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suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice








Sunset, the Battlebabe – played by Tricky

Edison, the Savvyhead – played by Infinity Gaia

Cervinae, the Hocus – played by Scrree

Vulture, the Maestro'D – played by Shardix

OOC




Squeezing his eyes against a sudden, sharp glint of light, Hopper tilts his head to look away from the reflective metal of the water tower’s siding. He leans back in his harness and adjusts his position on the edge of the enormous tank, moving further beneath the shelter of one of the catches overhead. He glances out to the east, where a swollen yellow mass makes its lagging ascent behind a blurry curtain of clouds and dense atmosphere over the Sea of Bones. As his rheumy gaze beholds another pallid Ashfell sunrise, the dark offset of a fresh plume of smoke catches his eye. It rises from the northern edge of the Big EZ before dispersing to mingle with the rest of the ubiquitous, miasmic haze over the whole of the city. Hopper spits and resumes his work, muscles bunching as he draws the rope through its pulley system foot-by-foot, bringing up another bucket to fill.

Down below the tower a queue has already formed, filled with a dozen or so tired-looking people, braced to spend the first of their early morning hours waiting for a turn. As time ticks along more folks continue to trickle in, and the queue bends naturally around a tall fence that separates the area around the tower from the trash-ridden streets below. Where the line ends at the fence’s gate, two men donning identical, dark blue vest jackets lean casually against the chain-link mesh behind them. Each wears a belt that holsters a handgun. They seem to pay little mind to the slow procession of the water line as they share a cigarette. Currently, their attention is turned to the efforts of a woman with a tangled mop of green hair as she paints what appears to be a large, googly-eyed bug on the side of an adjacent building.

If we fly up over the roof of this building, gliding across a grimy patchwork covering of corrugated metal, we run into a series of gangways composed largely of walkway grating and welded pipes. If we were to do a 360° spin, we would see that these rickety fixtures run sporadically along the tops of several buildings (the sturdier ones) around and about the center of town, providing a tactical, vertical vantage. At the very center they converge to form a frame around a large open square below. Two more people in blue vests are leaning against one of the rails there, talking jovially and laughing. Down below their boots other folks are setting up the stalls that line the square.

Taking the southern exit off of the square will lead to a street that meanders down past several shacks before bending off to the west. At the corner stands a long, brick building, the front of which has large windows with iron shutters thrown open. Inside we can glimpse the hunched back of big, swarthy individual fussing over a cavernous brick oven. Soft curls of smoke gently billow out of the big brick chimney at the rear. A sign out front reads simply, “BRICK’S”.

Continuing down the street to the west we pass more shacks and sagging shelters, all smashed together like a rotting urban sandwich. Some have people lounging listlessly outside them, slumped in warped plastic chairs, or sitting on crates, smoking or having a cup of whatever they need to get the gears going. Down further on the left we’ll find someone who had a cup too many last night, collapsed in a heap in front of a set of stairs. Well… half of her is in front of them, anyways. The other half is not quite off of them yet. Clarion lies face down in the muddy muck of the filthy street, as if capturing the essence of a perfect faceplant. The gown of her soiled wedding dress is crumpled up wetly against the small of her back, and a milky, pink puddle surrounds her head like the disk of a Renaissance halo.


The Meat Grinder

Perched on the patio deck just above this sorry sight, Brace is reclining on a fold-out lawn chair, sipping a mug of something steamy and admiring the view. The smirk on her face suggests she thinks it’s a bit too early yet to start removing any spewy ornaments.

Inside the establishment, we can hear the sounds of something sizzling on the grill. The smell is… something. Shazza may not be a cook by trade, but over the years they’ve certainly learned to make the best of what’s available. And one thing you can count on when it comes to availability in Ashfell is the supply of rats. Humming a bouncy tune and wearing a floppy, white hat that’s been covered with drawings of strange glyphs, Shazza labors over three lumpy heaps of ground meat that are browning on the hot stovetop, occasionally tossing in some seasoning from an interesting assortment of goods at their mise en place. A single, snaggle-toothed vermin lays limply on the counter off to one side, untouched.


Vulture

You’re probably settling into the delicate task of prepping those stills when you hear the unmistakable yalp of Hoopa barging through the front:

“OhmyfuckingGOD. VUL-TUUURE… … VUL-TUUUURE!!! Guess who crash-landed outside… AGAIN. UH-GIN, sweety! She must’ve been out there all night!! You seriously need to start cutting that bitch off. If Bracey and I hadn’t stopped by on our way to Brick’s – you know they’ve got coffee there now, reallywhatdon’ttheyhavetherenow – she would have just been lying there, giving the whole world a free looky-loo. I mean, it’s not like anyone would pay for that show anyways. MMMHmmm – So Tragic™. But really on that dealie, not like she probably even cares who cares anyways, so it’s whatever, but I just thought you should know before she falls out on a bad night and whoops there goes half our regular take, and we have to start blending our booze with brake fluid, or whatever Cope’s doing these days. Do you think she ever even washes that thing? I mean Clari, not Cope of course…” *Snort* “…like Cope even understands the CONCEPT of washing… I mean that sad, ugly, old, gross, dishcloth that used to be a dress. It’s probably like, held together with hair and cobwebs by now… MMMHmmm. But any-weezers… I’m NOT touching that trainwreck, nope, not even. Oh, also I think someone left you a letter or something. It was all shoved up under the door. It’s not a love letter, is it sweety? …ohmygodisit?

What are you up to this morning? Anything planned for this evening? What do you do?



As if making our escape from this intrusive dialog, we tumble out of some window at the back of the place, over a steaming pile of refuse and into a small lot. Gliding a through a curtain of gloomy haze, we continue along the street past a few more cramped huts, around a small mountain of tires, and into another alleyway. There we see a small bench that looks to be fashioned from a hundred rusted soup cans all nailed haphazardly together, upon which a bearded man dressed only in a dingy orange bathrobe lies motionless. Beside him sits what appears to be a two-headed dog, busily burrowing one snout into the man’s crotch, while the other head aggressively licks the man’s right hand.

Suddenly, a chunky, two-foot rodent wriggles into view at the far end of the alley, dragging a small, partly-eaten human leg along by a single toe. The dog’s crotch-sniffing head notices this grisly trespass and lunges forward towards the beast, snarling. The other head whines in protest, opting instead to sink its teeth into the man’s hand, whose owner elicits a scream of shock as he tumbles from the bench. This gives the rat enough time to drop its gruesome breakfast and slip itself under the springy mesh of a bed frame, which has been interwoven with barbed wire and repurposed as the front door of whoever’s living in the shack on the corner.

As we float over and away from this harrowing scene, we notice a thin, ‘tween-age girl with curly, yellow hair crouching at the entrance to a nearby dead end. In front her sits of an impressively large, organ-like device composed of several rows of brightly colored bottles. She's wearing an off-shoulder t-shirt and a weird little smile that widens as the din from the alley swells with the screams coming from whoever’s house just got invaded by monstrous, man-eating vermin. She begins to play along on her instrument, howling in fauxbourdon with the cacophony.


Edison’s Repairs

Talbot starts in alarm at the sudden noise outside, his hand slipping off of where it was resting on the counter. He almost careens headfirst into the nearby wall as he spins around, his balance overshot by the lost point of contact, but corrects himself at the last moment with a flailing arm, managing to only appear wobbly and silly instead.

“Horse save me!” he exclaims, seemingly more out of exasperation than fear. “What in the sweet, sand-riddled Shards is that?!”

“Don’t worry, Mr. Talbot!” Gabby explains from beyond our view, outside the shop. “It’s just Loopy practicing her glockenspiel down the street.”

“It’s a xylophone, dummy”, Gabe retorts (also from outside). “Glockenspiels are flat and lie down horizontally. Hers is vertical. And also she plays with bones and not sticks, so by definition you’re objectively wrong.”

“Hah!” Gabby snorts in that triumphant way she reserves for when she knows she’s right. “Gotcha, moron. I said that on purpose. It’s actually neither because glockenspiels are made of metal, and xylophones are made of wood. Just like your dumb head.”

“Shut up. You did not, you just remembered that…”

While the bickering continues outside, Talbot shakes his head and turns to you again. He’s one of the Growers, the people crazy enough to undertake possibly the toughest job in Ashfell: cultivating and harvesting the sparse grain crops at Thumb-drum’s "Greenhousing" project. Thumb-drum owns the three warehouses responsible for the only alternative food sources around, as well as the only source of barley. Understandably, he has a business arrangement with Brick, who is naturally a major customer, and who can usually be convinced to cover about 25% of necessary repairs to greenhouse equipment (with minimal prodding). The Blue Dawgs are in on the take too, of course, since this is one of those resources Ashfell residents would like to hold onto.

The Growers are some of your regular customers, seeing as you’re closer than Cope’s shop is to their projects. Might also be they trust you with their highly sensitive equipment more than they do with her bunch, but might also be none of them would ever say that out loud.

“You’re the only one I trust with this”, he says out loud. He’s brought along one of the small electric pumps they use to irrigate their hydroponic system of trays and elevated growing beds.

“We had another one blow out on us. Can’t tell if it’s the same wiring issue as last time, though. Horse knows we work ‘em hard.”

What do you think? What’s your schedule looking like today? What do you do?





We zoom back behind the shop’s counter and into the dim sections of the rear areas, drifting fluidly through a chain-link divider, swooping around the metal carcasses of scavenged machines and the stringy, grease-slicked wires of their dangling guts. Past the prized selection of ancient books, painstakingly cared for and positioned like trophies in their glass cupboard. Effortlessly, we phase through a very secured door before pausing a moment to linger over a shadowed, humanoid figure. Staring at this silhouetted specter... for a second – just an instant – we may begin to see (and feel) a soft snow-like static building around us in the air… no… …in our vision……in our ears…





We flash to our senses again and see the crumbling wreckage of ruins around us. The buildings here seem to be getting slowly digested by the harsh, arid wasteland around them. Here at the southern edge before the Bleak, the stench of desperation that besets the city has decayed to putrid rot. Here there are no teeth left to gnash. To our right, a jagged flap of insulation and plaster hangs from the disintegrated siding of a crumpled two-story like a torn chunk of flesh. Just through it we see can see the chalky white, sunken face of a young woman, peering out at us from within the shadows. We watch as a gnarled hand slowly slides up over the back of her head, skin mottled with streaks of dullish red, as if having labored with clay. It grips her hair and pulls back into the darkness, taking her with it. Her pale eyes never leave ours, but are gazing beyond us – to another side. We shall not know where, for she is gone.

We fly away.



Cervinae’s compound

On a rise that overlooks the southern-most parts of Castabout’s Way, the people who operate the dog kennel and training compound go about their morning tasks. Two of them are walking away from it, pulling a wagon filled with several large buckets down the long slope outside the entrance. The slope ends at a dirt path leading to Clipper St., and eventually Ashfell city proper. As they reach the base of the hill, they pass a bulky man shuffling up the opposite way, heading towards the entrance of compound.


Sunset

Seeing as you are pretty much given free reign of the place, we might find you kicking your heels up anywhere at all on a morning at the compound. Unfortunately, on this morning that freedom is disturbed by the nervous presence of a member of the court.

Heckie clears his throat, “*Ah-Hrmm*… Um. M-miss?”

He’s probably one of the younger court members. You might put him at 16 or 17. His clothes are dirty and torn, and on top of his t-shirt he’s wearing what looks like an old potato sack that was dyed a murky purple, with cut-out holes for his head and arms. “GARD” is scrawled across the front in sloppy black paint. He stands stiffly, hands awkwardly shifting back and forth from behind his back to his sides as he waits for your reply.

At the back of your head, just where nape meets skull, there's this dull ache. If you look towards light it feels like the tips of two needles are touching the backs of your eyeballs. Another sleepless night, and those chems ain't doing you any favors. Speaking of, when's it time to smack that bitch?

What's your scheme to deal with today's flavor of poo poo? Does it include listening to this kid, or telling him to gently caress off? What do you do?


Cervinae

Not too long after the break of day, a member of your court comes to you in a fit. They tell you that one of the dogs is missing. They’re sure the pen’s cages were shut and locked last night before curfew, but this morning they found one was wide open, with one of the two dogs inside nowhere to be found. The other, an old female hound named Yowler, was still safe inside. The one missing is the two-year-old Verity, who just completed her guard-dog training not a week ago.

Who reported this to you? Who was on watch last night? What do you do?

suicide4sexbots fucked around with this message at 05:31 on Dec 10, 2020

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture

quote:

Name: Vulture
Look: man, casual wear, scarred face, one eye, restless body
Stats: Cool=0 Hard+1 Hot+2 Sharp+1 Weird-1

Moves:
You call this hot?
When you do something under fire, roll+hot instead of roll+cool
Fingers in every pie
Put out the word that you want a thing - could be a person, could be somethin somethin, could even be just a thing - and roll+hot.
On a 10+, it shows up in your establishment for you, like magic.
On a 7-, well, your people make an effort and everybody wants to please you and close is close, right?
On a miss, it shows up in your establishment for you with strings wicked attached

Maestro D' Special
If you hook another character up - with sex, with food, with somethin somethin, whatever - it counts as having sex with them

Gear:
• meat cleaver (2-harm hand)
• oddments worth 2-barter
• tank top and olive drab, flak jacket (1-armor)

Hx:
Sunset: Hx +1
Edison: Hx +1
Cervinae: Hx +1

It was too drat early for Hoopa's poo poo and he was pouring it on thick today. Combined with the dull throb behind my bad eye and the creeping uneasiness about today's work, it all suggested it was only a matter of time before a real bitch of a headache came to visit. I bit my tongue and finished checking the seals and welds on my stills before heading back out front, snagging a bottle of the better hooch as I went. The more business savvy part of me chided himself for being wasteful and I immediately set about drowning him with a long pull from the bottle. It burned nicely as it went down, and that business savvy part finally admitted it might be a waste to not enjoy the fruits of our labor. Resorting to brake fluid? Not anytime soon, Hoopa.

