The Fatal Conflict (GBS2G7) (Round 4: The Huntsman's Garden)

The Fatal Conflict (GBS2G7) (Round 4: The Huntsman's Garden)
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by SleepingOrange.

"... Speaking of overkill."

Kargrek looked up to see the useless lush of a demoness advancing with more purpose than he usually associated with her towards them. He and the alchemist had retreated from the seam a bit after Kargrek had launched the wave of fire towards the bottles; they watched her move closer from the sheltered lee of an alley, straining to hear or understand the slurred and mumbled invectives she was spewing. The barbarian shifted into a fighting stance as the hellspawn raised her arms and began forming another fireball, then dropped the stance at what he saw next.

Luron vaulted from the roof of the building behind Laura; the light behind him framed the action dramatically, and the warrior appeared to fall in slow motion, sword swinging glacially towards the unaware fiend's neck. Laura's clawed hands wove and gestured, increasing the size of the fireball; it looked like she would be neatly beheaded in mere moments.

The corks on the potions Kaja had crafted had been gently smoldering since Kargrek had sent the fire at them. The plan had been to craft them with a delayed blast that would allow the pair a safe retreat from the seam; this method of ignition had simply increased the delay, since the corks had to burn all the way through before any oxygen would reach the volatile concoctions. Four tiny plumes of smoke had been rising unheeded from the widened seam, forgotten since the appearance of the stumbling Laura. Only the alchemist noticed the soft hissing sound of rapid oxidation; he turned to watch his creations function, the understated smile of a satisfied master craftsman on his face. All other nearby eyes were focused on the action centered around Laura.

Luron himself watched the scene play out exactly as his vision suggested; he saw himself leap towards the demoness, saw himself raise the sword, saw the oddly-amused expression on the enormous barbarian's face... His present finally matched with how he had seen the future while he was in midair, arm drawn back. As he had half-expected, though, the unseen future deviated wildly from the expected. He was mere feet from his target when everything went firey and painful.

Lorrden's potions had been well-made and no less potent for their slower activation. Four explosions, each of which was powerful enough to destroy a modest building, resounded in unison. Searing flame billowed through the previously-still air, pushing chunks of asphalt and rock and soul in front of them. Most of the contestants were farther down the street, faffing about with time nonsense or clumsy seduction or coming to grips with zombification; Kargrek and Kaja were safely in an alley specifically selected for its angle from the street. Only Luron and Laura were anywhere near enough to the blast to be struck by it, but both were near the epicenter.

The pair in the alley squeezed their eyes shut and plugged their ears against the deafening blast; when all was quiet again save for the patter of falling gravel, the cautiously moved out of the alley to survey the results of their handiwork. While the fissure that the explosion had created would doubtless be interesting and important, the fate of Luron and Laura was more urgent. The former had apparently been knocked much farther than the latter; he was sprawled quite a few yards away from the source of the explosion. His sword had skidded several feet away from him, and judging from the smear of blood on the remaining street and his shredded face and clothes, much of his travel had been rolling and sliding across the asphalt. As for Laura... She seemed to have taken the brunt of the damage.

The demoness was crumpled a couple of yards away from the edge of what was the seam; her left leg was lying at an unnatural angle, and her hair (as well as a decent portion of her outerwear) had mostly been scorched off. Embedded in one shoulder was a large and jagged piece of cement. She tried to push herself to her feet with one arm, coughing up unknowable ichor, but collapsed again. It certainly appeared as though she wouldn't rise again, but with demons, who knew?

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.


The smoke cleared from the large explosion, cracks made of light appeared through the sky and grew, showcasing the invisible dome the Redeemer had erected round the street. as soon as the cracks reached the peak of the dome, it shattered into a thousand pieces, floating down like feathers but translucent like glass. It was very pretty.

Zaire felt the magical interference instantly and sighed deeply. He rose up from his chair with an unnatural haste, making Bellona jump a little. "I do apologies Miss Achillia, but it would appear we have little...interference." And with that the Redeemer disappeared in a flash of red, leaving the gladiatrix on her own.

"You know. First impressions are everything, and to be brutally honest you're not impressing." Zaire's voice echoed into everyone's ears simultaneously.. He reappeared in another flash of Red in front of Kargrek and Kaja, floating above the newly created crater. "I expected a grand battle! A Battle royale! and what do I get: a smattering of resistance and blossoming friendships. How dull." He shot a glance towards the heavily injured demon, "I mean, it took you this long to finally injure some people? Hmth, maybe I got the wrong contestants." The Redeemer lounged back, as if perching on an invisible chair. "...or perhaps you need...sufficent motivation."

Zaire held his arm in the air, blood red runes manifesting around him and shooting high in the sky. As if from nowhere, a large celestial body simply appeared in the sky, about the size of the moon, except growing in size. "That my friends is meteor the size of a continent. It will doom all life on this already dead planet, very much so including you." Zaire reclined on his invisible chair and shot a wide grin

"It'll land in about 38 minutes. The only way out is to play the game. My advice: You might want to put a little spring in your step!"

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

"I," Zach said, looking between the demoness and the barbarian and doctor. "I think, uh, maybe...we should move...?"

And that's when Luron jumped down in a spectacular show of heroism.

The ones he was intending to save, though, did not see the show for they had turned and fled. Or rather, one was going through the motions of running when he didn't really need to, one was shuffling away as quickly as he could (not very), and one was flying in the same general direction as the other two, often making wild patterns in the air or just flying in circles for no reason other than possibly that it was fun.

"Hurry up!" Zach shouted back at the slower Zom. The ghost paused for a moment to allow the zombie to catch up, exuding a surprising amount of impatience for someone who's dead. Zom continued shuffling in a slow walk, but this time he looked over his decaying shoulder. "They're not following us," he pointed out.

Zach looked back and Simphonia, noticing that her new friends were lagging behind, stopped as well, humming to herself softly. For a few seconds, they watched Luron and Laura fight. "Okay, they're not," Zach conceeded, "But I don't really think we should stay near any sort of figh--"

And that's when the bomb went off.

Zach instinctively cringed but felt nothing while Zom was forced to the ground. Simphonia squawked, paused, imitated the sound of the explosion and gave out a nervous, flute-like giggle.

"See? That's the sort of thing I was talking about," Zach said uncertainly, knowing that that wasn't actually the sort of thing he was talking about.

"No, I'm fine, thanks for asking, no need to help me up," Zom grumbled as he pushed himself back onto his feet.

"Neither of us can," Zach pointed out. "We're both ghosts." Zom didn't respond, partly because there was now a flaming meteor headed down towards them.

Zach panicked a little. Simphonia panicked a little beside him. Zom might have panicked as well, but Zach couldn't tell. Listening to Simphonia panic beside him, however, was somehow calming. And it was then he realized something.

"I'm a ghost, I can't be hurt by the meteor, can I?"

"I can," Zom shot back agitatedly.

"Ah, right."

Simphonia's panicky music still had a rather calming effect, but it was nothing compared to a flaming meteor about to kill what used to be you or something like that so Zach resumed panicking a little.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.


EDIT: "Hey, Pinary, what's up with this overdue reserve?" Why, this is being delayed by school and general crap-feel-like! I'm sure it'll be up in the next day or two, though.
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

The lights in the hardware store were out, and when Scott appeared, his ears still ringing from the pharmacy's explosion, he barely managed to avoid knocking half the shelves down.

The bit of calm he'd managed to scrape together by meeting himself was gone. Something had just exploded, and odds were good that it hadn't just been a random occurrence. It had to have been the work of one of the other contestants- he had no idea who, but he had no intention of finding out. He just wanted to find a hole to crawl into and hide, and a dark, shadowy hardware store seemed like the place to do it. It probably wouldn't be too hard to fashion some sort of weapon out of the stuff around here; primitive as the supplies were, they would probably be enough. People killed each other well enough before his time, after all.

He'd only been rummaging around for a minute or so when something else exploded. It sounded a bit more distant than the pharmacy had, and Scott had the benefit of bring inside a fairly sturdy structure. It certainly startled him, but this close to arrival, it took a lot to make him jump again.

Of course, the voice booming in his ears and informing him that there was a massive meteor on its way down was hardly calming either.


He'd hardly leaned down to start eavesdropping when the same ultimatum of disappointment he'd heard once before flooded his ears. Alright, he thought, mostly ignoring the Redeemer's speech, I'm caught up. There are two of me right now, and the other one's in my past. I've covered the last little bit fairly thoroughly, and it's safe to say that once I'm done talking with the Zachs, I'll be all sorted out. Of course, this means that there aren't any more of me coming from further ahead, which suggests that I won't be around for much longer. He shuddered. Hopefully that just means we've moved on to the next round somewhere else.

Stepping deliberately away from that train of thought, he checked his watch. He had somewhere to be, anyway.


Okay, a meteor. That's fine. It's not the end of the world. Well, I guess it is, but that's not the point. Once one of those nutjobs finally kills one of the other ones, we should be gone, and we won't have to worry- He froze, listening. Someone was coming.

"...still don't see the point of hiding out somewhere. It's not like being inside is going to protect us."

"It'll protect us from them, not the meteor. They've got their own things to work out, and we can just wait for one of them to finally take one of the others out."

"We're going to have to fight someone else eventually, you know. Assuming we don't want to just roll over and die right now."

Scott, peering through the rack of pipes he was currently hiding behind, didn't see Simphonia drift around the outside edge of the store. His attention was far too focused on identifying Zach and Zom as "the bisected guy. A ghost and a zombie. What was his name again?"

Idly setting a display of wind-chimes clanging away, the music-ghost managed to startle Scott into knocking over the pipe display, sending an assortment of lengths and diameters of plastic piping rolling across the floor and generally causing a fair bit of racket. Naturally, this drew the attention of Zach and Zom and ruined any element of surprise Scott may have been hoping to have. Cursing, he grabbed up the nearest length and held it out in front of him.

