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Varthonai
May 30th, 2008, 08:09 PM
“How’s work on the Shriek?” asked one of the workers in the command center.

“Looking good,” came the reply. “We’ve developed a soundproof cell that should contain her powers.”

“Good, reel her in as soon as you can.”

“Will do. Anything else?”

“Yes; send someone different for McCarthy next time. We monitored Adams while he delivered the opening welcome, and his heart rate was like a rocket—thought he would sh*t his pants, he was so scared of McCarthy. We can’t trust him to deal psychologically with the prisoner—find someone else to give McCarthy the battle directions.”

“No one else is available yet, Sir.”

“No one?”

“No one. We’ve been very busy ever since the first subjects arrived.”

“Damn… then let’s keep Adams for now, but we need to replace him as soon as possible, or things could go horrifically awry.”

“I’ll tell you as soon as a position’s available, Sir.”

“Good, then. Let’s start the combat tests. We’ve got the plans for the nightmare, so let’s go ahead with that first.”

***

Damn. It.

Nothing useful. There was nothing useful in the mage’s memory at all. He was so low in the ranks among the prison officials that he’d never even seen the faces of his own employers. Even with a new set of memories, the Corinthian still had no idea who his captors were, or where he was.

I could be anywhere in the Waking World or anywhere outside of it, the nightmare realized. I don’t know anything.

“Hello again, Corinthian,” came the voices. A human might have been startled by the sudden noise—but the Corinthian is rarely startled by anything.

“Hello to you too, Dead Man,” replied the Corinthian. “I wish you’d come to me in person some time. I don’t even know what you look like—not yet, anyway. Do you have eyes? I hope you do.”

“You do not present a threat, nightmare. We contacted you because we have our first set of instructions ready.”

“I think we discussed this before. Let me reconsider my answer. NO.”

“You are going to participate in a combat simulation,” continued the voice. “It will involve a number of foes specifically chosen to fight you.”

“Why should I care? I’m happy to stay in here until my Lord comes to rescue me.”

“You should be prepared to wait for quite some time, then. You have nothing to lose by participating. Except for a minor risk of injury.”

The Corinthian chuckled. “Nothing to gain either, though.”

“That is not necessarily true. You see, if you do not cooperate, then you are of no use to us and we will simply destroy you. This is not an idle threat—I assure you that we have several means of killing nightmares.”

That’s not likely… but it’s possible, thought the Corinthian. It’s probably best to play along with them for now. I’ll find out if it’s a bluff or not sooner or later.

“All right, you win. I’m bored enough to play along,” agreed the nightmare. “Show me what you’ve got here.”

There was no immediate response. But a moment later, there was a creaking noise, and one of the dark edges of the void began to swell open, expanding like a ripple in a pond. Moments later, there was a doorway to a mist-swirled landscape of mountains and ice.

“Nice show,” admitted the Corinthian, grudgingly. “Let’s get started, then.”

He stepped through the portal and emerged on the other side. A squawking cry pierced the air, coming from above. A black bird soared down toward the Corinthian out of the sky.

“Matthew?!” the Corinthian called, astonished. He hadn’t been expecting that. So what, then, they’re taking all of Dream’s most trusted servants? Are they planning some sort of ransom operation?

But as the bird approached, the Corinthian realized that it wasn’t Matthew. It was just an ordinary mortal raven. Funny. I wonder why they would—

That was when he realized that there was a second raven a few meters away from it. And another just behind the second.

In fact, before the Corinthian realized what was going on, there were literally hundreds of ravens clouding around him, settling on his body, tearing and shredding into the dream-weave of his skin. Dull pain throbbed through him.

“ENOUGH!” the nightmare roared, flailing and knocking a few of the birds away. One of the birds had noticed the shiny red hilt of his Swiss Army knife, and clawed toward it greedily. The Corinthian plucked the bird away from the knife and twisted its head off with one quick motion.

The other birds had noticed their companion’s discovery too, however, and they swarmed as one united force to claim their prize. The vicious nightmare fought wildly to keep them away, but one raven triumphantly snatched the knife in its talons and soared off. The other ravens departed from their victim and followed the thief.

The Corinthian surveyed the area around him. Five or six raven corpses littered the ground; a few dozen more were trying to flee on foot, due to wing injuries. Spitefully, the Corinthian raised one foot and crushed one of the struggling survivors against the icy rock. He found, much to his displeasure, that the sound of thin avian bones crunching underfoot did little to lighten his mood.