"Since you feel so strongly about it, Hoopa, you just volunteered to make sure Clarion is still alive and help her get cleaned up." I gave Shazza a nod as they continued frying up breakfast and went looking for this letter. It was, indeed, mashed up by the door, and it looked like someone might have stepped on it just for good measure. I scooped it up and stepped out onto the patio next to Brace. I took another pull from the bottle as I scowled at the street.

"Brick's has coffee now, huh? I don't even want to imagine how many faces got busted to swing that deal." I idly glanced out towards where Clarion was crumpled and shook my head. We all had our damage, but when it was being handed out she clearly went for seconds. One of these days I'd probably get trashed enough myself to actually ask her about hers in particular.

"Any other news worth hearing about?" I idly inquired of Brace as I shifted my scowl from the street and Clarion to the letter. I set my bottle of booze down and carefully unfolded the intricate creasing. I tried to remember if I had ever gotten a letter before. I didn't think so. That was Before-Times nonsense, when the world had paper enough to wipe the sun's rear end with if they felt the need. "I'm going ahead with that idea to talk to the Doe Queen. That sketchy feeling I've been having won't go away. A pair of guard hounds sounds more and more like an excellent plan - even if it means dealing with that court of jesters."

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Vulture

Hoopa is inspecting the chessboard at the single, small table off of the far side of the bar when you respond. Several odd articles have replaced certain pieces over the years. A fossilized finger, a hand-carved “bishop” with a few veins running up to its bulbous tip, a knight with a horse head mask painted on. For this particular game the kings have both been replaced with .38 rounds, which is significant to any Meat Grinder regular – it means this is a game of “King’s Roulette”.

In accordance with traditional rules, the loser’s king cartridge must be loaded and spun into an empty, six shot revolver, which is then handed back to the loser. If the loser makes good and pulls the trigger (and doesn’t redecorate the board with skull jelly), the winner must forfeit their earnings and pay out 1/6th of the original bet made. If the loser chickens out, they have to pay 6 times the bet and become the winner's footstool for a week. The match that’s frozen in time on the table is between Daff and Tum Tum, and as far as anyone can tell not a piece has moved in months.

Upon hearing your demands, Hoopa’s face falls from his usual smarmy expression into a sullen pout. He stamps his foot at you, “W-what?! Are you kidding me? Do I look like a baby sitter?”. You hear his perturbed whine continue from behind as you head out through the front door. “Did you not SEE my new TOP?? I have to keep this fresh for tonight! …OHMYFUCKING…”

The hooch burns away some of that familiar ache behind your eye as you step out onto the patio. A hazy, malodorous Ashfell morning greets your senses. Sure enough, Clarion is lying there right in front of your entrance: half off of the steps and half out of her dress. It’s not unusual for her to be the last one out, but usually she makes it home. Brace raises her mug up at you in a cynical cheer before taking a sip herself.

She nods, “Yeah, it’s pretty poo poo. But its decent for softening up Brick’s rolls. Now you only lose about a third of your teeth over breakfast.” Something has her in good spirits today. Maybe the sight of Clarion as a dirt pancake. The two don’t have very…compatible personalities. But as the humors of fate would have it, one’s stuck behind the bar and the other’s stuck in front of it.

Brace raises a brow as Hoopa, muttering to himself, stomps out the door and down the steps before squatting over Clarion. She nods at your second question, “Yeah. Thum-drum’s been busy as a bung bug. Not only did he somehow magically poo poo out these beans, but according to Brick he’s also almost finished with a new batch of hops. Supposedly they’ll produce less of that curdled, sun-baked-breast-milk taste we’ve all come to love so much.”

Hoopa is trying to pull Clarion up from the front by her shoulders. He’s staggering around and not having much luck. She’s built like a rail, but dead weight’s no joke. A couple people have stopped in the street to stare at the scene. You think you hear the first sounds of life coming from your best regular. Clarion sags in his arms and makes a low groan into his chest.

Hoopa moans along with her, “Uuughhh. Come ON, sweety! Your legs are still below your waist, if you were wondering.”

Brace continues, “Dapper clowns were taking up booths all night. They think they can just throw jingle at us and we’ll let them run the place. Chairman was there too, smashed out of his fat loving gourd and acting the bozo again. Kept hanging on Left Nut like a tick, trying to tell her the same story all night. Swearing he saw a dead guy yesterday, up walking around in the square. Worthless dope.”

You know Chairman and his ‘Dapper’ crew. Holdouts from Million’s sleazy-rear end legacy. They had made sure they were out of dodge when the lead came raining down, then came crawling back to Ik begging for the chance to swear fealty. Millions had the market cut too back then, which was another driver for the whole coup. Since they already had the books for all business doings in the market, she tried to save herself the headache of weeks of accounting by just letting them run the square. That way she could get the take with none of the sweat. Recently they’ve been getting pretty comfortable, pretty handsy, and pretty loose on where exactly their supposed turf ends. Seems the stink of Millions scummy ways hasn’t washed off at all.

What do you do?

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


quote:

Name: "Edison"
Look: Man, Utility wear plus tech, Plain face, Appraising Eyes, Wiry Body
Stats: Cool=0 Hard-1 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+3

Moves:
Spooky intense: when you do something under fire, stand overwatch, or bait a trap,
roll+weird instead of roll+cool.

Deep insights: you get +1weird (weird+3).

Savvyhead Special:
If you and another character have sex, they automatically speak to you, as though they were a thing and you’d rolled a 10+, whether you have the move or not. The other player and the MC will answer your questions between them. Otherwise, that move never works on people, only things.

Gear:
• Fashion worth 1 armor
• Hunting Rifle (3-harm, far, loud)
• Crowbar (2-harm, hand, messy)
• Oddments worth 6 barter

Workspace:
Contains Skilled Labor (For all Edison talks poo poo about them, the twins Gabe and Gabby are legitimately quite smart and capable for their age and take their apprenticeship/job very seriously. Edison wouldn't bear to have them around otherwise.), Machining Tools and A Relic Of The Golden Age Past, the half-broken remains of a humanoid robot that have, as of yet, evaded repairs.

Hx:
Vulture: Hx -1
Sunset: Hx +2
Cervinae: HX +1

Edison smirks at the twins banter as he picks up the pump and takes a quick glance at the exterior. Without a word, he takes it to his well worn workbench in the back and pulls apart the outer casing, inspecting the interior of the small machine. Sure enough, it looks like a wiring issue. Again. Which immediately sets him on edge as he speaks to Talbot, without leaving his position, "Yeah. Same issue as the last two. Talbot, there's either something you're not telling me or something you don't know here. Two of these pumps going out with wiring issues in a month would be a coincidence. Three in a week means something's up."

Edison continues talking as he scavenges through some parts set aside specifically for use with the greenhouses. He takes this duty extremely seriously and always has spare bits and pieces to deal with whatever may come up with food production issues, both because Thumb's project is essential for survival and because it's one of Edison's safest, most consistent gigs. "I can see three possibilities here. It could just be bad luck. I know enough about probability to be aware that sometimes unlikely coincidences do happen. But I'm also enough of a gearhead to know the odds here are low enough to be disregarded. Option two is there's something wrong with the greenhouse central generator, some sort of power distribution issue that's causing the pumps to short out. I'd need to look at it to be sure, which means you'd need to get me an introduction. I know Thumb doesn't trust anyone but his own in the warehouses, for good reason, but that generator is old at this point and probably needs maintenance."

He finally finds the correct set of wires and moves to replace the ones in the pump, while giving the machine a decent once over. These things are pretty close to priceless, as the capacity to manufacture new ones is nonexistent, and most of the easily scavenged ones have already been taken. Still, Edison recognizes his own handiwork in the pump, including a replacement part he made himself, so he's eventually satisfied and closes it up and grabs some extension cables from his own generator to give it a quick test. "Option 3... Is one I don't want to give much credence to. But there's a chance it could be true, so Thumb deserves a warning about it. These three pumps the last week have all popped way too suddenly and consistently, and this all only happened AFTER the rumors about new produce started circulating. I don't want to believe it, but..." The pump sparks to life, making a consistent whirring sound due to lacking water, conveniently masking outside sound. "It could be sabotage, Talbot. I don't know who, but it could be. Doomsday cult? One of the bigger gangs mad that folks will get coffee? There's a lot of possibilities, and I don't like any of them."

With a final whirr, Edison cautiously disconnects the small pump from his personal generator, satisfied with its repair. "Don't take option 3 TOO seriously though. I think the central generator being on the fritz is way more likely." He hands Talbot back the repaired pump "So, can you get me in to take a look? I'll be discreet, so you don't have to worry about my... Issues." He tries his best to look trustworthy and to not let his worry about being away from his shop show. But Thumb's greenhouses are too drat important to let fail, or worse, to let Cope's goons mess up.

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Edison

Talbot shakes his head, “No, sir. I don’t think anyone could have got into them holdings to mess with anything. Thumb-drum, he keeps everything locked up tight at night. And we don’t tend to get out of there too much during the light-hours.” He chuckles, rubbing a calloused hand over the dusty stubble on his chin as he presumably considers the humorous notion of having a life outside of his work.

“No, I reckon you’re dead right about the power situation. Ol’ Sparky is an ornery piece of blessed junk that’s tough enough to please on a good day, and it’s getting harder to keep ‘er running steady on the fuel we been gettin' lately. Stuffs like rat poison running through the works. We’re constantly havin’ to pull everything apart and clean out the gum and gunk that builds up. Real tedious business, but what are we gonna do? None of our battery units, not even all of ‘em joined up together can support the whole dadgum shebang of the system.” He sighs, leaning over to dig a hand into a pocket. "Anyways, thanks. We really appreciate your business down at the grow. I’ll talk to Thumb-drum about getting you in for a look. If there’s anyone he’ll make an exception for, it’s you, Edison.”

He slides a few coins across the counter. The purple-hued, metallic pieces are dull and so worn with wear and time that you can hardly make out the embossed “Ω“ symbol in the center. You’ll occasionally see some around that are completely smooth, the strange marks having been worn down completely from use. The currency of Ashfell existed long before anyone’s knowledge, with common consensus reckoning they were created during the Golden Age (back when everyone thinks the Shell would have been open). They’ve held up over time for the simple fact that there’s nothing else around that's made of the same stuff, and the odd color gleams pretty well under a light, so its impossible to produce a decent counterfeit. As a trusted ‘gearhead’, you’re privy to certain avenues of scuttlehush around town, and word has it that Cope has even melted a few down before (thanks to her booming business), and tried making bullets with them. Reports of her success vary… [take +1 barter]

“Eddy! My man!” The sudden bark of a hail coming from behind him causes poor Talbot to jolt again. The thud of his shin hitting the bottom corner of the counter is hard enough to cause the jingle to rattle on its surface. He howls, spinning towards the door, “Sonofa-…” …But his words freeze on his lips as he sees the new arrivals.

Strawdog and Cleft stand in the doorway, easily blocking the entire entrance from view, wearing identical smirks on their faces. They seem to be gleefully waiting for the man to finish his sentence.

Fortunately, he does not. Talbot clamps his mouth shut, sweat already visible on his brow as he silently takes the pump and starts for the door. He makes it about a couple feet from the two Hyenas before seeming to realize they aren’t moving. They let him stand there for a few awkward moments as the tension slowly builds in the room.

Finally, Strawdog lets his grin slip to a comically mute expression, “Hey, what’s that you got there? Huh, Tally-bro? Looks pretty luxe.” He pokes a meaty finger into the smaller man’s chest. A thick pink scar can be seen running up the length of his bare forearm, all the way to where a yellow bandanna is tied around girthy, very tan bicep. Behind him, about a foot above his head, Cleft’s massive, malformed jaw twitches.

These guys are with Juck’s set, from out east in the Big EZ. You’ve definitely heard of her -- she owns all the gas. Her boys don’t come out into the city often, and when they do it’s typically trouble.

What do you do?

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Sunset, the Battlebabe

Sunset rubs idly at the back of her neck. It's a while yet 'til her next hit, maybe a few hours judging by the tingles in her fingertips, but the issue of supply is always on her mind. Also on her mind: whatever the gently caress this rear end in a top hat wants. Now, here's the thing. Anywhere else in town she'd blow him right the gently caress away for making her headache worse. The only reason she's not is that Cervinae's crazy cult has her favorite chair, which she's currently sprawled over, and figuring out how to move it to a different place where people don't gently caress with her stuff is just way too much goddamn effort. So, instead, she says, "Well, gently caress, you found me. This better be good."

Judging by the way her weapons are close enough to hand to be a credible threat, our boy Heckie can probably figure what's on offer if it isn't.

quote:


Name: Sunset
Look: Woman, showy armor, striking face, frosty eyes, angular body
Stats: Cool+3 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-1

Moves:
Ice cold: when you go aggro on an NPC, roll+cool instead of roll+hard. When you go aggro on another player’s character, roll+Hx instead of roll+hard.
Perfect instincts: when you’ve read a charged situation and you’re acting on the MC’s answers, take +2 instead of +1.

Battlebabe Special:
If you and another character have sex, nullify the other character’s sex move. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t happen.

Gear:
• 'Sycorax' (long blade and handle, 3-harm hand)
• 'Caliban' (big shotgun w/ ap ammo, 4-harm close reload messy AP)
• oddments worth 4-barter
• fashion suitable to your look, including at your option fashion worth 1-armor (stripped-down hazard suit)

Hx:
Edison: Hx-1
Vulture: Hx+3
Cervinae: Hx+3

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


"Just set her against the wall, Hoopa. She's not dead, and you're right. That's a nice top. Doesn't need to get muddy." As much has his personality could grate sometimes, my annoyance with Hoopa never did last more than a few minutes at a time. His pouting was simply too endearing. Just, maybe he could try easing into things instead of being On from the word go.

