, and realized it was his own meat that had been ruined. The Wolf had been struck by thunder, and now was a ruin. Strange lights hit off the floor into the Wolf’s eyes, and the Wolf blinked, hoping to find home by smell. There was no smell but burnt man-meat and the ozone smell of the thnder.

Ned rose off the floor, leaning on his staff and resisting his quadripedal urges. This was fucked-up shit beyond the chemicals and music and magic that swirled and snarled within him. Witch and Wolf alike were confused, angry, and frightened out of both their skins.

There was the sound of a ringing phone. The phone was Ned’s phone and it was taped to his torso. He didn’t remember doing that but it seemed to make sense. Ned was impressed that his phone could survive a bad trip come to life and a lightning bolt out of the sky.

Ned tore the tape of his side but the tape had melted into his burnt skin, a bit, and he howled in pain. He picked it up and struggled for words, coming up with nothing better than growls.

It was Greg. “Ned, where are you?” said Greg, after what must have seemed an awkward silence on his end. To the Wolf, the silence serves only to remind one of one’s resolve. “I’ve got the Old Pukeson guys together, we’re going to check out what’s going on at Denny’s. You there?”

Ned found his words. “I’m um. I’m in Denny’s right now, I think.” That sounded true; there was a man… “Sorry, Greg, I’m a bit, rrrr, off the reservation.” It was an old joke but a good one, in that it was true. Ned reflected that a Navajo with third-degree burns looked much the same as a white man with third-degree burns, or even a wolf with third-degree burns. His ears pricked up. Something was happening in another part of Denny’s.

There must have been another awkward silence, because Greg said, “Ned? You’re skinwalking, aren’t you? Jesus.”

“Jesus has nothing to do with it, Greg. I’ll see you.” The Wolf hung up and tossed the phone aside, assuming he could find it later. Walking hurt, but running was easy.

Outside was a man who had dropped something on his foot. There was a brief, fearful moment of eye contact, and the Wolf, knowing itself to be injured, submitted and ran.

By avoiding the smell of meat Ned found himself in a room where nothing seemed to be, and collapsed. The juxtaposition of the most intense pain he’d felt in his life and the drug-induced euphoria of the beast was really starting to fuck with him. There was a song playing in his head and he felt like maybe the moon was going to swallow up the sky and crash into the desert, kicking down the buildings like so much sand and leaving nothing but that special southwestern brand of nature in all its inglory. And maybe IHOP. IHOP could stay.

Ned was hungry, but the Wolf was Hungry, capital “H” like the sound of a canine tongue licking canine lips. He felt hot on the outside and cold on the inside like undercooked meat. Something inside him was growling and it wasn’t him and it was him, and something outside him was growling and it wasn’t him and it wasn’t him either.

The dogs put their feet down like drums. They glowed with the thunder inside them and shined like the moon. The Wolf would have thought they were beautiful if the Wolf were to recognize any beauty beyond the chemical euphoria of the beast.

The dogs growled and the Wolf growled back. An accord was reached. There were animal feats to be achieved in this cold, bright place, and miles to walk in this skin. A pack of three, the Wolf and the dogs walked together back towards the smell of man.

When Ned was young he’d had a dog, a Labrador that was crying all the time. The dog’s eyes were fine, but he was always crying, like a statue of a Christian saint. Ned didn’t understand that at all.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Jakester390.

"So what do you say, do we have an agreement?"

"Yes. On one condition. This would not be an alliance to kill all the other contestants. It would be an alliance of knowledge, so that we and everyone else could possibly escape this ... Glorious Championsip."

"You do realize that we are going up against a nearly/beyond omnipotent being right? After all, in order to shrink an object from whatever your previous size to this would have to do one of two things denied by the laws of physics. They would have to either shrink all your atoms, or overcome the electron/neutron repulsion force and reduce the space between the atoms without collapsing you to a black hole. Plus, since he dragged us all here for his entertainment, he's probably going to be watching us the whole time. Even with the odds stacked like this, you still want to try to escape?"

"We're ... we're working on it. But it is a non-negotionable term for the alliance."

"Just making sure you knew what you were getting into. I accept of course, I'm all for the idea. First things first though, we should probably exchange technologies. So since you're from the end of the universe, you probably have some sufficent space-warping technology. So I'll give you time-warping technology for space-warping technology."

"What about paradoxes? Suppose that our escape plan works and we manage to return to our own universes, could we use said technology to go back and convince people to start preventing the Big Crunch earlier, and thus create one?"

"Pfft. Not my universe, not my problem. Anyway, time travel works differently in every universe. For example, in mine there is only one time traveler, whose duty it is to prevent paradoxes and who can't age. In your universe, the timestream might be extremely mutable, to the point where you could kill your grandfather when he was six and suffer no ill effects."

"Then why don't you travel back and kill the lunatic running this before he summons all of us?"

"Because time travel is based on the universal constants. Unless we can find them, I can't time travel. Plus, it requires a riduculous amount of energy. But that is beyond the point. The best way to solve as many problems as possible at once is to find an internet connection. The Denny's is a good a place to start as any."

Quantos and Lucky, having reached an accord on their goals and future action, finally set off to try and find an internet connection in the Denny's.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by veerserif.

Five or six choice expletives later, Gabe stooped down to pick up Etiyr. When he looked up, a man with wolf eyes looked back. He was badly burned, the animal skin on his back putrid and rotting. He managed not to scream at the sight of the blistered skin. Run, screamed every cell in his body, muscles tensing up and adrenaline coursing through his veins, but the throbbing in his foot reminded him he was in no state to leave. For an agonising moment, the might-be-man-might-be-wolf looked like he was going to come closer - but it passed, and it ducked its head down and left.

Gabe slumped heavily onto the floor, letting out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. Surreptitiously wiping his palms on his shirt,he picked Etiyr up and cradled it (him?) under one arm, almost gingerly. The green pallid lighting made the typewriter look much more sinister than it had any right to be. The walls still echoed with the sound of off-kilter footsteps getting further away.

"Do you..." Gabe coughed, and tried to stop his voice from cracking. "Do you have any idea what that is?"

<font color="white">Etiyr considered. "No."

That... that was not good.

"Maybe we could venture into the building. If nothing else, we might find a way into the promised land of pancakes, bacon and coffee." Pushing himself up, Gabe cradled the typewriter in his arms and walked further into the labyrinth of corridors.</font>
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

This was the opening. This was the chink in the armor. Etiyr could now pry that chink and turn in into a big gaping hole, leaving this human vulnerable to its influence. The fear in Gabe’s eyes, that emotional burst. He was preoccupied with things other than a malevolent typewriter. Now was the time to strike, and slowly leech this poor sap’s free will.

As Gabe slowly walked into the next room, Etiyr quickly formulated a line of questioning that would slowly endear the typewriter to him, to gain his trust and swiftly abuse it. Just as they were about to reach the doorway into whatever lay beyond, it laid its trap of words.

“So, why do you think the Genie guy picked you to be in this battle to the death?”

Gabe glanced down at the typewriter suspiciously. “Why would I tell you? You’re one of my opponents.”