“DAMN you,” the nightmare seethed. “Damn it, damn you, damn it all…”

He picked up the fresh corpse and plucked its eyes out with his fingers, popping each one into the maws behind his dark glasses. They were small and unsavory, just barely worth the effort to obtain.

“Fine. I’ll play along,” the Corinthian vowed wrathfully. “I’ll finish this game. I’ll get the knife back. And then I’ll get out of here and find you—yes, YOU, not just those stupid birds. I know you’re listening now, watching me play for your amusement, or whatever your motives really are… I will find you. I’ll pop the sclera in your eyeballs while they’re still in your heads, and I’ll lick the humours that drip down your faces and roll like tears down your cheeks. I’ll leave you alive until the last minute. This I swear by my bond to Lord Dream, and I am not well-known for my perjury.”

The Corinthian made two fists, looked off in the direction that the ravens had flown, and began to run.

***

“Funny guy, isn’t he?” said one of the officers in the Observation Deck. “Where’d the heads find him?”

“They find everyone they need to find, eventually. You know that.”

“Heh, true enough. But he’s so convinced that he can get the upper hand here. Especially with that little speech at the end.”

“He’s used to freedom. Even in the Dreaming his actions are somewhat… unregulated. That was how his master designed him. He’s something akin to an embodiment of anarchy… but much more subtle and complex than that.”

“Really? He just seems like another psycho killer to me.”

“Yes, well, that’s the irony, isn’t it? But we can talk about dreams and philosophy all we want when we go on break, you know. We have work to do here.”

Keyboards clicked erratically as the figure at the computer terminal entered a series of commands. “Hey, the guys at Design just sent us the schematics for access to the Sim Arena from Security Level 2. Should I put them up on the big screen?”

“Yes, of course.” The vigilant supervisor turned and called to the rest of the room. “Somebody hit the projector lights, please. We’re calling a meeting.”

The projector went live, and an image of a map appeared on the screen.

http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn222/varthonai/smalll2s.jpg

“As you can see, Sir, this is a standard non-magical containment zone; those without extraordinary supernatural abilities can be kept here and managed easily. Green regions are stationary, while magenta regions are capable of motion. The two highlighted green regions are the positions of our two prisoners in Security 2; the Halfling is in the Pit, while McCarthy is in the corner cell of the security wing.”

“I see. What about the highlighted magenta?”

“Highlighted magenta regions are the direct means of transport to a Simulation Arena. The Pit is equipped with a slide-away floor that retracts to the side, while every other cell in Security 2 is equipped with a folding back door that unfolds into a bridge to allow access to the Simulation Arena lift.”

“What if a prisoner tries to damage the moving equipment? Are the security measures for that?”

“Yes, there are. The prisoners will be informed of this. Anyone attempting to tamper with the moving equipment will receive a strong taser shock, enough to render even a large human unconscious, but without a high risk of permanent injury.”

“Hm. Kudos to the good people working in Design for implementing this so fast, then. Proceed with the next two prisoners’ simulations, please, and bring me data from the Corinthian’s simulation once he finishes.”

(You guys can design your own simulation for your own character. Try to make it a challenge for your character, though. I’m going to do mine over the course of 2 posts and if anyone else wants to do that, it’s fine.)

(At the end of the simulation, your character will be subdued and taken back to a cell.)

T.L.I.
May 30th, 2008, 08:13 PM
(I need time to think, because I'm planning on combining my intro and my simulation.)

Killervirus
May 31st, 2008, 01:23 AM
(I need to reread OotS to know what Belkar finds incredibly frustrating to fight :) Best bet for me is this evening, I'll probably come up then with an idea.)

T.L.I.
May 31st, 2008, 08:25 PM
(Pondering. :think:)

Victory
May 31st, 2008, 08:28 PM
(Yeah, that was weak and I'm probably not the only one who'll think so. Sorry to rain on your parade kid, but I don't think it'll cut it. Frankly because you're not supposed to escape and... Why would he give him the keys, if there now even are any?)

Varthonai
May 31st, 2008, 08:41 PM
"Yes, we had to put a ward around those that was capable of holding in your magic." The man sounded smug.

Richard lowered his blazing eyes on the man.

"You would do well to let me go. I never forget a face, and I'll hunt you down if you don't let me out. I'll freeze you solid, set your wife on fire and eat your baby!"

The man took another step back and shakily tossed a pair of keys Richard's way.

(Guys who work in this particular prison world are trained not to cave in that easily, T.L.I. The ones who can't handle talking to prisoners are moved to new positions.)

(This isn't a very likely scenario and I think you should probably redo it. It's too early for anyone to begin their escape.)