Returning my attention to Brace, I mulled over what she said. Something might have to be done about Chairman and his crew eventually, but they'd need to escalate. For now they were simply annoying. Part of our raison d'etre was being a place for people to be annoying and get smiled at while they did it. The fact that Brace even brought it up, though? That meant the Dapper clowns were seriously starting to get under my crew's skin.

"Alright. I've been keeping an eye on the situation but if you're bringing it up, clearly it's a more serious matter than I thought." I crossed my arms and leaned up against the wall. "Let the crew know I'll deal with Chairman and his people directly from now on. Maybe he'll get the hint. And tell the Twins that if Chairman or any of his fine young gentlefolk corners them for a chat or some grab rear end and won't take no for an answer, they can deal with it how they like. I'll have their back."

I ran a hand through my hair and, spotting a passing couple, stepped forward and flashed them a warm smile. "Stop in tonight, we've got a fight you'll tell your kids about! Lady Ramses versus her sworn rival, El Fiesta Del Té Desnuda!" They quickly shuffled off before I could continue my pitch, casting irritated looks back at me over their shoulders.

"Philistines. I'm creating art here and they just walk away." I sighed dramatically. "Just goes to show that not everyone can appreciate actual culture. Speaking of which. Let's see if this actually is a love letter." I unfolded the note and began to slowly read.

Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae's Court

Cervinae (The Doe Queen, Cervinae)

The Gulf of Sight

Vulp (Survived the Sea of Bones, but died in Ashfell’s cradle)
Rivul (Energetic, three fingers on the right hand)
Tremat (Tall but hunched steeply, straightening day by day)
Shuvespers (Responds to ‘Shovey’, flinchy, patient)
Lotta (Calm. Unusually steady movement. Marked.)
Alag (Big, prone to muttering)
Phrish (Good with people, not good with dogs)
Ourich (Good with dogs, not good with people)
Blozzel (Wild eyed, chirpy)
Dresmick (Resting bitch face, attentive)
Nulk (One legged, smiley, keen eyed)
Issafrim (Rare speaker, lean, hums constantly)
‘Brunny’ (Chestnut hair, hasn’t taken a new name, good with dogs)
Heckle (Gangly aspirant)
Marinant (Always masked, rare blonde hair)
Uriscide (Precise, keen to motion, one armed)

Our fellow travelers...

A number of dogs, including but not limited to Cherry, Pip, Jostle, Yowler, Teve, Grussem, Wetface, and--

quote:

Where is Verity?

Character Sheet posted:



Name: Cervinae
Look: Woman, scrounge vestments, determined face, clear eyes, fit body

Stats: Cool=0 Hard+1 Hot-1 Sharp+1 Weird+2

Moves:
Charismatic: when you try to manipulate someone, roll+weird instead of roll+hot
Divine protection: your gods give you 1-armor. If you wear armor, use that instead, they don’t add.

Hoscus Special:
If you and another character have sex, you each hold 1. Either of you can spend your hold any time to help or interfere with the other, at a distance or despite any barriers that would normally prevent it

Followers:
Characterize them:
• Your court
• Congregate in their own communities

Boons:
• Your followers are involved in successful commerce. +1 fortune
• Your followers are dedicated to you. Surplus: +1barter, and replace want: desertion with want: hunger.

Curses
• Your followers disdain fashion, luxury and convention. Want: +disease.
• Your followers rely entirely on you for their lives and needs. Want: +desperation

Gear:
• oddments worth 4-barter
• fashion suitable to your look (black boots, dark clothing that reveals slips of tattooed flesh. A hoodie with space for a mask)

Hx:
On your turn, ask either or both:
•Which of you are my followers? For those characters, write Hx+2.
•One of you, I’ve seen your soul. Which one? For that character, write Hx+3.

For everyone else, write Hx+1. You’re a good and quick judge of others.

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Was I already looking at the door when Rivul knocked? It doesn't matter. I arise to his proclamations of trouble, "Cervinae, one of the dogs -- Verity --, the cage was open, and--"

We are already moving towards the cages. I let him speak, "I already checked with Issa, they said they checked locks like they always do, but they didn't swing past again before passing duty off to Heckle. Yowlers still inside, I just don't get, why take one without the other?" There are a couple options, none of them good. A thief, quick and quick witted, who knew too much would weigh them down. Did they drug Verity? Why was there no barking in the night? Why target the place that can set the dogs upon your trail? Or was it something grander than that -- a trap, maybe? Take one dog, send us on a chase into a blind alley in Castabout's Way? Or was it something more mysterious, something from... I tilt away from the whispers, not yet.

We arrive in front of the cages, Yowler is happy to see us. I speak, "Rivul, calm yourself. Was the lock picked or broken?" I step forward, inspecting the cage myself. Is there any blood or fur? Any footsteps leading away? Any clawmarks? What happened last night?

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


Edison
The Savvyhead | Cool=0| Hard-1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+2 | Weird+3
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 7 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Edison sighs loudly. It was going to be one of THOSE days. Any day that involved Juck's pack of crazies was not one fated to be peaceful. "You two both know no Grower has anything luxe, unless you think raw barley is the apex of luxury. Let Talbot go, unless you'd like to explain to your boss why the booze deliveries are delayed." He says this maintaining a perfectly level and neutral tone. Wouldn't do to actually piss off the crazies, so Edison is hoping threatening the booze will be enough. In a further attempt to distract them, he continues. "And as I've told you fine gentlemen time and again, the name is Edison. Not Ed, not Eddy and certainly not Edward. The name is written on the wall outside, I believe, unless someone has kindly written some new curse words over it again. Now, on to the second thing written outside, the word 'repairs'. As in, what do you two want me to fix for you today? Unless you're just here to waste my time?"

Possibly a step too far. But it likely would distract them from Talbot, at least. Edison admits to himself that he's not very good at dealing with people with illogical responses, but he hopes Juck instilled in their people the notion that killing him would be a bad idea. Cope charges way more, afterall.

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Sunset

At your reply, his pensive expression relaxes considerably. “Yes, ma’am. Uh… I mean I hope it’s good. There’s this, um, man at the front of the compound asking for you? Near the road out. Said he’s got a message from someone named Cope? I don’t know who that is…”

His eyes narrow suddenly, and he slaps a hand to his dirt-streaked forehead, “poo poo! -- ” The hand instantly slides down to his mouth and his eyes widen. “-- Oops! I mean ‘shoot’. Sorry, ma’am. Didn’t mean to curse on duty. It’s just… I forgot his name. But he’s the only fella’ out front right now! Real huge, real big guy. As tall as Tremat, but straighter? Trem’s on watch right now too, but he’s talking with him. That’s how I could tell. He’s wearing a bunch of belts with tools and keys on 'em. Never seen so many belts! Oh! And he said he’s from the Trashland. Uh… Th-that’s the junkyard, I think. It’s about as far as the town from here. But going towards the sea, not north. On the other side of Clipper Street.”

Heckle pauses, and for a moment looks as though he’s considering whether to continue. You notice his eyes flit between your gaze and your shotgun. He sucks in a breath, “Also, uh… This isn’t a part of duty, but Trem said you were really good with guns and stuff, so you didn’t have to worry about curfew or watch rules, and that we should leave you alone. But I was wondering, like… Maybe you could show me how you shoot so good sometime? But I mean… like only when you’re bored, or whatever. I can pay you too and stuff -- I won a bet at the Pit. But I totally understand if you're busy! N-no pressure!”

He seems to be holding that breath for your reply.

What do you do?


Cervinae

Rivul slumps against the post of one of the cage dividers. He shakes his head repeatedly, looking down at the single open cage where old Yowler remains. She wags her tail and pants silently, looking up expectantly at her human family. Save for the hanging open lock there’s no visible evidence of forced entry. There are many traces of footprints leading into and out of the cage area, but you see no obvious signs of a struggle, like drag marks or blood.

“Well you can have a look yourself”, he says, “but as far as we can tell there’s no damage to the lock – not a scratch, and the keys are all accounted for. So it might have been picked, but if that’s true whoever broke in must’ve been drat good. I don’t know, it’s loving weird, man. No one heard anything. Issa didn’t see anything…” He trails off before continuing to helplessly shake his head in frustration.

At a glance, the other canines all seem to be accounted for. At the back of the pen, a precious litter of puppies still sleeps under the watchful eyes of their mother. The youths of your pack yip for attention, little noses poking through the bars of the cages, while their seniors sit attentively in your presence, panting softly. It is early in the day, but the heat is already starting to build. The cool drafts that normally whisper at your back from the Bleak are stifled by a noticeable stillness – a thickness in the air.

“It’s going to be a warm one.” Rivul mutters through his teeth. He bends to give Yowler a pat on the head. She smiles up at him. “Perhaps the dogs should be put to pace sooner than later? Ourich and I can look around a bit while we make our laps. Maybe something will turn up.”

At this hour, you know that Dresmick and Phrish would have started for the water tower. From the entrance of the pens you can see Tremat alone at the entrance, talking to a visitor. The large man looks familiar, possibly one of Cope’s crew. You do not see Heckle standing watch with him as scheduled. On the other side of the compound near the tents, Blozzel, Mariant and Uriscide stand together with their backs to you, obscuring your view of someone they seem to be hovering over.

What do you do?

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Vulture

The “letter” is essentially a heavily stained, torn square that looks like it was the back of an ancient advertisement, though the lettering on the front is too faded to make out. The surface of the paper seems to have been sitting in some kind of sticky fluid not too long ago, so it was tacky enough that it held a fold in place without any adhesive. Unfortunately, whatever that stuff was is all over your hands now. Your fingers stick to the sides as you open the folded note.



The handwriting doesn’t look familiar, and neither is the phrase in quotations.

“Alright, she’s all yours!” Hoopa’s ring-bedazzled hand flashes a wave as he quickly scurries around the corner ahead of Brace. “See you tonight!”

…and they’re gone. Probably heading towards the market if you want to catch them. Clarion has been left siting propped up against the wall of the building opposite the Meat Grinder. As you watch, her head slowly nods forward until her chin comes to rest upon a damp bib of salmon-colored bile and tiny food chunks. She’s out again, and certainly not going anywhere by herself. A few familiar faces walk by as you stand in the steamy street. Regular customers give a passing nod and chuckle at the predicament.

A high-pitched holler resounds from within your establishment, “AHHWOOOO-WOOOP!! Grubs up, bubs up! Yum-yum fill ‘er up!!”

How does fight prep work? Checking in with the fighters, or just hoping they show? What do you do?



Edison

Strawdog’s gaze remains squarely fixed on Talbot’s stricken expression as you speak, though his larger partner squints at you as if puzzled. You’ve seen Cleft nearly every time the Hyenas have made an appearance outside their usual stomping grounds. He certainly cuts an imposing figure at about seven feet tall. He’s always wearing the same pair of overalls and lugging around a long, rusted metal pipe with a large chunk of concrete on the end. Several pieces of roughly sharpened rebar protrude from all sides of the chunk, which he points at you now, lifting the bar’s considerable heft effortlessly. As he addresses his partner, a thin thread of drool runs down his cheek from the cloven opening of his disfigured lower jaw.

“Eddy said…”

Strawdog lifts a hand up and the man falls silent again. His neutral expression doesn’t flicker as he slowly reaches out to the pump in Talbot’s hand. After holding a second longer -- hovering his hand dramatically over the newly repaired device -- he finally smiles and pushes it gently back to the Grower’s chest.

“No, Cleft. Eddy’s right. Juck happens to like the sour piss that comes out of the Meat Grinder, so we better let Tally-bro get back to it. After all, ain’t nothin’ scarier than a thirsty Jackal.” He takes a slow, deliberate step to the side and holds his arm out towards the door, waiting for Talbot to pass. Cleft looks confused but follows suit.

Talbot glances back at you, his face noticeably paler. He nods a quick “thank you” and heads out the door.

The view of his back is quickly replaced with Strawdog’s unattractive mug: his lips are cracked and peeling, his face has raw, red patches (probably from being blasted by sandpaper winds out east), and his forehead slopes outward slightly before meeting the bridge of his meaty nose. He wears the same tan cargo shorts and jacket as most of the Hyenas. He sets his elbows on the counter and moves his face within a foot of yours.

“Ha! Sharp as ever, Eddy my man”, he says with a hearty laugh. From the smell of it, he very much shares Juck’s enjoyment of the Meat Grinder’s ‘sour piss’. “It just so happens we have a pretty sweet gig lined up for you. See there was an accident last night at a garage in the EZ. We lost power to one of our big pumps, and a couple bikes got busted up.”

“Yeah. That’s why I lost my bike.” At the sound of Cleft’s voice behind him, Strawdog’s lip twitches a little. Cleft continues earnestly, “I want my bike back to go to the park and help out Proper.” Cleft starts absently stamping his giant rebar morning star on the floor of your shop. Buckets of bolts and rivets rattle nearby.

“Fuckin’ hell, moron! Give it a rest and let me talk for a minute.” Strawdog snaps at him. “What fuckin’ set you with anyways?” He shakes his head and turns back to you with a pained smile. “Yeah, Cleft wants his bike back so he can go play with the kids in the park or whatever. Hyenas want our pump back so we don’t have to drive jugs around the whole Big EZ. Obviously we can’t bring it here since its half buried in the ground. But if you’ll make the trip down with us we’ll even throw in something special to sweeten the deal.”

He leans even closer, eyes gleaming, “You like crazy Golden Age poo poo, right?”

What do you do?

Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


The world whirls around me, but I remain still. This was a city of many crimes, but few puzzles -- why bother to hide from a long dead justice? A thief braves the Shards at night to sneak up (avoiding sight and scent) to pick a lock (without trace) to take one dog (and leave another)? Was that the most likely scenario?

Suddenly, I reach a place of motion. I turn to Rivul, "Ready Cherry," a tracker, dust-red short fur and a spotted pink nose, "and find Heckle. We'll leave shortly." With that, I start towards the tents, towards whoever my faithful are congregating around. Cope's errandboy can wait.

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Sunset
The Battlebabe | Cool+3 | Hard=0 | Hot+1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 4 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Sunset takes a long, considered look at Heckle, particularly when he starts eyeing her shooter, but this pup is more wag than brains. She snorts out a quick laugh, "Well, gently caress, you got the jingle then I've got the time. But Cope's got a lot of jingle to jangle around, so you might be waiting more'n a few winks before I'm back sittin' in this chair."

In one smooth motion, Sunset hups up to her feet and starts stalking in a vaguely roadward direction. Cope's work paid and well, plus there's always the chance of another big find out in those parts. If the price is right, she can see about this tall gently caress doing his best pole impression in the road out front. If it's wrong, well, that drat chair better not be going anywhere.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


It took me an embarrassing long moment to figure out the letter was referring to Chairman; everything else about it was vying for my attention and not in a good way. My mind jumped to five different possible explanations for the stickiness and not a one of them bore thinking about any further than that. I stuffed the note into a pocket and pulled a stale dart out of another, letting it hang unlit in my mouth while I mulled things over. I didn't like this one bit. Nobody offered to help without an angle and I am not the kind of guy to go around owing anybody favors.

I spared Hoopa and Brace an absent nod as they wandered off and ran through the day's itinerary in my head. The main thing on my plate was talking to Cervinae and seeing if we could arrange a deal. Aside from handling the regular annoyances that came with the Meat Grinder, like humoring Hugo or shoveling up whatever Skid left on the patio, there wasn't much needing to be done today. Lady Ramses was the main event tonight and Hoopa would be around to help get her with makeup and costume so that was an issue already handled. Fighters would funnel in an hour or so before opening, depending on who needed the jingle. I had my regulars clients of course, but unless you wanted to arrange something special like Lady Ramses, it was first come first serve for work. You show up, you get paired off with someone approximately at your skill level, and you fight when your turn comes up. While some nights might be drier than others, I'd never had nobody. Times were too tight for everyone to pass up the opportunity, and you didn't even have to be good at fighting. If you can get your rear end beat in an entertaining fashion I will find a place for you. I won't even be a prick about it - I'm not going to make some desperate bastard who's just trying to feed his family fight someone like Sunset to the death. That's not a fight. That's just sadism.

At Shazza's call to breakfast I snapped back to the here-and-now and wandered back inside. I plucked the dart from my mouth and tucked it behind an ear while I sat down at our usual table. Shazza sauntered over and scraped the rat meat onto a pair of plates, and I waited patiently until they put the pan away and sat down with me. One thing everyone needs to know about Shazza: If they're cooked a meal, you do not start eating before they sat down as well.

"Good food, good meat. Good god, let's eat." We spoke in unison. The requisite prayer done, we dug in. Once we finished and Shazza was practicing their belching, I threw on my jacket and headed for the door.

"I'm heading over to Castabout's. Do me a favor and give Judith a once over, make sure she's in a good mood." Judith was the shotgun I kept under the bar, and if I was the King of this violent court, Judith was the uncompromising Dowager-Empress. Harsh and unrelenting in her rule. Whoever had left that letter intended to be here tonight, and I intended to be ready for any bullshit that person might have in mind.

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Cervinae

At your command Rivul nods and pulls a ring of keys from his pocket, “I’ll see it done.” As you make to leave, he flattens his fingers together, holding them an inch over his closed mouth while leaning forward into a slight, solemn bow. It’s an honorary gesture that some of the court have taken to giving you lately, un-bidden. You’re not sure who started it, but perhaps it was loosely adopted from a movement they saw you make while Adorned during an evening of spirits and ceremony. Or while you were breathing Truth through a doe-eyed second face...

Is this behavior acceptable, or something to address? Are there other protocols or daily rituals that have surfaced since the dawn of your court? Does your mask have a name, or has it not told you?

You make your way across the dust-swept, table surface of the compound, walking towards the edge furthest from the entrance where one finds the only route up this steep, shale-crusted prominence you call home. The loose rock and slippery shingles that surround make any ascent a taxing effort, unless made carefully up the tightly packed gravel of the man-made path. This has served well as a natural deterrent, warding off any who might try to approach from an unwatched route; however, your watch does make a full circle of the hilltop occasionally, just in case.

As you approach the tents at the rear of your encampment, you see that the collapsed figure Blozzel, Mariant and Uriscide have surrounded is Lotta. She is lying on her side holding her stomach, rocking back and forth in the dirt. Her eyes are closed, face scrunched into tight wrinkles as she evidently struggles with some great pain. She wears the simple, red cotton dress she wore when you first found her. At a glance you see no visible sign of injury.

Blozzel is the first to notice your approach, “My Queen!”, she cries running to your side. The formality is not typical of your court, but not unusual for this excitable one when she’s stressed. “Lotta, she just collapsed all of a sudden! We were starting to prepare the morning gruel, and… and…” Her voice falters, trailing off as she looks down at her fallen family member, hands fidgeting nervously at the hem of her shirt.

“Her head is hot, and she is swollen from ribs to waist”, Uriscide offers, pointing down at the writhing woman with his single arm. “We should take her to see Doc Boo.”

Marinant makes several chirping noises from behind his mask. Today’s mask is a large ball with the innards scooped out from holes at the top and bottom. He has drawn what must be hundreds of tiny smiley faces all over the once-white material of the ball’s exterior, each one of them perfectly identical. His shock of bright blonde hair pokes out from the hole at the top. “*Cheep-chipchip-tsktsk! Chip-KUH-KUH-KUH…Cheep!*” He emphasizes his noises by flapping a limp hand sporadically at Lotta, then pats Blozzel on her head.

“Uh. I don’t know about Boo.” Blozzel retorts, swatting at Mariant. “She scares me. Didn’t she like… cut off your arm?”

Uriscide ignores her and looks to you, “We must hurry. We might be able to catch the water cart if we leave now. ‘Else someone will probably have to carry her the whole way.”

You’ve heard mixed reviews for old Doc Boo, and some of them are pretty wild (and probably bullshit). They say that once a guy came in and asked her to endow him with a second penis. For a hefty fee, she agreed to attempt it in the “interest of science”. But after she knocked him out she discovered that he’d lied about having the jingle on him, so she sewed it on his chin. Now since she’s the only medic in the city, Hank Henry has a guard detail there at all times, and in return she treats any of his mercs that get shot up. So by the time that poor guy came to, the Dawgs had called in their whole roster to have a good, gut-bustin’ laugh, and all he could do was cry and beg her to take it off. Which she did, after a few weeks.

What do you do?



Sunset

“Oh! Y-yes, Ma’am! That’s fine with me, ma’am. I’ll be here! On… on watch probably…” His squeaky voice trials off as you glide past. You hear him following you back, but falling quickly behind step as his gangly gait fails to match your pace.

As you mosey up to the entrance, you recognize the barrel-chested, ruddy-faced man trying to talk his way past Tremat.

“Sunset!” Dross throws up his two massive, grease-speckled mitts in greeting as he notices your approach. “Finally. Someone worth talkin’ to.” Tremat makes a grimace at this remark, but Dross continues, “As ya’ might’ve guessed, your old pal Cope sent my fat rear end all the way out here after you.”

When you get closer, he starts to hold out his hand, then seems to think better of it and wipes it on his faded blue coveralls. “And you might’ve also guessed, she’s got a business proposal, right? The kind like before…?” He gives you a small wink. “…so we can talk about it on the way back to Trashland. I know you’re a straight shooter, so I’ll tell you up front: this one’ll be good for twice your usual fee. Interested?”

If it’s the last “errand” he’s talking about, that means another trip out through the Shards, down into the Bleak. Last time was a bit hairy, wasn’t it? Then again, it’s about time for you to re-up your supply, so some extra jingle wouldn’t hurt. Certainly not as bad as that headache, anyways. You going through with this poo poo today?

What do you do?

suicide4sexbots fucked around with this message at 03:07 on Dec 13, 2020

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


Edison
The Savvyhead | Cool=0| Hard-1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+2 | Weird+3
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 7 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


"You're going to need to be a bit more specific than that, kid. Everyone is into Golden Age poo poo, hell, the pump you want me to fix is technically Golden Age poo poo, though these days it's likely just Regular poo poo." Edison drums his fingers on his counter absentmindedly as he processes the job offer. Going out to the EZ is likely not a single day job, probably two, depending on how bad the pump got messed up. Growers aren't a problem, even if Talbot can convince Thumb, it won't happen overnight. Juck might be crazy, but they do have jingle to spend since everyone relies on their gas production to keep a semblance of civilization running. In particular... The Growers. Edison's mind makes a temporary connection between the poor quality gas likely damaging the Grower's pumps and this apparent "incident" causing issues with the gas production. Something's up, though he doesn't know what exactly. Not knowing things is irritating. Best investigate and get some jingle in the process. "I'm up for the job. Both of them. I don't have wheels of my own though, and like hell am I walking out to the EZ. Your set bring more than bikes into town? And speaking of bikes, did you bring in his busted one? If so, tell him to give it to the kids. They need more practice on bikes anyways."

Infinity Gaia fucked around with this message at 06:42 on Dec 17, 2020

Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


I stay by Rivul long enough to catch his gesture before I turn away. A feeling passes through my heart and bones, neither happiness or aggravation, but instead.... (there is a moment of time between concerns as I step across the dry ground, so i permit my thoughts to briefly wander.)

The gesture is a fragment. It does not stem from me, for if I was such a petty queen to etch down a form of subservience I would be no different from the others of this sordid world, but it comes instead from my court. They asked themselves, how do we show what we feel? And this was their answer. I have spoken, they have listened, and they have changed (will I change too?). This small gesture is one of numerous changes -- like how they never serve themselves food when we gather, but another, or how they say 'To a new day." when they part from one another. Bit by bit, kulture replaced by culture.

But I am not satisfied. Why? Because it is i n s u f f c i e n t. The start of a beginning. This is not the verdant burst of a sapling emerging from the ground, or the potential of a whelp litter rolling and suckling, this is the sign before. The slight furrow in the world where the seed was dropped, the shift of weight in the bitch-mothers step. Not the new but the first step towards it -- and in potential is the potential to go astray.

Lotta is in pain. My followers speak of Doc Boo. Medical aid, find the irritation, cut it out. But I know Lotta, I have laid my hands upon her and felt my fingertips brush against the infinite dark of her mark. Can the doctor be of any use here? And why now at the same moment of rally in search of our missing Veritas? What is the connection?

These questions build pressure in my head and pry open my skull. I kneel gently to Lotta's side and Listen,

does the Black Star shine above us?

I would like to OPEN YOUR BRAIN TO THE WORLD’S PSYCHIC MAELSTROM if that works here!!

Rolling +Weird! 2d6+2=11

Scrree fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Dec 20, 2020

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Sunset
The Battlebabe | Cool+3 | Hard=0 | Hot+1 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 4 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Sunset takes a moment to consider the balance of things: on the one hand, she's loaded right now. On the other, she has expensive tastes and it's not like having a full set of pockets and then a double fee on top is a bad state of affairs. If she can get a few more batches of bleak soup going to really stretch her supply... well then, wouldn't that be a pretty picture? Probably worth working when her head was killing her. If it wasn't, and she found something real good, she could always squeeze Cope for a bit extra for her troubles. Ain't like there was a glut of people willing to do what she did, yeah?

Sunset says, "Well, gently caress, you certainly know the way to my heart. Double? Let's do this walk and talk poo poo. You and me both know Cope doesn't give bonuses for no reason, so I want to know what the score is before we're sealing the deal."

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Vulture

Your enigmatic helper makes a few fervent head nods, “Keep Judy clean so she stays real mean.” Jumping up onto their chair, Shazza grins broadly, making a few fist pumps in the air – “MEAN MACHINE!! MEAN MACHINE!!” – then swoops up the plates and bounces over to the tub behind the bar, where yesterday’s/last night’s water still stews in a filthy, brackish broth. A few feet off to the side, a fresh rodent carcass lies beneath the watchful eyes of a stoic horse head mask.

Shazza heads outside around the same time as you, then gives a smile and a wave before scurrying around the backside of the building, most likely to retrieve the water cart (since the Meat Grinder requires daily trips). As you step down from the patio steps (no Skid-related mess out here today… yet), you see Clarion is still on the ground next to the opposite building, having regained her consciousness but not her legs just yet. She’s holding herself up on hands and knees, heaving body-wracking wretches over the dirt, but there’s nothing left to come out. She sees you and moans, smacking her ashen head against the building wall with a dull thud, "don’t… don’t say *URK* …n-nothing. Just gonna… just gonna sh-*URK* …shake it off…”

Hugo is leaning up against the wall next to her, smoking from his signature pipe and not batting an eye in her direction. He gives you a head tilt and takes a good drag before holding up three fingers. “We got an offer last night for Gretch." Straight to business as always. "Thought you might be interested, seeing as the kid’s been on a real tear lately – loco cabrón. I’m seeing the lineup shrinkin' before my fuckin’ eyes this month, and I’m thinking ‘that’s the kinda hot streak that could use a little cooling’. I know you can dig on that. You know I’m always watching out for the biz, bro.”

