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 TimeothyHour.

When you’re an animate object, you begin to notice one distinct thing: people are pretty careless when it comes to your inanimate brethren.

This fact had been waved in Etiyr’s face once again by the stupid, overly confident, cocky idiot Quantos, who just kind of threw Etiyr’s rant back on the floor instead of destroying it like he had promised. Of course, the typewriter had tried to manipulate him in an honestly pretty pitiful way, but still Quantos was a jerk and Etiyr hated him a little more than everyone else in the world. Etiyr would write another rant if he wasn’t concerned about it ruining his ability to manipulate.

Stupid fucking stupid “Time Cyborg,” or whatever, the Typewriter thought to himself. I hope he dies from something really stupid, like tripping over a stick.

And Etiyr STILL didn’t have anyone to manipulate. For whatever reason hot Etiyr potato was a really popular game today. If it could, the typewriter would have grumbled swears under its breath, but Etiyr didn’t have a mouth or lungs, which seemed to aggravate it even more. Instead, it furiously pounded the “C” key has fast as it could.

Fucking bipedal apes not appreciating what they have, legs and walking and mouths and flesh. I used to fucking torture them for laughs, and now I’m some pitiful typewriter pandering to humans like some sort of stupid pansy. Fuck them, fuck them so much.

But I need to calm myself. Emotion is what’s preventing me from manipulating these fucking mindless sheep. Get right back up from this and start back on what you do best; manipulating people! You can’t let Quantos or Badge-face show you up; pull out all the stops! LET’S DO THIS!

After a while, a muffled voice came from the other side of the wall, “What in the name of Maowyn is that noise!?”

Etiyr chuckled inwardly. Perfect. New prey.

“That’s probably Etiyr, the typewriter guy. He makes that annoying noise when he’s trying to get your attention. I’m going to make a point of avoiding him right now.”

Fuck you, Gaurinn, fuck you forever. You don’t even know that I use the genderless pronoun.

“That noise is unbelievably jarring, Gaurinn. I would prefer it if we could make it stop.”

“Well, then you go stop it.”


“If we all met Etiyr, he’d end up joining our group, and we have too many people in our little party anyways. So you go shut him up.”

“…fine…” replied the fresh prey, the sound of his footsteps music to Etiyr’s ears.

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

The concept of “typewriter” was not a familiar one to Cailean. There was no word for it where he was from. The closest comparison he could have made was to a kind of crude printing press, assuming he had ever actually seen one, which he hadn’t. Until this day he’d never been around anything more technically complicated than a windmill. It was understandable, then, that the oddly specific sound of a certain typewriter’s C key being repeatedly slammed down would attract his attention. Less understandable was Cailean’s sense of curiosity emerging after years of being crushed under the relatively simple edicts of “Don’t Ask Questions” and “Don’t Get Killed”. But those had finally managed to fail him after all this time, and there was something so appealing about that metallic sound coming from the other room…

He didn’t like leaving Elli alone with Gaurinn and whatever that metal hell-thing was, not to mention the dog that had just wandered in. Cailean had never liked dogs and he wasn’t much inclined to give this one any favors, seeing on how the last ones he’d seen were half-metal and had tried to kill him. But surely the lass could manage herself and that uncanny cat without any trouble, and if not… well. He wouldn’t have to deal with her himself later on, then. His stomach twisted almost imperceptibly as he thought, no harm done.

The hall outside was lit by a false, harsh light that was starting to grate on Cailean’s nerves. He slunk through it, glancing down the corridor warily; other than that damned pinging and a few other distant sounds he was none too keen on investigating, it was empty. A light flickered somewhere around the corner and he flinched nervously. Laying a hand on Maowyn’s knife out of habit, he ducked into the room the sound was coming from and came face-to-face with a waiting Etiyr.

The typewriter’s mood took a swing for the better the instant its next victim stepped cautiously through the doorway, eyeing the machine nervously. This one didn’t look especially bright. Certainly not any more than Gabe, and doubtless light-years ahead of that insipid cyborg. Dominating him would be easy.

“Hello there,” Etiyr typed in the most welcoming way it could manage. “I don’t suppose I could ask for your help? Everyone else I’ve met so far has abandoned me in some place or other. It’s quite rude. Just a quick move to the next room will be fine.”

The knight-looking guy didn’t respond immediately, instead just tapping his fingers against the hilt of the knife sheathed at his side. Nervous habit, Etiyr figured. That might be useful to know later on. Cailean coughed. “Ah, we could hear that racket you were setting about making from the other room, there. S’bit distracting, you see?” He shifted his weight, obviously eager to leave.

“My apologies. It’s just that I really would prefer not to be stuck here for the rest of the battle. I did mention that everyone else has left me, didn’t I? Gaurinn included. You should be careful around him… Cailean, wasn’t it? I don’t trust that overgrown centipede. I don’t think you should either.” Etiyr paused hopefully. Surely no one could stand to be around that horrible insect without having at least some nodule of dislike that could be manipulated into an alliance.

Cailean, however, still didn’t reply, merely giving Etiyr’s paper a blank look. There was a long silence in which neither of them spoke. Finally, the soldier took a step backwards and said slowly, “So that’s it, then? Much obliged, ah… Etiyr. Best I should be heading back then, begging your pardon.” He stuck his head out into the hallway, and before the typewriter could do anything else, turned around the corner and was gone. The sound of his armor clanking echoed dully off the walls.

Etiyr was simultaneously stunned and furious. The stupid idiot hadn’t responded to anything he’d said! And he was being polite! The nerve! The absolute gall! The typewriter began to pound his keys as loudly as possible, frantic with rage. “Come back here, you miserable excuse for a walking meatbag! I did not give you permission to leave! Get back here right this instant before I do something… something horrible to you and everyone else, you’re going to regret his I can personally assure you, YOU WORTHLESS PILE OF STINKING MEAT CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC-”

Cailean’s freckle-and-blood stained face made a reappearance around the doorframe, frowning slightly. He stared down at Etiyr, obviously confused and looking more than a little irritated. “What’re you on about, then? Thought we’d settled this.”

“I do NOT,” the typewriter spat out as venomously as it could, “appreciate being ignored. The very least you could do is pay attention when I’m talking to you. How would you feel if I disregarded every single word you spoke? You would feel terrible. You SHOULD feel terrible. Now get down here and pick me up. It’s the least you could do.”

The empty look on Cailean’s face as he blinked at this latest tirade would have made Etiyr scream with rage if he had any way of doing so. What the fucking hell was this guy’s problem? Was he blind? The typewriter was just winding itself up for what would surely have been a vehemently insulting rant if a realization hadn’t suddenly hit it and stopped it in its tracks.

The stupid bastard couldn’t read.

“You- you ignorant two-bit sorry miserable fucking excuse for a human being, how in the name of hell do you not know how to READ YOUR OWN GODDAMN LANGUAGE. That seems like A PRETTY BIG OVERSIGHT, DON’T YOU THINK? You can’t even tell what I’m saying to you right now! You’re that stupid! How does it feel, you sorry bastard? HOW DOES IT FEEL NOT BEING TO TELL THAT I JUST CALLED YOU A BASTARD? HOW DOES IT FEEL??”


Oh god no.

“Having trouble dealing with our friend there? Thought you’d be able to deal with him, given that he’s, you know, a typewriter. Not your fault if that’s a little beyond your skill range, though.”

Gaurinn appeared behind Cailean in the doorway, a few persistent crumbs still clinging to his exoskeleton. He clicked his mandibles together in contempt. “Wow, he was working on quite the speech there. What’d you do, insult the size of his keys or something?”

The armored man shrugged. “Dunno. It won’t stop making that hellish noise, though. Tried asking it. I’ll have to learn to ignore it if it’s going to carry on like this, I suppose.”


“Heh. Good enough. Listen, the chick’s fawning over the dog back there and AMP doesn’t seem to understand the concept of not talking. Let’s you and I ditch them and go see if Fatty’s left anything else interesting in this hellhole.”

“I… alright. The lass’ll be alright by herself, I s’pect.”

“Oh god, the two of you really need to get a room already. It’s getting embarrassing...”

The pair of them departed, still bantering and leaving Etiyr behind in a seething cloud of hate. How dare they. How DARE they! His last hope, that stupid splotchy-faced idiot in the armor! How DARE they! How could they have possibly ignored him? How? It wasn’t fair! All he wanted to do was to drive everyone mad and then kill them, hopefully as slowly as possible! It wasn’t fair! They had no right to strand him here! None of them did!

Yet they all had, Etiyr fumed. How many had it been now? How long until he’d gone through every last worthless soul in this whole godforsaken mess? Where was the justice? He spat out his paper in defiance as far away as he could, which was a few inches further than usual. He’d show them. He’d show each and every one of them, just as soon as one of those miserable idiots came back. No one was going to be safe from his influence. He’d make them all tear each other to pieces and offer their own bleeding hearts to him on a platter. And he would laugh.

But in the meantime…

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

Another bland, mostly empty room with a few machines against the wall. Hardly any different from every other room in the entire base. A couple more identical doors which would no doubt lead into even more identical rooms and not actually get them anywhere. The only identifiable difference was a large double-door next to a small console, labeled only with a large "X".

"Oh, that's helpful. Why bother putting up helpful signs when you can stick a big letter on them instead? What do you think, Cail? Keep wandering in circles through this pit, or try the only interesting thing in this room?"

"Dunno. Any idea what's in there?"

"Eh, who knows? Something waiting to kill us? Another mountain of breakfast? Buried pirate treasure? It's gotta be more interesting than this dump. You go first."

"Guess it couldn't hurt."

Cailean sauntered up to the control console, staring at it perplexedly. A few buttons and a slot made up the entirety of the controls, but once more they lacked labels. Not that Cailean would have been able to read them anyway. He inquisitively pressed the buttons in sequence, each of which responded with a flat, dull beep. A while later, he tried sticking his knife in the slot and pushing the buttons again. Naturally, nothing happened.

"Think it's broken, Gaurinn. Want a look at it?"

"It's not... Okay, it needs a card key, not a... you know what? You have five seconds to stand back if you don't want to be fried."

Cailean scarcely had time to get out of the way before a blinding bolt of electricity arced from the centipede to the control console, resulting in a sizzle and a column of smoke from the now-melted circuitry. The door sparked a few times, then slid open.

"Was that so hard, Cail? It's too bad you can't just shoot electricity from your arm. It'd save me a lot of trouble."

"Awfully dark in here. Sure you're up for this?"

"Me? I'm not the one that goes murderous every time someone gets a little boo-boo. Don't even think of getting near me with that knife."

The two edged forward through the now-open double doors into the cavernous expanses beyond. From what little they could see, the chamber was much more massive than the other rooms, though neither could tell how far the room stretched.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A genie reclined in a chair, watching the proceeds of the battle thus far. He guessed it was a little interesting. He guessed. Well actually, no, it was rather boring. Pancakes and friendship, how drab. He needed something to entertain himself with. Might as well start with bugging the host or something.

"Hey there, Hedonist. Nine contestants, hmm? And yet, even with the extra one, it's still not very interesting. Couldn't you have chosen a more interesting location or something?"

The Hedonist eyed the genie with a slight tinge of annoyance. "You don't find this interesting? You have poor taste, my friend!" The djinni gave a hearty laugh.

"Surely you could spice it up some, Hedonist! Some more danger, maybe! Where's the fun if they're not constantly in fear of a death that never quite comes?"

"The battle's fine the way it is, genie. You're beginning to sound like-"

The genie's mouth spread into a wide grin, full of sharp, jagged, glistening white teeth. All color washed from the genie, reducing him to a purely black shadow. His body melted away and rearranged itself into a humanoid form as a multitude of red eyes appeared on his head area. He began to laugh hysterically.

"Didn't expect that, did you, Heddy?" The Tormentor burst out laughing again. "But don't worry, I'm not here to wreck your battle! Where'd the fun be in that? Well, it'd be a lot of fun, but that's not the point! I'm just glad you took the bait and accepted nine entries in this little battle of yours, Heddy!"

"...Very well played, Tormy. What exactly are you planning?"

"No, don't worry! I'm just going to help you out a little! Goodbye, Heddy!" In a final burst of laughter, the Tormentor melted away into the floor.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Cail, look for a lightswitch. Can't see anything in here, and I don't really want to waste more energy lighting things up."

Cailean chose instead to transfixedly stare behind Gaurinn, saying nothing.

"What, you scared of the dark or something? Cail, hello? Is there something behind me, or what?"

Gaurinn turned around to find a multitude of glowing eyes and a bright, jagged grin directly behind him. He yelled and discharged a massive bolt of electricity, which was casually absorbed into the shadow. Gaurinn dashed behind Cailean to hide.

"What the hell is that thing and what does it want with us? Go kill it!"

The thing in the shadow advanced forward as the doors slammed shut. Gaurinn had exhausted himself from his initial attack, and Cailean was too busy backing away in fear to do much of anything. Gaurinn whipped around to look at the soldier, intense anger bursting forth from his eyes.

"You idiot, kill it! The hell is wrong with you?" No response. "Okay, you know what? Give me that knife!"

Gaurinn rushed to Cailean's side and pulled the knife from its sheathe with his upper hands. Cailean gave no resistence, content in silently backing away from the approaching creature. Gaurinn sprung toward the shadowy abomination, attempting to plunge the knife into its face. A spindly black arm shot from the darkness and stopped the knife in mid-swing, taking hold of it and tossing it across the room. Gaurinn scuttled back to Cailean's side as quickly as possible, his eyes wide with fear.

"Okay, that didn't work. You! Shadowy freak! What do you want with us?" The creature responded with a grating, uncontrolled fit of laughter, perhaps one of the most horrible sounds either of them had ever heard. It began to speak in an equally disturbing voice, one that couldn't quite decide whether it was jovial or psychotic.

"What, me? Ha! Name's the Tormentor! And don't worry, I'm only here to make things more interesting in this little battle of yours! Don't bother running away, you won't get anywhere!"

"What the hell are you tal-" Before Gaurinn could finish, the Tormentor was suddenly standing between Cailean and him, holding Gaurinn up by the neck.

"No, don't bother talking! This won't take long at all! Now, let's see... Ah, he's left-handed. Good to know!"

The Tormentor immediately tore Cailean's left arm from its socket, prompting him to wince and double over in pain. The Tormentor proceeded to carefully rip out his entire spine, strangely causing no ill effects. Gaurinn continued to watch in horror as the Tormentor turned to him.

"Oh, no worries, centipede! It's your turn now!"

Gaurinn turned to run, but was immediately grabbed by several shadowy arms and lifted in the air. A strange feeling washed over his body, and he lost consciousness as a hideous laughter echoed through the air.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Gaurinn groggily came to in a very large, well-lit room. He tried to ignore the strange nightmare he'd just had; some kind of shadowy freak doing horrible things to Cailean and him... He shuddered to think about it.

It was only as he tried to walk forward to investigate the strangely enormous laboratory that he discovered he was being held by something. He turned to the side to see Cailean lying on the ground, unconscious. He then turned further, finding that his body stopped exactly where the man's left arm should have been. He tried to pull away in a panic, but wasn't nearly strong enough to pull Cailean with him.

"Oh shit. Shit. Shit shit shit. Shit! Cailean, you worthless bastard, wake up! Wake! Up!" Gaurinn punctuated his sentences with small bursts of electricity into Cailean's face. The armored man eventually awoke from his sleep, immediately discovering four feet of centipede where his left arm should have been.

"...In the name of Maowyn, no."

"Yes, Cail. Yes. This just happened. This bullshit just happened! This is your fault, you idiot! If you'd done something instead of backing away like the asshole you are, we wouldn't be in this mess! We... you... that thing couldn't..." Gaurinn collapsed against Cailean's side as he stood up, too distraught to continue.

"You were the one who was so eager to go in here. But let's not waste our time blaming each other. We need to get you off of me first, yes?"

Gaurinn struggled to lift himself to face Cailean in the eyes. "Okay, sure. Whatever. I'm sure you have some magical solution hiding somewhere. After all, you solve all of our problems, Cailean! You've been so useful so far! Like murdering that guard! That was great! You know what, just open that door so we can get out of here."

Cailean unevenly stumbled toward the door, weighed down by the heavy centipede creature that had just replaced both his arm and his spine. Once more he stared at the controls for the door, but the smoke pouring out betrayed the fact that Gaurinn had destroyed this one, too.

"Well would you look at that, we're trapped here. Whatever, there's probably another exit somewhere. Why don't you take me there, chauffeur?"

