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File 144251892357.png - (73.28KB , 800x600 , qr1.png )
670173 No. 670173 ID: 3bc92d

The Metamyriad: Quantum Refraction is an alternative version of The Metamyriad. Although certain story events and characters may be shared between both quests, neither story is canon in regards to the other.
Expand all images
No. 670175 ID: 3bc92d
File 144251896793.png - (108.86KB , 800x600 , qr2.png )

“Hey, Wister!” Orchid raps her gloved fingers on the doorframe.

Wisteria Wilton looks up. “Huh? What is it, Orc?”

“Can you take out the trash? Dad wanted us to do that before he gets home.”

“Um… could you do it? I’ve had a really nasty headache all day.”

“No way, dude. I did it last time.”

“Come on, Orc. Please?

“Nope. It’s your turn, man. Go on, get to it.”
No. 670177 ID: 3bc92d
File 144251902866.png - (38.00KB , 800x600 , qr3.png )

Wisteria grumbles to himself as he hauls the garbage bag out to the trash bin. “Argh. Stupid Orc. Stupid trash. Stupid wrong-sex body. Stupid useless breasts. Stupid headache. Fuck everything.”
No. 670178 ID: 3bc92d
File 144251911686.png - (46.78KB , 800x600 , qr4.png )

“Ow! Shit!” Wisteria winces, rubbing his temples. “Why is it still getting worse? I already took aspirin…” Suddenly, he freezes, his body shaking involuntarily. “What the hell?!” His body parts jerk around violently, almost flailing. “Wh-what is this?!” His neck sharply folds backwards, turning his face upwards towards the sky. His eyes start to vibrate wildly inside his skull, and he begins to scream. “Fuck! Fuck! Someone help me! Orchid! Anyone! I don’t know what’s happening to me! Help me! Please help m-!

Abruptly, his shrieking stops. His jaw hangs open, and his body goes still. His unfocused gaze stares into nothing. For a short while, Wisteria’s eyes are completely vacant. But then they blink.

The vacancy has been filled.
No. 670179 ID: 2ccbb3

So, is this basically a gaiden where we suggest whatever the hell we want while the Metamyriad is in repair mode?

plz say yes.
No. 670180 ID: cab7d6

The first thing to do in someone else's body is GET WASTED. WOOO
No. 670181 ID: 3bc92d
File 144251919708.png - (50.77KB , 800x600 , qr5.png )

I shiver slightly. I feel a wave of nausea, and my skin is numb. I come very close to falling over, and I struggle to regain my balance. I notice that, strangely, my mouth is hanging open, so I close it.

I continue to blink. Everything still seems too bright, and I can’t quite see yet.

…Did it work?
No. 670182 ID: e114bc

Yep. Wish granted, alt-wister.
No. 670183 ID: 99cfa8

Examine knockers.
No. 670188 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252098188.png - (35.15KB , 800x600 , qr6.png )

>Yep. Wish granted, alt-wister.

I look down, letting my jacket slide off slightly. I blink again, and I finally regain some of my vision.

It worked.

Holy shit.

It worked!

>Examine knockers.

Oh my god! They’re perfect! It’s all perfect! I can’t believe it! I’m a girl!

This - this is like a dream! I mean, I always used to dream about things like this, but - but this is real!

Laughter starts bubbling up from inside me. I can’t help it. I’m just so happy!
No. 670189 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252106457.png - (31.53KB , 800x600 , qr7.png )

I hear a chuckle from behind me, and I turn to look.

“I see you're enjoying yourself.” Silvio smiles. “Is everything as you wanted it? Do you have any questions?”
No. 670190 ID: 89941a

Can we make these bigger?
No. 670194 ID: 2ccbb3

Proceed to punch Silvio in the face.

Belch while doing so.
No. 670209 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252444847.png - (66.50KB , 800x600 , qr8.png )

>Proceed to punch Silvio in the face.

Why would I try to hurt Silvio? He granted my wish perfectly. I’m a girl! This is so awesome! I’m a girl!

I walk up to him, still struggling to stand on my new legs. I gesture at my breasts. “Can I make these bigger?”

Silvio laughs. “You can do whatever you’d like with them. They’re yours, now. Unless you were talking about wishing them bigger, in which case you’re getting ahead of yourself. You haven’t even paid the price for your first wish, yet.”

“There’s a price? You never said anything about a price.”

“Of course there’s a price. What, did you think I would help a stranger like you out of pure charity? Absolutely not. Everything has a price.”
No. 670212 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252452839.png - (35.82KB , 800x600 , qr9.png )

“I guess that makes sense…” I nod hesitantly. “I just don’t understand what I could possibly give you that you wouldn’t be able to get for yourself. Like, what kind of payment do you want?”


“Oh? What, do you want me to dance for you? I don’t think I’m mobile enough with this body to do that, yet.”

“No, no, nothing quite like that. What I want is very simple, actually.” Silvio’s grin grows wide, and his eyes narrow slightly. “The day after tomorrow, you will choose someone that you love dearly, who loves you in turn. A family member, a close friend, someone like that. You will bring that person to me. Then, when I give the word, you will look your loved one in the eyes, and, while I watch, you will kill them.”

No. 670213 ID: 2ccbb3

NOW will you punch him in the face?!
No. 670214 ID: defceb

No way brah
No. 670215 ID: 0fc976

You tell me to jump, I ask how high. You tell me to kill my loved ones, I ask how many!
No. 670216 ID: 869c77

Well, time to return this wish. It's defective.

If that's not an option, I'm thinking killing yourself would be preferable, right? Hell, you can even spin it in a new way. You love your new body, right? Well, look in a mirror and do the deed. Better than slaughtering somebody else.
No. 670219 ID: bd9fca

This is why you get the price before you buy.
No. 670221 ID: defceb

I just realized he's probably going to say he can't undo the wish or something and still expect payment SO

It has be someone that cares so Ikram is safe.

uh... Orchid, maybe?

Also will we have to hide the body ourselves or
No. 670222 ID: 67d5dc

Does he count? I mean, he did kinda give the best gift you'd ever been given. We certainly loved him prior to that price thingy

And hey, suggesting it might make him laugh!
No. 670223 ID: 149da0

So... different wish physics? This time it relies on universe hopping?

>Then, when I give the word, you will look your loved one in the eyes, and, while I watch, you will kill them.
Um, no? No I won't. The whole point of this wish was so I could stop hating myself and contemplating suicide. If I murder someone I love on a whim I'm right back where I started. So no.
No. 670225 ID: e114bc

No. 670230 ID: 0fc976

Hey, what if I wish to swap universes, again, kill three loved ones there, then swap back to this one? That'd be paid in full, right?
No. 670237 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252858524.png - (42.71KB , 800x600 , qr10.png )

“What?! No! I won’t!”

“You will. That’s the price you’re going to pay.”

“Take back the wish, then!”

“It doesn’t work like that, Wisteria.”

“This is insane. You’re insane! I won’t do anything for you!” I take a swing at him. He sidesteps neatly, and I feel a nasty blow to the back of my head. The next thing I know, I’m on my knees. Silvio has one hand over my mouth and the other hand gripping my wrists together. I try struggle, but his grip is like iron.

“A woman’s body is such a handicap, isn’t it, dear?” He chuckles. From the tone of his voice, he doesn’t even seem to be exerting any effort. “Silly girl. Did I imply you had any choice in this? No. Still, I suppose you do have a certain form of agency. You can deny me my payment, and I will show you hell.” He grips my wrists so tight that the pain makes me start to cry. “You do know of hell, don’t you? That mythical place of eternal suffering and fire, used to compel the weak-minded to follow arcane dogma? I know a world very like hell, though it is far, far worse than anything out of a bible. It would take less than a minute for me to send you there, as well as everyone else you have ever loved.” He laughs. “I think I’ll leave you with that thought, Wisteria. I’ll see you the day after tomorrow. Until then? Enjoy your newfound womanhood.”
No. 670240 ID: 3bc92d
File 144252862066.png - (37.00KB , 800x600 , qr11.png )

He vanishes, and I collapse, sobbing.

“Wister?” I hear a familiar voice call out to me. “Are you okay? I thought I heard yelling.”

“O-Orchid?” I mumble, hiccuping through tears.

My sister rushes over once she sees me. “Oh, shit, Wister, what happened?! What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
No. 670242 ID: defceb

Quick, off her now and throw her body in with the trash. Then, gather your belongings and run away to Chile. You might run into problems at the Panama Canal but I'm sure we'll figure something out before then.
No. 670243 ID: e114bc

Tell her you made a deal with the devil.

Consider living these two days of your life to the fullest, then killing yourself when he comes to collect.
No. 670244 ID: 2ccbb3

He's PLAYING with you.

You know he'll send them to planet heck anyway. He's not infinite, and he's using you for a greater goal. Plan out your strategy and find some way to take him out. You've just done the impossible

so shut the @#$% up and do it again.

Make sure that he and his @#$%ed-up planet SUFFER until he redeems himself.
No. 670246 ID: 149da0

Haha, that's great. She remembers the alt trans-male version of you that used to be trapped in that body before you swapped (at least, I hope you swapped. And you didn't overwrite / kill him and leave an empty corpse for your family to find in your home dimension). You get to be a woman, but everyone who loved you here thinks you're supposed to be a man. You just inverted your problem.

Curl up into a ball and cry like a crazy person.
No. 670247 ID: 0fc976

His threats are kinda pointless. If he's the avatar of the entire universe's power, then it's not like you could stop him if he wanted to send you to a hellscape. Go ahead, this universe is a cold uncaring place! Might as well get it over with now!
No. 670248 ID: 869c77

Suicide seems like the most appropriate option, because I seriously doubt you want to kill anybody, let alone any of your loved ones.

It's unlikely you'll get out of this without explaining the situation to your sister, but for the love of all you hold dear, don't tell her what is actually being demanded of you. She might do something stupid like try to help or even offer herself up.

Honestly, at the end of the day, none of this matters. If you do the deed, you'll probably commit suicide later anyway, so you might as well do it beforehand and hope the situation bores him enough to leave your family be.
No. 670250 ID: 3bc92d
File 144253280890.png - (61.77KB , 800x600 , qr12.png )

>Consider living these two days of your life to the fullest, then killing yourself when he comes to collect.
>Suicide seems like the most appropriate option

But… I don’t want to die.

“I m-made a deal with the devil, Orc.” I sniffle. “I’m so stupid. I’m so fucking stupid!

“Hey, hey, shh. I don’t know what happened, but you’re not stupid.” Orchid helps me up. When I stumble slightly, she curls an arm around my back and lets me lean on her. “You want proof? Look at your friggin’ GPA. It’s, like, a full point higher than mine, so if you’re stupid, then what does that make me?” She gives me a hug. “You’re my brother, Wister, and I love you.”

…Brother? Oh. This version of me must have been a transgender guy. I guess he’s in my old body, now. I did leave a note behind to explain what happened, but, still, he must be really scared and confused at the moment. I hope he can forgive me.

>It's unlikely you'll get out of this without explaining the situation to your sister

I don’t know what to tell her. I don’t even know how to tell her that I’m not a guy.
No. 670252 ID: 149da0

>he must be really scared and confused at the moment. I hope he can forgive me.
Or worse, since Silvio can appear and tell him he granted his wish and demand payment on his end too.

>I don’t know what to tell her. I don’t even know how to tell her that I’m not a guy.
Tell her the truth. You made a wish, what the wish was, and now your genie turns out to be a jerk.
No. 670258 ID: e114bc

Tell her the wish was for you to not be transgender anymore. Now you're a girl.

>But… I don’t want to die.
You have two days to figure out what to do. A possible plan is to have both you and your sister armed to the teeth when the time comes for you to "kill" her, but instead the two of you gang up on Silvio. He said it would take "less than a minute" to send you and your loved ones to hell. That's plenty of time to kill him before the transfer completes.
No. 670260 ID: defceb

Shank her now and get it over with. Then figure out what we can do to hide the body.
No. 670358 ID: 3bc92d
File 144259133511.png - (44.96KB , 800x600 , qr13.png )

I do my best to calm down and push back the tears. “Okay, um… Orc, I need to tell you something.”

Orchid leads me into my room. “You can tell me anything, Wister. You know that.”

“Even if it sounds a little crazy? Or, like, a lot crazy?”

“I said ‘anything’, didn’t I?”

“Right. Just… don’t talk too much until I’m done, okay?”

She nods, flouncing onto my bed. “Okay.”

I sit down in my computer chair. “So, um… You know about the concept of alternative universes, right?”

“Is that like that whatever-theory you and dad nerd out over?”

“M-theory? Uh… sort of? That’s more about unified string theory, but it does revolve around multi-dimensional concepts. Still, this is different. Like, many worlds stuff.” I scratch my neck nervously. “The basic idea is that, due to quantum physics, everything that could have happened did happen, but in alternative universes, and everything that can happen will happen, but in other realities.”

“Wait, other universes exist?”

“I mean… it’s officially only a certain interpretation of quantum mechanics, but… yeah. It’s true.” I take a deep breathe and exhale slowly. “There are a near-infinite amount of other near-identical universes. I know for a fact that there are, because I’m from one.”

Orchid blinks. “Um.”

“Orc, until a few minutes ago, I was in a different body, on a different world. You were there with me, but it was a different you. I think this world is more or less the same, except that I was a transgender girl in my old world. See, one day, out of the blue, a man from another world came up to me and offered to grant me one wish. I don’t really know how it works, but he has a way to switch people around with alternative versions of themselves. He asked me what I wanted, and I told him that I wanted to switch into a me that had been born a girl.” I gesture at myself. “So. Here I am.”
No. 670359 ID: 3bc92d
File 144259147626.png - (61.26KB , 800x600 , qr14.png )

Orchid stares at me for a while. “…are you saying that you’re not my brother?”

“Well, no... I mean, I am your brother, but I’m not, at the same time. I’m your sister.

“You’re a girl again? Wister, if this is because of Mom…”

“It’s not because of Mom. It’s because of me. I switched into this body because I wanted to have a female body. I think your Wisteria would have done the same thing for a male body, right?”

“Don’t say ‘your Wisteria’ like that. You’re my Wisteria, aren’t you?” Orchid looks uncomfortable. “But, no… if what you’re saying is true, then my brother is in a different universe?”

“Yes, in my old body.”

“Can I talk to him?”

“Um… I’m not sure. That man I mentioned is the only way I was able to travel here at all. I wouldn’t know how to get back, or how to talk to the original Wisteria from this universe.” I bite my lip, fighting the urge to cry. “Everything’s gone wrong, Orc. The man who put me in this body told me I have to k-kill someone that I love. He says it’s his ‘price’. I don’t know what to do.”

“Uh… whoa.” Orchid looks a little scared. “Wister, you’re not planning on hurting anyone, are you?”

Something about the way she says that makes me hesitate. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

She shakes her head. “Sorry, man, but no. Maybe it’s because you and Dad are starting to rub off on me, but I kind of want some evidence before I start believing in this sort of science-fiction stuff.” She raises an eyebrow. “I mean, come on, do you actually have any proof?"
No. 670360 ID: 2a7417

We have no evidence to show for it. And neither will the police.
No. 670361 ID: defceb

She doesn't believe you. Kill her before she talks to the feds.
No. 670366 ID: 2ccbb3

This is the part where you pork your sister, NOT MURDER HER.
No. 670371 ID: 2f4b71

It's kind of hard to prove. Any shared-knowledge tests would be the exact opposite of what we need. No external physical changes.
Maybe something that 'her' Wister was extremely averse to? Would probably need to mix it in with some made-up aversions and try all of the to prevent guesswork. Sounds like something Dad would be great at making up a test protocol for, it if weren't something that would immediately freak him out.
No. 670383 ID: 7a6915

Gross, and Wisteria doesn't even have a pork-sword to use for that, so try again.

We've got a much more important thing to do than answer questions of identity: Find, seduce and give your heart to the biggest scumbag you can so that at least you're doing as little damage as possible when you sacrifice that loved one.
No. 670385 ID: 3bc92d
File 144261010175.png - (56.08KB , 800x600 , qr15.png )

>She doesn't believe you. Kill her
>Shank her now and get it over with.

My heart beats quickly. Should I…? No. No! I don’t have to do anything like that! Not until the day after tomorrow. Besides, Silvio said he wanted to watch me do it.

I swallow air. Am I really considering killing my twin sister?

“I… no. I don’t have any evidence. But it’s the truth, Orc. I’m from a different universe.”

“So you’re asking me to believe this on pure faith?”

“I don’t know what else I can do.” I shrug. “I left everything behind on my world, and anything I tell you could be made-up. Silvio - the man who can switch people around - he’s the only one who physically travels. But he’s a m-monster. I wouldn’t want you near him even if I could show you.”

“Well… I don’t know what I could do even if I did believe you.” Orchid scratches her head, looking uncomfortable. “You and Dad are the smart ones, not me. Plus, I’m tiny, so I can’t fight well or anything. All I’ve really got going for me is my music, and I seriously doubt that being able to play guitar and sing Bad Reputation will help much when it comes to quantum physics or traveling between universes or whatever.” She laughs nervously.
No. 670386 ID: 3bc92d
File 144261016039.png - (38.32KB , 800x600 , qr16.png )

“Hey, don’t put yourself down, Orc. You’ve helped me out a lot.” I do my best to smile. “Honestly, after that thing with Tyler… I’m not sure I could have kept on going without you supporting me.”

Orchid looks me in the eye. “What thing with Tyler?”

“…uh? What thing do you think I mean? I’m talking about back when he outed me, and, um…” I pull my hair aside and gesture at my broken eye. “Don’t you remember?”

“Yeah, I remember, but…” Orchid tilts her head, looking confused. “Dude, your ex was the one who did that.”

I blink. “Raven did this?”

“What? No, I’m talking about Chad.” Orchid seems very concerned. “…are you okay, Wister?”

“Wait, this me had a boyfriend?” I wrinkle my nose. “A boyfriend named Chad?!
No. 670387 ID: 3bc92d
File 144261021391.png - (46.11KB , 800x600 , qr17.png )

Orchid’s eyes widen. After a moment, she stands. “…okay, um…” She gives me a very shaky smile. “I’m going to go call Dad, okay? Don’t - don't go anywhere.” She starts slowly sidling towards the door.
No. 670388 ID: defceb

He was probably a douche. Kill him after you're done with Orchid. Done killing her, I mean. You're pretty bad at that so far.
No. 670389 ID: 2ccbb3

If you were truly powerless, nobody would blame you for going insane. Do you honestly believe that Silvio is the strongest being in the multiverse? There's likely an endless supply of tyrants, self-righteous fools, quacks with more power and sadism.

Which means you still have a fighting chance.
No. 670390 ID: 52a564

hastily try to stop her from running off and, in doing so, accidentally knock her out
No. 670391 ID: 149da0

>I mean, come on, do you actually have any proof?
All that changed is information in your head. Technically, you can't even prove to another person you're sapient and not a robot faking it. There's literally no way to prove what's inside ones own head to another rigorously.

>I swallow air. Am I really considering killing my twin sister?
No... you were considering killing the alternate universe nearly identical copy of your twin sister. (Which you still shouldn't do, by the way. Stop panicking).

There's some weird semantics on if she technically is your sister. Genetically, every Orcid out there is your sister. Unique count wise, she's not. Shared past and history wise... she's maybe 80-90% your sister? Or something like that. There's a bit of a judgement call, there.

Please don't look at me like I'm crazy or dangerous. ...I don't know how I'm supposed to cope if you hate me.
No. 670482 ID: 3bc92d
File 144263919886.png - (84.25KB , 800x600 , qr18.png )

>hastily try to stop her from running off

I stand up and move towards her. Orchid turns, ready to bolt.

I lunge forward and grab her by the wrists.

“Stop it!” She tries her best to pull away from my grip. “Let me go!”

“Orchid, you can’t tell Dad. You know he’d freak out.”

I’m freaking out!” She struggles desperately. “You’re talking about killing people and switching bodies and different universes!” Orchid begins to cry. “You’re scaring me, Wister!”

“But… it’s the truth.” I can’t meet her eyes. “Stop it. Stop looking at me like that. I’m not crazy or dangerous. Please don’t think that I am. I couldn’t - I couldn’t cope with you hating me, Orchid.”

“Then let me go.” She stops fighting, letting her arms go limp in my hands. “Please. It hurts.
No. 670485 ID: 149da0

You're terrifying tiny sister.

Let her go, collapse and start mumbling sorries and trying not to cry.
No. 670487 ID: 2ccbb3

Do NOT "accidentally" strangle or bash your sister to death!

Let Orchid go and RUN.
No. 670490 ID: 055bb1

DO "accidentally" strangle her. The secret must stay safe!
No. 670498 ID: 8060d4

You should step back and see what you're doing. Don't freak out what you did, it was instinct. Just calm down, take deep breaths and remember to not let fear control you because that's what it's doing right now.
No. 670501 ID: e114bc

No. 670503 ID: 3bc92d
File 144264677735.png - (37.79KB , 800x600 , qr19.png )

>You should step back and see what you're doing.

I look down at Orchid, her thin arms trembling in my grip. “I - I didn’t mean to…” I let her go.

Orchid shakily stands, breathing heavily, and then she turns around and runs out the door, still sobbing.

“Hey, Orc, come on, please don’t -“ I call after her from the doorway. “Orchid, I’m sorry!” A second later, I hear her slam the door to her own room.

Shit. What am I supposed to do now?
No. 670504 ID: e114bc

Investigate your own room. Get some indication of what your new life will be like.
No. 670507 ID: fe16df

Find a weapon then break down Orchid's door. C'mon, Silvio expects SOMEONE to die and she isn't about to kill herself (As far as we know.).
No. 670513 ID: a107fd

You said you can't understand what you could give Silvio that he couldn't just get for himself. Think about the implications. Silvio gave you this body, but now he's asking for something in return, which probably means granting wishes costs him something that this murder-your-loved-ones ritual is necessary to replenish.

He threatened to send you and everyone you love to hell... but only threatened, rather than giving you a taste at the first sign of noncompliance. That means sending people to hell either costs him something, or is an outright bluff.

So, ignore Silvio from now on and settle in to your new life without murdering anybody. If he's bluffing, he'll eventually give up on you and write it off as a loss. If he actually can send arbitrary groups of people to hell at personal expense, well, at least you've done your part to delay, distract, and injure a great force for evil in the multiverse.

Most intriguing of all, if Silvio is actually a good guy and this is some fucked-up morality test, refusing to commit atrocities for personal gain might actually be the right answer and win you more magical favors.
No. 670518 ID: 0fc976

Set her doorway on fire, then wait for her outside her window.
No. 670541 ID: 149da0

Go back to your room and mope. Apparently the price for tits is making yourself a terrifying jerk who scares your family. (And your genie being a jerk, but that's something different).

Leave door open in case she comes back.
No. 670556 ID: 3bc92d
File 144268782839.png - (55.53KB , 800x600 , qr20.png )

>Apparently the price for tits is making yourself a terrifying jerk who scares your family. (And your genie being a jerk, but that's something different).

Damn it. This is all so screwed up. I wanted to fix my life, not make it worse!

>Go back to your room and mope.
>Investigate your own room. Get some indication of what your new life will be like.

With a sigh, I head back into my room and sit down on my bed.

To glance at it, this looks just like the room I left behind, back in my old world. Still, my conversation with Orchid proves that things have changed in more ways than I’d expected. Hell, even the changes I did expect are tricky to figure out; maneuvering my new body is taking a lot of effort. The way I move feels very different, and my center of gravity is slightly off.

There must be clues in this room that can help me figure my new life out. I'm just not sure where I should look for them.
No. 670557 ID: e114bc

Backpack, computer.
No. 670558 ID: 149da0

Quick, go to the computer and jiggle the mouse before the lock screen comes on and you don't know the password.

...then go turn the lock screen timeout off. Turn the password off / change it if you can, too.

Then start poking for stuff about yourself.
No. 670560 ID: 2ccbb3

Is that a lock on your closet?

Check the painting, see if there's anything behind it.
No. 670563 ID: 904615

Find a weapon. Preferably something small and sharp.
No. 670580 ID: 3bc92d
File 144269252551.png - (37.28KB , 800x600 , qr21.png )

>Is that a lock on your closet?

Nope, just a latch.

>Check the painting, see if there's anything behind it.

I check, but the only thing behind the poster is the wall.


I dump out the contents of my backpack.

From these textbooks, it looks like I have the same classes that I had back in my old world. That’s good. I’d hate to have to memorize a new class schedule.

Worryingly, there’s also a script for a play. Fuck. I hope I don’t have a role. I have terrible stage fright.

>Find a weapon. Preferably something small and sharp.

The best weapon I can find is the small swiss army knife that I usually keep in the inside pocket of my backpack.

I also find a wallet and some gum.
No. 670581 ID: 3bc92d
File 144269255878.png - (37.38KB , 800x600 , qr22.png )

>Quick, go to the computer and jiggle the mouse before the lock screen comes on and you don't know the password.

I go over to the computer and jiggle the mouse.

The only open window is a short, untitled text file. I read it.

I am a round peg in a square hole I am wheels spinning in the sand, Just spinning, spinning my tires raw I am a broken mirror, I am shards of glass I am a crying child that has wept its last I am an ugly token, a symbol of shame I am a m

The file ends there.
No. 670582 ID: 3bc92d
File 144269259362.png - (35.06KB , 800x600 , qr23.png )


This me was emo.
No. 670584 ID: 2ccbb3

Save the file then close it.

Then go to bed. You know what to do.
No. 670597 ID: e114bc

See if you can change the password on your computer. Then open up your browser and look at the history.
No. 670606 ID: 149da0

Yup. Maybe poke around, see what else 'you' have saved. It can't all be terrible poetry.

...so how did you express your incredibly ugly feeling the whole time you were in the wrong body?
No. 670612 ID: 904615

Equip swiss army knife in your primary weapon slot. Be prepared to use it irrationally and probably against a loved one at a moments notice.
No. 670624 ID: 7a6915

Check your address lists/contacts lists, maybe this version of you had different friends?
No. 670630 ID: 0fc976

Create a new account with admin rights on the machine, that action will probably not require your current password. You can move the files over later.

No. 670677 ID: 3bc92d
File 144270980776.png - (36.54KB , 800x600 , qr24.png )

>…so how did you express your incredibly ugly feeling the whole time you were in the wrong body?

Programming, mostly. Online roleplaying. Video games, sometimes. I also wrote a lot of short stories.

I, uh… I admit that I made a few emo poems, too. But mine were way better!

I save the file as ‘other me is dumb.txt’ and close it.

>Create a new account with admin rights on the machine
>See if you can change the password on your computer.

I try, but, annoyingly, changing the password requires the password. I try creating a new admin account instead, but I run into the same problem there, too. This is frustrating.

>Maybe poke around, see what else 'you' have saved. It can't all be terrible poetry.

I open the documents folder and skim through some of the other files. Huh. There are way more poems here than I ever wrote, and there are a few short stories, too. I open one, and, to my surprise, I recognize it. It’s based off of an idea that I’d had a long time ago, but had never written down. I look through it, and I recognize familiar word choices and my own writing patterns. Yikes. This is interesting, but it feels very, very creepy.

I close the file.
No. 670682 ID: 3bc92d
File 144271008754.png - (96.18KB , 800x600 , qr25.png )

>go to bed.

I am pretty exhausted. It was a very tiring experience, getting ripped out of one body and shoved into another. Still, tomorrow’s a Tuesday, and I don’t want to go to school unprepared.

I open up my web browser and scroll through the history. Reddit, Gaia Online, various transgender forums, and… Oh man.


I cross my fingers and click the link, desperately hoping that this me was just as lazy about logging out.

The page loads, and my profile pops up. I sigh in relief.

I’m still logged in.

>Check your address lists/contacts lists, maybe this version of you had different friends?

There’s a lot of stuff here. I don’t even know where to begin.
No. 670689 ID: 149da0

>can't change the password
Find the setting that triggers the computer to lock itself and/or go to sleep after a certain amount of inactive and set them both to "never". You should be able to do that, if you're already logged in as an admin. Then you won't be locked out until you're forced to log out or shut down for some reason.

I don't see this "Chad" guy in your friends list, but other-Raven is. You could click on her page. Or the Tyler that apparently doesn't hate you.
No. 670690 ID: 904615

Looks like other you had a close relationship with their dad. Kill him too.
No. 670691 ID: 2ccbb3

Delete Facebook. This page just screams "Please bully me with your phone and your obnoxiously jittery voice".

Just copy everything into a folder (use Print Screen) and delete the site. Consider it a favor to Wisteria.
No. 670697 ID: 99cfa8

At worst, you can make a macro that jiggles the mouse every once in a while. I'm sure you can figure out how to do that.

Also loophole for the whole killing someone thing: they aren't the people you love, and you aren't the person they love. Nobody fits the bill... on this world.

Also say "Pendel Wormwood" three times. Trust me.
No. 670706 ID: e114bc

Google "reset password windows" and look up instructions for whatever version you've got.

Also do a facebook password recovery.
No. 670717 ID: 0fc976

Your sister probably knows your password, siblings are like that.

Use it as an excuse to lure her out.
No. 670719 ID: a107fd

Other-you might have been dumb and written passwords down somewhere. Ransack the obvious places.

Got a therapist or something? Look up dissociative identity disorder, and explain to a sympathetic professional that you're not Wisteria Wilton, you're his hypothetical alternate-universe twin sister, and there's this third alt, Pendel Wormwood, who hasn't fronted and isn't around much but is way more into homicide than any reasonable person could be comfortable with.
No. 670775 ID: 3bc92d
File 144273099615.png - (41.79KB , 800x600 , qr26.png )

>I don't see this "Chad" guy in your friends list, but other-Raven is. You could click on her page.

I suppose it would make sense that my apparently evil ex-boyfriend wouldn’t be friends with me on facebook. I guess I’ll check out my non-evil ex instead.

I skim over Raven’s profile. She’s still doing theater, she’s still in a loving lesbian relationship, and she’s still on amicable terms with me… Yeah, it looks like everything’s more or less the same on her end.

>Tyler […] apparently doesn't hate you.

I feel nervous about visiting my cousin’s page. The Tyler I remember flipped his shit when I came out to him, six months ago. He beat the crap out of me, destroyed my eye with a brick, and outed me to everyone. He ended up getting arrested. It really sucked.

Apparently, this me is still friends with him, so I guess I might as well try to catch up on what I’ve missed. I take a deep breath, brace myself, and click the link. As I scroll through his profile page, my jaw drops.

Three months ago, this Tyler came out of the closet. His profile picture even shows him holding hands with his boyfriend. I blink. Huh. Well, that’s interesting.

Given ample food for thought, I decide to move on to dealing with the more important issue: not getting locked out of my computer forever.

>do a facebook password recovery.

Luckily, my email is still logged in, so I’m able to reset my facebook password without too much trouble.

>Your sister probably knows your password, siblings are like that.

I consider talking to Orchid, but… I don’t know. I think I’d like to give her some space.

>Google "reset password windows" and look up instructions for whatever version you've got.

Not being able to find any other easily-accessible guides, I end up having to watch through a fifteen-minute-long walkthrough video on youtube. The instructions are given in a rambling, unclear way, and the man speaking them has the most boring voice I have ever heard. It takes me something like an hour to actually go through the process on my own. I even end up making a mistake halfway through, so I have to start all over again.

Damn it. This isn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my first day as a biological girl.

By the time I finish up everything, I’m practically falling asleep in my chair.
No. 670777 ID: e114bc

Ok now might be time to sleep. You can change your email password tomorrow.
No. 670778 ID: e114bc

Oh right also masturbate.

See if there's any weird porn on this computer.
No. 670780 ID: defceb

Kill your sister.
Kill your dad.
Call to Pendel for help then kill him, too.
No. 670783 ID: 0fc976

Dream about carrying out Silvio's bidding.
No. 670785 ID: 67d5dc

Hah, for a fun and informative journey into your own psyche, I vote this.
No. 670855 ID: 149da0

Go to sleep.

...changes clothes for bed means you'll see yourself naked as a girl for the first time ever.
No. 671000 ID: 3bc92d
File 144278329526.png - (41.51KB , 800x600 , qr27.png )

>See if there's any weird porn on this computer.

I, um… I didn’t have any back in my world, so I don’t think…

>...changing clothes for bed means you'll see yourself naked as a girl for the first time ever.

I… Yeah, I guess I…

>Oh right also masturbate.