Gretch was a scrawny kid that crawled out of Trashland a few months ago. Probably from that strange community of hermits and garbage worshipers Cope inexplicably lets live in there (probably for no reason but her own amusement). The kid came from nowhere and just started blasting through the ranks. Lately though, he’s been looking worse for the wear, probably geeked out on some horrible poo poo from the Funnel Tunnel. Whatever his juice is, it seems to make him even more violent. He broke more than a handful of bones between the last two dudes he went up against, and both of them were much bigger slabs of meat.

Hugo continues, “Guy named Damu was the contact. Standard arrangement for short-term muscle. Don’t know much about him, but Harrow says she’s seen him out near that camp at the northeast junction just before the cut out to the EZ. That would be the place where that creepy-rear end Judge hombre holds shop. Let me know what you think, and if you like I’ll set up a parlay.”

Usually, an offer like this means there’s a cut in it for you – finder’s fee and all that. A meeting gets set up with the fighter and the potential client (typically at the Meat Grinder), and if the fighter agrees a contract gets drawn up. Pretty simple. You’ve not heard much about this ‘Judge’ guy, and never really seen him either. Word has it he’s one of those brain-gently caress specialists: he helps people get other people to talk.

What do you do? A brisk walk straight to the dog kennel compound, or is there a stop on the way?


Edison

Strawdog is all smiles as he nods his head along to your words, like a prompter lining up lyrics with a melody. “Ab-so-lutely! We’ve got ‘er right outside. We’ll just drop it off and you can hop on for a ride.” With that he turns and tries to playfully shove Cleft towards the door. Cleft isn’t budged by his friend’s effort, but he seems to get the idea and stomps outside, dragging his giant-sized weapon with him (it leaves a long scratch on your floor).

Once outside, Strawdog blasts a sharp whistle through his teeth and makes a circular motion with his hand above his head. In front of your shop the engine of an old battered pickup truck whines and coughs to life. Its bed consists of some heavily perforated metal sheeting held together with poles and barbed wire. Another Hyena you don’t recognize hops out of the cabin and jumps up onto the bed. He strains as he hoists up a rugged-looking vehicle that is held together by a heavy steel frame sitting on two thick tires. It’s a familiar model to you, being of a similar build as most of the Hyena’s bikes are (though each rider tends add their own “flavor” of décor). It looks sorta like this:



…only a bit more charred at the moment. You can see that the bike’s suffered damage from intense flames, and the block’s got at least two deep gouges going across the side.

“Let’s go, Tweezer!”, Strawdog yells. This gets the attention of a few people passing by the shop, who take notice of your customers and start to walk much faster. “Hurry up and clear a seat for Cleft. We’re takin' Edison out to the cut.”

Tweezer grunts and rolls the bike over to Cleft, who does most of the lifting as they struggle to lower it off of the bed and onto the ground. Cleft mutters a few soft words and gently pets the singed leather of the seat before Tweezer rolls it over towards you.

Gabby appears from behind the far side of the building (where the twins were working) to receive their new project. Her eyebrows shoot up as she takes hold of a soot-blackened handlebar. “Good golly, what a mess. You guys try to attach a flamethrower or something?”

Tweezer’s scab-dotted mouth twists up into a crooked grin at the sight of her. He waits for the girl to grab the bike before placing a hand over hers, “You’re precious. Wanna go for a ride with my pack? We can show you all the fun… spots.” His tongue unfurls down over the tribal tattoo on his chin.

She jerks her hand away, but looks him in the eye, “gently caress off, dog breath.”

“TWEEZE!” Strawdog hooks a wad of what looks like tobacco dip from his lip and chucks it at the learing Hyena. It smacks him squarely in the neck with a wet *wap*. Some flecks ricochet and also hit Gabby, who turns away in disgust, brushing herself off. Gabe can be heard chuckling out of sight, and his sister responds by erecting a certain finger in his general direction. Tweezer reels back with surprise and/or embarassment... and the un-supported bike falls to the ground. Cleft makes a pitiful cry of shock and rushes over to stand it up again.

Strawdog shakes his head in disbelief, “The gently caress Juck always leaving me to babysit retards?! She owes me for this poo poo.” He turns and swings onto his own bike, which has been decorated with a large ribcage, several small skulls with candles coming out of them, and two dirty yellow streamer flags. He waves his hand to beckon you, “Let’s go bro! Hop into the cab, yeah? We makin’ tracks.” He points to the cabin of the truck as Tweezer climbs into the driver’s seat.

What do you do? Are you really riding with these Hyenas?

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Cervinae



A Factory of Souls

pre:

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


Edison
The Savvyhead | Cool=0| Hard-1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+2 | Weird+3
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 7 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Edison's eyes narrow at Tweezer's behavior, but doesn't step in. The kids need to learn how to deal with the harsh world, which include people like this rear end in a top hat. He does make a note to be sure to charge him extra if he ever shows up on his own in the future. At Strawdogs sudden request, Edison barks out. "Hold your hogs a sec, I need to talk to my dumbass apprentices first, make sure they don't burn down the shop while I'm gone. Gotta grab some tools, too." He approaches the wreck that was formerly a motorcycle, taking special note of the gouges on the side. His eyes narrow as he considers the possibilities of it, it doesn't seem like this was just any old accident. "Strawdog. Do you have any more details on what's wrong with your pump? It would be inconvenient to have to ride back here to pick up extra parts, so any information would be helpful, even if I doubt you can tell me the exact issue." He crouches down next to the busted hog and prods at the gouges with his finger, attempting to note if they're clean or ragged cuts. He talks in a lower tone of voice to Gabby as he investigates the bike "I'm going out of town for a day. Maybe two. Pump troubles out on the EZ. Keep the shop open, you two can keep what you earn, but turn down any gun maintenance requests. I'll know if you try to cheat this. Talbot probably won't pass by in the time I'm gone, but if he does, tell him where I went and that I'll be back soon. Don't forget to lock up the shop when neither of you are in it." He hesitates for a moment. "And keep each other safe. If I'm not back in five days, I'm dead. You know what to do in that situation."

Not that Edison expects to die, exactly. But it bears to be prepared, and he made sure to drill the twins into what exactly they are to do in the event of his passing. Mostly it just involves keeping the two of them in contact with some job opportunities, but notably includes a sealed letter to be opened only upon his death that instructs them on how to destroy the relic in the back room. Satisfied that Gabby got the message and would pass it on to Gabe, Edison briefly walks back into the workshop and piles up some essential tools into a carrying case, and, after a moment's hesitation, also takes his hunting rifle with him. Those gouge marks have him somewhat unsettled, not that he'd make a big show of it. As he double checks his tools, likely leading to the men outside getting impatient, Edison briefly taps into what he likes to believe is a meditative state. One in which he can connect threads of information, as it were. It is likely more profound than that, but his lack of belief leads to the experience being little more than flashes to him, glimpses into a greater truth, a greater whole. One that is colored like the Northern Lights, in which lines of dark thread float around like debris during a windstorm, occasionally connecting in strange and unusual patterns. On a good day, with some focused effort, Edison can grasp that the threads are converging into something similar to an outline of things. Turning people into murder site chalk outlines, buildings into children's sketches. And within those outlines there are deeper lines, hidden lines. Lines that can't be seen with the naked eye, only visible within the Lights.

And sometimes there are threads that don't connect. Or human outlines with extra threads hanging off them. Or threads that seem to stretch on into infinity. As a whole it is a very unsettling experience, with an air similar to that of a twisted dream, colorful but with hints of darkness behind it all.

At the moment, however, Edison is merely trying to focus deeper into himself. Find the threads of information provided within his own outline and with some concentrated effort, figure out how they tie together. The whole process is something Edison discovered while very young, and is in no small part responsible for his genius, as it allows him to bridge gaps in comprehension with information he should not have, but can somehow divine from the ethereal black threads. He's asking himself, and this strange world, to give him pertinent information in regards to this whole pump situation. He's taking the job regardless, but it would be helpful to know beforehand if he's walking into a trap, so he can plan contingencies. Not that he'd ever admit to using such bizarre methods in his decision making process. It's just a visual shorthand for his own mind.

Edison has learned, through his life, how to lie to himself about this. Most of the time it even works. Except when the threads rebel against being seen...

Rolling +Weird. 2d6+3 = 11

Today the threads are particularly clear and peaceful, however. He is nearly distracted by the feeling like someone else somewhere is tugging at them, but manages to focus on what he needs to know for right now.

Infinity Gaia fucked around with this message at 00:21 on Dec 22, 2020

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Sunset

“Well, alright then”, Dross says with a half-grin (the other half of it was probably lost to his understanding that this meant immediately walking all the way back to Trashland). “We best get moving while these legs still got the juice for it.”

You both head down the packed gravel path winding down the hill from the compound towards Clipper Street, with Dross waddling just ahead of you. Heckle waves goodbye and starts to pester Tremat for his turn to hold the shotgun. After a couple minutes you reach the bottom, where loose rocks give way to the wide dirt road that leads to civilization. It shoots straight through a couple smaller knolls before starting a long, lazy arc through an unremarkable flatland. Your business broker is already starting to huff a bit by the time you make the center of curvature that marks the halfway point to town, and where off to the right you see the first of the skeletal structures that demarc the ruins you’ll be heading through.


Castabout’s Way

Now just about everyone in Ashfell knows if you, for whatever desperate reason, find yourself headed out to Castabout’s Way, there’s a few hard rules you gotta respect:

1. Keep anything you don’t want crushed like a pesky bug out from under the structures here.

2. Don’t feed the Dodo Buzzards.

3. Get out of there before dark.


And most importantly…

4. Never take the Body Shots Challenge at the Funnel Tunnel.

As if to emphasize the first rule, a loud crash resounds from within the caving husk of the third house you pass, followed by thick cloud of reddish dust that belches out of an empty window frame. Dross jumps, despite his very apparent fatigue, then curses and looks back behind him. After seeming to realize you’ve both gotten far enough from the road to exceed hearing distance, he takes a deep, wheezy breath, clears his throat and spits.

“Well… The old boss hag mentioned that she’s interested in finding more of whatever it is you have there.” He nods towards your mysterious blade. “That’s some pretty special poo poo. And there’s more than a handful of ideas we’ve been kicking around about what we might do if we could get our hands on more of it. But more than that, she’s drat convinced there’s other goodies down there that are just as pretty. And between you and us, there’s no one else that knows about it – that spot you found down in the Bleak. Not even the crew seniors I’d trust with my daughter. And there's only two of those.”

He squints at something up ahead before continuing, “That’s why we can’t be too careful about where we go running our traps. And beyond that tiptoe bullshit, I think there’s something else she’s not mentioning, even to me.” He turns his head and looks you directly in the eyes for a moment, “…but maybe she’ll let you in on that part.”

At that moment you hear a noise directly in front of you. As you walk around the corner of the next block, you see the hunched figure of a person kneeling over something on the ground. Their back is hunched so that their head is lowered beyond sight, the ridges of their spine poking up visibly under the worn, thin fabric of a soiled white t-shirt.

“Watch it, you junkie bum”, warns Dross as he continues his approach. At his words, the person lurches upwards, as if stung, and turns to face you. You see that it is a very malnourished young man, about the same age as Heckle. His neck looks like its covered in scratches, one eye is swollen shut, and there's only a couple sparse patches of hair on his otherwise bald head. He staggers forward before catching himself on a knee and his left hand.

“drat! Careful, kid!” Dross stops in his tracks for a moment, sizing him up. “You mu-…”

Dross’s words cut off around the same time you notice the gore-matted pipe in the kid’s right hand. Also the woman’s body he was standing over. And the goopy puddles of meaty paste where her head used to be.

”..you…you’ll help…help…”

“-otherfuck!!” Dross cries, staggering backwards over his own feet. He takes a hard seat in the dirt.

The pipe rises slowly up into the air. ”…you’ll help… feed… them…”


What do you do?

suicide4sexbots fucked around with this message at 17:00 on Dec 20, 2020

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


I glanced at Clarion and grimaced in sympathy. Yeah, she'd shake it off. Right up until the day the shakes won. I kept going; even without her own request I made it a point to ignore the ugly parts of people's lives when it didn't involve me. It was none of my business and folks appreciate a man with discretion besides.

I stopped next to Hugo and leaned against the wall as well, retrieving the dart and lighting up while he spoke. This was generally how we operated, our little ritual. He laid out what he knew and I nodded along, and we each pretended that I had any actual choice. Not that he would threaten me to play ball or anything. Hugo was too classy for that kind of nonsense. It was just, I came into the business from the streets. I knew how to put on a show, manage the everyday troubles of running the Meat Grinder, and most of all how to talk to people and show them what they wanted to see. Hugo, though? He lived and breathed deals and negotiations. Just an entire other level from what I normally dealt with and with years more experience than I had. Consequently he was well compensated by powerful folks when they wanted his input, and consequently I listened when he offered me that wisdom. There might come a day when he tried to lead me astray with his assessments but it hadn't happened yet.

I nodded, taking a long drag. "Yeah. Set it up. I'll have a talk with Gretch, let him know there's work available. He's gonna be pissed at what he sees as me cutting him out, but I'll be convincing." Hugo had some scary good timing on this one, actually. I'd been mulling what to do about Gretch - he was maiming fighters and making a hash of the betting odds. If this kept up a bullet would kill him before the juice did. If I could make him somebody else's problem that would be just fine with me. Who could say, there was even a slim chance it would give him the kick in the pants he needed to sort himself out.

In the meantime, I'd keep my ear to ground about Damu and the Judge. If they were hiring on muscle, something was going down. And just maybe, if something was going down, I could wet my beak with a little more than a finder's fee.

"Thanks for the heads up. If you're not busy, stop by tonight. Lady Ramses and Desnuda have this new act they're debuting. Wrestling combined with acrobatics. Jumping off the ropes, throwing each other around. All kinds of crazy poo poo." I gave him a wave before sauntering off, hands in my pockets while I thoughtfully let the soldier burn down in my lips.

