Grand Battle S3G1! (Round Four: City of the Dead)

Grand Battle S3G1! (Round Four: City of the Dead)
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.

Velobo had descended down in the newly formed hole. He examined the room, and noticed a large machine with energy emanating from it. He stared at it, for a reason he did not know. It was beautiful, and he could not look away. He had found the Main Generator of the facility and he was enthralled by it. With two of his eyes, anyway; his hind eye was focusing on something else, a door that was open and that looked different. It was unlike the metal corridors of the lab: it seemed more bright and brown, and so Velobo walked toward the door, snapping out of the generator’s spell.
When he entered the room, he felt energy unlike those in the other rooms.

“This room is... impossible.”

From the outside, it was just another room, but when he entered, he was suddenly in the middle of a desert. He walked around, and saw the familiar metal walls, but he was still confused by the sharp rise in temperature and the sand. Before he could collect his thoughts, he heard a deafening roar.

“What was that?”

He turned to the source of the sound, and saw some of the sand shift. A column of sand began to creep closer and closer to him. Just before it reached him, he jumped to the side as the head of a tiger rose from the sand. However, that was not all there was to this creature: as it continued its ascent from the sand, a contrasting brown tubelike body rose up as the creature let out another roar. It was only then that Velobo noticed the stylish brown, high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat on top of the tiger head. Now standing like a snake ready to strike, the Tiger-Worm let out another roar and dove it’s head down toward the Plazmuth.

“Okay, there is no way that some slapping is going to take this thing down,” he said as he dodged the incoming monster. As the creature burrowed into the sand once more, Velobo looked around the room with his five eyes, hoping to find something that could aid him in his assault. It was of course only now that a sign with the words “WEAPONS” made itself obvious, by flashing and making noise. Velobo had nothing to say on the matter.
<font color="#333399">
Meanwhile, the only pair entered in the battle, TinTin and Huebert, had continued their ascent up the staircase as they heard the roars of the Tiger-Worm coming from the adjacent room. Not a pair for brash action, and seeing no point in investigating, they continue their ascent.

Back in the desert room, Velobo had reached the weapons closet after some close calls with the beast, and opened it to find a rod and rope. The rod was black and metal, except for the white, rubbery handle. The rope was seemingly normal brown rope.

He yelled out a medley of curses as he examined these so called weapons. “These are all of the weapons? Some stick and a rope? How does this help me fight this giant worm thing?”

The Tiger-Worm let out another roar as it once again lunged at the Plazmuth. Reacting quickly, he grabbed the stick, dodged the monster, and then launched his tongue at the creature.

“Well, it’s better than nothing.” He thought aloud as he closed in on the Tiger-Worm and prepared to attack it. It let out its loudest roar yet, this one in pain, as the rod electrocuted it.
“Okay, maybe I spoke a bit too soon.”

The Tiger-Worm panicked and began to swerve from side to side in an attempt of removing the cuboid on top of it. The Plazmuth saliva held, and Velobo stayed on top of the creature. He continued to hit the monster with the rod and hold on to the creature. The Tiger-Worm began to grow desperate. Its roars became closer to yelps and it began to slam into the wall injuring itself in the process. Velobo slowly climbed up to the Tiger-Worms head and grabbed onto its whiskers. He pulled up on them, causing the Tiger-Worm to follow suit, and then he wacked it’s skull with the rod. The Tiger-Worm collapsed to the floor and the Plazmuth breathed another sigh of relief.

“Hmmm,” he murmured some thoughts to himself and grew sly smile as he returned to the weapons closet and grabbed the rope. He quickly ran back to the unconscious Tiger-Worm and tied the monster with the rope and got on top of its head. “Hmm, I feel like something is missing... ” He noticed the hat that had fallen when the Tiger-Worm collapsed and he grabbed it and placed it on top of his head. He returned to the creature, and then he hit it with the rod. The creature roared as it was shocked back into consciousness, now tied up and in the Cubiod’s control.

He turned his mount to face a wall, said “Charge,” and with a whack from the rod, the Worm smashed through the wall. And into the company of TinTen and Huebert.
Upon seeing the cube riding the Tiger-Worm, the two prepared themselves before Velobo spoke, “Whoa there, whoa.” He put up a cocky grin to the pair, feeling triumphant. “Let me introduce myself, I am Velobo Calidad, and I am on a Tiger-Worm.”</font>
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.

“…And that’s about that.” Murdoch finished his tale, which brought his usual cheery mood to an all time low. He shook his head from the stupor of depression and smiled, resolving not be bogged down by his past. “Of course though, that wasn’t the end, it was 423 years ago since I left The Veil for the Cosmos. Since then, I’ve had quite the fair bit of adventures!”

“You’re 423 years old?!” The dinosaur could barely comprehend something living to the age of a hundred, let alone over four hundred. “How are you alive?”

“470 actually.” The Magician smiled to himself, as if his grand age should be something to be proud of. “And it’s sort of an added benefit to being a Varalica. Can’t die from old age. Though whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing really depends on your point of view.”

Kerak tilted his head slightly, reflecting on the background of Murdoch’s life. “So, how did you kill all your victims?” Murdoch was taken aback by the odd question, “Err…with a knife I guess?” The Deinonychus continued, “Not to mention, how you were not caught by anyone during your killing spree? Why did you decide to literally do nothing for fifteen years? How come no other of these ‘things’ were mentioned in the story?”

Miles shuffled uncomfortably as he tried desperately to not be a part of the conversation “I-I don’t know, because I was good at it? Can we talk about something else please?”

“It’s not my fault your story is not up to put! You need to get these details over in your story if want to avoid these questions. I think you’ll find my life story a perfect example of a good tale delivered fantastically, if you excuse the brag.”

Murdoch checked round the corner to see if Tor and Tengeri were anywhere near them. “Well you’ll excuse if I am not the perfect storyteller that you are Kerak, but I’d appreciate it if you would refrain from asking me about my traumatic past, okay?” a bitterness crept into the tone of the Magician’s voice that was not heard before now. Kerak decided to keep quiet for a little while, after hearing Murdoch’s past he didn’t want to test what he’d be like when angry.

The Doctor and Telpori Hal then came round the corner, looking a lot more tired than they should have been. “Where were you guys? You weren’t that far behind.” Tor explained, gasping for air between each couple of syllables: “Chaos things…took a detour…a lot of running…too much running.” Dr. Tengeri Nyoka on the other hand didn’t look tired at all, though she was seemingly missing some volume of water now.

“Well, alright.” Murdoch spoke as he began walking ahead of the group. “I don’t think we need to be running anymore, it’s not like anything is actively chasing ussaaaaaaaAAAAGH!” While stepping forward, the Magician simply caved through the floor, as if the floor spontaneously decided to be as thick as a Crackerbread. The dinosaur, Telpori-hal and Leviath all gazed down the bottomless pit in confusion as the darkness seemingly engulfed the glowing man whole.

“…He’ll be fine.”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Anomaly.

"you have engineering experience?"

Tor was taken by surprise as the words formed directly in front of him. He looked to his left to see Dr. Nyoka looking back at him inquisitively. Kerak and Murdoch were further ahead; the former was apparently scratching something onto his staff.

"I... Yes, I do. Engineer on a starship for quite a few years."

"could have - maybe would have - done the same if levian cybernetics existed at the time. generator probably irreparable, unless you know something i don't."

"It's a lost cause. We can at best shut it down, or at worst wait for it to fall apart. Probably violently."

Words began to take shape in front of Tor, before losing cohesion and pulling back to the serpent's waterfield as she stopped in the middle of the hall. Her display flashed a warning to her: "Possible threat detected. Scan information stored for review." Tengeri quickly pulled the scan result up, revealing the segment of the sauropod's staff he had been scrathing on. On its own it was virtually unreadable - the dinosaur had abominable handwriting. Fortunately for the Leviath, the computer core was able to compensate and provide the accurate text in a readable format. "Tengeri: I've eaten snake before, and it didn't taste that good. Maybe if I cured her properly? She tried to drown me once. She's on the list.... Tor: Meat that cooks itself? Investigate further."

"Something wrong?"

"looks like our sauropod friend wants to eat us. probably not a major threat - may be good idea to find a nonsentient form of food or ditch him altogether."

"Eat us. He wants to [i]eat

"he described you as 'self-cooking meat'."

"And we're letting him follow us?"

"seemed non-hostile at first. probably harmless, really. may be advised to use some caution."

"...Which way did they go now?"

Tengeri noted that the magician and the dinosaur had continued on without them in the few minutes they had stopped. Consulting her map, she decided there was a faster way to go than to trace their path. They had already descended to the floor below and were steadily moving further away.

"grab on, going to catch up. will retract waterfield somewhat."

The water around Tengeri's back lowered to a depth of about half a foot, distributing evenly around the rest of the field. Tor watched for a few moments, sighed, then grabbed hold of the cybernetic plating behind her head. Without hesitation, Tengeri shot off toward the large hole in the floor, turning sharply and descending to the halls below. At the far end of the hall, she spotted the other two round a corner. She began to speed in that direction, but was stopped short by the sound of hysterical laughter. To her dismay, a large, smiling, huge-headed clown with huge claws on its hands burst out of one of the inner laboratories. Tor instinctively dropped from the serpent and readied himself for whatever ridiculous and improbable attacks the clown would bring. The clown responded with a giant pie, having several huge spikes sticking out at random angles. Tor barely jumped out of the way as it was thrown at him, and the pie skidded down the hallway to a halt.

"Maybe shutting down the generator at this point isn't such a good idea."

Tengeri was scarcely paying attention - she was too busy focusing on her own attack, gathering a large ball of water above her. Tor looked back to find the pie flying back at him, a large, toothy grin suddenly plastered on it. He could scarcely dodge, before running back the other way. The deadly pastry was slowly overtaking him; he couldn't outrun it. Tengeri quickly diverted the built-up high-pressure stream of water at the confection, blowing it to pieces and sending out a rain of very sharp shrapnel, barely avoided by the Telpori-Hal. She then turned her attention back to the clown, which was occupied in creating an army of very vicious balloon animals. Tor took purchase of a large spike, promptly bursting a fire-breathing balloon dragon that had charged him. He then threw it at an equally ferocious balloon wolf, deflating it before it could bite his leg in half. The serpent compressed another sphere of water and launched the stream at the clown's oversized head, which burst like a balloon (unfortunately eliminating the water she had thrown as well). To her disgust and slight horror, the head almost instantly regrew, laughing all the while. Before anything more could happen, the clown and its balloon army stopped in their tracks and slowly dissolved into dust.

"they've stopped around the corner. let's go."

Tengeri and Tor continued down the hallway at a slower pace, the latter worn out from combat and the former having exhausted nearly half of her waterfield. The two rounded the corner, finding the magician and the Deinonychus waiting for them.

"Where were you guys? You weren't that far behind," the former questioned.

“Chaos things… took a detour… a lot of running… too much running," Tor gasped. Tengeri conceded with a nod.

“Well, alright,” the magician cooly stated as he walked ahead of the others. “I don’t think we need to be running anymore, it’s not like anything is actively chasing ussaaaaaaaAAAAGH!”

In an instant, the floor gave way under him and he fell into a dark, seemingly-bottomless pit. The others watched in shock for a few tense moments before the dinosaur broke the silence. "...He'll be fine." However, Dr. Nyoka couldn't simply let this happen. The magician's lifesigns hadn't disappeared; he was still alive despite having fallen close to 200 feet, by the sensors' estimate.

"i'm going after him. i should be able to make it down unharmed."

Tengeri switched her HUD to display the status of her cybernetic systems. The basic ones all reported normal (water level at 27%), but there were several more, mostly untested, at the bottom of the list. She focused on one prominent name: "Hypermanipulator System". There was no possible way she could simply jump down; a fall from that height could kill her, even if the magician had gotten lucky somehow. The walls of the pit, strangely enough, were apparently made of a not-particularly-hard rock. The doctor would have to climb down. She switched on two of the four hypermanipulators, the most she had previously tested.

Tor and Kerak watched as two compartments on Tengeri's sides opened, and two metal appentages ending in large, flat spikes snaked their way out. Each was a length of about four feet, and possessed free, omni-directional movement. They were manufactured primarily for the minority of Leviaths who lacked telekinesis, possessing versatile, nanite-based tools for various purposes. Without a word, Tengeri leaped into the pit, stabbing the incredibly sharp spikes into the rock wall. She climbed down quickly, noting that the opening above had resealed itself; a spacial rift closing. After a couple minutes of climbing, Dr. Nyoka reached the bottom of the shaft, a large, open cave filled with unusually large, glowing mushrooms. It was one of these that Murdoch had the fortune of landing on, managing to cushion his fall despite the unlikelihood at such speeds. The room (but not the caverns it led into) was encompassed by a small, self-sustaining unity field, with small amounts of chaos seeping in - no doubt what allowed a minor defiance of the laws of physics.

Tengeri detached from the wall and swam to the large mushroom Murdoch observed her from, retracting the manipulators as she came to a halt. "Astounding! I didn't know you could do that!"

"i have several systems i have not used, and don't plan to. manipulators unnecessary on Levia - planet entirely covered in water, no landmasses."

"Then why do you have them, may I ask?"

"long story. but i suppose there's time to tell it now. we're safe in this room, at least for now."

"...Where are we, exactly?"

"underground, beneath the facility. mapping out cave system - select few areas have small pockets of unity. source unknown.

"anyway, i'm a cyberneticist in the neramis science coalition - alliance comprised of 23 member species. my implants are my life's work. necessary after explosion of plasma conduit on generator in facility- critically injured. nearly died. one heart, several vital organs destroyed. heavy burns. saved by implants. could say more, but no need. difficult to communicate this way - cannot speak due to throat damage, nanites repairing damage rapidly. should be able to speak shortly."

"I'd rather not tell you my story. Brings up bad memories." The magician shuddered slightly. "So anyway, what are we going to do now? Just sit here and wait it out?"