Kenneth
May 31st, 2008, 09:31 PM
(Play as a weird serial killer?! I may think about this before joining).

Varthonai
May 31st, 2008, 09:35 PM
(Play as a weird serial killer?!)

(Is there any other kind?)

Kenneth
May 31st, 2008, 09:41 PM
(Um, no I don't think so, but being a deranged madman is just not my thing)

(Hey, wasn't there a similar killer in the Sandman comics you read, Varth?)

Varthonai
May 31st, 2008, 09:44 PM
(Hey, wasn't there a similar killer in the Sandman comics you read, Varth?)

(Lol, yes, that's the point. We're playing as fictional serial killers. Mine is the Corinthian.)

Kenneth
May 31st, 2008, 11:28 PM
(Aah, would Jack the Ripper be OK? Because I don't know any other ones.)

Varthonai
May 31st, 2008, 11:34 PM
(Jack the Ripper was a real serial killer. The ones in this game are fictional.)

Kenneth
May 31st, 2008, 11:41 PM
(I knew that. It was just a suggestion. Lets continue this in PM instead of wasting space). (If you want).

Varthonai
June 3rd, 2008, 11:01 AM
(Let's keep this moving, guys.)


(F.Y.I. to T.L.I.--Richard is a versatile character and it should be easy to make interesting stories about him even if he can't move yet. For example, he was hilarious during this whole story arc (http://www.lfgcomic.com/page/125) even though he was imprisoned; in fact, most of Richard's best subplots are about how he's in a de-powered state and needs to get out. You can use those for inspiration if you want.)


(F.Y.I. to Killervirus--How about Kobolds? Belkar seems to hate Kobolds a lot.)


(Also, Virus--does Belkar have the Mark of Justice in this continuity? Because he's a LOT more than a mile away from Roy's position right now, so if he still has the Mark I'm going to have to think of a plot device to counter that.)

Killervirus
June 4th, 2008, 06:21 AM
(I was thinking about kobolds, but they don't prove uch of a challenge to Belkar, I think. I was thinking of plain robots, because Belkar's daggers won't inflict that much damage to them, unless he uses tactic and precision. As the test goes on, the robots are better, stronger, faster and have, I dunno, guns or something.)

(Oh, and I'll think about something for the mark of justice.)

Varthonai
June 4th, 2008, 09:19 AM
(I was thinking about kobolds, but they don't prove uch of a challenge to Belkar, I think. I was thinking of plain robots, because Belkar's daggers won't inflict that much damage to them, unless he uses tactic and precision. As the test goes on, the robots are better, stronger, faster and have, I dunno, guns or something.)

(Oh, and I'll think about something for the mark of justice.)

(That would be fine.)

(By the way, the Mark of Justice thing could be as simple as an issue with time. You could just say that this is Belkar before they arrived in Azure City.)



(ADDITIONAL STUFF--I'm getting the feeling that everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first "simulation" post, so I'm going to include some more specific info to encourage people.)

(I don't want to give too much plot information away, but the guys who have captured us want to study the techniques that we use to hunt and kill our victims... so the simulations will be tailored to suit those conditions.)

(We don't know why they're studying this yet. It could be to make a battle strategy with serial-killer-esque guerrilla tactics. It could be out of pure scientific interest. It could be merely for their own entertainment.)

(The point is that your simulation will most likely involve something that evokes memories of experiences that your character has already had, particularly if those experiences were challenging or traumatic. For instance, Dwight McCarthy's might recall images of the deaths of Ava or Damien Lord; Belkar's simulation might involve his epic battle with Miko Miyazaki. Or, you know, not. It's your call.)

(You can be pretty creative with the simulation as long as it tests your character's personality and talents. Don't be too worried about the format--our captors have the resources to create just about anything.)

Silverpaperplate
June 4th, 2008, 02:27 PM
(Becca is on the road, I correct and repeat: BECCA IS THE ROAD!)

CHARACTER: Shriek (Frances Louise Barrison a.k.a Sandra Deel)

CATEGORY: F*cking Insane

CONTINUITY: The Amazing Spider-Man

WEAPONS: None

CLOTHING: Shriek normally wear a tight dark costume with sleeves and long boots along with a golden belt of sorts. On Ravencolt where she was last heard of, she wears grayish, loose pants, black boots and a top in matching colors to the pants.

PREFERRED M.O.: She uses her ability to manipulate sound, and thus hypersonically provoke intense emotions towards her victims. She also uses a psionic ability to see the darkest side of a victim's mind and lift it up and drive people into insanity after her wish.