“Well, it seems pretty apparent we’ve made an alliance, especially considering how you fondled me back there.”

With a quick chuckle and nervous smile on his face, the current focus of Etiyr’s energies shrugged his shoulders. “Heh, sorry about that. I wasn’t really thinking about your response to…” Gabe began, his voice slowly trailing off, before picking up again. “But yeah. I guess we do have an alliance.”

“Well then, Gabe, I’d suggest we tell each other our strengths and weaknesses in order to better formulate this alliance,” Etiyr typed in as an authoritative tone as it could. This was the test. The moment of truth.

“Yeah… I guess you’re right,” Gabe replied after a quick pause.


By now the pair had arrived in the adjoining room, and the first vastly noticeable aspect was the fact that a large pile of pancakes had been spread out across the room, the pile originating from a nearby open door. One would then notice several people had been there before, various pancakes having footprints marking them or holes through their middles.

Regardless of the dubious sanitation of the pancakes, Gabriel uttered a relieved, “Finally, food,” and sat down next to the pile, situating the typewriter into a position where he could read the words on the paper without too much effort. He promptly reached into the smorgasbord, picked out a particularly fresh-looking pancake, and began to munch on it.

“Annnnyyyyywaaaayyyy,” Etiyr continued. <span style="font-family: Courier New">“You were saying?”</span>
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Not The Author.


“Beg pardon, Admiral, but how exactly do you suggest we give him a wormhole generator? Those things need starcraft to haul around-“

“S’arcra’ whi’re th’ size a’ a’oms righ' now. Besi’es, he doesn’ need wormholes jus’ ye’, does he?”

“We’ll be fine, as long as… our gift to him doesn’t endanger us. I would recommend some sort of safeguard should this alleged time-traveller prove dangerous. At least a remote shut-down option.”

“Agreed. Aio, Heng, figure something out.”

“Ayyye, Admirrralll.”

“Aye, Admiral.”

“Speaking of safeguards… Terrence, what weapons do we have?”

“I sought jhou vished peasful cooperaison, Atmiral.”

“I do. Quantos does, presumably. The others may not, if that man is anything to… Oh, what is he…? Open a channel.”


Quantos knelt over the dead guard’s prone form, rifling through his pockets.

What are you doing?”

“Getting supplies. You can send radio signals, right?”

…Yes, we’re able. Wh-

The cyborg waggled a walkie-talkie over his shoulder without turning around.

“In case we need to split up. Ah, sweet, he’s got a flashlight, too!”

Quantos stood, tucking the ill-gotten goods into his coat and propping open the Denny’s entrance for his rotund companion.

“If we’re in this for the long haul I’d rather be prepared. Not like he was using them, anyway. Now come on! We’re falling behind the others.”


“…Cut transmission.”

High Admiral Itzel let out a heavy sigh. Around her, the ship’s chief officers were busy at their various stations, busier than they’d been in decades.

Captain Quirrinal was ensuring that the ship still ran properly, keeping the Admiral from the necessity of dealing with mundane administrative problems. Chief of Security Malfallow was handling the fallout from the djinn’s initial shipwide broadcast – the people had not yet resorted to violence, and if he did his job right, things would stay that way. Helmsman N’ghm was taking in as much data as the scanners could process and sending the readings to Chief Scientist Aio for analysis. Chief Librarian LeBeau was cross-referencing historical data for anything relevant to their current locale; Chief of Communications Szindle was setting up a private outgoing channel for the Admiral’s convenience; and Chief Engineer Heng was constantly busy tweaking various systems and trying to maximize efficiency.

Chief Medical Officer Ameretat had been graced with a minimum of work – in their scramble to make sure no critical failures had occurred at the beginning of the round, they’d not had time to gather information on any of their competition. Since then, they had collected Quantos’ physiological data, but she had found him to be essentially human, and needed to do little further research. The time traveller’s cybernetic elements were more Aio’s field, and while she was building a psychological profile of the man, she couldn’t really determine much in just a few minutes.

Chief Defensive Coordinator Terrence had never had as much to do as anyone else, but he imagined things wouldn’t stay calm for long. A battle to the death was unlikely to leave Lucky without damage.

“Terrence, you heard the man. Better to be prepared.”

Jhes, Atmiral.”


Lucky drifted into the distinctly un-restaurant-like facility.

“Well, this isn’t suspicious at all. Looks like some kind of military base.”

The time traveller poked his head into the room on the left, gaze sweeping across the room.

“Empty. Something happened here recently, though.”

He took a whiff of ozone and burnt flesh, expression turning to disgust as the door slid shut in his wake. Quantos hurried over to the room’s only other exit, gesturing for Lucky to follow. The pair passed into the central chamber, met with the smells of breakfast and the clatter of an aged typewriter.

"Oh, um. Hello...?"
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pick Yer Poison.

As he proceeded through the facility, AMP felt his cold logic fading. However, instead of being replaced by his childlike innocence, he felt a small amount of it remaining in his mentality. Actually, a large amount of it. He no longer felt as trusting as before. Suddenly, it hit him - the scope of what he was involved in. How stupid I was before! He finally grasped the danger he was facing in a way his previous childlike mentality could not have. My system must have decided I was in enough danger to warrant a mental maturing to the point where I could adequately protect myself. Unless...They really designed me for this, and They intended to have me mature at this point. Which means that They would not let me die. AMP paused, at least mentally. In reality, he was still moving around the room relentlessly and pointlessly.

Occam's Razor: Non-nebulous, class Law. The simplest explanation is usually the correct one. For now I will accept that this was a defensive procedure enacted as an involuntary response to danger, barring further evidence that this is the task They intended for me when They designed me. AMP drifted off his aimless wandering and continued into the nearest door. As soon as he entered, his forward camera began scoping the room, shifting from side to side, while the other one slid around to the back of the sphere of metal surrounding his core and locked onto the doorway, keeping watch. AMP moved past the inert body and made a beeline for the wastebasket. Once he reached it, he lifted it into his magnetic field, adjusting the paths of a few structural components to intersect the basket's and flatten it to make it fit more easily around him.

AMP then moved onto the computer, his camera eying it curiously. The screen was filled with glitched graphics and it appeared to be utterly broken from the exposure to his magnetic field. He detected miniscule amounts of metal in it responding to his pull, but not enough to give a cost effective return from attempting to assimilate it, where the cost was the time spent and the yield was the metal received. He elected to ignore it and continued examining the room for anything else that could be useful.

AMP's forward camera rotated around to view the deactivated figure slumped against the wall. His databanks supplied a description to use: dead. While AMP understood the literal meaning of the word, he was aware that there were deeper connotations hidden behind it that he was still unable to comprehend. He considered its antonym, life, and wondered what would have to happen for him to consider the body to be "alive." Movement? AMP gently pushed the body with a structural piece. It fell over onto its side with a dull thump, but AMP still found he was counting it as dead. He decided to continue in the list. Breathing? How do I simulate that? A quick iterative loop down the rest of the virtual checklist showed that there were in fact very few things he could simulate at the moment. Speech, crying, sighing...I cannot simulate these. Perhaps it is best if I just move on. A final glance around the room revealed nothing else of interest, so AMP made for the door again.