"Alright, stay back," he said, the piping's wildly shaking end betraying exactly how confident he was.

"Ah," Zom sighed, "now it all makes sense."

Scott frowned. "What makes sense?"

"Nothing, nothing," Zom replied, smiling a bit.

Scott continued frowning, the piping still moving back and forth. He really wasn't focused too much on what they were saying, mostly on the fact that they were likely to gnaw on him or... possess him, maybe. Something like that, he assumed.

Zach sighed. "Look, we're not interested in hurting you. We talked to you earlier, and-"

"-And we had a lovely conversation." Scott came in through the back, his strides quick and purposeful. His past self, still nervous and suspicious, began to speak, but he cut him off. "The capital of Paraguay was the P, nimrod, but this isn't the time for passcodes."

"Alright," the early Scott said, "that checks out, but do you seriously want me to believe that we talk to these two in a civilized manner?"

"Yes, in fact. Zach and Zom are perfectly reasonable beings, and neither us nor them were violent when we talked. Right, guys?"

"Er, yeah." The other pair were both a bit flustered. "Wait, so- you already talked to us?"

"Right," the appropriate Scott replied, glancing down at his watch. "He hasn't had that conversation yet, but I have."

"Doesn't that get awkward," Zach asked, "talking to yourself like that?"

Zom snorted. "You're seriously asking that? We've barely been split for any time at all and already we're snarking back and forth."

"It gets easier," the early Scott said, lowering the tube a bit. "After a while, you realize that, since the only person you can really trust is yourself, you've got a completely trustworthy person hanging around."

The aforementioned trust was demonstrated quite clearly when his later self blasted the air horn he'd just found, startling him enough that, coupled with the continuous baseline stress from meeting Zach and Zom for the first time, was enough to send him jumping through time.

"Of course, trust to do what is best is not always the same as trust to do what's expected. Sometimes you have to do unpleasant things to yourself."

"Uh...huh. I guess."

There was a bit of an awkward silence, broken by Simphonia giving them all a bit of a start by impersonating the air horn and giving her tinkling little giggle.

After a few deep, slow breaths, Scott said, "Anyway, we should probably do something about the big meteor. As likely it is that the others are going to kill one another before it hits, I'd really rather not count on it."
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Kaitostrike.

Unsurprisingly, this is not the worst that has happened to Luron. Once, in the marketplace...

The explosion knocked him a good distance. Fortunately for him, he landed on the densest part of his body; his head. But, of course, such an explosion struck him with such a force, that he bounced (quite a bit I might add, a bit like skipping a stone on water). By the time he skid to a halt, he had a nice bit of concrete lodged into his head. At least, he thought it was concrete. To be precise, however, he didn't think much of anything. His mind was shaken up, and his vision was blurred. A good deal of blood was coming from the fresh wound, and a mind kind of needs that to function correctly. If he had the capacity to look over at his would-be victim, he would have seen that she suffered more than he did. But she's a demon; who knows how much of a beating she could take. Luron, on the other hand, was just another fleshy human. Just so you know, bouncing off of concrete is not a favorite past-time.

What little of a thought process Luron might have had was gone. His legs still worked fine; however, whether that was a good or a bad thing is up to interpretation. The clumsy swordsman stood up, and immediately searched the ground for his sword. He grasped a nice, round, metallic object. Just like the handle of his sword. However, as I have said, his vision wasn't the best. His new weapon was a rather ironically placed stop sign, which had been flung along with him. As he looked about, he saw a figure in front of him. Doing his best "guy who just had his eyes stabbed" impression, he swung the impromptu weapon at his victim. Luckily for the victim, depth perception was not one of his senses he retained. Unluckily, neither was hearing. Blood began to trickle down his face as the wound went untreated. However, one does not need to hear to comprehend a deity.

Zaire's voice filled his head, as he clenched his now blood deprived head. The stop sign made a metallic clang as it hit the ground, having fulfilled it's duty. In the midst of his blurred hearing, he understood the words of Zaire clearly. He fell onto his knees as he continued to caress his head. His senses started to become functional again, as he stood back onto his feet. He got a good look around before falling right back to the ground. Head injuries are a bitch.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 1: Everybody's Dead!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Eversist.


A spear went hurtling through the air, aimed true to Zaire’s head. Bellona had thrown it with such force that the motion carried her body forward more than a few feet. She had emerged from the coffeeshop during Zaire’s declarations of impending doom.

Zaire snapped his eyes to the projectile. It froze midair, with no other preamble. Chuckling from his position in the air, he pushed the spearhead out his immediate vicinity with all the casualness of making room on a crowded tabletop, surrounding runes glowing at his touch.
“Ah, how fickle the heart can be! I dare say you’re getting the feel for things around here, Miss Achilla. You may want to direct your bloodlust elsewhere, though… Or, more accurately, you must!” A cackle, and he was gone in a flash of harsh red light. The lance clattered as it hit the asphalt.

With a forcefully dejected sigh accompanied by a few more calming breaths, Bellona went to go retrieve her weapon. Zaire was right, the lead-up to that toss had the blood boiling in her veins. As she stood, placing the spear behind her shield, she noticed her “blossoming friendships” emerge from a nearby alleyway.
“Did you expect that to work?” Kaja called, eyeing Bellona critically across the short distance.

Bellona shrugged in a non-committal way, half-ignoring the chemist. No, she honestly hadn’t. She held her hand out towards Kargrek, palm skyward as he approached. “My amulet, if you don’t mind.”

Kargrek slapped it into her palm, then took to waggling a finger in his ringing right ear.
“We now have free roam of this world…” He paused and made a sweeping gesture at the sky, and the others couldn’t resist turning to look. “But at the price of all of our heads.”

“Any other grand ideas?” Kaja adjusted his goggles’ position, squinting up at the meteor. “What chance do we stand, reasoning with that?”

Bellona pulled the thin chain over her head, running a mental checklist of the contestants and accompanying powers. She tugged at her amulet, testing the give of the delicate chain.
Strongarm with his strength, massive axe and bracers. Kaja and his chemicals. Myself, with my insofar impractical trinket. The knight… with unknown powers. The disappearing and undead man. A spectre… and the indisposed demoness… Ah! Coming to a sudden decision, she sprinted off, leaving the other two looking at each other with vaguely annoyed looks on their faces.
“Charming girl, isn’t she?” Kagrek merely grunted at the sarcasm.

The gladiatrix trotted to a stop behind the face-down body of the demoness. She was pretty certain it wasn’t dead, otherwise the battle would have, in theory, moved on from this place. Making a disdainful face that up to this point had been reserved for Kagrek, she retrieved her spear from its placeholder on her back. She prodded the nearest heel, perhaps coincidentally the one that stuck out at an odd angle. A sad moan came from the body, shifting slightly. Bellona prodded again, hard enough to draw blood.

“Raaaaaah, TH’FUCK DO YOU WANT?!” Laura threw herself off the ground in an amazing feat of blind rage, causing Bellona to back away hastily. The chunk of concrete lodged in one shoulder made her body heavily list to one side, and she limped closer. “I’ll kill you DEAD if you don’t LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!!” She raised the opposite hand, producing a ball of inferno the size of Bellona’s torso.

The amulet around Bellona’s neck flashed out in warning, and her hardened eyes hardly hid the fear that resided there. She had no experience with magic, and frankly, it frightened her. But Laura’s eyes rolled back into her head as she tottered forward into a faint, the fireball sputtering to ash. Bellona caught her by the remains of her clothing, and shook her roughly back to consciousness. “You’re the only one of us who has a chance of stopping that thing!” She yelled into the demoness’ bloodied face, all semblances of calm and composure, gone. “Do something, or we all die! Including you!”

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Lankie.

Laura’s eyes snapped back open and a psychotic grin appeared on her face, “Well. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” The demoness shoved Bellona off her with an alarming amount of strength; she made a quick gesture to re-summon her guitar. “You think that rock’s got ANYTHING ON ME!? HA!” Laura began a rather hectic and complex guitar solo, its chaotic sound echoing through the entire street. Simphonia meanwhile began panicking at the harsh noises of the solo. A large fireball erupted in the sky and quickly began to grow large. “HAHAHAAAH! LET’S SEE YOU HANDLE THIS, ZAIRE!”

Luron lurched his bloodied head up to see Laura summoning the giant flame; it was pretty understandable for his state that he assumed Laura was about to unleash a massive attack. Luron’s natural sense of heroism over came him as he grabbed his ‘sword’ and ran towards the demoness.

The guitar solo got louder and more complex as it seemed to reach its end, “THIS IS IT! HET READY FOR SOME FIREWOR-uguhg.” The solo abruptly stopped as the strings broke. A large pipe had punctured through the guitar and through Laura’s spine. “Stop.”

Laura twisted her head to see the sign jammed into her back. “th-that...was..t-terrib-ble...” The demoness fell forward, the sign now upright in her lifeless body.

There was a moment of stunned silence as the large fireball above them dissipated, it took a little while for Bellona, Kaja and Kagrek to process what had just happened. Unfortunately for them, Zaire decided to teleport in, straight above Laura’s carcass. “Well now! Was that so hard to do?” He landed on the ground, blood red cape flowing with him. “She was certainly a violent one, I was hoping she’d go on to incite a little more rage into the mix, but oh well.” The Redeemer took his blade and plunged it into Laura’s body, instantly the demoness was reduced to dust, all traces of her gone. “Now then! Shall we continue?”

The Redeemer clicked his fingers and the world seemed to freeze with it, the contestants stopped with the environment, except for there eyes which darted around freely. “Well that was rather slow, how about we speed things up a little!” Another click of the fingers and the whole world faded to black, what looked like a star field going by a light speed surrounded the group as Zaire searched for a new locale to ‘play’ in.