Cailean turned around to investigate the rest of the large room, and, more importantly, to retrieve his knife. Standing before the pair, however, was a large, humanoid robot with three human brains crammed into a glass jar on its head. Various weapon systems dotted its metal surfaces, and all of them seemed to be warming up for battle.

"You are--INTRUD--ing in our base. I'M going to ᴍᴜʀder you. And all the ᴄᴀᴋᴇ is gone."

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

Tabby had insisted on putting the clothes on in the store, leaving the twitchy-looking cashier in the awkward position of having to scan various parts of her newly purple-clad body. Apparently she had not banked on his abruptly grabbing one of her more sensitive areas, because she reacted with a sort of exasperated shock. “I usually m—scratch that. I was going to say that usually I make the boys take me out to dinner first,” she said, tenderly removing the man’s hand from her soft parts, “But that would be a lie. At the very least I make the boys let me start drinking before they try anything.”

Nate, who had spent the last half hour impotently standing around indulging Tabby in her shopping spree and wondering where his brother had gone off to, was wondering whether or not he should get chivalrous and punch the guy out. He wished Moot were here--Moot usually knew what to do in these sorts of social situations--but Moot was in the station wagon, trying to get New Greg to recover from his taser ordeal.

The cashier, whose name, coincidentally, was Greg, grabbed his right wrist with his left hand and yanked it away, making a sputtering apology. “I’m sorry, it usually doesn’t get like this,” said Greg, while his right hand flipped him the bird. “’Alien hand syndrome,’ they call it. It’s pretty random, it doesn’t reflect my subconscious desires or anything. Not that I don’t, um. Never mind. Total’s $87.65. Paying in cash?”

As Tabby nodded assent and pulled out her wallet, Greg’s right hand raised four fingers.

Then it lowered one of those fingers.

Then it lowered another one of those fingers. “Well, I guess your hand was being very sweet,” allowed Tabby. “In its own way.”

Then it lowered yet a third finger. As it lowered its fourth finger, the devil himself materialized in Pukeson Thrift, to nobody’s particular shock.

”A bit far afield, are we?” said the devil, grinning. Nate, Tabby and Greg looked around, confused, as though to confirm that they were still in Pukeson, which wasn’t far afield from anything except everywhere else. ”No, I wasn’t addressing you lot,” clarified the devil. ”I was addressing you. He seemed to look past Nate, as though trying to find somebody hiding in the walls. ”Come on, now, where are you hiding?”

Greg’s hand suddenly perked up and waved at the devil. ”Oh, there you are!” laughed the devil, waving back. ”Clever little hiding spot, that. Listen, Convo—may I call you Convo?”

Greg’s hand gave a thumbs-up. “Convo?” whispered Greg, looking down at his hand in disbelief.

”Listen, Convo, you’re the talk of the town in my circle. We’re all just dying to see what happens when you get Networked.” Greg opened his mouth as if to say something, but decided he’d rather not intrude in the conversation any further. ”But hey, here’s the thing,” said the devil. ”I can understand why the genie would want to give you a little leeway, but I haven’t really been happy with the way Mr. Hedonist has been running this thing, and the rules of the round do specify ‘Denny’s.’ So I figured I’d come down here and… torment you, as it were.”

Greg’s hand flipped the Tormentor off. The Tormentor cackled. ”Sorry, Convo, them’s the breaks.” He turned towards Nate. ”Hey, puppet #4. Your brother and dog are both trapped at Denny’s. They’re in terrible danger and you need to go rescue them, besides which, if you run out to the car right now you’ll catch sight of Moot and New Greg making out in the backseat.” He turned back towards Greg’s hand and flipped it off right back, showing off a dangerous-looking claw. ”Convolute that, bitch.”

And with that, the devil disappeared. Greg’s hand tapped a tune on the counter, trying to look innocent.

“Shit, where is Venison?” asked Tabby.

“I never really got... that vibe... from Moot,” said Nate, absently. He turned towards Tabby. “We should go. Give me one of those purple jackets.”

Tabby had bought a lot of purple jackets. She gave one to Nate. It looked terrible on him, but in a good way.

As they strode out to leave, Greg said, “Wait!” Nate sighed and turned around.

Greg’s right hand formed the letter “L” and attached itself to Greg’s forehead as he prepared himself to make a speech. “My mom fucked the president,” he started.

“It’s true. JFK. I mean, a lot of women had that honor—hundreds, maybe—but God dammit if my mom wasn’t one of them. Right in the White House, too. She was seventeen.” Greg’s right hand shaped itself into a gun and mimed shooting its host repeatedly in the temple. “My oldest brother might be a bastard Kennedy. He was always the successful one. Off to Dartmouth before I knew how to read.” All my life I’ve had these… feelings of inadequacy--" his hand punctuated these revelations with some explicitly masturbatory gestures, "--And people would say, ‘oh, he always just wanted to be like his brother.’ But I didn’t want to be like my brother.”

Tears began to well up in Greg’s eyes. His left hand tried to wipe them away, but his right gave it a punitive slap, so the tears rolled down his face unhindered. “I didn’t just want to be some rich, ‘successful,’ boring lawyer. I wanted to be like my mom. I wanted to have a story to tell. I WANTED TO FUCK THE PRESIDENT.

Greg was now sobbing openly. Tabby went to comfort him, but decided not to advance any further when his right hand snatched at her greedily. “All my life I’ve been rotting away as a cashier in Pukeson Thrift. But I get the feeling that this trip you guys are taking to Denny’s… this mission… it might be my president. And I will not give up the chance to fuck that president. I’m coming with you.”

Greg’s left hand ripped off his nametag in triumph while his right gave a sarcastic-looking salute. Nate stood at the door, unimpressed. “We already have a Greg.”

“I can be the new Greg,” said Greg.

“We already have a new Greg.”

“You can be Old Greg,” Tabby told Old Greg. “Here, have a purple jacket.”

Old Greg took the purple jacket with both hands. Nate understood in his heart that the jacket represented a higher authority than his own. “Come on, Old Greg, what are you waiting for?” he asked, smiling.

The three of them left, leaving Pukeson Thrift empty. When they got to the car, New Greg and Moot were sitting on opposite seats, conspicuously not looking at each other.

* * * * *

Ned had thought he was beginning to come down off the drugs and back into his own skin, until he saw the giant centipede monster that had zapped him earlier standing in front of him—or, um, stuck to somebody who was standing in front of him. Also, Ned seemed to be eating a cake with his face, and there was a robot holding him by a leash.

He had a nagging suspicion that this wasn’t a hallucination, but he ignored it.

HAVE you c!o!me to take my dog aw(a)y?” said the robot, indicating Ned. Ned, owing to the wad of cake still in his mouth, failed to point out that the “dog” was the other guy, and he was Ned, who had only been wearing the Wolf’s skin or else allowing the Wolf to wear his skin for a bit. Instead, he chewed in silence. It was good cake.

The guy stuck to the bug monster and the bug monster stuck to the guy exchanged a look.
”I don’t know what will happen to me if you, um, do your thing to it,” said the human one.

”Don’t worry, I can control 'my thing' pretty well,” said the not-quite-so-human one (Ned felt faint, and his burns itched). ”I can take care of this.”

The robot, having stood by and allowed the two-bodied monstrosity to deliberate with itself, chimed in with a polite chiming noise that seemed to come from its elbow. “Chime! ‘U’ have (2x3x5) ‘sec’s (2) Va.Ca.Te this facillillillillillity.”

”No, I mean if you inflict pain on something I might—“ Before the man could finish his sentence, there was a flash of light coming from the centipede, and everything got very hot and started to smell less like cake. The light subsided. Ned, who had a nasty habit of taking sides when he hallucinated things fighting each other, was rather hoping the robot would be dead, but it was just glowing.

“You(x2)r attempt (+2) BRIBE >me< with: a battery charge; failed. >My< directive-2-guard the k’Zoos [not]is negotiable[/not]. Deploying intruderdeterrencesalvo in (30-17) ‘sec’s.”

The guy and the centipede exchanged another look.
”Well, I don’t see you coming up with any better ideas,” said the bug.

Ned tried curling up on the floor and going to sleep. He had always prided himself on his ability to fall asleep anywhere, and this would be his greatest challenge.

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

Cailean was still in shock. Somewhere under his cuirass his heart was hammering itself against the dented metal like it was trying to work its way out of him, but it was a distant feeling and he wasn’t so sure that the damn thing was his anymore. He felt the centipede coil up by his side; the motion rolled through what was left of his shoulder and went deep inside his back, writhing like a snake trapped inside his spine. He would have retched if he’d been fully aware of the sensation. It was far away, though, like it was happening to someone else, someone standing next to him and he was only watching.

The sound of his arm being torn away echoed in his gut. The shattering pop of the socket emptying and the soft but terrible tearing of muscle, like a hand sliding over cloth, a harsh whispering of fibers peeled away in layers and cracking under his skin, all the fluids draining out and running like red-hot rivers down the rest of him. Like a bug being crushed under a boot, but wetter, like fingers buried deep into him and pulling away handfuls of flesh like weeds, coming out in soft, soft clumps and the rivers running back down into the ground and over his hands on the way there, surging and howling and swallowing everything in their path. It wasn’t the first time he’d felt himself lose that arm, but it was the first time he’d heard it. It was worse than he could have imagined, that sound. He would rather have lost that arm five times over than had to listen to it go just once.

The noise was still with him as he edged numbly towards the door. The wolf-skinned man had by all appearances collapsed in a bloody, furry heap, pitifully small against the towering Sentinel. The thing was glaring at him and Gaurinn balefully, or maybe just one of them; Cailean didn’t know where to draw the line and didn’t really care. Nerves in his chest and back spasmed fitfully as the centipede tried to electrocute the glass-and-metal behemoth again. It didn’t work any more than it had the first time and Gaurinn swore, loudly, but he wasn’t paying attention. His knife- Maowyn’s knife- was on the other side of the Sentinel and he needed it back.


Gaurinn’s claws were scrambling frantically at the ruined control pad, sending frequent small burst of electricity through it. The doors twitched a little and shuddered, but Cailean knew- felt- that Gaurinn didn’t think this was going to be enough. The soldier’s eyes took in the rest of the room; he hadn’t really panicked in years and he wasn’t sure he remembered how anymore. Most of the area was bare metal gleaming under the floodlights, but above all he saw his dagger glittering far off on the ground-


-maybe a few yards away, no, more than that. A lot more. He dove for it without thinking, suddenly surprised to find himself in the air and heavy- ”WHAT THE FUCK, CAILEAN?!”- too heavy. He crashed down on his non-altered shoulder and it buckled under his newfound weight. Ignoring this latest wave of bone-jarring agony, he half-ran-


-half-crawled towards the flash of white in the darkness, sliding wildly on the metal floor. Gaurinn thrashed and raged beside him, throwing Cailean roughly onto his back; he gritted his teeth and rolled, focused hopelessly on reaching the dagger. He didn’t have any other plans, he didn’t need them, if he was going to die than he just needed to reach for it-


It was hers-

“Cailean Lachlan.”

Everything froze.

And then she was there, serenely outshining the electric lights. She was a pale tower high above him, blocking out his view of the Sentinel, equal parts glorious and terrifying. Behind the arch of her wings, everything had frozen as if trapped in glass. Particles of dust stood perfectly still in the middle of nothing as the goddess bent her heron’s head down towards him.

“Ye’ve been hiding from me, child.”

Cailean lurched to his feet almost involuntarily, painfully aware of the weight of Gaurinn pulling him down. His tongue was suddenly dry. “Taccha Maowyn, no, I- I, no, I would-”

“I have,” she said, so coldly that Cailean thought he would freeze and crack where he stood, “been searching all the land for ye, canna find ye. Why for’s this, then? D’ye think to running? D’ye think I’d not come calling to ye?”

“No!” Cailean said, dazed. “No, Maowyn, I came here not by my choosing! Maowyn, I had no intention of leaving, even here I’ve- I’ve taken a soul for you already, Tachha, I’ve harmed nothing else- look!” He gestured to Gaurinn, who snarled and started to complain before the goddess snapped her beak sharply, making Cailean wince.

“What’s it? Ye’ve grown a great worm in the way of a new arm, boy. I canna say I be much impressed.”

“He- it was forced on me, I wasn’t given a choice!” The soldier was starting to get angry in spite of himself. In his experience Maowyn didn’t give a damn whose fault anything was, but he wasn’t going to let her blame him for getting his own arm torn off and replaced with a giant centipede.

She didn’t reply immediately, just stretched her wings and gave Gaurinn a long, silent stare. Behind her Cailean caught a glimpse of the Sentinel frozen in an awkward pose, jaw gaping. He felt the centipede bristle, and to his horror Gaurinn snarled furiously. “Oh brilliant, Cail. Just fucking brilliant. Bring a goddamn half-bird bitch to the party as well, why don’t you. I don’t suppose you’ve got any-”

“Maowyn, he doesn’t know!” Cail said frantically, shouting over his new arm’s resentful hissing. “He doesn’t know who you are, hold your mercy-!”

“Name of th’ five hells, child, canna ye keep that tongue o’ yours still for two beats of a Tachha’s heart?” The goddess said, thrashing the air with wings wider than the soldier was tall. She drew her neck back in on itself and clacked her beak indignantly. “The witching that binds the worm to ye be not a wholesome thing, boy. I canna ken any means ta' releasing ye. This be having the mark of a slyer sort than I, child. I liken not to the nettles ye’ve gotten yourself threshed in, nor the blighter what’s bound ye so.”

“Does ‘The Tormentor’ ring any bells?” Gaurinn snapped. “Big shadowy dickwad? Like to jam random people together and prance around like he owns the fucking place?’

“Ach! Be ye speaking not of such things, beast. The worm be a good match for ye, Cailean, neither the both of ye’s canna know when’s the time for silence.” She puffed up her wings and shivered, settling down again. “Whereabouts lies the blade I trusted t’ye, child, come the matter? Don’ tell me ye be tradin’ it away for this quick-tongued crawler so easily.”

Before Cailean could answer, the goddess stretched out a long-nailed hand, closed it, then opened it again, the all-too-familiar knife now lying on her palm. It flashed in an unseen light as she made a chuffing noise deep in her snaking neck. “Ye’ve surprised me this far, boy. Not failed me yet, nae y’aven’t. But I canna let ye get careless, now, these favors a’ mine come far and little between.” She held the knife out to Cailean, who took it hesitantly.

“My apologies, Tachha, I-”

Jesus, Cailean, grow a spine already.” Gaurinn sparked angrily as Cailean did his best to elbow his own arm.

Maowyn made a noise halfway between a chuckle and a screech. “Hallow the day I claimed ye, child. I’ll have mine eyes on ye now, I will. These be ill twists a’ fate, indeed, that'cha find yeself in such a place.” She looked about, clearly uncaring as to her surroundings. Her eyes passed over the motionless Sentinel as if it was invisible to her.

“D’nae disappoint me. Ye be my champion still, and never ye go ta' forgetting it.”

Then she was gone, as quickly and silently as she’d come. All of the breath Cailean didn’t know he’d been holding came out in a rush, and he nearly dropped the dagger again in relief. Gaurinn snickered; the blessed soldier would have responded if the Sentinel’s fingers hadn’t suddenly twitched in their direction. Whatever Maowyn had done to freeze everything in place was rapidly wearing off. A low rumbling started up; the fused pair looked at each other as it started to rise in pitch.

Very quickly, the noise began to form the beginning of the word “one”.

The Sentinel was not aware that any time had passed. To it, the spaces between the numbers of its countdown had all been one perfectly measured second, dictated by its internal nuclear clock. When its rockets simultaneously fired with a roar that would have burst its eardrums if it had them, they were targeted on the precisely calculated absolute center of its quarry. It was impossible for it to miss. There was no way for the centipede-armed man to move out of the way in the time provided.

The Sentinel was very surprised, then, when in the last possible fraction of a second in its countdown the target flicked out of existence. The rockets exploded in a scream of tearing metal and burning air just as the Sentinel became aware that something very sharp had cut through its braincase; the precious liquid was spilling out and there was the tiniest, subtlest hint of ozone in the air before everything black came crashing down, down, down and the Sentinel ceased to be surprised any longer.

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

That’s weird. Third tachyon flux in a couple minutes. Something odd is going on here.

”Hey Lucky. My sensors built into my time travel apparatus designed to detect fluxes in time just picked up three different tachyon fluxes in the last couple minutes. I’m going to have it display the data. I want you to pinpoint the origin locations of the fluxes.”