He rolled backwards - or rather, he rolled in the direction he had redefined as forwards - through it into a large room full of pancakes. He paused in confusion, the amount of lightning arcing through him increasing as he tried to deduce where this flood might have come from. He had only vague memories of what he had done during Safe Mode, but he did not recall passing through a room full of pancakes on the way. It didn't even look like he could get past them without making his own hole; while he was certainly powerful enough to bash his way through, his databanks told him that pancakes were soft, and large numbers might prove difficult to force past. He began rolling back and forth perpendicular to the stack's edge, looking for a good method of entry.

Suddenly, a human poked his head up from the stack. AMP zoomed in on him and identified the facial structure as belonging to the one introduced by the Hedonist as Cailean Lachlan. He cannot hurt others, even in self defense. Of what use could he be in a battle to the death? Still, every ally I make is one less enemy striving for my downfall, and my odds of survival rise appropriately. AMP's considering lasted less than a moment, and by the time Cailean was bemusedly pulling a pancake off of his head, AMP had his response prepared. A voice emanated from the cheap Denny's drive-thru speaker. It was still tinny and high pitched, but somehow it sounded far more mature than it had been before. "Excuse me, Sir Lachlan, but I would like to take a few moments to converse before we attempt to dismember each other for--"

Cailean shifted his attention to AMP with an expression of mild surprise. "I'm sorry, what?"

AMP obligingly repeated himself. "I would like to take a few moments to converse before we attempt to--"

Elimine emerged from the pile next to Cailean, her cat clinging to the back of her shirt. "I heard voices, what's going on?"

AMP brought his second camera to bear on Elimine. Elimine Fraze. He mentally replayed the introduction given by the Hedonist to himself, and decided that she would also be a valuable ally. "I was intending to have a polite conversation with Sir Lachlan before we--"

Gaurinn chose this moment to burst from the bottom of the heap, various pastries lying on his back and speared on his legs like shishkebabs. He shook himself down along his length to clear the ones on his back off, then began shaking the others off his legs. "I think I've developed a hatred of bread products."

AMP watched the spectacle confusedly for a few moments, until one of the pancakes thrown off by Gaurinn's shaking landed on one of his cameras. He backed up and spun the camera around his center until it went flying off into a wall. He recognized the centipede as Gaurinn. Specialty: Electronics. "Noble Gaurinn, I was attempting to converse with Lady Fraze and Sir Lachlan regarding an alliance. May I hear all of your thoughts on the matter?"

[Image: zjQ0y.gif][Image: vcGGy.gif]
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Adenreagen.

Before Elli, Cailean and Gaurinn left the room.

Elli started climbing the pancakes. Now that she knew that the three of them would work together, she was less concerned with an impending conflict and more worried about her breakfast options. Knowing some of the food that was on the other side of this pancake mountain was more to her style than the pancakes, she crawled through the gap at the top of the door and slid down the pile to the other side. Sliding down the pancakes was easy because they were smothered in syrup, and she managed to stay fairly clean, at least more so than Cailean at any rate.

As she stood up to look around the room she heard him fall down behind her and slide to the bottom, mumbling curses as quietly as he could while Gaurinn walked towards the other side of the room, impaling anything he stepped on and toppling any pile of food in his way. Gaurinn told the truth about the state of the room. There were eggs and sausages, yes, but there was also a giant pig built from ham and bacon, pyramids of breakfast burritos and giant loaves of French toast, most of which were jamming the opposite door. They filled the doorway and looked to be too heavy to move out of the way, so they needed a way get rid of them.

“Hey, get your boyfriend off the ground and help me get through this door, I’d like to see what else is in here while I’m still young.” Gaurinn called from the door.

Elli offered Cailean a hand up, but he ignored it. Choosing to salvage what was left of his pride and get up unassisted. Walking over to the door, Elli and Cailean started helping Gaurinn clear the door, though there was so much food it would be easier if the door were to open and cause another food avalanche. Still, they kept at it, working hard to clear the doorway.

Elli put her hands on a waffle stack and started to push, but they slipped between up to her elbow before she stopped pressing.

“Forget it,” she breathed after getting her arm out, “There’s so much syrup on these things that there’s no way we’ll be able to push them out of the way.”

“I don’t see what’s wrong, you slackers just don’t know the right way to do things here.” Gaurinn was, rather than moving food, simply spearing it with his legs and shaking them off away from the door.

“Fine, heck with this, I’m hungry and I don’t see why I can’t also enjoy myself in this room. Gaurinn, you’re apparently moving food the best, you handle it.” Elli grabbed Cailean by the arm and led him towards the food. Sitting down next to the bacon pig, she grabbed one of the plates that made up his feet and started digging into his side as well as the food around it. She handed the plate to Cailean and started filling a second for herself while Gaurinn continued by the door, talking about how lazy they were and what an ugly couple they made.

Ned was lost in the euphoria of the Wolf, and the dogs of his pack Hungered to find man. Something was wrong though. There was a strange scent in the air, a spirit like Wolf in a place filled with the aura of man. It didn’t have a physical tie to the world like Wolf did: it had a form of its own, and was in the room with him. Ned’s pack turned towards the spirit and lunged at it, but it dodged their attacks as if made of air.

Ned’s charge was the slowest and when he stumbled and fell it formed on his back and mewed directly in his ear. Ned’s body writhed in agony, and his mind screamed in terror, but Wolf laughed at the “attack.” It felt no more harmful to him than if it were a real cat and he a real wolf. Acting through Ned’s body, he lunged at the spirit, though it evaporated out of his grasp before he could fasten his teeth around it. Wolf knew that the body would recover with his help, and that the weaker spirit could run all it wanted. He would find it and it would be his.

Wolf forced the body to his bidding, and looked at his pack. They were his only pack in this world, and he needed them like nothing else in this world. His only regret was when he returned to the realm of spirits, this pack would be left behind. Their only chance to hunt would be in this place of steel, this fortress of man. Wolf felt the sharp regret of that realization, an emotion it had never felt before, but shook it away, moving the man and leaning him against his staff in spite of the second assault it had in a short time.

When her cat appeared in the room, shaking, Elli knew that it had found something that it didn’t like, whether it was someone else or something, she wasn’t sure. Gaurinn hadn’t made much progress on the door, and he had started commenting darkly on the type of man who would eat so much pasty and not become bloated. When the cat appeared, Cailean had shifted away from it as much as he could without looking uncomfortable by its appearance.

“Hey kitty, who’s a good kitty. You’re shaking! Did you find something that scared you? Oh, poor baby… What? What the hell’re you looking at?” Cailean was staring at Elli fuss over the cat, and it was starting to weird her out. “I like my cat, alright? He’s spooked and I want to know why.”

"I see that, but you’re an odd lass. Are you like this with all animals? Because you treat them very different from people.” Cailean had never seen a girl like this, who was gruff with other people and a sweetheart with her animal. Most people he knew were one or the other, usually just the first.

“He’s mine and we’re bonded together so yea, I care about him. And if something freaks him out, then it’s probably a big problem, and we’re going to have to take care of it.”