Off to the dog kennel compound - though casual-like. It's work what needs to be done but he's not in a hurry.

Shardix fucked around with this message at 17:28 on Dec 20, 2020

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Sunset
The Battlebabe | Cool+3 | Hard=0 | Hot+1 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 4 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Sunset considers the whole bit about the secrets and the good poo poo she's found and... well, gently caress, that was fair, wasn't it? Where you get one good score, you're like enough to get another. Wasn't much competition combing the wastes out that way, really, and if Cope and Dross wanted to keep the circle real drat tiny on this... well, that's what the jingle bought them. Double fee, huh. She was already thinking about a hot-rear end meal, some of the good poo poo they think they've got hidden way in the back (she'd scoped that ages ago, natch), and some of the nice little luxuries more jingle a'jangling could buy. Her loving chair and some peace and quiet, for one, but...

Well, idle imaginings and half-listenings fade by the wayside the moment the scent of blood and sick hits her nose. Not like the usual miasma in these parts, neither. Immediate. Fresh. Real fight or flight poo poo, which is why her hand slipped into her coat even before Dross caught a seat hardways. Scoping the state of the boy, all jangly-limbed and thinking more storm than sense, it ain't a hint of hesitation before she draws down on him.

Caliban, matte black and loaded for bear with two fuckin' monster hunting slugs, forms one uninterrupted line from Sunset's arm to this wacko gently caress's torso. No use aiming for a headshot. This kinda shot will introduce the dust-choked streets to oh-so-much of that chunky red sauce Shazza makes sometimes, that everyone pretends they don't know what its made from.

Sunset says, all conversational like, "Might want to drop the pipe and get gone, kid. I ain't in the mood to make this headache worse, but you're fuckin' with my meal ticket now. That's a fuckin' bad move for anyone, but especially you here and now."

If it weren't for the predatory look in her eye, like she'd considered all the angles and was just a hair-trigger away from sealing the deal, one might make the mistake of thinking she was being friendly. Hell, she was talking instead of shooting, right?

Go Aggro: 2d6+3 7 Cordially inviting our slightly unhinged friend to drop the pipe and back all the way off, lest he find himself blown right the gently caress in half by Caliban. Marking XP for a highlighted roll.

Tricky fucked around with this message at 23:20 on Dec 21, 2020

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Edison



Plenty of Cells

pre:

~ ~ ~

A few moments after you let go (are released from?) the threads, you hear the voice of Strawdog. He stands right in front of you, but he wasn't there before was he? How long has he been talking?

"Hey! Eddy! D'you hear me?" He waves a hand in front of your face. "Wake up you weird gently caress! I can't explain things here, you'll have to come and see for yourself."

What do you do?

[At this point you can just post to say, "I'm going". Or if not, tell us what you do instead.]

suicide4sexbots fucked around with this message at 05:14 on Dec 25, 2020

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


Edison
The Savvyhead | Cool=0| Hard-1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+2 | Weird+3
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 7 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Edison takes a moment, winded. That... That was unusual. It's not uncommon for the information the threads present to show themselves in little plays, but this was an extreme allegory. It barely even looked like threads, there was even a vague idea of color, done by the threads positioning themselves carefully up against specific parts of the background lights. It also appears to have taken significantly longer than the few heartbeats it usually does. Worrying. As Edison gets up, dusting himself off, he glares at Strawdog. "I''m coming, kid, calm the gently caress down. I just tripped is all." Edison tries to parse the dreamlike scene as he allows himself to be led to the poor excuse for a truck outside, giving his two apprentices a quick nod as he passes by. Juck's crew does need to constantly dig new holes to extract the crude from, had they perhaps pierced some ancient gas line from the Golden Age, leading to an explosion? But then, what did the bear represent? Edison starts for a second. How does he know what bears and bees are? He's read about them in books, of course, but the ones he'd found had no pictures. And yet somehow he is entirely certain of what he saw. And that bear... The stars in its eyes... The threaded vision displayed no color in those. They were also an oddity, in that they were completely filled in by a mass of tangled thread rather than being a simple outline. The shape is too much of a coincidence, it must be connected to the black stars that afflict those poor souls, he decides.

Edison shakes his head. That one's an issue too far past his paygrade, which is already extremely high. He just has to focus on what he can do and hope Juck knows what went wrong with her pump. He hopes it's as simple as an unearthed gas line or the like, but the gouges on the bike... Maybe a gas line breach AND a waster beast attack? He'll have to think about it on the ride over. "So, we going or what?"

Infinity Gaia fucked around with this message at 00:19 on Jan 2, 2021

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Vulture

You amble down the garbage-ridden streets, picking your way around putrid heaps of refuse, choosing the easiest route towards the southern edge of town. Along the way you pass a few typical scenes: a lover’s quarrel in the middle of the street, while one of them is completely naked (the less attractive one); a few kids fighting over who gets to be Horse in their game of “Horse vs. Evil Robots” (one of them recognizes you and shouts, “Hey Mr. Fightmaster!” before getting tackled); a rail-thin dredge junkie being led (dragged) away by a couple Blue Dawgs as an angry-looking shop owner looks on.

After a few minutes the buildings become less dense, and you can begin to make out the crooked line of ruins delineating Castabout’s Way beyond the end of the street ahead, and beyond them the jagged rock outcroppings that make up the Shards. It is at this point that you see Dresmick and Phrish headed the opposite way past you, pulling a large “water cart” fashioned from two trashcans and four bicycle wheels. They’re en route to the tower from Cervinae’s dog-kennel / cult community, which is where you’re headed. Out of all her people, these two are the most frequently seen around civilization, being the compound’s designated water bearers. Their tribe tends to keep to themselves for the most part, but it’s not unusual to find others among their numbers heading into town to catch a Pit show every now and then. When they do, you can spot them quite easily from within a crowd. Not because they physically look any stranger than your typical Ashfell denizen, but because unlike the downtrodden majority they carry themselves with purpose.

Phrish smiles and waves as he sees you pass, “Vulture! Good day to you, sir!” Dresmick shakes her head and scowls, keeping her eyes fixed on the path ahead, pushing the cart along a little faster.

It’s not long before you find yourself on Clipper - the last street of the city - where a slow arc of broken pavement curves past Castabout’s Way before dissolving into dirt and gravel. For a few minutes you find yourself alone out there in that spare patch of badlands, with nothing but a single tumbleweed keep you company (and it seems to be taking its time as well). Then the rise of the hill leading to the dog kennel comes into view around the bend.

~ ~ ~

As you reach the top of the packed gravel path that marks the entrance of the compound, you’re greeted by a tall man with a hunched back and a kid of about fifteen or sixteen wearing an old purple sack with the word “GARD” scrawled across it.

The kid proudly hefts a shotgun up and points it at you, “HALT! State your business!”

The tall man quickly grabs the weapon from his hands, “What are you doing?! Don’t aim it directly at visitors!” He turns to you, gun lowered by his side, “Sorry about that. Welcome to our kennel, and the court of the Doe Queen. Are you here on business?”

At the second syllable of ‘business’, you hear a gunshot echo from not far away, in the direction of Castabout’s Way. The tall man immediately jerks his weapon up at you, then spins away towards the noise a split-second later. “poo poo! Sorry… loving junk rats probably shooting up the ruins again for fun.”

What do you do?


Cervinae

As you feel your consciousness return fully to this place, your senses are greeted by the sounds of retching.

“Lotta! Oh-… “ Blozzel falls to her knees next to her heaving court-sister, then quickly scoots back a foot or so as the chunks start flying. She timidly scoops up two handfuls of Lotta’s hair, trying to keep it free of the mess. “Oh dear! Truth save you sweetie… Hang in there, okay? Queen Cervinae is here. We are getting you help!” She looks up at you in desperation, her eyes asking, ‘Aren’t we?’. Nearby, Mariant flaps his arms, coo-ing nervously.

Perceptive Uriscide, who you know to be familiar with your ‘trance’ state, places his hand on your arm gently, as if to help steady you. “Has your sight revealed anything? Respectfully, whatever course we take, we shouldn’t dither overlong.”

As if to punctuate his words, Lotta expels a torrent of chunky, red pulp – it’s a disturbing amount of mushy fluid for a woman her size. Blozzel squeals in disgust as dark splatters of vomit-mud ricochet across her bare knees. “EWWW! Gross!! Is that… hair?!” She closes her mouth quickly and turns away, clutching her own stomach.

What do you do?



Sunset

Before Dross has even hoisted himself up to a full sitting position you’ve already got the kid’s center mass squared up in your sights. Just above them you watch his slackened expression for any sign of acknowledgement. Unfortunately, there’s none.

“…we help…they help…you help too…” That battered mug above your sights suddenly lurches closer with speed that belies his wasted condition. The pipe moves up above his shoulder…

*KA-POWW!!*

…and the arm abruptly jerks into a full extension as a force of greater mass accelerates his body in the opposite direction – not the slugs themselves, but the generous cut of torso, ribs, and organs they projected six feet behind him. He collapses in a weird kind of squat right in front of Dross, the remains of his chest resting on his knees, his arm lying stiff and straight before him, continuing to clench the bloody pipe. For a second he looks up at you, mouth still agape with his last words. His eyes first hold a look of confusion, then seem to soften as the life fades away. The corners of his lips curl upwards slightly, spilling a dark sheet of blood down over his chin. Then he just slowly collapses over the empty cavity of his wound, like how a tree falls when properly notched.

After a couple seconds of absolute silence, you hear Dross gasp sharply (having remembered to breathe) and resume his wheezing (and cursing) at feverish pace. “loving-mother-fucka- *wheeze* gently caress!!” He kicks a heap of dirt and loose rocks at the fresh corpse, using the momentum to push himself up again. “These loving junkie zombies out here! They just keep getting worse. And I try ta’ …*wheeze* … explain to Cope we gotta shut that poo poo d-…*wheeze*… down!”

He takes a moment, leaning over his knees and sucking down the dusty air. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. Yet.

After he’s composed himself a bit, he straightens back up and puts his hands on his hips. “Thanks. That quick little bastard would have probably given me a new pie-hole. I’ve never seen any of the duds out here act that before. You know, usually they just kill all their brain cells and crawl into a hole in some building to get buried.” He shakes his head, understandably flustered, but also looking exhausted. “I’ll have some of our guys come out here to clean this poo poo up.” He waves an arm limply at the two bodies. “We should probably keep moving before more of ‘em come by.”

You’ve never seen any of the drifters out here act like this either. You don’t know of anything at the Funnel Tunnel that would flip someone out like that, but its always possible Cope’s lackeys have been messing around with the special sauce.

What do you do? Look around? Continue to the junkyard?

Tricky
Jun 12, 2007

after a great meal i like to lie on the ground and feel like garbage




Sunset
The Battlebabe | Cool+3 | Hard=0 | Hot+1 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 4 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


There's a mix of feelings on Sunset's face as she inspects her handiwork. A cool, dispassionate consideration of the situation. The slight wince of a throbbing headache only getting worse with the roar of her shotgun. The thrill of knowing they're like as not to be heading deeper into the poo poo. But, hell, that's where she thrives. Where most get sucked under and drown, usually in their own blood, she's just skating by across the surface.

Out in the Bleak, things get a helluva lot hairier than a few whacked up druggies... but it ain't her style to get complacent all the same. It'd be pretty hosed up if she lost Dross in some sort of mob situation, right? Might get Cope thinkin' that she's not the best bet for anything that needs doing, which cuts out the pay and then there's some real scary poo poo on the horizon next time her stims come due.

So, while Dross gulps air like he just ran a fuckin' marathon, Sunset keeps her eye on a swivel and slams home a new load of shells. There's a lot to scope, a lot to keep in her field of view, but that's how she does. She says, "Yeah, no doubt. Step lively, though. Anyone out there who ain't friendly knows we're here, so..." She shrugs, leaving the obvious unstated.

Read a Sitch: 2d6+1 9 What should I be on the lookout for?

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


I ambled along easily, enjoying the day. I had my own troubles to worry about but it was nice to set them aside and see, for just a little while, people being people for a change. There was need and vice everywhere but it felt like something had taken the edge off, just a little. Even Jim-Jim butt naked and fighting with Aisel again came off as more comical than tiresome.

As I fell in with Phrish and Dresmick, I gave them a nod and a polite hello. Phrish was still pretending I hadn't caught him skimming off my wind traps and acting like we were pals. Whatever. I could play along - and the next time I caught him on the roof of the Meat Grinder he'd be paying off his debts in The Pit. Didn't matter what the Doe Queen might have to say about it. I made my bones by breaking bones and stealing from me is a great way to learn that lesson first hand.

As they skewed off on their errand and I continued on to Clipper street, I reached back and reassured myself that my cleaver was still firmly strapped down. You never want to take anything for granted out here, even in broad daylight. As I approached the compound and met the guards, my need for wariness was only reinforced. A couple of jumpy idiots I wouldn't trust with anything bigger than a .22 hauling around proper Big Guns. Fuckin' brilliant.

I ran a thumb across my chin as I contemplated Castabout's Way and the gunshot within. Probably be wise to detour around that general area on the way back - just in case. Returning my attention to the guards, I crossed my arms and asumed a relaxed posture. "Yeah, business. I'd like to talk with the Queen about possibly purchasing a couple guard dogs. Is she holding court today?" I put on my best I'm already tired of this poo poo so don't waste my time with any stupid games attitude as I spoke.

Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


A difficultly of being empty is that when something is taken in, it rattles. Bouncing off the sides of my skull without anything in-between to cushion the movement. There are moments where I become lost in the intensity of the vibrations, but mostly I’ve grown used to the sensation, and eventually all will become settled again.

