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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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942967 No. 942967 ID: b7b602

This quest might die tonight, or it might not. May get dark, will probably stay largely sfw.

Good morning!
You've been asleep for an eon.
Expand all images
No. 942968 ID: b7b602
File 156616189745.png - (194.40KB , 2000x2000 , 001.png )

You are in THE MEZZANINE, which you can tell because of the colour of the sky all around you, the taste of electricity in your beak, and the 20,000 other MEZZ workers currently flitting around you.

What are your plans for today, MEZZ-9293?
No. 942969 ID: 2df440

Find your coworker MEZZ-9294, who is totes your best friend and wingman.
No. 942971 ID: b7b602
File 156616307205.png - (737.07KB , 2000x2000 , 002.png )

MEZZ-9294 is, it appears, on assignment, helping a smallish creature in a dark forest within a designation you don't recognize. It will take a while for your acquaintance to return.

You have a number of ASSIGNMENTS yourself, actually. Unless you wish to reflect on your existence for a moment, feel free to proceed and inspect the list of OPEN ASSIGNMENTS.
No. 942973 ID: 094652

Check your [grumble] assignments.
No. 942974 ID: b1b4f3

What do you eat for breakfast?
No. 942976 ID: 25df77
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A: A child in DESIGNATION 393/ζ is stuck at the bottom of a water-drawing-device. Will not be found for a week.

B: A member of a crime family in DESIGNATION 29/α is afraid its partner is an informant to local authorities; extreme risk of suicide.

C: An entity in 2238/φ is within a vehicle which is about to be hit by an animal, fatal to both.

D: A child in 827/δ is about to take a bite of a comrade's lunch, unknowingly ingesting substances to which it is allergic. It will be braindead before medical help can arrive.

You take a moment to reflect on the MODUS OPERANDI.

When you select an ASSIGNMENT, you will be taken to the corresponding DESIGNATION and temporal/geographical location. There you will be presented with a FREEZE-FRAME of the scene. You will be able to decide to appear invisible, as a local creature of your choosing, or as your CLIENT's subconscious. Your physical form will do in a pinch. You will need to find a solution to the problem. There will be no second chance.

If you fail, you will be DECOMMISSIONED, and your soul will be recycled.
No. 942977 ID: b1b4f3

A seems simple. You can turn into a local animal and draw attention to the well(though it's strange noone uses it for a week). If there's absolutely noone nearby you can probably help the child directly.

Are there any risks to being seen in your physical form?
No. 942979 ID: e5e15e

So you gotta save their lives or you die.

Try the mobster I guess, but if you're going to the first one you can probably just appear as a human and get a rope to drag the child out.
No. 942980 ID: 0c9a8e

>If you fail, you will be DECOMMISSIONED, and your soul will be recycled.
Have THE MEZZANINE properly considered the long-term implications of forced soul recycling and the potential this has for splintering the eternal subconscious into several, if not dozens, of faint egos and the impulses thereof?

>Choice of action
Manifest as Invisible, allowing you to smack the sandwich from their hand and kicking it along the floor, away from the child, preventing three-second-rule. Child is child, and thus an unreliable witness to supernatural phenomena.
No. 942982 ID: 38cd4d
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That might be the case on regular DESIGNATIONS, most of which follow strict natural laws. The MEZZANINE follows its own regulations, which are of a different nature entirely. It's more dream than physical space.

You take to the air and drift towards DESIGNATION 393/ζ.
No. 942983 ID: a11044
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You land in the DESIGNATION.

It is HOT AND DUSTY. Gravity is a little higher than average, humidity is lower. There is little wind. You are happy for your hat's brim, for while you are technically immortal, blinding light can nevertheless be annoying.

There is no sign of life anywhere, save for some grey brick structures which appear to have been placed purposefully. They look run-down.

Your CLIENT is within a 30 cubit radius. You will need to find them. You cannot exit this area.

You can explore here for a time, and exit the freeze-frame when you're ready. You will need to know how you wish to appear when you do.
No. 942985 ID: b1b4f3

How much time do you have to save them after you exit freeze-frame? I mean, the kid's not gonna die immediately, but are you otherwise on a time limit?

Let's look around the perimeter. Head left first.
No. 942989 ID: 7ff815
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After you resume local time, you will have until the client is either successfully saved, or dies. But the less time you spend in this place, the less of THE MEZZANINE's collective energy you sap, which is naturally a positive.

There is what appears to be a dark hole in the ground, ringed by tumbled bricks. Dead plants are nearby.
No. 942990 ID: b1b4f3

Take a look down there.

Can you fly?
No. 942994 ID: 7ff815
File 156617418560.png - (909.66KB , 2000x2000 , 007.png )

You cannot fly here, unless you turn into local fauna capable of flight.
You look down.
No. 942995 ID: 7ff815
File 156617464487.png - (558.31KB , 2000x2000 , 008.png )

Yes, that's your CLIENT, maybe ten feet down. It's a biped creature with an elongated muzzle and large ears, and what might be fur. Its eyes are reflective. It looks to be thrashing in muddy water of indefinite depth, and likely cannot swim.
It's grasping at the slick stone wall desperately.
No. 942996 ID: b1b4f3

Well, shoot. This is gonna be trouble. Gotta look around a bit more, see what we have to work with. Optimally we'd find a rope or ladder to lower down there and retrieve the child.

Do you know what the local creatures are, or will you need to see an example before you can turn into one?

Try looking in the other direction.
No. 942997 ID: 094652

Can you measure each stone carefully to indicate where the kid should climb?
No. 942998 ID: 8aefd8

Exploring the well’s surroundings could show something useful
No. 943000 ID: cd73ff
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You need to observe fauna and its movement before you can realistically imitate it. If your CLIENT or other observers are in a stressful situation, they may not notice an abnormality, but it is better to be safe.