FIGHTING STYLE: Shriek will normally fight with lightning bolts, or manipulate sound. Once the victim is down, she may use her psionic abilities on the person, or simply kill him or her.

SUPERNATURAL: Sending lightning bolts, capable of levitating to a point where she can fly, manipulate sound and sense as well as manipulate the dark side of the mind of her victims.

APPEARANCE: Shriek's skin is completely pale. When she wears her super villain costume, she tends to wear a diamond shaped earing in her left ear. She has long dark blue hair and a dark blue scar on her left eye. Her nails looks like long spikes and she's slender. (Yeah, okay we're talking Marvel universe here, so of course she's attractive!)

Ravencolt Institution appearance. (http://www.samruby.com/Villains/Shriek/ShriekLeap.gif)

Normal super villain appearance. (http://www.samruby.com/Villains/Shriek/ShriekSmile.gif)

BIO: In Shriek's young years she felt abused by her mother for being overweight, and terrorized by memories she later forgot and hid behind her never-ending hatred. The abuse of her mother drove her into drugs where she became a drug-dealer. She was once put into the Darkforce* dimension by Cloak (From the comic Cloak & Dagger.) These things lead to her complete insanity, as the Darkforce Dimension broke her, and either gave or provoked her powers. She doesn't remember, as she has willingly forgotten what happened in the Darkforce Dimension. She ended at Ravencolt Institution and met another super villain. They broke out of the institution and started a "family," with three other super villains who were to play the part as her "sons". This family was based upon Shriek's obsession of a complete family with a loving and good mother. Two of her "sons" later died in fights, and her "husband" is possibly alive, although she hasn't seen him ever since she lost him. Her third "son" was later placed at the Ravencolt Institute along with his "mother," although separated. He suffered a virus the institution had managed to remove until one evening where Shriek recognized him and escaped with him to awake the virus once again. In a desperate attempt of saving the broken family, she tries to make Spider-Man become her husband although this plan fails. She later absorbs the virus from her "son" before she is moved back to Ravencolt for the last time. She's under Dr. Kafka's treatment and has slowly started to respond to psychotherapy.

*The Darkforce is a concept in the Marvel universe of which a selection of super villains gain their power from, or put their victims to drive them into insanity.

Varthonai
June 4th, 2008, 06:42 PM
(IMPORTANT SRSBZNZ! READ BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR PROFILE!)

(SPP has pointed out to me that there is, in fact, a trend of male dominance in the "fictional serial killers" field, and because of this it could be difficult for female RPers to create characters without resorting to a shift in gender... which I believe T.L.I. seems comfortable with, but is nonetheless something that shouldn't be forced.)

(Therefore I am assembling a list of a number of female characters who would be very cool additions to the RP. Anyone who is familiar with one of these characters and would like to play them may do so, even if they already have a character and would like to switch.)


(AMANDA YOUNG, from Saw)

(BELLATRIX LESTRANGE, from Harry Potter)

(KIRSTY COTTON, from Hellraiser)

(NATALIE DAVIS, from CSI)

(RHODA PENMARK, from The Bad Seed)


(Obviously, no one's required to pick from this list, but it can serve as a guideline if anyone is in doubt.)

(I am going to add another category to the list at the front, to make note of this.)

Victory
June 4th, 2008, 09:18 PM
(How does J-horror monsters even fit in. I know for a fact that Kayako is more powerful that´n God and the fact that she "exists" - not having a concrete form to speak of - only to murder people; it doesn't seem like an interactive narrative... Mostly just kill people)

The inmates are skill vailing from their cells. Still cheer and screaming things I'll take as compliments for now. I'm more than safe from them. After all, it didn't seem like I've been arrested for the crimes I've commited, it seems bigger than that. Adams wasn't a cop, or the associate of one. Why the message? I'm the engine for the hamster wheel of something big; as long as I keep running I'll be fine.

The images of Adams corpse is still disturbingly vivid. Makes me feel like a murderer and how fitting. Even if I spare Adams life, I'll make sure to relieve him of his pride, as he did of mine. A 53 Cadillac Eldorado.

One of a kind.

I never had a problem with waiting. I'm more than used to the solitude. Memories of lonely days and a dark appartment flashes before my eyes and it's almost an uplifting thought at this point.

The bed is a monster of wires and springs. I'll be spending the night on the floor, which feels soft in comparison. It's a strange feeling. I'm not sure what I mean by that myself. Perhaps it's the humming of the steel bars, the obscenely dark stone in the ceiling I've been stuck starring into, or just my new friends screaming bloody murder. It doesn't matter.