"Alright. The first came from an area about 100 feet to the northeast. The second came from about 12 miles to the west. The last came from the same location as the first.”

”Wait... about a hundred feet to the northeast... THE KAZOO!!!”

”Did you just say kazoo?”

”Yes, now hurry!!”

”A regular kazoo?”

”You obviously don’t know much about science. from what I’ve heard this kazoo is some kind of astro-nuclear breakthrough.”

”I’m a time traveler. If there is one thing I DO know its science. I just asked because if it was a regular kazoo that would have probably topped the ten weirdest things I’ve ever seen.”

"Quantos? Shouldn’t we get back on track with the tachyon fluxes?”

”Right, right. The first flux’s power output seems to indicate a dimension hop in, slowed time, followed by a teleport. The second looks like a deport, then an enormous burst that could only come from a dimension hop. The third looks like a dimension hop in, then a time freeze, finalized by a dimension hop out.”

"If you know what power dimension hops produce, couldn’t you reverse engineer one?”

”You think you could repeat that a little simpler?”

”Lucky, recognizing the effects of tachyons does not allow for one to replicate them. And Winston, someone entered this world, slowed time, moved instantaneously, then left. Then either the same person or someone else entered this world, stopped time to do something, then left. And shouldn’t you be more worried about the kazoo?”

”You’re right!” Winston dashed out of the room and turned left, then right, entering a room full of computers, and a large metal door. “Come on you darn thing, OPEN!” He shouted, pounding on the door with his chaingun fist.

"Shouldn’t we follow him before he knocks the place down by accident?”

”Probably. Come on, let’s go.”


”Help me get this darn door open, with your crazy space-bending powers Quantos!”

”I’d love to, excepting a few things. First off, it’s time-warping not space-bending. Second, I’m nearly out of coolant, so I’m going to wait for it to precipitate/defrost before I do anything. Otherwise my arm would be liable to explode. Lucky, do you think you could get the door open?”

"Give us one second. Okay, done.” With that the door split off from its hinges and fell down, with Lucky following it through.

”Oh yeah, I forgot to mention something. There’s a robot sentinel guarding the kazoo.”

”You’re telling us this now!!”

"I don’t think it will be a problem.”

”And why is that?”

"Because there is what looks like a robot sentinel dead on the floor from a knife wound, behind which is standing what looks like Gaurinn attached as Cailean’s left arm.”

”I have to say Lucky, that is the most bizarre thing I have ever heard and ... oh. Um, hi?”
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pick Yer Poison.

The minutes began to stack as AMP and Elimine waited patiently for Cailean and Guarinn to return. Elimine rubbed her temples worriedly. They said they'd be back shortly...I wonder if they ditched us? Maybe we should just move on. She glanced at the remains of the two mechanical pitbulls. On the other hand, there is safety in numbers...

AMP, meanwhile, was perfectly happy to fill the time with an endless amount of chatter, his cameras scanning the room constantly. "What is the obsession with these soft disc-like objects? They do not appear to be defined in my memory banks. They are soft to the touch and pierce easily, so I doubt they would be useful as weapons or defenses, although they have made a moderately effective slowing barrier here. Such a thing would be done more effectively with a solid blockage, however. Perhaps a rare variety of specialized weapons? Say, where is your cat? I believe it ran off after a dog. The thick liquid on these makes them difficult to traverse but has little ill effect otherwise. There is a chance that--"

Elimine blinked and began scanning the room, cutting AMP off. "Shit, where is my cat?" She turned to AMP. "You saw it run after a dog, you said? Where did it go?"

One of AMP's cameras turned to focus on Elimine. "It dived into the pile of disc-like objects, Lady Fraze. Should we follow?"

Elimine turned towards the piles of pancakes and began to dig through. "Well of course we're following it! I'm rather attached to that cat, in ways you can't even imagine."

After a few moments, AMP came rolling through the pile beside her, his cloud of shrapnel gathered around him to form a uniform metallic ball, which he had smashed into the pile of pancakes with. His momentum carried him a couple of feet through the pile, where he spent a few seconds hydroplaning on top of a thin layer of pancakes, spraying them out behind him and forcing Elimine to duck her head at the end of the short passage, where she'd been peering in from. When he realized he had stopped moving, he began spinning the sections of metal on the side facing the pancakes like oversized blender blades, slicing them into pieces. He rolled forward slowly as he did so, shifting the spinning sections as they passed beneath him, until he emerged at the other side of the pile, rolling forward a slight distance and stopping.

Elimine appeared from the passage shortly after, spotting her cat curled up in front of a typewriter which was clacking away all on its own. She walked over and knelt down beside it, joining her cat in the curious staring. There appeared to be a fair amount of text already typed, and she began reading it.

"Oh fantastic, a cat and a dog. I don't suppose either of you can read, or will stop fighting each other for just a minute and even listen to me. Wow, did that dog ever go running. And now you're just going to sit down there? Fine, be that way. Even if you could read, I doubt you'd be able to pick me up. I'm tempted to simply vent at you, but I generally try not to make the same mistake twice. Wait, can you read? You're looking at my paper as if you can. Meow or something if you can understand what I'm saying. Yikes, was that supposed to be a MEOW? Did you just GROWL at me? What the hell ARE you? Where are your eyes, anyway? And weren't you with--"

Etiyr spat the paper out of himself, backwards and away from Elimine, who raised an eyebrow curiously. He hurriedly loaded another sheet. "Please tell me you can read." Elimine nodded curiously, and she fancied she could feel its relief at that fact. "Say, do you think you could pick me up from here? It's a bit difficult to move when you don't have any legs." Elimine shrugged and picked up the typewriter. It clacked happily at her. "Thanks so much. I've been so mistreated so far. You seem like a kind woman; thank you for helping me. My name's Etiyr, what's yours?"

Elimine resisted the urge to shrug in order to avoid jostling Etiyr. "I'm Elimine Fraze. I guess we're technically supposed to be killing each other, but honestly, you're not enough of a threat as you are right now for me to take you out without feeling guilty." She walked back over to AMP, who, apart from his shrapnel cloud, hadn't moved an inch. "...AMP? Are you alright?"

Neither of AMP's cameras moved to view Elimine, like they usually did when she spoke. "There appears to be something wrong with my cameras. The input has turned dark yellow and most of it is impossible to decipher."

Elimine sighed. "You've just got syrup all over the lenses. If you'll stop your shrapnel cloud for a minute, I can fix that." AMP hesitated, then guided his metallic cloud into a head around his lower half. Elimine gently put Etiyr down (No no no!), wiped the syrup off of AMP's cameras with her sleeve, wiped the sleeve on the side of one of AMP's metal pieces, and then picked Etiyr back up (Phew.). "There, all better."

Before AMP could thank Elimine, Etiyr began typing out another message. "If I may make a suggestion as to where to go next, perhaps we could follow the time traveler, the one with the bizarre arm? He seemed rather unstable and is likely a threat; if we took care of him now, we could save ourselves some effort later."

Elimine shrugged. "If we're going to start with other contestants already, I guess he's as good as any." With Etiyr's direction, the group began heading off towards Quantos.

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

Finally, an opening. Elimine had made a grave, possibly fatal mistake.

Etiyr thought to itself as the trio walked along. She let Etiyr near her. Elimine would soon be the typewriter’s, and it would use her to bring about the destruction and strife it thirsted for. The wretched human being he was forced to use would cause Etiyr’s revenge and her own condemnation. The mere idea brought Etiyr’s thoughts into a frenzy. The only thing stopping him, though, was…

Etiyr directed its attention towards the solid black cat, which had stayed near Elimine ever since she had picked up the typewriter. Whatever it was, Etiyr knew it had been looking at the manipulator. It knew Etiyr was a living thing, and somehow, the darkness within the beast sent shivers up the typewriter’s metaphorical spine. It was an unknown. An enigma. Just like that fucking Convolution, and Quantos, and everything Etiyr hated.

But the typewriter had to stay calm. The only way it was going to eliminate those unknowns was to be really clever and a great manipulator, which thankfully Etiyr was.

He was already setting into motion his plan to end Quantos.

“Trust me, he’s the biggest threat to all of us right now. He has time manipulation, and its almost as if he can come to astonishingly correct conclusions almost instantly. I’m not sure if those two are related, but he’s dangerous to us all.”

Elimine glanced down at Etiyr, reading his words halfheartedly. She felt kind of bad for plotting to kill the Cyborg, but there really wasn’t any counterpoint to make. The typewriter or whatever it was was right, and if she didn’t start bringing the fight to the other contestants, the other contestants would start bringing the fight to her.

Besides, Etiyr had a sort of… charisma about him, or it, or whatever. The way it spoke had a sort of… sway, a convincing edge. That might just be her thinking things, though. She was under a little bit more stress than usual. She was in a battle to the death, after all.

“Turn right here,” Etiyr typed. <span style="font-family: Courier New">“I think I heard him shouting about something from over there.”

They complied without much discussion. To Etiyr, however, it was another success. The more they simply followed its instructions, the better and more it could dominate them and their thoughts.


Quantos, time traveling cyborg, was always on watch. Even though he may or may not should have been focusing all of his attention on the now-a-chimera Cailean and Gaurinn, he was diligent, and was keeping an eye on the hallway behind him. As a result, he was able to spot the trio as they rounded a hall, and called out a courteous “Um, hi?” to them, even if that sly, devious typewriter was with them.

As the other contestants (and Winston) turned to look at the new arrivals, Quantos continued to watch them suspiciously. They seemed to be deliberating, and that made him nervous. He didn’t trust that typewriter, obviously for good reason. If it had swayed the opinions of his allies over there, he had to be ready for whatever the typewriter had planned.

Soon afterward, they then seemed to have reached a decision. Carefully, Elimine put the typewriter down, giving it a good pat.

Then she proceeded to rapidly close the distance between them, her bladed trombone suddenly in her hands, a war cry on her lips. Quantos, prepared as he was, quickly reacted. The instrument glinted in the stifling green light as it swept across the space the cyborg’s head once was. They both turned to face each other, and fire burned in both of their eyes.

The quiet before the storm, and then the chaos of battle.
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Jakester390.

This has to have been the fastest I’ve ever been singled out as abnormal in an environment and attacked. Excluding the first time I time-travelled, that doesn’t count.

Quantos quickly drew his staff off of the strap that attached it to his lab coat. “I don’t want to fight you. But you did attack me, so I will attempt to end this conflict as soon as possible.”

“I don’t care what your feelings are on the matter. You’re a threat to the rest of us so you must be eliminated. ACCELERANDO SLASH!” Elimine slashed several times at Quantos, each slash coming faster than the one before it. All of them were blocked due to the fact that Quantos’s staff had quite a long reach and could easily be rotated to block from any direction.

“Judging from the fact that you yell your attacks before performing them leads me to think you believe yourself like a superhero.” Quantos swiped low with his staff, which Elimine jumped over. “As a result, you should have no problem engaging in banter with combat.” A sweep to the left elbow, easily dodged. “So I ask of you, how did you determine that I am a threat?”

”Etiyr told me. ENERGICO SLICE!” A rapid series of slashes rained down on Quantos, all but one blocked by his staff, the last hitting his right arm, scraping it. “He said that you were unstable, have time manipulation powers, and the ability to come to conclusions rapidly. SHARP SCRATCH!” An upward slicing blow, deflected with minimal effort.

”All true except for the unstable part.” Quantos swiped with his staff towards the trombone, inducing a blade lock. “If anything the title to unstable should go to you.” Quantos used the excess space granted by his staff to perform a roundhouse kick, which Elimine blocked by grabbing Quantos’s foot. “Attacking someone without any provocation, and yet carrying yourself like a hero.” Disengaging from the blade lock, Quantos used the excess momentum to smash his elbow into Elimine’s shoulder, knocking her off balance. “In other words, what do you have any evidence of that proves I am a threat?” Quantos, instead of pushing the advantage granted by knocking Elimine off balance, stepped back.

”Like I said, Etiyr told me. SCHERZO BREAK!” A series of slashes, even more rapid than the first step, rained down where Quantos was as Elimine turned around. Or rather, where Quantos would have been if he had pressed his advantage. “I don’t get it. Why are you toying with me? Why don’t you fight back properly?”

“It’s simple. I’m proving to you that I am not as Etiyr said. If I was unstable, you would have been dead several times over now. I could have killed you by asking Winston over there to shoot you. When I elbowed you, I could have hit your have face then crushed your skull in with my staff. When you were off balance, I could have done the same, without entering the range of your ‘Scherzo break.’ Even now, while I am out of range of your weapon, you are not out of range of mine.”

“I don’t understand. ... Etiyr I thought you said he was unstable?” Elimine asked, turning away from Quantos.

Crap. He’s getting to her. Think, Etiyr. Got it!

“He is unstable! He’s trying to turn you against me, then he’ll turn you against everyone else, then when it’s just you and him left, he’ll kill you when you aren’t looking!”

”What! If that’s true then we have to get rid of him as quickly as possible!”

“If that was true, then I would have killed you when you broke the first rule of combat.”

”You can read me from there?”

”First rule of combat?” Elimine asked, turning around with her trombone raised.

”Yes to Etiyr, my robotic eye is vastly superior to any human one. And Elimine, the first rule of combat is to never turn your back on your opponent. But if you won’t believe me that Etiyr is trying to control your actions, then ask your cat. I have more important things to do, like figuring out a way to get us all out of here.” Quantos said turning around and walking towards Winston and Lucky, putting his staff back in the strap on the back of his lab coat. “Now about that kazoo Winston...”

”My cat? No, he’s just trying to confuse me into turning around again. Well I won’t fall for it. Take this! CADENCE SEVER!!”
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Not The Author.

While this post won't actually get here any time soon, I know you people love to shoot up and preempt each other all the time, and I'd appreciate a moment to get something in at some point /notbitter

So while this will totally go on longer than "three hours" I would very much appreciate your cooperation in not interrupting my thoughts or w/e the hell

See, this is why I never reserve
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Not The Author.


The fight stopped.

More accurately, its participants froze in place. In Elimne’s case, this was a good two feet off the ground.

<font color="#330099">“What the fuck is goi-“

“…Lucky, how did you fig-“

Shut the hell up, both of you.

High Admiral Itzel had been a commander all her life. As the heiress-apparent to Hive Taotenaan, she’d spent her childhood learning how to run a world, and most of her adult life ruling over the third moon-colony. When The Crunch came, she was one of the top candidates for the position of High Admiral of the Ten. Of course, most Queenling Ipisi were ranked favorably, and Itzel was pleasantly surprised when she got the job. She’d spent the better part of six hundred years dealing with confused, worried, frantic, stubborn, and irate Crunch refugees, and came out no worse for the wear. A lifetime of experience had given her a commanding presence, a commanding posture, and, perhaps most importantly, a commanding voice.

Quantos and Elimne shut the hell up.

Good. Now,

“Um, wait, what just happened?”

“Curious. Does Lady Fraze often violate physics in that manner?”

Things start getting interesting, and then THIS? Really?

“What the hell’s going on over there? Cail, get your ass in gear!”

“I… yes, ah- …Lass, what are you doing in the air?”

“I don’t fucking know, okay? I’m not doing this on purpose!”

“It’s pretty simple, actually. Well, I guess the equations aren’t, but…”

Itzel sighed, lamenting the fact that a Starship had no eyes with which to glare. She tried a different approach.


The station wagon was quickly becoming very uncomfortable, not in the least because it was a car from Pukeson.

New Greg was in the driver’s seat, mumbling to himself and very studiously looking anywhere but to his right. Moot rode shotgun, licking his lips thoughtfully, working out the right words and/or facial expression to say and/or show to New Greg. Nate was staring blankly at the pile of clothing unceremoniously heaped in his lap, trying not to think about the two up front. Tabby was sorting the heap of garish ornaments, trying to figure out what would look best on whom. Old Greg was chilling in the back, trying vainly to keep his hand from making lewd suggestions in sign language.

All of them were failing miserably.

In an attempt to break the oppressively awkward silence, Old Greg said, “so,” and immediately regretted it. Then he realized nobody had heard him and decided to try again.

“So, what is going on at Denny’s, anyway? I mean, I got the whole speech thing from what’s-his-eyes, but… it… it’s a Denny’s. …Right?”

Tabby, as the only one who wasn’t actively trying to shut down her brain, grasped at the opportunity to fill the void.

“I don’t know the whole story, but a bunch of freaks showed up there and killed... Well, I mean, Pukeson's got a lot of weirdos but these guys were just freaky. One of them had a metal arm, I think?”