A large grin plastered the Redeemer’s face, “Yes that will do perfectly!” The contestants then felt a bizarre feeling overcome as they drifted into a slumber, some resisted longer than others (Simphonia for example, being a ghost made of music and what not), but they all fell asleep sooner or later.

The Group woke up on a cold metal floor, dazed and confused they all looked up in awe. A massive futuristic city was laid out before them. The city pulsed with constant sound and light, neon winding its way round every building, impossible flying machines glided through the air. It was a oddly beautiful sight to behold, shame that Zaire had to walk in, ruining the whole scene as he messily ate an apple. “Ah you’re awake!” He tossed the fruit off the balcony they all stood on, letting it plummet what seemed like an infinite height.

“Now, I know you’re all eager to start playing but first there are some things you should probably know.” He paused, purposely taking all the time he needed. “First off, you’ll find no ‘fleshies’ in here, this is a Robot city!” He glanced towards the group, and then rolled his eyes at the dumbfounded look most of them were returning. “They’re like…metal people. No souls, programming and all that. Not a fan, personally.” He teleported to the other side of the group, the only reason being to disorientate them further. “Second! These Robots are fair bit xenophobic. The crime for not being a robot is immediate death, like most things here in fact. Finally...”

“ANOMALIES LOCATED! SECTOR!” A painfully bright light covered the group as a aircraft loudly floated in front of them. “ANOMALIES. RAISE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR AND SURRENDER. THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!” The loud robotic voice bellowed out to them.

“…The authorities know of your presence. I recommend running!” The group turned round to see Zaire running down a corridor in an exaggerated manner, laughing all the way.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Some stuck around, either too bewildered to think about doing anything or not very concerned about robots getting ready to attack them. Some were more inclined to run. Simphonia floated about in an uncertain haze before snapping to attention when the alarm blared.

The sound of the explosion was exciting. The sound of the air horn was different. The sound of a yelling robot was annoying. For some reason, it just grated against her very being. It went from 'annoying' to 'intolerable' very quickly and Simphonia's form seemed to sharpen as a result. She swirled defensively before suddenly, accompanied by the sound of screeching strings, launching herself at the flying thing, not tearing it apart, but pushing it down, rather, so it crashed against the a wall and bounced off, now a bit dented. It didn't seem to like this.

Simphonia back-pedaled in the air quickly as it suddenly charged towards her and fired bright, red lasers. She had never seen anything like this before and wasn't about to test to see if it could actually harm her at all. She wavered a bit in the air before, inexplicably, charging straight at the aircraft and phasing into it. The flying machine halted in the air, as though some sort of conflict was happening inside, before Kaja took the chance to lob a random vial towards it as Simphonia burst out the other end. It exploded upon impact and the ship crashed. It would have been nice if it had been the only one, but several other ships were suddenly closing in. Reinforcements.

Simphonia wasted no time in getting out of there, the droning voices of the robotic pilots scratching against her nerves (nerves she didn't actually have). She went through another wall and entered a rather bleak building, somewhat like an office. She looked around desperately for some paper, but, apparently, a city full of robots doesn't exactly need any paper.

She couldn't help but be noticed by the robots wh happened to be milling about inside. As they started raising the alarm once more, she thrust herself through the ceiling and continued upwards, zooming past any other robots and moving outside once again. She swirled a little, indecisive, before zooming off deeper into the city in a panic when she thought she heard more stupid droning robots.

She hated this place. This was a horrible place. Why was she even here.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Kaitostrike.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Eversist.


Update 12/26:
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Kaitostrike.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

Scott ran, plain and simple. Sentient machines were high crimes back home for a reason. They were the stuff of nightmares, made all too real by the last war. Robots and cyborgs and machines had murdered millions of people and converted tens of thousands more, sending loved ones back to fight their own families. They had calculated the optimal use of each survivor, sending them to the place where they could cause the most horror and ensure the population put up the least resistance.

Fortunately, the war had been won. The machines had been pushed back, their extensive backups wiped, and anything with the slightest risk of sparking another war was criminalized. Some thought the governments were doing too much, but the fear of what horrors AIs could spawn kept people from protesting too much. It may have kneecapped research in some fields, but popular, not-entirely-unjustified fear won out.

So Scott, fear of sentient machines ingrained into him by his culture, ran. He didn't pay much attention to where he was going, he didn't stop, he didn't look back. He just ran. He jumped, ended up in a maintenance tunnel and kept running. Minor drones raised the alarm as he went, spurring him along even faster. He jumped again, his heart beating so hard it took barely three minutes before he jumped again, ending up in a darkened warehouse.

He stopped running then, but only because his lungs were on fire. He'd hardly been able to exercise back home, so while he was certainly thin, he was hardly in shape. He collapsed into a small gap between steel storage units, breathing fast and ragged. He didn't think there was anything else here- the lights were down, and it seemed like most of this stuff was in long-term storage.

After a minute or two, he calmed down from "absolute panic" to "moderate terror", priorities shifting from "runrunrun" to "whatdoIdowhatdoIdo". His eyes darted around, looking for anything that could be of any use. There were crates all around, unlabelled save for a large number and a barcode. A glance at his watch found it registering too much interference to be useful- the display simply read "nh:ar:dt", letters shifting a bit. Had he been paying attention, he might have noticed the letters scrolling to the left, spelling out a message. He was too preoccupied, though- something caught his eye on a crate several away from where he was sitting. There was a small, yellow square on the front face, standing out against the rows and rows of dull, silvery metal. Cautiously, Scott moved towards it, watching all around for any movement so frantically that he would hardly have been able to spot much of anything.

It was a yellow sticky note, bright and clean against the dusty and tarnished crates.

the game is on, mr. williams

it's time to have some fun

It was hardly reassuring. He had to get out of there, he decided, and he started running once again. There was an exit at the end of the row, its illuminated outline a beacon to Scott's frantic mind, and he set off towards it.

As he approached, the doors slid open with a quiet ding. It was an elevator, brightly lit and spotless, and another note was stuck above the buttons.

second floor, mr. williams

the doctor is in

Without even thinking about it, he slammed the button for two. The doors slid shut and the car started ponderously downwards. Eight, seven, six... The doors slid open again before the elevator reached the third floor, and Scott could hear the sounds of a pursuit down the hall. A pair of explosions came in quick succession, and a moment later, Kaja ducked sideways into the open doors. They slid shut moments later, and it continued its downward journey.

The doctor leaned on the wall and caught his breath. "Rather nice timing there," he said. "Much appreciated."

Scott didn't quite know what to say, and as Kaja started brewing some sort of potion, he just stood in awkward silence as the car continued down. He had even less of an idea what was happening now than he'd had in the last round, but the game, apparently, was on.
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Sruixan.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by SleepingOrange.

Kargrek narrowed his eyes. "Robots?" The word of course meant nothing to an ancient barbarian; it would have been many centuries before anyone on his world had even had the knowledge or ideas to need the word for speculation or fiction, much less to create the thing itself. "Metal men" was confusing but understandable at least, and sounded inconvenient. "Without souls", though, was pretty unambiguous. It meant these "robots" were monsters, abominations, and probably servants Rella, or more likely Zaire himself. He raised his axe and his voice in a fighting stance and battlecry as the first steel dragon rose into view; it didn't seem too threatening: Kargrek had taken on a good few dragons over the course of his life and a few more since his death, so making them made of metal and breathing bursts of light didn't seem like a big deal. He wasn't even able to help with the first one; Simphonia and Kaja took it out quickly and efficiently, slightly to the barbarian's disappointment.

But then when a whole roost of them soared into the sky, almost-human voices screeching nonsense and numbers and threats, bright flashes of weaponized light bursting out of their wings and mouths and exploding against the metallic building everyone had appeared on, Kargrek knew standing to fight would mean death in short order. Without a moment's hesitation, he grabbed Bellona around her waist and barreled towards a stairwell he'd spotted. More explosions and yelling came from behind him as he fled, but he didn't bother to turn around; either the others would get themselves killed and he'd know when the survivors were teleported away, or they would win or more likely flee and it would have no bearing on him.

His gauntlets didn't grant Kargrek much increased running speed; all the strength in the world couldn't make his legs longer, so there was something of an upper bound to what anything short of time dilation or nerve enhancements could do. Still, they did give him the ability to make leaps that would have shamed a man-sized frog. It was only a few jumps before he had crossed the roof and began speeding down the stairs, the gladiatrix protesting loudly. It was several flights down before he turned off the stairway; before he did, they encountered several many-legged metal constructions ascending or descending: with no room to swing the greataxe and an armful of Bellona on the other side, he was forced to dispose of them with flying kicks that bent and broke their chassises and by rights should have left his ankles shattered. It might have been impressive to his captive audience, were she not still fuming.

Once Kargrek did leave the stairs, he found himself in a large and dimly-lit room, full of man-height rectangular prisms of matte-black plastic; they had glowing edges and occasional flickering lights elsewhere on their surfaces, but nothing in here seemed to be screaming or beeping or attacking. He set the woman down gently and coughed awkwardly.

"I'm sorry for the indignity," he muttered, looking slightly down and away. "It's just, I can cover more ground than you, and..."

The barbarian, quite out of his element, trailed off, not looking up to see whether Bellona was still giving him a withering glare.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Downtown, spires rose out towards the sky, silver and shiny. In the roads below, large tanks fitted with rotating brushes scrubbed the streets clean. Some smaller robots wheeled about there too, squeezing past, wielding tools and bottles, rushing off every which way in a hurry. Above those, light, tall robots sitting on platforms replaced dead lights and every once in a while, a stern sentry passed overhead, looking out for any anomalies, whether it was a simple dead light, a malfunctioning robot, or an illegal flesh'nblood.