”Well, anything we do is going to be better than trying to clear this door, it’s going nowhere." Gaurinn had given up on the doorway. "It’s like whenever I clear some, more just pour in from the other side. Unless one of you has a better idea, I’m done with this fool’s errand.”

Having apparently reached a consensus, Elli and Cailean stood up and started heading towards the door they originally came in.

“Give me a leg up, lass,” Cailean told Elli, “It’s harder to get up this thing than get down.”

“And judging by how you got down, you of all people would have a hard time getting up.” Gaurinn chuckled.
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

The road and the station wagon were in a harmonious state of disrepair, jostling Greg, Tabby, Nate, Venison, and Moot like a particularly painful theme park ride.

“Sorry about the car,” said Greg, who was attempting to maneuver his right elbow out of Tabby’s left breast with about as much success as he had ever had getting prizes out of claw machines. “He’s kind of… well I don’t call him ‘she’ for one thing.”

“Don’t worry about it, New Guy,” said Nate. Greg wasn’t sure why any of these people, all of whom he had known for years, were calling him New Guy, but he assumed it was Nate’s fault and Tabby was only following his lead. Nate was a born leader and almost certainly descended from some sort of chief (not that anyone gave a fuck, this far off the reservation). Like most Navajo in Old Pukeson, he had a bit of wolf blood in him. Despite the fact that Nate could get commanding when he wanted to (for one thing, he had somehow ended up driving Greg’s car), Greg was consistently surprised by how laid-back he was most of the time, and he suspected it was racist of him to think this.

“Yeah, Greg, I’m kind of in love with your car,” added Tabby. Tabby seemed distant today, presumably because she had dyed her hair yesterday so that it would perfectly match her wardrobe of eight Three Wolf Moon t-shirts, and subsequently complained that the color didn’t end up “100% cottony enough.” Tabby was a nice enough girl and had a sort of Northern Belle look about her that led Greg to suspect he should probably be trying to get in her pants.

Greg sighed. Nowadays he felt he empathized more with the two non-verbal members of this little group, Moot and Venison. Moot was nearly seventy years old, didn’t or couldn’t speak a word, and still managed to project that if he could speak, he would be calling Greg “New Guy.” Moot was a hilarious guy, if you could understand his jokes, many of which he made entirely through eye gestures. There was a rumor about Moot that he was the former mayor of Pukeson, which Greg had to admit would explain absolutely everything.

The car turned into the Denny’s parking lot and Venison whimpered, as though begging for an expository paragraph. Venison was Nate’s partner-in-crime and rightful owner of the passenger’s seat. Like most dogs in Pukeson, he had a bit of wolf blood in him. He was the sort of mutt that just keeps getting bigger the more genes you throw into his lineage, and he was terrified of cars, which was disconcerting for everybody (read: Greg).

So when they were crossing the parking lot Greg’s guard partner was dead on the ground with a hole in his chest, a stump on his wrist, and his pockets turned out. Moot turned his head towards the corpse solemnly, and Venison licked its face. That was that. They proceeded.

Learning that the Denny’s he’d been guarding for so long was actually a very hygienic military establishment that only faintly smelled of breakfast came as something of a shock to Greg. This shock was allayed somewhat by the fact that the group quickly found itself faced with exactly the sort of crowd you’d expect to find hanging around a Denny’s in the afternoon: a good-looking young man with a prosthetic arm, a good-looking young man holding an old-fashioned typewriter like it were his mother or his heroin kit, and what appeared to be the bubble monster from the Prisoner.

The Bubble monster seemed to be the first to react to their entrance. “Code rainbow! Code rainbow!” came a voice from inside the bubble-thing. It began to hover over to a nearby door. “Listen, Gabe, Quantos, do not let those people near us. We’ll be in the next room doing anything we can to inoculate ourselves against infection, radio us if you need us.”

The sphere, which Greg had decided reminded him more of the Death Star, left the room for someplace that seemed to be the source of the breakfast-smell. Greg, Tabby, Nate, Moot, and Venison were left with the two human-looking fellows. “What did it mean by ‘code rainbow?’” Greg asked Moot, who shrugged. He was certain, for some reason, that it had been referring to him personally.

”Um, hi,” said typewriter guy. “I’m Gabe. You’re not in the, um, the contest, are you?”

”I don’t think so?” said Greg. “Nate can explain better than I—“

“Nah, New Guy, you got this one,” retorted Nate. Greg felt betrayed. Venison barked helpfully.

Greg stepped up to typewriter guy and arm guy, who looked at him suspiciously. “Um, hi,” he said. “I’m New G…reg. New Greg.”

“New Greg!” shouted Tabby. “I like that.”

“We, uh, we heard, or rather, um, they heard from me, that, you know, some crazy shit was going down over by Denny’s, and we were all pretty hungry anyway, and Nate’s little brother’s gone missing, so—”

”Oh,” said the guy with the arm. “Ooooooh, I get it. Yeah, Gabe, this is the eighth player.”

That didn’t sound good. “Me?” asked Greg.

”All of you. A set of ideas that… manipulates cultural… something. The Convolution. Listen, New Greg. I think you’re only here because your thoughts are being guided by some sort of… crazy entity made of ideas who is going to try and manipulate you into killing us.”

Everything suddenly clicked for Greg. Everything he had said or done today made so much sense in the context of the realization that he was gay and had always been gay. This epiphany gave New Greg some measure of confidence. “Cool,” he said about that other thing. “Is he hot?”

* * * * *

Itzel stopped panicking when N’ghm informed her that they were out of range, just in time to start panicking again. Someone handed her a note. On it was written, Psi-defenses prevented 99.8% of cultural contamination. “Not good enough,” the High Admiral said, to nobody in particular.

“Malfallow!” she growled. “Increase police presence in areas that might be contaminated. No, scratch that, decrease police presence. No, fuck it, increase police presence. No time for the velvet glove. LeBeau, Szindle, Aio, figure out which of you is in charge of this shit and begin preparing anti-body memes. I want posters, seminars, rallies… I dunno, sporting events, anything. Bread and circuses. How fast can we reform education? Can we do that?”

“Asssk the edjucasshion minnnissterrr.”

“We have an education minister?”

Itzel put her hands up in front of her, which wasn’t a universally recognized symbol for “everyone shut up for a second,” but it ought to have been. A wave of confidence washed over her, and she allowed herself to take a deep breath. “Shit, that could have been bad,” she groaned.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by engineclock.

Cailean flinched inwardly at the title of “Sir” the mad cloud of metal had given him. He wasn’t anything like a knight, him. Not a real one, outside of what Maowyn had decided. He wasn’t of any good blood or glory. The nearest he’d ever managed to get was the Taccha’s favor, but he suspected she would have chosen anyone lucky enough to die on the shores of her lake.

“Thoughts? You’re a flying junkyard. To be honest I’m a little disappointed, I mean, I shoot electricity, armor guy here’s got some kind of knife fetish, and I’m not even entirely sure what the chick’s deal is. Frankly I think you’re gonna need to up your ante.”