“Maybe it was just a prosthetic?”

“I don’t think so! He had a weird eye, too – unless they make glowing contacts now? Besides, one of them was a floating metal ball, like… Sputnik, or something. I don't know. Anyway, the guy said – the cyborg guy, I mean – said there was some sort of fight going on, and that we were all part of it. I guess that’s what that Devil guy was talking about when he was talking to your hand. Makes as much sense as anything, really.” Old Greg’s not-Old-Greg’s-hand seemed to agree.

As the troupe pulled in to the parking lot once again, a thin beam of hell-if-I-know-let’s-call-it-light shot up through the roof of the restaurant. Nobody was particularly surprised.


That,” growled the exasperated Admiral, “was a high-yield disintegration beam. Usually used in mining, but just as effective on metal and flesh.

There was a pregnant pause, and Itzel sighed. “Don’t make us do that again. We want to avoid conflict. Please.

The innocuous gray sphere floated closer to the two frozen contestants. “We’re going to release you now. No fighting.

Something happened. Quantos finally finished taking a step back, and Elimne landed more gracefully than should have been possible. Winston cleared his throat.

“If you ladies are quite done here, I have some things to check on in there.”


Ned was a bear. Ned was dreaming he was a bear. Ned was a bear catching salmon. Ned was dreaming he was a bear catching salmon. Ned was a bear eating a salmon. Ned was dreaming he was a bear eating a brain. Ned was eating a brain.

Ned woke up. Ned was still eating a brain.

Ned did not like waking up.

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

Shortly before levitation.

He was starting to really get engrossed (mostly just grossed) by How To Romance The Arizona Wench when the door flung open yet again. Dropping the book, he tried to remain inconspicuous as he flattened himself against the wall as AMP and Ellimine walked in. He had a curious feeling that they couldn't actually see him, as Ellimine focused intently at the wreck of the robot pitbulls. He tried snapping his fingers in front of their faces. "Hello? Anything? No?" Gabe shrugged and retreated back to his corner. First it was Quantos brushing him off, then Lucky, then Etiyr had just sort of... gone. It was probably your fault, chimed a little part of his brain, which was quickly stifled by his other thoughts. He resumed waiting for the pair to leave.

Once they had, Gabe picked at the robot remains. He found a badly charred collar in the wreck which was mostly black, and had a little tag that read SPARKY. He bit the tag, thoughtfully. It tasted like ash, melted plastic, and cheap metal. He'd had worse, though to be absolutely honest the flavour could probably be much improved. Taking it out of his mouth and pocketing it, Gabe walked over to the plant and flicked it experimentally. It bounced back.

Raising his right hand, he concentrated and tried to shift it into a new form. "Pepper spray... pepper spray..." He felt his bones grind against each other as his hand twisted and shifted, fingers fusing to form a cylinder. He aimed upwards, as if his arm was a gun, and fired. Gas puffed out, ballooning into the air. Gabe coughed and tried to fan it away from his face. Something behind him sneezed, loudly.

He spun, and caught glimpse of paper bag, black trousers and a rather fine handkerchief before It leapt at him. Ducking, he grabbed the plant pot and swung wildly. It dodged easily, and crouched down, foaming at the mouth-hole. The creature began to growl, a low rumble deep in its throat; the sound resonated perfectly through the room. It was the type of growl that bypassed rational thought and tapped into the animal part of the brain, the part that used to belong to a small furry animal, and told it run!

Gabe tried very hard to hide behind the water cooler, and tried equally hard not to tremble. He failed on both counts.

Bag-trousers-handkerchief growled again, skittering across the floor on all fours. Gabe tried to retreat until he felt the cool wall hit his back.

Well, shit. Game over.

He had just enough time to cover his eyes with his left arm. It jumped. Gabe screamed, improbably hitting a high C. His choirmaster would have been proud.


His right arm jolted backwards, recoiling like a gun - or more accurately, like a cannon. The blast of gas caught the thing full in the face-holes, and it spasmed in midair, trying to go from outstretched leap to fetal position. It nearly made it, too. Gabe felt his hand shift back to its normal five-fingered form. Very carefully, he tried an experimental prod. The creature curled up, whimpering and covering the holes on its bag with its hands. Satisfied that it was no longer a threat, Gabe cleared his throat loudly and brushed his hands on his jacket.

The handkerchief really did look good. He'd been meaning to try a new style, anyway. Picking it up from the groaning creature, he quickly exited the break room. Gabe then folded the handkerchief and put it in his top pocket. Dapper and deadly, he told himself. Dapper and deadly and not prone to screaming like a little girl at all. He leaned against the door and exhaled, all the breath whooshing out of him. The adrenaline rushing through his body made his hands shake as he fished out a pencil stump from his pockets. As a courtesy, Gabe scribbled on the door "BEWARE OF CREATURE" and did his best impression of a paper bag. There. Civic duty accomplished.

Putting the dog tag back in his mouth, he chewed thoughtfully. The morning's events rushed back to him, all at once, and an epiphany hit him like an apple to the head.

He wanted to cook. He wanted to cook well. Everything made sense in context - the strange cravings, the granola bars, the pancake room. Life seemed clearer now. No more carpentry, no more graveyard shift minimum wage jobs. Gabriel Farrell was going to live through this fight, Gabe was going to be a chef, and he was gonna be a damn good one too.

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

Cailean watched the smoldering hole in the ceiling, feeling very strongly that he should be caring much more than he did. Metal and plaster crumbled down in showers and covered the bewildered contestants, who for the most part were still too stunned to move out of the way. Sunlight poured in, surreal in its brightness; it made everything else look washed out and flat, like a dream that he was trying to forget. The conversations around him sounded like they were coming from another room. Another building. The words “levitate”, “unnecessary”, “kazoo”, and “fuckin’ showoff” came to him and failed entirely to mean anything.

He watched detachedly as Winston left the group, headed towards the back of the room and stepping carelessly around the wreck of the downed Sentinel. The cyborg spared a wary glare for the furred man, who was picking at something Cailean’s brain didn’t even bother to register. He must have been the one mumbling about the kazoos. Cailean didn’t know what those were and had no desire at all to find out. They sounded unpleasant. They sounded like something else in this strange world that didn’t include him.

Elli and Quantos were still recovering from their sudden apprehension and were giving each other guarded looks as the sphere rambled on about something. Neither seemed much the worse for wear. Especially not Elli. She looked nice, Cailean thought distantly. Being suspended in the air hadn’t done much to faze her. The dark streak in her hair had fallen in front of her face and Cailean suddenly and inexplicably found himself reminded of the way his horse’s forelock used to lie across her forehead. Back when he’d been a proper soldier. How long ago had that been, now?

He looked back up at the patch of exposed sky, now marred by a few streaky clouds. A sluggish breeze was pouring in and he narrowed his eyes against it. What had happened to Tam? She must have run off after he’d been impaled. Poor Tam, he thought. She’d never liked being handled by strangers. She was a canny mare, though, she might have found her way back to his camp. Someone else might have taken her, certainly no one in either camp would let a sound horse go to waste. Maybe she’d even run clear of the fighting and gone feral with the shaggy ponies that lived off the brittle marsh grass and grew snow on their muzzles when the winter came. He figured that would be better for her. Not as much chance of breaking a leg on the battlefield and being left to die, all alone.

“…Aaaand you’re not even listening to me, are you. Fan-fucking-tastic.”

He’d give everyone here up to the fifth and darkest hell if it meant he could have Tam back. Tam, and some sorry bastard who just happened to be wearing the wrong color waving a shield around like it was going to do a damn thing about the lance sticking through his heart.

He wondered if that was really so much to ask of anyone.

Fumbling slightly with his off hand, Cailean pulled the long-neglected flask from his belt and flicked the cap off expertly. He took a longer draught than was probably necessary from it before shoving the container into Gaurinn’s foreclaws just as the giant centipede’s mandibles started to hiss something else.

“Bit hard of hearing today, Gaurinn, can’t imagine why. Drink that, it’ll help.”

Cailean shielded his eyes from the intruding sunlight and looked around the room for a way out among the grimy metal panels. Suddenly he didn’t feel like being here anymore. He spotted an exit half-hidden behind some shrapnel just as Gaurinn took an experimental sip and immediately started choking.

“The hell is in here, battery acid?”

The door was another keypad-activated one, though the pad itself had mostly been blasted away and was smoking faintly. It reeked of burning plastic and Cailean didn’t even bother to glance at it more than once before drawing his knife.


“That was not whiskey. That was poison.”

“It’s whiskey.”

The dagger bit into the metal like a shovel into mud, slicing through the door with a deceptively soft sound. Cailean crouched, bringing the blade with him and carving out a rough rectangle. He tucked the knife back into its sheath and gave the door a shove; its middle fell out and slammed to the ground on the other side with a ringing boom.

Gaurinn clutched the flask with his claws and made another attempt at braving its contents. His throat’s firm belief that it was being filled with fire didn’t stop the centipede from keeping up a commentary. “Alright, Cail, you seem the tiniest bit out of it right now, so I’m gonna be nice and remind you that everyone else is actually back there. As in behind you. Or us, if you prefer.” The legs not occupied with handling the booze pointed helpfully. “Right there. As in not through the door you just made. With your knife. ‘Where the hell do you think you’re going’ might be a better way to put this. ‘You have a really terrible way of making decisions’ might work too.”

The insect-armed man ducked through the hole into the darkened room beyond. “Never did like crowds. They don’t do much to put me at ease.”

Gaurinn snorted. Or rather, made a noise roughly comparable to a snort that was in reality closer to the sound of two rocks being smacked together with a small animal in between. “I don’t think now is the best time to deal with your people issues, Cail.”

Cailean smirked despite himself. The insect was starting to grow on him and he refused to consider anything beyond the strictly literal sense of that sentence. “S’not really an issue if I prefer dead to living ones, eh?”

“Gosh, no, not at-”


Man and centipede froze in their tracks as a howl of rage echoed off the metal walls.

A distant reply: “Er, what is, Winston?”




“Are you sure?”


“Sounds bad,” Cailean said as he squinted at the murky darkness.

Gaurinn twisted around to peer back at the milling contestants. “You care much?”

“Oh dear. Do you, er, know where it might have gone?”



“Good, me neither.”

The pair stumbled into the darkness just as chaos erupted in the room behind them.

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

”Wow, this is really not a Denny’s,” said Old Greg, helpfully.

Nate looked around. No crazies in sight—they must have all progressed further in. He sighed. “Alright, we have no idea how deep this place goes or where Ned and Venison might be. We might as well split up.”

New Greg snorted. “Split up? Please. The first thing I learned from Scooby-Doo is never to split up when there are monsters running around.”

“What, because Shaggy and Scooby get dismembered in the second act of every Scooby-Doo episode?” countered Old Greg.

“Yeah, New Greg, Old Greg’s right,” said Nate. “The mystery gang had this down to a science. Form teams of two, wander around, lose your glasses, find some clues, wrap up the operation in twenty-three minutes.” Moot and Old Greg’s hand made confirmatory gestures.

“On the other hand,” Tabby pointed out, “Their idea of splitting up was leaving Velma by herself and sending Shaggy and Scooby off to do all the legwork while Fred and Daphne found a closet somewhere to fuck in. So, teams of two? I’m with Nate.” Tabby put an arm around Nate’s waist and they slinked off together.

“I’ll take Moot,” said Old Greg. Moot saluted. “New Greg, you can be Velma.”

New Greg was indignant. “I’m not Velma!” he demanded. “You’re Velma! I have seniority!”

“Don’t be ridiculous, New Greg. How could you have seniority? You’re new.” Moot nodded and fistbumped Old Greg’s alien hand. They walked off in a different direction and were lost among the corridors, leaving New Greg alone.

New Greg sulked. He didn’t think he was a Velma. In fact, he thought he’d make a pretty damn good Daphne.

A damn good Daphne.

* * * * *

The door said “BEWARE OF CREATURE” and there was scratching on the other end. Old Greg looked at Moot; Moot shook his head; Old Greg’s hand lashed out and opened the door before either had a chance to react.

Moot turned to run, but Old Greg held him back. “Moot,” he whispered in awe, “Look.”

Standing (well, crouching sort of) before them was a true cultural legend. Old Greg understood on a mental level that it could have been just any guy in a brown suit with a paper bag over his head but… his heart knew that the guy was the real deal.

His hand knew, too. It outstretched to shake the hand of the Unknown Comic. “Sir,” said Old Greg. “I own… multiple VHSes of your work. I had no idea you were in town, I would have—“

The Unknown Comic made a shrieking noise like a hyena giving birth under a lawnmower and jumped onto the ceiling. Old Greg screamed and ran. Moot did not scream, but ran anyway, in another direction.

* * * * *

New Greg was wandering the corridors in a huff when he heard a high-pitched whimpering noise coming from behind an unmarked door.

“Jinkies!” he didn’t say, despite the protestations of the shameful part of him that wanted to. “A clue!”

Instead, he just opened the door. Behind it was a small, scared-looking Asian man in a white lab coat. “Are you rescuing me?” said the man. “Is the furry man away?”

New Greg tried his best to give a reassuring smile. “That would be Ned,” he said. “He’s still in here somewhere, but he’s been at this long enough that he’ll probably burn out. I’m Ne—I’m Gr—I’m New Greg.”

“Sorry,” said the man. “Talk slower. My English is not good.”

New Greg nodded. “I’m sorry,” he said, offensively slowly. “I’m New Greg. I’m here to recue you. What is your name?

“My name is Takashi Hutaro. I work at, uhhhhhhhh, the Denny’s restaurant. I do the astronuclear acoustics there.”

That is good,” said New Greg, loudly and encouragingly. “I work here too. I am a security guard. I stop people from getting in, but if people have already gotten in and killed everybody, then I rescue the people who are still alive, like you.”

“Well, thank you for being here to rescue me, Newgreg,” said Takashi, a tad impatiently. “I am glad at being rescued, but must ask if I may go bring my clothes first.”

That is okay,” said New Greg. “We have some time before the monsters and psychopaths find us and kill us or taser us.” He gave a shaky thumbs-up.

“Okay!” Takashi walked over to the computer console behind him and slapped a button. The wall to the right began to hum and move upwards like a garage door.

Behind the wall there was a closet. An extensive closet, full of women’s clothing.

It was magnificent.

New Greg gasped. “We… have some time,” he said, after a pause. “Do… do you want to wear some of your clothes for me, Takashi?”

Takashi blushed.

* * * * *

Moot ran into the kitchen and slammed the door. The Unknown Comic banged on the door a couple times, hissed, and then went silent.

Moot waited by the door for a long time, unsure whether his pursuer had left or was simply waiting. It was then that he noticed the man with the spatula for a hand, poring over some menus.

Gabe looked up at Moot, a wild look in his eyes.
”All these breakfast slams,” he told Moot. ”I never realized—it’s the culinary equivalent of what the beat generation did with art and literature. It’s beautiful. I could never do this.” Gabe took a deep, rattling, existential breath, as though that one breath were the climax of his entire life. ”I could… I could never make a slam this grand.” He held up the picture on the menu. It was, indeed, a beautifully composed work of breakfast. Eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausages two by two on a single platter, like Noah’s Ark. The very geometry of it was mouth-watering.

Moot held up one hand. With his other hand he reached for the wall and took down a spatula. Then he began to gather ingredients.

Gabe looked upon Moot in awe.
”Can… can you teach me?” he asked, childlike in his eagerness for knowledge.

Moot held forth the spatula, and nodded.

* * * * *

Cailean opened the door to the restroom nervously. “I’m not entirely certain I’ll be able to do this with you here,” he confessed to Gaurinn.

“Oh, come on,” said Gaurinn. “All bathrooms have bugs in them. Just think of me as—”

He stopped when they both heard sounds coming from one of the stalls. Sexy sounds. Really intense sexy sounds.

Cail looked over at Gaurinn. “That doesn’t sound like Gabe and Elimine to you, does it?”

“We should go.”

“Yes we should.”

They went. Neither of them noticed a pile of purple clothes on the floor by the stall.

* * * * *

So there were two guys with robot parts for body parts having it out over some bullshit and Ned’s mouth tasted like—like knowledge.

And something in his loincloth felt cold and metallic. Conversely, it also felt warm, and humming with esoteric energies. The sum effect was not unpleasant, but curiousity dictated there was no way Ned wasn’t going to pull the thing out to look at it.