"not a bad plan. then again, also need to turn off generator. might explode, cause multiple deaths."

"Isn't that the whole point of this battle to the death thing?"

"not going to pander to fool's demands. need to find escape. not sure how, but cannot simply allow everyone to die."

"I'm not really into killing either. I suppose you're right, if we can manage to find an escape somehow!"

"could be dangerous ahead; hope you're ready." Tengeri swam off toward the room's exit, the cave ahead growing darker and darker. Soon, the only source of light was the red glow of Tengeri's core, and the slightly brighter glow of Murdoch's entire body.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

Scofflaw felt rather unwanted as he approached; the dinosaur gave a little twitch of caution and the rusty-looking alien glared at him with an animosity that might have been a bit more deep-rooted. Scofflaw sighed. “Oh, right, I forgot. I’m a bastard.”

”I believe the man’s wording was, ‘you most likely can’t trust him at all,’” clarified Tor.

Scofflaw rolled his eyes. “Listen, back when the Fool was mortal, I owed him some money. Throwing me into this thing is his idea of a sick joke. Seriously, ‘Saint Scofflaw?’ The hell is that?”

”How much money and for what?” asked Kerak.

“$60,000 for a business venture,” answered Scofflaw, perhaps a little too quickly. “A bakery, if you must know. Didn’t pan out. Heh. Pan.”

Tor sighed.
“Look, if you’re going to insist on keeping up this incredibly obvious charade, I’ll let you, but first, give me your weapon.”

Scofflaw groaned and pulled out his dagger. As he handed it to Tor, a girl around six years of age with translucent blue butterfly wings materialized by Scofflaw’s elbow; he stabbed her between the eyes, and she screamed with the voice of a grown man for several seconds before keeling over and dematerializing.

Scofflaw awkwardly picked the dagger off the ground and handed it to Tor. “That was… a reflex,” he assured his companions.

”Uh-huh,” said Tor, pushing a random button on the dagger. A jet of yellow flame shot out the point, and he watched it disinterestedly. “Listen, I know about you, Saint Scofflaw. I’m from your future. I’ve read up on all your silly Earth history.”

Scofflaw tried to look unimpressed. “Mm-hmm? And let me guess. I was the most evil man in history; I took over the world, dropped bombs full of STDs on my enemies, put all acoustic alternative rock bands in camps?”

”Nope! You were considered the last classic supervillain until, oh, I forget, you got cancer or something and died alone and unloved.”

Scofflaw snarled. “Look, we can all sort this out in the second round.”

”I agree,” said Kerak. ”If no one’s going to be eating anyone, why don’t we get to exploring—wait, what do you mean, ‘second round?’”

By that time Scofflaw had already pressed a button on his shoe and taken off surprisingly quickly down the hallway. The dagger began to make beeping sounds. Tor, a little slow on the uptake, managed to drop it just as it exploded… into flowers.

”Thank you, Chaos,” chuckled Tor nervously. He looked down the hallway, but Scofflaw had disappeared. ”Fast little bugger, isn’t he?”

”Not really,” said Kerak, stretching out.

”Take him down but don’t eat him.” Kerak growled discontentedly. ”If you eat him, there will be consequences for you.”

Five seconds later, Tor heard Kerak call, ”Got him!” Tor began to stroll over, half-expecting (and half-wishing) to see a scene of magnificent dinosaur-induced carnage. Instead, Kerak was lounging just around the corner, keeping watch over Scofflaw, who seemed to have fallen waist-deep into the floor and was trying desperately to extricate himself.

“Help me out, you bastards!” shouted Scofflaw. “I can’t feel my legs! Do something!”

”I’ll do something alright,” said Tor. ”Not sure what. Let’s wait for the others to show up and then decide as a group, eh?”

Scofflaw put his hands on the floor in surrender. One of them sunk under the floor and became stuck. “Confound it,” he grumbled, completely trapped and content, for now, to wait.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

The trick, the pangolin was starting to understand, was to acknowledge Unity as rather pushy and self-important middleman, like a receptionist or airport security. Accord it just enough respect to avoid it getting unnecessarily in your way, but don't by any means pander to it.

And don't, by any means, let it go asserting what Benjamin was starting to innately understand as its ephemeral authority, numbered days and all.

The pangolin paused at the door, dredging up and reflecting sadly upon the memory of Skorn tearing down a similar pair of heavy barricades between Benjamin and a potential way home. He felt Unity wash over him like a horde of fretting bureaucrats, their flailing wands failing to find any kernel of Unity to wrap their officious evicting tendrils round.

Jetsam vaguely understood at this point. The car was cast in Unity, steeped in Chaos. Same for the factory. He gave the rather distressed pall of Unity; still humming around him, weakly protesting he shouldn't be here; some kind of signal that he wouldn’t deliberately cause Chaos or trek too much of it into the house, in anarchic little puddles that turned everything into scrapbooks.

The doors, like the rest of the factory, huddled in their little shrouds of Unity, gazing fearfully out to the Chaos and its too-close-for-comfort spiky harbinger. Benjamin saluted a friend in a distant universe, rose up to his full nine ant-eating feet, and punched the doors down before strolling into the facility.

Benjamin wandered the ground floor aimlessly for some time, failing to find stairs scalable for quadrupeds like himself. He eyed the instructions above a fire extinguisher, who muttered quietly asking the short-sighted beast to please don’t get so close, you’re kind of freaking us out here, before nodding to himself.

Humans. Or, at least, humanoids. The simplified, on-fire silhouette stop dropping and rolling while his unignited compatriot doused him confirmed it. Not that he’d been expecting this place to be pangolin-run, after he’d failed to muscle his way through the main doors without showering sparks everywhere.

Further meandering, and bashing a few more doors down, yielded a head office. It had a state-of-the-art computer system with a keyboard too small and a screen too holographic for Jetsam to easily negotiate around in his current form. The latter wavered and uttered beeps and squawks and squelches of alarm as the pangolin wandered through it.

Lastly, a pair of legs, dangling from the ceiling. They prickled of Unity tied to a chair while Chaos fossicked through their wardrobe and laughed at their awful taste in dress shirts. Benjamin reached up, and a moment after placed a rather nice boot on the desk. The legs were kicking now, so Jetsam stopped messing around and grabbed both ankles in his clumsy claws, pulling gently until Chaos lent a hand and made the floor around Scofflaw more akin to quicksand.

There was a suitably comedic midpoint between a slurp and a pop, and Benjamin reached round with a tail, snatching at Scofflaw’s collar before setting him gently down. He passed the villain’s shoe back.

“You wouldn’t be Mr. Jorgensaard, would you? If so, your car was looking for you.”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Valter.

The fiery one was looking particularly appetizing at the moment. What would be the best way to prepare him? Maybe a soup? Let some legumes soak up the meat's flavor, perhaps some plants for texture... That would be nice...

"we have returned. uneventful trip. see any others?"

"Had a bit of a run-in with Scofflaw. We didn't get hurt, but he escaped somehow. How'd you make it back?"

"Uh, I thought we were heading further down? How'd we get back up here in the facility?"

"the last shaft we descended repositioned us, murdoch. my sensors caught the change. how did scofflaw escape?"

"He just sank through the floor! There wasn't much I could do!"

"...Is Kerak okay?"

"I don't know! He's been staring at me ever since Scofflaw went away! And salivating."

...Maybe shred the meat, he looks a bit stringy, after all. Mix in some crushed berries... Ooh! Can't forget the bone marrow, that's always the best part. Maybe cook the bones over the meat so the marrow sinks in, I hate cracking the bones myself...

"Could we just ditch him? Please? He's clearly not looking out for our interests."

"he's just hungry. and apparently not bothered by the moral implications of eating other sentient beings." (If it is at all possible for text to be haughty, Dr. Tengeri accomplished that feat here.)

"Well, considering that we're the only food in the room right now, maybe we should just go."

"Uh, I could try conjuring some food up..."

"For goodness sake do it, then!"

...The organs are always too much effort to prepare, I say... I appreciate a good haggis just as much as anybody else, but you can't use meat from the same source you got the intestines from! It's just not done! ...Maybe if I used some of Shiny's meat with it... I've never had glowing food before, it probably tastes really good...

"Ack! He's looking at me now!"

"Just cast the spell!"

Murdoch gave a hasty wave of his wand, and a small duck materialized in front of Kerak.

"Is that really the best you could do?"

"Shut up! I panicked!"


Kerak dove forward instantly, snapped his teeth into the duck, shook it around a bit, and then threw it into the air and swallowed it in a single bite.

He fixated Murdoch with an intense glare. "More."

Several small livestock later (including a plump pig that wandered onto the scene bidden by the Chaos rather than Murdoch's magic), Kerak sat down with a satisfied thump. "Wow, that hit the spot! I didn't know you could make food appear! That must be very helpful."

"It does come in handy on occasion." Murdoch was still a bit put off by the carnivorous rampage he had just stood witness to.

"Well, I don't think wandering around or running away more will do us any good. Hasn't done much so far! Maybe we should fix the good stuff. The stuff that makes the bad stuff not happen? Murdoch had a good stuff beam making wand?"


"Yeah, that! Shouldn't we be fixing the rock that makes that? That would make for a very nice story."

"...what do you suggest?"

Kerak shrugged. "I fix people, not rocks. Isn't rock fixing more your department? What do you suggest?"

Tengeri felt abruptly contemplative, despite Kerak's abrasive manner. "if murdoch can keep the generator stabilized long enough, i could attempt repairs. the other contestants are preoccupied, but we cannot expect that to hold true for long. you and tor will need to protect us as we work."

"That was a very filling meal, but I suppose I could find room for our enemies if I were pressed," Kerak said with a toothsome, blood-stained smile. "Let's go end this chaos mumbo-jumbo for good!"
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

After a moment's deliberation, Tengeri set off towards a stairwell. She'd be best able to make repairs from the ground floor, she judged, and any other contestants showing up from above would be nicely exposed on the catwalks. Murdoch, getting used to the route, moved ahead of the group. Kerak kept up with him, badgering him with questions about the kinds of foods he could make and making suggestions for ways to prepare them.

Behind them, Tor walked close to Tengeri, speaking quietly to her. "You can't really expect us to be able to defend ourselves if any of the others show up," he said. It wasn't a question.

"huebert is well-armed, as is scofflaw. velobo, while agile, does not appear-" Tor swept the words out from in front of him before they could finish forming.

"I'm not asking for a dossier on each of the other combatants, Dr. Nyoka, I know who they are. I'm saying they're something to your plan that you're not telling me."

"repairing the generator is our best option"

"You and I both know that's not going to happen." Tor's voice was hard, matter-of-fact. It could almost sound angry, if it weren't for the careful control and deliberate pace. "You've seen it, I've seen it. The absolute best we could hope to achieve is Murdoch holding his Unity beam on it until the end of the round, and that only happens when someone here dies. You know something."

Ahead and below them, Murdoch and Kerak reached the door at the bottom of the stairwell. Looking up, Murdoch confirmed from Tengeri that it was the right door, and when she nodded to him, he went through, holding it open for Kerak first. Before passing through, Tengeri put one more message in front of Tor.

"second door on right. scofflaw and unknown, both high threat. have care."

Entering the room once more, they saw that Kerak had already spread around to cover the other side, and Murdoch was standing just inside, half-shielding himself beside a cabinet of tools. At another nod from Tengeri, he aimed his wand and started pushing Unity into the generator. It calmed, as before, and things stopped being quite so chaotic. Tengeri, extending her manipulators and shifting their ends to something more suited to repairing the machine, started her work. If he listens to me and stays away from there, we might just have enough peace and calm to get this thing stabilized a bit. If Scofflaw and whatever's with him keep talking for a while (or whatever it is they're doing), then maybe we could even get this generator into something resembling a functional device again.

Tor, meanwhile, sidled right along the wall, grabbing an old-style nailgun from a tool-bench as he went. Why she wants me barging on them I may never know, he thought, but she's the one with the scanners. Maybe it's an opportunity to get the drop on them.

Too soon, he was at the door, his hand on the handle. Taking a breath, he steeled himself-

Inside the room, time had barely passed at all. The same low-level Chaos that was subtly reorganizing the building and making things change places was also dilating time in places, and in the time it had taken Tor, Tengeri, Murdoch, and Kerak to get all the way down there, Benjamin barely had a chance to ask his question.

Scofflaw, to his credit, kept his cool. Faced with a massive, metal-plated anteater asking for someone he'd never heard of and the sudden appearance of the Telpori-Hal bearing a nailgun, he remained remarkably calm. "No, not me," he said slowly, taking his time to process the situation. "I'm sure he'll be glad to know it's okay, though." Quickly regaining his full composure, he managed to ignore the nailgun-wielding alien and focus instead on the pangolin. "He's been quite worried, you see." Glancing over at Tor, who he half-expected to call his bluff as he had before, he found the Telpori-Hal instead staring at the large, armoured beast with an odd expression on his face. Benjamin, following the villain's gaze, looked as well.

The most prominent emotion on Tor's face was that of confusion. Looking at Benjamin's hal, he saw one being- an old, scarred one, years of pain and anger and regret wrapped around a dense, solid core, compacted to a hard, resilient ball by the trials of its life. On the outside, however, he saw an unusual being, formed of Chaos, that could not possibly have had that much happen in its life. Beneath the confusion, then, there was a good deal of sympathy and concern. The wounds weren't all old and scarred over- many were fresh, new, either ripped open once more or created anew. Next, below both confusion and sympathy, curiosity and realization fought for third. This could only be Jetsam, of course, based both on the Fool's description and process of elimination, but why he looked like this (as opposed to something a bit more reasonable), Tor had absolutely no idea.

After several seconds of just staring, Tor managed to get himself together enough to say something. "You're probably full of dortul, Scofflaw, but I can't prove it. Our friend here could probably poke holes in your story with a few good questions, though." He looked expectantly at Jetsam, not quite managing to keep the sympathy and confusion off his face.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by SleepingOrange.