No, that wasn’t important. He’d not been focused lately. It was too easy to forget that this was a battle when the other fighters weren’t looking to kill him. The metal storm (he didn’t know what else to call it; he didn’t want to think too hard about what was happening) was talking about an alliance now, like they wouldn’t have to cut each other’s throats later. Or whatever it had instead of a throat. It wouldn’t be as hard as killing the others, he guessed, not that he could if he wanted to, anymore. Not nearly as hard as doing the same to the lass.

“You’re gonna have to excuse Gaurinn, he’s got a rather unique personality. Look, we’re all just trying to survive right now, I don’t want to turn you away but we’ve basically got half the battle here right now. This is a pretty large group, and I’m not sure I can trust you. Any of you, actually.”

But it wouldn’t come to that. Of course it hadn’t in a long time, Maowyn wouldn’t have it any other way. Not for the first time or the last Cailean wondered if this still wasn’t some test he assumed he was failing. That wasn’t much like her though, hiding under illusions to make her point. The Taccha didn’t have need for sneaking around. One of the lesser Tach, then? Which of them had a deathwish to interfere with Maowyn’s plans?

Though, he thought, it wasn’t like her either to trouble herself over what happened to him unless one of her conditions was being broken. He had never much understood those, even if he’d not dared to question them. Harm no being while it breathed, what else was he supposed to do? He was a soldier. Useless now, of course. He should have died on the field of a sword through the chest months ago, but Maowyn had her plans.

“But Lady Fraze! I could never harm a fair creature like your lovely self. Or at least I will pledge as much if you permit me to join you and your companions! Surely this will be of utmost benefit to us all, do you not agree?”

No being while it breathed…

“Look, I’m not saying you couldn’t help, but- look, you know what, fine. I’m not going to make a big deal out of this. You can come with us if you want but if you try anything blah blah blah you can guess where I’m going with this, can’t you?”

Maowyn wouldn’t make it that easy.

“Oh, wonderful, just what we need, floating shrapnel! We might as well tell Tubs to call this battle off, because I don’t think it can get any better than this.”

…But this wasn’t Maowyn’s doing, was it?

“Well at least he’s actually polite. Maybe he can teach you something about being remotely pleasant to talk to, Gaurinn.”

“Please. Like you’re any easier to deal with. If he’s going to come along I don’t even know how I’m going to manage any intelligent conversation.”

Cailean glanced over at AMP. A flying maelstrom of metal. What were the chances of something like that coming across his path?

“Speaking of which, Cailean? I suppose you get some say in this.”

It was a lot easier to handle a fight when you could actually kill your opponents.

“More the merrier, lass. Let’s have him along.”

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Jakester390.

Okay Quantos, think. This is just like dealing with a paradox. First, identify the situation, then the problem. Situation: The Convolution currently possesses the being in front of me, calling itself “’New Greg’. Problem: The Convolution has the ability to influence ideas around it to form a culture, thus influencing any group. Solution: culture is the spread of ideas through communication. Ergo, little/no communication leaves The Convolution with no power.

“The Convolution spreads itself through culture, which is spread through communication. Until this potential threat is neutralized, keep communication to an absolute minimum.”

But what about –”

”Abosulute. Minimum. Communication. Etiyr, you won’t be much help here.”

As Quantos pushed Etiyr back with his metallic arm, a burning feeling slowly spread throughout Etiyr’s typewriter body. “OW OW OW! WHAT WAS THAT FOR!”

”What do you mean?”


”No idea what you are talking about. Currently counterproductive.”

While this conversation was going on Gabe suddenly had a great epiphany. If he could turn his hand into any powered construction tool, maybe he could change it to a powered tool of a different profession. Maybe something from the riot police. A taser perhaps? Gabe focused and felt the familiar shifting of his hand changing into the tool of his choice. After his hand settled into the taser’s shape, he figured he might as well give it a shot. Gabe aimed the taser at ‘New Greg’

New Greg was still coming to terms with his newly realized sexuality when he felt two soft thuds on his chest. Looking down, he saw the two prongs of a taser, not unlike those more professional guards sometimes wear. Just as he realized this, the bolt of electricity sparked along the wires and hit New Greg in the chest knocking him out cold.

Quantos glanced over from talking with Etiyr and realized that Gabe had changed his right hand to a taser and zapped ‘New Greg’. “Woah. Where did that come from?” he said while running over to check the guard’s pulse.

“I have the ability to change my right hand to any powered tool. I used to think it was just construction, but I guess I can change it to other powered tools as well.”

“Well however you did it, you knocked this guy out cold. Good job,” Quantos said, patting Gabe on the back with his right arm. A spark of electricity bounded off the arm and hit Gabe in the back, causing him to grimace slightly. “Sorry, it does that sometimes. You guys go ahead, I’ll let Lucky know The Convolution is gone.”

After Gabe and Etiyr headed into the next room and out of hearing range, Quantos leaned outside the room where Lucky had retreated and pushed the talk button on the radio. “Lucky, The Convolution has been taken care of. I fused the badge to Gabe’s jacket, so as long as you stay away from him, you should be fine.”

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by veerserif.

Tasers! Why hadn't he thought of that before? Gabe resolved to try newer forms for his hand. Pepper spray? Would that work? Maybe if he ate enough pepper -
The hearty slap on his back, courtesy of Quantos, broke him out of his thoughts. After he left the room, Gabe turned to Etiyr. "You alright? You didn't sound so good."

The typewriter's first instinct was to stay silent. Minimal communication - possession by the Convolution was a very risky prospect. On the other hand, Gabe's trust still needed careful cultivation. Etiyr made his choice.

"I'm fine. I will be fine. Time travellers, they build up static." ding!
<span style="font-family: courier new">"By the way... there's something on your back."
The clack, clack, clack of the keys slowed down to an (appropriately) ominous crawl.

Gabe tried to twist round. He patted the back of his jacket to no avail. "Where?"

"Between your shoulder blades. Quantos' slap, remember?"

He removed his jacket to inspect it. "I guess the slap did tingle a bit. That was odd..." He looked over the jacket, careful not to let the trinkets in the pockets fall out. "How big is it? What exactly does it look like?" Etiyr was silent.

The much-worn and much-loved jacket looked absolutely normal. Gabe ran his hands over the material; it felt smooth under his fingers, exactly the same as it always had been. No raised bump, no cold metal, not the slightest hint of purple or yellow. Or triangles. He merely raised an eyebrow before putting the jacket back on. Would Etiyr lie to him? Were sentient typewriters even capable of doing so? And just how much pepper would he really need to eat to get a good stream of pepper spray going?

He nudged New Greg with his toe. The guard groaned a little, said something suspiciously similar to "...nap" and stayed silent again. He probably hadn't come alone, though. That would be a problem - maybe he should regroup with Quantos and the Mini-Death Star? (Lucky, he chided himself.) "Quantos!" He walked into the room, typewriter under one arm.

Here we go. "Gabe! Good use of taser back there. Any other surprises you've got?" Inwardly, he hoped that he could convince Gabe to leave as soon as possible. Quantos smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Well, you'll be one of the first to know. Actually, I wanted to ask something. Etiyr here -" he motioned towards the typewriter in his arms " - said I had something on my back, but I didn't find anything on my jacket. Check for me, will you?"