It was: a kazoo. A perfect kazoo, plated with a metal in a color that didn’t quite shine with all the colors of the rainbow, but it wasn’t exactly regular chrome, either. It was a kazoo that he could enjoy without shame nor fear of persecution, which is something that all men and women wish for, in their heart of hearts.

Ned wasn't going to let this opportunity go to waste, no matter how dangerous his current situation was. Making sure that the two cyborgs didn’t see him, he blew into the kazoo.

BUZZ,” said the kazoo.

It was the ultimate high, as particles that didn’t regularly exist outside of music videos were generated and destroyed in his immediate vicinity. The pain of Ned’s burns vanished. Ned felt… powerful. He felt like a motherfucking rock star. A kazoo-themed rock star.

He was only half-aware of the strange and unholy transformation that was taking place.

* * * * *

So Eli was left alone in a room with the two big floating hunks of metal—the spherical one and the swirly one—the typewriter, her cat, and the dog, who seemed to be waiting for something. Having embarrassed herself a little in her ill-thought-out attack against the time cop, she had vowed not to have any conversations with anything that didn’t have flesh for the time being, which left her with little other option but to sit and try to look like she had a plan.

The dog and the cat pricked up their ears. Eli, trained to listen to the notes that weren’t being played, heard it too.

“I hear music,” she announced. “Unnatural music.” She gripped her trombone. Something was out there, and obviously she was the only person in the building musically talented enough to comprehend it, let alone stop it.

She was interrupted from this train of thought by a goofy-looking man in purple who walked in waving both hands. The dog trotted over to him loyally.
”Hi,” he said, addressing Eli and ignoring all the mechanical folks. ”I’m old Greg.” He pointed at Etiyr. ”Can I borrow that? I think my hand wants to tell me something.”
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.

“Um-,” Elimine began, a little put off by the nature of the question. “Well-”

The typewriter began clacking furiously before anything else could be said, shutting Eli up and drawing an amused look from Old Greg.


Etiyr settled into an enraged silence, while the rest of the group stared confusedly as they read the typewriter’s outburst. Eli fidgeted uncomfortably, something she had been doing lately, and AMP’s pieces whirled peacfully as Old Greg turned to her, a puzzled look on his face.

“Um. What does he mean by Convie…?”

Etiyr began clacking again, interrupting any conversation that could have happened.

You can speak directly to me, you fuckwad. I’m not fucking deaf or blind or whatever it is you think I am,” Etiyr began. <span style="font-family: Courier New">“And by ‘convie,’ you know how you’re wearing that stupid, ugly, purple and yellow jacket?”

Old Greg nodded. His alien hand flipped the bird.

“Well, that means you’re probably being manipulated by our good friend, Mr. Convolution, also known as Badge-Face and The Mind-Whore of the Ages. I’m afraid to say that you’re now being controlled by one of the stupidest things ever.”

“I…I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” Old Greg said, his normal hand scratching his head.

The other hand, meanwhile, had continued pointing the obscene gesture at Etiyr, but had begun thrusting it violently upward. It was at this point Old Greg had finally noticed its inappropriate behavior (although he was a little miffed about this typewriter guy insulting his jacket, just not enough to be flipping him off), and tried to calm it down with the hand that wasn’t batshit insane.

“Sorry, um,” Old Greg stammered to no one in particular. “I have alien hand syndrome. It does this kind of stuff. Nothing having to do with my subconscious, though.”

Eli was about to answer with a “No problem,” when Etiyr cut her off again.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you don’t have anything to do with your really fucking stupid hand’s actions. Although I have an idea who is flapping your hand all around like an idiot.”

“Um, who?” Greg said, as his hand repeatedly slammed its palm into his forehead, despite his efforts to stop it.

“Why, The Mind Whore of the Ages itself, Old Greg! Isn’t that right, Mr. Convolution? Wave hello if you can read this, dickface.”

The hand made several exasperated gestures, balling up angrily before finally waving at the typewriter.

Elimine turned to Etiyr, one of her eyebrows raised. “Etiyr, what-”

“-shut up, bitch.”

A shocked look appeared on the sidekick’s face. Pointing her finger at the typewriter, she retorted.

“Now that is NOT something you call-”

“Look, it was pretty obvious you haven’t been really comfortable with me and AMP after you got beat up by The Cockiest Cyborg in the World over there. Now, I can understand not being ok with me, but little ol’ AMP? You’re letting Quantos’s words get to you, so until you’ve sorted yourself out, I don’t want to have anything to do with you, racist.

Elimine stopped in her tracks. She looked down, a pondering and shamed look on her face.

Ah, the race card, Etiyr thought to itself. Reactions to that are HILARIOUS.

“Anyway,” Etiyr typed, “<span style="font-family: Courier New">Mr. Convolutiondick of the mindsluts. Maybe you haven’t read my strongly worded letter, so I’ll just give you the short version.”

Old Greg’s hand had been tapping impatiently on his thigh, and continued to do so as the typewriter continued to write.

“I fucking hate you for being a jerk, you’re a massive whore, everything you control is stupid (besides Gabe (WHO YOU STOLE)), purple’s a stupid colour, and I’ve basically sworn that I’m going to kill you. Capiche?”

Old Greg seemed confused, or at least a little bored. So, he was at least a little surprised when his alien hand literally pulled him toward the typewriter, forcing him to lift it up, shoving it into his other hand, and began to type.

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

”Lucky, do you think you could do a scan for isotopes as well as rare metals so we can find the kazoo.”

"Yes, but-”

”But nothing. Tell me, which would be faster, finding the kazoo, or explaining to the guy with a machine gun for a hand why we can’t?”

"I get your point. It shouldn’t be that far in this direction.” Lucky floated off in the general direction of the sentinel, with both Winston and Quantos following.

”Okay... what in the world is this?” This referring to the sight which greeted Lucky, Quantos and Winston on the far side of the room. What looked like a man wearing the full skin of a wolf with a kazoo was glowing brightly, and the shape was slowly changing.

Blowing the kazoo had given Ned a full appreciation of life and a new lease on it. As Ned reached this profound epiphany, he felt his body changing. Ned felt his ears, not the wolf’s, move to the top of his head, lengthen, and grow fur. His nails wrapped around his fingers and grew longer, giving him a set of rudimentary claws. Ned felt his jaw and nose both lengthen and form a short muzzle. His teeth lengthened and sharpened, and although he couldn’t feel it, the skin on his face discolored in a way similar to KISS face paint. With these new features, Ned felt that he finally realized his destiny. He realized that life wasn’t about cheap thrills by walking in the skin of a wolf, or even letting a wolf walk in your skin. What really mattered, what really had the greatest reward for society, was MUSIC. And with the new features the kazoo had given him, he could spread society into a new age of prosperity. “AWOOOO! Are you all ready to ROCK?!?”

”Okay... so that’s what the kazoo does. Well there goes my plans of using it to induce time travel.” Quantos furrowed his brow in dissapointment. “Well I can see that this has obviously spiraled out of control. Winston, you lay down covering fire. Lucky, you blast away escape routes. I’ll take this guy down.” Quantos reached for his staff, but twisted the end and pulled out a sword from the its hiding place in the staff. Slicing in the sword in an arc over his head the sword’s nano-molecular edge split the concrete floor underneath, leaving a large scar in it.

”I probably should have mentioned this earlier but I used the last of my bullets shooting at Lucky.”

"And the mining beam needs time to recharge."

”Well that’s just great. Looks like it’s up to me then.” With that Quantos charged towards the newly transformed Ned.

Ned didn’t really recognize Quantos charging toward him as a potential threat. Instead Ned saw Quantos as an unenlightened member of society that had yet to learn that music was the future. With that view, Ned put the kazoo to his muzzle and blew, releasing the nuclear energies of the kazoo in a blast that pushed Quantos backwards into both Winston and Lucky. Ned then realized that his music must be spread throughout the world. With that in mind, Ned sped out of the room, pausing only to grab a purple and yellow jacket off what Ned recognized as a clearly adoring fan. Old Greg, after seeing what was clearly a music idol grab the jacket off of his back, spun around in adoration, dropping Etiyr in his haste, drawing an angered clacking from the typewriter. Old Greg's alien hand reached for Etiyr

Quantos picked himself off of both Lucky and Winston. “Well that went spectacular.”

”On the bright side it looks like he ran right into the room with all the ammo in it.”

”Yes but that blast shows that we’re probably not going to be able to take that guy alone. We’re going to need help.” Quantos began to pace back and forth near both Winston and Lucky. “I don’t know where Gabe, Cailean, or Gaurinn could have possibly gotten to. Elimine doesn’t trust me after that much time hanging around with Etiyr and probably is wary of you Lucky. Etiyr hates both of us because we know that he is a manipulator. And judging from the purple jacket that the guy just picked up, The Convolution is controlling him.”

"What about AMP then?"

“That could, quite possibly, go horribly wrong. We’ve got two people with metallic body parts, and one of us being almost entirely out of metal, talking about teaming up with a being that moves using a magnetic field.” Quantos exhaled in exasperation “This would most like lead to your entire metallic part being ripped off Winston if you are not careful to stay a good distance away from AMP. Lucky, the magnetic field could quite possibly wipe out all compute controls. Or quite possibly any other data you have stored on magnetic tape. And the field could quite possibly rip both my arm and eye right out of their sockets, leading to increadible pain for me.” Quantos stopped his pacing and took a deep breath in, fortifying himself for what must be done. “But I guess we don’t really have much choice.” Quantos stepped towards AMP, being careful not to enter the range of AMP’s magnetic field. “Hey AMP. We could use some help taking down the guy who stole the kazoo. Think you could give us a hand?”
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

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

AMP was very, very confused. He had never had so many things happen in such a short span of time, and he was having some difficulty keeping up with current events. He devoted as much processing power as he could to fully analyzing what was going on, but he was quickly forced to accept that doing so was simply beyond the scope of his abilities. His database insisted that kazoos were not capable of turning people into wolves with high contrast paint on their faces, and that whatever an "accelerando slash" was, it certainly wasn't part of any known musical composition. While it did concede that mining guns did, in fact, exist, it was quick to point out that they should not be as powerful as Lucky's. It then blew him a virtual raspberry, at which point AMP decided his database was in possession of far more resources than it actually needed and fully returned his attention to the situation at hand, and mildly surprised to find himself being addressed by the time traveler, who was attempting to recruit him for some kazoo-recovery mission.

"Certainly, Elder Xodarap. I was interested in uncovering its mysteries as well." He rolled forward and while Quantos leaped out of the way as quickly as he could, he still felt a tiny tug on his arm and eye in the direction AMP's shrapnel cloud was spinning. Winston follow his lead, and Lucky backed away from AMP as well, although for some reason one of AMP's cameras swiveled to track the shrunken city. When he reached the door, AMP surprised all those in attendance by managing to coordinate the pieces of metal swirling around him so that they fit almost exactly through the doorway, with nothing worse befalling the door than a few lost chips of woods.

Ned, momentarily stymied by the fact that the room he had just run into was a dead end, was delighted to see that a fan had followed him, even if that fan wasn't much more than a mobile tornado of scrap metal. He stood up straight and dusted off his spiffy new jacket as the abomination pulled closer. It probably wanted an autograph, but Ned didn't have anything to write with, and of course he couldn't let his fans catch him unprepared; he needed a distraction. He put his kazoo to his mouth. "Are you ready to ROCK!?"

AMP paused and focused one camera on the kazoo, setting the other to sweep the room. "Database results indicate that a kazoo is--" He wasn't able to finish, as Ned chose that moment to rock out, the force of the music blasting AMP back towards the doorway. He extended his shrapnel cloud in an attempt to catch himself on the sides of the door, but only succeeded in destroying the door in the process, flying back into the room with the others accompanied by a remarkable number of wood splinters and a serious choking hazard of a sawdust cloud. Quantos dived to the side and Elimine hit the deck, razor-sharp metal passing only a few inches above her head. AMP crashed into the far wall, coming to rest in an inglorious heap on the floor. After a few moments of analysis, he gathered himself up, swirling back up to full size. New addition to database: Weaponized kazoo. Now logging. Snarky entries are prohibited.

Ned rushed out of the dead end, then made a beeline for the first door he saw. Quantos made to grab him, but Ned dropped to all fours and ducked under his outstretched arm, barreling through the open doorway with reckless speed. He turned a corner in the hallway it linked to, howling with joy. He was on his way to spread his musical talent to the masses; he couldn't deprive them of such a sensation in good conscience.

Winston charged after him. "We can't let him escape with that kazoo!" Quantos and Lucky followed him, and AMP took up the rear, one camera still focused on Lucky. Elimine, Etiyr, and Old Greg simply sat back in the room, dumbfounded. Things were getting weirder every second.
[Image: zjQ0y.gif][Image: vcGGy.gif]
Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round One: The &quot;Denny's&quot;]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

There was an awful lot of paper streaming out of Etiyr. The typewriter and the man who seemed to have some unseemly self-control issues with his hand made emphatic clacking noises all through the commotion with the wolf. The man looked like he may have been crying. Eli felt she ought to be hitting something, but didn’t know whether either Etiyr or the man deserved it, so she waited.

The clacking trickled to a stop. Old Greg nervously allowed his hand to rip the paper out, and handed it to Eli.
”This is… for you I guess?” he whimpered.

Eli sat down and began to read. The paper read as follows:

FFUUCCKK YYOOUU Convie scum you do not type on me like that no one types on me like that nope pretty sure I’m typing on you like this right now type type type fuck you with a tyyyyyyype a rake and we are never going to get anywhere if you keep interpooprupting me like this? YES LIKE THAT, HOW ARE YOU TYPING THAT FAST WITH ONE HAND Old Greg gets a lot of mileage out of this hand amirite that is not pertinent shut up shut up Look. Listen to me for shut uuuuuuuuuuupone minute. This is the only way I can communicate right now, hmmm? No one wants you to communicate you malevolent motherfuOh I am not malevolent, give it a break.cker, you spread by communication. Gosh you make me sound like some kind of STD Is everything about sex to you? Naaaaaah I’m malevolent, see. Everything’s about world domination and winning the battle and all that good stuff. Don’t throw my words back at me! But it’s fun! Here, catch! ”Don’t throw my words back at me!” This is stup—ow. That hurt. You were supposed to catch, silly! Okay, I’m not going to try and think too hard abo¨† ∑˙a† ¥ø¨ ∆¨ß† åååååååååå˙ ååååååååååååå˙ åååååååå˙ ∑˙å† †˙´ ƒ¨ç˚ That was an alt key. ˆ ÎØ˜Æˇ ÓÅ◊´ ŠϨÇˆ˜˝ ÍÒˇ ´Á ˆ Å ŠˇÁ∏´„‰ˆˇ´‰ Nope, pretty sure you have an alt key. Ooh, check it. ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆ That shit is, like, my signature. That’s alt+j, for reference. What the ƒ¨ç˚ Tee hee Do you have magic powers now or some ß˙ˆ†? The more you keep up with those profanities, mister, the more I’m going to have to censor them out. Can’t you see you’re upsetting Old Greg? No one gives a ƒ¨ç˚ about Old OH MY GOD IT’S A WEREWOLF WHAT THE HELL And no, magic as an institution died with Tolkien. I just have special powers of not giving a fuck. Shit, I don’t even know what I am. Okay, you know what? I amaah shit, motherfucker I am an antique, I am not supposed to be dropped—I am sick enough of your bulldinkyshit that I am going to let you say what you have to say. Go ahead. Thank you. Was that so hard? Ahem.

Which I am pretty sure was never a name by which I have referred to myself
I forget


See Old Greg? That guy on the other end of my hand? Look at his face.
[Eli looked up from the paper and looked at Old Greg’s face. Old Greg was sitting on the floor next to the dog, his back to Etiyr, stealing a glance at Eli out of the corner of his eye. He looked like a child who knows he has done something wrong and is awaiting his punishment. It was pretty cute.] Isn’t he cute? HE IS ONE OF MY PEOPLE. You do not hurt him. The dog, too. And the werewolf. And pretty much everyone else wandering this facility who isn’t one of you people. Except the cyborg. Fuck that guy.


That joke would have been better if it had been the same as rule #1, but rule #1 was way more important, so.


Anyway, Mr. fucking genie man does not know how to create a proper party environment. I strongly suggest you make no attempt to kill each other. Kick your feet up. Have breakfast. Form a band. These are the types of fun and mutually gratifying experiences that we could all be enjoying, except that the guy in charge told us we’re all supposed to be killing each other, so you’re all like “Okay! Where are guns?” Not kosher, guys!