They'll tire before I do.

(Give me some info on the simulation part and I'll get this RPG up and running again :P)

Varthonai
June 4th, 2008, 09:58 PM
(How does J-horror monsters even fit in. I know for a fact that Kayako is more powerful that´n God and the fact that she "exists" - not having a concrete form to speak of - only to murder people; it doesn't seem like an interactive narrative... Mostly just kill people)

(I don't know that Kayako is more powerful than God... she just seems like your standard Onryō figure. A vengeful undead woman who sees all humans as intruders and deals with them accordingly.)

(At any rate, I think it would be just like playing as Jason Voorhees--it would probably take some talent to make the narrative interactive, but hey, that's why I reserve the right to call people out on poor character narration. Bottom line is, don't pick Kayako unless you've got a good idea of how to play her. I'm sure it could work well in the right hands.)

(Give me some info on the simulation part and I'll get this RPG up and running again :P)

(Well, it's pretty much like I said in my other post. Here: )

the guys who have captured us want to study the techniques that we use to hunt and kill our victims... so the simulations will be tailored to suit those conditions.)

(We don't know why they're studying this yet. It could be to make a battle strategy with serial-killer-esque guerrilla tactics. It could be out of pure scientific interest. It could be merely for their own entertainment.)

(The point is that your simulation will most likely involve something that evokes memories of experiences that your character has already had, particularly if those experiences were challenging or traumatic. For instance, Dwight McCarthy's might recall images of the deaths of Ava or Damien Lord; Belkar's simulation might involve his epic battle with Miko Miyazaki. Or, you know, not. It's your call.)

(You can be pretty creative with the simulation as long as it tests your character's personality and talents. Don't be too worried about the format--our captors have the resources to create just about anything.)

(For instance, I've got the first half of the Corinthian's battle simulation posted back here (http://forums.deletionquality.net/showthread.php?p=63920#post63920). It's got some images that came up in the search for Daniel Hall from The Kindly Ones and it's going to have some more when I finish it. Make sense? Or were there some more specific details that you wanted?)

(Oh, and by the way, Vic, that was a nice touch with the destruction of McCarthy's Cadillac there. Great way to get Dwight pissed. :thumbsup:)

Killervirus
June 5th, 2008, 07:53 AM
(Really sorry, but I'm off for 2 weeks here. I won't be able to post anything. The good news is, I'll have come up with something by that time :P Exams and such, you know.)

Varthonai
June 6th, 2008, 12:06 AM
(Really sorry, but I'm off for 2 weeks here. I won't be able to post anything. The good news is, I'll have come up with something by that time :P Exams and such, you know.)

(I take it that means I can control Belkar?)

(I'll take no response for 24 hours as "yes.")

(EDIT: Ok, actually, you said that all the other GMs in your other RPs could control your character, so I think it's safe to assume that you meant to say yes and just forgot. I'll post a simulation for you in a little bit.)


(EDIT: Done. Here 'tis: )



A voice shouted at Belkar from above. “Halfling. In a moment you will be released from this cell.”

“Yeah, well it’s about friggin’ time, jackass!”

“Prepare yourself. It could be disorienting at first.”

“Oh, I’m prepared. Prepared to serve you a heapin’ helping of Mama Bitterleaf’s secret family recipe for your own steaming entrails on a platter…”

The floor creaked once. Belkar looked downward and realized his mistake.

He sighed once. “You know, I probably should have seen that coming. It actually feels weird to not hear V making fun of me for once.”

Then the floor had completely retracted into the wall, slamming Belkar off of it and tumbling into the abyss below.

It was a long fall, too long for a human to survive. But Belkar’s compact size and 30-pound weight allowed him to fall for a much greater length without danger. He hit the ground painfully, but unharmed.

“Ow,” Belkar coughed. “Jeez. They couldn’t have left a mattress or something?”

There was a table in front of Belkar, with a spotlight shining over it from some source far above—too far for Belkar to see. The table was set with his ring, his dagger, and his throwing knives. He quickly grabbed them, eager to once again be fully-equipped.

“Belkar Bitterleaf, you have 20 seconds to drop your weapons.”

Belkar whirled. Standing in front of him was a strange machination in full Paladin regalia.

“Uh-uh. I’ve waited too long to get these things back.”

“10 seconds.”

“What the hell is this? A rejected character from a Paul Verhoeven fanfic? What are your Prime Directives--'To Serve the Public Trust, Murder the Guilty, and Uphold the Laws of the Paladin Gods’?”