To his credit, Huebert barely responded to the enormous biologically-unlikely creature bursting into the hallway; "barely responded", of course, to someone like Huebert meant "drew his rifle, ready to unload several blasts directly into the beast's face without blinking". The only thing that saved Velobo's bizarre mount from death by reflex was the plazmuth's obvious control over it as well as his cocky declarations.

TinTen, despite being no stranger to combat or indeed big-game hunting, was not at his core as unflappable as his friend. In a riot of flailing tentacles trying to gain purchase, he toppled over backwards, succeeding not in preventing himself from falling so much as making his fall as long and undignified as possible. Adding to what might already have been a humorous-holovid-worthy accident in more peaceful circumstances was the Meipi's book bouncing up repeatedly as he tried to near-literally juggle his equipment, book, and self through the fall. The end result was a thoroughly-disgruntled scientist laying in an graceless heap on the floor, and possibly some less-than-favorable first impressions.

Huebert absentmindedly offered the end of his carbine for TinTen to pull himself up on while staring thoughtfully at Velobo and the slathering tigerworm. "C'n see that," he mused. From behind him, there came the sounds of suckers popping off of smooth surfaces and a frustrated grunt or two.

"Am TinTen Naamxe. Am on the floor."

"I can see that as well," came the mild response. It was difficult to read an expression that was so spread out across the body, but if the cuboid was amused, it was doing a good job of hiding it. "My apologies for startling you; I was simply testing my new steed's capabilities." If anything, at this point, Velobo was affecting an air of sheepishness, apparently genuinely embarrassed about leaping out at the pair.

There were several beats of awkward silence following the apology; Huebert had nothing in particular to say or do, and Velobo was occupied controlling the tigerworm. The only sounds were the writhing of the aforementioned chaosbeast and rifling of pages from about knee-level. After the pause had gone on for several seconds too long with no signs of breaking, Huebert holstered his weapon and began humming tunelessly and Velobo gave a passable impression of a cough.
"This may seem a bit unprompted or sudden, but–"

"Wise. I accept. Presume Huebert agrees."

Several of the plazmuth's eyes narrowed at this point, visibly surprised. He shifted his weight backwards slightly, causing the Tigerworm to rear and several mosre loud seconds passed before he could ask for clarification.
"I, uh... What? Accept what now? I didn't say anything."

TinTen's book snapped shut, and the squiddy man righted finally himself. He tapped the cover of his book a time or two before slipping it back under his coat. "Believe third cycle of Gon Tun in effect. Group triumph over superior force. Presume offer of teamwork. Incorrect?"

Calidad tapped his braces thoughtfully for a few moments as the scientist once again mounted the plasma cannon.
"No, you're right, it's just a bit unsettling being preempted like that. I'd very much appreciate your cooperation, and Huebert's."

The barbarian grinned and rolled his eyes, conspiratorially stage-whispering "He does this all the time. Either there's something to this mumbo-jumbo of his, or he's even smarter than he lets on."

TinTen bristled at "mumbo-jumbo", but was used to his friend's ribbing by now. He ignored the jab and continued, "Excellent. However, problem: feline-annelid creature not conducive to short-term goals. Primarily mobility."

It was a good point; short of having the thing tear down walls and doors everywhere it went, probably sending ceilings crashing down with them, it would be very difficult for the tigerworm to navigate the hallways and rooms that made up most of the Unity Plant, setting aside those areas that had been tainted by Chaos.


Elsewhere, a group allied by more tenuous links and less focused on the long term sized up several large machines. A plan was agreed upon, and the group broke apart slightly to allow its constituents to play their part in the plan. One member raised a wand and sent a bolt of light at a generator; a noise (or more accurately, the sound heard during the cessation of a hitherto-omnipresent noise) filled the entire facility. What most would call reality began cautiously reasserting itself.


A tinny, electronic voice sounded from inside a lab coat's pocket. "Unity surge! Chaos dampening! 7.4 kkkkssclk–"; it faded out as order suffused the area, returning it to a simple nonsentient tool.

TinTen had made a good point; fortunately for all involved (or at least, fortunately for all from the scientist's perspective), Unity solved the problem for them. There was a pop, and Velobo landed on the ground, a kitten between his legs and judging from the rather mushy sensation beneath him an earthworm crushed underneath his bottom face. He stood up hurriedly as the kitten mewled, and both feline and annelid dissolved into sand and ultimately disappeared.

Velobo was secretly glad he'd been allowed to keep the hat, at least.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Terrorists. Or anarchists. Or some other kind of destructive menace that Jetsam wanted little to do with. The plant couldnt've been consigned to scrap, else the car wouldn't be outside. They weren't some atypical A-team brand of Chaos, either - although the one he'd extracted from the ceiling was a bit ambiguous, the rusty-coloured one that had just walked in was definitely Unity-aligned. Maybe the pigmentation was a grudge-inducing memory of some kind of incident. Or something.

Benjamin was struggling to care whichever way. He was more occupied with coming up with a plan, after having reached the conclusion that rogues like these weren't likely to accommodate his personal agendas, whatever they might be for this particular planet. Best get out of here before he got implicated. Hell, if their cartel or gang felt like hunting him down, they could hunt him down. Jetsam didn't have much better to do yet, anyway.

This train of thought was interrupted, as the pangolin finally noticed the way Tor was staring at him. It sent a shiver down his rows of scales that probably had more to do with a freshly bolstered local Unity getting upset at him.

Yeah, that does it. Unnerved, Benjamin's tail lashed around a bit, the hand scrabbling along the benches for something resembling a weapon. He rumbled slowly, as though addressing thrice as many people, with twice as much firepower pointed in his direction. "I don't know what I've walked into, but I'll leave you gentlemen to it. I don't want any trouble. If anyone asks, I didn't see anything. I wasn't here."

"On your marks..."

The pangolin glanced up to the light fixture, whose grin was flickering in and out of focus. He took another step back into the far corner; he was going to need a good running start to force his way through the door. Benjamin hoped, in the interests of not spending his time on Vio fleeing from a criminal organisation hell-bent on revenge, that Tor would have the sense (or failing that, the reflexes) to get out of the way.

"Get set..."

He didn't. Benjamin rose to his hind legs with a roar and dealt the rather excitable ceiling light a brutal uppercut, before crashing back down to all fours and charging full tilt for the door. Tor managed a
"wait!" which Jetsam didn't have the time or mindset to construe as anything other than an angry warning, and was smacked aside as the pangolin curled into a ball mid-run, catching the Telpori-Han with his flailing tail.

There was a dull boom from further off, like a prickly wrecking ball colliding with a wall, before things quietened down to the more ambient tones of the facility. The office was still lit enough from the doorway, now thoroughly devoid of doors, as well as the rippling and warping holographic screen which had come off worse off from an encounter with Benjamin's trampling foot. The carefully channelled Chaos that had powered this fantastical technology leaked out, manifested a music box ballerina warbling the first few lines of "Sing a Song of Sixpence", before Unity roiled through the room and snuffed it out.

"May I point out," Scofflaw began, hoping recent events had driven his own attempt at murder from the Telpori-Hal's mind, "it was being perfectly reasonable until you showed up and scared it."

Benjamin galloped through still-spatially unstable corridors, spurred by fresh Unity lapping at his heels, hunting for an exit. When realising Chaos decided that wasn't his lot, he galloped just for the hell of it, savouring the inertia this form granted him, if not so much the stamina.

He finally caught his breath a good distance from Tor and Scofflaw and the prickle of Unity in some kind of hangar, wishing he had some glasses or something to deal with this damnable poor vision. For a shaky second, Chaos seemed willing to oblige with a pair of shutter shades, before Unity reminded Benjamin his foray into Her factory had come with certain provisions. Snorting with frustration, Benjamin just walked the twenty or so metres until the other end of the hangar came into sepia (why hadn't he noticed that before?) focus.

The entire end wall of the hangar was conspicuously absent, the hexallation shimmer of the Unity barrier's boundary the first thing Jetsam had seen in Vio to elicit actual elation. His experience to date showed on the whole, Chaos wasn't prone to friendly fire. A thick meadow of very large, Chaotic flowers was encroaching into the facility between Benjamin and escape, and it was only when Jetsam had hurriedly retreated from the meadow with half a dozen piranha-like tulips and a bouquet of lion-faced miniature sunflowers attached to his right foreclaw that the pangolin realised that a) he’d been wrong to make sweeping generalisations about how Chaos behaved and b) this wasn't going to be so easy.

The tulips' very determined gnawing (which failed to stop even after Jetsam uprooted the bastards) was rapidly escalating from annoying to painful, and by the time Benjamin had levered them all off with a metal-rimmed scale his foreleg was covered in puncture wounds. He winced, licked the wounds clean as best as his morphology would allow, and hunkered down in a corner which gave him a decent view of the door.

Benjamin needed a plan. He’d gotten as far as ‘something something petrol’ (it was hard when your brain was geared toward plans powered more with Chaos than logic) when a previously ignored office door opened behind him. A man, with a head like an egg and a build (beneath his overalls) that looked like he’d eat three of them raw for breakfast, stared at the pangolin. His eyes narrowed, and he hefted his comically large spanner. Jetsam felt the Unity pouring off the guy in abrasive streams before he heard him, and turned just in time to get a concentrated bolt of the stuff in his side.

The pangolin flew across the width of the hangar, fall arrested if not quite broken by a jeep. The foreman held his spanner with practiced ease, a second lurid green bolt chattering in its jaws. Benjamin struggled to his feet to the sound of tulips roaring with approval, the hit area not visibly wounded but simultaneously burning and numb. “Sir, you’ve got intruders. In your-”

Benjamin barely avoided the second blast, sprinting for the woefully insufficient cover afforded by another vehicle before it too was shot to bits. The man closed the gap until he stood in the middle of the hangar, chasing the pangolin in a wide arc as he ignored its pleas.

“YES,” roared Jorgensaard, now hefting his wrench like a crossbow as he shot a rapid stream of controlled Chaos at Jetsam, “THERE IS A PRICKLY BLOODY ANTEATER LOOSE IN MY FACTORY!”
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.

Meanwhile, in the past.

The damp caverns below the facility quickly plunged into pure black, the glowing fungi from before now decidedly absent from the scene. The bright glow from Murdoch’s skin only lit so far, not enough to be massively useful at least; Tengeri had the sensors to effortlessly navigate the darkness of the caves, something Miles annoyingly lacked. “Hold on.”

Murdoch pulled his wand from seemingly nowhere, with a decisive flick, a bright fireball materialised in front of the pair lighting up the deep caverns below. Murdoch pointed his wand in multiple directions and the flame obediently followed the directions with a swiftness of a firework being set off. “There we go. Nice to shed some light on the situation!” He pulled his wand back and the miniature sun glided back towards the Magician, offering a generous amount of light.
Dr. Nyoka eyed Murdoch with suspicion; it was the first time she’d seen him do something that could be classed as dangerous, though she had suspected this from the start. “interesting phenomenon you wield there.”

Murdoch smiled to himself. “I take it you’ve never really seen magic before?”

“on the contrary, I have, not to such a broad extent however.”

Miles chuckled to himself “I don’t fully understand it myself really, all this should be rightfully impossible but it isn't. Still, how is it any different to the technology you have?”

“this technology is the fruit of the advancement of intelligence. It is something explainable at least.”

Another chuckle “You know a friend of a friend of a friend once told me that ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’. I wonder what he’s up too.” Murdoch walked forward, his floating flame banishing the darkness around him. “Let’s get out of here; we aren’t doing much good down here either way.”

The pair walked through the damp caves, for a while it was mostly silence, the only sound being the gentle sloshing of water from Tengeri’s field and the footsteps of the magicians feet. Eventually, Miles broke the silence again: “So why did you come and save me?”

“i was unaware i needed a reason to help a person in need.”

“…Good answer.”


Back in the present…

Murdoch pulled away from his duty of applying Unity to the generator and sagged a little,
Tengeri turned around from her repairs to address the the Magician and the generator becoming more chaotoic. “why have you stopped?”
“Sorry, it’s just a little tiring doing this all the time; I need a bit of a break.”

The Leviath rolled her eyes, “Make it quick.”

What Miles said was mostly a lie. Maintaining the Unity beam was barely tiring at all, he could have done it in his sleep. Murdoch knew that he had barely shown his true potential to anyone in this sick ‘competition’ yet, he could effortlessly bring forth a cataclysmic magic firestorm to this entire facility, completely annihilating, nay, erasing everything in a five mile radius, and the only thing stopping it was Miles own self applied morals.

And that’s why he stopped, the monotony of maintaining this beam made the glowing man’s mine wander into territory he would usually avoid. Thoughts such as ‘I could reveal the dark secrets of the universe to that dinosaur and obliterate his mind’ or ‘I could slice the wind through Dr Nyoka’s skull so fast she wouldn’t realise it for a good 30 seconds or so’. It’s these kinds of thoughts that terrify Murdoch; these kinds of thought make him regret the decisions he made so a go.

These thought reminded him of his Wife, the murders, the Veil, her.

Miles shuck his head violently in an effort to remove them out of his head,
Tengeri glanced over again, a little more worried about the Magician’s actions than before. “You’re ok right?”

Murdoch looked over at the floating words in front of Tengeri. He so desperately just wanted to tell her everything and everything about him is a lie and how he so wished he could just forget it all and how he so very wish that insufferable bitch would die.

But he refrained, he couldn’t, it was too soon, he was too scared. Instead he sorted out the cuffs of his shirt and gave a cheery “Sorry about that!” He pointed again to the Generator with his wand and reassumed his Unity beam shooting duty. “Won’t happen again.”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.

To be honest, Scofflaw just stood there for a moment and hoped that Chaos would do something, if not to his favor, then at least to break the tension. The dim lighting and sort of awkward stand-off reminded him of the second act of a 1990s-era action movie, one in which everyone’s problems could be solved by the hero’s plucky “hacker” sidekick with a cursory knowledge of computers.