The fist-sized badge was stuck squarely between his shoulderblades, flush with the surface of the jacket. It even rippled and moved with the fabric. If it wasn't the manifestation of a stroppy homicidal sentient ball of ideas, Quantos might have admired its hiding ability.

"Nope, I don't see anything. Trick of the light, maybe." He coughed. "Do you want to check in on Lucky?" He handed the radio to Gabe, and sidled out of the room as soon as he could.

* * * *

"Admiral? It's trying to talk to us."
It was a bad day to be High Admiral Itzel. "Malfallow, get those men on the streets now. Heng, have we got anything to screen incoming transmissions? And try and boost the psi-defences while you're at it."

Malfallow nodded, and Heng saluted in reply.

"Sir, you will cease transmissions immediately. We have reason to suspect you have been contaminated by the Convolution. Goodbye."

Chief Medical Officer Ameretat looked sombre. "Admiral, we've received some reports of a few scuffles in the lower decks. Hopefully it won't spread to the rest of the ship provided the education reforms hold, but we'll do what we can for now."

So it begins, though Itzel glumly.

* * * *

Gabe heard the sound of Lucky retreating the room as quickly as possible. In frustration, he threw the walkie-talkie at the floor as hard as he could. It didn't even have the courtesy to break.

"There is NOTHING on my back, dammit!" Leaving the walkie-talkie on the floor, Gabe headed back out to the maze of corridors where he met the wolf-man. Perhaps the other contestants would help.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Being ignored was making Tabby upset.

By which she means of course she was upset that the dude with the typewriter had gone all Terminator and dropped New Greg with something that looked suspiciously police-y. That was simply awful and there would need to be an accounting. But the fact that all the crazies had subsequently elected to completely disregard the other four people in the room was simply insulting. Tabby elected to resolve this situation by insulting them back.

When it became evident that Gabe and Quantos didn’t care a whit whether or not they were shitfucking cyborg psycho cops, Nate stepped in. “I don’t think there’s much we can do to get them to notice us.”

Tabby whimpered. “What if you punched one of them?”

Nate made a fist, held it up in the air in front of him and seemed to consider it. He shook his head. “Either they keep ignoring us, or they hurt me back. Lose/lose.”

Moot walked up to Quantos and began waving his hands in front of the man’s face. He jumped back like a frightened dog when Quantos brought his robo-arm up and slapped
Gabe in the back. Nate beckoned and Moot returned to the huddle.

“Did you hear what they were talking about?” whispered Nate, as though worried about being heard. “’An entity made of ideas,’ right? They think we have some kind of brain-virus but it’s obviously them that have it, and it’s making them ignore us and carry around typewriters in a Denny’s and shit.”

Tabby and Moot nodded and Venison growled affirmatively. “We’d better get New Greg and get out of here, then,” advised Tabby. “Before we catch the super-Alzheimer’s too.”

Moot gave a thumbs-up and walked over to New Greg’s prone form, dragging him by the arms. Tabby put an arm on Moot’s shoulder, stopping him. “Aww, Moot honey, don’t strain yourself. Your back.” She intoned the words “your back” as though that settled it, but Moot shot her a stubborn look and picked up New Greg’s hands. Nate got his feet and they began to carry the unconscious man out of Denny’s.

Before Tabby could follow, Venison began to bark at Gabe, who, after briefly puzzling over the area where New Greg had been, had finally decided to head out of the room. Tabby followed the dog’s gaze to a chic-looking purple badge on the man’s back. She hadn’t noticed it before, and it was an interesting look, to the extent that it slightly changed her opinion of the man.

Tabby looked down at her Three Wolf Moon t-shirt, which still didn’t quite match her hair. Maybe it was time for a change.

She ran to catch up with Moot and Nate. “Well, if we’re done here, can we go to the thrift store? I need new clothes.”

* * * * *

Venison stayed behind. He smelled bacon. Not that “dogs don’t know it’s not bacon” shit (that advertising campaign is about as patronizing as an ad for meth with the slogan “junkies don’t know it’s not heroin”) but real, greasy, straight-out-the-pig bacon.

Venison knew that his master would be worried about him, but the dog took a “make-money-fuck-bitches” attitude towards that sort of thing, and bacon was like a bitch wrapped in money. The bacon was easy to find, but he also found a man and a girl-man and a hideous giant-bug abomination and a bunch of sharp-looking things there. And a cat. “Wüf,” said Venison, by way of introduction.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

In his anger and confusion, Gabe had unfortunately left Etiyr on the floor with the walkie-talkie. As he walked off, Etiyr tried to clack as loud as it could to get the carpenter’s attention, to no avail. The typewriter, evidently, was quite pissed.

Fuck, it thought to itself. Fucking fuck fuck. Why can’t anyone carry me around for more than 10 minutes!? I mean seriously, how can you manipulate anyone when they all have the attention span of a four year old with ADHD? I thought Gabe at least would be dependable in this respect!

At least some kernel of trust had been planted within Gabe, though. With some luck, Etiyr could resume its scheme relatively easily if he ever saw the guy again.

Which he might not, considering that badge on Gabe’s back. What a jerk, stealing him like that. Seriously, Gabe was supposed to be the typewriter’s host! Mr. Badge had probably even kept him from hearing Etiyr’s clacking, the bastard.

It had to give this Convolution guy props, though; he was an ok manipulator. But not as nearly as good as Etiyr was, for sure. Hiding your manipulations is the telltale mark of an amateur.

The Typewriter wondered how the sentient culture worked. How was he able to be all omnipresent like that or something, an manipulate people not touching the badge? Maybe he like, used tendrils of consciousness or something. Or maybe a cloud. A cloud would be cool.

The cloud model might mean that Etiyr could try and talk to the thing, if he could see without eyes like Etiyr did. Gabe hadn’t gone too far or anything, so maybe the cloud was still around there. It was a long shot, but it was worth a try, and Etiyr was in the venting mood anyway. The type writer began clacking away.

“Hey, hey Convolution-badge face. If you can see or hear me or whatever sensory processing you use, guess what. I fucking hate you. You steal Gabe like he’s your plaything, when in reality, he was my fucking plaything. I mean, what’s with that? Where’s the honor among manipulators, I mean seriously. I found him first! And I was doing a really good job, too. We were starting to get weird sexual subtext and everything. And now you come along and steal him away like some kind of manipulatah-playah, when you’re really just a really big mind-whore. I mean, seriously, how many minds are you controlling right now? Even if it’s like, five or something, genie man told us you controlled cultures and stuff. I mean seriously, what a slut. At least I devote myself to one mind at a time. Then I promptly kill them, but whatever. Plus, you don’t really talk or interact or anything! Yeah, you got a guy named “New Greg,” and his posse or whatever big whoop. He’s stupid. Everything you control is stupid. The only thing that isn’t stupid that you control is Gabe, but he was mine in the first place. And so since you’re controlling stupid people n’shit, you come off as some gigantic enigmatic dickface. Yup, you’re a jerkish, enigmatic dickface. No wonder you’re a fucking mind-whore. You’re not even all that good at manipulating, obviously, since you can’t let people know you exist. You just go all hidey hidey, away into a badge or whatever and do you’re thing, like the amateur you are. You’re a coward, too, for immobilizing me and not letting me fight. You’re a big scaredy-cat, afraid of the demonic typewriter getting reading to smash your metaphorical dickskull in. So you go and steal my smashing tool to protect your precious fuckin’ face like a pussy. But here’s the thing, Convolution, I’ll find another fucking tool, even if it’s not smashing or something, and then burn or drill or chop that smug dick right of your incompetent, enigmatic face. So to reiterate, you’re stupid, incompetent, unresponsive, a big cheat, I hate you, and if you ever want to go, tell it to my face instead of being some stupid host-stealer.