No. 671002 ID: 3bc92d
File 144278332883.png - (43.92KB , 800x600 , qr28.png )

B-but… I don’t really know how to do it, like this…

>a fun and informative journey into your own psyche
>naked as a girl for the first time ever
>weird porn
>fun and informative
>as a girl for the first time ever.

No. 671003 ID: 3bc92d
File 144278339220.png - (64.45KB , 800x600 , qr29.png )

>Ok now might be time to sleep.
>Go to sleep.

Okay, I’m, um, I’m just gonna g-go to sleep right now! Yeah!

N-no need to change my clothes, I’ll just sleep in what I’m wearing!

No. 671008 ID: 3bc92d
File 144278353868.png - (44.43KB , 800x600 , qr30.png )

“No!” I wake with a start. “You can’t make me! I won’t kill anyone for you!

“Ah!” Orchid yelps in fright and jumps back slightly.

I blink, rubbing my eye. “H-huh? Orc? What?”

“It’s, um… It’s morning, dude.” Orchid bites her lip, not meeting my eye. “Dad told me to wake you up. We’re going to be late for school if we don’t hurry.”

“Oh.” I yawn. “Thanks.”

“Are you still, uh…” She mumbles nervously. “…are you still like you were yesterday?”
No. 671014 ID: 149da0

>“…are you still like you were yesterday?”
Um. Yeah. I... I'm really sorry I hurt or scared you, Orcid. You're still my sister, no matter what, and I'm really freaking out, okay?

I just wanted to finally have the right body and I didn't know how bad it would mess other things up.

Hunker over, act vulnerable.

...I'm afraid to even change my clothes.
No. 671038 ID: e114bc

Tell her you have no idea what she's talking about.
No. 671287 ID: 3bc92d
File 144281940741.png - (40.62KB , 800x600 , qr31.png )

“Yeah, I’m still your sister from another universe.” I lower my head. “I’m so sorry about yesterday, Orchid. I didn’t mean to hurt you or make you feel scared.”

“It’s okay, I guess.” Orchid looks a bit forlorn. “You still think that you’re not my brother anymore?”

“It’s the truth, Orc. I don’t want to lie to you.” I absently try to smooth out my bed-head hair with my fingers. “I just wanted to have the right body. I didn’t think it would mess everything up like this.”

“If we’re being honest with each other, then I really think that you should go to the hospital.” She bites her lip. “I haven’t told Dad anything about last night, by the way.”

“Really? I mean, thank you, but why not?”

“Well… Everyone has their off days, and I’m still kind of hoping you’ll get over this thing on your own.” As I pull aside the covers and sit up, she raises an eyebrow. “You slept in your clothes?”

“Yeah. I’m still a little too scared to change them.” I glance down at myself. “Someone else was using this body for the past seventeen years. It feels creepy to think about looking at it naked, even if it is going to be my body for the rest of my life.” I flop my head back onto my pillow with a sigh. “I’m not even sure where I keep my clothes in this world. This is all so overwhelming.”

Orchid scratches the back of her neck in an anxious way. “I, uh… I don’t know what it is you’re going through right now, but…” She gives me a weak, worried smile. “If there’s any way that I can help you out, Wister, then you can always ask.”
No. 671300 ID: 0fc976

Look at yourself. It's not someone else, it's you, ya git. Assume your memories and experience are the same until proven otherwise, and just replace facts as you go. You'll save on a lot of mental wear and tear that way.

Ask her to meet you in the alleyway next to the abandoned apartment building at midnight.
No. 671301 ID: 2ccbb3

She's going through the motions, even if she feels the story. Learn to play along and go to school at her side.
No. 671314 ID: 149da0

>I really think that you should go to the hospital
Well, if you're just crazy they might be able to help. The problem is, if you're right, there's no way anyone can 'cure' the fact you're a different person now. You'll just get yourself branded as incurable crazy forever.

Although that's if you came out and told them what the issue was. I guess if you had some other pretext to get checked out, they might be able to tell you if there was something obvious wrong with your head, like a massive tumor or aneurysm that might make you question if what you thought was happening was real.

>I’m not even sure where I keep my clothes in this world
Closet? Bureau? Those drawers under your bed? Not a whole lot of places to check.

>If there’s any way that I can help you out, Wister, then you can always ask.
Rattle off your school schedule, make sure it's still right in this world. (Don't want to trip over say, having the same classes but for some reason they're at different times or in a different order, now). *Helplessly* And, uh, you're in a play? [Beat, Orc Confirms] Dammit you've got stage fright. Guess if other you could get over that you can too. Who are you? (In the play).
No. 671883 ID: 3bc92d
File 144298771395.png - (73.38KB , 800x600 , qr32.png )

“Can I run my school schedule by you? I want to make sure that everything’s more or less the same as it was in my old world.”

“Sure, I guess.”

I rattle off the schedule as I remember it.

Orchid nods. “I mean, I haven’t memorized your classes or anything, but it all sounds right to me.”

“Good. And, um… am I in a play?”

“You’re always in a play, dude. You’re in the theater club.”

“What role?”

“Uh… fuck, I don’t know. It’s the dude Romeo kills, so… Tybalt, I think?”

“Damn it. I have terrible stage fright.”

“You do? Since when? You’ve been in a bunch of plays.”

“Wrong me, remember? I haven’t been onstage since Trevor knocked my tooth out during middle school graduation. Middle school sucked.” I run my tongue along the inside of my teeth, and I discover that the familiar gap is gone. “Huh. I guess it didn’t suck quite as much for this me.”

“I don’t know about your tooth or whatever, but you definitely didn’t have the funnest time in middle school.” Orchid sighs. “Anyway, we don’t really have time for this stuff. You should take a shower and get changed, or else we’re going to be super late.”

>Look at yourself. It's not someone else, it's you, ya git.

I look down at myself. Right… this is me. There’s nothing wrong with being naked in my own body.

“Sure, I can do that.” I stand up, giving Orchid a slight nod. "I'll be right back."
No. 671884 ID: 3bc92d
File 144298789585.png - (44.14KB , 800x600 , qr33.png )

I head down the hall and into the bathroom. I tentatively take my clothes off and step into the shower.

I twist the shower handle. When the water touches my skin, I jump back in surprise. “Ack!” I shiver, quickly turning the heat up. Weird. I would have been able to handle water that cold, back in my old world. My new body must be more sensitive to temperature, or something.

When the water gets warm enough, I begin to wash my hair. I hum happily to myself, and, in doing so, I realize that the pitch of my voice has changed. I try singing a song that I would normally consider out of my vocal range, and I manage to pull it off with ease.

I smile and laugh. Being a girl is awesome!
No. 671885 ID: 3bc92d
File 144298802972.png - (42.37KB , 800x600 , qr34.png )

I finish washing myself up and practically frolic back to my room.

“Yikes.” Orchid looks at me with a worried expression. “What’s got you so happy?”

“Just a good shower and a good body.” I giggle. “Man, this is so awesome. I’m a girl, Orchid! Isn’t that cool?”

“…wow.” She blinks. “If you’re trying to convince me that an alien has taken over your body, then you’re doing a really good job.”

“I’m not trying to convince you of anything, I’m just telling you the truth. I’m a girl, Orc. A girl from another universe.”

“This is freaky. Like, a lot.” She backs away slightly. “You’re still going to wear your binder, at least, right?”

“My what?”

“Your binder. For, you know…” She gestures at my breasts. “I mean, you don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to, I guess, but you’re going to get a lot of weird looks otherwise.”

It’s a fair point. If this other me was a transgender guy, then people are probably going to be very confused if I go to school looking more like a girl. Then again, if Silvio kills me or sends me to ‘hell’ tomorrow, then this could be the first and last day that I ever get the chance to wear feminine clothes in a female body, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do. It would certainly help me relax.

Should I go to school dressed as a girl or a boy? Should I hide my breasts or not?
No. 671888 ID: e114bc

Don't wear it. Tell anyone who asks that it got messed up and you have to fix it.

...why did Wister have long-ish hair? If he was trying to pass as male, wouldn't it make sense to have a masculine haircut?
No. 671893 ID: fede3c

For the sake of appearances, go for male clothing. Take the binder to school but if anyone asks say that you are still sore from having to wear it yesterday.
Remember, you're an extradimensional bodysnatcher, and because Silvio is a horrible person you are going to have to pretend to be a competent one... which means that you may have to take a passive social role and go off what other people have to say.
Where possible avoid talking about things you don't know about, unless they are prior commitments.
Expect to use up a lot of phone data today depending on what is asked.
No. 671895 ID: 2ccbb3

Nobody's stopping you. Play girly and find a good firearm for Silvio.
No. 671899 ID: 67d5dc

Do we actually own a bra?
If we own a pretty bra we should wear that.
No. 671904 ID: 066a87

What do you care about what other people at school think? This is high school bullshit, in three years none of it will matter at all. The adults in your life expect you to change your mind and try new looks, you're a teenager.

Do what you want, you can get away with it entirely.
No. 671933 ID: 88960e

Um. Unless this you charged schools and/or started hiding their appearance early enough that people have always thought they were always male, the trans student's appearance being a little inconsistent can't be that weird, can it?

Hmm. Longer term though, you're either gonna have to come up with some story as to why your whole worldview switched, or have to tell everyone the truth. Or just wait till you graduate and get a new bunch of college friends who never knew you as anything but a girl, and leave your counterpart's baggage behind.

>what do
Compromise. Skip the bindings, but wear pants. Assuming your life isn't gonna end, you want to not disrupt things too much.
No. 672057 ID: 3bc92d
File 144305544642.png - (41.73KB , 800x600 , qr35.png )

>...why did Wister have long-ish hair? If he was trying to pass as male, wouldn't it make sense to have a masculine haircut?

I’m not sure why his hair was this long. I mean, judging from that poem, he was super emo, so, I don’t know, maybe that was it? He could have kept it long so he could hide his eye, like I did. I guess neither of us was the eyepatch-wearing type.

Anyway, I’m not complaining. I like long hair.

>If we own a pretty bra we should wear that.
>Nobody's stopping you. Play girly
>Do what you want, you can get away with it entirely.

“Hey, Orc, can I borrow some of your clothes?”

“What? I mean… sure, I guess, but…”

“Thanks! Head down to the car, I’ll be there in a second."

“O-okay.” She goes.

When I'm fully dressed, I make my way downstairs and head outside.

Alright!” I strike a pose just outside of the car. “I’m ready for school!”
No. 672058 ID: 3bc92d
File 144305554298.png - (49.67KB , 800x600 , qr36.png )

“Try to be quicker next time, okay, son?”

“Okay, Dad!” I let myself into the back seat and close the door behind me.

“UH.” Orchid stares at me, her mouth hanging open in shock. “Dad! DAD!

“Yes, pumpkin?”

“Wister is wearing a skirt!”

“And?” Dad revs up the engine.

“He hasn’t worn a skirt since sixth grade!” Her eyes are transfixed on my clothing.

“Your brother has the right to wear whatever clothes he likes, dear.” He pulls the car out of the driveway. “The important thing is that he’s happy. Are you happy, Wister?”

“Very much so!” I giggle.

“Then that’s all I care about.”

“He just - he just giggled! Damn it, would you stop being super-dad for one second and realize that there is something very wrong with Wisteria?!”

“That’s extremely rude, Orchid. Please apologize to your brother.”


“Orchid. Apologize.”

She looks at the floor, obviously still upset. “…I’m sorry, Wister.”

“Apology accepted!” I immediately respond.

The rest of the trip is spent more or less in silence, with Dad humming an offbeat melody and Orchid occasionally throwing unhappy looks my way.
No. 672063 ID: 3bc92d
File 144305576578.png - (67.32KB , 800x600 , qr37.png )

After we arrive at school, we both say our goodbyes to Dad, and he drives off to work.

I stand next to Orchid in the parking lot, and she looks me in the eyes. “Just, um… I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on in your head, anymore.” She turns away, as if to leave, then hesitates. “I’ll… I’ll meet you at lunch with Ikram and the others, right? You’re not, like, going to find new friends or whatever, are you?”

“What?! No way, Orc. You guys are the best friends I’ve ever had. You know that.”

Orchid nods softly, and then she walks off towards the school building. I split off from her and go into the side entrance, feeling like I should give her more space.

I make my way to the History classroom. I get a few odd looks, but most people are usually still too tired to think much when it’s this early.

I’ve always hated History class, and I doubt it’s going to be much better in this new universe. With a quiet groan, I open my textbook and mentally prepare myself to not fall asleep at my desk.

The teacher, Mr. Helmsley, walks in, and he sits down at his desk. “Good morning, class! I hope you all slept well. Today, we’re going to be covering the war of-“ He blinks, noticing that the girl sitting in front of me has her hand raised high. “Oh, I’m sorry, did you have a question?”
No. 672068 ID: 3bc92d
File 144305591979.png - (49.04KB , 800x600 , qr38.png )

The girl in front of me stands stiffly. “I have an announcement to make, with your permission, sir.”

“Uh, sure, go ahead.”

“Recently, my… my dog has gone missing, somewhere around the area of this school. He’s a big mutt with black hair, big black eyes, and a mean streak. He responds to the name ‘Silvio’.”

I almost fall out of my chair, but I just barely contain myself.

The girl doesn’t seem to notice my reaction. “If anyone should happen to see Silvio, or think that they might have seen Silvio, I would like to ask that they please come speak to me. I’ve been searching for him for a while. I repeat: if anyone here has seen Silvio, then they should talk to me as soon as possible.”

Mr. Helmsley nods. “Alright. Is that all you wanted to say?”

“Yes, instructor. You may resume teaching today’s lesson at your own discretion.”

“Okay.” He coughs. “I must say, you’re being very formal today, Madeleine.”

“Am I? Sorry. Do forgive my temporary precociousness.” Madeleine sits down with a sigh.

Holy crap! What should I do? Should I talk to her right now? Should I avoid her? Should I ditch class and run away? Who is she?! Why does she know about Silvio?
No. 672070 ID: e114bc

As soon as possible means as soon as possible. That... probably doesn't mean *in the middle of class* though. Give her a note that says you have seen Silvio. If she immediately pulls you out of class to talk to you then so be it, but otherwise you can speak after class.
No. 672073 ID: 0fc976

She's one of Silvio's top hitwomen. You should ingratiate yourself with her and her boss.
No. 672077 ID: 149da0

Haha, Dad's too chill to care.

Poor Orchid, though. You've turned her world upside down and she's not taking it so well.

>Holy crap! What should I do? Should I talk to her right now? Should I avoid her? Should I ditch class and run away? Who is she?! Why does she know about Silvio?
I think... you should probably assume Silvio didn't tell you everything. Or he flat out lied to you. Maybe he's not some super magic demigod, maybe he's like the one evil Timelord out of a whole civilization of good guys. Maybe that's the space police there, undercover and trying to find him.

I'd say approach Madeline soon, though it's kind of hard in the middle of a lecture. I mean, whatever she might say can't be worse than literal hell being held over your head to force you to hurt your family.

When you do talk, I'd start by admitting you saw a... "dog" that matches that description. Pretty good at walking on two legs, actually. Don't tell her what Silvio did unprompted, see what she says first. (Like, if she's the space police, you don't want to admit you broke space-law switching universes)!
No. 672096 ID: 3bc92d
File 144305814517.png - (40.66KB , 800x600 , qr39.png )

>Poor Orchid, though. You've turned her world upside down and she's not taking it so well.

I know, and I feel terrible about it. I tried my best to be honest with her. I don’t know what else I could have done.

>She's one of Silvio's top hitwomen.

Hell, I hope not. Silvio is scary enough on his own!

>you should probably assume Silvio didn't tell you everything. Or he flat out lied to you. Maybe he's not some super magic demigod

Oh man. If Silvio lied about how much power he had, then maybe I still have a chance to not have to kill anyone or go to hell!

I’ll need help to stop him, though, and this girl seems like she knows something.

>Give her a note that says you have seen Silvio.

I write her a note saying “I think that I’ve seen your dog. He’s very good at standing on two legs, actually.” and then I cautiously pass it forward to her.

She takes the note without turning around. She reads it, but shows no reaction. A few seconds later, she passes back the same note, but with her own small message added on. “Tell me about his nose.”
No. 672097 ID: e114bc

Pass it back. "How does a dog smell with no nose? REALLY BAD."
No. 672107 ID: 149da0

>I don’t know what else I could have done.
Well, we could have hidden it from her. But then she'd still be confused by your behavior. And probably still worried about you.

That appropriately answers the question "he didn't have one" in an innocuous manner if your note passing is intercepted.

...hopefully the space police doesn't enforce petty things like passing notes in class.
No. 672141 ID: 3bc92d
File 144306319560.png - (40.05KB , 800x600 , qr40.png )

Feeling very nervous, I decide to be a little silly. I write out “How does a dog smell with no nose? Really bad!” and pass the note forward again.

Madeleine takes it, reads it, and turns to me with a start.
No. 672142 ID: 3bc92d
File 144306329747.png - (47.64KB , 800x600 , qr41.png )

Madeleine immediately stands, grabs my hand, and pulls me out of my seat. Then she yanks me along towards the door.

“Excuse me!” Mr. Helmsley calls out to us. “Where are you two going?”

“Uh…” Madeleine hesitates. “…the bathroom. Together. Because we’re girls.”

“But isn’t Wister a-?”

“Look, this is really urgent, okay?! We’ll be right back!” She quickly opens the door and pulls me into the hallway with her. Once we’re far enough away, she glances at me. “Do you know a place in this school where we can speak privately?”

“Uh... sure. There’s a girls’ bathroom on the third floor. It’s been out of order for ages.”

“Wait, really?” She raises an eyebrow. “Huh. I guess I wasn’t actually lying back there. Well, come on, lead the way.”
No. 672143 ID: 3bc92d
File 144306340037.png - (44.32KB , 800x600 , qr42.png )

We make our way up the stairs, and then we enter the bathroom.

Madeleine checks through all of the stalls to make sure that we’re alone, and then she turns to me. Her tone and body language gets slightly aggressive. “Tell me everything you know about Silvio. Where did you see him? Did you make any deals with him? Has he asked you to do anything for him?”
No. 672144 ID: e114bc

May as well come completely clean.
No. 672145 ID: e114bc

Also is this bathroom actually out of order? New universe y'know.
No. 672147 ID: 0fc976

Long story short, I'm supposed to kill a loved one.
No. 672150 ID: 149da0

...are you an alternate Madeline? You borrowed her body?

>Where did you see him? Did you make any deals with him? Has he asked you to do anything for him?
My home, yes, yes.

I think you already know how much shit I'm in. Can you help me?
No. 672160 ID: 2ccbb3

Ask her if the universe has completely @#$%ed itself over or if Silvio is playing around with a few people.
No. 672188 ID: defceb

Clearly this is a very stressful situation.
Take a deep breath.
Hold on to something, like a pencil.
Focus your thoughts
Stab her in the jugular with said pencil.
No. 672192 ID: 3bc92d
File 144307476941.png - (46.16KB , 800x600 , qr43.png )

“Silvio… he arrived out of nowhere, one day. I was on a bridge, getting ready to jump, and he walked up to me. He offered to grant me any wish.” I look down at my new body. “I wished to be a girl.”

“Huh.” Madeleine raises an eyebrow. “Interesting. Continue.”

“Everything went well. I switched with this version of me, who’d wanted to be a boy, and I was happy. But then Silvio said he… he wants me to…” I shiver slightly. “He wants me to kill one of my loved ones, while he watches.”

“Hm. Not the worst ‘price’ he’s asked for. Not the best, either.” She sighs. “In other worlds, I’ve seen the bastard demand payment in the form of rape, or removal of organs, or daily sacrifices of newborn children…” Her voice trembles a bit, and she trails off. “I don’t believe he has any real reason for doing any of it, except maybe to sate his own twisted curiosity. I think he likes watching how people react when they’re put into extreme situations.”

“…you’re not Madeleine, are you? You’re an alternate version of her, borrowing her body.”

She blinks. “Well, now, aren’t you clever? Yes, I’m temporarily trapped inside this girl’s body. Believe me when I say that my presence here is not of my own volition.” She looks down at herself with a miserable expression.
No. 672195 ID: 3bc92d
File 144307496689.png - (45.89KB , 800x600 , qr44.png )

"What do you mean?”

“Silvio has me on a sort of… well, I hate to call it a leash, but that’s more or less what it is.” Not-Madeleine winces as she says the word ‘leash’. “Wherever he goes, I’m forced to follow, whether I want to or not. But he’s the only one who can physically travel through the Metamyriad, so I end up getting yanked from one version of myself to another, over and over. This is the latest in a long line.”

“That sounds horrible!”

“You have no idea.” She shudders.

“Who are you really, then?” I bite my lip. “Is there any way that you can help me?”

“In my original body, I was called Pendelion Augustus Wormwood. As for helping you, I believe I know of a very basic solution to both of our problems: Silvio’s death.” Pendelion Augustus Wormwood looks me in the eye. “I seriously doubt I could kill him alone, however. I would almost certainly require your assistance. So. How do you feel about being an accomplice to murder?”
No. 672198 ID: 149da0

>I end up getting yanked from one version of myself to another, over and over. This is the latest in a long line.
Wait, what happens to the other "yous" when you move on? Does this follow quantum leap logic, where each one spends a little while in your body before swapping back, or do you swap from one to the next so they're all all left one universe behind?

>So. How do you feel about being an accomplice to murder?
Um. Well, I guess being an accomplice to murder is a step up from being a strait up murderer, which is what he was offering me.

I uh, think I might be a little bit in shock, actually. I don't know if I'd actually be capable of killing anybody. And I really don't know how anyone is supposed to hurt him with the whole universe hopping magic thing.
No. 672200 ID: e114bc

Sure. But how? Can't he read minds? He'd know before you even tried.
No. 672212 ID: 52a564

Tell her it feels good
No. 672274 ID: a107fd

Silvio credibly threatened you and everyone you love with a fate worse than death, on a very specific timetable. If killing him is your best plausible option for ending that threat, legally and morally speaking it's not even a crime. It's self-defense.

For practical purposes, you might actually be able to make an insanity defense work if your sister can confirm an abrupt personality shift, and you can tell the court with a straight face that you had no choice but to kill that man because he was a time-travelling demon.
No. 672359 ID: 158d57

Sounds like it's time for some cold-blooded, premeditated self-defense!
No. 672732 ID: 3bc92d
File 144323659607.png - (40.79KB , 800x600 , qr45.png )

“What happened to all of the other versions of you? Do they each spend a little time in your body, or do you leave them all displaced?”

“I honestly don’t know. Silvio rarely visits the same world twice, so I’ve never had the opportunity to investigate the aftereffects of my ‘visits’.” Pendelion glances down at her hand, gently flexing her fingers. “I certainly hope that it would be the former. Being in a body of the opposite sex is stressful enough on its own. I would hate to think that I’ve left a trail of other people in the same position.”

“What do you mean, ’the opposite sex’?”

“I’m a man.” Pendelion states, bluntly. “I am also twenty-nine years old. Age isn’t consistent between alternates, and neither is sex, as I’m sure you’re aware.”

“Oh.” I blink. Suddenly, Pendelion’s irritability makes a lot more sense. “Oh. This must be hard for you, huh?”

“I’ve been a woman countless times.” He shrugs. “I just think of it as another reason to kill Silvio.”

“About that… How could we kill him? I mean, he can read minds, right? He’d know what we were planning before we could do anything.”

“…’Read minds’?” Pendelion raises an eyebrow. “That’s ridiculous. Did he tell you that he could do that?”

“Yeah, he said that that’s how he knew why I was going to kill myself, and how he knew what my wish would be.” My eyes widen. “Wait, are you saying that he can’t read my thoughts?”

“He’s not psychic, no.” Pendelion shakes his head. “If I had to guess, Silvio most likely watched a very similar version of you commit suicide in the same way, and then he switched over to a world where another near-identical alternate of you was still alive. He probably observed that version of you, figured out what you wanted most, and then finally traveled to your world so he could manipulate you.”
No. 672733 ID: 3bc92d
File 144323675262.png - (48.09KB , 800x600 , qr46.png )

“What? Why would he go through all of that trouble?”

“So he could give you everything you wanted, make you think of him as a friend and benefactor, and then force you to commit an utter atrocity. He’s done it many, many times before. The bastard has traumatization down to a science, but, no, he can’t read people’s thoughts.” Pendelion looks agitated for a moment, but he quickly regains his composure. “His claim is technically rooted in fact, however. Back in our world, certain humans called ‘Pendelions’ had the ability to influence or interpret other people’s brain activity to a certain extent.”

“Whoa, what?” I tilt my head slightly. “I thought Pendelion was your name.”

“No, it’s a title.”

“Oh. Darn.” I smile nervously. “I was going to call you Pendel. You know, like a nickname.”

Excuse me?” He stares at me, aghast. “Don’t ever call me that. It’s an unnecessary bastardization, and it sounds idiotic.” He pauses, calming himself down. “…sorry, I didn’t mean to be so harsh. Call me August. It’s a fairly unisex name, so it won’t attract too much attention, and I like the way it sounds.”

“Okay, August.”

“Where was I? Ah, right, Pendelions. I was one, obviously, back in my original body. Silvio is a Pendelion, too, though his abilities don’t seem to work on your species. I think it’s because our form of humanity diverged from yours at some point.” He sniffs the air. “Your physical senses are much more developed than ours were, and you don’t seem to have any Pendelions at all. Your kind seems to populate most of the worlds I’ve come across, so, by simple majority, I suppose that your style of humanity wins out.”

“I, uh…” I shrug, confused. ”I don’t really understand, but… I don’t think it has to be a competition, does it?”

“I honestly don’t care. Anyway, we’re getting off-topic.” August pokes me in the shoulder. “Are you going to help me kill Silvio or not?”

“I - I don’t know. I mean, it’s certainly better than murdering someone I love, which is what Silvio is offering.” I inhale deeply, then exhale. “I think… I think I could try. I don’t want to kill anyone, though, if I don’t have to do it. But this is self-defense, right? Just… premeditated self-defense.” I gaze at the floor, feeling like the only person I'm trying to convince is myself.
No. 672735 ID: 2ccbb3

That's even worse. It means that he can look up a case file and predict what the target is going to do.

You need to find a way to use his powers against him. If only there were some way of locking him into a world for even a few seconds, then it would just be a matter of coercing him into switching to an eldritch world. Insanity would likely stunt his ability to switch between alternate realities.

Also, you should probably switch back somehow. Maybe insult Silvio into switching you at the exact moment that you were going to jump off the bridge, and then Pendleton hits him with a nuke or something.
No. 672741 ID: 3bc92d
File 144323742299.png - (116.52KB , 800x600 , qr47.png )

August rolls his eyes. “Hey, kid, don’t so quick to bury yourself in a moral quandary. Relax. First off, I’m the closest thing Silvio has to family, so trust me when I say that he quite simply deserves to die, and secondly, you’re not going to kill him.” He raises a hand, making a ‘three’ gesture. “I only need three things from you, okay?”

“O-okay. What do you want me to do?”

“First thing’s first: we need weapons. Firearms, preferably. I spent all night researching this world through your information network, so I do know that firearms exist here. Not the most advanced, but good enough for our purposes.”

“Information network? Do you mean the internet?”

“Yes, that one. It’s very useful. I wish that every Myriad had such a comprehensive, easily-accessible guide.” August coughs. “Anyway… despite all of my searching, I still don’t know where to acquire firearms. I don't know this area well enough. So that’s the first thing I need from you: information on where to obtain a decently-sized arsenal. The second thing I need is a fighting force.”

“A what?

“A fighting force. People to use the firearms. They don’t have to be crack shots, they just need two hands, some modicum of stealth, and the will to shoot Silvio.” He puts a hand on my shoulder. “You have friends in this world, right? Recruit as many as you can. We won’t have a lot of time, once Silvio appears. We’ll need to pile bullets into him as quickly as we can, so we need as many people shooting as possible.”

“What’s the third thing?”

“I need you to be the bait for our trap. Find a loved one, just like Silvio asked you to do. He needs to believe that you’re doing exactly what he told you to do, right up until we spring our ambush. You and your companion will be unarmed. Pick someone who can act decently, if you can.” August looks me in the eye again. “So. That’s all that I need from you. Simple enough?”
No. 672754 ID: 149da0

Um. Okay, this is America, but it's still not going to be easy for a teenager to get her hands on a arsenal of guns in a few days. It's not like I have criminal contacts, or money for that.

(Best bet might be if you have any friends or family who are redneck enough to have a whole bunch of guns. (Tyler might be that type?)).

And, uh, I have no idea how I'm supposed to talk people into murdering an unarmed guy they've never met over nothing. The "evil magic genie" story isn't very believable.

...and asking me to drag a loved one into the middle of where we're about to have a bunch of untrained kids open indiscriminate gunfire? That's... hardly better!

>important question
Um. Do you have any way to get home when he's dead? ...I don't have to go back, do I?
No. 672759 ID: e114bc

>you and your companion will be unarmed
That won't work. Silvio expects Wisteria to kill the loved one, so she needs to be armed, at least with a concealed weapon like a knife. It can be a FAKE knife, however. The loved one can obviously be unarmed, though.
The best way to do this would be to have the loved one not know what the hell is going on at all.

Another way to do this would be to recruit not friends, but a gang. Convince them that Silvio did something to wrong them, or simply pay them enough, and they'll take him out.

One last thing to consider is that this would produce a lot of gunfire which the police would respond to. Silvio's corpse would confuse the fuck out of them though and maybe even cause them to drop the case. I mean, since he's obviously not human, did a murder even take place?
No. 672882 ID: a107fd

As for acting, good news is friends in theater club. As for a fighting force, not so good news. Getting a teenage militia hit squad together in a couple of days seems unlikely to work, and very likely to attract the wrong kind of attention. What about getting this world's police or military involved? They've already got guns and know how to use 'em.

>It can be a FAKE knife, however.

No. He's got this down to a science, remember? Bring a real knife. That also leaves the backup option of finishing the job yourself.
No. 673182 ID: 066a87

August is looking to maximize the chance of successfully accomplishing this, but you need to plan for what happens after the event, too. You and whoever you get to help will need to plan for things like quickly disposing of the body, covering up any crimes which were committed getting the weapons (or not committing crimes to obtain them), and on keeping them quiet after.

You need to know more about Silvio's abilities. Catching him unawares is good, but being prepared for whatever trump cards he has is much better. August should have some ideas.

As for getting weapons, what are your resources? If you have access to enough money then it's easy. The less money available, the more illegal the actions you'll need to take to get firearms.

Would tasers be at all effective against Silvio?
No. 673204 ID: 066a87

Come to think of it, if volume of fire is all that counts, what about improvised explosives? With enough ball bearings and shit packed in you could achieve the same overwhelming wave of projectiles effect without involving a bunch of people.
No. 673206 ID: 2f4b71

DIY Claymore trap? Super location sensitive, but avoids having to round up a number of people willing to shoot someone with minimal questions asked.
No. 673473 ID: a107fd

Alright, time for a bargain-basement antipersonnel mine. You'll need a shovel, a heavy-duty garbage bag, lots of drywall screws, a pint of motor oil, 60 lb of ammonium nitrate, and some firecrackers or something as a primer.

Mix the oil and fertilizer to make ANFO, bury it near where the target's going to be standing, put the screws on top to add a hail of flesh-shredding fragments, and somehow make sure it goes off at the right time.

Main downside, apart from endangering everyone else nearby, is that the cops will notice you buying ammonium nitrate and then you'll be arrested for terrorism and go to jail forever.
No. 673481 ID: 2f4b71

Makes for a pretty fireball, but not much good as anything other than a gas generator. Shrapnel formation needs a high explosive, not a low explosive.
No. 673570 ID: 066a87

Set it off in a pressure cooker.
No. 679071 ID: 3bc92d
File 144570544433.png - (92.13KB , 800x600 , qr48.png )

“Let’s start with thing number one: Look, this is America, but you do realize I’m just a normal teenage girl, don’t you? I mean, I could maybe get you some drugs or whatever, but guns? The closest I’ve ever even been to a gun is when I was watching Ikram’s dad shoot his old service rifle at some tin cans.”


“My best friend.”

“Oh, good, then we’ve already got one gun and one person to use it.”

“What?! No, look, even if I could get Ikram to steal his dad’s gun, he’d never believe this stuff. Heck, no one would! I tried to tell my sister, but even she thought I was crazy. How do you expect me to convince people to kill someone when I can’t even make them believe that I’m from another universe?”

“I… Hm.” August taps his foot. “Okay, look, I think I can probably solve that problem. Let’s see, you’ve got telephones, electronics… How’s your myriad’s holography?”