Above those, Simphonia continued flying along swiftly. And behind her, more shrieking aircrafts who didn’t seem to grasp that it was quite impossible to shoot a being made of music into submission. Speakers and shouting and shouting from speakers, it was all too loud. Simphonia, disoriented, finally got the idea that it was unlikely for the large ships chasing her to follow her into the narrow streets and headed down. It was nicer down here, really, with the pretty lights and the content hum of the giant scrubbots. But then the sentries spotted her and started raising the alarm, which was another shrieking, loud sound. Why did all alarms have to be loud and shrieking.

The ships were hovering above, keeping pace. Maintenance bots wheeled quickly away from her and made way for the armed soldiers. The rat-tat-tat of their guns was nice and rhythmic, but she had enough sense not to enjoy this and kept moving forward, through the rank and file, and just followed the road. The soldiers pursued, of course, but weren’t able to go quite as fast as she could and definitely couldn’t go through large, hulking scrubbots like she could.

For a while, it was just the blaring sentries and the looming ships and the group of speedy maintenance bots and her. Simphonia continued to mindlessly follow the group ahead of her for no particular reason besides (probably) that she had no idea where to go and just following some robots who did was somewhat comforting.

She separated from them when they trundled past another line of soldiers and flew right into a wall.

This wall happened to be the wall of a factory, and quite a busy one it was, for at least today. There was hissing and pounding and heat and smelting and it all had a very heavy and dreary tone that Simphonia actually liked. Somewhere on the far end, giant scrubbots were being taken apart and then being reincarnated as big and tough aircraft. At the beginning of a long conveyor belt stood a long line of various bots who had apparently volunteered themselves (if robots could volunteer) to be dismantled and rebuilt as soldiers.

It was probably hard to notice a cloud of notes with all the steam and noise going on, which was why Simphonia weaved and navigated through the machinery without interruption.

As interesting as everything was here, though, the ghost at least realized that she should probably figure out a way to not get chased around the whole city.

Simphonia wound her way to the line of slowly advancing maintenance bots and lurked around a few before suddenly pushing herself into the chassis of a robot.

To everybody’s alarm, the robot started sparking wildly and jerked about oddly before wheeling off to the side where it gestured in a rather erratic manner. Other maintenance bots quickly tried to rush to its aid, but it stabilized and stood up, assuring them that it did not need any maintenance. Things buzzed in its head as it looked around, perceiving color as sound and taste and wow, taste certainly was a strange thing. It slowly wheeled out the door, deep in thought. Nobody bothered to stop it. As it started wheeling through the streets, it started making a whistling sound, first just a hesitant note, and then a soft, nervous, simple tune. How strange. This was certainly not part of its functions, but it was enjoyable to do…

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

The elevator hit the second floor a few moments later, the doors sliding open to reveal looming, metal forms. Scott, assuming the obvious, vanished immediately. Kaja, assuming the same, lobbed the potion he'd been preparing into the room beyond.

A few seconds later, it registered with the doctor that none of the metal people in the room were attempting to kill him. In fact, further investigation revealed that they had no internal organs to speak of and were simply outer shells in storage, each presumably awaiting the opportunity to become part of a fully-functional robot at some point in the future.

Sighing, the doctor began wandering among the stored casings, brewing another potion as he went.

The doors closed with a soft ding behind him.


Sunlight streaked in through the skylights above, glinting off of the sweeping glass and metal that seemed to highlight the city and making the whole atrium shine. It was a wondrous display of modernism, and were it not for the circumstances, Scott might've found it downright marvellous.

For the moment, though, he was finding it a bit hard to enjoy the architectural splendour around him. Seeing a gun pointed at his head didn't tend to put him in an aesthetical mood, regardless of whether it was the current him or just a future iteration.

The man with the gun was mostly obscured by the hostage Scott, but from what the newly-arrived Scott could see, he seemed quite ordinary- perhaps a mite paler than most, but otherwise unremarkable. His all-black suit had plainly been through a fair bit, wrinkled and dusty as it was, but something about it made it fit all the better that way.

"Mr. Williams," he said, "I think you'll want to listen to what I have to say."

"Well, uh, I hardly have much choice, do I?"

"Don't ask me," the man said, smirk audible from behind his hostage's head, "you can't trust me. Ask your compatriot here, I'm sure he'll be glad to clear things up."

Scott considered for a moment. This person had a point; Scott had memorized a number of self-confirmation systems that collectively formed a fairly robust call-and-response set, designed for a situation pretty much exactly like this.

"B19489788," he asked, opting for one of his higher-level systems, Palt-11.

"92391406-dot-47383419," his future self replied. He chained together 'null response' with 'positive,' a combination indicating that, while he wasn't answering any particular questions, the situation itself was overall a positive and beneficial one.

Scott was, understandably, a bit incredulous. He wasn't exactly sure how a situation that lead to a gun to his head could be considered "beneficial."

"45255992," the future Scott added, using a response from the more-casual-than-secure Palt-2 system. "No, really," he was saying. "I know how you're feeling and wish to reinforce my previous statement."

Reluctantly, Scott had to accept his future self's urgings. The situation they were in, somehow, was good for them.

"Alright," he said, addressing his future self's captor, "what's so important you had to hold a gun to my head just to get me to listen?"

"Oh, this?" The man took the gun away from his hostage's head and released his grip on him. The future Scott took a few steps away, looking nervously up at the skylight and around at the atrium in general.

The man continued, unfazed by his ex-hostage's apparent fears. "That was just a way to get you to listen." He idly tossed the pistol into a nearby decorative plant. "Had to get your attention somehow, and you were already right here."

"You couldn't just ask me to talk, like a normal person? You had to hold a gun to my head?!" Scott, try as he might to keep his cool amid a battle to the death, wasn't terribly comforted by his future self's nervousness.

He was even less comforted when the skylight shattered and half a dozen matte-black spheres came crashing into the atrium, demolishing much of the picturesque architecture. Immediately, he jumped under the nearest cover- a table, as it happened.

He was hardly under it a moment when the rain of glass shards started to land, and once the eerie tinkling of bits of glass slowed to nothing, an even-more-eerie silence filled the atrium.

Once the slow, heavy shifting of concrete and metal began, Scott decided he much preferred the silence. The light, quick footsteps he could live with; they brought the feet- and, a moment later, the madly-grinning face- of his future captor into view.

"Well, come on, then!" He was plainly excited about the whole thing, which had Scott more than a bit disturbed. At the look on his face, the other man rolled his eyes. "They're specially-designed human-hunters," he said, apparently finding the whole thing exciting rather than terrifying. "We've got about thirty seconds until the first one digs itself out of its drop shell and starts after us, so unless you want to witness their efficiency first-hand, get out here and get moving!"

Scott did so. He was out from under the table and moving down the hallway his apparent companion was indicating before ten seconds had passed, and by the time the first of the androids had dug itself out, the two men had a twenty-second head start. Not much, considering the artificial being's significant advantages, but something.

In truth, even a few minutes' head start wouldn't help. The hunter knew that its speed was much higher than that of the organics, and a minute or so of labour to rally its comrades would increase efficiency overall and cause no significant delays in the execution of its orders.


Thundering down a hallway with the last few minutes flashing through his head, something occurred to Scott.

"Why," he demanded, "did you want to talk to me so much?! You nearly got me killed back there, and you still never told me what was so important! Who even are you, coming in here and holding me hostage?!"

"Oh, me?" The other man looked giddy as he ran down a corridor in a city out to kill him. "I used to be in a similar situation to the one you're in now! You know, mysterious entity captures you and pits you together, that whole thing? Difference is, I didn't stick around! Me and another guy made our escape early on, and I dropped right in the lap of someone who offered me a job. Here I am, and here we are!"

"That's all well and good," Scott shouted back, "but it's still not you telling me what was it that was so urgent!"

"Oh, that'll have to wait! We're about out of time here, but don't worry- I've explained it all to you in the atrium!"

"Out of time, what-" A door at the far end of the hall smashed open, bringing all six hunters tearing down towards them.

As it happens, the pair of humans they were targeting reached the far end of the hall, solid double doors a potential barrier. It was only likely to hold the killing machines for a second or two, though.

Nonetheless, one target shoved the other through and started to close them, shouting its intent to "hold them off."

The doors closed between the two, and the target on the near side turned and held up a small device, its face an expression of glee.

The six hunters were marked in the system as "offline – inoperable" a moment later.


Scott appeared, breathless, in the same hall he'd just been running down, after being shoved through the doors just before they buckled from the force of an explosion on the far side. The hall, though, was perfectly fine- no charred walls, smoldering carpet, or bits of demolished robot.

It didn't take much thought for him to realize which way he'd jumped.

He started off towards the end from which he'd started almost immediately, moving at a fast walk. He wanted an explanation from this guy one way or another, and the atrium was apparently the place to get it from him.

And there he was, waiting for Scott casual as anything, leaning on a table and looking at something on a small, handheld device. "Ah," he said, "you're here! Excellent, let's get started!"

"Finally!" Scott stormed towards him with a mind to grab him by the lapels and slam him against the wall until he got his answers. "Now, tell me what it is that's so urgent!"

The anonymous man raised his hands in a gesture of peace and placation. "Whoa, calm it down a notch. We've got about four minutes, and we've got plenty go get through."

"So start. Talking." Scott fairly seethed at the man, restraining himself from violence in the interests of getting what he was after.

"Well, the short version is this: You need to destroy this city. It should be fairly obvious to you as to why- after a war like your people suffered, you know the dangers of these machines well as anyone."

Scott, while accepting of the man's reasons, was a bit incredulous. "The whole city? And how exactly do you propose I do that?"

The other man gestured with the device in his hand. "Got a thorough plan right here! Now, you won't need most of it, as this literally covers all eventualities, but at least page through it." He handed it over to Scott, who started examining it. "That doubles as a communications device, so if you need to get ahold of me, that's your means."