“Time has expired. I am now authorized to use force.”

The machine charged at Belkar, katana drawn and glowing with blue force. “Smite Evil!” it beeped, swinging forward with the blade.

“Aw, damn it, you’ve got all the Paladin attacks too?!”

Belkar noticed a metal doorway on the other side of the robot Paladin, a number of large cardboard boxes piled around the room, and made a plan. Hm. On second thought, this could be very, very fun.

The Halfling hurled a throwing dagger into the robot’s face, crouched downward, and leapt clean over his foe’s head. Yes! I can jump again! Belkar thought. I am a sexy shoeless God of War!!

Belkar darted among the boxes while the android dealt with the damage that Belkar had dealt to it. The dagger lodged between two metal plates, denting and shearing the frame. The android plucked the dagger from its face again, and liquid metal ran down and sealed the opening.

“You have healing as a Paladin skill, too?! No fair!”

The paladin android slashed a box in half, following the noise—nothing inside. Another dagger thunked into the back of its head.

“Maybe it’s not unlimited. I can probably beat you by attrition then.”

Obviously, he sucks at Spot and Listen checks… just like a regular Paladin, I guess.

Confused, the machine continued to turn its head around and around and around until it finally determined a source of sound, and noticed a small shadow moving through the boxes in that direction.

“Smite Evil,” chanted the android, and its katana glowed with blue force again. The robot slashed through the box that the shadow had moved into.

That was when the box crackled with electrical force, and the Paladin robot vibrated erratically in the current, like a rag doll. A few moments later, it had freed itself from the electrified box, but it had been badly damaged by the shock. All of its preprogrammed combat routines were going out of sync, and it wavered from side to side drunkenly. It vaguely noted that the cardboard box had begun to burn brightly.

“Yeah, I saw that door in the back and figured it might have something to do with you. Full of electrical stuff. I pulled out one of the wires and stuck it in the box. Partly because I thought it might be a tactical advantage—mostly just because I wanted to see what would happen.”

The android reeled once, managed to draw its katana, and began charging again. “Smite E—“

Belkar dodged to the side and tripped the robot with a quick kick from one of his hairy feet. It fell to the ground with a loud thud, and in a moment Belkar was on top of it.

“Like I always say—when in doubt, light it on fire,” Belkar grinned, pulling the flaming cardboard box over the robot’s head.

The machine’s sensors were overloaded with heat. It couldn’t see or hear, and could barely feel. Belkar ran back and began tossing more boxes at the android until it was buried under a mountain of flaming cardboard. Moments later, the mountain was ash.

A hand shot out from the ash pile, bearing the blue-tinged katana. Belkar was on it in a moment, and severed the hand from the arm with a sweeping dagger blow. Sparks flew, and Belkar was briefly shocked when the current began to travel through his dagger—but his tiny Halfling heart was accustomed to stronger shocks than average, and he survived it with only a moment of disorientation and a burning pain through his body.

“OW!” screamed Belkar. “Paladins don’t have lightning attacks! This is totally cheating!”

Another arm reached up out of the ash pile and grappled at Belkar. Belkar picked up the fallen katana and slashed the other arm off.

Now the android rose up out of the ash pile in its entirety. Its eyes flashed red, and it bleeped dangerously.

“SUBJECT SURVIVED COMBAT SIMULATION. SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE IMMINENT.”

Belkar had only heard the term “self-destruct” once before, and it hadn’t ended well… he decided it might be a good idea to run as far away as possible.

The room was completely enclosed, though… where could he go?

“SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE ACTIVATED.”

Belkar braced himself for a deafening explosion, but none came. After a few moments, he turned and saw that the android’s remains lay in a melted puddle on the floor.

“Huh,” Belkar said. “You really put the ‘self’ in ‘self-destruct’ there, didn’t you?”

Then all the lights in the room went out.

Belkar felt three darts strike him in the chest, releasing tranquilizer into his tiny body and paralyzing him instantly. In a moment, he was unconscious; when he woke up, he was back in his cell, and his daggers and ring were gone.





(ADDITIONAL SRSBZNZ!!)

(TLI is going to be away for the first part of summer, so Richard won't be joining us until a bit later. I've changed one of my earlier posts to account for this; the mysterious guys in the control room are now talking about Shriek instead of Richard.)