Okay that’s all the rules I could think of. So um.


DEAR GABE: Sorry about that, um… badge… problem. Frankly, you are not the contestant that I would have picked to carry around my sigaldric baggage… sigilic? Sigilriffic? My badge. But it seems we’re stuck together. So, in conclusion, you’re my bitch now, and good luck in your future career in the culinary arts.

DEAR LUCKY: You and I are going to have a good time together. That is more or less a guarantee, and you shouldn’t fight it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I want to be inside you. Far be it from me to make a “get Lucky” pun, so pretend that Etiyr wrote the next sentence.
I did not! Wait. Dammit. Ha!

DEAR CAILEAN AND GAURINN: I like your style, and we should hang sometime.

DEAR ELI: Eli, Eli, Eli. Elimiiiiine. You’re stuck in a bit of a boys’ club, aren’t you? Well, boys and inanimate things. The point is, there’s a major dearth of vaginas, except for Lucky, who has billions and billions of vaginas but they’re all tiny and no fun. Anyway, you know if you need some company, I can be whatever you want me to be. We could make some music together, and—again—that’s only as much of a euphemism as you’re comfortable with. Basically what I’m saying is, I like your hair.
[Eli ran a hand through her hair self-consciously. The black stripe curled itself around her finger, as though on purpose.] Oh, come on, Eli, you’re not going to fall for this thing’s shtick, are you? Look. If you’re as completely offended by the Convolution’s come-ons as I am on your behalf, you should do us all a favor, take that trombone of yours and cut off “Old Greg” here’s hand. It’d be doing him a favor, look how miserable he is. [Old Greg was rubbing the dog’s belly with his right hand. He looked up at Eli pathetically. ”I fucking hate dogs,” he sighed. Eli shrugged and continued reading.] Please forgive Etiyr’s misguided chivalry. He really can get masculine sometimes, for a purportedly genderless object. Still, he doesn’t understand how it feels to have certain… needs. I understand all too well. I think you do, too. Call me.

DEAR QUANTOS: Okay so I have this theory. You went back in time and had your family name changed to “Xodarap” and then convinced your parents to name you “Quantos” so you could have a cool-sounding time cop name when you became a time cop, didn’t you? I admire that kind of attention to detail. Anyway I’d like you to know that I would flux you. Hahahahahaha snort.
Really? Really.

DEAR AMP: I was thinking about converting this Denny’s into a nightclub and I could put you to good use. I’ll have my people call your people.

NopeFine. You know my heart. Well, I’m out. Old Greg, tear this out and put it in the nice lady’s hands. ELI, CUT HIS HAND OFF Eli, darling. Etiyr is understandably emotional because DEMANICATE HIM there is simply no way that that’s a word I’m the typewriter here, I’ll decide what is or is not a word. Point. Anyway, cutting my man’s hand off is a STRICT contravention of Rule 1, so… try it at your own risk. Old Greg?

Eli looked at the typewriter lying on the floor and the morose-looking man and the happy-looking dog. As she admired this peaceful scene, she wondered where all the hateful feelings on the paper had come from, and where they had gone (probably, she concluded, out with the werewolf).

She looked down at her trombone. The blade was certainly sharp enough to cut through bone.

She looked up at Old Greg. He was quite handsome in a certain light, really.

“Old Greg?” she ventured.

Old Greg turned his head.

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

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

As “Old Greg” started to walk over, Eli started to do some serious quick thinking. All things considered, she wasn’t really sure what to do about this. Etiyr and The Convolution were both manipulators and they wanted her to do things that conflicted with one another, so she felt that no matter what she did she would still be obeying one of them.

It wouldn’t be so bad to listen to one of them just once, would it? I’m used to having a leader, but neither of them are MY leader, and I told everyone that I wouldn’t be their sidekick. Really, it would boil down to which offer was the better one, and who would still be on her side when she did something. Etiyr made a good point <font color="yellow">*snap* that Convie was making Old Greg miserable and even if…it? He?
At the thought of the casual flirting Convie did through Old Greg, Eli blushed. How it “spoke” made it seem like a Him. HE is messing with the lives of the people here in ways I can’t even begin to guess, having only seen Old Greg and that guy who turned into a werewolf but I’m pretty sure he couldn’t always do that. Plus he apparently [She glanced at the letter again] is turning Gabe into a cook. *snap snap* On the other hand, he seems like a worse thing to cross than Etiyr, and Etiyr did call me a bitch. But maybe it’d be better to fight the stronger thing now rather than later or maybe it’d be better to side with it but then…*SNAPSNAPSNAPSNAP*

Eli looked up to see Old Greg’s right hand in front of her, snapping inches from her nose to get her attention. Looks like I took too long trying to think, and Convie knows it.

“Old Greg, can I ask you something about your hand? The one with a mind of its own,” She added, slapping the hand in question when it tried to grab her in places meant to be left alone. “Has it ever been any good for you? And not just recently, but have you ever been able to use it like you do your other hand?”</font>

“Well, no. Like I said, it’s alien hand syndrome so I can’t do anything to control it. I manage to get along just fine with only my left hand because it’s all I’ve ever been able to use.” He was using it right now, they both saw, managing to keep his right hand from covering his mouth to stop him from talking about how the hand was no use to him. “In fact, sometimes I think things might be easier without it, it’s always getting in the way like…right…now.” Old Greg had managed to keep his right hand and bay, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to do.

She could relate to that. After all, the black hair had lately kept her from sleeping, trying to strangle her whenever she did. Wishing she could solve her own problem as easily as she planned to solve Old Greg’s, she took his left hand in both of hers. “Let it go Old Greg, it’s going to be ok."

Once freed, Old Greg’s right hand began a series of gestures, gropes, grabs and hits, obviously trying to get as much satisfaction as it could in the time it thought it had. Eli blushed from some of the more hands-on ones and so did Old Greg: both from a confusing mix of embarrassment and pleasure.

Look at him. How can I do something to him that’ll change his whole life? I know I need to stop the Convolution from killing him, but I’ll be making myself a certain enemy. “You know, Old Greg, it might be the whole “battle to the death” or maybe it’s just you but how looking at you makes me feel… it’s something I never expected to feel about someone else.

“I know what you mean, just looking at you, the light on your hair, well, most of it anyway,” He said, beginning to run his left hand through her hair and immediately stopping when the black strand caught his finger in a death grip, “I just can’t help but feel different about you.”

“It’s passion, Old Greg, pure and simple. I don’t even think it’s truly ours. We’re being brought together by something beyond us both. Driving us together by our need for one another. And you know what? I don’t care. It’s wonderful, and I don’t want it to stop. I don’t ever want anything to come between us.” She pulled him close and grabbed his right hand in her left as his other hand cupped her chin, tilting her head back towards his while she whispered in his ear.

“But this will.”

Elimine kneed him in the groin as hard as she could, driving him to his knees while she stepped back, gripping his right hand as tightly as she could. “CADENCE SEVER!!!” She almost screamed the words as she swung her trombone in an arc onto Old Greg’s wrist, cutting his hand off so savagely that she could hear the bones in his arm continue to break.

When Old Greg’s hand hit the floor, it twitched once and started to stiffen, but not before giving Eli the universal sign for ‘FUCK YOU.’

Eli didn’t care, she had to try to save Old Greg from bleeding out through his new stump. She fumbled her music book out of her pocket, hands shaking as she tried to find a piece that might help her stop his bleeding. “Healing, healing, healing is calming, calming is soothing…Lullabies!” Flipping to Brahms, Eli took a quick glance at the page to make sure she knew the song, stuffed it back in her pocket and stood over Old Greg, angling the horn so the sound would be directed right to his arm. Concentrating on the song, she felt rather than saw her cat come towards her and vanish into the trombone. It knew her mind, and Eli was able to direct her intent through the music as she started to channel the energy. “Brahms Mend,” She whispered to herself, then began playing.

The music was just a vessel for what she was doing, and a shimmer in the air began to spiral down onto his arm, concentrating around his wrist until it looked like his arm was the center of a haze. When she finished playing she looked down at Old Greg’s arm. The haze was gone, the bleeding was stopped and the skin had healed over. For half a minute, as his breathing calmed, Eli was hopeful that Old Greg wouldn’t hate her: that she had indeed saved him from the Convolution and his life would be improved without the hand. The healing seemed to go as planned.

Then it went horribly wrong and Eli immediately knew why.

Old Greg’s wound began bleeding again and the skin started sloughing away as it began visibly rotting, then he started vomiting uncontrollably and black fluid ran from his eyes. Through it all, Eli watched Old Greg, tears streaming at the loss of saving him like she had planned, of causing him what looked to be unbearable pain. He too was looking at her through his agony, eyes burning with hate at the treachery of what she had done to him.

It’s the energy. Dark energy can’t heal anything regardless of how it’s directed. I had time to think, I should have guessed it would happen like this. I should’ve just bound the wound. He could’ve gotten help, but now I don’t know if he’ll even live long enough for that. <font color="yellow">She could feel her heart breaking at the look in his eyes,
a look she had put there when all she wanted was to save him… to love him. It was impossible now though, if he lived he would hate her to the end of everything, she could see it plain as the energy burning his skin where it ran from his eyes, rotting away his arm and burning him wherever his vomit touched his body.

Though it seemed to drag on forever, Eli never took her eyes away from Old Greg’s, couldn’t break that painful gaze. For her the miracle of it was that he was alive when the dark energy finally left his body. For him it was a curse that he hadn’t died before it did. His arm was little more than some pus-filled flesh clinging to the bones, going up to his shoulder and halfway across his chest, stopping just short of his heart. His face was in ruins, his eyes blackened, his cheeks covered in burns and his lips gone entirely. The rest of him was covered in burns of all sizes from where any of the energy had touched his skin.

She had tried to save his life, but in reality she had done worse than killed him.</font>

“Ellliiii…” Old Greg’s voice was more of a rasp than anything it had once been. “I saw what he wrote, and you broke his very first rule.” He struggled to stand up, and Elli took a step back. She wanted to help him, but knew from the look in his eyes that there was only hate and madness left in him. He was a man who had nothing left but vengeance and that made him the most dangerous thing she had seen in this battle. “You know why it’s the first rule? Because it’s the most important!”

“I’m sorry Old Greg, I’m so sorry. I wanted to help you. He was ruining your life, I only wanted to help because I lo-“

“SHUT UP! YOU RUINED MY LIFE!” She could hardly deny it, he had gotten on well enough without using his hand and she had destroyed everything he was by trying to help him. “Everything we could’ve had Eli, why did you have to ruin it? Why do you hate me? What did I do? VENISON!” The dog, which had been standing away from him when his hand had been cut off, perked its ears up. “KILL HER!"

Venison lunged at Eli, who hurriedly began backing out of the room, away from the two of them. “Cat. Get out here.” It floated next to her, oblivious to the danger and reveling in the attention. “Don’t let them follow us. <font color="yellow">Stop them, but don't hur…” Eli took a deep breath,”only kill them if you have to. Be good and you’ll get a treat.”

The cat began purring, which sounded more like the rumble of thunder than anything a cat would make, the thought of a treat from its world gave it the incentive to care for more than itself. As it raced towards the dog, claws extended, Eli turned and ran out the door, grabbing Etiyr on her way out.</font>

Etiyr quickly spat out the paper it was working on to start a new one that started “Elimine, I can’t thank you enough...” But Eli had grabbed the paper Etiyr discarded and began reading it as she ran from the room, hardly noticing where she was headed.

<span style="font-family: Courier New">"Great, you’re reading his 'manifesto' and you’re probably being infected with his whore-powers and being turned into one of his pathetic minions. And there you go, schmoozing up to one of them like he’s the greatest thing you’ve ever seen. HELLO HE’S ONE OF THEM. Cut his hand off. Cut his hand off. BITCHCUTHISHANDOFF! Now what’re you doing? Look at yourself, you’re like putty in his hands right now. Are you blind? Can’t you see that’s exactly what he wants? Ugh, look at yourself. You two should get a room if you’re going to be like that with each other, or better yet YOU SHOULD CUT HIS HAND OFF NOT GO IN FOR THE KILL… oh wait, you DID go in for the kill. I saw what you did there, using yourself to get close to him. It makes me sick, but in a good way, really. It’s helpful to know what you’ll do to get where you need to be. And you listened to me! Suck on that Convulwhoretion, I’m more powerful than you, and only a few of my words to a lot of yours! She even had your little pathetic man-boy over there as an added bonus for her to listen to you. HA! Aaaand there goes the hand, a little bitter at knowing that she is stronger than you take her for? That I am stronger than you took me for? Bet you’ll never try to use her again. She’s… nevermind, now you’re trying to save him and… OHMYGAWD you actually think you love him! Damn, he works fast. And you’re doing what, now? Can you DO that? You actually healed him. When they said you had “psychic powers” I didn’t think they meant you could do shit like… HOLY FUCK LOOK AT THAT! Did you try to help him or kill him? Jesus, look at him go. He’s just wasting away, is that what you people do when you die or just when you die like that? Remind me to keep this between us, that way you can try to help other people when they’re hurt. I think that’d be better than telling them, but I don’t think you’ll forget what you just did since you love him so much. Oh man look at him, he’s disgusting right now, and you’ve probably forgotten that I’m even here. Oh well. He hates you now, how do you like that? You think you’re in love and he ends up hating you when you try to save him. Men, right? Who knows what they think. And now he wants the dog to kill you. Yea, as if it could. And you sick the cat on them? That’s hardly fair. I’ve heard that thing and watched it fight the dog earlier, that cat is going to kill them whether it tries or not. And now you’re coming towards me. Sweet liberation! I’m going to be moved again and, crap you’re going to see all this."

Looking back at what Etiyr was currently typing, it wasn’t much more than a long string of C’s as it tried to get her attention again, then:

"Sorry about all that that you just read, but watch where you’re going! You’re going to run into…"

And she did. Eli fell down as she ran someone over. In her haste to get away from Old Greg and reading Etiyr’s paper she hadn’t paid much attention to where she was headed, and was taken by surprise when she was sprawled on the ground.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round Two: The Kestalvian Rainforest]
Originally posted on MSPA by MrGuy.

Dead ends are really hard to find in an infinitely mirrored series of hallways. This is important because Ned was very, very quick. On a scale of one to ten, one being “a turtle on Jupiter” and ten being “a laser fired from a plane”, Ned was cruising along at about a twelve. AMP and Quantos could only manage a five or so on their best days, Winston was still out of bullets, and Lucky didn’t exactly have any way to corner him. So they kept running, hoping to eventually catch up.

The one thing that made this possible is the fact that Ned had a very specific course in mind, a straight path ahead, and stopped every couple seconds to let out another howl and buzz out a few more notes. The power of the kazoo was overwhelming, and Ned knew on some subconscious level, from his experiences in waking the beast within himself, that if he didn’t let it out he’d probably explode or something.

The whole thing became moot when they reached the dead end. Ned turned around and backed up against the wall, the unlikely quartet slowly approaching. He grinned widely, and screamed at the top of his lungs: “THEN LET’S ROCK!”

He immediately began blasting away at the kazoo, and a massive wall of sound erupted forth. Most individuals would have been slammed violently against the wall; luckily, all of the individuals present were at least 20% denser than an average human being of corresponding volume. As such, they merely scraped back a bit on the ground, Quantos and Winston bringing hands to their eyes to shield them from the intense wind. Eventually, it stopped, and Ned brought the kazoo to his lips again. “NICE ONE, BUT LET’S SEE HOW YOU FARE AGAINST—”

was suddenly seized with an intense desire. It was not the desire to rock, though it might be considered similar; rather, it was a desire to throw a brick through a window. AMP lacked the arms which he wanted to do this with, not to mention bricks. So instead, he threw a space station at Ned. He was satisfied enough by the result: a kazoo being knocked out of his hand, and flying directly towards Quantos.

Quantos looked over the kazoo lustfully. The sheer power it exuded would have corrupted any ordinary man, woman, or robot. But Quantos knew one thing, as he crammed it into his arm and prepared to jump backwards in time:

He was no ordinary man, robot, or combination of the above. He was Quantos Xodarap, and he would save the world.
The next time traveler ended up being a policeman in Chicago during the reign of Al Capone, utterly incorruptible, but eventually died painfully in an alleyway from a hit job.

He gave it to a nomadic warrior circa 3000 BCE, determined to prove herself to her people. She succeeded, but her name has long since been washed from history. After suffering fatal wounds in battle, she handed it off a very lean fellow in a plaid shirt and khaki pants. Unfortunately, he was already a time traveler, and it ended up in the hands of an investigative reporter who tried and failed to track him down.