Scott poked at the device, and while he didn't recognize the model, he found it simple enough. Step 1 was apparently "deactivate the central coordination servers," but there were no instructions as to where they were or how to deal with them.

"Once the city's thoroughly destroyed, I'll be on my way- I've got more work to be done, and while this an important part of my boss's goals, it's hardly the only one."

"Just who is your boss, by the way?", Scott asked, not looking up from fiddling with the device.

"That's not important right now. The important bit is just that you do this with me."

Scott wanted to tell him that he'd just seen him die just a few minutes prior, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

"Now, put that away," the other man said, taking a step forward. Scott complied. "It's time to get to work." He gestured to something over Scott's shoulder.

Scott followed his gaze, but as soon as he did, the man made his move, grabbing for the gun tucked in the back of Scott's waistband with one hand and wrapping the other around his throat. "Really, you know how this works out. May as well cooperate, no?"

Scott sighed. In all the chaos, he'd forgotten about the gun he'd stolen from the drug dealer. Oh well, no matter. The mystery man had a point, and when it came down to it, cooperation really was the best option.

It was only a heartbeat or two later that Scott appeared before the two.

"Mr. Williams," his captor said. "I think you'll want to listen to what I have to say."


As the last of the metal men fell to the floor, a calm silence came over the room. The barbarian and the gladiatrix paused for a moment, searching for any remaining machines that would attack them.

With a bright flash and an electrical-sounding crack, Scott appeared between them, and a split-second later, there was a javelin millimeters from his throat. Predictably, he stumbled backwards, then turned to run.

Kargrek just rolled his eyes as the thin man ran headlong into him, bounced off, and fell to the floor.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Oh my what’s this oh this thing does a sparky thing and that leads to another thing but what does that do and wait does that allow these things to move? Is that it? How complicated!

It was lucky all this inquisitive poking around didn’t really meddle with the robot so much. Otherwise it would have been possible to see one lone maintenance bot falling over quite a lot. With Simphonia mostly just taking the back seat, all it really did oddly was jerk around and whistle in a rather hauntingly mechanical way. Eventually all the sparky things and the moving things and the robot things seemed less novel and she was able to calm down and just sit around, content with the fact that no nasty noisy robot things were chasing after her because she was a robot and OH MY GOD THERE WAS A BROKEN THING THERE MUST FIX IT.

It turned out that Simphonia now knew how to fix broken things! Not that she knew what these broken things were, but they were broken, and she had to fix them and she had the things that needed to fix broken things so she might as well because it made her feel so haaaappyyy and also the maintenance bot was pleased too and its whistling was growing quite melodious! It was growing on her. Although she supposed technically she was the one whistling? How does this thing she was doing work?

There was a beeping sound and a little flashy thing flashed on this flat shiny thing that was probably a display thing like the robot was thinking(?) it was and something like that. Apparently, it was something like a speaking thing! Usually these speaking things don’t happen unless a big disaster was happening which maintenance had to clean up so this must be important. The bot immediately opened up the thing and both of them listened carefully for the thing that needed fixing.

“…hacking their heads from their pitiful necks to punish them for their misdeeds…”

Hey! There’s nothing here about broken things!

“Hi! Hello! GREETINGS. Hi! Hi! People! Where are you, people?” Hm. She could talk now? Well, the robot could talk, she can talk too! Yes yes yes, that made sense, did it? “I like people! HUMANS ILLEGAL—people are nice. But break things! Are there broken things? MAINTENANCE NEEDED? I can fix broken things! This thing has things that fix broken things! Information? Is that broken? CANNOT RECEIVE INFORMATION. I can fix that! Hello? Hello? Hi! Hello!” It sounded as though the person stopped talking. But people talked back. That’s how things happen, like, talking and things. This people was doing it wrong. For about five minutes, Simphonia continued warbling “Hi! Hello! Hello? Hi!” in the strangely melodic and feminine way, despite the robotic tone her current body could only belt out. Every once in a while, her inquisitive salutations were interrupted by some random message of the robot itself. “INFORMATION NOT RELATED TO MAINTENANCE. INFORMATION UNNECESSARY. Hello, information! Are you there? Information! Hello! TRASH INFORMATION—information! Oh look! Hello! Can we do this thing with this information? Hello? Hello!”

Finally, after ten minutes, the transmitter automatically shut off. A few minutes after that, Simphonia finally pried into the strange file that thingied into her robots thingy! The robot wasn’t happy with this, but it was information!

…It was not understandable information!

These words didn’t even seem like they meant anything! This information was broken! She should fix it!

Fixing it meant mostly replacing anything that looked like a noun with ‘thingy.’

She still didn’t understand it. Whistling, the robot restored the file to its original wording and decided that perhaps it was good to at least tuck it away somewhere. Trundling along, underneath more firing and blasting and fighters and stuff, he simply carried away rubble and covered up those unsightly holes. You know, he almost felt like breaking into song.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Eversist.

The gladiatrix’ hands clenched and unclenched, imaging the barbarian’s corded veins struggling to jerk beneath her fingers. She was livid. She was not one to run away.

Well, all right, she did if it offered some sort of tactical advantage. But it was always of her own volition. The simple fact that someone else, a man, let alone this savage, thought it was his place to protect her… that’s what really pissed her off. Although she had been obsessed with combat, the love had not extended to the male gender and their need to downplay the female aptitude. She didn’t have or need anyone to take care of her then, and she certainly didn’t need the pity now.

Her left fist connected with Kargrek’s jaw, and it was like punching a tree. He was taken aback, not having seen it coming, but was hardly injured. He looked down at her passively with an air of “Are you quite done?” causing her only to be further enraged. She drew her javelin with a bruised hand, and holding it close to the head lunged forward to bury it in the broad expanse of his chest. Kargrek grabbed her wrist, and they grappled for a brief moment. She was no match for his excess of strength, three years of training be damned. He held her still.

"You are only doing what he wants, Bellona."

The struggling ceased. He hesitantly let her go, and she flinched away from him, still gripping her javelin. Tendrils of hair that had fallen from her hair-tie blocked her rapidly changing facial expression from Kargrek’s profile view of her face. The silence was only broken by the gladiatrix’ heavy breathing. She finally spoke.

"What were those things?"

A pause.

Suddenly, a battalion of metal chariots began streaming into the room. But they weren’t quite chariots… like rectangles made out of metal, mounted on wheels. They created a perfect semi-circle, blocking the only door out of the room, rolling in a calculated and efficient manner. As Bellona and Kargrek began backing away, they parted to expose a biped metal humanesque… thing. He wasn’t human, not at all. He was a “robot,” whatever that was. That word didn’t mean anything to Bellona. Her world, not unlike Kargrek’s, was hundreds of years away from anything even vaguely resembling these… things.

The main metal man interrupted Bellona’s train of thought. His voice was cold, without emotion.
“Flesh cannot be permitted to exist within the parameters of the city. Trespassing results in termination.” He backed away, as the wheeled robots began inching towards the two outdated beings, who in response wielded their respective weapons. Bellona spat out an ancient curse word.

"No running, Strongarm. Any other ideas?"

With a bellow, Kargrek leapt forward in an enormous bound, crushing the nearest wheeled robot with relative ease.

"Shut up and fight."

Bellona shot the barbarian a withering glare that was wasted on the back of his head. She thrust outward at the nearest robot, puncturing the sheet metal, and caused it to short out (thanks to the iron-tipped spear). Smiling in hardly-contained bloodlust, she withdrew and swept to the left, slashing through the front of another like paper, sparks flying.

Abruptly, her left arm was quickly restrained by a metal tentacle-like extension that emerged from behind her, knocking the spear out of her fist. Swift observation of her surroundings showed that many of the robo-henchmen had grown these tubes, and were making short work of Kargrek, even though he had already successfully downed a modest amount of troops. She pulled her small, hidden dirk from her right sandal, but that movement only caused her right arm to be captured. Kicking connected with metal, causing dents, but little else. Struggling did nothing, the strength of these binds beyond even Kargrek’s muscled stature. And breathing was quickly becoming an issue. Her fingers loosened, and dropped the dagger.

Suddenly, the amulet pulsed and flashed a bright white. Her captors froze, and Bellona redoubled her efforts to escape. Crackling light appeared above each of the surrounding figures, and bolts of energy jerked and gathered in front of the amulet, forming a tight ball. And then it was gone.

The robots fell to the floor, as did a gasping Bellona. Coughing heavily, she struggled to a sitting position, holding her bruised neck with one hand and grappling for her lost spear with another. Kagrek was likewise picking himself off the floor, but had apparently managed to avoid being strangled.

"What in the name of Kr—"

Another bright flash lit the room accompanied by a whip-like crack, and there was a familiar, frantic man between them. Blood still pumping, Bellona jumped to a crouch, and her spear was at his throat before he could blink. He practically tripped over himself backing away, but immediately crashed into Kagrek and crumpled in a heap on the floor. Kagrek glanced skyward and hefted a sigh. He placed a foot nonchalantly on Scott’s back to prevent his scrambling escape-attempt, and directed his gaze back to the gladiatrix.

"What did you do?"


Beady lights were blinking rapidly and pulsating in a dark chamber. A large, hulking robot filled the center of the room, a cold grey mass rising from the floor covered in a thick layer of dust. Multitudes of tubes and wires extended into and from the throne he was on, and a few connected it to two bipedal robots standing closely by. If one were privy to the noiseless discussion taking place, they would witness an argument between two head-strong machines.

- Our Singularity, these intruders must be terminated. No query— -

- Nonsense! As I have stated, this a clear fulfillment of the prophesy script! We must speak with these fleshlings imm—! -

- Speak with them? Why would we even lower ourselves to dialogue with these simple— -


The channel went quiet. The robed biped robot shifted uncomfortably, while the other continued to stand quite still.