Chaos, due to the efforts of Murdoch, was unobliging, and instead Scofflaw felt a surprisingly hard punch to the jaw. He crumpled like a sack full of freshly laundered money, tried to turn the crumple into a graceful backwards roll, succeeded in turning it into a graceless and moronic-looking backwards roll, got up, adjusted his pants, and lunged at Tor.

As a stout fellow, you don’t make as many enemies as Scofflaw does without becoming rather adept in the “cornered mouse” school of close combat. It mostly involves lunging, usually when your foe has a back to an unreinforced window (Scofflaw, as a rule, never reinforces the windows in buildings he owns). Following the lunge, assuming both combatants aren’t tumbling out of a window, the lunger proceeds to punch and, failing that, headbutt one’s opponent until someone succeeds in drawing and aiming a weapon or someone’s backup arrives. It is extraordinarily embarrassing for everyone involved.

Tor, feeling all off Scofflaw’s weight pushing his shoulders at a nice forty-five degree angle, went down. Predictably, this was followed by a whole lot of punching, headbutting, and rolling around on the floor.

A few rooms over, Tengeri chuckled through her damaged vocal cords; it came out as a wheeze.

Scofflaw felt his nose break (for what, the fourth time?) and took that as a sign to release. Seeming to agree that round one was over, the two combatants separated, each cursing profusely in their own separate native languages. Scofflaw painfully adjusted his nose to what he considered to be an appropriate shape, and watched Tor twitching and scratching himself in a matter he usually associated with drug addicts and captives who weren’t allowed bathroom breaks. What was it the Fool had said about this one? Some sci-fi bullshit. Scofflaw didn’t have time to think on it more before Chaos gave an asthmatic sputter that filled the air with a smell he recognized as pixie dust.

Scofflaw was allergic to pixie dust. He sneezed something that was mostly blood all over his new tuxedo and the floor.

A few rooms over, Kerak sniffed the air.
”I’m going to go, um, check on Tor,” he said. Tengeri shrugged, or whatever the Leviathan equivalent of shrugging is. Kerak left his companions to do the important work, and set out on the hunt.

Before he could do much in the way of tracking, Kerak’s prey, dressed in a tuxedo, flew out of a nearby room, trailing something sparkly. “Happy thoughts, Tor!” called Scofflaw into the room. “Wedding bells! Clownfish! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! You can do it!”

”Oh, come on,” came a rather stressed-out reply. ”This is your stupidest lie yet. You have an anti-grav belt on, right?”

”Don’t be such a negative Nanook, Captain Hook!” called Scofflaw, prancing about in midair. “Maybe they don’t have fairies in the North, but welcome to Neverland, bitch! I am Pandaemonium, leader of the Lost Larceners!” Scofflaw rebounded off the far wall back into the room; Kerak tiptoed by the doorway and peered in. There was Tor, sitting grumpily in a wedding dress, keeping one eye on Scofflaw flying circles around him and babbling like an idiot. “Pirates and Indians alike try to shut us down,” Scofflaw whispered to Tor, conspiratorially, “but we are the Ageless Anarchists, and we take what we please.” The plump, raw villain gave Tor a pat on the head and giggled. “There’s no problem that can’t be solved by smallpox and clocks! Haha! I feel fantastic!” Scofflaw flew out of the room almost, but not quite, as fast as Kerak judged he could run. Kerak stretched his neck and thought of how much of Scofflaw could be eaten before he died and the round changed. Then he began to run.

The dinosaur’s legs backpedaled awkwardly, because he was no longer touching the ground.
”Happy thoughts,” he mused. It took him a few seconds to figure out how to pilot himself, and then he gave chase.

Tor watched Kerak fly off and decided not to say anything. The happiest thought he could muster was thinking of the moment when he would get to burn away this ridiculous dress.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

Tor fumed. He'd been knocked around by a huge armoured thing that he was almost positive was the eight contestant, attacked by the less massive but hardly svelte villain, and stuck in an embarrassingly feminine human garment. (At least, he'd later reflect, it had gone on over his other clothes.)

"Porter, Cobb, go help Andrews inspect the cargo and see what we can salvage. I'd like a word with our guests. Alone."

He was sore, battered, and stripped of his dignity, and he was going to make Scofflaw pay for all of it. He dearly hoped that the dinosaur didn't manage to chase down his target before he got a chance to get to him himself. He'd give anything for a chance to squeeze that gandortat throat.

"You board my ship, destroy my cargo, and hurt my crew, and now you expect a trial?"

Stalking out of the room, not noticing the looks he got from Murdoch and Tengeri, he headed for another door. A thin wisp of smoke curled through the air behind him as he went, his mind ablaze with images of holding that man close and watching him burn with him, feeling the villain's skin blistering beneath his fingers.

"No, that won't be necessary. Our guests decided to leave early."

He started up the stairs, each loud, clanging footstep bringing him closer to Scofflaw. He'd wait as long as possible, building up as much fuel as he could. He wanted to watch the villain feel himself charring. He wanted to leave nothing left for the dinosaur to eat. He wanted-

The light splash of water came out of nowhere, blindsiding him and sending him spinning off-balance. He landed on his already-sore back and stared at Tengeri, floating just a few steps behind him.

"stay calm," the Leviath wrote. "don't lose yourself"

Tor blinked at her, his mind trying to shift gears back to something resembling reasonable.

"R-Right, yes." He took a few deep breaths, trying to reclaim some modicum of calmness. "Just, ah... Just a minute, I should be fine."

"you should stay and keep watch"

"No, no." Tor's thoughts were starting to reorder themselves, and one priority stood out. "I can't stay, I have to do this."

"vengeance is never wise"

"Like kre- No, sorry, you're right. That's irrelevant, though. This, this isn't vengeance- there's something else I need to do besides settle with that trentoalil."

Tengeri just stared at him for a moment, searching for the feelings she'd seen before. After a moment, she responded, "go. I will continue attempting repairs"

Nodding to her, Tor stood and started quickly up the stairs, his pace quicker but his stance less rigid.

Watching him go, the Leviath reopened her record for GB-004.

Subject's emotional state potentially unstable, she added. Observe carefully.


Tor was still moving with purpose, but thanks to the Leviath's reminder, it was a much different one. The floor, walls, and occasionally ceiling were marked fairly clearly, his path highlighted before him by the scratches in the concrete.

At the very least, he needs to know the truth, Tor thought. If he's any more identifiable in the next place, Scofflaw will definitely try and take advantage of him. With that Hal, I don't think Jetsam's going to be a pushover when it comes to surviving, but if Scofflaw gets his hooks into him, he could be a seriously dangerous enemy.

(For a moment, something niggled at Tor, a tiny little something in the back of his mind. He knew he remembered Scofflaw from his cultural studies, but he couldn't quite put his finger on where he remembered him from.)

And besides, he deserves the truth. From the sounds of it, he's been going from dimension to dimension for ages, and this would just be the next one in line. He should at least have some warning- it's only right.

Moving at a decent clip, Tor continued following the telltale signs of the pangolin's passage. Soon, though, a flash of light out a window caught his eye.

Tor looked out, sighed, and took stock. Whoever that was shooting at Jetsam, he found it unlikely that they'd be willing to stop for a moment while he kindly explained to the "prickly bloody anteater" that it had been torn out of its previous cycle of moving between universes and into a whole new one. It didn't take long for him to come up with something of a plan.


Still somewhat scrabbling his way in an arc around the hangar, Benjamin noticed neither the second-floor window overlooking the hangar open nor the figure fall from it. Similarly, he didn't notice the crunch of wooden crates breaking the figure's fall.

He did, however, notice the sudden burst of flame on the other side of the hangar, an hours'-worth of Telpori-Hal toxin going up at once and setting the wooden crates ablaze.

Jorgensaard noticed as well, jerking his head around to see two months of cheap surplus rations going up in smoke.

Tor, amid the flames, rolled his neck once before stepping out and forward. No more sore back, no more scrapes, no more dorti dress.

Jorgensaard was appropriately nonplussed. A brown-skinned man was walking out of a fireball unscathed, clothes glowing red and short-cropped hair gleaming, metallic silver. What's worse, he was approaching Jorgensaard himself, looking rather angry as he did.

"This facility," Tor next-to-shouted, "is facing a critical collapse! I come here to see what can be done, and I find you trying to shoot a bleedin' anteater instead of getting it running again! What the hell kind of show do you think you're running here?!"
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Valter.

Flying was a bit of a new sensation for Kerak, although inundated as it was in all the other new sensations he had been experiencing, it hardly even merited attention. It wasn't even that useful, given the cramped quarters he was working his way through! What a rip.

It was supposedly a very fun experience, or so his Pterosaur contacts had insisted at every possible opportunity. They preferred to talk about the glory of flapping your wings and gliding, though, while Kerak's method of locomotion was more like pointing himself in a direction and simply willing himself forward. The Chaos apparently wasn't ready to impart true flight. Maybe that was a result of Murdoch's... Thing Beam?

He didn't particularly mind the Chaos, or its present shyness; it had manifested a meal or two for him already, and caused quite a number of other very interesting things. The rest of the contestants seemed to resent its presence, though, and conquering it would make a good story for his staff. So it simply had to be dealt with.

As did the miscreant Kerak had been chasing for the last ten minutes!

Scofflaw came into view around the next corner, his movement severely hampered by the stiff costume he was still stuck in. Kerak wasted no time in diving straight into him and knocking him to the floor, and followed up that maneuver by sitting his entire bulk on top of the hapless human's chest. "Scofflaw!" Kerak shouted, lowering his head nearly to his victim's ear. "Let's talk."

Scofflaw flailed his limbs for a few moments before reaching the conclusion that yes, a dinosaur was now sitting on him, and no amount of scuffling would be likely to change that any time soon. He gave up that approach and decided to settle for a sullen stare. "Wouldn't you rather eat me? That seems more like your preferred approach." Goading the dinosaur on was not strictly speaking the best of ideas, but if the dinosaur were truly intent on biting his head off, it probably would have done so already.

"What? Oh gosh, no! I ate my fill recently. Well, fairly recently. I could go for a little- No no no! That's not important. I want to hear your story!"

"My story? What do you mean?" Scofflaw was willing to feign incredulity for now; more questions meant more time not spent being eaten, and he needed that time to reach his equipment. He had enough ordnance concealed on his person to conquer a small island nation (a fact he had tested and proven extensively back home).

Unfortunately, the ordnance in question was currently made inaccessible by the tuxedo still covering his body. Not to mention the dinosaur sitting on him. Couldn't forget that.

"Yes, yes! Your story! What makes you a "bastard, in short", as the funny man with the scepter said? You don't look that short!"

"I think 'in short' is a figure of speech..." If I can only reach my penknife, I might be able to cut through the seams of the tuxedo... Ah! Here we go.

"Haha! Yes, that's the joke!"

"It was very funny, then. My story is a bit long, though, so maybe you could shift your weight slightly to the side? To give me just a bit more comfort?" Okay, I've reached my weapons pocket. Now to find a weapon that won't kill me too if I use it; amusing though the Devastator may be, I'm not sure it's appropriate for this company. I wonder if The Fool has a contingency for if all eight contestants die at once?

"Oh, well, I don't see why not." Kerak leaned backward, giving Scofflaw significantly more room to dig through his pockets. "Is your story interesting? How many people have you killed?"

Aha! The Atomizer. This should do perfectly! "I lost track a long time ago, Kerak, but I know it's about to be one mo- Wait." Scofflaw paused mid-draw. Something about Kerak's earlier talking had struck him as just a bit funny. "You called The Fool a 'funny man with a scepter'? Don't you hate him?"

"What? No! He brought all of you interesting people for me to talk to." Kerak shook his head. "If anything, I do believe I owe this Fool a favor."

"Why are you traveling with Tor and Tengeri, then? They don't seem particularly pleased with the Fool..." The bugs planted on everybody Scofflaw had met so far gave him something of a tactical advantage; the video was a bit grainy, but he had seen enough of Tengeri's messages to get the gist of her unctuousness.

Kerak didn't even seem to notice Scofflaw's oddly specific knowledge about his travel companions. "I don't care about what they want. What they want doesn't matter! What matters is what they have, and Tengeri has something that I want."

"What do you want?"

"Are you going to tell me your story or not?"

"Are you going to get off my chest or not?"

"Oh, alright." Kerak hopped off Scofflaw, noting somewhat despondently that he could no longer fly.

Scofflaw sat up and, after a moment's consideration, re-holstered his Atomizer. "As I said before, my story's a bit of a long one. I could certainly go over it all, but..."

"Yes? But what?"

"Well, traveling alone has proven to be somewhat hazardous, and I must admit that I am not so used to working without minio-associates. If you're willing to travel with me, I'd be happy to tell you my story, and maybe we'll even get what you want from Tengeri while we're at it!"

"Oh, fantastic," Kerak said excitedly. "Done and done."

Scofflaw stood up, ripped off the last remnants of his silly tuxedo, and beckoned for Kerak to follow him. It was an odd choice of lackey, to be sure, but heavens knew he had to start somewhere.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Anomaly.

Erstwhile, some indeterminate amount of time earlier...

Tengeri's scanner flashed a bit of useful information to her - namely, that caverns were in a constant state of flux, rearranging themselves entirely at random; true randomness, a lack of pattern which prevented any amount of estimation. Navigating back to the facility, barring convenient, unpredictable rearrangements of the entwined lattice of serpentine tunnels, would prove a logistical nightmare. After several microcycles of uneventful plodding and floating, the two were stopped by a sudden outgrowth of very, very talkative vines, which quickly interwove and shut off the passage. The chaotic plant matter babbled on and on and on about groceries and laundromats and taxes and how awful the government was and how kids today have it easy they walked five miles in the snow to school every day uphill both ways and never complained and oh it's some people hiiiii people and then discussed the finer points of Ottoman period architecture and-

The vines exploded into flames when touched by the miniature star, nudged onward with naught but a wave of the magician's wand. Tengeri took a quick, askance look at Murdoch before resuming on her way. Quiet quickly overtook the scene for several more microcycles before, with little warning, a small bubble of water pulled away from the main field and quickly formed itself into writing (Tengeri was slowly becoming more skillful at this wildly inefficient method of communication).