Silverpaperplate
June 8th, 2008, 06:27 PM
Shriek felt powerless. She hated waking up. It was at this time of the day she felt unable to use that bit of her power medication allowed her to use; where she could feel her human self. -- Although only for the few seconds of realizing she was no longer asleep.
However, today should be different, and she would know it from the moment she opened her eyes, and weakness would refuse to let go.
She was in a small cell. Not the pathetic cozy one she had been used to at Ravencolt. No, here were no windows, no furnitures -- Not even as much as a bed. She was left for herself behind these walls... Walls? She let her fingers feel the fabric-like side she was leaning up against -- And sitting on. She couldn't think of other possible explanations than this cell was sound-proof. "Good one, Kafka. So what is your plan with this experiment?" she asked herself with a bitter voice.
"There is no experiment you should know of, Shriek," an anonymous male voice said. Immediately, Shriek got on her feet. "...And there is no Dr. Kafka, no medication and no psychotherapy," the voice finished off. Something deep down in Shriek felt released, but something was also panicking from letting go of something she slowly had started getting used to. Maybe even attached to, although she would never admit it. Right now, she felt offended of having her bubble of artificial privacy burst. It angered her. "And who is the filth to place me here against my will?" She clenched her fists, ready for whatever could happen. There was no intelligence to feel around her, no one to attack, but she would still try and defend herself against anyone and anything. "Against your will, you say? Have it not occurred to you yet, that you are no longer at Ravencolt? How long haven't you wished to be anywhere else but there? How long have you not deep down wanted to be forever gone from the judgmental words of those who treated you?" Shriek did not answer, although her mind wanted her to scream that she would have done anything, even obey Dr. Kafka. "You know the answer is yes, don't you Frances?"
Frances. She remembered her mother calling her that awful name. She felt her scar starting to light up and warm her face with anger. She had replaced her confusion with anger and frustration. Confusion of what the purpose of all this was.
"You will regret placing me here, filth. You will so bitterly regret everything this world have done to me!" She hurled a burst of energy towards the corner she believed to be the location of the sound. It left a black mark on the grayish fabric, and the voice said no more. She was more relaxed now. She felt she had somehow defended herself and achieved something.

Varthonai
June 8th, 2008, 09:33 PM
(PLOT DEVELOPMENT!! W00T!! An insight into why our captors are keeping us here, perhaps? :D)


“Sir! There’s a problem on Level 3—Ms. Frances Barrison just destroyed our communicator. We can’t give her directions.”

“We expected she might,” replied the silhouetted supervisor over a young man’s shoulder. “It’s not a problem. We’ve been through her psychological profile—she’ll still go into the combat training room when the doors to her simulation arena open, even if it’s only out of curiosity. How are the others doing?”

“Well, the nightmare’s almost done with his combat trial. The Halfling’s finished already, he’s back in his cell now.”

“Good, keep me notified of the Corinthian’s progress,” said the commanding officer. “Now. What about McCarthy?”

“Well, sir, there are all sorts of problems with McCarthy,” said the man of lower rank. “As you know, I strongly opposed the decision to put him on Level 2, with the other petty killers. I opposed bringing him here at all.”

“Duly noted. Would you restate your point? Do you have anything new to say?”

“Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, I do.”

The low-ranking officer pulled out a sheet of paper and held it up. “I’ve reviewed McCarthy’s psychological profile over and over and over again, sir. He’s not a serial murderer.”

“No? Why not?”

“He has no psychological gratification from his kills. He’s not a mindless destruction machine—he’s a perfectly sane man who’s been forced to kill in a few unlucky situations. This is the reason why we don’t pick up hired assassins, sir, and we don’t pick up hitmen—we’re only going for the people that kill for pleasure.”

The supervisor looked offended. “People—what are you suggesting, boy?! How many times did we tell you in training that they aren’t people?! People form functioning communal units and civilizations, you imbecile! These… things, that we pick out of Creation like weeds from a rose garden… they are not people!”

“Sir, please, it was a simple mistake!” the younger man cried out, holding his hands up defensively. “Please… I misspoke!”

The supervisor was pacified—but only slightly. In the darkness of the command room, he almost seemed to glow with internal rage and frustration.

“Very well. Continue.”

Nervously, the lower-ranking officer continued. “In light of McCarthy’s situation, I would advise that we simply perform a mindwipe and release him back into his homeworld. He has the potential to reform, I assure you of that. He doesn’t belong here.”

The supervisor’s well-contained rage channeled into the depression of a single button on the computer terminal.

“Sir… what are you…”

“Watch the screen, boy,” barked the commanding officer.

“I do not—”

“WATCH!”