“My what’s holography?”

“Your myriad. Your world-string. How do I put this… Each myriad is made up of worlds that are more or less the same, with very minor differences. I’m from another myriad, relative to this world, but I’m pretty sure that you’re just from a different world within the same myriad. So, again, how good is your world’s holography?”

“Uh… not very?”

“Good. Here, catch.” August takes something out of his pocket, and then he grabs my hand and shoves a small device into it. “That should convince any doubters. Don’t drop it, though. It would take me a few hours to build a new one, and we need all the time we can get.”

“What is it?”

“Click the button. Please don’t make any silly comments about the content; It was late at night and I pressed ‘record’ by accident.”

“Uh… okay?” I tap the button on the side, and the machine whirrs to life. After a moment, a small holographic image of a messy-looking August is projected out of the side of the device. “Whoa! Hey, how does this work? Can you show me how to-?”

“Shush, shush. I’ll teach you later, if I have time. I memorized the design while I was in a different myriad. The technology is pretty simple, actually, once you understand the basic concepts, but let’s stay focused. Weapons. Where can I get them?”

“I already told you, I don’t know. Guns are hard to come by, especially for teenagers.”
No. 679073 ID: 2ccbb3

Chemicals for explosives are very cheap. Will that work?
No. 679074 ID: 3bc92d
File 144570576991.png - (61.28KB , 800x600 , qe49.png )

“Damn. What’s the next best thing?”

“Could improvised explosives work?”

“Only if you’re willing to get yourself blown up in the process.” August chuckles. “The humans from our myriad have pretty poor eyesight, so Silvio will want to be close to you while he watches. Any explosives we use will either be too powerful, and will thus kill you as well as Silvio, or they’ll risk being too weak to be lethal.”

“Does it have to be lethal? Can’t we use, like, tasers, or something?”

Tasers? What is tasers?”

“Tasers. Nonlethal electricity weapons. They generally knock people out in a second or two.”

“…that could work.” August smiles, patting me on the shoulder. “Nice idea, kid. You’re pulling your weight. So, where do we get tasers?”

“I’m not sure. I’ve seen them at Walmart, I think? There are probably some more specialized places that would carry them. If you give me a little time, I’ll search the internet and see what I can find.”

“Do it. Start making a list. Before you start on that, though, see if you can figure out someone you can use as bait.”

“I really wish you wouldn’t use that terminology.” I bite my lip. “You mentioned me being unarmed, right? Isn’t that kind of counterproductive? If I’m acting like I’m going to kill someone, then Silvio will expect me to have a knife, or some sort of weapon.”

“Fair point. Okay, sure, you can bring a knife along. It’s a moot point if you don’t have a partner, though. Again, do you have any ideas on that front? I’ll serve the role if I have to, but…”

“Um… I might know somebody, maybe?” I glance down at myself. “This me was in the theater club, apparently, so I could probably find someone. If all else fails, my ex-girlfriend is an actress, so I might be able to convince her to help. I just wish I had more time, you know?”

“Oh, damn, that’s a good point. How much time do we have?”

“Silvio said he’d come back tomorrow.”

“Shit.” August groans. “Looks like I”m pulling another all-nighter, then. I should probably skip school, too, once we’re done here. Why don’t you begin working on getting me that list of taser locations?”

“Wait, hold on… there’s something I’m curious about. How does traveling between worlds work, after we kill Silvio? I - I don’t have to go back to how I was before, do I? Does everyone just automatically jump back to their original places when Silvio dies, or do you have some other way to get home?”

“Your naïveté is... oddly charming.” August’s eyelids droop slightly, and he sighs. "No, I don’t think the world follows those kinds of fairy-tale rules. Silvio’s the only one who can travel through the Metamyriad, and he’s similarly the only one who can let people travel. So, relax, you won’t go back to your old world. Neither will I. If we succeed in killing that bastard, then this will be my body until the day I die. So, any other questions, or are you ready to start searching?”
No. 679079 ID: 025c3c

>Guns are hard to come by, especially for teenagers.
Not that it's not doable, but on a day's notice would be tough unless you already have somewhere to get them.

>If we succeed in killing that bastard, then this will be my body until the day I die. So, any other questions, or are you ready to start searching?
Oh. That... really sucks for you. And Madeline, wherever she is.

...I don't suppose, instead of killing him, we could just put him in a coma or make him braindead so we could use his body to hijack his moving people between realities power?

>I’ll serve the role if I have to, but…
If you think Silvio spied on an alternate me prior to approaching me, he should know Madeline isn't someone I was really close to. At best he'll call me out on trying to weasel out of his terms by luring an acquaintance to her death, instead of someone I love. As much as I'd prefer to keep everyone out of this, you wouldn't work.

>So, any other questions, or are you ready to start searching?
Does he know he's dragging you along with him when he travels? Shouldn't he be expecting you to try something?
No. 679085 ID: 066a87

Remind August that if he's stuck here too, then you both need to plan for disposing of Silvio's body after the deed is done. If someone discovers evidence of this, you could both end up in jail.
No. 679156 ID: a107fd

Disposal is straightforward if you're willing to think outside the pine box. First of all, accept that it's going to be messy. Get a pack of rubber gloves, a dropcloth, and wear nothing you wouldn't be willing to throw away. Split corpse up into a few heavy-duty garbage bags, mixed with a whole lot of caustic alkali (which can be bought over the counter as drain cleaner). That reduces your problem to noxious slurry and bones, which would be difficult to identify as the remains of any specific person. Remove and crush all the teeth (dental records are one of the best options for IDing a body in otherwise terrible condition) with a pair of pliers, drop the fragments down a random storm drain. Drop the trashbags with the skeleton jelly in some steel barrel in an alley on the bad side of town, pile scrap lumber on top, soak the pile in gasoline, and light it up as a favor to the local homeless population.

Downside is, if the cops catch you halfway through that plan, you're not gonna be able to argue that it was anything other than premeditated. If you trust the system to deliver justice, then you should call the cops and turn yourself in as soon as you're sure Silvio's completely dead. Tell 'em the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and you'll get off on either self-defense or insanity, depending on whether or not they believe you. What would really be the most helpful, in that case, is a holorecord of Silvio repeating the exact terms of the coercion. Maybe you could somehow trick him into going over it again?
No. 679515 ID: 3bc92d
File 144589611629.png - (52.85KB , 800x600 , qr50.png )

“Oh… That really, um… that really sucks for you.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.” August sighs, gently pulling his hair out of his face. “This is not the body I want to grow old in, but I suppose that what I want doesn’t really matter, in the end. Can you get started on that list, please?”

I start searching for business in Seattle which sell tasers, though I keep talking with August as I do so. “What about Madeleine? This sucks for her, too, wherever she is.”

“I… I don’t know. I don’t know what I could even do to help her. It’s either kill Silvio, or be dragged endlessly from body to body while watching him commit countless atrocities, and that’s no choice at all. If my personal suffering will put an end to all the pain that Silvio has caused, then so be it. When it comes right down to it, Madeleine is just an unfortunate bystander caught in the crossfire. I certainly feel bad about it, but there’s nothing I can do.”

“If we knock Silvio out with a taser, and we have him helpless, couldn’t we force him to set everything right? Put you and Madeleine back to normal? We could even get him comatose, so he couldn’t hurt anyone.”

“As far as I know, he travels through the Metamyriad by his own will. The second we wake him up, he’ll jump ship and abandon this world, and we won’t have any way to stop him. Then this whole thing begins again, with me in a different body, in a different world. If he escapes, then there's no guarantee that I'll ever get a chance like this again, so I'd rather just kill him and be done with it.”

“Huh. Hey, come to think of it, if you follow him everywhere, won’t he be expecting you to make a move? He does know that you’re pulled along, doesn’t he?”

“On most worlds, I can’t even find Silvio. Meeting you was the biggest stroke of luck I’ve had in a very long time. I’ve only run into one of Silvio’s ‘customers’ once before, about seven months ago, and I seriously doubt Silvio will be prepared for my presence this time around. As for if he knows about what he’s doing to me, I’m all but certain that he does. There have been several other times when we’ve met, and he’s always seemed to immediately recognize me. I can’t imagine he’d put the effort into pulling me from world to world if he didn’t know he was doing it.”

“Okay.” I copy-paste another link, finally deciding that twelve locations is probably enough for August. “Here’s the list. Do you have a number I can text?”

“…huh?” August blinks, raising an eyebrow.

“I - I’ll just write it down.” I pull a pen out of my pocket and begin copying the list onto a paper towel. When I’m done, I hand it off to August. “There you go. Oh, by the way, I don’t think you’ll be able to be bait with me. If you’re right about Silvio studying me, then he’ll know Madeleine and I aren’t close. Worst case scenario, he’ll recognize you.”

“Good thinking. You’re right.” August pockets the list, and then he turns towards the door. “Which makes it even more important that you recruit as many of your friends as you can.”

“Wait! How will I contact you?”

“Oh. Hm.” August pauses for a moment. “I’ll try to meet up with you at recess. Failing that, I’ll be waiting outside after school. Goodbye, then, um… oh. I never did ask your name.”

“Wisteria Wilton. Call me Wister.”

“How interestingly alliterative. Well, goodbye, then, Wister.” August gives me a nod, and then he rushes out of the bathroom.

“Wait, what are we going to do about Silvio’s dead body?” I call out to August, but he's already too far away to hear me. Well, that, or he just doesn't care enough to respond. “…damn it.”
No. 679516 ID: 3bc92d
File 144589621786.png - (38.86KB , 800x600 , qr51.png )

I stumble back down the stairs. I quietly make my way into the History classroom and meekly return to my desk, still dazed after my meeting with August. I slump in my chair and sigh.

My classes seem to pass by at an incredibly slow rate, and I have more than a little trouble paying attention to the lessons. My mind races with thoughts of murder and universes and myriads and… well, lots of things.

By the time recess rolls around, I’m feeling very overwhelmed. I make my way to the cafeteria and immediately begin searching, trying to spot my usual table, but I can’t seem to find Ikram anywhere.
No. 679517 ID: 3bc92d
File 144589623804.png - (40.41KB , 800x600 , qr52.png )

I’m on the verge of giving up and eating by myself, but then, suddenly, someone grabs my shoulder from behind me.


“Shit!” I jump. “No, no no no, not now, not-!“
No. 679520 ID: 3bc92d
File 144589648802.png - (39.23KB , 800x600 , qr53.png )


Ikram laughs. “Who else? The cafeteria ripper?”

“Not funny, man.” I breathe slowly, trying to calm myself down. “Like, seriously, what the hell? Are you just going around whispering ‘murder’ in people’s ears?”

“Scarier than ‘boo’, isn’t it?” Ikram grins. “Wow, Prince, I totally got you, didn’t I?”

I’m momentarily surprised by his use of the nickname ‘Prince’, but then I realize that he probably wouldn’t call the me from this world ‘Princess’. “Yeah, right! I was distracted. You just got lucky.”

“Oh, I know.” He poses dramatically. “I get lucky all of the time, in fact.”

Same old Ikram. I can’t help smiling. “You know, Ikky, one of these days, you’re going to have to grow up.”

“Maybe, Prince, but not here, not today, and wwwwhat the fuck are you wearing?” Ikram’s eyes widen as he notices my outfit. “…why do you look like a lazy goth chick and/or a j-pop idol? Did I somehow forget that today was Halloween?”
No. 679522 ID: fbc59e

"same reason I nearly jumped though the ceiling when you whispered murder in my ears...Long story short, evil genie granted me a wish. Said wish means I'm now a much different Wister than the one you know. Said evil genie basically wants me to kill someone I love or suffer horrible consequences. I met someone who has a plan to slay the evil genie...But either way...Someone's going to die. Maybe multiple someones.
No. 679545 ID: a107fd

Yes, actually, between all the interdimensional espionage it completely slipped my mind. How about I dress up as Jackie O and you can be Lee Harvey Oswald? I know a guy who'd be perfect for the third leg of that.
No. 679683 ID: 58ff0a

Mmmmaybe ease into it a bit more

Or at least, like, say "it's complicated, can we talk about it in private?" so that you can make out with him show him that holo-thingy.

no he said "did I forget it was Halloween." Cause, you know, that would be the only reasonable non-dimension-jumping explanation for Wister's clothings.
No. 679839 ID: 3bc92d
File 144603638529.png - (84.34KB , 800x600 , qr54.png )

“It’s… complicated. Can we talk about it in private?”

“Sure thing, buddy, but I have to do a thing, first.” Ikram gestures at the unopened can of soda in his hand. “Let me just deliver this to your sister, and then we can go have as many top-secret dialogues as you could want.”

“You’ve seen Orchid?” I glance around the cafeteria, but I can’t spot her anywhere. “Where is she?”

“Somebody stole our table, so we’re sitting outside today.” Ikram puts an arm around my shoulders and pulls me towards the door. “Come on, Prince, you can explain your bizarro-world outfit to everybody while we eat.”

I think it over. I have been under a lot of stress, lately. Maybe I could use some time relaxing with my friends. I haven’t seen Paolo or Freddie in a while. “O-okay.” I follow Ikram’s lead, and, within moments, we’re outside.

“Hey, guys!” Ikram waves as we approach the table. “Orchid, I got you your soda and I scared the hell out of Wister! It was a successful mission in all respects, really.”
No. 679841 ID: 3bc92d
File 144603675046.png - (49.86KB , 800x600 , qr55.png )

“Wister?” Orchid looks up, then winces as she catches sight of me. “Oh. You’re still dressed like that, huh? Damn it.

I stare. Paolo and Freddie are nowhere to be seen. Instead, my ex-girlfriend is sitting at the table.

“Dressed like wh-? Oh, whoa!” Raven gapes at me. “…what’s all this, then?”

“Don’t ask me.” Orchid sighs. She takes her soda from Ikram, pops it open, and starts drinking. She turns away from me, looking unhappy. “Talk to Wister, if you’re curious, but don’t expect him to make any sense.”

I can’t seem to take my eyes off of Raven. What is she doing here? Sure, we don’t hate each other or anything, but we’re not exactly friends, either. I mean, we used to be hang out a lot, before we started going out, but I haven’t had a single meaningful conversation with her since we broke up.

“Huh?” Raven blinks. She shifts around in her seat, seeming a bit uncomfortable under my gaze. “What’s up with the two of you? Did something happen?”

Orchid groans in response. She slumps miserably in her chair, letting her forehead hit the table with a gentle thunk.

“One second, guys. I agree, we should talk about whatever the hell Wister is wearing, but I promised I’d talk to him about something else, first.” Ikram smiles, then taps me on the head. He lowers his voice slightly. “I’ll follow your lead, Prince. Where do you want to secretly have this secret-filled secret conversation about secrets and such?”

I hesitate. It rains a lot around here, so the outside tables aren’t incredibly popular. As far as I can tell, Ikram, Orchid, and Raven are the only people in earshot. If I wanted to try telling the truth to all three of them at the same time, then this would be a good opportunity to do that.
No. 679866 ID: fbc59e

So, Use the Pendel device.

And then depending on what it does, say this to go along with it:
Basically I'm an alternate Wister who got body-swapped with the Wister you know.
I got swapped by this evil dimension-swapper guy named Silveo, who wants me to murder someone I love for payment. No I didn't know about that part until after the swap.
Me, that is, alternate Wister, wanted to be a girl, unlike yours who didn't, met a girl who Silveo has been yanking along with him from one dimension to another. Basically? She wants him dead, big time, and she's got a plan to do it, but she needs my help.
So one way or another, I'm going to have to kill someone. I want Silveo dead, because frankly, I don't have many friends or loved ones to go through for that sicko! Seriously, he wants me to kill someone I care about just to see how I react to it!
No. 679870 ID: 2f4b71

Start by showing Orchid the hologram. With actual proof of other-worldliness, we can at least recruit her into helping explain what's going on.
No. 680009 ID: 58ff0a

Yeah, here is fine.

Rather than go into all the details, start with "I'm a Wister from an alternate dimension, and I can prove it now, Orc. Well, sort of. Well, I met someone else who travels through dimensions, and he gave me this..." *insert holothingy here*

THEN give them all the deets.

Oh, and, she maybe isn't your ex in this universe? I don't remember.
No. 680108 ID: a107fd

Set the holoprojector on the table, turn it on, and explain that you're not from Bizarro World, you're from Rule 63 World. Blurt out as much as possible while they're still stunned.

Introduce August as 'the last time cop' from Blurry World, where everybody is nearsighted so holoprojectors like this were invented. August is chasing an insane murderer named Silvio.
No. 687978 ID: 3bc92d
File 144974780136.png - (81.38KB , 800x600 , qr56.png )

I place the holographic projector onto the table, activating it in the same motion. The projection sputters to life, showing the familiar disheveled image of August.

“Whoa!” Raven's jaw drops. “That’s awesome!”

“Wait.” Ikram blinks, frowning. “That’s not… I mean, how is it doing that? There’s no gas or glass, so where’s the image medium? What is that thing?”
No. 687983 ID: 3bc92d
File 144974816522.png - (38.01KB , 800x600 , qr57.png )

“I’m not who you think I am. I’m Wister, but I’m not your Wister.” I start speaking, very loudly and clearly. “I’m a Wister from an alternative universe, where the only real difference seems to be that I was born in a boy’s body instead of a girl’s body. I got body-swapped with the Wister you know, thanks to an insane murdering dimension-swapping guy called Silvio. As a surprise ‘price’, he wants me to kill someone for him. Like, not even someone in particular, just someone I love, so he can watch and see how I react!”


“I was horrified.” I keep talking, not letting myself be interrupted. “I had no idea what I was going to do. But then I met this girl - this person…” I point at the projection of August. “They gave me this machine, which they learned how to build in another universe. Basically, they have a plan to kill Silvio, but they need my help to do it. So, one way or another, I’ve got to kill someone - maybe multiple someones, if things go wrong.”

I breathe heavily.

Everyone at the table stares at me, eyes wide.

No one speaks for a long time.

Finally, Ikram breaks the silence. “You… you aren’t serious, are you?” Ikram laughs weakly. “This is a joke, right? I mean, this stuff is science fiction and then some.”

“Is it? Look at this.” I hold up the projector. “We don’t have anything like this in our world, Iks.”

He goes pale, staring at the unusual device.

“This is… wow.” Raven mumbles, shocked. “I don’t even know what to say. Do you have any other proof of this stuff?”

“August - this person - might be able to prove it more easily than I can. He’s been to a bunch of different worlds, apparently.”

“He?” She looks at the projection of August, confused.

“He got switched into a girl version of himself, like I did. He didn’t choose to do it, though, and he’s not happy about the situation.”
No. 687987 ID: 3bc92d
File 144975203941.png - (38.19KB , 800x600 , qr58.png )

“Wait.” Orchid’s voice is very quiet. “You’re saying - you’re saying it’s real? When you were acting weird, saying that stuff about other worlds… you weren’t acting? You’re really not my brother?”

“Well, no, I’m not. I told you before: I’m your sister.”

“I don’t have a sister.” She shivers slightly. “I have a brother. But you… you aren’t him, are you? You’re someone else.”

“Please, Orchid.” I take a step forward, ready to hug her. “You’re still my sister.”

“No!” Orchid scrambles to her feet, backing away. She stares at me with a haunted expression, trembling. “I didn’t grow up with you. I don’t know you. You’re not Wister. You’re just some alien from another world, wearing my brother’s face.”

“Orc, come on…” I step forward, and she backs away even further. She looks so scared. My own sister, terrified of me. I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut.

“Go away!” Orchid suddenly shrieks. “Bring my brother back! Bring him back, now!

I wince. Her voice is loud and shrill. If I don’t calm her down, other people are going to hear her, if they haven’t heard her already.
No. 688007 ID: 5ad4a7

Tell her some important memory that you two should still share in this universe. You have to prove to her that you know her, and she knows you, even if you're a little different.
No. 688081 ID: 86cfc3

>I didn’t grow up with you.
I grew up with you. (Talk about you childhood, stuff you remember, stuff she did for you).

>“Go away!” Orchid suddenly shrieks. “Bring my brother back! Bring him back, now!”
...I can't, Orc. I didn't do this. I told you, someone else did it to me. And I was on a bridge. I was on the goddamn bridge when they found me and offered me a crazy impossible lifeline. And if they weren't there, I would have done it. I... I don't know that I could go back, even if I had a way.

If we switched back, how long would be until I was back on that bridge again? How long until your brother finds his way there?

(Guilt trip / break down in tears / panic attack).
No. 688088 ID: 0fc976

Silence her forever.
No. 688109 ID: a107fd

Yes, you're right. I'm an accidental alien bodysnatcher, which sucks. You want to bring some justice into this whole fucked-up situation? Pendel caused all this, Pendel is the only one who can bring your brother back, and Augustus is the only one who both knows how all this interdimensional bullshit works, and is willing to help us deal with Pendel properly. We've already got a solid basic plan, but time is short and we need more allies. Are you in or out?

(omit key details such as 1. the plan is to kill Pendel and 2. that won't actually bring her brother back)
No. 688191 ID: 2f4b71

Uh-oh, unassailable Orchid logic time:
* Pendel is the one who swapped not-Wister for her brother
* Pendel is the only one who could switch them back
* not-Wister wants to kill Pendel
* Therefore Orchid cannot allow this to happen if she wants her brother back
Not a good situation.
No. 688201 ID: 86cfc3

Silvio, not Pendel, this time round.
No. 688211 ID: 2f4b71

Whoops, you are correct.
No. 688330 ID: 251089
File 144995226764.png - (25.92KB , 800x600 , qr59.png )

“…I can’t bring him back, Orc.” I can’t meet her eyes. “I told you, someone else did this to me. You’re right about me being an alien bodysnatcher, but it…” I hesitate. “It was an accident. Silvio caused this to happen.”

“I don’t believe you!” Orchid has tears in her eyes. “Switch back! I don’t want you, I want my brother! I want the Wister I grew up with!”

“I did grow up with you, Orchid!” I search my brain for a moment from our childhood, some detail that will probably be the same in this world, too. It doesn’t take long for me to find one. “Do you remember when we were twelve, and we went to the circus? You accidentally dropped your cotton candy off the side of the ferris wheel, it landed in that angry guy’s hair, and we got in trouble? I was the one who took the fall for you, and I never told anyone what really happened, because you’re my sister, and I love you!”

“How do you…?” Orchid goes quiet for a little while. Then she narrows her eyes again, glaring at me. “Wait. You already told me that you had your own Orchid, back in your world. That’s a memory you shared with the other me, isn’t it?”

“Well, yeah. But you’re practically the same person.”

“No, I’m not! That girl might look like me and talk like me, she might even be a perfect copy of me, but she’s not me. I’m me. I’m the only me there is!” Orchid curls her lip. “Besides, if we’re sharing stories, then what about your menarche?”

“My what?

“Your first period, dumbass.” Orchid stomps her foot. “You cried about it for hours. I stayed up all night with you, trying to cheer you up! You told me about how much you wanted to be a boy, how you hated your body, and I hugged you and told you that I loved you. Do you remember that?”

“No. I never had any periods, much as I might have wanted to.”

“Of course you don’t remember it! Because you’re not my brother. You’re just somebody who’s a lot like him.” She grimaces. “I don’t want a substitute. I want the real Wister back.”

“Have you considered that maybe he doesn’t want to switch back?!” I snap. “Do you even know where I was before Silvio switched the two of us around?! I was on a goddamn bridge, getting ready to kill myself! If Silvio hadn’t been there to offer me an impossible lifeline, I - I would have really done it.” I suddenly realize that I’m sobbing, but I can’t stop talking now. “If… if I switch back, then how long do you think it will be until I end up there again? How long until it’s your brother standing there, ready to jump?”

Orchid stares at me, shocked. I meet her gaze, sniffling.

“Hey, uh…” Ikram tugs at my arm. “I think I’d like to have that super-secret conversation now.”

“H-huh?” I blink, doing my best to wipe the tears from my cheeks. “Oh, that. We don’t really need to do that, anymore. I was just going to tell you about the me-being-an-alien thi-“

“Yeah, well, you can tell me all about it. In detail. Right now.” He pulls me away from Orchid and Raven. “Come on, Wister. You and your sister need some space.
No. 688333 ID: 251089
File 144995239739.png - (37.04KB , 800x600 , qr60.png )

“So.” Once we’re a good distance away, leaning against a tree, Ikram speaks up. “You’re from another universe, where everything’s pretty much identical except for various tiny differences? Does this mean that the Many Worlds interpretation is accurate?”

“Yeah. I think it is, at least. Like, every possibility is its own world, probably.”

“Neat. I always sort of hoped that that was how it worked.” Ikram tilts his head. “So, there’s another me from where you come from, too? What’s he like? Goatee-sporting evil twin or generally cool guy?”

“He’s pretty much the same person, as far as I can tell.”

Wicked.” Ikram whistles. “I wonder whether we’d get along, or fight to the death?”

“Knowing you, you’d probably try to have sex with each other.”

“I won’t deny the possibility.” Ikram grins. “Hey, can you do with me what you did with Orchid? Go on, tell me a story about the other me.”

“Um… sure?” I think for a moment. “How about… Yeah, okay, I’ve got one. So, when I came out to you, right, I was super nervous. I built up to it slowly, and then I finally told you, and you were like ‘Oh, okay then.’ and I was all ‘Huh? Is that it?’ and you just laughed and said ‘I mean, what do you expect me to do? Treat you like a princess? You’re still just Wister to me, and Wister’s my friend.’ and then I started crying like an idiot. Then we played Street Fighter, and you beat me like you always do.”

“Oh, man.” Ikram smiles. “I had the exact same thing with my Wister, except that it was ‘prince’, not ‘princess’. Damn, so you weren’t kidding about us being identical, huh?”

“Yeah, you’re like twins.” I gaze at the ground, frowning. “Hey, um… do you think of me like an impostor, the same way that Orchid does?”

“Nah. You’re still Wister, even if you’re a different Wister.” He shrugs. “It’s a bit weird, and the whole universe-switchery thing really caught me by surprise, but I think I’m slowly understanding it. I’ll miss my best friend, but if he’s got the body he wants, then I guess I’m happy for him.” Ikram glances at my clothing. “It’s going to be weird to get used to a Wister who enjoys having boobs, though.”

“It’s weird for me too, honestly.” I gesture at my body. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is definitely the anatomy that I prefer, but I’ve still been moved into a completely different body. I’m definitely going to need some time to adjust to it.”

“A different body…” Ikram is quiet for a moment. “Come to think of it, what was switched between the two of you? Memories? Souls? Brains?”

“…I don’t actually know. Huh. I probably should have asked, in retrospect.”
No. 688334 ID: 251089
File 144995263708.png - (38.43KB , 800x600 , qr61.png )

“Hey, um, alien Wister!” Someone calls out to me.

“What?” I turn. It’s Raven. “Is something wrong?”

“Well, uh, my girlfriend got back from the bathroom…” Raven mumbles. “She’s asking about what she missed, and why Orchid’s crying.”

“Orc’s crying?!”

“Oh, uh, yeah… I did my best to comfort her, but she’s still kind of a mess.” Raven scratches her neck. “Anyway, I don’t know what to tell my girlfriend. I’m not really sure that I understand what’s going on, honestly, so I’d rather you explain it. Were you planning on filling her in on this crazy other-universe stuff, or not?”
No. 688341 ID: 86cfc3

>“…I don’t actually know. Huh. I probably should have asked, in retrospect.”
Probably not brains? Or else not-Pendel constantly changing ages / genders / who knows what else across all the really different version of him would be more complicated and fraught.

Also if brains actually swapped, the body would need time to heal, remap controls over the body (so there would be an adjustment period before you could move around normally), you'd have organ transplant rejection issues maybe, and the seam might show up on medical scans / examination.

>Raven's girlfriend
Who's Raven's girlfriend? What do you remember about them from your old universe?

>Were you planning on filling her in on this crazy other-universe stuff, or not?
I, honestly haven't had time to think very far ahead with any of this, but I'm not going to ask you to lie to her for me.
No. 688623 ID: a107fd

>“Come to think of it, what was switched between the two of you? Memories? Souls? Brains?”

Not brains. Quantum stuff seems to respect conservation of mass, on the macro scale at least. Human mind-state has been estimated at 100 terabytes, probably just swapped all that.
No. 688767 ID: 251089
File 145013610349.png - (30.90KB , 800x600 , qr62.png )

>Not brains.

Yeah, I sort of figured that that was the case.

“Well, I haven’t planned very far ahead with any of this, honestly, but I won’t ask you to lie for me.” I sigh. “So, who is your girlfriend?”

Silence follows. Ikram and Raven stare at me.

“What? What is it?”

“How can you not know?” Raven blinks.

“Well, I’m sorry, but in my world, the atmosphere between us was pretty awkward. We didn’t hang out as much, and I don’t think it’s weird to admit that I didn’t really keep up with your love life after we broke up.”

Excuse me?!” Raven’s jaw drops.

“Huh? Was our break-up not as harsh in this world?”

“You don’t mean… you and me?” Raven’s eyes widen. “Like, together?

Ikram’s surprise is slowly replaced by amusement. He visibly struggles to hold back laughter.

“Um, yeah, we dated for a while.” I look between the two of them. “What is it? Wait… did we not do that in this world?”

Hell no we didn’t!” Raven yells. “How long were we…? Oh fuck, how far did we go?!”


“No! Stop!” Raven frantically throws her arms up. “Never mind! Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know!”

“Uh, okay. You’re saying we really didn’t-?”

“So!” Ikram interjects, still grinning. “How is your girlfriend doing, Raven?”

“She’s… she’s doing okay.” Raven’s gaze keeps nervously drifting back to me. “We, uh, we went to see her parents, to get some of her stuff back, so she’s been a bit stressed recently. Still, she’s doing a lot better with, you know… stuff.”

“Yeah.” Ikram nods. “Stuff.

“Stuff?” I ask, confused.

“Oh. Right.” Ikram glances at me. “You don’t know, do you?”

“Don’t know what?”
No. 688769 ID: 251089
File 145013626002.png - (37.75KB , 800x600 , qr63.png )

“Hey, guys!” An unfamiliar voice calls out to us, interrupting our conversation. “Where are you?”

“Huh? We’re over by the tree.”

“Oh.” A few seconds later, a slightly familiar-looking girl pokes her head around the tree. “Hi.”

“Hi, Veronica.” Ikram stresses the name, probably for my benefit. “How are you?”

“Uh, I’m alright, I guess.” Veronica shrugs. “You?”

“Eh, a bit weird, but fine. It’s quickly turning into a very interesting day, though.”

“Why hello there, cute stuff!” Raven strides over and pulls Veronica close, curling her arm around her back. She gives her a kiss on the cheek, then lays her head on Veronica’s shoulder. “I love you.”

“Ah!” Veronica blushes slightly. “L-love you too, Ravie, but, um, gosh, you’re kind of embarrassing me. Is something wrong?”

“Uh… no, nothing.” Raven briefly glances at me, then turns back to Veronica. “So, um, hey, Ronnie, how’s Orchid doing? I thought I asked you to look after her. I did say that I’d be right back, didn’t I?”

“Orc’s still pretty depressed, but she’s stopped crying. She told me to come find you guys, actually. She said she wanted to talk to Wister.” She tilts her head, bemused. “Seriously, what’s going on? Did something happen while I was gone? Is everything okay?”
No. 688770 ID: a107fd

Hello, Veronica! Nice to meet you. This thing on the table is a hologram record-and-playback device, and I'm Wisteria Wilton from another universe, on a mission to take down the super-criminal who stranded me here.
No. 688771 ID: 2ccbb3

Also, homemade flamethrowers aren't illegal.
No. 688793 ID: 86cfc3

Well I guess now we can answer vanilla-metamyriad's Ronnie's question with regards to body swapping messing with sexuality.

You're not the only one in the world with issues, princess. Better not to stick your foot in your mouth on this one. Don't push it, just accept that she's working through something. Even if it involves less crazy magic people from other worlds.

>Seriously, what’s going on? Did something happen while I was gone? Is everything okay?
I'm an alien almost exactly the same alternate Wister from switched from another universe, and Orcid is freaking out over that. No I'm not making fun of you, and there's an impossible hologram projector over there if you want hard proof something not-normal is happening.

>Line for later
How am I supposed to be okay if Orcid hates me? It doesn't matter if she's my Orcid, she's Orcid.
No. 693424 ID: 251089
File 145266937014.png - (33.76KB , 800x600 , qr64.png )

>You're not the only one in the world with issues, princess.

I guess not. I’m pretty sure that my issues are a lot more important, though. For now, at least.