"how did you become so proficient at magic?"

Murdoch raised an eyebrow at the Leviath before speaking up. "I... Well..." Tengeri could tell that he was hesitant to tell her about it. "I... Really don't want to talk about that. You heard enough just from my little 'introduction' at the start of this game."

"sorry, i don't mean to pry. magic is extremely rare in my home universe, in the capacity you use it in. it's common in minor forms - almost all leviaths possess telekinesis, and experimental levian power systems - such as the one keeping me alive - rely on channeling of a barely-understood form of magical energy. very rarely do you see a member of any species - save one or two - with powerful abilities such as-"

The conversation was erupted by a gigantic, mustached Trilobite, complete with a scorpion tail armed with a laser cannon. It let out a deafening roar, causing both Murdoch and Tengeri to involuntarily flinch. The laser cannon, in an almost cartoon-like-fashion, began to draw in lines of ill-defined "energy", coalescing into a large ball at the end. Tengeri only had a moment to react as it pointed at her and fired the energy ball, vaporizing a small quantity of her waterfield simply from its proximity. Murdoch waved the mini-star through the air in random loops and turns, drawing the arthropod's attention almost immediately. Tengeri swiftly extended her upper two hypermanipulators, equipped with extremely powerful plasma cutters, then divebombed the creature. Unfortunately, it didn't take very kindly, letting out a loud "Harrumph" before swatting her away with the hard metal weapon on its tail.

Tengeri crashed to the ground, receiving several bruises but otherwise making it out alright. Fortunately, her implants were comprised of an extremely high-strength durasteel alloy, unable to be destroyed by less than extreme force. She groggily arose, and looked up to find the creature losing interest in the shiny distraction. Worse, it had found another perfectly good shiny object in the vicinity - the magician. It had already begun to charge its weapon, aiming it at the considerably less interesting Leviath it had just attempted to immobilize.Tengeri jolted across the tunnel and avoided the projectile, losing less water this time. She looked back up to see the magician brandishing his wand, waving it around menacingly, prepared to fight. With a single stroke of the wand, however, the star came crashing down on the unfortunate creature, killing it instantly.

"why didn't you do that earlier?"

"I'm rather... hesitant... to kill unnecessarily. I suppose it doesn't much matter with a mindless beast like that, but it's the principle of the thing!"

"i am quite opposed to killing - even simply harming - others unnecessarily, but i think our lives are more important than that of a dangerous creature."

"Y-yes, I guess I was just apprehensive. You alright?"

"i'll be fine. i've had worse."

The two continued through the caves, soon coming to a large shaft, much like the one they had fallen down, minus the mushrooms and the unity pocket.

"it'll probably lead us closer to the surface. hang on tight."

Tengeri activated both pairs of hypermanipulators, using the extra as rope to prevent the magician from falling as he gripped the metal plating. As soon as Murdoch gave confirmation, Tengeri shifted the top two manipulators back into climbing tools and started up the side of the shaft. With the added weight the climb was made more difficult, but still bearable. Almost as if on command, the ceiling of the shaft shifted away to reveal the inside of the Unity Plant to Tengeri's sensors. Tengeri redoubled her efforts and managed to squeeze through the gap just before it closed.

- - - - - - - - - -

"Generator stabilizing. Likelihood of meltdown at current stability: 13%. Hazard level 7. Continue repairs if possible, get to safe distance if not."

Tengeri, growing slightly nervous that a genuine threat, such as Scofflaw, for one, would show up at any moment, redoubled her efforts on the generator. She shot a glance to Murdoch, whose expression exhibited a sense of boredom, mixed with a tinge of agitation and regret. Nonetheless, he continued the unity beam unabetted, keeping the generator operational at the very least while the doctor worked. She was not exactly what one would call "experienced" in the matter of generator repairs, but the instructional 3D overlay was doing its job well enough. It was taking much, much longer than it would take an experienced mechanic, but, as her HUD flashed to her, the generator was nearly stabilized.

"Generator stabilizing. Integrity at 98% and rising. Likelihood of meltdown at current stability: minimal.


Integrity at 99% and rising.


Generator stabilized. Likelihood of meltdown: .003%."

Tengeri turned to Murdoch and signaled him with the odd head-bobbing motion that seemed to indicate a plethora of things in his odd body langauge. Murdoch let off the unity beam, leaving the now-stabilized generator working on its own. It was only at 74% of capacity, and certainly wouldn't reseal the gaps in the field, but at the very least it would prevent unity from collapsing altogether. Tengeri deactivated the manipulators and floated toward Murdoch, simultaneously forming words in front of him.

"now that that's taken care of, should attempt to find information ab"

The words dissolved and pulled themselves back into the larger waterfield. As could be expected after such an act, Tengeri's HUD was once more flashing a warning. "Threat detected. GB-005 approaching. Distance: 15.678 meters and closing. GB-006 also present, displaying same phenomenon. Use extreme caution."

"scofflaw approaching rapidly. definitely heading for this room."

"What do you want to do, turn tail and run away like chickens?"

The expression was, of course, completely lost on the Leviath. This was no time to question it, though. There wasn't time to escape as she had so frequently done in he past; she would have to deal with him personally.

"no time to run. just be on guard."

"Whatever you say."

The broken door swung open as the dinosaur burst into the room, followed closely by "bastard, in short". Tengeri immediately unfurled all four of her manipulators, brandishing a plasma cutter, a "climbing spike", and two hand-like appendages, each possessing three two-jointed fingers arranged in an equidistant, triangular fashion around the perimeter. Saint Scofflaw looked on, betraying a slight air of amusement as Tengeri formed a message in front of him.

"i don't know what it is you're planning, and frankly, i don't care. just keep in mind that you are in fact outnumbered, and could be incapacitated fairly handily. unless you haven't come for a fight, but do keep in mind that i can detect the subtlest movement you make."

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.


The foreman lowered his spanner. The neon lines, superimposed above it in the shape of a glowing crossbow rig, braided, rose like a snake ready to strike, and dived unimpeded through the floor with a cetacean squeal. Ripples on a surface only Benjamin could discern lapped through the room while the human and the Telpori-Han locked eye to eye. The pangolin’s gaze flicked warily from one to the other, while Tor tried his best to ignore the scarred, guarded hal that hung about it like an angry ghost.

Jorgensaard bristled, halved the gap between him and Tor with a few earthmoving strides, and made the kind of thunderous noise you’d more expect coming from over a horizon than a human.

“What,” he growled, “gives you the gall to speak to me in such a fashion!?”

The Telpori-Han sighed a little, but didn’t lower his gaze. He started slowly, drawing upon the resentment regeneration hadn’t quite managed to burn off..“You should consider yourself lucky that there’s next to nobody in this facility. If your idea of backup safety procedure is a magician spewing lasers at your main generator-”Tor’s voice couldn’t even aspire to approach Jorgensaard’s stentorian bellow, but he had to admit raising his voice felt pretty good “-then frankly you’re lucky I’m speaking to you INSTEAD OF SPITTING IN YOUR KREKKAD-SMUG FACE!”

Jorgensaard almost shared a glance with an even more nonplussed Benjamin after this outburst. Almost.“NOBODY-” exploded the foreman“-HAS THE RIGHT-”this time, it was Tor and Benjamin taken aback“-TO CLAIM ALDRED JORGENSAARD TAKES ANYTHING MORE SERIOUSLY THAN THE SAFETY OF HIS WORKERS!”

At some point in this exchange, the two men had ended up standing eyes to nose (Tor’s to Joregensaard’s, the latter being appreciably taller). Jetsam just crouched where he’d landed after bounding from the last molotov missile cocktail bolt of Chaos-infused Unity. He was presently busy trying to figure out what anatomical pieces of him, exactly, were aching from the Unity blasts. It was proving difficult.

Tor managed only a glance at the forgotten pangolin, before the roaring in his ears stopped. Trusting his gut more than taking the time to assess the situation, he countered as loudly as he could, “THEN EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THAT PIECE OF DORTUL GENERATOR IS PRIMED TO EXPLODE!”




Benjamin had, while this discussion continued at its eighty-decibel clip, skulked around the wrench-wielding strongman. Between yelling back at Jorgensaard and admiring the magnificent shade of beetroot the man’s ears were turning, Tor momentarily caught his breath and gave Jetsam another fleeting look. He still couldn’t quite keep the confusion off his face at the bizaare sight that was Benjamin’s appearance, but flicked a meaningful finger in the direction of the double doors – the easiest route for the pangolin to leave the hangar.

The man was lost, scared- “-AT LEAST I’M NOT LIKE TALKING TO A BRICK WALL THAT YELLS, SIR-” and above all, deeply mistrustful. If Jetsam couldn’t trust the Telpori-Han enough to stop and listen to him, there was no way he’d go as far as to believe his explanations. Time was of the essence, Tor admitted, but as far as he knew the contestant in the most danger was Scofflaw (if Kerak caught the portly bastard). Which would make his efforts to bring Benjamin up to speed slightly less urgent, in the event they were transported elsewhere.

Jetsam caught Tor’s signal, but made no acknowledgement or thanks as he slunk through the doorway out of sight. His gaze never left the two arguing men, as though he expected them to pounce upon his first moment of inattention. The tangle of corridors beckoned, and the pangolin resumed his loping canter, until he’d disappeared beyond Tor’s range of hearing-


Jorgensaard huffed, and stopped standing on his toes (which he’d somewhat unnecessarily begun doing while really getting into the swing of his diatribe). Tor, trying to pick up Jetsam’s footsteps now that the bellowing right by his ears had stopped, finally mustered a filthy look for the foreman. To his surprise, the man was grinning. His upper lip twitched, as though he’d had a moustache to accentuate the movement until that run-in with an over-zealous barber-lobster last week on the daily commute.

“Good pair of lungs on you,”approved the foreman. He extended his beefy hand, which the consummate businessman grasped almost automatically. “Tor Kajan, was it? Aldred Jorgensaard, Head of Operations and Research in this fine Unity Plant. And pretty much every other position, I guess,”added Jorgensaard as an afterthought, regarding the meadow beyond Tor (it was baying for blood and, if the two ringing-eared men were hearing it right, mustard). The Telpori-Han took the opportunity to extract his hand from the crush-grip.

“Anyway! I’m certain it’ll be a most intriguing tale, so Mr. Kajan: how in the name of Lord Mephistopolous did you end up in my factory?”

“I. Uh.”The man had gone from a shouting match to polite conversation faster than the Telpori-Han could feasibly process it. Mercifully for Tor’s sanity, though, Unity seemed to be doing a decent job of keeping things tidy for now. Even the man-eating meadow was quieting. Jorgensaard frowned, looking at his companion.

“Simple enough question, sir. Did Chaos send you here, or did you use Chaos to get here? I don’t recognise you from the agency.”

“I… look, I may as well be honest with you, Mr. Jorgensaard.”Tor sighed as he figured out the most concise method to explain this; he’d need to repeat it all to Jetsam later anyway.“I and seven other individuals were plucked from our homeworlds by an entity, referred to only as the Fool. He selected this world as the first location for… a battle to the death. Some of the other contestants are trying to fix the main generator right now, but I-” here Tor gave a wary look around the hangar as though expecting Scofflaw to be eavesdropping “-that ‘prickly bloody anteater’, as you called it, is one of the contestants – except he’s been dragged between worlds well before he was entered into this ‘battle’. He doesn’t realise he’s in a fight to the death, and I need to tell him. That’s the essence of it.”

Jorgensaard listened expressionlessly until Tor finished, then proceeded to roar with laughter for a good twenty seconds. He cut it off with brutal terseness and fixed Tor with a piercing expression. “No. No, Mr. Kajan. I assure you, I’ve heard - and been - the protagonist of all manner of fantastical stories since I began this line of work. Having said that, nothing – and I mean nothing - was as ridiculous a tale as the one you just tried to spin me.”

The Telpori-Han was astounded. For about two seconds. Then he got angry. Again.

“How can you live in a place like this and claim I’m sounding ridiculous!?”

Jorgensaard grunted dismissively. “Simple. That bear… scales… thing. A Chaos Entity, through and through. Of Vio. No disguising the fact it was born without rhyme and bred with even less reason.”

Tor snarled with frustration.

That’s because Jetsam is-”

Enough.”Jorgensaard flicked some catch on the wrench, prompting its jaw to drop half a foot and begin focussing another blast of channeled Chaos. Tor looked tempted to argue, gave the formidable slab of metal in the foreman’s fist a look of loathing, and clamped his mouth shut. A little whine preceded the de-greening of the spanner, which Jorgensaard clutched a little uncomfortably. He still held it at the ready, though.

“Maybe that anteater was right about intruders… but I can deal with you all later. You mentioned the main generator was deteriorating?” Tor nodded, wary. “Right. I’ve got to fix that, then. You’re coming with me, Mr. Kajan.”

“I need to-”The foreman cut off Tor’s protest with a wave of his hand, after adjusting something on his belt and fiddling with his spanner.

“No. Arguments. This is supposed to be a secure facility, confound it. If you and your friends’ll help me, that’s well and good, but-”

The neon green braid, previously seen diving through the concrete floor, poked its sheepshank head out of the closed office door and took a look around, before lunging for the pair. Jorgensaard held that thought, caught the lance of energy smartly in the jaws of the spanner without a second glance, before swinging the whole arrangement overhead and letting the tail end lasso the doorhandle. A tug on the door opened it onto a catwalk, which certainly wasn’t the same room visible through the office window. That now featured an idyllic landscape with beach balls raining all over it.

“After you, sir.”
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.