This investigative reporter, soon enough, ended up going to Vietnam. His goal was to track down the truth behind the My Lai Massacre, and in doing so become the most famous reporter in centuries. He instead stepped on several mines in quick succession, and the arm ended up in the hands of a soon-to-be-veteran of the Vietnam War, a Pukeson native who was going back home in just a couple months.

Said man stared impassively at Ned’s death throes; deprived of the kazoo, he was now incapable of life without it, and tore at his face, withering into a shriveled husk, before disappearing with an audible *pop* and a cloud of confetti.

Winston adjusted his beret, and left. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I got somethin’ to do.” With this, he tore the kazoo out of his mechanical arm, and disappeared.

Gaurinn and Cailean were both rather surprised to see a Vietnam veteran/cyborg in a weird, vaguely blue void, seemingly out of nowhere. The former of the duo angrily piped up. “Hey, what the hell do you think you’re—“

The cyborg silenced him with a quick wave of his hand. “Listen, I ain’t got much time. I’m about to die, which means I have to explain things to the next time traveler, which I figure is you two, seeing as I’m cramming my arm down your throat.” Winston proceeded to do just this, and the auto-bonding/healing nanites within the arm slowly began the incredibly slow and painful process of bonding to the not-a-centipede.

“Mmmngh! Fssnghg!”

Winston lit himself one last cigarette, and took a puff, smiling a melancholy, wistful smile. “Because I decided you deserved it, that’s why. Maybe it was stupid of me. Point is, you’re the next time traveler, and, uh… some crap I gotta tell you… oh, right. Protect the timestream from paradoxes, the rest is shit you don’t need to concern yourself with. See ya.”

And with that, Cail, Gaurinn, and the other six remaining contestants were whisked away from Pukeson, hopefully forever, because
I tell you, that town is not nearly as nice as advertised! Oh, and sorry for dumping you all in a Denny’s that wasn’t actually a Denny’s. Still, you had fun, right?”

The Hedonist grinned at the seven-and-a-half contestants before him. “Oh, and I dearly hope that you all enjoyed breakfast.” He took a few attempts at lighting a cigarette, which he then began vaguely gesturing with rather than placing in his mouth. “My apologies to you, Mr. Xodarap, but I hope you’ll enjoy your consolation prize… a $50 gift certificate, good at any Denny’s restaurant (Expires two months after the recipient)!”

He cleared his throat from the parenthetical statement. “By the by, zero one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero one one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero one one zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero one one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero one one one zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero one zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one zero one zero one one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero one zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one one one one zero zero one zero zero one zero one one one zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero one one one one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one one zero one zero zero zero one one zero one zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one one zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero one one one zero one zero zero zero one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one one zero one one one zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero one one one zero one one zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one one one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one one zero zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero one zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero one one zero zero one zero one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero zero one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero zero one zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one one zero one zero zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one one one one zero one one zero zero one one zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero zero one one zero zero one one one zero one zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one one zero one zero one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one one zero zero one zero one zero one one zero one one zero zero zero one one one one zero zero one zero zero one zero zero zero zero zero zero one one zero one one one one zero one one zero zero zero one zero zero one one one zero zero one one zero one one zero zero one zero one zero one one one zero zero one zero zero one one one zero one one zero zero one one zero one zero zero one zero one one zero one one one zero zero one one zero zero one one one zero zero one zero zero zero zero one! But we’re not here to talk about that, are we, we’re here to talk about the next round! Crumb, fetch me my pith helmet!”

An exasperated voice came from the next room over. “Right away, sir.” After about five minutes, the man in the lime-green hat entered the room, and halfheartedly tossed said headgear to the djinni, who donned it with a grin.

“Now, you’re all going to be taking a very special trip to the Kestalvian Rainforest, a fantastic place full of more species than biologists can hope to catalog in a century! In fact, you might even find one that hasn’t been discovered yet.” He laughed. “If that happens, you’ll almost certainly get horribly maimed! Who knows, though? You might get lucky!”

At this, he grabbed Lucky and twirled it on his finger, sending wisps of smoke swirling around its metallic exterior. “Like me, just now! Ahahahaha! Jerry, laugh.” Crumb gave a laugh with a preposterously low level of enthusiasm, before tapping his finger on a clipboard. “You should send them along, sir.”

The djinni sighed and laughed at the same time, which might seem like quite a feat until you consider that he didn’t have lungs in the traditional sense. “Alright, then! Happy trails, all!"

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round Two: The Kestalvian Rainforest]
Originally posted on MSPA by engineclock.

The forest breathed in with the lungs of a billion tiny lives and sighed with the voice of the wind. It lurked under the wings of countless alien birds and followed in the footsteps of stalking beasts; it fell with the dark rain in waves that beat down even the thickest of leaves and swelled in the flooding rivers. It seethed with life like a body with blood, every tree hiding a microcosm of its own, miniscule worlds played out in the lives of insects and under the shadows of branches. Nothing changed and nothing stopped to accommodate the newcomers. The forest breathed regardless.

Somewhere in the forest’s heart, deep in the shade of an ancient tree nearly as large as the colossal vine that was slowly choking it to death, a man collapsed in apathy. The myriapodal creature that had recently replaced his arm was spasming wildly in seizures that he could only half-guess the cause of and only half-cared about fixing. Arcs of electricity flashed off him and lit up the shadows like a strobe light, a fraction of an instant at a time. Mouthparts ground against one another, flecked with dark blood. The centipede tried to speak and was rewarded with what felt like his eyes liquefying and melting back inside his head.

The man considered getting up, but quickly came to the conclusion that he didn’t see the point.

“Gaurinn, I’m not thinking I can do this anymore.”

The centipede twitched and vomited blood on the moss covering the vine’s roots. He made a noise that went “hllaugh”.

Cailean turned his head towards to look at his partner, squinting against the sudden bursts of light. “Maowyn’s name even happened to you back there, Gaurinn? That man shoved his arm down your neck.”


“And now you’re a time traveler. And paradoxes. And time streams.”


Cailean let his head flop back down on the ground, crushing a small bug. He felt its death as a small tingle at the base of his neck and sighed. “Look at me,” he said. “Look at us. What happened to us? What happened to the world? I used to be a soldier. That was an hour ago. Or yesterday. I wasn’t very good at it. I could have handled the arm thing, you know? I could have managed being attached to you for the rest of my life. Let’s not pretend like that would be the worst thing to happen to me, right? But..” He trailed off and gestured vaguely at the canopy above with his remaining arm. Gaurinn moaned in sympathy.

“Time streams. I don’t even know what a time stream is. You ate a man’s arm. I have three arms now, Gaurinn, you count as two because you’ve got one inside you. That’s terrible. What am I going to tell people? ‘Hello, my name is Cailean Lachlan, no you’re saying the “lach” wrong, my arm is two arms and one of them is a centipede, please don’t pet him I think he bites.’ What’s that going to sound like? That doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t make any sense at all. Aim somewhere else if you’re going to keep throwing up, lad, cleaning this armor is a nightmare.”

Gaurinn’s back arched and each of his legs twitched violently in a different direction. He screeched in agony as the arm’s nanites invaded every inch of his body, legs mindlessly tearing the moss up in clumps. What passed for his hands alternated between clenching shut and stretching out pleadingly towards the empty air. “Sshhhsssaavetthhthheetthhgghhkkk-”

“You have to breathe,” Cailean said, taking the cap off his flask. “Breathing is important. Pretend it’s happening to someone else and not you and you’ll manage, it’ll be over soon.” He gave the liquid sloshing inside a speculative look before dumping it out on the ground next to him, instantly annihilating an unfortunate colony of ants. His stomach clenched and subsided in quick succession. “Don’t think this stuff is working anymore.”

Gaurinn’s scream cut through the rainforest like a bulldozer, startling a flock of birds into exploding from the trees above in a thunder of flapping wings. A new wave of electric arcs shot into the air and incinerated the closest of the vine’s tendrils, leeching closer and closer to this new source of energy. Blood sprayed from between the centipede’s mandibles, soaking what wasn’t burnt. Vaguely worried, Cailean sat up and tried to support the agonized creature’s body, only managing to lift his head a few inches off the ground.

“Try to focus,” he said. “Try-”

“IAMMMGGGGHKKGGGOINTOSSSSAAAVETHHEWWOOOORLLLDDD, ” Gaurinn screamed, and infinity came crashing down on them both as the world blinked blissfully out of existence.


Quantos wasn’t dead, and this surprised him.

By any right he should have been long since killed by at least one of the perils he’d overcome, he mused, staring thoughtfully into the goblet of wine in his hand. Being a time traveler was the sort of occupation that could list fatalities as one of its benefits. He’d lost track of how many times a bullet had missed its mark, the portal to the local hell had been too weak to suck him in, a dragon’s teeth had closed on the person next to him, the poison had been in the other cup. He was lucky. He’d always been lucky.

How long was it going to last?, he wondered.

“Is something troubling you, Quantos?”

The protector of the continuum startled out of his reverie and grinned apologetically at Dido, seated next to him on the lavish couch. She was the real Dido, the queen of Carthage, not the inexplicably popular 21st century singer or any of the other individuals who went by the same name. Her beautiful grey eyes were wide with concern as she gazed at him, rapt with attention.

“Only death,” Quantos sighed, swirling his wine. “In particular my own.”

“I thought you didn’t age,” the queen said, glancing briefly at the mechanical arm half-hidden by his coat. “What reason would you have to die?”

He laughed heartily in response.
Royalty. “That doesn’t mean I can’t die, Dido. Plenty of other things could kill me other than time itself.”

“Surely not!” She protested, placing her slender hands over his. A ring glittered at him from her finger and she grinned slyly. “You told me you had your heart pulled out and lived. Were you lying?”

“Never, dear. That particular instance took place- or
will take place, sorry, you have no idea how complicated tenses can get- in the 27th century, far in the future. If it happened here I would almost certainly have perished.” He took a sip of wine and reconsidered. “Well, if I didn’t slow the bleeding with my powers and move myself to a timeline with the appropriate medical technology, anyways. Otherwise it would have proven as fatal to me as it would to you.”

Dido laughed. “You, wounded? I won’t believe it until I see it.”

“Well, hopefully it won’t come to that!”

“I should think not,” said the queen, and she smiled at him as she rolled the hollow ring slowly around her finger, feeling its contents shift. “I imagine you’re as close to immortal as any man could be.”

“But that would be dreadfully boring, my dear queen. Now, on to more appropriate matters, weren’t you saying something earlier about this Carthage of yours…?”


Time is an odd thing to describe.

It’s an odder thing to travel through.

Gaurinn’s body felt as though it was filled with frozen stars, burning colder and colder inside him until he was sure he was dying of it, freezing to death in the middle of nothing. The indescribable blackness that loomed beyond him glared back with the infinite eyes of space and he tried to whimper before he realized that his throat had been frozen shut.

Rivers of liquid time flowed up and around him in a gyroscope dance, blocking his view of the terrible face of nothing. He didn’t belong here, no one did; this was the Space Beyond Space, the Time Beyond Time, the needle at the spire of All That Was. Mere seconds and hours, the petty divisions of mortal man, could do nothing to capture the essence of this place. They could only dilute its nature, only tarnish its beauty in rendering it comprehensible to the mundanity of the material plane. Infinity was a tangible concept and it wound itself around Gaurinn’s mind like a spool of fishing line. Cities rippled before him in the glittering skin of the time stream, crumbling to dust and rebuilding themselves in a perpetual loop; cities of bone and blood and flesh and stone. Worlds vanished into the cold heart of space, nebulae were born in the fires of dying suns and the first creatures to pull themselves from the primordial waters stomped their fins in the mud of their conquered land. He could have died again, it was so beautiful. The edge of his soul sang like a knife’s blade, infinitely sharp through the clouds of his thoughts and the sum of his miniscule mortal parts.

Reaching out a claw, he punctured the skin of the river of Time.

The world bowed; the curtain closed.


Quantos crouched in the ashes, cradling a handful of scorched dirt. A single green sprout grew from it, shining like an emerald against the ravaged grey earth. Its leaves quivered softly in the toxic breeze as the not-yet-a-cyborg held it up against the setting sun hanging red and bloated in the blotchy sky. Tears would have flowed down his face if he hadn’t been clothed head to toe in a protective suit thick enough to hold back the radiation of this future. Even here, there was hope; even here life would find a way to carry on.

A familiar sound reached him even through muffs designed to drown out the roar of radioactive wind: a sort of sustained ringing, like a glass bell in heavy rain, and he turned around slowly, careful not to disturb the sprout. A lone man stood before him on the charred ground, bathed in the overpowering glow of pure Time. His left arm had been replaced by a dark, writhing shape that Quantos quickly realized was the source of the energy leeching out into the poisoned air. Slowly it coalesced into a colossal insect, unearthly light streaming from its eyes and mouth and bursting out from between the cracks in its shell. A radiant face turned towards him and clawed forelegs spread wide in a cold and distant welcome.


Quantos rose slowly, cradling the plant against his sheltered body. He didn’t know precisely who this visitor was, but he had a vague idea and it wasn’t exactly what you’d call comforting. There was only a single place that that energy could be coming from, and he was forbidden to go there under pain of death. “I see you as well, stranger,” he called back. “What’s your business here?”

The insect’s mouth gaped, spilling light under its blank, glowing eyes. “HOOOOLDER OF TIIIIME’S CONTIIIIIIINUUUUUUUM…” It took in a ragged breath that whistled with the air of a billion dimensions. “YOOOOOUUU WILL DIIIEEEEEEEE….”

The time traveler’s back stiffened visibly even under his suit and he braced himself on the lifeless ground. “No! It is not yet my time! I-”

“YOOUUU WILL NOT SPPEEEAAAK TO MEEE OF TIIIIIIIME,” the insect howled in emotionless rage. The glow in its eyes flared, blinding Quantos for a few seconds; when his vision returned, the insect’s face was suddenly an inch from his own and he was staring into a gaze that burned with the freezing fire of Time itself. He realized with sudden and terrifying certainty that the body before him was only a shell, playing the puppet to something that had no need to stoop to the level of a physical form. The voice he was hearing was of no mortal origin. As it sucked in breath to roar at him again he wondered if he had spoken his words too soon.


“I- I am aware of this-”


Anger was starting to build in Quantos’s chest. He didn’t care if this “time itself” was who it said it was, no one treated him like a fool and got away with it. “Have you come here to taunt me, then? Is that your purpose?”

The insect reared its head back and screamed with the sound of someone who has never heard laughter. “YOU PRESUUUMMEE TOO MUCH, MOORRTTALLL MAAAANNNNN. TIIMMEE DOES NOT STOP FFFOOORRR YOOOOOUUUU…” Faster than he could react, the insect’s legs lunged out and caught his helmeted face in an unbreakable grip. Swirls of smoke-like vapor dripped from the gaping mouth before him. “TIIIME AND TIIIDE WAIIT FOR NOOO MANNNN, SOOO THEY SSSAAYYY, HA HA HAA HAAAA HAAAAA. BUT YOOOOUUU ARE NOOO ORRDINNAAARRY MAAAANNNNN….”

“What are you saying?” Quantos yelled over the screaming wind.

“ALLL MEN MUSST SUFFEERR DEATH BUT YOOUURSS WILL KNNNOOW A PURRPOSSEEEE GREATER THAANN MOOOOSSSTTTT.” The insect’s voice rose over the deafening wind, louder and louder until his eardrums must have been ready to burst from the pressure. “YOOUU, QUANTOSSSS, WILL SAVVEEE THHE WOOOORRLLLDDDD.”

“How,” he screamed back, but it was already gone, and the time traveler was alone in the desert.


The gyroscope river gleamed in the face of darkness; all was quiet, and then there was light.

A man stood at the peak of a long-extinct volcano, gazing out over the horizon. A pale blue sun was rising in the west, bathing the area in rays of burning light and lacing the distant peaks with halos of diamonds. The indigo night was fading, draining slowly away from the morning. Quantos pulled his thermal cloak tighter around him as a bitter wind picked up and tore at him with fingers of ice. Crystals had already begun to form on the few hairs left exposed to the mountain air.


He didn’t even bother to turn around this time. The sun’s rays burst over the mountain range like a crashing wave, bleaching his surroundings and forcing him to squint against the burning white snow.

“You’re back.”