- My Singularity, no affront intended to your all-knowing hard drives, but the apocalypse that ensues will destroy us all! The script states that these beings are the only way to avoid the impending doom of our kind! -

- What of your prophesy’s doombringer? That was the only organic foreseen in the prophesy. There are at least six individual mortal beings detected! -

- Do you assume me to know everything? We are not all infallible as our glorious Server. -

PI inclined its head towards The Singularity. COM-1 leaned forward as well.

- There is no valid command buried among all that flowery language! We cannot and will not interact with these primitive— -

A flustered general burst into the room, and bowed hastily to all within. He spoke aloud.

"Apologies, my Singularity! One of the humans I am sure you are aware of has the ability to sap our power, effectively disable us, en masse! I was only just out of the critical radius!"

PI turned to aim a disdainful ocular bulb at the Commander.


COM-1 unquestioningly raised a cannon-arm at the general and fired. A beheaded biped collapsed to the floor.


The dialogue was over. COM-1 bowed to the Singularity, and pulled the communication fire-wire from his frontal port. He had already decided to ignore this command, and neglect to inform his people to show restraint with the organisms. He could always blame it on the over-zealous human-haters that we plentiful in his troops. Or a virus.

PI’s prophecy was a result of faulty wiring, nothing more.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.


The robot’s whistling slowed, but it deliberately continued to solder the wall back into place.


Whatever it was, it could wait until after it finished fixing stuff, right?


From COM-1.

Very important, in case you didn’t know.


Yeah, better listen to it.

The voice of COM-1 droned through the robot’s auditory—


Woah, what? Another message?

Only when its new friend started improvising an entire song made out of PINGs did it realize that its new roommate was the one making the sound. It hoped she would end it soon because it was sort of hard listening to both the strange PING song and the message at the same time.

“PINGPINGPINNNNNGthe humans anPIPINPIIIING PING PIPIPINGpture do notPINGsitate to PINGPINGPINGbots must PING to the PINGtory and PINGPIPINGNGNGassemble fighterPING.”

Well now that was hard to understand. But it felt as though it got the gist, though it didn’t exactly want to. So it simply deleted the message from its logs and then deleted the gotten gist from memory. How lucky it was to be a robot.

Simphonia was on a rather resonant PIIINIIIINIIIINNNGG when the robot trundled over inside a building to polish the walls or something.

It just so happened that inside this building a certain grandmaster was having fun, kicking some fighterbots down and watching them get back up in their futile attempts to attack him. Or at least he was having fun. Now it was just boring.

Zaire’s face brightened up as he caught sight of the newcomer and he ripped the surrounding groups of fighterbots apart without apparently moving. The maintenance bot saw this and decided hey, the walls were polished enough already, but it seemed that its wheels were jammed or something. And the next second, an invisible force slammed into it and it crashed into the wall. Its vision seemed to scramble for a few seconds before stabilizing, and by that time, Zaire had moved right beside it and was crouching down, smiling disconcertingly.

He said something. It was something like ‘Well, I needed something to bash robots over the head with’ but it sounded more like, ‘Well, PIPIPIPIIPINGass botsNGNGNGNGNGNGith.’

Simphonia stopped PINGing in a panic and decided some action needed to be taken before her new metal friend got into serious trouble. Still unable to figure out the complex circuits of a robot, she instead burst out of it in an attempt to push Zaire away. But he caught her. She wasn’t quite sure how one goes about catching a collection of music notes, but he managed it. And he stuffed her back into the bot, electricity dancing around it as he did so.

”Hm! Interesting, interesting!” Zaire seemed to ponder something for a short while before ripping off one of the maintenance bot’s scrawny arms. Paralyzed, they simply watched as he grabbed an arm of a fighterbot and mashed it into where the old arm used to be. It clashed horribly and it was much too large for the robot.

”There we go, now you can go kill something!” Zaire exclaimed quite cheerfully, and he shoved them back outside with what sounded like a sing-song ‘good luuuuuck.’ The door slammed shut behind them. Then the building erupted, quite like a volcano, though the maintenance bot never remembered anything like that happening with the buildings before. It peeled open like a banana. Or maybe a flower. Not that it really understood what either of those things were.

It wheeled around, dodging debris, though it was quite hard with its suddenly unbalanced weight. It could only drag its new arm on the ground. It was quite sure that it looked very silly. It was right.

A particularly large piece of building collided with the back of its head and it tumbled head over wheels down the street before crashing into the legs of a human. A human? Yes, a human.

Its new roommate seemed to recognize the human and even possibly remembered a name, though it couldn’t help but think that ‘Lurtimeron’ was a strange name. Not that it knew much about strange names. In any case, there was a human and humans were baaaaaad.

Luron, in his case, almost jumped out of his shoes. Robots had been trying to kill him all over the place and he had just finished hiding from even more robots and suddenly, MORE ROBOTS. He raised his broadsword instinctively while the small robot pushed itself up onto its wheels, feeling rather battered.

To everybody’s surprise, most of all the robot’s, its large arm swung upwards, hand opening at the wrist to allow it to shoot things like weak, puny humans. As Simphonia managed to blurt out, “Hey, hey, heeeeeeeeey tha’s not cool,” the arm charged up a shot. The arm didn’t seem to realize, though, that its sudden movement terribly unbalanced the bot and it fell over again. The arm fired and missed by quite a bit. The robot, as it confusedly started rolling its wheels in the air, making panicked, pathetic little whistles, was at least happy to note that it had suddenly learned the term ‘Alien Hand Syndrome.’

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by SleepingOrange.

Bellona was still loathe to admit that she had next to no idea about the nature or operation of her amulet, but there was no real way to dodge the question this time. Rather than hem and haw or change the subject, she simply opted to give an response that she figured was largely true without being particularly specific or revealing.

"The power of Athena shielded us."

It wasn't much of an answer, but if Kargrek was unsatisfied with it, he didn't show it. There were certainly more important issues to deal with anyway, between their possibly-merely-unconscious metal assailants and the new arrival. The warriors looked down at their prostrate captive, then exchanged a glance. Kargrek hauled him up by his shoulders and pinned his arms by his side, forcing him to face Bellona and effectively preventing him from doing much of anything but talking. He leaned his head down so it was more level with Scott's before speaking in a level tone that betrayed no hint of malice, but rather a certainty that if he didn't like the responses, he probably wouldn't need both arms to snap Scott's spine.

"What are you doing here?"

"I, uh, don't actually know. Er, that is to say... You remember Zaire said I don't really have control over my ability? That's... That's why I'm here."

Kargrek blinked, slightly taken aback. He hadn't remembered the Redeemer saying that; come to it, he couldn't remember much of what was said about those competitors he had deemed neither threats nor potential allies. Still, now that it had been repeated, it did seem vaguely familiar. He wasn't sure how to proceed from there; fortunately, Bellona moved the conversation along fairly effectively by swinging her lance around until the point rested on the time-traveler's Adam's apple.

"I say we kill him."

The barbarian's eyebrow furrowed and his lips tightened, pretty effectively emoting confusion and uncertainty.

[color=#FF500]Think about it,"[/color] Bellona continued. "He's clearly frail and useless, he can't even control the one thing about him that's unique or could be helpful, and if he dies, we get to leave this godsforsaken metal city full of iron devils. It's not as though we even know where Zaire is right now, and in an arena the size of this one, we could die again of age before we found him if the robot things didn't get us first."

Kargrek considered her words carefully; Scott, for his part, swallowed nervously as he felt his heart-rate rise and the tip of the spear dig slightly into his skin. He figured the best way to get out of this alive would be to prove to the fearsome woman that he was either useful or not worth killing. Or to simply hope to God that his damnable dynamo would send him somewhere and -when else before she decided he wasn't worth listening to anymore.

"Wait! I may not be a great fighter, but I've already made a powerful ally here, someone capable of destroying entire squads of powerful robots." And technically it's possible that he isn't a thin patina of lifeless molecules gracing what's left of a few walls, I suppose. Stranger things have happened. "Someone like that could be exactly what you need for... whatever it is... you're... planning?" Oh crap oh crap what am I saying this isn't going to end well. Scott started breathing more quickly in an attempt to stimulate his already-jumpy heart, hoping to get himself away from these two before his near-lies became painfully (or lethally) obvious.

"Who? I don't see anyone else." Bellona barely restrained a snort at the simple response, but maintained her composure and grip. Scott shifted uncomfortably, looking understandably nervous, and patted a pocket.

"Well, he gave me a device to contact or summon him, since I tend to disappear at odd moments. I can show you if you'll, uh, let go."

Kargrek shot a glance to his partner who sighed, then nodded and lowered her weapon slightly. She took pains to ensure that it stayed at a level that promised it could be brought right back up at a moments notice, and treated Scott to a piercing, unwavering stare. The barbarian released the smaller man, who stumbled a few steps forward, then drew a small, rectangular object out of a pocket.

"See, I just take this thing–" come on come on come on "And I can use it like this–" please something has to happen "Which lets me–"

Fortunately for Scott, at this point one of the downed metal creatures let out a roar and lurched; this was enough send the high-strung and already-terrified man's heart pounding, and catapult him several minutes away with a flash of light and a loud crack. The robot raised a few tendrils, made a grinding sound, and collapsed again, parts denting and falling off. Kargrek and Bellona shouldered the weapons they'd drawn at its roar and gave it a speculative look. After a moment, the former spoke:

"Well, come on. We should get moving."

Bellona cocked her head and put a hand on her hip.
"What, that's all you've got to say? Anyway, where should we go, and why?"

He shrugged. "Nowhere. Anywhere. There's little to see or do here, and apparently these things may not be as dead as we thought. If we move on, we may find some of our allies or more of our enemies."