Blaaaargh I can't get this post down. Also I’ve been catastrophicly busy/put under ridiculous stress of late. (and maybe spending my free time reading Scott Pilgrim but shhh.)
SO consider this reserve cancelled.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Solaris.

After the momentary sadness from losing his steed left him and Velobo stood up and adjusted his hat, and turned to TinTen, asking him, “Where did that Unity wave come from?”

<font color="#333399">“Main Generator likely,”
was his reply.

The Plazmuth suddenly recalled the room of energy that he had been so fixated on. His eyes widened and he became lost to his thoughts. He saw the flowing energy of the room, and remembered the energy in the machine where he was built.

“Calidad? Stupor is not convenient. Regain intelligence.” The Meipi grew a bit annoyed at Velobo’s unresponsiveness and continued to speak at the unresponsive cubiod.

It is hours in the past, or at least that is what it was for 2106062, fresh from the machine that spawned him. He was dropped onto the pit along with the rest of his brothers, no more knowledgeable of their collective fate than any other one of his brothers. He was slow, weak, and stupid, just as Selfaz Argro wanted them to stay. However, 2106062 would not stay that way for long. A figure would come, awaken him, and show him the truth of the Plazmuths.

Huebert began to tire of both the unresponsive cubiod and his blabbering partner, so he walked up to Velobo, and simply slapped him back into the present. The cube once again fell to the floor and subsequently got up again. “Thank you for that Huebert, I needed that.”

Velobo turned back to desert room, “The generator’s that way. Are we going to go investigate?”

The Meipi returned to his place on top of Huebert and replied, “Others may be present, results unpredictable.

“It couldn’t be more than two of them. They are most likely in a situation similar to ours; we would have the upper hand. If they wanted to fight us, most of the contestants seemed oddly pacifistic, so odds are that we won’t have to deal with anything. If we do, I am pretty sure that the three of us can handle it.” The Plazmuth was a little cocky from his victories, and he did not try to hide it.

Velobo began walking back into the desert room without another word. After a moment of silence, Huebert and TinTen followed suit.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.



"You wound me," Scofflaw replied, clasping a hand to his chest in mock anguish. "My only plans were to wander around this facility with my feathered compatriot here and regale him with tales of my past escapades!" As he spewed his exaggerated excuses at the unimpressed Leviath, he took a slow, experimental step to one side. He decided against taking a second when a shower of plasma-cutter sparks hit the floor at his feet.

"He's telling the truth!" barked Kerak, taking a sharp step toward the Leviath. "He was going to tell me all about the things he's done, and-" He cut himself off when Murdoch jabbed his wand in his general direction.

"Let's keep this civil for now," the magician said, "no one needs to move anywhere." At another gesture, the Deinonychus took a reluctant step back, deciding cooperation might be best for the moment.

Scofflaw crossed his arms, shifting his posture to something more acerbic than threatened. "So we're just going to stand here until another contestant comes around and picks someone off from behind, then?" The bastard, of course, had no intention of just standing around. He'd shifted his weight to one foot, leaving the other ready to kick off his shoe squarely at the magician. The detonator pullcord in the opposite armpit was just a few inches away from his thumb, leaving him in a prime position to act and the magician in a prime position to get his luminous face blasted off.

"I want to hear all sides of this story," Murdoch said, impatience beginning to tint his words, "and intil we reach an agreement, no one-" He shot each of them a glare, including Tengeri. "-makes any moves. Clear?", waving his wand back and forth between the others.

"Clear," echoed both Kerak and the Saint. After a moment's wait and a pointed look from the Varalica, Tengeri added a "clear" as well.

"Good. Now, Kerak, let's start from you. Just take it from the top."

Kerak shifted a bit and put on his best storytelling voice. This was his domain, and he wasn't about to let a chance go to waste. "When first I found myself no longer bound to the earth, I delighted in the vast array of sensations laid before me..."


TinTen, from his vantage point atop his compatriot, saw the scene in the generator room first. Enough sand had spilled out when Velobo had opened the desert room's door that it wouldn't close on its own, and through the substantial gap, the Meipi could see the group clearly enough. The noise of the repaired Unity generator was loud enough that the dinosaur's words were drowned out easily, but TinTen didn't need to hear anything to recognize the obvious signs of a standoff.

"Stop here," he said, gripping one of Huebert's shoulders as best he could. "Move out of sight."

Huebert had noticed the confrontation taking place just a few moments after TinTen, and he willingly complied, moving to one side. Of course, he didn't just stand there- he brought the business end of the plasma projector to bear on the door, ready to give anyone who came through a first-hand experience in the dangers of ionized gases.

Velobo, walking to one side of the pair, hadn't gotten the same view out the door and had no idea what was happening. Addressing the more tactically-minded of his companions, the Plazmuth asked, "What's wrong, what's out there?"

"Standoff situation," TinTen replied, already busily flipping though pages. "Four other contestants."

"Four? So much for 'couldn't be more than two of them.'"

As much as was possible, Velobo bristled. "So an unusual circumstance brought more of them together than I expected, it's not a big problem. It's more the whole 'standoff situation' that could be the issue- we don't know much about these people, so we can't accurately judge how they will react to any move we make. At this point, the best plan is to either wait until they've worked it out for themselves or just move on to somewhere else. Going in there now would be a mistake."

"No." TinTen snapped his book shut and turned his gaze to the Plazmuth. "Should mediate."

"W-what? You want us to barge in on a standoff with no idea what'll set it off?! What makes you think that is at all a good idea?!"

"Journeying from Reyomna, KanDen observed two groups at odds."

Velobo looked about to respond, but Huebert warned him off with a frown and a gesture. The Plazmuth was smart enough to stifle his questions.

"Could have left alone," TinTen continued. "Instead, chose to approach. Through discussion, accord was reached and all went on to Jeyoibi as one, steps blessed."

It was a moment before Velobo spoke, his tone incredulous. "So you're saying that it's a good idea because it happened once in that story-"

Huebert cut him off. "Look, I may not know much about Ten's religious beliefs," he said, pointedly emphasizing the last two words, "but he's got a good idea. If we can defuse the situation and walk off together, there'd be seven of us up against the Fool. We might stand a decent chance of getting out of this if that many of us stood up to him."

"If we had any way of getting to him, maybe. Do you see him anywhere around here? Did you see a door marked 'Weird Empty Non-Place' and just haven't gotten around to telling me yet?"

"No, but will likely see him again. Dramatic persona suggests he cares about appearance, will likely show himself often."

Velobo drew in a breath to continue arguing, thought better of it, and just let it out in a long sigh. His razor-sharp analytical intellect was telling him he wasn't going to win this argument, so he decided to just go along with them and make the best of it.

"Alright, lead the way. Just don't be surprised if it all falls apart."

"Noted. Huebert, ready to proceed?"

"Away we go," the big man agreed, moving forward and pushing his way though the door. Not terribly enthusiastically, Velobo followed, doing his best to keep the barbarian's considerable bulk between him and whatever weapons there might be. May as well hold on to whatever tactical advantage he could.

"...Wholly trapped by the not-inconsiderable weight I was bringing to bear on his torso." Kerak's story hadn't gone very far. His storytelling skills were phenomenal, to be sure- he'd decided that this story should be laced with descriptives and qualifiers galore, garnishing every phrase with a bounty of comparisons and crafting a story resplendent in its loquacious glory.

Tengeri's long-range sensors weren't picking much up, given how close she was to the generator, so it was her motion detectors that actually picked up Huebert's appearance for her. She was notified almost immediately when he came through the door, and she whipped around to face him, bringing the plasma cutter and one hand to bear. (The other hand and the spike remained trained pointedly at Scofflaw.)

"Are peaceful," TinTen said, waiting until they were close enough to be heard. "No need for defensive action."

"then why is mr. henderson brandishing his weapon?"

"Oh, it's just in case," Huebert replied. "D'you want me to walk into a situation like this empty-handed?" His tone was joking and casual, and he managed to do a far better job of convincing the others that they weren't there for a fight than TinTen had.

Murdoch spared the newcomers a glance, then returned to watching Scofflaw and Kerak. "Makes sense. So what do you want, then? I can't imagine you came out here for a nice chat."

TinTen explained. "Willingness to converse indicates your intent is not immediate murder of all others. Decided to pursue diplomacy."

Scofflaw, who had shifted just far enough to slide his thumb through the loop of the detonator, spoke up. "Well, now might not be the best time. These two were busy threatening Kerak and I with bodily harm if we so much as moved, and you wouldn't want to interrupt that, would you?"

"You look me in the eye and tell me we're not justified in being careful around you," Murdoch snapped.

"What have I done to make you so suspicious of me?" He shifted a bit, putting just a bit of weight on the ball of his off foot and sliding his heel out of his shoe, an act which primed the sole and prepared him to kick. "Name one thing I've done that makes you think I'm a threat to you."

"The Fool outright told us that you can't be trusted," Murdoch shot back, "and based on what I've seen, I'm inclined to believe him!"

"What, you're going to trust the man who dragged you here to fight to your death without even giving me a chance? Sounds like I'm not the only bastard around here."


Amid all the negotiations and diplomacy, no one noticed the door open up on the catwalks above. Similarly, they didn't notice the two who walked through it, one before the other.

Tor, coming through first, had expected to come in to a room filled with the sounds of a dying machine and see the generator in its final throes of life, coughing up bits of steel and plastic as it tore itself to bits. Seeing it running smoothly threw him for a loop, and it took him a moment to gather himself.

"Well, seems you need a bit more faith in your friends, Mr. Kajan." Jorgensaard came up beside Tor and clapped him on the shoulder. "They've done quite the job here- nothing I couldn't've done myself, certainly, but definitely impressive."

"Um. Yes, definitely that." Tor panned his eyes around the room, saw the rather large group down at floor-level, and frowned. He couldn't hear what any of them were saying, but their body language told him everything he needed to know- Scofflaw was antagonizing Murdoch, and the Telpori-Hal just knew that there was no reason he'd do that without having a plan for it.

Biting back a curse, he turned to the plant's manager. "We need to get down to them," he said, urgent tone urgent without being panicked. "What's the fastest way from here?"

Jorgensaard chuckled, casually swinging his wrench to bear. "Ohh no, you're not getting away from me that easily. We still have business to attend to, and I'm not about to let you leave."

Tor was again caught off-guard. "Could we perhaps delay or expedite that, then?", he asked, his business instincts taking over. "It's rather urgent that I go defuse a situation, so any way we can both get what we want would be welcome."

"Alright," the other man replied, "I'm willing to make this quick. Just pay me for those rations you destroyed and you can be on your way."

Tor blinked, his brain caught up, and he swore under his breath. "The crates, right. Well, that's going to be difficult, seeing as I'm quite a long way from any of my funds."

"And even if you could access them, I doubt there's an established exchange rate, of course. I suspected as much, so I'm willing to make an alternate deal."

Tor didn't quite like the sound of the other man's tone. Warily, he replied, "What would that be, then?"

"It's quite simple. In order to purchase those rations, I spent the equivalent of three days of my own pay. I'm willing to let you work at the same pay rate in order to pay them off."

Tor blinked. "I don't have three days," he replied slowly. "I'm liable to be dragged off to another world at any time based on the whims of the being who brought us here. This means I have no means of paying you back either way, and attempting to extract any form of labour out of me for the short time I'm here would likely take more time than it would be worth."

"Tell me, do you know just how long you'll be here?"

"No, but I can't imagine it'll be-."

Jorgensaard stepped forward as he cut him off. "Do you know just when he'll be plucking you out of this world and sweeping you all to the next?"

"No, but-"

"Do you even know the slightest thing about his motivations or thought processes?"

"A few general things, but nothing-"

"Then can you definitively rule out the possibility that he intends to leave you in each place for years at a time?"

"No, I suppose not, but it seems-"

"Then I'm willing to take the risk. If it turns out you are snatched away in five minutes' time, so be it. I still intend to get what work I can from you."


Elsewhere in the facility, Benjamin, who had been running through the halls in an effort to put distance between himself and the plant's head, found himself facing a bit of a problem.

Quite simply, he'd run out of hall. All of the corridors on this level (whichever it was) were turning back in the other direction at this point, and he had no desire to go that way. All the stairwells he'd encountered were too small for him to really use. There was one elevator in the building, but it was out of order (apparently "due to personal issues," whatever that meant).

His next option, he decided, was to try some of the rooms on the floor. He'd poked his overly-long nose into some of them as he'd passed, and none had seemed terribly helpful. A lab here, a closet there, nothing that was a means of escape. Hopefully, he thought, a more thorough examination would yield something of use.

The first door he tried was a closet, and he didn't bother investigating it very much. The second door was some sort of storage, and he poked around a bit before deciding nothing in there would help. The third door, a research lab of some sort, was exactly what he'd been looking for. The ceiling of the room was partially open, letting in crisp, cool air and warm, inviting sunlight. Hurriedly, Jetsam made for the hole.

He neglected to pay much attention to the research in question in doing so, however, and simply walked across the black-and-yellow stripes on the floor. A few steps in, a metallic scale shorted a few exposed wires, and the pangolin simply vanished.

At the sudden jerking motion, Jetsam's body's reflexes kicked in, curling him up into a tight, metal-lined ball. He could feel air whooshing by him, and something told him he'd be better off staying curled up for the moment.

About when the wind began to stop, a pair of feelings suddenly made themselves known. First, a sense of weightlessness, and second, a sense of rightness- there was no more Unity field telling him that he really shouldn't be there and could he please move along. It was nice to be out of it, and he stretched out luxuriously and enjoyed it.

As part of stretching out, he uncovered his eyes and looked around at just where he was. As he did so, the feeling of weightlessness slipped away and the wind began to return.

The sight of the Unity plant directly below him was not a comforting one, and it was made even less so by the rate at which he was accelerating back down towards it.

Benjamin decided to curl back up again for a bit. Not long after, he crashed through one thing and into another.


A great number of things happened at once.