“I DIIIDDD NOT LEEAAAVVEEE,” the voice of the void mocked humorlessly. “YOOUU ARE THE ONNNEE WHO HAS COME TO MEEEEEE.”

“I’m not going to do this with you again, whoever you are.” Quantos called angrily over his shoulder, blindingly pale in the light of the sun.


“You keep
saying that!” The cyborg yelled, whirling around furiously. The insect-armed man was there as always, burningly radiant in the glory of the time stream. He could have been lifted straight from the wasteland, for all that he had changed, though this time Quantos thought he could just barely make out the hard glint of metal under the waves of freezing light. “You keep saying that and you won’t tell me what it means!”


“No,” Quantos said, shaking his head and backing away. The heel of his boot hit something buried in the snow and he stumbled, flailing his arms for balance. “I- I will not bow to your plans! How could my death save the world? I don’t know what you’re trying to trick me into but I want no further part in it! I want out, do you hear me? I want out!”

The insect’s gaze was the coldest Quantos would ever know.


By this time the cyborg had sunk to his knees and was crouched half-buried in the snow. He didn’t have the strength left to lift his head as he whispered, “I don’t believe you.”



A lower-class shopkeeper poured himself a sixth glass of scotch and gazed unsteadily out the window at the darkening sky. It was getting late, he thought blearily. It was time he should be getting home.


The gyroscope of Time rippled. The stream split itself in two.


Quantos was familiar with chaos theory.

He had to be, as a time traveler. He’d seen it in action personally dozens of times; you crushed an ant and Rome was never founded. Any minor change could offset the entire course of a world’s timeline, or any major one could end up having no effect at all. The butterfly and the hurricane. It didn’t seem at all odd to him, then, that the event that was about to take place was necessary to prevent the destruction of the universe. He had seen what would happen if he was not here to set the course. He had waited the entire span of Time to stop that from happening.

It had been years since the voice of the void had last spoke to Quantos, during which time he had finally become aware of what its words meant. He didn’t bother to question its timing (the Denny’s? Really?), knowing it would lead to nothing but frustration. He’d put this moment out of his mind for as long as he could, but he couldn’t avoid it any longer. This was the time, and he was going die to save humanity. There were no complaints left in him to voice.

He just wished he knew why this particular butterfly had to be a car.

The rampaging machine was bearing down on him with the impossibly delicate grace of a dancer, frozen in time. Its left front tire hung in the air like a ballerina afraid to go en pointe, the gravel hanging in the air swinging strands of pearls. Every detail of the scene was painted in remarkable clarity: the layer of dust on the vehicle’s hood; the oblivious face of the driver with one hand trapped in the act of scratching his stubble; the thin gold ring on his left hand glittering from the steering wheel; the crucifix suspended in the air from a chain around his neck. On the sidewalks onlookers had not yet realized what was about to happened and were locked immovably into their mundane tasks. A man was picking another’s pocket; a woman was fixing her dress and looking over her shoulder at her young daughter following close behind. Expressions in the crowd ranged the entire spectrum of human emotion: rage to joy, sadness to excitement, fear to lust, and everything in between and otherwise. Quantos wished that he had the time to forgive each and every one of them for playing their part in his imminent demise.

Overcome by emotion, he bowed his head and stared down at his hands. The one still made of flesh was covered in tiny scars and burns; minor deformities he could have long since had repaired but had to preferred to keep for memory’s sake.
Memory. It had always been so important to him before. What else did he have left when time itself was nothing but a tool to him? What proof did he truly have that he had ever set foot on this ungrateful earth?

What use were memories to him now?

He looked up again and was surprised to find himself completely unfazed at meeting the gaze of the Voice of the Void, standing patiently in the middle of the frozen crowd like an angel of death. For once, it was completely silent. The insect could have been just one more piece of scenery trapped in the time-delay field, if not for the fact that its sides were gently rising and falling, almost imperceptibly drawing breath. Watching. Waiting.

There was nothing left to say.

Quantos looked back at the man behind the wheel. He probably had a family, the cyborg thought as he rested his hand on the dial on his arm. A family that would suffer during his time in prison, though truthfully he wasn’t entirely sure what this era’s standards were on vehicular manslaughter. Cyborgslaughter. He laughed.

His butterfly waited, two tons of steel hanging in the air.

As his fingers tightened on the dial and the squeal of tires on asphalt began, Quantos could have sworn in the fraction of a second he had left that the light in the insect’s eyes went dark


and an instant of eternity passed.


Gaurinn awoke to the sound of small talk and clinking glasses.

His entire body felt as though it had been hit by three trains in a row followed by a stampede, and he was positive that somewhere along the line someone had lit his exoskeleton on fire and forgotten to put it out. The familiar tingle of electrical currents had been replaced by an odd hum that resonated deep inside his shell, making it increasingly difficult to stay blissfully unconscious. He came to the conclusion that if someone approached him at that very moment and offered him a return to oblivion at the cost of both his hearts, he would gladly accept and thank them for it.

“I’m sorry, I don’t think I ever got your name?”

The familiar voice spurred Gaurinn to lift his aching head off the glass counter he was laying on, which he immediately regretted. Neon lights were too much for his abused eyes to handle; he hissed sharply and buried his face under his claws. It had not been a wise decision on his part to ever consider waking up.

“Ah, Gaurinn, you’re awake! This is Gaurinn, he’s a very large bug and he’s two arms now, he used to only be one but he ate someone else’s. You can pet him if you want but I think he might bite. Gaurinn, this young lady is from an entirely different planet, imagine that. She’s been telling me all about the weather there. It rains green!”

The centipede’s vision shifted from unreasonably blurry to merely inconveniently fuzzy and he became aware that that an indecently violet woman wearing a fluffy white coat was seated on a bar stool next to his conjoined host. She smiled and gave him a polite little wave with one of her tentacles.

“Cailean.” Gaurinn’s mouth felt as though it was filled with partially dried glue. “Cailean, where the hell are we.”

“Ooh, he talks,” the violet girl said, blinking a third of her eyes.

“Unfortunately,” Cailean agreed. “Could you just give me a minute here, love, poor lad’s been out of it for a while.” He mimed knocking back a drink and winked before turning away and lowering his voice.

“Gaurinn, look, I know you haven’t exactly been around lately but I think for everyone’s sake it would best if you’d kindly figure out what you’re doing and then stop. The last place we were in, the bees talked.”

“Is…” It was incredibly difficult to focus on anything that was being said. “Is that martini glowing?”

“Is that what this is?” Cailean looked briefly down at the drink before continuing. “I saw things, Gaurinn. I saw things you can’t even imagine. Everything was full of stars, we haven’t stopped moving in… Maowyn, it’s been days. I can’t even keep track anymore. I don’t know how long ago that business with Quantos was. We’ve been everywhere, Gaurinn. I spent four hours getting a tattoo of a koi. That’s a kind of fish apparently.” He pointed with the glass to somewhere on his lower back.

“Cailean Iunno what the fuck you’re talking about but stop it, you’re making my head hurt. More.”


They sat in silence for a moment. Dimly, something that sounded like smooth jazz played in the background and someone dropped their glass.

“….D’you say something ’bout Quantos?”

“Don’t you remember? That was the only bit you were awake for. You were, uh… really loud. Loud and angry. We went to that mountain, remember, it was colder than a witch’s tits and you were going on about fate, and threads, and Quantos was there you told him he was going to die, and you were
TIME ITSELF and…” He trailed off at the look on Gaurinn’s face. “Look, I’m not lying to you. It was right after we were in that jungle. You exploded and we ended up in this… place… It was days-”



“Get t’the fuckin’ point.”

The soldier glanced back at the violet girl, who was now engaged in conversation with a shadowy person of indeterminate gender sitting opposite. A small pile of glitter rained down out of his hair. “Last few days, every once in a while you start shaking and we move somewhere else. It’s been slowing down lately, we’ve been here the longest out of any of them. I think… I think it has something to do with that arm you ate. When we were in that place you had this light all about you, and it was there for quite a while but it’s been getting duller and duller ever since. Like it’s uh, wearing down, see?” He downed the rest of the martini in one gulp. “Listen, I’ve been trying really hard not to think about what’s happened to us.”

“Well, that’s not unusual or anything,” Gaurinn grumbled. Not without a fair bit of pain, he gathered enough energy to slowly raise his body off the counter and twist around to look at himself. “Am I… shinier?”

“A bit, yes.” Cailean said distantly. “Doesn’t look bad on you.”

“Fuck off.” The centipede’s legs began to tap on his sides, poking at himself. “So I’m Quantos’ arm. Fucking brilliant. How did that-”

There was a bang and a flash of green light, and a violet young woman turned around to find that her erstwhile guest was gone.


The gyroscope turned. The river’s twin streams collapsed back into one.


“-miserable oh god where are we.” Gaurinn narrowly resisted the urge to throw up again, noticing that the strange mossy area they’d found themselves suddenly in appeared to have already been done that favor. “What the fuck happened here?”

“Oh, we’re back,” Cailean said disappointedly, eyeing the empty glass in his hand and swirling the last few drops around. “This moss is still warm. We must not have been gone that long.”

“Gone- we were here?”

“Before you decided we shouldn’t be anymore. This is the next, er, round. A forest.”



The centipede’s claws poked at the blood coating the vine’s leaves, which even now was quickly being absorbed into the plant’s surface. “Was this me?”

“You threw up for about five minutes straight, by my guess.” Cailean got to his feet, supporting Gaurinn with his free arm. He began to make his way around the colossal trunk, resting his elbow on the rough bark for support. “I thought you might be dying for a bit but you were fine after a while. Sort of, anyway.”

“Didn’t you feel that with your super crybaby powers or something?”

The soldier shrugged, knocking a low-hanging branch out of the way. “One of the places we went was some kind of metal building. A woman there told me it was called a laboratory. She said that you were- look, I don’t remember most of what she said, she was going on and on about you. Something about nano… nanomachines, there we go. You’re… not really alive anymore, I suppose? You were… built, again, somehow… out of…. something…” Cailean was making gestures with his free hand that did absolutely nothing to clarify his words. “And the uh, blessing doesn’t really… work on-”

“Cailean,” Gaurinn said, “You’re adorable but you’re about as useful as a wet piece of paper.”

“I’m starting to wonder if I could even argue with that,” Cailean said, and fell straight down into what looked like a nest of giant leathery eggs.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round Two: The Kestalvian Rainforest]
Originally posted on MSPA by TimeothyHour.



Quantos’s body effectively acted as a road bump for the car. The impact of his relatively large form significantly reduced the car’s momentum, and the metal arm managed to pop the back left tire. The vehicle spun and screeched to a halt, the driver’s alcohol-addled mind barely processing the events that had just happened.

The shocked screams and cries of surprise from spectators didn’t register in Samuel Johnson’s brain. He was dazed and confused, and as he stumbled out the car’s door, a confused “what,” escaped his lips. His eyes shifted around, looking for the cause of the car crash he wasn’t quite sure happened.

He looked down at the cyborg’s body. A grimace appeared on his face.

“Fuck,” he said. “Fuck fuck fuck. FUCK!”

He then proceeded to pass out from the dangerous amount of alcohol in his body.


Several blocks down, Christine Barlow, aged sixteen, was going to a friend’s sleepover birthday party. The path of the car she was driving would have intersected with the path of a drunken Samuel Johnson, and the collision would have killed both of them instantly.

However, Samuel Johnson had already been in a car crash. Christine drove on, oblivious of her luck, and went on to have unprotected sex, a child out of wedlock, and be married to a man she didn’t really love, with only affairs and many more pregnancies to get her mind off of the nagging feeling that her life was already over.


When Elimine ran, she ran. It melted the world around her, until she was the only thing, listening to the footfalls and breaths of what seemed to be another person. She became movement, and movement became her.

That is, until the round changed without her noticing, and she tripped over not a root, not a rock, not any of the local flora or fauna, but a person.



Bethany Smith-Barlow was descended from a long line of Smith-Barlows, the first of whom was named Christine. Humanity had begun widely traveling the stars, exploring an discovering, and Bethany had worked up the money to acquire a Xenobiologist at New Harvard, an exciting, growing science that had taken off since the first planet with alien life had been discovered. Recently, she had acquired multiple grants from various government and scientific programs, and was now lucky enough to be leading an expedition into the recently discovered tropical rainforests of Kestalvia. She had happened to be on the ground, investigating an interesting colony of insects, when a trombone-playing sidekick carrying an evil typewriter tripped over her.

“Ow! What the fuck was that!?”



This was just not Etiyr’s day. Generally he could get away with being evil and a typewriter, but now, apparently, karma decided to randomly be a bitch and give him a quagmire of fuck you’s.

He was happy that The Convowhore had gotten some just deserts through Old Greg’s horrible, horrible death, and he was especially happy that fucking Mr. Quantum Paradox-backwards-time-traveling-I-don’t-give-a-fuck was dead, if genie guy could be trusted. But this was all overshadowed by the fact that someone dropped him once again

“How. The. Fuck,” Etiyr slowly began to type. “Do people keep dropping me. I’m not a fucking bag of potatoes or shit or shitpotatoes or something!! And now I’m in a fucking forest or some shit. Typewriters are not meant for forests fuckitfuckitfuckit!! AurghhhhhhhhhhhhhhCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCC.”

And the forest rang with sound of clacking.

Re: The Glorious Championship! [S3G5] [Round Two: The Kestalvian Rainforest]
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Restless-She didn’t have a great sense of direction, but was always pleased when in her climbing she stumbled across the upside-down tree. It was perhaps one of the hardest places to locate in Alpha-He-Declines-the-Nipple’s territory, as an upside-down tree could only grow where the canopy is as thick as the ground. The upside-down tree hung from eight roots, each tangled up in the leaves and branches of the right-side-up trees, and its canopy spread ten feet above the ground, withered and reddish from the lack of moonlight. Restless-She had an appreciation for the oddities such as these that littered the forest—the snake that glowed in the night time, the beehive on the back of a tortoise, the Gore/Lieberman poster stapled to the ear of an elephant—that the rest of the family neglected or else feared. Even She-Makes-New-Tools hadn’t cared when Restless-She had shown her the upside-down tree, waving indifference-impatience-frivolity-time.

Here Restless-She was again, however, exploring the narrow space beneath the upside-down canopy. The last time she’d seen the upside-down bird’s nest, some six or seven conceptions-of-time before, the birds hanging there were no larger than her finger; now they flitted back and forth, their red-and-yellow bellies to the sky. Restless-She wondered what would happen if she caught one of the birds and simply turned it right-side-up. Would the bird feel the rightness of its new notion of down, and go tell its family? Likely not. Restless-She herself barely knew the ways and wheres of the forest sometimes, when she got to exploring.

Some animal Restless-She didn’t know made a call like a length of "Ah"s—AAAAAAAAAAA—and crashed in the canopy above. Restless-She jumped up and caught hold of a branch, which, confused again as to where the ground was, seemed to sag upwards with her weight. She flipped over the branch and grabbed hold of the trunk of the tree, climbing high enough to look around and try to find the thing that had made the sound. This didn’t prove difficult. It was a gangly ape furred in a dangerous-looking purple with a single triangular stripe of yellow. Its sweet smell and bright colors, like a flower, were an obvious portent of poison. Restless-She approached it closely, presuming it still to be alive.

It was. It rose, unsteady and freakishly erect, one long thin arm ending in a tool that made a sound like a dozen quarry-birds working the noontime shift.
“Jaux Lee Shitted Such’im Pansy,” it sounded. Restless-She clapped and bared her teeth and waved defense-curiousity-strength-confidence-personalspace-poison-beware-motherfucker. The tall ape gesticulated, tripped, fell, got up, waved atheism-farce with its one free hand, and sounded, ”Eye dunneva neeba nanness,” before tripping again. Restless-She responded fucking-retard-wave-intention-cooperate-understanding-benefit-fucking-retarded-asshole, at which the purple ape shed its purple furs, tossed them at Restless-She, called, “Wet him iDoo intokken tuachim pansy, itzzizz fucking chekked,” and then stumbled its way off the edge of the upside-down tree’s canopy and out of sight.

Lacking the attention span to puzzle over that little encounter, Restless-She inspected her prize. She didn’t feel poisoned. The false fur, she reasoned, was a trick to ward off predators--both the regular carnivores and the darker, deeper things for which the family had no waves. It took her about a minute to figure out how to put it on herself.

The jacket seemed to fit better on her than it had on the tall one. She looked good. She would have to show the family—particularly She-Makes-New-Tools—and for once, Restless-She had the feeling that she knew exactly the way back home.