“Hello, Veronica.” I wave. “Nice to meet you.”

“Huh?” Veronica gives me a confused look. “Wister, I already know you.”

“Not quite. I’m not the Wisteria Wilton you know. I’m an alien - sort of - from another universe. I switched bodies with your Wister.”

Veronica stares at me as if I’ve gone crazy.

“Hey, I’m not insane, and I’m not making fun of you, either. I’ve got an impossible hologram projector if you want proof that something not-normal is happening.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, I left it back on the table. I’ll go grab it. While I do that, Ikram, Raven, could you try to explain?” Ikram and Raven nod. I start walking. Once I reach the table, I go to grab the projector, but then I’m distracted by the sound of someone crying. I look down and see Orchid sitting on the ground, curled up into a ball. “Oh. Hey.”


“So, uh… how are you doing?”

Orchid just sniffles quietly.
No. 693426 ID: 251089
File 145266984487.png - (32.71KB , 800x600 , qr65.png )

I sit down beside her. “I love you, you know.”

“I love my brother.” She mumbles.

“But he’s gone, Orc. He’s in my old body, back in the world where I came from.”

“I-I’ll never see him again, will I?” Orchid miserably presses her face into her knees.

“I don’t know.” I sigh. “I’m not even sure how it all works. Traveling, I mean.”

“I hate you.” Orchid sobs. “I hate you so much!

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t. Please, just… don’t.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t be nice. Don’t try to comfort me.” She ineffectually tries to wipe her tears away. “I need to be able to hate you.”

I obligingly go silent.

Orchid continues to cry for a while. When she finally finishes, drying her eyes on her sleeve, she turns to me, her expression still gloomy. “I…I’ll help you with your thing, Wist… Wisteria. I’ll do whatever I can to get you out of this mess you're in.”

“What?” I raise an eyebrow. “Wait, really?”

“Yeah. I just need to know something, first.” Orchid looks me right in the eyes. Her gaze is intense. “Did my brother know that this was going to happen? Was he aware of it ahead of time? Was it his choice to switch bodies with you?”

I blink. ‘No, he didn’t know.’ Whether I like it or not, that’s the truth. I was so, so desperate when Silvio made his offer. I stole this body away, barely even considering what would happen to the person already inside. But if I tell Orchid that, she’ll never forgive me. She could end up hating me forever, and she’d be justified in doing it.

How am I supposed to be okay if Orchid hates me? It doesn’t matter if she’s my Orchid, she’s Orchid. I hesitate, thinking it over. I could lie. There's no way for her to know whether or not I’m telling the truth, and a lie would make things easier for both of us.

Damn it. What should I say?
No. 693455 ID: 5ad4a7

Keep in mind if Silvio had approached Wister at a similarly vulnerable time, he would have done the same thing you did, because he is you.
So if he had known ahead of time, he would have wanted it.

Tell her you don't know(because you DON'T), but considering the way you felt about it, you believe he would have chosen to swap, yes. Your Orchid is the same as her, barring small differences. Everyone is the same, except you.
No. 693461 ID: 3d2d5f

>Damn it. What should I say?
Half truth. Tell her the truth while leaving yourself an out.

You don't know. You didn't get to communicate with him, and you don't know if the genie made him the same offer or if it was one way. You don't know if he hurt her as much as you did, or if he's running around guilt free. I don't know if he's as big a screwup as I am.

(And no matter what Silvio said, you don't know, because you can't trust he was being honest or just toying with you).

I.. I really didn't think this multiple people thing through. I didn't realize how much I'd hurt you. I was selfish.

>“I love my brother.”
I'm not sure you can dare ask this now but:

Do you think you could ever love a sister?
No. 693526 ID: 2f4b71

>‘No, he didn’t know.’ Whether I like it or not, that’s the truth.

No, that's your guess. You have no knowledge of what was going on in Wister's universe prior to you arriving. For all you know, Silvio set up the swap with Wister before coming to find you.
The truth is that you don't know, you can only guess.
No. 694304 ID: a107fd

A deliberate lie could rot the relationship at least as thoroughly as a thoughtless betrayal.

You don't know how this dimension-hopping stuff works. You've got less than a day of experience with it yourself. Conceivably, there's a Silvio for every universe, ALL of them can swap stuff around with each other, and deals require consent at both ends. It'd be like interdimensional freaky-friday Chatroulette. This world's Wister was trans, too; he might plausibly have taken the deal for the same reason you did. Might be happy with it, for the same reason. Might be having this same argument.

Be honest. You don't know; you never met the guy.
No. 694402 ID: 251089
File 145298061134.png - (53.69KB , 800x600 , qr66.png )

“…I don’t know. I’ve got less than a day of experience with this stuff, Orc. I don’t know if Silvio gave your Wister the same deal that he gave me. Maybe he knew, maybe he didn’t. I never met the guy.”

“Are you telling me that you decided to hijack my brother’s body without having any idea whether he consented or even knew about it?!”

“No, I’m telling you that I don’t know, because I don’t. Look, if he’d been in the same place as I had been, he would have made the same decision, because he’s me, and I’m him.”

“But you didn’t know that. You still don't. You were just guessing, weren’t you?” She stares at me with revulsion. “How could you do something like that? You… you’re horrible!

“Really? This world’s Wister was trans, too! Are you saying he would never choose to switch with me? That he didn't spend his nights wishing, over and over, that he would wake up the next morning in a male body?”

“I…” She falters. “I mean, yeah, but… No. No, he couldn’t have-“

“You don’t know what he did, and neither do I. For all we know, he made the same deal, and he’s having this exact conversation with the Orchid that I left behind.”

“No. He wouldn’t abandon me.” Orchid looks like she’s about to start crying again. “He wouldn’t leave forever - not without saying goodbye. He’s not like you.”

“He’s exactly like me, Orchid. He is me. We just had slightly different circumstances.” I sigh. “I didn’t say goodbye to you, either. I didn’t want you to worry. I just hugged you and told you that I loved you. If this world’s Wister knew what was going to happen, then he probably did the same thing.”

“He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t.” She repeats the words without much confidence. She stares miserably at the ground. “How could he? How could you?

“Because I was scared, Orchid.” I reach out and squeeze her hand. “I was as scared of switching as I was of staying. If I had told you, you might have tried to talk me out of it, and that would have tipped the scales. I would have been stuck in that body, in that life, and been dead within the week. So I didn’t tell you. I just made my decision and hoped for the best.”
No. 694405 ID: 251089
File 145298074741.png - (27.87KB , 800x600 , qr67.png )

“That’s so cruel.” Orchid goes still. “Don’t you care about her at all? The Orchid you left behind?”

“Of course I care about you.”

“But I’m not her.”

“As far as I can tell, you’re identical, so, yes, you are. You’re here, and Ikram’s here, and Dad’s here…”

“But you must know that we’re not the same people.” She looks at me with wide eyes, her anger and grief replaced with something much worse: pity. “You’re only pretending that we are, aren’t you?”

“No.” I shake my head. “No, you’re exactly the same. You just have a few different memories, here and there.”

“Those two statements can’t both be true.” She puts a hand on my shoulder. “Wisteria…”

“Stop it.” I push her hand away.

“You can’t ignore this forever.” She bites her lip, looking depressed, but not in the same way as she was before. “God, Wister, that’s so sad. You didn’t just give up your body, did you? You lost every person you’ve ever known.”

“I said stop it!” I shriek, jumping to my feet. “Shut up! You’re wrong! You’re an idiot! You’re just trying to hurt me, aren’t you?! To get back at me for taking your brother away?!”

“What? No, Wister, I’m not-“

“Liar!” I notice that my whole body is trembling for some reason that I can’t think about right now. “I’ve done nothing but be nice to you, I’ve only ever told you the truth, but you keep insulting me and lying to me and trying to make me feel bad! Fuck you!

“I’m not lying, you - you asshole!” Orchid yells. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
No. 694407 ID: 251089
File 145298122622.png - (36.05KB , 800x600 , qr68.png )

“I don’t mean to interrupt…” A familiar voice coughs uncomfortably.

“Wh-?” I turn around to see August carrying a plastic bag full of what look like small cardboard boxes. “August? What are you doing here?”

“Did you already forget about our planned lunchtime meeting?” August grumbles. “Perhaps you were... distracted. Can you please hold this?” Before I can answer, he shoves the plastic bag into my arms. “Thank you.”

“Uh… you’re welcome, I guess.” I notice Orchid staring, open-mouthed, at August. I follow her gaze. The side of August’s shirt is torn up, with a long, bloody gash running along the side of his stomach. “Holy crap, are you alright?!”

“Mm. No, not very.” August wobbles a bit, then collapses. He groans, writhing on the ground.

“Ah!” Orchid rushes over to him, looking at the wound. “Oh fuck, oh fuck! She’s bleeding so much!”

“He.” I mumble. “August’s a he.”

“Oh my god, this is not the time to be correcting pronouns, you delusional alien fuck!” Orchid starts wiping away the blood. She breathes deeply, steadying herself. “Okay. Calm. Okay. It’s not as bad as it looks, but it’s still pretty bad. I think something slashed through both the clothes and her - uh, his skin, but I’m only guessing.” She glances up at me, worried. “Hey, I… I don’t know what to do. My Wister took a first aid course last year. Please tell me that you did, too.”

I did take that course, but it seems so long ago, now. I think hard, struggling to remember what I’m supposed to do to treat a stab wound.
No. 694408 ID: 7b7ab3

What's wrong with you is that she's right.

She's right, you made a selfish, ignorant choice, Silvio fucked you proper, and now you're stuck.

So you're not very happy.
No. 694409 ID: 2ccbb3


One of you, whichever is stronger, put pressure on the wound! The less veins open, the less bleeding August will take! The other one, find help (if they aren't under Silvio's thrall) or grab some cloth and water to help clog the bleeding! The hospitals are probably under Silvio's control, so you need to find anyone with doctor's experience and use the internet and a hidden place to crash!

No. 694411 ID: 5ad4a7

That's not a stab wound. Regardless, you need medical supplies to treat that gash. You need to first off stop the bleeding, which means putting pressure on the wound (usually with a clean cloth). Then you want to clean the wound and bandage it.

Someone should go to the school nurse or find the nearest first aid kit.
No. 694417 ID: 7b7ab3

1.) Apply pressure to the pain hole to stop or slow the flow of blood. Hold it all in and never let go, like your repressing dark fantasies.
2.) Call an ambulance! If you live in the UK dial 999. If you live in the US dial 911. If you live in another country I'm so sorry.
No. 694419 ID: 007e78

>“I’m not lying, you - you asshole!” Orchid yells. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”
...maybe you're not my Orcid. Maybe these aren't my friends. My family. Maybe this isn't my life.

But if I loved them, how am I supposed to not love you when the differences are so small? It would be like hating them just because they changed. I can't do that. I won't. I can't be alone. And... I didn't leave them alone.

...worlds split, right? Every time something could go different, or someone makes a choice, you get two worlds, one on each path. Follow the bifurcations back far enough, and you were the same. I hope.

>I think hard, struggling to remember what I’m supposed to do to treat a stab wound.
Pressure on the wound. Control the bleeding. Tear up available cloth to try and bind the wound. If whatever caused the wound is still inside, don't pull it out.

Call out for someone to call 911 as you're treating him. You have spare teenagers, and some of them have phones. This is not a choice- you can't treat this without real medical assistance.

Someone should probably run and get the school nurse too, if you've got a competent one and not a twit.

Non medical advice: someone needs to get the bag of whatever he just handed you and the hologram thing away and/or hidden. We don't need magic tech and whatever illegal stuff he gathered up being found by first responders.
No. 694532 ID: a107fd

Person with first aid training, apply pressure to the wound. While doing so, delegate less specialized duties to anyone caught in bystander paralysis. Take charge of the situation until someone more competent gets here; shout names and assignments as though you expect to be obeyed. If someone is actively unhelpful, trying to argue, ignore them and hand the assignment to someone else.

Apart from contacting actual emergency services, have someone fetch a first aid kit, or at least clean cloth and superglue for bandaging, and honey (but only actual honey from bees, not dolled-up corn syrup) as a disinfectant.

If disposable waterproof gloves are available, possibly from the foodservice crew, everybody who might be touching blood should probably wear those to minimize risk of infection.

Once bleeding is under control, start treating for shock by giving the patient something warm and comfortable to lay on. Folded-up jacket under the head, that kind of thing.
No. 694790 ID: 2f4b71

1- Apply pressure
2- Nearest bystander (Orchid) phones for an ambulance (Location, One Casualty, Injury(s), Status (conscious, bleeding) Location again)
3- Check for other injuries (August is conscious, so ask)
112 is the universal GSM emergency number, and will work in all countries with a GSM network (very close to worldwide).
No. 703596 ID: 3bc92d
File 145593236587.png - (58.25KB , 800x600 , qr69.png )

I kneel down beside Orchid, looking at August’s injury. “Uh, okay, um, we need to put pressure on it with something.”

“You…” August struggles to sit up, groaning in pain. “You can use the rest of my shirt, it’s already torn…”

“No, it needs to be clean, and you’re covered in sweat and blood. Besides, you shouldn’t move around too much.” I gently push him back to the ground. “Try to be still, but, uh, not too still, okay?”

“Mmh.” August grunts.

“I do need cloth, though, or gauze.” I look over my options. “My jacket is too light, but maybe-“

“Wait, I’ve got this!” Orchid quickly wriggles out of her overshirt and pushes it into my hands. “Here.”

“That’ll work. Thanks.” I adjust August’s clothes so I have better access to his stomach, and then I wrap Orchid’s shirt around the gash, doing my best to keep putting pressure on the wound. “Orchid, call nine-one-one, tell them to send an ambulance-“

No!” August lurches slightly, eyes wide. “Don’t you dare! No police, no ambulances, nothing, nothing at all!”

“What?” I blink. “August, this is serious! You could die!”

“You don’t understand. They’ll ask questions. They’ll keep me hospitalized.” August grimaces. “We can’t waste time on that. Not yet. We haven’t finished preparing for Silvio’s return.”

“Yeah? Well, you should have thought of that before you…” I glance at him. “Wait, how did this happen, anyway? Were you attacked? Does Silvio -?”

“No, no…” August shakes his head. “It was an accident. Stupid, really. I was running from the police. I tried to leap over a metal fence, I misjudged this body’s weight, and, well…”

“You were running from the police?!”

“Yes, after I stole those tasers.” August points at the plastic bag. “I didn’t have a choice in the matter. The weapons were expensive, and Madeleine - this body - appears to be destitute. The only things I could find in her purse were some odd plastic cards.”

“Credit cards.” I sigh. “They’re called credit cards.”

“Huh?” He blinks.
No. 703600 ID: a9ff28

on the one hand, we CAN hospitalize Augustus...If we're willing to deal with her getting locked up/jailed.
Unless she's got enough money to pay the fines (Watch, she's totes gonna have the cash. And the Cash to buy the Tasers straight-up no problem on top of that, to add insult to injury.)
For now...Let's go the Dad route, but if we can, we oughta check what's on those cards.
I say that because between having to kill either Silveo or a precious person close to us...And because I have a feeling that Silveo has ways of continuing to grant Wishes for which he'll extort a Price from each and every time...
No. 703602 ID: 3bc92d
File 145593314470.png - (56.98KB , 800x600 , qr70.png )

Oh my god!” I hear Raven yelling from behind us. I turn and see her rushing over, with Ikram and Veronica not far behind. “What happened?!”

“August got slashed up by a fence. I’m doing my best to keep pressure on the wound, but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next.”

“Oh, shit! Okay, okay, let me think…” Raven thinks for a few seconds. “I’ve got a first aid kit in my car. Is there an ambulance on the way?”

No ambulances.” August growls.

“Are you serious?!” Raven stares.

“What about your dad, Raven? He’s a nurse practitioner - he might be able to treat this, right?”

“I… I don’t know.” Raven bites her lip, her eyes on August’s injury. “I mean, sure, he’d probably be able to, but this is really bad. I don’t think dad could take care of it as well as a real hospital could. We should call nine-one-one.”

“Well…” I consider. “Maybe.”

No!” August struggles to sit up again, his expression furious. “I’m so close! If you want to stop Silvio, you’ll need my help, and I can’t do anything from a hospital bed - or from inside a cell. You call an ambulance, and I promise you that I’ll be stuck in one of those two places.”

“I don’t know. I’m not sure if medical decisions are entirely up to you.”

“What?! This is entirely my decision! It’s my…” August falters.

“Your what? Your body?” I give him a sad look. “We’re both borrowing.”

“…It doesn’t matter whose body it is. I’m the one inside it.”

“Where are we going to take him, Wister?” Orchid asks, her voice worried. “The hospital, or Raven’s house?”

“Why is it my decision?!”

“Well, you’re the only one who actually knows this person, so… what’s it going to be?”
No. 703611 ID: 5ad4a7

What do we need August's help for exactly? I mean if we kill Silvio, that's it, right? Also if he doesn't get proper treatment he's going to die. If Silvio can die, so can he.

Personally I think you need to get an adult's opinion on this. Someone who knows better what the medical risks are.

No matter what, tell him he's an idiot for not even asking what money looks like here.
No. 703772 ID: 2f4b71

August, without professional medical care you're going to be bedridden anyway. For longer, and with worse consequences if the wound becomes infected or there is internal damage. Is there REALLY anything you can do to help while immobile (and without any pain management) that cannot be done equally well from a hospital bed than any other bed?
No. 703799 ID: 2ccbb3

Get to Raven's house and hire a private doctor. We can play it off by claiming that Silvio's bodyguard had a "chat" with August, and that we can't go to the hospital because Silvio's syndicate family owns the science market in town and could arrange for an "unscheduled surgery". They'll make it look like a regular death by infection.

You need to find a doctor, and fast. Afterwards, use the wound as bait. Come up with a story to spin on Silvio. He did get the Tazers, right?
No. 703839 ID: 02422f

Call 911. You're not selfish enough to let someone die over this, and let's be honest, if the cops come looking for him, your guys are not going to be able to cover up the trail adequately. Urban settings and modern schools have cameras- they'll have seen her enter. If people didn't. And you're not equipped to move the body unseen, or get rid of all the blood and forensics. If you try to cover this up, you and your friends will be found out, and if she actually dies, you'll be held responsible for that.

You can't afford to fuck up their lives any further.

Besides, if you want to move on Silvio, you can't afford to have cops sniffing around who might mess up your illegal activity too early. Sorry, August, but we we gotta let them find what they're looking for so they stop looking.

>Personally I think you need to get an adult's opinion on this.
Any responsible adult's position would be "I'm not helping you cover up a child's injury, I'm calling for medical assistance now."
No. 705083 ID: a107fd

>credit cards

The little black strip is magnetized in a coded pattern which can be read by a machine at the sales counter, which in turn is plugged into a global electronic communication network. With that, and a signature that nobody ever actually looks at anymore, you could have accessed money which Madeline had stored in a bank somewhere.

The cops are going to get involved whether we want them to or not, at this point. Let's try to turn that to our advantage. They've got more guns, and military-style training in how to use 'em, than we'd be able to acquire on short notice. Silvio is the kind of monster they'd probably feel good about brutally killing, if they knew the whole story; we just need to tell them enough of the story, quickly and in a way they'll believe.
No. 716287 ID: 3bc92d
File 146058286274.png - (55.58KB , 800x600 , qr71.png )

“August, without professional medical care, you’re going to be bedridden anyway. For longer, and with worse consequences if the wound becomes infected or there’s internal damage.” I sigh. “Is there really anything you can do to help from a bed, anyway? What do we need your help to do, at this point?”

“Everything! Besides, do you honestly think I’d send children to fight Silvio on their own?” August glares. “I’m not a monster. I don’t want you to throw your lives away. I want us to win, and I’m the only person here who has any military experience.”

“You do?”

“I was a freelance Pendelion; a mindreader-for-hire, practically a mercenary. We saw a lot of combat.”


“I meant to say ‘I’.” August shifts slightly, wincing at the pain. “Look, I’ll go see your friend’s father, but please don’t send me to the hospital. I don’t want this body’s family to be aware that anything’s amiss, but if I end up in the hospital, then they’ll want to know what happened. I can’t interact with them for any long period of time, or they might start to realize that I’m not actually Madeleine.”

“Maybe you should have thought about that before you tore up her body.” Orchid sniffs. “It’s your own fault, anyway. You should have been more careful.”

“It is. And I should have been.” August’s expression softens. “I’m not infallible. I’m doing my best, but everyone makes mistakes.”

“You could have at least asked what money looks like.” I pull my wallet out of my pocket and gesture at one of my credit cards. “The little black strip is magnetized in a coded pattern which can be read by a machine at the sales counter, which in turn is plugged into a global electronic communication network. With that, and a signature that nobody ever actually looks at anymore, you could have accessed money which Madeline had stored in a bank somewhere.”

“Huh, really?” August gazes mournfully at the card. “I’m sorry, then. I did cursory research into your currency, and what I saw implied that you still used paper and coins.”

“We do.”


“This is all very interesting, but if you don’t want to bleed out, then we need to get you to my house as fast as possible!” Raven leans down, firmly gripping August by the shoulders. “Come on, Wister, help me get her into the car.”

After I help Raven get him into the car, I end up sitting in the back seat with Ikram and August. Orchid reluctantly squeezes into the far-back, lying down to avoid being seen. I offer to let her sit on my lap, instead, but she refuses. I guess she still doesn’t trust me. I don’t know if I can entirely blame her for feeling that way.

“So!” Ikram smiles. “Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a Canadian and two aliens get into a car…”


“That’s the punchline.” Ikram shrugs. “This whole thing is silly and ridiculous.”

“And yet you’ve managed to accept it very easily.” August keeps rearranging himself in his seat, trying to avoid stressing his injury. “Most people have trouble just comprehending the idea of multiple worlds.”

“What, really? Do they not have Star Trek in other worlds?” Ikram chuckles. “Parallel universes are old hat to us, really.”

“Man, thinking about it, we’re never going to be able to get through another episode of that show without talking about how I’m an actual alien, huh?” I grin.

“Probably not, no.” Ikram shakes his head. “It’s most likely going to come up in every conversation we ever have, honestly. It’s too crazy not to talk about.”

“Well, at least we-“
No. 716288 ID: 3bc92d
File 146058298077.png - (335.25KB , 800x600 , qr72.png )

And then, suddenly, I’m somewhere else. I blink several times, feeling very nauseous. I reach out with my arm, steadying myself on a nearby wall.

I feel very strange. My right arm is kind of numb. I notice that, for some reason, my mouth is open, so I close it.

I look around, trying to figure out what happened. I don’t recognize anything, but I do realize something: for the first time in months, I have depth perception.

The longer I think about it, the more quickly my panic starts to build. What the hell just happened to me?
No. 716289 ID: 5ad4a7

What the fuck did you just hop worlds again?! Look around. Pinch yourself, maybe you fell asleep suddenly for no reason and are dreaming.
No. 716290 ID: 7b7ab3

Bad News: Your right arm is gone, you're not where you were, and there's a potential hostile behind you.
Good News: At least you're still a girl! That's something, right? Right?
No. 716291 ID: 02422f

>What the hell just happened to me?
The same thing that happened before. You got yanked to an alternate universe. Just be glad this you is still female.

You've traded one pirate injury for another, though. No need for an eye patch, but now you need a hook. Dang. Were you right handed?

Weird landscape. All jenga towers and perilous narrow paths.

Uh, before you start freaking out and screaming, be aware that there's someone standing behind you. You have an audience, and a freak-out might not be advise.

...things are probably worse in the car, anyways. In all likelihood you and August just switched out, so there are two people with no idea what's happening freaking out in a close space. One of which just found themselves inexplicably injured and in pain. Thank goodness you weren't driving, at least.
No. 716380 ID: 3bc92d
File 146060737863.png - (212.27KB , 800x600 , qr73.png )

>Bad News: Your right arm is gone
>You've traded one pirate injury for another, though. No need for an eye patch, but now you need a hook.

Holy shit! I stare at the stump where my arm used to be, my heartbeat racing. Refusing to believe that it’s real, I run my other hand over the bandages, shaking. I feel like I might vomit. I pinch myself, but I don’t wake up. Then I notice the color of my skin, and the texture of my hair. Wait… Am I black?

>...things are probably worse in the car

Oh, fuck. If I’m in another world, then who the hell did I switch places with?!

“Enjoy the trip, Wisteria?” An unfortunately familiar voice calls out from behind me, and I turn to see Silvio lazily strolling up the hill. He waves. “How are you feeling?”

“I - I’m… what did you…” I struggle to speak with an unfamiliar mouth. “Who am-?”

“Yiana Kér Kanas, single mother of two, devout worshipper of the gods, recently disarmed, and temporarily borrowing your body.” Silvio dramatically gestures at me. “She’s a potential client of mine, and you currently occupy her form.”


“Well, for such a religious woman, Yiana was quite skeptical when it came to my abilities. I decided to give her a brief demonstration.” Silvio chuckles. “I’d been meaning to check in on you, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.”

“How long am I going to be like this?”

“Not long at all. Five minutes should more than serve my purposes.” Silvio curls his arm around my shoulders. “So, Wisteria, dear, how have you been? Enjoying the uterus? Have you decided who you’re going to kill, yet? I’m simply dying of anticipation!”

I tense up at his touch.

“Oh, don’t be so standoffish! You can trust me.” Silvio gently pats my head. He leans forward, breathing into my ear. “Or perhaps you don’t. Do you hate me? Do you want me dead? Give me an honest answer. I won’t be mad, I promise!”

I remember our last encounter, and I start to tremble.

“Well, this is boring.” Silvio sighs, raises his arms, and backs away in mock surrender. “Fine, then. If you won’t respond to my questions, then how about this: you’ve got these next five minutes to ask me whatever you want, and I’ll answer each question truthfully. What do you think? Does that strike your fancy?”
No. 716382 ID: 5ad4a7

Okay, how about
Can he read minds?
Can he even die?
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll tootsie pop?
No. 716383 ID: 02422f

>you’ve got these next five minutes to ask me whatever you want, and I’ll answer each question truthfully.
Ask the only question that could possibly matter at his point.

No. 716391 ID: 7b7ab3

No. 716431 ID: a107fd

Scratch "he's evil" into the skin of your belly with fingernails. Yiana deserves to know, right?
No. 716476 ID: f36501

This! Keep him distracted, but good god protect this poor woman.

It's too late for us to avoid him, but we might be able to save her.

Any questions to keep him from noticing, honestly. Get pissed and show emotion, he seems to feed on that shit.
No. 716481 ID: 3d2d5f

The problem with trying to leave a message is won't know if the language and/or writing is the same in this universe.
No. 716546 ID: a107fd

Hey, now. Not helpful. Either there's some sort of magical translator, or there's nothing we could've done to sent a coherent message in five minutes. No reason not to try.

I mean, we could ask Silvio for a translation, but at that point we're literally trusting him to betray himself.
No. 716548 ID: 02422f

If message passing is possible, they're getting one from the people in the car.

If we have doubts message passing is possible, that's reason enough to avoid trying to etch a message into the would-be recipient's skin.
No. 716848 ID: a107fd

Of the people in the car, the only one who knows Silvio personally is severely injured. True, they've got more bandwidth with which to warn Yiana, but that's no excuse to shirk the opportunity to give her a longer-term reminder.

As for actual questions to ask Silvio... is it true that the threat of sending everyone I care about to hell implies that there are other people, already in hell, who would thereby escape?
No. 717546 ID: 3bc92d
File 146095583380.png - (213.81KB , 800x600 , qr74.png )

>Scratch "he's evil" into the skin of your belly with fingernails. Yiana deserves to know, right?
>It's too late for us to avoid him, but we might be able to save her.

I start to covertly scratch a warning on the surface of my stomach, carefully reaching underneath the strange metallic corset wrapped around my middle.

>The problem with trying to leave a message is we don't know if the language and/or writing is the same in this universe
>we could ask Silvio for a translation, but at that point we're literally trusting him to betray himself.

I hesitate. Thinking fast, I decide to take a chance. “How were you able to talk to this woman? Do they speak English on every world, or something?”

“English? Is that what you think you’re speaking?”

“Well, duh.” I pause. “I mean, I am, aren’t I?”

“Silly woman. You haven’t really wrapped your head around this process, have you?” Silvio laughs. “But then again, you’re not using your head at the moment. You’re using the brain of Yiana Kér Kanas, and she’s never spoken a word of English in her life. You’re speaking in her native tongue, Zherkoti, and you’re doing it very well, I might add.”

“What? No I’m not.”

“Oh, I’m sure you think you’re speaking English, but that’s nothing more than a trick of the mind.” Silvio suddenly reaches forward and pokes my lip. He pulls his hand back when I move to slap it away. “Language is, after all, nothing more than a mental association of concepts, specific sounds, and, in the case of writing, certain visual patterns. Focus on the movements of your teeth and tongue, and you’ll soon start to understand what I mean.”

“I’m pretty sure that if I was speaking another language, I…” I freeze. I had thought that I was going to make a ‘w’ sound, but my teeth are closed, as if I was making an ’s’ sound instead. “I… I would know.” I finish my sentence, feeling the surreal, dissonant motions in my mouth. “Oh my god.

“Fascinating, isn’t it?”

I do my best not to freak out, trying to keep myself thinking. “That still doesn’t explain how you can speak her language.”

“There happens to be a world where humanity invented a flawless translation machine no larger than the nail of your pinky finger.” Silvio taps his forehead. “I had it implanted some time ago, as payment for one of my transactions. All I need to do is analyze a language for, oh, ten minutes or so, and I’ll practically be fluent. Before the machine, though, I admit that the language barrier was quite a hassle.”

“Mm.” I nod absently, focused on etching my message onto Yiana’s stomach.

“Are you perhaps itching, Wisteria? You seem preoccupied.”

>Any questions to keep him from noticing, honestly.

“I have a question for you!“ I speak quickly, trying to distract him. “Why?

“Why not?”

“That’s not an actual answer.”

“That wasn’t an actual question. Be more specific.”

“Why do I have to kill someone who I love? Why would you want me to do something like that?”

“Ah, yes, there it is!” Silvio claps his hands, ecstatic. “I’ve been waiting for that one! The answer is simple, Wisteria: I want you to deserve the chance I’ve given you.”

“Excuse me?”

“How do I put this? Well, for a start, by losing one loved one, you will come to more truly appreciate the others you hold dear…”

>Get pissed and show emotion, he seems to feed on that shit.

“I already appreciate them!” As I talk, I feel my genuine rage start to bubble to the surface. “What the fuck is wrong with you, you sadistic son of a bitch?! What, is this the only way you can get it up anymore?!”

“I admit, there is a certain sublime arousal that comes with having power over life and death.” Silvio simpers broadly, showing a large number of teeth. “But you didn’t let me finish. You will come to appreciate your loved ones, or you will learn that you don’t need them as much as you think you do. Either way, I am galvanizing you into self-actualization. Ultimately, Wisteria, I’m not out to hurt you. Quite the contrary, honestly: I’m graciously granting meaning to your otherwise insignificant existence.”

I stare at him, speechless. I don’t know how to respond to that.

“You see, Wisteria, you don’t fully realize the gravity of the Metamyriad.” Silvio outstretches his arms, indicating all around us. “There are infinite worlds. Infinite possibilities. Infinite Wisteria Wiltons. In other worlds, other versions of you exist just as you exist, with the exact same roots, personality, and memories, but as individuals of incredible importance.”
No. 717547 ID: 3bc92d
File 146095589434.png - (226.13KB , 800x600 , qr75.png )

“I already know that.”

“But you don’t completely understand what it means. When I look at you, I see every person you could be. In countless worlds, Wisteria is the savior of humanity, and is revered as a living god. In yet more worlds, Wisteria is the last person alive, having been personally responsible for slaughtering the rest of humanity. In some worlds, you are a recently-disarmed single mother of two.” Silvio gestures at my borrowed body. “Infinite possibilities, Wisteria. All that it would take for any other Wisteria to be extraordinary is the right flash of inspiration, or a specific variable introduced at a specific time. But then there’s you.

“Me? What do you mean?”

“You’re nothing, Wisteria.” Silvio says it matter-of-factly, without any malice. “You’re one of the boring ones. Mundane. Forgettable. A failure even in your own eyes. You were moments away from committing suicide, after all. But then I saw you, amidst all the infinite copies of yourself standing upon infinite copies of that bridge, and I stepped in. I saved you. I made you more than you could have ever been, more than any other Wisteria ever was or ever could be. Try as they may, any other Wisteria might shake the entire universe, but it will always just be their one universe. Not you, though. Not anymore. I made you special.