Even if it wasn't a very specific plan, it was more interesting and productive than sitting around surrounded by iron corpses and overthinking what to do. The pair set off through the rows of black obelisks, heading towards what looked like it might be a door in the distance; they hadn't gotten too far, however, before a pair of humanoids stepped out from behind two opposite obelisks, hands raised in peaceful supplication. They were wrapped in ornate robes and topped with elaborate miters, but what of them was visible between the clothes was clearly not human; they had slender metal limbs wrapped with dangling, faintly-glowing cords or tubes, and their arms ended in far too many fingers. Their faces bore not even a passing reference to humanoid structure, and when they spoke, their voices were unnatural and clipped.

"Please, we mean you no harm."

"I am Arbiter Rho-7-7 and this is Third Chronicler ArDat-2. We need to speak with you urgently."
Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Kaitostrike.

It seemed to stretch out forever; the moment before one passes out. This is accentuated when this unconsciousness is caused by head trauma. The young warrior laid there for quite a few minutes, even after the second round began, in a state of semi-consciousness. Whether Zaire simply didn't care, or was more interested in the outcome, was unknown. Luron heard Zaire's little speech, but this was simply because he wanted Luron to. While such information would normally be well accepted, it was less than wanted in this case, for his voice over was interrupting a vision.

The others parted ways, as they ran to escape the first wave of metal aggressors. Luron remained motionless; his breathe was held. Two guard sentries came up to Luron once all the others had left.
"Is it exterminated?" "Ensure tha-" Interrupting dialogue, of both man and machine alike, was quickly becoming a common occurrence. The blade was lodged into the torso of the machine, and it fell over as sparks flew. Before the other could even react, the human was gone. Luron leapt into an open travel shaft; whatever is down there couldn't be much worse than the hundreds of guards up here.

"Crap" was all Luron could let out of his mouth before he had the sobering realization that, without assistance, the only direction one could go via a vertical shaft was down. Luckily for him, he landed on a relatively cushy pile of electrical chords, and various other assorted junk. Relatively cushy, compared to the remainder of the floor, which was a solid slab of steel. Luron, after gaining his composure, scouted the room he had landed within; it was a scrap room, for those things that just didn't tick, and weren't quite worth the time fixing. A soft moan was all he dared speak, lest something find him. For now, silence was key, and so he tip-toed through the room, trying not to step on anything.

Leaving the rear of the building lead Luron into what once could be called a street. Now, however, it seemed to be covered in debris and shrapnel. A building near by had recently combusted, by the looks of it. Suddenly, something bumped into his leg. Having just finished weaving past killer robots, being surprised was not out of character. Luron calmed down slightly when he noticed it was an overall uninteresting robot. It didn't seem to be too deadly, although that arm looks slight Oh god. A burst of bullets (Or was it even bullets? Hard to tell in all of the excitement) flew past as the robot fell over, and the warrior was having none of it. "You don't need that arm." The unfitting arm was lobbed off, as the robot fell over, due to barely just becoming somewhat balanced with it.

Luron's visions had the tendency to leave out vital parts, such as everything before a little robot appears and starts firing at him. But, catching up to his foretold future, it slowly became clear. "Simphonia, isn't it?" He lifted the somewhat small robot up, seeing as the metal husk had very little else to harm him with. A somewhat joyful ping came from the robot, indicating it's approval. Taking the robot under his arm, he began to walk through this street of steel, thinking out loud, not really directing anything towards his now captive subject. "A fight to the death in a city of steel? It seems cliche at best. A few of the others seem willing to cooperate, but only one or two seem really intelligent... But who am I to talk about smarts? Not exactly the brightest apple in the bucket myself."

Most of the metal beasts seemed rather occupied, sweeping the town sector by sector; the one the unlikely pair was located in was rather empty. But from one of the buildings, there was some commotion; at worst, he would have to deal with some more robots. At best, he could find someone else. The musical spirit had been constantly chattering, sadly, in a language no human could translate. But upon reaching the entrance to the facility, the noise stopped momentarily. An inquisitive PONG came from the metal husk, almost asking a question. "It would be nice if I wasn't necessarily talking to myself."

Luron entered the building; the entryway was a long hallway. It seemed quiet and empty, so he kept on going. After a moment or two of walking, however, the lights flickered off. It became painfully clear now just what his earlier vision entailed; "It would be helpful if I knew of these ambushes beforehand, but I'll take what I get." Several robots surrounded him in the darkness, but unfortunately for them, he already knew where they were. Even more unfortunate, was that he knew where they would be. "Shouldn't be that difficult."

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

Had Scott had a choice, he could think of any number of places he'd rather have appeared. Munitions storage (the next item on the plan he'd been provided), for example. Or a stasis chamber until the end of the round. Or... well, basically anywhere that wasn't in front of one massive robot and surrounded by other, more reasonably-sized ones.

There was a single bipedal robot standing next to the central one, and had Scott not been busy being quickly captured by a pair of sentries, he might've noticed that it was wired directly in. An even if he had, he still wouldn't've been able to hear the milliseconds-long dialogue between the two. All he did hear was the voice of the smaller of the two, speaking in a dull monotone that managed to convey neither of the intended weight and propriety the words should've held.

"Unknown organic: the security systems in this chamber have registered your nature as both biological and technological."

Scott's mind raced, not sure what the slowly-advancing robot was getting at. Why weren't they killing him already?

"There are several prophecy scripts concerning this great city." It extended one hand to its left as it walked. "The most widely-held, the most recently-compiled, is the script of prophet See.Sharp. This script describes the presence of organics and the coming apocalypse."

So wait, if we're supposed to be bringing the apocalypse, does that mean they want us dead or alive?

"In this situation, however, this script encounters several parsing errors. There is another, older script, that was compiled on sacred punch-cards long before much of this city came to be, and that script executes flawlessly at this time." The robot extended its other hand, holding both out as it moved forward. "It too speaks of an apocalypse, but also of an arbiter, one who shall decide the fates of animal and machine alike."

Okay, good, I've at least got a chance, then. Maybe this arbiter will be a bit more lenient than just "kill all humans."

"The scripts say that if a being appears, borne by both biology and technology, and if the walls of this very city are threatened, then that being is sent by the programmers themselves to guide us through the dark times."

...Oh no.

The robot was just a few meters away now.
"You, unknown organic, have fulfilled the specifications. Just as grave dangers threaten us, you have come to us. Even Our Singularity cannot deny the parameters."

Oh no.

The robot stopped barely half a meter in front of Scott and brought its hands together.
"You shall be equipped for your duties, Arbiter, and then you shall lead us into battle against the beings threatening our walls."

Ohhh no.

"Prepare, Arbiter, for your destiny."

Oh nnn... Scott's thoughts trailed into nothingness as one of his captors jabbed a needle into him and pumped sedatives into his veins.


If there was one thing robots could be counted on for, it was precision. Scott began to come to just as his captors were dragging him into the cell, and he was nearly fully-conscious by the time they threw him onto the rather luxurious bed. For some reason, his chest remained numb, but his mind was clearing, at least.

His full faculties returned just as the robots closed the door behind themselves, and it didn't take long for him to realize "cell" was probably the wrong word. He'd assumed, based on his treatment, that he'd be locked in a dim cell until they came for him again. The polished wooden doors, the huge windows with a majestic view of the city, the big, soft bed- all seemed more fit for an honoured guest than for a prisoner.

Of course, the bars on the windows and the seal around the door made it obvious that he was indeed a prisoner. Just... one they wanted to treat nicely, he supposed.

Checking his pockets, he only found the small, smartphone-like device- evidently they'd seen fit to let him keep it. Idly activating it, it flashed with indications that there were two new files- changelog.txt and Scott opened the first, wondering what they'd changed about the device.

It didn't take long to figure out that it hadn't been the device altered at all. "Installed electromagnetic storage buffer unit," it read, "see for details."

He put a hand to his still-numb chest and felt, under his shirt (which they'd evidently had the courtesy to un- and re-button rather than simply tearing open), a hard, metallic bump that definitely hadn't been there before. Carefully unbuttoning his shirt, he looked down at what could only be the "electromagnetic storage buffer unit."

It was a circular device, maybe five centimeters across, embedded in his chest quite near his heart. There were two movable panels on the front- one of them could be slid down, revealing a tiny button, a set of jumper pins, and a two-digit display. For the moment, the display read 07, but as he looked at it, it ticked up to 08. The other slid up, revealing a pair of specialized-looking plugs.

Opening up, Scott found a rather technical guide to the functions of the jumper pins. As they were set now, the system was apparently "engaged." The other options likely to be used were, according to the man file, "disengaged" and "inverted."

He stood up, put the PDA in his pocket, and went to a window. His watch said it'd been only an hour or so since he'd encountered the two barbarian warrior people (if there were two things robots could be counted on for, they were precision and efficiency), so he supposed it shouldn't be too shocking that none of them had been killed yet. Still- he rather doubted Zaire was terribly pleased by the lack of action. He had probably been hoping for blood several times over by this point.

And here he was, trapped in a cage and vulnerable to anyone who happened to come and get him, including robots keen to turn him into their saviour or other competitors keen to kill him just to survive. He had to escape, to get out, to run far enough away that none of them could catch him.

There was very little in the room, but, wrenching open the closet, he found a medium-sized case, rather reminiscent of a traveller's suitcase- tiny wheels, extendable handle, and all. Opening it, he found a few odd devices, one of which looked like a weapon and all of which looked like they plugged into the ports on the thing embedded in his chest. There was also a full set of clothes, including a big, dramatic robe that appeared perfectly sized to billow behind him as he walked. (He tried it out a few times and had to admit that it was rather cool.) Packing it back in the case, though, he decided that he could mess with things later. For now, he had to go.

The luxurious cell was fairly roomy, large enough for him to run around in (admittedly rather small) circles. He'd get his heart rate up, jump out of here, and just keep jumping and running until he left the whole blasted city behind.

Three minutes later, he stopped, panting. Why hadn't he jumped yet? He'd worked up a sweat, his heart was pounding hard as ever, but he was still here, in the cell.