Fuck You,


The Typewriter then allowed the paper to fall out onto the ground, to let the Convolution or whatever find it or keep reading it. It didn’t matter, because letting his paper fall out was pretty much the most violent thing the typewriter could do and so was intended to be pretty offensive. Another paper materialized to replace the old one.

Meanwhile, The Convolution was busy attending to its hosts. The Convolution’s consciousness didn’t work like that.

Now that that was out of his system, Etiyr could think about the other contestant that had interested him: Lucky. In many ways, the typewriter could there were many many people inside that ship. But in other ways, it acted as its own entity, conscious all its own. Kind of like how an ant colony was... but sentient.

It surely would be interesting, to try to manipulate that thing, wouldn't it?, Etiyr thought to himself. He decided to set that as a long term goal, something fun to do when he had the opportunity.

With most of its thoughts finished, the typewriter was ready to (hopefully) have someone pick him up again. And so, once again, the typewriter began to type that third letter of the alphabet. Over. And Over. And Over.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Jakester390.

”Lucky, are you there? I manage to lose Gabe and The Convolution.”

"Are you clear from infection of The Convolution?”

”I think so. As culture is an influence on communication, I took to thinking in binary, as you can't change the contents without changin the thought, so I should be safe.”

"Alright. So the question is now how to procede.”

”Well the way I see it, we have a couple options. Option A, we head back throught the entrance, the way Gabe went, and risk you being infected by The Convolution. Option B, we have a room full of pancakes and assorted items where it will be much harder to maneuver.”

"Well given the two options, it’s obvious option B is superior.”

”Or... Option C. We go through the wall.” Quantos said, raising his mechanical arm, a smile slowly spreading across his face.


Quantos and Lucky returned to the intersection room where Etiyr was waiting, typing page after page of “C”s. The metallic clacking bursting against Quantos ears, he said, “Would you stop that!”

Oh, finally. I though no one would get here. Listen do you think you two could help me out here? Maybe give me a lift to some other help if you are too busy?

"I don’t see why not. Quantos could you give Etiyr a lift into the other room?”


The second Quantos’s metallic arm touched Etiyr’s body, once more a searing pain coursed through its body. “OW OW OW! PUT ME DOWN PUT ME DOWN!”

”What is it?” Quantos said, placing Etiyr down on the floor next to a discarded piece of paper.

Etiyr, realizing that Quantos would be unable to carry him since whenever Quantos touched him caused a searing pain. Then I guess I’ll have to work on Lucky earlier than I thought.Quantos appears to unintentionally cause me pain whenever he picks me up, so I was wondering if you could give me some sort of way to move on my own.”

"We don’t know... if you were entered without any means of movement into a battle to the death, then that implies some sort of higher offensive capability. What do you think Quantos?”

Quantos looked up from reading the discarded piece of paper. “I think that we should utterly ignore any requests that Etiyr gives us, since this piece of paper is basically a gigantic rant about how he is angry at The Convolution for taking away his ‘mind puppet.’ It’s pretty obvious from this that you see yourself as an excellent manipulator. So how about this instead: we leave you here and you never bother us again, and I will get rid of this incriminating piece of paper for you.”

How about you instead give me to someone else in the vicinity.” Etiyr said, placing all of his persuasion into those few words.

Quantos smirked and said, “Alright.”

Once again, the second Quantos’s metal arm touched Etiyr, a searing pain carried itself throughout Etiyr’s body. “I CHANGED MY MIND! PUT ME DOWN PUT ME DOWN.” After Quantos had placed Etiyr back on the ground, the typing slowed and Etiyr typed, defeated: “You win. I accept your terms.”

“Good. Now to do what we came here to do.”


“Alright Lucky, I can only hold open the wall for so long, so I need you to go through as fast as possible once it opens. I’ll be right behind you.” With that prelude stated Quantos’s arm sparked up, accelerating the particles in the wall to a gaseous state, revealling a wall of ammo crates. “GO!”

Lucky dashed through the hole, knocking down several ammo crates and revealling what looked like a war-worn cyborg. Said cyborg proceeded to open fire on Lucky with what could only be described as a machinegun instead of an arm. While this was happening Quantos dived through the hole just in time to see the mysterious cyborg open fire on Lucky.

Thinking quickly Quantos froze the bullets in the air, cancelling their momentum but drastically lowering Quantos’s remaining coolant supply.”Stop firing! We don’t want to attack you!”

”Why are you protecting that abnormal spy sphere? Get over here and help me kill it!”

”Because it’s not a spy sphere! It’s a space colony from the future that got shrunk down to this size by an omnipotent being. Wow, I thought that would sound a lot more normal than that. Anyway, that’s Lucky, and I’m Quantos.”

”I’ve heard of weirder things, and I’m inclined to believe a fellow cyborg. My name is Winston. What are you doing here?”

”The omnipotent being I mentioned earlier? He transported Lucky and me, as well as six others here to fight to the death. Right now we’re looking for a wi-fi connection.”

”You don’t have one? Weird, I thought all cyborgs had one, but since you obviously don’t I should mention that I have one built in.”

”Well that’s convenient.”
“There Lucky, you now have all my formulae for time travel. Though quite frankly I just expected you to give me the formulae for space warping technology, rather than offer to give it to me. Nmkjnhamfswsjbaes.”

"The required technology is around the size of small starcraft. But small starcraft for us are around the size of dust. Yvuhdjnqgdpyszwsnypmv.”

”What crazy code language are you speaking?”

”Remember the omnipotent being I mentioned earlier? This is so he can’t listen in our secret conversations. So, no we can’t tell you. So what now Lucky?”

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pick Yer Poison.

AMP sat back and let the debate between his competitors flow over him, taking the opportunity to gain more insight into their personalities. Gaurinn: Abrasive, callous, informal, complains, may underestimate my abilities. Could be useful. Elimine piped up, and AMP shifted his focus to her. Elimine Fraze: Apologetic, skeptical, diplomat, people-pleaser. Basic team material. He fired off a response he hoped would get her on his side, and was rewarded well enough for him to call it a success. Capricous. Elimine turned to Cailean, and one of AMP's cameras did as well. Cailean Lachlan: Stoic, knife fetish. More information required.

"More the merrier, lass. Let’s have him along."