“Uh, sure. Whatever.” I hastily finish scrawling the message onto my belly. “You haven’t answered my question. Why do I have to murder someone I care about?”

“Because that will make you more interesting, of course!” Out of nowhere, Silvio grabs my shoulder again, gripping it tightly. A moment later, he harshly yanks me close to him. His head is inches from mine, and I feel his breath on the back of my neck. “Keep in mind, dear, that in my life, I see more worlds than you could ever imagine, and I am so tired of all the tedious human cattle that populate so many of them. Believe me, the Metamyriad does not need any more dull people, and you are dull, Wisteria. Very, very dull.”

“I - I thought I was supposed to be ’special’.” I stutter slightly, my voice betraying my fear. I just realized that if Silvio gets bored and decides to kill me or leave me here in this body, I would be completely trapped. Yiana would be separated from her children. I wouldn’t see my friends or family ever again. Yiana’s heart beats faster in my chest. “I mean, you said I was special, right?”

“Well, yes, it’s true, I made you unique, but your personality is so… basic. You still need that little something to make you more entertaining as an individual, more deserving of the important gift I’ve given you. Being forced to completely break your own moral code will doubtless do the trick.”

“All that will do is leave me traumatized.” I struggle to keep my voice calm and steady. “You can’t just remake my personality. It doesn’t work that way.”

“You say that, but you say it in a language you’ve never heard, while using another woman’s lips!” Silvio chortles, letting me go with a flourish. “Is a mind any less malleable than its flesh?”

“That’s different. You can switch my mind into different bodies, but you can’t fundamentally change who I am on the inside. No matter what body I’m in, I’m still me. I’m still Wister.”

“You and so many others.” Silvio winks. “Your five minutes are up, Wisteria, but I’ve enjoyed our little talk. I do have this certain annoying feeling, though, as if I’ve forgotten something…” Silvio briefly looks puzzled, but then he snaps his fingers in realization. ”Ah, right, that was it! I know I said I would come calling tomorrow night, but I’m afraid that my schedule is somewhat overbooked. We’ll have to make it today, in, say… an hour? Yes, that should work. Don’t worry about a meeting place. I’ll find you wherever you happen to be at the time. Do remember to bring a friend along.”

What?! No, you can’t do that, that’s not fai-!“
No. 717551 ID: 3bc92d
File 146095630233.png - (134.81KB , 800x600 , qr76.png )

A familiar vertigo overwhelms my perception. I double over, feeling a snapping nausea tear through me. A second later, I’m sitting down, and my hand is on my right eye. I do my best to comprehend my surroundings, but it’s difficult to make anything out through the haze of adapting to a new body’s senses.

“I wish you’d quit doing that. I mean, I get it, this must be pretty weird, but if you keep scratching at Wister’s eye, you could get an infection.”

“I still don’t really understand what’s happening. Why’s Wisteria acting so strangely?”

“Ronnie, baby, I told you; that’s not Wisteria anymore.”

“It hasn’t been Wister for a while. Why isn’t anybody concerned about what happened to my real brother?”

“Yiana, are you alright?” I feel someone else’s hand gently holding mine. “You’ve gone quiet.”

I’m still pretty confused. I don’t even know who’s talking to me.
No. 717555 ID: ae72a0

Acquire bearings.
Assess situation.
Where are you?
Who's with you?
What's happening?
No. 717558 ID: 7b7ab3

"Yiana's not here right now. Would you like to leave a message?"
No. 717575 ID: 1cebc8

Warn your sister that you're back, Silvio's on full alert, and he's going to @#$% up the rest of your day in thirty seconds by forcing a merry-go-round of you, girl-you, and some cultist mother across your bodies in increasing frequency until your minds break into pieces from the stress.

Basically, the mastermind has the intel he needs so now we're all screwed. Game over I wuv you buh bye fetal position.
No. 717590 ID: a107fd

Blurt out that Silvio's doing the Adorjani thing. Crucible of tragedy. He's bored, so he wants to turn sheeple into heroes by severing the attachments to their ordinary lives.

Also, the timeline just got accelerated, so let's see if we can get a counter-terrorism SWAT team to show up at the hospital in an hour.
No. 718030 ID: a075ba

>I’m still pretty confused. I don’t even know who’s talking to me.
Your friends, in the car. You can tell from the names referenced- Wister (who you took this body from), Wisteria (you), and Yiana (who you just swapped for for five minutes).

>what do
Lower your hand before you hurt yourself. Yianna was more bothered by your eye than you had the chance to be bothered by her hand.

>“Yiana, are you alright?” I feel someone else’s hand gently holding mine. “You’ve gone quiet.”
I'm not Yiana. I'm Wisteria, again. Sorry, Silvo was playing musical chairs. Please tell me you told her he was bad news.

Did August switch too, or was that just me.

>last thing
...I've got an hour. He cut the deadline down to an hour.
No. 729608 ID: a606da
File 146590351765.png - (65.47KB , 800x600 , qr77.png )

>Where are you? Who's with you? What's happening?

When I regain my sight, blurry though it may be, I try to examine my surroundings. I’m back in the car, alright. Aside from Raven, who’s driving, everyone’s staring at me. I feel a bit nervous.

>Lower your hand before you hurt yourself. Yianna was more bothered by your eye than you had the chance to be bothered by her hand.

Huh. I’d have guessed that an arm was more unsettling to lose than an eye. Then again, who knows how weird being inside my body might feel to a stranger?

“I - I’m not Yiana. I'm Wisteria, again.” I blink, and the world slowly comes back into focus. “Sorry, Silvio was playing musical chairs.”

“Which Wisteria?” Orchid leans forward, her expression hopeful.

“The girl one.”

“Oh.” Dejected, Orchid slumps back again.

“Yeah. Sorry.” I sigh. “Hey, did August switch too, or was it just me?”

“For a little bit, yes. Not long enough to fully know where I was. If it matters, I was in a man’s body.” August coughs and blinks. He’s probably re-adapting to his body the same way I’m re-adapting to mine. After a moment, he looks down, bemused. Ikram’s arm is braced against August’s chest, holding him against his seat. “Huh. Enjoying yourself?”

“N-no, it’s not like that!” Ikram stutters, embarrassed. He lets his arm fall away. “I had to hold you down. I didn’t want you to make your injury worse, and the person in your body was a little, uh…”

“You were flailing, sobbing, shrieking bloody murder, and grabbing at your genitals.” Raven sighs. “Could you try to keep it down? I really don’t want to have to talk to the police about why there’s a screaming, confused, blood-covered girl in the back of my car.”

“Don’t blame me.” August brusquely wipes tears from his cheek, looking annoyed. “I don’t have any control over what other people do in this body. I’m being as quiet as I can.”

“Right, right, everybody’s switching bodies. Sorry, it’s getting hard to keep track of it all.”

“What happened while I was gone?” I glance around. It doesn’t look like anything in the car has changed. “Did you talk to the woman in my body? Please tell me you told her that Silvio was bad news.”

“I did.” Ikram nods. I look down. He’s the one who was holding my hand, and he still is. “Yiana was handling it pretty well, considering. Better than the one in August, anyway. I mean, Yiana was very shocked, obviously, but she was calm enough to explain things after a minute. When she mentioned Silvio, I told her not to trust him. She seemed to believe me, but I’m not sure.”

“I left a message on her stomach, too.” I consider removing my hand from Ikram’s grip, but decide against it. Embarrassing as it may be, the comfort of the gesture is something I really need right now. “Hopefully she got the hint.”

“So you were her?” August leans forward in his chair to look at me. “Wait. Silvio. Was he there? What did he say to you?”

“He said he’s trying to make me ‘interesting’, by severing the attachments to my normal life.” I shiver slightly, and my eyes fixate on the floor. “I’ve got an hour. He cut the deadline down to an hour.”

“An hour?” August groans. “Damn it! That’s not enough time!”

“Not enough time for what?” Veronica asks.

“Murder. Or capture. Unless…” August grimaces. “Excuse me, dear - Raven, right? - this place you’re taking me to. Your father. How long will the journey take?”

“Huh? Um… Half an hour at most. Hold up, though, what was that bit about murder?”

“Are there any large open areas near your home? Fields, abandoned lots, unused arenas? Places without bystanders?”

“I mean, yeah, there’s a park in my neighborhood, but… hey, what are you planning?”

“You’ll drop me off at your father’s, and he’ll tend to my body’s wounds.” August orders in a firm, commanding way. “Then all of you will take the tasers I stole, make your way to the park, and from there shall focus on saving Wisteria’s life.”

“Saving my life?” I stare at him.

“Yes, Wisteria. Saving your life.” August glares at me, irritated. “Without ambushing and incapacitating him, Silvio will kill you, or worse. If your friends are any friends at all, then they will fight to save you from that fate. So that’s the plan. What, do you have a better idea?”
No. 729613 ID: 430103

Hrm. No plans, but maybe only one question:
If I make contact with Silveo's body, could I keep him from warping or otherwise messing with me or no?
Quite frankly...
IF, and I do mean IF, we go with the 'kill loved one' I wonder if Augustus would be willing to take the bullet?
Unlike other people you know, Augustus's life is suffering, and she is in fact willing to risk it to see him dead.
I figure if we cannot kill Silveo, (and yanno, assuming he's still in anywhere near a mood to still talk instead of the lava world thing, or make US decide which person he roasts) we should pick the person he's dragging with him.
Though chances are he'd just replace Augustus with you but like Augustus, he can mess up.
And either way, being the Wisteria to kill Silveo should be 'interesting' enough for him. Or he'll just be dead, one of the two.
No. 729751 ID: 398fe1

You know, I don't think this is going to work. He's not gonna let a group of kids jump him and take him down at close range. We absolutely have to take him by surprise and kill him instantly or near-instantly with whatever attack we use.

Tasers aren't lethal, so we'd have to use them to stun and THEN kill him. I doubly don't think that will work, because he'll just use his bullshit magic to warp off despite being physically stunned.

We require a gun, or improvised long-range weapon. Or a bomb.
No. 730805 ID: a075ba

>“Without ambushing and incapacitating him, Silvio will kill you, or worse. If your friends are any friends at all, then they will fight to save you from that fate. So that’s the plan. What, do you have a better idea?”
*miserable* ...I could just give up. If we try and attack him and fail he's probably just going to fuck over all my friends too. If it's just me... it's just me. At least if he shifts me into some fucking hell as punishment some other me will be getting out of that hell.

I was dead when he found me, anyways. Only difference is I got to spend a little time in the right body before I died, this way.
No. 744089 ID: a606da
File 147198881904.png - (52.90KB , 800x600 , qr78.png )

“…I could just give up. If we try and attack him and fail, he's probably just going to fuck over all my friends too.” I sigh, letting my eyelids droop. I feel so tired. I felt tired even before all of this. “If it's just me... it's just me. At least if he shifts me into some fucking hell as punishment, some other me will be getting out of that hell.”

“What?!” Raven yelps. “Hey, we’re not at that point yet! If we can save you, we will.”

“Relax. I’m not your Wister, anyway.” Numbness washes over me. Resignation is comforting, in a way. “Orchid was right. This isn’t my life, and I’m not your friend. You shouldn’t have to help me fix my mistakes.”

“I don’t care what Orchid thinks!” Raven’s tone is almost frantic. “You can’t just give up!

“Wait. I don’t…” Orchid quivers, looking stricken. “I mean, I wouldn’t - I wouldn’t have you be in pain, or anything. I don’t want you to die or, um, go to hell.”

“Then don’t think about it. Just forget about me.” I shake my head. “I was going to kill myself, before I came here. With this, it’s like nothing’s changed.”

“Wisteria.” Ikram whispers. “Please don’t say things like that.”

“I can’t keep hurting people.” I turn and look absently out of the window, wondering what Silvio’s ‘hell’ might look like. “I have to accept the consequences of my actions. That’s all there is to it.”
No. 744091 ID: a606da
File 147198895476.png - (43.31KB , 800x600 , qr79.png )

“It’s not that simple.” Ikram reaches out and gently turns my head to look at him. “Look, Wister, are you being serious? You’d let yourself go to hell?”

“Of course I would. I won’t put you in danger.”

“That’s not your decision to make.” Ikram frowns. “You must know that I’m not going to walk away without a fight. I don’t think any of us could. Not if it means letting you suffer.”

“Please stop, Ikram. I’m trying to do the right thing.”

“From my perspective, it looks like you’re taking the path of least resistance.”

“So what if I am?” I start to cry, but I quickly wipe the tears away, hating how weak I am. “What should I be doing, Ikram? What do you want me to do?!”

“I want you to live. I want you to be happy.” He smiles, holding my hand. His skin is warm. “More than that, I don’t want to lose my best friend.”

“You already have, honestly.” I quietly choke down more tears. “How are we even supposed to fight Silvio?”

“As long as Silvio is both mortal and fallible, victory is possible.” August sniffs. “Better to try, in any case.”

“But won’t he just teleport away? Is there any way to stop him from doing that, like grabbing on to him or something?”

“…Huh. I’m not sure. I’ve never had a chance to try that.” August furrows his brow. “It would make sense that vanishing would be trickier in that situation, though. His clothes and other things aren’t completely attached to his body, so he probably has to focus on what he’s transporting. If someone’s holding on to him, it might allow them an extra few seconds to attack.”

“What if it doesn’t? Can’t he just teleport away, even after being tased?”

“I doubt he can do it while unconscious or even disoriented. Hopefully, the element of surprise will give us a bit more time.”

I stare at the floor of the car. Just like I thought, fighting Silvio is a gamble at best. My eye drifts to the door at my side. The car isn’t going that fast. If I wanted to keep my friends out of danger, all that I’d have to do is pop my seatbelt, throw open the door, and then run as fast as I can.

Should I stay with my friends and try to fight Silvio, or should I escape and do my best to figure things out on my own?
No. 744092 ID: cb4760

There is no running from a man who can be anywhere.
But you can face him. You can fight him. And are your odds narrow? Yes, but you know you cannot face a life that you gained with the blood of your friends. And running simply is the penalty of losing without even the slim hope of fighting.
Somewhere out there, there is a Wister who is a hero. That Wister, can be you.
No. 744096 ID: 398fe1

Consider that Silvio wants to be entertained, and for you to have to endure a terrible decision. It's possible that it doesn't matter what you do, so long as it's drastic and violent.

So may as well take the violence that results in maybe him not being able to do this to more people.
No. 744111 ID: 3abd97

>The car isn’t going that fast. If I wanted to keep my friends out of danger, all that I’d have to do is pop my seatbelt, throw open the door, and then run as fast as I can.
Note to self: make sure the child locks are enabled when transporting crazy, depressed, and/or body swapped people.

>the car isn’t going that fast. If I wanted to keep my friends out of danger, all that I’d have to do is pop my seatbelt, throw open the door, and then run as fast as I can.
>Should I stay with my friends and try to fight Silvio, or should I escape and do my best to figure things out on my own?
Let's be honest, in the emotional state you're in, you're pretty likely to hurt yourself trying to jump from a car and running.

As much sense as it makes to sacrifice your worthless self for them, your pride isn't worth more than their guilt. If you're going to leave them feeling like shit when you go... that's not fair.

If you try, maybe it will work. And if it fails, you can do you damnedest to throw yourself on that sword so Silvio punishes you and not them.

>holding him
...I wonder if you could pretend to be really happy to see him, and get him in a hug. (You know, as part of the "act" leading your required victim to meet your friend before you kill them for him). That would restrict his moverments, and maybe let you tase him.
No. 744292 ID: a107fd

If he's ramping up the timetable arbitrarily, you need to start thinking in terms of what you've already got within arm's reach. I think your best bet at this point is to remove the laces from one of your shoes, tie one end around your wrist and the other end to some little heavy thing. Boom, field-expedient garotte. Whip it around the target's neck, grab the loose end, pull taut. Cuts off blood flow through the neck, so anyone with conventional mammalian neurochemistry will experience panic, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death in fairly rapid succession. As a bonus, it's silent and doesn't make a mess. Just be careful not to let up early. For full brain death, you want to make sure there's no blood getting through for a full ten minutes - that's six hundred Mississippi if you're counting manually.

If he's got respirocytes or other medical nanotech, well, strangulation probably isn't going to work (unless supplemented by copious amounts of fire), but he might give you credit for having the guts to make an attempt.
No. 744756 ID: a606da
File 147233822813.png - (265.24KB , 800x600 , qr80.png )

>remove the laces from one of your shoes, tie one end around your wrist and the other end to some little heavy thing. Boom, field-expedient garotte. Whip it around the target's neck, grab the loose end, pull taut.

Silvio’s a lot stronger than I am. Even if I could somehow get my shoelace around his neck and start choking him, I’m not sure I have the capacity to stop him from simply throwing me off.

>may as well take the violence that results in maybe him not being able to do this to more people.
>Somewhere out there, there is a Wister who is a hero. That Wister can be you.

I don’t know if I can ever think of myself as a hero after what I’ve done, but I guess I could at least try to be a Wister who fights back.

“Alright. I’ll stay.” I bite my lip, already starting to wonder whether I’ve made the wrong choice. “But if this doesn’t go well, if we fail, then I’ll do whatever I can to make sure Silvio punishes me and not you.”

“Do stop trying for martyrdom.” August rolls his eyes. “Every thought spent on the possibility of failure is a thought not spent on how best to avoid it. Pessimism is rarely helpful, in my experience.”

As the drive continues, August starts discussing things like positioning and tactics, and everyone else soon joins in as they figure out strategies for ambushing Silvio. Even Veronica tentatively agrees to help, at least after Raven properly explains the situation to her. For me, however, my role is about as simple as it’s ever been. All I have to do is stand in one place with a friend and wait until Silvio shows up.

Without much to contribute to the discussion, I soon get lost in my thoughts, and I end up silently staring at the back of the seat in front of me for the rest of the drive. I shake off my stupor as we finally arrive at Raven’s house, and only then do I realize I’ve been clenching my fists so tightly that my fingernails have almost broken the skin. Anxiety acts as a painkiller, I guess. I relax my grip, and then I covertly wipe the tears from my face. Damn it. I hate being such a crybaby.

“I’ll go in with you, August.” Raven unbuckles her seatbelt. “Dad will probably want an explanation.”

“I suppose the truth will suffice in this situation.” August opens the car door and stands, still unsteady. “I jumped a fence and misjudged my weight. Nothing else seems particularly relevant to my treatment.”

“Sure, sure.” Raven sprints over and helps August walk to her house’s door. “Just try to take it easy.”

I mentally count the minutes as we quietly wait for the two of them to return. Around seven minutes later, Raven comes back.

“Everything turn out okay?” Veronica asks. “You look kind of dazed.”

“I’m fine, I think. It’s just been a weird day.” After getting back in the driver’s seat, Raven hands me a sharp, medium-length steak knife. “Here, Wister, August told me to give you this.”

“Holy crap.” Veronica cranes her neck to look at me. “Are you actually going to use that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.” I gingerly turn the knife over in my hand, gauging the weight. I imagine stabbing someone with it, and the idea makes me feel a little sick. “I hope I won’t have to.”

“I can’t believe this is really happening.” Veronica mumbles. “It’s all so horrible.”

“How far away is the park?” Ikram asks, tapping Raven on the shoulder. “Like, how much time do we have?”

“It’s a five minute drive, give or take. It’s not that far.”

“We’re still cutting it pretty close.” Ikram grimaces. “We won’t have a lot of extra time to prepare. Wister, have you decided on who you’re going with?”


“August said you needed one of us out in the open with you, or else Silvio might get suspicious. We still need to know who going to do that.”

Oh. Bait. I have to decide who’s going to be our bait. Besides me, they’ll be the person in the most danger. My gaze drifts between each of the other people in the car. Ikram, my best friend. Orchid, my sister. Raven, my ex. Veronica, who I hardly know at all.

August’s plan relies on this. I have to pick one of them. But who?
No. 744757 ID: b2d501

Bring August. Silvio might not know he's here yet, but he will expect you to pull something. Having August in front of him will force him to shift his attention towards August, even if he counters Ikram from tazering him.
No. 744761 ID: 398fe1


>you will choose someone that you love dearly, who loves you in turn. A family member, a close friend, someone like that.
Do any of those choices even fit? I think it'd have to be Raven or Ikram, because Orchid has made it clear she doesn't consider you to be a loved one, and Veronica isn't even a close friend.
Of the two, Ikram seems to be in most control right now. He should be able to stay calm and fool Silvio long enough to execute the mission.
No. 744765 ID: 3abd97

>August’s plan relies on this. I have to pick one of them. But who?
The first thing you should do is ask who would be willing to go. You're not putting anyone on the spot, and this requires pretending like everything is normal. Who thinks they can do that?

Then we pick between who volunteers.
No. 744854 ID: a107fd

Silvio’s a lot stronger than I am. Even if I could somehow get my shoelace around his neck and start choking him, I’m not sure I have the capacity to stop him from simply throwing me off.

Jabba the Hut was stronger than Leia, which is exactly why she used a choke-chain instead of challenging him at sumo wrestling. Strength doesn't matter if he hasn't got the leverage, or the mental focus, to apply it.

You ever try scratching an itch right between your own shoulderblades? Imagine that the itch is being actively exacerbated by an angry badger. That might be a pretty tricky situation even for a trained martial artist, and all you'd really need to do is keep him off-balance for either the 30 seconds it takes his brain to run out of juice, or until one of your co-conspirators bashes it in with a rock, whichever comes first.

"Upside the head with a rock" is another one of those shockingly timeless plans, when you can get close enough to make it work. Even the finest modern body armor is useless, because a helmet's still ultimately supported by the neck muscles and cervical vertebrae, and all the momentum from the impact has to go somewhere. Broken upper spine is a career-ending injury for anybody, and quick death for most.

If you're going to use a knife on Silvio, think of zombie movies. Brain is the target that really matters, neck is secondary but maybe easier, anything else - even chest vitals - is too slow and unreliable for the timescale in question.
No. 744863 ID: 3abd97

Although within who volunteers: Ikram or Orchid would probably be the first choice. (Proving to herself she isn't going to let you die or go to hell might be more important for her, but I expect him to be able to keep his cool better). Then Raven third, and Ronnie last. Sorry Ronnie, but we don't know you as well, so it's the hardest to put you on the spot like that.
No. 745154 ID: a606da
File 147248259347.png - (69.55KB , 800x600 , qr81.png )

“Do any of you want to do it?” I ask. “Would anyone be willing, at least?”

Ikram’s hand immediately shoots up, quickly followed by Raven’s. After a moment, Veronica also volunteers. I glance back at Orchid. She hesitates for a few seconds, but then, to my surprise, she also slowly raises her hand.

“T-thank you all.” I stutter, feeling like I might cry again. “I think, um… Ikram, would it be alright if I chose you?”

“Of course it’s alright.” He nods. “Okay, I’ll do that bit. So, do we all know what we’re doing?”

Everybody nods, but Ikram outlines the plan anyway. When he finishes, he starts over again. Gosh. He must be really nervous.

Soon enough, the ride comes to an end, and Raven parks the car in the parking lot of the park. Huh. Park park park. I smile weakly to myself.

Orchid gets the bag of tasers out and passes it around. I reach in to take one, but Ikram stops my hand, and he gives me his taser instead.

“You’re supposed to be murdering me, right?” Ikram forces a grin. “If I even look like I can defend myself, Silvio might think something’s up.”

“Maybe.” I pocket the taser with a sigh, making very sure that it’s safe and turned off first. I carefully slip the knife into my other pocket, hoping that I won’t stab myself by accident. “I’d still feel better if you had a weapon.”

“You and me both, but stealth is more important. Come on, we should look for a good spot.”

Everyone gets out of the car, and we walk through the park for a few minutes. We quickly abandon the path, hoping to find a place that’s not as likely to have people nearby.

After a cursory search, we finally decide to stage the ambush in a small clearing surrounded by bushes and trees. Raven, Veronica, and Orchid hide in three different spots, forming a vague triangle surrounding me and Ikram.

Ikram checks his phone and reads off how much time we have left, and it comes out to two and half minutes. Dread floods my mind, and I start to feel like I’ve got my head in a guillotine. These could be the last minutes of my life.

“Hey, Wister. Relax.” Ikram holds my hand again. “This is all going to turn out fine, you know.”

“I hope so.” I mutter, trying as hard as I can to believe him. “I hope so.”
No. 745155 ID: a606da
File 147248266529.png - (50.60KB , 800x600 , qr82.png )

Precisely two and a half minutes later, we hear someone clapping. Ikram and I instantly swivel around to face the source of the noise.

“The best friend, is it? How bold!” Silvio continues to applaud, stepping into the clearing with an obnoxious swagger. “How are you doing, then? Staying positive?”

“What the fuck are you?!” Ikram’s voice is filled with genuine shock. Silvio’s appearance is fairly unsettling.

“Me? I’m an appreciator of the arts, and a man with a particular adoration for drama.” Silvio laughs. “That being said, we’ve had enough rising action for a lifetime. Your lifetime, specifically, which is fast approaching its climax. Wisteria, dear, I do believe it’s time that you provide your friend with his dénouement. Go on, then, you may start whenever you’re ready.”

“Whenever you’re ready.” Ikram loudly repeats Silvio’s words.

“That is what I said, yes.” Silvio raises an eyebrow.

Ikram grabs my shoulder and pulls me down to the ground, and, as he does, the electrodes of three tasers shoot over us. Silvio reacts with startling speed, dodging the first set of electrodes, but the other two manage catch him. He convulses, howling with animalistic ferocity, but he manages to rip the electrodes out with a stumbling swipe.

Silvio falls to his knees and breathes heavily, his face twisted in confusion and rage. Ikram jumps to his feet and rushes over, punching and kicking, trying to take advantage of Silvio’s momentary weakness. Silvio simply stands, snarling, grabs Ikram by the arm, slams him against a tree, and digs his elbow into Ikram’s throat, pinning him.

Ikram struggles and fights, but Silvio just punches him in the ribs over and over. When Silvio lets go, Ikram collapses into a gasping, ragged pile, but at least he’s still alive. I’m on the ground, watching, paralyzed with fear. I should be doing something, but my body won’t move, and my thoughts are only a series of frightened echoes. He’s still alive. I should be doing something.
No. 745157 ID: a606da
File 147248280108.png - (63.67KB , 800x600 , qr83.png )

Silvio immediately turns away from Ikram and launches himself into the bushes. Veronica scrambles out, terrified. Silvio chases after her and stomps on her back, not letting her stand up. When she tries to crawl away, he stomps on her back again, and she finally gives up, staying down. She covers her head with her arms and begins to sob.

“No!” Raven leaps out of hiding and attacks Silvio from behind, grabbing his neck in a chokehold with her left arm and striking him in the eye with her right. “Stop hurting her! Stop it!

Silvio slams his head back, whacking Raven’s forehead, and, in the same moment, he grabs her left hand and twists her fingers with brutal force. There’s a horrific snapping sound, and Raven shrieks, falling to the ground near Veronica.

Before Raven can do anything else, Silvio kneels down, punches her in the head, and stamps his foot down on her broken fingers. Raven screams and screams. She screams until her voice breaks and goes hoarse. She slowly, desperately reaches for Veronica, but Silvio must think she’s trying something, because he kicks her hand away.

“Fuck you!” Orchid yells, racing into the clearing. Her expression is filled with resolute anger, but the rest of her body is quivering with terror. “You want to go? You think you can take me? I’ll kill you, motherfucker! I’ll kill all your dogs!

“Dogs?” Silvio stares at her, baffled, and Orchid takes the opportunity to sprint forward and kick him in the groin. Silvio winces and shudders, but he manages to take a swing at Orchid. She barely manages to dodge, and then she grabs his arm and hangs on, furiously biting his fingers and continually kicking at his crotch.
No. 745158 ID: a606da
File 147248291975.png - (58.60KB , 800x600 , qr84.png )

Silvio staggers in pain, but then he intentionally falls forward, crushing and pinning Orchid with the weight of his body. She coughs and wheezes for air, spitting something out onto the ground. I stare at the pinkish-red blob for a few seconds before I recognize it as Silvio’s thumb.

Orchid gasps as Silvio raises his body until he’s on all fours, holding her wrists down with his hands. He looks with incredulity at the bloody stump where his thumb used to be. Orchid spits out a bit more gore, then laughs quietly, tears running down her face. “H-hey, what’s… what’s got two thumbs and a… a nose? Not this guy.”

Silvio’s face contorts into pure madness. His black eyes resemble warped holes cut into his head, and all of his teeth are visible through his enraged grimace. He bellows incomprehensible obscenities as he goes into a frenzy, pummeling Orchid’s face, arms, and torso with savage abandon. He continues to hit her even after she stops moving.

“No…” I curl into a ball, my mind blank. My friends are lying all around me, bruised and broken. I didn’t do anything. Why didn’t I do anything? “No. No! No!

As if noticing me for the first time, Silvio snaps his gaze away from Orchid to look at me, his eyes widened almost to the point of being circular. Is she dead? He stands up, leaving Orchid’s limp body lying on the ground. Is my sister dead?

Silvio turns his head upwards and closes his eyes, taking deep, slow breaths. Are they all dead? No… no, I can hear Raven wailing, and Veronica’s still crying…
No. 745159 ID: a606da
File 147248305286.png - (56.25KB , 800x600 , qr85.png )

“Wisteria.” Silvio strolls over to me. “Get up.”

“…Orchid?” I crawl over to Orchid. She’s covered in bruises. I can’t tell if she’s breathing. I shake her. “Orchid. Orchid!

“She’s alive. Barely.” Silvio grabs my shoulder and forcefully pulls me to my feet, staring me in the eyes. His face once again bears its usual static smile, as unperturbed and amused as ever. Like nothing had happened. “I must commend you, Wisteria. Your friends put on quite the entertaining performance, haphazard though it was. It brought back lovely memories of the war.”

“My friends…” I stumble over to a nearby tree and lean on it. I vomit. “My friends…”

“You reneged, Wisteria.” Silvio makes a ‘tut-tut’ sound, waggling his finger. “Poor business, all in all, but you are an amateur. I will forgive it.”

“You will?” I blink.

“I will. I have always been a bastion of generosity, after all. Why, I’ll even give you a better bargain! I will grant you a new body, a new life, and a new world, with whatever details and specifications you wish to have. The sky’s the limit, as they say, though that’s obviously only a metaphor. You can go as high as you like.” Silvio points upward in a jovial manner. “You will be transported to your new existence, and then you will never see me again. Does that appeal to you?”

“I…” I struggle to put words together. I think I might be in shock. “I don’t…”

“There is, of course, a price. But it is a fair one, and one that need not trouble your new reality. Ordinarily, I would be fine with our previously-established price, but…” Silvio raises his arm, calmly indicating his bleeding, thumbless hand. “Well, let’s just say that extra compensation is a necessity in this case.”

I stare at him.

“Rather than a single termination, I require four.” Silvio gestures at Ikram, Raven, Veronica, and Orchid. “It’s a more pleasant price, in a way. It need only be paid in this world, which you will soon abandon, and the required effort is minimal. You’re welcome.”

I glance down. A knife in one pocket. A taser in another.

“Wisteria.” Silvio follows my gaze. “If you refuse, then you may of course attempt to kill me, and I will relish your challenge. Be warned, however: if you fail, I will send you and your friends to the hell I promised, to suffer eternally in… oh, any number of ways, I haven’t figured out which ones yet.”

“Please.” I choke. “Please…”

“Please what?” Silvio taps his foot. “I will not weather your whining forever. Make your choice. Kill me, or kill your friends. What’s it going to be?”
No. 745161 ID: b2d501

He lies. HE IS FORGING YOU. You may be disposable, but he's testing out different Wisters and trying to see which one sticks to him. If you stick, he gets the tool he wants.

For what purpose, @#$% if I know.