The screen came alive in a flash of brilliant white light, and began to display a sequence of images. Bullets, hundreds of them, in incredible slow motion—all of them advancing toward human targets.

They were from dozens of times and places, juxtaposed in one moment. Thin missiles of metal, on an inexorable march toward the meaty hunks for which they had been released from their barrels. And they struck, eventually—blood and organ tissue spewed from the wounds of each victim in glorious three-dimensional high-resolution video quality.

The images changed in the blink of an eye, shifting from the disgusting gore of the bullets’ initial effect to the horrified anguish on the victims’ faces. And each image turned, then, the cameras rotating 180 degrees to show the source of the destruction. McCarthy’s face looked down upon his kills, a stoic mask of inured apathy and acceptance.

“This is the man you defend,” hissed the commander. “Does he take pleasure in the killing, every single time? Of course not. You’ve read his psychological profile, so you know as well as I that he rarely feels pleasure during a firefight. But he does it anyway. Did the psychological profile show you his latent schizophrenia? Hallucinations of talking corpses?”

The underling sighed and gave up. “There are men far worse than him from that world. Particularly in his hometown, Basin City…”

“Our operation is not yet fully under way, boy. We will continue work in Mr. McCarthy’s city. But for now… accept that this is where he belongs.”

“Shouldn’t we at least move him to a more respectable cell? He doesn’t think of himself as a killer. We are only provoking him by keeping him in with the maniacs who occupy that space near him.”

The commanding officer grinned. “Son, you’re the slowest learner in the force, you know that? The whole point is to provoke McCarthy.”

“What?! But we worked so hard to make the Corinthian feel at home—why go to such lengths to do the opposite for McCarthy? Don’t we want to keep the prisoners happy?”

“Some of them, yes. But some of them need to be prepared for the combat simulations in… unusual ways. McCarthy is one of them; he doesn’t kill unless he thinks that the kill is honorable and justified, or unless he’s mad beyond all sane levels of madness. We’ve done everything we can to get him royally pissed off. We even destroyed his car… heh, that was a good idea from Psychology, down in Subfloor 13. They’re also recommending that we let him know about all the others we plan on taking from his world… a lot of those ‘Old Town Girls’ for instance. But I don’t know if he’s ready to hear that just yet. We’ve got to save the best for last.”

“I’ll never understand this, sir,” sighed the low-ranking man. “It just doesn’t make sense to me that we should be so indiscriminate in picking murderers.”

“No, it doesn’t,” said his senior officer. “Make sense to you,” the commander added, quickly, “which is why you’re fired.”

“I’m sorry, Sir?”

“Fired. This is no job for a sympathetic man like you. We leave our innocence and our old short-term morals at the door here, boy, and that’s a policy that you just can’t obey.”

“But I—”

There was silence. Suddenly, the commander was the only one left in the command room.

“It’s a pity, son,” said the commander, to no one in particular. “You had all the skills. All of them, except the one that really mattered.”

***

Forty-two.

A dull crunch was the only signal that the bird’s neck was broken. The Corinthian could take little pleasure from the destruction of such a small life. But the trail of raven corpses behind him, dark against the snowy landscape… that was enough to give him a tingle of excitement every time he glanced back at it.

Almost funny, how easy this is. I was off to a bad start, but now it’s almost like they’re trying to make it fun for me.

Suddenly a red streak flashed in front of him and buried itself in the snow. His Swiss Army knife lay quivering there, stuck point-first into the ice. The nightmare reached down and plucked it up eagerly.

Then he turned up to the sky to see where the knife had come from. A roc, an enormous bird from the dreams of some sleeping mortal, flapped its wings in an anxious sort of way.

“YOU HAVE YOUR WEAPON,” it cawed, in a scratchy raven-like voice, “LEAVE US IN PEA—”

The roc’s neck opened up, like a blossoming flower, and blood trickled down it—the Corinthian had thrown the knife back, and hit his mark easily. The bird gargled, lost control of its wings, and crashed to the earth with a deafening thud.

The Corinthian walked over to the site where the knife had fallen and once again plucked it from the snow. “Definitely too easy that time,” he thought.

“CORINTHIAN! YOUR DOOM IS AT HAND!”

A monster emerged from the trees, another beast from mortal myth. Argus Panoptes, the Greek giant; slain by Hermes but revived by some dreamer and harvested for these strange captors.

The Corinthian’s three mouths watered at the sight of the hundred eyes that covered the giant’s body. He flicked his knife closed, then open again, and charged forward with renewed glee.



(Escape from our cells will begin when SPP and Vic make their "combat training" posts.)