Yet faithfully, I return. I kneel by Lotta’s side, grasping the hair that Blozzel let drop and gently lifting it away from the growing puddle of vomit. “Lotta, if you can hear me, tell me. Where does it hurt? When did it start? Try to get on your knees, it will help.” I tilt my head upwards towards the rest of the group, “Lotta isn’t suffering from poison or a disease.” I consider what I'm going to say next, “Last night there was an incident, and this is the outcome. If she suffers after the purging is complete we may bring her to the Doctor, but being hasty may cause more harm than good.” I spoke calmly, trying to cool down the panic racing through my congregation.

If my suspicions were correct, Lotta was pulled by the chains that bind her to the Past and last night devoured Verity raw. I do not hide the truth from my disciples, that’s why they’re my disciples, but I understand the value of timing.

“Blozzel, head to the kitchen and half-fill the pitcher with water. Marinant, grab a bucket. Two people should be with Lotta at all times. Uricide, take my place, I need to see her face.”

Once they’ve followed my commands I move to the other side of Lotta, inspecting her heaving body.

How many bits of Verity are identifiable in her vomit? Is Verity’s collar visible? Does she still have teeth? Are the convulsions getting worse or clearing as she purges her stomach?

Doing some basic aid to a vomiting person and investigating.

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Edison

The pickup looks like its older than the fossils its fuel came from, but it does a decent enough job of hauling you, Tweezer and Cleft out of the eastern edge of the city. While you and Tweezer took the cabin, Cleft gleefully jumped up into the back of the truck, where he sits quietly throughout the trip, staring agape at the scenery like it was his first time through. The seats are so worn they’re mostly bare metal, and at first you’re bounced around like corn in a hot pot as you clear the last of the city's broken pavement. It feels like riding on a weapon rack. Fortunately, your vehicle soon clears the last of the roads and swerves onto a smoother mixture of dirt, sand and loose pebbles. Unfortunately, the significance of a missing windshield quickly bears relevance as a small stone whips past your face, just narrowly missing your left eye and pinging off the aluminum behind your head. Tweezer strikes a match on the brass skull handle of the stick shift and gives you a sideways grin as he lights up, steering you all towards the big open gate about 200 yards ahead.

Just before you reach the eastern exit from the city, you pass the camp with the statue out front – a blind-folded lady holding a set of scales – and you can’t help but notice two men trying to haul a hooded third person into the lot’s large central tent. The captive struggles, shrugging off one of the men before spinning around, trying to bolt away. However, their arm is held fast by the other man, who leverages it with the momentum, twisting them to the ground. The second man yells something and pulls a handgun, pointing it at the sack covering the pinned person’s head. However, you do not see the results of the scuffle as the pickup quickly puts the lot behind a curve in the road and passes through the gates that stand before the Cut.

Two stoic blue vests look on as they let Strawdog and his bike through ahead of you, hands resting on their belt holsters. Tweezer spits in their direction as the truck passes through, but he gets no reaction. Instead, the guards quickly swing the steel gate shut behind you, and you feel your stomach lurch a bit as you begin the steep series of switchbacks that zig-zags sharply down some 600 feet to ground below. Tweezer hoots and hollers the whole time as he fishtails around the curves, possibly screaming something about going for a new record, but its hard to understand much through the deluge of dirt and pebbles. When the dust settles, you realize you’ve got about a couple pounds of it all over you, and also you’ve somehow made it to the bottom of the Cut alive.

“That was at least two seconds off”, Tweezer shouts back to Cleft before spitting out the obliterated remains of his smoke, along with some dirt. “Your big loving rear end back there made all the difference!”

Before you sprawls the sandy, suburban ruins known as the Big EZ, and on the horizon beyond it you can see the crusty, pale sliver that is the beginning of the Sea of Bones. The path down the hill spits you out at the middle of the western edge of it all. Ahead of you, Strawdog makes a left onto the main dirt road that you know outlines the entire district. Tweezer follows, and for a while you all enjoy a nice breezy cruise along the sand-blasted outskirts. On the way you pass the “Daisy Lane” street sign you know leads to the park.

After a few minutes, you pass a sign bearing a crude painting of two dogs rutting. Underneath, blocky red letters proclaim: “Hyena Hydration Station!!”. Not long after that, your little convoy stops before a long swinging pole that has been extended across the road. It’s been colorfully decorated with human skulls and yellow bandannas. On either side of the road are many jagged spines fixed upon thick metal strips, which have been arrayed in rows for several yards in either direction to deter any off-roaders. Next to the toll-gate is a shack, and before it a table where you can see a handful of Hyenas sitting, playing cards. Lined up along the wall of the shack are large, industrial plastic jugs you know to be full of gas, because this is where everyone comes to fill up.

Strawdog waves a hand and one the “attendants” comes over, unlocks the pole and swings it out of his way. As you pass he notices you and grins broadly, showing off his shiny grill piece and letting loose a few barks as your truck moves through and on down the road. When the station falls into the distance behind you, the realization sets in that you’re now officially in Hyena-only territory. Not even the Blue Dawgs can come this way. Tweezer gives you a glance, as if to gauge whether you register this fact, but says nothing. Instead he hums a low pitched tune under his breath and slaps his palm in time against the window frame that cradles his arm. In the distance ahead you see a tall plume of dark smoke rising into the sky.

You continue the cruise for a few more miles, feeling the full heat of the afternoon build in the cabin. By the time the truck pulls behind Strawdog’s bike into a massive concrete lot, you’re sweating buckets. From the looks of it, you’ve reached the northern-most part of the Big EZ, well beyond where anyone you know has gone. In the distance up ahead (maybe another mile or so), you see the dim silhouette of the Severed Slums. The shapes seem to shift if you continue to stare, though you know them to be buildings, steeped in a perpetual bath of fog and smoke. From here they are closer than you’ve likely ever seen, as the only vantage point from the city is from further back, atop the long, steep slope of Liberty Hill.

At the far end of the lot are the smoldering remains of what must have been a large building or warehouse – the source of that towering column of smoke. Your vehicles continue to move slowly across the lot towards it. Tweezer steers carefully around charred pieces of debris that continue to smoke, as well as a few blackened craters, which stick out like zits erupting from the surface of the pavement. Finally, the truck stops about 50 yards or so from the center of devastation, right in front of a semi-circle of about twenty Hyenas, all bantering loudly and sitting on their motor bikes (and a few on ATVs). In the center of these is some kind of armored super-jeep, with what looks like a turret mounted on top:



“Let’s go, Eddy.” Strawdog hops off his bike and waves you over. He doesn’t smile and you notice the smug tone has faded from his voice. When he calls you over, the group of Hyenas surrounding him falls silent and all eyes are on you.

Then one of the doors of the jeep opens and a shirtless man steps out. His shoulders are about as broad as the door frame, and it looks like he could deflect bullets with his pecs. His outfit doesn’t fall in line with the rest of the gang’s attire. Instead of the cargo shorts he’s wearing what appear to be tanned leather pants – you only know because you’ve seen pictures of such clothing in some of your history books, never in person. Strapped on his back is a composite long bow, and on his hip rests a small hatchet. Around his scalp a headband holds back long black hair, and from it hang two brown feathers with red tips, which you know would have belonged to a dodo-buzzard – a dangerous bird of prey. He strides forward, stopping before the front of the truck and giving you an intense look of appraisal. After a moment he speaks; his voice is deep but softer than you might’ve expected.

“I am Crying Wolf. Are you the one called Edison?”

Infinity Gaia
Feb 27, 2011

a storm is coming...


Edison
The Savvyhead | Cool=0| Hard-1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+2 | Weird+3
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 7 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


The ride is unkind to Edison, who is not as young as he once was. The twisting turns, constant dirt pouring through the lack of a windshield and sweltering heat had pushed him from his usual state of grumpiness into what might be approaching absolute irritation. The sight of their choice of decoration had put him in an even fouler mood. If these murderous mongrels weren't the only source of fuel around he wouldn't have taken the job in any circumstance, but as it stands... He just doesn't have a choice but to take a slow breath before responding to the odd man. A bow, really? In this day and age? Curious. Something about the man's appearance tickles some long forgotten corner of trivia in Edison's brain, but he just can't grasp at it. Oh well. Somewhere deep in the back of his mind, Edison also wonders if he should be feeling any fear at the current situation. He is, afterall, deep in the territory of a pack of ravenous hyenas to a degree that is frighteningly close to literal. But he has long since learned to ignore such instincts. It's not conducive to repairwork, and it doesn't hurt that it allows him to maintain the unflappable if irritable personality that has earned him some small degree of respect from those that seek out his work. Shrugging off a thick layer of dust over the concrete floor, Edison speaks in a low but controlled tone.

"That'd be me. I understand if it's hard to tell due to all the dirt. Let's skip the formalities, shall we? You have something that needs fixed, I have the capacity to fix it. I don't want to spend any longer out here in this sun scorched hellhole than I have to, so the sooner you can point to the pump the sooner we can all walk away happy. I'd also appreciate knowing in truth what the issue is, so that I can actually fix things up right. Your man over there..." Edison nods his head in irritation towards Strawdog "Was extremely vague about the actual situation. And from looking around this place... It looks like I'll have my work cut out for me."

Infinity Gaia fucked around with this message at 00:19 on Jan 2, 2021

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Vulture

The hunched man slowly lowers his weapon and turns from the direction the gunshot came from, having appeared to regain his composure. He shakes his head at your question, “No, she’s not holding court at the moment.” He glances off towards the far end of the compound and squints for a moment before turning back to you. “I think I see her near the tents at the back, but if you’ve a mind to look at our dogs you might also ask brother Rivul at the kennel over there. Haven’t seen him out walking them yet, so you might be able to catch him before he gets going.” He points over to a long concrete structure in the middle of the compound. “He’s the dour-looking guy wearing the shiny shades. And I'm called Tremat.” He doesn’t offer a hand or anything, just makes a slight bow forward from the waist.

“Aww man, those shades are SICK!” The teen adds, kicking a loose rock off the side of the hill. “Heard he pulled ‘em off some dead drooler out by the Funnel. Nulk says I’m not allowed out there yet. Too many weirdos. Oh, uh. I’m Heckle. Knight of the Doe Queen!” He grins, giving you a salute. Then he does an about-face spin and another rock sails off the edge.

Tremat rolls his eyes and moves to the side, giving you room to pass.

What do you do?


Cervinae

Blozzel lets you relieve her with a grateful look. She listens intently before nodding her head fervently and scrambling to her feet, racing off towards the kitchen. Mariant squawks an acknowledgement and runs towards the clothing racks at the edge of the tents, arms flapping purposefully behind him. Uriscide’s eyes narrow, but he follows your command, taking your position behind Lotta. With one fluid motion he scoops up her hair in his single hand and squats next to her, watching her closely.

Now that you’re focusing your attention on a thorough inspection, you can see what appears to be several wet clumps of hair amid the regurgitated contents of Lotta’s stomach. There are also tiny shreds of what looks like gristle, as well as something that looks to be a bit of broken nail or tooth. There’s no sign of a dog collar, but otherwise the gruesome evidence seems to support your theory. When you look at Lotta’s face, her light brown eyes are bloodshot and she’s sweating profusely. Her skin is clammy and paler than usual.

After you speak to her, she seems to gain enough strength to fight back the next heave. Gasping for breath, she steadies herself on trembling arms, and with help manages to rise up to her knees. She looks you in the eyes for a moment, and you see a mixture of pain and emotion mingled there. It’s the first time you’ve seen her bear such raw vulnerability, or anything other than the serene mask of calm that she’s worn since the morning you found her sitting alone in the middle of Clipper Street. It was as if she had been like that all night, in that very spot, quietly waiting for someone, or something. She had been covered in cuts and bruises and the dark stains of soot and blood. She had needed assistance climbing up the steep hill to the compound, where she has stayed since that day, not once leaving. It was clear that something had happened, however, she mentioned nothing of her past, nor of her purpose for being there. It wasn’t until later that day that you noticed the tattoo on the underside of her wrist, but whenever asked about it she could not offer an explanation. It seemed those memories had been stripped before your own intervention through rite.

A few seconds pass as your gaze is coupled with hers, and then tears begin spill from the corners of her eyes. They are filled with gratitude, but behind them you see a tinge of something else: fear. Her mouth opens, thongs of mucus and sick slobber dripping down to the puddle beneath her. You notice her teeth appear to be undamaged, but the enamel is colored with a reddish film. Her voice is feeble, but the terror driving her words out is potent:

"I saw it… I saw…it will…swallow everyth-"*hurk*

She lurches over her knees to wretch again, and Mariant appears around the same time with a bucket. He holds it before you while Lotta continues to bring up chunks beside him, tilting his masked head from left to right, right to left. “Buck, buck?”

Blozzel arrives with the pitcher a moment later. “Here you go! What’s wrong with her? What happened?”

Uriscide looks on grimly, saying nothing. A few more members of your court have taken notice of the scene and have begun to wander over from their morning tasks.

What do you do? Your rite has never failed before… what might have caused this? Are there additional measures that may be taken to wipe the past away? Or is this how it should be?



Sunset

“No poo poo. Got it – I ain’t even blinking.” Dross heeds your advice, taking a moment to peel the pipe from the dead kid’s grip. He holds it out in front of him in a defensive stance before continuing on down the road. As he walks, he spins around every few steps, trying frantically to look in every direction at once.

You scan the surrounding streets and ruins coolly, as if you were spotting for weeds to pluck from a garden. You see nothing else stirring, no vagrants or anything else for that matter. All you are left with is the eerie stillness that is typical of this creepy-rear end area. After a few seconds of silent concentration, you think you hear the distant cackle of a dodo-buzzard coming from somewhere above the smoky haze overhead.

“You coming?”, Dross calls back, already about 15 yards down the road. He’s definitely picked up the pace. “‘Cuz I’m not stopping. gently caress this place.”

What do you do?