Bend the knee and fight another day (like August), or refuse to play his sick game and hope that someone will kill him later - and in an infinite multiverse, that's a better probability than you think. But do NOT think for a second that you were forced to make your decision. That's what he wants you to BELIEVE.
No. 745177 ID: 188dc5

Third option: kill yourself.
At the very least you'd be denying him.
No. 745182 ID: cb4760

Wister, a few things for you to know.
Firstly, do not think yourself weak for accepting his offer. He found you at your weakest, darkest point, when you had the least amount of strength to resist.
Secondly, do not think yourself weak for freezing up. Few people are ready to kill, and you were not allowed much, if any time to steel yourself for this task.
And lastly...something to consider is this:
He's had his chance to catch his breath. To cut his losses, swap his body out with another Silveo, and he has not taken that chance. That he has not, means for however much longer he lives, that hand will be missing it's fingers and thumb.
But your chance to be a hero has not gone. The window has yet to close, and consider-regardless of if you accept his bargain or fail to kill him, your friends will have given their lives to see him stopped.
The only thing on the line, is you.
You know what the easier path for you is.
Stay to the side with the bad hand-he won't be keen on using it more than he has to.
Groin shots are tempting, and probably not a bad idea, but they won't stop him for long.
And whatever happens, you will be able to say that you resisted, that you refused to betray your friends, that you stood firm against the monster when he tried to make you one.
You can do it Wister, be the hero.
No. 745186 ID: 398fe1

Threaten to kill yourself with the knife. When he comes to disarm you, taze him then stab him to death.
No. 745282 ID: 3abd97

Taking yourself hostage is the third option. Especially when you're still trying to get this weird new "not being suicidal" thing, and were planning on doing everything possible to throw yourself on the sword anyways.
No. 745410 ID: a606da
File 147263039529.png - (51.42KB , 800x600 , qr86.png )

“Stop! If you come any closer, do anything at all, I - I’ll kill myself!” I pull out the knife and put it to my throat. “If you try to switch me, I’ll do it faster!”

“Wister, please…” Ikram pleads in wheezes, having difficulty even breathing. “Please… don’t…”

“Go ahead, coward.” Silvio doesn’t even blink. “But it won’t save your friends.”

“I…” I have no idea what to do. I drop to my knees, crying. “I can’t do this! I’m not… I’m just…”

“Pathetic. Not to mention disappointing.” Silvio walks towards me. “You’re out of time.”

Suddenly, Silvio stops, as if stunned. He turns around, and I can see blood pouring out of a fresh wound in the back of his upper arm.
No. 745411 ID: a606da
File 147263054989.png - (61.47KB , 800x600 , qr87.png )

“How’s that feel, you son of a bitch?” August grins, backing away with his still-bloody knife. “Thanks for all the yelling and screaming. I wouldn’t have found you otherwise.”

“Ah. I should have guessed. ” Silvio clutches his new injury. “Wisteria is far too pitiful to devise any sort of functional tactics, after all. Hello, Pendelle. I must say, that’s a good look for you.”

Pendelion.” August hisses, narrowing his eyes. “It was always Pendelion.”

“Still clinging to your delusions, then?” Silvio shakes his head. “Will you ever stop defending that fool’s manhood of yours?”

“I’m more of a man than you’ll ever be.”

“A man uses children to do his dirty work, then?” Silvio glances at me.

“First time for everything.”

“What did you tell them, I wonder?”


“Oh, I’m sure.” Silvio chuckles. “I presume you want to duel in close quarters? How nostalgic.”

“Lose the pomp.” August goes into some kind of stance, drawing the knife close to his chest and pointing it away from himself. “Make your peace, you bastard.”

Bastard?” Silvio smiles. “Are you really in a place to be criticizing parentage?”

August suddenly lunges, catching Silvio’s chest with a short slash, and then he backs up, returning to the same stance as before. Silvio hunches down, clenching his fists. He runs forward, feints to the side, and then takes a swing at August, who manages to block the punch with his arm before quickly retreating again. They continue fighting this way, Silvio using hand-to-hand, August using his knife.

After watching the two of them for a little while, I start to wonder whether I should try to do something while Silvio’s distracted.
No. 745412 ID: 7b7ab3

Tend to your friends and stay out of the fight.
Those two are swinging WAY outside your weight class.
No. 745413 ID: 398fe1

Taser's got range. Nail him in between one of August's lunges, just make sure he isn't in the line of fire. Just make sure you hit. Keep your hand steady.

Or, you know, you could just threaten him with it. Or... try to get one of your friends back in action so you can dogpile the fucker. August is a skilled fighter so he can take advantage of any opening you give him.
No. 745423 ID: a107fd

Call the police, tell them your location and that your friends are getting beaten up by a maniac with no nose.
No. 745426 ID: cb4760

Tend to your friends.
It's...A bit much to ask that you fight, but you'd probably perfer to help your friends and make sure they're okay.
No. 745427 ID: b2d501

@#$%, a shotgun would be appropriate here. Grapple Silvio by the legs and hold on until he executes you or August stabs him in the face. Either way, just stall him.
No. 745450 ID: 38685c

Tackle his legs!
No. 745492 ID: 3abd97

Fuck the fight. You're as liable to get in the way as help.

Go to your friends, do what you can for them.
No. 745833 ID: 97db13

No. 748192 ID: a606da
File 147406910392.png - (53.57KB , 800x600 , qr88.png )

Feeling very much out of my element, I choose to take the opportunity to help my friends, starting with Veronica. She’s terrified, and it takes me a few seconds to make her start moving again.

“Come on, Veronica.” I try to sound comforting. Hopefully she’ll recognize my voice as belonging to a friend, even if the person she remembers isn’t exactly the person that I am. “It’s okay, Silvio’s not watching. Can you get up?”

“W-Wister!” Veronica cries as I help her stand. “I’m sorry, he’s just - he’s so fast, I couldn’t…”

“It’s fine, Veronica. We need to help Raven, alright?”

“Raven?” After a moment, Veronica’s eyes focus on her girlfriend. “Oh, god, Raven!”

“Raven, are you okay?” I kneel down beside her. “Do you think you can move?”

“My hand…” Raven mumbles through her tears. “I can’t feel my hand.”

“That’s okay. You’ll be okay.” I wave to Veronica, beckoning her over, and together we lift Raven, supporting her with our shoulders. “Can you get her further away on your own? I have to take care of Orchid.”

“I think so.” Veronica nods. I carefully shift Raven’s weight fully over to her. The two of them stumble off into the bushes, beyond my sight.

I maneuver myself around to get to Orchid, taking care to avoid August and Silvio as they continue fighting. I reach down and pick Orchid up. She doesn’t weigh too much, and she’s very still, so I try to convince myself that I’m holding a large, heavy doll instead of the mangled body of my sister. She’s warm, at least, and I can feel her breathing, so maybe she’ll be okay. Yeah. Maybe. I hold my sister closer, and I silently wish that I could take everything back.

“Hey.” I go over to Ikram, awkwardly leaning down to check on him. He’s really hurt. “Can you walk?”

“I… I don’t know.” Ikram coughs. “Don’t worry about me. Get out of here.”

“You wouldn’t leave me behind.” I sit down next to him, awkwardly positioning Orchid on my lap. “I can’t carry both of you.”

“You… you shouldn’t stay here. What if Silvio wins?”

“If he does win, I don’t think it will really matter where we are. He can just chase us down, blinking out and in. Raven and Veronica might be able to escape him, though. I didn’t interact with them much in my world, so I’m guessing he doesn’t know them as well as he knows us.”

“I hate this.” Ikram watches the fight. “I wish we were able to… to do something. Anything.”

“Well, it’s not much, but…” I pull out my phone, dialing 911. “Hello? Yes, I need help! My sister is unconscious and my friend can’t walk. A weird guy with… uh, I mean, a weird guy beat us up. Can you please send an ambulance and some police?” I continue through the call, giving the police directions, and then I hang up, feeling a little better.


“I don’t know how much it will help us.” I sigh. “At least the people who end up in our bodies will get proper care.”

“Don't be so sure. August is… well, just look.”
No. 748193 ID: a606da
File 147406915154.png - (65.33KB , 800x600 , qr89.png )

I focus on the fight, about ten or twenty feet away. Surprisingly, August has the advantage, slicing at Silvio every few seconds. After a few minutes of heated battle, August shoots forward and digs his knife into Silvio’s stomach. Shocked, Silvio falls to his knees.

Instantly, August grabs Silvio’s hair and rams Silvio’s head into the ground, stabbing him in the torso over and over, twisting the knife each time. Silvio groans. I guess August must be trying to stop him from blinking out.

“It’s been so long.” August laughs. “It’s been so long! But I got you. I finally did!”

Silvio goes to say something, but August quickly slashes the knife across Silvio’s lips. He grimaces, his teeth stained red.

“Have fun playing the smooth talker with a mouth like that.” Bafflingly, August starts going through Silvio’s pockets. He takes small breaks to punch and stab Silvio every few seconds, but for the most part he seems focused on searching Silvio’s coat. “Where is it? Did you swallow it? I’ll gouge it out of your intestines, if I have to!”

“Hah.” Silvio grunts, grinning as best he can.

“Did you break it into pieces somehow? Did you bury it?! It’s mine, you thieving piece of shit!”

Suddenly, the world throbs in vague ripples. I whimper, realizing what’s happening to me: I’m being switched again.

Silvio’s done it. I’m going to hell.

Ikram is shivering. Is he going to hell, too? God, I’m a monster. I should never have gotten him involved. I hear August shrieking hoarsely in anger, clutching his face as he falls to his knees. With a sinking feeling, I notice that Silvio’s body has vanished.
No. 748194 ID: a606da
File 147406923205.png - (224.33KB , 800x600 , qr90.png )

I don’t even have time to say anything, or to move - I just feel dull nausea as I slide out of my body and into…


Is this hell? I sort of expected more pain.

I hear a quiet, raspy giggling, but I have no idea where the sound is coming from.
No. 748197 ID: 3abd97

Two possibilities as I see it.

The first is that Silvio died, and without him, you feel into some weird place between worlds. You couldn't stay where you were.

The second is Silvio shifted you on purpose, which makes this a world. From the look of things... I'd guess the fundamental laws of physics, and maybe geometry, are different here. It's hell in the sense that it's some kind of non-euclidean mind-trip you're not equipped to deal with. I'd expect this place to be very confusing and frustrating to navigate, in more than one sense.
No. 748199 ID: 7b7ab3

Well, that's weird.
Try moving around.
Get a feel for your surroundings.
Do you see anything or anyone?
No. 748202 ID: a606da
File 147407192160.png - (210.79KB , 800x600 , qr91.png )

>Try moving around.

I can’t move.

>Get a feel for your surroundings.

I can’t feel anything.

>Do you see anything or anyone?

Well, there’s always me, isn’t there?

>I'd guess the fundamental laws of physics, and maybe geometry, are different here.

You’re not wrong. Honestly, though, have the laws of physics ever legitimately been a limiting factor?

I hear more of that unnerving, grating laughter.

Welcome back.
No. 748207 ID: 3abd97

>You’re not wrong. Honestly, though, have the laws of physics ever legitimately been a limiting factor?
Yes. If they weren't, there wouldn't have been a reason to consider them in the first place.

>Welcome back.
Thank you? (No harm in being polite, you're stuck here anyways).

You don't have any memory of being here previously though. Which means you're either being mistaken for one of your alternates, or you've been here before and lost the memory.

...some kind of primordial place? Maybe you've been returned to Wister-prime, as it where. The universal constant from which all yous diverge.
No. 748209 ID: 7b7ab3

Is that Silvio?
He got uglier.
What exactly has he done?
No. 748210 ID: 094652

Grab as much STUFF as you can get your appendages on - wires, threads, even the air around you - and threaten to start thrashing until something BREAKS.

Ask the entity where you are. React as quickly as you can.
No. 748211 ID: 398fe1

If you can't move, how can you talk?

Also gloat at Silvio that at least he's going to die.
No. 748214 ID: a606da
File 147407599813.png - (218.20KB , 800x600 , qr92.png )

>Yes. If they weren't, there wouldn't have been a reason to consider them in the first place.

Your physics are a belief, belief is based on perception, perception is malleable, and therefore physics are subjective. Besides, without the reorganization of belief, what would be the point of us?

>Thank you?

You’re welcome.

>you're either being mistaken for one of your alternates, or you've been here before and lost the memory.

You’re using a lot of ‘you’s. But that’s nothing new, is it?

>Is that Silvio?

Please. Give me some credit.

>Ask the entity where you are.

The birthplace of liminality. Your crossroads.

>Grab as much STUFF as you can get your appendages on

I don’t think I have any appendages.

>If you can't move, how can you talk?

I can’t.
No. 748215 ID: 398fe1

Perception is only subjective when it's not quantifiable and perfectly reproducible. The laws of physics are pretty solidly grounded in the objective.

Ask the entity who they are, if not Silvio. August? Someone else?

Also what kind of crossroads?
No. 748217 ID: 3abd97

>Your physics are a belief, belief is based on perception, perception is malleable, and therefore physics are subjective. Besides, without the reorganization of belief, what would be the point of us?
Model, not belief. The distinction there is important. And subjective constraints are still constraints, unless you have arbitrary and complete control of your perceptions.

>You’re using a lot of ‘you’s.
We're you just waxing philosophical on subjective perception? Does it really matter if we address ourselves, her, or you? Or where we draw the line?

>I can’t.
Wisteria, just to clarify, can you hear the conversation we're having with our... host, I suppose?

>The birthplace of liminality. Your crossroads.
Could you direct us towards the next phase in the ritual then? Or our signpost?
No. 748218 ID: 398fe1

Oh, they said "welcome back". Ask if you've been here before.
No. 748224 ID: 7b7ab3

Which way to the exit?
Wisteria's only been here for a few minutes and this dimension already blows.
No. 748232 ID: a606da
File 147408995478.png - (260.71KB , 800x600 , qr93.png )

>Perception is only subjective when it's not quantifiable and perfectly reproducible. The laws of physics are pretty solidly grounded in the objective.

Memory and perception are equally falsifiable. Nothing is reproducible. Nothing is provable. In any case, I find it a touch hypocritical that you would argue in favor of an objective reality.

>subjective constraints are still constraints, unless you have arbitrary and complete control of your perceptions.

Are you saying that you don’t? Be honest.

>Ask if you've been here before.

Certainly, unless you happen to possess a worryingly devoted mind.

> Does it really matter if we address ourselves, her, or you? Or where we draw the line?

I suppose it doesn’t. Feel free to impose your preference. That is what you do, isn’t it?

>Ask the entity who they are, if not Silvio. August? Someone else?

Someone else. Maybe I’m you. Maybe I’m all of you. Maybe I’m just a particular turn of phrase. As you said: Does it really matter? The fiction defines the fact.

>Wisteria, just to clarify, can you hear the conversation we're having with our... host, I suppose?


Be quiet, Wisteria. Do you really think that I’m talking to you? No. I’m talking through you.

Huh? Wait, what was…?

Shh. This is an interview with the actor, not the mask. Although, I must admit…
No. 748233 ID: a606da
File 147409006925.png - (154.60KB , 800x600 , qr94.png )

…I’m almost as fond of masks as you are.

>Could you direct us towards the next phase in the ritual then? Or our signpost?

If you’d like. If you happen to tire of your usual fun, however, the Metamyriad will still be here.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?
No. 748234 ID: a606da
File 147409016885.png - (185.68KB , 800x600 , qr95.png )


Is this hell? I sort of expected more pain.

I mean, my butt aches a bit, as if I’ve fallen on it, but that’s not exactly searing hellfire levels of suffering.

“Professor?” A very short white-haired person is kneeling down beside me, with their hand on my shoulder. I can’t determine their gender at a glance. “Are you alright?”
No. 748235 ID: 398fe1

Ask who she is. Who you are. Where you are.

Claim to have amnesia.
No. 748246 ID: 7b7ab3

Fuck, this is confusing.
Ascertain surroundings.
Question strange individual.
Where are you?
What's going on?
The usual questions.
No. 748253 ID: a606da
File 147410073241.png - (138.95KB , 800x600 , qr96.png )

“Um… w-who are you?” I ask, slurring a bit as I adapt to my new mouth. “And, uh, who am I?”

The white-haired person stares at me uncertainly.

“Where are we, also?” I add, apologetically. They have no idea that the person they know has been replaced. I feel a bit guilty.

“We’re on floor six. You’re on your way to teach class.” The white-haired person watches me very closely. “You’re Professor Bloodstone. I’m your servant, Kipelle.”

“Floor six of what?” I stand up awkwardly, examining myself. Wow. I look old. I must be, like, thirty-five. “By the way, what’s my first name? Or am I just ‘Bloodstone’?”

“Floor six of Celiphus Complex, where else?” Kipelle helps me steady myself. “Your name’s Alandra, and I’m going to take you to a medical station.”

“Wait! Wait.” I shake my head. “Give me a second to think, please.”

Kipelle reluctantly nods.
No. 748254 ID: a606da
File 147410085223.png - (117.09KB , 800x600 , qr97.png )

As I puzzle over what I should do next, I’m startled by a panicked yell from what appears to be a classroom nearby.

“What’s wrong, Izdihar?”

“I-I’m not supposed to be…!” The terrified voice trails off. It sounds like a girl. “Oh, this is really not right!”

“Do you need some sort of assistance? What is it that’s got you so excited?”

“Uh…” The girl’s voice falters. “I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Go ahead, then.” There’s a bit of hushed laughter. “Next time, please try to be less dramatic.”

Moments later, a short, nervous girl wobbles out of the classroom and almost immediately collapses into me.

“Ack!” She squeaks, scrambling to her feet. “Oh, god, I’m sorry, I don’t know how I’m supposed to...! I mean, I… I tripped. Are you okay?”

I sit up, looking at her. She seems very familiar, but I’m not sure why.
No. 748255 ID: 398fe1

That's probably one of your friends. Most likely Ikram, because she's having trouble moving around and I can only assume Ikram is having trouble with boobs throwing off his balance.

Tell your servant you need to go to the bathroom too, before you go to the medical station. Then when you can, whisper to Izdihar, ask if they got swapped.

This is a completely different culture so there's no way you're going to be able to wing it. Claiming amnesia is absolutely the only way you can live here, and as a bonus, if you get swapped back, the prior occupant will be able to claim their memory came back and their life will be mostly unhindered.
No. 748256 ID: 094652

That was Marie's face.

Wait... is she... is she trying to say THAT THE METAMYRIAD IS TGCHAN'S HUB POINT?!

You know what, whatever.

Punch the girl in the face.
No. 748257 ID: 18c950

Given the circumstances it seems fairly likely to be one of your friends, but we shouldn't immediately assume Ikram. I mean, you should know that sometimes people don't have a full set of working body parts.

Let Izdihar know that they seem distressed. Perhaps ask them if they're suffering from a sense of disorientation, or maybe a memory lapse. Emphasize key words, your friends will probably figure out the subtext.
No. 748258 ID: 398fe1

>sometimes people don't have a full set of working body parts.
Ohhh, I guess that's true. It could be Orchid or something, and Izdihar has a prosthetic leg.
No. 748284 ID: 3abd97

Help "her" up.

Sure sounds like someone panicking at being dumped into a new body. (Speaking of, it was sure nice of him to condemn you to a hell where you're still female).

"It's okay. Do you need some help getting to the bathroom? Does "Silvio" mean anything to you?"

Whisper the last part to them, as you lean in close while helping them up.
No. 749706 ID: a606da
File 147479765934.png - (209.38KB , 800x600 , qr98.png )

“I’m fine. Can you give me a hand getting up?”

“Yeah, sure.” The girl glances uncomfortably at her arm as she lets me grab on.

“Thanks.” As I stand, I lean in close and whisper. “Does the name ‘Silvio’ mean anything to you?”

“Wha-?!” The girl’s eyes shoot wide open. “Y-yes! Yes it does! Who are-?!”

“Do you need some help getting to the bathroom?” I covertly put a finger to my lips. “You seem like you’re, uh, not yourself. I can empathize.”

Kipelle raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t say anything.

“Bathroom?” Izdihar (or the person inside Izdihar) blinks, notices Kipelle, and suddenly understands. “Oh! Yes, the bathroom! Let’s go. Together.”

“Kipelle, where’s the nearest - ?”

“There.” Kipelle points. “It’s only for one person at a time, though.”

“Right. Thanks.” I gently pull the girl away by the shoulder. I notice Kipelle do a double-take as ‘Izdihar’ and I enter the bathroom together.
No. 749707 ID: a606da
File 147479777643.png - (170.63KB , 800x600 , qr99.png )

As soon as I close the door behind me, the girl blurts out the obvious question. “Who are you? I mean, really.”


“Seriously? You look like a completely different person! Then again…” The girl hesitates, tugging at her skirt. “I’m, um… Promise not to laugh?”

“I wouldn’t anyway.”

”…I’m Ikram.” Ikram looks at the floor.

“I thought you might be.” I nod. “Are you alright, more or less?”

“I don’t know.” Ikram paces around the small bathroom, his motions jerky and unsteady. “I’m not hurt, per se.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I’m fine, Wister. No, you know what? I’m great.” Ikram poses, grinning madly. “This experience is really broadening my perspective on the world, you know?”

“Uh… I guess. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah! I mean, it’s weird, but…” Ikram pauses, his eyes briefly drawn to his chest. “It’s just skin deep, right? I can tough it out. I’m man enough to be a woman.”

“Wow. You’re handling this really well.”
No. 749709 ID: a606da
File 147479804758.png - (149.48KB , 800x600 , qr100.png )

“No, yeah, it’s cool. All cool. I’m coo- Hrk!” Ikram rushes over to the odd toilet and starts to vomit into it.

“Skin deep, huh?” I sit down beside him, patting him on the back. “Tell me the truth, Iks. How are you feeling?”

“…Like somebody’s taken an ice cream scoop to my crotch.” Ikram wipes his mouth. “Ugh.”


“Hey, you asked.” Ikram sits up, his head swaying a little. “And while we’re on questions, I’ve got a few: Wister, where are we? What’s happened to us? And, um… how do we get back to normal?”
No. 749711 ID: 094652

"Ikram, I've got bad news, and I've got bad news, and I doubt that both are incorrect. We're stuck here, now that Silvio's dead. And I don't think he's dead dead, just incapacitated. Either way, we're forced to stay long enough for us to get comfy in this soon-to-be hellscape, in which we screw things up, blow up the galaxy or something, and wallow in the guilt until we can no longer think cohesively. And then we get sent to another world to @#$% over from our own shortcomings.

I guess our best bet is to find a small corner of this dimension and try not to do anything for the rest of our lives."
No. 749713 ID: a107fd

What's that big sign on the wall say?
No. 749719 ID: 3abd97

>Wister, where are we? What’s happened to us? And, um… how do we get back to normal?
Some other universe, Silvio put us here as punishment or shits and giggles for standing up to him, and no fucking clue.

We either have to hope the creep doesn't actually die or that August steals his powers and saves us or something.

>What's that big sign on the wall say?
Best guess:

Moral Defects.
Necessity Dictates.
For family.

...because of course we got dropped into some 1984 hellword where deviant behavior will get you in trouble and we have no idea what the rules are.

Worse, I think that might be a camera in the corner of the ceiling there. Nevermind that Kipelle already knows something's up.
No. 749726 ID: 398fe1

Well it looks like Silvio's definition of hell is a subtle one. This is probably a very dangerous world, culturally, and you've already fucked up.

Check the weird sink. Is that a camera in the corner?
No. 749741 ID: e984de

Or, possibly, he took us /we took ourselves somewhere other than he meant to.

Either way, this does seem pretty panopticon. Let's hope it's similar to that in that there's not often anyone manning any particular camera.
No. 750795 ID: a606da
File 147543767572.png - (188.21KB , 800x600 , qr101.png )

>What’s that big sign on the wall say?

It says ‘Report congenital defects. As necessity dictates. For your family.’.

“We’re in a different universe, Ikram, in the bodies of our corresponding alternate selves. I think Silvio did it to us, but I'm not sure if it was on purpose.” I sigh. “As for how to get back… I have no idea.”

“What?” Ikram looks aghast. “Wister, I can’t stay like this!”

“I know, Ikram, but I don't know how to switch us back to normal. We may have to get comfortable here, at least until we figure out what’s going on.”

“Get comfortable? Really?! Wister, this isn’t my body!” Noticing the mirror nearby, Ikram gapes at his reflection. “…I mean, gosh, it’s not a bad body, mind, it’s actually kind of cute in an incredibly disturbing sort of way, but it still isn’t mine!”

“I understand, Ikram, seriously. Do you think I’m a huge fan of the one I got?” I join Ikram beside the mirror, gazing at my new face. The face of a stranger. “I must be twice my age, and I’m apparently supposed to be a professor.”
No. 750796 ID: a606da
File 147543778082.png - (202.31KB , 800x600 , qr102.png )

“You got off easy. At least you’re still the right sex.” Ikram starts making silly faces into the mirror. “Me, I’m living a pointless life lesson. I mean, for fuck’s sake, I’m taking college courses in gender studies! I’m, like, the least sexist person I know! I don’t need to walk a mile in a girl’s shoes!”

“I don’t think body swapping works based on karma.”

“It should.” Ikram stretches his mouth out at the sides with his fingers. “This is ridiculous.”

“What are you doing?”

“Trying out my new face.” Ikram sticks out his tongue and waggles it back and forth. “Heygh, Wishter, whah do you tink? I’m a shexhy ladhy, right?”

“Dude, stop it.” I try unsuccessfully to stop myself from laughing. “Come on, this is serious. We need to - snrk - we need to figure out what we’re going to do next, and - oh my god, Ikky, please, I’m going to have a fit -”
No. 750800 ID: a606da
File 147543793105.png - (32.34KB , 800x600 , qr103.png )

“Um, excuse me…” There’s a knock at the door. “Professor? Or, ah, Wisteria? May I speak with you?”

“Kipelle? Uh, sure, I guess so. One second, we’re a little… wait. What did you just call me?” I feel a sudden rush of terror. “Oh, god, were you listening in?!”

“…Yes. I’m sorry. I was concerned for your well-being.” Huh. Kipelle sounds legitimately apologetic. “I don’t completely understand your situation, I admit. After what I just heard, however, I do have some idea.”

“It’s… it’s not like that, it’s, um…” I panic, trying desperately to come up with an excuse. “No, see, I - we - we have amnesia…”

“I won’t tell anyone, you know.” Kipelle sighs. “I’m close to you - to whoever you are - and I was made to be so.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m your servant. Your engineered companion. We are genetically bound to each other, not to mention…” Kipelle pauses. “…a little more than averagely intimate.”

…Oh.” I wince, feeling a renewed sympathy for Raven. “I’m sorry, but, look, I don’t…”

“Could you please open the door? I don’t really want to keep talking from out in the hallway.”
No. 750807 ID: 398fe1


First question for her, is this a bad place? It doesn't seem like it so far. Can she go over some social rules? Like, is being homosexual a crime, or transgender? Are there any things you're not supposed to say or do?
No. 750822 ID: 3abd97

You guys notice the color scheme is different here, yet? Either the light is different in this universe, people look a little different, and/or your eyes are a little different.

>“Professor? Or, ah, Wisteria? May I speak with you?”
Well, he's quick on the uptake.

>We are genetically bound to each other, not to mention…” Kipelle pauses. “…a little more than averagely intimate.
The first implies that if you suffer any penalty for being a genetic defect, it'll fall on him too.

The second implies that he cares about the person who's body you're borrowing, so he'd really prefer they remain alive / life unruined when they get back.

>Could you please open the door?
Let him in.

Pretty sure we want to let him in the loop. You need his help to pass / get along in this world until you find a way to swap back.

We also need to find Orchid, and Raven and Ronnie if they're here too (the last two might have gotten out of range in time, assuming he can only swap people in proximity to himself).
No. 750898 ID: a107fd

Top priority when familiarizing yourself with an alien legal system is the major capital offenses. How broadly is treason interpreted, for example?
No. 751066 ID: a606da
File 147555470481.png - (79.84KB , 800x600 , qr104.png )

>You guys notice the color scheme is different here, yet? Either the light is different in this universe, people look a little different, and/or your eyes are a little different.

Things do look a bit strange, but I am in a different body. Maybe that has something to do with it?

I open the door. Kipelle looks shyly up at me. Wow, I already forgot how short they are.

“You’re Wisteria?”

“…Yeah.” I bite my lip, feeling kind of awkward. “You’re, um… you’re quick on the uptake.”

“I listened to your conversation. Neither of you had any reason to prepare an imagined history in such detail, and your conversation was too natural to be improvised.” Kipelle slips into the bathroom, quietly closing the door behind themselves. “If you were Alandra, you’d know that my philosophy entails calmness, rationality, and understanding.”

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Ikram asks, confused. “Wait, let me guess… Orchid?”

“No, this is Kipelle. she… he?” I look down at Kipelle. “I’m sorry. I honestly can’t tell what gender you are. What pronouns should I use for you?”

“I was created to be capable of both insemination and pregnancy.” Kipelle shrugs. “Most people refer to me as ‘it’. Feel free to use whichever pronouns you wish.”

“Oh.” I blink. “Um. Thanks?”

Kipelle nods gently.

“Anyway, Ikram, this is Kipelle. They’re apparently a servant of my body’s owner. And, um, you called yourself my ‘engineered companion’, right? What does that mean, exactly?”

“I am your assigned personal assistant, advisor, confidant, sexual partner, and biological father to your child.”

“Child?” I gasp. “I have a kid?!

“Ah, no.” Kipelle glances at my belly. “Not quite yet.”
No. 751072 ID: a606da
File 147555546113.png - (205.11KB , 800x600 , qr105.png )

…Oh my god.” Trembling, I put a hand to my gut. I assumed the bump was just my stomach. I never would have thought… “H-how far along?”

“Nine weeks.”

“Okay. Nine weeks. Okay.” I slide down into a sitting position, back to the wall, doing everything I can not to panic. “Holy shit. I’m pregnant. Holy shit.

“Are you alright?” Ikram sits down next to me, his face filled with shock and concern. “I mean, obviously not, but still… fucking hell, Wister, is there anything I can do? Hug?”

“I - I’m fine.” I take a few deep breaths, desperately trying to calm down. “…I have more questions. Kipelle.”

“I have no secrets from you.” Kipelle bows their head. “I’ll answer to the best of my ability.”

“Is this a bad place? It doesn’t seem like it, so far.”

“I don’t know what you mean. It’s Celiphus Complex. Good, bad… it’s all we have.”

“That doesn’t tell me a whole lot.” I try my best to forget about the fact that oh my god there is a fetus inside me. “Can you go over some social rules? Like, is being homosexual or transgender a crime?”

“I don’t understand why either of those things would be.” Kipelle sits down beside me and Ikram. “Before my kind, gender transition was often used to maintain the sexual ratio of the population. Homosexuality is more common than heterosexuality, as it carries less risk of unplanned pregnancy.”

“…Uh.” I have no idea what to think of that. “Are there any things you’re not supposed to say or do?”

“Yes, there are many.” Kipelle pauses. “I’m sorry. I don’t know where to begin. I’ve got no frame of reference.”

“Maybe start with just the major capital offenses?”

“Alright. Let me think… murder, system vandalism, biological warfare, rioting, public endangerment, obfuscation of congenital defects…”

“Congenital defects?”

“Yes. Major genetic conditions that could harm the future of our population if left unchecked. Fatal inherited diseases, physical deformations, certain extreme mental illnesses…” Kipelle trails off. “This feels very strange. Alandra knows far more about this than I do.”

“Alandra?” Ikram asks, puzzled. I point to my face. After a second, Ikram understands. “Oh. Yeah, that’s probably pretty weird.”
No. 751075 ID: a606da
File 147555554621.png - (134.87KB , 800x600 , qr106.png )

“Yes. She’s one of the most knowledgeable on the subject, considering - Oh no! I forgot!” Kipelle suddenly jumps to their feet, startling Ikram and me. “Your class is still waiting! ”

“Can’t you just arrange for a substitute?”

“It’s an advanced course. There aren’t any other qualified teachers I could get on short notice. If both of us fail to arrive, we could be fined for negligence, and we don’t have much money as it is. No, no, no…!” Kipelle paces rapidly, their expression more and more frantic.

“You should go, then. I can’t do it, obviously.”

“But you won’t be able to stay here. They clean out the bathrooms every hour, and your friend will be missed regardless.”

“Are you saying I should go back to class?” Ikram looks stricken. “I don’t even know my own last name, let alone how I’m supposed to act!”

“I may be able to report you as sick.” Kipelle considers, still very anxious. “Yes, that could work. But you still need a place to go. Our living space is one option - if someone comes looking for Alandra, however, that would be a problem. Ah, wait… there is your brother.”

“My brother? I have a brother? Er, sorry… Alandra has a brother?”

“Yes. A brother she loves very, very much.” Kipelle hesitates, giving me what I assume must be a very meaningful look, though I have no idea what the meaning is. “It may be better to visit with him in his living space, at least until I’m finished teaching. You do it fairly often anyway.”

“How am I supposed to interact with a brother I’ve never met before?”

“It wouldn’t matter. Trust me.” Kipelle looks away. “I doubt he’d even be able to tell that you were there.”