It only took moments for the epiphany to strike, and he scrambled for the man file. It took a few more moments for him to manage the jumper pins with just his fingernails, but he soon had them reconfigured to "inverted."

The device, he reasoned, must be siphoning the extra energy that the generator in his heart put out, storing it rather than letting it send him jumping around in time. The man file was very technical and not terribly useful, but his best guess said that the moment he pressed the button, the reconfigured jumper pins would be loaded, and the thing would switch directions and dump the energy back into his artificial nerves and send him even further through time than normal. After all that running around, the thing's display just read 12- still, if an increase of four was about equivalent to that much running around, then a full twelve whatever-units would likely be the most powerful jump he'd ever made. With any luck, it'd be powerful enough to take him far away from this place.

He braced himself, held the case's handle tight in one hand, and pressed the reset button. There was a massive flash of light and a deafening, electrical crack, and he vanished once more into the timestream, hoping to land somewhere quiet, far away, and devoid of anything that wanted anything to do with him.

Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by Ixcalibur.


Doctor Lorrden was taken aback by the robots. Though he had never even heard of robots before Zaire’s introduction to them, he could not help but compare the soulless creatures to the ruthless Scourged that plagued his world, only these were not like that. They were far less efficient for a start. If the Scourged wished you to be dead, you would not see a single one of them, the first you would know about it was as the toxic fumes of the Undeath took you. These robots on the other hand, he had encountered and destroyed dozens of them in the short time he had been here. He considered them to be… sloppy perhaps; throwing more and more soldiers at a problem instead of analysing it rationally and working out the best approach. No, there was a better way to describe them; these robots were stupid.

He had recently shared an elevator ride with Scott; an interesting choice for this battle to the death. He appeared timid, so frightened of the robots that he had vanished, through time if Zaire was to be believed. He certainly would not be a reliable ally against The Redeemer, but that was probably a train of thought that could be explored later; when there were fewer robots to worry about. Now on this floor with the empty husks of dead robots Kaja felt safe, at least for the moment. He let his apparatus wind down a little, he let himself relax. Despite his inexpertise in the field of anatomy he deigned to examine the discarded carapaces of the robot creatures. They were not quite as he had pictured them; men made of metal indeed but inside there was wiring, unmistakably so though more sophisticated than he had ever handled. He had anticipated metal hearts and blood of quicksilver. These were not creatures after all, these were machines. Things built by men. No wonder they were so stupid; a machine could not be smarter than the man who designed it, and the man who designed machines that would kill him was a very stupid man indeed. But, alas, Doctor Lorrden’s examination was cut short, he heard noises coming from the floor above, and then the ceiling began to crumble.

He dodged out of the way of the falling stone, and observed. The hole was small at first, only large enough to admit a single limb; a leg which appeared inextricable. There was the sound of fighting perhaps, an explosion and the hole widened, revealing more robots as well as a pair of his competitors; a Scourged and an apparition. The Scourged grunted when he landed, but was otherwise unharmed, what a shame. The wraith was needlessly panicking, shrieking to itself unhelpful comments such as “Don’t get hit!”, “Watch out!” and “AAAAAAAAAAAH!” Doctor Lorrden was not sure he wanted to help a Scourged, but broadly speaking they were on the same side and the machines were unlikely to kill the Scourged and then leave him alone, though such a plan of action was probably dumb enough for them to carry out. His hands were already working, he would not be able to produce enough tinctures to take care of all these robots, not since he had foolhardily wound down his apparatus, but he could buy them some time.
“Scourged!” he yelled as he ran towards the elevator that had brought him here. “Over here.” He hit the button with the hand that was not working, and quickly corked a couple of flasks worth of his latest brew. The Scourged stumbled to his feet and slowly loped towards the elevator, the spectre hurried ahead of him. As the robot soldiers dropped down through the hole in the ceiling Kaja flung a flask at them. This mixture was a powerful acidic agent designed to spread quickly on exposure to air. Moments after the flask had shattered the machines in range found their chassis being dissolved at an alarming rate. “Is this as fast as he can go?” Kaja asked the spirit.

“erm… yeah, I’m afraid so.” Zach replied, thinking quickly he passed through the elevator doors and looked down at the slowly rising elevator, ascending from such a depth that it could barely be seen. “If it helps he’ll probably reach us before this does.” The soldier robots attempted to open fire upon the slowly retreating zombie, but found the integrity of their wiring was diminishing rapidly in the acidic cloud surrounding them. Kaja could see more robots lurking uneasily at the edge of the hole from the floor above, not wishing to fall victim to the acid below but not wanting to let the humans get away. As dumb as they were it would not take them long to find a workaround, Doctor Lorrden had to act now.
“Hold this for me.” Kaja offered the flask of acid to Zach, who still seemed uneasy, but perhaps less so now that someone had taken charge of the situation.

“I can’t.” Zach replied. “I can’t touch things, being a ghost, you see.”
“Okay.” Kaja said. “I can work with that.”

Thinking quickly he acted; with one hand he uncorked the acidic mixture and threw it onto the door, with the other he was already mixing a potion; this battle was turning out to be a massive drain on his herbs. He really hoped he would have the opportunity to stock up soon. He dashed away from the spreading cloud of acid, and towards the lurching zombie, as explosions struck other points on the floor of the floor above and the ceiling began to cave in at two other points. This potion Kaja quickly gulped down. It tasted foul, but that was irrelevant, he could feel its effects already coursing through his body. “I hate you Zaire for making me do this.” He muttered to himself as he bodily grabbed the Scourged and flung him over his shoulder. A tonic of strength such as he had made was short-lasting, he kept moving, heading straight back to the door, or at least the space where the door had so recently been. Robot soldiers dropped down from the floor above on either side of him, their weapons at the ready. “Hold on tight you filthy Scourged!” Kaja did not stop; he ran through the cloud of acid and leapt into the seemingly bottomless elevator shaft that lay beyond. The Scourged, despite his previous poor control of his body, suddenly managed to find it within himself to grasp tightly to the Doctor, luckily the more stable parts of the brass apparatus made a remarkably good handhold. Kaja grabbed hold of the cable and held on as tightly as he could. This had probably not been the best idea, what with the massive weight of his apparatus and of the Scourged.

“What now?” The Scourged asked, gripping tightly onto Kaja’s apparatus.
“When I have a clue, I will let you know.” Doctor Lorrden replied.

“You could just slide down?” Zach suggested, as he hovered nearby. “There should be a trapdoor on the roof of the elevator; you can get into it through there.” And as the alchemist felt the strain on his arms worsen, an indication that his short-term potion of strength did not have much longer to last, he did so with gusto.
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Re: The Fatal Conflict! (GBS2G7) (Round 2: Robo City!)
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

The ensuing ambush-but-not-really was almost too uninteresting to describe beyond Luron being where he wasn’t supposed to be, such as right behind where a robot was going to be or right where a robot’s bullet was not. And then there was a lot of sword stuff. All while carrying a PINGing robot under his arm.

Simphonia, for her part, did try to pay attention for incoming attacks. She really did. But as a musical maintenance drone-ghost thing, she didn’t really have much to do. Once she did barrel out of the robot to knock heads (?) with another robot, but it did negligible damage and she retreated back into doing nothing. Had she been more observant, she might have noticed the mounting horror that her new friend was compiling and the desperate churning sounds its wheels made as it saw, much too close for comfort, what amounted as its brethren being mowed down by an illegal human. Sure, it had seen the propaganda, just like every other ‘bot. But there was no amount of propaganda that could have prepared it for this horrible act of violence. The aftermath was okay with it. Robots broke all the time. But actually seeing a robot get cleaved in twain by a man-made object, gears and oil and shrapnel flying through the air, it was metaphorically gut-wrenching. The constant alert and cry of ‘MAINTENANCE REQUIRED’ that blinked in its display didn’t help much.

So while her robot friend was busy being traumatized, Simphonia checked the file she had so recently received once more. Scrolling through, she unfortunately found the transmission switch. Unfortunately, because once she found it, she simply flicked it on and off, sending two-second messages out into the multiverse to random recipients. Two-second messages of silence. Then she checked her trigger-happy nature to allow a ten minute message. A ten minute message of “Hi! Hello! Hi! Hello? People? Hi!” that was sometimes interjected with MAINTENANCE REQUIRED MAINTENANCE REQUIRED MAINTENANCE REQUIRED while in the background the sounds of rending metal and firearms and violence. Once in a while, Luron’s hazy voice would work its way in the message, saying things like, ‘Sorry, sorry’ and ‘You don’t mind me dropping you, do you?’ and ‘This is actually getting boring.’ Eventually, both the message and the fighting ended. The ten minute message was left to wander the multiverse, ready to be picked up by anybody anywhere. Simphonia’s maintenance-bot decided to shut down visuals for a moment to collect itself. Luron, oblivious to what just happened, just walked down the hall, stepping around the broken remains of the ambush.

“You’re alright, right?” Luron said, almost conversationally. Finally noticing the whirling wheels, he added, “…Do…you want to be let down…?”

The answer, as expected, was not much of an answer. He decided it was a ‘yes.’ The maintenance-bot wheeled around much like a poor, lame Roomba before it remembered to turn visuals back on. It whistled morosely, trundling shyly behind the man as he peered around the hallway for anything remotely interesting. Maybe like a ridiculously large computer monitor that displayed evil diabolical plans of some sort? That would be interesting.

Unfortunately, robots don’t usually need computers. Luron found an elevator, though. Before he could press a button, the doors opened, revealing three people he sort of recognized but didn’t really quite expect. He stared at the zombie (maybe?), zombie (yes), and ghost (definitely). The maybe-zombie said, “You don’t want to go up.”

Luron replied, “Not a good idea to go outside either.”

The elevator doors almost closed, but Luron put a foot between them.