The first, a giant, balled-up pangolin crashing through the ceiling and into the Unity generator, was the doing of Chaos. A light push had been all it had taken to redirect the ballistic anteater square into the center of the Unity field instead of back down into the kinetic energy research lab it would have otherwise fallen back into (and through). Quite spectacularly, it had sent its impromptu demolitionist tearing through machinery, burying itself deep in the machine are crashing through innumerable essential systems on its way.

The generator quite simply couldn't take that, and in a turn for the undramatic, it simply stopped going. It didn't have the mechanism left to manage even giving a few extra rattles or grinding to a grim, clanking halt. Once it'd taken a pangolin to the innards, it just gave up and died, taking its protective shell with it.

Delighted, Chaos surged back into the space it had been barred from for ages, moving in with enough speed and force to cause a sonic boom. (The population of blue hedgehogs quickly stabilized, fortunately, and they managed to spread their food supplies thin enough to feed every one of the new children.) Through the hole in the ceiling flew all sorts of beings of Chaos- a flock obstinate blackbirds, several tiny squads of fashion accessories, paratrooping sandwiches, and dozens of other impossible and ridiculous creatures poured into the room, intent on simply wreaking some long-denied havoc.

The cloud of sudden absurdities was just what Scofflaw had been waiting for, and, free from the watchful eyes of practically everyone in the room, he kicked off his shoe. It flew directly at where Murdoch's face had been, and were it not for the sudden influx of chaos that sent the floor dipping wildly to one side and the magician tumbling down with it, it would've smacked into its target and exploded spectacularly.

As it was, it flew a fair ways across the room and detonated just before it hit a large, metal cabinet. It was still a sizable explosion, to be sure, and the contents of the cabinet (which apparently included a number of flammable or explosive chemicals) certainly helped make the distraction all the more distracting, but when the entire room was suddenly a teeming mass of angry and vengeful beings of Chaos, distractions weren't exactly rare. It wasn't likely that anyone even noticed it, given that they were all dealing with their own particular issues.

Huebert, for instance, was too busy spraying plasma at a group of trim, svelte, and menacing-looking walruses that were advancing toward him. Jorgensaard, having frozen for a moment at the shock of having his pride and joy demolished almost instantly, had started shouting formlessly and loosing blasts of Unity and Chaos around the room at whatever caught his eye. Tor, deciding that the plant's operator wasn't the best person to be near, had taken the chance to get moving while Jorgensaard was stunned, hurrying to the closest ladder and starting down as quickly as he could.

And while the room exploded in a hectic flurry of confusion and Chaos, in a tiny island of peace in the middle of everything, Benjamin Jetsam pondered how sore he was after smashing through whatever it was he'd hit.
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.


Chaos poured in through the doors, ventilation, and to be honest every other porous and non-porous surface with the disorienting comfort of all your best friends invading your house to throw a party there. Except if your friends were composed of something between fluid and aggregated fog. (Benjamin could vaguely recall several years as a race like that, but they’d been a rather uppity bunch. Hard to even strike up a conversation, let alone make house-crashing friends amongst them.)

Ruining the mood somewhat wasn’t the fact every bone in his body should’ve been broken, because anatomy was doing that laissez-faire thing it was inclined to do on Vio. The familiar bolts of green from on high probably had more to do with it, not to mention the rusty one negotiating his way down a ladder.

Come to think of it, this whole improbable crowd of the dinosaur and Rusty’s associate and a cephalid and a strongman and some kind of winged eel and a luminescent magician and what the hell is that cube thing and why is it looking at me like that didn’t all seem on friendly enough terms to just assume they were all on the same team and oh who are we kidding – Jetsam saw Scofflaw, spotted Tor, and bounded out of the caved-in remains of the generator without thinking much further than finding a way out.

Up wasn’t an option; those razor-wielding barbershop mackerel weren’t going to distract Jorgensaard for long, even if a chorus of eggbeater-headed choirboys were winging their harmonious way across the room as backup. Huebert was blocking one door, busy pumping plasma into the aforementioned walrus contingent who just wanted to come out of the desert heat; Scofflaw narrowly dodged Tengeri’s aqueous uppercut as Kerak protested for everyone to finish listening to his story. Scofflaw had been something of a boon to the pangolin; the influx of Chaos entities notwithstanding, his aggression had left little attention directed at the bemused, panicked pangolin who just wanted to find a horizon to run away over. The dinosaur took an angry step at Tengeri, but smacked face-first into a translucent barrier Murdoch had conjured out of nowhere.

Benjamin’s top priority was for this little scrap to continue long enough that he could get out of here. The magician seemed most liable to restore order, not to mention his wand was making Benjamin prickle the same way Jorgensaard’s spanner did. Luckily for Jetsam, Murdoch had discounted the pangolin as a marauding pinecone or something, and turned his back on it. Benjamin smacked the Varalica off-balance, and he fell to Kerak’s feet with a yell, first of alarm, then of disgust, as the pangolin’s tail smashed a pipe for the token collateral damage. It hissed with steam for five seconds, before it spluttered and started pouring molten chocolate all over the floor.

Scofflaw had been sizing up his contestants from a quieter corner, trying to figure who would be easiest to kill, and failing that, who’d be best to take hostage. He pulled out a little landmine-like contraption, opening its casing with the intention to turn it into a sticky freeze-bomb to shut down the Leviath, but the circuitry had been replaced with pipe cleaners – they swiftly bent themselves into a fuzzy, multi-coloured biplane, which flew up and away over Kerak before exploding in a tiny shower of fuzz. He frowned at the familiar, silvered pangolin, when it gave a roar of alarm which happened to coincide with a circus marquee enveloping the generator room.

Velobo lacked the rope, but he still had his stuncheon and a healthy load of ambition as he admired the enormous, prickly creature that leapt out of the generator. Having not realised it was directly, if unintentionally responsible for Chaos barging in, the Plazmuth only saw it as a majestic substitute for his recently Unified previous mount. He raised his weapon as he darted round the room’s edge, fairly braining Jetsam with the stunstick just as the canvas fell.

Everyone, Chaotic or otherwise, adjusted to the red-and-yellow-striped gloom, forcing a lull in the assorted noise (save for Benjamin’s wail, which tailed off as the nimble Plazmuth circled around him, trying to find a safe way up.) Murdoch had scrambled to his feet by this point, and pumped a materialising reverse mermaid full of Unity before it could get its shark-teeth round Tengeri. It vanished in a shower of rather bloody fireworks, which smelt like tinned tuna. The Leviath herself was holding off any Chaotic aggressors with vicious jets of water, but between her hyperactive HUD and her limited communication she couldn’t really co-ordinate a better response to the anarchy.

Velobo, between the stunning weapon and his superior agility, had bailed Jetsam up onto the bleachers. An albatross cruised past his head, wailing like a fire engine. “What do you want!?”

“Yuh can tuhlk, fpikebeaft!?” The Plazmuth detached his tongue from the albatross after dispatching it with an electrified club to the head. Jetsam just nodded, apprehensive. The cuboid had to swiftly reconsider whether still attempting to employ this thing as a mount was… right. I mean, if it weren’t for the spiky armour it’d be perfect to ride-

“What. Do you want.” Benjamin sounded desperate. Light peered in from one corner of the big top, where the Telpori-Han had torn a hole through. A squadron of potted pansies bounced in after him, while the Plazmuth apologetically fumbled his way through an explanation.

“Well, it was my intention to use you as a mount, seeing as I lost my last mode of transport. But since you-“

“Do you have. A way. Out of here.”

Velobo didn’t turn, but his peripheral eyes glanced around the big top. The walrus contingent was still occupying Huebert and the doorway he’d entered through, but the Plazmuth tried to look confident as he marched up to a non-descript stretch of striped canvas.
“Would you please cut this open?”

Benjamin weighed up his options, shrugged, and sliced it to the tune of a spoon running up a xylophone. Beyond was darkness, broken only by scattered, luminous fungi and a dull glow in the middle distance. If there was a roof overhead, its height was “indeterminate”. He shrugged, and slipped through as stealthily as a scaly ten-foot mammal could manage. The pangolin glanced over his shoulder at the carnage still going on in the tent. “Can we shut that?”

“Absolutely,” grinned the Plazmuth. Several flicks with his tongue peppered one side of the rend in sticky saliva, which stuck the two bits of tent back together. The goldish light was reduced to a sliver, which swam off through the gloom like an eel after a minute or so, taking the sounds of fighting with it. Jetsam noted with some worry that Velobo still held the truncheon. Oh well. It seemed harmless enough, and if it was working for Rusty’s cartel dispatching it out here with no witnesses shouldn’t be too much trouble. He kind of hoped it wouldn’t come to that, if only because this one seemed like a lackey. Not to mention the Plazmuth’s whole morphology was more pleasing to a Chaotically-minded Jetsam.

“Now,” Jetsam muttered, the relieved gratitude from Velobo’s unraised truncheon obvious in his voice, “you were kind enough to find me a way out of that mess, and you said you wanted a ride? I’m afraid my scales may be too sharp… however-”

Velobo flinched as a large hand reached out and grabbed him, before realising it was attached to the spikebeast. Benjamin picked him up, and rotated his tail-hand around, palm up, fingers forward, and poised above him like a scorpion’s sting. The cuboid grabbed a plated thumb, thicker than his own arm, for stability, as Benjamin rocked on his claws a bit before setting off at a trot for the nearest copse of glowing mushrooms. Disembodied voices were arguing about the morning traffic and Sean from Accounts in unlit corners, and glowing noses snuffled overhead (no eyes, though), but these phenomena faded as the duo approached the underground glade. Benjamin could feel the Unity coming off the giant mushrooms, but it wasn’t exactly abrasive. Resisting the sudden urge to fling Velobo like a highly unaerodynamic boulder from a trebuchet, the journeyman lowered him carefully at his request. Not minding if things remained far less… interesting than they had in the generator room, Jetsam ignored the gnawing feeling and followed the Plazmuth into the overgrown, glowing fairy ring.

A pack of scruffily dressed assorted marsupials were using the otherwise deserted ring as a practice ground for their weekly martial arts class. They bounded, scampered (and in the case of koala instructor, backflipped) out of the clearing as Velobo and his noble steed strolled in.



“The mushrooms are producing Unity, but it’s weak. Doesn’t even bother those little creatures, but…”

Benjamin trailed off, frowning at one of the luminous blooms. He’d started thinking about breaking the mushroom, but the thought had been gently nudged from his head as soon as he’d brought it up. The pangolin shook his head, and turned back to his companion. “Can’t you feel it?”

Velobo squinted, strained, and seemed to hold his breath for a bit, then shook his head.
“I am afraid I cannot.”

Probably one of Rusty’s gang, then. He’s not Chaos like me. There was something Benjamin recalled he had to do, were Velobo one of the criminal intruders to the factory, but it didn’t seem important. The cavern had that particular quiet large, water-carved spaces had – with the faint, bluish glow of the Unity mushrooms, it was oddly peaceful.

“Well,” the pangolin grunted, sitting down and curling his tail round his feet, “I don’t know if it’s the caves or the mushrooms or the light or what, but whatever part of me that didn’t like the Unity barrier’s telling me this stuff’s all right. So I’ll be staying here until I know things are less crazy up top.

What about you?”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Anomaly.

[background=#0080FF][color=#00FF78]Utter chaos. A concept the Leviath was far less than accustomed to. 25 cycles, and the most "chaos" she had encountered up until this battle was the fateful rupturing of that plasma coil, the event that had all but sealed her fate in the end. The only reason she was in this battle now was no doubt her cybernetics, the only thing that truly made her stand out among the Leviaths.

Tengeri narrowly avoided an attack from a vicious combination of a whale and a wolf, just managing to swat the fortunately small creature aside before it could tear into her unprotected flesh. The creature bounced and rolled across the floor, coming to a sudden stop and striking a pose before letting out a triumphant operatic tremelo and spontaneously exploding. Another of the few pipelines which chaos had failed to ensnare burst with a his, causing the Leviath to involuntarily flinch. She recovered in time to convert one of the hands into a spike and stab both into a pair of flying cephalopods. The airborne squids' heads proceeded to pop open and shoot out dozens of entirely real snakes, not unlike an exceptionally dangerous can of peanuts. A burst of magic served to instantaneously deep-fry the lot of them, though the opening was enough for Murdoch to get jumped by a ravenous pack of multi-colored dingoes. This in turn caused the barrier defending Tengeri to phase out as the magician dealt with the airborne canines.

Kerak didn't seem to be faring much better. If anything, he was worse-off than the others due to the lack of weaponry beyond his natural attributes. He barely managed to fight off a trio of angered jellyfish-mice before being accosted by a gigantic, highly-aggressive turkey sandwich. The sauropod was perfectly content to take a large bite out of it, before reviling in the fact that its taste was more akin to something one might find in a waste treatment plant. Kerak was more than a little peeved with the fact that he couldn't simply finish his story, channeling his frustration into the offensive. Meanwhile, Murdoch found himself occupied with a large, angry motorcycle-beast, which possessed twin rocket launchers, circular saws for wheels, and a very large, gaping maw filled with massive teeth.

As soon as the fight had broken out, one singular thing had been on Tengeri's mind: escape, pure and simple. The most preferable option was the natural unity pockets far beneath the facility, but that would almost wholly rely on a favorable turn of luck, or the discovery of the caves' "normal" entrance. She detected the former means of passage briefly, but was unable to follow GB-007 and the other creature (possibly GB-002) before the aperture closed. She was barely left with any time to think of an escape, being under constant assault by a series of increasingly-ridiculous foes. A papier-m
Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.

Meanwhile in the past,

15 years in the past, to be precise.

It was a balmy summer day, insects danced in the pleasant breeze as the twin suns shone down on rolling cyan grass. The occasional Burung would swoop down from its treetop nest to take a large gulp of the calm river water, which glowed neon from Cahaya-ikan swimming upstream for mating season. There was a quaint village not far from this idyllic scene, far away from the bustle of the big cities which were becoming more common place of late. Small wooden houses peppered the valley, with the occasional hut devoted to a shop or post office for convenience.