I share a nervous glance with Ikram. “I, um…”

“I’m sorry, I really am!” Kipelle squeaks. “I know you must have more questions - I certainly have plenty myself - but right now I need to think of Alandra and our child. All I can do right now is give you this small choice: Would you rather wait in our living space, or with your brother?”
No. 751077 ID: 398fe1

Sounds like the brother is in a coma, or otherwise unavailable socially.

Wait with Alandra's brother. These are sensitive moments and even the emotional awkwardness of being around him is worth the lower chance of discovery. One of the best things you can do here to research social rules is to watch a movie or read a book.
No. 751111 ID: 3abd97

>“Congenital defects?”
>certain extreme mental illnesses…
Could someone consider our current situation a congenital defect if they became aware of it? What would happen, then? Would we be in danger?

>what else
You need to thank Kelpie for helping you. Alandra's okay, although probably very confused.

>where go
Brother. On the off chance he's Orcid, now.
No. 751119 ID: 094652

> Baby
> Genetic Defects and Insanity are illegal
> Class in 15 minutes
Silvio's good at this.

Alright, take a moment to consider that you finally got to experience life as a woman to the fullest possible. Deep breath. Then, consider the following:

A) Silvio wanted you to suffer. For kicks.
B) Birth defects are illegal to conceal.
C) You have no idea what happens when a herm impregnates a female in this dimension.
D) You DEFINITELY have no idea what happens to a fetus when the mother's brain is replaced with... well, you.

Best way to crush you? Forcing you to give birth to an abomination in a society that will murder the entire family of anyone with a single unregistered mutant.

You need to leave NOW. Do Alandra a favor and keep her kid from getting lynched at age -0.2, run for the hills and look for your friends with an observatory or something.
No. 751137 ID: 398fe1

I doubt they perform genetic cleansing on the family of anyone that births a baby with defects. That would strongly incentivize hiding the defects, after all.

...aw hell, the brother has a defect, doesn't he.
No. 751183 ID: a107fd

>system vandalism
Terminology is a bit unclear, but... messing around with computers the wrong way carries the death penalty? Seriously?

>it's all we have
Order-of-magnitude population estimate might be a useful datum. Harsh eugenic measures could indicate the aftermath of a genetic bottleneck.
No. 753871 ID: a606da
File 147689656749.png - (95.40KB , 800x600 , qr107.png )

>Alright, take a moment to consider that you finally got to experience life as a woman to the fullest possible.

I have someone else’s baby inside me! Woman or not, this feels wrong. I mean, true, I hoped to have kids someday, but when I do, I want them to be my kids. Considering Kipelle is the ‘father’, I don’t even know if what I have in my belly is human.

“We’ll stay with, uh, ‘my’ brother, I think.”

“Alright.” Kipelle immediately walks over to the door and opens it. “Come on, then. We must hurry.”

Ikram and I stand and follow Kipelle into the hallway outside. Kipelle jogs at a brisk pace, and while I’m able to keep up, Ikram lags behind slightly.

“Please, move as quickly as possible!” Kipelle looks back. “I don’t have much time.”

“I’m sorry.” Ikram pants. “I’m not used to… this. Everything feels weird and off-balance. Even ignoring the obvious changes, my muscles don’t work like they used to. It’s difficult.”

“It gets easier, after a while.” I pat him on the shoulder. “Just go as fast as you can, okay?”

Ikram nods, still looking a bit queasy.

“Kipelle, what you said earlier about system vandalism…” I continue walking as I speak, trying to keep my voice just low enough that Kipelle can hear me. “Does that mean what I think it does? Messing around with computers the wrong way carries the death penalty? Seriously?”

“Well, yes, of course.” Kipelle seems surprised. “It’s always been like that. We all rely on the support systems for our continued survival. Any unplanned changes could cause unimaginable devastation to our entire population.”

“You’ve mentioned ‘population’ a lot. Can you give me an estimate on the size of that population? I’m curious.”

“The population of the world, or the population of Celiphus Complex?”

“Both, I guess.”

“If I remember the statistics correctly, the archivists estimate the population is around sixteen thousand.”

“Wow. That many people live here?”

“No.” Kipelle gives me a funny look. “That’s the world’s population. Celiphus only houses a few hundred.”

Ikram and I stumble to a halt, gaping. “Sixteen thousand?! That’s it?

“What do you mean? That number’s higher than it’s ever been in my lifetime.” Kipelle frantically gestures for us to keep moving. We do, though we continue to exchange worried looks. “Is that odd?”

“Man, only sixteen thousand…?” Ikram puts a hand to his head, dazed. “Um, sorry. We’re used to it being somewhere in the range of seven billion.”

What?!” This time, Kipelle’s the one who comes to a sudden stop, though they recover from their shock much more quickly. “…Seven billion people? That doesn’t seem possible. You truly are from a completely different place, aren’t you? What a cluttered world yours must be!”

“It’s not, really.” I shake my head. “Come to think of it, I’m still amazed that you’re so accepting of our story. I’m pretty sure I would have a lot more doubt if our roles were reversed.”

“Yeah, you caught on really quickly.” Ikram’s face suddenly lights up. “Wait, do you have Star Trek too? Is that why you’re following along so well?”

“Star… Trek?” Kipelle blinks. “I don’t think so. I’ve never heard of anything called that, anyway. But it’s long been an accepted fact that other worlds must exist, and it’s still a very common topic of discussion. Alandra in particular is very interested in how differently alien life might have developed. The two of us often sit in bed together and talk about what other planets might be like.” Kipelle smiles, glancing at me. “What kind of creatures are you? Do you have eyes, ears, noses, and limbs, or are you perhaps more of a fungus? Oh, I’m sorry, is that rude to ask?”

“Ah.” I cough. “We’re not really that kind of alien. We’re humans, just from somewhere else.”

“Oh.” Kipelle’s face falls. “Ah, well. Can you answer another question? I’ve been hesitant to ask, for I don’t mean to offend you, but how long will you be occupying these bodies? Also, where is Alandra, while you’re her? Is she safe?”

“We’re not really sure how long we’ll be here.” I bite my lip. “Alandra’s okay, although she’s probably very confused right now. I’m guessing she’s in my body, the same way I’m in hers.”
No. 753873 ID: a606da
File 147689687242.png - (100.12KB , 800x600 , qr108.png )

“Oh, crap, I forgot! It’s a switch, isn’t it?” Ikram tugs at his cheek, his eyes wide with horror. “Does that mean I’ve got this girl walking around in my skin?!”

“Well, you’re walking around in hers.” I point out.

“That doesn’t make me feel any better, Wister!” Ikram groans. “God, how are my parents going to react? Will they think I want to be a girl, or will they just put her in a straightjacket as soon as she starts talking about being from another world?”

“Hopefully she’ll manage to figure things out, somehow.” I shrug. “I know it’s not very reassuring, but we should try to focus on our problems in this world. Ah, speaking of which… Kipelle, do you think someone could consider our current situation a congenital defect, if they become aware of it?”

Kipelle is silent for a few seconds. “…I hadn’t thought about that. They might. With your brother the way he is, it’s very possible.”

“My brother?” I realize. “Oh, hell. He has a defect, doesn’t he?”

“I’m afraid so. It’s a kind of severe psychotic dementia. Leris sees and hears things that aren’t there, and he loses track of where he is and what’s happening. He’s also emotionally unstable, though he’s never been aggressive or violent. It’s a condition that developed over time, however, and it didn’t manifest in you - his twin - so it wasn’t considered genetic.” Kipelle’s voice cracks. “But… if the doctors think Alandra has the same condition, the authorities may choose to sterilize both her and Leris. They’d terminate our child.”

“Oh, god!” I recoil. “It won’t come to that, will it?”

“I hope not.” Kipelle looks at me with worry. A few seconds later, they point to a nearby door. “We’re here.”

We enter into a small circular room, with two hallways leading off in opposite directions. I look around. It’s more comfortable than the metallic hallways, but not by much. “This is where Alandra’s brother lives?”

“Yes.” Kipelle nods. “Leris lives with his companion - my twin, as Leris is yours - who acts as his caretaker. Its name is Mivette. I have to go.”

“Wait! What if I have to talk to them?”

“I’m certain Mivette will choose to believe you, if you tell it who you are. I think both Mivette and myself would rather put our faith in a truth that leaves our lovers fertile.” Kipelle turns around, ready to leave.

“Hey, Kipelle?” I smile, patting their arm. “Thank you for helping us.”

“You’re welcome. I love you.” Kipelle pulls me into a soft hug, startling me. They back off immediately, embarrassed. “Ah! I’m sorry! Force of habit. I - I should go. Just stay here, and try not to talk to anyone except Leris and Mivette. I promise, I’ll return as soon as I finish teaching Alandra’s Logistical Eugenics course.” With that, Kipelle spins around and practically runs down the hallway.

“…huh.” I watch Kipelle go, but they finally take a turn down a hallway and vanish from sight.

“I guess that’s that, then.” Ikram leans back against the far wall, kicking at the air in a bored way. “So, we just need to kill time for a while?”

“Seems like it.” I close the door. “Any ideas? We could try finding ‘my’ brother, sure, but I’m pretty stressed out. I’d like to put introductions off for as long as I can. How about watching a movie, or reading a book? It might be an easy way to learn more about this world.”

“Maybe a little later, though that does sound fun. For right now, though, would you be willing to go a round of The Sillyserious Debate?” Ikram suggests. The Sillyserious Debate is an odd little game we play; we take an intense subject and discuss it in a lighthearted way. It’s something we’ve been doing since only a few days after we’d first met. He was still struggling with the death of his sister, and I was contemplating suicide, so death was on our minds. We both needed to talk about it, but we were awkward and nervous, so we could only explain how we were feeling in a jokey way. After that, it just became sort of a regular thing. “The obvious topic seems to be Body Issues. I’ll start: My boob itches. Since I’m in someone else’s body, and that person hasn’t given consent, am I able to scratch that itch without becoming a creepy molester? Fire away, Wister!”
No. 753875 ID: 594c18

That is indeed silly.

Are you now guilty of kidnapping?
No. 753886 ID: 094652

> boob itches
Get a fork.

> Global Population: Sixteen Thousand
This is where you can make or break everything.

Ask Kipelle about the various factors in birth / death rates. Population booms are usually the result of a major breakthrough in resources or medical technology. If something happened, you might have the technology to fix it. Of course, you would definitely piss off the various ruling factions for potentially increasing the number of rebels from "senile hipsters" to "HOLY @#$% WHY IS THERE A LITERAL TIDE OF SCUMBAGS BARGING INTO THE CITY WALLS AAAH". You'd better figure out a general plan before you let loose. For now, write up some general blueprints for technology that you know and they don't. If you get switched later, they can decide what they want to do about it.
No. 753893 ID: 3d2d5f

>God, how are my parents going to react? Will they think I want to be a girl, or will they just put her in a straightjacket as soon as she starts talking about being from another world?
They're probably going to write off her ravings about being a girl from another word due to the viciously beaten state they find you in. And your family will probably be more upset over the apparent memory loss, and "you" not recognizing them.

...if we're lucky, Raven and Ronnie were out of range. Maybe they can help our alternates cover for some of the crazier things. Orc was right with us though- she has to be here somewhere. I'm hoping she's as easy to find as just being my brother, but we might not even be related, here.
No. 753900 ID: a107fd

For the boob question, itchiness indicates an irritant, which scratching or other adjustment would remove. It's no creepier than taking a borrowed car to the mechanic when the "check engine" light comes on.

If there's any chance you're going to be stuck here more than a day, start reading the course materials for any subjects you're supposed to be teaching. Sixteen thousand humans is a few orders of magnitude above terminal inbreeding, but it's distressingly close to the minimum for the range of skilled professionals needed to maintain a technological civilization. Implication is, they won't kill you as long as you're a valuable cog in the machine. Certain amount of eccentricity can be tolerated so long as you don't cause any expensive damage, or bring your problems to work.
No. 753902 ID: 7b7ab3

It's just an itch, Ikram. Don't make it weird.
No. 753924 ID: 3abd97

>Can you answer another question? I’ve been hesitant to ask, for I don’t mean to offend you, but how long will you be occupying these bodies? Also, where is Alandra, while you’re her? Is she safe?
The poor guy thought you guys had some control over what you were doing. That's gotta be a let down.

>Do you have eyes, ears, noses, and limbs, or are you perhaps more of a fungus?
In an infinite multiverse, pretty non-human looking life has to exist. If Silvio really is punishing you, I wonder why he didn't go for ridiculous body horror. Too obvious? Alien enough it loses its impact?

>“The obvious topic seems to be Body Issues. I’ll start: My boob itches. Since I’m in someone else’s body, and that person hasn’t given consent, am I able to scratch that itch without becoming a creepy molester? Fire away, Wister!”
Recent experiences seem to have taught us mind-body separation is a thing. We are not our bodies, and even our ownership or possession of them is fairly nebulous.

So if you're doing something impermanent to a body that's not yours, you're acting on the body, not the person. There's also mitigating factors of intent- since you made no choice to occupy that body, and you're intending to act to remove discomfort.

...since I'm in someone else's life, even if he was another me, is it creepy to claim his friends and family as my own? It's different here- everything and everyone is sufficiently alien. Is it supposed to make a difference if someone is actually a near-identical copy of the person you actually know? At what point does someone change enough they're a different person, and not the one you reflexively care about?

>So, we just need to kill time for a while?
Um. What about trying to figure out if any more of you were switched? Odds are against it, really- there's only 16 thousand bodies here to 7 billion back home. The odds that all of you and your friends would have alternates in a randomly selected universe that size is vanishingly small.

...except of course this isn't a randomly selected universe. And there's an infinite number of universes are relatively small variants on it. Silvio just had to choose one of the infinite versions of this 18k world where you all have alternates from the infinite set of 18k worlds where the population is randomized.

Ignoring the problem of infinite sets for the moment- you may have other swapped friends wandering loose here. ...and you can't really go looking for them since acting out of character in public puts an unborn child at risk. So much for being proactive.
No. 756465 ID: a606da
File 147801325233.png - (117.29KB , 800x600 , qr109.png )

“It’s just an itch, Ikram. Don’t make this weird.”

“Gosh, you’re right. ” Ikram hangs his head. “I’d hate to make this situation weird.

After a few seconds, we erupt into giggles.

“No, but seriously, it’s fine.” I shrug. “After what I’ve experienced, it seems as if mind-body separation is a thing. We are not our bodies, and even our ownership or possession of them is fairly nebulous.”

“I don’t know if I agree with that, but go on.”

“If you're doing something impermanent to a body that's not yours, you're acting on the body, not the person. There's also mitigating factors of intent. Since you made no choice to occupy that body, and you're intending to act to remove discomfort, I don’t see any problems here.”

“When someone’s unconscious, is that automatic consent?”

“That’s different. Izdihar’s conscious, but she’s not in there.”

“Comatose, then. So, if I sneak into a hospital, would it be moral if I had an orgy with all the brain-dead patients? The bodies are conscious, but their owners aren’t in there anymore.”

“You’re not doing anything sexual. You’re just scratching your boobs.”

“If I’m here long enough, I’ll most likely have to use the bathroom. Unless I’m some kind of whiz at, well, whizzing, I’ll be forced to address the moral quandary that my crotch has become.”

“What do you think Izdihar would prefer, seeing as everyone thinks you’re her? That you’re doing what you have to do to be comfortable, or that you’re itching all over and pissing yourself? I feel like it’s more respectful to take proper care of her body while you’re stuck in it. It's no creepier than taking a borrowed car to the mechanic when the ‘check engine’ light comes on. ”

“Fair enough!” Ikram unzips his mantle-thing, sticks his hand down his shirt, and scratches his breasts. After a few moments, he pulls his hand out, zips his mantle-thing closed, and shrugs. “Wow, that felt surreal. It’s like I’ve got water balloons underneath my skin. So, how about you? You’ve got body issues too, am I right?”

“Yeah, you could say that.” I grin. “Say, do you think we’re guilty of kidnapping?”

“If we are, then you’ve stolen a baby. You didn’t even wait until it was out of the womb, you fiend!

“It’s the perfect crime!” I laugh maniacally, patting my belly. “Anyway, moving on from my brilliant baby heist… Since I'm in someone else's life, even if he was another me, is it creepy to claim his friends and family as my own? It's different here, since everything and everyone is sufficiently alien. Is it supposed to make a difference if someone is actually a near-identical copy of the person you actually know?”

“That’s not really how I look at it. You’re so similar to Wister that it would take me more effort not to care about you. I’m guessing it’s the same for both of us: I’m not your Ikram, and you’re not my Wisteria, but we remember knowing versions of each other, so we have a natural chemistry.”

“Sure, but at what point does someone change enough that they're a different person, and not the one you reflexively care about?”

“Well, if there is a point like that, gender clearly isn’t it, at least if we’re any indication. I mean, you’d probably be friends with my body’s owner.” Ikram flexes with his left arm, using his right hand to feel his left arm’s bicep. “I’ve been comparing her body to mine. We’ve got the same strength, same general fitness, similar weight, similar height, and - I’m guessing - close to the same age. In everything except her gender, culture, and possibly personality, it seems like she really is me. Just a girly me.”

“I wonder if culture would be enough of a difference that I wouldn’t recognize her as you?”

“I don’t think there’s any real way to tell, seeing as she’s otherwise occupied. Oh, wait, wait, I’ve got an idea!” Ikram snaps his fingers. “All we have to do is find this world’s version of someone we know, and see how we feel about them!”

“Fat chance of that. I’m amazed we had alternates here, considering there’s only sixteen thousand people in this entire world.”

“True. Still, we might as well keep an eye out for familiar faces.”
No. 756466 ID: a606da
File 147801340636.png - (199.23KB , 800x600 , qr110.png )

“Ah!” A sudden cry of surprise startles us. “Professor?”

I turn to look. Standing in one of the nearby doorways is an androgynous white-haired person who looks quite a bit like Kipelle, save for their clothing and hair length. “Hello.”

“Hi.” Their gaze drifts to Ikram. “Who is this?”

“I’m, um…” Ikram hesitates. He glances at me, apparently waiting to see how I want to introduce him.

“Pleased to meet you, in any case. I’m Mivette.” Mivette smiles weakly. “Are you here to visit Leris, Professor?”

“I was thinking about it.” I admit.

“Oh.” Mivette’s face fills with panic. “Please, I - I know you like to spend time with him, but I don’t know if it’s a good idea right now.”

“Why not?”

“He’s… he was doing fine this morning, but…” Mivette sighs. They look pretty stressed out. “I’m sorry, I just - it’s hard to understand, sometimes. He started babbling, he won’t let me anywhere near him, and he seems terrified by everything around him. Hopefully it’ll pass soon. These episodes usually do.”

“Does he change like that very often?”

“Not like this, no. It’s strange. When he’s… absent, he usually wanders, and I have to keep him from getting lost. Today, though, he’s just been curled up in the corner, crying.”

“Really?” I share a look with Ikram. “Has he said anything about being someone else? Anything about his body?”

“…Yes, actually. I couldn’t make any sense out of it.” Mivette blinks. “How did you know?”

“You don’t think - ?” Ikram’s eyes widen. “Oh, damn. She was right next to us when it happened, wasn’t she?”

“Yeah. It would make sense.” I nod. “If she’s here, she’s probably him.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” Mivette’s confusion is obvious. “What are you talking about?”
No. 756475 ID: 594c18

Hmm. I wonder if you should be looking for others as well. It's quite possible that Ronnie, Raven, August, and/or even Silvio also got transported.

I was about to say this could be any of them but it's your brother so it's most likely Orchid.

As for how to break the news... I'm not really sure how straightforward to be about it. It's probably safe, with Ikram backing you up, but...
No. 756497 ID: 398fe1

Tell Mivette you're just joking around with your friend, but you think you'll be able to calm your brother down.
No. 756522 ID: 3abd97

>“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” Mivette’s confusion is obvious. “What are you talking about?”
Interdimensional exchange of consciousnesses between bodies. I'm not Professor Bloodstone, this isn't Izdihar, and that's probably not Leris you left in the other room. We've been switched with alternate humans from another earth.

To answer your most likely questions: yes they're okay, yes it's possible to reverse, and no we didn't do this on purpose. I'm sorry for intruding on your lives and causing you distress.

Kipelle knows already and is covering the professor's class.

If you'd allow me in, I think I know who's in Leris and can calm probably them down.
No. 756525 ID: 5d1657

If you're going to go with "yes it's possible to reverse," for the sake of honesty we may want to add a "but we'd need to find how" since, as mentioned we didn't do this intentionally. Maybe keep the "somebody else probably did this to us" under the table for now though, that's up there in the territory of extra-creepy.
No. 756527 ID: 594c18

So in this order:
Yes they're okay, no we didn't do it on purpose, yes it's reversible, no we don't know how.
No. 756550 ID: 094652

"Is 'The most powerful scientific discovery in the history of the world, one which could potentially exponentiate the world's population by a factor of 2.25' a criminally insane offense?

Because in a twisted sort of way, I'd understand why."
No. 756608 ID: a107fd

Don't dive into the full explanation, just say you've been digging through old archives in your spare time, rediscovered a technique related to hypnotherapy that might be useful specifically for a case like his. Completely noninvasive, it'll take less than a minute to see if it's working, and even if you're wrong, should be harmless. If it works, theoretical underpinnings might get added to the curriculum next year.

Your "ancient secret technique" is to shush everybody else, and then do a 'me Tarzan, you Jane' sort of routine, pointing at yourself, Ikram, and the suspected third party member while reciting the appropriate names. To stay in character, enunciate the names really slowly and carefully, but with emphasis on the wrong syllables, like a sorcerer chanting a ritual or a tourist reading out of a bad phrasebook. Then you say "My enemy has no nose," and Ikram says "How does he smell?" and you say "Terrible!" Then clap your hands exactly once, drop the formality, smile and ask 'your brother' if 'he' is feeling better, including finger quotes.
No. 756620 ID: a606da
File 147807591045.png - (180.15KB , 800x600 , qr111.png )

>I wonder if you should be looking for others as well. It's quite possible that Ronnie, Raven, August, and/or even Silvio also got transported.

Even if they did get switched, I have no idea how I could search for them. They could be anywhere in the world. They could be anyone in the world.

“Ah, I’m not really sure how straightforward to be about this…” I take a deep breath. “Okay, I’m just going to tell you: I’m not Professor Bloodstone, and this isn’t Izdihar - oh, wait, you probably don’t know who that is…”

“I’m not the girl who this body belongs to.” Thankfully, Ikram steps in to help me. “I’m not a girl at all, actually.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was getting at. This is Ikram, and I’m Wisteria.” I explain. “We’ve been switched with alternate humans from another Earth.”

“Oh.” Mivette is silent for a while. They blink a lot. “Um… I’m sorry, I don’t really understand. Would you mind going into detail?”

“That’s fine, I bet this is a lot to take in.” I shrug. “There’s been an interdimensional exchange of consciousnesses between bodies. Professor Bloodstone’s mind is in my body, and I’m in hers.”

“Are you saying you’ve been through brain transplantation? No, hold on… That operation requires a lot of preparation, and has a recovery time of years.”

“Uh, no. Wait…” Ikram winces. “You have that here? That’s a thing?”

“Well, it’s not exactly a common procedure, and it has a very low success rate; It’s only used to transfer the brains of terminally ill patients into the brain-dead bodies of people who agree to be donors before death.” Mivette pauses. “Thinking about it, though, and considering your reaction, it doesn’t seem like that’s quite what’s going on here.”

“No, definitely not!” Ikram seems unsettled. “Our ‘transplantation’ happened in seconds. I was in one place, in my body, and then I was here, in someone else’s.”

“We’re not sure how it works.” I admit. “Still, the main point is this: these bodies aren’t ours, and we’re from a different world.”

“…I see.” Mivette is quiet. “I have questions - “

“Yes, they’re okay. No, we didn’t do it on purpose. Yes, it’s reversible. No, we don’t know how.” I blurt out. “Does that about cover it? Sorry for interrupting, but I’d rather not take up too much time with this.”

“Well, yes, that answers many of them. So, you’ve been spontaneously transferred into the body of my sister-by-law. You’re aliens. You don’t know how this happened, or how to fix it.”

“Yes.” Ikram replies, straight to the point.

“Alright. I think I understand a little more clearly.” Mivette smiles awkwardly. “Still, how strange! You must be dealing with a great amount of discomfort. Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Well, I can’t think of much we need right this second… Kipelle knows already, and is covering the Professor’s class - “

“Wait, wait, Wisteria, don’t gloss over what just happened. You believe us?!” Ikram gapes at Mivette. “Why are you people so accepting of this? It sounds crazy, even to me!”

“You don’t seem mentally unstable, and your explanation has been very comprehensive. Besides, why would you lie?” Mivette points out. A second later, they turn to look at me. “You seem to be in a hurry, based on the way you were talking. Is there some sort of emergency?”
No. 756621 ID: a606da
File 147807595379.png - (144.59KB , 800x600 , qr112.png )

“Not an emergency, exactly.” I shake my head. “It’s about Leris. If you’d allow me in, I think I know who’s in his body, and I can probably calm them down.”

“Leris has been replaced, too?!”

“We’re not completely sure, but it seems likely. Is it alright if I check?”

Mivette slowly nods.

“Can you guide us to him? I don’t know this place at all.”

“Yes. Follow me.” Mivette turns and walks down the hallway, looking back at us every so often.

We come to a stop at a closed, unmarked door. Mivette opens it in a practiced way, making very little noise.

The room appears to be very simple. There’s a comfortable-looking bed, a painting hanging on the wall, a wardrobe, and a strange half-orb of goop built into the ceiling. The goop seems to be the light source for the room.

I step inside. I look around, but I can’t see anyone. “Are you sure he’s here?”

“Yes.” Mivette points. In the far corner, I notice the top of a head sticking out, its owner hidden behind the bed.

“Hello?” I call out to them.

Please… I told you to go away.” I can barely make out the words of a small voice, spoken through sniffles. “Don’t you get it? I’m not - not right. None of this is.

“Hey!” Ikram quickly follows me into the room. “Is that you in there, Orchid?”

What?” The head raises, and scared eyes peer out at us. “W-was that real, or just another…? Are you here? I mean, did you actually say that?
No. 756624 ID: 398fe1

Oh, jeez. Yeah, tell her she unfortunately wound up in the body of someone who suffers from hallucinations. Um, ask her if there's any way you can prove you're real. Do her hallucinations seem to work off her memory, or are they just kindof random?

Okay that's it you have GOT to closely examine that black thing on the ceiling.
No. 756627 ID: a107fd

Sympathize at Orchid about the gender dysphoria issue. As an aid in distinguishing hallucinations from reality, take turns describing visible features of the environment in detail, calling attention to any discrepancies.

Good news about the low population is, while there's going to be a lot of dreadfully serious technological inertia, on account of the lack of redundancy in critical systems, there shouldn't be nearly as much cultural inertia. Blasphemy, heresy, and sedition weren't on that list of capital offenses, now, were they? It would be plausible to have one-on-one meetings with everyone in the local hab, explaining this whole 'alien mind swap' thing to each of them as individuals, in a manageably short period of time. Then, once everyone in town agrees on the issue, putting out a shoot-on-sight order for that Silvio asshole is probably just an alarmingly simple matter of filing the proper paperwork. Even if the rest is bullshit, he's got impaired vision. It's genetic. Case closed.
No. 756723 ID: 3abd97

>They could be anyone in the world.
Or anyone in any world. It's a courtesy Silvio didn't slip you up more than he did.

>Is there anything I can do to help?
Exchanging more information will probably help later, but for now, we'd ask you to please be discrete with this. We're concerned with the possible consequences if someone hears of this and doesn't believe us, and decides we're defects.

>W-was that real, or just another…? Are you here? I mean, did you actually say that?
We're real, Orchid, I promise. We got shunted into another universe.
No. 756951 ID: a606da
File 147829600247.png - (145.72KB , 800x600 , qr113.png )

“We’re real, Orchid, I promise.” I slowly walk over to the bed. On the other side of it, maybe-Orchid cringes at my approach. I stop.

“You’re real? But…” Maybe-Orchid trembles. “But this is just a nightmare, isn’t it?”

“No, Orchid.” Ikram sits down at the end of the bed. “You’re awake. Sorry.”

“We got shunted into another universe.” I sigh.

“I don’t believe you!”

“How can we prove to you that this is real?”

“I don’t want this to be real!” Orchid wails. “I want to wake up!”

“Come on, Orc.” Ikram reaches out to pat Orchid on the shoulder. Orchid flinches. Ikram quickly pulls his hand away. “We’re here, too. It’s better than being alone, isn’t it?”

“Stop acting like you know me; I’ve never even met you before!”

“Huh? But I’m… Oh. Right.” Ikram hesitates. “Listen, Orchid: In a second, I’m going to tell you who I am. You can laugh if you want, okay? I don’t mind.”

“What? Why would I laugh?”

“Because… because I’m Ikram.” Like before, Ikram tenses as he says it. “It looks like we both drew the short stick.”

Orchid is speechless. She stares at him for a while. The next sound she makes is a small chuckle.

“See? There you go!” Ikram beams. “You’re feeling better already, right?”

“Is that really you, Ikram?” Orchid looks him up and down. “But you’re a…”

“I know.” Ikram groans. “All the way through, too. Even downstairs!”

“That’s fucked up.”

Right?!” Ikram gazes forlornly at Orchid’s body. “I wonder if we can trade, somehow.”

“Wait.” Orchid looks down at herself with a growing horror in her eyes. “If this isn’t a nightmare, then… Oh, shit! Fuck!” For no reason that I can comprehend, Orchid quickly starts scratching at the wall. “But that isn’t… is it? I’m confused.”

“Orchid?” Ikram keeps his voice soft and friendly. “What are you doing?”

“I…” Orchid blinks. “I’m not sure. It doesn’t feel right.”

Ikram gives me a worried look.
No. 756954 ID: a606da
File 147829626008.png - (164.18KB , 800x600 , qr114.png )

“That…” Mivette stands frozen in the doorway, their eyes fixated on Orchid. “That’s not Leris, is it?”

“I’m sorry.” I shake my head. “I know this is a bad time, but would you mind being discrete with all this? Exchanging more information will probably help later, but we’re concerned with the possible consequences if someone doesn’t believe us.”

“Are you asking me to lie?”

“I, uh… maybe? Look, considering how open you and Kipelle have been, we might just tell everyone at some point. If people accept us, it’ll make things a lot easier. If they don’t, though, they might think we’re defects.”

“I understand.” Mivette nods. “I’ll do what I can.”

>Okay that's it you have GOT to closely examine that black thing on the ceiling.

It seems to be more of a dark-pinkish color, now that I look at it. Its insides pulse and churn in an unsettling way.

Mivette seems entirely baffled by my examination of the ceiling’s goop installation.

“It’s not like I - I sort of… I mean, I feel like I’m starting to, you know? But it doesn’t seem real.” Orchid speaks loudly, her words slightly slurred. “Will someone please tell me what this is?”

“You ended up in the body of someone who suffers from hallucinations.” I explain.

“I’m crazy?!” Orchid yelps. “Fuck that! I don’t want to be crazy! How do I get back to normal?”
No. 756957 ID: 398fe1

Well, the only way I can think of would be to find Silvio and force him to set things right. That rather assumes he's here, though. I wonder, can we check the hospitals? He was horribly injured before... oh, maybe that's why he swapped everyone here. He wanted to be here, because medical technology here is very advanced, and he couldn't focus very well so he wound up swapping everyone nearby as well.

So I think our next step is to go check the nearest hospital. Tell Mivette that finding the guy responsible for the swap will get you out of her hair.

Also ask what the blob is.
No. 756958 ID: a107fd

>nearest hospital
No, that risks tipping him off. Let's get a description to law enforcement and have them go through every hospital on the planet at once. Dude can't be too hard to find, since he's literally got no nose, and hiding that is a capital offense in itself 'round these parts. He also knowingly (or at least recklessly) sabotaged a class on Logistical Eugenics by forcibly removing the teacher from the classroom, which is another very serious charge.
No. 756960 ID: 3abd97

>“I’m crazy?!” Orchid yelps. “Fuck that! I don’t want to be crazy!
You're not crazy, okay? You're just... looking at the world through crazy colored glasses. For now.

>How do I get back to normal?
We... switch back. I don't know how yet, but there has to be a way. I'll get you back to normal, Orcid, I promise. I'm sorry, I should have never got you guys caught up in this. I should have gone by myself.