You turn to the other side of the area. There are more decrepit walls, and a long, thin object on the ground. It looks organic. Nothing else of note, really.

Follow the object, or explore somewhere else?
No. 943001 ID: 8aefd8

Follow the rope-shaped object, it’s pretty clearly gonna be helpful here
No. 943002 ID: cd73ff
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It appears to be some sort of animal. Nothing you recognize.
No. 943004 ID: b1b4f3

Is the "tail" long enough to reach the child? May have to use what you've got.
Can you move objects during the time-freeze?
What's the penalty for the client noticing something weird?

...wait how are you supposed to see how a creature moves to copy it? Time is frozen at the moment, and all these assignments have had very limited time to act after unfreezing it. Not enough time to study.
No. 943011 ID: e7c7d3

Ours is not to wonder why
Ours is but to do and die.

Turning into this sort of animal might be our best bet.
No. 943034 ID: ce39da

If it's not long enough to reach down to the kid, then look elsewhere.
No. 943038 ID: 63cfb3
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The issue is looking convincing. If you appear as a predator and scare your CLIENT even further, it could potentially worsen the situation. If you appear as a biped, but move like a quadruped, you could unnerve them or startle them. You know how most standard fauna moves- the position of the legs generally gives it away- but this creature is new to you. The long growth may be a neck, a tail, a reproductive organ, a snout, any number of things. You cannot see legs. It may move by leaping. You will need to unfreeze time before being able to tell.

It could work, but unless you're sure, you should arrange for a backup plan.
No. 943041 ID: b1b4f3

Oh that thing is pretty big. Another option I was thinking of would be to grab the animal and move it to the well to throw the tail in, but maybe it's too big for that.

Is there anything else of interest in the area of operation?
If you turned into an adult of the client's species, would you be able to go down the well and grab the kid then climb out?
No. 943048 ID: b1b4f3

Oh wait, what if you cut off the tail? Eh, you might not have the means... Are you allowed to kill animals anyway?
No. 943119 ID: 2caa32

Perhaps there's a settlement nearby? This kid obviously had to come from somewhere.

Also where's the other end of that thing lead off to?
No. 943170 ID: ce39da

Well, look around! This truly would be a terrible situation if there were no other options.
No. 943193 ID: f2320a

While time is frozen we have all the time in the world so lets follow the tail how much can we affect the world while its frozen?
No. 948259 ID: 080b2a
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The tail comes to an abrupt end in a smallish bulb. It's faintly disgusting.

You cannot directly affect anything. Only observe within a little radius.

There is no settlement nearby. Indeed there isn't much of anything. Only this well. Perhaps these creatures live underground, or as nomads. Both are, in your experience, quite common.

And you do not have forever. Time in the MEZZANINE is still passing, and the longer you spend outside it, the more of its energy you sap, so you ought to hurry up. Lots of work left today.
No. 948265 ID: b1b4f3

This seems like our solution. Throw the tail down the well. Use whatever form can get it there most efficiently, since the boy won't see you.

Backup plan is to just go down there and grab the kid yourself, then climb out. Transform into an adult version of him and it'll be fine.
No. 948358 ID: 500e12

No. 948362 ID: b1b4f3

Oh! Another backup plan is to turn into the weird thing with the long tail, and put your own damn tail down the well. You could even grab the child with your tail if he's intimidated by it.
No. 948370 ID: 7ebbf9

Drop its tail down the well.
No. 948372 ID: 080b2a
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In your experience, grabbing random wild animals can have TERRIBLE results. You think you could approximate this one's motions fairly well, however.

So your plan is to:

* Turn into the animal
* Stick your tail down well
* Grab the child with it if it doesn't grab on

Is this correct?
No. 948378 ID: 7ebbf9

Sounds good. If all else fails may have to suck up the kid and spit him out.
No. 948391 ID: ce39da

You'll want to anchor yourself; it doesn't look like either end is very heavy. Maybe resort to pinning the less threatening end of yourself under a heavy rock you summon. You can do that, right?
No. 948414 ID: b1b4f3

Yes, that should work.
No. 949190 ID: cdbe58
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You're successful in copying the creature's shape. Not that it's very complicated.
No. 949192 ID: cdbe58
File 157341264332.png - (757.49KB , 2000x2000 , 015.png )

Time unfreezes. Heat washes over you. There are low gurgling sounds from the ground below you, and the air starts smelling intensely sulfurous. You detect relatively high levels of cosmic background radiation, though not high enough to damage you.

The sound of the child in the well squealing becomes very clear.

What would you like to do?
No. 949195 ID: ce39da

The plan was to lower your tail to him, right? Do that. It looks like you’re heavy enough that you don’t need to find anything to anchor yourself.
No. 949197 ID: b1b4f3

Yep just flop over there (or however this creature moves) and dip your tail into the water. If the kid grabs on but doesn't climb, pull your tail out with the kid on it. If the kid doesn't try to touch you at all, maybe just let the tail dangle down there for a while... unless the kid gets too tired to stay above water, then try to grab him.
If he bites you, then... well, just deal with it I guess.

Is it considered okay to turn back into your normal form after the deed is done to let them know they've been saved by a Mezz?
No. 949211 ID: c571e8

observe the other one for a moment and see how it moves. gotta get this right.
No. 949721 ID: cbeaea

It's possible we could try to draw attention to ourselves and therefore also the well, try making noises.
No. 949918 ID: b1b4f3

Why does the Mezzanine save people, anyway?
No. 952206 ID: b1b4f3

Would it be possible for you to give him a subconscious suggestion to climb the tail? I'm not sure if you can do that while also assuming the shape of something.

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