This village was on fire.

Pitch black smoke rose to cut the seamless sky in two. Screams of terror echoed all around as the flames engulfed all in a terrifying, almost sentient manner. Above a cliff, a silhouette views the carnage, her profile, tall, dark and broken.

“You know, this is probably why people dislike you.” The Magician walked up towards the Broken Lady, his huge black eyes filled with a determination. “Burning down innocent settlements, kind of a social faux pas, don’t you think?” The Woman didn’t budge, her huge black coat (or gown?) billowing in the wind.

“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Magic Murdoch Miles.” She twisted round, pure white eyes glaring straight through him. “Last time I saw you, you were a broken monument to failure in the Veil. Isn’t this just a pleasant surprise.” Her voice was wrought with sickening distaste and sarcasm. “How is my favourite Varalica?” She lied.

Murdoch smiled confidently as he cracked his claw like fingers. “Quite well. I followed you know? Through the rupture? I didn’t think that it would take me a good 350 years to find you, not that I’m complaining, mind.”

The Broken Lady chuckled to herself and stood down from her precipice, a standoff formed between the two at perfect eye level.
“You followed me? I didn’t think I was that popular. So tell me, Murdoch: Why did you cross through thousands of worlds, hundreds of galaxies, dozens of universes, just to see me? I’m assuming you’re not here to just chat.”

The glowing man braced himself, knowing exactly what was going to happen soon. A tingle of fear, excitement and hate pulsated through his very being. “Isn’t in obvious?” He pulled his wand from his cloak and melodramatically pointed it at the woman. “I am here to kill you, Fracture!”

The Broken Lady laughed heartily
“Really? Revenge?” She crackled with a incomprehensible power, showing glimpses of planes of non-existence. “And what do you hope to achieve with this? You think getting rid of me will make all your problems go away Murdoch? You really think you’re going to be forgiven for all those people you killed, or bring your Wife back?”

The Glowing man sighed deeply and took a while to form a response. “I’m fully aware that your death won’t reset anything or absolve anything for that matter...” He smiled again. “But what I do know is it’ll make me feel a lot better.”

Fracure’s gaze sharpened as space time unravelled to her will, “How quaint. Lecture me again when you are on the verge of death.”

- - -

Murdoch’s mind then refocused on the current matter at hand. That of everything going bat shit insane. He had no time to reminisce about his stupid past, especially when he had Cougars with jetpacks, sentient umbrellas performing the Macarena, giant disembodied hands performing a variety of rude gestures, lots of wacky crap like that on his tail. Murdoch looked on as he saw contestants seemingly swallowed by the tidal wave of Chaos (some of which he hadn’t introduced himself to, a social travesty he was NOT about to fall in). He darted his eyes back and forth to see a possible solution to his current situation “Excuse me! But we need to- WE NEED TO THINK OF A PLA-“But it was no use, the random mass that had flooded the facility was far too obnoxious and loud for any coherent conversation. Murdoch Miles, quite frankly, had lost his patience.

“Ok, the time for subtly has long and truly gone out of the window.” The Glowing man began to glow a lot brighter than usual, magical circles appearing on the ground around him. “Time for a semblance of order.”

And then Murdoch exploded.

Well, at least that’s what it looked like. A massive corona of pure white light burst from the Varalica, consuming everything in its path. Pretty much everyone in the facility all reacted to such a phenomenon in the same way, that being ‘preparing for imminent death’. From a distance away, from the viewpoint of a hill (singing ‘Going Loco down in Acapulco’ in a rather annoying fashion) the grey facility had beams of light emitting from any crack, window and doorway.

The dome of light slowly faded away from existence and every combatant (and Jorgensaard and co.) all looked in bemusement at how not reduced to dust they were. Every chaotic being in the local area had been completely erased (with the exception of a certain pangolin), Unity practically smoking off every surface in the facilty. Everyone in the generator room turned there gaze to Murdoch, who had Unity simply pouring off of himself. In the edge of everyone’s perception they could hear and see Chaos slowly but steadily creeping back form the seeming reset to zero.

“Ok. Now that I have your attention. Can we please be civil and solve our problems in a peaceful manner?” Miles brushed away the remnant dust of a flying burrito off his cloak. “Oh! Before I forget:” He removed his top hat and gave a little bow. “Murdoch Miles, pleased to make your acquaintance!”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lord Paradise.


Chaos was getting a bit bored with Saint Scofflaw, whose affectations of anarchy disguised a remarkably predictable exterior. For the last several minutes, he had been vaguely aware of a larger force toying with him, like a cat playing with its food. Scofflaw himself hadn’t been deformed, per se, and he suspected that he and his fellow contestants, owing to the intervention of their puppeteer, found themselves immune. However, his clothes, his arsenal, the trace amounts of foreign chemicals in his body, and the ethereal remnants of various energy sources he’d exposed himself to in assorted bids to become omnipotent over the years—these things were apparently up for grabs. Scofflaw found himself feeling dopey, then drowsy, then (a bit more abstractly) doc; he pulled out of his pockets a cutlass, a gauntlet, a fire-breathing duck, and a ball of ultraviolet light that was cold to the touch. His outfit itself, after going through a conflicted adolescent phase, settled on a blue pinstripe suit with a white orchid slapped on the chest, and a matching hat. It didn’t keep out water as well as his previous getup, which must have amused Chaos greatly.

He kept his mind off of these things, as well as the buzzing voice of Beelzebubbles (who, in a noted departure from his normal shtick of ruling over the sin of childhood entitlement, attempted to get Scofflaw to invest in his soft pretzel franchise) in his ear, by attempting to kill people. To be honest, his lack of success was likely more a product of Unity than of Chaos, as it was in keeping with his track record of the past couple years. Still, putting a Sharp+ blade to the back of one of his opponents invariably proved a rush and a neat way of maintaining focus in the midst of the Lewis-Carroll-esque shenanigans that danced around him like a six-year-old kid pretending to be an airplane.

Then it stopped. A wave of light quelled the feeling of the Primordial Prism shards playing marbles in his breastbone, dispelled the sensation of a phantom third arm growing out of his forehead, and utterly failed to put his clothes back to normal (it was a good look for him anyway). The Jack-in-the-box he’d been holding, which promised to burn him “with a fire of pure wealth” if he turned its crank three times, went back to being a nuclear Zippo lighter. And suddenly everybody was looking at him very sternly.

”Exhibit A,” said Miles, snapping his fingers with enough pizzazz (or maybe it was magic, whatever) to compel Scofflaw to walk uneasily over to his side. ”Saint Scofflaw. We haven’t formally met, but you’ve been scaring people a bit, so… that’s something, I suppose, isn’t it?”

Scofflaw put away his lighter (feeling that it perhaps wouldn’t do much good against this fellow) and took the offered hand, speaking with a light Pennsylvanian intellectual lilt. “I don’t know what this ‘Softlaw’ business is about. I’m Bartleby Wertham, purveyor of exotic and occult atlases, almanacs, and thesauri.” He chuckled, rather effectively hiding his anxiety. “Sorry, I’ve just been meaning to use that one for ages. Carry on.”

The squid alien spoke up impatiently.
”Should disarm,” he pointed out, without a hint of irony or apology in his metallic little voice.

”I was getting to that,” snapped Miles, before Scofflaw could chime in with a smarmy do-I-know-you. ”Yes, Scofflaw, I’m sorry if you’re a bit stingy about your possessions—we’ve all been there—but I’m afraid we’re at something of a crucial juncture, and everything on you should be considered property of the group.”

Scofflaw glared. “Well fine,” he conceded. “But only cause you’re being polite about it.” He shot a hateful glance over at TinTen.

Scofflaw went about the process of getting rid of his weapons. The lighter, the handkerchief, the gun (no one ever suspects the gun), the dental floss, the penknife, the rubber ball (very carefully), and the toupee were all placed lovingly on the floor in front of him. The crowbar in his pants he tossed at TinTen, causing everyone to flinch until it made no attempt to explode; Scofflaw shrugged, as if daring someone to hit him. Then he yanked out his false tooth. “Ow,” he said. “That’s everything. If the mythological creature wannabe were here she’d be able to confirm that with her novelty X-Ray specs.”

”I trust you completely,” said Miles. Now, what should I do with these?”

Scofflaw grunted noncommittally. “If you tried to destroy them, you would probably die. If you kill me, they will register this, and you will die. If you try to use them, you will fuck it up, and die. You could… give them back to me, rendering this all a useless exercise?”

”Would probably lead to dying,” chimed in TinTen.

“You are not helping!” shouted Scofflaw at the malcontent mollusk.

”Oh, hush. I’m not going to die. Scofflaw, you’re beginning to bore me and I don’t see you contributing much to the, let’s say the group dynamic. How about this?”

There was a flash of white light and a sensation that Scofflaw had been around the block enough times to associate with short-range teleportation. He found himself upside-down and staring Tengeri fucking Nyoka in the face.

Then he fell. “Hello,” he said. “Have you met that Miles creature? A bit of a ‘douchebag’ as the kids say but he has style.” Scofflaw pulled himself up, adjusting the orchid drooping from his breast pocket. “So tell me, doctor,” he said, staring her straight in the so-called eyes. “How do I look naked?”

Re: Grand Battle S3G1! (Round One: Vio Maleficat)
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.

Velobo glared suspiciously at the pangolin, who had trotted round in a neat circle and lain down, tail over his nose like an armoured cat. “What?”

“You are a creature of Chaos, are you not, spikebeast?” hazarded the Plazmuth. Benjamin nodded. “Then why do you not attack me like the tiger-worm and the walruses and all the other Chaotic beasts?”

The pangolin rubbed its chin, albeit with that mitt-like hand on the end of its tail. His forelimbs probably wouldnt’ve reached, anyway. He eventually settled for a shrug. “Do you want to fight?”

Velobo traced a gelatinous finger over a ‘2’ in his metal band, considering. He’d thought, and schemed, and fought when commanded to die; and now another foe, one that made that ringmaster seem even more pathetic, had commanded him to kill others. For the entertainment of ‘higher’ beings.

To the Plazmuth, defiance seemed like the only reasonable option.
“No. Granted,” he hastily added, “I’ll not throw away my life on such a matter! Were I threatened, rest assured I would give no quarter!”

Benjamin smiled a little at the earnest cuboid, and must’ve made some kind of snickering noise as Velobo hotly asked what he was laughing at.

“Nothing. It’s simply that your sentiment is-”

Benjamin froze as he felt something roiling up the caverns toward him. It was devouring some quality in the air with a hunger comparable to fire. He leapt to his feet, knew without taking a step that he couldn’t outrun the Unity blast, so just lowered his head and braced for impact.

To Velobo (and, I suppose, Tengeri’s sensors) the scene would’ve looked downright strange. The pangolin stood suddenly to aggress something the Plazmuth couldn’t see; spasmed with pain as his form rippled and blurred like a cheap hologram in the amplified, angry glare of the mushrooms; then collapsed into dust.

Jetsam was formed of Chaos, and to Chaos his form returned. Unity, especially Murdoch’s brash, overbearing assertor brand of the stuff, didn’t discriminate to an entity with a soul from another universe. It just didn’t have the subtlety.

Great, thought Benjamin. That was too messy a start. I’ll just rough it as a scavenger, away from civilisation. Fuck escaping, I just need a break… huh?

Something was wrong. Different multiverses are like different textiles, with a different drape and texture and vintage to a being like Jetsam. They feel different. It’s clear when you’ve slipped out of one into the other. This time, he hadn’t.

The pangolin vanished, and less than a minute later a hairless, freakishly tall humanoid with limbs like ribbons pulled itself together from the Unity-exuding mushrooms and the useful organic molecules left over from his previous incarnation. He wore a short tunic of woven hyphae and sported a flattened cone of a hat he couldn't seem to remove, with gills underneath. Every part of him luminesced pale blue, fading a little as the Varalica’s curse dissipated from the surrounding air.

Jetsam didn’t have eyes anymore (though the cap would’ve gotten in their way anyway), but was afforded an omnidirectional shifting lightscape of Unity, Chaos, and digestible substrate. He turned to the delectably avocado-coloured Plazmuth (who had smartly backed away when the dustcloud had started nibbling at him) with confusion, before realising Velobo would have about as much idea as he did.

First that black intermediary, now this. It agitated the pango-sorry, agarican no end, but he wasn’t excited at the prospect of the perfect, horrific cage of a life he was trapped in finally collapsing. On the contrary, Jetsam was scared. Having always thought of his trials as a system he had yet to break, the prospect of some external force having brought it crashing down while he suffered and waited for such rescue felt… wrong.

Maybe it was the realisation he was potentially stuck here. On Vio. It wasn’t the worst place, but it wasn’t home.

More avocado (this time tending to bottle green) hovered his way, encased in a shimmering shell of mouthwatering neon lime. The glassy colour muddied the liquid shell from a slash in Tengeri’s side; she’d evidently escaped a recent brawl of some kind. The sounds of a distant fight, Chaos encroaching, flashes of light in the perpetually disturbed caverns – it all sounded dull and as far away and cruelly irrelevant as home, when the Leviath reformed the lime into a name.

No. No no no “no no no no!” Jetsam discovered at this point he had a mouth, that didn’t lead anywhere and was more of a jagged slash across his face from which that one snarling, hoarse, rasp of a word was repeated. Tengeri began to spell something else out, but was interrupted with a flailing mycelium limb which guzzled the words and gouged thieving across her shell of water. The Leviath growled an unintelligible warning; Velobo dithered behind a half-disintegrated mushroom, still alarmed at what had overcome the pangolin.

Down one tunnel were the brawlers Tengeri had fled from, down others were more Unity fungi. One was pitch-black, and reeked of Chaos. Benjamin paled as he backed out of the fairy ring until his glow was barely noticeable, before he fled into the darkened cavern.