>what do
Maybe ask Mivette to describe Leris' condition? Maybe Orcid will be able to cope with it better if she knows what to expect, or how it works.
No. 756962 ID: 398fe1

>description to law enforcement
How will we get them to actually do anything? Will they take such drastic action on baseless accusation? Keep in mind we can't prove anything.
No. 756965 ID: a107fd

All we really want them to do is detain a guy who's already seriously injured, and keep him sedated thoroughly enough that he doesn't regain consciousness. "Every hospital in the world" is still going to be a pretty short list when the total human population is under twenty thousand. We can't prove the entire story, but August at least can build another hologram recorder/projector, and there's probably other information we could share that makes our story seem more plausible than a folie a deux.
No. 757040 ID: 594c18

Assuming we can find August. Heck, assuming August even came with us. Which, if my suspicion that Silvio didn't do this is correct, is actually fairly unlikely.

But, I suppose, it's safer to act as though Silvio is here, so...
No. 761314 ID: a606da
File 148009263877.png - (126.14KB , 800x600 , qr115.png )

“You're not crazy, okay? You're just… looking at the world through crazy colored glasses. For now.” I sigh. “We need to switch back, if we plan on getting back to normal. The only way I can think of doing that would be to find Silvio and force him to set things right.”

“Wait wait wait. Who are you?” Orchid sniffles. “Do I even know you?”

“Oh, right. I’m Wisteria.” I wave. “Hi.”

“Wisteria?!” Orchid slowly pulls herself to her feet, glaring at me. “This is all your fault! None of this would have happened if you hadn’t come along!”

“I’ll get you back to normal, Orchid, I promise.” I look away. “I’m sorry. I should never have got you guys caught up in all this. I should have gone by myself.”

“This goes way beyond ‘I’m sorry’, you shitbag! Was it not enough to steal my brother’s body? Did you have to take mine, too?!” Orchid walks forward and shoves me, hard. “You body-snatching, suicidal, selfish bitch! I hate you!”

“Whoa, whoa, watch where you’re hitting!” Ikram jumps in front of Orchid, doing his best to push her away. “Her body is pregnant, Orc! Trust me, Wisteria’s just as unhappy with this as we are.”

“Pregnant?” Orchid recoils, stricken. “No! I didn’t know, I swear! If I’d known, I wouldn’t have… Oh, shit, are you okay?!”

“I… I’m fine.” I cough, standing up again. “You aimed a little high, luckily.”

“Oh my god.” Orchid falls into a sitting position on the bed. She shivers, looking like she might be sick. “I almost just… I almost…”

“There, there.” Mivette sits next to her, patting her on the back comfortingly. “It’s okay. Nothing serious happened.”

“Is that… Raven?” Startled, Orchid scoots away from Mivette. “Who…?”

“Her name is Mivette.” Ikram explains. “She’s your body’s, um…”

“Your lover.” Mivette interrupts. “I’m your lover, your companion, and your caretaker.”

“O-oh.” Orchid blushes. “Look, you’re, uh… you’re very cute, honestly, but…”

“Mivette, could you describe Leris’s condition to Orchid? It might help her adapt to being in that body.”

“‘Her’?” Mivette stares at Orchid for a moment. “Oh, dear. Well, if it helps, I’ll tell you all that I can…”
No. 761318 ID: a606da
File 148009294623.png - (77.41KB , 800x600 , qr116.png )

“Hold on, I have just a few quick questions, first.” I cut her off. “First, what is that blob on the ceiling?”

“You mean the utility culture?” Mivette seems confused. “What about it?”

“What’s a utility culture?” Ikram asks, curious. “Is it like a yogurt culture?”

“It’s a utility culture.” Mivette states that as though it were obvious. “It makes the air clean, produces light, keeps the room free from contaminants… I don’t know, it does a lot of things. Why do you ask?”

“We don’t have them in our world.”

“Really? But how can you breathe, then?”

“We just do.” I shrug. “As long as we’re outside and above water, it’s not much of an issue.”

“You can go outside?!” Mivette gasps. “Goodness, I wish I lived in your world!”

“Well, um, so do we.” I bite my lip. “Do you know where the nearest hospital is? We might find the person who’s responsible for putting us into these bodies.”

“Hospital? If you mean a medical station, then there’s one just a few doors down the hall. There are a lot of those, though.”

“Damn.” I pace around the room, feeling more and more worried about the future. “Okay… Okay, what about - ?”

I’m suddenly interrupted by a loud voice that reverberates through my skull. “Is this thing working? Ah, seems like it. Hello, everyone. I’m searching for a man named Silvio - a man with black eyes and no nose. If you have seen him, or if you know where he is, then please meet me in the broadcasting center. Repeat: If you know anything about Silvio, meet me in the broadcasting center. Until then, this message will repeat every half hour.”

“W-what?” My head is still throbbing. “Did anyone else hear - ?”

“Yeah.” Ikram nods, rubbing his forehead. “What was that?”

“Th-the utility culture can transmit public announcements.” Mivette stutters, her voice pained. “The usually keep it much more quiet, though. Ow.”

“That voice had to belong to somebody else who got switched, right?” Ikram turns to me. “Should we go find them?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for - Orchid? - for Orchid to wander.” Mivette hugs Orchid protectively. “Leris doesn’t do well with open spaces.”

“Wait, what?!” Orchid yelps. “I don’t want to stay here alone!”

“You won’t be alone.” Mivette smiles. “I’ll stay with you.”

“I don’t know you!” Orchid jumps to her feet, yanking herself out of Mivette’s arms. “Look, you two, I’m fine. Let me come with you.”

“Uh… sorry, Orchid, but I’m not sure if we should.” Ikram looks at me. “Wisteria, what do you think?”
No. 761320 ID: eb9588

Sure, why not?
No. 761324 ID: b1b4f3

I don't think it's wise to bring Orchid along. She's hallucinating and also hates you.
No. 761332 ID: 594c18

We should probably find out why Leris "doesn't do well" before deciding. I mean, if it's just agoraphobia, it probably wouldn't carry over. But if it exacerbates his hallucinations or something...

Anyway, the person in the broadcasting center is probably August. (Or Silvio, but that's maybe a bit paranoid.) I doubt any of the rest of you'ns would make their first concern Silvio rather than each other.
No. 761404 ID: a107fd

Orchid knows about Silvio. Failure to comply with priority instructions is probably some sort of heinous crime. Thus, Orchid should come along to the broadcasting center.

Maybe grab some antianxiety meds, or sedatives or something, at a medical station on the way there, just in case?
No. 761575 ID: a606da
File 148015864629.png - (127.12KB , 800x600 , qr117.png )

“Why doesn’t Leris do well with open spaces?” I ask Mivette. “Does he have agoraphobia? Does it make his hallucinations worse?”

“Not directly, no.” Mivette scratches her neck. (Wait, ‘her’? Huh. I wonder how long I’ve been thinking of Mivette as female?) “He has a tendency to get confused and wander off. Since it’s difficult for him to communicate with people, he can end up panicking, scared, and alone. When he’s in that sort of emotional state, his symptoms often get worse. He was lost for a whole day, once.”

“But I’m not alone, so I’ll be fine, right?” Orchid points out. “I mean, will I be okay as long as someone’s watching after me?”

“Well, yes.” Mivette admits. “But it’s more difficult than you might think.”

“Don’t worry.” Orchid smiles. “I’ll stick to Ikram and her like glue. You guys will keep an eye on me, right?”

“Sure, why not?” I sigh. “Mivette, should Orchid take any medication before we go?”

“I already gave Leris his dose for this morning.” Mivette shakes her head. “He’ll be fine until tonight.”

“Great. One more thing, if you don’t mind: Do you know where the broadcasting center is?”

“I think so, yes. It’s a fair distance from here, but there are maps in the halls if you need help finding your way around.”

“Could you give us directions?”

“If Leri- I mean, if Orchid is going with you, then I would prefer to guide you myself.”

“That would be great.” Ikram nods. “Thank you!”

Mivette nods, uncertain. After an awkward pause, she goes to the door. “Follow me.”

The three of us obediently walk in a loose formation. Orchid stays as far away from me as possible. She won’t even look at me.

The journey is slow and quiet. As we take another turn down the latest of many hallways, we enter a slightly more open room. Mivette ushers us over to the entrance of yet another hallway, but I come to a stop when I notice that Ikram isn’t following us.

“Hey.” I walk back over to him. He’s staring at a couple of college-age girls who are talking and laughing together on the far side of the room. “What’s up?”

Ikram is silent. It’s like he’s frozen.

“You okay?” I shake him by the shoulder.

“…Wister?” He mumbles.

“You stopped walking. What’s going on?”

“Earlier, we - we sort of agreed to that recognition experiment, right? That we should keep an eye out for people we know?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Do you recognize either of those girls?” He jerks his head, indicating the ladies on the other side of the room.

“Not really.” I look again. “Wait… The black-haired one looks kind of familiar, but I’m not sure where I’ve seen her before.”

“I showed you pictures.” He mutters. “This one has longer hair. Different clothes. But she has the same face, the same movements. She still has those highlights in her bangs, too; they’re even the same shade of red.”

“Who is…?” As I look at the familiar woman, I realize where I remember her from, and my mouth hangs open. I remember a quiet afternoon, years ago, when Ikram first showed me pictures of his sister Ayame. Pictures from before she died. “…Oh.

“What do I do now, Wister?” Ikram’s voice cracks. Trembling, he turns to look at me. “What the hell am I supposed to do?”
No. 761577 ID: 7d8168

Uh... relations seem to carry over. Orchid's always been your sister... or brother. So if that's really Ayame, then Ikram's probably her sister right now.

So maybe Ikram should walk on the other side of you. Getting spotted by a non-swapped relative could be a big problem.
No. 761613 ID: 3abd97

Um. If emotional states make Leris worse, Orcid is a real risk right now. She has several reasons to be overly emotional right now. Gender swapping, being ejected to another universe, PTSD from the Silvio beat down they just had, and all of that on top of the anger and resentment she's holding for Wisteria.

>instigating the message node
There are only three people who could have sent that signal: one of your friends, August again, or Silvio, doing it to fuck with you.

A partial concern is that this could be a trap. Whoever is using that equipment, and incorrectly / irresponsibly, possibly in a way that puts other people at risk, is in danger of being labelled a defect or bringing the authorities down on them. By running to answer their call, and associating ourselves with them, we're taking that risk too.

>what else
...did anyone leave a note for Kipelle so they won't panic when they get home and find the place empty?

>“What do I do now, Wister?” Ikram’s voice cracks. Trembling, he turns to look at me. “What the hell am I supposed to do?”
...I don't know. If she's still your sister here, she doesn't know you. She knows the girl you're wearing. And we don't know how different that girl is from you. The professor and her brother are a lot different from Orcid and me. I don't know if she'd even know you.

Silvio did say this was supposed to be a kind of hell he was sending us to. Maybe this is one of the ways.
No. 761614 ID: ff10db

Wisteria, you need to take better care of Orchid, try to bond with her while she's frightened and stressed. Worst case scenario? Her Wister is swapped into the mind of the current dictator. He could easily convert her to his side, use her against you, then toss her away.

Ikram, she is not YOUR Ayame. She has gone through a different life, may have a wildly different personality, and given the current fascist state, has likely been trained to respond to a long-dead brother coming back to life in a girl's body with a cease-desist-and-execute order.

Ask for Ayame's address from Mivette (there's only like 16,000 people on this planet, small communities probably have complete address books), then keep moving.
No. 770064 ID: a606da
File 148341927513.png - (143.64KB , 800x600 , qr118.png )

>did anyone leave a note for Kipelle so they won't panic when they get home and find the place empty?


>Wisteria, you need to take better care of Orchid, try to bond with her while she's frightened and stressed.

Sure thing. How?

“I don’t know.” I pull him aside, standing between him and the girl that looks like Ayame. “Try not to let her see you, okay?”

“Huh?” He leans to one side, peeking around me. “Why not?”

“Quit it.” I start walking, gently leading him away. “If that’s really Ayame, then you’re probably her sister right now. Getting spotted could be a big problem.”

“I’m somebody’s sister? Weird.” Ikram pauses. “Wait, if she knows me, isn’t that better? I could walk right up to her in this skin, and it’d be fine, if a little creepy.”

“Ikram, she’s not your Ayame. She’s gone through a different life. If she is still your sister here, she doesn’t know you. She knows the girl you’re wearing, and we don’t know how different that girl is from you.”

“So… it would be stupid for me to try talking to her, right?”


“Right.” Immediately, Ikram spins around, dodges past me, and rushes off to do something stupid.

I try to catch him, but it’s too late. I can only watch from a distance as he approaches the person who looks like his sister.

“A - Aya?” Ikram comes to a stop in front of her. “Is it - I mean, are you really…?”

“Huh?” She briefly turns away from her conversation. “Oh, hey, Izdi.” She gives him a polite nod, then returns to talking with the girl she’s with.

Ikram reaches out and pokes Ayame’s shoulder, as if to confirm that she’s real. Apparently still unconvinced, he goes on to poke her several more times.

“Uh, can you not?” Ayame slaps Ikram’s hand away. She smiles to her friend, forcing a small laugh. “Sorry, my sister’s being a little twit. Go on ahead, I’ll catch up in a bit.” She waves them away, then rounds on Ikram, looking annoyed. “So, do you actually need something, or are you just acting like a weirdo for no reason?”

“Ah!” Ikram jumps, surprised. “Sorry, I… I just wanted to see you.”

“Well, congratulations, then! You’ve done it. Gaze upon me and feel fulfilled.” She poses dramatically. “Seriously, though, what’s up? Aren’t you supposed to be in class?”
No. 770065 ID: a606da
File 148341937433.png - (139.42KB , 800x600 , qr119.png )

“Well, I… I…” Ikram suddenly leans forward and throws his arms around Ayame, hugging her tightly. “I love you, Ayame!”

“Yeah, yeah. Love you too.” Ayame coughs. “Can you dial it down a little? It’s hard to breathe.”

“Sorry.” Ikram relaxes slightly, but he doesn’t break the embrace. “Could you do something for me?”

“Maybe. What is it? Do you need more help with your homework? If you’re here to copy my comp-bio notes again, you can just jog on, missy.”

“Promise that you’ll stay safe.” Ikram’s voice cracks. I can’t see his face, but I think he’s crying. “That’s all.”

“What?” Ayame blinks, taken aback.

“Please, Aya. Just promise.”

“I promise I’ll stay safe.” Ayame dutifully swears, now staring at Ikram with clear anxiety. “Are you alright? Did something happen?”

“No.” Ikram finally pulls away from her, wiping his tears on his sleeve. “Nothing happened.”

“Sure it didn’t.” Ayame’s disbelief is obvious. “You can talk to me about anything, you know.”

“Honestly, I just wanted to make sure that you would be okay.” He smiles sadly while slowly backing away. “I hope you live a long and happy life. Goodbye, Ayame! I miss you.

“Hey!” Ayame grabs him by the arm. “You can’t just say shit like that and then leave, you little twit! What, are you dying or something?”

Ikram freezes, then bursts out laughing, then sobs, then laughs and sobs at the same time. It all ends up sounding fairly unhinged. He yanks his arm out of Ayame’s grip, then quickly breaks into a run, rocketing past me.
No. 770066 ID: a606da
File 148341950817.png - (144.11KB , 800x600 , qr120.png )

Following his lead, I start to run, too, and the two of us wildly flee without much sense of where we’re going. We finally come to a stop in a convenient stairwell, panting with exhaustion. I covertly stick my head out and peer down the hallway we came through. Seeing no sign of Ayame, I close the door behind us.

Ikram collapses onto the lowest stair, crying. “It’s not fair.”

I silently sit down beside him. I’m not sure what to say.

“It’s her, Wister. It’s really her.” He hangs his head. “She’s alive.”

“I already told you, Ikram: She isn’t the same person.”

“Shut up!” He snaps. “If you’re Wister, then she’s Ayame. That was my sister back there!”

“Ikram, I…” I hesitate, not entirely sure how to respond to that one. “Look, I thought we agreed that this was a bad idea.”

“I know, I know! It was stupid, and I’m stupid for doing it.” Ikram sniffles. “But I had to, Wister! I’ll probably never see her again. That might’ve been my last chance.”

“Last chance to do what?”

“To… to say goodbye.” His voice practically crumbles. “I slept in, the day she… I mean, I can’t even remember the last thing I said to her. I woke up, and she was just - just gone.

I hold his hand. Through it, I can feel him shaking. We sit quietly for a little while, huddled close to each other.

“Hey, Wister.” He takes a deep breath. “Do you think…? I mean, do I have to go home?”

“Ikram.” I shake my head. “Don’t.

“It wouldn’t be so bad.” He mutters. “I - I can get used to this body.”

“Trust me, it’s not that easy.” I click my tongue. “Even if you could settle in, what about Izdihar?”

“What about her?!” He snarls. “Why does she get to have Ayame, but I don’t? We’re the same fucking person! If I’d been born a girl, would my sister still be alive? I didn’t get to choose that! It’s not fair!

“You’re being ridiculous, Ikram. You can’t take someone else’s life just because you want what they have.”

“Why not?” He glares at me. “You did.”

“That’s not…” I trail off.

“Well? Go on, I’m listening.” He grimaces. “What’s the difference?”
No. 770070 ID: 3abd97

>“Well? Go on, I’m listening.” He grimaces. “What’s the difference?”
The difference is that somewhere, the Wister you used to know, the one I swapped places with, who just wanted a male body woke up with one, finally got what he wanted, and a life that has otherwise barely changed. And he didn't have to deal with any evil goddamn genies, the massive fuckups, the guilt, and accidentally ruining the lives of people who just tried to help me the way I did.

The girl you're switching places with? You'd be condemning her to being transgender against her will, trapped in an alien world she doesn't understand, where her sister is dead.

I'm the fuckup who should have jumped when she had the chance, but you're my friend, and you're better than me! Don't you dare go trying to ruin for yourself the one thing I didn't.
No. 770074 ID: 398fe1

The difference is the other Wister got what he wanted. He's about as happy as you are-- your body is finally the one you want, but the people you know aren't quite the same anymore. It was an equal trade.

I... suppose Izdihar gets something out of the swap, though. She gets to live outside of... whatever this place is. She gets to see the sky.
No. 770097 ID: 7d8168

"The difference is that I didn't know how huge a mistake I was making."
No. 770116 ID: a107fd

>“It wouldn’t be so bad.” He mutters. “I - I can get used to this body.”
>“Trust me, it’s not that easy.” I click my tongue. “Even if you could settle in, what about Izdihar?”

Gender identity can be a matter of degree, just like sexual preference. Maybe Ikram and Izdihar are happy with the bodies they were born in, but not as strongly committed, so dysphoria really would be just a chronic inconvenience for them instead of a total deal-breaker.

Regardless, it's a moot point unless you find yourselves in the position of being able to extort favors from Silvio, or otherwise move between worlds at your own discretion. In such a case, the ethical thing would be for Ikram to swap with some alt-Ikram who would actually prefer to be permanently separated from the corresponding alt-Ayame, for whatever reason.
No. 770225 ID: e662ef

"Oh right, sorry. But that's not the problem. The problem is the price.

If you obsess over this to the point that you willingly toss away your free will just to ensure you'll have her forever, you're dancing to Silvio's tune. He wanted me to murder my family, one person a week.

You're better than me. And I refused. We need Silvio dead before we try to force ourselves into other peoples' lives or he'll just take them from us like a supernatural taxman."
No. 778460 ID: a606da
File 148671560935.png - (137.19KB , 800x600 , qr121.png )

>Gender identity can be a matter of degree, just like sexual preference. Maybe Ikram and Izdihar are happy with the bodies they were born in, but not as strongly committed, so dysphoria really would be just a chronic inconvenience for them instead of a total deal-breaker.

Maybe, but I don’t think that’s the real issue here. Stealing someone else’s body is immoral, but in this case it’s also impractical. This isn’t our world. We can get by because we have people here who know what we are, but that’s only for the short-term. Besides being an alternate version of her, Ikram knows next to nothing about Izdihar, so there’s no way he’d be able to live out her life without running into some serious problems.

“The difference is the other Wister got what he wanted, and a life that has otherwise barely changed. The girl you're switching places with? You'd be condemning her to being transgender against her will, trapped in an alien world she doesn't understand, where her sister is dead.” I stare at the ground. “I... suppose Izdihar gets something out of the swap, though. She gets to live outside of... whatever this place is. She gets to see the sky. But it’s not enough.”

“If it means getting my sister back, I don’t think I care about the implications.”

“I know you, Ikram. I have to believe that you’re...” I trail off, my throat tensing slightly.

“That I’m what?” He sits up straighter, an angry look flickering across his face. “Say what you were going to say, Wister.”

“...You’re better than me.” I look away. “Listen, when I did what I did, I didn't know how huge a mistake I was making. Look at where we are. My actions hurt all of us. I was just… I mean, if I could go back, I’d... “

“Excuse me?” Ikram’s bitterness lessens, and his tone gets more concerned. “If you’re anything like the Wister I know, then you’d give up anything to have the body you want, and you did give up everything. You did what you had to do to get what you needed.”
No. 778461 ID: a606da
File 148671572570.png - (208.30KB , 800x600 , qr122.png )

“No. I’m just a fuck-up who should have jumped when she had the chance.” I very slowly shake my head. “It would have been better if I had done it. No one else would have gotten hurt. You’d all be happier without me around. I wish that I had done it. I wish I was -”

Shut the fuck up!” He shrieks angrily, grabbing me by my scarves. He stands, harshly pulling me to my feet. “You think it would be painless for me?! I’m near willing to trade my manhood to get my sister back, and I’d give up a lot more if it meant keeping you alive! I don’t have anyone else, Wister. I need you! So how dare you think about killing yourself and then start acting like it’s for my sake?!”

“Ah!.” I gasp, shocked at his intensity. “I - Ikram, I’m sorr-”

“There are infinite worlds, right? Which means that, out there, there’s a world where you did jump. A world where Orchid and your dad had to identify your lifeless face in a morgue. A world where I sat at your funeral and wondered what I did wrong. A world that is forever worse because you aren’t in it anymore!” Ikram pulls me closer, and I can see my vague reflection in his crying eyes. His voice breaks as he pushes his words out through clenched teeth. “Do you really believe that world is ‘better’? Look, I don’t know what death is like in your old universe, but where I come from, it’s the most terrible thing there is. It doesn’t help anyone; It breaks people! Because of it, my house is filled with nothing but screaming and arguments, my parents hate each other, we had to move away from the city I grew up in, and my sister is dead!

“Yeah.” I nod. “She is.”

“And… and she’s alive now, you know?” He sobs. “But if I go back, and she’s gone, it’s like… it’s like I’m killing her.”

“You can’t kill the dead, Ikram.” I try to keep myself calm. Right now, Ikram needs me a lot more than I need him. “Ayame has been gone for a long time. Even if there’s someone a lot like her, here, it doesn’t mean your sister has come back to life.”

“I know.” Ikram whimpers. “I know, but…”
No. 778462 ID: a606da
File 148671585908.png - (209.19KB , 800x600 , qr123.png )

He doesn’t say anything else. He just cries. Struck by an impulse, I hug him tightly. “I can’t know what you’re feeling, but I’m here for you. Always, and for as long as I can be. I promise.”

“…Thanks, Wister.” After a long while, Ikram slowly pulls away from the hug. He wipes his eyes on his sleeve, smiling weakly. “I’m really being stupid, huh?”

“You’re being human. This situation is rough on all of us. It’s okay to be emotional sometimes.”

“I wouldn’t really do it. Become a bodysnatcher, that is.” Surprisingly, he giggles. “I mean, even if I tried, I’d probably do a one-eighty on it as soon as I hit my first period, right? When it comes to seeing things in perspective, there’s nothing quite like the threat of having bloody viscera regularly pour out of my crotch.”

“Lovely image.” I feign retching. “Nice giggle, by the way.”

“I giggled?” He blinks. “Wait, like a proper dainty girly-giggle?”


“Oh, god, I didn’t even notice!” He puts a hand over his face in embarrassment, but he’s grinning underneath. “Well, shit, so much for my machismo. We need to get out of these bodies, man! My testosterone is fading fast.”

“Technically, it’s right where you left it.” I go to the door. “Speaking of getting out, we should meet back up with Orchid and Mivette.”

“I don’t have any idea how to get back to where we were. Sorry about getting sidetracked.” Ikram’s voice is a little muted, with a guilty tone. “It’d probably be best to head to the broadcasting place and wait for them, yeah? Mivette said there were lots of maps around.”

“Sounds like a plan.” I open the door, and we walk out. True to Mivette’s word, there’s a map on the wall not far away. We get directions from it, and then off we go.

As we walk, the decor of the hallway changes from steel and white to steel, white, and blue. Hurrah for variety, I guess.
No. 778464 ID: a606da
File 148671612651.png - (182.27KB , 800x600 , qr124.png )

Not too much time has passed, however, before we hear footsteps coming from around the corner behind us. I can see the shock in Ikram’s face as he turns to look. “Is it her? I mean, did she - do you think she chased after us?”

“I don’t know.” I hold his hand. “If it is Ayame, we’ll just have to stop and talk to her, okay? We can’t keep running and hiding forever.”

We stand there tensely as the footsteps get rapidly closer. Ikram’s grip on my hand tightens, his anxiety evident.

Moments later, a little girl who couldn’t be more than nine years old sprints around the corner, crashing into Ikram’s leg. She falls back onto the ground, hard. In near-unison, Ikram and I lean down to help her. Ikram smiles warmly, probably out of both politeness and relief. “I’m sorry, you surprised me! Are you okay?”

“Fine! I’m f-fine!” The little girl scrambles nervously to her feet. She winces as she puts weight on her left leg, and she collapses, clutching her ankle while crying out.

“Whoa, take it easy.” I hold out an arm. “Here, lean on me. Are your parents around here?”

No!” She shakes her head, still trying and failing to stand up. She completely ignores my outstretched forearm. “I’m alright. Honest.”

“You sure? From here, it looks like you sprained your ankle. You’re just going to hurt more if you force it. ” Ikram gently holds the girl still. “What’s the rush?”

Before she can answer, a man’s voice calls out from around the corner. “Arna? Sweetie, where are you? Daddy’s getting a little scared, so please come back now, okay? Arna!

The little girl - Arna, I suppose - panics at the sound of the approaching voice. She grabs my sleeve and starts tugging on it desperately, looking up at me with terror in her eyes. “Please don’t let him find me!”
No. 778465 ID: 85cc2c

help kid hide from father until it's safe, don't trust this scenario one bit
No. 778466 ID: 0b4dd7

return child to parents, let them know child is begging not to be returned. if you have video of the incident, provide it to the parents as well.
No. 778467 ID: dd5b4d

Yeah, terror seems a bit much.
No. 778468 ID: 9145ba

Yell "Hey you! Go long!" and launch child in direction of voice.
No. 778478 ID: d36af7

Invite Arna to climb on your back and ride along to help catch an interdimensional terrorist.
No. 778493 ID: 398fe1

Hide with the child somewhere and ask why she's so scared. It's possible her father is Silvio or something.
No. 778537 ID: 094652

I'm guessing her fascist society demands she answer for her negligible crimes or has a dinner date with an insufferable / violent VIP.

Keep her hidden, at least until her parents calm the @#$% down.
No. 778752 ID: 3abd97

>“Please don’t let him find me!”

It's possible this is one of your friends swapped and panicking about being trapped as a little kid.

It's possible this is none of our business and helping a child run away (probably be functionally kidnapping at that point) would just land our already sketchy butts in serious trouble with the authorities in this world.
No. 790727 ID: a606da
File 149058323667.png - (141.26KB , 800x600 , qr125.png )

“What’s wrong?” I pat her shoulder. “Why are you so scared?”

“I - I can’t tell you.” She stutters, shaking her head. “Not enough time. Please, I need to hide!”

“I’m not sure…” I pause, wondering if we should add ‘accidental kidnapping’ to our list of problems. “Can’t you at least give us a hint about what’s going on?

“Look at her. She’s terrified.” Ikram interjects, frowning at me. “If she’s this scared of being found, I say we help her out.”

“Please hide me.” She whispers, looking like she might cry. “Please.

“...Fine.” I sigh, brushing aside my concerns. “But don’t walk on that ankle. Get on my shoulders, and I’ll carry you.”

“Nuh-uh-uh.” Ikram shakes his head, lightly pushing me aside. “You’re already carrying a person, sort of. I’ve got this one.” He turns around and kneels, pointing at his shoulders. “Up we get, little lady!”

The little girl stares at his back for a moment, a nervous expression forming on her face. After a moment, though, the hesitation vanishes, and she clambers up onto Ikram’s back. “Th - thank you.” She mumbles.

As the footsteps around the corner grow ever closer, we search frantically for a hiding space. Most of the doors in the hall are locked, but, at the last second, I find a small maintenance closet thing that isn’t.

We barely manage to squeeze inside amidst many boxes and strange tools, but we somehow manage it. I close the door behind us, craning my neck to fit inside the tiny closet. We listen intently as the footsteps outside get closer and closer, then breathe a shared (if muted) sigh of relief after the footsteps pass us by. By the time a few minutes have passed, I can't hear anything outside anymore.

“Looks like we’re in the clear.” Ikram smiles, patting the girl on the arm. “You okay?”

“I guess so?” She blinks, gazing down at Ikram’s shoulders with an odd look. “I’ve never had a piggyback ride before. I didn’t think I ever would.”

“What, really? Whoa!” Ikram gasps in exaggerated surprise. He's having fun with this, I think. He's always been good with kids. “How is it, then? Is it all you ever dreamed it would be?”

“Feels funny.” She murmurs, with a peculiar hint of embarrassment. “Like a lot of stuff today.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, uh… nothing.” She coughs. “It’s a weird day, is all.”

>It's possible this is one of your friends swapped and panicking about being trapped as a little kid.

...Maybe? She does have surprisingly good grammar for a preteen.

I'm open to the possibility, but I’m not sure how to phrase the question without seeming crazy. What should I ask her?
No. 790728 ID: 398fe1

What's her name? Who'd we just hide from?
No. 790843 ID: d36af7

Ask her to define the phrase "utility culture." You're supposed to be a teacher, and that's supposed to be common knowledge, so a genuine local would immediately, reflexively, give some reasonably correct reply. Hesitation, confusion, or deflection would be extremely suspicious.

If you want to put extra pressure on, give a little disappointed sigh (regardless of the specific answer) and ask some vaguely leading question about sociology and/or the philosophy of utilitarianism. If doing so prompts slick backpedaling onto a completely different answer, rather than confusion and dismay at the paradox of a trusted authority figure implying things which are obviously false, it's time to fact-check everything the "kid" has ever said.
No. 797250 ID: a606da
File 149278125101.png - (175.48KB , 800x600 , qr126.png )

As we relax a little, the little girl slides off of Ikram’s shoulders and lands on a few boxes next to him. She sits there, legs still dangling a moderate distance above the floor, and she nervously gazes up at us.

“What’s your name?” I ask, awkwardly repositioning my head to look at her. “Who’d we just hide from?”

“My name’s, um… Arna?” She pauses, hesitant. “And that person was, well… he said he was my dad, but he wasn’t. I swear, he wasn’t!

“Hm. Hey, Arna, what’s a utility culture?” I ask, closely watching her face. “Can you please define the term for me?”

“I, uh…” She turns away from me with a worried expression, mumbling her answer. “It’s… it’s a thing. A utility thing.”
No. 797253 ID: b15da4

Something so ingrained into local culture might be hard to put into words. For most people it simply... is.
Anyway, it's totally a shoggoth. We Lovecraft now.
No. 797263 ID: 398fe1

Anna, huh? Looks more like an August to me. Let's confirm. Ask her what her name would be if she was in a forest fighting a demon from another world.
No. 797319 ID: 3abd97

Okay, obviously, either one of your friends swapped into a little kid and is now panicking or one of your friends swapped into the kid's dad and managed to freak her out by being the wrong person.

Simplest way to check without freaking her out further is to make it a sort of innocuous question.

"...does the name Wisteria mean anything to you?"

If she knows you, there will be recognition (and there's no way they'll have the control to sufficiently hide the reaction in an unfamiliar child's body). If she doesn't, there will just be more confusion.
No. 797351 ID: 9dc26d

Look ahead a couple of steps beyond just determining this person's real identity through shibbolths. If this person is a friend, they will want to remain near you. That's a big problem in itself, since kidnapping is pretty much always a major crime, no matter the culture.
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