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


Bunch of weird assholes. I don't trust a person that won't shake hands, and when did bowing start coming back into vogue? Too much time out in this sun, brains shriveling up like a plate of fried mushrooms. Speaking of, it was feeling like a scorcher today. The air felt heavy around me - a physical weight on my chest as I drew breath. Like the days when I was healing up a busted rib and had a bandage wrap to keep things in place. Kind of a reassuring weight when it wasn't accompanied by stabbing pain.

Stupid of me to think like that, of course. Hot days are dangerous days. Tempers get short, the insects get bold, and you start seeing...things, in the corner of your eyes. If someone were inclined to map it out, I'd wager all the nastiest violence in Ashfell happened when the Sun really put the boot down on us from on high. I shook my head to dispel the musings and gave a so-long sort of wave to the guards. It was a problem I had sometimes, getting lost in my thoughts in the middle of something else. One of my opponents back in the day probably jarred some wires loose in my brain with righteous haymaker. They just weren't loose the way a lot of people's were loose. Certainly not the way this merry band of meatheads brains were loose.

"I'll pay my respects to the Queen, thanks."

I saunter in, ignoring the locals and keeping an amiable psuedosmile plastered on my face. It's not that I disliked the folks out this way, but they were by and large desperate people. Desperate people were apt to do something stupid to a person who wasn't part of the local color and it wouldn't do my any favors to have to explain why I lopped some grabby rear end in a top hat's arm off. Then again, explaining that the bastard was screaming about eating the spiders in my bones as he tried to peel my face off might be understood as self defense better then it would be in more "civilized' parts of the city.

As I approached the tents Tremat had indicated, a familiar horrible stench tickled my nostrils. Someone was definitely unloading the last several meals they'd had from here to the horizon. One of my least favorite parts of running the 'Grinder was dealing with the vomit and the unspeakably nasty poo poo inside that vomit.

Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


I place my hand on Lotta’s shoulder and stay knelt by her side. It's a small measure of comfort for the retching woman. “Shhhh.” I softly quiet her, “There’s no need. The day is early, we can speak later, focus on getting it out now.” What had happened last night was increasingly obvious, but the how and the why remained obscure. I met Lotta’s gaze. It was a pure look, raw, seeping in it’s sincerity.

Mania and hunger can be suppressed. Beliefs and convictions can be grasped by the root and ripped away. Even madness can be drained, tempered, refined, put to use. Was I hoping to see something like that in her eyes? Instead she showed nothing but affection for her savior and fear of the night, My heart fluttered, with those eyes she had done what she done.

I may need to kill her.

“It’s going to be okay.” I whisper, tightening my hand on Lotta’s shoulder ever so slightly. Then I look up towards the gathering crowd, “Blozzel, quiet.” Snappy, I admit. My intent was to frighten her, but I soften my voice on the follow through, “All will be known shortly, but now isn’t the time for questions.” I pause, letting the reproach sink in for just a moment, “Good job bringing the water. Once she stops retching for at least twenty seconds give her small sips." I stand. At this point, the court could take care of it’s own.

When I first laid hands upon Lotta I saw her path lead her to this compound, tender and tending. She was a thoroughly chewed soul with nothing to hold on to except pain. Grasping the hand of oblivion was simple for her, and so she took place among us easily. So, why now do I see her covered in the viscera of our beloved Verity? I am too hollow to be perfect, but my intuition is rarely so skewed. A question plays behind my eyes – what reached out to us last night, and how can I cut off it’s hand?

As the carrion rots there will be, always, circling above, flapping...

Motion catches my eye. Someone approaching, not of the court, a stranger, no – I know him. “We have a guest. The three of you, stay with Lotta – pass food duty to the others.” With those orders I walk away from the group. “Vulture.” I say as step within earshot. There is nothing to be gained by acknowledging the growing pile of bloody vomit behind me, so I don’t.

It’s rare to see Vulture so far from the Meat Grinder, but I’m sure my curiosity will be sated shortly. The next words are easy, all paths in this domain lead to the Queen, “Welcome to the Pen. Let’s talk inside.”

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Vulture
The Maestro D' | Cool=0| Hard+1 | Hot+2 | Sharp+1 | Weird-1
XP: 0/5 | Barter: 2 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


At my name, I inclined my head to her a bit. "Ma'am." My eyes involuntarily flicked over to the scene Cervinae was walking away from and it took an act of will to tear them back. Whatever was happening over there didn't concern me. And if it did, I'd be informed. I didn't get out to this part of Ashfell much, but it was a universal truism no matter where you were: mind your own fuckin' business. A barman like me has a lot of business to mind that most people don't, but this definitely wasn't among it.

"Looks I might have caught you at a bad time. If you need an Angel, I can put the word out." I kept my tone casual and didn't press any more than that. "Inside sounds good. Feels like one of those days where I'll be pouring sweat out of my boots by the end of it no matter what. No sense starting early."

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Edison

Crying Wolf listens solemnly as you speak. When you finish, he simply extends an arm towards the direction of the demolished building in a beckoning gesture. Immediately the crowd of Hyenas parts before him, making a generous amount of room as you pass through.

As you walk down the distance between the truck and the scene of destruction, you notice another truck start to pull away from it in the opposite direction. The grinding sounds of steel scraped over concrete accompany the determined revving of its engine as it chugs forward, dragging behind it a large chunk of twisted metal held by a mesh of chains. Beyond it, on the opposite edge of the lot lie a few collections of similar pieces of wreckage, lined up haphazardly together like some sort of savage art exhibit. It would seem the Hyenas have spent at least most of the morning and early afternoon trying to clear up space in and around the building. Directly ahead of you, two thick, steel doors remain standing in the framework around them – ironically one of the only recognizable features that has remained intact

Crying Wolf doesn’t speak until you’re but a few feet from the doors. “Understand that you may be wary of our silence. I promise our intentions are honest. In this matter, secrecy is vital to our prosperity. A prosperity that we have shared in trade with your city on the hill. Some call this a ‘delicate arrangement’. Hyenas not trusted, nor do we trust easily. We keep to our own territories, mind our mechanical flock. However…”

He stops before the doors and looks into your eyes. His are unwavering and expressionless. A curiously still moment passes.

“Hyenas trust you, Edison. You are anagalyski. Close to the metal. Your livelihood depends on your machines, so you respect them. More than that, you listen to them.” He turns away from you and towards the doors. He places a hand upon the smooth, heat-tinted surface and holds it there. “Do you feel them? Listening as well.” He moves forward, pushing the door, which swings easily open, as if it had a fully intact building behind it.

He continues on through the building, picking his way carefully around various articles of debris. Glass occasionally crunches underfoot, unseen beneath a blanket of ash. Around you stands a broken forest of bent and collapsed girders, which might have been supports of some kind. Otherwise, the surrounding wreckage is unrecognizable.

“Here.” Crying Wolf stops before a raised concrete platform that occupies a significant amount of space at the center of everything. The stone is almost completely pitch black with layer upon layer of scorch marks. “Do not worry. There is no longer any fuel to catch fire.”

When you get a closer look at the platform, you notice six large holes (each about 10 feet apart in a hexagonal shape), and several deep gouges leading away from them. It’s obvious that something big was mounted here, but whatever it was has since been moved away. In the middle of the holes there is a six foot recess, and at the bottom of that is an open hole.

“Down there you will find a hatch. We need you to open this hatch. We know that it will open, but we do not know how. Before that, we need you to swear that you will tell no one of what you see here. If you agree we will discuss your payment immediately.”

As he speaks, his eyes never leave the hole below.

What do you do?

suicide4sexbots
Jul 24, 2015

take me down to the devil
i'm not afraid of a lil sin
to burn, i pray
these dead, dead days
and poison my sorrow
till it slips away


College Slice

Sunset

The rest of the trip through Castabout’s Way proved uneventful, even quieter than usual. On a typical day’s walk through the ruins you would expect to see the occasional group of wastrels huddled over a pipe, or the odd stray drifter looking for a spot to shelter in before the evening, or maybe some of the junkyard crew out on a break just shooting poo poo up for fun. But after your run-in with the crazed kid, you didn’t see a single soul around. However, as you approach the towering palisade of steel poles and barbed fencing that surrounds Trashland Heights, you observe one potential reason for the empty streets – and its flying right towards you.

As you round the corner that leads to the junkyard gates, Dross is in the middle of taking one long, last look over his shoulder. “I dunno, Sunset. It’s loving weird out here today. Like something’s up, or…”

Unfortunately, he’s unable to finish the sentence, having crucially missed the sight of a fully-grown man sailing through the air towards him. And consequently having the wind forcefully expelled from his lungs.

The incoming missile sounds something like this: “aaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHH SHHHIIIIT!!

You watch as Dross is instantly bodied right in front of you and knocked off his feet again. Upon collision, the two men fold together in a kind of crumpled ball of limbs, legs and elbows before literally bouncing off of the ground and rolling away together, just narrowly missing you. You hear a disturbing *snap* on the second bounce, Dross’s agonized cry on the third, then they finally split apart and skid a few feet in the dirt before stopping about a dozen feet to your right.

FFFFUUUUUUCCCCKKK!!!!” Dross manages to exclaim before grabbing his right thigh and curling himself into a ball on the ground. Then he starts rocking back and forth, hollering unintelligibly in what you can only imagine is a great deal of pain.

The skinny man lying next to him is covered in dirt and wearing nothing but a loincloth, a helmet with a spike on top, and the number “3” painted on his chest in a bright, neon green. His slackened expression and sluggish movements suggest that he is dazed or stunned, but as you watch he manages to slowly raise himself up to his knees. If bruises and scratches were art, then his body would be a well-used canvas; but otherwise he seems unharmed. He looks at the pitiful writhing mass that is Dross, then turns to look up at you. You watch as his face lights up with an ecstatic smile and his arms shoot two clinched fists high up into the air.

“Holy poo poo… I did it! I made it across the flats!!” He turns back towards the direction he flew from and leaps to his feet, shrieking with joy. “I DID IT!! SKID, WE DID IT!!”

Suddenly the sounds of a crowd cheering wildly erupt from across the street ahead of you. The street runs in front of the junkyard entrance, and on the other side of it is a wide open, flat dirt field. Whenever it rains the whole thing becomes a mucky quagmire for days, hence most local people have taken to calling it “The Mudflats”. No one had much use for the place until a few months ago, when this crazy bastard calling himself “Skid” showed up out of the blue. He built this massive slingshot out there and started recruiting folks from the Funnel Tunnel to assist him (as ammunition). Over the course of several weeks, he continuously built onto the slingshot, making it bigger and stronger, and before long he could launch his “Sky Darts” pretty drat far across the field. Naturally, not all of them were able to walk back afterwards, but it was certainly an amusing sight. Eventually he grew a sizable following of wasters and junk rats that crowded around the field to watch Skid and his strange troupe’s perpetual endeavor to push beyond their limits, cheering each incremental gain, and laughing at the inevitable disasters that followed. Preem entertainment for this side of Ashfell.

You know all of this due to your occasional trips through the area, so the sight of the crowd surrounding the giant human slingshot across the way probably isn’t surprising. However, the fact that they’ve now managed to launch someone all the way across the flats, and the street as well, is news.

“Skid (from across the field)” posted:

“gently caress YEAH, THREE! HORSE BE PRAISED!! YOU’RE A loving LEGEND, DUDE!”

--WHEEE--

Skid’s beloved megaphone emits its signature squeal of feedback as the crowd across the field continues to go nuts. ‘Three’ continues hooting as well, throwing in a few fist pumps and hip thrusts for good measure.

“I’m gonna loving KILL YOU SHITHEADS!!” Dross manages to howl, still rolling on his back and holding his leg, likely unable to rise from the dirt.

“Oh, Dude! Dross!” Three looks down in surprise at the crippled man he struck, as if remembering he was there. “Sorry about that, man. We didn’t see you coming around the corner, and like… I can’t really hit the brakes en route. Ya know? You need any help, dude?”

“gently caress YOU!!” Dross replies, somehow fully screaming through gritted teeth. But before he can continue to rant, the sound of another amplified voice is projected harshly into your eardrums.

”Cope (from the junkyard’s intercom)” posted:

“WHAT THE HOARY HELL IS GOIN ON OUT THERE?!”

Cope’s voice barks out from an intercom speaker attached to one of the fence poles nearby.

What do you do?

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Scrree
Jan 15, 2008

the history of all dead generations,

Cervinae
The Hocus | Cool=0 | Hard+1 | Hot-1 | Sharp+1 | Weird+2
XP: 1/5 | Barter: 6 | Armor: 1 | Harm: 0:00


I let the smallest smile show at Vulture’s concern. Hospitable even when he’s the guest, it’s no surprise he’s made it as far as he has, “Thank you. As of now, I don’t believe that’ll be necessary.” I make a small motion for him to follow and head towards the compound.

The building was nothing but a ruin for a long, long time. In many ways, it still is, but the residence of my court has brought a number of repairs and renovations. The most striking is the main entrance. When I first arrived it was a refuse filled pit, the walls gouged out, the ceiling buckling over it’s own dead weight. Time and labor had transformed the space into something almost quaint. The floors were bare but clean, and the ugly but steady looking tables that scattered the space made it obvious that this was a place where people stopped, took a seat, chatted, read, ate, daydreamed, existed, and moved through. The walls were--



We come to a door at the end of a hallway. I pull out a key, unlock it, and step in. The room is simple, nearly bare, completely unlike the kaleidoscope aesthetics we just walked through. There is a firm table, a few chairs, a few cups, and a ceramic pitcher. Light streams in through a window, criss-crossed with thin but sturdy looking iron bars, that looks out to Castabout’s Way.

I pull out a chair for Vulture, pour a drink for both of us (cool water, nearly clear, with a very faint hint of mint), and take a seat opposite him. "What brings you to the Pen?"

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