AMP's center mass dipped slightly in as much of a bow as he could manage. "Many thanks, new allies. Now, shall we be on our way?" Noises of consent came from the group, and AMP hovered in the air patiently as he waited for someone to move.

After a few awkward moments without movement, Cailean coughed and shifted. "So, uh, you have anywhere in mind, AMP?"

One of the cameras tracked his face quizzically. "I am ambivalent as to our next location, Sir Lachlan." AMP moved to hover next to the door leading to the room he had exited before the others appeared. "However, I have already scouted this path and found only a damaged information box." He paused, then swiveled the camera towards Gaurinn. "Noble Gaurinn, perhaps you could repair it?"

Gaurinn scuttled over to the door and peered in. "Why ask me to--Christ, there's a dead guy in here." He turned back to AMP. "Did you kill that dude?"

AMP rolled back into the room. "No, he was deactivated when I found him."

Elimine and Cailean joined them. "Deactivated and dead are two different things, AMP." Cailean knelt to examine the body while Elimine and Gaurinn took a look at the computer. "Yep, it's busted. Seems fine on the outside, though. Too bad, I bet we could have used it to at least get a map or something." She turned back to AMP. "Did you get anything from it or was it useless when you got here."

"It is possible my magnetic field had an adverse effect on its processing ability, Lady Fraze." AMP rolled closer to the computer. "Is it repairable, Noble Gaurinn?"

Gaurinn looked back at him bemusedly. "How should I know? I can't even type on a keyboard, much less fix a computer."

AMP paused. "Was your specialty not electronics?"

"Electronics...what? No, that's electricity, pal."

AMP quickly corrected the entry in his database. "I see. Thank you."

"Whatever." Guarinn snaked his way out of the room. "There's nothing here, let's go." Cailean shrugged and stood up from the body, then followed, along with Elimine and AMP. Gaurinn opened the other door just as they entered the main room, and they arrived in time to see him dive to the side as a pair of robotic pitbulls dived out at him. Electricity crackled from Gaurinn's body, and a bolt of lightning connected him and the nearest robot briefly. It jerked around for a few moments and thin wisps of smoke emerged from its joints. One of its legs went stiff, but it proved itself perfectly capable of attacking regardless, leaping at Gaurinn despite the loss of limb, albeit in a rather jerky fashion. The other ran at the trio watching the spectacle.

AMP immediately began calculating. His electrically-driven thoughts, moving at the speed of light, made the robot dogs' movements seem almost slothlike in comparison. The one approaching Gaurinn is a top priority. The one approaching us is a secondary priority. Two mental trajectory lines sketched out the motion paths of the dogs, while similar lines highlighted the possible intercept courses he could place components from his metal cloud in. AMP only took a few nanoseconds to decide on the best course of action.

Less than a second after the dog leaped at Gaurinn, a chunk of metal the size of a computer monitor slammed into it, knocking it backwards. By the time it hit the ground, a few crude spikes had found their way into its head and chest, the most logical places for critical components to be stored. A moment later, the dog charging at the trio was also hit in the face with a magnetically propelled chunk, crushing its head and stopping it dead in its tracks. Without missing a beat, AMP rolled over the nearest dog and began tearing into its lifeless chassis with his metal cloud, breaking the body down and absorbing the broken shards.

Cailean stopped reaching for his knife and Elimine dropped her hand from her trombone. Gaurinn snaked around the destroyed dog chassis near him, expression indecipherable, until AMP finished with the other dog and moved on to the one near Gaurinn. Once he had finished and the clangs of metal clashing against metal subsided, he noted that he had become the center of attention. "Is something the matter, allies?"

Cailean coughed. "Ah, nothing. We best be moving on, methinks." He hastily made his way towards the door, followed by Elimine, Gaurinn, and a somewhat confused AMP.
[Image: zjQ0y.gif][Image: vcGGy.gif]
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by veerserif.

Running up and down corridors was a good workout. At the very least, it might help him thi-
Oh crap.
Gabe groaned and hit his head with a satisfying thunk against the wall. It stung a little. "Christ! He's a bloody typewriter, how hard is it to keep track of an inanimate object?" The shout echoed through the corridor.

He'd lost track of which direction he was going. The corridors might have been identical mirror images for all he could tell; damned secret military complexes and their prefabricated parts. Shrugging, he went for the closest door. It had a jaunty sign reading "BREAK ROOM" in a hideous shade of cyan. Presumably the boss thought it would raise morale.

Just as he reached for the doorknob, the door opened violently from the inside. Though he managed to step back in time, Gabe saw a giant centipede, a girl, the boy with the blotchy red face and a floating ball of metal file out of the room. Though the others seemed not to have noticed him, one of the cameras swiveled in his direction. He ducked.

Slipping inside, the first things he noticed were the two crushed remains of a couple of robot pitbulls. A layer of thick black fluid coated some of the twisted metal, and there was a smell of burnt plastic. Wrinkling his nose in disgust, Gabe turned to inspect the room. There was a small table with two chairs (Ikea), a little wall clock (definitely Ikea) and a small bookshelf (radiating Ikea vibes). There was the mandatory water cooler and accompanying rubber plant, which against all odds managed to look as if it were wilting. The fluorescent light overhead flickered a little; once again it was green. Gabe took a moment to briefly ponder who the hell thought it was a good idea to make everything look faintly sick, before inspecting the bookshelf. One title in particular stood out: Navajo Skinwalkers: A Survival Guide. Perhaps it might have something to do with the insane burned man? Picking it up, Gabe flicked through briefly.

'Skinwalkers are not simply mad but deliberately and consciously evil.' Well that was good to know. '...they will no doubt pretend to transform into an animal and tear out your intestines.' That. That was not good. He'd been spooked before but Gabe only now realised just how much danger he had been in. 'One of their favourite techniques is to throw poisonous dust... it either paralyzes the victim physically or drives them completely insane.'

This book was just plain depressing. And not very helpful. Granted, the author did seem to know his subject, which was a little lighthouse of hope amongst a dark, rolling sea of trouble, populated by the jagged rocks of despair and the haze of pre-coffee bleariness. Gabe put the book back in the shelf and inspected the other exits.

There were three doors, not counting the one he'd just walked in. One had a dark red pool of - who was he kidding, it certainly wasn't Kool-Aid. It didn't look fresh, at least. Very carefully, Gabe eased open the door.

The trail of blood led to the corpse of a very dead man, his skin a pallid grey. He had been disemboweled, shirt torn open and insides bared to the world, brown and purple and a dark rusty red. Slivers of ivory bone were visible. Gabe turned aside, and tried not to throw up.

Though he wasn't usually one for sentimental acts, it felt wrong to leave the corpse there. He went back into the break room and grabbed a copy of Instrumental Engineering, moved the corpse into something resembling a sleeping position, and lay the magazine open over the wound. Gabe then shut its eyes. He now looked like he had fallen asleep after reading a magazine, if you were willing to ignore the bloodstained shirt and the trail of blood and the frankly appalling smell. Alright, so it didn't fool a soul, but it was the thought that mattered. Gabe thought about rifling through the dead man's pockets but it just seemed wrong. The break room wasn't a bad place to rest a little, anyway.